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Title: Narrative of a Voyage Round the World
Author: T B Wilson
* A Project Gutenberg Australia eBook *
eBook No.: 1300561h.html
Language: English
Date first posted: January 2013
Date most recently updated: January 2013

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Production Notes:

A list of illustrations has been added to the Contents. No spellings, except a few obvious typographical errors, have been changed . A number of inconsistencies in naming people and places have been left unresolveded, such as: Raffles' Bay/Raffles Bay; Merkus/Mercus; Teilmann/Tielmann; Morillup/Morilup/Morrillup; Da' Atea/Da'Atea; Iacama/Jacama.

Each footnote is placed at the end of the paragraph in which it occur. Rather than superscripted, the footnotes are defined by one or more asterisks. The font size of the body of the Appendix has not been reduced, as it is in the original. The errata have been applied to this text.








Frontispiece: WRECK OF THE SHIP "GOVERNOR READY" IN TORRES STRAITS.










NARRATIVE

OF

A VOYAGE ROUND THE WORLD;


COMPREHENDING AN ACCOUNT OF

THE WRECK OF THE SHIP "GOVERNOR READY,"

IN TORRES STRAITS;

A DESCRIPTION OF

THE BRITISH SETTLEMENTS


ON THE

COASTS OF NEW HOLLAND,

MORE PARTICULARLY

RAFFLES BAY, MELVILLE ISLAND, SWAN RIVER, AND

KING GEORGE'S SOUND;


ALSO,

THE MANNERS AND CUSTOMS OF THE ABORIGINAL TRIBES;

WITH


AN APPENDIX,
CONTAINING
REMARKS ON TRANSPORTATION,
THE TREATMENT OF CONVICTS DURING THE VOYAGE,
AND ADVICE TO PERSONS INTENDING TO EMIGRATE TO THE
AUSTRALIAN COLONIES.

———

BY

T.[homas] B.[raidwood] WILSON, M.D. Surgeon R.N.

MEMBER OP THE ROYAL GEOGRAPHICAL SOCIETY.

———


LONDON:
PRINTED FOR SHERWOOD, GILBERT, & PIPER,
PATERNOSTER ROW.
——
1835.






TO THE HONOURABLE


SIR HENRY DUNCAN, K.C.H., C.B.


CAPTAIN, ROYAL NAVY,


THIS VOLUME


IS RESPECTFULLY INSCRIBED,


IN TESTIMONY OF GRATITUDE AND ESTEEM,


BY HIS FAITHFUL


      AND MUCH OBLIGED SERVANT,


THE AUTHOR.      






PREFACE.


THE following narrative, written shortly after the occurrence of the events therein described, was intended for immediate publication; but, on my arrival in England, being again appointed Surgeon-Superintendent of a convict-ship, my sojourn at home was so limited—not exceeding ten days—that I could not carry my intention into effect; and having been, since that period, unremittingly employed in the same service, I have not had leisure to superintend the work through the Press until the present time.—Moreover, concluding that the interest in the subjects treated of, had greatly subsided, I abandoned all idea of giving publicity to the manuscript.


The great desire, however, still manifested by the Public, to obtain information relative to New Holland, has induced me to alter my opinion; and I now therefore publish these pages, in the hope that they may contain some information acceptable to those interested in Australian affairs, and afford some amusement to the general reader.


With the exception of an article in the Journal of the Royal Geographical Society of last year, there has been no account yet published, of Melville Island or Raffles Bay; and I still hope that, notwithstanding the unfavourable issue of former trials, the attention of the Government will be again directed to the manifold advantages likely to result from colonizing the north coast of New Holland: and should any remarks, which I have made, tend to accelerate so desirable an event, it will afford me much gratification.


Although the observations regarding Swan River, and King George's Sound, have been, in a great measure, superseded by more recent information; yet, as they give a sketch of these settlements in their infancy, I have deemed it expedient to retain them.


The remarks in the Appendix, relative to transportation, &c., may be entitled to some attention,—being derived from an experience of eight voyages to Australia, during which, I have had charge of nearly two thousand prisoners, without having met with any difficulty, or disturbance, worth mentioning.


It was my intention to give a detailed account of New South Wales and Van Diemen's Land; but as that subject has been so recently and ably treated of, I have restricted myself to offering a few words of advice to persons intending to become settlers in these colonies, to whom the hints I have given may, perhaps, prove advantageous.


T. B. WILSON.   


       London,
October 20th, 1835.






CONTENTS.

———

CHAPTER I.

ARRIVAL at Sydney—Hobart Town—Departure for Batavia—Attempted Passage round Cape Leuwin unsuccessful—Bass's Straits—Wreck Reef—Eastern Fields—Murray's Island—The "Governor Ready" wrecked on a Coral Reef in Torres' Straits—The Crew take to the Boats, intending to proceed to Melville Island—The Ship abandoned


CHAPTER II.

Intention to remain a short time by the Ship frustrated—Voyage in the Boats commenced—Arrival at Half-way Island—Departure for Booby Island—Progress obstructed by reefs and sandbanks—Discover a group of Islets—Land on one of them—Transactions there—Description of the group—Duncan's Isles—Departure


CHAPTER III.

Favourable Weather continues—Observance of the Sabbath-day-Weather becomes stormy—Miraculous escape—Skiff heaves-to—Jolly-boat abandoned; the crew having yielded to despair being admitted into the long boat—Heavy Gale—Long boat nearly swamped—Being unable to reach Melville Island, we proceed to Timor—Straits of Semao—Colonial Brig "Amity"—Arrival at Coupang—Mr. Underwood's Narrative—Retrospective View of Occurrences—Character of the Officers


CHAPTER IV.

Coupang—Sale of the Boats—Description of the Town—Its Trade—Husbandry—Government—and Inhabitants—Departure from Coupang—"Amity" nearly wrecked—Arrival at Raffles Bay


CHAPTER V.

Raffles Bay—Natives—Miago—The Chief Wellington—Waterloo—Da' Atea—Luga—Monanoo—Wooloogary Chief of Croker's Island—The Commandant visits the Natives—Malay Proas touch at the Settlement—Wreck of the Mermaid—Wreck of the Swiftsure—Death of Mr. Radford—Arrival of H.M.S. Satellite


CHAPTER VI.

Native Dance—Natives visit H.M.S. Satellite and the Ship Reliance—Arrival of the Schooner Admiral Gifford—Affray at Hammond's Island—Disgraceful conduct of the Crews of small Vessels—Anecdotes concerning the Natives


CHAPTER VII.

Visit to Croker's Island—Laws' Plains—Interview with the Inhabitants—Bowen's Straits—Barker's Bay—Return to the Settlement—Departure of H.M.S. Satellite for India—Arrival of the Governor Phillips—Embarkation of part of the Settlers—Brigs Amity and Thompson sail for Swan River—Public Garden—Departure of the Natives


CHAPTER VIII.

Raffles Bay abandoned—Animals and Vegetables left there—Port Essington—Knocker's Bay—Departure from the North Coast of New Holland—Remarks as to the objects which the British Government had in view, in the formation of the Settlements on the North Coast of New Holland, and the causes of their abandonment


CHAPTER IX.

A British Settlement formed at Raffles Bay—Extract from the Diary of the Commandant—Extract from Mr. Duncan's Journal, containing an account of the occurrences attending the formation of the Settlement, and also the Narrative of a Lascar, relative to the Aborigines of the North-east Coast of New Holland


CHAPTER X.

Misunderstanding between the Settlers and Natives—Unfortunate occurrences—Death of Dr. Wood—Malay Proas visit the Settlement—Extracts from the Medical Report of Dr. Davis—Observations on Melville Island and Raffles Bay, by Captain Laws, R.N.—Proofs of the healthiness of the Climate


CHAPTER XI.

Description of Fort Wellington—General appearance of the Land on the North Coast of New Holland—Character of the Aborigines of Raffles Bay—Recapitulatory Observations—Alleged Causes of the Abandonment of Melville Island and Raffles Bay proved to be without foundation


CHAPTER XII.

Departure from the North Coast of New Holland—Buckle's Isle proved not to exist—The Governor Phillips strikes on a Coral Rock—Arrival at Coupang—Transactions there—Departure—Savu—Benjoar—Arrival at Swan River—Freemantle—Melville Water—Mount Eliza—Perth


CHAPTER XIII.

Excursion up Swan River—Fertility of the Land above Perth—Return to Perth—Proceed down the River—Weather-bound at Freemantle—Governor's Levee in the open air—General Observations regarding the Settlement—Visit to Rottenest—Return to Gage's Roads


CHAPTER XIV.

Excursion up the River Canning—A Native Village—Darling Range—Friendly interview with the Natives—Their sudden departure—We return to our Encampment on the River


CHAPTER XV.

Return down the River—Excursion to Garden Island—Description of the Swan and Canning Rivers—Perth—Freemantle—Remarks—Geographical position of Arthur's Head


CHAPTER XVI.

Departure from Swan River—Unsuccessful attempt to land at Cape Chatham—Boat nearly Swamped—Heavy Gale—Leaky state of the Brig—Anchor in King George's Sound—Excursion into the Interior—Interview with a Native


CHAPTER XVII.

Pass through a fertile tract of country—Discontent of some of the Party—Good humour restored—Conversation with Mokărē relative to a future state of existence—Journey resumed to the Westward—Arrive at a Lake—Barren Land—Proceed to the Southward through a hilly tract—Course altered to the Eastward—Ascend a Mountain, and obtain an extensive view


CHAPTER XVIII.

Proceed on our Journey—Discover a large Inlet into which several rivers empty themselves—Arrive at the Settlement—Captain Barker's Narrative—General Remarks on our Journey—A Native Dance—Curious Prescription of a Native Doctor


CHAPTER XIX.

Excursion to Oyster Harbour—Green Island—Fertility of the Soil—Brief account of the Natives—Departure from King George's Sound—Account of the Murder of Captain Barker—Narrative resumed—Bass's Straits—Anchor in the River Tamar


CHAPTER XX.

Proceed up the River Tamar to Launceston—Short Excursion into the Country—Flourishing state of the Town—Hospitality of the Inhabitants—Sail from Port Dalrymple—Arrival at Sydney—Excursion over the Southern settled Districts—Departure from Sydney, in the ship Surry, and safe arrival in England



APPENDIX.


Brief Account of the Inhabitants of Murray's Island

A Short Vocabulary of the Dialect of the Natives of Raffles Bay

Specimen of the Dialect of the Natives of King George's Sound

Remarks on Transportation

Advice to Emigrants


ILLUSTRATIONS.


Frontispiece: WRECK OF THE SHIP "GOVERNOR READY" IN TORRES STRAITS.

JOLLY-BOAT'S CREW SOLICITING TO BE RECEIVED INTO THE LONG BOAT.

DANCE OF THE ABORIGINES OF RAFFLES BAY.

CHART OF AUSTRALIA, SHEWING THE TRACK OF THE SHIP, GOVERNOR READY, &c. &c. &c.






NARRATIVE

OF A

VOYAGE ROUND THE WORLD,

&c. &c.

———

CHAPTER I.

Arrival at Sydney—Hobart Town—Departure for Batavia—Attempted Passage round Cape Leuwin unsuccessful—Bass's Straits—Wreck Reef—Eastern Fields—Murray's Island—The "Governor Ready" wrecked on a Coral Reef in Torres' Straits—The Crew take to the Boats, intending to proceed to Melville Island—The ship abandoned.

THE ship "Governor Ready", 512 tons, was, shortly after her arrival from Van Dieman's Land in 1828, chartered by the Commissioners of the Navy, to convey 200 male prisoners from Ireland to New South Wales; and being again appointed surgeon-superintendent, I joined her on the 22d of July in that year.

On the 17th of August the guards consisting of 50 men of the 63d regiment having embarked, and all being ready for sea, we sailed from Deptford, and on the 27th arrived at the Cove of Cork.

On the 18th of September 200 prisoners were received on board, on the 21st we took our departure, and on the 17th of January, 1829, we arrived at Sydney, after a very pleasant passage, during which the utmost harmony and quietness uninterruptedly prevailed.

On the 26th all the prisoners were landed in good health.

After having spent a few weeks in New South Wales, the greater part of which time I passed in excursions over the southern and western settled districts of the Colony, I prepared to return to England. There were several vessels in the harbour about to depart for London direct, laden with colonial produce; but, preferring the "Governor Ready", a ship in which I had spent many happy days, I obtained permission from the Colonial Government to return home in her, although she was to pursue rather a circuitous route.

Previous to leaving England, it had been arranged that this ship, after the debarkation of the prisoners at Sydney, should proceed to the Isle of France, to receive a cargo of sugar; but just as we were on the eve of leaving Sydney Cove, Captain Young (who commanded the vessel) received intelligence of the failure of the sugar crops there, which rendered it doubtful whether a cargo would be in readiness; but, as the owners of the ship (anxious to establish a direct commercial intercourse between the two ports,) had sent another vessel in ballast from Bristol to the Isle of France, with an intelligent supercargo, who had instructions to purchase cargoes for both vessels, the hope that he had succeeded, although diminished, was not entirely destroyed.

To obtain more certain information relative to this matter, and also to land several passengers; and, as little inconvenience, expense, or delay, would be occasioned thereby, it was deemed advisable to touch at the Derwent.

In the afternoon of the 18th March, Capt. Young and myself bade adieu to our friends at Sydney, and after a protracted pull down the harbour, joined the ship, which, having been under weigh since day-light, was lying-to for us inside the heads of Port Jackson.

We had a favourable and pleasant passage to Hobart Town, where we arrived on the evening of the 25th. From information received there, the idea of proceeding to the Isle of France was abandoned; the sugar had not been purchased, and the wholesale London dealers in that commodity had written to prohibit their agents in that Island from shipping any freight by the "Governor Ready", in consequence, I believe, of the following circumstance:—During her passage home last year, from the Isle of France, deeply (perhaps too deeply) laden with sugar, the ship encountered a tremendous gale of wind off the Island of Madagascar, and from the immense quantity of water shipped, much of the cargo was damaged; and as great prejudice exists in London against vessels built at Prince Edward's Island, the "Governor Ready" (built there) having spoiled her cargo was a circumstance not to be overlooked, and therefore she was unjustly singled out as an unsafe and unseaworthy vessel.*

[* We were obliged to put in at the Cape of Good Hope to get the damage of the ship repaired. The day previous to our leaving Table Bay, two ships, (British built I believe,) the "Mellish" and "Ferguson", reached there in a sad plight, having been dismasted on the same day, by the same gale, within a few miles of us. The ship "Woodlark" foundered this year in nearly the same place, lat. 28°. 8'. S. long. 52°. 40'. E. and within two days of the same time, February 11th, having encountered the same kind of weather that we did. Had the "Woodlark" been as staunch as the "Governor Ready", she might, in like manner, have weathered out the gale.]

Thus circumstanced, Captain Young made up his mind to proceed to Batavia. This change was not altogether agreeable to me, having on a former occasion suffered much both from shipwreck and disease, near and at the Island of Java; but I made up my mind not to leave the ship, and it required some effort on my part to persevere in this resolution, as I was solicited to embark in the "Mermaid", (commanded by an old friend and mess-mate of mine, Captain Henniker,) which was on the point of sailing for England direct, via Cape Horn.

At daylight on the 2d of April we got under weigh, and gliding down the river, under the influence of a stiff breeze, Hobart Town and its singularly romantic environs soon receded from our view. As the wind was blowing strongly from the westward, we proposed going through D'Entrecasteaux's channel, so that, should the wind continue to blow with undiminished force from the same quarter, we might anchor near the southern entrance, and there be in readiness for the first favourable slant to carry us round the south-west Cape of Van Dieman's Land. The wind, however, having shifted a little to the northward, and the barometer indicating moderate weather, we entered Storm Bay, and were soon once more on the mighty Southern Ocean.

The season was rather too far advanced for us to expect a favourable passage round Cape Leuwin; but as, according to Horsburgh's Directory, good passages had occasionally been effected as late, and even later, it was considered prudent to make the attempt, more especially as it was too early in the season for passing through Torres' Straits, a route, under the most favourable circumstances, beset with intricacy and danger.

Influenced by these considerations, we purposed to beat to windward; but the ship being very light—hardly in ballast trim—it was not expected that much progress could be made to the westward until the wind became more favourable. In anxious expectation of this wished-for event, we kept contending with adverse gales and tempestuous seas, being encouraged to persevere by an occasional northerly breeze, until the 23d of April, when, having only reached the 131st degree of east longitude, after having sustained much loss of canvas and other damage, our patience deserted us, more especially as the hope of obtaining a fair wind diminished daily: inasmuch as winter was advancing—the season when westerly winds prevail.

All circumstances being maturely considered, it was decided, that to persevere longer in endeavouring to get round Cape Leuwin would be worse than useless; the attempt, therefore, was abandoned. Accordingly at 5 P.M. of the 23d the helm was put up, and all hands called to square yards, an order obeyed with much alacrity, the sailors having been greatly harassed and fatigued ever since our departure from Van Dieman's Land by constant work in making or shortening sail, according to the state of the weather, the vicissitudes of which were sudden and severe.

To be scudding under easy sail, after such continued uproar, was felt to be an agreeable change, although we could not help feeling that we were running from a boisterous, into a smoother, but much more dangerous, sea. The ship was not provided with charts of the north coast of New Holland, (the first sheet of Minder's north coast excepted,) nor of the Indian Archipelago, as it was not contemplated, on leaving England, that they would be required. This circumstance was untoward; but knowing that we should have opportunities of ascertaining our true position from lunar observations, and determining to keep a good look out, we hoped to get safely through the dangers which abounded in the route we were now compelled to pursue.

On the 27th we made Cape Otway; and while passing through Bass's Straits we found, from the cross bearings of several islets, that the chronometer deviated widely from the truth: it was, therefore, evident that no reliance could prudently be placed on the longitude thus ascertained; this circumstance, however, caused us no uneasiness, being fortunately favoured with other and unerring celestial time-keepers.

We had scarcely got round Cape Howe when the wind shifted to the northward, and, after two days fruitlessly spent in standing off and on, we stretched out to the eastward until we obtained a favourable breeze. On the 6th of May we passed the parallel of Port Jackson, in longitude 157° 30', when, the wind being still fair, we shaped a course, so as to pass close to the eastward of Cato's bank. At noon, on the 9th, we were one mile north, and ten miles east of it, according to chronometer corrected from Kent's group; but satisfactory lunar observations placed us twenty miles farther to the eastward. The course was, therefore, altered a little more to the westward, that we might obtain a sight of "Bird Islet" on Wreck Reef, in compliance with the generally received opinion, that every vessel bound through Torres' Straits by the outer passage ought to do so; as, from the position of Wreck Reef being well known, a good opportunity is thereby afforded of comparing the chronometer.

At midnight we had passed Bird Islet, as the latitude was ascertained to be 22°. 9' south, by the meridian altitudes of several stars taken, in the order of their culmination between a little before ten and midnight, and reduced to the latter hour.** As we possessed, or at least believed that we did possess, the only information to be gained by a sight of Bird Islet, i.e., the exact position of the ship, we concluded that it would be wasting time to lie-to till daylight, more especially as the night was clear and the breeze favourable. We therefore proceeded on our course, which was now directed for Diana's Bank.

[** I am thus minute, for the purpose of showing that Captain Young paid uncommon attention to the navigation of his ship, far more so indeed than is usual with the generality of masters of merchant vessels.]

I may here mention that as soon as we passed the tropic, and entered into a sea bestrewed with coral reefs and sand-banks, every measure, which prudence could dictate or caution suggest, was adopted to insure a constant and careful look-out. Every one acquainted with inter-tropical navigation must be aware from experience that it is very difficult for a person keeping "watch-and-watch" to be sufficiently alert, especially in sultry weather. Three watches were, therefore, formed, each under the charge of two officers, one of whom was stationed on the poop, and the other on the forecastle: a trust-worthy sailor was also to keep a look-out from the forecastle, and another from the foreyard—the latter to be relieved every half hour: due care being thus taken to guard against dangers known and unknown, we cautiously but confidently, kept under sail even during the night.

On Saturday, the 10th., the breeze blew strongly from the S.E., attended with frequent showers, and a completely obscured sky. Towards the evening, the clouds dispersed, the wind became lighter, and throughout the night the sky continued clear. At eight o'clock, P.M. of the 11th, we were in the parallel of Diana's Bank. A few minutes afterwards, the watch on the forecastle called out, "breakers on the lee-bow", and "right a-head!" This intelligence caused considerable alarm. The ship was instantly hove in the wind: some declared they not only saw broken water, but the land very distinctly, and pretended to point it out to others, who were rather sceptical, yet, after the most careful inspection, neither the one nor the other could be perceived. The panic having subsided, we resumed our course direct for the Eastern Fields, and at one o'clock in the morning of the 15th, being in latitude 10° 12' and in longitude 146° 20' east, we shortened sail, expecting to be up with these reefs by day-break.

Shortly afterwards, however, it fell calm, and continued so till next morning, when the breeze sprung up; and at seven, A.M., we descried the "Eastern Fields" right a-head: at noon we were in latitude 10° 2' and, by lunar observations, brought forward by chronometer, in longitude 145° 49'; the north-east extremity of the reef (which, according to Flinders, is in latitude 10° 2' and longitude 145° 45') bearing west; distant from two to three miles. The chronometer placed us forty-two miles too far west.* It afforded us much gratification to find the observations, which we had taken so frequently, and with great care, prove so correct; as we could now with confidence lay down on the chart our true track, (where we neither met nor saw either reefs or shoals, or sand-banks,) which might prove of considerable utility to others who might hereafter pursue the same route.

[* I believe that many islands, islets, and reefs, said to be new discoveries, are not so—that they have been already described—and supposed new through too much reliance being placed on the chronometer; several instances of this are within my own knowledge. In the present instance, had we trusted to the chronometer, this reef (the Eastern Fields) would doubtlessly have been considered as hitherto unknown.]

Shortly after noon the wind became light and variable; during the night it blew from the westward, consequently we got to the ripplings to the northward of the reef, and experienced an easterly current, which retarded our progress considerably. On the 17th, towards evening, a steady breeze again blew from the south-east, and we made all sail with the intention of being up to the Barrier Reef betimes in the morning; and as we should most probably pass between Boot Beef and Portlock Reef some time in the middle watch, a knowledge of our latitude was an object of the utmost importance.

Fortunately, having fine weather and a cloudless sky, our latitude could be, and was, ascertained almost every half hour, by the meridian altitude of a star, either north or south of the zenith, and by the distance of the Moon from Jupiter and Altair to the east; and from Saturn and Regulus to the west, we inferred our longitude. During the early part of the middle watch, the sound of breakers was distinctly heard on both sides of the ship. About three, A.M., our latitude by Rastaban and Vega, agreeing with that deduced previously from the meridian altitude of Jupiter, the Moon, and sixteen Stars, was 9° 51' south, and our longitude by lunars, brought forward by chronometer, was 144° 38'.

Having thus passed safely between these reefs, we were rather elated by being the first (as far as our knowledge extended) who had made the attempt during the night. We kept on our course under easy sail till day-light, when, as expected, we saw Murray's Island, and shortly afterwards, the great Barrier Reef, through which we entered by an opening about 100 fathoms wide, Murray's Island bearing W.S.W.

Imagining we could reach Half-way Island long before sun-set, we did not stop at Murray's Island; greatly to the disappointment of the natives, many of whom were seen running along the beach, and inviting us, by every means in their power to stay. I regret, individually, that I had not an opportunity of renewing an acquaintance formed with several of these interesting islanders some years ago.**

[** Vide Appendix.]

We proceeded on, following nearly the "Cumberland's" track; the captain and chief mate keeping a good look-out from the fore-yard; the other officers attending to the manoeuvring of the ship, while a person, who had some previous knowledge of the passage, attended to the wheel.

About one, P.M., being in the fair channel, under the influence of a strong breeze, and the tide in our favour, we pursued our serpentine and perilous course with much rapidity; and, guided only by the colour of the water, passed many sand-banks and reefs in safety, until 2.45 P.M., when the ship struck with such force on a small detached coral reef, that the rock penetrated instantly through her bottom! There was no occasion for sounding the well, the encroaching water, in a few minutes up to the lower deck, affording us a melancholy proof of the extensive and irremediable damage that the ship had sustained.

Thus, suddenly and unexpectedly, in broad day-light, after having, by unremitted attention and care, passed the most dangerous parts of this intricate passage, were all our hopes utterly annihilated.

It now only remained for us to consider by what means we might have a chance of saving our lives. After as much deliberation as such disastrous circumstances would admit of, the only mode that appeared to us to hold out any prospect of success, was—to endeavour to reach some European settlement in the boats: the nearest to us, of whose situation we had any certain knowledge, was Melville Island, which, we had heard, previously to leaving Sydney, was about to be abandoned. We determined, however, to touch there in the first instance, and should we find it deserted, we made up our minds to endeavour to get to Coupang, the principal establishment of the Dutch on the island of Timor, where Captain Bligh was so hospitably received, after his miraculous escape in the "Bounty's" launch.

The ship's company being assembled on the quarter-deck, a short address was made to them, explanatory of what was intended to be attempted for the general good. When it was understood that we must proceed at least 900 miles in the boats, through, to us, an unknown sea, before we could reach the nearest probable place of obtaining succour, many of them,—those particularly who had wives and children,—began to despair; they were rallied out of their despondency, and as there were several intelligent men among the crew, they were invited to give their opinion relating to our ulterior proceedings. But they unanimously declined doing so, and assured us of their readiness, not only to abide implicitly by our decision, but also to obey all orders which might be given, with as much promptitude as they had done prior to the shipwreck, being, as they said, well aware, that by such conduct only, could they have any reasonable hope of being delivered from their present perilous situation.

Our boats, three in number, were now hoisted out; two of them, the skiff and jolly-boat, were fitted with sails, and in every other respect in good order: the long boat, not having been out of the ship since she left Sydney in October 1827, and not having, during the interval, received any repairs, (particularly caulking, of which she stood much in need,) was far from being in a fit state for the present unexpected service. As regarded our distribution in the different boats, it was at first proposed to draw lots, but it was finally arranged that the Captain and myself should go in the long boat, the first mate and the sailmaker in the skiff, and the second mate and the boatswain in the jolly-boat. The Captain and mates choosing the remainder of the crew alternately, in the same manner as is customary in forming a watch.

In this manner, then, were we divided; nineteen in the long boat, twelve in the skiff, and eight in the jolly boat; and it was agreed that we should keep close company, that we might afford assistance to each other in case of necessity; being determined to be saved, or to perish together.

Our attention was now naturally drawn to reflect on what ought to be taken in the boats; and lest any individual, from misguided self-interest, should take with him private property, to the exclusion of that which was necessary for the public good, it was suggested, that nothing of the kind should be permitted, and no opposition was offered to this prudent arrangement. It was, therefore, directed that only such articles necessary either for the sustenance of life. or for self-defence, or for our guidance, were to be taken. In the long boat were placed three casks of water, also some biscuit, salt beef, pork, hams, and cheese, tea and sugar, a small keg of brandy, a few cooking utensils, a lantern, a few candles, a tinder-box and matches, a keg of gunpowder, some muskets and cutlasses; the chronometer, sextants, quadrants, a compass, and necessary books of navigation; a top-gallant studding sail boom, and a fore royal, were also thrown into her, for a mast and sail: a little canvas, tarpaulin, and some deal boards, were not forgotten: and the carpenter was enjoined to take such of his tools as might prove useful. The skiff and jolly-boat had their barrels filled with water, and each was provided with a compass: there was a sextant in one and a quadrant in the other; and with the exception of their not being lumbered with provisions, which we were to issue to them from time to time, they were similarly supplied with other necessary and useful articles.

Matters being thus arranged, a few effects belonging to individuals, (i.e., blankets and wearing apparel, in a limited quantity,) were permitted to be put on board their respective boats. At this time some of the sailors who had managed, notwithstanding all our precautions, to get access to the spirits, of which they had freely partaken, requested they might have a little grog to support their strength, sagely remarking that, although too much would prove injurious, a little could not possibly do them any harm. This request, however, although backed with such a powerful argument, was decidedly refused; and on their showing a disposition to argue the point, rather insubordinately, they were reminded of their promise, made only a very short time before, of implicit obedience; which would, if necessary, be strictly and fearlessly enforced. This rebuke had the desired effect of making them desist from further importunity, and measures were taken to remove all chance of their obtaining any more spirits clandestinely.

The ship was now gradually going down a-stern, and fears were entertained that she might suddenly slip off the rock and sink in deep water.

From having been formerly placed in a similar situation, I had no apprehension of such a result; on the contrary, I thought that if no particularly bad weather occurred, she would perhaps remain nearly in the same state, till the change of the monsoon; the Captain coincided in this opinion, and it was thought advisable to remain on board until the morning.

After having assisted in the arrangement of all matters connected with our safety, I retired to my cabin, and while employed there, in selecting some papers and other small articles, which I wished, if possible, to preserve, one of the sailors, on whose judgment I placed some reliance, came hurriedly in, and begged me to come instantly into the boat, as the ship was rapidly going down; this intelligence, although contrary to my own opinion, was not to be neglected, especially as the water was now up to the cabin windows. On coming out, I found every one, excepting the Captain, in the greatest alarm; all dreading that the ship would suddenly slip off the rock, and drag the boats down with her, thereby rendering our escape impossible, and our destruction inevitable.

Although the Captain and myself were still persuaded that there was no immediate danger of such an accident, yet, in acquiescence with the general wish, the order was given, which there was no occasion to repeat, for all hands to go into the boats; and we left, with sorrowful hearts, the ship that had conveyed us in safety through stormy seas, so many thousand miles, just as the sun,—emblematic of her fate,—had sunk in the western wave.






CHAPTER II.

Intention to remain a short time by the ship frustrated—Voyage in the boats commenced—Arrival at Half-way Island—Departure for Booby Island—Progress obstructed by reefs and sandbanks—Discover a group of islets—Land on one of them—Transactions there—Description of the group—Duncan's Isles—Departure.

AS it would have been imminently dangerous to proceed in the boats during the night, we decided to keep close to the ship till break of day. Accordingly, the boats were made fast to each other, and the long-boat attached to the flying gib-boom by a rope of considerable length, which one of our party was in readiness to cut, should the ship go down. The advantage of the caution used in loading the boats was now apparent; the gunwale of the long-boat being within a very little distance of the water, and she was leaking so much, that it required the constant labour of two hands to keep her free; but we hoped she would take up before morning.

Being now in a state of inaction, we had time to reflect on our altered situation. A few hours ago, we were in the enjoyment of every comfort compatible with a seafaring life,—a justly-grounded prospect of an agreeable and prosperous voyage, and, at no distant period, a happy meeting with our friends in our native land:—now, our only hope of personal safety depended on a leaky boat, necessarily overloaded, an intricate and dangerous navigation around us, many hundred miles distant from the nearest abode of civilised man! Our misfortunes, however, pressed less heavily, in consequence of there being no females to share them.

To others differently situated, the night might have appeared exceedingly beautiful, as the moon, and her starry train, shone with that splendour peculiar to the torrid zone; but to us it was long and dreary, and we hailed with delight the first appearance of dawning day. In the morning. Captain Young and myself went on board. I was anxious to save some manuscripts and other papers of value, but the sea having taken possession of my cabin, rendered the attempt useless. As the alarm, caused by the apprehension that the ship would suddenly sink, had subsided, several of the sailors came on board, ostensibly for the purpose of obtaining a little more rope, canvass, and wood; but their real design (to search for spirits) being suspected, was soon perceived and prevented.

It was our intention to remain by the ship for a short time, to put the long-boat in some order, and to fit her with sails; but, being convinced that no good was to be expected from the sailors while spirits were within their reach,—to prevent the fatal consequences that might ensue from longer delay, it was deemed expedient to defer these necessary operations till our arrival at Half-way Island. All on board were therefore ordered to come into the boats instantly; but the order, although we showed the example, not being obeyed with so much alacrity as it was last evening, we threatened to depart without them, and had actually shoved off; they then quitted the ship with reluctant speed, without having obtained either their apparent or real object. To the general credit of the crew, however, I ought to mention that only a very few acted in this manner—by far the greater number conducting themselves with becoming steadiness—yet it was not deemed prudent to trust too much to their self-denial in this respect.

Although many disheartening circumstances conspired to render the issue of our enterprise a matter of great uncertainty, yet being aware that despondency could only make bad worse, we commenced with confidence our perilous voyage, invoking the aid of Divine Providence, by whose protecting influence we might be shielded from the numerous and varied dangers that were and would be continually hovering around us. Our course was directed to Half-way Island; and the breeze being fresh, our ruined ship soon receded through the growing waters—all of us casting many a "lingering look behind",—until her loftiest sails, yet fluttering in the wind, were hid from view by the horizon, now beautifully adorned by the rays of the rising sun.

After having passed a reef of some extent, which was left on the larboard hand, we experienced a south-easterly swell, and as we had to haul more up, the spray dashed incessantly over us, rendering us not only very uncomfortable, but doing much injury, particularly to the biscuit.

About eleven o'clock, A.M., we reached the island, and our first care was to spread out the biscuit to dry; those who were in the other boats followed our example, although some thoughtless youngsters, being about to amuse themselves, as if on a party of pleasure, had to be reminded of their duty. As our mast, the top-gallant studding-sail boom, had already been sprung, it was fished with an oar; and our boat was fitted, in a temporary way, with a tarpawling bulwark.

In the meantime, the cook was busy in the exercise of his vocation; a fire was kindled, and a pig (two having found their way into the boat) was killed, and dressed for dinner; to which we assembled with keen appetites, in a romantic spot, shaded from the sun by the luxuriant foliage of a natural grove. The resemblance, in some respects, to a pic-nic party, tended to exhilarate our spirits; and the sailors, who in general have much repugnance to alloy present enjoyment by any cares about the future, were quite happy and jocose.

Dinner being finished, we prepared to renew our journey. In case of accidental separation, a week's provisions were issued to the skiff and jolly-boat, and it was judged prudent to divide at once the brandy equally to the boats, according to the number of persons in each. To do this equitably, it behoved us to collect all that might be in the other boats, for we had only a very small quantity in the long-boat, in consequence of the unaccountable disappearance of a five-gallon keg full.

A good deal of ill humour was manifested by the officer in charge of one of the boats, when requested to increase the general stock, by the production of a considerable quantity which he had snugly stowed away for particular service. He was very reluctant to give it up, insisting that, de jure, it was his own property. However that might be, it was, ex necessitate rei, added to the common stock, which was then divided, with strict impartiality, as were also a few bottles of wine and porter, which had been placed in our boat by the steward. The biscuit, being now dry, was put into bags, and protected as much as possible from future damage, by being covered with tarpawling.

Every thing being placed in the boats, about six, P.M., we left this islet. Perhaps we acted rather imprudently, by not remaining until the morning; but, as we could not procure any water here, and as it was in other respects inconvenient, we were anxious to get forward to Booby Island, where we purposed to complete our arrangements, and which it was expected we should reach next evening. We shaped our course for Wednesday Island, and directed the other boats to keep ahead, as they drew much less water. However, they, in a very short time, fell astern, and we led the way, keeping a sharp look out, to avoid reefs and sand-banks.

About eight o'clock, we were alarmed by repeated reports of musketry; our sail was instantly lowered, and in a few minutes we saw both boats, and learned that all was well, and that the firing had proceeded from the jolly-boat, the crew of which, it appeared, had imprudently drunk their whole allowance of spirits.

About midnight, land, apparently a small island, was discovered,* bearing west. We hauled to the northward, and soon perceived another island on our larboard beam, and a third on our larboard bow. We had not continued our course for to the northward, when the well known and dreaded sound of breakers was distinctly heard right a-head. We instantly wore, and stood to the southward, intending to pass between the first and second islands, by a passage that appeared two or three miles wide; but it being probable that the channel might be strewed with reefs; and the moon only affording a very dubious light,—rendered more deceitful by a hazy atmosphere,—it was, on deliberation, considered more prudent to stand off and on, in sight of the first made island, until break of day.

[* In the first instance, we imagined this to be Mount Adolphus, but it was not so. From the haziness of the atmosphere, and the horizon being undefined, we could not ascertain our latitude from the altitude of any of the stars, and although the attempt was made, the result could not be depended on.]

At length the wished-for morning appeared, and discovered to us three islands, low and woody, in the same meridian; and from the northernmost a reef, from which we had during the night so narrowly escaped, extending to the eastward as far as the eye could reach.

As the channel between the southern and middle islands appeared the best, we determined to pass through it, and directed the other boats to precede us; but instead of doing so, they fell into our wake. We found the passage deep, and free from reefs. Two natives were seen running along the starboard shore, seemingly, by their gestures, intreating us to land; but we passed on, without taking advantage of their apparently earnest invitation.

We had only proceeded a short distance, when two islands were descried, which, from their appearance and relative position, were supposed to be Double and Wednesday Islands; to the latter we directed our course, and about eleven o'clock passed within a mile of its northern extremity. Then, in accordance with Horsburgh's directions, we steered W.N.W. to avoid a dangerous reef; but we had not advanced far in this direction, when a high peaked hill came into view; and very shortly afterwards, continuous and relatively low land was discovered, trending to the north, and also to the south-west of it. We were obliged to haul up S.S.W. before the visible extremity of the latter bore on our starboard bow.

We were now greatly embarrassed, and in much doubt respecting our position, which, as noon was fast approaching, and the sky overcast, there did not seem to be any probability of ascertaining: to add to our uneasiness, the rain fell in heavy and frequent showers, accompanied by strong squalls, which were driving us nearer than agreeable to the lee-shore, on which we could discern the sea breaking heavily.

Contrary to expectation, however, the sun burst through the clouds at noon, as if on purpose to show his meridian altitude, and then withdrew. Having ascertained our latitude to be 10° 16' south, we were convinced of what we had before conjectured, that the land on our lee was Banks' Island.** We stood on, and succeeded in weathering its south-western point; and then we observed that it trended to the north-west.

[** Previously to our latitude being thus satisfactorily known, we suspected that we had got to the northward, and that the peaked hill to the westward was Mount Augustus, but our latitude being 10° 16', and the hitherto supposed Wednesday Island bearing at this time to the northward of east, according with its latitude as laid down in Horsburgh's Directory, and in Lynn's Tables, we were completely puzzled. We did not imagine that these books could be both erroneous in this respect. Such, however, is the fact; Wednesday Island being in latitude 10° 30', in place of 10° 10', as it is laid down in both these justly esteemed publications. Pole's Island (that which we supposed Wednesday Island) is in latitude 10° 10' exactly.]

In a short time, the sea, which had hitherto been turbulent, became suddenly as smooth as a mill-pond, which convinced us that we were in the vicinity of reefs; and it was not long before an extensive sand-bank impeded our farther progress. We altered our course S.W., W., and N.W., running along the edge of the shoal, which extended farther than the eye could reach in a parallel direction with Banks' Island. A scattered group of islands, unknown to us, to the westward, being now in sight, we, (being foiled in our attempt to reach Booby Island, and our boat having become more leaky,) determined to take shelter near one of them, and should it afford us water, to complete our arrangements there.

We made several attempts to find a passage through this extensive reef, without success, but at length, by perseverance and caution, we happily found a way by a long, narrow, and tortuous channel, from one to two fathoms deep; and about five o'clock, P.M., we leaped ashore on a fine sandy beach, in a small bay, on the north side of an island situated nearly in the centre of the group; and we were soon joined by the other boats, which had cautiously kept in our wake.

We all rejoiced to be once again on shore, and our first care was to search for water. The Captain and myself proceeded to a spot that seemed, by the freshness of the surrounding vegetation, to indicate the presence of that inestimable fluid, and, in a few minutes, to our great satisfaction, we discovered a large reservoir as clear as crystal, and of excellent quality. Having been, since the shipwreck, on very short allowance of this necessary of life, we indulged in copious and unrestrained potations; and then took a run along the shore to stretch our limbs, which were dreadfully stiff and cramped, by the confined posture in the boat.

A pleasing instance occurred here, of the effect of our conduct at Half-way Island. One of the officers came, by request of those in the boat of which he had charge, to mention, that having found a keg of brandy, they wished to deliver it up for general distribution. Although we suspected that, as in the other boat, it had been purposely secreted, the keg bearing a strong resemblance to that which had so unaccountably disappeared from us,—yet, gratified by their repentance, we gave them due praise for their disinterested conduct.

To those who are acquainted with a sailor's predilection for a glass of grog, and of his not being fastidiously particular, at times, as to the mode of obtaining it, their conduct, in this instance, must appear a convincing proof of what may be effected by strict impartiality.

The cook having got his utensils on shore, soon provided us with boiling water, and we enjoyed our tea, not feeling the want of sugar, which the salt water had completely destroyed. Being all fatigued, and inclined to sleep, we made preparations to retire to rest. Directions were given to keep the boats afloat, and arrangements were entered into to guard against the possible consequences of sudden surprise; and also to receive, in a friendly way, any of the natives who, from curiosity, or from any other cause, might pay us a visit during our slumbers. Captain Young, and myself, chose a spot, protected from the night-wind by a large block of granite, and within a short distance of high-water-mark, where—our bed the sand,—our canopy the sky,—we were soon lulled asleep by the soothing sound of the hollow breeze, and the mournful melody of the murmuring sea.

Nothing occurred during the night to disturb us, and we did not awake till daylight, when we found ourselves much renovated by our uninterrupted repose. At an early hour we assembled, and partook of breakfast, consisting of cocoa, biscuit, and delicious oysters, which were found here, and caught in abundance at low water.

The receding tide having left the boats a-ground, the carpenter's first care was, to examine into the state of the long-boat. His report was exceedingly unfavourable. Besides standing much in need of caulking, and other repairs, it was discovered that the worms had committed sad havoc, several of the planks in her bottom being in an alarmingly decayed state, from their depredations. In short, the carpenter was afraid to meddle with her, lest he might make affairs worse,—but it was absolutely necessary that something should be done. We had no pitch, but we had a considerable quantity of oakum, and the carpenter was directed to chintz the worst places very gently, and afterwards to apply some tallow, and then to nail canvas over all. These operations being completed, he was to fix the tarpawling bulwark in a more secure and efficient manner, that we might be protected from the disagreeable intrusion of the spray. The other boats being in good order, and well-found, only required a bulwark, or railing, to render them completely sea-worthy.

The sail-makers were directed to convert the fore-royal into a lug-sail, and to make a jib from some spare canvas, that we might be enabled to make progress on a wind. The remainder of the crew were employed variously: some were picking bread, others filling water, some gathering oysters, and others cruizing about, in search of adventures, or amusing themselves with the loquacious prattle of a favourite cockatoo, which had been, by general consent, permitted to accompany us.

The Captain and his officers took several observations of the sun's altitude, which they were enabled to do by walking to the north-east side of the island. As the western extremity of Mulgrave Island bore due north of us, distant six or eight miles, and as no other land in that direction intervened, the sky being clear, and the horizon distinctly defined, we were enabled to obtain the meridian altitude of the sun to a great nicety; and the latitude thence deduced, by means of three observers, with well-adjusted sextants, was 10° 13' 27" south.

The carpenter and sail-makers having been very industrious, had completed their labours early in the afternoon; and we contemplated, with satisfaction, our worm-eaten boat, pretty well patched up, and properly fitted with a lug-sail and jib, a bowsprit having been formed from an oar. The bulwark, although grotesque and rude, was firmly attached by stanchions, formed from boughs of a species of pandanus, which, without knowing, or indeed caring, whether or not we were botanically correct, we named, on that account, pandanus utilis.

Several altitudes of the sun were taken in the afternoon, to check and to compare with those taken in the morning; thence to ascertain the apparent time with greater accuracy. The bread having been carefully dried and picked, was stowed away in the boat, and protected from the wet beneath, by dunnage; and from the rain or spray; by tarpawling; while that which was beginning to spoil was kept for present use.

These things being all arranged, we assembled at dinner, consisting of salt beef, fresh pork, and abundance of oysters; and it was deemed advisable, in consequence of most of us having been exposed to the rays of a powerful sun, to issue a double allowance of grog. The sailors, with characteristic levity, were in high glee, and quite delighted with their fare.

Dinner being finished, and the sun's horizontal rays not being oppressive. Captain Young, his officers, and myself, climbed to the highest part of the island, and took a general view of those adjacent, and observed their relative bearings, by an azimuth compass. On returning, we were saluted with the glad tidings that the long-boat, now afloat, leaked very little.

In the evening we re-assembled, when a short address was made to the sailors, explanatory of our projected future proceedings. The dangers, that might reasonably be expected to befall us during the way, were pointed out, and also the means of averting or combating them successfully; the sailors were complimented on their hitherto general good conduct, which it was hoped would continue to merit praise, as influencing materially the favourable issue of our enterprise.

The scene was impressive and picturesque;—the numerous blazing fires, which the sailors had for pastime kindled along the shore, completely illumined the small bay in which the boats, all ready for departure, were now floating, and threw a lurid glare on the hardy, weather-worn countenances of the assembled group, who were ever and anon reminded of their unenviable situation, by a sudden blast of the breeze, or a sullen threatening roar of the ruthless sea.—Place, time, and circumstances, thus conspiring to excite and cherish gloomy ideas, those who looked beyond the present moment could not avoid being somewhat depressed, in spite of every effort to be, as well as to appear, cheerful and unconcerned.

Watches were placed in situations commanding a good look out, with directions how to act, should any strangers make their appearance during the night,—precautionary measures to prevent surprise, being now rendered doubly necessary; as it was reasonable to suppose, that the natives, (distinct and recent traces of whom had been observed during the day,) might be attracted to the spot by the fires, which were blazing in all directions around us. After these arrangements, we severally betook ourselves to rest.

The spot where the Captain and myself slept last night, had been, by the care of some of our comrades, converted into a very pretty bower,—branches of trees being interwoven on the east and west sides of the rock, the ensign spread over the top, soft twigs strewed on the sand, and the whole ornamented with various flowers. We were pleased with this spontaneous attention, and slept soundly till about two o'clock in the morning, when we got up, for the purpose of making some observations, with a view to determine the longitude; the distance between "Jupiter" and the Moon's remote, and between "Fomalhaut" and her near limb, were measured carefully several times; and the observations thus made being reserved for calculation, when time and place might be more convenient, the observers resumed their repose till the dawn of day.

As soon as daylight appeared, preparations were made for our departure; before embarking, I recommended, both by precept and example, a long swim,—to exercise and fatigue the limbs, now about to be cramped and confined for some time. We also thought it not amiss to take a good breakfast, which the cooks, who had been early at work, had prepared for us. This being finished, every utensil capable of containing water was filled therewith; and all being properly arranged in the boats, about six o'clock, A.M., of the 22d of May, we left the island, not without regret, yet pleased, that we should no longer be annoyed with reefs and sand-banks. Not wishing to run the risk of finding a clear passage between any of the islands, we steered to the northward of the group,* and then directed our course W. by S. across the gulf of Carpentaria.

[* This group consists of fourteen small islands; the largest not being more than three miles in length, and about one and a half in breadth.

The island at which we stopped was of considerable height. The trees were of stunted growth; the grass was luxuriant, and the water in abundance. On the (granite) pinnacle of the island, we observed an immense collection of stones, resembling a cairn; and as we imagined it served the same purpose, we did not fail to increase the heap by a liberal contribution.

High water occurs at about 2h 30' after the Moon's culmination, and the tide rises from eight to ten feet.

The latitude, as already observed, is 10° 13' 27" south, and the longitude, (by lunar observations, and by chronometer corrected from the Eastern Fields,) is 141° 56' 36", east.

Neither Captain Flinders nor Captain King went so far north, and therefore did not notice these islands; which, in compliment to the Honourable Captain Duncan, R.N., we named Duncan's Isles.]






CHAPTER III.

Favourable weather continues—Observance of the Sabbath-day—Weather becomes stormy—Miraculous escape—Skiff heaves-to—Jolly-boat abandoned; the crew having yielded to despair being admitted into the long boat—Heavy gale—Long boat nearly swamped—Being unable to reach Melville Island, we proceed to Timor—Straits of Semao—Colonial Brig "Amity"—Arrival at Coupang—Mr. Underwood's Narrative—Retrospective View of Occurrences—Character of the Officers.

The weather was serene and apparently settled; and the eastern breeze blew steadily, by the influence of which we were propelled neither slowly nor unpleasantly over the undulating bosom of the emerald sea. We were also cheered by the indications of continued moderate weather, confirmed by the placid aspect of departing day.

The night came on, and every thing around us still wore a favourable appearance, and our spirits were buoyed up by the pleasing hope, that the issue of our enterprise might be prosperous.

The long-boat, in the centre, led the way; the skiff being stationed on one quarter, and the jolly-boat on the other. As before mentioned, we had a few candles; but they were reserved for use, in the event of the weather being hazy; and, while the sky was clear, we directed our course by the stars.

During the night, we proceeded at the rate of four miles an hour; nothing occurred to cause us any alarm, nor, from the appearance of early mom, did we apprehend any sudden change. The weather continued fine throughout the day, the sea smooth, the wind fair, and the boats kept close company. At noon, having ascertained our latitude and longitude, we kept on our course for New Year's Isle.

Now came "Saturday night at sea", a night commonly supposed to be dedicated by the sons of the waves to reminiscences of "sweethearts and wives", and to "the flowing bowl". This, however, is more in song than in reality;—at least, it has, in a great measure, like many other old customs, passed away; and, with all due regard to Dibdin's memory, it may be fairly doubted, whether the time be very fit to drink and sing "while the foaming billows roll." Be that as it may, we could only celebrate it in sober silence.

Since our departure from the islands, we had seen little to enliven our lonely way. A few "boobies" occasionally made their appearance; two of which, having this evening lighted on the boat, were caught, and soon snapped up, without much ceremony of cooking. We passed a great number of sea-snakes, whose movements, especially during the night, were exceedingly beautiful.


"Within the shadow of the boat,
    I watched their rich attire;
Blue, glossy green, and velvet black.
They coiled, they swam, and every track
    Was a flash of golden fire."


No untoward event occurred during the night, and we kept advancing, guided by the stars, which did not withdraw their shining until the sun shed his beams on the slumbering sea. The day advanced, the weather continued propitious, and we indulged a hope that fickle fortune was inclined to make some amends for her late conduct towards us.

From the scanty state of our wardrobe, we were unable to make that alteration in dress, usual (especially among well behaved sea-faring men) on Sunday; yet each individual contrived to make some difference in his appearance, from a feeling of respect to the day.

In the forenoon, conformably to usual custom, we joined in the performance of Divine service; but in the present instance we did not adhere to the prescribed forms, having judged it preferable to select such Psalms, and other portions of Scripture, as were more immediately applicable to persons in our situation; and it may readily be believed that our devotion was fervent and sincere. Indeed, our lives depended on so frail a tenure, that there was no difficulty in abstracting our thoughts from all worldly affairs; and the contemplation of the sea and sky tended to inspire us with a faint conception of that Almighty Power by whose fiat they sprang into existence!—It was by no means an uninteresting scene, to behold three small boats, in the wide ocean, crowded with human beings, apparently at the dubious mercy of the winds and waves, offering up their prayers and supplications to HIM, "who is the confidence of the ends of all the earth, and of them that are afar off upon the sea."

At noon, the latitude, by observation, was 10° 41' south, and longitude 137° 56' east. We continued our course, still favoured by pleasant weather, and the billow-smoothing breeze. On Monday afternoon we were visited by an immense shoal of dolphins, which accompanied us for some time, whose swift and varied evolutions tended to relieve the dull and dreary scene, although their appearance boded no good to us. The mighty leviathans were also this evening disporting in their boundless domain; and we beheld their unwieldy and terrific gambols with fear and trembling, but fortunately we escaped unscathed.

The weather, which had hitherto been so propitious, now began to assume a threatening aspect; as the night advanced, the wind became baffling, slight showers of rain fell, and the darkness was so intense, that we lost sight of the other boats, although they were at no great distance from us. We hoisted a light, hoping that they might thereby be enabled to keep company, and held on our way.

We passed the night in some anxiety, and when day-light appeared, none of the boats were in sight; our consternation at this accident was extreme, being aware that no person in the absent boats knew the position of Melville Island. At first we proceeded on, thinking, that, as they sailed far better than we, they might be before us; but having soon changed our opinion, we shortened sail, and in about an hour, after many a strained eye had been wistfully scrutinizing every part of the horizon, we had the satisfaction of perceiving both boats bearing E.S.E.

On joining, we learned that they had not seen our light, and that they had also for some time lost sight of each other; we rejoiced at our meeting, and resumed our course, as near as the wind, which had now shifted to the north-west, would permit. At noon our latitude was 11° 2' south, and longitude 134° 12' east; which we communicated to the other boats, and apprized them also of the latitude and longitude of the British settlement at Melville Island, lest accident, or unavoidable occurrence, might again separate us. The wind continued light and variable, chiefly from the north-west;—an uncommon quarter to blow from at this place and season of the year. During the night the boats were in close company; and a sharp look out was kept to prevent our being taken unawares by any sudden change of the weather; as, from appearances, we anticipated that some alteration would soon take place.

On Thursday, at noon, we found ourselves considerably to the southward, the latitude being 11° 14'. Not being acquainted with the coast, and having nothing but a general chart to direct us, we intended to pass to the northward of New-Year's Isle. As the afternoon advanced, the weather assumed a more gloomy aspect, and we perceived, with deep anxiety, the indications of an approaching storm.

About seven, P.M., not being able to lie higher than south-west, and to avoid a dense and dark-looking cloud, which was brooding over the deep in that direction, we wore, and stood on the other tack;—hardly was this manoeuvre effected, when the wind, in a sudden squall, shifted, and blew furiously from the southward; the rain poured down in torrents, accompanied with loud and long-continued peals of thunder; and vivid streams of lightning flashed fearfully on our eyes. We were now enabled to shape our course, and, the wind being unaccompanied with a heavy sea, we advanced with much rapidity in the midst of this elemental war.

About midnight we discovered land, concluded to be New Year's Isle. We passed to the northward, and proceeded on in company;—the lightning showing us to each other. In about an hour, we perceived another island, which puzzled us not a little; we kept away, to give it a good berth, and then resumed our course, thinking all safe, when a friendly flash of lightning showed us a rock right a-head, to which we were fast approaching; and on which, in a few minutes, the boats must inevitably have been dashed to pieces!—we had just time and room to avoid this unexpected and unknown danger.* Admonished by this narrow escape, we thought it prudent to stand to the northward, under easy sail, until daylight; when we directed our course for Buckle's Isle, which we expected to reach about noon.

[* By Captain King's chart, I perceive the first land we made was Maccleuer's, and the second, Oxley's Isle. The rock from which we had such a hair-breadth escape, is also laid down, about two miles to the north of the latter Island.]

The sea was now becoming formidable, the wind augmenting in strength, and all appearances indicated that our dangers were increasing. We continued advancing together till noon, when we fortunately obtained the sun's meridian altitude, which shewed our latitude to be 10° 59'; but, much to our astonishment and vexation, there was no appearance of land.** Just as we finished the observation, the skiff suddenly hove-to, and the chief mate hailed us to do the same: but this was impossible, as we were compelled to run before the wind, even if it had been to certain destruction.

[** Buckle's Isle, as we afterwards learned, does not exist.]

The jolly-boat came on with us, and those on board her expressed an earnest desire to be received into the long boat. We did not at all relish this proposal; and they were rather harshly reproached with having lost courage, and admonished to be of good cheer. We shortened sail, and fired several muskets for the skiff to join us; but we had the mortification, in a short time, to lose sight of her, by which circumstance we were greatly depressed.




JOLLY-BOAT'S CREW SOLICITING TO BE RECEIVED INTO THE LONG BOAT.


The wind and sea were gradually acquiring strength; and those in the jolly-boat renewed their pressing solicitations to be taken on board the long-boat. We were greatly annoyed at this, more particularly as they seemed to be "dodging" about us, in order to seize an opportunity of jumping on board, regardless of consequences; but we succeeded in getting to windward of them, when they waved their hands, and bade us farewell!

We then hailed and informed them that, should the weather become worse, we would consider whether we could receive them on board before dark. At this time, the sun broke through the clouds, and we seized the opportunity of ascertaining the apparent time. Some thought they saw land bearing S.S.W., but I believe it was only a heavy low cloud. As the night drew on, the weather grew more tempestuous.

We now deliberated whether we ought, or ought not, under existing circumstances, to take the jolly-boat's crew on board. She was a fine boat, and had behaved, and was behaving, remarkably well; while the long-boat was already too deeply laden, and required the constant labour of two hands to keep her free. However, we unanimously agreed, although with much increased hazard of our own lives, to admit them on boards as they had evidently yielded to despair, and consequently could not exert their energies in case of emergency.

We made known to them our determination, but previously to receiving them, (trusting to the rain,) we thought it prudent to pump off a cask of fresh water, which, with several other things, we threw overboard, to lighten the boat. They were then cautioned to come on board, carefully, one by one, in case of doing irreparable injury to our frail bulwark: this they agreed to do, but, unmindful of their promise, as soon as it was in their power, they all jumped in together. This imprudent action might have been attended with fatal consequences, if several of us, who had little dependence on their promises, had not taken the precaution to place ourselves on the larboard side, and thereby balanced the boat. Few were the greetings between us and the new-comers, who were placed in different parts of the boat to preserve her trim.

The jolly-boat, thus abandoned, skimmed away, like a sea-fowl, over the waves; while the long boat, over-pressed by her additional burden, could scarcely swim. To add to our uneasiness, night was coming on, the wind increasing to a heavy gale, accompanied by a deluge of rain, and the sea ran mountains high.

It now behoved us to be most attentive to the steerage; as the neglect of a moment might prove our ruin. We kept W. by S. for Melville Island, but our hopes of reaching it were very slender. By great vigilance, we managed to elude the encroachments of the waves, till about nine, P.M., when a heavy sea, whose death-denoting sound still lingers in my ears, rolled over the larboard quarter, and filled the boat! For a moment we were paralysed, believing that we were going down, without the most distant hope of any one of us being saved. Finding, however, that the boat still floated, we took heart, baled away, and threw every article of no essential importance overboard.

The sea had upset the compass, extinguished the light, and rendered it impossible for us to obtain another; yet we managed, (although the task was difficult) to keep the boat right before the wind. Just as we had got her baled out, she was again filled by another wave. We now determined to hazard the dangerous experiment of taking in the mainsail; this being effected, and the reefed-jib set, we could do no more than quietly submit to the will of HIM, who "rides in the whirlwind, and directs the storm."

It was fortunate that we acted thus, as not even a spray broke over us afterwards. Often did we expect to be overwhelmed by the following sea, whose dismaying roar seemed a summons to eternity; but our gallant boat behaved beyond all expectation well,—bearing us in safety over the curling summits of the highest waves.

The strength of the wind, and the turbulence of the sea, diminished considerably on the approach of mom, which, although ushered in with clouds and rain, was, to our eyes, exceedingly grateful. Uncertainty of the fate of our companions in the skiff excited feelings of intense and painful anxiety; but knowing the skiff to be a fine boat, not overladen, and well managed, we entertained the hope that she had successfully resisted the united force of winds and waves, and that our fellow-sufferers would, in a very short time, reach Melville Island. Consoled, in some degree, by this idea, we hoisted our reefed-mainsail, and pursued our dreary way.

As daylight became perfect, low land was descried bearing to the southward; and apprehensions were entertained that we should not be able to gain our intended port, as it was more than probable that the boat had been driven to the westward; and at noon, we ascertained that such fears were well grounded;—being three miles to the northward, and several to the westward, of Cape Van Dieman. To think of beating back (although the distance was so short,) would have been absurd: we, therefore, without hesitation, directed our course to Timor.

It required great caution, and unremitted care, to keep our trembling boat right before the wind, which, although its fury was much abated, yet blew with sufficient vehemence, and accompanied with a turbulent swell. The heavy showers of rain that fell at short intervals, and the foamy spray, combined to keep us constantly and thoroughly wet. Next day, at noon, we found that we had advanced upwards of one hundred and fifty miles during the last twenty-four hours. The wind still blew in our favour, but stronger than we wished, and in sudden squalls, which, intermingled with thunder, lightning, and rain, kept us constantly on the alert, as we pursued our precarious path across the Timor Sea.

On the first of June, about six, P.M., we discovered land. To say that this event caused universal joy, would convey but a faint idea of the feelings that pervaded every bosom. Next morning, at daylight, we found ourselves within a few miles of the projecting land to the eastward of "the bay of the Pearl bank", when, directing our course to the westward, and keeping within a short distance of the shore, we made all the sail we could, hoping to reach Coupang before dark; but this expectation, notwithstanding the wind blew fresh and fair, was not realized: and, as the day declined, fearing that we might be driven past the Island during the night, we thought it prudent to take shelter, until the morning, in a small bay which appeared suitable to that purpose; and to which we accordingly steered, until the sight and sound of broken water compelled us to alter our course.

We then proceeded towards a sandy beach, where we purposed to run the boat on shore: on approaching it, however, the surf appeared so very heavy, that had we persisted in our intention, the boat would have been probably dashed to pieces; or, had we succeeded in getting her safely on shore, to launch her again would have been impossible. Influenced by these considerations, we gave up the idea; and being now in two fathoms water, we lowered the sails, and hove out a grappling, which, assisted by the rebounding swells kept the boat from drifting. By this time, the day had closed, and the aspect of the sky led us to expect moderate weather.

This part of the coast, from the numerous fires observed on the hills near us, appeared to be well inhabited; but not knowing how we might have been treated, had we been in the power of the fierce and lawless natives, we were rather pleased than otherwise, that such a powerful barrier intervened.

We now joined cheerfully, and partook of our frugal fare; and then, thanks being offered to our Almighty Preserver, we disposed ourselves in the best way we could to rest, and, undisturbed by fears of foundering, enjoyed a night's refreshing repose.

At daylight, we got under weigh; but we had not proceeded far when the rain fell in torrents, accompanied by a very dense fog, which prevented our seeing to any distance. About nine, A.M., we had approached very near to the land, which was considered the south-west point of Timor; off which we perceived a reef extending about a mile. By hauling up, we were able to clear the breakers; but, being just on the verge of them, we got into a very turbulent and confused sea, which, in a short time, we cleared. As the land now trended to the northward, we altered our course accordingly; and the weather having cleared up, we saw Pulo Rottee, and the neighbouring islands; by which we felt assured that we were in the straits of Semao.

Strong gusts of wind came occasionally off the Timor shore; one of which, from want of due precaution on our part, carried away the mast. The yard being soon converted into a mast, mid an oar into a yard, the sail was fitted thereto, and we resumed our course, which was now, we hoped, drawing near a fortunate termination.

Shortly after this, we perceived a brig, which appeared to be working out of the bay. Various were the conjectures as to what she was, and whither bound; some thinking her an American, some an Arab, and others a Dutchman. After a little discussion, we edged away for her, exhibiting our ensign as conspicuously as we could. Some time elapsed before she took any notice of us, and we began to think that it was not her intention to do so; but, at length, she stood towards us and displayed her colours, which, with much emotion, we discovered to be those of our native land.

As we drew near the vessel, we observed the crew gazing on us with looks of sympathy; and, among the number, to my astonishment, I perceived my friend Mr. Radford, whom I imagined to be at Melville Island On recognizing me, which he did with difficulty, he evinced the kindly feeling of his heart, by shedding tears, on beholding the change which hardships and misfortunes had made in my appearance. Captain Young and myself went on board, and were kindly received, while refreshments were liberally distributed among those in the boats. The vessel proved to be the colonial brig Amity, from Coupang, where Mr. Radford had been purchasing provisions for the British settlement at Raffles Bay, whither she was now bound.

We were informed that Melville Island had been abandoned. This intelligence caused us much uneasiness, on account of our fellow-sufferers in the skiff, who, we hoped, had reached that settlement; and although we were relieved, in some degree, by hearing that plenty of vegetables had been left; yet, from the treacherous and hostile character of the natives, we were under great apprehensions as to the safety of our companions. We also learned, that there were several vessels at Coupang (American, Arab, and Dutch), chiefly employed on the coast; and that, ere long, we might have an opportunity of proceeding either to Sourabaya or to Batavia.

I had little inclination, however, to revisit Java, where I had nearly fallen a victim to the fatal disease that occasionally rages there; moreover, I had had an opportunity, subsequent to a former shipwreck, of visiting, not only several interesting islands in the Indian Archipelago, but also the greater part of British India, both within and beyond the Ganges; I therefore determined to embrace the opportunity, now afforded me, of visiting the north coast of New Holland.

I came the more readily to this determination, from knowing that I should be very comfortably situated with Mr. Radford, who was in charge of the Commissariat at Port Raffles; yet I could not avoid being a good deal affected on parting with my shipwrecked companions,—participation in misfortune tending strongly to cement social union. Several of them, including the carpenter, expressed a wish to accompany me, and the master of the brig consented to take them. Captain Young being anxious to reach England, thought it prudent, on his part, to proceed by way of Batavia.

We thus separated, after an affectionate farewell,—those in the long boat for Coupang, and we in the brig for Raffles Bay. The master of the brig having previously relieved our anxiety by promising to keep along the south coast of Timor, in search of the skiff; and then, if unsuccessful, to touch at Melville Island, where some information respecting her might be obtained.

It is impossible for any person, not having undergone the same confinement, to imagine the pleasure derived from being able to stretch the limbs, even on a brig's deck;—I had not, however, enjoyed that pleasure long, when my ears were annoyed by the grating, clanking sound of the pumps, and I learned that the vessel made a great deal of water. This news was far from agreeable, and I almost wished myself again in the boat.

We continued working out until the evening, when, not being able to stem the current, and bad weather coming on, the master thought it advisable to bear up for Coupang, in order to get the vessel repaired;—our carpenter, a man skilful in his business, haying engaged to put her in a state more fit for sea than she was in at present. I was much pleased by this arrangement, which gave me an opportunity of seeing Coupang, and also of meeting those from whom I was so suddenly separated, I went early to bed, and slept soundly until morning, when, rising renovated, I found the brig at anchor in Coupang Bay.

The return of the vessel excited much surprise, and it was supposed that some accident must have happened. I think I may say, however, that the event was regarded with satisfaction by my friend Captain Young, who, I learned, had been invited and entertained on board the "Merkus", (a brig, under Dutch colours,) commanded by a countryman of our own. We went together, to pay our respects to the Resident, who received us politely, and assured us of his protection and assistance.

We then went to visit the Secretary to Government, with whom Captain Young entered into satisfactory arrangements for supplying the sailors with lodging and provisions, until they could be forwarded to Batavia or elsewhere. We found a group assembled at the Secretary's office, consisting of the masters of the ships in port, and several of the mercantile inhabitants, who seemed anxious to hear the particulars of our shipwreck. The master of an American ship, in return, favoured us with a very interesting account of his having navigated these seas for many years, without having met with any accident.

In taking a stroll through the streets, we met several of the sailors, quite forgetful of their providential escape, cruizing about, and kicking up a dust with the inhabitants, who had supplied them too liberally with ardent spirits, and who now suffered their aggressions with considerate forbearance.

In the evening, a small sail, apparently a boat, was perceived making her appearance from the Straits. A boat from the "Amity" was immediately manned, and, hoping she might be the skiff, we pulled quickly towards her, but, on drawing near, we were mortified by discovering that it was a small Malay proa.

Early next morning, being on the look-out, we discerned a small sail just emerging from the Straits. A boat from the "Amity", and another from the "Merkus", (emulous of each other,) pulled heartily towards her, and, ere long, we had the heartfelt satisfaction of recognizing our companions in the skiff; and Mr. Underwood, the chief mate, gave us the following account of their proceedings since the time of our separation.

On the day we parted company,* about noon, a sea broke into the boat, and the man who was steering, having, on a former occasion, been swamped, became apprehensive of experiencing a similar accident, and immediately, and without orders, put the helm down. When they saw us proceeding on, they bore up and endeavoured to follow; but, in a short time, as the sea ran high, they considered it more safe to lie-to, which they accordingly did.

[* Vide page 41.]

As the weather became worse, they had recourse to the following expedient: the masts, being unrigged and unstepped, were, together with the yard and oars, securely lashed, and thrown overboard, the end of the rope, by which they were bound, being made fast to the bow of the boat, which then rode pretty easy; the spars serving, in some degree, as a breakwater;—and thus they remained upwards of thirty hours.

On the weather moderating, they made sail, and stood towards the land, which was soon discovered. Observing several fires to the south-eastward, they endeavoured to work up for that part of the land, supposing the settlement to be there; but after beating about nearly a day, without having gained any ground, they gave up the attempt as fruitless, and after much discussion, the majority agreed to direct their course to Timor.**

[** They fortunately had a chart of this island in "Milburn's Oriental Commerce", which book had been, accidentally, thrown into their boat, when we left the "Governor Ready".]

Thus did we all (twenty-seven in the long-boat, and twelve in the skiff) reach this friendly port, after having sailed upwards of 1300 miles over a dangerous, and occasionally very turbulent sea; and although there was no want of skill and presence of mind on the part of those who directed, nor of willing alacrity on the part of those who obeyed; yet it must be evident, that all human means, under such circumstances, would be exerted in vain, unless under the protection of a superintending Providence, to whose merciful interference our preservation can alone be attributed.

On taking a retrospective view of the occurrences attending our journey, it was evident that every thing had happened for the best; although, at the time, we formed a very different conclusion. Had we reached Booby Island, we could not have had such a good opportunity of repairing our boat, neither could we have ascertained the position of several hitherto unsurveyed islands. Had we not encountered a gale of wind, we might have reached Melville Island, where we could only have met with disappointment and disasters. The rain, also, that fell so unremittingly and in such abundance, although it tended to render us very uncomfortable; yet, on the whole, was in our favour, not only by diminishing thirst, but also by keeping the atmosphere comparatively cool, and preventing us from being scorched by the burning rays of a tropical sun.

Throughout the passage, rigid discipline and strict impartiality being observed, no insubordination nor the slightest disturbance occurred among the crew; whose behaviour was highly creditable to themselves, and well worthy of imitation by others, who may hereafter be placed in the same trying situation. We lived very sparingly, from motives of prudential caution, yet we did not experience any very great privations. Besides having a little biscuit daily, we had either a bit of cheese, or a morsel of salt beef; and although we had to eat the latter raw, it did not prove unpalatable, when we reflected on the horrible means, to which others, similarly circumstanced, had been compelled to resort,—the dread of which being constantly in our minds, made us exceedingly frugal; so that, on our arrival, we had sufficient provisions to support life for nearly a month longer.

We had, as before mentioned, a little brandy in the boat, which, being issued daily after dinner, in the proportion of one third of a wine-glassful to each individual, lasted till the day before we made the land, and, small as the quantity was, it added comfort to our scanty fare. From our having pumped off a cask of water to lighten the boat, before receiving the jolly-boat's crew on board, it behoved us to be, and we were, exceedingly cautious in the expenditure of this important article; but the rain generally affording a supply, we suffered little or no inconvenience from thirst.

Perhaps it may not be out of place now to mention, that the ship was wrecked on a very small patch of coral, detached, and lying about two cables' length to the south-west of a reef whose position is accurately laid down, by Captain Flinders, in south latitude 10° 2', and east longitude 143° 21'.

It is a very common, but highly reprehensible practice, when a ship is lost on a reef or sand-bank, to account for the accident by affirming, either that the danger has not been previously known; or that its position is inaccurately laid down on the chart; or that the ship has been drifted out of her proper course by unknown currents. That vessels are frequently lost, through one or other of these canines, there can be no doubt, yet it is no less true, that many others owe their destruction to ignorance or inadvertence.

Although our disaster might, in like manner, be easily ascribed either to currents, erroneous charts, or recent-formed coral reefs, yet it must be confessed, that we were not entirely free from blame.1st. We gave a reef on the larboard hand too wide a berth, and, in consequence, the fair channel being very narrow, we (assisted partly by the tide,) approached too near the reef on the starboard, off which the ship was lost.—2dly, We ought to have passed to the northward of the reef, where there was not only much more sea-room; but where, by our being between the sun and the reef, its limits and detached patches, (from the beautiful green appearance, contrasted, when viewed in such an aspect, with the dark blue of the deep water,) would have been much more easily and accurately discerned. This error was committed by our wish to avoid going round about, so that we might reach Half-way Island before the sun got too far a-head.—3dly, In such an intricate navigation, we ought not to have carried such a press of sail; for, if the ship had not been going with such velocity, it must be evident, she would not have struck with so much force, and, consequently, there might have been some chance of getting her again afloat, before she became irreparably injured.

These errors being thus stated as a warning to others; I cannot conclude without mentioning, that no person could have paid more devoted and unremitted attention, in every respect, to his duty than Captain Young, who is a good practical seaman, and a very superior navigator. He was ably assisted by his chief mate, Mr. Underwood, a young man possessing every requisite to form that inestimable character—a thorough-bred seaman;—But any encomium of mine may be deemed superfluous—a more correct estimate of both their characters being easily formed from the fact, that the strictest discipline, order, and regularity, were preserved after the shipwreck; and, in consequence of this, and of their other well-directed exertions, assisted by Divine Providence, all hands reached a distant friendly port, in safety.






CHAPTER IV.

Coupang—Sale of the Boats—Description of the Town—Its Trade—Husbandry—Government—and Inhabitants—Departure from Coupang—"Amity" nearly wrecked—Arrival at Raffles' Bay.

I HAVE already mentioned that we were kindly received by the Resident of Coupang. He was in very low spirits, not only on account of having lately been bereft of his wife; but also from a more recent affliction he had experienced, by the death of his pastor, friend, and counsellor, the Rev. Mr. Le Brun, who had unexpectedly fallen a victim to an insidious fever a few days before our arrival.

Under the influence of these depressing events, the Resident lived quite retired: he expressed to me his regret that I had not arrived a little earlier, as he thought the assistance of a British surgeon might have saved the life of his much-valued friend, who had not received the advantage of medical attendance during his illness, in consequence of the only surgeon, in whom dependence could be placed, having been, a short time previously, carried off by an attack of a similar disease.

The day after our arrival, we received a polite invitation to dine with Mr. Teilmann, Secretary to Government, who had invited all the Europeans, of any note in port, to meet us. At the time appointed (3 P.M.). Captain Young, Messrs. Radford, Underwood, Owen, and myself, repaired to his hospitable abode, where we found a considerable number already assembled, forming a large circle in the cool and spacious verandah, each individual occupying an easy arm-chair, smoking cigars, and puffing care away.

After our introduction, which was performed with much formality, we were invited to take a cigar, and a glass of wine or spirits before dinner. This appears to be a common custom here, as the attendants, without being called, waited on us, one with cigars, another with a lighted stick, and a third with wine, spirits, and water. The company being all arrived, dinner was announced, and after a little ceremony, we were all comfortably seated at table, on which was tastefully spread an abundance of choice and well-cooked viands, whose savoury odour might tempt the most fastidious appetite;—it is therefore not to be wondered at, that our eyes wandered over the various dishes with more than epicurean delight.

Fish of several kinds,—soups, including the birds'-nest and trepang, together with many other equally rich items, having heed partaken of,—our worthy host called out with a loud voice "Bo ma kanna! which, being interpreted, signifies "Bring dinner." To us, who had lately fared so scantily, it seemed strange, and somewhat absurd, that such rich and delicious food, of which several had so liberally partaken, should not even be considered as a part of dinner. We were no less astonished to find, in this semi-barbarous place, people who had skill to prepare, and taste to enjoy, dainties well deserving the admiration of the most refined apician connoisseurs.

The attendants, also, who were numerous, gave an additional zest to the entertainment, by performing their office with promptitude and good will. In such circumstances, it was difficult to act in conformity with the precept of Celsus;* but as the one part of it had been broken from necessity, it was deemed fair and just on our part to break the other from choice, and carpere diem while it was in our power.

[* Neque vero ex multa fame nimia satietas, neque ex nimia satietate fames idonea est.]

After dinner, the bottle circulated freely, and several who had until now been very silent, began to show symptoms of the Cacoethes loquendi; but as the conversation was carried on either in Dutch or Malayese, I could not derive much advantage from it. Having consumed no inconsiderable quantity of well-cooled claret, we retired from table, and enjoyed our coffee under the verandah; after which, some took leave,—others remained to smoke cigars, and drink brandy and water.

In the mean time, the interests of the sailors, who were comfortably lodged in Fort Concordia, were not forgotten; but it was not long before they began to make complaints of the roguery of the person who had contracted to supply them with provisions. On inquiry, there did not appear any just cause of complaint, and the contractor (a native dealer) was so annoyed by their groundless accusation, that he declined having anything more to do with them; when the Serjeant of the Fort, an Amboynese, undertook the office of purveyor.

There being no notary public, nor, indeed, anything in the shape of a lawyer in Coupang, Captain Young could not get a protest drawn up according to legal form; but, deeming it prudent to make some public statement, relative to the circumstances attending the loss of the vessel, as early as possible, he did so in a clear and concise manner, and the Secretary lent his assistance to give it some formality.

The two boats were then advertised to be sold by auction, for the benefit of the underwriters. The long-boat, if it had been in good condition, and sound, would have sold well, as it was of a convenient size and form to trade along the coast. Before the sale, however, a Chinese carpenter was sent to inspect the boats, who soon discovered the defective worm-eaten state of the long boat; and, in consequence, at the sale it only brought 175 dollars, while the skiff, being in a sound state, sold for 180. The first was purchased by the Collector of Customs, a son of the Resident; and the other by Mr. Bechade, a French merchant, whose polite and friendly attention to us will be long and gratefully remembered.

From the shortness of my visit, and the peculiar circumstances attending it, I could not obtain much information respecting the Island of Timor, which, from its geographical position and natural productions, is deserving of far greater notice than it has yet received. The Dutch, however, have, it would appear, viewed it as of small consideration, in comparison with their other oriental insular possessions. Yet, they have, with characteristic prudence, taken care that its various capabilities should be kept in the shade, lest their trading rivals might be tempted to break the tenth commandment.

Although, from the above-mentioned causes, I have little information to communicate, yet the following cursory observations relative to Coupang may not be deemed altogether unimportant.

This town, the principal settlement of the Dutch, is situated on the south side of a capacious bay, near the western extremity of the island; where vessels of any burden may anchor in safety, excepting when the N.W. monsoon blows; in which season they usually find convenient shelter under the lee of a small adjacent island named Pulo Semao.

The view of the town from the anchorage does not impress the stranger with a very favourable idea of the industry or enterprise of its inhabitants;—on the left bank of a small rapid river is a madreporic rock of some elevation, whereon is built Fort Concordia, which commands the town, and may thereby keep it, and the various aboriginal tribes, in awe; but being completely commanded by more elevated ground to the westward, it could not be of much avail in repelling the hostile attacks of a disciplined force. To the eastward of the fort, on which the Dutch flag waves, a few red roofs of houses may be perceived here and there, sprinkled among the trees. To the westward of the fort, at a little distance, may be observed a considerable number of fishermen's huts, in a little cove, shaded by the cocoa and palmyra palms. On approaching nearer to the town, its aspect improves a little. The residence of Mr. Bechade,—a Chinese temple, and some other pretty fair buildings, tend to embellish the Marina, where a commodious inn, now nearly completed, will be of much advantage to strangers.

The principal street, parallel with the right bank of the river, contains some good houses, a few of which are in repair, but by far the greater part are more or less dilapidated. Here are situated the Church, and the habitations of the Resident, the Secretary, and others connected with Government. Rows of trees on each side of the street, being without their usual attendants, canals, afford an agreeable shade, without being detrimental to health.

The other streets, if they deserve the name, are narrow and crooked, and the houses formed chiefly of bamboo. The town is well supplied with water from the river, which is fresh at a very little distance from its mouth. The principal part of the town is on the right bank, but there is a considerable number of houses on the left bank also, and a communication exists by means of a bamboo bridge.

The river rises from the mountains to the southward, at no great distance from the bay. Its banks for several miles are cultivated; and, viewed from the rising ground behind the town, they have a very picturesque appearance. The steep shelving sides, in which rice is chiefly grown, are formed into terraces, and well irrigated. At the bottom of the glen (as it may be called), the cocoa, the palmyra, the banana, the bread-fruit, the orange, and the lemon tree, flourish luxuriantly, and diffuse an air of happiness and plenty around the peaceful-looking habitations, which are strewed pretty thickly on both sides of the river.

It may appear almost incredible, that notwithstanding the length of time (upwards of 200 years) this place has been colonised, there is not a carriage road of any description, excepting one along the sea-shore, about a mile in length, leading to the villas of the Resident and Secretary. There are several bridle paths, which, not having received the smallest assistance from art, are very indifferent, and to those unaccustomed to them, exceeding irksome and fatiguing. During my short excursions into the country, I could not help reflecting, how different it would have appeared, had it been a tithe of the time under British sway.

As Coupang has lately been made a free port, it is probable that its prosperity may increase; and as it is convenient for vessels employed in the whale fishery to refit and refresh, I have no doubt they will now make it a frequent rendezvous. A considerable trade is carried on, chiefly in sandal-wood and bees'-wax, which meet a ready sale in the Chinese market. Horses, which are of a small breed, but exceedingly hardy, form an article of export, principally to the Isle of France. They are most readily procured by vessels going along the coast, in exchange for powder and muskets;—the importation of these articles being prohibited at Coupang.

The British settlements on the north coast of New Holland are supplied from this place with buffaloes, sheep, and occasionally with other articles; and, as it was imagined that a commercial intercourse might be established, Mr. Bechade, who had entered into a contract to supply the settlement with fresh provisions, purchased a vessel to trade between Timor and Melville Island.

The chief mode of agriculture practised here is highly curious. To prepare a field for the reception of rice, maize, or wheat, a herd of buffaloes are turned into it, and chased to and fro, until the ground is imagined to be sufficiently wrought; and notwithstanding this slovenly system of husbandry, the fertile earth yields an abundant return.

Coupang, and the subordinate settlements along the coast, with the adjacent islands of Rottee and Semao, are governed by a Resident, (under the control of the Governor of Java,) who is also commander of the troops, judge, jury, magistrate, and, in short, possesses power almost absolute. The present Resident, however, who has held the appointment for a long time, exercises his authority with so much mildness, that the inhabitants have but little reason to complain.

Fort Concordia is garrisoned by a handful of Amboynese troops, who have a very soldier-like appearance; their athletic forms, and healthy aspects, indicating them to be far better adapted for service in this climate, than the miserable squalid-looking troops from Batavia, who are sent here in charge of prisoners.** Such troops, however, are not allowed to remain long here, being, it is supposed from motives of jealousy, sent back to Batavia by the first opportunity.

[** The Dutch make this a place of banishment from their other settlements.]

The Resident has a salary of about 600l. a year; it is hinted, however, that his salary forms only a small part of his income, but I have no doubt that this is only mercantile scandal. He informed me, that he was about to undertake an expedition into the interior, in search of gold mines, with Mr. Macleod, a Dutch mineralogist sent from Batavia for that purpose; and, in order to repel any hostile attacks of the fierce mountaineers, he would take a cortége of at least 1000 men. I was astonished at his being able to maintain so large a number; but, on inquiry, I learned that such an armament could be put in motion without any expense to the Dutch Government, each Rajah, under the protection of its flag, being required to furnish his quota, not only of men, but also of provisions, and other necessaries for their maintenance during the expedition.

The inhabitants of Coupang are a very heterogeneous mass, being composed,—1st, of a mixture of Dutch and Malay blood, to which class belong the Resident, the Secretary, and other Public Functionaries; 2dly, the unmixed Malay: 3dly, Chinese, of which there are a considerable number; 4thly, a mixture of the Chinese and Malay:—there are few Europeans, Mr. Bechade, a merchant, Mr. Macleod, a naturalist, and the ex-Secretary of Banda, a pure Dutchman (sent here without his own consent), being the only white inhabitants.

I could obtain no certain account of the total number, although I sought information from the channel where it was most likely to be found,—any thing resembling a census never having been thought of. The population, however, must be very considerable, particularly of the Malays; as on walking through the streets, great numbers of sturdy fellows are met with, who are either loitering about, perfectly idle, or triflingly employed in selling fruit and confectionary. Their wants are few, and easily satisfied. They appear to be as much enamoured with the delightful far niente, as the Neapolitan Lazzaroni, to whom, in this and in other points of character, they bear a strong resemblance.

The Chinese, who are chiefly mechanics, work industriously on their arrival; they soon, however, quit their original trade, preferring to wander about the country as chapmen, bartering various articles for honey and bees'-wax. The town is consequently very badly supplied with artificers, so much so, that Mr. Bechade was obliged to send a coffee-mill to Raffles' Bay, to be repaired.

Excepting the Chinese, all the inhabitants are, or profess to be. Christians, having been converted through the instrumentality of the Missionaries, who are sent here, and to the neighbouring islands, by the Dutch Government, from which they receive a very slender salary; the Missionaries, in general, are much respected by the natives, and as they commonly contrive to get married to Rajahs' daughters, they are enabled to live very comfortably.—Such intermarriages with the natives may be considered more advantageous, both in a religious and political point of view, than providing a missionary, on the eve of his departure from his native land, with a helpmate whom he may never have previously seen, and who may not be at all calculated to add, either to his happiness or usefulness.

The Amity, which was laden with buffaloes, sheep, and maize, for the use of the settlement at Raffles' Bay, was repaired, and in a fit state for sea on Saturday, the 7th of June; and on Sunday morning, at day-light, we sailed from Coupang. Captain Young, his officers, and several of the crew, were to leave on the following Tuesday, in the Dutch brig Merkus, belonging to Mr. Bechade, for Batavia, and the remainder were to proceed in a Chinese vessel to the same place. As I before stated, the carpenter (who had, since his arrival in port, been offered great inducements to remain), and five of the crew, accompanied me in the Amity. It was not without regret that I again parted from my other shipwrecked companions, particularly Captain Young, whom I much esteemed.

Having passed the Straits of Semao, the sea being smooth, and the breeze favourable for beating, we endeavoured to work to the eastward, but owing to the strength of the current, we could not make any progress; it was therefore deemed advisable to run through the Straits of Rottee, and then to stretch across to the New Holland shore; as it was probable, that a quicker passage might be made by pursuing this course, than by beating up directly in the teeth of the monsoon. In the evening, we accordingly bore up, shortened sail, so as to pass leisurely and cautiously through the Straits, lest we might be suddenly brought up by some unknown danger. Next morning, we hauled up, passed between Rottee and Pulo Dama, and stretched to the southward.

As Captain King's charts were not on board, and as several islets, reefs, and shoals, whose positions are far from being accurately ascertained, are said to exist in the Timor Sea, more particularly in that part of it which we intended to traverse, arrangements were made to insure a strict look out, especially during the night.

On the 15th, at daylight, several islands were observed bearing S.E.; we stood on the starboard tack, and at noon the western island bore about S., distant five or six leagues; our latitude was 13° 50' south, and longitude 124° 59' 15" east.

In the evening, we again stood to the S.E., and at daylight, on the 16th, the eastern island of the group bore S. by E., distant about three miles, when we stood on the other tack. These islands not being laid down by Flinders, considerable care was taken to ascertain their true position, although we had no doubt that they had been noticed by Captain King.

At noon our latitude was 13° 43' S., and longitude 125° 31' E. About half past one, P.M., the cry of "Breakers right a-head" made us all on the alert; the vessel was kept away, and the mate sent to the mast-head to observe the extent and direction of the reef, while others were employed in ascertaining its situation. At 1h 45', P.M., when the southern extremity of the reef was visible, bearing exactly east, distant about two miles, the altitude of the sun was taken, and again at a convenient interval (the brig having little way), for the purpose of ascertaining the latitude by a double altitude.* The south part of the reef was thus ascertained to be in latitude 13° 35' S.; and by the sun's meridian altitude, brought forward by account, 13° 35'; and by the mean of the meridian altitudes of several stars observed between 6h 40' and 9 P.M., and carried back by account 13° 35' 25". And from the care thus bestowed, I think the latitude may be considered pretty correct. The longitude by chronometer, corrected by lunar observation, is 125° 35' 45". The reef trended to the N.E. as far as the eye could distinctly survey.**

[* I observe in a quote in Galbraith's very excellent and compendious work on Navigation, lately published, that he has been informed by a celebrated navigator, that double altitudes are not so advantageous as is generally supposed. This may be the case; but they are not altogether to be despised. I have frequently seen them (Ivory's Problem being used) prove exceedingly useful.]

[** Some time after my arrival at Raffles' Bay, I had an opportunity of inspecting Captain King's Charts. He does not take notice either of the reef or of the islands;—supposing that they have not hitherto been met with, the reef may be named the Amity or Owen's Reef; and the islands (in compliment to Captain Barker, of the 39th Regiment, Commandant of the settlement at Raffles' Bay) Barker's Isles.]

We kept on to the northward, having no desire to meet other reefs, especially during the night; but after a day or two, our alarm having subsided, and making little progress, we again stood to the southward, and by keeping near the north coast, had favourable slants. We saw no more islands nor reefs, but passed over several extensive patches of discoloured water, which, however, were not of less depth than fifteen fathoms.

On the 24th of June, about midnight, having only four fathoms water, it was judged prudent to heave-to until daybreak, when we found ourselves close to Bathurst Isle. We then continued our course as near as the wind would permit, not hesitating to keep pretty close to the shore. We continued working up along Melville Island, and the Cobourg Peninsula, without seeing Buckle's Isle, for which I was keeping a look out, much more at my ease, than when expecting to see it in the boat.

About two, P.M., of the 31st of June, we arrived at Raffles' Bay, and shortly afterwards I went on shore, in company with my friend Mr. Radford, by whom I was introduced to the Commandant, who received me with politeness and sympathising cordiality, offering me an apartment in the fort, and a seat at his table.

I did not, however, take advantage of his proffered hospitality, having previously arranged to live with my friend Mr. Radford, until an opportunity offered of returning to Sydney, which, there was reason to hope, would soon occur, as I recollected that the Mermaid schooner was nearly ready to sail from Sydney when we left, to relieve the Amity which had been nearly two years on this station.

I met here several soldiers, and prisoners of the Crown, who had come to New South Wales under my care, whose condolence, which I believed sincere, afforded me much gratification.






CHAPTER V.

Raffles' Bay—Natives—Miago—The Chief Wellington—Waterloo—Da' Atea—Luga—Monanoo—Wooloogary Chief of Croker's Island—The Commandant visits the natives—Malay Proas touch at the Settlement—Wreck of the Mermaid—Wreck of the Swiftsure—Death of Mr. Radford—Arrival of H.M.S. Satellite.

The settlement was under the command of Captain Barker, of the 39th Regiment; Mr. Radford was in charge of the Commissariat department, assisted by Mr. Hickey; Dr. Davis, Assistant-Surgeon of the 39th Regiment, had the medical charge; a party of Royal Marines, a detachment of the 39th, and several of the 67th Regiment, constituted the defensive strength of the settlement. Several prisoners (here named volunteers) performed the necessary labour; there were also a Malay, named Da' Atea, and a little native girl. I was rather astonished to find,—after the dismal accounts I had heard,—all the Europeans, men, women, and children, in good health.

On the first day of my arrival, several of the natives were in the camp, who appeared to be on friendly terms with the settlers. On July 2d, Joseph Collins, and on July 3d, William Erasmus, two men belonging to the Amity, died from fever caught at Coupang. Joseph Collins was the last of seven men left at Coupang from a whaler (all the others, I was informed, having died there). They were buried with much decency, every one in the settlement attending. Miago, and several other natives, were also present, who paid minute attention to the solemn ceremony.

This native, Miago, who has an intelligent and shrewd, although savage-looking countenance, is well made, and in throwing the spear, which he does with great dexterity, his attitude is very graceful. As he is a great mimic, and makes himself quite at home, he has become rather a favourite in the camp. I presented him with some trifling article, which he seemed to prize, and gave him to understand that I wished to have some tortoiseshell in return for it, which he promised to bring me; and in a few days he fulfilled his agreement.

Dr. Davis was greatly astonished at this instance of honesty, as he had predicted that Miago, being paid beforehand, would never think of giving the required equivalent. Being, however, now convinced that a savage might have some notions of honesty, he gave Miago a canoe on the same terms, which were punctually fulfilled; although the Doctor considered that he had not got a sufficient quantity of tortoise-shell, which deficiency might have arisen from Miago not having yet acquired correct notions of barter.

Captain Barker and myself, from our ideas coinciding on several subjects, particularly relative to the Aborigines, soon became on very friendly terms. I learned from him that, shortly after his arrival, the natives, who, since an unfortunate affair at Bowen's Straits, had kept out of sight, again made their appearance in the vicinity of the settlement, when he used every endeavour to induce them to come into the camp, but without success, until a little child, belonging to one of the soldiers, went and led in the Chief, Wellington, by the hand. He was evidently under great alarm, looking back frequently, and addressing himself to Waterloo, his fidus Achates, who kept in his rear.

But, at length gathering confidence, and relying on the faith of the strangers, he ventured in, when he was treated with much kindness, and departed apparently highly pleased. On discovering the little native girl, both Wellington and Waterloo evinced great emotion, particularly the latter, who was, on that account, believed to be her father. Seeing her so well taken care of increased their confidence; she was then named Mary Waterloo Raffles,—but her native name was Riveral.

After this occurrence, the intercourse with the natives was renewed, and, as Captain Barker used every precaution to prevent their receiving injury or molestation from any individual in the camp, it continued unbroken, although a circumstance occurred, which was likely to cause some disturbance:—a Malay had come to the settlement, who pretended that he had been shipwrecked; he said that he had been speared by the natives, and that one of his companions was in the bush. On hearing this statement, Captain Barker detained one of the Aborigines, (several happening to be in the camp at the time,) and sent out the others in search of the supposed lost Malay. They returned unsuccessful, and seemed to remonstrate on the impropriety of keeping their companion a prisoner, protesting, at the same time, that they knew nothing of the man.

After some time had elapsed. Captain Barker began to suspect that Da' Atea (the Malay) was prevaricating; and so it turned out, as he proved to be a deserter from a Malay proa, in Trepang Bay, from which place he (having heard of a white settlement) had walked to Raffles' Bay, and encountered, on his journey, many dangers and privations. This detention of one of the Aborigines, however, did not cause any misunderstanding, as they seemed clearly to comprehend the import of it, by their anxiety to explain their ignorance of any stranger being in the bush.

Not long after this event. Captain Barker, to show his confidence, took a walk with them, without being armed, and unaccompanied by any person from the fort. The natives appeared highly pleased by such an unequivocal mark of confidence. He went with them nearly to Bowen's Straits, when, as far as he could understand, they begged him to return, which he accordingly did.

The natives now visited the camp, neither molested nor molesting; and everything went on smoothly, until one night, a native, named Luga, having, by swimming under water, escaped notice, had nearly succeeded in carrying off a canoe, when he was discovered and challenged by the sentry. Being so close that he could not escape, he surrendered, and was taken to the guard-house, where he was confined during the night.

Next morning, he was taken to the beach, and the canoe was pointed out to him, and also to Monanoo, another native, who was present; and after explaining to them, as clearly as possible, the cause of punishment, Luga was tied up and received a quantum of corporal chastisement. During the infliction, he was constantly calling out "Iacama", (the native name of Waterloo,) who, it appeared, had encouraged him to attempt the theft, and who had escaped.

The Commandant, to mark the difference resulting from good and bad conduct, behaved very kindly to Monanoo, and made him a present of a hatchet. It was well that he acted so judiciously and prudently; for in the afternoon, a great number of natives were discovered advancing towards the settlement. They were soon joined by the two natives, (Luga, after having received his punishment, being set at liberty,) and it appeared that Monanoo had explained matters quite satisfactorily, as they all came into the camp in a fearless and friendly manner.

They were in number fifty, mostly athletic and active-looking men, headed by a fine venerable-looking old man, named Wooloogary, the Chief of Croker's Island, to whom they seemed to pay great attention. After remaining at the settlement about an hour, and partaking of some rice, Captain Barker made Wooloogary a present of a tomahawk, and all the natives departed, very quietly and peaceably, before the sun went down.

I think it is very probable, that this considerable assemblage of the natives was formed to give some weight to the request of having their countryman liberated. Perhaps it was their intention to act with hostility, if the request were not acceded to; however this may be, Luga having been set free, they made it appear that their visit was intended in good part, and so it was received.

Captain Barker had a great deal of difficulty to contend with, in his method of treating the natives; as no other individual in the settlement could be brought to consider these poor beings in any other light than wild beasts. Those who had to work in the bush, conscious, perhaps, of their own conduct, were occasionally under great alarm, not being entrusted with fire-arms. Several times they were frightened, but never received any injury,—the natives wishing to be on friendly terms.

It happened, one day, that Miago came suddenly on a sawyer, named Carr, who was employed in his vocation at some distance from the settlement. Although thunderstruck by the unexpected visit, Carr retained sufficient self-possession to request the native to assist him to move a large log. While Miago was stooping down to comply with his request, Carr took to his heels, and bellowed loudly for assistance, Miago running after him. The settlement was soon under arms; and, with the Commandant at their head, hastened to rescue the poor man from the clutches of these savages, who, it was now evident, were not to be trusted, as it was affirmed by a person who had fled, that they had carried Carr into the bush.

The party had not proceeded far, when they met a man running with all speed, who informed them that the natives had not taken Carr, but had run off with all his tools. Shortly afterwards, they met Carr running with all his force, nearly exhausted with fatigue and fear, and Miago close at his heels, who seemed quite unconscious that he was the cause of all the alarm; and it appeared quite satisfactory to the Commandant that there was no intention, on his part, to be otherwise than civil and obliging; that on his way to the settlement, which he frequently visited, he fell in with Carr, and was, by his own request, assisting him, when he so cowardly took flight.

This circumstance, trifling as it may appear, might have been attended with disagreeable consequences, if the Commandant had not proceeded personally. It may easily be imagined, that a party of men armed, on seeing a white man running, and apparently pursued by a black, would have fired without hesitation; more particularly, as they had hitherto been accustomed to do so without much ceremony.

A short time before I arrived, Captain Barker had paid a visit to the natives, placing himself under Wellington's care, who seemed not a little flattered by such a mark of distinction. Dr. Davis accompanied him a little way into the woods, and then endeavoured to persuade him to return, representing his expedition to be dangerous and foolhardy. He, however, was not deterred from his undertaking, but gave the Doctor permission to go back, if he felt at all uncomfortable: the Doctor took him at his word, and returned to the settlement, where every one lamented the rashness of the Commandant in trusting himself with such a set of savages; more especially as they knew that the said savages had ample cause for retaliation.

These unfavourable surmises were not realized, as Captain Barker was treated with the greatest attention and kindness. Wellington would neither accept of any present himself, nor would he permit any of his followers to do so, although, when in the camp, he was constantly begging for something. In the evening, they prepared a mess of fish, which they had speared, and were highly delighted to perceive Captain Barker partake of it. In travelling, whenever they came to a stream, or marsh, one of the natives, named Marambal, insisted on carrying him over.

During his expedition, he met Luga and his family; but although many miles from assistance, even this native received him kindly, neither appearing to remember, nor exhibiting any wish to resent, the punishment he had received;—being conscious, no doubt, that he had deserved it.

He did not see any of their women, who seem, even here, to have a will of their own; for although Wellington used his endeavours to introduce them, they would not listen to him, but kept constantly out of sight. In the evening, the Captain retired to rest, as the natives did, on the sand. Next day, he returned to the settlement in safety, to the great joy of all our people, who, thenceforth, began to consider the natives in a more favourable light than they had hitherto done.

Captain Barker informed me he had lent Wellington a canoe for a fortnight, and that no person in the settlement believed it would ever be returned. Dr. Davis, who still viewed the natives (and particularly Wellington), with a prejudiced eye, was quite confident that he would never again visit the settlement; or if he did so, that he would make some excuse for not returning the canoe.

I learned also, that a considerable number of Malay proas, chiefly from Macassar, had visited the settlement last season, and that while they remained, their crews had conducted themselves with much propriety. They were highly gratified by their reception, and much pleased with the prospect of being able to carry on their operations without fear of molestation from the natives, with whom they are always at variance, and whom they represented as very bad characters,—stating that they were in the habit of stealing their canoes, and spearing their men, whenever an opportunity offered.

They spoke well of the natives of the coast, on the gulf of Carpentaria, four of whom were accompanying them to Macassar.

While they lay in Raffles' Bay, two canoes were stolen from them, and they came ashore, in great wrath, to attack the natives, some of whom were in the settlement. This warfare, in a neutral port. Captain Barker would not permit; at the same time, he informed them, that if they could point out the depredators, he would give his assistance, not only to punish the guilty, but also to get the canoes returned; but that he would not allow the natives to be attacked indiscriminately. After a little demurring, they acquiesced in the justice of this decision, and returned on board.

As the four men from the Gulf of Carpentaria were, at the same time, missing, it was hinted that they had taken the canoes to convey them home. This, however, the Malays would not believe, but affirmed that the Raffles' Bay natives had also taken them away.

The Malays described an island in the Gulf of Carpentaria as abounding with sandal wood: this, if true, would render it of some importance, and Captain Barker intended to proceed thither with them next season, to ascertain the truth of the report. They inquired if they would be allowed to settle at Raffles' Bay; and were much pleased when informed that they would not only have such permission, but that their interests would be protected.

A considerable number of proas commonly proceed in company, under the command of the most experienced chief, whom they recognize as a leader only while it suits their convenience, as they disperse whenever they consider it more conducive to their advantage. When they are in the fleet, however, they all follow the motions of their leader. The proas are all armed, although indifferently: each proa is generally, but not always, provided with a compass. Even the most experienced of the Malays have no notion of a chart, nor are they expert sailors: indeed, there is not much occasion for this exercise of skill, as they only come and go with a fair wind.

On leaving Macassar, they steer so as to make the coast of New Holland about Port Essington, which is their place of general resort; they then pass to the eastward, by Raffles' Bay, through Bowen's Straits, and proceed, according to their own report, as far east as Cape York.

When the season draws near an end, they direct their course west, retracing their eastern route, and assemble in Port Essington, prior to their departure for Macassar.

They left the settlement, highly pleased with their reception,—promising to revisit it, in great numbers next year.

As the brig Amity was lying in port, awaiting to be relieved by the Mermaid, Captain Barker determined to proceed in her, to take a minute survey of Port Essington, as he thought it probable that he might receive orders to remove the settlement thither; and I very willingly accepted the invitation to accompany him.

On the 22d of June, when we were all ready for departure, a vessel was discovered in the offing, standing into the Bay, but it was evident she was not the daily-expected Mermaid. Dr. Davis being indisposed. Captain Barker requested me to board her. She proved to be the brig Resource, from Sydney to the Isle of France. Her object in touching here was to land the crew of the Mermaid, which vessel had been wrecked on the 13th of June, from what I could learn, on the outer barrier reef. The crew took to the whale-boat, and, after three days, were picked up by the schooner Admiral Gifford, and shortly afterwards sent on board the Swiftsure; which ship was, on July 5th, wrecked off Cape Sidmouth,* and her crew were also on board the Resource.

[* The Swiftsure was said to be the vessel in which Buonaparte escaped from Elba.]

The master of the late Mermaid accompanied me on shore, with the despatches, which he had saved; and which, he informed me, contained orders for the abandonment of the settlement. This intelligence caused universal regret. I do not suppose that six volunteers would have been found, if left to their choice, to proceed to Sydney.

However, although the orders created vexation and surprise; yet, on reflection, it was evident that something of the kind might have been expected, from the unfavourable reports that had been, in the first instance, transmitted to head-quarters respecting the settlement.

We also learned, that H.M.S. Satellite might be daily expected, on her way to India; and the colonial brig Governor Phillips, to assist in conveying the settlers to Sydney.

The ship Reliance was also about to leave Sydney, to proceed, through Torres' Straits, for India. As there were several newly-married people on board, it was hoped she would get safely through,—as a reef, or a crowded boat, would not be a very agreeable place to spend the honey-moon.

On the 24th of July, about midnight, my friend Mr. Radford died. He had been complaining ever since his arrival from Coupang, and had been confined to bed for the last fortnight, during which, he was sedulously attended by Dr. Davis. But the force of the disease,—acute hepatitis, supervening on the chronic form,—baffled his best-directed exertions.

It may easily be imagined that I felt, very severely, the loss of an individual whose friendship I had experienced under circumstances not easily to be forgotten. On Sunday, after divine service, he was consigned to the grave, with military honours, and with great respect; every man, woman, and child, in the settlement attending, as he was much beloved.

On Wednesday, the 29th of July, early in the morning. Dr. Davis and myself descried a sail in the offing; and, in a short time, two more were discovered. One of them appeared to be a man-of-war; the others we supposed to be the Government vessels. Governor Phillips and Lucy Anne; and we hastened back to the settlement to communicate the intelligence.

The man-of-war proved to be H.M.S. Satellite; but the merchant vessels were, the ship Reliance, and the brig Thompson, which had profited by the opportunity of proceeding through Torres' Straits, by the inner passage, under the guidance of Captain Laws, and had put in here for a supply of water.






CHAPTER VI.

Native Dance—Natives visit H.M.S. Satellite and the Ship Reliance—Arrival of the Schooner Admiral Gifford—Affray at Hammond's Island—Disgraceful conduct of the crews of small Vessels—Anecdotes concerning the Natives.

EXPECTING to meet several old shipmates in the Satellite, I was not long in paying her a visit; and the cordial reception I met with, recalled to my memory the days of "Auld lang syne." I dined on board with Captain Laws, from whom I received much information respecting the inner route through Torres' Straits. He told me he had seen the wreck of the Swiftsure, within less than half a mile of the shore at Cape Sidmouth;—that he had sent on board, but nothing was observed excepting a few empty casks floating in the hold.

In the evening of the 30th, Wellington, the native chief, with a number of his tribe, visited the settlement, and brought back the canoe. I was much pleased at this occurrence, as it established the position that Captain Barker and myself firmly maintained, viz. that the natives were not such rogues as they were reported to be; and that they were "more sinned against than sinning." This was the first time I had seen Wellington, and I was agreeably deceived in his appearance.

Next morning, Captain Barker made him a present of the canoe; but it was some time before he could believe that it was a gift: it is needless to say how highly gratified he was by such an acquisition.

At this time, there happened to be a misunderstanding between him and Miago, on account of jealousy, for Miago had lately become rather a favourite in the camp; and, consequently, received many a piece of old iron hoop, and even two or three nails, and other presents: these favours were far from being relished by Wellington, who occasionally got sulky; as he wished himself to be the only source through which any of his subjects should receive favours: but the present of the canoe had put him into such good humour, that he resolved to gratify us with a dance.

In the evening, a large fire was kindled just before the fort, and the natives danced round it with great vigour and spirit, to the music, produced by one of their party from a long hollow tube. Dr. Davis joined them, but although he might "keep time" correctly enough for a civilized ball-room, yet he fell short in that necessary part, at least to a savage ear; so they, in very polite terms, requested that he would not fatigue himself, but stand and look at them. Lieutenant Weston, of the East India Company's service, took a very spirited and correct sketch of this singular performance. Wellington did not dance himself, being busily employed in persuading us that Miago was only a Mandrowillie, and therefore not entitled to so much attention.

After the dance, they were all regaled with a mess of rice, of which they are very fond. Supper being finished, they requested permission to remain all night in the settlement, which was granted; and Captain Laws having invited Wellington, and several others, including Miago, to visit the Satellite next forenoon, they retired very quietly and contentedly to rest.

On the morning, long before the appointed time, Wellington and his party, consisting of Olobo and Miago, pulled on board the Satellite in his lately-acquired canoe. Captain Laws, Captain Barker, and myself, went on board about eleven o'clock. We found our sable friends highly delighted with their entertainment, having been shaved and clothed. They seemed to pay particular attention to the manoeuvres of the marines.

Captain Laws having ordered two guns to be loaded, the natives begged that they might not be fired. Olobo jumped on the poop, and placed himself behind a sailor, of whom he kept fast hold, scarcely having courage to peep over his shoulders. Wellington was invited to fire the first gun, but no persuasion could prevail on him to do so; and placing his hands over his ears, he went to the opposite side of the deck. Miago was then led to the gun; when Wellington, fearing that Miago might acquire more credit, jumped to the gun, and fired it. Miago fired the second gun without hesitation, and when he and Wellington saw the shot strike the water near the shore, their astonishment was extreme. After a few seconds of mute surprise, Miago cut a variety of capers on the quarter-deck, to the infinite amusement of the ship's company. As for Olobo, he appeared to be glad that the affair was over.




DANCE OF THE ABORIGINES OF RAFFLES BAY.

While we were at tiffin in the cabin, Wellington came down, and requested that no present might be given to any person but himself. This prohibition was directed in a special manner against Miago. Then turning round to the Captain's steward, he inquired his name, and what he was. On learning that he was a Mandrowillie, he immediately took him by the back of the neck, and endeavoured to thrust him out of the cabin. Being requested to desist, he did so, but with some reluctance; he requested permission to sit down with us, and was gratified by receiving the desired indulgence. He then resumed the old grievance about Miago, with great vehemence of jargon and gesture. In the midst of his oration, he happened to turn round, and to his astonishment beheld Miago standing at the cabin door, listening with great tranquillity and composure to his harangue; when, with dexterity that could not have been exceeded by a civilised man of the world, if caught in such an awkward predicament, he immediately changed the subject, pretending to be talking of something else, and at the same time very graciously and condescendingly presented some fish-hooks to Miago, who received them with sulky indifference.

The sight of dinner, which was now ready for them, restored good humour. They were served, on the quarter-deck, with a large dish of rice, sugar, yams, and pumpkins, of which they partook very heartily. They did not appear to relish the pumpkins, but the yams and rice they enjoyed greatly. They requested some of the sailors, who had been civil to them, to partake; and seemed to think it strange that they could not come abaft the gangway to do so.

As they could not consume the half of what was prepared for them, Wellington received permission to take the remainder on shore; when he made an equal distribution of it amongst a number of his tribe, who had been on the beach all day, waiting his return. He also entertained them with an account of his adventures on board, with which they appeared to be no less gratified, than with the habiliments and other presents which their chieftain had received.

Next day, the same party were taken on board the ship Reliance, after having received particular instructions not to throw aside their dress (which they were apt to do) in the presence of the ladies. As the ship had no guns, and was otherwise unlike the Satellite, Wellington called her a Mandrowillie ship, and paid little attention to any thing on board. He had, however, sufficient good taste to admire the ladies, and was particularly struck with the beautifully luxuriant ringlets of one of them.

On Sunday, August the 2d, Wellington and a few natives; and shortly afterwards, Miago and others from a different part of the coast, paid another visit to the settlement.

Having obtained the loan of King's Australia, I embraced the opportunity of comparing the Raffles' Bay dialect with those he has taken notice of:—they did not bear the smallest resemblance. Wellington being placed in a chair alongside of me, and being in a good humour, he went on some time pretty well, now and then digressing about Miago being a Mandrowillie, and stating his annoyance at our marked attentions to him.

While he was thus remonstrating, Miago made his appearance, and of course was kindly received; but this was so discordant with the feelings of Wellington, that he became sulky, and would not answer any more questions. I then addressed myself to Waterloo, the chief that ran away with the axe (after having seen and tried its use), who gladly began to communicate the desired information. On this, Wellington thought it prudent to be communicative, and gave me the native names for "head", "eyes", "nose", "mouth", &c., with such volubility, that I could not understand him. It was with difficulty I could keep his attention to the subject; he said nothing more about Miago, he being present, but ever and anon talked about a mambrual.

After having explained to him that I would give him a present, if he would have a little patience, he was satisfied, but kept a bright look out, lest any of his tribe should in the interim receive any thing; at last I succeeded in removing his fears in that respect, but another unlooked-for result followed. Not possessing the same interest in communicating, as I did in receiving information, his attention being kept so long on an object altogether uninteresting to him, he soon fell fast asleep.

On Monday, Captain Laws gave a déjeuné à la fourchette on board the Satellite; Captain Barker, Dr. Davis, Lieutenants Weston and Gray, and three ladies, were present, which rendered it quite a gay scene in this remote comer of the globe. The crew of the Satellite pitched their tents on shore; and Captain Laws embraced this opportunity of painting the ship inside and out. The officers also took up their abode on shore, which made the settlement assume a very active appearance.

We learned, from despatches, that the Governor Phillips, was, after her return from Norfolk Island, to proceed immediately for Raffles' Bay, to assist in the removal of the settlement, and as Captain Laws imagined that she had arrived in Sydney the same morning that he left it, she ought to have made her appearance ere this; and apprehensions were now entertained that she had met with some accident, and various circumstances rendered this not at all improbable.

To obviate the inconveniences that would arise to the settlement, in the event of such an accident, it was judged expedient by Captain Laws and Captain Barker to charter (under certain conditions) the brig Thompson, to carry cattle, stores, and a proportion of the people, as far as Swan River, (where the cattle and stores were to be left,) and the people to be carried on, in the brig Amity, to King George's Sound.

Tuesday, August the 4th, Wellington, accompanied by a native, paid another visit to the camp: to-day his first word was "Mambrual", and the second "Miago mandrowillie." He was gratified by my saying "ēē, ēē." and was then presented with a shirt, when he begged that Miago should not receive any thing. After having adjusted his shirt-collar by the aid of a looking-glass, and having admired himself sufficiently, he accompanied Captain Laws and myself into the bush, and, being in a good humour, he gave us the native names of such natural objects as presented themselves.

We visited Mr. Radford's grave, and Wellington appeared to be a good deal affected, when he understood who was buried there, repeatedly uttering in a plaintive tone, "Mutē commissarēē andē." He was very particular in his inquiries as to the names and rank of others buried near the same spot; and on returning, we overheard him explaining these particulars to the other natives.

Passing the hut, inhabited by the soldier and his wife under whose charge the native girl was, Wellington went to take some notice of her, but she endeavoured to hide herself, and could not be induced to come near him, until forced to do so;—being somewhat piqued at this, he informed us she was a Mandrowillie.

It is a singular circumstance, that this girl has such an aversion to her countrymen, that if, while she happens to be playing with any of the other children, she observes the natives coming towards the settlement, she instantly endeavours to get out of their view.

Orders were received from Sydney to leave this girl behind; but, as it was imagined that such orders had been issued under the impression that her removal would be against the wishes of the natives. Captain Barker determined to take her to Sydney; more particularly as her father, and all the other natives were extremely solicitous that she should not be left behind, and expressed great satisfaction when they understood that she was to be taken with us. It was some time, however, before the natives could comprehend that we were all going away. They appeared to be very sorry, and many of them gave us to understand that they would willingly accompany us.

On Friday, August the 7th, the brig Thompson was chartered conditionally to assist in conveying us to Swan River; and arrangements were now made for the division of the people: Dr. Davis was to proceed in the Amity, and I was to accompany the Commandant in the Thompson.

This chartering of the Thompson was judicious; she was to remain ten days; and if, during that interval, the Governor Phillips did not arrive, she was then definitively engaged to proceed to Swan River for the sum of 400l. Should, however, the Governor Phillips arrive, she was to receive 50l. as demurrage, and the charter to be void. This afternoon the Reliance sailed for India.

On Sunday, the 9th, several of the natives visited the settlement; the timorous Olobo received a mambrual, which he stowed carefully away in his basket, lest, as I imagine, Wellington might perceive and wish to have it.

In the afternoon a vessel hove in sight, which it was hoped might be the Governor Phillips; but she proved to be the schooner Admiral Gifford, from Sydney, employed in the Trepang fishery, in which she had been pretty successful.

In the evening, as several of the midshipmen were amusing themselves by firing at the marines' weather-cock, one of the balls whistled over the heads of Olobo and his company, who were enjoying themselves with a large dish of rice; and who (being previously rather alarmed by the foolish and reprehensible conduct of the gun-room steward, in snapping an unloaded pistol at Olobo's breast) started off like lightning into the bush. This event caused us much annoyance.

From the master of the Admiral Gifford, I learned the following particulars, which, if true, reflect little credit on all concerned.—While off Hammond's Island, the natives made a signal for them to come on shore; a boat was accordingly sent, and soon returned with two natives, who came without hesitation. They were well treated on board, having received food and various presents. The boat was again sent on shore with them, and the crew were directed to procure tortoiseshell.

Shortly after they landed, the natives endeavoured to entice the sailors into the bush; but, not succeeding, they attacked and knocked two of them down, and were advancing towards the third, when he fired his musquet, and killed one of those who had been on board. Another of the sailors, while lying on the ground, being attacked by two natives, who were struggling to obtain possession of his pistol, discharged it, and killed them both. After this, the other natives fled, and the boat returned; when the master, hearing the account of the transaction from the mate and sailors, went immediately on shore, but could discover no trace of the natives, dead or alive.

I have not the smallest doubt, that this shameful transaction is widely different from the exparte relation given of it; and it is much to be regretted, that cognizance of such occurrences is not taken before a competent court of justice. The outrageous behaviour of the greatest part of those lawless vagabonds, employed, or employing themselves, along the coast, in procuring seal-skins, towards the Aborigines, is quite notorious: many well authenticated instances of their horrible cruelty have come to my knowledge. In the present instance, it is evident, that the story is exceedingly confused; and this occurrence may be the cause of the destruction of the next Europeans who land on the island;—as these savages, cherishing revenge, will probably inflict it on the first Europeans that fall within their power.

It is the duty of every one (and it ought to be enforced) to behave with great caution and mildness in his intercourse with the natives; but more particularly with those, whose abode lies in the track of ships, the crews of which, by a misfortune common in these seas, may be (as they frequently have been) entirely at the mercy of these ignorant, but not naturally evil-disposed savages.

I was also informed by the master, who had touched at Hammond's Island on a former occasion, that the natives are cannibals, as they felt the fleshy part of his arms with apparent delight: this he observed to be a general action among cannibals. But, perhaps, the Malays, who accuse the Aborigines of Raffles' Bay of being cannibals, because they eat snakes, may be equally right in their surmises.

On Tuesday afternoon, 11th of August, we were gratified by a visit from three natives; Jacama, alias Waterloo, Marambal, alias Alligator, (so named on account of his immense mouth, and long white teeth,) and Mimaloo, alias One-eye. Orders were given to prevent the discharge of fire-arms in the camp, as it was deemed indiscreet to run any risk of breaking the good understanding that at present existed, by any incautious act; the natives not being able to discern the difference between firing for fun, and firing with intent to destroy.

They came to the cottage just as we had finished dinner; and knowing they were welcome, walked in, and made themselves at home. They discovered great emotion at the sight of a turtle, which I had received from the master of the Admiral Gifford. Waterloo requested very clamorously to have it; but he was kept within bounds by the other two.

Mimaloo then showed us their method of killing the turtle, and pointed out, with signs of ecstatic delight, the parts of it that they chiefly prized; and—whatever difference may exist between them in other respects—we found, that in the knowledge of turtle, a savage is as skilful as an alderman.

They were much amused by a musical snuff-box: Mimaloo, in particular, paid great attention to it; at first, the "stops" seemed to confound him; but he soon started up, and, with Marambal, danced a waltz in a manner that astonished us.

Captain Laws then sent for the ship's fiddler; who turned to, con amore, with a favourite half-deck tune. After having heard it once. Dr. Davis, Marambal, and Mimaloo, began the dance: the Doctor was soon obliged to give in; but the two natives continued, with undiminished spirit, and intuitive skill, to perform feats worthy of, and receiving, unbounded applause All the natives keep exceedingly correct time; and, if dancing consists in easy and gracefully varied positions of the body, the civilised professors of that useful art might have profited by the skill of the sable Mimaloo.

At length, from the fiddler's elbow becoming tired, the music ceased, one dancer threw himself on the ground, and the other rested his head on my knees; I placed him on a chair, when, balancing it on the after-legs, his head against the wall, he threw his legs on the table with all the nonchalance of an Indian pilot. This free and easy way created much mirth, particularly to the sailors, who were assembled round the cottage to witness the amusement.

Marambal then requested to have some water in a basin: which being brought to him, he squeezed into it honey out of a meshy fibrous bundle formed from the inner bark of young trees, (the only method the natives have of retaining honey,) and then dipping the bundle into the water, he sucked it with great avidity and seeming satisfaction. Having repeated this several times, he handed it to Mimaloo, who in the same manner partook of the refreshing beverage. They remained with us until after tea, which Marambal and Mimaloo partook of with becoming propriety. Waterloo's manner was more uncouth.

This scene must have appeared very strange to those who had formerly witnessed and borne a part in others so totally different. The same individuals that they had been accustomed, to consider, to treat, and to fear, as wild beasts, were now found to be, if not quite tame, at all events, not so maliciously disposed as represented. Indeed, it was impossible for any person, possessing common feelings of humanity, not to rejoice at the happy change brought about, in a great measure, if not entirely, by the judicious conduct of Captain Barker.






CHAPTER VII.

Visit to Croker's Island—Laws's Plains—Interview with the inhabitants—Bowen's Straits—Barker's Bay—Return to the settlement—Departure of H.M.S. Satellite for India—Arrival of the Governor Phillips—Embarkation of part of the settlers—Brigs Amity and Thompson sail for Swan River—Public Garden—Departure of the natives.

ON Friday, the 14th, Captain Laws formed a party to go to Croker's Island, to pay the natives a visit; and accordingly, after an early breakfast on board the Satellite, the party, consisting of Captains Laws, Barker, Dr. Davis, Mr. Clery, purser, and myself, started in the yawl. Having arrived at the island, we landed in a small bight a little to the southward of Palm Bay. Captain Barker, Captain Laws, and I, struck into the interior, while Mr. Clery, and Dr. Davis, walked along the shore in search of shells; and the boat was ordered to ply to windward through Bowen's Straits. After we had walked a little distance, we came in sight of a considerable tract entirely free from trees, (here and there a clump of pandanus excepted,) and exhibiting an agreeably verdant appearance. We walked across it, and found the soil tolerably good, and abounding with grass. Skirting the eastern and southern boundaries of this plain, there is a lagoon of considerable width, containing water as clear as crystal. We walked some distance into this, but the water becoming too deep, and the reeds very high, we were obliged to retrace our steps, which we found some difficulty in doing.

Having at length got out of the lagoon, we took a detour southerly, and ascending a rising spot of ground, we had a commanding view of the plain, which Captain Barker named Laws's Plains: this tract, by a rough computation, contains about 5000 acres of land, the half of which may safely be said to be fit for, and would reward the labour and expense of, cultivation. It is probable that part of it may be overflowed during the rainy season; but this would be rather advantageous for the growth of rice,—at all events, it could be easily drained.

Leaving this spot, we proceeded in a south-westerly direction, and after a fatiguing walk, we came to mangroves, and experienced much difficulty in penetrating through the almost impervious jungle. Arriving at length at a creek, we crossed it by a native bridge of rather a fragile texture. Issuing out of the mangroves, we came to a circular sandy spot of some extent, on which we perceived numerous and recent marks of children, as if they had been in play. We looked around on all sides, and called out, but did not meet any of them. During our excursion, we saw fires in several parts of the island, and fell in with many of the haunts of the natives: we were somewhat disappointed in not having had an interview with any of them, particularly as, knowing this island to be well inhabited, we had anticipated such an event.

A short walk from this spot brought us to the beach, and we saw the yawl standing into a fine bay a little to the southward of us We had not walked far, when we observed some native boys running towards us, calling out "Commandant! Commandant!" It appeared evident that they only knew him by name; and it must have been extremely pleasing to him, to receive such an unequivocal proof of the estimation in which he was held by these children of nature.

Others of the natives soon joined us, who in like manner were only acquainted with the Commandant by name; none of them having visited the settlement, as far as he could recollect. They endeavoured to come into the little boat with us; but as it was sufficiently deeply laden, they were given to understand that a boat would be sent for them afterwards; and it was accordingly sent, but they would not come on board. Mr. Clery and Dr. Davis we found in the yawl; they had not been successful in gathering shells, and, as the day was hot, they thought it more prudent to take a sail, than to walk along the sandy shore.

We now willingly betook ourselves to dinner, our expedition having given us a good appetite. We kept at the same time coasting along, many of the natives running after us, until nearly dark, when we anchored, and Captain Barker went on shore to communicate with them. In a short time, off came my friend Miago, who expressed much satisfaction at seeing me; he was accompanied by several others, who received a hearty welcome.

The tide in a short time fell so much, that the yawl was aground, and we could walk on shore without difficulty. We all did so, and found many of the natives assembled, and Captain Barker in the midst of them. We learned that Wooloogary, the King, was absent, with a number of his people, catching turtle. His brother, Wadiea, a placid-looking old man, dressed in a shirt, (which I recognised as having formerly belonged to me,) received us very politely, and was presented by Captain Barker with a hatchet,—an article which is held in the highest estimation.

The women were at some distance, and we were promised a sight of them, if we remained until next morning; but although desirous of obtaining a glimpse of the sable beauties, we did not take advantage of their offer, which in all probability was not sincere. To amuse us, as well as themselves, they turned to, and danced away with much mirth and glee round a large fire, to their own musical instrument, the ebero.

Being somewhat fatigued from the walk through wood, water, and mangroves, I lay down on the beach, suffering from headach, increased by a complete ducking I received by falling into the creek. Wadeia observing that I did not appear well, came towards me, and, on understanding that I complained of headach, he pressed it in the same manner as any civilized nurse would have done. I requested him to send one of the boys for water: not one of them, however, would obey him, and, instead of enforcing obedience, he went for it himself, and, in a short time, returned with a basket-ful.

Having spent about an hour with them, we returned to the yawl; and after supper, it was agreed to take a nap for a few hours. At two, A.M., we awoke, got under weigh, and plied to windward. At daylight, we saw three canoes, with two natives in each, who seemed rather to avoid us, but we would have joined them, had we not been prevented by a reef that extended a considerable way from the shore.

We sailed round Mount Norris Bay, and observed that it had been correctly surveyed by Captain King. We then returned by Bowen's Straits, which, as Captain King had not passed through, and as it is the common route of all the Malay proas, passing to and from the eastward, Captain Laws surveyed very carefully. Moreover, we noticed that the trepang, the object of their voyage, abounded here.

About half way through the Straits, on the side of the Cobourg Peninsula, there is a capacious bay, having a sufficient depth of water for a first-rate man-of-war, within a few fathoms of the shore. This bay, which was considered by Captain Laws as a very eligible spot for a settlement, he named, in compliment to the Commandant, Barker's Bay. On surveying the bay, we could not help expressing regret, that the settlement had been so hastily formed.

We returned to the camp about three, P.M., rather fatigued. In the afternoon, the Satellite ship's company re-embarked, and also the party of marines left by H.M.S. Success.

On Monday, the 17th, I learned that Langton, overseer of the prisoners, had taken to the bush, with another prisoner. This action appeared quite inexplicable, as far as regarded Langton, who had all along conducted himself with much propriety; and, from his general usefulness, stood in high favour with the Commandant. As he was liked by the natives, there is little doubt that he will be kindly treated by them, until the return of the Malay proas next season; when, it is presumed that he and the other runaways will, by representing themselves as having been left behind by accident, most likely get a passage to Macassar. They have taken with them a fowling-piece, and a pistol. Eight soldiers volunteered to proceed in search; but, for obvious reasons, their services, in this way, were not accepted: and several prisoners, who were suspected of an intention to run away, were sent on board the Thompson.

This morning, H.M.S. Satellite sailed for India, and I parted with considerable regret from those whose society had tended to enliven many hours, that otherwise would have passed heavily away; more particularly from my former shipmate and friend, Lieutenant Robert Campbell, with whom I had visited many interesting scenes, in various parts of the world.*

[* I received from him a collection of books, exactly similar to many I had lost,—being purchased at the same time, and from the same bookseller, in the gay Parthenope. On seeing them ranged in my apartment, I occasionally forgot that I had left my own copies in Torres Straits.]

Captain Barker forwarded by Captain Laws information of the abandonment of the settlement to Admiral Gage, the Commander in Chief, requesting him to give information thereof to the Dutch Governor of Macassar, to prevent the disappointment that the Malays might experience, by bringing articles of traffic (as they had promised) to Raffles' Bay, in the ensuing season.

Tuesday, August 18th.—Another prisoner took to the bush this morning, and during the course of the day, two others followed his example. Between seven and eight o'clock in the evening, while I was walking from the fort to the cottage, in company with Dr. Davis, the piercing lamentations of a pig were distinctly heard, and shortly afterwards, a flash was seen. Presently, my boy informed me he had heard a "row" in the stock-yard, and that one of the Bushrangers had "bolted" with a young pig. We gave the alarm, and the settlement was soon in commotion. A Serjeant, and several soldiers, marched, in battle array, into the woods; but, in a short time, returned.

It appears, by this daring act, that the bushrangers are hovering in the vicinity; they seized the opportunity of the overseer being absent, just before the moon rose. The overseer, who returned in time to witness a man running as fast as his legs could carry him, with a pig on his back, fired, but did no injury: indeed, it may be, without much injustice, imagined, that the affair was well understood by the overseer, stock-keeper, and runaway.

As it was not improbable that all the prisoners for life might follow their companions, measures were taken to prevent them. Their plan had evidently been well formed; but, through the precipitancy of the leading members, caused by intoxication, it had been put in execution before affairs were properly ripe. Their intention (as before stated) most probably is, to await the arrival of the Malay proas; but, perhaps their design may be, to capture the Governor Phillips, should she arrive after our departure; and, as this would be a very easy matter, it is by no means improbable.

On Wednesday, the 19th, all hands were busily employed (as they have been these few days past) in embarking stores, provisions, &c. from the settlement, on board the colonial brig Amity, and hired brig Thompson; yet the embarkation did not proceed so rapidly as could be wished, in consequence of the low tides, leaving the mud-bank, in front of the settlement, quite dry.

Thursday, the 20th.—The night passed quietly, none of the bushrangers having made a public entré. A little after daylight, as Dr. Davis and myself were going to take our accustomed aquatic exercise, we descried a vessel at anchor, near Palm Bay, which we had little doubt was the Governor Phillips; and, about ten, A.M., she arrived in Raffles' Bay, and proved to be that vessel.

By her arrival, the arrangements for leaving the settlement were altered. Dr. Davis, Mr. Hickey, and Mr. Kent, (who had arrived in the Governor Phillips, to take charge of the Commissariat department in King George's Sound,) with a party of soldiers and prisoners, were to proceed in the Thompson as far as Swan River; (where, in conformity to instructions from head-quarters, various stores and cattle were to be landed;) thence they were to embark in the Amity for King George's Sound. Captain Barker, and myself, with the remainder of the people and stores, were to proceed in the Governor Phillips. By letters from Sydney, Captain Barker was informed of his appointment as Commandant of the Settlement at King George's Sound, and Dr. Davis was also to remain there in medical charge.

Friday, the 21st.—This morning, Wellington, and fifteen natives, paid us a visit: they appeared sorrowful while beholding the preparations for our departure. Wellington begged Captain Barker to take him with him; but, on consideration, it was not deemed prudent to grant his request. He then begged that Riveral might not be left behind, and appeared pleased when assured that she would be taken with us. During the day, Mimaloo and Waterloo, and a few others, joined the party. In the evening, one of the bushrangers, named Tobin, came into the settlement, and gave himself up. He was a poor ignorant Welchman, who had run away, without any definite notion of what he was doing. As he came to Sydney, under my care, upwards of five years ago, and, at that time, could not talk one word of English, I interceded with the Commandant, who was easily persuaded, not to punish him. On examining him, he denied having any knowledge of the pig; he also declared, that he had not seen any of the other "runaway prisoners; nor had he tasted a single article since he left the settlement. Although this appeared rather doubtful, yet his sunken eyes showed that he had not fared very sumptuously during his ramble.

Saturday, August the 22d.—This morning, a great number of the natives, who had slept at a little distance from the settlement, paid us an early visit, and several of them assisted in conveying different articles to the beach, on the promise of being rewarded.

In the afternoon. Dr. Davis, Mr. Kent, and a detachment of the soldiers, and half of the prisoners, embarked in the Thompson; and also the native girl, Riveral, (neatly dressed,) after taking leave of her countrymen, who shook hands with her very affectionately, and appeared much pleased with, though somewhat envious of, her good fortune. She left the land of her fathers, not only without regret, but with much satisfaction, seemingly delighted to be out of the reach of her sable kindred, towards whom she invariably evinced great shyness, and even antipathy.

Sunday, the 23d.—Early this morning, the settlement was crowded with natives; many of whom were entire strangers. While taking the sun's altitude, I was surrounded by upwards of fifty of them, who viewed my movements with great curiosity. As I could not perform the object I wished, from their pressing round me, I requested Wellington to make his people keep out of the way; he instantly complied with my desire, making his followers form an open space, so as to admit of the sun's image falling on the quicksilver,—he standing on one side, and Monanoo on the other, to keep the space clear, which they did very effectually; but not perceiving any visible effects follow my actions, they seemed much disappointed.

Wellington expressed a wish to go on board the Thompson, to see Riveral; but, for various reasons, it was deemed better to divert him from his purpose. Shortly afterwards, all the natives left the settlement, but encamped in the immediate vicinity, to be in readiness for a share of the plunder,—iron and nails,—as soon as we were gone.

In the cool of the evening. Captain Barker and myself took a walk in the woods, where we met three sailors (my old shipmates) whose walk had been cut short by the appearance of a number of natives, who, they affirmed, were lying in ambush, for no good purpose. Convinced, however, that we had nothing to fear. Captain Barker and myself continued our promenade towards the spot pointed out by the sailors; but we neither met the natives, nor saw any traces of them: and it appeared evident to us, that our informants had imbibed the prevalent opinion regarding these savages; which is not to be wondered at, as they had heard terrible accounts of their ferocity from the sojourners at Raffles' Bay; several of whom were, to the very last, only restrained from ill-using them, by Captain Barker's example and authority.

Having prolonged our walk to a considerable distance from the settlement, we returned by the beach, where we found Wellington's canoe, (the one he had received from Captain Barker,) and several things in it. Shortly afterwards, we met Wellington and Wooloomary, pretty heavily laden with empty bottles, and old iron hoops; which, they did not fail to inform us, had been given to them as presents.

After a little friendly chat, we separated,—Wellington having promised to bring his wife and children to see us, before we left his territory: he said she would have visited the settlement long ere this, had she not been very ill with the oyiē boyiē.** This excuse of ill health was (as frequently occurs in civilized society) mere pretence; as, on it being remarked to him, that most likely all the yalcuhéé*** were labouring under the same complaint, he and his companion laughed heartily.

[** Small-pox.]

[*** Women.]

Shortly after our return to the fort, while we were at tea, Serjeant Drew marched in with a fowling-piece and shot-belt, and informed Captain Barker, that Langton and Fellows (the two prisoners who first made a start for the bush) had returned, and given themselves up. They were ordered to the cells, where, by Captain Barker's request, I visited them. They pretended to be exceedingly ill; but this was soon found to be feigned, to avert or to delay the punishment, which, being conscious of deserving, they anticipated. They were much emaciated, and no doubt heartily tired of their sylvan excursion.

They declared that they had not seen any of the other runaways; that they had had no previous communication with them; and that their intention was to wait for the return of the Malay proas. They had remained at the fern-creek, and subsisted entirely on fern roots. Had there been settlers to plunder, or settlers to screen and protect them, as is common in New South Wales and Van Dieman's Land, it is not likely that they would have returned.

On Monday, the 24th, the brigs Amity and Thompson sailed for Swan River. On the evening of the 25th, Dwyer, another of the runaways, gave himself up: he had fared better than the others, by keeping near the beach, where he obtained cockles in abundance.

The runaways are now all returned, excepting two, who, it is expected, will speedily follow the others; and that they should do so, is desirable for several reasons, but principally lest, being left behind, they might destroy the various animals and vegetables which Captain Barker intended to leave, for the advantage of future visitants to this place.

On Wednesday, the 26th, all hands were busily employed in embarking the remaining stores and provisions on board the Governor Phillips. In the afternoon, Miago and several other natives visited the deserted camp. While rummaging about the empty houses, they discovered a plant (according to convict phraseology) of oatmeal, about fifty pounds, under the kitchen of the cottage; placed there (as he afterwards confessed) by Fellows, who was servant to Mr. Hickey.

Captain Barker and myself walked through the public garden with Miago and his friends, and explained to them, as well as we could, the nature of the different vegetables that were flourishing there in great luxuriance. The bananas, some of which were ripe, and greatly to their taste, called forth particular admiration. They were informed, and clearly understood, that they were not to pluck them until they assumed a yellowish hue. The sugar cane, pine apples, lemons, oranges, papaws, cocoa nuts, sweet potatoes, and other vegetables, were also pointed, out and their various properties explained to them. The bamboo immediately attracted their notice, as being well adapted for spears.

Whether the natives would wantonly destroy any of the fruit trees, &c., we could not conjecture; but, from the pains taken to teach them their utility, we hoped they might refrain from doing so;—as for the houses, we thought it likely that they might be destroyed for the sake of the iron, which the natives use in pointing their spears, rendering them thereby more efficient in spearing the turtle.

On Thursday, the 27th, in the morning, I superintended the placing a tombstone over the remains of Dr. Wood. It was forwarded from Sydney, in the Governor Phillips, by his executors. I felt regret that some such mark of remembrance could not be placed over the remains of my respected friend, Mr. Radford; where, however, I planted several European flowers, and also some cocoa nuts, to mark the spot. Several of the natives were present during the ceremony,—the intent of which they appeared to comprehend.

Miago had called me up, before daylight, to receive a tomahawk which I had promised him the preceding evening; and he stuck by me until he got it, when he, and all the other natives, departed into the woods, in search of honey.






CHAPTER VIII.

Raffles Bay abandoned—Animals and Vegetables left there—Port Essington—Knocker's Bay—Departure from the North Coast of New Holland—Remarks as to the objects which the British Government had in view, in the formation of the Settlements on the North Coast of New Holland, and the causes of their abandonment.

ON Friday, the 28th, about noon, everything that Captain Barker intended to take away being on board the Governor Phillips, we all embarked, and arrangements were made for sailing next morning. On Saturday, the 29th, early in the morning, Captain Barker and myself went on shore to bathe. Afterwards, we walked through the deserted camp, and visited the garden, where everything appeared to our eyes more flourishing than before.

The fort was left undestroyed, for the use of, and under the care of, Wellington, who promised to take charge of it until we returned. The carpenter of the brig nailed the union-jack to the flagstaff; and although it was an old one, and hardly worth the carrying away, yet it may last until replaced by another, which we all hoped might, ere long, be displayed,—if not here, at least on some contiguous part of the coast. The settlement was then abandoned;—Captain Barker being the last to embark.

For the information of future visitants, I may state that the garden contained orange, lime, and lemon trees, bananas in abundance, shaddocks, citrons, pineapples, figs, custard apples, papaws, tamarinds, dates, cocoa nuts, arrow root, sugar cane, peaches, pumpkins, sweet potatoes, turmeric, capsicum, black pepper, and many other useful and ornamental articles, all of which were thriving well, except the figs and peaches: and Captain Barker, with a view to increase the probability of their continuance, made the gardener plant several of them in different convenient places, not far from the settlement,—viz., on the north lagoon, 130 bananas, six cocoa nuts, and four areca ditto; on the grass tree flat, near the small rivulet, at the head of the bay, fifteen bananas; on the flat, near Cook's cliff, fifteen bananas; near the swamp, eighteen papaw trees, eighteen custard apples, and eighteen bananas.

Moreover, that future settlers might not be under the necessity of eating salt-junk; he left, poultry,—a boar and several sows, in a place where it is likely they will thrive and increase, being a swamp, abounding in fern and other roots, of which they are fond;—also a bull and three cows; and (even attentive to the convenience and ease of future sojourners) a Timor horse; and a mare in foal which he purchased from Dr. Davis expressly for this purpose.

Some fears are entertained that the two bush-rangers who have not returned may, from malicious wantonness, destroy both animals and vegetables. Necessity would not compel them to do so, as there is no doubt of their having stowed away plenty of beef, oatmeal, and flour; and there was a sufficiency of pumpkins to supply the wants of 100 men. If they act with prudence towards the natives, there is little doubt of their not only surviving, but living sumptuously, and in idleness (the summum bonum of such people), until the arrival of the proas from Macassar.

All being on board, and the brig ready for sea, we got under weigh about ten, A.M., and coasted along the shore. Being anxious to examine Port Essington, we ran into it, and came to an anchor about seven, P.M., in eleven fathoms water, near Knocker's Bay; and shortly afterwards, we observed numerous signal fires of the natives at Point Smith.

Next morning, at daylight. Captain Barker and myself left the brig, and proceeded in the boat to examine Knocker's Bay. It appeared exceedingly commodious in all respects, excepting the absence of fresh water, which defect might very easily be remedied. Returning on board about nine, A.M., we observed the natives making signals on shore; and shortly afterwards, two canoes, full of men, (seven in one, and eight in the other,) were observed making towards the brig. When the first approached sufficiently near, the natives began calling out, and still continued, though slowly and cautiously, to advance. As soon as they recognized Captain Barker and myself, they gave a loud and joyful shout, calling out "Commandant", "Caraie",* when both canoes pulled with all speed, and the men jumped on board without hesitation.

[* This is their name for doctor. I have no doubt it is their manner of pronouncing Caradgē, which they may have heard from Dr. Davis, who, however, never would coincide in this opinion.]

They proved to be some of our old friends; among whom, were Marambal, Iacama, Luga, and Mimaloo, bringing with them a quantity of tortoise-shell, for the purpose of barter. They were kindly received on board, and regaled with plenty of biscuit and rice. Marambal using the freedom of an old acquaintance, took the oil out of the binnacle lamp to mix with his rice. After their refreshment, some presents were distributed among them: they inquired very particularly after Riveral, some of whose relatives were present, whom I had not previously seen. I was much struck with the mild and unassuming manners of one of them, hitherto unknown to me, named A-rain-boo; but feeling that old acquaintances ought always to have the preference, I dressed Mimaloo in a pair of white trowsers; a red handkerchief was put round his neck, and a piece of calico on his shoulders, over which two bits of spun-yarn supported his trowsers; and, to complete his dress, a soldier's wife very gallantly put a cap on his head, which, although it was not particularly clean, he received with a bow and a smile.

This finery completely turned his brain, and he jumped about the deck, cutting a variety of capers, all indicative of the most extravagant joy: then he would stand still, silently contemplating his figure, with all the self-admiring complacency of a thorough-bred dandy; and again, unable to suppress his satisfaction, he would burst afresh into movements of unrestrained delight, to the astonishment of all on board, both savage and civilized;—although his pleasure was somewhat damped by one of the soldiers calling him a Manburgē. I thought that A-rain-boo viewed his gestures with pity, and seemed to despise him for thus compromising his dignity in our presence.

Captain Barker gave Luga (the native who had been flogged) a mambrual, and also remembered Marambal, who had behaved so attentively the first time he had trusted himself among them. Shortly afterwards, the natives left us, promising, that should Captain Barker and I come on shore, we should have a sight of the yalcuhéé; but they, unlike their civilized sisters, showed no disposition, either to form an acquaintance with, or to be admired by, strangers.

Shortly after the natives left the ship, those in the first canoe called to us to observe their mode of killing turtle, one of which they had discovered resting on the water. Luga stood in the bow, and threw the spear, but missed his aim. Those in the second canoe having seen another turtle, requested us to witness their superior skill, but they proved equally unsuccessful, to their great chagrin and mortification. Their feelings, no doubt, were much of the same kind with those experienced by a "white fellow", who, with the intention of impressing the wandering savages with a favourable idea of his prowess, fires a musket among a numerous flock of cockatoos, without doing any damage.

As the brig could not get under weigh, in consequence of the wind setting in to blow from the W.N.W., we embraced the opportunity of taking a further view of Port Essington (where, had the settlement been originally formed, it is probable that it might have now been in a flourishing state); and accordingly, about three, P.M., Captain Barker and myself proceeded on our expedition. We passed Point Record, and continued our course to the western branch of the bay; near the head of which. Captain Barker had, some time previously, found a fine stream of fresh water, and he now wished to see if it still continued to run.

We landed at a point near the south-west side of this inner bay, and walked in a westerly direction, where, at about one mile and a half distance, we expected to fall in with the stream. Having walked, however, twice that distance, without meeting with it, we began to suspect, from the nature of the ground, that no stream of water existed. Captain Barker was now convinced that we had landed at the wrong spot; the place he had previously landed at, being situated one mile farther to the southward. This we very much regretted, as, from the day being spent, we could not strike across the country to endeavour to fall in with it. It being now quite dark, we thought we might have some difficulty in retracing our steps to the place where the boat lay waiting for us; but, knowing that we had taken a westerly direction, we reversed the course, and, guided by the stars, (after several tumbles over fallen trees,) we got safely to the boat, where we found the men anxiously expecting us. We arrived on board about three o'clock in the morning, after a long and very tiresome pull.

When Captain Barker visited Port Essington, on a former occasion, he found the stream in question of considerable magnitude, and, from appearances, he was induced to believe it to be permanent; but, as his visit was shortly after the conclusion of the rainy season, this was by no means certain. Had it been running now, at the termination of the dry season, the matter would have been placed beyond a doubt. It was, therefore, to be regretted, that we did not succeed in deciding the question.

On Saturday morning, the 31st of August, the brig was got under weigh, and we left the north coast of New Holland exactly six years after the date of Mr. Barnes's letter to Lord Bathurst.

It may not be out of place now to make a few remarks as to the formation of these settlements, and also as to the events which unfortunately led to their abandonment.

The principal object in forming a settlement on the north coast of New Holland was, to establish a commercial intercourse with the natives of various islands in the Indian Archipelago; and which, it was imagined, might be brought about through the means of the Malays, who annually frequent these shores in considerable numbers, for the purpose of procuring trepang.

The British government, therefore, (chiefly induced, I believe, by the representation of Mr. Barnes, who painted in glowing colours, the vast and manifold advantages thence to be derived,) determined to form an establishment somewhere on the northern coast of New Holland; and, to carry this resolution into effect, Captain Bremer, of H.M.S. Tamar, sailed from Sydney on the 24th of August, 1824, taking in company the ship Countess of Harcourt, laden with stores, provisions, and other articles necessary in the formation of a new settlement. A party of the 3d regiment, under the command of Captain Barlow and Lieutenant Everett, and a party of prisoners, chiefly mechanics, (who obtained the name of volunteers,) were also embarked in the Countess of Harcourt.

They proceeded through Torres' Straits, by the inner passage, and arrived safely at Port Essington on the 20th of September; when, after going through the ceremonies usual on such an occasion, formal possession was taken of the north coast, between the meridians 129° and 135° east longitude; and, after making some ineffectual search for water, they left this beautiful bay, and proceeded farther west.

On the 30th of September, they arrived at Melville Island, where they formed the settlement. Thus was an error committed in the very beginning. Had the examination for water at Port Essington been more extended and minute, plenty, of good quality, would have been discovered; and the port is, in every point of view, decidedly preferable to that of Apsley Straits, than which, indeed, a worse place could not have been selected: first, because the entrance to it is exceedingly intricate, on account of a dangerous shoal extending several miles' distance from the land; and which is rendered more perilous by the rapidity of the tides. And, lastly, but chiefly, by this part of the coast not being frequented by the Malays; although this fact could not have been known at the time.

On the 13th of November, H.M.S. Tamar left for India, having rendered every assistance to the settlement. Previous to her departure, the natives had visited the new comers, (whom, I have no doubt, they considered unwelcome intruders,) and some slight differences had occurred. The settlement, however, got on pretty well for some time; but, at length, hostilities commenced between the natives and Europeans, and proceeded, from bad to worse, until the hatred of both parties became thoroughly rooted.

From all the accounts I could collect, and I had them from various and authentic sources, I have no hesitation in stating, that the civilized party was far from being blameless.

It is well known to every person who has had the slightest intercourse with savages, that they are invariably addicted to thieving. It is, therefore, not to be denied, that the natives committed many petty thefts; but the policy of being unnecessarily annoyed thereat, and the humanity of putting them to death for such offences, may be safely called in question.

If I am rightly informed by those who were actors in the business, many of the natives were put to death in a very unwarrantable manner; and I think I may assert, that, had mild and conciliatory conduct been adopted, and uniformly continued towards these ignorant creatures while their depredations were unattended with violence, several valuable lives might have been saved, and many inconveniences and privations prevented.

Latterly, it was unsafe to venture out of the camp unarmed;—a melancholy instance of this insecurity occurred in the massacre of the surgeon and the commissariat-officer, who, while taking a walk a few yards from the settlement, fell victims to the vengeance of these irritated and undiscerning savages.

Shortly after the formation of the settlement, sickness made its appearance. I was in Sydney when alarming accounts of the unhealthiness of Melville Island arrived there; and, as the surgeon of the settlement wished to be relieved, a young man who had just arrived in the colony, surgeon of a trading vessel. was appointed to succeed him, who, owing to the desperate nature of the service he was to be employed in, received a salary of one guinea per diem. Both before and after this period, the accounts were greatly exaggerated, and, in some respects, incorrect; the unhealthiness of the settlement being generally, but very erroneously, ascribed to the insalubrity of the climate.

The disease which, either by itself, or aggravating other maladies, naturally mild, caused such alarm, was scurvy, which, it is well known, is not endemial; indeed, it is more prevalent, cæteris paribus, in a cold, than in a warm climate. Its rise and progress is, therefore, to be attributed to the operation of the usual causes; several of which, in this instance, conspired to produce it.

This disease, therefore, not caused by climate, might have been checked, if not entirely prevented, by means within the reach of the sufferers; and, by a prophylactic attention to dietetics, without requiring much aid from medicine.

It is admitted, that the supply of salt provisions was bad; but, then, the fowls of the air, and the fish of the sea, might have been obtained in abundance, by very moderate exertions: and, until the various vegetables (with the seeds and roots of which they were amply supplied from Sydney) grew fit for use, they had, within their reach, plenty of native roots and vegetables, which, either from ignorance or carelessness, they failed to profit by.

But as the climate was reported unhealthy, so was the soil accused of sterility; and with what degree of justice may be learned from the statement of Captain Laws, who visited the settlement a few months previous to its abandonment.**

[** Vide page 152.]

With respect to the policy of the line of conduct pursued in the public administration of the settlement, I am not capable of forming a correct judgment; yet I may mention, that the instructions given in the first instance to the Commandant were liberal; and had other circumstances been favourable, were likely to promote, in some degree, the ultimate object for which the settlement was formed: but the orders of the 22d of April, 1826, (which, I am informed, were of a conditional nature,) being strictly acted on, put a complete stop to the slender mercantile intercourse that had begun, though slowly, to take place.

To add to the misfortunes attending on Melville Island, the colonial brig Lady Nelson, which was stationed there, sailed to Timor for refreshments, and was never afterwards heard of. Whether she fell into the hands of pirates, or whether she was wrecked on some reef or sand-bank, (many of which abound in the Timor Sea,) is still, and may, perhaps, for ever remain, a matter of uncertainty.

At length, after a period of nearly four years, in consequence of the continued unfavourable reports transmitted to the Home Government, orders were given to abandon the settlement; and, in willing obedience to these orders, it was abandoned on the 31st of March, 1829; the live animals, stores, plants, &c., being transferred to Raffles Bay. The Commandant, with the soldiers and volunteers, (i.e. prisoners) sailed in the barque Lucy Anne *** for Sydney, and arrived there in safety on the 10th of June.

[*** A few days after their departure, they had a narrow escape from shipwreck, as may be evident from the following extract of a letter from the commander of the Lucy Anne:—"On the 11th, expecting next morning to make Carter's Island, and the night being fine, with a light air, we continued under easy sail, going from one to two knots, with orders to call me, if any soundings at midnight; when, about half-past one in the morning, we ran ashore on a sandy part of a reef. It being fortunately smooth bottom, and little or no swell, so that she seldom beat, and that pretty easy, we had her afloat and at anchor in four and a half fathoms, and a second out in six fathoms, before daylight; at which period, a slight breeze rising, we cast with a spring, and stood off north-east, and at daybreak saw an Island with little shrubs, about five or six miles, apparently the centre of the reef."]

Although there are different opinions as to the policy of this proceeding, yet, on the whole, it may be considered judicious; as the settlement was attended with considerable expense, and unlikely to become of much importance, being, as before mentioned, entirely out of the track of the Malay proas, not one of whom had ever visited it. But it might have made some return to the mother country, especially as it abounds in various kinds of trees fit for every purpose of domestic economy, and also for ship-building, according to the opinion of Captain Laws, whose judgment on such subjects cannot be called in question.

Having made these few general observations, relative to Melville Island, I shall proceed to give a slight sketch of Raffles Bay (the second-formed British settlement on the north coast of New Holland); and as, during my sojourn there, I had much intercourse with the Aborigines, and embraced every opportunity of acquiring information concerning them, my remarks may, perhaps, not be deemed altogether devoid of interest.






CHAPTER IX.

A British Settlement formed at Raffles Bay—Extract from the Diary of the Commandant—Extract from Mr. Duncan's Journal, containing an account of the occurrences attending the formation of the Settlement, and also the narrative of a Lascar, relative to the Aborigines of the North-east Coast of New Holland.

JUDGING from the accounts received, respecting the settlement at Melville Island, that it was likely to prove a failure, and being unwilling to abandon the north coast of New Holland, the Home Government determined to make another trial.

Captain Stirling, of H.M.S. Success, being charged with the execution of this important commission, sailed from Sydney, accompanied by three merchant vessels, which conveyed the troops, volunteers, provisions, and stores.

On the 17th of June, 1827, they arrived at Raffles Bay,* where it was determined to form the new settlement, without spending time in search of a more desirable situation.

[* Raffles Bay was discovered by Captain King, on the 16th of April, 1820, and so named by him, from his having had an opportunity of forwarding a letter to Sir Stamford Raffles by a Malay proa, several of which he met, for the first time, on that day.—Vide King's Australia.]

Various reasons, which it is now needless to mention, have been assigned for this supposed precipitancy. Suffice it to say, the settlement was formed on the 18th of June, and named, in honour of the day. Fort Wellington.

Having been favoured, by the courtesy of the Colonial Government, with an inspection of all the official documents, relative to Melville Island and Raffles Bay, I have availed myself of this privilege on several occasions, and am thereby enabled to present the reader with the following extracts from the diary of Captain Smyth, the first Commandant of Raffles Bay; and, as they afford a concise account of events which occurred in the formation of the settlement, they will, I have no doubt, be considered very interesting.

Memorandum of passing events, from the commencement of the New Settlement at Fort Wellington, in Raffles Bay, on the Northern Coast of New Holland.

"Sunday, June 17th, 1827.—Came to anchor in Raffles Bay, at eleven, A.M., three and a half fathoms water, about a mile from the shore. Surveyed by Captain Stirling, and selected by him as the fittest situation on which to found the new settlement, on the north-east side of the bay.

"The bay appears capable of sheltering any number of vessels, but the water is shoal for a mile from the shore; even small boats cannot get in at low water, except at one point, about three quarters of a mile from the camp, to the N.N.W."

"Monday, June 18th.—Early this morning, sent parties on shore, protected, with tents, &c., which were immediately fixed, at four, P.M. Captain Stirling, with part of the officers and crew of H.M.S. Success, came on shore; also myself, and detachment from the Lansdowne, when the British flag was hoisted, and possession taken of this land by Captain Stirling, in the name, and on the behalf of. His Majesty King George the Fourth;—the Success firing a royal salute, the 39th and marines a feu de joie, concluding with three hearty cheers, which were answered by the crew remaining on board the Success, Marquis of Lansdowne, and Amity and Caledonian brigs. The settlement is named, by Captain Stirling, Fort Wellington, in honour of the anniversary of that day's achievements at Waterloo."

"Tuesday, June 19th.—Hoisted the union at sunrise. Troops and mechanics employed in disembarking cattle, and securing them on shore. Employed all hands, after breakfast, in bringing public stores on shore. About forty of the crew of the Success, under the command of Lieutenant Belcher, R.N., commenced their preparations for building a substantial log-house and battery. Gardener employed in preparing ground for seeds and plants."

"Friday, June 22d.—Ten or twelve of the natives seen about a mile from the camp, to the west. They fled on the approach of the watering party from the Lansdowne, leaving two spears and a wamero on the ground, which were brought off by the officer in charge of the watering party."

"Saturday, June 23d.—Our whale-boat being very leaky, having suffered considerable injury in the passage, needed repair, and I placed her under the shade of some mangrove trees at the water's edge, about 300 yards off the camp. Lashed her by stem-and-stem, and took out the plug, that she might fill at high water. Cabbage and raddish seeds sown this day. At ten, P.M., the native dogs made an incessant howling in the vicinity of the camp."

"Sunday, June 24th.—Seamen drew their seine at daylight; caught an abundance of mullet, some few soles, bream, and a variety of nondescripts. I tried the settlement seine (which, in fact, is not one as specified in the invoice, but a common net, without a purse or cod); caught no fish. Received a mess from the Success's boat for all hands. Fired the dry grass round the camp, having ranged men to stop it within certain limits; it burnt most furiously. Sent another party in search of the heifer that had strayed: one of the party being a little in the rear of the others, was chased by a number of natives with spears (about seventy or one hundred), who fled on his reaching his party."

"Monday, June 25th.—Peach slips put in the ground. Collected a quantity of trepang, of which there is an abundance lying in the mud along the shore; boiled some, and reduced it nearly to a jelly. I conceive it may make very good soup when we know how to dress it. The largest and finest specimens are grey, with a light grey belly: the black are not numerous, and very small. I can perceive no difference in favour of the latter, when made into soup. Some very fine light brown clay was brought me by one of the prisoners. Potts, a potter: he pronounced it to be very good for any purpose to which clay is applied, and reports that there is a bed of it, of some acres, about three miles to the south, near a river. I shall ascertain the truth of this circumstance as soon as time will permit."

"Tuesday, June 26th.—Success's crew and ourselves employed from daylight till sunset, as usual. The heat very oppressive; myriads of the green ants on every tree, excessively annoying to the workmen; the flies, also, are intolerably numerous and troublesome, and particularly attack the eyes; most of the men find it absolutely necessary to put something over the face as a safeguard, and, even with this precaution, I have some men with sore eyes. Gardener put some potatoes in the ground this day. At nine this morning, discovered the whale-boat was gone from her birth. Sent an armed party along the coast to the N.W., and went in the same direction in a boat myself; found she had been taken by the natives to the mouth of a small fresh-water river, about three miles off, hauled up, high and dry, and stripped of every particle of iron about her; both ends opened, and rendered altogether useless. The ship's pinnace brought her back. Seeds sown on Saturday appeared above ground. Four sentinels on duty this night."

"Saturday, June 30th.—Gardener, this day, planted sugar cane. This night, we were disturbed by the natives, and about two o'clock I heard the sentinel challenge: I arose, and was informed by him that ten or twelve had come within a few yards of him; the darkness of the night prevented his seeing them sooner, when he challenged, and they fled. I went on the beach, and, with a lanthorn, found, by the tracks of their feet, that the sentry was correct. At daylight, I discovered they had taken two iron pots from the place of cooking, not more than fifteen yards distant from my tent, but found them, in the course of the day, evidently dropped in the hurry of their retreat. There were marks of their spears in the sand. Captain Stirling sent me an additional force of eight seamen, with cutlasses, at sunset, to assist in the duty of the night."

"Sunday, July 1st.—About 150 hammocks, belonging to the Success, and on shore to be lettered, had been purloined during the night by the natives; also a rope jack; all within forty yards of the sentry, on the south-east of the camp. The first Lieutenant of the Success, and a party of twelve marines, at noon, went in an easterly direction, to discover the source of the small river which empties itself where the wreck of our whale-boat was discovered; and, in their research, fell in with about twenty-five of their hammocks, but saw no natives. At noon, I went with an armed party in a north-east direction, where I had heard of the strayed heifer, and found her, but so wild, that I could not get within 300 yards of her. I shall, however, when we can spare time, form some stratagem to get her in; she is in good pasturage, and close to the river, and, as yet, unmolested by the natives."

"Monday, July 2d.—Stowed the greater part of the dry goods in the excavated part of the logged house; the soil is a perfect dry sand; was surprised to find that, even for the short time they had been under the canvas, the white ants, in myriads, had assembled, and made great encroachments on the barrels. Marines, soldiers, and volunteers very active in erecting each their respective hut. The French dwarf beans, planted only three days, made their appearance. Orange and lemon slips put in the ground. At twelve, noon, the cooper, with some other men of the Success, were at the watering place, repairing the butts, when a party of natives, with spears, came on them; they retreated, and some of their tools were taken: one spear was thrown, without injury. The camp was instantly on the alarm, and pursued, but no traces could be seen of them. At eleven, this night, immediately after the moon had set, the natives were heard, and imperfectly seen, not more than thirty or forty yards from the sentry, on the south-east flank, who challenged them, when (he reports) they approached on him the faster; he fired at them, as did also two others of the guard, in the direction they retreated, who came instantly to his assistance. A boat from the Success came ashore, to know what was the matter."

"Tuesday, July 3d.—As the natives had, the preceding evening, made their advances towards the Success's forge, and probably attracted by the hope of getting iron, it was removed this day into the centre of the camp. I ordered all lights to be extinguished early, that they might not serve as a guidance to any encroachment on the part of the natives. The evenings are beautifully serene and pleasant."

"Wednesday, July 4th.—The natives, under cover of the darkness of the night, again made their approaches at about two, A.M., crawling on their hands and knees. The sentry fired, and I think without effect, as no cry was heard; they instantly disappeared. They approached us on the south-east point, but had been seen by the Success, in great numbers, at an earlier part of the evening, on the north-west point. There is no possibility of discovering their movements. I had this day given directions to the guard, that the sentries should remain totally inactive and quiet, if no more than two or three of the natives made their appearance, and allow them to get sufficiently into the settlement to secure them."

"Thursday, July 5th.—Again, at about two in the morning, I heard the natives at the back of the settlement, and quietly turned out all hands. Planted about an acre and a half of seed maize, which I found very indifferent, and have but little hope of its growing: it appeared to have been heated in the cask. I sowed, also, a small patch of wheat, in which wevils are in abundance. Six eighteen-pounder carronades this day landed from the Success for the Fort."

"Friday, July 6th.—The back of the camp again visited by the natives. The sentry saw them, but they went off when he challenged. The sugar cane is come up, and looks well."

"Saturday, July 7th.—I received a message from Captain Stirling about half-past two this morning, to say, great bodies of the natives were just round the north-west point, about half a mile from us; the point hid them from us. We prepared ourselves, but they did not come; they were heard by the sentry at the back of the camp, and a jagged spear was found at daylight,—supposed to have been thrown at the serjeant of marines, who had been on the alert near the spot, during the morning."

"Sunday, July 8th.—At noon, a party, consisting of Lieutenant Carnac, three midshipmen, and twenty marines, accompanied by Dr. Wood, again made an excursion into the interior, in a more easterly direction than before, not having then succeeded in finding the source of the river. It was expected they would have been able to return by five or six o'clock at farthest, but did not come in till two, P.M., the following day, having lost their way, and broken their compass. Guns were fired from the Success, at intervals, during the day and night, none of which were heard by them. Native dogs were in numbers in the camp this night, but as they appeared harmless, I directed they might not be molested."

"Monday, July 9th.—Captain Stirling announced his intention of leaving the bay in a fortnight. The heavy logs being completed in the house, the framing of the upper part was commenced. The stockade far advanced. The 39th and volunteers employed in their huts; the marines in erecting a fence, to enclose the camp. No interruption during the night."

"Wednesday, July 11th.—I have not, as yet, seen any stone likely to be serviceable, nor are there shells, in any quantities, for the purpose of making lime. The coast is composed of hardened clay, and conglomerate, and towards the interior strongly impregnated, with iron."

"Friday, July 13th,—Working parties continued as usual. At seven, A.M., a party from the Success hauled their seine about a mile to the south-east, and, on leaving the beach, eight or ten natives came down. I proceeded towards them with Lieutenant Belcher, of the Success, directing the whole of the remainder of our party to retire to the camp. With some difficulty, we prevailed on them to allow us to come up to them with some fish, biscuit, and a few other trifles: the extraordinary jealous caution they maintained induces me to think they have, more than probably, been dealt treacherously with by the Malays, of whose visits, on all the small islands contiguous to the main land (but not on it), there are many evident proofs, such as places for boiling the trepang; a sort of wicker work on which to dry it, &c. These natives were armed with spears, three or four each, some of them jagged; one was pointed with iron. perhaps a part of the plunder of our whale-boat. We gave them what few things we had, and, in return, the chief presented me with a small purse, suspended from his neck, containing shells, neatly netted, and with much the same mesh used by us. The material appears to be the stringy bark. We left them much more composed, and, as far as signs could be understood, with a promise to return to-morrow at the same time. Night passed tranquilly."

"Saturday, July 14th.—At eleven, A.M., eighteen of the natives came down to the fishing beach, about a mile from us. The surgeon, Mr. Belcher, and myself, went to them with some biscuit, and a few other little presents; they were much pleased, but still observed a vigilant and distrustful caution, and remained but a short time. Three, P.M.—Two of the native chiefs have been in my tent, and are now on board the Success. Four, P.M.—Returned, much gratified with dresses given them on board, and gone to their tribe: this circumstance, I hope, will entirely put a stop to their nocturnal visits. While they were near my tent, close to which the wrecked boat, and the recovered rope-jack (which was found buried in the mud) were lying; neither of them appeared to notice the one or the other. I did not think it necessary to remind them of these circumstances in so early an acquaintance. They are generally strong, muscular men, infinitely more so than the description of natives in the neighbourhood of Sydney. Some of them were daubed over from the crown of the head to the ancle with a kind of pipe clay. No disturbance this night."

"Sunday, July 15th.—Seven of the natives came into the camp, and were fed, and shown over the place. Much surprise was manifested by them, and particularly when I showed them the use of the gun, by bringing down two large hawks, of which there are vast numbers. The power of pistols also astonished them, and they begged we would not use them again, as it gave them great pain in the head. Mr. Belcher and myself, wishing to show we had every confidence in them, went with them and joined their party of about twenty, at a distance of about three miles to the S.S.E., near the beach. We afterwards hailed the jolly-boat of the Success, with Mr. Carr and four midshipmen in her, and with two of the chiefs got in, and went across the bay to the west, about five miles, where they gave us to understand was their great place of assembly. After getting on shore, about thirty, with spears, made their appearance; but, by order of their chief, laid them down, and approached us with most extraordinary attitudes and gestures. They were eager to lead us to their place of general rendezvous, and we followed them for about two miles on a well-beaten track; but as the sun was near down, and one or two instances of daring theft had taken place, I thought it prudent not to go further; and, to the evident disappointment and displeasure of the sable group, we returned to our boat. The two who were left as a guard in her had been strongly entreated to follow us into the wood, which induces me to think they had in view the pilfering of the boat at parting. They presented us with a spear, which we understood as a token of friendship. The bones, and three or four skulls, on the beach, engaged our attention, but they showed signs of great displeasure at our approaching them, and we desisted. The night passed perfectly tranquil."

"Tuesday, July 17th.—The natives (twelve) came into the camp, and were given biscuit, &c. One assisted in blowing the forge; another in scrubbing the hammocks of the Success. I was anxious to establish a perfect good understanding with them, and did not check it. Early in the afternoon, they left us, and went two miles at least along the beach, in our sight, when two of them (the leaders,** and to whom we had been particularly kind,) struck into the wood, came up to a party cutting wood, and, remaining a few minutes, seized on an axe, and ran off. Two soldiers followed them near to their general assembly, when a large body came out with spears, and with much difficulty the soldiers escaped. This night, they again began their marauding system in the early part of the night; it was dark, but the guard heard them in all directions round the camp. I considered their faithless conduct did not deserve lenity, and I ordered the several sentries to fire whenever they approached. One shot was fired, and no more was heard of them. The Mary Elizabeth arrived in harbour at six, P.M., all hands well, and cargo safe. She has been to Melville Island, not knowing where to find us, and being without a chart of the coast."

[** Wellington and Waterloo.]

"Thursday, July 19th.—The natives were more bold last night, and came into the forge. A shot was fired at them, and they disappeared. Tools and everything are carefully put out of their reach each night. The Success's men conclude their assistance to us this day. Three guns only are mounted. Mr. Hicks reports his having been in Port Essington some days, and that the harbour is very superior, in every respect, to this; the soil much better, and exceeding good water in wells. He also states, he found one small stream. The natives made an attack upon him, and his party, and hurt one man considerably by a blow on the arm with the waddy. The party retreated, and fired in return. Mr. Hicks brought a Portuguese, belonging to Madras, from Cape Flinders, who had been wrecked in the Frederic, Captain Williams, a trader, about seven years ago; himself, and two others only, escaped in a small boat, and got ashore, where they both died, leaving himself the only survivor. We saw the man making a signal, by waving a branch when we passed two days before the Mary Elizabeth came there; but mistook him, from his colour, to be one of the natives. He is anxious to get on to Madras. I have given directions that he receives rations during his stay with us."

"Friday, July 20th.—Two of the natives, the men who had stolen the axe, had the assurance to come into camp. Unfortunately, some officers of the Success received them in a friendly manner: it was my intention to have handcuffed one of them until his comrade brought in the stolen axe; however, I merely showed my displeasure at their conduct, and ordered them out of the camp to fetch it. At a few yards distance, one of them, with a look of expressive contempt of me, took up a frock from the ground, and away they both started, in the face of the whole camp. A pursuit took place, but they ran too fast for us. The frock, however, was dropped in the flight."

"Saturday, July 21st.—Received a letter from Captain Stirling, acquainting me that he should weigh and depart on Monday. Sunk a well a short depth; the water very good; some pipe clay in about three feet from the surface. A man, of the name of Thompson, of the Success, is missing; has not been seen since three, P.M., yesterday."

"Sunday, July 22d.—A party, under the command of Lieutenant Belcher, of the Success, are gone out in search of Thompson; fears are entertained that he has strayed from the settlement, and fallen in with the natives. Uninterrupted by natives last night."

Mr. Duncan, assistant-surgeon of H.M.S. Satellite (who was assistant-surgeon of H.M.S. Success, when the settlement was formed) favoured me with an extract from his journal, which, as it also gives an authentic account of the proceedings, from the formation of the settlement until the sailing of the Success, together with the curious narrative of a shipwrecked Lascar, cannot fail, I think, to be perused with much interest.


"On the 15th June, 1827, made Croker's Island; at 8h. 30' A.M., the Success struck on a sand bank: Cape Croker E.N.E., main land S. by E.; at noon anchored in Palm Bay, in five and a half fathoms. Shortly afterwards a boat, &c. was sent on shore. At seven P.M. they returned, reporting that they had seen a few of the natives, but that they did not speak to them, and that no water was to be found here. We remained all next day, and at five, A.M. on the 17th weighed and sailed for Raffles Bay; at eleven, A.M. anchored at about half a mile from the shore; at five, 30th, P.M. 18th June, the union jack was hoisted on shore, twenty-one guns were fired from the Success, and two rounds of musketry were fired by the marines, &c. on shore.

"On the 22d, a party of marines, &c. accompanied with a midshipman, and also a part of the crew, &c., of the ship 'Marquis of Lansdowne', went on a short excursion towards the interior; on the same evening they returned, stating that they had found a small rivulet of fresh water to the right of the settlement, but that they saw none of the natives. For these two days past there has been seen a few of the natives in a small sandy bay to the left of the settlement. On the 24th, whilst a party of our men were fishing, a few of the natives came within a short distance of them; our people left some fish for them, and returned on board, on which the natives came down and took them away.

"On the night of the 26th the natives carried away a whale boat belonging to Captain Smyth, and rendered her completely useless. She was found next morning near the mouth of a small rivulet to the northward of the settlement, the greater part of the iron work being taken out of her, and her planks, &c. broken in various places, some parts of which were carried some distance into the bush, several pieces of which I have seen during my excursions into the woods. At 11h. 30' P.M. on the 30th, they again came into the camp, on purpose (it was supposed) to pilfer: one of the sentries snapped his musket at them, and gave the alarm. On a blue light being burned as a signal to the Success for assistance, they immediately retired into the woods, carrying away with them some of the cooking utensils. Next night they carried away, for a short distance from the settlement, the rope jack belonging to the ship, which they buried in the sands, where it was found shortly after; they also stole a quantity of hammocks belonging to the Success, which were scrubbed on shore.

"On the 2d July, at one, P.M. a party having gone on shore watering at the Lagoon, they filled their casks, and came off to the ship, leaving the cooper and another behind them repairing casks and making bungs for the same; the natives made their appearance on the opposite side, and hove a spear across at the men, (I do not know if our men had given them any provocation or not) the cooper, &c. fled, leaving his tools, buckets, &c., behind, which the natives carried off only to a short distance, they being immediately pursued by the settlers on the alarm being given, on which they dropped the greater part of the stolen articles. In the pursuit, some of the hammocks that the natives carried away were found in a tree, &c. None of the natives were taken. The same evening some of them were seen to the eastward of the settlement, and they, at eight, P.M. came down in a body of about thirty to near the place where the sentry was placed; he fired at them, but it was supposed he did no injury, as no wounded or dead remained behind.

"On the morning of the 4th July, at two, A.M., they again made their appearance, crawling on all-fours, but were again seen and fired at by three soldiers or marines.

"On the 8th July, a party of our people, headed by our first Lieutenant, went on an excursion, with only one day's provisions; the same day our party went up to the west side of the bay, where the natives have often been seen. On approaching a small sandy bay the natives made their appearance, with their spears in an attitude of defence. On a handkerchief being thrown to them, they went into the water, but they did not wish our men to land. In the evening, the party that left the settlement on the 8th returned, having for some time lost their way. They did not see any of the natives.

"On the 11th, at about ten, A.M. seven of the natives came down on the beach, near the Lagoon, carrying their spears. Captain Smyth and Mr. Belcher went up to them and gave them some articles; two of them, who were named Wellington and Waterloo, came into the settlement along with them—they were bedaubed over with red clay. After eating some biscuit, &c. they joined their companions, and returned into the woods. Whilst the two chiefs remained in the camp, the other five natives stood at a short distance, with their spears in their hands.

"At one, P.M. on the 14th, the natives again came down and joined some of our people on the beach; at three, P.M. two of them came off to the ship, in company with Mr. Belcher and Mr. Carr. After they had seen the different parts of the ship, shaved and clothed, they were again sent on shore; during the time they remained on board, their companions, to the number of fourteen, remained on the beach, and were quite rejoiced to see the two chiefs arrive on shore.

"On the 15th, seven or eight of them came down, with the two who were on board the Success: they remained only for a short time; in the afternoon a party went out sailing, they landed on the opposite shore, in a sandy bay, where the natives had often been seen. Their canoes were on the beach. On the approach of the boat, several of the natives appeared, and made signs to our people to go on shore, which desire they complied with. There were several human bones lying on the sands, but the natives did not wish our men to touch them, but made signs to the men to follow them into the woods, which they did for a short distance; but being unarmed, and some of the natives making rather too free, they thought it most prudent to return. Whilst in the woods with the natives, one of them stole a handkerchief from our Lieutenant. On Wellington knowing of the theft, he immediately made the man return it. It was then offered to Wellington, but he would not accept of it until they returned to the beach.

"On the 17th the natives, about twelve in number, came down, accompanied by Wellington; they employed themselves, along with our men, cutting wood, turning the rope jack, and stirring the rice, which was boiling for the ships company's dinner. On the same afternoon, one of the natives stole a large axe, after he had seen and tried its use. The people who were cutting wood followed them, but the natives presented their spears at them. Our people being unarmed were obliged to retreat, and the thief got clearly off.

"At 6h 40' P.M. the Colonial brig Mary Elisabeth arrived, bringing along with her a native of India, whom she picked up on one of Flinders Islands. At 11h. 40' P.M. the natives came into the camp, about twenty in number, and advanced near to one of the sentries: he fired at them, but did no injury. The natives immediately fled.

"On the 18th July, the Lascar came on board the Success, and from him I learned the following particulars:—" That he belonged to the ship Fame, which was wrecked in the Straits; that he and a few others escaped in a leaky boat, after rowing for forty-eight hours. On landing, the natives stripped them of their clothes, &c. but otherwise behaved kindly towards them. His companions in misfortune died the first year of his residence amongst the natives, which in all amounted, he said, to six or seven years.

"The men in that part of Australia have from five to ten wives, of whom they are rather jealous at times. The tribes are continually at war with one another, and have regular pitched battles; but the moment that one is killed on either side, the battle ceases until they carry off their dead, and mourn for certain days, according to their customs, bedaubing themselves over with black earth, and on another day the fight begins and ends in a similar way.

"When one dies or is killed, they bury the body in the earth, but at the end of five days dig it up again, and wrap up the bones, &c. in bark of trees, and carry them along with them. When the women fight, which is very often, they use a short kind of club. The natives paint their bodies over with red clay to prevent the musquitoes from biting them. When they paint their bodies white it is a sign of war with some other tribe.

"Their marriage ceremony is performed in the following way:—The father and mother of a female child lead in one hand between them the intended bride, (whilst in the other hand they each carry a piece of burning wood,) towards the intended husband, he standing with his back towards them. When they arrive at the appointed place, the parents lay down the burning pieces of wood, beside which the child sits down, and the parents retire, on which the husband turns round to his wife and takes her home. She stays only with him during the night, returning to her parents during the day, until she has attained a more mature age.

"Their food consists chiefly of fish, kangaroo, turtle, wild yams, and various other roots. They have no regular times for meals, and eat at any time they can find any thing to subsist upon.

"On that part of the coast they have canoes hollowed out of the trunks of trees, a work of great labour, as they have no iron tools; in these they often paddle from the main land to the neighbouring islands in quest of food. They worship no superior being, nor have any knowledge of one. They obey and reverence the eldest of their tribe. They keep their elderly men and wives at a distance when they fight or go to war. They would not allow this Lascar to go to their battles, although they gave him a wife of their tribe, by whom he had several children.

"They punish an adulterer, when detected, with death. They have no knowledge of ships; their chief conversation is either concerning food or war. There are very few diseases amongst them, and they in general live to a good old age. They employ themselves in hunting or fishing during the day, and at night sleep round a small fire. When a brother dies and leaves a wife, the next eldest brother marries her. They have no houses or any thing to cover them; and scarcely two tribes speak the same language.

"The natives were greatly attached to this Lascar. When he hailed the brig, they placed their hands on his mouth; on the approach of the boat to carry him on board the brig they fled, but again returned; but would not go on board the vessel. Although this man knew and could speak the language of the tribe with whom he had lived, understood only a few words of the language spoken by the Raffles Bay and Port Essington tribes. He suffered greatly from the bites of musquitoes, and small ulcers on the skin; as well as from the change of diet during his first year's residence amongst them. He buried the other Lascars who died. The natives were desirous that he would take up their bodies again according to their custom, but he did not comply with their request. This man we left on board the Mary Elizabeth, in Raffles Bay, although he was desirous to return to India.***

[*** This person, named Paul De Sois, was forwarded to Coupang, from thence he went to Batavia with Mr. Bechade, and wished to remain with him; but, as Mr. Bechade informed me, he was so excessively lazy, that his request was not complied with. He was forwarded to Madras, his native place, where, he said, he had a wife and several children.]

"On the 18th July, during the night, the natives came in and attempted to steal the armourer's forge, &c. but were seen and fired at by the sentry. Next day, at 11h. 30' A.M. they again made their appearance on the beach. They appeared more shy to-day than usual, and would hardly come down to the tents, although the Indian native tried to persuade them, but went in quest of honey. About five, P.M. they returned. An axe was shown to them similar to the one they had stolen some days before. And, being informed that they would not be allowed to come into the camp until they returned the stolen axe, the chief grinned at Captain Smyth, and showed his posteriors in rather an indecent attitude, then ran off, picking up in his way some of our people's clothes. In attempting to escape he was fired at by Mr. Carr, but without effect. A dog pursued him and made him drop his prey.

"The same evening one of the men belonging to the Success was missed; but some time after the Success sailed, he returned to the settlement, in company with some natives, and joined the brig. Search was made for this man for a considerable distance round the settlement on the 22d, but to no effect. From the night that the natives were last fired at (21st July) to the 23d, the day that the Success sailed for Melville Island, the natives did not make their appearance."






CHAPTER X.

Misunderstanding between the settlers and natives—Unfortunate occurrences—Death of Dr. Wood—Malay Proas visit the Settlement—Extracts from the Medical Report of Dr. Davis—Observations on Melville Island and Raffles Bay, by Captain Laws, R.N.—Proofs of the healthiness of the Climate.

BY the preceding accounts, it appears that hostilities soon commenced. There can be no doubt that the natives, by exercising their pilfering habits, were the aggressors. The whale boat was stolen * and broken in pieces for the sake of the iron; and, whenever the Aborigines appeared afterwards, the sentries fired at them without ceremony. This was not the best way to gain their confidence, or to teach them better manners; and that they were capable of being taught, was very evident from the conduct of Wellington in the affair of the Lieutenant's handkerchief. It appears also that they soon became on intimate terms with the sailors,—assisting them in their various occupations,—until, unfortunately, "after having seen and tried its use," one of the natives ran away with an axe. Who, knowing their habits, could be surprised at such an action?

[* This may appear very culpable. It is far more excusable, however, in these untutored beings, than the same crime when committed by those calling themselves civilized. Several instances of civilized delinquency are within my knowledge, one of which I may cite:—The master of a government colonial brig, picked up a canoe belonging to the natives, and without hesitation took it on board, and rigged it for his own use; thereby robbing a whole family of the principal means of gaining their subsistence. Yet this action was never imagined to be in the slightest degree dishonest; and the mate, from whom I heard the anecdote, seemed surprised that any one should consider the captain's conduct reprehensible, more particularly as the natives stole all the canoes they had from the Malays.]

A few days afterwards, Wellington came to the camp, when he was given to understand that the stolen axe must be returned, which was undoubtedly very proper; but, "est modus in rebus", there might have been a milder and more persuasive method of communicating the demand than by holding an axe in one hand, and catching the Chief by the back of the neck with the other. It is not to be wondered at, that Wellington, being thus treated, should have expressed his indignation rather indecorously.

After these occurrences, it is somewhat astonishing that the seaman missed the same evening from H.M.S. Success, was not massacred by the natives in revenge for the insult offered to their Chief, instead of being accompanied by them in safety to the camp.

When the Success quitted the new settlement, Captain Stirling left a party of marines, to add to its security. The natives still continued to commit acts of theft; and it was reported that they attacked men in the woods, without, however, doing them any visible injury. They were very cautious in approaching the settlement,—and well they might,—as they were fired at without distinction. A tribe of them appeared in its vicinity, and were saluted with an eighteen-pounder, loaded with grape-shot; but, owing to the inaccuracy of the gunner, none of them were killed. This occurrence had the effect of preventing their re-appearance for a long time.

A few months afterwards, a soldier of the thirty-ninth was speared at a very short distance from the camp. The wound was dangerous, and the man's life was despaired of He, however, ultimately recovered.**

[** This appears to have been the first act of aggression on the part of the natives. I omit their various endeavours to possess themselves of iron, &c.]

This act of cruelty very justly demanded the serious notice of the Commandant, and it was determined that a severe example should be made of the culprits.

A party of the military (and, I believe, also of the prisoners) were dispatched in search of the natives. They came unexpectedly on their camp at Bowen's Straits, and instantly fired at them, killing some, and wounding many more. A woman, and two children, were amongst the slain; another of her children, a female, about six or eight years old,*** was taken, and brought to the camp, and placed under the care of a soldier's wife. After this, the natives kept aloof from the settlement; and it was as well that they did so, as almost all the soldiers were, more or less, affected with scurvy, which prevailed here in as great vigour as it did at Melville Island.

[*** Riveral, or Mary Raffles.]

In the midst of the sickness, the settlement was deprived of medical aid for several months,—the surgeon, Dr. Wood, having died three months after his arrival. Thus harassed with disease, and in a state of perpetual alarm, on account of the natives, it need not appear strange, that the accounts, written at this time by the sojourners, were in a tone of gloomy despondency.

On March 28th, several Malay proas being observed passing the bay, Captain Smyth dispatched Mr. Macleod, the storekeeper, to invite them into port, and he was successful in his embassy. A few of them visited the settlement, when the Commandant offered them protection, and assistance in curing their cargo: they were much gratified thereby, and expressed their satisfaction at being, for the future, as they hoped, under British protection. They spoke of the Dutch as acting in a manner most oppressive and unjust towards them. They were also delighted at the prospect of being protected from the natives, who wage war with them, and steal their canoes whenever they can find an opportunity.

Captain Smyth was succeeded in the command by Lieutenant Sleeman, of the same regiment, on the 24th of April, 1828, and, at the same time, Dr. Davis, the assistant-surgeon, arrived, to take the medical charge.

The Doctor having heard very doleful accounts of the settlement, and being called instantly, on his arrival, to visit a person dangerously ill, and having observed the woeful countenances of the settlers, he became convinced of the truth of the sad relations he had previously been made acquainted with, respecting the unhealthiness of the climate.

He was quite convinced that affairs were even worse than they had been represented, as he saw "visceral disease" strongly depicted on every countenance; and, under these impressions, he made a corresponding report to head-quarters very shortly after his arrival.

However, being gifted with sound sense, and much discrimination, it was not long before experience taught him that he had too hastily (and without sufficient reason) coincided in the generally-received opinion regarding the climate, which he was not ashamed publicly to avow.

He observes:—

"My opinion of this climate has undergone a great change, and it is now different from what I was induced to form from the received intelligence of last year. There is no 'endemic' disease here. The climate of this place surpasses every other as far as I know, which are equally as near the equator; and were it not for the great height of atmospheric temperature, I should consider this climate one of the best in the world."

In another report, he says:—

"This climate has been represented as unfavourable to European constitutions. I am authorized to declare, after a residence of fifteen months, that it is by no means so bad as was imagined. The prevalence of sickness which took place after the formation of the settlement, can be accounted for as arising from more satisfactory causes than that of climate. The people were unavoidably harassed in clearing ground, felling timber, and building huts, at the same time that the salt provisions, with which they were supplied, proved to be of a very inferior quality, and hardly fit for use: these, with annoyances from the natives, and the gloom and despondency which the death of the surgeon excited, quickly operated in producing scurvy, which was the principal disease amongst the men. A liberal supply of medical comforts, and a superior description of food, have been provided for their use; and, as disease now seldom occurs in any serious form at this settlement, it may be fairly stated, that the climate, instead of being unhealthy, is less so than any other place equally near to the equator.

"I was, on my arrival, inclined to consider, that the proximity of the settlement to the Lagoons, with an extensive mud bank in front, (which is occasionally exposed to the influence of the sun,) would tend to make febrile diseases very prevalent, and otherwise operate to the injury of our health; but my conjectures have not been verified. Nothing in the form of epidemic, or contagious disease, has been observed, and the greater proportion of the diseases which have occurred, are to be attributed to the want of a due quantity of vegetable food.

"From the experience of the past year, and from the measures adopted by our present Commandant, Captain Barker, of the thirty-ninth regiment, the settlement will be prepared to meet the effects of the ensuing season. A good supply of vegetables from the Government garden has been afforded to all for the last six months, and encouragement has been given to the people to make gardens, and cultivate vegetables, for themselves.

"From the high temperature of the climate, 81½, an almost constant flow of perspiration is induced; and the people, although generally complaining of not possessing as much bodily strength as heretofore, look more healthy than could at first be imagined. The health of some men, delicate on arrival here, has much improved: this has been particularly noticed among the prisoners of the Crown.

"The rainy season commenced in October, and continued, without intermission, till the end of May. The wettest month has been February, and a greater quantity of rain fell in that month than in the preceding six months together.

"It was during the rainy season, the preceding year, that the settlement was visited with the most sickness; and we naturally looked for its approach with no small share of concern. But the troops possessed better health through that season than at any former part of the year.

"The present season is very healthy; the atmosphere is agreeably warm during the day, and cold in the night, and early part of the morning. The troops occupy themselves in active exercise, and very little illness is to be observed among them. No deaths occurred within the year.

"The temperature of the climate is not liable to quick transitions; and although, in the summer months, the atmosphere is very hot, and at times oppressive, few cases of fever, or other acute disease, at that period prevail, even among those men who are obliged to be much exposed to the sun's influence." *

[* Annual Medical Report, from June 21st, 1828, to June 20th, 1829, by R. M. Davis, M.D.]

In further corroboration of this opinion regarding the healthiness of the climate, I shall here introduce the observations of that experienced officer Captain Laws, which also afford much other valuable information concerning the settlements on the north coast of New Holland.

"I found both the settlements at Raffles Bay and Melville Island amply supplied with fresh provisions, and perfectly healthy. At the former there were three in hospital, one soldier and two convicts; at the latter, they had not had a man on the sick list for two months before, or during our stay; and neither establishment had had an instance of death since the present officers arrived, which was in April last (1828).

"At Raffles Bay there have been only three deaths since the formation of the settlement, the first of which was the surgeon. This circumstance left them without medical assistance for nearly seven months, during which period the other two died, an infant and a convict (disease not known).

"At Melville Island I could not learn the number of deaths, there being no records on the island. At different times four or five had been killed by the natives, in consequence of coercive measures adopted towards them; since which they have quite estranged themselves from both settlements.

"Since the formation of these settlements, they have been under the immediate military government of an officer of one of the regiments at Sydney, 'whose turn it was for detached duty', without reference to his habits, interest, or inclination; indeed, so far from the latter, that a Commandant at Melville Island told me that he hesitated whether he would not give up the army rather than go to that station; and since his arrival he has never been half a mile from the house he occupies; the consequence is, that what they have seen has been with jaundiced eyes, and their representations made accordingly, describing the climate to be such as to preclude the possibility of keeping the settlement, and the soil incapable of producing any thing fit for the sustenance of man.

Now, looking at the number of deaths, and considering that every individual at both settlements are natives of Great Britain or Ireland; and that none of the officers, and not more than six of the men, had ever resided within the Tropics before, a tolerable estimate may be formed of the climate, which I do not hesitate to say is one of the best within the torrid zone,—indeed the difference we felt between it and India, was surprising. We had no instance of sickness during our stay in these seas, though I am convinced, had our people been as much exposed in wooding and watering in any part of either the East or West Indies, we should have had many cases of fever, if not of death. The principal disease appears to have been scurvy, the presence of which may be attributed to a want of the most ordinary precaution, owing to the inexperience of the individuals themselves, there being many indigenous roots and vegetables, among which are yams, arrow-root, and a kind of parsnip, together with a pea or calavance, and an abundance of the Palmyra cabbage, so invaluable to all the natives of Hindoostan. To obtain these, it is required to climb the tree, which they did not attempt, but procured a scanty supply by cutting it down to get a single cabbage; and none of the other vegetables have been used, except by two or three individuals, although the natives appear to almost live on the roasted yam.

"The whole of the coast that we saw, from Cape Helvitius to Croker's Island, is well wooded; and, as far as the settlers have penetrated (about four miles), they have met with a variety of valuable timber—amongst which is the lignum-vitae, two kinds of teak, a native oak, a species of sandal-wood, and lance-wood, with several others well known and much used in India, from their not being obnoxious to the worm or white ant, which none of the above are, according to the experience of the settlers, who found these insects wherever they have been, and the largest forest trees, of particular kinds, completely destroyed by them.

"A singular characteristic of the country is, that, except just above high water mark, (where in most places it is overrun with mangroves,) there is no underwood; even in the thickest part of the forest the trees are a considerable distance apart, and between them the ground is covered with high grass, on which all the stock, whether brought from Sydney or Timor, appear to thrive very well.

"During the dry season, by setting fire to the grass, a road is made sufficient to enable them, with the assistance of draft oxen, (which they have at Melville Island,) to choose their timber, and bring it in any quantities to the settlement.

"I have landed, at the Colonial Dock-yard here,** specimens of the timber at Melville Island, with the intention of sending it by the first transport to one of the dock-yards in England for the inspection of the Commissioners of the Navy. I selected a common sized tree of the teak, oak, lignum-vitae, and blood-wood; the latter I was obliged to abandon, it being too large and heavy to carry on our decks through a boisterous latitude, I therefore only brought an arm of that tree, which, with the teak, would be very valuable at Calcutta or Madras, as well as in England.

[** Port Jackson.]

"With respect to the soil, every thing that has been managed with the smallest knowledge of its properties, grows very well; but it would appear incredible, were I to attempt a description of the inconvenience they have experienced from not having any one familiar with the productions of a tropical climate.

"On asking if they had attempted to grow rice, I was told that they had, but little of it came up; and on further inquiry, I found they had sown the clean rice, instead of the grain in its natural state of paddy,—this will give an idea of the clumsy way things have been done in these settlements.

"At present all works are suspended under an impression that the two establishments are to be concentrated at Port Essington, which is certainly the most eligible port at present known for a principal settlement on the north coast of New Holland, being about four miles by land from Raffles Bay, and 170 by sea from Melville Island, and all three in the same degree of latitude.

"I cannot help thinking it would be a great sacrifice to abandon those settlements, now the principal privations and difficulties, necessarily attending the formation of any new colony, are surmounted. It would be better to form another at Port Essington, it being the annual rendezvous of the Malays of Macassar and Arroe Islands, who come over with the end of the easterly monsoon, to collect and cure trepang for the China market; though last year finding there was an European settlement at Raffles Bay, three proas, with about thirty men in each, took their quarters up at the fort, and collected and cured what they could, so as to sail with the end of the monsoon. The natives are particularly hostile to the Malays, which made them very glad to have the protection of the fort.

I understand that one of the objects in forming these settlements was to open a trade with the Eastern Islands and China, which would be very easy from the great number of proas (ten or twelve per day having been seen from the fort) that annually visit the coast, from Macassar and the islands eastward, to collect and cure trepang for the Canton market; most of which bartered with the Dutch residents among the different islands, sent thence from Amboyna and Batavia, and from thence to China.

"But, as a tropical climate must be uncongenial to the manual exertions of Europeans, I conceive it would be a much more efficient and less expensive plan to colonize New Holland principally from India.

"Port Essington should be the penal settlement for the British possessions in the Indian seas; and every encouragement should be given to emigration from Calcutta and Madras, (in the miserable avenues of which hundreds are dying daily,) and at once a garrison should be formed, with two companies of the Ceylon regiment, with all their attendants; any of whom, by walking half a mile from the camp, would find plenty of the vegetables they had been accustomed to eat all their lives, which vegetables the English soldier (who thinks of no other resource than the commissariat) looked upon as poison.

"I had an instance of this in my own servant, (a native of Trincomalee, and of the Gentoo cast,) who, in a quarter of an hour, collected vegetables to make a curry, and therefore to him a dinner.

"At Timor as at Java, Malacca, and Penang, all the artisans are China men, who only require to know we have settlements on New Holland, to come over in great numbers, and their usefulness can only be truly estimated by those who have visited any of the above colonies."

As far as my own observations and experience go, I perfectly coincide in opinion, as to the healthiness of the climate; I was accustomed to use a great deal of exercise, even in the middle of the day, which would have been extremely hazardous in India. When Captain Laws, Captain Barker, and myself, took an excursion to Croker's Island, we were occasionally up to the middle in water, and exposed for hours to the influence of an unclouded tropical sun. We rested during the night in an open boat, subjected to the nocturnal dew; and the greatest part of next day we were again exposed to the sun; yet none of us felt the slightest ill effects from the expedition. Had we acted in the same manner in some of the other tropical climates, we should not, in all probability, have lived forty-eight hours longer.***

[*** While at Coupang, I once walked a few miles into the interior during the heat of the day; hardly was I returned, when I felt very unequivocal symptoms of fever. By prompt measures, I averted the attack; but thus admonished, I was, in future, more careful in my pedestrian excursions.]

On my arrival in Raffles Bay, I found every person, not only in good health, but in good condition; and during my residence there, I observed no complaint amongst the people, (I omit those who came in the Amity from Coupang) excepting ophthalmia, which occasionally prevails, but generally in a mild form.

Every man, woman, and child left the settlement in perfect health; and, notwithstanding the melancholy accounts related of it, only three deaths occurred during the entire period of its occupation, viz., Dr. Wood, and, after his decease, (and before another medical man arrived,) a prisoner and an infant died. It may be observed, that three deaths occurred shortly after my arrival; but then it is also evident, that these casualties were not occasioned by the climate of Raffles Bay.






CHAPTER XI.

Description of Fort Wellington—General appearance of the Land on the North Coast of New Holland—Character of the Aborigines of Raffles Bay—Recapitulatory Observations—Alleged Causes of the Abandonment of Melville Island and Raffles Bay proved to be without foundation.

THE bay (on the east side of which the camp was formed) is small, very safe, and of easy access; the water of no great depth, but sufficient for vessels of moderate burden. The fort, situated in latitude 11° 15' 4" south,* and in longitude 132° 24' 57" east,** was substantially built of wood, and surrounded by pallisadoes; the ground-floor served as a receptacle for provisions and stores, and above was the residence of the Commandant. To the south of the fort were the soldiers' quarters, and to the north, were those of the prisoners; to the east, the marines had erected their dwelling, on the roof of which, surmounted on a pole, were the cardinal points;—these, together with the hospital, guard-room, the cells, and a few straggling huts built without art or elegance, (except a neatly finished cottage, the residence of the Commissariat and Medical officers,) constituted the camp.

[* By means of many meridional altitudes of the sun, and of stars, south and north of the zenith.]

[** By means of upwards of one hundred lunar observations.]

This deficiency of buildings did not arise from any supineness on the part of the existing authorities, but in consequence of orders from head-quarters not to erect any expensive buildings; as it was probable that the settlement might be removed to Port Essington.

The greatest attention was paid to horticulture;—besides the garden, sometime formed, and abounding in useful and ornamental articles, there was another of considerable extent, fenced in, and the ground properly prepared for use, when the orders came to abandon the place.

The site of the settlement was by no means judiciously chosen;—an extensive mud bank being right in front of it, through which, at low water, people embarking or disembarking were obliged to wade nearly a furlong. About a quarter of a mile farther to the northward, there was a much more eligible spot, where permanent buildings were intended to be formed, and which might easily have been erected, as good clay abounded.

Captain Stirling was actuated in his choice of the site by its being near a fresh water lagoon; that the people might be protected from the natives while procuring water—but water could not always be procured, as the lagoon was dry, excepting during the rainy season. The settlers, however, procured a sufficient supply of good quality from a well, about thirty-seven feet deep, within a few yards of high-water mark.

In selecting a spot for a settlement on the northern coast of New Holland, it is not essentially necessary that there should be water; as abundance of it might be caught during the rainy season, and retained in tanks and reservoirs, which could very easily be constructed. In this respect, therefore, there is a decided advantage over those places where the fall of rain is neither plentiful nor certain. Here it is invariably so;—and it is surprising that this circumstance has never been taken into consideration.

The appearance of the land about Raffles Bay has been compared by some to the coast of Orissa in Bengal, and by others to Demerara;—the fact is that the land here is exceedingly low, as it almost invariably is on the north and north-west coast of New Holland, and in this respect it bears a resemblance to either of these places; but the similarity exists no farther, as here there is neither underwood nor jungles to create and foster effluvia inimical to health.

But low land in a tropical latitude, although generally considered unhealthy, is not invariably so—neither are high lands always healthy. Raffles Bay, although little above the level of the sea, is decidedly healthy; while Timor, not much nearer the equator, although in many places exceedingly lofty, is (as well as Batavia) celebrated as the grave of Europeans.

It may be supposed that this remark applies only to Coupang, which, like Batavia, is situated low; but that the interior, like that of Java, may be comparatively healthy. While at Coupang I was particular in my enquiries on this head; and was informed that in the sickly season, which occurs shortly after the commencement of the easterly monsoon, (i.e. the cessation of the rainy season) the high lands afford no protection against disease, which rages there with as much fury, and as insidiously, as it does at Coupang.***

[*** I am surprised that Captain Stirling mentions Coupang as a healthy place. It may be so at certain seasons of the year; but I found it widely different.]

The soil, as far as examined, cannot in general be called good; there are, however, several fertile patches; but it would not answer either in an agricultural or pastoral point of view. Admitting that the land was good, and capable of producing valuable crops, yet the price of labour would prevent its being cultivated with advantage, especially as it is situated so near to India, whence rice could be procured at a very low rate.

Although in the quality of wood it falls short of Melville Island, yet there is a sufficiency, well enough adapted for ordinary purposes.

The bay abounds with various kinds of excellent fish, but from want of a proper seine the quantity caught was not very considerable. The Satellite's people (being better provided) had no difficulty in catching an ample supply daily, not only sufficient for the ship's company, but also for all in the settlement. The Malays caught fish readily with a hook, but none of our people had any success by that method.

It may not be out of place now to give a few particulars as to the character of the Aborigines of this part of New Holland.


In personal appearance they bear some resemblance to the natives about Port Jackson. They are, however, better made, and possess more intelligent, and perhaps more savage countenances,—they go entirely naked, and their shoulders, breasts, nates, and thighs, are ornamented with cicatrices, resembling the braiding of a hussar's jacket. Their hair is long, generally straight, and powdered with red earth.

Some of them wear a fillet of net work, about two or three inches wide, bound tightly round the waist, and a similar ornament round the head and arms; and sometimes a necklace of net work hanging a considerable length down the back.

Many of them have the front tooth in the upper jaw knocked out in the same manner as the Port Jackson natives mentioned by Captain Collins. They paint their faces, and frequently their entire bodies, with red earth; those who are inclined to be dandies, draw one or two longitudinal lines of white, across the forehead, and three similar on each cheek; and a few who appeared to be exquisites, had another white line drawn from the forehead to the tip of the nose. The nasal cartilage is invariably perforated; but it is only on particular occasions that they introduce a bone or piece of wood, and sometimes a feather through it.

In this part of the coast, the natives are divided into three distinct classes, who do not intermarry. The first and highest is named Mandro-gillie, the second, Manbur-gē, and the third, Mandro-willie.

The first class assumes a superiority over the others, which is submitted to without reluctance; and those who believe in real difference of blood amongst civilized nations, might find here some apparent ground for such opinion, as the Mandro-gillies were observed to be more polite, and unaffectedly easy in their manners, than the others, who, it was supposed, were neither so shrewd nor so refined: this, however, might be only imaginary.

Mariac (or Wellington as he was named by Captain Stirling), the chief of the country round Raffles Bay and Port Essington, is apparently about thirty-three years of age, nearly five feet eight inches in height: he limps in his walk, but whether from a wound received in foreign or domestic war, I did not learn. His features are regular, and, while he is in a good humour, placid and benign; but, on the least displeasure, which arose frequently from slight causes, they gleamed with savage fury.

He has evidently much sway among his tribe; as even Miago, although so much in favour with us, has been observed to fall back, by a look and a word from his chief. From Miago's possessing a turn for fun and mimickry, and his unrivalled dexterity in throwing the spear, he had become a favourite in the camp, to the great annoyance of Wellington, who seemed to view him in the same light that Haman did Mordecai.

Wellington gave Captain Barker to understand, that presents to any of his people should only come through himself; and he occasionally exhibited so much ill-humour at deviations from this request, that Captain Barker thought it prudent to cut him for some time.

The natives generally go in parties of from six to twelve; Wellington, however, usually went at some distance apart, accompanied only by one. When the settlement was formed, his attendant was Iacama, a Manburge (called, by Captain Stirling, Waterloo).

Miago had then the honour of being his travelling companion, but lost the office, from the attention he received in the camp. He was succeeded by Olobo, a Mandrogillie, as timorous as a hare. When we left the settlement, Monanoo, the younger brother of the chief of Croker's Island, held that distinguished employment.

It is difficult to say whether they are accompanied in their excursions by their women, but it is probable that they are not. As far as we could learn, the natives never penetrate far into the interior, generally keeping along the shore, and occasionally cutting across any projecting point of land.

Their food chiefly consists of fish, which they spear very dexterously. Catching turtle seems to be a favourite occupation with them, and they appear quite adepts in that useful art. It is to point the spears, used for that purpose, that they estimate and covet iron so much. They also make use of shell-fish, which it is probably the business of the women to collect. They do not eat the trepang (so desired by Chinese epicures), which is in great abundance all along the coast; but the various native esculent roots and fruits, together with cabbage-palms, afford an agreeable addition to their usual fare.*

[* They are cleanly in their manners, and, in some respects, superior to the Europeans,—fulfilling the injunction of Moses in the twelfth and thirteenth verses of the twenty-third chapter of Deuteronomy.]

They are very fond of honey, which appears to be in abundance, as they were seldom seen in the settlement without a supply of that article; and when they went into the woods on purpose to procure it, they soon returned successful. Their mode of proceeding was, to watch the movements of the bees, (which requires a keen eye, and long practice,) and as soon as they saw them settle on a tree, they proceeded to cut it down, which they effected with their stone hatchets, much quicker than could be imagined. It was for this purpose that Waterloo ran away with the axe, "after having seen and tried its use," judging, rightly, that it was preferable to his own ley-book (i.e. hatchet).

Respecting the number of the natives, there was no means of forming anything like a correct opinion; yet, judging from the rapidity with which they collected, when one of their countrymen was confined,** it may be conjectured, that they are by no means thinly spread.

[** Vide page 76.]

On the occasion alluded to, two natives, who had observed Luga taken into custody, left the settlement, and spread the tidings. In the evening, Wooloogary arrived, accompanied by fifty men at arms. From the time the two natives left, until Wooloogary's arrival, there was an interval of six hours; they had to walk two or three miles, and to cross and re-cross a strait two miles wide. It is difficult to know whether they would have acted hostilely, had their friend not been released; perhaps they only came to intercede in his behalf, and, according to the custom of civilized politicians, thought their request might be better attended to, by making a formidable appearance.

The only warlike weapons that they used (as far as we could learn) were spears, of different forms and sizes; the largest are from nine to ten feet long: some are serrated, and named burreburai; others are headed with a sharp stone, and named imburbē. They use the throwing stick, named rogorook, which is exactly of the same form, and made in the same manner, as that in use among the natives about Port Jackson. Besides these, they have small sharp-pointed spears, which they chiefly use in the spearing of fish.

We could not learn whether they were in the habit of fighting with each other, or with neighbouring tribes; but spear wounds being by no means uncommon among them, it is probable that, in this respect, they also resemble their eastern Australian brethren. It is well known, however, that they wage continual war with the Malays, who, it was evident, both hated and feared them.

It does not appear that the Marēgĕ the name given by the Malays to the natives) are altogether to blame, or, at least, they may plead in extenuation that, as the Mulwadie (as they call the Malays) come to their coasts without leave asked or obtained, and carry away the trepang, and, more particularly, the much-valued madjendie (i.e. turtle), it is but fair that they should catch a canoe whenever they can; and that they are pretty successful in this way, appeared very evident to us,—all their canoes being of Malay construction.

Although it may seem rather paradoxical, yet I do not hesitate to say, that the natives, far from being such untameable savages as originally represented, are, in reality, a mild and merciful race of people. They appeared to be fond of their wives and children; at least, they talked of them with much apparent affection. They have frequently interposed their good offices in preventing the soldiers' children from being chastised: I have seen them run between the mother and child, and beg the former to desist from her (as it appeared to them) unnatural conduct, in punishing her own offspring.

They are, like all uncivilized people, very irascible, but easily pacified; in short, they require to be managed just like children. They were easily taught to distinguish conventional right from wrong, and many instances occurred, which proved their aptitude in this respect.

Miago, after having become honest himself, once detected one of his companions endeavouring to secrete a spoon, while they were about to partake of some rice prepared for them;*—provoked by this ungrateful behaviour, he instantly took it from the delinquent, and sent him away, without permitting him to have any share of the food.

[* Captain Barker made it an invariable rule to give the natives a mess of boiled rice, all his own expense, whenever they visited the settlement. He strictly prohibited their receiving any spirits; and, as that article was very precious, his orders were the more readily complied with.]

On first visiting the settlement, a native would invariably pilfer anything that came in his way that he could secrete, but the article was always brought back by those who knew that such conduct was not tolerated by their civilized visiters.

They also soon learned to place confidence in a person whose word was to be depended on. Some of our people acted, perhaps, in rather a reprehensible manner, by promising the natives a mambrual (or some other present), merely to get rid of their importunities, without any intention of performing their promise, thinking the natives would forget the circumstance; but, in this supposition, they were completely deceived, being invariably and pertinaciously reminded of their promise, and the natives looked on them as not to be trusted in future;—on the contrary, they placed implicit reliance in those who, having given a promise, performed it punctually.

The chief objects of their desire were tomahawks, large nails, and iron hoops; but, in the progress of time, they took a fancy to various articles of dress. To obtain a shirt, was a great object with them; and they soon became so particular, that if a button were wanting in the collar or sleeves, they were not satisfied till the deficiency was remedied. A coloured handkerchief, which they used to roll neatly round the head, was also much prized.

After they became somewhat polished in their manner, if they saw anything that struck their fancy, they asked for it; if given them, they shewed no visible marks of thankfulness; and, if refused them with firmness, they laid it down quietly.

Some time before we left the coast, they could be trusted implicitly, even with those articles they most highly prized.

It may be justly presumed, that living, as they do, more agreeably to nature, they are subject to fewer diseases than man in a civilized state. But, that they are not altogether exempt from the ills attending animal existence, was very obvious.

"During the inclement and wet weather at the commencement of this year," observes Dr. Davis, "a party of the Aborigines was discovered, labouring under acute bronchitis, on a low neck of land, near the western boundary of Raffles Bay. During the continuance of the disease (which, in many instances, was severe,) they were very abstemious. The only remedies which we saw them employ, during the acute stage, were cords tied very tightly round their heads, over which they poured cold water.

"On one occasion, the chief (Wellington) lay down on the sand, and caused one of his tribe to stand on his head,—most probably for the purpose of deadening the acute pain he was suffering.

"Several of these people have deep circular impressions,—on their faces in particular,—as if caused by the small-pox. From the inability of making myself understood, the nature of the disease which produced these marks is not yet ascertained."

The natives described, in language, or, rather, by signs sufficiently significant, the history of this malady, which they call oie-boie, and which appears to be very prevalent among them. It evidently bears a resemblance, both in its symptoms and consequences, to small-pox,—being an eruptive disease, attended with fever, and leaving depressions. It frequently destroys the eyes, and I observed more than one native who had thus suffered. Mimaloo's left eye was destroyed by this disease; hence, his English name, One-eye, to which he appeared particularly partial. We could not learn whether they used any remedy, except abstinence.

They are also frequently affected with ophthalmia.

It is a singular circumstance, that the Aboriginal tribes of New Holland should possess so very little affinity of language, while in personal figure, manners, mode of life, and implements of war, there is so striking a resemblance.

The dialect of the natives of Raffles Bay is by no means inharmonious, but it was extremely difficult to obtain the true sound of their words, as it frequently happened, that the words (the correct sound of which not being caught at first) were repeated by us as near as we could guess, when they, either through indifference or complaisance, adopted our mode of pronunciation; and it required some pains, on our part, to obviate the effects of their apathy or inconvenient politeness.**

[** A few words of their language will be found in the Appendix.]

Whether they have any idea of a Superior Being, or of a future state of existence, it was impossible for us to ascertain. It was easy enough to reciprocate communication, as far as regarded objects evident to the external senses; but, as may be imagined by those conversant on the subject, any attempt to talk of abstract principles must have proved altogether fruitless.

When it is called to mind that they were just beginning to lay aside suspicion, and to visit the settlement without fear, not long before it was abandoned, it will not seem strange that these particulars, relating to them, are so scanty and imperfect. A little longer intercourse would have enabled a person (inclined to observe their manners, and learn their language) to obtain more correct and extensive information respecting the various Aboriginal tribes on this part of the coast, who, to say the least of it, were treated so cavalierly, in the first instance, by the civilized intruders on their native land.

Before concluding this brief account of Raffles Bay, I may be permitted to offer a few general remarks in recapitulation.


Not long after the formation of this settlement, unfavourable accounts were sent from it to Sydney, which, being transmitted home, completely sickened those having the direction of colonial affairs, who gave orders that it should be abandoned.

Captain Barker (who was in charge when these orders came) hesitated some time before he decided to obey them. It appeared evident to him, that the Home Government had acted solely from the unfavourable information they had hitherto received; and had they been aware that, at the present moment, the settlement was in so flourishing a condition, and that there was every reason to suppose the desired object was on the point of being obtained, these orders would have been gladly countermanded.

I say, he hesitated some time; but, recollecting that "obedience is better than sacrifice", he carried the orders into execution, though with extreme reluctance.

The alleged causes of abandonment were—1st, The unhealthiness of the climate;—2dly, The hostility of the natives;—and, 3dly, The non-visitation of the Malays.

Now, from a perusal of the preceding pages, it may appear sufficiently evident,—1st, That the climate is not unhealthy;—2dly, That the hostility of the natives was caused, or, at all events, aggravated, by the conduct of the settlers; and that as soon as conciliatory measures were adopted, their hostility ceased;***—3dly, The Malays did visit Raffles Bay, in considerable numbers; and, had the settlement continued in existence a few months longer, not only the Malays, but also many Chinese, chiefly from Batavia, would have migrated thither.

[*** In the formation of a settlement on a coast inhabited by savages, it would be worth while to be rather liberal of old iron hoops, nails, hatchets, tomahawks, &c., inasmuch, as acting in this manner would certainly prevent many annoyances, and probably save many lives, both of the intruders and of those intruded on.]

These three causes, therefore, which influenced His Majesty's ministers to abandon the north coast of New Holland are, I think, proved to be without foundation; and it is deeply to be deplored, that these shores should have been thus deserted,—after so much expense had been incurred,—after all the difficulties, necessarily attending a new settlement, had been overcome, and pleasing prospects of future prosperity had opened into view.

The principal object in forming a settlement on the north coast of New Holland has been already mentioned;**** but it is not altogether the intercourse with the Malays and Chinese that would render it of such importance,—there being other circumstances which would, at least, add to its utility. Ships proceeding to India, from the colonies on the eastern coast, would touch there, with obvious reciprocal advantage. Moreover, it would prove a convenient place of refuge in cases of shipwreck, which so frequently occur in Torres Straits, and the adjacent seas.

[**** Page 123.]

It is, however, hardly worth while to expatiate on the numerous advantages to be attained by colonizing this part of the coast, as it is not very likely that the British Government will, at least for some time to come, make any further attempt; but it is not improbable that the French or Dutch may be induced to make a trial; and there can be no doubt that a settlement, judiciously chosen, and properly conducted, would, in a very short time, become, both in a mercantile and political point of view, a place of considerable importance in the eastern world.






CHAPTER XII.

Departure from the North Coast of New Holland—Buckle's Isle proved not to exist—The Governor Phillips strikes on a Coral Rock—Arrival at Coupang—Transactions there—Departure—Savu—Benjoar—Arrival at Swan River—Freemantle—Melville Water—Mount Eliza—Perth.

WE left Port Essington (as already mentioned) on the morning of the 31st of August, for Coupang, where Captain Barker purposed to close all accounts that might have been left unsettled by the late Mr. Radford. He also intended to purchase provisions for the use of the settlement at King George the Third's Sound, being fearful that, in consequence of the wreck of the schooner Mermaid, which was laden with provisions for the use of that place, it might be suffering some inconvenience.

As it was not out of the course, the Commander of the Governor Phillips obliged me by steering direct for Buckle's Island. At eight, P.M., we were in latitude 10° 58' south, and longitude 131° 15' east; i.e., the position ascribed, on the general chart, to that island; but, although the evening was clear, we could not discern any appearance of land. It may, therefore, be safely presumed, that it does not exist.

We made Timor on Saturday, the 5th of September, and on Sunday morning, at seven, A.M., we entered the Straits of Semao. At half-past ten, the ship struck on a ledge of coral rocks, and remained there, hard and fast. After various ineffectual endeavours, we succeeded in getting her off at noon, and were glad to find that she made no more water than she did before the accident.*

[* She was built of teak, and only going about three knots an hour when she struck.]

At two, P.M., we arrived at, and anchored off, Coupang, when Captain Barker and I went on shore, to wait on the Resident and Secretary. We were informed, that Mr. Hazaart, the Resident, had proceeded on his expedition into the interior, accompanied by the Geologist, to search for the gold mines, said to exist in the mountains;—and, to repel the anticipated hostile attacks of the mountaineers,** he was accompanied by upwards of 1000 men, armed and equipped in the manner already related.***

[** The real indigenæ of Timor, who, like the ancient Britons, retired to the mountains when the parts of their country of easy access were invaded, and kept possession of, by more powerful opponents.]

[*** Vide page 65.]

The Dutch brig Merkus, in which my friend Captain Young had proceeded to Batavia, had returned to this port; and I heard, with regret, that he was dangerously ill at Batavia.****

[**** On my arrival in England, I heard the melancholy intelligence, not only of his death, but also of that of all the other officers, and the greatest part of the crew of the ill-fated Governor Ready.]

The day after our arrival, the Secretary sent his son to return our visit, and to invite us to dine, which was the more willingly accepted, as Captain Barker wished to see whether the account, which I had given him of the Secretary's epicurean style of living, had been correct; and he found that my report was not exaggerated.

We learned, that despatches had been lately received from the Resident, whose search after the precious metal had hitherto been unsuccessful, although he had examined all the mines, excepting one. We hoped that it might not turn out to be a "dowster-swivilian" business; as the disappointment might have a fatal effect on the good old Resident, whose only happiness seemed now to be centred in the success of his expedition.

We met here a Missionary, who had come from one of the small adjacent islands, for the benefit of medical advice, and change of air. The disease under which he had long laboured, intermittent fever, had emaciated him much, but had communicated additional interest to his mild and intelligent countenance. The present of a little sulphate of quinine, with directions for its use, made his hollow eyes sparkle with joy.

He spoke English very intelligibly, having received part of his evangelical education in London. He had not been particularly successful in converting the heathens whom he had taken under his pastoral care; but he had succeeded in softening their manners considerably, and restraining their accustomed habits of plundering and murdering those unfortunate beings who might, either from shipwreck, or by stratagem, fall into their power.

This, it will be admitted, is doing effectual good. Indeed, it may be affirmed, that such a rational mode of proceeding is more likely to be attended with beneficial consequences, than the endeavour to force down the throats of shrewd heathens abstruse truths, very difficult to be comprehended, even by the most enlightened; and far more so, when, from imperfect knowledge of the language necessary to communicate the desired ideas,—admitting that the teacher has a clear perception thereof in his own mind,—such subjects must appear to the uninitiated, more perplexed and obscure.

Captain Barker soon made satisfactory arrangements, relative to the unsettled commissariat accounts; and he also purchased, at a fair price, a quantity of salt beef, pork, and flour, for the use of the settlement of which he was about to take charge.

The brig, in the meantime, completed her water, which was of excellent quality, and was procured easily, and in abundance, from a rivulet, (that empties itself into the sea, a little to the eastward of the Resident's country villa,) the source of which is in the Secretary's garden, where, from a cool grot, it gushes forth with vehemence in a copious stream.

During our stay here. Captain Barker and myself made frequent excursions into the interior in various directions, being provided, through the kindness of our Coupang friends, with excellent ponies, which, though not larger than Highland shelties, carried us easily a considerable distance, notwithstanding one of us weighed little short of fifteen stone.

One evening, while taking a ride along the shore to a village a few miles to the eastward, I observed the long boat (now converted into a pleasure yacht for the Resident's son) riding quietly at anchor; and I viewed her with feelings that I hardly supposed an inanimate object could excite.

We were informed, by the master of the Mercus, that many Chinese were about to emigrate from Java to Raffles Bay, having recently learned that they would be permitted to do so. I also heard from him many anecdotes which he had acquired from personal observation relative to the mode of conducting affairs at Melville Island, confirmatory of what had been communicated to me from several authentic sources.

The total abandonment of the north coast of New Holland caused much regret to the mercantile people here, as they had anticipated great advantages from a commercial intercourse.

Captain Barker, anxious to prevent the disappointment and loss which the Malays would experience by being unacquainted with the fact, wrote another letter to the Dutch Governor of Macassar, apprising him thereof, and requesting him to communicate the intelligence to those whom it might concern.

Da'Atea was left, in charge of Mr. Tielmann, who promised to take care of him until he found a better situation. This is the person already mentioned, who ran away from one of the Macassar proas, and found his way to the settlement at Raffles Bay, and whom Captain Barker refused to give up, when claimed as a slave; but whether he acted correctly in this affair—although backed by the authority of Moses,*—may perhaps be doubted.

[* Deuteronomy, chap. xxiii. ver. 15.]

This poor fellow, who was much esteemed on account of his good humour and obliging disposition, usually worked in the garden at Raffles Bay, where he performed more labour than two or three convicts, who being sent from home, according to their own account, for doing nothing, adhere to their favourite propensity of doing as little as possible elsewhere.

We found that Da'Atea understood very imperfectly the Malayese, as spoken at Coupang, which, it appears, differs considerably from the Celebese dialect. He regretted being left at Coupang; and, had his own wishes been acceded to, he would willingly have accompanied Captain Barker, at parting with whom he was exceedingly distressed, following the boat till nearly up to his neck in water, embracing the Captain's knees, and weeping bitterly.

On Saturday, the 12th of September, at noon, all affairs being amicably arranged, we got under way, and bade adieu to the friendly and hospitable inhabitants of Coupang In order to save, as much as possible, the salt provisions, for future use. Captain Barker had purchased as many buffaloes as could be conveniently carried in the brig.

We were now bound for Swan River; and as that much praised spot had lately created considerable interest in England, I was not a little gratified that chance had thrown in my way an opportunity of paying it a visit.

On Sunday the 13th we were in sight of Savu; and as that and the neighbouring islands had been, according to Captain Laws, erroneously laid down by Captain Flinders, we thought it might not be amiss, as the wind was light, to endeavour to ascertain whether such was the fact.

From the cross bearings of Savu and Benjoar, the ship's place at noon by Flinders' chart was latitude 10° 44' 20" S. and longitude 121° 51' E. Now, the latitude observed by means of five sets of double altitudes (as the meridian altitude, on account of the intervention of the land, was not to be confided in), two being taken in the forenoon, and three in the afternoon, was 10° 45' 22"; and the longitude, deduced by chronometer, (the error and rate of which had been correctly ascertained at Raffles Bay and Coupang,) was 121° 50'; apparent time at ship known by four sets of altitudes (two, A.M. and two, P.M.) taken by different individuals, and easily reduced to noon, the ship having little way through the water; and in the evening at 7h. 40' by the observed distance between Jupiter and the moon, carried back to noon by chronometer, 121° 51' 30". Our position, therefore, it will appear, was as follows:—

Lat.   { 10° 44' 20" by Flinders.  
{ 10° 45' 22" by us.
Long   { 121° 51' by Flinders.
{ 121° 50' by our chronometer.
{ 121° 51' 30" by our lunar obs.

From this it may be presumed, that Captain Flinders has not erred in the longitude of Savu and Benjoar; and although we had much respect for the accuracy of Captain Laws, yet, being aware that he had passed these islands very rapidly, we concluded that he had rather hastily assigned to them a different position.

During our progress south, which, from light and adverse winds, was not very rapid, we experienced a westerly current, running, on an average, half a knot an hour, till we made the coast of New Holland.

On Sunday, October the 11th, we made the land near Cape Le Seuer, and noticed that the coast was strewed with coral reefs; we kept working to windward, the wind blowing from the south, attended by a heavy swell, and we experienced at the same time a north-westerly current.

I may here remark, that the buffaloes taken on board at Coupang throve very well, not one of them having died. This circumstance was so different from what had always occurred when Government vessels were sent from the settlements on the north coast to Coupang for buffaloes, &c., that it became a subject worthy of observation. The reason, however, was sufficiently obvious. In this instance proper care was taken of them, and in the former cases the reverse occurred.

On Friday, October the 16th, we stood in towards land, which we judged to be to the southward of Buache, intending to pass between it and the main; but on a nearer approach, the appearance of the opening not being very inviting, we kept away a little, so as to pass close to the northern extremity of the island; towards the evening we descried Rottenest, which presented a singular appearance, resembling so many pyramids based on the sea.

Just before dark, the ships were descried at anchor nearly east of us; the sharp-sighted folks were immediately on the look-out, in order to discover whether the brigs Amity and Thompson were among the number. We imagined, that our arrival not taking place until so long after theirs, some unfavourable surmises might have arisen regarding our safety.

We advanced slowly and cautiously; the lead being strictly attended to. As we drew near the island, in the apparent fair channel, the water became suddenly shoal, and the cry of "by the mark four" was succeeded by "hard a-starboard." We kept away north, and after a second and third attempt, equally checked by shoal-water, it was deemed prudent to stand off under easy sail until next morning. Fortunately the sea was smooth, and the southern wind blew very gently.

At daylight, not deeming it advisable to pass to the southward of Rottenest, we proceeded round the north side of that island, and passed between it and the main, keeping about mid-channel, and proceeding on with great care, for which there was much need, as we could occasionally discern the bottom very plainly.

The appearance of the coast, as we sailed along, was different from what we had lately been accustomed to; being either destitute of trees, or very slenderly clothed by patches of stunted growth. Viewed from where we were, it presented the aspect of sheep-downs, backed by elevated land, named "the Darling range", which extends parallel to, and about twenty miles distant from, the coast.

We were astonished that we could not yet perceive the mouth of the mighty river, although we were only two or three miles from the ships, which we imagined were anchored somewhere near it. The telescope was in much requisition; yet even aided by that useful instrument, the sharpest eye could not satisfactorily make it out, the line of coast appearing unbroken.

It surprised us much that Vlaming could have seen it from Rottenest, at the distance, according to his account, of thirty miles. We noticed at anchor three ships and one brig (which looked like the Thompson), and in shore we perceived a dismantled vessel, which we supposed might be the temporary abode of the Governor and other public officers.

Full of surmises and conjectures, we arrived at, and anchored in Gage's Roads, near the other ships; and were shortly afterwards boarded by a well-dressed and smart-looking gentleman, who immediately began to rate our poor skipper for not having hove-to when he perceived him endeavouring to reach the vessel; but on receiving a soft answer, his wrath began to subside, and he was pleased to be communicative.

He told us that the Governor resided at Perth, some distance up the river, where the head-quarters were established; that another river, named the Murray, had been recently discovered; that a great number of settlers had already arrived from England, most of whom yet resided at Freemantle, the sea-port town; that nineteen ships had entered the roads; that all the land on the banks of the river was already given away; and that the dismantled vessel was the Marquis of Anglesey, driven on shore, having parted from three cables in a N.W. gale; he also pointed out to us the mouth of the river, and we were greatly disappointed by its apparent insignificancy.

Captain Barker received an epistle from Dr. Davis, by which he learned that the Governor declined having any thing to do with the stores landed from the Thompson and Amity,** accepting only of the live animals and two buoys.

[** The Amity had sailed some time ago for King George's Sound.]

Being informed, that by a boat belonging to H.M.S. Sulphur, there was daily intercourse to and from Perth, Captain Barker, anxious to communicate with the Governor, left the vessel with the intention of proceeding thither; but the boat had departed some time before he reached the shore. In the evening, Mr. Hickey, who had remained behind in the brig Thompson, to look after the stores, came on board, and gave us all the "chit chat" and "on dits" of this already apparently bustling settlement.

After having taken a walk on shore. Captain Barker returned, with the intelligence, that the land, which looked well at a distance, derived its verdant fruitful-like appearance from innumerable shrubs, and that it was in reality very barren. He made arrangements for proceeding to Perth next morning in the brig's boat; and I accepted, very willingly, the expected invitation to accompany him.

On Sunday morning, the 18th of October, after breakfast, we left the brig, and proceeded on our interesting expedition. The commander of the brig Thompson, who had come on board to visit the Commandant, offered (as he was also bound for Perth) to pilot us up the river, which he said was rather intricate: this gentleman also procured us the loan of a No. of the Quarterly Review, containing an article on Swan River. In the boat we were provided with an azimuth compass, a lead line, the French account of the river, the Quarterly Review, and various remarks which we had gleaned from the newspapers.

At 10.45, A.M., we entered the mouth of the river, and had soundings—only half a fathom on the bar; this was considerably lower than we had anticipated, and not likely to afford convenient egress or ingress, even for moderately laden boats. After having passed the bar, we observed several tents pitched in a low sandy neck of land, which we understood was the site of Freemantle, so named in compliment to Captain Freemantle, of H.M.S. Challenger, from the circumstance of his having taken possession of it, some time before the arrival of Captain Stirling.

We proceeded up the river, sounding and making other observations as we went along. Passing the military cantonment, situated on the left bank, about a mile from Freemantle, we noticed several straggling huts, apparently belonging to sawyers and boat-builders. On the right bank, on a picturesque projection of land, we saw a tent belonging to Captain Curry, R.N., the harbour-master.

The first view of Melville Water is very pretty. After passing Mount Eliza, a hill considerably elevated above the adjacent eminences, we came into view of Perth, situated about a mile higher up, on the same side of the river, and reckoned about eleven miles from Freemantle.

We landed at a jetty of considerable length, the water being very shallow. We found the Governor just on the point of starting with some friends and attendants on an expedition up the river. He invited Captain Barker and myself to join the party, but I declined the honour, having met with an old friend, Lieutenant Roe, R.N., who filled the situation of Surveyor-General. Captain Barker proceeded with the Governor; and I remained with my friend, who informed me, that he was to proceed up the river next morning, in order to measure the river frontages of land granted to various emigrants; and I congratulated myself in being able to take advantage of accompanying him.

At daylight, I arose and took a walk through the town;—the intended principal street of which, named St. George's Terrace,—where the future beaux and belles of Western Australia may, in after times, show off their reciprocal attractive charms—was, at present, only adorned with lofty trees, and a variety of lovely flowers.

In my perambulations, I fell in with the written newspaper of the place, appended to a stately eucalyptus tree, where, among other public notices, I observed the Governor's permission for one individual to practise as a notary, another as a surgeon, and a third as an auctioneer.

There did not appear to be an opposition tree, and so much the better; as, although a free press may do good to a community arrived at a certain state of perfection, yet I think it may be doubted how far it can be serviceable in an incipient colony, where private affairs are narrowly noticed, and animadverted on: hence spring jealousies, ill feeling, and their numerous train of disagreeable attendants.

I noticed another advertisement (not on the public tree), stating, that Mr. —— would supply his friends with fresh beef at such a price (I think one shilling per pound). The word friends was scratched out, and the word public substituted,—by some person who, doubtless, thought thereby to check the free and easy manner of the proffered purveyor.

I also met an old shipwrecked companion, the carpenter of the Governor Ready, who, I learned, had left the Amity, with the intention of trying his fortune here. As he was an excellent workman, and very industrious, I had much pleasure in being instrumental in obtaining for him a convenient location by the water side.

It struck us with some surprise, that there was not a clergyman of any denomination here,—a person holding a sacred office, if not absolutely necessary, being, at least, of great utility everywhere, and more particularly in the formation of a colony. I understood, however, that the Commandant of the troops read prayers weekly, not only to those under his immediate controul, but also to all others who chose to attend.






CHAPTER XIII.

Excursion up Swan River—Fertility of the Land above Perth—Return to Perth—Proceed down the River—Weather-bound at Freemantle—Governor's Levee in the open air—General Observations regarding the Settlement—Visit to Rottenest—Return to Gage's Roads.

AFTER an early breakfast, on Monday, the 19th, Mr. Roe and myself walked to a government farm, situated a little above "Heirrison's Isles", where we met the boat, which the crew were obliged to drag over the flats, on account of the shallowness of the water.

The view to the southward was exceedingly picturesque,—equally so as the far-famed scenery of the lakes of Killarney. This spot is intended for suburban villas, and appears well adapted for such a purpose.

We entered the boat, and proceeded up the river; the banks of which, at a short distance above Perth, assumed a most fertile and verdant aspect. While Mr. Roe stopped, at stated distances, to mark the trees, I walked smartly, at right angles from the course of the river, to learn how far the rich alluvial land extended backwards. It varied from two hundred to twelve hundred yards. Beyond this, however, the land was, in many places, a rich red loam, capable of bearing excellent crops.

We stopped at a government farm (where we left our food until our return, under the charge of Mr. Drummond, the superintendent), situated opposite to the embouchure of the Helena river. Having rested, and partaken of some refreshment, we resumed our course up the river, and I could not avoid noticing, that the French account of it was exceedingly correct.

Having advanced within a few miles of the spot where the river becomes navigable, Mr. Roe finished his professional duty; and the day drawing to a close, the master's mate in charge of the boat, who had long been hinting about its being time to return, on account of the men's dinner (perhaps, also, feeling the stings of hunger himself), now insisted on doing so, and we accordingly turned back, and arrived, late in the evening, at the place where we intended to pass the night.

A convenient shelter was soon erected, to defend us from the rain; and a large half-burned tree being rekindled opposite the entrance, soon diffused a genial warmth, and an air of comfort, well known to those fond of a bush-life. We sat down, with hearty appetites, to an excellent meal, and enjoyed ourselves much, laughing heartily at the misfortune that befel the Governor and his party, who, Mr. Drummond informed us, had lost themselves (or rather their way) last evening, in endeavouring to reach this place, and were consequently compelled to remain in the bush all night, suffering from hunger, and exposed to cold, and heavy rain.

Next morning, we proceeded down the river, and reached Perth early in the afternoon. On my arrival there, I was told that Captain Barker had gone down to Freemantle in the morning; and although Mr. Roe invited me to remain a day or two, I thought it more prudent to follow, as speedily as possible, lest I might be left behind,—not knowing what arrangements Captain Barker might have entered into.

I therefore started next morning, Wednesday, the 21st,—having got a passage in H.M.S. Sulphur's boat; and, after two hours' sail, I landed at the military cantonment, and walked into Freemantle, where I learned that nothing had been done on board the Governor Phillips; there having been no communication between the shipping and the shore, in consequence of the blowing weather, and heavy sea.

I sat down on the brow of Arthur's Head, and reperused the article in the Quarterly Review, and regretted that I could not agree with the account, that "between the roadstead and the shore the communication is convenient, and the access easy, as well by night as by day." While musing on the ways and means to get something to eat, I observed the Governor coming along, at a brisk pace, with the intention of going over to Buache, or, as he has named it, Garden Island; of course he was wind-bound also.

In a short time, the news having spread that the Governor was in the camp, he was surrounded by many individuals; and, as I had never before seen a levee held in the open air, I took up a favourable position, in order to observe the ceremony. I thought I could discern, in the Governor's countenance, some annoyance that he had been thus caught; but being so, he assumed an air of determination to be as civil and condescending as possible.

Many passengers had arrived by the Atwick, who, it appeared, were now to be presented. The first was a gigantic, fierce-looking gentleman, dressed, I suppose, in the newest London fashion, who had been at some pains with his toilette; and it was very evident that he considered himself of no small importance. I thought at first, that he was ill adapted for the line of life into which he was about to enter; but on further consideration, I concluded, that if he took as much pains to cultivate the land, as he appeared to have successfully bestowed on the culture of his whiskers, he might surpass those less careful in their attire; especially as his martial frown might tend to keep his servants in due obedience.

Next came a pert-looking, smartly-dressed gentleman, who seemed to plume himself on his white kid gloves, neatly-tied cravat, well-polished boots, and scented white handkerchief. I thought he would have been more at home, behind the counter of a fashionable London repository, distributing ribbons and lace to the fair damsels, than wandering about the wilds of Australia, in fruitless search of land, abounding in ready-made houses, and growing corn.

Next came a stout-looking personage, having all the appearance of a substantial English yeoman, whose jolly features, albeit a little shrunk from his sea fare, indicated a long acquaintance with beef and ale. He had not half told his story, when he was interrupted (contrary to all the rules of etiquette) by the dapper-looking gentleman, who, doubtless, thought his conversation more interesting, and agreeable to his Excellency; but he was, in turn, interrupted by the yeoman, who appeared determined to have his "say" out.

Then came a modest-looking young man, who presented two letters to his Excellency, and looked round the surrounding throng, with an expression of face that seemed to say, "My fortune is made." He appeared confirmed in this opinion, by a few civil words from His Excellency, who put the letters in his pocket, perhaps never to be opened; or, if so, not attended to,—the common fate of letters of introduction.

Many more had an interview; the greater part of whom did not at all appear adapted to undergo the privations and fatigues necessarily attendant on settling in a new country, even under the most favourable circumstances.

His Excellency was evidently tired long before the conclusion of the levee; but, as he could not bow his clients out of the drawing-room, he was obliged to back astern, which he did, with much dexterity, until he came to a spot of swampy ground, where he could not be surrounded, which he jumped over, bowed courteously to the assembled throng, and walked away, as fast as decorum would permit, fearful that he might be overtaken before he reached the boat; which, as soon as he entered, was pulled with all speed towards Perth.

The Governor's situation was certainly not much to be envied. All the land on the banks of the Swan, of which these emigrants had heard such flattering accounts, and of which they naturally expected to obtain a slice, after having come so far for that purpose, was already, and, perhaps, improvidently given away.

There is no doubt, therefore, that, although their own foolishly sanguine expectations might have contributed to blind them, yet there existed some legitimate cause for grumbling, which, it is well known, John Bull has a wonderful propensity to indulge in, frequently ex causis non æquis;—It may not, therefore, be wondered at, if it were rather unrestrainedly indulged in, as I have every reason to believe it was, on the present occasion.

Among the number, I observed several faces not unknown to me, and I was also recognized by them. I went into the tent of Mr. Lord, formerly a merchant in Calcutta, now supercargo of the Ephemina, where I received some refreshment, of which I stood in much need; and shortly afterwards I met another acquaintance, a respectable settler, from the Derwent, who had brought, amongst other things, several horses for sale, and he politely accommodated me with the loan of one.

I rode about twelve miles to the southward, over very uneven ground, and obtained a good view of Cockburn Sound. The land did not bear a blade of grass, but was studded with a variety of beautiful plants.*

[* Having selected several of these I carried them to Sydney, and presented them to my friend Mr. Cunningham, who pronounced them all new. Among others, one particularly struck my fancy—a splendid red and green velvetty-looking flower,—an undescribed anigozanthus.]

I returned by the beach, and a few miles from the river, I observed a long boat on the shore, with several things in her, which, as it afterwards appeared, belonged to the Atwick, having been blown a-drift from her, by the strength of the wind.

On my return, I received an invitation to the tent of a settler, where I met several others, who had assembled to spend the evening. The general topic of conversation was, of course, relative to land. I ventured to deprecate the idea of giving such large grants, but was cut short by one of Colonel Latour's agents, who clearly proved that it was exceedingly advantageous. I then hinted, that I thought the colony could not get on well without the aid of convict labour; but here I met with still greater opposition, as it was universally allowed, that if the soil were to be polluted with those sort of people,** no gentleman of respectability would have anything to do with it. This was, of course, an argument not to be controverted; so I thought it more prudent to be a listener for the remainder of the evening. At length, I retired, leaving a portion of the company busily engaged in endeavouring to overreach each other in petty barter.

[** It appeared to me, that many of those I saw, although belonging to the undetected part of the community, owed such advantage more to good luck than to their own undeviating adherence to the moral law.]

Next morning, although it was blowing strongly, I was enabled, (being favoured with a passage in the Ephemina's long-boat,) to reach the Governor Phillips, after four hours' hard beating.

I was informed by Captain Barker, that all the stores were to be re-embarked, which, as nothing had yet been done, on account of the blowing weather, would occupy some time. I also learned, that he had obtained the Governor's sanction to leave behind one of the prisoners, the period of whose sentence had expired a few weeks ago. This man was a sawyer, and, therefore, a very useful person.

On Friday, the weather having moderated, the brig's crew were busily employed in getting off the stores. Captain Barker went on shore, to superintend operations, and I took a walk of observation round the nascent seaport town of Freemantle. As all ceremony is soon waved, I fell into conversation with a gentleman, busily employed in building a punt; he was not long in giving me to understand, that he had been a captain in the army,—that he had sold out,—and, as he had, thereby, lost seven shillings a day, he was now employed in making it up, as he thought his work equal to that amount. He told me he was a good musician, and passionately fond of music; and that he was completely out of his element here. So thought I; yet the building of a flat-bottomed boat shewed both talent, ingenuity, and a determination to do some good,—whereas, the generality of the others chiefly employed themselves, in smoking cigars, drinking brandy-and-water, and abusing Mr. Fraser.***

[*** The colonial botanist who accompanied Captain Stirling from Sydney to Swan River, of which he gave so flattering an account.]

I observed the greater part of the servants—sturdy, idle-looking fellows—either walking vacantly about, or standing in groups, apparently hatching mischief.

Before going on board, I assisted Captain Barker to take some observations, in order to ascertain the variation of the compass.

Having learned from the master of the Admiral Gifford, who arrived here yesterday from Coupang, that he had not found less than three-and-a-half fathoms water in his passage over the reef, I was anxious to determine the point; and the master of the Ephemina, seeming to take some interest in the affair, he, and Mr. Lord the supercargo, agreed to go with me. Accordingly, on the twenty-fifth, at eight A.M., we left Gage's roads in the Ephemina's long boat. I found a very agreeable addition to the party, in Captain Bannister; and, as I had the pleasure of the acquaintance of his brother, the late Attorney-general of New South Wales, and other members of his family, we soon became on friendly terms.

We stood out towards the passage where we had observed the schooner to enter, sounding constantly and carefully; and as we never got less than five, ten, seven, and four fathoms, we were pleased with the idea of discovering a new passage, but just as we thought it was all right, we had only two fathoms; we tried twice or thrice, but got no more; in a short time, in passing over the ledge, we deepened to five fathoms; the ledge did not seem more than thirty yards wide; it therefore appeared to us, that the schooner, which only drew six feet water, passed over this, which she might easily do unknowingly, between the different times of heaving the lead.

Although we were not successful in finding the New Channel we expected, yet we did some good, by showing that a passage did not exist, as might have been supposed by the safe passage of the schooner.

We then bore away for Rottenest, where we arrived about three P.M. in a fine sandy bay, four fathoms deep, within a few fathoms of the shore, protected from all winds excepting the south, which seldom blows strong. It was universally allowed to be a very fit place for a fishing establishment.

Having landed, we left the boat's crew to kindle a fire, and make preparations for cooking dinner, which we went in search of, intending, at the same time, to view the island.

We struck to the westward, and having seen (from an eminence) what was alleged to be a vessel, stranded on the beach, with her masts gone, we directed our steps thither, highly pleased with the discovery: there was a little difference of opinion as to who saw her first; but, that was not allowed to weigh in the balance, as, it was supposed, there would be enough for us all.

In going along, however, a question arose how far we might be justified in taking any thing from her; or indeed whether we could lay claim even to salvage. These questions and surmises, as to what vessel it could be, occupied our attention as we went along,—a nearer view still confirming us in the truth of our conjectures.

The vessel appeared to be lying aground at a little distance from, and with her stem towards, the shore. It was now evident to us, that she must have parted from her ground tackle, in a gale of wind, and thus driven on the shore. Captain Bannister and myself, having left the others far behind, agreed to swim off and take joint possession of her; and as in doing so we should have to run some risk from sharks, which are here very numerous and of great size, we justly considered that we need not be very particular in taking an exact inventory of her small stores.

It was further agreed, that Captain Bannister should take up his abode for some time in the vessel, which would afford better accommodation, and be more secure than his tent at Freemantle, where he was obliged to walk sentry, in turn with a trusty servant, every night to guard his property;—a precaution absolutely necessary, for, notwithstanding the absence of convicts, the camp was little better than a den of thieves.

By this time we had approached within about half a mile of our imagined prize, which now began to assume an appearance that rather staggered us; and by walking a little farther, we were sufficiently satisfied that the supposed ship was a small detached rock, which even now, bore much resemblance to a dismasted vessel.

Laughing at our disappointment, we bent our way north-east, until we came to about the centre of the island, where we observed a salt-water lagoon; and then a south course brought us to our rendezvous, where we arrived long before our companions.

The dogs having caught two wallabi, we had them dressed against their return, which did not take place till the evening was far spent.

They found much difficulty in getting back, and were evidently greatly fatigued, and would have preferred their usual bed; although the sand was soft, the night serene, and the sapphire canopy beautifully bespangled with glittering stars.

In the morning, as soon as day broke, we went to take another view of the island, and, at the same time, to procure kangaroos for our friends; we had not proceeded far from the shore, when Mr. Lord shot—not a kangaroo—but a snake, about five feet long. He and the others, not seeming to relish this kind of game, which it was imagined the island abounded in, thought it advisable to return to the boat immediately; nor could they be convinced that, with a little caution, there was no danger to be dreaded.

The foundation of the island Rottenest is of coral, and the superstructure almost entirely sand; and there is no doubt that the lagoon is supplied from the salt water percolating through.

The island is about seven miles long, and from one to two broad. The hummocks are sand hills, many of which are entirely destitute of any kind of herbage; in the valleys are some stunted trees and shrubs, and a very little grass. It appeared astonishing to us, that Vlaming could speak in raptures of this island, which we found so miserably barren.

We had much difficulty in getting the boat launched, which the receding tide had left dry. We then beat out of the bay, and made the best of our way to Gage's Roads, through a fine opening in the reef, about four fathoms and a half deep.

Although we had been disappointed, in not finding a good passage by the way the schooner came in, yet we presumed that our little cruize had not been unattended with the acquisition of some useful knowledge, as we had discovered a good anchorage on the S.E. side of Rottenest, fit for the reception of small vessels, and altogether a place well adapted for a whaling establishment; besides, we had shown that a very practicable passage exists between it and Gage's Roads.






CHAPTER XIV.

Excursion up the River Canning—A Native Village—Darling Range—Friendly interview with the Natives—Their sudden departure—We return to our Encampment on the River.

AS, under the most favourable circumstances, the stores could not be re-embarked in less than a week, Captain Barker and myself projected a cruise up the river Canning, which had not, as yet, been particularly examined.

On Tuesday, the 27th of October, every thing being arranged for our departure. Captain Barker, Captain Bannister, myself, and several others, started in the whale-boat, with all the instruments we could muster, that we might be able to ascertain the exact position of any remarkable places which we might fall in with.

In the evening, instead of proceeding to Perth, we bivouacked at the foot of Mount Eliza, as we were anxious to ascertain its latitude and longitude; it being in our opinion the place where, should Perth flourish, an observatory will, in after times, be formed.

We kindled a fire, and had tea prepared, which, being made with the water of the river, tasted rather brackish; but it was sufficiently palatable, when tempered with brandy or schiedam, of which we partook with moderation; then some retired to rest, and others passed the night in observing the culmination of several stars, to ascertain the latitude;—the sun's meridional altitude, at this season of the year, being too great to be measured by the usual means.

Next morning, we started before breakfast, intending to enjoy it, after we had ascended some distance up the Canning, purposing to stop at a group of islets, where we expected to meet the Governor, Surveyor-general, and a numerous train of gentlemen, who had been invited to accompany them on their present expedition, which had for its object—to take an eye survey of the river, to trace it to its head, and to observe the nature of the land in its immediate vicinity.

We proceeded slowly, and paid much attention to sounding, particularly after we entered its mouth, named by the French "Moreau's Inlet". Having proceeded nearly south for three or four miles, we perceived that the river's course was from the eastward.

About ten o'clock we arrived at the appointed rendezvous, and having landed, we conveyed our cooking and astronomical instruments on shore, and commenced, without delay, to put them in use. The water here was quite fresh, so that we enjoyed a strong cup of tea, which removed the headach, caused by want of sleep.

We took altitudes of the sun, to ascertain the longitude by means of the pocket chronometers, and also for double altitudes, the sun passing too near the zenith to admit of his meridional altitude being taken. After having waited until the sun's declining altitude was equal to what we had observed in the forenoon, we thought it might be as well to proceed up the river, as there were no signs of the arrival of the Governor or any of his party, although the time, agreed on for our meeting, was long past.

We accordingly resumed our way; but our progress was soon impeded by shallow water, and we were further puzzled as to which channel (of which there were several) was the best.

A channel being at length selected, chiefly from the recent track of a boat's keel, which we meant to follow, we were all obliged to get out, and shove the boat along for some distance, when the channel contracted to about ten feet wide, and from two to five feet deep.

Proceeding up this a short distance, we met a boat belonging to the brig Thompson, and, ere long, discovered her worthy commander in possession of one of the islets, on which he invited us to land, with as much courtesy as if he had been in his own house; we did so, and he showed us its varied advantages with much satisfaction.

We entered his tent, which was well stored with a profusion of corn'd beef, cold fowls, Scotch ale, and London porter, and we partook willingly of his cheerfully proffered hospitality,—wishing him and his successors to enjoy health, prosperity, happiness, and all other blessings that are usually bestowed, in liberal abundance, on the givers of good fare.

He informed us, that he had obtained the Government charter to proceed to Van Dieman's Land for sheep and cattle; that he had also obtained a grant of 4000 acres of land (of which he was now in search), and that he intended to settle, with his wife and children, in the colony.

I was rather surprised at this information, as I knew he had been among the number of those who abused the colony,—predicting that it never would come to any good; but I learned that his former antipathy arose from his having been, shortly after his arrival, severely bitten by an uncivil dog, which had come from Raffles Bay in his own vessel.

Observing that I made no reply to his remark, he asked me, "What is your opinion. Doctor? don't you think the colony will succeed?" "Why, it is hard to say: I think the anchorage much against it: look at the Marquis of Anglesey on shore already! what may be expected in the winter months?"—"Oh! the anchorage is good enough, it was a lubberly trick to let her go on shore; the colony must succeed; there is nothing can prevent it."

Such was the change in opinion effected by having obtained the charter and a grant of land.—I believe that a similar change sometimes happens from less convincing arguments.

Learning that we were bound farther up, he accompanied us, and I promised to render him my assistance, in the selection of his land. About six o'clock, we arrived at the navigable source of the river, where we agreed to pass the evening.

We had scarcely got our things on shore when the Governor and his party came up to us, he was leading the way, apparently, quite unfatigued; while several of his cortege could just manage, by their utmost exertions, not to be distanced (a sad thing in pathless woods); and I have no doubt they heard, with regret, His Excellency's intention to proceed farther up.

Captain Barker had been invited to be of his party, and of course joined it here; and off they went at a good round pace; the boat was to follow with stores and provisions, but whether well supplied, there was some doubt, the Governor being rather careless, in the way of provender.

We were also invited to join the train; but although we considered a monarchical form of government the best, yet we preferred a republican party of pleasure, and accordingly remained where we were.

Our fellow-voyager. Captain Hobbs, appeared determined to make himself comfortable, and, assisted by his boys, soon made, with his boat's sails, a very snug tent. Two or three boats filled with respectable emigrants brought up near us; and the place presented rather an animated appearance.

After having fixed our make-shift observatory, and taken a few observations, we took a detour to the southward, in order to observe the nature of the land; and we extended our walk, till approaching night admonished us to return.

Captain Bannister and Captain Hobbs both determined to fix their choice here, without farther search, and I advised them by all means to do so, if they could get the land (which I very much doubted), as, from its quality and local advantages, I suspected that it would either be a government reserve, or be given to some person, having a supposed superior claim to government indulgence.

On our way home we met two gentlemen. Lieutenant Everard, R.N. and Mr. Talbot, who, I understood from Captain Barker, had wished to come from Freemantle in our boat to meet the Governor: but they had missed their passage, and were consequently obliged to walk a considerable distance;—and being fatigued, they had no wish to proceed in search of the other party;—preferring to remain with us.

On the morning at day-light, we renewed our journey; and experienced considerable difficulty in getting the boat over the rapids; we then pulled some distance in a deep reach, but our progress was, from the frequent interruption of fallen trees and stumps, very slow.

A short distance brought us to other falls, which we also passed over; but at last recollecting that the boat was made to carry us, and not we to carry the boat, it was determined to leave her, and proceed by land.

We looked out for a convenient spot, brought every thing on shore, and erected an observatory; we then took a slight breakfast, as we had proposed to have a long day's march, over a tract of country, hitherto—as far as we knew—unexplored by any European.

About seven A.M. Lieutenant Everard, Captain Bannister, Mr. Talbot, and myself, started on our pedestrian expedition; each carrying a bottle of water, and a little bread, cheese, and brandy; and Captain Bannister had a fowling-piece.

We pursued a due course east half south, and arrived at the foot of the Darling Range, having crossed a considerable stream, and passed over very indifferent land; forming part, I believe, of Mr. Peel's extensive grant.

We ascended the Range by an easy piss, through which a considerable stream of water flowed down with rapidity. On gaining the summit of the first range, we had a very extensive and beautiful view from the N.W. round to south. The extensive plots of land, free from trees, appeared to our view quite verdant and luxuriant, but we knew from experience, that these apparently fertile spots (chiefly Mr. Peel's) were in reality very barren.

We continued our course in the same direction through the mountains, keeping the wimpling-burn on our left.

We suddenly came to a native village, and were startled by the cries of women and children, who were running from us with all speed, and the vociferations of men who, were running towards us with poised spears. Captain Bannister instantly levelled his fowling-piece, but I requested him not to fire; and, as I thought I knew more about the natives than he did, I advanced without fear, feeling assured there was no occasion for any,—imagining that no European had been here before us.

I gave them to understand that we were in search of water, turning, at the same time, in a direction from their abandoned village; this pleased them, they laid aside their spears, and then came and joined us, without hesitation, and led us to the stream, showing us the water, which they called muga.

These natives were more muscular, and better formed, than those in the neighbourhood of Port Jackson. We had surprised them at their toilette; as they were newly painted, their noses ornamented with the leg bones of the kangaroo, and one of them had his head decorated with the red feathers of the black cockatoo.

We walked along the banks of the stream, until we came to the spot where it divided; one branch coming from the south-east, and another from the north-east. We halted here a little, and took some refreshment, in which the natives joined. Lieutenant Everard taught one of them the song named "Jolly Dick", and he appeared very apt, pronouncing every word very distinctly, except "fiddlestick", which he could make no hand of.

They appeared exceedingly quick in imitating our sounds, as they repeated very distinctly after us (and which was rather laughable), "Let us keep together in case of treachery;" "They are not to be trusted", &c.

We learned from them, that there was plenty of muga to the northward; and, supposing that there might be a lake, whence the various rivers take their rise, we determined to go in search of it, and requested them to accompany us, although we were not without suspicion, that their design was merely to draw us farther from their dwelling.

We came to a spring, when they called out, "Muga, Muga;" we drank a little, and gave them to understand that we wanted to go where there was a greater collection of it. We accordingly kept advancing: at the same time, it was observed, that they were deviating from a straight course; but a short distance brought us to a fine stream, running north-west, which we supposed emptied itself into the Swan: we still called out muga, muga, and proceeded on, until we came to their place of hunting, which, as they described to us, abounded in kangaroos.

They distinctly pronounced "kangaroo", without having heard any of us utter that sound; they also called it waroo, but whether they distinguished "kangaroo" (so called by us, and also by them,) from the smaller kind, named "wallabi", and by them "waroo", we could not form any just conclusion.

One of them, who appeared to be superior to the others, both in rank and intelligence, shewed us various roots which they used for food, and also the manner of digging for them; and, in return for our civility, in giving him and his friends a little biscuit, he procured a handful of loathsome-looking grubs from a grass tree, and offered them to us, after having himself ate two or three, to show us that they were used by them as food. His polite offer being courteously declined, he snapped them up, one by one, smacking his lips, to show us that what we had refused was esteemed, by him, as a "bonne bouche."

We continued advancing for some time, but saw no indications of a great lake, which we fancied existed somewhere near; and the natives began to lag behind, allowing us to proceed as we pleased. One of them was requested to lead the way, as directly as possible, to the water. He did so; and, after going a short distance, we came to another spring of pure water. He desired us to go through the brush, and examine it; although there was nothing to be learned from such a close scrutiny, to please him, we complied with the request, and, on turning round, the natives had disappeared!

The cry of "treachery" immediately arose from some of our party, who supposed that they had either led us into a convenient place, where they could spear us with facility, or, had gone for more assistance, to cut off our return.

But these were false alarms. Their conduct, which, at the moment, surprised us, might very easily be accounted for, without suspecting any hostility or masked treachery towards us. We had come upon them unawares, and our interview had been friendly,—we asked them to show us water, which request they complied with again and again; until, being tired out, with walking so fast, and so far, they contrived this mode of making their escape, as our desire for muga, I dare say, appeared to them, unquenchable.

We then retraced our steps in a direct line to the principal stream,* which we were enabled to do, by having had an eye, either on the compass or on the sun, while going along with the natives.

[* The source of the Helena, a considerable stream tributary to the Swan.]

It being now some time after noon, we agreed to halt a little, and take our repast, which we did with much pleasure, sitting on the bank, with our feet in the cool, limpid, rapid stream.

It was now proposed, that we should proceed another day on discovery, directly east, to endeavour to see what kind of country there was to the eastward of the mountains; but this proposal, not being relished by the majority, was, after some discussion, abandoned.

Having rested an hour, we proceeded south-east, to gain the highest part of the hill, being anxious to obtain even a pisgah-view of the eastern land; but when we got there, we could see to no extent, on account of the thickness of the wood.

We then continued our journey, directly south, to avoid going near the native village, knowing that the natives (who were, no doubt, strictly watching all our movements) would be pleased, by our not indulging in too much curiosity. In fact, the best method of making them familiar is, to pretend not to care much about them.

We passed another village, apparently deserted: these habitations, resembling a beehive cut vertically in halves, are formed from the stems of the grass tree, stuck in the ground, and joined at the top, with the leaves and boughs interwoven.

After walking some distance south, we struck to the westward, and pursued our way to our rendezvous, where we arrived about eight o'clock, and partook of a savoury meal, which had been prepared for us.

Being somewhat fatigued by a twelve hours' rather sharp march, over an uneven country, we soon retired to sleep, except the individual who had to watch the stars,—in order to ascertain the exact latitude of the river at this place.






CHAPTER XV.

Return down the River—Excursion to Garden Island—Description of the Swan and Canning Rivers—Perth—Freemantle—Remarks—Geographical position of Arthur's Head.

NEXT morning, as we were on the point of proceeding down the river, we were overtaken by the Governor, and some of his party, who had bivouacked last evening about half a mile above us. The Governor and Lieutenant Roe seemed rather astonished, when informed that our present position was, from observations that were to be depended on, to the northward of the estuary of the Swan.

Captain Barker now joined us, and from him I learned, that they had followed the principal branch of the Canning, until it entered the mountains,—that the land on its banks was very tolerable, and, in some places, rich; but not to be compared with that on the banks of the Swan. He also informed me, that he had seen two graves, which, from a spear being fixed on one, and a piece of kangaroo skin on the other, he supposed belonged to a male and a female.

We all proceeded down together, until we arrived at the island, when we took different channels,—we preferring our old one. We experienced, however, far greater difficulty in getting the boat over, as the sand was now uncovered in various places.

After much fruitless toil, we were compelled to carry everything from the boat to a dry sand-bank; then, by main force, we dragged her into deep water, and reloaded her.

We stopped here to refresh, and to take more observations; which, being finished, we proceeded down the river, and a little before dark, arrived at the foot of Mount Eliza.

As we had experienced some inconvenience when we last halted here, from not being able to observe the stars to the northward, we determined to ascend the hill; but this was objected to by some, who felt neither interest nor amusement in such pursuits, and who would much sooner have gone to Perth.

Captain Barker and myself, however, ascended, and were followed by all the others. We got a fire kindled, and everything up; when some commenced to cook supper, and others to observe the moon's distance from the evening star.

The black swan which we had run down (after several unsuccessful attempts to shoot it) in Moreau's inlet. although rather tough, was considered a dainty. After supper, we retired to rest,—those excepted whose task it was to observe the stars.

Although frequently baffled by the annoying intervention of clouds, we succeeded in obtaining the meridian altitude of several, which gave the latitude 31° 57' 48" south.

Next morning, early, we moved our camp, and, in descending the hill, found a fine stream of pure water, which we regretted had not been discovered earlier, as we should not have been under the necessity of using the water of the river, which, from being brackish, was not very palatable.

We proceeded down the river, and stopped at the spot, where Captain Stirling says "a communication might easily be formed between the river and the sea." All the party left the boat, to examine whether Captain Stirling's account was correct,—one excepted, who had no desire for that kind of knowledge, only to be obtained by personal, and more particularly by pedestrian, exertion.

On our return to the boat, he showed us a specimen of pretty pure salt; a rock of which he had discovered just above the spot where the boat remained in waiting for us. In this instance, therefore, a want of curiosity was attended with some advantage.

Having landed our fellow-explorers at Freemantle, Captain Barker and myself proceeded directly to the brig (found five feet water on the bar), where we arrived all well, and highly gratified with our little excursion. We immediately projected another expedition to visit the newly-discovered river, named the Murray; but were prevented from putting it into execution, by the variable and stormy state of the weather.

On Friday, the 12th of November, Captain Telfer, of the Ephemina, Mr. Hickey, and myself, took a trip to Buache, or Garden Island. Before landing, we paid a visit to H.M.S. Sulphur, and were received by Captain Dance and his officers with courteous cordiality; and from the first lieutenant (Mr. Preston, formerly of the Success, who is an enterprising and indefatigable explorer) I learned many facts, corroborative of those I had already heard, relative to Melville Island and Raffles Bay.

On leaving the Sulphur, we pulled to the southward. Arriving nearly at the southern extremity of the Island, we landed, intending to penetrate across it; but, from the thickly interwoven underwood, our progress being painful and slow, the attempt was abandoned.

We returned, and walked along the shore. On our arrival at the southern extremity of the island, we observed that it was separated from the main land by a channel, about half a mile wide; and there appeared to be, from the colour of the water, considerable depth on the southern side. From general appearances, however, and from the extensive reefs observed to seaward, this opening can only be considered a practicable passage for boats, during moderate weather.

While walking round the south-west side of the islands, we perceived a seal making for the shore; he waddled some distance up the sandy beach, and, after looking around, lay down at his ease, intending, no doubt, to enjoy repose.

Anxious to catch this fellow napping (if we could), we walked very gently and cautiously towards him; but having caught the alarm, before we were sufficiently near, he started up, hastened to the water, dived into it, swam some distance, and then turned round, and surveyed us with composed defiance, as much as to say, "follow me, if you dare;" but we did not think fit to accept the invitation.

We then retraced our steps to the place where we had left the boat, and proceeded in her to visit the establishment on Garden Island. It was also our intention to examine the passages from Cockburn Sound to seaward, but the day being too far spent to put this design into execution, we directed our course for Gage's Roads, where we arrived at eight, A.M.

The stores being all re-embarked, and everything ready for departure. Captain Barker went to Perth, to get receipts for the articles he had left behind, and also to bid adieu to the Governor; and I embraced the opportunity of accompanying him.

We found a considerable number of natives in the town, who were apparently peaceably inclined, though quite at their ease. Lieutenant Roe could not endure the sight of them; recollecting, I imagine, the uncivil chase their brethren, of the north coast, had given him, some years ago.*

[* Vide King's Australia.]

The Governor was not in very good health, in consequence, I believe, of over fatigue; caused by a wish to excel all others, in pedestrian feats, and in endurance of wet, cold, hunger, and thirst.**

[** I have no doubt his present indisposition will admonish him, that when, in future, he comes to a swamp, it will be preferable to take a detour, instead of passing directly across it. The change would also be highly agreeable to his followers, who consider themselves bound to follow their chiefs track, frequently up to the middle, in water and mud.]

We remained all night at Perth, and next morning took our farewell; and, after a pleasant sail down the river, reached the brig, which, being ready for sea, was waiting our arrival.


During our detention here, I availed myself of every opportunity of acquiring a knowledge of the adjacent country, from personal observation; and, although the information obtained was neither extensive nor very important, yet I may indulge in a few general observations, more particularly as the published accounts are so discrepant and contradictory.

The river named Black Swan, by Vlaming, from its being frequented by a great number of these raræ aves, arises from the Darling Range, and pursues a south-westerly course, through a tract of level country (rich and luxuriant on the banks of the river), without receiving any considerable contribution to its stream: it is navigable for boats a few miles from its source.

About twelve miles above Perth, opposite Guildford, (a town that is to be,) it receives a considerable accession by the waters of the Helena; and shortly afterwards, it receives two other tributary streams, whose source and direction are not yet accurately ascertained.

A little above Perth, the navigation is much impeded, by the shallowness of the water, and a cluster of islands, named by the French "Heirisson's Isles".

At Perth, the river expands, and deepens considerably; and being joined by the River Canning (the junction taking place nearly south from Mount Eliza), the united waters have been named by Captain Stirling "Melville Water".

The triple source of the Canning is also from the Darling Range,—one branch traced by the Governor's party, another by us, and the third not yet surveyed.

The united streams become navigable, for boats, about six miles from the mountains.* Pursuing a westerly course for several miles, the river becomes deeper, but navigable only for small craft.

[* Latitude, 32° 2' 32" south; longitude, 116° 14' 35" east.]

As the navigation of the Swan is impeded by islets, so is the Canning by a similar cluster.** Passing this obstruction, the river still flows in a westerly direction (its banks becoming higher, and the adjacent land more barren), the channel being unimpeded: it then bends to the northward, and, after a course of three or four miles, joins the Swan, as already mentioned.

[** Latitude, 32° 00' 58" south; longitude, 116° 11' 30" east.]

The united rivers (whose banks are now miserably sterile) pursue a serpentine course, inclining withal to the southward, till they fall into the sea by a channel 330 yards wide; only one-fifth of that width, however, affording sufficient depth even for the passage of a small boat.

The channel is rather intricate; but the deep water is chiefly on the right bank, and, to say the least of it, boats heavily laden, or small craft, may be used, without much risk, between Perth and Freemantle.

The length of the Swan, in a direct line, is about thirty miles, and of the Canning, twenty miles: taking, however, their various windings into account, the distance may be doubled.

This account certainly does not agree with some others, especially the one which states "that vessels of large burden are enabled to sail seventy miles from its entrance."

Perth, the embryo capital of Western Australia, situated on the right bank of the river, about twelve miles from the sea, has, as yet, only the appearance of a straggling tented field; but I have no doubt its aspect will, in a short time, be very different. The Governor has got a commodious wooden house nearly finished, and the government officers were commencing to follow his example.

It seemed to Captain Barker and myself, that the situation of the town was not judiciously chosen. Point Heathcote, on the western bank of the Canning, nearly at its junction with the Swan, according to our opinion, would have been, in many respects, preferable.***

[*** After my arrival in England, I learned (from high authority) that Point Heathcote had been originally proposed as the best place, in a geographical point of view, for the site of the town.]

Freemantle, the seaport town, is situated on a low sandy point, at the mouth, and on the left side, of the river. At present, the inhabitants live in tents: there are, however, a few wooden houses, which have been brought from England.

The greater part of the settlers yet remain here, not one having gone to his farm. It is a very bad place, owing to the idleness, roguery, and thieving of those people brought out as servants, and also of some others of a higher denomination. It is so bad that the Governor designated it a "sink of iniquity", and stated that he took no measures to make it better, on purpose to force people to go to their farms.

The servants are, for the most part, hulking, lazy fellows, and exceedingly insolent; but what else could be expected, from their previous character, having been, I believe, mostly taken from the workhouse.

Mr. Talbot, who, like his neighbours, had had some trouble with his servants, informed me that those who had the best character from the overseers, turned out to be the worst. "It is true (said he) an action may be brought against an overseer, for having given a false character; but, then, who would go home with all the necessary witnesses to England, to prove the fact?" He further good-humouredly observed, that "nothing else could be expected, than that overseers should endeavour to get their parishes cleared from such trash and scum."

It is a very injudicious plan to send people, accustomed to eat the bread of idleness, to an infant colony, unless it is understood, that coercive measures may be used to enforce a fair day's work, if the laziness of the individual required such stimulus.

All the land, on the immediate banks of the Swan, is allotted away. One individual, I was informed, has got 15,000 acres of excellent land, and is now residing at Freemantle, selling those articles, from which he claimed and received such an extensive grant; and it was the opinion of not a few, that the Governor had acted very improvidently, in giving such an extent of river frontage to one individual.

It would, perhaps, have been better, to have made a square mile the maximum of any grant on a river; this would have accommodated many emigrants, who could by degrees, and at their convenience, go into the interior, to search for the remainder.

Much disappointment has already been felt by many, who, from the favourable report they had heard in England, expected to be immediately inducted into a land, if not "flowing—easily capable of being made to flow—with milk and honey."

On their arrival, they find all the land, of which they had heard so much, already disposed of, and that they must discover good land for themselves, if they can.

Much obloquy has been thrown on Mr. Fraser, in consequence of his (as it is called) exaggerated description. Now, the truth is, that he has given a very fair account, but it extends no farther than the immediate vicinity of the river; and the land there (as already mentioned) has been all granted away,—each of the Officers of H.M.S. Sulphur having a fair proportion.

Nearly the whole of the land on the banks of the Canning was also pre-engaged,—the Officers of the Challenger having, as they had a right to expect, received a similar indulgence; but the justice of this proceeding was called in question, by many emigrants who were on the spot, in just expectation of obtaining the object for which they had left their native home.

The civil officers also considered themselves labouring under grievances, particularly by not receiving either candles or oil; it being imagined that they would not want any, from the abundance of whales on the coast; but whales are not taken without considerable exertion and outlay.

Several of my acquaintances proposed to the Governor to commence a fishery on a great scale, if they were allowed—Rottenest, Buache, and the exclusive right to a considerable part of the coast, with other immunities, for fourteen years. The Governor very handsomely offered them a lease of seven years; but they did not consider these terms advantageous enough, and the speculation dropped.

Besides Perth and Freemantle, there is a station at Garden Island, where the stores are kept. The government have also hired, as a depôt for stores, the stranded ship Marquis of Anglesey, for a hundred pounds per annum, from an individual who purchased her for a hundred and fifty pounds.

There were several government regulations which, as is usual in all new colonies, did not meet universal approbation; but, without entering into any discussion on this subject, I may mention, that the exaction of pilotage and harbour dues,—there being no pilots,—appeared rather premature.

I shall conclude this brief account of Swan River, by stating the geographical position of Arthur's Head,* according to our observations:—

[* The peninsular projecting eminence of the left bank of the river, at its embouchure.]

                        Latitude 32° 4' 13" S.
                    Longitude 116° 1' 46" E.
Variation of Compass 4° 16' 45" E.

As this longitude is more than twenty miles farther east than that given by Captain Stirling, it may be worth while to state, that we took upwards of two hundred lunar observations,** with carefully adjusted sextants, and it may therefore be fairly inferred, that the longitude thence deduced, does not deviate far from the truth.

[** By the Sun and Moon,—by Jupiter and Venus to the westward, and by Saturn to the eastward,—by Marcab and Fomalhaut to the westward,—and by Pollux, Aldebaran, and α Arietis to the eastward, of the Moon; taken between October 18th and November 19th.]






CHAPTER XVI.

Departure from Swan River—Unsuccessful attempt to land at Cape Chatham—Boat nearly Swamped—Heavy Gale—Leaky state of the Brig—Anchor in King George's Sound—Excursion into the Interior—Interview with a Native.

ON Thursday, November 19th, we got under weigh, and left Gage's Roads, passing between Rottenest and the Main. At noon our observed latitude was 32° 00' 50", at which time we were a full mile to the northward of the reef off the western point of Rottenest, situated West 16° north of Arthur's head, distant about twelve English miles, by which bearing it would be in 32° 2' 13", so nearly coinciding with the latitude by observation, and agreeing with that assigned long ago by Vlaming,* that it may be considered pretty correct.

[* In the latest edition of Horsburgh's directions, he has still given the longitude according to the Dutch account, which places the Island ten leagues off shore, and states it to be fifteen miles in length.]

We intended to keep close to the shore, to have a view of the coast between Geographe Bay and Cape Leuwin, but the wind would not permit us. We also experienced a north-westerly current, running, at an average, one mile per hour.

After having reached the parallel of Cape Leuwin, we could make but little way to the eastward, owing to the wind blowing strongly from the S.E. On the 28th, in the morning, the wind having shifted to W.S.W., we made Point D'Entrecasteaux; and coasting along, we shortly saw Cape Chatham, which, at noon, bore E. by N., distant about half a mile; and, by the supplement of the sun's meridional altitude ** our latitude was 35° 3' 26" —longitude, by chronometer, measured from Swan River 116° 41'.

[** "There is", observes Mr. Lynn, "a great convenience in the sextant, which is not generally known; and, if known, rarely taken advantage of; viz., that of observing the supplement of the meridional altitude when the land is too near, or in that portion of the meridian which prevents the direct meridional altitude from being observed."]

This being the place that Captain Barker was requested by Captain Stirling to examine, (as, according to the description of several sealers, a large river or inlet existed hereabouts,) the brig stood close in; nothing, however, could be perceived, bearing any resemblance, nor did it seem probable, from the appearance of the land, that any inlet or river could exist in this position.

Captain Barker and I had previously agreed to go on shore, in order to explore; but, being now quite convinced of the inutility of such a proceeding, I begged to decline, and advised him not to think of going; more particularly as the weather (although fine at present) was very unsettled.

He would not, however, be dissuaded from his purpose; and the boat being hoisted out and manned, she left the brig, which, by this time, had advanced some distance into the bay. We then wore, and stood to the southward.

The boat had not left half an hour, when the wind increased; and the heavy squalls shifting more to the southward, made our situation not at all desirable. It had been agreed, that, should the weather assume a threatening aspect, a gun was to be fired, as a signal for the boat to return. This was accordingly done, and we again stood towards the shore; but we could see no appearance of the boat, and serious apprehensions began to be entertained, that she would not be able to regain the brig.

We approached much nearer than prudence suggested; yet, had we not done so, the boat could never have reached us; as she could not have made any way against the heavy swell that was tumbling in, round the frowning, barren, isolated rock, which forms Cape Chatham.

We had, at length, the satisfaction of seeing the boat returning, and stood towards her, until the rapidly decreasing depth of water, and heavy breakers under our lee, admonished us to proceed no farther; we therefore wore (having just room to do so), and then lay-to, until the boat reached us. Having presented to each individual a glass of brandy, to counteract the effects of the cold and wet, I learned the history of their expedition, which was as follows.

As they drew near the shore, the rollers appeared very heavy. The first one rolled over, and filled the boat; and had not the crew (who, being old sealers or whalers, were adroit in the management of a boat under such circumstances) exerted their utmost skill and efforts to get her head round before the next roller came, they would have been pitched into the surf, without ceremony. This narrow escape made them give up all thoughts of landings as, even had they succeeded, it would have been impossible to get off, again.

Captain Barker wished to proceed towards the north-east side of the bay, where there appeared to be less surf; but, on its being represented to him, that if he did so, the boat would not be able to reach the brig, they pulled towards her, and arrived safely, but nearly exhausted by fatigue.

We now stood out to sea, and with difficulty cleared some reefs, on which the water was boiling, under our lee. Captain Barker still thought he saw something like an opening to the north-east; but although I looked very carefully, I could not perceive any appearance of an inlet. Allowing, however, that such an opening did exist, it could be of no use, as this bay, being completely exposed, from S.W. to S.E., can never be safe for ships, even of the smallest size.

We continued our course, keeping as far off the land as we could,—the wind threatening to blow a gale from the southward. At eight, P.M., we lay-to, with the ship's head S.S.E.; at two, A.M., wore and lay-to W. by N., and at daylight we bore up; but, from the extreme haziness of the weather, we could not satisfactorily make out the land. After some time, however. Eclipse Islands were plainly distinguished.

We continued under close reefed maintop-sail, and about noon entered King George's Sound; where, from a heavy gale, and high sea, we experienced the sudden but agreeable transition to smooth water.

I have seldom passed a more disagreeable day than the last twenty-four hours; dreading that the wind might shift to the southward. Fortunately, it kept S.W., but blew a heavy gale. The brig was making much water, and the pumps were in very bad order. In the middle of the night, during the height of the gale, the pumps would not work: this alarmed some of the crew, but the master of the brig, with great coolness, gave directions, and put the pumps in order himself.

About noon, on Sunday, the 29th of November, we anchored in King George's Sound, within a mile of the entrance of Princess Royal harbour. Shortly afterwards, we were boarded by a boat from the settlement, by which we learned that the Amity had sailed for Sydney, that the schooner Admiral Gifford had arrived a month ago, and that great fears had been entertained regarding our safety.

Next morning, the brig got under weigh, but grounded in the entrance of Princess Royal Harbour, and remained there the greatest part of the day. Lieutenant Sleeman came on board, early in the morning, to welcome his successor, and Captain Barker and I went on shore to breakfast with him.

The settlement was very healthy, not so short of provisions as we had imagined, and they had an abundance of vegetables. After breakfast, I took a walk with Dr. Davis, to view the Government Farm, situated about a mile or two from Frederic Town (so named by Major Lockyer), to which a very good road had been made.

On our return, we walked to the summit of Mount Melville, whence we had a very extensive view of the surrounding country, which bore a decided resemblance to the land about the Cape of Good Hope, when viewed from the top of Table Mountain.

A range of mountains extended from the north-west to north-east, about the same distance from Mount Melville as the Hottentot mountains are from Table Mountain. Another tier was observed to the westward, evidently the coast range; between these, there appeared to be level land, and thither I determined to make an excursion, during the time the brig remained in harbour; as I had been informed by the Commander that eight or ten days would be required to caulk her, and make the other repairs absolutely necessary, before she proceeded on her voyage.

While returning down, we met Captain Barker and Lieutenant Sleeman, on their way to the farm. On making known my intention to take a little trip into the interior, Lieutenant Sleeman (who had not yet resigned command) offered me the assistance of any Crown prisoners I might wish, to carry provisions, &c., and also an intelligent native, named Mokărē (who was now out shooting ducks for dinner): this I willingly accepted; and, on my reaching the camp, made arrangements for starting on Wednesday morning.

We dined with Lieutenant Sleeman. Wild ducks and green peas were highly relished by us, after living so long on salt provisions. We were glad to hear from him that the natives were exceedingly friendly; no act of hostility having been committed, either by or against them, since his arrival.

I suspected that this circumstance must have been occasioned by judicious management in the first instance; and, on making inquiries, I discovered, in an old order book, the following order of Major Lockyer, which, from its being attended with such favourable results, deserves to be known and imitated by those who may hereafter be placed in the same responsible situations.

"Camp.—Princess Royal Harbour, King George
the Third's Sound.—January, 1827.      

"The natives having, without any offence been offered to them by any individual of the expedition, committed an act of hostility, by watching an opportunity, and throwing their spears on a party employed filling water-casks for the brig, and by which one of the prisoners of the Crown, Dennis Dinneen, was most severely wounded, is a circumstance most sincerely to be regretted; as it is but too certain that they have been driven to it, by acts of cruelty committed on them by some gang or gangs of sealers, who have lately visited this place.

"The fact of these miscreants having left; four natives on Michaelmas Island, who must have inevitably perished, if they had not been taken off by the boat sent from the Amity, that brought them to this harbour, when one of them exhibited three deep scars on his neck and back, that had been inflicted by some sharp instrument, sufficiently proves that they have suffered injuries from white men; and it is not to be wondered at, that they should, as people in a state of nature, seek revenge; it is, therefore, necessary to act with the greatest caution and vigilance to prevent surprise on individuals straggling, and the parties employed in the bush, in cutting down wood for the use of the settlement.

"It is not probable that they will make their appearance again for a considerable time. Should they, however, be seen, immediate notice is to be given to the Commandant; but no act of hostility is to be committed by any one of the settlement, unless it is absolutely necessary to repel such committed by the natives.

"In case of their being armed with their spears, they must be prevented from approaching the encampment; if unarmed, it is desirable that a communication should be opened with them, and every endeavour used to satisfy them that we do not intend to molest them in any shape, but, on the contrary, to be their friends; and also to convince them, that the ill usage they have received, from the unprincipled persons, is reprobated, and will not be permitted to occur again.

"E. LOCKYER,                    

Major, 57th Regiment,     

COMMANDANT."
   


Mokărē expressed much willingness to accompany me, and I was further gratified by Mr. Kent, the officer in charge of the Commissariat, expressing a wish to join the party. A soldier, of the thirty-ninth, named Gough, who was esteemed a good bushman, volunteered, as did also two prisoners of the Crown; one of whom had accompanied Mr. Baxter on all his botanical excursions, and the other had attended the former expeditions made by Major Lockyer, Captain Wakefield, and Mr. Tollemache.

On Tuesday, while we were preparing for our excursion, I was advised, by the master of the Admiral Gifford, not to trust the blacks, who were (he said) a set of treacherous villains; as, not long ago, they had pointed their spears at him and his boat's crew, while peaceably proceeding up King's River.

But such expeditions being generally for the purpose of surprising and carrying off the native women, it cannot at all be wondered at, that the native men should endeavour to prevent the outrage. Indeed, it is quite notorious on many parts of the coast, that if a small vessel makes her appearance, the natives get out of the way as fast as possible; while, if the ship be large, they come down to the beach, without mistrust or fear.

On Wednesday morning, at daylight, we left the settlement, with a week's provisions. Gough had his knapsack filled with brandy, rum, and gin; and, although rather heavily burdened, he made no objection. from the nature of his lading. The only burden of Mokărē was a fowling-piece, which he would not go without; and, as he was a good shot, we thought he might be of use, in procuring fresh provisions. Gough had a musket, and Mr. Kent a fowling-piece, and two kangaroo dogs.

Thus accoutred, we departed, each with a blanket, and an additional pair of shoes tied on his back. Captain Barker wished that he could be of the party; but circumstances prevented him. He, Dr. Davis, and Lieutenant Sleeman, accompanied us a mile or two, and then, wishing us a prosperous journey, returned.

After having proceeded, by a native path, nearly seven miles N.N.W., we crossed a considerable stream, running easterly, which was supposed to be the principal branch of King's River; and about three miles farther, we passed another, of smaller size, running in the same direction. We halted to the north-west of a detached hill; and, as the sun was powerful, we agreed to rest a little, and partake of some refreshment.

It being my intention to proceed a considerable distance in the direction of Swan River, I had already to coax Mokărē, who, imagining we were going to Porrongorup (a chain of hills about twenty-five miles north from the settlement), as Captain Wakefield and others had formerly done, did not seem to relish taking any other direction. Having rested sufficiently, we resumed our journey, and proceeded, at a pretty brisk pace, for a few miles, when one of the party fell suddenly down, the heat of the day having overpowered him. This caused us some alarm, but he soon recovered.

It was proposed that we should now take up our night quarters, and renew our journey at daylight; but, being aware that it would not do, to be idle or indifferent, in the beginning of our expedition, and wishing to show an example, I took the invalid's burden over my own shoulder, and marched off,—the poor fellow following, and begging me to let him carry it; but, as he really appeared fagged, I did not accede to his pressing solicitation. Thus we proceeded until the evening, when we bivouacked in the vicinity of an extensive but shallow lagoon, the water of which we found excellent.

On Thursday, at daylight, we resumed our journey N.N.W., all well; at nine o'clock we arrived at a large lagoon, from three to six feet deep, where we halted, kindled a fire, and took breakfast; an empty preserved-meat-canister serving the double purpose of tea-kettle and tea-pot.

Being refreshed by a cup of strong tea, and a cold bath in the lagoon, we renewed our journey, to the westward. In a short time, we perceived an extensive sheet of water, a few hundred yards on our right: from appearances, we judged that this was permanent, which supposition Mokărē confirmed by informing us, that the natives came hither when, from long-continued drought, the smaller and shallower lagoons were dried up.

At eleven o'clock, we crossed a mountain stream, running to the southward, through a valley where the land assumed a more fertile appearance than that which we had hitherto passed over, which was either barren scrub, or swampy ground.

At six o'clock, P.M. we arrived at another stream, running also to the south-westward, where we took up our quarters for the night Some were employed in making a fire and cooking supper, and others, who went in search of game, succeeded in shooting several black cockatoos. Mr. Kent and myself took a walk for some distance along the banks of this pleasant stream: we observed that its banks were covered with luxuriant grass, sprinkled with the yellow buttercup, which put us in mind of home.

The alluvial soil, however, extends no great distance; but the gently-swelling, lightly-wooded adjacent hills are well adapted for sheep-walks, and this is the more desirable, as, in all my excursions, in the vicinity of Swan River, I saw very little pasturable land.

On Friday morning, we directed our course N.W. by W., passing through a tract of land, diversified by moderately elevated hills, and fertile and well-watered valleys.

About nine o'clock, we turned to the eastward, to gain the summit of a hill perceived in that direction, for the purpose of getting a few bearings, and obtaining a view of the surrounding landscape. Having left this situation, we altered our course to N.W. by N., and walked about eight miles, over a tract of scrubby barren land. We then arrived at a swampy flat, where, there being good water, we stopped, and dined. Departing thence, and altering our course a little, a rich and romantic country soon burst into view, which we found abundantly supplied with good water.

In the evening, we encamped near a stream, running north-west, through land bearing considerable resemblance, both in appearance and quality, to the Cow-pastures in the county of Camden, New South Wales. We saw several flocks of kangaroos; and, as Mokărē had previously informed us, "not one,—not two,—not three,—but many in a flock." We also saw frequent traces of the native dog.

Whether it was that Mokărē had got into an enemy's country, we did not know; but he was particularly on the alert during the night. Some noise, not sufficient to arouse any other of the party, made him start up, seize his musket, and level it at something, which he afterwards said was a to-ort (a dog). The alarm having ceased, we resumed our slumbers till daybreak.

On Saturday, as the kangaroos appeared in great abundance, it was thought prudent to let half a day be spent in hunting them, to prevent interruption on our journey, and also to obtain a fresh mess for ourselves and the dogs, which did not appear to be thriving on their limited allowance.

We left one man to guard our prisoners. Mr. Kent and myself went to the westward, and the others to the eastward. About noon, we re-assembled, unsuccessful; the kangaroos proving far too fleet for the dogs, while the sportsmen, from the open nature of the country, could not approach sufficiently near them, unperceived. The land was observed to continue of the same good quality, in both directions.

Before proceeding on our journey, we took a slight repast; and, while in the act of doing so, Mokărē sprang on his legs, seized his musket, and ran forward, making a hideous noise. We soon perceived the cause of this conduct: a native was advancing towards us, with that kind of confidence, inspired either from fearing no danger, or from a consciousness that support was at hand.

Mokărē was commanded not to fire; but there was no disturbance, as the native lads soon recognized each other. The stranger joined us with the utmost confidence, and partook of our repast. He was a good looking fellow (comparatively speaking), and his well-formed limbs, and general good condition, proved that he had an abundant and constant supply of nutriment.

He and Mokărē entered into an animated conversation. The stranger, in relating his story, did it in a sort of recitative, far from being disagreeable. Mokărē, who, at first, talked in the tone that he had acquired from us, soon relapsed into the same recitativo, which, it would appear, is their natural way of communicating with each other.

We understood that he was on a hunting expedition; his present occupation being to assist in driving the kangaroos to a certain place, where they could be surrounded, and speared. He told us, that Will (a powerful chief, to whom all this tract of country belonged) was at no great distance to the eastward, and would be glad to see us.

From what I could learn, there is no doubt that a great extent of good land exists in that direction, to the northward of the Porrongorup and Morillup ranges. But, as I had previously arranged, in my own mind, the plan of our journey, I did not wish to deviate from it.

My determination was, to proceed, for three or four days, in the direction of Swan River; then to bend to the westward;—then southward,—and to return, to the settlement, by the sea coast. In conformity with this arrangement, the stranger's invitation was declined, to the great chagrin of Mokărē, and some others of the party, who felt the desire for exploring much diminished, by learning from him, that the land was very barren, and bad for travelling, in the direction we purposed to pursue, and infested with snakes.

We sent, by the stranger, our respects to Will, and an invitation for him to visit King Ya-nup (the name the natives give the Sound), where he, and any of his tribe, would meet a friendly reception. I regretted that we could not go to see the natives—our time being limited, and our object defined.






CHAPTER XVII.

Pass through a fertile tract of Country—Discontent of some of the Party—Good humour restored—Conversation with Mokărē relative to a future state of existence—Journey resumed to the Westward—Arrive at a Lake—Barren Land—Proceed to the Southward through a hilly tract—Course altered to the Eastward—Ascend a Mountain, and obtain an extensive view.

WE now pursued a course directly north, passing through a country keeping the same general character,—good, open, forest land, without much timber. We started several flocks of kangaroos, but had no success, either in killing or catching any, though several ran pretty close to the sportsmen.

Mokărē, however, irritated by repeated disappointments, and determined to succeed, if possible, stripped himself naked; and we observed, with much curiosity, his manoeuvres. On perceiving a flock of kangaroos, which he did much sooner than any of the party, he walked, with the greatest caution, towards them, and continued doing so, while they were feeding. When any of them happened to look up, he stood firm in the position he might be in, without moving either body or limb, and so continued until they again began to feed, when he renewed his cautious approach; endeavouring, if he could, to get behind a tree. But, with all this caution, he did not succeed; as, before he got within gun-shot, they took to their heels, and bounded away with a swiftness that left the dogs, who were nearly knocked up, far behind. To make up for this loss, two or three bandicoots were caught.

Some of the party now believed, or affected to believe, that I intended to take them to Swan River, and became very uneasy in consequence; more particularly Gough, the soldier, who, although he had been all through the Peninsular war, and of necessity exposed to many hardships and privations, yet did not relish the idea of being so far in a country, where no European had ever before ventured; especially as our provisions were not very plentiful. I had, therefore, to bear broad hints, and some ill-humour, with as much urbanity as policy required.

To add to this discontent, we had travelled a considerable distance without having fallen in with any water, and the day was rapidly declining; but, hoping to meet with some before dark, we pushed forward, at a very brisk pace, and about sunset we arrived at a valley nearly destitute of trees, where Mokărē succeeded in shooting a large kangaroo; and a native reservoir of water being, at the same time, discovered, the party immediately became in good spirits, and entered, con amore into the business of preparing the feast.

So much has been said, and written, on the resemblance of many spots in New South Wales to noble English domains, that I forbear to make the comparison. Suffice it to observe, that our present encampment was on the north side of a beautiful valley, of considerable width, extending east and west, as far as the eye could survey; bounded on the south and north by a succession of gently undulating, and very moderately elevated hills, thinly, but sufficiently ornamented by trees, of gigantic form;—the loveliness of the scene being greatly increased, by the golden rays of the departing sun, gradually yielding to the silvery light of the full-orbed moon, and the brilliant evening star.

The party having exerted themselves, soon completed our encampment, kindled a fire, and the kangaroo was speedily cooked in various ways. While these operations were going on, I endeavoured to ascertain, from Mokărē, who understood a little English, whether he, or any of his tribe, had any notion of a future state of existence, or of a Superior Being; but I felt some difficulty in making him comprehend my meaning.

I stated to him, that man was composed of two parts; one of which, when he died, was just like the kangaroo, and all other animals, which did not speak;—that the other part did not die:—and if the man were good, he ascended to the sky, where he lived happily with his Maker, and the Maker of the sun, moon, and stars; whereas, the bad man went down beneath the earthy and dwelt with a malignant being, named "Devil", whose sole occupation consisted in tormenting. He Immediately said, that they had the same opinion; but I am convinced he only caught the idea from me.

He asked, who were bad men? I told him, those who killed others without just cause. He answered "Very good, bad man to go to the Debil." He admitted it was all right, so far as regarded killing a white man, but I could not persuade him, that there was any harm in one black fellow spearing another; which, on the contrary, he considered in some cases, meritorious.

I then told him, that all those who stole were also bad men. He started in amazement, and repeated with an air of incredulity, "Quepel!" (to steal). It was evident, that he viewed this action in a more favourable light than even the Spartans did. I learned from him, that it was usual, on such a night as this, for the natives (who seldom travel in the dark) to steal privately on those whom they wished to destroy, and despatch them.

He knew several of the stars, but pretended to a knowledge of more of them than he really possessed; however, on cross-examination, I was convinced that he was acquainted with Venus and the Atlantic Sisters; likewise with Orion, Canopus, and Achernar.

Supper being prepared, his examination ended, of which he was beginning to get tired. They all turned to, and I was astonished at the immense quantity which some of them literally bolted down their throats. Mr. Kent and myself contented ourselves with soup, made from the tail of the kangaroo, which, with the addition of a little biscuit and rice, was exceedingly palatable.

This being Saturday night, a double allowance of grog was issued to the party, who were now in high glee, and talked with the utmost sang froid of going to Swan River; and I took this opportunity of explaining, that no person could be called a good bushman, unless he could walk a day or two without eating or drinking, which position appeared (especially to Gough) not very tenable.

I may here describe the usual method of encampment on such expeditions. A convenient spot being selected, if possible, to windward of a large fallen half-burned tree, a few branches and bushes are placed in a semicircular form, as a defence from the night wind; the log is kindled, and soon forms a blazing fire, which, being too fierce for cooking, a smaller one is used for that purpose. After supper, each rolls himself in his blanket, and, with his feet towards the fire, soon fells asleep.

Before retiring to rest, we made arrangements to guard against being suddenly surprised; but, as both men and dogs had indulged in excessive gluttony, not much watchfulness could be expected from either party.

We were now nearly seventy miles, in a north-westerly direction, from the settlement, in a country well adapted either for pastoral or agricultural purposes; and I regretted, exceedingly, that want of time compelled me to make it the ne plus ultra of my excursion northward, where, I am convinced, the same kind of land exists, to a great extent.

On Sunday, at daylight, we resumed our journey west, through the valley, which bore marks of being occasionally overflowed. We had not proceeded far, when my ears were saluted with the cry of the young man who was following close behind me,—"Oh, doctor! you are a gone man! a snake has a hold of you!" I jumped forward; and then, turning round, beheld the ancient enemy of the human race, rearing its hateful form above the grass, and hissing defiance. It was soon dispatched, although I, having trod on it, was the aggressor. It caught me on the outside of the right knee, but, my trowsers being wide, fortunately the bite did not reach my skin.

This narrow escape caused some reflection; I thought it would have been a lamentable termination of my career—after having escaped the perils of shipwreck—to perish by the bite of a black snake, in the wilds of New Holland.

We continued our journey, and I requested Mokărē to precede me; not only as he had much quicker eyes, but as mine (such as they were) had sufficient occupation in watching the compass. But he did not seem to relish the preference given him on this occasion, and soon fell behind.

About nine o'clock, we arrived at a shallow lagoon, the water of which, to our fastidious taste, was somewhat brackish. Perceiving water at a short distance, directly north of this, we proceeded thither, and observed a circular basin, of considerable extent, literally covered with majestic black swans, ducks, teal, and other aquatic birds. Judging it would not be amiss to get a few of these, we agreed to halt, and take a late breakfast and early dinner together.

Mokărē being a good shot, was desired to exert his skill in that way, and then to swim in for his game. To my astonishment, he told me he could not swim. Not believing this, I urged him to proceed; but neither flattery nor raillery could prevail on Mokărē, who, in order to induce us to leave the place, informed me it abounded with very venomous snakes.

A thick and broad belt of reeds, above eighteen feet high, surrounded the lake; and Gough, who was a keen sportsman, was requested to walk through, and get us something. This he proceeded to do; but, having taken a few steps, the water being above his waist, he retrograded in double quick time, evidently to the satisfaction of Mokărē, who had ascended a tree, to witness the result.

Mr. Kent and myself offered to go on each side of Gough, to prevent his being drowned, in case the water suddenly became deep; but he declined making any further attempt, which was then taken up by others, who were also unsuccessful, as may readily be imagined, when it is stated that the water was upwards of six feet deep at the inner margin of the sedgy belt.

On regaining the dry land, which was done with some difficulty, we were surprised to see the blood streaming from various parts of our bodies, which, on inspection, we found to be covered with leeches—the true hirudo medicinalis. We had felt, while in the water, several sharp bites, which made us start, and call to mind the black snake: these were now satisfactorily accounted for.

The water-fowl being disturbed, flew to the southward. The sportsmen followed them to the shallow lagoon, and succeeded in obtaining a brace of fine teal, which, with the remainder of the kangaroo, were cooked for our repast. This being finished, we left the lake, which we named Loch Ketturine; and, resuming our course to the westward, we soon perceived that we had left the good land behind us.

After having travelled over a few miles of barren scrub, observing, as we thought, rising ground to the northward, we bent our steps thither, and found good forest land; the altitude of the trees giving it, when viewed at a distance, the appearance of considerable elevation. We again proceeded westward, and passed over a tract of country, as miserable and useless as any to be found in New South Wales.

In the evening we reached and suddenly re-entered on fine open land; several hundred acres being without a tree. This was very agreeable to us, tired and disheartened by our fatiguing journey; but our pleasure was somewhat alloyed, by not being able to procure water, of which, however, we had three quart bottles with us. We prepared to encamp; but as the water could not be shared very plentifully, among six men and two dogs (the latter very deserving and thirsty, haying just returned from a severe chase after a flock of kangaroos), there was not much talk of going to Swan River, and Gough became very uncivil, threatening to knock Mokărē down, if he did not find water immediately. I was obliged to interfere, and, by digging a hole, we obtained a supply of good quality.

Next morning I informed those who were tired of the journey, that they might return, that Mokărē would go with them, to guide them on their way, and that they might take all the provision, excepting a little biscuit. This proposition came like a thunderbolt. Mr. Kent, to whom I had previously communicated my intention, agreed to keep company with me, as also did the Crown prisoners. Gough said he would not go back, as he could never find his way home, and that Mokărē was now as much at a loss as himself.*

[* This was the case, Mokărē being far from his known ground.]

I then explained to him, not to suppose I had wished his company altogether for the pleasure of his society; on the contrary, it was under the idea that he would make himself useful, which he had not hitherto conspicuously done. I again desired him to return home, and inform them at the settlement, that we should be there in a day or two after him; but he persisted in remaining with the party. Observing that he was now completely crest-fallen, I made no further observation, than threatening, that if he henceforth conducted himself with any impropriety, I would leave him in the bush without ceremony.

This fracas being thus amicably terminated, we continued our westerly course; about noon, we arrived at and crossed a fine stream, running southerly, which was named the Kent, in compliment to the gentleman who accompanied me. Having rested here half an hour, we pursued our journey in a N.N.W. direction for the highest part of a range of hills, which now met our view.

Early in the evening, we bivouacked near a mountain torrent, in the midst of a wildly picturesque glen; the temperature, had other indications been wanting, sufficiently denoting that we were among the mountains.

During this day's journey, we passed over some good land, and more that might be made something of; but by far the greatest portion was either indifferent, or very barren.

We noticed several native encampments, but did not fall in with any of the natives; Mokărē discovered some traces of them, and amongst others, a love token: a lock of hair, interwoven with some network, which he informed us, a fair, or rather a sable, damsel had hid; and it was the business of the enamoured swain to find it out, when he was rewarded for his assiduity by the favour of his mistress. If this be true, it shows that the aborigines of this place, if not more civilized, are, at all events, more romantic in their courtship than their brethren in the vicinity of Port Jackson, whose method is short and effectual; as they steal by ambush on the object of their affections, beat her senseless with a club, and then drag her off by the hair of the head, in triumph, to their own party.

The huts in this place are similar to those we noticed at Swan River, bearing an exact resemblance to a bee-hive cut vertically in two, with the convex side to that part most exposed to the wind and rain.** Perceiving several that were formed in the same manner as the others, but as if the hive (after being cut vertically) opened by a hinge, thus forming two, we learned from Mokărē, that these were the apartments of the married people; we observed they were placed at some distance from each other, and from the other habitations.

[** The description of these habitations given by Vancouver, nearly half a century ago, coincides precisely with their appearance at the present day.]

This evening Mokărē, whether instigated by others or of his own accord, entered into a serious remonstrance with me on the impropriety of travelling any farther, as we were a long way from home, and the provisions were nearly expended, when (he said) the white fellows would cry; he also hinted that had he known before starting as much as he did now, he would have declined being one of the party. He said, the expeditions of Captain Wakefield and the others, had been maatinip,*** while mine had been already maatopen.****

[*** A short distance.]

[**** A long distance.]

I told him, that the white fellows cared little about having anything to eat, and only cried when they could not get water; but being convinced that the case was widely different, he told me it was not a matter to make a joke of. I then told him to make himself quite easy, as, if we did not get another kangaroo shortly, his advice should be followed; and in order to create a little good humour, a double allowance of grog was issued, which had the desired effect; and "God save the King" was sung with much vociferation, where it never had been chanted before.

On Tuesday, we directed our course S.S.W. taking care to leave on our left, all the streams we met with; and in this manner we proceeded over hills and dales, until our progress was arrested by a swamp, wide and apparently deep, trending westward round the mountains. Mokărē, (who had much antipathy to water if of any depth,) and others of the party discovering some repugnance to attempt a passage directly across it, we took a détour to the eastward, and crossed it where it was much narrower, and not more than two or three feet deep.

As, at this time, the thunder was rolling heavily,—the peals rendered more terrific and sublime, by the echoing hills; the rain pouring down in torrents, and the explorers, (some of whom wished themselves elsewhere,) being up to the middle in water, we thought it might not be inaptly named, the "Dismal Swamp".

Just as we crossed this, the dogs started a fine kangaroo, and, after a short run, caught it, having the advantage from the wetness of the ground. This welcome burden being hoisted on Mokărē's shoulders, we proceeded in a southerly direction, crossing an ironstone barren tract, intersected by small strips of good land.

Towards evening we arrived at another swamp, about 150 yards wide, and from two to three feet deep, winding eastward round the hills. Having passed this we encamped earlier than usual, being somewhat fatigued by our day's journey: the rain continued to fall heavily during the evening, but the party having plenty to eat, were in good humour. As appearances indicated that the weather would be wet and windy during the night, we formed our tents in the gipsy fashion, which afforded us a very snug and convenient shelter.

On Wednesday, at daylight, we proceeded in a southerly direction, through a country in general barren, but not altogether destitute of patches of very good land. About nine o'clock, perceiving a high, conical, insulated hill, bearing E. by S., we directed our course thither, passing through a rich valley, of considerable extent, where the dogs caught a kangaroo.

About one, P.M., we halted close by a pebbly stream, which rushed, with impetuosity, through the bottom of a deep, narrow glen, where the trees were of enormous circumference and altitude. This being a delightful spot, it was agreed to pitch our encampment, and remain until the morning, to allow such as required it, to take a little rest.

Being anxious to obtain a panoramic view of the country, which could be advantageously seen from the top of the mountain, I determined to ascend it; and, accompanied by Mr. Kent and Mokărē, started from our encampment at four, P.M., and reached its highest pinnacle by half-past six, when we enjoyed a prospect that more than repaid all our fatigue.

The highest peak is about thirty yards square, perfectly level, paved with minute particles of quartz and granite, and a huge block of the latter material adorns each angle. As this had some resemblance to a fortified place, it was named "Mount Lindesay", in compliment to the officers of the thirty-ninth regiment.

From the summit, the following bearings were taken; but, from our having only a small pocket compass, they cannot be considered as strictly accurate.—From the S.E. angle. Mount Melville, E.S.E.; Peakhead, S.E. by E. ½E.; east point of Porrongorup, E., northerly; west point of ditto, E. by N. ¾N.; highest western peak, E. by N., northerly; south head of a large inlet (close to the sea, and trending from N.E. by E. to S.W. by W.), S. ¼E.; high hill to the west of the inlet, under which, apparently, it communicates with the sea, S. by W.

From the N.E. angle.—The western point of Morrilup, N.E. by E.; from this bearing to N.W. (except some very distant high land, bearing N. by E.), the country appeared level as far as the eye could survey. From the N. W. the land rises, and becomes gradually higher; and from this point round to the southward, it appears like the ocean convulsed by a storm: this resemblance being augmented by the setting sun's refracted rays gleaming faintly through the "horizontal misty air."

In the midst of this alpine region, three mountains are conspicuous, from their superior altitude; and as they will be leading points in a trigonometrical survey of the country, we named them after the Surveyors-General of Australia.

From the S.W. angle, a group of islands (four) middle of the west and largest isle, S.W. ¾S.; high distant land, W. southerly; extreme part of the sea visible on the right, W. by S. ½S.; land, supposed Cape Nuyts, S.W. ½W.; and a little after the sun went down, we perceived a large expanse of water close to the sea coast, bearing S.W. ½S., and imagined it to be near, perhaps, to the westward of. Cape Chatham.

These observations being made, we continued admiring the magnificent scene until daylight departed. We then deemed it prudent to remain till the moon had attained some altitude in the eastern sky, lest we might lose our way, or meet with some accident, while descending the mountain in the dark. This delay was rather agreeable than otherwise, the night being serene and mild—exactly according with the beautiful description of Milton:


"Now came still evening on, and twilight grey
Had in her sober livery all things clad;
                  Now glowed the firmament
With living sapphires; Hesperus, that led
The starry host, rode brightest, till the moon.
Rising in clouded majesty, at length
Apparent queen, unveil'd her peerless light.
And o'er the dark her silver mantle threw."


We observed the smoke from our encampment, hovering over the trees, far beneath us to the westward; and Mokărē, who would much rather have been below, eating kangaroo, than admiring the sublime and beautiful from the top of the mountain, was very urgent in his entreaties for us to descend; and, at length, his wishes were complied with.

We reached our party, without any accident, and were welcomed by "the watch dog's honest bark", and found a blazing fire, a pretty bower, and a comfortable supper, prepared for us.

Having, unfortunately, sprained my ankle, in jumping over a stream, on the second day's journey, I suffered very severely from the pain in descending the mountain. To allay this, I placed my foot in the running stream, wherein I found an excellent, though unexpected, remedy;—a number of leeches soon fixed on it, and were gladly permitted to drink their fill.

From what Mokărē told me, I thought that the natives were in the habit of applying them in certain cases; but, on more minute enquiry, I found he had picked up his knowledge of their utility from having been present when they were applied by the surgeon of the settlement. He said, "they were very good for white fellow, but very bad for the blacks;" by whom great caution was always used while drinking, to guard against their entering into the mouth with the water, which, nevertheless, sometimes happened, and occasioned fatal consequences.

During the night, the bell bird supplied, to us, the place of the wakeful nightingale; and at daybreak, we were awakened by the tuneful voices of several singing birds. This was a pleasing surprise, as we had hitherto supposed that the birds in New Holland were not famed for song.*

[* Vancouver has also noticed, that some of the small birds on this part of the coast sing very melodiously.]






CHAPTER XVIII.

Proceed on our Journey—Discover a large Inlet into which several Rivers empty themselves—Arrive at the Settlement—Captain Barker's Narrative—General Remarks on our Journey—A Native Dance—Curious Prescription of a Native Doctor.

ON Thursday morning, we left, with some regret, this delightful glen; and, walking round the southern base of Mount Lindesay, we were not long in meeting with another rivulet, winding round its eastern side, and, joining that at which we had halted last night;—the united streams being about thirty feet wide, and five deep, running directly south.

This reach, however, only extends a few hundred yards, when it expands, and runs rapidly over a bed of granite. Those who wished it, enjoyed here the refreshing luxury of a cold bath; and Mokărē was advised to endeavour to learn to swim, but, having no ambition to attain this accomplishment, he kept at a prudent distance, lest he might, through frolic, be tumbled in.

The banks, as far as we examined, are rich, but, (as may be readily imagined, from the precipitous nature of the country,) very narrow; the surrounding hills, however, are of good soil, and might easily be turned to some account. The trees, principally blue gum, are the finest I have ever seen.

Leaving this river, which was named the Denmark (in compliment to a physician of the British fleet,) we proceeded south-east, crossing, in our way, several streams of pure water, which might, according to Australian phraseology, be called rivers.

This day's journey was, from the abrupt nature of the country, very fatiguing. The land on the hills was sometimes good, sometimes indifferent, but more frequently very barren. That of the valleys was, in general, of a fair quality. In the evening, we encamped near a stream, running through a valley—as all the others did—to the southward.

On Friday, at daybreak, we started; and Mokărē, having got on known ground, now led the way. After having travelled four hours, at a pretty brisk pace, we arrived at a river, upwards of fifty yards wide, and apparently deep, flowing slowly to the southward. We walked along its right bank, and, in a short time, reaching its mouth, we observed that it poured its waters into the inlet seen from Mount Lindesay, Unfortunately, a bar of sand runs across it,—there were not more than eighteen inches or two feet water, where we passed over: immediately inside, there is from three to seven feet water, and, at a little distance up, the river becomes deeper. I considered this the termination of the mountain stream, where we encamped after the third day's journey. It was named the Hay, in compliment to the under Secretary of State for the Colonies.

We then walked along the shore, for about a mile and a half, when we arrived at another river emptying its waters also into the inlet: there is also a bar across its mouth, which was, at present, nearly dry. Inside the bar, it is about five feet deep, and ten yards wide. I considered this the termination of the stream, which we crossed on the afternoon of the second day, where the land began to improve. It was named the Sleeman, in compliment to the late Commandant of King George's Sound.

We halted here, to take some refreshment, and a little rest; and while the repast was preparing, Mr. Kent and I walked out some distance in the shallow water, to take a few bearings. Mount Lindesay bore N.W. by N. The high conical hill (seen from Mount Lindesay, bearing S. by W.), whose base was apparently washed by the inlet, at about fifteen miles distance, bore west.

This beings the most conspicuous land to the west of Cape Howe, and close to the sea, it was named Mount Hallowell, in compliment to the gallant admiral of that name, under whose flag I served, and from whom I received my first promotion in the service, at the instance of my friend Dr. Denmark.

High land to seaward (between which and Mount Hallowell I supposed the communication with the sea to exist) bore W. by S. ¾S. The inlet is nearly circular; the water to the north and east is shallow, but deep along its southern boundary; on the west, there is an opening, through which Mount Hallowell is seen in the distance, whose base is apparently washed by the waters, and I have no doubt also by the sea, whose mighty voice was distinctly heard by all of us.

It was imagined that the inlet again expands, receiving the waters of the Denmark, which we knew must be emptied to the eastward of Mount Hallowell. This inlet is of considerable size, being about six miles in diameter, and would, like Melville Water, make an excellent harbour, if it had an entrance.** I was on my way to decide the question; but reflecting that the utmost limit of time allowed me was expired, and that our provisions were expended, I was induced, although reluctantly, to give up the attempt.

[** Sir James Stirling, the Governor of Western Australia, has done the Author the honour to name this "Wilson's Inlet".]

That there is a communication of some kind with the sea, there can be no doubt, as the tide ebbed considerably during the time we remained. The sand which forms the bar at the mouth of the river, and which also extends along the shore, does not exceed six or eight inches in depth, and rests on a bed of fine clay.

We resumed our journey about two P.M., proceeding east, through a country slightly undulating, for two or three miles, when we arrived at an extensive plain, bounded on the N. and S. by well wooded hills, occasionally watered by small streams, and intersected by narrow strips of finely timbered forest land.

In the evening we encamped near a swamp, rather earlier than we should have done, in consequence of several of the party being much weakened from the violent operations of the brackish water; but this might be considered rather fortunate than otherwise, as it would tend to obviate the bad effects of repletion; this explanation, however, was not at all consolatory to the sufferers, whose appetites had now become more keen, from the knowledge that there was nothing left to appease the cravings of hunger, which were becoming very urgent. But, our journey being so near an end, there was no murmuring.

On Saturday, at break of day, we resumed our march; both men and dogs keeping a sharp look out for kangaroos. About seven o'clock, arriving at an inlet of some extent, we bent our course to the south, and soon came to the beach, when we observed that West Cape Howe, bore S.S.W. The mouth of the inlet was completely obstructed by a barrier of sand, over which we passed, several feet above the level of the sea and inlet.

Having taken several bearings of Cape Howe, Eclipse, and other Islands, and observed that the bay was Studded with reefs, we proceeded, for some distance, along the hoarse-resounding shore, and then crossed over the coast range of sand hills, which, in geological structure, resembles the coast about Swan River. This inlet was perceived to be of considerable size, and communicated, by a serpentine channel, with the lagoon well known to the sportsmen of the settlement.

Having arrived within a few miles of home, we halted, for the purpose of shaving, and making ourselves as tidy as our means would admit, before we entered the camp. This being done, we continued our nearly finished journey at a pretty brisk pace, about noon we reached the S.W. side of Princess Royal Harbour, and walked along its sandy shore; where we observed the recent foot-marks of several natives, by which Mokărē was enabled to tell their names.

Having kept a little brandy in case of need, I distributed it, when within about half a mile of the camp; and, although the quantity was small, yet, from the want of food, it raised the spirits of the party wonderfully; and we entered the settlement, in good order and high glee, about one o'clock P.M. after having walked nearly two hundred miles, over a country previously unknown, without having experienced any privation worthy of notice.

The natives crowded round Mokărē, eager to hear the news from a far country; and the soldiers besieged Gough for the same purpose, but he wisely declined giving them the least information until they brought him something to eat; while Mr. Kent and myself did justice to Dr. Davis's proffered hospitality. Captain Barker and Lieutenant Sleeman were on board the Governor Phillips, hastening the arrangements for her departure, when we arrived. A flag, however, being hoisted from the camp, soon brought Captain Barker on shore.

Our arrival caused much gladness, as, from our long absence, fears were entertained, that we must either have been destroyed by the natives, or that we had lost our way. A great quantity of wood had been carried to the top of Mount Melville, which was to have been kindled this evening, to direct us, if haply we might be wandering about in search of home.

Captain Barker was the only individual who was free from alarm; but had we not returned this evening, he would also have begun to suspect that some accident had befallen us. He was much gratified by the account of our expedition, and determined to proceed, as soon as his avocations would permit, to examine the inlet, and also the interior water seen from Mount Lindesay, far to the westward, where it is likely there may exist a convenient harbour, with a good entrance.

I may here stop the thread of my own narrative, to introduce Captain Barker's descriptive account of his excursion over this tract of country, contained in a letter which I received from him shortly after my arrival in England.


"Anxious as I was when you left us, to set at rest the question of the Western Harbour, various circumstances prevented my setting out to examine it, till the 3rd inst., when I proceeded with your old party, Mr. Kent being very desirous of seeing-out his adventure in that quarter. I had long since, however, learnt from Mokărē that the entrance to the inlet would only admit of boats, and the event is another confirmation of the general accuracy of the natives. I can only give you a hasty outline of our journey, as I found a government vessel here on my return, and have besides, been occupied by some tedious magisterial business.

"On the 3d of February, we started at six A.M., and avoiding your sand hills, by keeping to the right of the lagoons, stopped to breakfast at the end of eight or nine miles, on the banks of a river five yards broad, and nearly as many feet deep, which Mokărē said divided above into three small streams, and came from no great distance. Five miles farther, he pointed over some wooded hills on our left, to where you had slept the night before your return, soon after which we got on a plain, where for about a mile the soil (a reddish and black loam with clay underneath,) might perhaps be made something of; but except here, it was indifferent throughout the day; the rising grounds wooded and strewn with iron stone, the hollows and flats open and sandy. Mokărē being unwell, and lagging much behind, we halted for the night, after going W.N.W. seventeen or eighteen miles, at a swamp, where the water was very good.

"On the 4th at five A.M. we proceeded, crossing several dry beds of streams, and a chain of ponds, and afterwards bringing up our right shoulders, fell in with the Sleeman, where it was fifty yards wide and apparently deep. Following its course towards the inlet, we came to a part only seven yards wide and eighteen inches deep, where we crossed; but some water that you had stopped at on leaving the inlet, on the 11th December, being strongly recommended, we returned to the left bank, and another mile bringing us to it, we sat down to take our dejeuné, and while preparing, I sought an open view, and found Moun. Hallowell to bear W. ½S., Mount Lindesay N.W. ¼N. A short walk brought us to the inlet, and I went out, with Mr. Kent, to, as nearly as he could recollect, the spot where you had taken your bearings, being about 600 hundred yards from the mouth of the Sleeman, now a dry sand. I found Mount Lindesay, (the highest part) N. 39° ½W. Mount Hallowell W. 5° S., agreeing as nearly as could be expected with your own. I took various other bearings, both here and at other places, but have not time to arrange them. Meanwhile the rest of the party moved on to the Hay, to shoot ducks, but were unsuccessful. Beyond the Hay, we found some very fine blue gum, though the soil was not apparently rich. There was sometimes, however, a narrow strip near the inlet, of thick grass. The bay expands considerably, as you imagined, on the north shore, but not on the south. We followed its different windings, from the difficulty of getting over the points of land, where was often an almost impenetrable underwood, and about ten miles of not a very straight course brought us from the Hay to the mouth of the Denmark, about forty yards wide, deep, with a muddy bottom, and little or no stream. We were obliged to make a considerable détour into the inlet to avoid deep water, and passed where it did not exceed thirty inches. Those who preceded fell in with two native women, one of them perfectly naked, each carrying a child in a bag of kangaroo skin, and leading another. They were a little startled till they saw Mokărē, with whom they stopped to chat a few minutes, but would not wait for me. I was then a little up the river, swimming about for three ducks that had been shot. We proceeded two or three miles farther, quitting the inlet, and halted for the night at a water hole in the bed of a small mountain stream. Mount Hallowell bearing W. 34° S. distant two miles and a half.

February 5th.—Wound round the N.E. of Mount Warrumbup, over stony and rocky ground, but with fine blue gum occasionally, and again approaching the inlet, stopped to breakfast at a small running stream washing the foot of Mount Hallowell. Here two natives joined us, and I left them with half our party to spear wallabi and shoot ducks, while I went with Mr. Kent and Mokărē to the mouth of the inlet, wading through some luxuriant grass, in a rich soil part of the way, but it was of no great extent. We passed a few small streamlets, but with little water in them, the dry weather since you were here, having made a great change. The inlet, as you approach its mouth, for a mile or two becomes shallow all the way across. The communication between it and the sea is through a break in the coast line of hills (which appeared a calcareous sandstone, like those near us), of nearly 700 yards; but it is only at very high tides that the water covers this. It was now (at noon on the 5th) a flat dry sand, with a small channel near the centre the narrowest part of which was only thirty yards wide. About ten yards of this was out of my depth, but I came back more within the inlet, where it had widened to a hundred yards, and found no part deeper than four feet. The sand was yielding, and it is probable that in the rainy season, when there must be a considerable discharge of water, it may force itself a broader and deeper channel. The surf outside, at a short distance from where I passed, was very heavy, and I think no boat would be able to come in, except in very fine weather, and with the wind off the land. I do not say but that a navigable passage might be made; but where is the equivalent for the expense, for a hundred years to come? A small stream of delicious water rises near the cliff, forming the west point of entrance, and, running a few hundred yards, falls into the inlet. From this cliff. Mount Hallowell bore N. 43° ½W., the nearest opposite shore about N.E. ¾E., and the east point of the bay to seaward E. 29° S. I have not leisure to calculate my distance, but consider it about thirty-two English miles from the settlement in a direct line. Our native friends had not come back from their wallabi hunting, on our return to the party, but one (Cumwhite) made his appearance just as we were finishing our dinner. He led us some distance towards the Denmark by a better and shorter route than we had come, and then wishing us good-night, returned to his family. We slept about a mile east of the Denmark, Mokărē being puzzled to find the watering place, though any spot might have done, for the rain was coming down in torrents.

"February 6th.—Before we moved this morning, having been delayed till past seven in baking dampers, as we had no biscuit, Cum-white, and four other natives, joined us; two of whom accompanied us towards Mount Lindesay. After walking an hour and a quarter, Mr. Kent's dog started and killed a kangaroo (about 100lbs), to the delight of all, and not least of our two new friends; one of whom leading the way, and striking to the west, after the pleasing burthen had been hoisted on Gough's shoulders, we soon came to a deep narrow glen, at the bottom of which was a small stream running south, where we breakfasted, and cut up our game; and I never shall forget the capacious appetites of Cumwhite and Talpar, who certainly did their part towards the fulfilment of the custom of the natives, to eat up the kangaroo where it is killed. We put up for night at a small stream on the eastern foot of Mount Lindesay, which Talpar, Mr. Kent, and myself, ascended; Mokărē having eaten too much kangaroo to be able to move, he, therefore, very shrewdly told me, the other knew the way better. The view was indeed magnificent, but I was unable to enjoy it as you did, in consequence of a haze coming on, and which also prevented my taking many bearings. The few I got correctly agreed with yours, except the distant interior water, which I made W.S.W. ½S. nearly. You call it S.W. ½S., having, probably, left out the first W. Mr. Kent had it W. by S. ½S. After our descent, I had a long talk with Mokărē, and the two others, about this said water, which I considered about thirty miles off. They called it two days' journey, and, you will be pleased to hear, persisted in saying it would admit of large vessels. I could not, however, get at their means of judging, and have, therefore, my doubts till I see the place; for you know they are unable to swim, and have no boats, so that they would probably make no distinction in the depth of any water that was permanently over their head. Our provisions would not permit our going so far comfortably, and I had no mind to try the mettle of my party, as you were obliged to do; but I shall not lose sight of the place. They describe the land as very barren.

"February 7th.—I ascended part of the mountain this morning, with the intention of going again to the top of it, had it been clear; but, after waiting some time, I found it would be useless, and rejoined the party, when we set out on our return. The direct way to the settlement was very bad, we were told, and therefore edged off to the southward a little, till after we had passed near the spot where you had slept on the tenth, when we kept more northerly than you. The land, with a trifling exception, was very bad; the walking over the iron-stone hills not the best, but, by all accounts, a turnpike road compared to some that you had travelled. The natives left us after dinner, with a promise to visit the settlement in their month, or season, called Pruhner (about April). We encamped for the night on the Hay. The bed of it here was considerable, and there were marks of the water rising six or eight feet above its present level. The banks were eighteen feet high. The general depth of water was from one to four feet, and, at first, I thought it stagnant. In my rambles, however, I found a part where there was a run; but you will hardly credit me, when I tell you its size. It was actually less than I could span: it was from one to two inches deep only, and had a fall of about six inches. This was the whole breadth of the water: the bed of the river, in this spot, being a large ironstone rock, over which I walked.

"February 8th.—Crossed several dry beds, over an indifferent country, and two branches of the Sleeman, one dry, the other inconsiderable. We eventually got into our old track near the plain, where the soil was tolerable, the first day. We afterwards turned to the left a little, and slept on one of the small branches of our first day's river.—Reached home in the afternoon, having given the party a great part of the day, to enable them to carry some game into the settlement; but they met with no success.

"The land, during the whole of my excursion, was generally bad; but it could hardly be expected otherwise in the route I took. I hear continued good accounts of that in the interior, but it is now in want of water; and I find that is usually the case two or three months in the year; wells, however, might be dug. Mokărē gives me the names of tribes he has heard of to a great distance northward, and says he understands their country to be very fine, but they have no rivers. All their water is procured from lakes or wells."

I now resume my narrative, with a few general remarks on our journey.—1st, Had we followed the advice of the native, and proceeded in the direction he wished us, I have no doubt we should have been enabled to give a much more favourable account of the fertility of the soil; as, from his report, and the observation of Mr. Baxter, joined to the knowledge acquired by ourselves, I believe that a great extent of good land exists to the north of the Morrillup range; but, be that as it may, I do not hesitate to affirm, that the area we walked over contained as much land, fit for every purpose of rural economy, as any portion, of equal extent, in New South Wales.

In travelling onward, it was a rule for each individual to carry a day's water, lest we might not meet with any, when we halted for the night; which, however, we never had occasion to use, from necessity, excepting once. Indeed, those who wished, enjoyed the luxury of a cold bath, at least once a day (one day excepted): it may, therefore, be evident, that the country is well watered; but it is not to be denied, that, by a long continuance of drought, many of the streamlets and shallow lagoons might become dried up. From the situation, however, of the country, it is not likely that droughts are so frequent here, as in the neighbourhood of Port Jackson.

The country is also well supplied with several kinds of useful timber;—the honeysuckle, swamp oak, blue gum, apple tree, turpentine, box, &c. flourished luxuriantly, each in its congenial soil. It may be further observed, that the western mountains are not, as it was imagined, continuous, there being a considerable extent of level land between them and the Porrongorup range; whereby easy communication may be held with Swan River.

These mountains are similar, in structure, to the Darling range. They are chiefly composed of a coarse grained granite; the summits of several which we passed over, were crowned with immense blocks of this material. The Morrilup and Porrongorup mountains are, I understand, also of granite. During our excursions, we observed many beautiful plants; and, imagining they were yet undescribed, I selected a few with the intention of presenting them to Mr. Allan Cunningham, on my arrival in Sydney.*

[* Several of the plants collected here, and at Swan River, which at that period were unknown, have since been described; viz. Anigozanthos Manglesii of Don, Conospermum triplinervium of Brown, Rhodanthe Manglesii of Lindley; amongst the collection was a very distinct species of Grevillea, hitherto unpublished, which is thus characterized by Mr. Cunningham, who has named it, in compliment to the discoverer.

Grevillea Wilsoni. C. mss. Foliis bipinnatis: laciniis linearibus subulatis mucronatis pungentibus divaricatis, marginibus revolutis super subsericeis, pube rarâ appressâ, racemis terminalibus alternis erectis, perianthiis extùs glaberrimis, intùs basi barbatis, pilis cinereis brevibus strictis, bracteis lanceolatis attenuatis deciduis, ovario villosissimo, stylo infra medium hirsuto, stigmate dilatato obliquo convexiusculo.

In its native woods, this new Grevillea forms an elegant upright shrub, two to three feet high, with showy purple flowers, each half an inch in length, having a pistillum extending as much more beyond it.]

A considerable concourse of natives had assembled in the camp, having come to present an address to Lieutenant Sleeman, on his departure, and to congratulate Captain Barker, on his assuming the reins of government. A ball and supper had been promised them, which, through the politeness of Lieutenant Sleeman, had been deferred until our return, to give us an opportunity of seeing their manners, and of ascertaining whether they danced as well as the natives on the north coast.

As soon as it became dark, a large fire was kindled in the centre of the camp, and the ball commenced, and was kept up with great spirit; the performers, evidently using their best endeavours to inspire us with a favourable idea of their dexterity, were much gratified by our repeated plaudits, which incited them to still further exertions.

There was not that elegance of gesture which we witnessed among the Aborigines of Raffles Bay; but there was more meaning in the dance, although we could not make it out. They began by marching slowly in a circle round the fire, gradually accelerating their pace; and then in turns, they placed their spears at the feet of one of their party who stood outside the ring viewing, but without taking any part in, the ceremony; then they danced with might and main, until nearly exhausted, when they retired to supper, quite elated that their amusement had apparently given us satisfaction.** Mokărē did not take any active part in the dancing; both, it may be supposed, from his being very tired, and from his affecting to be one of us.

[** On seeing one of the soldiers' wives among the spectators, a native made an apology, that he had not his kangaroo skin, and wished to retire: this was a mark of delicacy, that made us blush at the want of it in our women, who had learned not to be squeamish at such sights.]

Shortly after the conclusion of the ball, Mokărē brought his relation, a native doctor, to prescribe for me; he was a man of mild and grave aspect, who was evidently highly esteemed by, and possessed much influence over, the other natives. I thanked him for his kindness, and submitted my ankle, now much swelled and exceedingly painful, to his examination. He immediately began to press it with his fingers, blowing on it at the same time; I bore this painful operation as long as I could, and then told Dr. Eurul (so he was called), that I thought he had done me much benefit, and that there was no occasion for his giving himself any further trouble; but he gave it another squeeze or two, and then went to the door, and blew over his fingers, and also over his kangaroo skin,—thus, as I was told, first taking the disease from me to himself, and then blowing it away; he was pleased that he had been of service to me, and seemed to understand medical etiquette too well, to receive any remuneration from a member of the profession.

This was certainly a new mode of treating a severe sprain; but I understand it is their panacea for every disease. However, as may be readily conjectured, the remedy rather aggravated my complaint, which was now treated secundum artem by Dr. Davis, from whose assistance, I derived more benefit than I did, or was likely to do, from the Aboriginal Æsculapius.






CHAPTER XIX.

Excursion to Oyster Harbour—Green Island—Fertility of the Soil—Brief account of the Natives—Departure from King George's Sound—Account of the Murder of Captain Barker—Narrative resumed—Bass's Straits—Anchor in the River Tamar.

AS the brig was not yet fit for sea. Lieutenant Sleeman proposed a boat excursion to Oyster Harbour, and I gladly agreed to accompany him, being anxious to obtain a view of that inlet; accordingly on Wednesday morning the weather promising to be fair, a party, consisting of Lieutenant Sleeman, Dr. Davis, Mr. Hickey and myself, proceeded in the whale-boat.

On entering the mouth of the harbour, four wild ducks started up not far from us, and Mr. Hickey, an excellent marksman, brought down three of them. We landed here to get some water for the use of the individual who resides, in the capacity of gardener, on Green Island: thither we went, and I was delighted to find turnips, carrots, peas, potatoes, cabbages. and other culinary vegetables, growing in great abundance.*

[* "For the benefit of those (observes Vancouver) who may visit the country hereafter, some vine cuttings and water cresses were planted in an Island in Oyster Harbour, and at the place from whence we procured our fuel; and an assortment of garden seeds, with some almonds, oranges, lemon, and pumpkin seeds, were sown. The whole being the production of Africa, I should have entertained little doubt of their success, had it not been that there was much to apprehend in their being overrun by the natural productions of the country." None of these were found by us, in either of these spots, and it is probable they were lost in the way he. anticipated.]

This Island does not contain more than from three to four acres; the soil is light, but admirably adapted for the growth of vegetables; we could not, however, help remarking, that should the 800 ton ship come here with her passengers, as stated in the newspapers, their several portions would be exceedingly small.

Having taken a sufficiency of vegetables to serve for dinner, we proceeded up the harbour, to examine "La Riviere Française". We found it rather difficult to enter, as its mouth is, as usual with the other rivers, obstructed by a bar of mud and sand. Inside the bar the depth is from five to twelve feet. Here, in a convenient spot, near a fresh water streamlet, we landed the cook, and the provisions, with directions to prepare dinner. Mr. Hickey remained to shoot, while Lieutenant Sleeman and myself proceeded higher up the river, which kept the same variable depth, being not less than four, nor more than twelve feet, water rather brackish. The banks were well clothed with wood, and the various reaches extremely picturesque.

We could not proceed far, having to return to the settlement in the evening, in consequence of Lieutenant Sleeman being in an indifferent state of health; he was admonished by the Doctor (who had great antipathy to sleeping in the open air) to return home as early as possible. We landed on the left bank of the river, with the intent of returning to our rendezvous by land.

I observed, in many places, that the land was extremely rich and good, even to the top of the hills. Lieutenant Sleeman had formerly visited this spot, and sent a detailed account of its properties to the Government at Sydney. It was remarked, that if the settlers could not all get as much of Green Island as they might desire, here they could be accommodated to a certain extent. From the inequality of surface, it would not be fit for the plough, but there could be no doubt that it might be very advantageously cultivated; as, from its situation, form, and quality, it appeared well adapted for the growth of the vine.

From the top of the most elevated hill, we obtained an extensive view of the Sound, and its rugged islands; Princess Royal, and Oyster, Harbours, with the various windings of "La Riviere Française" and King's River, through an apparently fertile country, formed a landscape, not unworthy of the pencil of a Claude Lorraine.

On our return, we found a most excellent dinner;—roast ducks and green peas, beef, potatoes, and cabbage, with Swedish turnips and carrots;—to which we sat down with sharp appetites, and having strong drinks, both fermented and distilled, we thought ourselves much more fortunate than Vancouver and his party were, while on a similar expedition to the same spot. After having enjoyed a short siesta, we prepared to return; the day being too far spent to permit us paying a visit to King's River.

We touched again at Green Island, and took as many vegetables as the boat could carry, for our use during the voyage. The gardener certainly leads a solitary life here, but he seemed to like it; his only companion was his bible, which he had displayed very conspicuously, and, as the uncharitable might imagine, rather ostentatiously. I must confess that, having so frequently witnessed the most consummate rogues putting on, successfully, an appearance of sanctified demeanour, whenever I observe anything approaching to outward show, I cannot avoid calling to mind Ambrose Lamella; many of whose fraternity have fallen under my own notice.**

[** I may here cite one. From the clergyman of the hulk at Sheerness, I received an excellent character of a prisoner, named Brown; in consequence of which, I employed him in binding books, and treated him with kindness during our voyage in the ship Richmond. As he had constantly a bible, or other religious book in his pocket, he passed for an honest man, and was not narrowly watched. He had, therefore, frequent opportunities, which he did not fail to profit by, of laying under contribution several of the officers, and others belonging to the ship.

Receiving a hint from his intimate associate, I ordered his trunk to be searched, in which the stolen property was found. I observed a letter to the Rev. Mr. Price, thanking him "for having rescued him (the said hypocrite) from the paths of infamy, and hoping that his brother, who first taught him to swerve from the paths of virtue, might, ere this, have paid his justly-forfeited life to the offended laws of his country."

From the said brother, whom (strange enough) I carried out some years afterwards, as a prisoner in the ship Governor Ready, I learned that this exemplary youth had made his escape from the colony in a brig; and, after various adventures, had arrived at Philadelphia, where he was now a respectable bookseller.

This brother, who went by the name of Collins, was, immediately on his arrival at Hobart Town, discovered to be a runaway convict: consequently, he was immediately packed off to Macquarrie Harbour for life.]

About four years ago, the British Government, having heard that the French were about to form a settlement at King George's Sound,*** were determined to prevent them; and, with this view, a field-officer (Major Lockyer) was sent from Sydney, with a detachment of soldiers and prisoners, to claim and keep possession of it. On their arrival, they learned that the French had formed an establishment, which they had speedily abandoned.

[*** King George's Sound was discovered by Captain Vancouver, on the 29th of September, 1791, who thus describes it:—"This port has its entrance in latitude 35° 5', longitude 118° 17'. It is easily known on approaching it from the westward, as it is the first opening in the coast that presents any appearance like a harbour eastward of Cape Chatham. The Eclipse Islands being the only detached land that can be so regarded, are an excellent guide to the Sound, having, between them and Bald Head, some rocks, on which the sea breaks with great violence. The port is safe, and easy of access."]

Major Lockyer formed the camp on the north-west side of Princess Royal Harbour, near a running stream at the foot of two detached hills, of considerable elevation, which he named Mount Clarence, and Mount Melville; and the intended town he called Frederick Town. Having made all necessary arrangements, he left the charge to Captain Wakefield, of the thirty-ninth regiment, who was relieved by Lieutenant Sleeman, and he by Captain Barker.

I understand it is on the point of being given up as an out-station of Sydney, to form a part of the Government of Western Australia; and I should not be surprised if it were, ere long, the seat of that Government—it being, in many respects, far preferable to Swan River.

The entrance to Princess Royal (and also to Oyster Harbour,) is narrow, shallow, and only capable of admitting small vessels; but the Sound is capacious, and easy of access, affording an excellent and safe anchorage, to any number of vessels, of any burden. The land, even in the immediate vicinity, is far from indifferent, and capable of being rendered very productive; and the climate is delightful.****

[**** Vancouver's description is exceedingly accurate.]

During my short stay, it is not to be supposed that the information I acquired, concerning the natives, could be very extensive. I may, however, state, that in personal appearance, they have a decided resemblance to their Australian brethren, and their weapons are also similar. They all wear a covering of kangaroo skins, with the fur next to the skin. They have large bellies, and slender extremities; but good feeding produces a wonderful change in their appearance.

They seem a good-tempered race; not so savage-looking as those of the north coast. They are far from being destitute of intelligence: on the contrary, they appear very acute. Several of them reside constantly in the camp, where they are treated with kindness. Mokărē, who had always slept in the Commandant's apartment, now wished to accompany him to Sydney; but, as he might not have an opportunity of getting back, and as he would be of use to Captain Barker, he was willing to stay.

This native was quite domesticated, and very intelligent, humorous, and a wag withal. Observing that those married wore a ring, and that polygamy did not exist, he thus questioned Dr. Davis, who wore two:—"What, doctor, you two wives?—Are your wives dead?—You give them physic?"

There was a fine little native boy in the camp, that lived entirely with the soldiers, by whom he was named Wappery; his good humour, and intelligent features, formed a strong contrast to the sullen, and bashful Riveral, who appeared, however, quite contented.

Every day, at noon—which they seem to know with great exactness—the natives, wherever they may be, kindle a fire, and by this means obtain a knowledge of each other's situations.

They think it necessary and just to kill some one of a neighbouring tribe, whenever one of their own number dies, as they ascribe the death to the incantation of their enemies.

That they have a right of soil, is quite evident. The land about the settlement belongs to Mokărē and his brethren.

Their food principally consists of fish, which they spear in shallow places, as they never venture above the knees in water, with their own will; and it is a strange and singular fact, that none of them swim. They have nothing in the shape of canoes; nor do they ever cross any river, except at the mouth, which is usually very shallow; or higher up, where a tree may have accidentally fallen across, and formed a bridge.

They also derive sustenance from kangaroos, iguanas, and, in the proper season, from young parrots, eggs, &c., and they seem to be fond of sucking the cones of various kind of banksia, which are in great abundance on this part of the coast.

They have been, and continue to be, on the best terms with the settlers, although it may appear, that they acted with hostility in the very beginning; but, by judicious management, the incipient storm was averted, and a good understanding and friendly feeling established, which has not yet been, nor likely to be, interrupted.*

[* A few words of their language, which is much more guttural than that of the Aborigines of the north coast, will be found in the Appendix.]

On Sunday, December the 20th, we got under weigh, and at noon left Princess Royal Harbour. Captain Barker accompanied us for some distance. He and I parted with mutual regret; our friendship having been cemented by a similarity of sentiments and pursuits.


As this excellent officer and worthy man occupies so conspicuous a place in the preceding narrative, I think it may not be uninteresting to my readers to be informed of his untimely death.

He was returning to Sydney from King George's Sound, which had been given up to Captain Stirling, and, in obedience to orders from the Colonial Government, he was examining the coast in the vicinity of Encounter Bay, principally with the view of ascertaining whether any available communication existed between the River Murray (lately discovered by Captain Sturt) and the sea. While in the execution of this duty, he was barbarously murdered by the natives, and his mangled body thrown into the sea.

The melancholy intelligence was communicated to me in a letter from Dr. Davis, which having been mislaid, I transcribe the minute account of the sad catastrophe given by Captain Sturt,** from the relation of my fellow-traveller, Mr. Kent.

[** Vide "Sturt's Two Expeditions into the Interior of Southern Australia", vol. ii. p. 239.]


"I have remarked (observes Captain Sturt), that there is a sand-hill to the eastward of the inlet (i.e. the communication between Lake Alexandrina and the sea), under which the tide runs strong, and the water is deep. Captain Barker judged the breadth of the channel to be a quarter of a mile, and he expressed a desire to swim across it to the sand-hill to take bearings, and to ascertain the nature of the strand beyond it to the eastward.

"It unfortunately happened, that he was the only one of the party who could swim well; in consequence of which, his people remonstrated with him on the danger of making the attempt unattended. Notwithstanding, however, that he was seriously indisposed, he stript, and, after Mr. Kent had fastened his compass on his head for him, he plunged into the water, and with difficulty gained the opposite side; to effect which, took him nine minutes and fifty-eight seconds. His anxious comrades saw him ascend the hillock, and take several bearings; he then descended the farther side, and was never seen by them again.

"For a considerable time, Mr. Kent remained stationary, in momentary expectation of his return; but, at length, taking the two soldiers with him, he proceeded along the shore, in search of wood for a fire. At about a quarter of a mile, the soldiers stopped, and expressed their wish to return, as their minds misgave them, and they feared that Captain Barker had met with some accident. While conversing, they heard a distant shout, or cry, which Mr. Kent thought resembled the call of the natives, but which the soldiers positively declared to be the voice of a white man. On their return to their companions, they asked if any sounds had caught their ears, to which they replied in the negative. The wind was blowing from the E.S.E., in which direction Captain Barker had gone; and, to me, the fact of the nearer party not having heard that which must have been his cries for assistance, is satisfactorily accounted for, as, being immediately under the hill, the sounds must have passed over their heads, to be heard more distinctly at the distance at which Mr. Kent and the soldiers stood. It is more than probable, that while his men were expressing their anxiety about him, the fearful tragedy was enacting, which it has become my painful task to detail.

"Evening closed in, without any signs of Captain Barker's return, or any circumstance by which Mr. Kent could confirm his fears, that he had fallen into the hands of the natives. For, whether it was that the tribe which had shown such decided hostility to me, when on the coast, had not observed the party, none made their appearance; and, if I except two, who crossed the channel when Mr. Kent was in search of wood, they had neither seen nor heard any; and Captain Barker's enterprising disposition being well known to his men, hopes were still entertained that he was safe. A large fire was kindled, and the party formed a silent and anxious group around it. Soon after nightfall, however, their attention was roused by the sounds of the natives; and it was at length discovered, that they had lighted a chain of small fires between the sand-hill Captain Barker had ascended, and the opposite side of the channel, around which their women were chanting their melancholy dirge. It struck upon the ears of the listeners with an ominous thrill, and assured them of the certainty of the irreparable loss they had sustained. All night did these dismal sounds echo along that lonely shore; but, as morning dawned, they ceased, and Mr. Kent and his companions were again left in anxiety and doubt. They at length, thought it most advisable to proceed to the schooner, to advise with Dr. Davis. They traversed the beach with hasty steps, but did not go on board till the following day. It was then determined to procure assistance from the sealers, on Kangaroo Island, as the only means by which they could ascertain their leader's fate, and they accordingly entered American Harbour. For a certain reward, one of the men agreed to accompany Mr. Kent to the main, with a native woman, to communicate with the tribe that was supposed to have killed him. They landed at, or near the rocky point of Encounter Bay, where they were joined by two other natives, one of whom was blind. The woman was sent forward for intelligence, and on her return gave the following details.

"It appears that at a very considerable distance from the first sand-hill, there is another, to which Captain Barker must have walked, for the woman stated that three natives were going to the shore from their tribe, and that they crossed his track. Their quick perception immediately told them it was an unusual impression. They followed upon it, and saw Captain Barker returning. They hesitated for a long time to approach him, being fearful of the instrument he carried. At length, however, they closed upon him. Captain Barker tried to soothe them, but finding that they were determined to attack him, he made for the water, from which he could not have been very distant. One of the blacks immediately threw his spear, and struck him in the hip. This did not, however, stop him. He got among the breakers, when he received the second spear in the shoulder. On this, turning round he received a third full in the breast; with such deadly precision do these savages cast their weapons. It would appear that the third spear was already on its flight, when Captain Barker turned, and it is to be hoped, that it was at once mortal. He fell on his back into the water. The natives then rushed in, and dragging him out by the legs, seized their spears, and inflicted innumerable wounds upon his body; after which, they threw it into deep water, and the sea tide carried it away.

"From the same source from which the particulars of his death were obtained, it was reported that the natives who perpetrated the deed, were influenced by no other motive than curiosity to ascertain if they had power to kill a white man. But we must be careful in giving credit to this, for it is much more probable, that the cruelties exercised by the sealers towards the blacks, along the south coast, may have instigated the latter to take vengeance on the innocent, as well as on the guilty.

"Such, we have every reason to believe, was the untimely fate of this amiable and talented man. Captain Barker was, in disposition, as he was in the close of his life, in many respects, similar to Captain Cook. Mild, affable, and attentive, he had the esteem and regard of every companion, and the respect of every one under him. Zealous in the discharge of his public duties, honourable and just in private life; a lover and a follower of science, indefatigable and dauntless in his pursuits; a steady Mend, an entertaining companion; charitable, kind-hearted, disinterested, and sincere.—In him the King lost one of his most valuable officers, and his regiment one of its most efficient members."

I need scarcely observe, that I perfectly coincide in this eulogy, and also in Captain Start's opinion, that my much-lamented friend fell a victim to the undiscriminating revenge of irritated savages.

To resume my narrative.—The wind was light, but favourable. We observed Mount Gardener to be in longitude 118° 20' 30", by chronometer from Swan River. On Tuesday evening, December 22d, we were abreast of Termination Island, within a quarter of a mile of the longitude assigned to it by Vancouver,*** who thus named it, from its being the termination of his researches on this coast. The weather was chilly and disagreeable, the wind varying from E.S.E. to E.N.E. until the 25th, when it became westerly, and the weather fine.

[*** Captains Flinders and King placed it farther to the westward.]

On January the 2d, 1830, we entered Bass's Straits, the wind blowing very gently from the westward. By cross bearings of Cape Otway and King's Island, we were in longitude 143° 53' 00", while the chronometer from Swan River, according with several lunar observations lately taken, showed 143° 54' 15", which may further prove, that the longitude assigned by us to Arthur's Head, is pretty correct. The westerly wind continued to blow gently, until Tuesday, the 5th of January, when, being close to Curtis' Group, we were unfortunately caught by an easterly gale, which commenced suddenly a little after midnight.

On Thursday the 7th, the gale continuing to blow with unabated fury, without any appearance of the weather becoming more moderate, it was resolved to bear away for Port Dalrymple, to obtain a supply of provisions; which, there was reason to fear, we should stand in need of, before reaching Sydney. We accordingly did so, and towards evening came in sight of Van Dieman's Land.

We had neither ascertained the latitude nor longitude, by observation, since the commencement of the gale, and were therefore uncertain as to our position; but, as several individuals pointed out the entrance, we stood very close to the shore, before it was discovered that we had made a mistake. We then deemed it prudent to stretch out to sea; but, in consequence of the heavy swell, and the wind having died away, we made very little progress. In a short time, however, a land breeze sprang up, and carried us out of danger.****

[**** The ship Portland was not so fortunate; having been lately wrecked in this place, under similar circumstances.]

During the night, we had an opportunity of ascertaining our exact position, and made sail for Waterhouse Island, which we saw at daylight, and then directed our course for the entrance of the Tamar; on approaching which, a pilot came on board, and at eight, A.M., we anchored in a small cove, off George's Town.






CHAPTER XX.

Proceed up the River Tamar to Launceston—Short Excursion into the Country—Flourishing state of the Town—Hospitality of the Inhabitants—Sail from Port Dalrymple—Arrival at Sydney—Excursion over the Southern settled Districts—Departure from Sydney, in the ship Surry, and safe arrival in England.

NO time was lost in entering into arrangements for procuring a supply of provisions, which were much facilitated by the Deputy-Assistant-Commissary General Hull, being at George's Town.

The Commissary was to leave next morning, with Mr. Kenworthy, Comptroller of Customs, who offered Lieutenant Sleeman and myself a passage to Launceston, which we availed ourselves of, our own boat being small, leaky, and unfit for a forty miles' excursion. Accordingly, on Saturday morning, we started before daylight, for the purpose of carrying the tide with us all the way.

As the morning dawned, the appearance of the river, and its scenery, were singularly picturesque; each reach appearing like an inland lake. In a reach, about seven miles above George's Town, I observed a large ship at anchor, which I was informed was the Surry, taking in Mimosa bark for London. I also learned, that she was to sail in a few days for Sydney, to complete her cargo. Captain Dacre, the commander, being an old friend, I determined to proceed home by her, and therefore viewed her with some interest.

Her present situation, protected from every breeze—her shadow intermingled with that of the luxuriant foliage of the surrounding verdant hills, reflected from the glassy bosom of the tranquil lake,—formed a striking contrast, to that place of peril she soon would be in, contending with the rude assaults of stormy winds and waves, while passing those dreary regions.—


"——where wild-meeting oceans boil,
                                  Besouth Magellan."


The sun rose beautifully over the eastern hills, and the surrounding views became most interesting: at a point named Whirlpool reach, the scenery much resembles that of the highland lakes; but even this scenery is surpassed, at a spot named Swan Reach; and at the point where Nelson's shoals open, the view is truly magnificent, the distant hills, among which towers the lofty Benlomond, presenting a prospect highly agreeable to all who have any taste for the picturesque.

When within a short distance of Launceston, I noticed a spruce-looking gentleman, whose face was not unknown to me, guiding a boat, as I thought, rather awkwardly. We soon recognized each other as former fellow-voyagers, and he took a seat in our boat, which was better adapted for passengers than his own.

The last time we met, he was captain of the light company of a crack regiment of infantry. After mutual salutation, and condolence on his part, I expressed my astonishment at his having converted his sword into a plough-share: I also could not help reminding him how he used to rail against any life excepting that of a soldier, which (he thought) so far surpassed all others. He had now his boat full of wheat, which he was conveying to "the maid of the mill", to get ground. This was rather a different employment from that of exhibiting the symmetry of his form, and the smart cut of his coat, after parade, in the view of the admiring fair. As regards dress, however, he had not degenerated into that "agrestem et inhumanam negligentiam", so frequent among those who have, in their earlier years, been celebrated for their attention to the adorning of the outward man. He had also altered his opinion regarding the relative importance of the soldier and the firmer, and he now expatiated, with Ciceronian eloquence and enthusiasm, on the pleasures of a country life.

Having arrived at Launceston about noon, through the kindness of Mr. Hull, we got pretty well housed at a comfortable inn, and instantly made arrangements for the disposal of the two days, we intended to remain. Having a farm about thirty miles from Launceston, which I had never seen, I purposed to embrace the present opportunity of paying it a visit, and Lieutenant Sleeman consented to accompany me.

The next day being Sunday, we went to church, where we heard a very good sermon. In the afternoon, I received a friendly visit from many old acquaintances. I was also much gratified, by several prisoners, (who had come to the colony under my care, and who were now in responsible situations,) calling to pay their respects, and to express the sorrow they felt on hearing of my shipwreck. It afforded me no small degree of pleasure to observe the interest these unfortunate men seemed to take in my welfare.

Next morning, at daylight, we were ready to take our intended trip to the country; but after waiting some time for the gig, on inquiry we found that Captain ————, the innkeeper, would not let it come until he saw one of the party requiring it, this put us in mind of the nonchalance of the transatlantic innkeepers; and Lieutenant Sleeman, being exceedingly wroth and indignant, threatened to punish the fellow for his insolence; however, there was no remedy, as it was the only gig to be hired in the place, and if we had shown any airs, it was unlikely we should get it. I therefore, presented myself, roused Captain Boniface from his slumbers, and by a little blandiloquentia, the gig was soon got ready, and away we started to take a view of the country.

We were not armed, by the advice of Captain Donaldson, the Commandant, although a bushranger named Bevan (free, and a native of Sydney) was abroad, and in the vicinity, committing great depredations with impunity; doubtless being sheltered by those pests of society, receivers of "swag", the phrase for plunder, in the jargon of thieves, rogues, and vagabonds.

There was also some danger to be apprehended from the natives, who were now committing several cruel acts of retaliation, which their extermination seemed to be the only means of stopping. This is the more to be regretted, as the natives, at first, were friendly disposed, and appeared mild and affable; their hostility being caused by the rash and imprudent conduct of certain civilized individuals.

At the first formation of the colony (observes Mr. Evans*), Lieutenant Gov. Bowen having left Risdon, on a tour through the Island, to ascertain the spots of land most eligible to be formed into allotments for settlers, the command devolved upon an officer of the New South Wales Corps. Towards noon of the day, after the Lieutenant Governor's departure, a considerable number of natives were seen descending from the neighbouring hills; and as they approached, they were distinctly heard to sing, each man having in his hand a green bough, a well known emblem of peace among savage tribes. Perhaps their signals of amity were not understood, or their numbers appeared too great to be trusted; otherwise the officer in command, would not have directed a discharge of grape and canister shot to be made among them.

[* Description of Van Dieman's Land, by G. W. Evans, Esq., Deputy Surveyor-General.]

Several instances have lately occurred, where opportunities of regaining the confidence of the Aborigines, thus lost through the lamentable rashness of the first settlers, might have been profited by; but instead of this being the case, every hostile feeling has been aggravated by the treacherous and barbarous conduct of their white antagonists.**

[** Since this period the Aborigines have been collected, and removed to an Island in Bass's Straits, where they are provided for, and protected by the Colonial Government.]

We passed through an exceedingly fertile, and well-cultivated country, and arrived at Perth, a rising town, situated on the right hank of the South Esk, about twelve miles from Launceston. We crossed the river in a very convenient punt, and halted at the Government House, where, through the kindness of Captain Donaldson, we found an excellent breakfast in readiness for us.

This repast being finished, we renewed our journey; and, after travelling about fifteen, miles, through a pastoral-looking country, chiefly belonging to Mr. Archer, an opulent settler, we arrived at Mr. Alston's, who received us with unfeigned cordiality. After mutual gratulations, he informed me, that nothing could have happened more opportunely than my present visit, as an influential individual was endeavouring to deprive me of my farm, with the view, and in the hope, of getting it added to his own possessions. I was somewhat surprised at this information, and thought it prudent to lose no time in adopting measures to thwart his design.

Next morning, we were awakened, at early dawn, by the pleasing song of the magpie (which is far from being an indifferent substitute for the lark), and being provided with horses by Mr. Alston, who accompanied us, we started, to take a view of the surrounding country, but more especially of my property, which we soon reached; and the scenery surpassed my most sanguine anticipations.

At this season of the year, the mornings, in Van Dieman's Land, are generally delightful;—this one was particularly so; and we enjoyed the contemplation of nature, in her mild and peaceful aspect, much more keenly, from having lately been compelled to view her under less attractive forms:—it was certainly far more pleasant to listen to the soothing and gentle sough of the autumnal breeze, waving o'er the yellow bending grain, than to hear the stormy winds whistling wildly through the shrouds, in dismal concert with the clamour of the crew, the rattling of the ropes, and the hoarse voice of conflicting waves.

On our return to Mr. Alston's, we found Boniface's Bucephalus ready caparisoned, and being refreshed by rest and good treatment, quite willing to carry us back to Launceston. Having no time to lose, we dismounted, entered the gig, bade adieu to our hospitable friend (who promised to make the necessary improvements on my farm), and proceeded on our return, repeating, "Beatus ille qui procul negotiis." After a pleasant drive, we arrived at Perth in safety, being neither disturbed by blacks nor bushrangers, and immediately sat down to an excellent tiffin, and a choice assortment of fruit, which the Serjeant had in readiness.

We reached Launceston just in time to dine with the Magnates. A ball took place in the evening. The arbiter elegantiarum was Captain Welch, who seemed as much at home in the duties of that important station, as he was in laying down the beacons and buoys in the river Tamar.

The assemblage of the fair sex was numerous and respectable; and the healthy aspects, blooming cheeks, and expressive eyes, of the young damsels (who, considering it was the first time some of them had appeared in public, conducted themselves with becoming gracefulness and ease), shewed that the soil was as well adapted for the development of female beauty, as it is universally allowed to be for the growth of grain.

The supper was well "got up"; and, in short, the entire arrangements did credit to the taste and judgment of the stewards. If I mistake not, this is the first instance of a subscription ball in any part of this colony, and therefore highly praiseworthy; as the cheerful intercourse of a dance (while used as an occasional relaxation, and not as the important business of life,) is not only harmless, but even likely to do good, by tending to promote that social, and friendly intercourse, which, unfortunately, is so little regarded in these colonies.

Launceston is flourishing, and likely to increase in prosperity, as large ships are now enabled to come up to the wharf. I noticed several of considerable size; one upwards of 400 tons. There is no doubt that it will become a place of great trade, although I cannot agree with those who predict that it will, ere long, surpass Hobart Town. It is badly supplied with water, which might be obtained abundantly, and without great labour, skill, or expense, from the South Esk, above the falls—not half a mile from the town.

Next morning, we left Launceston; and, being engaged to spend some part of the day with an old friend, we crossed the North Esk, mounted horses, and shortly arrived at his farm, which is pleasantly situated on the right bank of the Tamar. After having viewed and praised his improvements, and partaken of a well-cooked dinner, we took our departure, and proceeded down the river in Mr. Kenworthy's barge, accompanied by Captain Donaldson, and Mr. Lockyer.

Having imprudently tarried too long at dinner, the tide failed us, and we were obliged to stop during the night, at the residence of a settler, an old sailor, named Guilders***. We were under some alarm of a visit from the Bushrangers;—particularly Captain Donaldson, against whom, they had vowed vengeance; consequently, we did not enjoy much sleep, and at dawn of day, we renewed our journey. At five, A.M., we called alongside the ship Surry, and had coffee. Captain Dacre received me with a hearty welcome, and offered me a passage to England, on exceedingly favourable terms, which I immediately embraced.

[*** Since treacherously murdered by the natives.]

On Friday, the 15th, at six, P.M., we got under weigh, and left George's Town.**** On Saturday, we encountered a heavy gale, accompanied with much thunder and lightning. On the 19th, we made Cape Howe; then coasted along the shore, and on Thursday, Jan. 21st, at daylight, we entered the heads of Port Jackson, and shortly afterwards anchored in Sydney Cove, when I was surrounded by many friends, whose disinterested and substantial kindness will never be forgotten.

[**** George's Town, situated on the right bank of the river, near its mouth, is rapidly going to decay; but it may revive, and, from its proximity to the sea, &c., become the Margate of the Launcestonians.]

In a few days afterwards, I proceeded on a tour through the Counties Cumberland, Camden, Argyle, Murray, St. Vincent, Bathurst, &c.; and, although only twelve months had elapsed since my last visit, the improvements on the various farms were really astonishing, and reflected infinite credit on the perseverance and enterprise of the settlers;—of those especially, who had given up ploughing the waves, for the more placid occupation of ploughing the land. Indeed, I may state, without much fear of contradiction, that; with few exceptions, the farms, and flocks, and herds, of ci-devant sailors, are better managed than those of any other class of settlers.

On returning from my excursion, I found that the Surry had arrived, but at the same time I heard the disagreeable intelligence that the crew had left her, in consequence (as they said) of her being very leaky, and totally unfit to undertake a voyage round Cape Horn, during the winter season. I was strongly advised not to proceed in her; but, being anxious to get home, and being assured by Captain Dacre, who was an experienced seaman, and one who well knew whether or not any real cause existed for apprehension, that the report, which was exaggerated, had been spread from malicious motives, I unhesitatingly embarked, in the full hope that this, my second attempt to reach England, would be successful.

On the 9th of April, the Surry being again manned, and having completed her cargo, we left Sydney Cove. As soon as we cleared the heads of Port Jackson, we encountered a heavy gale from the southward, which blew with unabated fury for several days; and, notwithstanding the reported crazy state of the vessel, she made no more water than any other merchant-ship, under similar circumstances, would have done.

The weather continuing stormy, and the wind still hanging to the southward, we passed to the northward of New Zealand; after which, we experienced fine weather, and a northerly breeze, which lasted many days.

On the 28th, we passed the sub-meridian of Greenwich, in latitude 35° 42'. On the 29th of May, we passed a small piece of ice, in lat. 58° 30' and long. 118° 12' W. This unexpected sight caused us much uneasiness, as we hitherto understood that, during the winter season, in these high latitudes, no danger was to be apprehended from, icebergs, which were only to be met with during summer, when, from the length of the days, they could easily be avoided. Thus finding, however, that the above generally-received opinion was erroneous, our anxiety was greatly increased and not without reason; as it neither can be considered safe nor agreeable, to be scudding under a close-reefed main-topsail, during a long, dark, cold, and stormy night, in continual dread of being dashed to pieces against an iceberg.*

[* During my voyage home, in the following year, in the ship John, from Van Dieman's Land, we had a very narrow escape from a peril of this description.

On August 7th, being in latitude 52° 58' S. and longitude 130° E., about four o'clock in the morning, the chief mate having reported to the Captain, that there was a suspicious appearance on the starboard bow, the Captain called me up to ask my opinion, and I distinctly saw the blink of the ice; but as the ship was going with much rapidity, it soon disappeared;-being on the alert from this circumstance, the Captain remained on the poop, and the chief mate on the forecastle, and in about an hour, a heavy cloud was perceived right a-head, through the surrounding haze, which was thought to be land. During these surmises, the chief mate called out "keep her away", which was done instantly, and we grazed the S.W. point of an immense iceberg, several hundred feet high; the rebounding swell from which assisted to keep the vessel off, while the broken ice retarded her progress considerably. We then stood off till daylight, when we observed a great number of icebergs around us in every direction. We sailed through them, during six days, lying-to every night, until we reached 118° west longitude.

Since this period, icebergs have constantly been met with during the winter season—generally from 130° to 110° west; and I have, therefore, no doubt, that a large extent of undiscovered land exists to the southward.]

Fortunately, we met no more; but shortly afterwards the weather became overcast, and we did not see the sun for several days; when we obtained a meridian altitude, it placed us a degree and a half to the southward of our reckoning, thereby shewing that a current runs in that direction.**

[** It has often astonished me, that navigators do not make more use of the moon. In none of the popular works on navigation (Kerrigan's excepted), is there any problem given to find the apparent time by the altitude of the moon—a simple problem, exceedingly useful on many occasions (more particularly in high latitudes during the winter season) and now rendered more easy, by the right ascension of the moon being calculated for every three hours, in the Nautical Almanack.]

On the 30th we saw the Island of Diego Ramirez; After passing Cape Horn, we were baffled with light northerly winds for several days, experiencing at the same time a north-easterly current.

On the 26th of June, in latitude 29° 34', and in longitude 15° 54', we got the S.E. trade. On the 9th of July we crossed the equator, in longitude 21° 41'. On the 20th, we got the N.E. trade; and after a protracted, but not otherwise disagreeable passage, the good ship Surry, notwithstanding the unfavourable surmises, anchored in safety in the Downs, on August 2d, at two P.M., without the aid of a pilot, as it blew such a heavy gale, that none dared to venture on board.

Thus did I complete another voyage round the world, during which I experienced some dangers, many privations, and great pecuniary loss—not having been insured, although a former similar calamity might have taught me to act more prudently.

It, however, affords me much gratification, in being enabled to state, that my losses, on both occasions, were rendered less severe, by the kind and liberal conduct of the Commissioners of His Majesty's Navy, who, unhesitatingly, granted me every indulgence which they could bestow.






APPENDIX, [No. I.]




BRIEF ACCOUNT OF THE INHABITANTS OF MURRAY'S ISLAND.


(ALLUDED TO IN PAGE 11.)


THE inhabitants of Murray's Island are totally distinct from any of the Aborigines of New Holland, to whom, in every respect, they are far superior; but they have the character of being very treacherous, daring, and deceitful. Horsburgh, in his Directory, cautions voyagers to be on their guard, in their intercourse with the natives of the numerous Islands in Torres Straits, particularly with those of Murray's Island.

I touched there several years ago, and remained two days, during which, I had unreserved intercourse with the natives, whom I found to be, like all other savages, prone to thieving, but otherwise not evil disposed. I made some observations at the time, which, with other manuscripts, &c., were lost in the Governor Ready, and I therefore give the following imperfect sketch from memory.

On the 25th of June, 1822, I sailed from Sydney, in the ship Richmond, in company with the Mary Anne and Almorah. On the 11th of July, the three ships passed through the Great Barrier reef in safety, and anchored off Murray's Island. An immense number of natives were observed running along the shore; and, as we imagined, from their gestures, earnestly inviting us to land. Shortly after we anchored, a boat from each ship was manned, and the three Commanders and myself proceeded on shore; on approaching which, the natives, who had waded out a considerable distance, surrounded the boats, shouting, "Warēka, Warēka", "Mabouse", and "puta, puta", with great vociferation, and holding out bows and arrows, clubs, tortoise-shell, cocoa nuts, plantains, &c., calling, at the same time, "torre, torre."

There could not be less than three hundred of the natives in the water, and on the shore. They treated our Lascars with utter contempt, and the Lascars did not seem particularly anxious to cultivate their acquaintance.*

[* Our friend Bongaree (observes Captain Flinders) could not understand anything of their language; nor did they pay much attention to him. He seemed, indeed, to feel his own inferiority, and made but a poor figure amongst them.]

An active barter soon commenced. The natives would not permit their commodities out of their hands, until they had possession of what they considered an equivalent; but, as we gave them our articles to inspect, without hesitation, they soon laid aside their mistrust. This caution, on their part, shows that they must have been cheated, in former dealings with Europeans. Old knives, and old iron hoops straightened, and cut into pieces of six or eight inches in length, were first brought into the market, and were exchanged to great advantage. But the tomahawks and axes, which had been reserved as superior articles of traffic, and concealed in the bottom of the boat, were all stolen by the natives, at the same time that they were apparently propitiating the muskets, which were in the stem-sheets, by placing green leaves on the locks, and repeating, in a conciliating tone, "puta, puta." One, who was detected, flagrante delicto, ran on shore,—the others clearing a way for him—and, although instantly pursued, he got dear off with his much-valued prize. This incident, however, did not disturb the general tranquillity; but afterwards, iron hoops were at a discount.

The barter being concluded, three of us went on shore, and the natives immediately selected the tallest of the party, whom, being like Saul among the people, they considered to be chief, and he was laid hold of by two powerful savages, who placed their arms in his, and thus escorted him through the assembled multitude. In proceeding along, the natives who were nearest us endeavoured to place leaves between the flints and the pans of our pistols and fowling-pieces, still repeating, "puta, puta."

After having walked a short distance along the beach, we met a group of women and children, and were somewhat chagrined by the children running from us, screaming, and clinging to their mothers, who, together with the men, laughed heartily at the fears we occasioned. The women stood aloof, and I, therefore, notwithstanding the admonitions of my companions, went forward to them; and, imagining that, where no rudeness is intended, there is seldom offence taken, I selected the prettiest-looking damsel, to whom I presented some trifling articles, which she willingly accepted. I then placed a handkerchief round her neck, gave her a small looking glass, and, at the same time, a gentle tap under the chin. Immediately, a simultaneous shout arose from the surrounding throng, in which I cordially joined, and imitated all their gesticulations as well as I could, to their evident delight and satisfaction.

We then took a walk through the town, and viewed their houses, which are built of bamboo, and thatched, and are exceedingly neat and clean. During our ramble, we observed several men labouring under elephantiasis, who were apparently confined in a space, enclosed with strong wicker-work, upwards of ten feet high. We also noticed several others, afflicted with a still more loathsome disease.

One of the natives, named Madiēa, whom we had dressed in a shirt and trowsers, now came, and, pointing to the setting sun, and to the ships, gave us to understand, that it was time for us to go on board; while others were using their best endeavours to persuade us to stay—it was imagined, for no very friendly purpose. Be that as it may, our officious friend insisted on our departure, by pulling us towards the boats which, since our landing, were lying out of the reach of the natives, and we thought it prudent to comply with his wishes. After having touched noses with him, we entered the boat, which drew near for us;—the other two keeping off, to be able to act in case of treachery. We, however, parted in peace, and pulled towards the ships, with the boats pretty well laden with the natural and artificial productions of the Island, which, even taking our losses by theft into consideration, we had obtained at a very cheap rate.

Next morning, as the wind blew rather freshly, and the sky was completely obscured, and, consequently, not favourable for us to thread our intricate way through the Straits, it was deemed prudent to remain at anchor; and I therefore embraced the opportunity of accompanying Captain Warrington on a boat-excursion to the small adjacent islands, on one of which we landed, and walked to a village, formed exactly like that at Murray's Island. We did not meet with any inhabitants, but, as everything appeared neat and clean, we concluded, that it could not have been long deserted. On looking into the largest hut, we observed it filled with human skulls; and various were our conjectures, as to whether they had belonged to friends or foes. I felt a strong inclination to take one or two of them, but, from fear of giving offence, I refrained from doing so.

While continuing our stroll at our ease, we were startled by a confused sound of voices; and, on looking round, we beheld a number of natives wading through the channel (which separates this from the other small island), waving their hands, and making a hideous noise; and, at the same time, we observed a large canoe, under full sail, filled with men, from Murray's Island, standing towards us. We therefore thought it prudent to get into the boat without delay, as we were several miles from assistance, had we stood in need of it. One of the boat's crew, whom we had missed, now came running to the beach, with a skull under his arm. Captain Warrington, who was exceedingly vexed at this imprudence, ordered the fellow to take it back to the place he had stolen it from; but, the natives being close at his heels, he threw the skull on the sand, plunged into the water, and reached the boat.

Having shoved off a little, we lay on our oars, and endeavoured, as well as we could, to explain to them, that the individual who had acted so reprehensibly, should be punished. They appeared pacified, and made signs for us to land; but, as the canoe was fast approaching, and as we had committed a fault—perhaps desecrated one of their holy places—we declined accepting their apparently earnest invitation. We therefore made sail, and kept as close to the wind as we could, that we might weather the canoe, which was now drawing very near. We succeeded in doing so; and, notwithstanding the clamorous endeavours of the natives to entice us on board, kept our luff, and invited them to accompany us to the ships, where they would be liberally supplied with torrè. They followed us for some time, but, not being able to draw to windward (although, with the wind abaft the beam, the canoe sailed far better than our gig), they made for the shore, and we reached the shipping without any accident.**

[** "Their canoes (observes Captain Flinders) have two masts opposite to each other, and a sail extended between them; but when going with a side wind, the lee mast is brought aft by a backstay, and the sail then stands obliquely. In other words, they brace up by setting in the head of the lee mast, and perhaps the foot also; and can then lie within seven points of the wind, and possibly nearer. No boats could have been manoeuvred better, in working to windward , than were these long canoes, by the naked savages.]

During the day, great numbers of the natives were on the beach, and in the water, making all possible signs for us to come on shore, but none of them came on board. We saw no canoes, which, it appeared, were kept only on the south-west side of the Island.

After dinner, three boats (one from each ship), with the same party, well-armed, in case of accidents, went on shore. The native (Madiēa), who had evinced so much anxiety for our departure last night, was perceived standing on the beach, apart from the multitude, and dressed in his shirt and trowsers. As soon as we approached sufficiently near, his wife having previously assisted in divesting him of all incumbrance, he plunged into the water, swam off to us, and entered the boat without fear: on the contrary, he jumped on the stem-sheets, and, both by gesture and speech, assumed a superiority over the others, who were now, in great numbers, crowding around us. Whether the authority this native assumed was occasioned by our notice of him, we could not ascertain; but his endeavours to preserve the peace certainly tended to check the rude impetuosity and forwardness of the mob.

Barter soon commenced, but was not carried on so briskly as it was yesterday, in consequence of the natives preferring axes and tomahawks to old iron hoops, and our not being well supplied with the former articles. The natives, however, had entirely laid aside suspicion, and they freely permitted us to examine the articles which they wished to exchange, without requiring prior possession of the desired equivalent.

Having obtained all that I wished to possess, I went on shore with the native (Madiēa), who had, apparently, from the beginning of our intercourse, taken me under his protection, and accompanied him to the village, where he formally introduced me to another native, who, after a speech of considerable length, which I did not understand, but judged to be friendly, advanced towards me, and touched my nose with his. I therefore concluded, that this ceremony was in token of mutual amity, and explained to them that our mode of expressing friendship was by shaking hands, which they then did very heartily.

These two natives were well made men, considerably above the middle size, in whose fine open, but resolute countenances, I could not perceive the least indications of treachery. I therefore sat down beside them, and was not long in making an attempt to obtain some knowledge of their language. I had much trouble in making them understand my meaning; but, after this difficulty was removed, I obtained a pretty large vocabulary, comprehending the various parts of the body, and also all other objects within sight. I presented them with one copy, with their own language in one column, and the English in the other, which I told them to show to any other strangers who might hereafter pay them a visit. The other copy, as already mentioned, was unfortunately lost, and I can only call to mind the following few words:—"Warēka", or "Warēga", peace or welcome; "mabouse", come to us; "puta, puta",—I could not satisfactorily make out the signification of this word, but imagined it meant—no danger, or, don't be afraid; "torre", iron; "casse", give; "Girgir" the sun; "Kimiar", men; "Koskarail", women; "Madiēa, Oucāra, Wamaia, Wagēra", proper names of men.

Our grammatical exercises being finished, and being joined by many others, who had concluded their barter, we commenced a variety of gymnastic amusements, which were carried on with uninterrupted good humour. We had rather the advantage of the natives in wrestling, but they far surpassed us in archery; in short, it was absurd to make a comparison, nor could we help feeling mortification at our great inferiority in this respect, being so apparent: indeed, the most experienced and skilful modern European archers would have cut but a very sorry figure among these athletic savages, whose amazing feats could not have been surpassed by the English archers of olden times.*** Their astonishing adroitness can only be attributed to their being accustomed to this exercise from their early youth. We noticed the boys—some of them very young—amusing themselves, shooting with bows and arrows, suited to their strength.

[*** The depth (observes Captain Flinders, in describing the attack these savages made on two English vessels,) to which the arrows penetrated into the decks and sides of the ship was represented as truly astonishing.]

With respect to their warlike instruments and canoes, I cannot do better than insert the following very accurate description, given in Captain Flinders's Introduction to his "Voyage to Terra Australis", which equally applies to the natives of Murray's, as to those of Darnley's Island, whom I believe to be the same people.

"Their arms were bows, arrows, and clubs, which they bartered for every kind of iron work with eagerness; but appeared to set little value on anything else. The bows are made of split bamboo, and so strong, that no man in the ship could bend one of them. The string is a broad slip of cane, fixed to one end of the bow, and fitted with a noose, to go over the other end, when strung. The arrow is a cane, of about four feet long, into which a pointed piece of the hard, heavy, casuarina wood is firmly and neatly fitted; and some of them are barbed. Their clubs are made of the casuarina, and are powerful weapons. The hand part is indented, and has a small knob, by which the firmness of the grasp is much assisted; and the heavy end is usually carved with some device.

"Their canoes are about fifty feet in length, and appear to have been hollowed out of a single tree; but the pieces which form the gunwales, are planks, sewed on with the cocoa nut, and secured with pegs. These vessels are low forward, but rise abaft; and, being narrow, are fitted with an outrigger on each side, to keep them steady. A raft, of greater length than the canoe, extends over about half the length; and upon this, is fixed a shed, or hut, thatched with palm leaves.

"These people, in short, appeared to be dexterous sailors, and formidable warriors."

The natives, in general, are tall, well made, and muscular men. They are of a dark chocolate colour, and possess intelligent countenances; their features more resembling those of Europeans, than those of any other savages I have met with. The males go entirely naked; but the females, even the youngest, wear a covering, from the waist to the knees.

They are exceedingly numerous. We counted upwards of three hundred at one time, and Captain Flinders states, that, including women and children, the inhabitants of Murray's Island must amount to about seven hundred; but, although the island seems very fertile (and the shores abound in fish and turtle) yet, as it is not more than two miles in length, and one in breadth, it may fairly be presumed, that it cannot support so large a population;* and it is my belief, that many of the natives whom we observed here, belonged to Darnley's, Warrior's, and other neighbouring Islands, and even to New Guinea—communication being easily effected by means of their large canoes, in the management of which they are extremely dexterous.

[* Murray's Island has been considered, on many accounts, a very eligible spot to occupy. I perfectly agree as to its eligibility; more particularly if the abandoned British settlements, on the north coast of New Holland, should ever be resumed; but, from the warlike disposition of the natives, I doubt whether a sufficient number of soldiers could be spared from head-quarters to keep possession of it.]

At sunset, we left the shore, and gave the natives to understand that they would not see us again. Madiea wept bitterly, which we thought rather extraordinary, as a two days' acquaintanceship rarely produces such a display of affection. We invited him to accompany us, and he willingly did so, and jumped into the boat. The assembled natives remonstrated with him, as we imagined, on his thus leaving his friends, and his native land; but, notwithstanding their entreaties, he persisted in going with us, which he did to a considerable distance, when, being overcome by the lamentations of the females, he lost heart, jumped overboard, and swam ashore to his companions.

We then stood up in the boats, and gave three farewell cheers, which were cordially and loudly returned by the natives, from whom we thus parted on the most friendly terms. During our intercourse, we behaved towards them with the greatest prudence and good humour, and endeavoured, as far as we could, to cultivate their friendship, for the advantage of those who might, through shipwreck, be at their mercy; and I have every reason to believe, that our conduct has been attended with good results, as I have heard of several shipwrecked people, who, since our visit, have been treated by them with great kindness and hospitality.**

[** Ships, on their way from Sydney to India, occasionally touch here, for the purpose of bartering for tortoiseshell, and the natives come off to the ships without fear. Dr. Rutherford, who visited Murray's Island in 1833, has furnished the "United Service Journal" with an interesting account of the inhabitants, &c. &c.]

Next morning, at daylight, we got under weigh, and proceeded on our voyage, passing safely through Torres Straits, when the ships parted company. In a few days afterwards, the ship Richmond, in which I was a passenger, was totally lost on a coral reef, in the Java sea, and all the curiosities I had collected at Murray's Island were left to the Malays, whose proas were approaching the wreck in great numbers, when our former consort, the Almorah, providentially hove in sight, and rescued us from our perilous situation.






APPENDIX, No. II.




A SHORT VOCABULARY OF THE DIALECT OF
THE NATIVES OF RAFFLES BAY.


(REFERRED TO IN PAGE 171.)


Mandro-gillie      
Manbur-gē
Mandro-willie      
1 }
2 }
3 }
      Class of the natives, and applied to
         either sex.
 
———
 
MEN'S NAMES.
 
A-rain-boo Mimaloo
Iācama Monanoo
Luga Olōbo
Mariac Wooloogāry
Marambāl Wooloomāry
Miāgo Wadjēa.
 
———
 
WOMEN'S NAMES.
 
Dunakeit Riveral
Margona Wargana
Rudiea
Orie Men.
Yal-cuhee Women.
Ana-don-ye A boy.
Ni-ad A girl.
Nad-ia-man Elder brother.
Nabarēē Younger brother.
Picka-ninnie A young child, (evidently taken
   from us.)
 
———
 
PARTS OF THE BODY.
 
War-hēē The head.
A-wey-ea The hair of the head.
Da-la The eyes.
Y-ē-nē The nose.
Adiera, or Adgara         The cheeks.
La-mur-mur The beard.
La-mar-iala The lips.
Ei-yen The teeth.
Ariad The tongue.
Lā-wal The mouth.
O-lomare The ears.
E-banaiche The neck.
Anabad The breast.
O-ye, or oge Mamillæ.
Ei-wood Abdomen.
Wan-hor-eæ Umbilicus.
Aba-i-ha Nates.
Etanela Thigh.
Marando Leg.
E-lood Foot.
Ei-eman Toe.
Ei-maninnie Toes.
Nandie-ya The shoulders.
Mirman The elbow.
Man-eia The hand.
Ei-eman The finger.
Ei-maninnie The fingers.
Mana-wey-iæ The nails on the toes and fingers.
 
———
 
NAMES OF ANIMALS.
 
Alec A dog.
Weidjiet Kangaroo.
Marbit A white cockatoo.
A-lowarac A black ditto.
Arāmbo An iguana.
Malīē A flying iguana.
Margad Laughing Jackass.
Mono-bogora A lizard.
A-beidjiet { By this term, they designate
{    all our domestic poultry.
Mayel-ma Sea-snake.
A-londjeian A diamond snake.
Mamburke Sponge.
Madjendiē Turtle, or, rather, Tortoiseshell.
Manbidie {
{
{
{
{
{ Different species of turtle, or,
{    perhaps, different parts of
{    the same animal.*
{
{
{
{
Eurua
Mandurdo
Marambēra
Maruna-buna
Man-aia
Barka
Abai
Mē wa
Nāwa nāwa
Mona A cockle.
Amadju Fish.
Moork A fly.
Ming-ming Musquito.
 
———
 
Moor-hee The sun.
Arana The moon.
Woolerich The stars.
Nanē-juck The sky.
Argaiy or Ardjai Clouds.
Mai-ai-a Wind.
Ra-wān Rain.
Bona-gee? Day.
Arambolk Night.
Gar-agar, or, Gar-ahar     The sea.
Orad Land.
Manargo Salt water.
Oboit Fresh water.
 
———
 
Mad-ye Croker's Island.
Tacora { A rendezvous of the natives, near
{    Palm Bay.
Arpad Falstaff Island.
Arkeolotte Land at Fort Wellington.
Marēia Land opposite the settlement.
Alcol Point Barker.
Moor-mal Point Smith.
Malan-choal Turtle Island.
 
———
 
Maliric Eucalyptus.
Adonjong Lignum vitæ.
La-hee Cabbage tree.
Meda Pandanus.
Mala A shrub, or young tree.
Walo-roo A stump of any tree.
Lech-ary Blood-tree-gum.
Warra Grass.
Imburbē A stone-headed spear.
Burre buraī Serrated spear.
Rogorouk Throwing stick.
Ebero Their musical instrument.
Moolach A basket of such as they usually carry.
Bell hai A rope.
A-loŏ-roŏ A string.
Mŭrĕ-mŭrĕ A knife.
Leybook A hatchet.
Will-mor Iron.
Willemorōō A nail.
Mungedera { A net, such as they wear
{    round their shoulders.
Urbāră A musket.
Oboi, or Obon A boat, ship, &c. &c.
Lipē Lipē Canoe (Malay.)
Mul-wadie { Name given to the Malays
{    by the natives.
Marēgĕ Malay name of the natives.
Maregēē { Malay name for the north coast
{    of New Holland, more
{    particularly about Bowen's Straits.
{    and Goulburn, and other small
{    Islands adjacent.
 
———
 
Oiē, boiē Small-pox.
Marabinde Perforation of Septum Narium.
Poolark { Scarifications in different parts
{    of the body.
Oroot A scar from a wound.
Mambrual { Cloth of every description,
{    or any woven article.
Niday A gift.
Merry-iet Yam.
Wallā Wallā Red apple.
Iru-reĕ Yellow fruit.
Woonga Honey.
Wino-wan Native vine.
Mel-cholē Its fruit.
Carga Food in general—rice, bread, &c.
Dagara Wamba A dance.
Rambal A house.
O-lān Smoke.
Luda-duda Shells in general.
Arichba, or, Ai ain A stone.
 
———
 
Loca One.
Orica Two.
Orōngaral Three.
Aroon-gulk Black.
Lool-bără White.
Lă, mēt, yĕ, lŏ Hot.
Ma-un Cold.
Mutē Good.
Andē Dead.
Malunē Asleep.
A-bālă Bald.
Mo-ort Sick.
Y-acko Finished, expended.
 
———
 
May, yan, aya To swim.
A, rad, ban To depart.
Abē To be, or, I am.
In, ye, uka You hurt me.
Yad ma rew Give it me.
Mangără, wo? Do you intend to give us this?
Iră rā To visits or go to a certain place.
Imban, era To return to a certain place.
Irā ne, ōgă Tācŏră Let us be off to Tacora.
Djeu, Djeu Go, proceed forward.
Ah, wee Come here.
Go, wee Come with me.
Anō, ă lēē Tie this.
Baba To eat.
Woola To sleep, or, rather, to repose.
Eē eē Yes.
No no No (I think borrowed from us.)
Goō-goō By and bye—presently.
Ocorowa Round the corner.
Araya Farther on.
Hamighe Well done.
 
———
 

(Surprise, or astonishment, is indicated by a shrill and long-continued whistle.)

[* They were given by Mimaloo, with a small turtle before him—he pointing out, at the same time, the best parts of it.]






[APPENDIX, No. III.]




SPECIMEN OF THE DIALECT OF THE NATIVES
OF KING GEORGE'S SOUND.


(REFERRED TO IN PAGE 283.)


Ca-at The head.
Keou The hair of the head.
Mial The eyes (also, to see.)
Chēangoliet The nose.
Gnieluck The cheeks.
Gnanuck The beard.
Tawa The lips.
Gnoluck The teeth.
Talien The tongue.
Talgomet The mouth.
Twang The ears.
Woort The neck.
Twambur The breast.
Piap Mamillæ.
Copul Abdomen.
Peill Umbilicus.
Pāie Nates.
Ta-well The thigh.
Woolit The leg.
Tian The foot.
Perigur The toe.
Moonk The shoulders.
Gno-young The elbow.
Marl The fingers (r scarcely sounded.)
Grnoinck The hand.
Peerrr The nails (r strongly pronounced.)
 
———
 
To-ort A dog.
Worr A kangaroo.
Maniet A white cockatoo.
Gno-lap A black ditto.
Manar An iguana.
Gnom A snake.
Neig-num A mosquito.
Wal-gah Fish (in general.)
Gnarhee Salmon.
 
———
 
Ke ait The sun.
Mi-uck The moon.
Ti-endē The stars.
Māār The sky.
Quiel The clouds.
Col-y-ern The wind.
Ki-ap Rain, or fresh water.
Moor-eeba Land.
Ma-mort Sea.
Calumbo Salt water.
Ulur Day.
Pen Morning.
Kat-eak Night.
Cockur Wood.
Kiet-ye-mer A spear.
Mirr Throwing stick.
Taap A knife.
Coit A hatchet.
Cay bur ugh             A ship.
Potora A boat.
Gnamburn Scarification.
Kengur A dance.
Wankur Food.
Toolgoit Home.
Pōvil Smoke.
Na-tang Shells.
 
———
 
Keyen One.
Cuitiel Two.
Moourn Black.
Tondelyer White.
Curugar Hot.
Mulgan Cold.
Cuap Good.
Walkien Bad.
Kipiuck Dead.
Copiel Sleep.
Yer a men Awake.
Schen dalkatiat Bald.
Pootongur Sick.
Caal Fire.
Wap-wur To swim, or, to wade in the water.
Kaukur To laugh.
Kulgur To go.
Quepel To steal.
Pullocoo Be off.
Yerago To come.
Nangur To eat.
Yul-up Hungry.
Moor-ut Full.
Cul-um Thirsty.
Kai-kai Yes.
Pall-pall No.
Poortack At present, or, by and bye.
Kata-kien Yesterday.
Maniana To-morrow.





APPENDIX, No. [IV.]




REMARKS ON TRANSPORTATION,
&c. &c.


AS the subject may not be unacceptable to some of my readers, I shall make a few observations relative to convict ships,—the management of prisoners during the voyage, and their disposal and treatment in New South Wales, and Van Dieman's Land.

On the requisition of the Secretary of State for the Home Department, the Lords of the Admiralty give public notice, that tenders for ships of a certain size (usually from 400 to 600 tons), to convey a given number of prisoners (generally from 200 to 300), to New South Wales, or Van Dieman's Land, will be received on a specified day. There is considerable competition, which, of course, has the effect of reducing the rate of freight. The lowest apparent tender, however, is not always accepted, as it occasionally happens, that, from peculiarity of construction, a vessel of less registered tonnage will afford greater accommodation, and, consequently, convey a greater number of prisoners than one of larger burden.

Before the tender is accepted, the vessel is carefully surveyed by competent officers, who use every means to ascertain that she is seaworthy, and, in all respects, properly adapted for the service she is about to be employed in. If the report be favourable, the vessel is engaged, and proceeds, without delay, to Deptford, to be fitted for the reception of the prisoners. The interior arrangements are done by contract, at the expense of Government, and under the superintendence of responsible officers; while the owners of the vessel are required to furnish her amply with every thing fit and needful for such a voyage, during which she must be manned with seven men and a boy, to every 100 tons register-measurement. It may, therefore, be inferred, that ships employed in this service are exceedingly well equipped.

When the vessel is nearly ready for the reception of the prisoners, application is made for a guard, which consists of thirty men of a regiment under orders for Sydney. Formerly, a guard of fifty men was considered requisite, when the prisoners amounted to 300; but it now never exceeds thirty, however great the number may be.* As soon as the guard embarks, the ship sails either for Woolwich, Sheerness, Portsmouth, Cork, or Dublin, to receive the prisoners.

[* Last year (1834), I had charge of 400 prisoners (the greatest number sent in one ship), without any additional guard.]

The expense of transportation, of late years, has been greatly diminished; insomuch, that, calculating the freight, provisions, superintendence, and, in short, every contingency, the amount for each individual does not exceed £14.

Various systems have been adopted in the transportation of convicts. In the first instance, the owners of the transport supplied provisions, medicines, medical attendance, &c., for a certain sum per head; but the mortality being so excessive while this system was in operation, other arrangements were deemed necessary, and Government determined to provide everything; by which salutary change the comfort of the prisoners, during the voyage, is rendered superior to that of any steerage-passenger.

The Master of the vessel has the same allowances, in the issue of provisions, as the Purser of a man-of-war. He also receives, as a reward for humane conduct, a gratuity of £50; and, should the vessel convey female convicts, the first mate receives £20, and the second and third mates £15 each, from Government, on their producing a certificate from the Surgeon Superintendent that they have conducted themselves to his satisfaction.

The individual, appointed by the Admiralty as Surgeon and Superintendent, is always a surgeon of the Royal Navy, of some standing, on whom the entire management and responsibility, as regards the convicts, rest. His duty is exceedingly varied and extensive; he being required, not only to officiate as physician, surgeon, and apothecary, but also as clergyman, school-master, justice of the peace, inspector of provisions, &c. &c.

His emoluments are—full naval-pay, half a guinea for each prisoner landed in health, £15 to defray his expenses in the colony, and £100 to pay his passage home. His time is also allowed, as if he were serving in a man-of-war, until his arrival in England, provided he embraces the first favourable opportunity of returning home.

I shall give a brief statement of my method of conducting affairs, which, with little variation, may be considered as the usual routine observed in convict ships. As soon as the prisoners are received on board, they are placed in their berths, according to a progressive number given to each individual; their bedding, wearing, apparel, &c., being also marked with a corresponding number, so that confusion and pilfering may be prevented. They are then divided into messes (six in each), the head of each being answerable for the cleanliness, &c. of the utensils, and the regularity and comfort of the mess. Cooks are chosen from those among them who have been sailors, or accustomed to the sea; and others (I prefer the greatest rogues) are placed in authority, to preserve order and decorum in the prison, which they in general do very effectually.

As soon as we leave the land, the prisoners are freed from irons, and permitted to be on deck, from morning till evening; and these indulgences are continued during their good behaviour, which generally lasts, from the beginning to the end of the voyage.

Six months' supply of provisions is placed on board; every article of food is of the best quality, and issued in sufficient quantity, as the following Government scale of daily allowance will show.


SPECIES.   To Male Con-
victs and
Male Settlers.
To Female
Convicts and
Female Settlers.
To Children,
viz. Persons
under Ten
Years of Age.
To Surgeons
and Guards
over Convicts.
—————— —— ———————— ———————— ———————— ————————
Bread Pds. 2/3 2/3 ½ 1
Beer Gal. 1
Fresh Meat. Pds. 2/3 2/3 1/3 1
Vegetables Pds. ½ ½ ¼ ½
Oatmeal Pts. Not more than
½ per week.
Sugar Oz. 1 1
Cocoa Oz. 1 ½ ¼ 1
Tea Oz. ¼ ¼

When fresh meat and vegetables are not issued, there is allowed, in lieu thereof, viz:—

SPECIES.     To Male Con-
victs and
Male Settlers.
To Female
Convicts and
Female Settlers.
To Children,
viz. Persons
under Ten
Years of Age.
To Surgeons
and Guards
over Convicts.
—————— —— —— ——————— ——————— ——————— ———————
SaltBeef Pds.} On ½ ½ 1/3 ¾
Flour Pds.} Alt- ½ 3/8 3/8 ¾
SaltPork. Pds.] ern- ½ 1/3 1/3 ¾
Vegetables Pts.] ate ½ ½ ¼ ½
Flour Pds.] days ¼ ¼

And weekly, whether fresh or salt meat is issued, vinegar, not exceeding one quart for each mess of six persons, and to the guards, not exceeding one half pint per man a week.

The Master is required to supply the Surgeon (taking his receipts for the same) with lemon-juice and sugar, to be issued to the respective classes of persons on board, at his discretion, as medical comforts, not exceeding one ounce of each article, per day, to each individual.

And each convict, or settler, male or female, and children, is allowed two gallons of wine during the voyage.

The wives of the guards are served with half the allowance granted to their husbands; and their children one quarter of that allowance. Children, above ten years of age, are victualled as adults.

On the days on which flour is ordered to be issued, suet and raisins, or currants, are substituted for one fourth part of the flour, one half in suet, and the other half of the said fourth part in fruit.

One pound of raisins being considered equal to one pound of flour.

Half a pound of currants, ditto.

Half a pound of suet, ditto.


The provisions are cooked carefully, ant regular intervals—breakfast, at half-past one P.M., and supper, at five P.M.

In the distribution of the lime juice, water, sugar, and wine, and issued about a fortnight after we leave England, daily at eleven A.M., and at four P.M., each prisoner answers to his name, comes aft to the windward gangway, receives and drinks his allowance, passes the quarter-deck, and then walks forward on the other side. In this manner, every individual comes under my personal inspection at least twice a day; an object of no small importance, in the preservation of order, cleanliness, and consequent health.

Six pints of water are daily allowed, without deduction, to each person—soldier, sailor, and prisoner—on board, and one gallon while passing the tropics;—an allowance, I believe, greater than is granted in merchant ships, even of the first class. Indeed, it is more than many people think necessary; but I have always considered it of manifest advantage not to be niggardly in this important article, and the Lords of the Admiralty have now ordered the above-mentioned quantity to be issued.

There is always an exceedingly commodious hospital in prison-ships, and the medicines, medical comforts, and hospital stores, are copious, and of good quality. The sick are regularly visited twice a day, at nine A.M., and at six P.M., and oftener, if necessary. After the visitation of the sick, all complaints that the prisoners may have to make, are listened to, and their disputes settled. Cases, however, that require punishment, I always dispose of after the morning's visit.

With regard to punishment, I may mention, that I seldom have recourse to floggings being enabled to preserve order without it, and finding other measures more effective *—viz. If two prisoners quarrel, I place them together in handcuffs, and keep them so, until they become good friends, which generally takes place in a very short time. If any prisoner create disturbance below, or make use of improper language, I order him to parade the deck during the night, with his bed tied to his back;—four hours for the first offence, eight for the second, &c. I have seldom had occasion to repeat this punishment, which is feared and detested: indeed, many have frequently begged to be "punished like men;" i.e., flogged. They also have a great dislike to stand, during the day, under charge of the sentry, with their faces aft, and without permission to speak, or be spoken to.

[* In corroboration of this statement, I may adduce the public testimony of His Excellency Colonel Arthur, Lieut-Governor of Van Dieman's Land. "Doctor Wilson, as is usual with that officer, has brought out the prisoners entrusted to his care, in the very best order, and yet punishment has been avoided."]

I likewise find it a good plan to give a long lecture to any petty delinquent, and make him march off, without hearing his defence—a source of much grief and annoyance to the London pickpockets especially, who, in general, possess great volubility of speech, and considerable Old Bailey experience; and are, therefore, vexed at not having an opportunity of displaying their forensic skill. They have often complained of the hardship at being thus punished innocently.

There is, however, a class of prisoners, that, unless narrowly looked after, frequently occasion a great deal of disturbance. I allude to attorneys' clerks, of which class of the community I have, in all my voyages, had a considerable number. The few instances in which I have been compelled to inflict corporal punishment, have been on these gentry, to whom I show no mercy, if detected in fomenting disturbances; and I have invariably found, that flogging a lawyer has a wonderful effect in preserving order among the other prisoners.

The prisoners frequently, through mere bravado, make use of mutinous expressions, particularly in the hearing of young soldiers. In place of punishing such impudence with severity, I force the vaunters to parade the decks, with mock solemnity, and to beat up for volunteers to take the ship—to their infinite chagrin and mortification.

As soon as we get into fine weather, which, unless the wind be very unfavourable, happens in ten days or a fortnight after leaving England, schools are established, which all the boys are obliged to attend; and the adults are encouraged, but not compelled, to do so. The boys are divided into classes, according to their previous progress, and placed under the best educated, and most moral men among the prisoners, to whom I grant some authority, and several indulgences.

Every Sunday, after prayers, a public examination takes place, and trifling rewards are bestowed on those whose progress and conduct have merited praise. Divine service is performed by the surgeon, at least every Sunday forenoon, after muster, when the weather will admit of it, on the quarter-deck, where the prisoners are all assembled,—the guard and sailors being on the poop. I do not hesitate to say, that there may be as much real devotion—certainly far more outward decorum—in a convict ship, as in many churches on shore, where whispering, and other unseemly conduct occur during the performance of Worship, which would subject the prisoner, so irreverently behaving, to condign punishment.

Divine Worship at sea has often struck me, as particularly solemn, and calculated to make an impression on the most depraved of the human race. Indeed, I have observed, on several such occasions, many of the prisoners (who, according to their own statement, rarely attended a place of worship on shore), showing some symptoms of concern for the iniquity of their misspent lives.

It has been stated, that prisoners, during the voyage, become more depraved and demoralized, which I most positively deny; but that they become much better, I am not prepared to assert. As far, however, as regards decorum and propriety of language, there is a very great improvement; yet I cannot flatter myself that I have ever been instrumental in effectually, and permanently, destroying deep-rooted depravity.

Indeed, in my humble opinion, the usual period of the voyage is far too short to effect any radical change amongst people who have been, perhaps, habituated to crime from their earliest years, and hardly know what virtue is, even by name. The principal moral object which I hold in view, during the voyage, is to prevent, as far as possible, the ill effects likely to result from the unavoidable close association between the casual (and, perhaps, accidental) deviator from the paths of rectitude, and the hardened and experienced veteran in vice and iniquity; and I flatter myself, that my efforts in this way have not been altogether devoid of success.

My chief maxim is, never to permit the slightest slang expression to be used, nor flash songs to be sung, nor swearing; while indecent language is punished with unrelenting severity, and the individual so degrading himself is, in a variety of ways, exposed to contempt and scorn.

It may be imagined, that to effect this salutary change among those, who have been so long accustomed to hear and use language, interlarded with horrid and senseless oaths, would be a work of difficulty; but it is astonishing how soon, by proper management, it may be accomplished. I may here state, that I have always had the cordial co-operation of the officer of the guard, and the master of the ship, in checking those under their command, by punishing offences—especially impropriety of language—which might be passed over in a barrack-room, or in a private ship.

It would strike a stranger as rather a singular circumstance, that, amongst such a heterogeneous multitude, not a single expression is heard, which could wound the ears of delicacy; yet such is the fact. It may, however, be imagined, that this restraint is only partial, and that it is nearly impossible to restrain their almost unconquerable propensity while below; yet experience has taught me, that it can be effected.**

[** I do not permit dancing, wrestling, or, indeed, any amusement to take place among the prisoners. Although such exercises may be conducive to health, yet they are, in my opinion, inimical to moral reformation, by recalling those scenes of depravity and crime, of which these amusements had formed a part On the contrary, I unceasingly endeavour to impress on their minds a sense of their fallen state, and that it is only by a long course of general good conduct, that they can ever hope to be restored to that society from which they are outcasts.]

Many people have a very erroneous opinion of a convict ship, in which they believe, anarchy, disorder, and irregularity, to hold undisputed sway; whereas, on the contrary, decorum, cleanliness, and quietness, prevail, in as great a degree as in a well-regulated man-of-war; and I have no hesitation in stating, that, in these respects, a convict ship is far superior to the very best merchant vessel that sails from the port of London. Indeed, this fact is so well known to those who have visited the colonies, that great interest is frequently used to obtain a passage in a convict ship.

I endeavour to find occupation for as many of the prisoners as I can; and, what with keeping their persons and their berths clean, assisting the sailors in various ways, preparing and cooking their provisions, and parading round the decks at stated times, the days pass uniformly and quickly during the voyage.

Convict ships now generally make the voyage direct; but, formerly, they used to touch at some port—i.e., Madeira, Teneriffe, Porto Praya, Rio de Janeiro, or the Cape of Good Hope.*** I consider it of importance, as regards the health of those entrusted to my charge, to touch somewhere during the voyage; and, whenever I have done so there has been no sickness in the ship—whereas, when I have not done so, a strong tendency to scurvy manifests itself among the prisoners, usually after passing the Cape of Good Hope, which, occasionally towards the end of the voyage, assumes a very insidious and untractable form, when, consequently, the surgeon has no sinecure. This circumstance I have remarked, as occurring more frequently of late years. The cases, however, that terminate fatally, are but few; and the emaciated soon recover their wonted vigour on the healthy Australian shores.

[*** I always used to touch at Porto Praya, to obtain a supply of fruit and vegetables, until my last voyage in the Governor Ready, when the Governor of the Island chose to consider the ship as a merchant vessel, and insisted on her paying dues as such; We appealed to the British Consul, but he could not render us any assistance; His Portuguese Excellency not being able to understand how any vessel I could claim Government immunities, without a pendant, and a surgeon the only naval officer on board. {1} After some consideration, the master and myself agreed that our case should not be made a precedent of, and therefore gave the Consul to understand that we resisted the claim, and should sail without a port-clearance, and in spite of the authorities; which we accordingly did, although a little alarmed, until out of the reach of their guns.

This conduct of the Governor (who was under the Doctor's hands, and, as we imagined, acted under his advice, as he would have pocketed several dollars in his capacity of health-officer, had the claim been admitted) was exceedingly injudicious, as convict ships, by touching there, were of considerable pecuniary advantage to the Islanders.]

[[{1} The Admiralty have lately obviated this difficulty, by ordering that a pendant, similar to that worn by transports, should be supplied to the Surgeon-superintendent, and hoisted in a convict ship when she touches at any foreign port, on her voyage from England.]]

The average number of deaths, on the passage, is under two per cent.; no great mortality, when it is considered, that the constitutions of many of the prisoners have been greatly impaired by continued courses of irregularity and dissipation.****

[**** I have just observed, in the newspapers, the melancholy account of the wreck of the convict ship George III. (the first instance of a male convict ship having been lost). Great sickness, principally scurvy, appears to have prevailed on board, which the surgeon attributes to the scanty distribution of provisions, and the substitution of cocoa for oatmeal. I am inclined to think, however, that if sickness now prevails in an increased ratio, it may be ascribed to the circumstance of the prisoners being embarked soon after their conviction, instead of being, as formerly, employed, for a long time, in the dock-yards, where, their habits being regular, their constitutions became improved.]

On the ship's arrival at Hobart Town, or Sydney, the prisoners are mustered on board, and their descriptions, trades, and occupations, taken by the police, when every circumstance relating to themselves, their connections, and former course of life, is elicited, with a degree of tact, which the most skilful and experienced rogues cannot elude.

After the muster-rolls are taken on shore, the prisoners are assigned to the various applicants, by the Board of Assignment; the members of which perform this important, but invidious duty, without emolument.

The assignments being made, and approved of by the Governor, the prisoners are landed early in the morning,* and conducted, under the care of constables, to the prisoners' barracks, where they are drawn up in order, for the inspection of the Governor, who, in the forenoon of the same day, minutely examines each individual, inquires if he has any complaint to make, as to his treatment during the voyage—if he has had all his rations properly cooked, &c.—and if he has had a sufficient allowance of water—also whether his money, and other property (a list of which is read aloud to him,) be correct.

[* At Hobart Town, the prisoners are now landed previous to their assignment.]

His Excellency then makes an address to the prisoners, relative to their past lives and future prospects,—explains distinctly what duties they must fulfil towards the masters to whom they are assigned,—and what they have a legal right to expect, in return. He points out the inevitable consequences attending bad conduct, and the good effects resulting from industry and regularity, which, he assures them, will, after a certain period of probation, be the means of restoring them to comparative freedom.

This address being finished, the master of the ship, and officer of the guard, are then asked if they have any complaint to make. If no complaints are made, the surgeon is complimented by His Excellency, for having performed his duty in a satisfactory manner.

The prisoners, who are not retained in the service of Government, are now ready to be delivered to their masters, who, either personally or by their agents, are in waiting to receive them, which they do, on paying £1 for each person, for a suit of clothing, which those who are fond of cavilling consider a great hardship, but very unjustly so; more especially at Sydney, where, for the same sum, the prisoner is supplied with bedding, which is, in itself, nearly worth the money.

In Van Dieman's Land, tradesmen and mechanics are not assigned to settlers, being retained for the service of Government: they are, however, lent for a certain period—from three to twelve months—to those who stand in need of, and apply for, them. In New South Wales, on the contrary, artificers of all descriptions are assigned to settlers, in the order of their application, in the same manner, and under the same conditions, as any other class of prisoners. Indeed, Governor Bourke will not assign a tradesman to any resident in Sydney, for two very efficient reasons,—1st.. That free labour may be encouraged there;—and, 2dly. That the various artisans, who serve their time in the interior, may, on obtaining their tickets of leave, or emancipation, be induced to settle in the country towns, to their own advantage, and to that of the neighbourhood. There can be no question as to the beneficial results likely to ensue from this very judicious regulation.

Settlers are bound to provide their assigned servants with food, clothing, bedding, &c., according to a scale fixed by Government. In New South Wales, the weekly ration is as follows:—12lbs. of wheat, or 9lbs. of seconds flour, or, in lieu thereof, at the discretion of the master, 3½lbs. of maize meal, and 9lbs. of wheat, or 7lbs. of seconds flour; and 7lbs. of beef or mutton or 4½lbs. of salt pork;—soap, 2oz.; salt, 2oz.; and when maize meal is issued, 4oz. The clothing, annually, consists of two frocks or jackets, three shirts of strong linen or calico—two pair of trowsers—three pair of strong shoes, and one cap or hat—and each prisoner to be constantly supplied with at least one good blanket and palliasse or wool mattress.

In Van Dieman's Land, the weekly ration was—beef, 10½lbs.; flour, 10½lbs.; sugar, 7oz.; soap, 3½oz.; salt, 2oz. The clothing, per annum, consists of two suits of woollen slop clothing, three pairs of strong boots, four shirts, one cap or hat, and a palliasse stuffed with wool, two blankets, and a rug. Last year, the ration of beef and flour was reduced in Van Dieman's Land, and a proportion of vegetables substituted—a very beneficial alteration to the settler, and also to the prisoner; and I have no doubt that, in New South Wales, vegetables will also form a part of the established ration. Indeed, it is surprising, that this has not been the case long ago, both on the score of economy and health.

The generality of settlers allow their assigned servants as much as they can eat, and supply them with clothes whenever they stand in need of them; as they find, by experience, that thus acting is conducive to their own comfort and interest. A stranger, on visiting a settler's establishment, may easily know whether it is well managed, by the appearance of the servants, especially on a Sunday. If they are observed to be clean in their persons, and neatly dressed, he may conclude that the farm is in a flourishing condition; while, on the contrary, if he notice them, on that day of rest, with tattered garments, long beards, and unwashed faces, skulking about their dirty, miserable huts, he may safely conclude, that neither the pigsties, nor the stables, nor the barn yard, nor the dairy, nor the flocks, nor the herds, nor the settler's mansion, are in the best order; but he will find disorder, insubordination, and mutual dislike, prevailing; and that the neighbouring magistrates have a great deal of trouble and inconvenience.

Those settlers who treat their assigned servants with kindness and sympathy, rarely have occasion to regret doing so; as they thereby get a fair proportion of labour done, as quietly and contentedly as if they had employed free men. I do not intend, by these remarks, to advocate over-leniency, which is as injudicious as too much severity; and I cannot too strongly reprehend irregular and inconsistent fits of kindness and familiarity, quickly, and, perhaps, captiously, succeeded by harshness and hauteur—a line of conduct invariably productive of unpleasant consequences, both to the servant and to the master. It is, I conceive, in a great measure, from the habits of discipline acquired in that excellent school—a man-of-war—that old sailors, in general, manage to keep their servants in pretty good order,—obtaining, at the same time, a just quantity of labour, without requiring much extrinsic aid.

The Government hold out every possible inducement to the moral reformation of the prisoners, by conferring indulgences on those whose conduct is even moderately correct. After a certain period of probation, they are either partially, or altogether restored to freedom, under certain limitations. A prisoner for seven years, who serves one master, four years; a prisoner for fourteen years, who serves six, and a prisoner for life, who serves eight years, is entitled to a ticket of leave—i.e., the power of selecting his employer, and working entirely for his own benefit. A settler, who studies his own interest, ought to give every facility to his servants in obtaining this boon. This is generally the case; but I regret to say, that instances occasionally occur, where the settler, just as his servant is on the point of obtaining his ticket—especially if he be useful—manages to catch him in some scrape, that it may be withheld;—conduct as disgraceful as it is injudicious. A considerate master will, and does overlook any slight fault more readily, as the period of his servant's comparative freedom draws near;—he being aware, selfishly speaking, that such conduct must ultimately tend to his own advantage. In Van Dieman's Land (I am not certain if it be also the case in New South Wales), there is a regulation, which tends to check the above-mentioned infirmity of human nature; i.e., whenever a settler is deprived of the services of a prisoner, by his having obtained a ticket of leave, another servant, of the same description, is forthwith assigned to him.

Tickets of leave are held on a very precarious tenure, as they can be taken away, by the decision of two magistrates; and that they are sometimes cancelled ex causis non æquis there can be no doubt; yet, on the whole, the regulations respecting them are, as far as circumstances will admit, exceedingly proper and consistent.

After a prisoner has held a ticket of leave for a certain period, he has a claim to emancipation, which entitles him to all the privileges of a free person in the colony; but he cannot leave it, which, indeed, in many cases, would, if enforced, be felt as a very severe punishment.

There is an admirable regulation lately in force, regarding the assignment of prisoners; viz., that husbands shall not be assigned to their wives, nor wives to their husbands. Before this regulation was adopted, transportation, in many cases, was divested of its principal terrors, and, indeed, held out allurements to the immoral portion of the community. For example—the husband, after a successful course of fraud and plunder, had only to permit himself to be detected in the commission of a crime, which entitled him to the benefit of transportation. Before conviction, he made over to his wife all his ill-gotten wealth; and then he obtained a free and comfortable passage (far more comfortable than a steerage passage in any merchant vessel) either to Van Dieman's Land, or New South Wales.

In a short time, if he has had the policy to conduct himself properly, his wife and family were sent, at the expence of Government, to join him; or, if he did not choose to remain long in servitude, his wife came out in a private ship, at her own expence (which could be well afforded), and as soon as she arrived in the colony, her husband, whether in the service of a private individual, or in Government employ, was immediately assigned to her—thereby being rendered more independent than if he had obtained a ticket of leave.

It might be naturally supposed, that, as the wife had the power of getting her husband—now her assigned servant—flogged, sent to an irongang, or otherwise punished, that he would behave very kindly to her; but this was not invariably the case. I have occasionally witnessed the husband, forgetful of his inferiority, exercising his marital authority in a very unbecoming manner, to which the wife submitted, with meek and dutiful obedience.

The educated convicts are now not so well situated as in former times, when they were assigned to professional, or mercantile men, or employed as clerks in Government offices. From their education and acquirements, they obtained good situations, gave themselves airs, and lived like gentlemen; but these halcyon days are now gone, and the specials (as they are called) are neither assigned to private individuals, nor are they admitted into Government offices, nor are they sent into the interior, to live in indolence—but they are sent to a penal settlement, where they are compelled to work at tasks suited to their strength and delicate constitutions. That this is an exceedingly judicious regulation, no one, excepting those who are likely to come under its operation, will deny.

There has lately been a great deal of discussion in the colonies, as to the utility of having penal settlements, where, as many say, much expense is incurred, without adequate advantage; and, according to their opinion, the criminals confined there might be more usefully employed in making roads, bridges, &c., in the interior, where they could be kept as strictly, and at far less expense, than they are, according to the present system.

Prisoners who misconduct themselves, are liable to be punished in a variety of ways;—by the infliction of corporal chastisement, by being sentenced to an irongang, to a penal settlement, or by an addition to their original sentence. A single magistrate cannot order a prisoner to receive more than fifty lashes; but flogging, although awful and degrading in name, is often a mere farce;—the witnessing of the infliction being usually left to a constable, who is frequently a greater rogue than the culprit, towards whom, of course, he has a strong fraternal feeling. I have, on more than one occasion, accidentally seen exhibitions of this kind, when jesting, and jocularity, mock-expressions of pain, and mock-severity, sufficiently shewed the worse than uselessness of this mode of punishment thus inflicted.

The constable reports, that the prisoner has received his punishment, which is duly recorded; and then the constable, the flagellator, and the pseudo-punished (if they can find an opportunity,) take a friendly glass together, and the culprit returns to his employer, more saucy, and more useless, than he was before.

I think it is the duty of a magistrate, to be convinced that the punishment he has awarded has been properly carried into effect, either from personal observation, or from the report of a person, on whom dependence can be placed. A friend of mine, a magistrate (lately made), has acted in this way, with the greatest advantage—the neighbourhood having soon become very quiet.

That settler, however, will best consult his own interest, who avoids, if possible, bringing his servants before any tribunal, especially for petty offences. He has it in his own power to preserve order, and to punish offenders, by giving or withholding various highly-prized indulgences—i.e. tea, sugar, tobacco, &c.: and I can state, from actual experience and observation, that those who act in this manner, have very little reason to complain of their assigned servants.

It is not my intention to enter into the discussions which have lately taken place, respecting the question as to whether transportation be, or be not, an efficient secondary punishment—I shall only state, that sometimes it is, and sometimes it is not. A prisoner, who is assigned to a good master, and who conducts himself with an ordinary share of discretion, is, leaving the moral stigma aside, not much to be pitied, as his situation is, in all probability, greatly improved—his health and comforts being, from interested motives, well looked after. It is true that, if he misbehaves, he is liable to summary punishment; but the well-conducted have no occasion for apprehension, while the fear of being subjected to chastisement, frequently operates very beneficially on those, who, from nature, or from bad habits, are indolently inclined.






[APPENDIX, No. V.]




ADVICE TO EMIGRANTS.


In accordance with the custom usually adopted by those who have lately written on New South Wales, I shall conclude this work by a few words of advice to emigrants. My remarks, however, will only be applicable to those who intend to follow farming pursuits.

As soon as an individual has finally made up his mind to emigrate, and it is presumed that he has not come to this conclusion, without having bestowed due consideration on a subject of so much importance, the first object that engages his attention is, which part of the unoccupied world he ought to select—Canada, or New South Wales. I have visited both, but my knowledge being chiefly confined to the Australian colonies, the few observations I intend to make will be confined to them; and, without entering into any detail, as to which of these places offers the greatest inducements to emigrants, I may simply state, that every circumstance being duly weighed, the balance is, in my opinion, greatly in favour of Australia.

The autumn is usually considered the best time for leaving England; but this is a matter of minor importance, the most favourable season being, in reality, when the best accommodations can be obtained at the cheapest rate.

It is an object of no small importance for the emigrant—more especially if he have a large family—to embark in a good ship; and this may be accomplished without difficulty, more especially as, at the present moment, so many vessels are continually sailing for the colonies.

Before he engages his passage, he ought to be pretty certain, not only as to the seaworthy state of the vessel, but; also as to the character of the captain. I should not advise any one to select a ship where there are many dinner parties, and other entertainments, previously to sailing, as the numerous stores thus improvidently and lavishly expended—having been laid in for the voyage—will, of course, be deficient, to the manifest discomfort of the passenger. Moreover, the captain, after he gets to sea, regrets his indiscreet hospitality in port, and endeavours, vainly and impolitically, to make up for it, by niggardliness on board.

A few years ago, frequent disputes arose, during the voyage, between the captain and passengers, both in the cuddy and steerage; and, that the captain was generally in fault, may be inferred from the fact, that, in almost all instances, where passengers applied to a court of justice, a verdict was given in their favour. Of late years, however, these disputes have greatly diminished, and families may now embark in any vessel (some, of course, are preferable to others), with the certainty of being well, and even liberally, treated.

The average sum, for cabin passengers, is from £70 to £80; but a family—say a man, his wife, and five children—may be very comfortably accommodated with a reasonable table for £300 or £350.

Although I am aware many are of a contrary opinion, yet I would not advise a passenger to have any written agreement, as to what kind and quantity of meat and drink is to be received by him during the voyage, as such conduct infers suspicion and mistrust. The owners of vessels trading to Australia from the port of London, are wealthy; and the masters highly respectable, and not likely to act with duplicity, after they have sailed.

Emigrants have frequently applied to me for information, as to what articles they ought to take with them to the colonies; and I have invariably advised them, not to expend their money in the purchase, either of merchandize, household furniture, agricultural implements, or a superfluity of wearing apparel; as they can obtain all these articles, when they really want them, at Sydney, or Hobart Town, nearly on as reasonable terms as in England.

On arrival at Hobart Town, or Sydney, the first care of the emigrant must be, to get into the country as fast as possible, as a settler, who has a family, and moderate means, ought not to idle away his time, and spend his money, which he may do, in either of these places, with as much facility as in London. I would also particularly caution him to be on his guard against purchasing extraordinary good bargains, either in sheep, land, or cattle, which may be offered to him immediately on his arrival in the colony. The most judicious plan—whatever the temptation to purchase may be—is, still to keep his money, rent a farm, and remove his family to it as speedily as possible. He has then time to look about him; also to acquire a knowledge of the country, and its inhabitants; and to take advantage of a real good bargain, should any such occur.

Having got his affairs in some order, and his family settled on his farm, he ought to proceed in search of land; and, in doing this, he must make up his mind to struggle with many annoyances and disappointments. But a person who cannot dispense with what are called "necessary comforts", nor determine to bear up against disasters and many misfortunes, ought not to emigrate, as it is more than probable, that, being paralyzed by supposed insurmountable difficulties, he will become discontented and inactive, spend the remainder of his money, regret that he was ever induced to leave his native land, and write home dismal accounts of the colony. Whereas, had he exerted a little extra mental energy, all the difficulties which appeared, at first sight, insurmountable, might have been overcome, and he would have added another to the vast number of flourishing Australian settlers—many of whom, to my certain knowledge, have had great and varied difficulties to contend with in the first instance, and are now in the well-merited enjoyment of affluent independence.

Whether Van Dieman's Land, or New South Wales, ought to have the preference, must depend on the means and objects of the settler. If his object be to apply himself solely to agricultural pursuits. Van Dieman's Land (where there is still fertile land unlocated), possesses some advantages over New South Wales; but, if he intends to direct his attention to the growth of wool, on a large scale, then New South Wales is decidedly preferable.

I shall now suppose the emigrant in search of land in New South Wales. He will proceed either north, west, or south; but I have no doubt he will direct his course to the southward, where there is an immense extent of excellent unlocated pastoral land.

On arriving at the boundaries of the located country, he takes up his quarters at the out-station of some settler, who has, perhaps, recommended him to the care of the stock-keeper, or shepherd, with directions to show the stranger the unoccupied land—of course, at a respectable distance from his own run. But the stranger discovers, probably by means of a well-applied douceur, that there is a nice portion of Government land, well watered, in the immediate vicinity.

Elated with this important discovery, he proceeds no further, but returns to Sydney, hastens to the Surveyor-General's office, and makes application for the land. Everything proceeds in due form: the District-Surveyor is directed to measure it, and it is advertised to be publicly sold by the Collector of Internal Revenue, on a certain day—i.e., three months after the date of the advertisement.* When the day arrives, the lot is put up at the minimum price, five shillings per acre: five shillings and sixpence is immediately bid, which offer is speedily advanced upon, frequently as far as fifteen shillings—and, on some occasions, it reaches one pound, to the great advantage of the Government—to the surprise and chagrin of the disappointed emigrant,—and to the rage of the purchaser, who, it may be readily imagined, is the owner of the adjoining land, and who thinks that the emigrant has committed a flagrant breach of hospitality, in putting the said land up for sale; while the emigrant thinks the other party has acted in a very unfriendly manner, by bidding against him.

[* This period might be shortened, without inconvenience to Government, and with great advantage to the emigrant.]

Thus disappointed, the emigrant proceeds to put up for sale several lots, similarly situated, in the hopes that he may be successful in obtaining one of them; but each lot is purchased by the owner of the adjacent land, who feels much annoyance at being thus compelled to buy the land, which he purposed doing at a more convenient opportunity.

The emigrant now loses heart, and thinks every person combined against him, while, in fact, his disappointments are caused by his own injudicious conduct. In a pastoral country, it is of the greatest importance to the sheep-farmer, to possess extent of run; and he therefore uses every endeavour to prevent being hemmed in, as he is then forced, at much inconvenience and expense, to form new establishments, at a considerable distance in the interior. It is, therefore, not to be expected, that any individual—unless possessing a greater share of disinterestedness than usually falls to the lot of humanity—will, if he can prevent it, permit a stranger to occupy land, which would diminish the value of his own, by taking away the advantages of an extensive Government run. He, therefore, very naturally, uses the unlocated land, as long as he can, for nothing; with the determination, however, to purchase it at some future tune, or whenever it is put up for sale.

I therefore advise the emigrant not to be tempted to put up land for sale, immediately in the vicinity of another settler's, as he will not obtain it, unless at a price far above its real value; while, at the same time, by such a proceeding, he will subject himself to disappointment, and ruinous delay, which he will avoid, by proceeding, at once, to some distance from any located land, where he should select a section,** or more, according to his means, well supplied with water—if possible, taking in every water-hole in the neighbourhood, as water, in many parts of New South Wales, is far more valuable than land. By this line of conduct, he will secure to himself the advantage of, perhaps, several thousand acres of excellent land—thus rendered useless to any other person; and then he need not view the visit of a new emigrant with apprehension.

[** A square mile, 640 acres. Government do not dispose of less, except under peculiar circumstances.]

When the settler has, at length, obtained his land, he ought to form his establishment on it, without delay; and it is presumed he has acquired, from personal observation, the most judicious mode of doing so. I may only state, that he cannot be too cautious in the expenditure of his capital, in improvements on his farm; more particularly in expensive buildings.

In all his pursuits and improvements, he ought to have in view the growth of fine wool, which, especially in the interior, must constitute his principal revenue; and it is supposed, that while he has been looking out for land, he has also been employed in procuring a flock or two of young ewes, which, at present, can be obtained, of good quality, for one pound per head.

Many calculations have been made, as to the immense increase of sheep, and the profit to be derived therefrom; but, as these calculations are frequently just within the limits of possibility, the settler may be disappointed in the anticipated results. Suffice it, therefore, to mention, that sheep-farming, taking all contingencies into consideration, offers an excellent and safe means of obtaining a large return for capital thus invested.

I would not recommend emigrants to carry out with them overseers, or indentured servants of any description, as I have never yet seen, nor heard of, such engagements terminating satisfactorily: on the contrary, they have invariably proved a source of great annoyance, expense, and inconvenience. The emigrant can be at no loss for servants in the colony, either free or assigned; especially as the Government very considerately give the preference to the applications of new settlers for assigned servants.

The principal drawback to the domestic comfort of a family, arises from the character of the female assigned servants, who are, for the most part, exceedingly depraved; but this inconvenience is gradually decreasing, from the number of free women now emigrating to the colonies, with great advantage to themselves, and to the general interests of society.

It is not to be denied, however, that there are other drawbacks to the comfort of an emigrant; the chief of which may be reckoned the bushrangers—i.e., runaway prisoners, who occasionally commit great depredations, and acts of cruelty; but the greatest danger to be apprehended from them is in the neighbourhood of towns; while in the interior, there is seldom much cause for alarm, although instances of wanton outrage, and insubordination, have sometimes taken place, even in well-regulated farms. But such unfortunate occurrences are exceedingly rare; and the settler, with judicious management, may consider himself more secure, in person and property, surrounded with prisoner-servants, in the wilds of New Holland, than he would be in many parts of the United Kingdom.

With regard to the class of persons likely to be benefitted by emigration, I may state, that those with large families, of industrious habits, and whose incomes are limited, are certain of bettering their condition, and need not be under the painful necessity, in their old age, of parting with their offspring; whom, on the contrary, like the ancient Patriarchs, they may see settled around them, and advancing towards independence.

It is not absolutely necessary, to the success of the emigrant, that he should possess much previous knowledge of rural affairs. Soldiers, merchants, professional men, and many others, whose previous habits of life have been very different, soon acquire the requisite knowledge; and I have already observed, that sailors make excellent settlers.

I have often contrasted the situation of half-pay officers in the navy, who are settlers in New South Wales, with that of those who remain at home, wasting their time in listless idleness; and, to me, the contrast is the more striking, being one day in London, where I seldom fail to meet a nautical acquaintance, solitarily perambulating the crowded streets—and another day, in Australia, where I meet the same class of officers, actively and profitably employed in the pleasing task of superintending their flocks and herds, and bringing their land under cultivation; and, instead of dining sparingly at an economical chop-house, or even at a club, sitting down, with the healthy olive branches smiling around, at a well-spread table, which, in turns, "abundat porco, hædo, agno gallinâ, lacte, caseo, copiaque omnium rerum quæ ad victum hominum pertinent," the produce of their own farms.

Although, as I have previously stated, a settler must, in the first instance, expect to struggle with numerous difficulties, and suffer various privations, yet, in a short time, by prudence and perseverance, he will be able, in the words of Cobbett, "to live well, keep generous hospitality, take his pleasure, enjoy a good deal of leisure, and possess his farm unincumbered."

To conclude.—During the number of years I have been connected with the colonies, I have never known an instance of a settler, either master or servant, possessing a moderate share of prudence and industry, who has ever had occasion to regret leaving his native land.

In the foregoing remarks, I have abstained from indulging in any theoretical views—imagining, that the relation of a few facts, derived from experience and observation, might be more acceptable to those who purpose emigrating to New South Wales, or Van Dieman's Land.




THE END.



LONDON:

GILBERT AND RIVINGTON, PRINTERS,
ST. JOHN'S SQUARE.









CHART OF AUSTRALIA, SHEWING THE TRACK OF THE SHIP,
GOVERNOR READY, &c. &c. &c.






ERRATA. [applied to this text.]

Page 11, line 10—for 134° 38', read 144° 38'.
   —  69,  —     7—for 129° 59' 15", read 124° 59' 15".
    —181,  —  23—for 124° 51', read 121° 51'.
   —182, wherever 124° occurs, read 121°.




THE END

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