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Project Gutenberg Australia
Title: Memoirs Of Joseph Holt Vol. II
Author: Joseph Holt
eBook No.: 2200621.html
Language: English
Date first posted: November 2022
Most recent update: November 2022

This eBook was produced by: Colin Choat

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Memoirs of Joseph Holt Volume II

by

Joseph Holt


MEMOIRS OF JOSEPH HOLT,
GENERAL OF THE IRISH REBELS, IN 1798.

EDITED FROM HIS ORIGINAL MANUSCRIPT,

IN THE POSSESSION OF SIR WILLIAM BETHAM,

ULSTER KING-AT-ARMS OF ALL IRELAND,

KEEPER OF THE RECORDS OF IRELAND, ETC.

BY

T. CROFTON CROKER, ESQ.

IN TWO VOLUMES.

VOL. II.


LONDON:
HENRY COLBURN, PUBLISHER
13 GREAT MARLBOROUGH STREET.
1838.


"Very strange tales
Are told of gentlemen of New South Wales."
—Anonymous.


Title page Vol2


Joseph Holt

Joseph Holt. From an original picture in the possession of Sir William Betham.
Painted in 1798.
Frontispiece of Volume I.

*

Joseph Holt handwriting

Fac-simile of a page in Holt's autograph m.s.
Frontispiece of Volume II.


Contents of the Second Volume

Preface
1. Farewell to Ireland
2. Bound for New South Wales
3. Arrival at Port Jackson, Sydney
4. Making a New Life
5. Holt's Arrest
6. Free Again
7. A Man of Property
8. Observations on the Aborigines
9. Pressures of Business
10. Insurrection
11. Norfolk Island
12. Derwent River
13. In Sydney Again
14. Oranges and Cattle
15. A New Governor, William Bligh
16. A Free Pardon for Holt
17. Arrival of Governor Macquarie
18. Homeward Bound
19. Wreck of the Isabella
20. Rescue and Voyage to Rio de Janeiro
21. Passage to England
22. Life in England and Ireland


Production Note

Volume I of Holt's memoirs, provides details of his early life, to the time when he sailed to New South Wales. Holt is perhaps best known for his involvement in the The Battle of Vinegar Hill.

"All have heard, sure, of Vinegar Hill,
Likewise of the battle of Tara,
Of General Holt and his men
With their guns they call tanta-ra-ra-ra."
Popular Song.

Page images of Volume I are available at the Internet Archive.

This ebook contains the text of Volume II which is primarily concerned with Holt's life in Australia from 1799 to 1812.


Ebook editors note:

The original "Table of Contents" in Holt's Journal consists of one long paragraph at the beginning of each volume containing the contents of that volume. The editor supplied a heading for each page of the book, sometimes the same heading for several pages, and these headings are referred to in the "contents" paragraph, separated by the page number on which each event is described in the Journal (e.g. "Return of Holt to Parramatta, 118.").

These page descriptions have been omitted from this ebook and no page numbers are shown. Instead, the ebook has been divided into chapters, with titles provided by myself.

Where dates are provided in the journal, these are included as a heading, at the point at which they appear in the journal.

The sometimes lengthy footnotes which appear in the journal, were all inserted by the editor of the Journal, T. Crofton Croker.

Colin Choat
Ebook Editor


Preface [from Volume I]

The reasons which led to printing, in this country, the memoirs of Theobald Wolfe Tone, are the same which induce the publisher to submit to the public the memoirs of Joseph Holt; in the first place, as presenting "a most curious and characteristic piece of auto-biography," and in the second, as calculated to gratify the general desire for information on the affairs of Ireland.

"The famous chieftain, Holt," as the writer of these volumes is termed in the Annual Register for 1798, was perhaps the most enterprizing and distinguished leader of the Irish rebels in the field, and under rather singular circumstances. Few, if any, of the original projectors of the rebellion of 1798, the men who laid the foundation of that event, were actors in the warfare which followed the development of their revolutionary speculations; most of the early conspirators were arrested either before or immediately upon the out-burst of actual hostilities, and their places were supplied by weak, ambitious, and irresolute men, who soon found themselves supplanted by fanatics and cowards.

"If the leaders of the business" Holt has remarked, in conversation with Sir William Betham, "were not fanatics, fools, or cowards, how could it have come to pass that an almost uneducated man like myself should have obtained so much influence as to become a commander over thirteen thousand men, most of whom hated the Protestant religion, which I had been brought up in and always professed?"

Against the latter part of this statement it may be urged, that so far from the rebellion of 1798, being a Roman Catholic conspiracy to overthrow the Protestant Church, that a majority of Protestants were engaged as leaders in it particularly at the commencement, and that they were in fact the persons with whom the design originated; but I believe it will be found upon investigation, that these men, although nominally Protestants, that is, of Protestant descent or connexions, were actually either Deists or Atheists, like the Jacobins of France, whose proceedings had inflamed the imaginations of irreligious men, with a desire to see a new order of things. But at the period when Holt became connected with the Irish rebels, there can be no question that the grand bond of union which held them together was the Roman Catholic religion, and that they were engaged in a confederacy against all within what was regarded the heretical pale of the Protestant Church.

Holt, however, possessed many of the qualifications necessary to form a great commander. He was a man of keen observation, extraordinary physical energy, and cool and undaunted courage; with a mind fertile in expedient at the critical moment of impending danger. These traits in his character, especially when contrasted with the want of thought, the alarm and the indecision of other rebel leaders, inspired respect and confidence in him; and his humanity and love of justice made Holt admired and esteemed by those under him, of whom he considered himself as the natural protector. His orders were therefore implicitly obeyed, and generally with cheerful alacrity, by men, who, while they detested his creed, loved the individual even before the ministers of their own religion.

It was the possession of these superior qualities—for Holt's acts were his own, he had no instructor; added to his strict enforcement of discipline, and attention to the comforts and wants of his men, that enabled him, as the leader of a war of mountain skirmishes, to defy for six months the united efforts of the Royal Army, and the numerous corps of yeomanry in an area of little more than twenty miles square, within thirty miles of Dublin at its further, and eight or ten at its nearest point of approach. Nor was this by skulking in the wild and secluded districts of bog and mountain which the county of Wicklow presents, a county, the appearance whereof was most happily compared by Dean Swift to a frieze mantle fringed with gold lace. Holt frequently came in contact with detachments of the army sent against him, and seldom shunned an engagement. In one instance, by the melancholy slaughter of a large body of the "Ancient Britons," he executed what in military parlance would be termed a brilliant affair, and when Holt was beaten or out-numbered, he generally contrived to effect his retreat without' any serious loss. On one occasion, in particular, when he was supposed to be surrounded by the King's troops, Holt retired with his corps unbroken.

According to his own statement. Holt became a rebel against his inclination, and having become one, he was the more formidable because he was honest and faithful to his engagement. He proudly asserts, that he never gave information or betrayed his cornpanions, and further says, that he twice rejected an offer made to him on the part of Government, of a command against his former followers and associates. Holt also boasts that he never committed an act of wanton cruelty, nor was guilty of murder in cold blood; and his detestation of robbery is shewn by his having denounced to the officer commanding the King's troops a gang of robbers who had laid the country under contribution in Holt's name. In short, Holt represents himself as a terrible enemy, but a generous and humane conqueror, who was unwilling to spill blood in savage retaliation, or to allow it to be shed for 'revenge, and who, on all occasions restrained unnecessary plunder. Although somewhat given to be a fatalist, Holt appears to have been a sincerely religious man, and to have fervently believed in the superintending providence and protection of the Almighty, a sentiment which seems to have been ever uppermost in his mind, and to have cheered and supported him through his extraordinary trials.

In following his narrative it will be perceived that his belief was not without some grounds of evidence; many hair-breadth escapes were occasioned by his uneasy dreams when in imminent danger, and there is an apparent interposition of Providence in his escape from an ignominious death. Religious and moral reflections are of constant occurrence in Holt's account of his adventures, and even the pious phraseology sometimes used by him, and short attempts at hymn-like versification, are indications of the character of the man.

Holt was probably unjustly denounced as an United Irishman by the friends of some of the many culprits he had apprehended and brought to justice. In times of civil convulsion and rebellion, private malice often suggests guilt, and the suggestion brings the consequences of actual culpability on the innocent. This might have been the case with respect to Holt; unless, indeed, that, having heard of the meditated insurrection, " he felt a mysterious call that way which, however, does not appear likely, taking into account Holt's circumstances as well as the tone of his mind.

Considering the period, and admitting that Holt had been unjustly denounced as an United Irishman, he shrewdly calculated his position when he says, that by joining the rebels he had a chance of escape, but by submitting to the enemies who had burned his house and destroyed his property, on a false accusation, nothing but certain destruction awaited him.

The accusation made by Holt against a gentleman of fortune and rank, whose injustice and oppression, he would have it believed, drove him into rebellion, is, perhaps, much exaggerated, and probably the entire affair is misrepresented; but we may fairly imagine that some quarrel which existed between the parties made the individual alluded to, more credulous, than he might or would have been at a different and less critical period, of any assertion respecting the treasonable intentions of Holt; and, therefore, it is possible that Holt's house may have been burned upon very slight grounds for suspicion. The parties are now gone to their account, where both cease to trouble and are at rest, and although, as the editor of Holt's memoirs, I could not refrain from giving his own statement correctly, the omission of the name will, I trust, be an evidence of my wish to veil, as far as possible, the occurrence. Great, indeed, should be the allowance made for the excitement and irritation in Ireland of the year 1798; all statements relative to which should be received with the utmost caution, though nothing can be too horrible for belief. There can be no doubt that much injustice and cruelty were perpetrated on very slight testimony, and often on mere rumour, by persons who, in peaceable times, would have shuddered with revolting disgust at the mere contemplation; so do times and circumstances change not only the complexion of things, but the very nature of man.

Long after the hopes of success of the United Irishmen had been dissipated, Holt supported himself in the Wicklow mountains; at last, after many almost miraculous escapes, he succeeded in obtaining terms, through the negotiation of Mrs. Latouche with Lord Powerscourt, to whom he surrendered himself on the 10th November, 1798. Holt's life was secured to him on condition of transportation to New South Wales, where, having conducted himself well, he obtained a free pardon, and returned to Ireland. During his latter years he lived in apparent comfort and respectability at Kingstown, near Dublin, and died there on the 16th May, 1826.

In the Dublin and London Magazine for July, 1826, the following notice of Holt occurs:—

"This insurrectionary chieftain has at length gone to the house appointed for all living.' He had been residing in New Dunleary, or Kingstown, for nearly the last seven years, and had succeeded in gaining the friendship or goodwill of most of his neighbours; there were a few, to be sure, whom no concession, no care on his part, could thoroughly soften. The men of the old ascendancy school, the deeply dyed 'true-blues,' could never forget the General's earlier transgressions. His subsequent good conduct and peaceable demeanour could never, in their eyes, atone for the past. This unmitigated spirit of hostility seriously annoyed poor Holt, for it was his wish to be on friendly terms with all.

"I first met him soon after his arrival at Dunleary. He had been engaged in Dublin for a short time in the public business, but the noise and confusion attending such a trade disturbed him. He was getting old, and, as he told me, he was now anxious for rest and retirement. He said he had secured a sufficiency for the remainder of his days, emphatically adding, that though it came from Botany Bay, it had been fairly and honourably earned.

"I was eager to hear from him something of his exploits in ninety-eight. He said there were many of those transactions that he did not like to dwell on. He had done many things in the heat of passion that he afterwards bitterly repented of. He was like many other well-meaning men, forced to become a rebel, against his better judgment and inclination. Holt was a substantial farmer in the county of Wicklow, he dealt largely in wool; he was a Protestant, and, for a time, barony constable, a post seldom filled by men of questionable loyalty. He was a man of good heart, and of liberal principles; he could not join his Orange neighbours in insulting or injuring those who held another creed. He was constantly the humble advocate of his Catholic brethren, and this, in the eyes of the ultras, was a sort of apostacy, it was worse than the sin of popery itself. He, consequently, became what was then called a marked man. He was cursed with an over-loyal squireen for a neighbour. This little tyrant annoyed him in various ways; he denounced Holt as one of the disaffected, and at length, when the rebellion broke out, he proceeded with a troop of yeomanry to his dwelling for the purpose of arresting him. The latter was away at Carnew on business; the women fled as they saw their old enemy approaching, not calculating much on his forbearance, and the loyal band, after searching the place, found a few letters, which they construed into treason. They instantly set fire to the house, and Holt on his return home found but a heap of ashes, where he had so recently left a comfortable farm house and a large haggard of corn."

The history of Holt is still kept alive in the memory of the Irish peasantry by various popular songs, especially one entitled "The Victim of Tyranny," which thus commences:—

"I had a tyrant landlord, base,
Who saw my heart to Erin yearned.
He to the ground my Cot did raze.
And fired my substance dearly earned.
Unmoved, remorseless, he beheld
My Cottage falling, as it burned;
His savage band insulting yelled.
Nor from their deed of ruin turned."

All that has been hitherto advanced, places Holt's character in its most favourable light, and it now becomes the editor's duty to acknowledge that his Hero, estimating him by his own statements, was an exceedingly vain man, and the consequence is, that he often inflates facts into nearly that extreme state of expansion, that the slightest attack from the lance of an assailant is formidable as to the buoyancy of Holt's veracity. It is impossible, for instance, to believe that three hundred and seventy of the Royal troops were slaughtered by Holt's rebel band at Ballyellis, in less than twenty minutes, although there can be no doubt that this surprise was well managed on the part of the rebels, and that Sir Watkin Wynne's corps sustained a serious loss. Neither is there any doubt that a discussion occurred between Lord Strangford, and Admiral (the late Sir Manley),Dixon, respecting the condemnation of the Nannina, an American vessel, which had been seized by an English brig-of-war, at the Falkland Islands, in the act of rendering assistance to shipwrecked British subjects; but that the American, Spanish, Dutch, and French ministers were parties to this question, could scarcely be credited, whether Lord Strangford had done me the favour or not of placing this point beyond dispute.

Holt is also very free of his abuse, which is vented in a vein of vulgar satirical humour, against all with whom he happens to differ, and his irritable temper betrays itself in many quaint impertinences. To the editor it has been a most painful duty to preserve these ebullitions of Holt's feeling towards individuals, but it was impossible to omit passages so characteristic of the man.

The aspersion of the conduct of Major Foveaux by Holt, is so extremely gross in every particular, and Holt, upon all occasions, mentions the name of that officer with so much evident malice, that the editor hesitated whether he should not expunge the name, and suppress the passages in question. He at length determined that Holt's defamation should stand, feeling satisfied that the vindictive spirit which animated Major Foveaux's accuser would be the best answer to assertions which Holt had taken every opportunity of disseminating, and that insinuation or suppression is always worse than direct accusation. Had Holt's abuse of Major Foveaux been expressed in less decided- terms than those of profligate, tyrant, and murderer, his statements might have obtained that credence which it is now impossible to give them.

Remarks of a similar tendency may be made with reference to other individuals.

If as an impartial editor, I am bound to make what in Ireland is called "a clean beast of it," I must say that in many cases, notwithstanding the honest pains that I have taken to support every statement of Holt's by quotations from respectable authorities, there is an evident over-colouring in his Memoirs, and that they must be received with due allowance as an ex-parte statement. That Holt has suppressed certain passages in his life, I have not the slightest doubt, having in particular reason for believing that he did give information to Government when in the Cove of Cork, of the existence of an important conspiracy among the United Irishmen of the Southern districts j and further, that this information was given at his interview with General Meyers, and Sir Charles Ross, which he has so minutely detailed. But notwithstanding this, and no doubt other similar omissions, and the exaggeration of various points, which add to, as the omissions noticed would detract from, the romance of Holt's narrative, I am inclined to believe that his Memoirs are substantially correct, and convey accurately enough, to use a painter's term, "the general effect" of his character, and no unfair idea of the eventful times in which he lived, and was a distinguished actor.

However, with all the blemishes in Holt's character, he was calculated to have made an extraordinary figure in the history of his—I may say of our times, if he had been of a different grade of society, and a man of education. Had Holt been in the British army, and in a situation to improve his mind, and acquire information and polish, he would most likely have risen to eminence.

Of Holt's personal appearance, the portrait prefixed to this volume will convey a correct idea. His height was about five feet ten inches; he was extremely well made, of compact muscle, and remarkably athletic and vigorous. Holt's hair was black, and his eye-brows heavy and bushy; his eyes were dark and penetrating, but rather small. His nose was of that class usually termed Roman, his forehead was finely developed, and his face well proportioned and intellectual. He wore his beard under his chin, shaving only the prominent parts, and this fashion appears to have been a distinguishing mark of the fraternity of United Irishmen. Holt had the power of readily assuming a commanding or determined look, but there was nothing ferocious in it or in his appearance; and his smile was one beaming with benevolence. His whole appearance was likely to gain submission, as determined resolution was stamped on his countenance. In his manners he was simple and unaffected.

The manuscript of these volumes was procured by Sir William Betham, from Joseph Harrison Holt, the son of the writer, not long after his father's death, when young Holt sold his little property at Kingstown, and proceeded with his family to New South Wales, to join his elder brother, and to endeavour to recover the hundred acres of land there, which he said had been granted to him as a child. Holt's eldest son, Joshua, having remained in New South Wales, is I am told a prosperous and respectable man. The manuscript, although undoubtedly a genuine document, is, for the most part, a transcript either of Holt's original rough copy, or, as seems more probable, from the colloquial style, a transcript after his dictation, founded upon the notes which he states that he had made when on the Falkland Islands in 1813. It was written in 1818, and revised by Holt in the course of the following year, when he appears to have added a few observations. Holt's secretaries, for it is evident that he employed more than one amanuensis, were quite as illiterate, if not more illiterate than himself, and their orthography in many passages, required some study on the part of the editor to decypher. For instance, the word niece, in the manuscript, is usually spelled "nees," buffalo, "buefalow," boatswain, " bousin," Gazette," Gisat," verandah, "farranda" windward, "winword," &c., and, according to the same authority, the crew of the Sydney, a ship from India, consisted of "Mahomudins, say pies, and Glascars." But these mispellings, which in type are trifles to the eye of a reader, become far more formidable in manuscript not very legibly written. As words of ordinary occurrence were thus disguised by Holt and his secretaries, it is no .matter of surprise that scarcely the name of any place or person is correctly given, and it has formed no small part of the editor's labour, to identify places and persons, by reference to various authorities. Thus, "Mager Provoux" or "Purvoux" is intended for Major Foveaux, "Oie," for Owhyhee, "Oteitt," for Otaheite, "Miderera," for Madeira, "Habbit," for Abbott, " for Jerusalem, "Bly," for Bligh, "Putlon' and "Puttleton," for Putland, "Alliegander," for Alexander, "Blacksell," for Blaxcell, "Graace," for Grose, "Drewry," for Durie, "Annevil," it is conjectured, means Grenville; and so on for a list which may be extended to many pages.

These examples are offered as an apology for any errors which may be discovered, as for instance, the editor is by no means certain that the Dr. Kelly mentioned in vol. ii., page 80, is not intended for Mr. Caley, &c. And it should be observed that Eagle Island of the Falkland Islands, is now generally known as "Speedwell Island."

Yet, notwithstanding the numerous emendations made in respect to local and personal names, the editor has adhered in the text closely to the original manuscript, feeling that much of the interest and value of the narrative would be destroyed by any attempt to refine Holt's expressions, or embellish his style.

Two specimens of Holt's mode of spelling may be found in the letter addressed by him to Lieutenant D'Aranda, and in Holt's copy of Mr. Sumpter's letter, which are printed in the second volume. The slight liberties also that it was necessary for the editor to take with his text, will be exemplified by reference to the fac-simile of a passage in Holt's autograph, and the corresponding pages of the second volume. And it is certainly remarkable, that although the writers were very illiterate, the style throughout is so clear, except occasionally, in local descriptions, as scarcely to admit of being in any respect misunderstood.

The division adopted in the present volumes is that into which Holt's account of his fortunes naturally separates itself, namely, his career as a rebel in Ireland, and his adventures as an agriculturist in New South Wales. The first volume brings down Holt's history to "the close," I use his own words, "of that most unhappy year, 1798." And the second details the vicissitudes of his life, through good and evil report, nearly to the period of his death.

T. C. C.

Rosamond's Bower, Fulham,
December 1 , 1837.


MEMOIRS OF JOSEPH HOLT VOLUME 2


Chapter 1. Farewell to Ireland

[1 January 1799]

A few paragraphs before the end of Volume 1 of The Memoirs of Joseph Holt, appears the following newspaper report:

"Holt, double-bolted, handcuffed, and encompassed with what is called an iron circumference, was lately put on board a transport to be conveyed to Botany Bay. He swore, blasphemed, and inveighed most bitterly against 'breach of treaty.'"—Courier Newspaper, 16th January, 1799.

Volume 2 of The Memoirs begins with preparations for the departure of Holt for New South Wales, on the "Minerva."


On the 1st of January, 1799, a coach came to the door of the Tower, and a man named Wilkinson, came to me, and said that I was to go to the Pigeon House in this coach, to embark; but first, he was directed to put a small iron, or fetter, upon me, and he asked, "Which leg it should be on?" The suddenness of this mandate disconcerted me not a little, and I felt indignant at being treated like a felon. My wife and children were in no state to proceed on a voyage, and we were thunderstruck at this sudden order. My poor woman fainted; it was a cruel scene. I endeavoured to console her; she recovered, and I found it necessary to exert my energies. I took leave of her, and went to the door of the Tower.

My feelings had been much softened by my intercourse with the higher orders of society, and I began to fancy myself in a country where the asperity of excitement had passed away, and that men saw all things as they really existed, without exaggeration or extenuation; but no sooner did I again come in contact with the lower instruments of the Government, than I felt the indignation of the rebel arise in my breast with renewed vigour. The rough and savage manner in which orders were carried into effect, and the unnecessary severity and disregard of the feelings of the unfortunate victims of power, made my heart swell with indignation. Influenced by these feelings, I entered the coach, in which were two troopers, who accompanied me as guards. We soon entered into conversation, for the men were both very communicative, and I listened to their talk as the safest mode of proceeding. They spoke of the Insurrection, and declared themselves inclined to favour it, which I was not disposed to doubt, having had so many desertions from the army of both English and Irish soldiers, but not a single Scotchman or Welshman ever joined me. These men said the leaders of the Insurrection in Ireland were too precipitate, and commenced their operations before they had things ready; they should have waited for assistance from England and Scotland, where people were really ready to support them, by making a disturbance in those countries, thus taking away the attention of the Government from Ireland. They added, that had they been aware of what they would have had to do in Ireland, damn them, but they would have deserted sooner than have come over. When I discovered their disposition, I said that I should be much gratified if they would let the coachman stop at the next tavern, where we might all have a parting glass for the sake of old Ireland. To this proposal they readily assented, and when in the tavern I told them, that all things considered, I felt happy at getting out of a country where so much tyranny had been exercised towards poor, harmless, and defenceless people; and that now, the last prayer I should probably ever put up on my own native sod, was, that God would incline the hearts of all her children to peace and good-will towards their neighbours; and, that though I may not live to see the day, yet, that under the blessing of God, the day should come, when Ireland would be happy and prosperous. "Take my advice, soldiers," said I, "in whatever station of life you may be placed, do your duty, obey all the lawful commands of your superiors, and do not meddle with what you do not understand: you will then be respected, and everything will prosper about you. It is from meddling fellows, who will not leave well alone, that all this misery has arisen, and on their heads are the innocent blood of thousands. Rebel as I am considered, I here drain my glass to the last words I shall probably ever speak in Ireland, God Save the King." Not one word more was spoken, but they continued to look at me with astonishment, and they left me at the Pigeon House, where I entered a boat which brought me to a vessel, commanded by one Christopher Dobson. This fellow, as I came alongside, shouted to the prisoners' who were confined on board, "You are now well enough, your General is come on board." There were eighty men below deck, who gave me a welcome by a loud cheer. The captain said, "Take him to Mess, No. 1, where there are none but United Irishmen," and I was conducted down accordingly.

This Dobson was a man of repulsive countenance, and low, coarse manners—the savage was marked on his countenance. He was of low stature, not much above five feet five, broad shoulders, bandy legs, but very athletic form; he had much hard weather in his countenance, looked as bluff and rough as Bray-head, and and was just the reverse of a man delicately brought up: his eyes had a strange sort of twist, very frequently called a squint, erroneously in Dobson, for sometimes he would carry his eyes as straight as any man, which so altered the expression of his face, that, but for the peculiarities of his person and make, it totally changed his apparent identity. In. general he squinted horribly, his eyes appeared at right angles with his intentions. His voice was so deep and hollow, that he had seldom any occasion to use the speaking trumpet. He wore what is called at sea a pea-jacket, a coarse blue coat, which came down to his heels, and a hat covered with tarred canvass. Such was the savage who received me on deck, as he would a live hog, and ordered me to my stye with the rest of my kind, without even a civil look, which perhaps he was unable to bestow on any one. I said nothing to him, but began to reflect, that nine or ten months at the mercy of this monster, would be a purgatory equal to any which could be fancied for the most atrocious sinners, and I inwardly hoped for strength to bear it. I wished also that my poor wife and children might fall into better hands.

Dobson had agreed with Government to take us to Cork for a stipulated sum, and to supply us with a pound of meat, and a pound of bread, each day. In order to make this scanty allowance go farther, he appointed a person to distribute it with light weights, so as to give but seven, instead of ten pounds. It was no use to remonstrate; any one who complained was instantly chained to the deck of the vessel.

I found my messmates to consist of the following persons:—

John Lacy, of Dublin, metal-founder.
Joseph Davis, of ditto, cutler.
Farrell Cuffe, of the King's County, schoolmaster.
John Kincaid, of Armagh.
William Henry, of ditto.
Charles Dean, of Dublin, apothecary's apprentice.
Richard Day.
Samuel Car, brother to a clergy man of Armagh.
Thomas Brady, chief clerk of the Gold Mines in the county of Wicklow.

The delicate frames and constitutions of Henry and Dean were not equal to the hardships inflicted by our tyrant, they expired before we reached the Cove of Cork. Mr. Brady said to me:

"This is a most wretched lodging for you."

"It is," I replied, "but I have seen much hardship; my God has ever been propitious to me, and I doubt not I shall have his wonted support. A man who has proper feelings is able to suffer as well as to enjoy."

Mr. Brady shared his pillow, which was a lock of hay, with me; a plank was our path by day, our bed at night; and, as the vessel rolled, the bilge water would flash under us. The hatchways were left open to prevent our being suffocated; in the centre of the vessel a large tub was placed for the accommodation of eighty persons, not one of whom was allowed to go on deck at night, and who were mostly fresh-water sailors. This disgusting and horrible tub was emptied but once in twenty-four hours, and as the motion of the vessel kept it in a continued state of evaporation, the atmosphere we were compelled to breathe cannot easily be even imagined. It is not be wondered at then, that those whose frames and constitutions were delicate, sunk under the misery of our situation.

Frosty winds, with rain and sleet, now brought to my recollection the sufferings of Lord Cornwallis, on which a well-known song was composed, the recollection of which animated my depressed spirits, and I began to sing it, which surprised my fellow-sufferers, but it served to elevate them also.

[2 January 1799]

On the 2nd of January, 1799, Dobson received orders to sail. He weighed anchor, and on looking to the shore, I saw my faithful and excellent, but disconsolate wife. We could do no more than make motions of settled fidelity and affection; it was a silent interchange, but it was truly honest. I felt more at this moment than I am able to express. I had but five shillings in my possession.

[3 January 1799]

On the 3rd, I saw the Wicklow mountains; my heart leaped at the view, there was my once happy and prosperous home.

But ah! oppression drove me from my door,
My cattle took and burned up all my store.

There I had been the happy, the blessed, the contented, the prosperous, the respected, the beloved. There I had also been the persecuted, the oppressed, the victim of the worst of passions; and, in my turn, the vindicator of my wrongs, the avenger, the terror, aye, and even the conqueror of my enemies. There I had taught them the consequences of oppression, but I had now the consolation, under all my sorrows, of knowing, that in those mountains I had not wantonly shed blood, or cruelly inflicted torture on my fellow-creatures when in my power, but had, to the extent of my authority, endeavoured, and successfully, to mitigate the horrors of civil war.

Had I known the misery of this vessel, I think no lord or lady would have had influence enough to induce me to surrender. I thought so at this moment, so much does present evil press on the mind. I said, "I hope I shall one day return to my country, and expose the cruel treatment which has been so undeservedly inflicted on me."

Many are killed in battle, and we lament their fate, but it may be questioned whether it be not better, than dragging on life under a heavy load of oppression. I was, I thought, then like a cuckoo, shooting off to the South, leaving bad days to the men I left behind me.

We continued our voyage in very cold and inclement weather, and suffered very much from thirst, our allowance being but one pint of water in twenty-four hours. I often saw struggles between the unfortunate wretches on board, for the possession of small pieces of ice, which adhered to the sails and other parts of the ship, to quench the burning of their parched mouths, so much were they distressed by thirst, and one man I actually saw expire, crying out, with his very last breath, "water, water!" We arrived at Passage, near Waterford, where Dobson cast anchor.

Our delay here gave me an opportunity of writing to my wife, and also to my guardian angel, Mrs. Latouche. My letter, as nearly as I can now recollect, ran as follows,—

Dear and Excellent Lady,

As you were the instrument in the hands of the Almighty, of my surrender to Lord Powerscourt, and my giving up my mountainous life of liberty, to the government, I hope your charity will be extended farther, by restoring to my bosom, the dear, faithful, and affectionate partner of my life. I had much better have perished in the mountains, than live deprived of her society; most ardently do I pray your ladyship to consider my unhappy lot. My wife and children are now the only tie which makes life desirable, or even tolerable. My property is all gone, I am in a miserable vessel, full almost to suffocation of unhappy beings, without resources even for personal cleanliness, and if left in that state, I cannot long exist. Several poor wretches in this floating dungeon of disgusting filth, have already fallen victims to the hardships they suffered, and have perished of cold, hunger, and above all, of thirst. We have been out but a few days. The cruel and unfeeling monster, in the shape of a man who commands this vessel, seems to feel that he has a cargo of swine, rather than of human beings, on board. I am sure the excellent and benevolent Lord Lieutenant, and the government, have no idea of the wretchedness and misery we are suffering. It would have been much better, and more humane, to have ordered us to have been shot on the Strand, than to doom us to linger out such a wretched existence of miseries. Death would be a relief to most of us.

I have had such proofs of your ladyship's goodness, that I am certain this statement will not be made in vain, when I humbly solicit some small assistance to enable me to pay the passage of my wife and family, to the far distant land of my exile. And, however you may be pleased to assist me, I most fervently pray, the Almighty may shower his blessings on you and yours with every suitable reward.

I remain, your grateful debtor;
J. Holt.

By return of post, I received an answer from this best of ladies,—such an answer as I might have expected from such a woman; she was the concentration, the accumulation, the very essence of benevolence. I read her letter over as well as I could, but my eyes were full of tears—excess of my feelings of gratitude blinded me, I could not see through the shower. I asked for a pittance towards alleviating my misery—she supplied me with the means of comfort, and even affluence, she did more, she gave me back my wife to my bosom, and my children to my knees. She also told me, that the expense of their passage should be paid, and she had directed a banker at Cork to furnish me with whatever money was required, to supply every necessary for us during the voyage. She also said she had a particular affection for my daughter, and would take care of her and educate her, if I would intrust her to her care.

Mrs. Latouche sent for my wife, and communicated to her the contents of my letter, and asked her if she could make up her mind to live in Ireland, for if so, she would allow her and her children a competent support. My wife burst into tears, saying, "My dear madam, I am quite overcome with your goodness, but this world has no charm for me without Joseph; our faith is plighted for life, and I hope nothing but death will separate us." Her ladyship then turned to my son, and told him she would bind him to a trade, and take care of him, but if he wished to go with his father he might. The boy, moved with affection, said, "he would go with his father." Mrs. Latouche said, "I see, Mrs. Holt, your affection for each other is so strong and mutual, that you ought not, and must not be separated."

Peter Latouche, Esq., the happy husband of this angelic woman, was present during this conversation, and asked my wife how she could get to Cork? She answered:

"I have no other way of going but on my brother-in-law's horse and cart."

"My poor woman," said he, "you would most likely be robbed and murdered on the way! Take this," giving her five guineas, "that will pay for coach-hire."

The particulars which I mention occurred so many years ago, that it may be supposed the extreme warmth of my gratitude has in some measure subsided. Both those excellent persons are now in the enjoyment of the rewards due to benevolent Christians, whose acts demonstrated their faith. But I am at this moment unable to find words to express my admiration of their exalted goodness; any words of praise from an unlettered man like myself, must fall short, far short, of their merits; but if it was in my power to do so, I would hand down the names of Mrs. and Mr. Peter Latouche in the annals of history, for admiration and imitation, as illustrious patterns of excellence, to the remotest posterity.

I now return to Ballyhack, where we were at anchor. The noise of our arrival had spread far and wide. The title of "General" Holt being universally acknowledged, induced many of the most respectable inhabitants of the neighbourhood to come on board to see "the General." My dress was that of a superior officer of the army. One day, about two, o'clock, as I was taking my scanty and coarse repast, I perceived several persons on deck endeavouring to get a peep at me, on which I requested my company to stand so as to intercept their view, when the following conversation took place between Dobson and myself.

Dobson.—"Holt, come up on deck."

I took no notice of this address; which he repeated in a commanding tone, adding, "Come, you Sir, when you are called."

Holt.—"To gratify you, I shall not come on deck; you would keep even the air from me if you could, and I will not come on deck at your command, to be made a show of."

Dobson.—"There is a gentleman here who wants to speak with you."

Holt.—"You have as much power to let him down as to keep me down, I shall stay where I am. If any one wants to speak with me, they can do so."

Finding me determined, Dobson came down with four persons, saying, "Would not you come up to please me?"

Holt.—"No, but were you about to be hanged I would offer my services as your executioner."

One of the party was an officer of the 89th regiment; I had met that corps in Imail, and this young fellow evidently wished for a bit of a show off at my expense, but I thought it likely I should have more amusement with him, as I had taken some of the regiment prisoners near Lugnaquilla. He addressed me in a flippant and confident tone.

Officer.—"Do you remember the 89th regiment?"

Holt.—"O yes, Sir, it is not likely I shall ever forget them."

Turning to those with him, he said, "Did not I tell you so?" Again addressing me. "We gave you a very hard chase over Imail?"

Holt.—"O yes, you did indeed, your men were very swift-footed; active as my fellows were, you were very near getting away from us, we only took three prisoners. I was quite blown in chasing you; it put me in mind of swallow shooting. I was forced to be very smart in taking aim, or your chaps made me throw away my cartridge. I do not know how many were wounded, but you left me the trouble of burying your dead. His Majesty gives good money for very bad services. I never saw men behave worse than that same 89th did on this occasion. My men did not get a scratch from you: having fired your first volley, it was your last, and off you were like a winged grouse. You did not fire at us a second time. The less you say about Imail, the better." This sally struck the young officer dumb. He retired without saying another word, and my fellow-sufferers, in spite of their miserable condition, set up a roar of laughter, which he will never forget, and which no doubt was as unwelcome as a volley of musketry would have been to him, for he was a fine young man, and probably a brave one; but I would not allow his braggadocia over me.

We had on board a gentleman transport, named John St. Leger; he had been captain of a troop, and afterwards a United Irishman; he frequently drank with Dobson, and one night they got drunk and quarrelled. Next morning, St. Leger was called by Dobson upon deck to be ironed. He said, "I shall couple the captain and general together." I answered, "You shall do no such thing. I have not misconducted myself, and will take care not to do so; and, therefore, put me in irons at your peril; I am not to be coupled like a criminal goat."

He called to the sentry to bring me up, but the man very properly said, "I will take care of him below, and while he conducts himself well, I will protect him from being ill used. You have no right to use unnecessary severity, merely out of spite, and damn me if you shall." Dobson said he would complain to the sergeant, the reply was, "There will be complaints, and a good share of them will be against you." Poor St. Leger thus escaped being put into confinement. He had plenty of money, and entertained this brutal tyrant, who partook of his good cheer, and then vented his beastly rage upon him.

During our stay in the river, several boats came along-side with provisions for sale, but Dobson would not allow any one to buy, although he knew we were nearly in a state of starvation. As many of the poor wretches on board had been eight months on the water without a change of clothes, they were in a state of inexpressible torment, covered with vermin.

[23 January 1799]

On the 23rd of January, we arrived at the Cove of Cork, to our great delight, as we hoped to be relieved in some degree from our misery.

Sergeant Wiggan went on shore, and by him I wrote to General Myers, stating the horrible plight we were in, and praying that he would send some one to inspect our deplorable situation. In a short time there came on board four officers, who instantly ordered every man upon deck, and their wretched appearance fully justified the statement I had made in my letter; indeed a more disgusting exhibition of filthy and squalid misery could not be imagined; and it is quite impossible to describe it except in language which would make the heart sick.

One of the officers now produced my letter, and called on Dobson to exhibit the weights he made use of for weighing out the allowance to the prisoners, on which he produced honest weights. The officer then called for the person employed in weighing the provisions, who was a man named Tom Byrne, a plasterer, better known in Dublin by the name of Boxing Byrne who was examined by Dobson.

Dobson. "Did not you weigh out the prisoners' provisions?"

Byrne. "I did, but not with them weights; I was directed by Captain Dobson to use other weights, which are here, gentlemen."

He then showed the false weights, which being examined and compared with the true weights, were found to be exactly as my letter had specified.

Dobson endeavoured to make excuses, but several of the prisoners were examined, who brought home to him the most abominable acts of cruelty and oppression. He said it was a conspiracy of all the prisoners against him. My letter was now produced, and I immediately came forward and avowed the writing, and declared myself ready to verify it on oath, adding as I turned to Dobson, "Can you deny any statement in that letter?" sergeant Wiggan had before this stated the horrid treatment we had received at this wretch's hands; the appearance of the prisoners and the ship, and the exhibition of the false weights, were quite conclusive. One of the officers said to him, "You are certainly a greater criminal than any under your charge, and your crimes deserve summary judgment; you ought to be hanged forthwith at the yard-arm. Every charge in this letter has been brought home to you and proved. Leave the ship, sir, immediately." The villain went over the side amidst the hooting and execrations of all on board.

The officer then asked me a few questions, and said he should be glad to have a little conversation with me at another opportunity. He would take care that Dobson should be punished if possible, but at all events he never should be employed again under his Majesty's government. Thus we got redress, and would be ungrateful if we did not:

Adore our king and praise the laws,
And abjure those that are the cause
Of perpetrating tyranny,
Which by the above you plainly see.

We were all made loyal men by this act of justice, and began to find out that the laws were good, and that we should have rebelled against the understrappers of power, who substituted their own villanous dispositions and tyrannous wills for good laws. As my experience made me acquainted with the higher functionaries of government, the more just and equitable was my treatment, and I must say that I never made a complaint of ill usage to the higher powers, which was not treated with respect, fairly considered, properly investigated and immediately remedied. It therefore now appears clearly to my mind, that the government and laws we wished to subvert, would have been succeeded, had the United Irishmen been victorious, by nothing half so good. The individuals who would have been placed in power not feeling so just notions of right as those already in authority. It was the corrupt and bad dispositions of the lower officers of the government, and perhaps the innate depravity incident to man, we ought to have rebelled against, and not the British laws and general government, which are certainly grounded in perfect equity, however they may be abused.

The Minerva transport, which was hired for our conveyance to New South Wales, lay alongside the Polyphemus man-of-war. A report was circulated that all the clothes of the prisoners on board the dirty Lively would be thrown overboard, which induced the poor fellows to sell them for little or nothing, in fact for anything they could get—even for a pint of whisky. Dr. Archer came on board, and I applied to him to know if every one would be compelled to give up their clothes. He replied that it would be at their own option, as any who possessed good clean clothe? would be allowed to keep them. I immediately went below and passed the word among the prisoners, which instantly put an end to this transfer of property. A santippe* of a sergeant had his eye on my whole apparel to clothe his children, but he was disappointed.

[* Xantippe? See the observation made in Note, Vol. 1 p.10.]

[18 February 1799]

I saw a lighter coming from the Minerva, and instantly went below, shaved and cleaned myself. The convicts' clothes were on board the lighter, and the sergeant asked me if I preferred a green jacket to a blue one, for there were jackets of both colours. I answered, certainly, for no one would believe me if I said otherwise. So he chose me two jackets, two pair of trousers, two shirts, two pair of stockings, and two pair of shoes, a small flock bed, a blanket, and a rug, which formed my share of his Majesty's bountiful donation to General Holt, and to every other prisoner. Then came a barber to shave my head; but I gave the fellow a slap on the cheek, and desired the damned rascal to begone; on which a complaint was made of me for disobedience; but I asked "was it intended to shave my head off, for I had before clipped my hair as close as scissors could make it." The Santippe sergeant said, "Sir, will you throw me up them clothes?"

"Come down for them," said I.

"I cannot quit my post," he replied.

"Very well," said I, "you may stay where you are, then, for these clothes may as well be my own as yours, and I shall keep them. I have nothing more to say to you; you are like an overgrown sweep, out of-your time; your time for being useful is gone by, and when you were capable, you were not willing." I went on board the lighter with my small suit, and proceeded to the Minerva, right glad to be out of the detestable Lively.

The chief mate of the Minerva was a Mr. Harrison. The second a Mr. Howe, a very gentlemanly man. Mr. Hegarty was the third mate: of him I can say little in commendation; he was as bad as he looked, and no deception. William Douglas was first quarter master; —— James, second; John Thompson, third. Salkeld was the name of the captain of the Minerva; he had married a Cork lady named Graham, the daughter of a glass-blower. William Bolten, a county of Wicklow man, was ship's carpenter. Martin Short, from Naas, in Kildare, his mate. The Minerva was well found and fitted for her voyage, and in every respect was calculated for the service she was destined to perform. Every thing appeared clean, orderly, and proper on board; decency, decorum, and discipline appeared in every department, and in short, the impression made on my mind, as I paced up and down the deck, was most favourable to our future prospects.

The magnificent harbour called the Cove of Cork, is perhaps the finest in the world; landlocked on all sides, the navies of Europe might ride in safety daring the heaviest storms from any point of the compass; there is but one entrance, nearly due south. The land on all sides is high and bold; on the north is the town of Cove; to the west is the passage up to Cork, by Haulbowling and Spike Island; there is from three and half to seven fathoms of water at the lowest tides. To the east is Rostellan Castle, a noble seat, as it was described to me, and the town of Cloyne. The harbour abounds in fish, and altogether it is a magnificent port.

A William Cox, Esq., paymaster of a military corps in New South Wales, was on board the Minerva; he was going out in the ship as a passenger, and came up and spoke to me; he inquired respecting my affairs, and seemed much interested about me. I showed him Mrs. Latouche's letter, and related to him her ladyship's bountiful and benevolent generosity. He expressed his satisfaction that my wife and family were going with me. He then asked me down to his cabin, and introduced me to Mrs. Cox, an amiable and excellent woman. They had their four sons on board, namely, Charles, George, Henry, and Edward. This worthy family were ever after generously kind, and even affectionately attentive to me and mine.

Visitors came to the ship every day, asking me questions relative to the late insurrection; my answers were seldom agreeable to them. Captains Cox, Salkeld, and Mr. Harrison, would usually join when these curious inquirers made their appearance. Generally they were much annoyed at my small opinion of the yeomen; they could not bear to hear the truth. Men not under military law, can never be good soldiers in time of danger. The rebels fight well, knowing their own safety depends on their exertions. One day in particular, a very large party came from Cork, one of whom spoke so very impertinently to me, that I told him he must exchange a shot with me, for although I was under misfortune, I was not to be insulted with impunity, which brought the gentleman to his senses, and he made an apology. This amused my friends, the officers of the ship, and I was ever after treated with kindness and respect.

One morning, walking the quarter-deck with Mr. Harrison, I observed a boat approaching the Minerva, with a female in it. I thought it was my wife; she was at least half a mile from us, but I knew her figure. Mr. Harrison took his glass, and from my description, soon confirmed my supposition. He ordered the chair to be got ready by the quarter-master. The boat drew near, and to my delight, the excellent partner of my joys and sorrows, with my boy, were soon in my arms on the deck, and were received with every attention by all on board. We were now again united, never to be separated, till the common disturber of connubial happiness should part us.

Captain Salkeld made an agreement with me for one hundred and twenty guineas for their passage, and I gave an order on the banker in Cork, which was duly honoured. Mrs. Holt then went on shore for some necessaries which we required for the voyage, and the captain gave orders for the carpenters to fit up a little cabin for me, Mrs. Holt, and my son, off the steerage, and here we were most comfortable.

We had on board the Rev. Henry Fulton, with his wife and family; Mrs. Fulton was the daughter of the Rev. Mr. Walker, and came from a place called Silver Mines, near Waterford. The Rev. Father Harold, late parish priest of Reculla, in the county of Dublin. Dr. O'Connor and his brother-in-law, William Henry Alcock, a captain of infantry in the army.

These gentlemen were all exactly circumstanced as I was, and were going on their travels for the same reason.

When well-educated men were disaffected, like the foregoing—a captain upon full pay, a clergyman, who gets the tithes of a parish for giving an exhortation once a week, which is but a little conversation; a priest, who for saying mass, christening, and performing like duties to his parishioners, which, as I said, before, is but a little conversation;—when such men,—men who get well paid for talking, become rebels, great allowances should be made for poor, ignorant, oppressed and ill-treated creatures, who are ground down to the very earth by high rents, and other burdensome impositions. I asked those gentlemen why they were rebels? Did you sustain great losses by oppression? No. Were your houses burned? No. Were you taken in battle? No. Did you rob anyone? No. We were taken too soon! "Well," said I, "you deserve to be transported, if it was only for your stupidity; you had nothing to complain of. You have not, like myself, earned what you have got; you should have done something to entitle you to have your passage paid by the Crown."

When Mrs. Fulton and her son joined Mr. Fulton, and Mrs. Holt and my sop had joined me, both he and myself were in possession of every comfort a good man could desire; we had our faithful, honest, amiable wives with us, adhering to us according to their vows, for better for worse, in, sickness and in health, in adversity and prosperity, in evil report and good report.

Mrs. Alcock, who was sister of Dr. O'Connor, came to pay her husband and brother a friendly visit; I thought, of course, she was coming to accompany him, to whom she was bound by the strongest of ties, and with the additional inducement of having the company of her brother also. She came, indeed, to the Minerva, accompanied by a sharp attorney, and her object was, to prevail on her silly husband to assign over to her, by a deed, his property, to the amount of £300 a year, and as soon as it was perfected, she took her leave, with a coolness of manner and accent which I shall never forget. Her "good bye," as she stepped into the boat, was in a tone which so fully expressed the woman's character, that I could not help feeling indignant and disgusted. I tried to persuade Alcock not to sign the deed, but in vain. I told him he would lose both his wife and his property; and so it turned out, he never saw her more. The influence of wine, and the wiles of an artful woman, backed by a scheming attorney, often have fatal effects. He had, indeed, her picture, with some of her hair, enshrined in gold, which he wore round his neck; it was all he possessed. I knew him for fourteen years after his arrival in New South Wales, and he never received a letter from his ungrateful wife during that period. A virtuous wife is a jewel of inestimable value, and the greatest earthly support to a man in misfortune; but a worthless woman is a dreadful curse.

I will now describe the odd medley of persons who were assembled on board the Minerva, in consequence of their disaffection towards the Government.

Captain Alcock had full pay, and a private fortune of £300 a year. I am puzzled to imagine what could have created disaffection in his mind.

Captain John St. Leger, on full pay also, from a good king; what could induce him to desert his honourable commission?

Parson Fulton, who had a parish, was a man who seemed to be in rebellion against himself, his conduct is totally inexplicable.

Father Harold had a parish also; but he wished to make his faith ascendant; that perhaps was a good reason for his disaffection; but would he have been better off had the rebellion been successful? I think not.

Doctor, or Apothecary, O'Connor, he obtained a comfortable living, by selling herbs, drugs, burgundy pitch-plasters, emetics, and by bleeding, feeling the pulsations of a lady's heart, and renovating decayed beauty with his lotions and cosmetics; he had no business to scald his fingers in the burning pitch of politics.

I do not wish to extenuate or exclude the charges against myself. I was deputy alnager under Sir John Blaquiere, which produced me from £80 to £100 a year, I had, by agencies, £60, more. I was also chief barony constable, tory-hunter, catcher of thieves, coiners, pick-pockets, and murderers, which produced me £50 more. Had I been mean enough to take bribes, I might have made it £150. I was likewise overseer and projector of roads, leveller of hills and filler up of hollows, making crooked ways straight, and rugged places smooth, which I may justly say produced me £50 more. So I was well off. But with all these advantages, I was made a rebel; I was deprived of them all by oppression, as I have before stated.

So of all this chance medley, but one, and that one was myself, had any good reason, beyond their own fancy, to become disaffected; on the contrary, they had every reason to wish to keep things as they were, and of the whole, but myself alone had ever been guilty of a direct act of rebellion, or had fired or received a shot with a hostile intention.

[4 April 1799]

Mr. and Mrs. Fulton were put into the cabin with me and my wife. My son was twelve years old on the 4th April, 1799, and quite an active lad of his age. Captain Salkeld asked me to let him join the boatswain's mess, which would be more healthy for him than walking between decks. I did not object, on condition that the boy should be a certain number of hours at school every day, as Farrell Cuffe, a schoolmaster from the King's County, was on board. So Joshua was entered on the ship's books, and put into the boatswain's watch; some days he attended school, and others not, which was an annoyance to me, but I was unwilling to complain, and allowed it to pass.

[June 1799]

Some time in June, Captain Cox met General Meyers, and Major Ross, and other officers, on shore, and the conversation turning on me, both the General and Major expressed a wish for an interview. On his return on board, Captain Cox requested me to accompany him to see General Meyers. I accordingly dressed myself, and shortly after Captain Cox, Lieutenant Maundrell, Sergeant Hobbs and myself, with two sailors to row us, left the Minerva. As I passed through the barrack-yard, there were assembled not less than four hundred people to see the lion of the day. If I had been an orangoutang, or kangaroo in boots, they could not have been more anxious to view me, or have exhibited more surprise. I was dressed and decorated as well as I could, full powdered, pomatomed, and puffed, according to the white fashion of that day.

The General and Major Ross received me politely. The bell was rung, and the butler and servants immediately appeared with refreshments, of which we partook. The General then entered into conversation with me about my military adventures, which I need not here recapitulate. They were related more briefly, but nearly as I have herein-before told them. The General then said, "Had you gone through the same dangers and sufferings for your king, as you have, for what you considered the cause of your country, you would now be a happy man, Mr. Holt."

"General," said I, "I doubt it not, but happiness rests in the mind. I could hot be happy if I had violated what I held to be a sacred obligation. I certainly should have been happy to have served my king as well as my country—their interests are the same."

Major Ross.—"You are quite right."

General Meyers.—"You must know a great many people in your own county."

Holt.—"Most certainly; there are few I do not know."

Major Ross.—"I am informed that your wife and son are going out with you. What would you think of staying at home? You need not go unless you wish it. I will send and bring your wife and son on shore."

Holt.—"I fear, sir, everything is too far gone to draw back now."

Major Ross.—"Not at all, sir, provided you do what you are required."

Holt.—"Perhaps what is required would be more than I could do."

General Meyers.—"I think not. If you had a good corps of cavalry under your command, you might do more service than you ever did injury."

Holt.—"Then they must be better and braver soldiers than any I have fought against, most of whom were thin-skinned fellows, who did not stand fire."

General Meyers.—"Well, but as you know so many people, you could render great service by prosecuting them."

Holt.—"No, sir, that I can never do. I would rather kill twenty men by my sword or pistol, than one by testimony on the book; that is a character I always detested. Besides, General, I have sworn to be faithful to these people; how can I break my oath? I would, were I free and unsworn, and had never, been connected with the rebels, be ready to serve my king, for whom I felt a warm attachment, though I detested some of those who served him; but, after swearing the United Irishman's oath, I have not been able by any casuistry or consideration, to find out how I could be released from the obligation. If I treated an oath lightly, and held it to be a slight tie, which I could take one day, and act in the teeth of the next day, I should be unworthy to be trusted by his Majesty's Government; nor should I be, what I hope I shall ever be, an honest man. General, I should detest myself were I to do it, and you ought to detest me also. I am a poor man, and one of humble birth, a mere yeoman; but I am a Protestant Christian, a man who, when he takes an oath, keeps it; who believes sincerely in God, and dare not violate an engagement taken in his name. I am thankful for your kindness and politeness to me, but I cannot, I dare not, accept any offer on these terms. Sir, may I presume to ask you one question?"

General Meyers.—"Certainly, Mr. Holt."

Holt.—"I ask you then, sir, on your honour as a gentleman and a soldier, are you not making me this offer on the part of, and by the desire of Government?"

General Meyers.—"I have no hesitation in saying, Yes."

Holt.—"I thought so, but I must decline accepting the terms. No earthly good would compensate me for a violation of my oath. I should be delighted to serve my king, in any way which is honest, but I can never sell my self-respect. I should consider myself a perjured villain were I to act as you have suggested. I have already said as much to his Excellency the Lord Lieutenant. Many times have I ventured my life in support of the laws, and badly was I requited by those in power. I acknowledge that the injury inflicted upon me was the private act of an individual, but he was the instrument of the Government, and I could then see no way of redress, or any hand in it, but that of legal oppression.* Sir, I cannot accept the offer you have made me; the passage money is paid for my wife and son, and, as for myself, I have earned my free passage better than any united man in the ship. I mean no disrespect. General; but I am sure you will have a better opinion of me for refusing than for accepting this offer. If I did the latter, I should deserve both the pillory and the gallows. So, in the name of God, I will go and try my fortune in a new country; for, in his name, I dare not do what is required of me, and I will do-nothing to violate the sacred obligation I am under. I should observe, however. General, that before I left my poor fellows, those who adhered to me to the last, the men, who though they were rebels, were not robbers, I addressed them and advised them, one and all, to return to their homes and their allegiance; and if they are allowed to do so, I have no doubt they will. As to those fellows who have taken up robbery as their profession, nothing but the bullet or the halter will cure them. My way of carrying on hostilities did not suit them; they were for making fortunes by plunder, and they will have their reward."

[* Upon a loose half-sheet of paper which was placed here in Holt's original MS., the following reflections occur; they are signed "Joseph Holt," and dated "Dunleary, 19th February, 1819."—"I now, indeed, am satisfied that the act out of which all my misfortunes have arisen, was unauthorized by the higher powers, but the effect upon me and upon others was the same as if such conduct had been sanctioned. Bad laws, well administered, are better for a country than good laws converted to private or party purposes. It is what we immediately feel that comes home to us, and individual tyranny is thus attributed to national causes.—

"They burned my house,
They blighted all my hope—
In the king's name,
And drove me to the Pope.
They made me take a rebel's chance;
To save my life—
My children and my wife,
I would have even fought for France."]

Major Ross.—"Mr. Holt, I cannot but respect your sentiments, they are those of, an honest man, and a good man also."

Captain Cox then related certain facts which he had been told respecting me, on which General Meyers made use of some commendatory observations upon my conduct, and said, "Captain Cox, give my compliments to Governor King, and beg of him to do something for Mr. Holt, who is an extraordinary character." The remembrance of this message was not forgotten by that worthy man; Captain Cox; and four years afterwards was of great service to me. We then left the General, and returned to the ship.

Mrs. Holt was more inclined to go than to remain, if we had the power of choosing; for she said, it was dreadful to be in a country where the greatest rogue's oath could destroy a man's house, or even take away his life. We continued in the harbour some considerable time after this. My wife was in the family way, and now her time of confinement was fast approaching. Captain Salkeld called me to him one morning, and said:

"Mrs. Holt had no appearance of being with child when I agreed for her passage, so you had better go to Cove and get her a lodging in time." I replied. "No, Sir, that I cannot do. I agreed with you for a certain sum for the passage of my wife and son, and if you stay here much longer she may have another, so the sooner you weigh anchor and be off, the better."

He said, "Neither you nor your wife told me that she was with child when I agreed for her passage."

I told him that I did not see that there was any necessity for doing so, adding, "You must be aware that married women are apt to have children. Get ready the state-room, it will be employment for Dr. Price. I can tell you this, if you are more than a year on your voyage, Mrs. Holt may have another child."

There were thirty-four women, soldiers' wives and prisoners, on board, besides Mrs. Cox and my wife. There were seven children born while we remained in the Cove of Cork.

[17 July 1799]

The state-room was got ready, according to my desire, and on the 17th of July, at six o'clock in the morning, Mrs. Holt was delivered of a son.

[19 July 1799]

On the 19th, he was baptized by the name of Joseph Harrison Holt, by Parson Fulton; Mr. Harrison, William Henry Alcock, and Mrs. Hobbs, who attended Mrs. Holt, being sponsors.

There were on board, besides the thirty-six women I have mentioned, one hundred and thirty-two male prisoners, a lieutenant, four sergeants, and twenty-seven private soldiers, three mates, four quarter-masters, and twenty sailors.


Bound for New South Wales

[24 August 1799]

On the 24th of August, 1799, we weighed anchor, and sailed from the Cove of Cork, with a fair wind.

[4 September 1799]

On the 4th of September, we were in sight of Madeira, and fired a gun for a pilot, but none came off to us. We bore away from that island, steering our course for Rio de Janeiro.

[19 September 1799]

On the 19th, we had fair wind and weather, and saw Tristan da Cunha, a small island, inhabited only by sea-birds.

[22 October 1799]

In eight weeks and three days we arrived at Rio de Janeiro, without any occurrence worthy of particular mention.

We remained there three weeks, and got fresh provisions every day, and abundance of fruits, as oranges, bananas, plantains, water melons, musk melons, and cocoa nuts. Tobacco was, at Rio de Janeiro, at three half-pence the pound, good rum at one and sixpence the gallon, and wine at one and fourpence. A present was sent from the shore for O'Connor, Alcock, and myself, of some sugar, coffee, and chocolate, and many other good things; the generous donor we never found out.

[November 1799]

I feel it but justice to mention the great humanity and liberality of our government, when their admirable dispositions and laws are not counteracted by their officers, and instruments. We were supplied with the greatest abundance of provisions, and plain but excellent clothing. The stores on board consisted of beef, pork, fish, butter, cheese, peas, oatmeal, suet, plums, bread, vinegar, mustard; tea and sugar for the females, tin kettles, and all proper utensils, with wine and medicines for the sick and infirm. So that many of the transports, I am satisfied, wished that their passage should last for ever. No blame can be laid on the home department, or the government, which I am convinced is influenced by and conducted on the purest principles, and with the best intentions. I should now feel it a great misfortune to the country were it to be overthrown; it certainly would be likely to be followed by a government not half as good.

But the admirable arrangements for the comfort of those under sentence of transportation are frequently frustrated by the contrivances of the captain and the steward, for their own emolument; and his Majesty's bounty rendered useless to the people for whom the supplies are intended. These persons (the captain and steward) often curtail the allowance granted, for the purpose of disposing of their savings at the ports they stop at. The first thing which usually becomes scanty is butter. It sells at Rio de Janeiro, the Cape of Good Hope, and New South Wales, at 5s. a pound; pork at 1s. 6d.; mustard and vinegar 10s. a gallon; in short, all European commodities which bear a high price, soon get short. The allowance of which the prisoners are curtailed, either by false weights and measures, or by as false statements, are bartered by the captain, who exchanges the pork, butter, flour, vinegar, &c. for tobacco, which he gets at the price of 12s. per hundred weight, and sells at New South Wales at 10s. a pound, spirits at 1s. a gallon, which he sells at 20s.; and thus is the liberal allowance, bountifully granted by the king, dishonestly made away with in traffic by his officers. An unfortunate transport has no knowledge of these abuses, or means of detecting them, but a passenger who is constantly upon the deck cannot but observe them; for the barterings and delivering of the barrels of salt pork, &c. are made without concealment; so difficult is it to prevent abuses and violations of the best regulations and intentions.

Captain Cox brought out with him, watches, beaver hats, calicoes, shawls, glass of various kinds, cutlery, &c. which he sold at Rio de Janeiro at an incredible profit; but this gentleman's traffic was fair and honourable. I remember, one day, his servant was so loaded with dollars, the produce of Captain Cox's dealings on shore, that it was with difficulty we brought him into the ship.

There were two transports on board from Dublin,—John Austin, and Marong, a Frenchman convicted of forging notes on the bank of Ireland. Marong was a jeweller, and Austin an engraver. Captain Cox employed these men to ornament the articles of jewellery he brought out, particularly his watches, which were generally of the class called "London runners," the works of which are not of the best, but they look well, and that is what the Brazilians consider more than their acting well; and he got a ready demand for these articled, although they were anything but time-keepers.

Captain Cox was particularly kind to me, and all those I wished to favour. He would frequently say to Captain Salkeld, this is a fine day, let up the prisoners to wash and shave, and get a little fresh air. Captain Salkeld would answer:

"My quarter-masters are all busy, I cannot spare them."

"Give me the keys," Cox would say, "and I will find a quarter master of my own; it will be good and humane to let the poor creatures have a little fresh air and relaxation; I will be responsible for their good behaviour."

He generally, indeed, I believe always prevailed, for Captain Salkeld had great confidence in him. Captain Cox would then say to me:

"Come, Holt, you must be quarter-master to-day; you have many well wishers among the prisoners, do them a kind turn."

I was happy in having an opportunity of serving the poor fellows, and as the crime of being an United Irishman was not, according to my mind, in moral turpitude to be compared with thieving and robbery, I always, on getting the keys, released my brethren first, and gave them a longer liberty on deck. The others I always limited to the allowed period. This caused great jealousy among the prisoners, but I could not help it. I thought it quite fair to make a distinction in their guilt. I also had Captain Cox to support me. He always remained on deck during the whole period, and we took special care to have every man shaved according to his liking, and made perfectly clean and comfortable. Thus did this excellent man contribute to the health and happiness of the unfortunate prisoners, which also induced them to grateful and respectful behaviour. On our arrival the ship was the healthiest and best regulated which had ever reached the colony with transports; this was chiefly caused by Captain Cox's exertions. "Joseph having found favour in his sight," was also an humble instrument in aiding his benevolent exertions; our captain's reply of the quarter masters' hurry not being sufficient to divert the benevolent Captain Cox from his humane purpose.

[16 November 1799]

On the 16th. November, we saw a sail to windward, which chased us for two days: she showed Spanish colours, and we thought her a frigate; but the Minerva was a good sailer and beat her by chalks; we ran at least nine knots an hour, and effected our escape. Had she captured us, she would have had a precious prize of live lumber.

[18 November 1799]

Two days after we discovered two sail to leeward. The captain said one was a Spanish galleon, the other a prison ship. He gave orders to clear the ship for action; we had eight guns and two swivels on the poop.

Mr. Harrison came to me, and asked me, if I would fight? I answered, "Yes" but I answered with mental reservation, "then," said he, "take charge of the centre gun, you will, I am sure, be quick, active and steady." I requested to be allowed to choose from among the prisoners the requisite number of men to work the gun, and he gave orders that I should have any I chose, on which I called for John Kincaid, Richard Byrne, Joseph Davis, Thomas Brady, Martin Short, and Pat Whelan, six good and resolute men, on whom I could depend. I then got my cartridges, hand-spikes, spunges, ramrods, tub-flame, and powder-monkey. I was soon charged and ready, and I passed the word to Kincaid and Byrne to mind my motions, and not to fire till I gave the signal. Captain Cox was on the poop with his twenty-four marines, or soldiers. Lieutenant Maundrill got a cramp in his stomach, which prevented his coming on deck, so, had not Captain Cox been with us, the command of the soldiers would have fallen on the sergeant; every medical assistance was afforded the lieutenant without effect, but after we got out of danger the medicine affected him, and he recovered very speedily. All our guns were charged with grape; we bore down and came within gun-shot, when to our surprise the vessel our captain took for a prison ship opened her ports and exhibited the fine set of teeth of a large Spanish frigate, from which she gave us a broadside, but it was ill directed, and did us no harm. We did not, however, wish to give her an opportunity of trying their effect again by remaining within reach of her guns, so we put about and crowded all sail, and it was well for us the Minerva knew how to creep, which she did in good style, and soon distanced the enemy, for in twelve hours we ran her hull down.

When danger is over the spirits revive, and happiness replaces fear. Mr. Harrison brought me to his cabin, and the grog went about in bumpers. After a time I said, "Mr. Harrison, till this day I considered you a sagacious man."

"What have I done, sir," said he, "to alter your opinion of me?"

"I will tell you," I answered, "you know, that although I am no convict, I am under restraint, and if I was taken by any power, I would demand the rights and privileges of a citizen of that power. It was my interest, and the intention of the men you gave me from among the prisoners, that we should be captured. All who are enemies to England are our friends; we are in the state of bondmen to England; with the Spaniards we should be free. Had England given us freedom, we should have been grateful, and delighted to fight for her; but she placed us in bondage, aye, and in chains—how could you think we would fight to keep ourselves in irons? No, sir, I tell you, had we come to action, I would have turned the gun against the poop, and tried all I could to obtain liberty for myself and the other prisoners. All nations of the world are our friends, save England only."

He looked at me with astonishment, and at length said; "Are you serious, Holt?

"On the word of an honest man, I am," said I, "you asked me the simple question, 'Will you fight?' I answered in the affirmative; had you added, 'against the enemy?' I should have said, No, for I scorn deception. Had you looked seriously at me, you must have observed the features of my countenance full of resolute determination, and every man I chose would have obeyed my orders; they knew my mind by a secret signal. So, you see, the bravest and the most prudent are weak at certain times, and frequently so in times of impending danger. I would not have asked for power to use it deceitfully, but you gave it me unconditionally."

He hesitated for a time, and then held out his hand to me, and said, "Holt, you are right; I acted imprudently. I ought, before I gave you power, to have had your explicit declaration of how you would use it. My esteem for you is not lessened by this candid statement of your opinions and intentions. I feel that where I have your pledge it will never be violated."

Mr. Harrison and I were always the best friends, and whenever he wanted to obtain correct information, he always applied to me. We had two disturbers of the harmony of the ship; I mean two stags or informers, one named Robert Wilson, the other John Hewit, from the north of Ireland. The former outwitted Dr. Price, and got himself on the sick list for three months, and so far did he get to windward, that he was allowed a bottle of wine every day, which he sold at night for a shilling. To continue himself in favour, he was continually writing to the captain frivolous letters. At last he wrote to give information, that there was a conspiracy among the prisoners to scuttle and sink the ship, which so much alarmed the captain, that he showed the letter to Mr. Harrison and the other officers. Mr. Harrison came to me, and showed me the letter; having read it, I said to him, "Can you believe the men on board are so devoid of sense, as to enter into a conspiracy to sacrifice their lives? Just look seriously at the business, and you can have no doubt on the subject. The writer of this letter is an enemy to the peace and happiness of all on board, and wishes to annoy and torture the unfortunate creatures under your care, and who are, also, let me add, under your protection. If you will follow my advice, it will put an end to all this in a short time."

"Well," said he, "I shall be glad to do so."

"Then, call Dr. Price."

The doctor soon appeared, and I examined him as follows:—

Holt.—"Doctor, have you not a patient named Wilson, who has been very long on the sick list, to whom you give or allow a bottle of wine daily?"

Dr. Price.—"No, Sir, I have not, nor do I allow any such thing to Wilson."

Holt.—"No! Why, I must beg pardon; he says you do, and he brings me the bottle every evening, and sells it to me for a shilling. The Minerva is the cheapest tavern I have ever known."

The case was too clear for contradiction, and Mr. Harrison requested the doctor to follow my advice, and to try what effect it would have. The wine was stopped, to the no small surprise of Wilson. No one knew of the matter, but Mr. Harrison, the doctor, and myself. When we met on the quarter-deck in the morning, I used to ask Mr. Harrison if there was any news from below; he would laugh, and say, "No, I think your skill better than the doctor's—you have cured two complaints by one application." During the voyage there was an end of talebearing, and comfort and content prevailed on board. Thus one evil-minded man brought one hundred and eighty under suspicion.

A few days after, we observed a small sloop coming from one of the Brazil islands, fired a gun and brought her to. We lowered a boat, and Captain Cox and some sailors went on board and procured fruit, spices, and other small matters from her. Sergeant Cotton gave me some cayenne pepper, which I had never before seen; he desired me to taste it, which I did, and immediately thought I had been poisoned. This caused no small amusement on the quarterdeck. When my mouth got cool, and the effects were somewhat alleviated, I was anxious that the sport should not be at my expense, and I therefore offered Captain Alcock and Mr. Fulton a taste of my strong-flavoured spice, which they both took into their mouths, suspecting nothing particular, but immediately they ran about the ship in an agitated manner, as if they had been mad, on which I passed the word below, and presently we had all hands on deck, enjoying the joke, except the spice tasters. Mr. Fulton said to me, "Holt, you have poisoned me," on which I offered to call up the priest to have him anointed, as he was about to die, thus adding more annoyance to the afflicted, and laughter to those who had escaped the visitation.

My good friend, Captain Cox, requested me to select from among the prisoners some of the most respectable and best inclined men, who were transported for their political opinions, and were not robbers. "Choose me, Holt," said he, "from among the prisoners, a few men in disposition like yourself."

[December 1799]

We now made the south-west Cape of New Holland, and shortly after saw Storm-bay passage. We then sailed along the coast, keeping in sight of land, sometimes so close, that we could see the people by help of a glass. We sailed above 3000 miles on the coast, and passed by the head of old St. Patrick, and through Bass's Straits. Captain Salkeld hoped to be at Port Jackson by the 25th of December, but, in consequence of frequent calms, we did not reach it until the 10th of January, 1800.

[10 January 1800]

We passed on, and at sun-set we bore out from land, two hours on and two off. Just at day-light, we entered Sydney Heads, and fired a gun for a pilot, but none appeared; we sailed by Pinchgut Island.* The first remarkable object I saw was the skeleton of a man, Morgan by name, on a gibbet; he was executed for murder.

* "This is very small in circumference, situate between Garden Island and Sydney, about a mile and a half from the latter. The soil is almost a rock, in the clefts of which oysters and other shell-fish occasionally abound. It is sometimes made use of for drying powder, &c.; but it derived its name from the circumstance of sending here, by way of punishment, some of the most incorrigible of the convicts, where being kept upon exceeding short allowance, according as their crimes deserved, they conferred upon it the name it bears. The post that appears upon its summit, is the remainder of a gibbet, upon which a cooper, belonging to the colony, was executed for a most atrocious murder; this wretch having undertaken, for the small reward of one half-pint of rum, to knock out the brains of one of the settlers, which he actually carried into effect."—Barrington's Voyage to New South Wales.

Barrington says, that "On the 16th of October, [1796,] a boat sent to the north shore for wood, brought in a man's hat, which was found with a hammer lying near it. Some blood was found in the hat, and, on searching, the body of a man was discovered near the water side." At the Criminal Court, held between the 23rd and 29th of November following, eight men were sentenced to death; one of these was Francis Morgan, for the murder of the man whose body was found on the 16th October. "The body of Morgan was ordered to be hung in chains on the island Mat-te-wan-ye. This spectacle, shocking to the refined mind, served as an object of ridicule to the convicts, and terror to the natives; who, though hitherto particularly partial to that spot, now totally abandoned it, lest the malefactor should descend and seize them, in the same way as their superstition prompted them to imagine spirits did."

[11 January 1800]

We passed by Garden Island, and came to anchor in Sydney Cove, at about 11 o'clock, a.m. on the 11th of January, 1800.


Arrival at Port Jackson, Sydney

[12 January 1800]

In the course of half an-hour, fifty boats were alongside; all the robbers, pick-pockets, and thieves had plenty of acquaintance, but I did not see a soul to whom I was known. It was Sunday morning by our journals, but it was Saturday at Port Jackson. Next morning there were twice as many boats alongside as on the previous day, every one bringing presents to their acquaintance. We were not permitted to land, nor were any persons allowed to come on board, and the sentinels received orders to keep the boats from the ship's sides. Captain Cox and his family alone went on shore.

On the larboard side was a soldier of the name of Lawless, from the county of Cavan; he ordered a boat to keep off, which boat did not instantly row away so fast as he wished, and he levelled his musket and fired. The ball passed through the arm, and then the body of a young man, who instantly expired. When I got on shore, I heard that this man bore a good character, and this tyrannical act put me in mind of the doings of the ancient Britons, who, after they had taken everything from the cottage of a respectable and respected man, would shoot the inhabitants at their doors.

[13 January 1800]

Lawless, the murderer, was brought on shore on Monday the 13th, tried for wilful murder, and acquitted;* but to save him from the vengeance of the people, he was sent to Norfolk Island, where divine vengeance followed him, for I saw him with a deformed frame, and covered with vermin. I have witnessed many instances of cruelty and oppression in my life, but punishment, either in body or mind, generally followed close on the steps of the perpetrator.

[* "On the 18th (January), a convict attempted to go alongside the Minerva, and still persisting, though repeatedly warned to keep off, was shot by the sentinel, agreeable to his orders; who, though tried, was of course acquitted."—Barrington's History of New South Wales.]

The ship was now visited by Captain Johnstone, Nicholas Divine, and a naval officer, with several spectators. The prisoners were brought upon deck, their irons taken off, and placed in three rows on the deck. Captain Johnstone held the indent in his hand, on which is inserted the name of every prisoner, their place of trial, length of sentence, and the cause of conviction. Each man's trade or profession was now enquired into, by which the authorities were able to select such as they-wanted for government employ, and then the gentlemen officers had their choice. The remainder were taken by the residents, according to their station or influence. But this ship's company had such a name for criminality, that a part was sent at once to Norfolk Island, a place of transportation for those who are too bad for Botany Bay.*

[* In the History of New South Wales, bearing the name of Barrington, it is observed, that "The generality of the convicts sent by this ship, [the Friendship transport from Ireland,] and the Minerva, [in which Holt arrived,] were but ill calculated to be of any advantage to the settlement, as little addition could be made by them to the strength of the labouring gangs. Many of them were bred up in genteel habits, and others to light professions, and, of course, unaccustomed to hard labour. These must become a drain on the store; for, notwithstanding the detestation of the crimes many of them were transported for, yet, it was not possible for the Governor, consistent with his well-known feeling of humanity, to send a physician, the once sheriff of a county, a catholic priest, or a protestant clergyman and family to the brick-carts, brick-fields, grubbing-hoe, or the timber-carriage. The lower classes of convicts in these cargoes were mostly old men, fit only for hut-keepers, to remain at home and prevent robbery, while the other inhabitants of the hut were at labour, thus, making good the old proverb, 'set a thief to catch a thief.'"

Barrington states that the Minerva had one hundred and sixty-two male, and twenty-six female convicts on board, from Ireland, "all in perfect health, their treatment doing the highest credit to the master, the surgeon, and officers—only three had died during the passage."]

Captain Johnstone came now to me, and very civilly addressed me, for I kept myself from the convicts. Mr. Harrison stepped forward, and introduced me, and spoke of me in such high terms, that Captain Johnstone told me he would place me in a situation where I could realize five hundred pounds a year, by superintending a large farm, and a great quantity of stock, and I have no doubt he spoke the truth. I returned him my thanks, and said I would give him an answer in a few days.

[14 January 1800]

Captain Cox having had an interview with the Governor, came on board on Wednesday the 14th. He addressed me in the usual form, asking after Mrs. Holt and the children. I returned the compliment, by enquiring after Mrs. Cox and his children. Some further ordinary conversation took place, and then he said to me, "I find it very difficult to get any of the prisoners from this ship landed here."

"Well, sir," I replied, "I suppose they will land us somewhere. I suppose they will not keep us always afloat."

"Oh," said he, "I have got leave for you and your family, and Mr. Fulton to land."

I answered, "I am extremely grateful to you. Captain Cox, for this kindness, but I am sorry you gave yourself so much trouble. I have no fancy for one place more than another, not knowing anything of any part of the country. It is quite immaterial to me where I go."

He then, in a kind, and even affectionate tone of voice, said, "The Governor has promised me six men, and you may be one of them, if you please: I mean not to labour, but to superintend; you will choose five honest United Irishmen, you and they will agree better than robbers."

I waited the conclusion of this speech with coolness, and then gave him as stern and terrific a look as I was capable of, for I felt a deep indignation at his proposal, as well as regret and disappointment. I had always considered Captain Cox as my friend, and a kind friend; one who was ever ready to stand by me, and defend my rights. I now found him an innovator on my liberty, one who wished to make a felon of me. In the first impression of my anger, I answered:—

"Is that the nature of the communication you have to make to me from the Governor?"

"Yes," he replied.

"Then," said I, "pray, present my humble respects to his Excellency, and let him know that I am not a convicted transport. I came here on terms, to expatriate myself, but not to be subject to the rules and slavery of those whose criminality has deprived them of the rights of British subjects. I will never be his man, nor yours."

I then leaped down from the quarter-deck and, wringing my hands together for some time, and grinding my teeth, to endeavour to control the violence of my emotion. I at length exclaimed, "Is it come to this, Mr. Cox?"

He made no reply, but went down to his cabin, and I to mine, where I told my wife of the conversation which had passed.

Mr. Fulton was much pleased to hear that he was permitted to land, for he was tired of being in the ship. After breakfast I went and told Mr. Harrison what had passed. He smiled at the reception I had given to Captain Cox's proposal. He said, "You are right, do not be put down, or submit to any degradation, they will think the better of you. You are banished from your country, but there is no other penalty attaches to you. You are not to leave the colony without permission, but no one has a right to impose on you the labour and restrictions which felons suffer. If any one attempts it, call for the indent against your name, and they will find only that you are to live in one of his Majesty's islands or colonies. Captain Johnstone will give you an excellent situation." This strengthened my resolution, and I determined rather to suffer death than submit.

I was walking up and down on the quarterdeck with Mr. Harrison, who asked me what I wished to do with my son Joshua, and whether I would bind him apprentice to him, for if so, he offered to take charge of him, to teach him navigation, and to use Mr. Harrison's own words, "make a man of him." I returned him many thanks for his kindness and his generous offer, but I said there were so many casualties, contingencies, vexations and disappointments attending a sailor's life, that I did not desire my son should adopt it. "My wish," said I, "is to have the boy under my own eye." I then called Joshua, and, before Captain Salkeld, desired him to clean himself and get ready to go on shore.

The captain, I thought in a menacing manner, said, "Do not be in too great a hurry to go on shore."

I answered, "Captain Salkeld, I wish to go ashore, and expect you will throw no difficulties in my way, for I trust I shall be allowed to do so whether you like it or not." Before he made me an answer a boat came alongside with orders for Joseph Holt and family to go on shore, which greatly delighted me, as my foot had not touched the earth for twelve months and fourteen days. I hailed a boat, and inquired what they would charge to bring myself and my wife, and son, ashore. They answered two dollars. It was but about fifteen minutes' row. I offered one, (it was three times too much) which was accepted. I got my bed, trunks, and baggage into the boat, and then my wife and two boys, and we soon were on shore.

I had received the day before an invitation from Mr. Maurice Margarot to go to his house when I should land. This gentleman had been convicted of sedition at Edinburgh, in 1794,* and transported to New South Wales for fourteen years. He had seen me from his garden come on shore, and he sent his servant to meet me. There were about a hundred people at the landing place, who appeared so very attentive and respectful, one offering to carry the child, another the trunk, that I suspected all was not right, and that their apparent kindness was not altogether without a hidden object. I had not forgotten that I had arrived in the country of thieves, therefore I desired them not to touch my luggage. Mr. Margarot's man asked me if I would go to his masters house. I told him yes, and requested him to get me some parties to carry the trunks. He fixed on some of the good-natured and officious individuals who had so pestered me with their offers of service. The trunks were soon at Mr. Margarot's, and my generous and disinterested friends demanded a dollar for about five minutes occupation. This arose from the idea that I was a general and very full of dollars; in this they were mistaken, for I was nearly as destitute of money and of friends as most of my shipmates.

[* 9th January, (1794), Edinburgh.—"This morning, about ten o'clock, a vast crowd assembled in front of the Black Bull Inn, where Maurice Margarot, indicted for seditious practices, lodged. He shortly after came out, attended by three friends. When lie got the length of the Register Office, the mob forced all the four into a chaise which they had provided, and from which they had previously taken the horses. This done, they immediately drew the carriage to the Parliament Close, where Mr. Margarot and his friends alighted, and walking into the Parliament House, he assisted himself at the bar. On his way home Mr. Margarot was again forced into a carriage by the mob, along with five of his friends, and the horses being taken from the coach, the mob drew him to his lodgings at the Black Bull Inn.

"13th.—Mr. Margarot was accused of different seditious practices. He conducted his own defence. After a long trial, the jury found him guilty, and the court sentenced him to fourteen years transportation beyond the seas.

"In consequence of the proceedings on the 9th instant, while Mr. Margarot went to the Justiciary Court, every precaution was taken this day by the Lord Provost, Magistrates, and the Sheriff, to prevent any breach of good order. A great crowd assembled at his lodgings in Leith-street, about ten o'clock, and he was conducted with a wreathe or arch held over him, with inscriptions of 'Reason,' 'Liberty,' &c. About the middle of the North Bridge, however, the cavalcade was met by the Lord Provost, Sheriff, Constable, peace officers, &c., and immediately dispersed, the arch demolished, and its supporters taken into custody. A press-gang attended to assist the peace-officers. Mr. Margarot then walked to the court, escorted by the Lord Provost and Sheriff, and no disturbance ensued.

"February 10th.—This morning Messrs. Muir, Margarot, Skirving, and Palmer, were removed from Newgate in a post-coach and four, attended by two king's messengers. We learn that they were taken on board vessels bound to Botany Bay."—Annual Register for 1794.

On the 25th October, 1794, "The Surprise transport arrived at Sydney from England, whence she sailed on the 2nd of last May, having on board sixty female, and twenty-three male convicts, some stores and provisions, and three settlers for this colony. Among the prisoners were Messrs. Muir, Palmer, Skirving, and Margarot, four gentlemen lately convicted in Scotland of the crime of sedition, considered as a public offence, and transported for the same to this country.

"The Lieutenant-Governor having set apart for each of the gentleman who came from Scotland in the Surprise, a brick hut, in a row on each side of the Cove, they took possession of their new habitations, and soon declared that they found sufficient reason for thinking their situation 'on the bleak and desolate shores of New Holland,' not quite so terrible, as in England they had been taught to expect."—Collins.

Muir escaped from the colony in an American vessel, the Otter, in February, 1796, and Skirving died on the 9th March following. "A dysentery," says Collins, "was the apparent cause of his death, but his heart was broken. In the hope of receiving remittances from England, which might enable him to proceed with spirit and success in farming, of which he appeared to have a thorough knowledge, he had purchased from different persons who had ground to sell, about one hundred acres of land, adjacent to the town of Sydney. He soon found that a farm near the sea-coast was of no great value. His attention and his efforts to cultivate the ground were of no avail. Remittances he received none; he contracted some little debts, and found himself neglected by that party for whom he had sacrificed the dearest connections in life, a wife and family, and finally yielded to the pressure of this accumulated weight. Among us he was a pious, honest, worthy character. In this settlement his political principles never manifested themselves, but all his solicitude seemed to be to evince himself the friend of human nature.—Requiescat in pace."]

Mr. Margarot received me with kindness and hospitality, shaking me by the hand; he was a man of great conversational powers, and of literary acquirements, being well educated. Mrs. Margarot was of the same rank and character, a lady of elegant manners. They were both of hasty tempers, and very irritable. He asked me many questions, some of them very unaccountable to me, who was not very well up to republican notions. He told me his history briefly, and why he was sent away from his own country.

About one o'clock, an Englishman named Barnes, came in with a basket of beautiful peaches and nectarines, and an animal somewhat like a rabbit, called a bandy-coot, on which we afterwards dined, and found it of good flavour. Barnes was parish clerk, and came from England with the Rev. Richard Johnson,* the first clergyman who reached this colony. Mr. Margarot said he regretted his means did not permit him to furnish his house with better fare for my entertainment, but what he had, he was happy to share with me. I then asked permission to send out for some spirits. I gave the servant a guinea, (which left me but four to commence the world with) and he brought us a wine bottle of rum, for which he paid fourteen shillings, and I received three small pieces of silver as change, cut in a triangular shape, the value of which I did not know. We drank our rum punch, and chatted over our adventures.

[* Mr. Johnson went out in 1787, as chaplain to the colonial settlement at New South Wales, in the squadron under the command of Captain and Governor Phillip, to whom the foundation of that penal settlement was entrusted. Mr. Johnson was appointed a magistrate of the new colony by the governor. In July, 1793, his exertions accomplished the construction of a church: "the front was seventy-three feet by fifteen, and at right angles with the centre projected another building, forty feet by fifteen. The edifice was constructed of strong posts, wattles, and plaster, and was thatched." It was capable of containing five hundred persons. In the first discourse delivered by Him in this building, (on Sunday the 24th August), he "lamented that the urgency of public works had prevented any undertaking of the kind before, and had thus thrown it upon him." In 1800, Mr. Johnson, as hereafter appears by Holt's narrative,(pp. 97, 98),* sold his farm of 600 acres to Mr. Cox, with the intention of returning to England.]

[* pp. 97, 98) The Rev. Richard Johnson was the first clergyman who had ever landed in this colony, and, by his prudence and economy, he made a' large fortune, with which he was now about to return to England. He first raised and cultivated the orange-tree in the colony. He sowed those seeds which he had brought with him from Rio, and in a few years the trees produced very fine fruit, which he sold at from sixpence to ninepence each. Mr. Cox purchased from this gentleman his estate, which joined the Brush Farm. It consisted of 600 acres of land, about 150 sheep, a mare and three fillies, and some horned cattle. This purchase increased my ride to about twelve miles; there was in it about two acres of vineyard, which, some years, bore abundantly; and another acre, covered with large orange-trees, early nectarines, peaches, and some apricots. The place was called Canterbury; it was about five miles from Sydney. I pruned the vines and fruit-trees, and now I found my early instruction in gardening of great use to me. Mr. Cox wished to have a handsome place here, and we began to build a large dwelling-house.]

Among other things, I told Mr. Margarot, the treatment that my son Joshua had received from Captain Salkeld. I had paid him sixty guineas for the boy's passage, and he had entered him on the ship's books as a sailor, and thus he had been living with the seamen, and was entitled to wages, and I ought to receive the money back which I had paid for his passage. I said I would go to the judge advocate* and lodge my complaint. Mr. Margarot smiled at my simplicity, and observed, "You are very young in this colony; do not fancy that courts of justice exist here as they are constituted at home; if you send a present to the judge, and it be greater and more valuable than that sent by your adversary, you will succeed by it, not otherwise; never rely here upon what Englishmen call the justice of their case. Bad as the mother-country is, the courts there are purity itself in comparison."

[* Mr. Richard Dore, whose conduct Holt represents as highly disgraceful. (See p. 78.) He left England for New South Wales, on 6th November, 1796, in the Barwell.]

[. P. 78. Mr. Atkins was not a judge, but acted as a kind of deputy when Judge Dore was not able, which frequently happened, for, when spirits were plenty in the colony, he was generally indisposed.]

I could scarcely believe him, but soon was satisfied that he spoke the truth. I got an order and served it on Captain Salkeld, claiming a return of the sixty guineas I had paid for the boy's passage, and his pay as a seaman, he not having received the comforts of a passenger, but having worked hard the whole voyage, and being therefore entitled to compensation.

Salkeld was very angry, and said, "Had I known what sort of a man you were, I would, have made you miserable during your voyage."

"I have no doubt of it," was my answer, "I had more penetration. I saw through your character, but was not the fool to let you know it, when I was in your power; you have by your last observation convinced me of your tyrannical disposition. I knew better than to quarrel with a tiger when I was at his mercy. I am now free from your authority, and you seem to threaten me still, but I will let you know that no man shall do so with impunity."

We were standing on the shore, and a great number of persons collected about us, who listened to the conversation, and began to comment upon it, and to express their opinion in terms, which so alarmed him, that he made a quick retreat. I set a man to watch that evening, and he brought me word, that a firkin of butter, a cheese, and five or six gallons of spirits, were landed from the ship and sent to the judge's house. When the case came on I produced the receipt, to show that my son was a passenger, and that I had paid the money. The judge, however, would not listen to me, saying we were all convicts; my wife, my son, and myself. I told his honour that it was not so, for none of us were convicts. I had, "on terms," agreed to live in the colony, but not as a convict; and my wife and son were both passengers, as free from imputation as himself. He desired me to be silent, and when I remonstrated, and said his conduct was a perversion of justice, he ordered me to be put out of court, adding, that if I said another word, he would commit me to gaol.

[15 January 1800]

The next morning, I received directions to attend a muster of the ship's company, which I accordingly did. Captain Johnstone asked me if I knew where I lodged last night?

"Not very well," I replied, "as it was the first I had passed in the colony. All I knew was that Mr. Margarot received me kindly and hospitably, and I was much obliged to him."

"Well, sir," said Captain Johnstone, "you lodged in the most seditious house in the colony."

"Indeed!" said I, "I heard no sedition there. Mr. Margarot appears to me a gentleman of great learning and polished manners, one whose society I should covet much, as I felt I should receive information and instruction from him. I hope, sir, you do not wish me to associate with thieves and robbers! I am not disposed to meet such characters, except at arm's length."

He replied, "I am glad to hear you say so."

We were then dismissed. The unfortunate convicts were placed under overseers, and marched away in several employments. Those transported for rebellion were left at large, to act as they thought proper.

Thomas Prosser, Thomas Brady, Edward O'Hara and myself, all United Irishmen, and alike circumstanced, agreed to walk out together; they were very respectable men, and our only crime was wrong notions in politics; so all that could be said was, "there go four United Irishmen!" I asked my poor wife for some money; she gave me a look of inquiry, as much as to say, "Recollect, the stock we have is small." I understood her perfectly, and said, "Yes, my dear, three days more will complete the business, but, with the blessing of the Almighty, I shall be able to support you and your children better than ever which, soon after, I was enabled to perform. I then went away with the said men, and spent the guinea I had received from my wife at the house of a Daniel Fayne.

On my return, she said, "Joseph, you have never been used to labour, how will you obtain for us subsistence?" On which I answered, "Government will never let a good soldier want."

She replied, "They would rather give you a rope than a breakfast."

"That is too true to be put in a ballad," said I, "but they know I can fight, and will be glad of my services in a condemned regiment."

I endeavoured to bear up against untoward and unpromising appearances, and did not despair.

[18 Jan 1800]

On the 18th, I received directions to go down to the wharf, in order to proceed to Parramatta,* with my family and luggage, it being intended to locate me in the interior. It was not difficult for me to comply with this order, as my luggage was little more ponderous than the stock in trade of a journeyman tailor. We got on board a boat, and, proceeding up the river, landed at a village about twenty miles from Sydney, and were directed to the Rev. Samuel Marsden,** who sent a man with me, to point out a house where I was to fix my family. It belonged to one Henry, who was sent out by Sir Joseph Bankes to cultivate the science of botany.

[* The town at Rose Hill (so called after the Right Hon. George Rose) was named Parramatta, on the 4th June, 1791. Collins says, "The town which had been marked out at Rose Hill, and which now wore something of a regular appearance, on this occasion [the King's birth-day] received its name. The Governor called it Par-ra-mat-ta, being the name by which the natives distinguished the part of the country on which the town stood."]

[** The Rev. Mr. Marsden arrived at New South Wales in March, 1794, as Assistant-Chaplain to the Rev. Mr. Johnson, Chaplain of the settlement before mentioned, and whom he succeeded. Collins records, that on the first Sunday in September, 1796, "A temporary church, formed out of the materials of two old huts, was opened at Parramatta, by the Rev. Mr. Marsden."]

The day after, I walked about the town. I saw several persons from Dublin, of whom I had some knowledge, and also my countryman, the most accomplished of pickpockets, Barrington.*

[* Barrington received a warrant of emancipation on the 3rd November, 1792; and Captain Collins, in his account of New South Wales, speaks of him in a passage which Barrington, with grateful pride, introduces into his History of the Colony;—if, indeed, Barrington be the author of the volumes published with his name, which appears to me to be more than doubtful. "The third (warrant) was made out in favour of one who, whatever might have been his conduct when at large in society, had here not only demeaned himself with the strictest propriety, but had rendered essential services to the colony—George Barrington. He came out in the Active; on his arrival, the Governor employed him at Toongabbe (some new ground beyond Parramatta), and in a situation that was likely to attract the envy and hatred of the convicts, in proportion as he might be vigilant and inflexible. He was first placed as a subordinate, and, shortly after, as a principal watchman, in which situation he was diligent, sober and impartial; and had rendered himself so eminently serviceable, that the Governor resolved to draw him from the line of convicts; and, with the instrument of his emancipation, he received a grant of thirty acres of land, in an eligible situation near Parramatta. He was afterwards sworn in as a peace-officer. Here was not only a reward for past good conduct, but an incitement to it; and Barrington found himself, through the Governor's liberality, though not so absolutely free as to return to England at his own pleasure, yet enjoying the immunities of a free man, a settler, and a civil officer, in whose integrity much confidence was placed."]

[19 January 1800]

He was walking arm in arm with Thomas Atkins, Esq.* I wished to have some conversation with them, and I think they desired to talk with me. Mr. Atkins asked me into his house, and Barrington followed. A bottle of rum was produced, and some pleasant conversation about Ireland passed. At length I wished to retire, but Mr. Atkins said he never allowed any bottle off his table till he saw it emptied. We finished the half-gallon bottle, and were of course not a little elevated, being each of us as full of chatter as a hen magpie in May. Mr. Atkins was not a judge, but acted as a kind of deputy when Judge Dore was not able, which frequently happened, for, when spirits were plenty in the colony, he was generally indisposed. Barrington asked me a great many questions about Ireland. When I returned, Mrs. Holt said she was apprehensive that the hot climate and the drinking would injure my health. But I told her, the hotter the climate, the more spirits might be drank, which I afterwards found to be the case.

[* Quere?—Richard (not Thomas) Atkins, who was nominated by the Secretary of State to do the duty of Judge Advocate, upon the return of Captain Collins to England, in 1796, which duty he performed until the arrival of Mr. Dore, in 1797. "Mr. Richard Atkins, who came out in the Pitt, and who had been sworn a justice of the peace," says Collins, under the date of May, 1792, "went up to Parramatta, to reside there, the constant presence of a magistrate being deemed by the Governor indispensable at that settlement." Mr. Atkins was subsequently appointed Registrar of the court of Vice-Admiralty, by Governor Phillip.]

The Rev. Mr. Marsden sent me a note, to say he would call upon me, which he did next day, in company with Captain Johnstone, Mr. Atkins, and Dr. Thompson.* He requested me to accompany them, and we proceeded to a government settlement, where they were tilling the ground on the public account. At a distance, I saw about fifty men at work, as I thought dressed in nankeen jackets, but, on nearer approach, I found them naked, except a pair of loose trousers. Their skin was tanned by the sun and climate to that colour. I felt much pity for the poor wretches; they had each a kind of large hoe, about nine inches deep and eight wide, and the handle as thick as that of a shovel, with which they turned up, as with a spade, the ground, which was left to rot in the winter. They cannot bear any clothes when at work in the heat of the day.

[* Collins says, speaking of the arrival of the Surprise at Sydney, in October, 1794, which transport brought Messrs. Muir, Palmer, Skirving, and Margarot,—"We found, also, on board the Surprise, a Mr. James Thompson, late Surgeon of the Atlantic transport, but who now came in quality of Assistant Surgeon to the settlement." He rose to be Chief Physician of the Colony, and his attention to the invalids of the French corvettes le Geographe and le Naturaliste, at Port Jackson, between June and November, 1802, is particularly noticed by M. Peron. Holt, in a subsequent part of this Memoir, states that he left the settlement in a French discovery ship, and chuckles at the bargain he had made for Mr. Cox, in the purchase of Dr. Thompson's farm and stock.]

[20 January 1800]

Captain Johnstone addressed me, saying, "Mr. Holt, you are a good farmer, I suppose?"

"I do well enough with horses and oxen, but not with men," said I.

Dr. Thompson then said, "Do you not think these men would understand you better than horses or oxen?"

"Yes, sir," I replied, "but it appears great brutality to work men in this manner."

"Well," said he, "it matters not what you think about it, you will soon come into it."

Captain Johnstone then called a man, named Michael Fitzgerald, and said, "Here is Mr. Holt come to assist you, so you will not be so much confined in future."

"I am very glad of it," replied Fitzgerald.

I found afterwards, that this fellow had been a respectable pickpocket in England. When I heard this conversation, I could scarcely contain my indignation, but I thought it better to let matters proceed on to the end. Captain Johnstone now said, "You must get this house of Dr. Kelly's put into neat order; let it be bricked, ceiled, and glass windows put in, and two acres of ground enclosed for a garden."

"Yes," continued Mr. Marsden, "you know Mrs. Holt and her children are free, and have a claim to the indulgence of a free settler, and to have a man to bring her wood and water."

This was some consolation to me. I had, however, got my instructions from my friend Mr. Margarot, who knew well the constitution and laws of the colony. Orders having been thus given, these gentlemen went away, and I returned home. On the way, I met a man named Mangin Power, from Dirrelossery, near Roundwood, in the county of Wicklow, son of Timothy Power. I saw him tried, and heard the awful sentence of death passed upon him. I spoke to him. Captain Johnstone asked me if I knew him. I said that I did, perfectly well, and that I was present at his trial. He was tried for buying twenty-six sheep, which had been stolen. The thief fled, and poor Power was discovered with the sheep in his possession, and was found guilty of the felony; but I had no doubt whatever of his innocence. The thief was a regular jobber in sheep, and had bought and sold hundreds. I also said I had had dealings with Power, to a large amount, and always found him a correct, honest man. The account I gave of this poor fellow was very useful to him; he was made an overseer in the government employment a few days after; and I was well pleased at being able to serve him, having always observed that the merciful ever obtain mercy.

We now reached Parramatta, when the gentlemen took leave of me, and I made haste to my poor wife, to communicate the conversation which had passed. She, poor soul, was always contented with everything which pleased me, and I was anxious to do the best I could for her and our children. I told her, if I could not do better I would submit but having heard Mr. Atkins tell Parson Marsden that the Governor was to come to Parramatta the next day, I determined to ask his Excellency some questions respecting our real state: if I was really free, I determined to assert it, but if the law was against me, I would make the best fight I could. I would, however, have the highest authority, even the Governor himself, and not submit to the whims of understrappers, who always assume tenfold the airs that their superiors might be supposed to have.

[21 January 1800]

Next morning we watched for the arrival of Captain John Hunter, Governor and Chief in and over New South Wales and its dependencies, &c.; and I had the good fortune to meet his Excellency. Having saluted him, he very graciously returned it. Mrs. Holt was with me, having our child in her arms. His Excellency went over to her, and took hold of the infant's hand, saying, he was a fine boy; adding, "Pray, madam, do you get any milk for this child?"

"No, sir," said my wife, "I do not know where any is to be had."

The overseer of the government dairy was passing at the time, his name was John Warren, and his Excellency asked him if he knew where this lady lived. Warren answered, "Yes."—"Well," continued the Governor, "send a quart of milk to her every morning; and mind, if you neglect doing so, I will have you put out of your place."

"Many thanks to your Excellency," we both exclaimed, "may God reward you!"

"May I presume to ask," said I, "if it was by your Excellency's command I was to be put under a man of the name of Fitzgerald, as a superintendant, at Toongabbe?"* His Excellency answered with saying, "No, sir, I never intended, or meant to put you into government employ; you came here as a State prisoner, without any indent against you, and while you conduct yourself correctly, no one can or shall molest you. All you have to do, is to conduct yourself as a peaceable subject, and we have no desire or power to put you under restraint."

[* Collins mentions, that in 1792 "the settlements beyond Parramatta, lately obtained, were in future to be distinguished by the name of Toon-gab-be."]

I then told him what the four gentlemen had said; and the Governor assured me he would put it out of the power of any one to annoy me in future. "If you have any ground for complaint," his Excellency added, "come to me, and I will redress you, and give you any assistance I can." Then turning to Mrs. Holt, he told her she was entitled to a servant, and might choose any man who came in the ship with her. I mentioned Thomas Murphy, and his Excellency immediately gave me an order for him; and told me to go where I pleased, and do the best I could for myself and family. I thanked his Excellency heartily. I got Murphy home, and made the poor fellow as happy as I was myself. I told my wife I was still fortunate, and was determined that resolution and good conduct should be my motto: the excellent woman's eyes filled with tears of joy and gratitude for so many mercies, after so much affliction.

That evening, I received a note from my friend, Mr. Cox, and having read it, I told my wife that a reconciliation was about to take place, for Mr. Cox wanted to see me. It being late, I deferred my visit till the morning, when I went to his house, situated about two miles from mine. Feeling myself once more a free man was a delightful sensation, having been able to escape from the authority of those busy overbearing four gentlemen already named, and declared free by the mouth of his Excellency, the Governor himself, one of the most worthy of men, and the father, and a right good father he was, to this infant colony. A perfect gentleman in his manners, he was gracious and condescending to all, without compromising his dignity, personal or official.

[22 January 1800]

I was received by Mr. Cox with cordiality, respect, and even friendship. Had I submitted to be one of his six men, we should have met on very different terms; he joined Judge Dore in making me out a convict, but he knew nothing of the law; and as he possibly acted from kind motives, I ought to feel obliged to him. However, had I been in that unfortunate situation, he would, I think, have alleviated my sufferings.

The inquiries of Mrs. Cox after my wife and children were good-natured, and even gratifying. Captain Cox told me he was in treaty for the purchase of a farm of one hundred acres, from Mr. John Macarthur, captain in the New South Wales corps, and he wished me to view it for him, before he concluded the bargain. I was happy in having an opportunity of serving him, who had certainly made my passage agreeable, and had been very kind and attentive to me and my family. We went to see the farm: I had never seen such mould as it was, for it resembled an old church-yard; loose, black, rank looking earth; the ground, too, was very well situated, and I gave my opinion very much in favour of the purchase.

I did not forget to communicate to Mr. Cox the interview I had with Captain Johnstone and the other gentlemen, and the subsequent conversation with his Excellency the Governor; and I stated that I was now confirmed in the opinion that I was altogether at my own disposal, to do the best I could. Mr. Cox said he rejoiced in the circumstance, and hoped,—indeed, he doubted not to see me a prosperous man. He added, "I have money, and you are possessed of considerable knowledge in agricultural pursuits; suppose we join them together, I think we should easily make a fortune."

I thanked him, and hoped he had not formed too favourable an opinion of my abilities. "But," said I, "there are two parties to a bargain, I will, think of it, and give you an answer in a few days; it is better to consider the matter well before I undertake it, that we may not both have to repent hereafter."

The following morning, I had a visit from the Rev. Mr. Marsden, who put on a most solemn countenance, as if he was come to visit a person in extremes. "I am told," said he, "you are about to undertake the management of Mr. Cox's business."

"Well, sir," said I, "suppose I should be so inclined, what then? but if your informer had told you I had been requested by Mr. Cox to do so, he would have been nearer the truth. I ought to be much obliged to those who take such an interest in my affairs."

"The Governor," said Mr. Marsden, "is very much displeased at your taking such liberties; you ought to know that no person in your situation can do anything without his Excellency's sanction.

"Sir," I answered, giving him a sort of smile, as it was, and is to the present moment my fashion, when I can dare my enemies, "Your advice is very well meant, no doubt; you are very uneasy lest I should fall under the Governor's displeasure, but I will release you from any anxiety on that account. I have had an interview with his Excellency, and have fully satisfied myself of the exact nature of my position. I am as free as you are, or any other man in the colony, to go where I please, and do what I wish, while I conduct myself like a good subject; and as I have no intention of acting otherwise, I will release you from all care on my behalf, and give you leisure to mind your own affairs, by assuring you I feel quite competent to manage mine without your assistance."

He left me without further observation, evidently nettled at the rebuke I had given him. He thought himself a great lawyer, and was a busy meddling man, of shallow understanding.

24 Next day I saw Mr. Cox, to whom I related the conversation with Parson Marsden. He laughed heartily at my account, and said, "The Parson should have known better than to think to outwit you. Holt, who have outwitted thousands." He then asked me if I had made up my mind to take charge of the farm.

I replied, "On what terms, Mr. Cox? for it is right explicitly to understand each other."

He answered, "I will give you one-third of the net produce, or give you a salary."

I said, "Mr. Cox, I have been a master all my life, and have a great reluctance to become a servant; you have a warm temper; I am, I know, very easily excited also, and I will not enter into any written engagement with you, but I will undertake the management of your farm, and if you approve of me, and I am satisfied with you, all will be well. At the end of the year, I am sure you will do me justice, and make me a fair remuneration."

He replied, "Holt, this is a hard bargain for me, but be it according to your wishes."

My remark was, "We shall know one another better at the end of that period."


Chapter 4. Making a New Life

[1 February 1800]

On the first of February, 1800, I moved my family to the Brush Farm, which was the name of my new residence. I got men to break up the ground, and prepared sixty acres to be sown in with wheat.

[4 June 1800]

It was getting late for sowing wheat, but, by great exertion, I commenced sowing on the 24th March, and finished the 3rd of June. The 4th of June, the King's birth-day, was a general holiday throughout the colony, and every prisoner got a pound of beef, or pork, as did the soldiers, with the addition of half a pint of spirits, each man to drink the King's health.

[14 October 1800]

I now began to break up ground for Indian corn, or maize; and, by October, had twenty-two acres planted. On the 14th of this month, a hail storm destroyed every acre of wheat, which was within three weeks of being ripe. Mr. Cox came to see it, and after considering the matter, we concluded that it was not worth leaving it on the ground; so I got scythes, and mowed it down, and drew it into the pig-yard.

[10 December 1800]

I then immediately set about breaking up the ground, and by the 10th of December, I had eighty-four acres of Indian corn planted, and had eventually the satisfaction of pulling from each acre fifty bushels of maize, which served us, in place of wheat, for our men and stock. I bought a great many swine, and they turned out Well, and afforded excellent food for the labourers, as the farmer has to feed all the men he employs. I paid twenty shillings per acre for breaking the ground, ten for hoeing and planting, and ten for chipping, (the name used in New South Wales for harrowing;) for sowing wheat and covering, sixteen shillings; and twenty shillings for reaping and binding, was the common price. At the Hawkesbury they pay from two to three pounds, as the crops are much more heavy there. The men are paid in kind at the following prices:—Pork, one shilling and sixpence a pound; sugar, the same; wheat, ten shillings a bushel; Indian corn, at five shillings a bushel; tobacco, from two and sixpence to fifteen and even twenty shillings a pound; rum, fifteen shillings a bottle; tea, from ten to twenty shillings a pound; and all other goods at the same ratio.

We were sometimes so much in want of these almost necessary articles, that the prices rose much higher. I have seen wheat three guineas a bushel, and Indian corn three pounds. This, however, was caused by a flood from the Blue Mountains, which carried away everything before it. Eight thousand sheep, three thousand pigs, and many hundred head of cattle, were swept off, and lost, by the overflowing of the Hawkesbury river on this occasion, which caused great distress and misery for a long time.*

[* In the previous year (1799), the following account of an inundation of this river is given in the History of New South Wales, bearing Barrington's name:—

"At the Hawkesbury a sad accident occurred, which proved destructive to the settlers at that place. The river suddenly, and in the course of a few hours, swelled to the height of fifty feet from its usual level, and with such rapidity as to carry everything that stood in the way before it. The government store-house, erected at the first settling in this part, was in the course of this inundation swept away, with all the provisions it contained. Several inhabitants were taken from the ridges of their houses by boats, only in time to save their lives; for most of the dwellings were inundated, and the whole country appeared one extensive lake. A very considerable number of live stock, with a great part of the produce of the last harvest, and the household property of the people, were driven away by the torrent. Fortunate indeed may it be esteemed, only one life was lost.

"This proved a shocking calamity; as no cause had appeared to indicate an overflow of the river, the settlers were by no means prepared for such an event. The natives, however, foresaw it, and advised the inhabitants of it; but, not liking to be taught by untutored savages, they neglected their advice, and thus ruinously felt the effects. There was, no doubt, unperceived by the' settlers, a very heavy fall of rain in the interior, among the mountains; and, from the parched state of the land for such a long time, it had not been absorbed, but ran down the sides of the hills, filling the low grounds, and branches of the river, which was, in form, strictly serpentine, and could not give a passage to the water as fast as it descended. It was very generally believed this violent inundation would, however, prove beneficial to the grounds overflowed, making them produce with such abundance as to cover the loss sustained. In a few days this collection of water found its way to the sea, and tire river resumed its usual level, when the settlers began fresh cropping their grounds."

In the following year (1800), Barrington thus notices the overflow of the Hawkesbury, mentioned by Holt:—

"Accounts of an alarming nature toward the latter end of the month (March) arrived from George's river and the Hawkesbury. The weather had, for upwards of twenty days, been very wet, which was unfortunate, as the maize was now ripe; the wind blew a heavy gale, accompanied with so much rain, that the river Hawkesbury, and all the creeks, rose beyond their banks, laying the flat country under water. The consequent damage followed the desolation which this flood spread over the cultivated grounds, and some lives were lost, though, considering the extent of the flood, they were few."

"Had the settlers been more industrious, they must in some degree have been prepared for accidents of this nature; and it is to be lamented, that, when they were established on the banks of the Hawkesbury, attention had not been paid to the evident signs of the floods which the river appeared liable to; had the dwellings been built on higher ground, the inundations which had occurred could have done no injury. The late overflows had been such as exceeded in horror and destruction everything that could be imagined."

* * *

"In the earlier days of the settlement, the settlers on the Hawkesbury had been much annoyed by the frequent overflowings of that capacious river. In the month of March, 1800, the most severe visitation of this nature had occurred, which had destroyed the promise of an abundant harvest, spread desolation through the farms in that district, destroyed numerous habitations, and caused the loss of several of the unfortunate settlers and others. At the melancholy period alluded to, the colony in this quarter was just reaching a degree of ease and comfort from the judicious plans put into execution by that 'father of his people,' Governor Hunter, and the assistance he gave them as an encouragement to industrious exertion. Scarcely, however, had they began to revive after this calamity—scarcely had they repaired the ravages occasioned by this tremendous inundation—scarcely had the desolated lands once more confessed the power of cultivation, before those ill-fated settlers were doomed to experience a repetition of the destructive calamity; and on the 2nd March, 1801, the river again overflowed its banks, and rushed impetuously to renew its former devastations. Flocks and herds were swept away by its irresistible influence; the houses, which had been rebuilt, were once more levelled to the earth; and a settler was deprived of his existence, after witnessing the catastrophe which had robbed him of the whole of his possessions. The waters of the Hawkesbury at those periods of inundation would rise seventy or eighty feet above their accustomed level; and it is easy for the mind to picture to itself the inexpressibly mournful consequences which must necessarily accrue from such a circumstance. Neither was this overflowing an event of rare occurrence, but was to be constantly expected, after a long continuance of the rainy season, when the torrents which rushed from the mountainous ridges which overlooked the channel of the river, never failed to produce a rapid swelling of its waters, and to cause an inundation of greater or less extent, and injury more or less destructive to the inhabitants of its vicinity."—Mann's Picture of New South Wales.]

The ground about the Hawkesbury is flat, and lies low; but it is the finest and most productive land perhaps in the world: it produces two crops every year. I lived in that quarter thirteen years, and thirteen years before that the land was regularly cropped every year, and produced enormous crops, but never got or required a pound of manure. The farmers throw the manure into the rivers, and burn straw to get it out of their way. There were other lands, however, which required labour and manure as much as the mountains of Wicklow; but every district yields two crops a year, the sheep produce lambs twice, and all other females are equally prolific after their kinds. There are eight animals here who carry their young in a kind of natural bag under their belly, and are of a different shape and make from the animals of any other country.

Mr. Cox had made a purchase of a large flock of sheep from Captain Macarthur; they were old rotten ewes of the Bengal breed; he paid three pounds each for them, and one hundred and fifty pounds for a brood mare. I did not see them before the bargain was made. Captain Cox was a man of strict integrity, and thought every man bound by his word, and, if pledged, his honour was inviolable; but, whatever Mr. Macarthur thought, he did not act in this affair in a gentlemanlike manner. He was as far from it, in this and other transactions, as my nose is from silver.

Every soldier got twenty-five acres of land in fee; many of them, when intoxicated, sold their ticket for a gallon of rum. Mr. Macarthur used to supply them with goods, and so obtained from these improvident and foolish men their tickets, by which he acquired an enormous landed property. He was a tailor and stay-maker by trade, but fortune favoured him, and he became rich; and like most men who are raised from nothing, he did not bear his prosperity meekly; his character was that of a very overbearing and tyrannical man. He made Mr. Cox pay dearly for these sheep and the mare.

Mr. Cox wanted to purchase some horned cattle from him, and consulted me about them. I advised him to stick to Arthur and we would try to make up the loss he had sustained in the sheep. Macarthur had about one hundred head of cattle, bulls and cows; and I advised Mr. Cox to take a bottle or two of wine with him, and then to make the bargain after dinner. It was agreed that Mr. Cox should buy half the stock undivided and they were to remain so for eighteen months; he was to pay £500 down, and the rest when the division took place. The money was paid, and the cattle were afterwards divided, when their sale produced £1200 more than the first cost; so much had they increased in number and value. I bought from Macarthur sixty-nine pigs for Mr. Cox, by which I cleared for him £150; so we made up the loss he had sustained by the manoeuvres of the first bargain.

The Rev. Richard Johnson was the first clergyman who had ever landed in this colony, and, by his prudence and economy, he made a' large fortune, with which he was now about to return to England. He first raised and cultivated the orange-tree in the colony. He sowed those seeds which he had brought with him from Rio, and in a few years the trees produced very fine fruit, which he sold at from sixpence to ninepence each. Mr. Cox purchased from this gentleman his estate, which joined the Brush Farm. It consisted of 600 acres of land, about 150 sheep, a mare and three fillies, and some horned cattle. This purchase increased my ride to about twelve miles; there was in it about two acres of vineyard, which, some years, bore abundantly; and another acre, covered with large orange-trees, early nectarines, peaches, and some apricots. The place was called Canterbury; it was about five miles from Sydney. I pruned the vines and fruit-trees, and now I found my early instruction in gardening of great use to me. Mr. Cox wished to have a handsome place here, and we began to build a large dwelling-house.

Every Saturday I rode to Brush Farm, and settled with the men there. I called all hands, and showed them their week's work; and if I thought I should not be wanted before the week was out, I did not go there until the Saturday following. I thus managed both estates to Mr. Cox's perfect satisfaction, and he became more attached to me than ever. He also bought all the stock of horses and cattle from Captain Prentice, which was a great addition to our herd.

[5 September 1800]

On the 5th of September, 1800, I went to Brush Farm to measure out the ground to be broken for corn, and had, as usual, settled with and paid up the men. I had been so completely occupied with my agricultural employments, as to be absolutely absorbed by them; every other subject was banished from my thoughts, and I enjoyed a repose and quiet of mind which I had not felt since I was living in peaceable and quiet, but prosperous obscurity, at Roundwood.

Everything seemed to prosper which I put my hand to; my excellent wife was recovering her good looks, and had thrown off the woe-worn countenance of care and anxiety which had so-long oppressed her; and my boys were lively and healthy children, and promised me much satisfaction and happiness. In short, after all my troubles, I at last found at Brush Farm a home, and a happy one. What charms are to be found in that word, "home!" We repose there in supposed safety; on my return, I was sure to be welcomed by the smiles of my excellent partner, who was always anxiously watching at the expected hour, and I was always met by her with affectionate warmth. What does that man deserve who disturbs the quiet and peace of an honest well-disposed man's fireside?—who murders his peace?—for murder it assuredly is—if you render a heaven on earth a hell, most foul and malicious murder it is.


Chapter 5. Holt's Arrest

I lived in joys like these awhile,
Folks far and near caress me,
When, woe to me, mine enemy,
Determined to distress me.

I was rather fatigued, after a hard day's work; for I had ridden and walked a great way. After-drinking a little wine and water, we went to bed, and I was soon asleep. About one in the morning, my wife awaked me, hearing a noise of men talking near the house. I thought it likely some persons were about to rob the granary, and I got up in my shirt. Shortly after, there was a rap at the door. I demanded, "Who is there?"

"A friend," answered a strange voice.

"What do you want?" said I.

"I come with a message from Captain Cox."

I immediately opened the door, on which I was astonished at seeing eight soldiers and a sergeant enter with fixed bayonets, which they presented at my breast. I asked them what they were about, to which they answered they would soon let me know. I said it is a most cowardly proceeding to present muskets and bayonets against the breast of an unarmed and naked man; for I was in my shirt. "What is the cause of all this? I am totally at a loss to guess what it means. Had I done or even said anything for which I had any apprehension, I should have been prepared to meet you; and see," I added, showing them a blunderbuss at the foot of my bed, "I could have blown you all to eternity." They took down the blunderbuss, and found a twelve-finger charge in it. They were talking of taking it away with them; but I cautioned them against adding robbery to the injustice they were committing, as it was the property of William Cox, Esq.

When I had dressed myself, they found I was a person of superior rank; so they added a pair of steel ruffles to the wrists of my shirt, and brought me to the guard-house of Parramatta!

[6 September 1800]

The next day I was put into a boat, and they were so good as to send two persons with me in attendance to Sydney, who introduced me to Mr. Daniel McKay,* a Scotchman, a person whose acquaintance I did not covet; for he had been a transport, convicted of picking pockets, or, in other words, of robbery; and as, on the principle of setting a thief to catch a thief, they appointed this thief to keep other thieves after they were caught; he was promoted to the honourable office of gaoler of Sydney.

[* In 1794, Collins notices this man as an incorrigible gambler, in the following passage:—

"The late distress of the colony was not found to have made any amendment in the morals of the convicts. Gaming still prevailed among them in its fullest extent, and a theft, which was committed at one of these meetings, showed how far it was carried. Among those who made a daily practice of gaming, was one, who, in his situation as an overseer, had given such offence to some of his fellow-prisoners, that a plan was formed to plunder him the first time that he should have a sum worthy of their attention. He was accordingly surrounded, when engaged at play, by a party who, watching their opportunity, rushed upon him when he had won a stake of five and twenty dollars, and in the confusion that ensued, secured the whole. He was, however, fortunate enough to seize one of them with ten of the dollars in his hand, but was not able to recover any more. The man whom he secured proved to be Samuel Wright, who, in the month of July last, had been reprieved at the foot of the gallows; so soon had he forgotten the terror of that moment! On this circumstance being reported to the Lieutenant Governor, Wright received an immediate corporal punishment.

"McKay, the overseer, confessed that gaming had been for many years his profession and subsistence, though born of honest and reputable parents, and he acknowledged that, but for his pursuit of that vice, he should never have visited this country in the situation of a convict."]

We do not in England or Ireland attach much mildness of character to the turnkey of a gaol. It sometimes happens that a petty larceny rascal, or even a felon, who has not been steeped in the lowest dregs of villainy, may be so far reformed as to be thought worthy of being made one of the many-headed dogs of a county gaol; a kind of deputy devil, with eminent qualities as a tormentor, as well as a watcher over gaol birds committed to his care; such a man, in comparison to Daniel McKay, would have been thought worthy to be made a member of a colonial parliament, had such a thing existed, or a justice of the peace, or judge, like the Doer* of legal injuries in this colony; when compared to this worthy, those fellows were angels of light.

[* Holt is here evidently punning on the Judge Advocate's name. See p. 73.]

On my being handed over to his keeping, the following conversation took place:—

"Weel, Master General Hoult, and you're welcome; I shall be teaching ye a new exercise, for I hae nae doot but ye'll be hangit, and I wish ye may, for weel ye deserve it."

"I do not doubt your wishes," said I; "for if there be any humanity about you, there must be much deceit, as a more unpromising-looking subject I never saw."

"You'll find oot my guid qualities, nae doot, in a foo days," said he; "sae just gang awa' by, wi' yer gates, intil this comfortable lodgin'."

I was then put into a cell, and orders were given not to admit any one to see me, nor was I to have any support but the gaol allowance of a bottle of water and a pound of bread each day. The doors were shut, and here I was again a poor unfortunate wretch in the power of enemies. What new freak fortune was playing upon me, I could not divine; I asked myself questions, and formed many surmises as to what possibly could be the cause of the harsh treatment I had met with, or, indeed, of my arrest at all. I felt confident in my innocence of any crime. I had not even associated with any one in particular, but had been so totally absorbed by the business in which I was engaged, that I had no room for other occupation; I never thought of anything but my own affairs, it being my disposition to devote myself entirely to whatever I undertook, knowing that no man can perform two things at the same time, so well as if he gave up his entire attention to one of them. I was puzzled to guess what I was accused of, but consoled with the reflection that it must be a false charge. I trusted in my Maker to relieve me from this, as He had from so many troubles. I had often been afflicted, I prayed, and my prayer was always heard. Impressed with this consoling reflection, I fell asleep, although I had no bed, or even a bundle of straw, to keep my poor carcase from contact with the cold flag-stones of my cell. In my youthful days, I had read a book called "The Innocent Sufferer," and I thought that if I should now die, my fate would, like that of the hero of this story, afford an important moral for the benefit of mankind.

[7 September 1800]

Next day the door of my cell was opened by the captivating and interesting McKay, who brought me a bottle of water and my pound of bread. I asked him if there was any news; he answered, with a sneer, "Oh, yes; there be some foo of your Irishers to be hangit presently."

I answered, "if they deserve it, I do not pity them."

He said no more, but locked the doors; and I was left to twenty-four hours more of uninterrupted contemplation. I did not use this time unprofitably; I prayed to my Creator, my bountiful and merciful God, "with whom there is mercy, with whom there is plenteous redemption," even to redeem my soul from the lowest pit of hell, much more from the cell I was now so unjustly thrust into, and from the merciless tormenting of devils incarnate. Although I had often suffered from false witnesses, I considered that my Redeemer had, for my sake, suffered persecution, even to a shameful death upon a gibbet, while I had been rescued from death and shame. Shall I then complain at this dispensation? said I; No! I will not; I will trust in the Almighty providence for release from the hands of my enemies. I had often before trusted in the mercy of my God, and never in vain; all things may yet work together for good; this affliction may yet be for my benefit.

I never touched the bread or water left in the cell; it was now the second night; I lay down and slept, but uneasily, annoyed by the hard cold stones. I was troubled with dreams, and uncomfortable visions passed through my mind.

[8 September 1800]

I awoke; it was day; a shutter had been removed, and I saw the light once more; I was no longer in darkness. About ten o'clock the gaoler appeared with a second bottle of water, and the pound of bread. He was about to take away the other bottle, and was surprised to find it full, and the allowance of bread beside it, untouched. He asked me if I intended to starve myself to death? I answered, "My God supports me in my affliction, because I am unjustly persecuted." He made no reply, but closed the door, and went away.

Whether he told the Provost Marshal,* or not, I cannot say; but, about eleven o'clock, that officer, attended by Captain Aikin,** who commanded a merchant ship that lay in the harbour, came to the gaol. The Provost Marshal looked very hard at me, and at length said, "I am sorry to see you in this place."

[* Mr. Thomas Smyth. He had been acting store-keeper at Sydney, and was appointed to succeed Mr. Henry Brewer as Provost Marshal, in 1796, Brewer having become too aged and infirm for the office. Captain Collins, in his account of the colony, under the date of October 1792, says:—

"As a store-keeper was a person on whom much dependence must necessarily be placed, (it being his duty to be constantly present whenever the stores were opened, and with a vigilant eye to observe the conduct of the inferior servants,) at the strong recommendation of the officers under whom he had served, sergeant Thomas Smyth was discharged from the marine detachment, and placed upon the list of superintendants of convicts as a store-keeper. This appointment gave general satisfaction; and the Commissary now felt himself, under all these arrangements, more at ease respecting the safety of the stores and provisions under his charge."]

[** Quere, Erskine?]

I answered, "Sir, I thank you for your commiseration; perhaps you will be so good as to tell me when I am to suffer."

He stared at me, and at last said, "Suffer—what do you mean? I do not understand you."

"Why, Sir," said I, "no man but one under sentence of death is ever treated as I am. Put into a solitary cell, without even a bundle of straw to keep his wretched body from the cold stones, and given to support him such a miserable pittance as that you behold, for two days. The British laws suppose every man to be innocent until his guilt is made manifest; until then, he is never subjected to more deprivation than is necessary for his security from escape. Sir, until a man is found guilty, he is entitled to humane treatment; and I declare, most solemnly to my God, at this moment, that I have not the remotest notion of the cause of my arrest, or why I am here, and why I am treated like a reprobate malefactor."

The Provost Marshal and Captain Aikin seemed moved by these observations. One of them then said, "If I were in your place, I would tell the Governor what I knew about this plot."*

[* Barrington gives the following account of this conspiracy, or fancied conspiracy, for suspected participation in which Holt appears to have been arrested:—

"The Governor, in the beginning of May, received information from the officers, that they had some grounds for suspecting that the convicts from Ireland had brought with them the principles which occasioned their being sent from that kingdom, and were holding seditious correspondences, and unlawful meetings. To discover whether there was any foundation for this, he called in the assistance of Lieutenant Governor King, Colonel Paterson, Major Foveaux, and the other magistrates; when it was determined to make a general search among the persons suspected, in all parts of the colony at the same time, and to secure and seal up their papers.

"This examination took place on the 15th; but nothing was discovered that could furnish the smallest evidence of the imputed crimes.

"The next day, a convict, who had, with great earnestness, propagated a report that many pikes had been secretly made, and, to prevent detection, they had been sunk in a well known part of the harbour, was examined. This fellow, on being examined by the magistrates, confessed he knew nothing of what he had asserted, and said he was intoxicated at the time. For this he was severely punished, and it was doubtful it he had not chosen to suffer rather than make known his confederates. Thus, he perhaps imagined, he proved his innocence to his accusers, and his truth to his rebel companions.

"The secrecy with which this business was conducted prevented the magistrates from making any discovery, and, of course, they succeeded in no degree on an examination of Harold, the before-mentioned Catholic priest, as being a party in seditious conversations; for nothing appeared to criminate him, though the fact was universally credited. The Governor judged it necessary, in consequence of these conjectures, to extract the heads of several acts against seditious correspondence or unlawful assemblies of the people; and altering them so as to suit the settlement, published them as a Proclamation, that none might plead ignorance of the existence of such laws. This, besides being made public in the usual manner, was read on Sunday the 24th, in church, after the performance of divine service.

"Some very serious rumours were circulated early in September, respecting the prisoners lately sent from Ireland for sedition, and being concerned in the late rebellion. It was asserted that they had formed a plan for gaining possession of the colony; and that many pikes were in great forwardness.

These reports caused the Governor to nominate a committee of officers to examine all suspected persons, and endeavour to ascertain if any such design existed.

"In the routine of their enquiries, they found occasion to imprison Harold, the Catholic priest, who, both from his language and behaviour, was suspected of being concerned in the intended attack on the Government. He confessed the reports were founded in truth, and undertook to discover the weapons concealed, of which it had been said several hundreds were made. He implicated several of his countrymen, and they, on being questioned, accused others; indeed, from what transpired on the examination, the committee thought them all deserving of punishment. Harold, however, was unable to fulfil his promise of producing the pikes. He first said they were buried in the ground of a settler; but, on searching every part of it, no pikes could be found. He then said they were sunk in the harbour; but here neither could they be discovered. Thus failing, he tried to persuade an Irishman to make a few, in support of his assertion; but the man, unfortunately for him, had been transported for having already been a dealer in those articles, and declared he would not involve himself a second time on their account. He, however, did at length find a man to make something like one, from an old hinge: this bore too strongly the marks of imposition to gain any credit. There was evidently a determination to create an alarm. Harold, declaring that he only, as their priest, was able to come at the facts, was thought to be aiming at making himself of consequence in the new-intended government. He had, some time since, applied to the Governor for liberty to act as their priest; and, most undoubtedly, had he been well-affected to the government, he might have been of use to the colony in that office."]

I now began to surmise that I had been arrested on suspicion; but was still ignorant of what was meant by the plot.

I answered, "I know nothing of any plot, and I cannot tell what I do not know; I will not invent lies to injure any man, or to please any Governor. If I were in a plot, I would not betray it; but I am not, nor ever will be, willingly. If you have my death-warrant in your pocket, take me out; I am sick of life. I am, and have long been, the victim of tyranny and oppression, which have been following me round the world; and I shall be glad to be freed from a life of wretchedness and persecution. I did hope I should have avoided tyranny here, but, wherever man exists, bad passions and villainy find there a sure abode. Man, indeed, is deceitful and desperately wicked."

Both these gentlemen were moved by my distress. Captain Aikin took me by the hand, and, addressing the Provost Marshal, said, "Sir, it is worse than murder to treat this man so inhumanly. I am sure he is innocent; and, if so, what a horrible injustice has been committed against him! If his guilt were manifest, it would not justify the treatment he has received; but, if otherwise, place yourself in his situation, and can words express the indignation you would feel?" The tears ran down the cheeks of this worthy man, and even the Provost Marshal's eyes were full.

"Gentlemen," I said, "I know not the charge which is against me; but, if I did, I would rather die than divulge a secret, after I had sworn or promised to keep it."

Mr. Smyth, the Provost Marshal, then said, "I would have you write to his Excellency the Governor, and, in a strong and forcible manner, and let him know how you have been treated."

"Sir," I answered, "how can I write without either pen, ink, or paper, or even light sufficient? I have no doubt God will give me light in the world to come, where the wicked cease from troubling, and the weary are at rest; but I have little hopes of peace and quiet here."

In reply, the Provost Marshal said, that he would send me pen, ink, and paper, and ordered that the door of the cell should be left open. They both saw the bread and water of two days lying on the floor of my cell by the wall, and they asked me whether that was the allowance sent me, to which I answered in the affirmative, observing that I would rather perish than touch a morsel of it. I was anxious to die in the cell, if I could bring my wife and children with me, and be rid of the tyranny and oppression of this abominable world.

Mr. Smyth said, he hoped I would eat a breakfast he would send me; adding, "if I were to lose my commission as Provost Marshal by it, I will not suffer you to be without wholesome and proper food." Both begged me not to despair, and all would yet be well. They shook me cordially by the hand, and went away. Shortly after, Mr. Smyth's servant brought me pen, ink, and paper, a chair and a table, with a comfortable breakfast, which I ate, and then took up the pen, and wrote to the Governor the following letter:—

Sir,—I acknowledge the great power invested in you; you are his Majesty's representative, and all I hope is, that you will not disgrace your power, or go beyond the bounds of the happy laws made for the protection of all his Majesty's subjects. I am sorry that the law which is so ready to punish, is not as prompt in protection. You know. Sir, there is a higher power than yours; I only wish for fair usage as a man, and British law. It may happen your Excellency to be tried, as the Governor of India, was for flogging a man to death.

I remain, your Excellency's
Most humble and obedient Servant,
Joseph Holt.

Mr. Smyth came, and took the letter to his Excellency, who, when he had read it, as I was told by Mr. Smyth, took off his hat and flung it down on the floor, and stamped with his feet in a violent manner, muttering words to himself. At length, he turned to Mr. Smyth, and said, "Let Holt be put in irons, and kept still more strictly." He then walked about the room in silence for some time; and then, turning to Mr. Smyth, said, in a more moderated tone, "Mr. Smyth, have you any farther business?"

"None whatever, your Excellency, except about Mr. Holt."

"Then, you may go," answered he, snappishly.

"I know your Excellency's justice and humanity," replied Smyth, "and I am satisfied you would not willingly punish an innocent man."

"Certainly not," said the Governor.

"Well, Sir," continued Smyth, "if it turns out, as I am satisfied it will, that Mr. Holt is free from, any knowledge of the business for which he has been arrested, you will regret much the hardships he has already suffered. He has not eaten a morsel of the prison allowance since he was confined, and is already half famished. He is a man of high spirit, and would rather die than live in a state of unjust oppression. Great allowance should be made for his feelings and expressions, if he be innocent."

"You are right, Smyth," said the Governor; "go to the gaol, and have him removed to the debtor-side, and let him have wine and spirits, but not to excess; and let his wife, or any respectable person, see him at his pleasure."

My excellent friend, Smyth, came to me, with joy in his countenance, and gave me this account of the good success of his interview with the Governor. He took me out of Daniel McKay's fangs, and brought me over to the house of the head gaoler, who was also chief constable, and kept a public-house adjoining the prison, where we had some rum and water, and other refreshment. He then left orders with Henry Kable to allow me to take refreshment whenever I wished. This Mr. Smyth was a North of Ireland man, and so was Captain Aikin; and during the month I was confined, they were very constant in their visits to me, or in sending Kable to me to supply me with every necessary.

A few days after, nineteen men, charged with the conspiracy to upset the government, for which I now found that I had been arrested, were taken from the gaol, and brought before the Governor for examination. Eighteen of them turned informers. These rascals were all asked about me; but not one of them knew any thing to my injury. They were a troublesome clutch of blackguards, and not a few of them were sentenced to be flogged, which took place every day; some of them sank under the effects of the punishment. Mr. Harold, the priest, was said to be concerned in the plot.

[6 October 1800]

On the 6th of October, orders were given to prepare for the boat to go to Parramatta. Mr. Smyth came and took me out of the prison, and we went in a Government boat. About ten miles from Sydney we met the passage-boat,* on board of which I spied my wife, with her young child. Mr. Smyth instantly ordered the men to row to the passage-boat, and take Mrs. Holt on board, which was done accordingly.

[* Recording the occurrences of the year 1793, Collins says—"Among the conveniences that were now enjoyed In the colony, must be mentioned the introduction of passage boats, which, for the benefit of settlers and others,'were allowed to go between Sydney and Parramatta. They were the property of persons who had served their respective terms of transportation, and from each passenger one shilling was required for his passage; luggage was paid for at the rate of one shilling per cwt.; and the entire boat could be hired by one person for six shillings. This was a great accommodation to the description of people whom it was calculated to serve, and the proprietors of the boats found it very profitable to themselves."]

When we arrived at Parramatta the prisoners were all put in gaol, except the priest, who was left in a private house, on which, however, a guard was placed; and Mr. Smyth allowed me to go at liberty upon my parole of honour, to call on him in the morning.

[7 October 1800]

I attended, to the minute. We marched to Toongabbe, where all the government transports were kept, who were called out to witness the punishment of the prisoners. One man, named Maurice Fitzgerald, was sentenced to receive three hundred lashes, and the method of punishment was such as to make it most effectual. The unfortunate man had his arms extended round a tree, his two wrists tied with cords, and his breast pressed closely to the tree, so that flinching, from the blow was out of the question, for it was impossible for him to stir. Father Harold was ordered to put his hand against the tree by the hands of the prisoner, and two men were appointed to flog, namely, Richard Rice, a left-handed man, and John Johnson, the hangman from Sydney, who was right-handed. They stood on each side of Fitzgerald; and I never saw two threshers in a barn move their flails with more regularity than these two man-killers did, unmoved by pity, and rather enjoying their horrid employment than otherwise. The very first blows made the blood spout out from Fitzgerald's shoulders; and I felt so disgusted and horrified, that I turned my face away from the cruel sight. One of the constables employed to carry into effect this tremendous punishment, came up to me, and desired me to "look on, at my peril." I frowned at the monster with disdain, and told him I would demolish him if he attempted to interfere with me. Mr. Smyth then advanced, and asked the fellows who had gathered about me what authority they had to take any notice of me; upon which they walked off. I could only compare these wretches to a pack of hounds at the death of a hare, or tigers, who torment their victims before they put them to death; and yet these fellows, I venture to assert, were arrant cowards; for cowardice is always equal to cruelty—fellows who dare not face a brave foe, but would cut a submissive captive to mince-meat.

I have witnessed many horrible scenes; but this was the most appalling sight I had ever seen. The day was windy, and I protest, that although I was at least fifteen yards to leeward, from the sufferers, the blood, skin, and flesh blew in my face as the executioners shook it off from their cats. Fitzgerald received his whole three hundred lashes, during which Doctor Magon used to go up to him occasionally to feel his pulse, it being contrary to law to flog a man beyond fifty lashes without having a doctor present. I never shall forget this humane doctor, as he smiled and said, "Go on; this man will tire you both before he fails!" During the time Fitzgerald was receiving the punishment, he never uttered a groan; the only words he said were, "Flog me fair; do not strike me on the neck." When it was over, two constables took him by the arms to help him into the cart. He said to them, "Let my arms go," and struck each of them in the pit of the stomach with his elbows, and knocked them both down; he then stepped into the cart unassisted, as if he had not received a blow. The doctor remarked, "That man has strength enough to bear two hundred more."

The next prisoner who was tied up was Paddy Galvin, a young lad about twenty years of age; he was also sentenced to receive three hundred lashes. The first hundred were given on his shoulders, and he was cut to the bone between the shoulder-blades, which were both bare. The doctor then directed the next hundred to be inflicted lower down, which reduced his flesh to such a jelly that the doctor ordered him to have the remaining hundred on the calves of his legs. During the whole time Galvin never even whimpered or flinched, if, indeed, it had been possible for him to have done so. He was asked, "where the pikes were hid?" Galvin answered, that he did not know, and that, if he did, he would not tell.

"You may hang me," said he, "if you like; but you shall have no music out of my mouth to make others dance upon nothing." He was put into the cart and sent to the hospital. Three other men then received each one hundred lashes, and they sung out lustily, from first to last. The name of one of these men was, Michael Fitzgerald, a shoemaker by trade. They were all from the county of Cork, and lived near Sir Henry Browne Hayes's.*

[* Sir Henry Browne Hayes, who had served the office of sheriff of the city of Cork, was tried in 1801 for the abduction of Miss Pike, a Quaker lady of large fortune, and was sentenced to death, which sentence was commuted to transportation for life. Upon a considerable reward being offered for his apprehension, Sir Henry walked into the shop of a hair-dresser in Cork, named Coghlan, observing, after some conversation, that as it was his intention to surrender himself, Coghlan might as well have the benefit of the reward by giving him up. The following is one of the many epigrams current at this time upon the subject:—

"The fate of Sir Harry is sure a hard case;
Unable in Cork to exhibit His face,
Pursued by the brethren, proclaimed in the papers,
Though his mighty misdeeds were mere boyish capers;
Since Mercy, high Goddess, revisits these climes.
And rebels and traitors are pardoned their crimes,
Tho' different his guilt, let them all share alike,
He was not United, and gave up his Pike."

Sir Henry Hayes, as subsequently appears in this volume, suffered shipwreck with Holt in returning to Ireland.]

When this terrible exhibition was over, Mr. Smyth and I walked to Parramatta, and went to a tavern kept by James Larra, an honest Jew,* where we dined upon a nice lamprey and some hung beef. After dinner I was joined by my wife and child, and then went in a boat to Colonel William Paterson's,** the Lieutenant-Governor, to receive sentence. The tide, which runs up sixteen miles, was favourable, as was the land-breeze; so that we ran down in an hour and forty minutes. Many of the prisoners were sent to gaol previous to being sent to Norfolk Island. After the fate of the rest had been announced, the Colonel turned to me, and said, "Mr. Holt, it is Governor King's orders that you take charge of the gaol gang, and oversee them."

[* Collins chronicles that, in September 1794, James Larra, who was a convict for life, received, with other convicts, a conditional pardon, "or (as was the term among themselves on this occasion) were made free on the ground, to enable them to become settlers." Larra was a French Jew, and his countryman, M. Peron, has made particular mention of him.]

[** Of the New South Wales corps, in which his commission as Lieutenant-Colonel bears date the 18th January, 1798. He was the author of a volume of travels in Southern Africa, published in 1789, entitled, "A Narrative of four Journeys into the Country of the Hottentots and Caffraria, in the years 1777-8-9."]

I looked at him for about a minute, turning over in my mind what answer I should give, and then said, "Sir, with due submission and respect, I hope you will deliver to His Excellency my answer. I was declared by Governor Hunter legally exempt from all compulsory employment, and I have not since forfeited the rights of a British subject by any crime, and, with God's blessing, it is my determination to act and live as a dutiful and faithful subject to my King and his laws. If His Excellency has power to make me a slave, he has also power to take my life, and assuredly the latter will be an easier task to accomplish than the former. I will never live a slave, or submit to be degraded into a convicted felon."

The good old gentleman immediately retired. My wife was dreadfully alarmed at my boldness, and said:

"My dear Joe, you are likely to lose your life by your hasty temper."

I answered, "What is life, if it be clogged with such shocking conditions? I had rather die a dozen times than be made a driver of slaves, or to be constantly associated with the degraded wretches of Toongabbe; besides, I know that the Governor cannot legally compel me, and I do not think that he will do anything unlawfully when he considers of the consequences."

The Colonel soon returned, saying:

"Mr. Holt, His Excellency wishes to see you himself."

I said, "I can go calmly to receive sentence of death, but will never submit to arbitrary degradation."

I was conducted into the Governor's presence by a sergeant, and I made my reverence respectfully to the King's representative, not at all relaxing the stern determination of my countenance. He looked very earnestly at me for some time, and at last, in a mild and kind tone of voice, said, "You are very fond of your family, Mr. Holt?"

"Your Excellency," said I, "I ought to be so; I have a worthy and affectionate wife, and I am the father of good and dutiful children; I hope I shall never disgrace them. I trust I do not stand lower in Your Excellency's estimation on that account."

He then said, "Go home, then, with your wife and family, and come to me hereafter, and I will give you a grant of land for them." I bowed with gratitude, and told His Excellency his bounty to me should not be abused; for I was disposed to be a faithful and good subject, and nothing should lead me from that path. I joined my poor wife immediately, whose heart was nearly broken with apprehension of the Governor's displeasure, and she was overjoyed at hearing that I received a reward instead of punishment. The intelligence was too much for her, and she fainted away, but soon recovered. I then went to Colonel Paterson, and thanked that excellent man with an overflowing heart for his goodness to me; but I was so much affected, that I could scarcely utter more than broken expressions of gratitude. He said he felt happy in rescuing me from oppression, and assured me that His Excellency's opinion of me was now very favourable; "but not better," Colonel Paterson was pleased to add, "than I am satisfied you deserve."

I then went to Henry Kable's,* and purchased some wine and rum, and got into the boat to return home. It was one o'clock before we reached Mr. Cox's house, where we went ashore. As soon as our voices were heard, Mrs. Cox and her family got up, and showed their kindness and affection by every possible mark of attention. After stopping a few minutes, we proceeded to Brush Farm, and here I was once more at peace in my own home.

[* Mann, in "The Present Picture of New South Wales, (1811)," describing one of the views of Sydney (No, 2), which it was published to accompany and illustrate, says, "The white building to the right of the prison, of which only three windows in front, and the warehouses around it, are discovered, belongs to Mr. Henry Kable, who, with Messrs. Lord and Underwood, have been very industrious and enterprising in the oil and seal-skin trade, &c., and possess a number of vessels and considerable estates in the colony."]


Chapter 6. Free again

The next morning I went through the flocks and herds; viewed and counted them, and entered their increase and decrease in my stock-book. I then went to the men, and ascertained what had been done in my absence. My son had looked after the business; but, being only thirteen years of age, I wished to prove the men's honesty under his care; so I examined the day-book, transferred the entries to my ledger, and made up my accounts, as I did not know but Mr. Cox might discharge me, he having taken no steps whatever, upon my arrest and confinement, which nettled me not a little. After breakfast, I tied up my book in a pocket-handkerchief, and walked with it over to Mr. Cox's house, and there, with Mr. James King, the steward or clerk over the stores, who gave out everything for the farm monthly, and kept the accounts, I compared books, and saw that the debits and credits had been correctly entered.

Having arranged everything about Brush Farm upon this system, so that there could be no mistake, I enquired respecting Canterbury. Mr. King showed me a small book, which he had made; I took it, and having ordered a horse to be saddled, I told King I would ride to Canterbury, and overhaul the stock, settle with the men, and see that all was right there, when my mind would be easy. I then asked King if Mr. Cox had engaged any one in my situation, who said he had heard nothing about it. I told him I should be glad to see Mr. Cox on my return, and leaving him, proceeded to Canterbury. King thought I had made up my mind to quit Mr. Cox's employment, and told him so.

Mr. and Mrs. Cox accordingly sent for my wife, and asked her if she knew anything of my intention of leaving my situation. She told them she had not heard me say anything about it, but she knew I was disappointed and hurt at the indifference Mr. Cox had apparently exhibited on my arrest, having taken no steps on my behalf, and she had heard me say that I had my choice of two of the best situations in the colony. She knew also that Captain Rowley* had gone to see me in prison, but she was not acquainted with the purport of his visit. Mrs. Holt was going away, but Mrs. Cox would not allow her, saying, that I would be soon back, and she might as well stay until my return. She then made my wife some handsome presents, and, I must admit, my wife told me that during the time I was in confinement, Mrs. Cox appeared very much distressed and afflicted, and shed many a tear at the distress of my wife and family. This increased my attachment; but I could not account for Mr. Cox's neglect of me in my trouble.

[* Captain Thomas Rowley, of the New South Wales corps, in which his commission as Captain was dated 21st June, 1796. He appears to have left this corps about 1802.]

The violent and intemperate disposition of Governor King, made it difficult to know how to act; it often plunged innocent people into most distressing circumstances. If any ill-disposed person went to him with a story, he generally gave it credit and, without enquiry or investigation, acted upon it. The first impression, right or wrong, with him was conclusive for the time, and the unfortunate accused was instantly subjected to the effects of his weak mind and ill-judged precipitation. But I must do Governor King the justice to say that, after he had taken time to reflect on the injury he had been induced to inflict, no man felt more acutely sorrow and remorse for the act; but it is too late for a doctor to prescribe comforting medicines, after he has by a violent dose killed his patient.

Upon my return from Canterbury, Mrs. Cox and my wife met me at the door; Mrs. Cox welcomed me most cordially, and brought me into the parlour, where I found refreshments laid out of the best of everything. Soon after, Mr. Cox came in, shook me by the hand, and said to his wife, "Now, my dear, I shall be able to sleep comfortably, having Mr. Holt at liberty, and back again in safety."

I felt gratified at this expression of good-will, but I nevertheless handed him the stock book from Canterbury, which he refused to look at, saying, "I hope everything pleased you there."

"Yes, sir," said I, "but I feel it my duty to show you the way in which I have made up my books and managed your affairs, and I wish also to give you an account of your stock."

He paused, and after a slight hesitation said, "Mr. Holt, since you have had the management of my affairs I have never looked into your books or accounts, but paid according to your handwriting, with the most perfect confidence."

"I have felt that, sir," I replied, "but I thought the suspicion and oppression I have been subjected to might have lowered me in your estimation."

Mr. Cox promptly answered, "On the contrary, your absence has made me feel your value, and as to my not going to see you, do not let that annoy you; as I was sure you had nothing to do with the conspiracy, so I knew you must get over it triumphantly, and I wished you to do so without my interference. I have now a reason for complaint to the Governor, and I will let him know my mind at our next meeting. I will vindicate your character, and make him compensate you for your sufferings."

He then filled his glass, and made me fill mine, and drank to me in so friendly a manner, that every unpleasant feeling was removed from my mind. My wife and I went home, and had scarcely got into our house before the servant arrived with a basket, and a note from Mrs. Cox; in the basket were two gallons of wine and two of rum, which the good lady begged us to accept, to replenish our stock.

I mustered my men next morning, and chose four of the best, viz. Michael Cavanagh, Anthony Kearns, James Martin, and John Joyce, and set them to burn off the timber of sixteen acres, to make the ground ready for planting the December crop. At this time I had eighty acres planted at Brush Farm, and twenty-four at Canterbury. A small farm, of thirty acres, was now offered to me for purchase, by Curtis Bryan, and I recommended Mr. Cox to buy it, as it adjoined his estate, which he did for £40, half money and half property. I also purchased for him two others, one of twenty-five acres, from Thomas Tilley, the other of fifty acres, from Mr. Hume, for £45; another of thirty acres, from Thomas Higgins, for £35; and another farm of one hundred acres, I also purchased for Mr. Cox, from a Captain McKellar, a Scotchman,* for £50 and ten gallons of rum.

[* In the Army List for 1804, I find Niel McKellar, a Lieutenant in the New South Wales corps; his commission, as Lieutenant, dated 11th November, 1795.]

I likewise bought another farm of one hundred acres, from Captain Campbell, for £100; and of Dr. Thompson a farm of one hundred acres, with 124 sheep, an old mare, two fillies and a colt, a cow and a young ox, for £500.*

[* It appears that those who received grants of land in New South Wales, were generally anxious to dispose of their farms in order to enter into trade, chiefly the retailing of spirits, by which rapid fortunes had been made. Mann states, that:

"The inferior officers of the settlement, and the non-commissioned officers and privates of the regiment, have been infected with the itch for dealing; and many of the settlers themselves have either disposed of their farms, or deserted them, to obtain the means or the leisure to devote themselves to a species of dealing which never failed to turn to good account. Many who had also served their terms of transportation, instead of remaining to aid the public service, withdrew themselves from the stores, and turned their thoughts to trade. The consequence of this universal inclination to one object, and that of such an evil nature, being chiefly confined to the sale of spirits, soon became obvious, in the desertion of those farms which had been previously tilled with so much advantage, and in the neglect of all duties, whether of a public or private nature. The immense profits made by this pursuit served as a new stimulus to its continuance. One dealer was known to have cleared twelve hundred pounds sterling in four weeks, and chiefly by the sale of spirits; and an inhabitant of the lowest order, who commenced dealing with five pounds, has been known to realise five hundred pounds in the course of six months."]

The stock, when valued, was considered worth twenty-five per cent more than the purchase money, consequently the farm did not stand Mr. Cox in sixpence. What made things even better, was that Mr. Cox paid him with bills on the regimental agents.

The Doctor went away in a French ship, that was exploring, and Mrs. Thompson deserted from him with a French officer, taking the bills with her; they were never heard of more.*

[* The French discovery, or as Holt calls it, exploring ship, which Dr. Thompson joined, must have been one of the corvettes sent out by Buonaparte for the purpose of surveying Australia. Le Geographe and le Naturaliste sailed from Havre on the 19th October, 1800; the expedition-visited Port Jackson in June, 1802, and remained there until the following November. M. Peron, the naturalist, published an account of this voyage; entitled—"Voyage de Découverte aux Terres Australes, &c." Paris. 1808. 4to. With an Atlas; and a subsequent volume appeared in 1815. Speaking of the reception of the French expedition at Port Jackson, Peron says, "Our numerous sick were received into the government hospital, where the English surgeons paid them all possible attention. Dr. Thompson, the chief physician of the colony, directed the mode of treatment, with the greatest tenderness; and whatever we were in need of that the place could furnish, was put at our disposal. The Governor-general gave us an unlimited credit on the public treasury, and our commodore was furnished with royal printed cheques, to fill up with any sum that he might wish for; and these cheques, without any other security than the signature of the French commandant, were accepted by the inhabitants, with a confidence highly honourable to the government of the country. Our salt provisions, spirits, and biscuits were exhausted; but by means of these cheques we obtained fresh supplies; and several times the magazines of the colony were opened to supply us with articles which our agents could not procure. Thus, by this generous relief, we were enabled to reclothe our crews, who were in want of everything; repair our ships; purchase one, instead of that we had lost; and be completely prepared for continuing our voyage.

"At the same time, our scientific researches met with every encouragement; a guard of English soldiers was appointed expressly to protect our observatory, which we placed on the north point of the eastern bank of Sydney Cove. The whole country was open to the excursions of our naturalists, and we were even permitted to wear our arms, as were the persons of our suite; while guides and interpreters were furnished us for our longer journeys. In short, the English government behaved to us with such generosity, that they acquired our warmest gratitude.

"The principal object of our stay at Port Jackson," continues M. Peron, "was that we might devote proper attention to every part of the surrounding country. While our crews were repairing the damages the ships had sustained, and getting in fresh supplies of provisions, the naturalists extended their researches to every branch of the physical history of this, interesting country."

What a contrast is here exhibited to the treatment which Captain Flinders experienced!]

Thus I made a good bargain for Mr. Cox, clearing for him above £1000 in one year, by these purchases.

[1801]

The next year, I bought John Ramsay's farm, of seventy-five acres, for £60, and then Michael Fitzgerald's, with eight large pigs, and eighty bushels of maize, for £100. I let the farm in ten days after for £40 a year. I then purchased Barrington's farm, of twenty-five acres, an old brood mare with a colt at her foot, for £100, and sold the mare in four days after, for £85. I then bought fifty acres from Edward Elliot,* for £40, and by these means squared the estate, and removed the lurchers to a distance from it. A lurcher is a degree lower than a thief, as a thief is lower than a robber. I had no desire for robbers in my neighbourhood, having forty-five convicts under my care at the stores, and had to give them the same rations and clothing as the government allowed. I had also twenty-five freemen employed, making a total of seventy men, and it required all my energies in full play to keep them in proper order.

[* Elliot is thus particularly noticed by Captain Collins.—"One man, a settler at the Eastern Farms, Edward Elliot, had received a ewe sheep from the late Governor Phillip, before his departure in the year 1792. He had resisted many temptations to sell it, and at the time this enquiry took place was found possessing a stock of two-and-twenty sheep, males and females. He had been fortunate in not meeting with any loss, but had not added to his stock by any purchase. This was a proof that industry did not go without its reward in this country."]

My freemen I always employed by the piece, and whenever I had anything to do, I drew up an agreement, specifying every particular, so that nothing remained but to see that the work was done according to agreement. The mode of payment was also specified, so that there could be no mistake or grumbling. As to the convicts, there was a certain quantity of work, which, by the government regulations they must do in a given time, and this may be given to them by the day, week, or month, as you pleased, and they must be paid a certain price for all the work they did beyond the stipulated quantity.

If they were idle, and did not do the regulated quantity of work, it was only necessary to take them before a magistrate, and he would order them twenty-five lashes of the cat on their backs, for the first offence, fifty for the second, and so on; and if that would not do, they were at last put into a gaol gang, and made to work in irons from morning till night.

In order to keep them honest, I paid them fully and fairly for everything they did beyond their stipulated task, at the same rate I paid the freemen, and, if I thought the rations not sufficient for their comfortable support, I issued to each man six pounds of wheat, fourteen of potatoes, and one of pork, in addition. By this means the men were well fed; for the old saying is true, that "Hunger will break through stone walls;" and it is all nonsense to make laws for starving men. When any article was stolen from me, I instantly paraded all hands, and told them that "if it was not restored in a given time, I would stop all extra allowances and indulgences; the thief," said I, "is a disgrace to the establishment, and all employed in it, let the honest men find him out, and punish him among yourselves, do not let it be said that the flogger ever polluted this place by his presence. You all know the advantages you enjoy above gangs on any other estate in the colony, do not then throw them away. Do not let me know who the thief is, but punish him by your own verdict." I then dismissed them.

The transports would say amongst themselves that what I had told them was all right. "We won't," they would reason, "be punished because there happens to be an ungrateful thief among us." They then called a jury, and entered into an investigation, and, on all occasions, succeeded in detecting and punishing the offender. I was by this line of conduct secure from plunder; and the disgusting operation of flaying a man alive, with a cat-o'-nine-tails, did not disgrace the farms under my superintendence. Mr. Cox one day said to me, "Pray, Joseph, how is it that you never have to bring your men to punishment? You have more under you, than I believe any man in the colony, and, to the surprise of all, you have never had one flogged, or indeed have made a complaint against one; they look well, and appear contented, and even happy."—"Sir," said I, "I have studied human nature more than books. I had the management of many more men in my own country, and I was always rigidly just to them. I never oppressed them, or suffered them to cheat their employers or each other. They knew, if they did their duty they would be well treated, and if not, sent to the right about. I follow the same course with the men here. I have taught them the advantages they derive from good conduct, and I make them punish an offender themselves; therefore, if any depredation be committed on your property, they are told that all allowances and indulgences will be stopped, until whatever is missing be restored. The crime, therefore, becomes one against themselves, and they have better means of detecting it than I have. They call a jury, convict and punish the offender. I should think myself very ill qualified to act as your agent and overseer, were I to have a man or two flogged every week. Besides the horrible inhumanity of this practice, the loss of a man's week or fortnight's work will not be a trifle in a year, at twelve and sixpence per week, for a man who gets the cat is incapable of work till his back is well; so in prudence, as well as in Christian charity, it is best to treat our fellow-creatures like men, although they be degraded to the state of convict slaves. They will, moreover, when properly treated, be sensible of kindness, and find that they better themselves by behaving well. But, as you ask me, I will show you my private flogger." I then went to an outhouse, and brought Mr. Cox two hoes, one which weighed three pounds and a half, the other seven. He took the lightest in his hand, and said it was a very good one. I then handed him the seven pound hoe, which he took into his hand, and, after a time, said, "This is a terrible tool."

"Well, sir," said I, "there is my punishment, the man who misbehaves knows he will get the seven pounder, and I have great satisfaction in saying it has been used but once, and then only for a short time.

"The greater number of overseers in the colony," I continued, "have been criminals themselves, and have neither prudence, honesty or humanity; they are ruffian's, who are actuated and influenced by the worst passions, and frequently flog an unfortunate wretch for complaining of their oppression. No man could insult me by saying, 'I am as good as you, for you were a thief, and I am no worse!' Believe me, sir, thieves never make good masters, or use power with moderation or humanity."

Mr. Cox said, "Joseph, you ought to have been a lawyer, it is a pity you were not brought up to the bar."

I answered, there was no occasion for his wishes, as, under Governor King, I had already become acquainted with the bar more intimately than was agreeable to me; "and moreover," said I, "were I made a judge, I myself might sometimes have to hang the innocent and acquit the guilty. I am much better qualified for the station I hold, and I hope, sir, that you esteem me as good a servant, as I consider you an excellent master."

While we were in conversation, a black man, named-John Randall, passed by the window. Mr. Cox asked me who he was, and said, "Go and learn what he wants." Randall told me that he wished to dispose of his farm, and would sell it cheap, if I would promise to get him into the choir. I told him I was busy at the moment, but would talk to him about the matter next day. This man had been sportsman to Governor Grose. His farm was about a mile and three quarters from Mr. Cox's estate; and I recommended Mr. Cox to purchase it. Mr. Cox looked at me for some time, as if hesitating, but at length, to my surprise, he said, "Holt, if you like the farm, why not buy it for yourself? I am sure I can get him into the choir, and it is time you should be doing something for yourself and your own family."

I answered, "Sir, I may not have as much money coming to me as will pay for it."

He replied, "If you buy as cheap for yourself as you have done for me, it will not cost you much, and I will advance for you as far as £500, if you get good value for your money," Then, looking at me very earnestly, Mr. Cox added, "Holt, I know you."

I answered, "I was very glad he did, and that it gave me great pleasure." We then took more wine and water; he was a good soul over his glass.


A Man of Property

The next day Randall came, and I went with him to view the farm; it was very well circumstanced, and convenient for me, being so near Mr. Cox's estate, and, as I hoped to continue with that gentleman, I considered it very eligible.

I asked the price; Randall said £60, and to engage to get him into the choir. I told him that was more than I could do at present; but I would give him forty pounds if I could get him into the choir, and fifty if I could not do it; and if he came with me he should have my letter to Colonel Paterson.

This black was a well-made fellow, about six feet high, and a good musician on the flute and tambourine. I wrote to Colonel Paterson in as polite a manner as I was able, and sent it by Blackee. The Colonel returned me a very civil answer, to the effect that he would do what he could to accomplish my wishes, and would, if fit, take him into the choir, on my recommendation. We then went to Mr. Cox, and he gave directions to have the deed of conveyance prepared against ten o'clock the next day. It was made out to my wife, Hester Holt, and her heirs; for although I had no indent against me, there might, nevertheless, be a legal question raised hereafter, about my capability to purchase.

[10 November 1801]

The deed was dated the 10th November, in the forty-first year of the reign of His Majesty King George the Third, the money paid down, and the writing witnessed by William Cox, Rebecca Cox, and James King. This conveyance I have now in my possession at Dunleary.

[1802]

I went down to Canterbury to arrange the business there, having now very extensive concerns under my control. There were two sawyers, three carpenters, two stone-cutters, twenty labourers, and three shepherds at Canterbury, besides the concern at Brush Farm. The whole number was 110 men, to supply with their provisions, to apportion their work, and to pay every week; sometimes the weekly bill amounted to £150. My labour was very great; I had to keep my accounts at night, and I found this, with my constant exertion during the day, almost too much for me. It was not necessary for me to tell Mr. Cox so; he saw the necessity I had for assistance, and he asked me what I would charge for my son.

"Sir," said I, "the boy is a smart lad, but I will not fix his value. Try him; put a gang of twenty men under him, and let him be placed at a distance from me; if he has abilities to manage them, and execute your commands properly, you may judge then of his value."

Mr. Cox did as I suggested, and at the end of a month he met me, and I asked him what he thought of his young steward? He answered he was perfectly satisfied with him, and would give him £60 a year, and he put a memorandum in writing into my hand, to this effect—"I will give Joshua Holt sixty pounds a year." So I had now £160 a year, besides other advantages. I had also more time to ride over the country, to buy and sell. My son was but just turned of thirteen years of age at this time.

As I was riding through Parramatta, I met a man, named Thomas Bray, who asked me into his house, and, as usual, placed the rum bottle before me. He then told me he intended to leave the colony, and wished me to buy 300 bushels of wheat, and 60 acres of land. He asked £60 for the land, and 6s. 6d. per bushel for the wheat. I told him I would let him know. I then went to Mr. Cox, and laid the business before him. He instantly desired me to close the bargain. But I bought the wheat for him at six shillings the bushel, and the land for fifty pounds; and both parties were well satisfied, and Bray made me a present....*

[* A long passage here is very carefully obliterated in Holt's original manuscript; from the few words which can be deciphered, it appears to relate to Bray's present, and some subsequent dealings between him and Holt, but it is impossible satisfactorily to make out the particulars.]


Observations on the Aborigines

Chapter 8.

I will now attempt an account of the native inhabitants of this country, their manners and laws, which they have apparently by the instinct of nature. When first I went to the country, I was invited to dine by Lieutenant Cummings,* of the Botany Bay corps, a man well acquainted with the natives, and who, being fond of sport, used to go out to hunt the kangaroo, which brought him in contact with the natives.

[* Lieutenant William Cummings. His commission as Lieutenant in the New South Wales corps was dated 25th June, 1793, and he appears to have left the service in 1800. On the 31st December, 1792, Collins records that a grant of twenty-five acres of land was made to Ensign Cummings, of the New South Wales corps, and he adds—"In the instructions for granting lands in this country no mention of officers had yet been made; it was, however, fairly presumed that the officers could not be intended to be precluded from the participation of any advantages which the Crown might have to bestow in the settlements; particularly as the greatest in its gift, the free possession of land, was held out to people who had forfeited their lives before they came into the colony."

In October, 1793, a settler named Charles Williams, "sold his farm, with the house, crop and stock, for something less than one hundred pounds, to Lieutenant Cummings, to whose allotment of twenty-five acres Williams's ground was contiguous." Collins also relates of Lieutenant Cummings that, in March, 1795, he made an excursion, to examine the country to the southward of Botany Bay, and that, in his intercourse with the natives, he obtained information which led him to believe that the cattle which had been lost soon after the first arrival of the colonizers of New South Wales, were in existence; and which proved to be the case. Holt subsequently mentions Mr. Cummings as engaged in illicit distillation, and attributes to him information given to the authorities against Holt for the same practice.]

He [Cummings] was an Irishman, and the day I dined with him about fifty natives collected round his house. They are very inquisitive, and said to me, "Name you? you are Miel."* That is to say, "You are a stranger, what is your name?" Mr. Cummings told them I was his brother, and I passed by that name ever after.

[* Mi-yal—a stranger. Collins states, that "this word has reference to sight; Mi, the eye." A collection of words used by the natives in various parts of the coast of Australia and Van Diemen's land, was made by Captain P. P. King, of the Royal Navy, for the purpose of showing the great dissimilarity that exists in the languages of the several tribes; "and it may be remarked," observes that scientific officer, "that of thirty-three objects, one only, the eye, is expressed by nearly the same term at each place."]

The chief, or king of this tribe, was called Bennelong,* that is to say, their "king for a long time." Every tribe has its chief, who makes laws, hears trials, and acts as judge.

[* Bennelong, of whom Collins has preserved a portrait, is certainly the most distinguished Australian chieftain in the English annals of that continent: his history is curious, as exhibiting the difficulty which exists in civilizing a savage.

The Goat Island (called by the natives Me-mil), close to Sydney Cove, was said to be the property of Bennelong's father. "On our settling there," says Barrington, "he called it his, and took great pleasure in being there with his wife."

Bennelong was taken, with another native, in November 1789, and detained by Governor Phillip, with the view of facilitating, through their communication, a friendly intercourse between the colonists and the natives; Bennelong's companion escaped a few days after, and he followed the example in the ensuing May. Nothing was heard of him until September, when Bennelong sent the Governor, by Mr. White, who had fallen in with him not far from Sydney, a present of a piece of whale, which was then lying on the beach. Anxious to see him again, the Governor, after taking some arms from the party at the Look-out, as he heard the Cove was full of natives, proceeded to where the whale was lying, and which they had assembled to feast upon. Here he found not only Bennelong, but his former companion in captivity, Cole-be.

Bennelong appeared much altered; he expressed his pleasure at seeing the Governor again, as well as some of the officers by whom he was accompanied, and a few articles were given to him and his company; but the Governor observing that the natives were assembling round his small party, and fearing treachery, was about to withdraw to his boat, when "Bennelong, who had presented to him several natives by name, pointed out one, whom the Governor thinking to take particular notice of, stepped forward to meet, holding out both his hands towards him. The savage, not understanding this civility, and perhaps thinking that he was going to seize him as a prisoner, lifted a spear from the grass with his foot, and, fixing it on his throwing stick, in an instant darted it at the Governor. The spear entered a little above the collar-bone, and bad been discharged with such force, that the barb of it came through on the other side." Governor Phillip, however, recovered in about a fortnight, and as the accident appears to have arisen from misunderstanding, and not from any hostile feeling, the intercourse was soon resumed with Bennelong, who said he had beaten Wil-le-me-rig, the man who threw the spear, and who, according to Bennelong's statement, was only actuated by fears for his personal safety. On the 8th October (1790) Bennelong visited the Governor, and after repeating his visit, "solicited the Governor to build him a hut at the extremity of the eastern point of the Cove. This," continues Collins, "the Governor, who was very desirous of preserving the friendly intercourse which seemed to have taken place, readily promised, and gave the necessary directions for its being built."

When Governor Phillip embarked for England, in Dec. 1792, Bennelong, and another native named Yem-mer-ra-wan-nie, volunteered to accompany him, notwithstanding the distress of their wives, and the dismal lamentations of their friends. They arrived in England with the Governor, on the 21st May, 1794, but they soon desired to return to their own country, preferring the woods of New South Wales to the houses of London.

On the return of Bennelong to Sydney, with Governor Hunter, in September 1795, "he conducted himself," says Collins, "with a polished familiarity towards his sisters and other relations; but to his acquaintance he was distant, and quite the man of consequence. He declared, in a tone and with an air that seemed to expect compliance, that he should no longer suffer them to fight, and cut each other's throats, as they had done; that he should introduce peace among them, and make them love each other. He expressed his wish, that when they visited him at the Government House they would contrive to be somewhat more cleanly in their persons, and less coarse in their manners; and he seemed absolutely offended at some little indelicacies which he observed in his sister, Car-rang-ar-rang, who came in such haste from Botany Bay, with a little nephew on her back, to visit him, that she left all her habiliments behind her.

"Bennelong had certainly not been an inattentive observer of the manners of the people among whom he had lived; he conducted himself with the greatest propriety at table, particularly in the observance of those attentions which are chiefly requisite in the presence of women. His dress appeared to be an object of no small concern with him; and every one who knew him before he left the country, and who saw him now, pronounced, without hesitation, that Bennelong had not any desire to renounce the habits and comforts of the civilized life which he appeared so readily and so successfully to adopt.

"His inquiries were directed, immediately on his arrival, after his wife, Go-roo-bar-roo-bool-lo; and her he found with Caruey. On producing a very fashionable rose-coloured petticoat and jacket, made of a coarse stuff, accompanied by a gypsy bonnet of the same colour, she deserted her lover, and followed her former husband. In a few days, however, to the surprise of every one, we saw the lady walking unencumbered with clothing of any kind, and Bennelong was missing. Caruey was sought for, and we heard that he had been severely beaten by Bennelong, at Rose bay, who retained so much of our customs that he made use of his fists, instead of the weapons of his country, to the great annoyance of Caruey, who would have preferred meeting his rival fairly in the field, armed with the spear and club. Caruey being much the younger man, the lady, every inch a woman, followed her inclination, and Bennelong was compelled to yield her without any further opposition. He seemed to have been satisfied with the beating he had given Caruey, and hinted that, resting for the present without a wife, he should look about him, and at some future period make a better choice.

"His absences from the Governor's house now became frequent, and little attended to. When he went out, lie usually left his clothes behind, resuming them carefully on his return, before he made his visit to the Governor."

"About this time," continues Collins [March, 1796], "Bennelong, who occasionally shook off the habits of civilized life, and went for a few days into the woods, with his sisters and other friends, sent in word that he had had a contest with his bosom friend, Cole-be, in which he had been so much the sufferer, that until his wounds were healed he could not, with any pleasure to himself,.appear at the Governor's table. This notification Was accompanied with a request, that his clothes, which he had left behind him when he went away, might be sent, together with some victuals, of which he was much in want.

"On his coming among us again, he appeared with a wound on his mouth, which had divided the upper lip, and broke two of the teeth of that jaw. His features, never very pleasing, now seemed out of all proportion, and his pronunciation was much altered. Finding himself badly received among the females (although improved by his travels in the little attentions that are supposed to have their weight with the sex), and not being able to endure a life of celibacy, which had been his condition from the day of his departure from this country until nearly the present hour, he made an attack upon his friend's favourite, Boo-re-a, in which he was not only unsuccessful, but was punished for his breach of friendship as above related, by Cole-be, who sarcastically asked him 'if he meant that kind of conduct to be a specimen of English manners?'"

Mann, in 1809, thus writes of Bennelong,—"Notwithstanding so much pains had been taken for his improvement, both when separated from his countrymen and since his return to New South Wales, he has subsequently taken to the woods again, and returned to his old habits; and now lives in the same manner as those who have never mixed with the civilized world. Sometimes, indeed, he holds intercourse with the colony; but every effort uniformly fails to draw him once again into the circle of polished society, since he prefers to taste of liberty amongst his native scenes, to the unsatisfactory gratification which arises from an association with strangers, however kind their treatment of him, and however superior to his own enjoyments."]

They have no idea of God, or a Divinity of any kind, worship or religion. They say, however, that there is a murry devil, of whom they are very much afraid, and think he is in the habit of playing ugly practical jokes and tricks upon them. They consider him a cowardly rascal, and much afraid of fire; that the mischief he does is always by stealth; and therefore when they build their huts they place them in two straight lines opposite to each other, and light fires at both ends, as well to alarm the devil, as that they may see him when he approaches. They are very cowardly in the dark, like the feeble-minded people in Ireland, and perhaps everywhere.

They couple very early, and the marriage is settled by the old ones; the young female is taken home to the parents of the male in early infancy, and they are kept together until they are marriageable, when a ceremony takes place, which, however, I must decline relating. They go perfectly naked, and have no idea whatever of shame on that account. There is no use in giving them clothes or covering, as they do not require any, except in the nights of July and August, which are the coldest in the year. I have known ladies dress up the Gins (their name for a woman) of the chiefs in European finery; they were very proud, and admired themselves at first and for a short time, very much. But after wearing the clothes for a day or two, they would throw them off. I have frequently had a hundred of both males and females in the farm-yard at a time, and it was my custom to take in the chief and his Gin, and give them their breakfast and a glass of grog. I then told them not to meddle with my corn or melons, for if they did, I should be murry (very) angry with him.

He said "Bail bail," that is, never fear.

The chief then went out, and set up a shout, when all his company came round him, and he gave the order, to which they were as obedient as any party of soldiers I ever saw. He then held up his hand, saying, "Murry, Tat, Tat" and pointing in a certain direction, he would acquaint them where the next camp was to be formed, and that they must not touch any thing belonging to the master here, or that he would "Murry pialla" them, that is, spear them to death. They then ordered their gins to go catch "mogra" that is, fish, for the mistress.

The gins do all the drudgery for their husbands. They fish, carry the provisions, corn, potatoes, bandycoots, and guannas. The latter is an animal like a lizard, about four feet long, with four short legs, and on its feet are extremely sharp claws; so sharp as to enable it to run up the smoothest tree with great ease. It lays four eggs about the size of a turkey's, with a bluish shell like a duck's. Its head is very like a snake's, and when alarmed it thrusts out its three-forked tongue in the same manner as snakes do. I believe they are perfectly harmless, but their appearance to me was very disgusting. They are great destroyers of poultry and eggs. Their flesh, I am told, is very like that of a fowl. I had several Englishmen with me, who used to eat them as well as snakes, and they assured me, that the soup they made of both was of a very fine flavour.

The gins carry everything they make use of, as well as their children, or pickaninnies.

The names used by the natives for Father, is Ogibbrage.*

[* All the vocabularies that I have seen of the language of the Natives of New South Wales, give Be-an-na (shortened to Be-an and Be-a) as the word implying father. It was the name bestowed by the natives on governor Hunter.]

Mother, poisauna.*

[* Wy-an-na, and Wy-ang, are the words given by Collins as meaning mother.]

Cobawn, is big.

Patta, eating.*

[* Patta, is probably the verb to eat rather than its participle. Collins has preserved the following inflexions of the word. Pat-ta-diow, I have eaten. Pat-ttá-die-mi, you have eaten. Pat-ty, he has eaten. Pat-ta-bow, I will eat. Pat-tá-bow-me, you will eat; or will you eat? Pat-ta-ne, they eat.]

Murry gunrin, much afraid.*

[* Mur-ray, great. According to the vocabulary given by Collins, Bar-gat means afraid, or frightened.]

Pialla, spearing man.*

[* Collins explains the native word Bil-lar, (between which and Pialla, it is not difficult to fancy the identity) by "A spear with one barb cut from the wood."]

Murry boogare, very good.*

[* Bood-ger-re.—Collins.]

Murry wiren, very bad.*

[* Wee-re.—Collins.
"That they," (the natives) observes Barrington; "well know the difference between right and wrong, as far as concerns this world, is evident, for if anybody does them an injury they exclaim Wee-re, (bad); but if any person does them a service, Bood-jer-re, (good)."]

Murry gama, much offended.

Apatta, eating.*

[* See observations on the previous word Patta.]

I picked up these few words in my intercourse with them.

These people are very expert fishers; the gins use the line and hook very skilfully, and the men, with a wooden spear of four barbs, similar to our salmon spear in Ireland, and pointed with the teeth of the kangaroo, strike large fish at the depth of a fathom, with great dexterity.* These prongs or barbs are fastened into the spear by a gum, which is got from one of the trees, and it fixes the barbs very firmly. The natives have nets in which they carry burdens, and also use for fishing. These nets are made of the fibrous bark of a tree, by the women, who likewise manufacture the fishing-lines. In their wandering life the gins transport everything; the men carry nothing but their implements of war, which I will endeavour to describe. Every man has a hielaman** or shield, of an oval form, made of the bark of a tree, with a handle behind it; with this in his left hand he parries the thrust of a spear. Their spear is about eight feet long, the handle is made of the grass tree, with a splice of about twenty inches at the end, of iron-wood, fastened with the gum before mentioned, which holds it so firmly that I have often tried to separate them but was unable; there is a barb on each side of the point. This makes the wound it inflicts very dangerous. These they call their death-spears, for few survive if once wounded by one of them.

[* "The natives on the sea coast are those with whom we happen to be most acquainted. Fish is their chief support. Men, women, and children, are employed in procuring them; but the means used are different according to the sex; the males always killing them with the Fiz-gig, while the females use the hook and line. The fiz-gig is made of the wattle; has a joint in it, fastened by gum; is from fifteen to twenty feet in length, and armed with four barbed prongs; the barb being a piece of bone secured by gum. To each of these prongs they gave a particular name; but I never could discover any sensible reason for the distinction. The lines used by the women, are made by themselves, of the bade of a small tree which they find in the neighbourhood. Their hooks are made of the mother-of-pearl oyster, which they rub on a stone until it assumes the shape they want. It must be remarked that these hooks are not barbed; they nevertheless catch fish with them with the greatest facility." Collins's New South Wales. Appendix, No. iv.]

[** E-lee-mong, a shield made of bark.—Collins.]

They have another kind of spear which is not barbed, and much lighter than the one described, which they throw with great accuracy, and often transfix with it large birds on the wing, and drive it through an animal on a tree one hundred feet high, or a man, at an incredible distance; so great, that I am apprehensive of being thought to draw a long bow, were I to state it.*

[* Mann, in his "Picture of New South Wales," says, "They, (the natives) are amazingly expert at throwing the spear, and will launch it, with unerring aim, to a distance of thirty to sixty yards. I myself have seen a lad hurl his spear at a hawk-eagle (a bird, which with wings expanded, measures from seven to ten feet), flying in the air, with such velocity and correctness, as to pierce his object, and bring the feathered victim to the earth."]

Their manner of warfare is very singular; it has more the appearance of a ceremony than enmity, as among other people. Once a year, the tribes living in the neighbourhood of Sydney, and Field of Mars, Northern boundary, and George's River-Cabramatta, all join; Cow Pasture, plains of Hawkesbury, Broken Bay, and the Seven Hills. The warriors are summoned by messengers from the opposing party. These messengers have a hole made in the gristle of their noses when young, and kept open till it heals; through this they pass a wooden skewer, which is their token of war.*

[* "As a principal ornament the men, on particular occasions, thrust a bone or reed through the septum nasi, the hole through which is bored when they are young. Some boys who went away from us for a few days, returned dignified with this strange ornament, having, in the mean time, the operation performed upon them; they appeared to be from twelve to fifteen years of age. The bone that they wear is the small bone in the leg of the kangaroo, one end of which is sharpened to a point. I have seen several women who had their noses perforated in this extraordinary manner. "Collins's New South Wales. Appendix, No. ii.

"Between the ages of eight and sixteen, the males and females undergo the operation whiqli they term Gnah-noong, viz. that of having the septum nasi bored to receive a bone or reed, which among them is deemed a great ornament, though I have seen many whose articulation was thereby rendered very imperfect." Ibid. Appendix, No. vi.]

Having smeared their bodies with a kind of red ocherous earth, they get a sort of white clay and draw fantastic figures upon their bodies; sometimes imitating the European dress, with buttons and button holes, and embroidery like the jackets of a hussar.* Thus fitted out with these emblems of war, they sally forth and pass through the tribes, who are by them summoned to appear, fully armed, in twenty-one days. The contending parties then remain encamped six days before they give battle, which is always on a fixed day, so that they have a pitched battle.

[* "On particular occasions they ornament themselves with red and white clay, using the former when preparing to fight, the latter for the more peaceful amusement of dancing. The fashion of these ornaments was left to each person's taste; and some, when decorated in their best manner, looked perfectly horrible. Nothing could appear more terrible than a black and dismal face, with a large white circle drawn round each eye. In general, waved lines were marked down each arm, thigh, and leg; and in some the cheeks were daubed; and lines drawn over each rib, presented to the beholder a truly spectre-like figure. Previous either to a dance or a combat, we always found them busily employed in this necessary preliminary; and it must be observed, that when other liquid could not be readily procured, they moistened the clay with their own saliva." Collins's New South Wales. Appendix, No. ii.]

The chiefs or officers lay out the ground, and mark their lines with great accuracy, about fifty perches apart, perfectly straight, opposite each other; the opposing parties walking about, apparently in the most friendly way, during all this period of preparation, as if they were on the best of terms. The Caragees* or doctors get their attendants ready to take care of the wounded, to carry whom from the field several strong men are in readiness. When all these matters are arranged, the chiefs or generals call their men to arms, and form them into line, which is done with great alertness. There are about four hundred men on each side; and every one has his spear ready to throw. They have a little stick about thirty inches long, with a little pivot fixed in the back part of it, and there is a small corresponding hole in the end of their spears, which they hold up in the same manner that soldiers shoulder their muskets; a shout is then given from each side by the leaders, which is followed by two others, and on the third a discharge of the spears takes place.

[* Collins renders this word Car-rah-dy. He says (Appendix, No. vii.) "I think I may term the Car-rah-dy, their high-priest of superstition."]

Each man watches their flight and receives the weapon upon his shield, throwing the spear, thus parried, back to his adversary;* and in the next moment he has another spear ready for action at the word of command.

[* Speaking of a similar native contest, Collins says, "Some of the spears which were thrown at them they returned with extraordinary violence." "The most unaccountable trait in this business was, the party thrown at providing his enemy with weapons; for they have been repeatedly seen, when a spear has flown harmless beyond them, to pick it up and fling it carelessly back to their adversary. This might proceed from contempt, or from there being a scarcity of spears; and I have thought that when instead of flinging it carelessly back, they have thrown it with much violence, it was because it had been thrown at them with a greater degree of malevolence than the others. This rigid attention to the point of honour, when fairly opposed to each other, is difficult to reconcile with their treacherous and midnight murders."]

The gins stand in the rear, and pick up the spears thrown by the enemy. After every discharge the opposing parties each advance about twenty yards, which soon brings the combatants to close quarters.]

When they come within about forty paces, they throw by their spears, and take a weapon called a Nulanula,* which is a kind of battle-axe made of very hard wood; the head is round, and resembles a plate, sharp-edged, but thickest in the middle, with a handle like the hand-staff of a flail; it is a very powerful weapon.

[* Although Collins has collected a list of the names given by the natives of New South Wales to no less than twenty-six varieties of spears, clubs and other implements of war, no name bearing any resemblance to Nulanula is to be found therein.]

With this they cut at each other about six or seven blows, when another shout is given, and the gins present to each warrior a stick three feet long, which they call a Waddy.* It is about as thick as a shovel-handle, and very nearly as heavy as iron. Each warrior then holds, in turn, his head for his adversary to strike at with this waddy; and if the skull is broken by the blow, and the man killed, the matter ends here; but if the person struck fortunately escapes the blow, the striker must submit to the same ceremony.

[* Woo-dah, according to Collins.]

The chiefs are merely spectators during this murderous amusement, and when they think proper, they order, by another shout, a charge of tomahawks, or small hatchets about three inches broad in the blade, and as sharp as a carpenter's chisel. With these they all cut away, splitting skulls, cutting off noses and arms in the most fearful manner, until another shout is given by the chiefs, when the slaughter ceases.*

[* Extraordinary and unreasonable as this account of the ceremony of a native contest may appear, Holt seems to be fully borne out in his statement by Captain Collins's relations; he says:—"The natives who lived about Sydney appeared to place the utmost confidence in us, choosing a clear spot between the town and the brick-fields for the performance of any of their rites or ceremonies; and for three evenings the town had been amused with one of their spectacles, which might properly have been denominated a tragedy, for it was attended with a great effusion of blood. It appeared from the best accounts we could procure, that one or more murders having been committed in the night, the assassins, who were immediately known, were compelled, according to the custom of the country, to meet the relations of the deceased, who were to avenge his death by throwing spears, and drawing blood for blood.!" After detailing the manner in which a native stood for three days to have spears thrown at him, Collins proceeds thus:— "The business was resumed when they had repaired their weapons, and the fray appeared to be general, men, women, and children mingling in it, giving and receiving many severe wounds, before night put an end to their warfare. What rendered this sort of contest as unaccountable as it was extraordinary, was, that friendship and alliance were known to subsist between several that were opposed to each other, who fought with all the ardour of the bitterest enemies, and who, though wounded, pronounced the party by whom they had been hurt to be good and brave, and their friends."

Captain Collins, in the Appendix No. vi. to his work, says:—We had been told for some days of their (the natives) making great preparations for a fight, and gladly heard that they had chosen a clear spot near the town for the purpose. The contending parties consisted of most of our Sydney acquaintance, and some natives from the South shore of Botany Bay. We repaired to the spot an hour before sunset, and found them seated opposite to each other on a level piece of ground between two hills. As a prelude to the business, we observed our friends, after having waited some time, stand up, and each man stooping down, take water in the hollow of his band, (the place just before them being wet,) which he drank. An elderly woman, with a cloak on her shoulders, (made of opossum skins, and neatly sewn together,) and provided with a club, then advanced from the opposite side, and uttering much abusive language at the time, ran up to Cole-be, who was on the Tight, and gave him what I should have considered a severe blow on the head, which, with seeming contempt, he held out to her for the purpose. She went through the same ceremony with the rest, who made no resistance, until she came up to Ye-ra-ni-be, a very fine boy, who stood on the left. He not admiring the blows that his companions received, which were followed by blood, struggled with her, and had he not been very active, I believe she would have stabbed him with his own spear, which she wrested from him. The men now advanced, and gave us many opportunities of witnessing the strength and dexterity with which they threw their spears, and the quickness of sight which was requisite to guard against them. The contest lasted until dark, when throwing the spear could no longer be accounted fair, and they then beat each other with clubs, until they left off by mutual consent. In this part of the contest many severe wounds were given, and much blood was drawn from the heads of each party; but nothing material happened while they had light enough to guard against the spear."]

I could compare the mutilations of the human frame in this savage warfare to nothing that I had ever seen, except the proceedings of the Ancient Britons at Newtown Mount Kennedy, on Easter Tuesday in the year 1798; they mutilated the bodies of all those who happened to have any green in their dresses. I was witness to the conduct of these cruel barbarians in a Christian country, which was not exceeded by the savages of New South Wales.

The gins who were in the rear now advanced to the relief of the wounded, and made a hideous yell of grief and woe. The Corragees sucked the blood out of the wounds, and then filled them with a kind of clay, which has a most powerful healing quality, and men with dreadful wounds are frequently, indeed generally, recovered by their treatment. A European, named Redman, who had been speared by a native, was cured by one of the Corragees after Dr. Mason had given' up the case as hopeless. The native cut out the spear with great adroitness, and the wound soon healed; Upon Redman's recovery, the Corragee demanded five pounds for his fee, saying, "You would give ten pounds to white Corragee, why not five to black Corragee." Redman, refusing to pay this demand, the native doctor went to the Governor and complained, and, by His Excellency's command, obtained a suit of clothes and a bottle of rum.

The gins are very prolific; as soon as a child is born, the mother rolls it in dry clay, and then wraps it in the bark of the tea-tree, which is as soft as velvet, and as thin as bank-note paper.* In this covering she keeps the child for nine days, when she strips it by the side of a pond; when undressed, she pitches her infant into the water, and if it rises and floats, the mother plunges in and brings out her child. It is astonishing to see the vigour and agility of native children at this age. European women seem to have new life and fecundity after being in this country for a short time. I knew one instance of a woman of sixty years of age having a child.

[* Collins says that he saw Bennelong's wife a few hours after confinement. "To my great surprise," he adds, "she was walking about alone, and picking up slicks to mend her fire. The infant, whose skin appeared to have a reddish cast, was lying in a piece of soft bark on the ground."]


Chapter 9. Pressures of Business

In the year 1802 I made a purchase of fifty acres of land from the assignees of Daniel Spencer. This farm joined that which I had purchased from John Randall. I bought it and the crop for £60. The crop was worth half that sum; for there were nine acres of corn on it at the time. I had thus one hundred and ten acres of my own, two cows, which I had bought from Government, and sixty sheep. Mr. Cox would always exchange females for males with' me; and a flock of sheep, in which the ewes breed twice a year, soon increased. I had bought a young filly from Mr. Cox for one hundred pounds, and I had as much grain to spare as would pay Government for the two cows. This was the advance I had made for myself and my family in the course of two years. I was proceeding prosperously in the world, and was contented and cheerful. Besides attending to my own affairs, I kept all the farms of Mr. Cox that were within my reach in a proper condition and state of cultivation.

[March 1802]

In March 1802 it was my intention to sow as much wheat and oats as possible; and I accomplished the sowing of one hundred and seventy acres, which produced a very fine crop. At this period I sold for Mr. Cox several mares and horses at from one hundred to one hundred and fifty pounds per head, several bullocks at fifty-six guineas per head, and sheep at three guineas. I had agreed to take wheat in payment for some of the horses; but I could turn that into store, and get a bill on the Treasury; everything seemed to go on in our favour.

[January 1803]

Mr. Cox was one night at Sydney, in company with Doctor Jamieson,* who was Surgeon-General of New South Wales. They had some words, and Mr. Cox owed him two hundred pounds. This happened in January 1803, and in February Doctor Jamieson pressed him for the money. The sum itself was a trifle to pay; but the Doctor had circulated a report that Mr. Cox had failed, which made every one who had the slightest demand upon him press forward with their claims at once. When all the claims were added up, they made no less a sum than twenty-two thousand pounds; and all his creditors made a seizure at the same time. Mr. Cox came to me, and when he alighted from his horse, I perceived, by his countenance, that there was something serious in the matter. He beckoned to me to follow him, and his first words were, "Mr. Holt, it is all over with me."

[* Mr. Jamieson, the surgeon's mate of the Sirius, proceeded with Lieutenant King, in 1788, to form a settlement at Norfolk Island. In 1791 Mr. Jamieson received the Governor's warrant, appointing him an assistant-surgeon to the colony, in which capacity he was to be employed at Norfolk Island, for which he sailed in the Supply, with ten settlers, in the March of that year.]

I said, "Pray, Sir, what do you mean?"

Mr. Cox then told me how he and Jamieson had quarrelled, and how, in consequence of what Jamieson had said of him, all his creditors had pressed forward, and that he did not know in what manner he should meet their demands.

My answer was, "Don't fret. Sir; for you have a great deal to pay them with."

Mr. Cox observed, "If my creditors would only give me time, I think, in the course of a year I could pay them all thirty shillings to the pound."

We walked about a little, and when we went in, I brought my books, and looked over the state of the stock. I saw at once if the stock was sold then there would be a very great loss, and I advised Mr. Cox to put off a settlement with his creditors as long as he could, showing good cause for what I urged, as in the latter end of March or early in April there would be a great number of young lambs, and the old ewes and young lambs would sell very well. Again, if six months' credit could be given, it would increase the number of buyers tenfold. He approved of everything I said; but the question was, whether the creditors would grant the required indulgence. However, my worthy employer went away something better in spirits than he came, though not actually a farthing richer.

A meeting was called of the creditors, and Mr. Cox gave in a statement of the condition of his stock. The result was, that trustees and a treasurer were appointed to take charge of his affairs. Mr. Robert Campbell was the treasurer, and the Rev. Samuel Marsden, with three others, the trustees. By them arrangements were made for the first sale, which was fixed for the 15th April. I picked out all the old ewes that had good lambs, and all the cows that had young calves, and all the full-grown ones. The sale of these were advertised, and notice given of six months' credit upon good security. In New South Wales it is not difficult to ascertain to whom credit may be given, as without any risk the stock and farm of the purchaser may be taken as security.

[15 April 1803]

The day appointed for the sale arrived, and early in the morning I sent up all the materials requisite for the company to lunch, with the necessary refreshment. I very well knew the disposition of the lower orders of the people; for I had been an auctioneer at many places in Ireland, and I always saw that if the owner of the goods gave two or three gallons of spirits to those assembled, the cost was sure to be paid back to him in the price of a hogshead. For when men get a little mellow, they forget that they will have to sleep one-half of the six months for which they are to get credit. It is like a man in Ireland passing his promissory note for ninety-one days; the time soon slips away. I had mentioned my idea to Mr. Cox, and he told me to act as I thought proper, feeling satisfied that I would do everything to forward his interest.

I therefore sent up a right good sample of strong rum; and as almost every one came up to make enquiries, knowing that I kept a stock book, I was soon in possession of what every man intended to buy,, and I was free in dealing out the rum; indeed, I must confess that I had one-half of the poorer sort drunk before the sale took place. Rum, at this time, sold for fifteen shillings a bottle in the colony, and though I gave away my glasses for nothing, before night what I had expended was worth five pounds a bottle.

Catalogues of the sale were printed, and the stock of all kinds numbered, so that the auctioneer's clerk had no difficulty; no earnest money being given, the purchaser's name, and the price, was all that he had to set down opposite to the number. Mr. Cox kept one book, James King kept another, and I kept a third; so that no mistake could arise. Mr. Simeon Lord was auctioneer. Almost all the creditors' attended this, sale, as it was advertised that if any of the creditors made a purchase at the sale, they should be allowed one-fourth of the debt due to them, in the payment of the purchase money. This was a great temptation to the creditors to bid.

At one o'clock the sale began with the horned cattle. A cow, that was 'blind, was put up, and Dr. Jamieson bought her, to the great satisfaction of most of the people assembled, as to him might be attributed the cause of the sale. This cow was knocked down to' him at only fifty pounds, and he came to me to ask if she was in calf. I congratulated him on his bargain, observing, much to the amusement of those around us, that, as he was Surgeon-general, this blind cow would give him an opportunity of showing his skill, by restoring her to sight. The next lot was a young cow, with a female calf one month old. They were put up at fifty guineas. Captain Rowley bid fifty-five guineas, and the bidding advanced to sixty guineas, sixty-five guineas, seventy-five guineas; at which sum they were knocked down to John J ones. The cause of these rapid advances being made, was owing to the competition between the creditors to get a fourth of their claim upon Mr. Cox allowed in payment. John Morgan bought a two-year-old heifer for sixty guineas. Sergeant Field paid eighty guineas for a cow and a male calf.

The sale of the cows went on from sixty to eighty-five guineas, and during the time I took care to be free with my rum bottle, the effect of which was obvious in the spirited manner of bidding. The sale of the sheep followed. Lot number one consisted of ten ewes and ten lambs, five males and five females. The ewes were put up at two pounds ten shillings each, with the lambs. The biddings went on, "two pounds fifteen,"—"three pounds,"—"three pounds five,"—"three pounds ten,"—"three pounds fifteen." And honest Richard Rice, the flogger, bid "three pounds, seventeen shillings and sixpence." They were knocked down to him. Lot number two was bought by the same man, at four pounds two shillings and sixpence, ewe and lamb. The reader can judge, therefore, the sum that eight hundred ewes realised, at these prices; and good fat wethers at from three pounds to four guineas. The horses sold at from one hundred pounds each, to one hundred and twenty; the mares at from one hundred and twenty to one hundred and fifty. Oxen from thirty to fifty pounds each.

The second sale was appointed three months after the first, and it produced an advanced price, as the cattle were of a better sort. The first day's sale amounted to £2780 12s. 6d. sterling.

At the meeting which was called for the adjustment of his affairs, Mr. Cox was sworn, and among other things stated, that he paid Holt one hundred a year, and that he considered my services were worth five hundred a year to the creditors. Mr. Campbell, who as I have mentioned, had been appointed treasurer, called on me for my accounts of the money expended in the purchase of lands, building houses, fencing, and clearing the land, making stock yards, &c.

I gave in my account to the amount of £7600., which had been expended for these purposes during my servitude. The treasurer, Mr. Campbell, and the three trustees, namely, Mr. Marsden, Mr. Wentworth,* and Captain Rowley, then asked me if I would continue in my situation? I answered, that at the request of Mr. Cox, I would, but not otherwise. They said, that all they required of me was to see that the work was carried on as usual, and to be able to give them proper accounts when called for. I then ventured to put a question to them, which was, that as Mr. Cox had given up the management of everything to them, I wished to know on whom I was to call for my yearly wages. Mr. Robert Campbell immediately said that he would undertake to pay my wages.

[* Collins, under the year 1796, has chronicled that, "Late in the evening of the 5th of March, his Majesty's ship the Reliance, returned from Norfolk Island. In her came Mr. D'Arcy Wentworth. This person," he adds, "arrived at New South Wales, in the Neptune transport (1790), and went immediately to Norfolk Island, where he was employed first as a superintendent of convicts, and afterwards as an assistant to the Surgeon, at the hospital there, having been "bred to that profession.

"On the 4th of May," in the same year, Collins adds, "The Governor notified, in public orders, his appointment of ( Mr. D'Arcy Wentworth to the situation of Assistant Surgeon to the Settlement, (of New South Wales), in the room of Mr. Samuel Leads, (the gentleman who came out with Governor Hunter,) he being permitted to return to England, for the recovery of his health."]

I had prepared ground for planting a large crop, and my usual time for commencing to sow was the first Monday after St. Patrick's day; it requiring a few days to get my men sober. Having chosen twelve of my best men to sow the seed, for at this time we used neither plough nor harrow, I commenced sowing on the 21st of March, and finished on the 8th of June, having put in 266 acres of wheat, and 8 of oats, drawing the seed corn from Hawkesbury, where there were several thousand bushels of wheat due for horses and mares sold two years before this period. This was in consequence of Mr. Cox's generosity, for there never was a man who desired to serve another more than he did, or to do a kind act. When the purchaser of a horse or a mare came to make his first payment, Mr. Cox would often indulge them with six month's longer credit. He was truly a good friend to every honest man he met with. His good treatment of the convicts in his service had the happiest effect upon many of those who were so lucky as to get into his service; most of them by finding out that honesty was the best policy, became sincerely honest and well conducted, and were purged and purified from their former detestable propensities, and lived and died valuable members of society. So much does gentle and mild treatment win upon the minds of men, while harsh severity and coercion hardens their hearts, and brutalizes their character.

[10 May 1803]

On the 10th of May the trustees sent for me and required a statement of the disposal of the wheat I had drawn from James Sherrard, at the Hawkesbury. I took from my pocket a little book in which I entered, in short, all the transactions of my trust, and from it ascertained the quantity I had drawn to be sixty bushels, which being found correct, I detailed the quantity I had used as seed, viz., fifty-seven bushels. It was demanded what I had done with the three other bushels; my answer was ready, "I never sowed foul seed on good ground, and therefore had screened and picked it, and the result was that there were three bushels of oats, grass, and other seeds, which if sown with the wheat would have injured the sample; this dross I had given to the poultry."

They put to me many other questions which I thought not altogether civil or generous, and I became warm, and told them I would not act for them, if I was not trusted, as I felt myself entitled to confidence. They then said they did not doubt me, but that a complaint was made against Mr. Cox, which induced them to question me. I felt very indignant at this, and immediately said, "let the informer appear and face me, or I will not answer another word; Mr. Cox is incapable of an unworthy act, and you must get some other manager, for I will not act under suspicion, or allow Mr. Cox to be insulted through me." I knew this was a malicious attempt to injure Mr. Cox, and his feelings, and drive him from the farm.

I found that Mrs. Cox had no horse at her command, so I went in, to pay my respects to her, one morning, and said that it would oblige me, and satisfy my mind, if she would accept of my mare. When Mrs. Cox hesitated in replying to my offer; I said that I hoped at least she would consider the mare as her own, as far as the command and use of the beast, and if she did not do so, I would think there was no friendship between us. After a pause, Mrs. Cox said she would accept of my very friendly offer, and expressed herself greatly obliged to me. She was a complete gentlewoman.

The last day's sale came on, and everything sold; the entire stock was gone, and then the trustees directed me to reduce the number of the hands employed; I was sorry for the poor fellows, who knew well they must suffer by the change, but I determined to render it as little injurious to them as possible, and after ascertaining the names of the ships in which they came, the names of the respective captains, where they were tried, what was their sentence, and what length of time of it they had served; I drew up characters for twelve of them, certifying their good conduct whilst in the employ. I then marched them into Parramatta, to the Rev. Mr. Marsden, and solicited his interest to obtain for them tickets of leave, to get their living as free men, in consequence of their regular and good conduct, which I certified to him. I succeeded in obtaining for them the indulgence, and thus completed their reformation; they became free if well conducted, and never after forfeited, by ill conduct, the favour they had obtained. I then took them to James Larra's, an honest Jew, and gave them each a glass of rum at parting, and cautioned them as to their future conduct. They very warmly expressed their gratitude.

The method I adopted to keep my men well clothed and in good order, I will describe to you. I used to direct them to muster in the square, in the front of Mr. Cox's house, or of my house, with their boxes or bags, of clothes. I had a slip of paper, with every man's name, and having formed them into line, I made the right hand man show me how many shirts, trowsers, jackets, &c. he had, and if he exhibited a good stock, he had no mark put against his name. Those who had a bad kit, had a cross placed opposite to their names, and were told that no rum, or extra indulgence, would be given to them, until their kit was made up to my notion of what they ought to possess; and thus I had the best clothed servants of any in the colony; they would earn from 7s. 6d to 15s. a week each, besides their subsistence. They had slop clothes given out to them twice a year, in lieu of their wages, or so much of it as was necessary for their decent appearance, and comfort. They were, in this manner, prevented from drinking their earnings, and became sober, well conducted men. I believe it is the love of drink, and the power that intoxication has over mankind, which is the cause of the ruin of more than half of the population of the world.

At one period, the constables of Parramatta, if they met a convict carrying a bottle with spirits in it, usually seized it, especially on Sundays; and it happened that one of my men, named Joseph Murray, was carrying a bottle of spirits in his hand, with which he was going to pay a tailor for making a jacket and trowsers; a constable seized the bottle, and threatened to keep it. Murray said to him, "You shall not do so till you have been with Mr. Holt, and if he says my week's earnings are to be taken from me, why, I will submit."

The constable consented to accompany Murray to my house; but Murray, when he got him out of the town, took the bottle from him, and gave him a sound drubbing; Murray then came to tell me his story. I was much amused at the man's account of his adventure, and was determined to see that justice should be done. I therefore desired him to follow me with the bottle openly in his hand, and not to conceal it in a handkerchief. We met several constables, but they did not venture even to look at us a second time; if any man had attempted to take the bottle, I was determined to have knocked him down, and to have defended my conduct in doing so by considering him as a highway robber. I went to the house of John Jennett, who had succeeded Barrington the pickpocket* in the office of chief constable.

[* Mr. George Barrington, "during his residence in the colony," says Mann, "conducted himself with singular propriety of conduct, and by his industry had saved some money; but for a considerable time previous to his death he was in a state of insanity, and was constantly attended by a trusty person. The general opinion of those around him was, that he brought on this malady, so destructive to the majesty of man, by his serious and sorrowful reflections on his former career of iniquity. He expressed a very considerable degree of displeasure, when he was in a state of sanity, at his name being affixed to a narrative, which he knew only by report, as being about to be published, and which subsequently did appear under a deceptive mask."]

Having obtained admission to the presence of this great functionary, I asked him if it were lawful for his constables to stop my men on the highway, and take their property from them? and if they acted by his authority? He disclaimed all knowledge of such proceedings, and said it was altogether unlawful and unauthorized. I then desired Murray to relate the facts just as the affair had happened. I then observed, that it was after ten o'clock on Saturday night when I paid Murray for his work, and that if he had come into camp then it would appear as if he was out after hours. "You know very well," said I, "that I never allow my men to be scampering about camp on Saturdays; I make them perform their work, and therefore on Sundays they must pay their debts; and what have they to pay? only what I pay them with for their labour. Because the payment was made in spirits, your constables take upon themselves to stop my men on the highway, and to commit a robbery upon them; for nothing else is it, the depriving a man by force of the wages paid him by his employer, and which he has honestly earned. Unless the practice is instantly put a stop to, I will see the Governor on the subject, and in the mean time, so satisfied am I of the illegality of the proceeding, that I will, on my own responsibility, desire my men to resist any attempt of the kind, and treat as robbers the fellows who conduct themselves as such."

All the constables were sent for, and Murray having identified the man who had attempted to make the seizure from him, he was dismissed from his office, and orders were issued to the other constables not to molest or interfere with my men unless they were acting contrary to law or orders; so my poor fellows were afterwards free from the petty tyranny of these blackguard constables.

Jennett, although at first I think he was not very well pleased with me, made me sit down with him. We afterwards made up any misunderstanding which might have existed between us, while drinking a bottle of rum together, and parted very good friends.

[24 December 1803]

On the 24th of December, 1803, after settling business with Mr. Cox, he desired me to go to Parramatta to meet certain men from the Hawkesbury, when, to my great surprise and astonishment, I was arrested, and brought before Judge Atkins. I requested his worship would inform me of the cause of my being made a prisoner, as I was totally ignorant of having incurred the displeasure of any one. He answered me like an infuriated savage, roaring out like a wolf, that he would soon let me know. "You thought to murder me," cried he, adding with an oath, "but I will soon see you hanged."* I answered, that "I knew not to what he alluded; and being innocent of offence could laugh to Scorn his threats."

[* Holt's representation of the conduct of those injudicial capacities in New South Wales, is, of course, the statement of an irritated man; at the same time, what Mann says strongly corroborates it:—"As instances of the irregularities that have been practised by some of those in magisterial capacities, I need repeat none others than that I have known men without trial to be sentenced to transportation by a single magistrate at his own barrack; and free men, after having been acquitted by a court of criminal judicature, to be banished to one or other of the dependent settlements; and I have heard a magistrate tell a prisoner who was then "being examined for a capital offence, and had some things found upon him which were supposed to be stolen, and for which he would not account, that were he not going to be hanged so soon, he (the magistrate) would be d——d if he would not make him say from whence he got them; nor do I believe it less true, that records of an examination, wherein a respectable young man was innocently engaged, have been destroyed by that same magistrate before whom the depositions were taken."]

Seeing sergeant Cotton pass, I called to him, and requested him to send over to Mr. Cox to let him know what had taken place. He was as much amazed as myself, having parted from me not twenty minutes before. He came to me within fifteen minutes, and inquired what had occasioned my arrest. I replied, "Sir, it appears to me that you and Judge Atkins know; for you sent me into this town, and the very moment I had come in I was made a prisoner."

Mr. Cox then asked the Judge the same question, observing, that if I was arrested upon information, the informer was some damned rascal, who, in order to get into favour, had made up a story against a man as well conducted and as industrious as any in the colony.

The Judge looked at me earnestly for some time, and at length asked me why I wore my beard under my chin? I told him it was the first mourning ever worn in Ireland; for at the time when its ancient inhabitants were bowed down to the earth by tyranny and oppression, the people of the country wore their beards; and that, as I had felt tyranny and oppression as great as that of ancient days, I mourned in the same manner, as I had suffered greatly, and no one was better entitled than myself to bear this mark of grief and depression; I saw nothing but treachery, deceit, falsehood, tyranny, and oppression, let me go where I would.

He said, "I would advise you to cut off that beard from under your chin."

I answered, "I hope, Judge, my beard does not fret or offend you, as I intend to wear it until I go to my grave, if I be permitted to have such a resting-place. I wish that it had the virtue of Samson's hair."

Mr. Cox asked if he would take bail for my appearance the next day, and, by great persuasion, he consented.

I was much irritated at these proceedings, and felt disposed to do some act of violence; for I was tired of the constant recurrence of oppression, notwithstanding my cautiously abstaining from meddling in public matters. In my passion I said that I would charge my blunderbuss, and rid the colony of a few wretches, and then that I would shoot myself, and thus, with a desperate act of just retaliation, end a life of misery and suspicion in this wicked world, where I was tired of existence. The old Judge was more frightened than his prisoner; for when a man has to turn to his breast for support, the innocent can never be a coward.

I returned with Mr. Cox to his house, and my wife was sent for. Mrs. Cox was very much concerned at my fresh misfortune, and begged me to take some refreshment; but I had no desire for food. We were all very much puzzled to know the cause of my arrest, or what information could have been given against me. Mrs. Holt came and spent the day with Mrs. Cox and myself, and Mr. Cox went to Governor King to enquire into the affair, and obtain what particulars he could. After some time, it was found out that a rascal had made up a false accusation against me; his examination convinced even the Governor of my innocence, and the atrocious lies the wretch had fabricated. He had his reward, however, but not that he hoped for; for the Governor ordered him to receive two hundred lashes, and sent him to the Coal river to carry coal on his back for the rest of his life.

I was immediately liberated, without leaving Mr. Cox's house, or any form whatever, and all things looked smooth again; but old Judge Atkins and I were never good friends afterwards.

I began to collect in the debts due to the estate, and succeeded pretty well. My fine large crop of wheat promised to fulfil all my hopes. On the 21st of October a more beautiful appearance of a successful harvest never flattered the expectations of a farmer; it was within three weeks of being ripe, the ears were full and plump, the straw clean and well coloured, and in every respect it was gratifying to look at. I was greatly rejoiced, expecting it would clear off a good portion of Mr. Cox's debts. It was, however, but delusive; and, like other dreams of hope, only made engaging and delightful to disappoint our expectation, and to show how uncertain are all human calculations. In three days it was completely destroyed by the rust, and the produce of two hundred and sixty-six acres was not worth twenty pounds.

This extraordinary blight, which is, I believe, peculiar to this country, is produced by fogs, which come on suddenly, and obscure the sky for some days; and if it happens when the wheat is nearly ripe, inevitably destroys it. It covers the whole straw and ear with a reddish powder, like the rust of iron, which falls off as you walk through the standing corn, and iron-moulds cotton or linen articles like iron rust, and so effectually, that in a very short time they rot and fall in pieces. I sent for the treasurer and the trustees, to view the com after this calamity, who condemned it as not worth reaping, and we gave it to the neighbours, to turn their pigs into it, to eat up the grain which had escaped the blight. It was a loss of at least fifteen pounds per acre, which amounted to £3990, a terrible loss, indeed, at this time; but it could not be helped, and fretting only made things worse: so we bore up against the foul weather, and braved the storm, with courage but with humility.

I had purchased a farm for £300, from Lieut. John Brabyn, of one hundred acres, on which were forty-five of as fine looking wheat, and fifteen of maize corn, as ever were seen. Had I been blessed with success, I should have cleared the whole price of the farm for ever, and a hundred pounds into the bargain; but the crop fell under the same calamity as Mr. Cox's, and did not produce me five pounds. I gave Mr. Brabyn £100, and relinquished the bargain.


Chapter 10 Insurrection

[February 1804]

I now approach a period of my life, which I consider the most unfortunate in the whole of my existence. In February, 1804, the devil was as busy in New South Wales as ever he had been in Ireland, and exerted all his evil influence.

The lower people, convicts and others, both English and Irish, seeing their torment increasing in this most ill-managed colony, conceived an opinion that they could overpower the army, possess themselves of the settlement, and eventually make their escape from it. Where they were to go, did not enter into the contemplation of these poor fellows, who fancied, at all events, they could not be worse off than they were already.

Some of them hinted to me that they thought such a thing might be done. I thought so too, and that it might come to a head; and, therefore, pointed out in the strongest language I was master of, the folly of such an attempt. "You saw," said I, "in Ireland, that even there you could not depend on each other, and I am sure it would be worse here. An insurrection will only add to your misery, or bring you to the gallows."

Badly as the laws were administered in Ireland, it was much worse here. Informers and false swearers were even more numerous in New South Wales.

Their numbers were contemptible, and their means still more so; therefore they must assuredly fail, and be hanged. I told them I would have nothing to do with the business, and if such a scheme should be put into execution, I would act on the side of the government and the laws.

I did hope this advice would have had the desired effect, but the foolish people had set their minds upon it, and were determined to proceed, cost what it might. The English were as much involved in the business as the Irish. Of course, after declaring my sentiments so fully, I was not kept in their confidence; and I had almost forgotten that such an idea had ever been hinted at.

I had at this time saved about £500, and having "so much to lose, besides, putting my family in jeopardy it was not for me to interfere; I knew the trickery of men, and what reliance could be placed on outlaws and rebels, who, if they once succeed in a project, get out of all discipline; and, if defeated, surely betray their leaders.

Had I no wife nor children, and been disposed to have taken the lead on this occasion, I could have made a short job of it. The military were so, inattentive, careless, and lax in their discipline, that any one of skill could have formed a plan to surprise them, and might have taken magazine, army and all, in an hour. The government had treated me in such a manner, that I did not feel myself called upon to become an informer for them, and as for the unfortunate people, I knew they were not to be trusted, and, therefore, I gave them no advice as to how they ought to act. So, like a ship in bad weather, I determined to lie to, and let everyone one take care of himself.

I shortly after went to the Hawkesbury, to gather in wheat; for, having burned the candle with Mr. Cox, I was willing to burn the ends, and so made him a present of three months, after serving him four years.

[4 March 1804]

On the 4th of March, 1804, when returning home through Parramatta, I saw several men standing about in little gangs, and recollecting what had been told me, I suspected something was going on, but said nothing. Having dined at Parramatta, I walked out, and met Timothy Holster, task-master of the government men. He and I seldom met but we drank together, when time permitted, and on the present occasion we called for a decanter of rum. He was an Englishman, and while we were drinking he said to me, "Mr. Holt, take my advice, and do not be out late to-night, as I should be sorry to hear anything against you." I asked him what he meant; and he then told me that the Irishmen were to break out that night, but that the government were in possession of their plans. I immediately proceeded to Mr. Cox, and brought my wife and child to his house, and told him what I had heard. He asked me my opinion of the business; to which I answered, that I knew nothing more than what I had heard and told him, but that I should be ready to defend his house, and keep off any assailants. He gave Sergeant King, who was his clerk, orders to prepare some cartridges, and we were all upon the alert. Mr. Cox said it was very likely that the insurgents would endeavour to force me to head them, and, if I refused, would put me to death. My answer was "I can die but once, and from this spot nothing shall induce me to move, until morning."

I then proceeded to secure the gates, doors, and all the defences I could think of. I got the timber carriage chains, and lapped them round the gates and posts. There were three gates to be passed before the court-yard could be entered, and I made all fast. Having thus got all things as secure as possible, I proceeded to. examine the state of our fire-arms, and having loaded our muskets with buck shot, I asked Mr. Cox if he would take the command. He gave it to me, saying, I was more accustomed to such matters than he was, and he had no doubt would make a good fight of it. I therefore proceeded to make arrangements, in case we should be attacked.

I placed Mr. Cox on my right, opposite a large gate-post, fourteen inches square, and Sergeant King on my left, telling him, that it was not fair that he should receive his Majesty's money for doing nothing. John Joyce was placed at the upper gate, and Darby Murphy at the lower gate, for a watchman. I then told every man what he was to do, and that the first who stirred from his post, without orders, should receive the contents of my musket in his body. I took the centre myself, being flanked by Mr. Cox, and King. The road or path leading to the house was only sixteen feet wide, and it was paled in with a six foot paling, so that a party would be obliged to keep very close together. We heard the insurgents at the distance of about half a mile, but they came no nearer to us.

About twelve at night, however, they went to my farm, and took away a musket and a blunderbuss from my son, who was but fourteen years old; and a young man named James Dobbs, an Englishman, they forced to join them. My shepherd was so small that they did not consider him worth their attention; but they swore they would soon have me. When they were gone, Joshua, my son, came through the bush and told us what had happened at the Brush Farm; we put him into the house, with Mrs. Cox, my wife, and the children, and stood to our posts till the morning, when Mr. Cox rode over to inquire the cause of the proceedings of the night. He returned in the evening, with the following account.*

[* D. D. Mann, who published, in 1811, a small work entitled "The present picture of New South Wales," which was written to illustrate some views of Sydney, gives the following account of this insurrection. "At the commencement of the year 1804, the tranquillity of the Colony experienced some interruption. I have mentioned the circumstances of the importation of Irish Convicts, in the year 1800, and of their attempts to disseminate, among their fellow prisoners, the seeds of insubordination and riot. The vigilance and prudence of Governor Hunter, at that time, checked the rapid progress of the flame of sedition; but although apparently extinguished, the tire \$as only smothered for a time. Discontent had taken root, and its eradication was a matter of more difficulty than could have been foreseen. The most unprincipled of the convicts had cherished the vile principles of their new companions, and only waited for the maturity of their designs, to commence the execution of schemes which involved the happiness and security of the whole Colony. The operations of these disaffected persons had hitherto been conducted with such secrecy, that no suspicion of their views was entertained, until the 4th of March in this year, when a violent insurrection broke out at Castle Hill-, a settlement between Parramatta and Hawkesbury, and the insurgents expressed their determination to emancipate themselves from their confinement, or to perish in the struggle for liberty. Information of the extent and alarming appearance of this mutiny having reached the Governor, it was deemed necessary, on the following day, to proclaim martial law; and a party of the troops under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel George Johnstone, were directed to pursue the rebels. After a long march, the military detachment came up with the insurgents near the Ponds, about half way between Parramatta and Hawkesbury, and a short parley ensued, when the Colonel found it necessary to fire upon them; and after killing several of the misguided rebels, and making prisoners, of the principals who survived, the remainder made a rapid retreat: Ten of the leaders of this insurrection, who had been observed as particularly conspicuous, and zealous in their endeavours to seduce the rest, were tried on the 8th of March, and capitally convicted. Three were executed on the same evening, at Parramatta, since it was justly concluded that measures of prompt severity would have a greater effect upon the minds of those who had forsaken their allegiance. On the following day two other rebels were executed at Sydney, and three at Castle Hill; the two remaining criminals were respited, as they were the least corrupted, and had discovered symptoms of sincere remorse for the part which they had taken in the late operations. On the 9th, martial law was repealed."]

[5 March 1804]

About three hundred men had assembled on the Castle Hill, and chosen one Cunningham, from the county of Kerry, as their leader. Captain George Johnstone went up towards them, and demanded of Cunningham what he wanted, and why they had assembled. If they had any real grievance, he would endeavour and get it redressed, Cunningham advanced, and took off his hat, and with it in one hand, and a sword in the other, replied "Death, or liberty!" Captain Johnstone made no attempt to molest him, but Laycock, who stood six feet six inches, a quarter-master in his corps, came up, and with one blow, killed Cunningham on the spot. On this the whole of the mob took to their heels and many were shot in the pursuit. Cunningham's body, although he was dead, was brought to Hawkesbury, and hanged up as an example to the rest.

But what else could have been expected from the conduct of a general, who would condescend to take off his hat to the captain of ah opposing force? If I had been in Cunningham's place, I would have taken off Captain Johnstone's head, instead of my own hat. I had this account confirmed to me by one of my own men, named John Byrne, who was one of the insurgents, and was present at the time of the occurrence.

The unfortunate wretches who escaped by flight, were arrested by a party of forty soldiers, the constables, and some loyal settlers; and being brought before a Court Martial, it was arranged that lots should, be drawn from a hat, and that every third man whose name was drawn, should be hanged. Many fine young men were strung up like dogs, but the arrival of the Governor put an end to this extraordinary proceeding. Among those hanged, there was a nephew of the Surgeon-general, Mr. Jamieson, but this was kept, as far as it could be so, a profound secret.

Many persons now pressed forward to inform against those whom they hated, and wished to destroy, and few had a good word for me, thinking thereby to purchase favour for themselves; but Mr. Cox being a magistrate, and knowing how I had been employed in arms for the defence of his house and family, put a stop to the chief weight of their malice at this time. The Governor, however, was prejudiced against me, and soon found a cause to create suspicion. There was a Frenchman named Francois Duliatt, who lived near the Government House. He had come from a prison in England, out of which he had been released for the purpose of propagating vineyard grapes, in this colony. He owed me £8, and as I went to get payment, and he being a suspected person, and I having been seen going to his house, I was called upon to state what had brought me there. I told the Governor the truth, and took out of my pocket the note of hand for the payment of the £8 which I received.

The Governor looked at me with the enraged countenance of a she-bear robbed of her whelps, and said, "Go home. Sir, take care of yourself, or I will hang you." I made answer, "I hope you will wait till I deserve it, and if you do, I defy you."

[18 March 1804]

Mr. Cox's business being now completed, so far as I could be of service in the matter, I began to prepare to move to my own farm. On the 18th of March, I delivered to Mrs. Cox, a chest which had been placed in my care, in the same state that I received it, and this I was not a little pleased at being able to do, as my house had been twice searched for papers which might throw any light on the recent rebellion.

[19 March 1804]

On the 19th of March, in the morning, I had got the wagon loaded, and had sent it over to my own house at Mount Hester, when, as I was waiting for its return, that I might send my family over altogether, the Governor required my attendance by a constable, who in fact took me into custody.

I found Mr. Cox with the Governor, engaged in taking down the informations of a one-handed man, named Neill Smith, from the County of Monaghan, who swore that Holt had agreed to join the rebels at Castle Hill, and that Captain Cox was to join them at Parramatta. Mr. Cox said to him, "I had a doubt about the correctness of what you were saying, my good man, but now I cannot have any; I am sure you speak the truth." The wretched man took encouragement from this, and proceeded to accuse so many respectable people, that the Governor became, outrageous, and ordered the rascal to gaol, until he should be sent to the Coal River.

It was now my turn to be interrogated, and the Governor asked me when I last saw James Grice?

I answered "about a month since; I met him in the street, at Parramatta, but I have never spoken to him since I discharged him, and had him tried for stealing Mr. Cox's sheep."

"You have, you villain?" said the Governor.

"I have not, Sir," was my reply. "I would not speak to him if I met him ten times a-day."

The Governor persisted that I had, and so despotic was his wrong-headed passion, that he neither regarded law nor justice. It is a sad thing for any country to be in the power of one man, whose temper is violent, and who accredits whatever is told him—who is the slave of the first story. Now, I ask, if it was probable that I would have any confidential communication with a man whom I had discharged, and put on trial for his life. Is it probable, I say, that I would wilfully put my life in his power a few months afterwards?

The Governor, in his blind inveteracy against me, ordered me away to Sydney gaol, and sent for one of my body-guards, Daniel MacAlice, the late hangman of Trim, in the County of Meath. I arrived at Sydney, about eleven o'clock at night, and was received by Daniel McKay, the gaoler, who put me into "my old sitting room" as he called the cell, locked the door, and knowing, I suppose, that I was deserving of respect, placed two men to watch it, as sentries over me.

[20 March 1804]

This morning my poor broken-hearted wife came to see me, full of fear and apprehension; for hanging was now as much the fashion in New South Wales, as it was in Ireland, in 1798. She brought me some food, and not having tasted anything for six-and-thirty hours, it was very acceptable. I remained in confinement all the 20th.

[21 March 1804]

On the morning of the 21st, I was ordered to prepare for an examination; and was brought before Judge Atkins, and five other justices. I had a slip of paper and a pencil in readiness.

The first witness was John Welsh, a Kerry man. He swore that he was at the Hawkesbury on the 3rd of March, and that he met me coming towards the Green hills that he asked me when I would be at home, and that I told him not until I had got my business done, and that I could not tell when that would be.

Question.—Had you any more conversation?

Welsh.—Yes; I asked Mr. Holt if he would come and have something to drink; Holt said he had something else to do, besides drinking.

Question.—Did he say anything else?

Welsh.—He told me I ought to be flogged for not being at home, and that I ought not to be out drinking at the Hawkesbury.

Question.—What did he mean by that?

Welsh.—Why I suppose he meant that I should be at home, getting myself ready.

Question.—What do you mean by getting yourself ready? Ready for what?

Welsh.—To kill the soldiers, and then to have the colony to ourselves.

Question.—Did Holt tell you that he was to assist you in taking the colony?

Welsh.—No, sir; Cunningham did, and I heard many more saying the same.

The Judge then turned to me, and said, "Prisoner, have you any questions to ask this man?"

Holt.—Yes, I have. By the virtue of the oath you have sworn, did you ever see Holt within the last six months on Castle Hill?

Welsh.—No.

Holt.—Had you ever any conversation with Holt, about any such business as that you have mentioned?

Welsh.—No.

Holt.—Was Cunningham, to your knowledge, acquainted with Holt?

Welsh.—I don't know.

Holt.—Do you swear from your own knowledge, or from what you have heard?

Welsh.—I swear from what was common talk.

Judge.—Put him down.


A second witness was now called and sworn. His name was William Ralf.

Question.—Do you know Mr. Holt?

Ralf.—No, sir.

Question.—You don't know your general?

Half.—Mr. Holt was not my general; Cunningham was my general, but he is dead.

Question.—Do you know anything of this rebellion, or was Mr. Holt to meet you?

Ralf.—O! faith, I heard Johnson and Cunningham say that Mr. Holt would soon learn us all to fight.

Question.—Did you never speak to Holt yourself?

Ralf.—No, sir.

Judge.—Mr. Holt, have you any questions to ask this witness?

Holt.—When did you see Holt last?

Ralf.—Faith, I don't know that I ever saw him.

Holt.—Do you know me, my man?

Ralf.—No, sir.

The witness was allowed to retire; and then a third witness, named Lawrence Dempsey, was called and sworn.

Question.—Do you know the prisoner?

Dempsey.—Yes, I do.

Question.—Was he concerned in your plot at Castle Hill? If he was, tell the Court all that you know.

Dempsey.—Why, gentlemen, he was to take Parramatta, and then he was to go to Sydney, and take that; and then to carry the Hawkesbury, which we did not much care about.

Question.—Where was Holt to meet you?

Dempsey.—Outside the park gate.

Question.—Did he meet you?

Dempsey.—No, faith, he did not.

Question.—Do you know what hindered him?

Dempsey.—I don't know.

Question.—Well, did Holt ever go to Castle Hill, to consult with you about this meeting?

Dempsey.—No.

Question.—And pray how do you know that he was to join you?

Dempsey.—-Sure Cunningham told us. Holt would meet us there.

Question.—Did you ever hear Holt say it himself?

Dempsey.—No.

Here I was asked the usual question, if I had any questions to put to the witness; to which I replied that I had.

Holt.—How long is it since you saw me, before to-day?

Dempsey.—About six months.

Holt.—Who spoke to you first about this business?

Dempsey.—Johnson and Cunningham.

Holt.—Did they, or either of them, tell you at that time that Holt was to join them?

Dempsey.—-No.

Holt.—How long ago is it since you were told that Holt would join in this business?

Dempsey.—About ten-days ago.

Holt.—Do you know anything about Holt, of your own knowledge?

Dempsey.—No.

Holt.—You swear by hearsay?

Dempsey.—Yes.

Holt.—You may go down.

Judge Atkins then said, "Holt, they will not swear against you."

"No, sir," I replied, "and I can tell the reason; and will, before I leave this Court, if I am allowed. I think, gentlemen," I added, "it has not much the appearance of justice, when witnesses are produced to swear away, by hearsay, the life and character of a man; and when a man of property in the colony is torn from his family, and confined, upon informations that cannot be sustained in evidence. But there is a better and a Higher Judge, than he who presides in this Court, and He knows that I am an innocent and injured man."

Two more witnesses were called in, but neither of them knew me, and all they swore was from hearsay. The only question I put to them, was, did they know Holt? and their replies were the same, that they did not know me. So they went down, and I was remanded to my cell, with the cold flags for my bed. And I had the honour of having two sentinels posted at the door of my lodging all night.

[23 March 1804]

On the 23rd I was again brought up, and eight witnesses were examined in the same manner as before; not one of whom knew me, so I did not trouble myself, nor occupy the time of the Court, by asking them any questions.

[24 March 1804]

On the 24th, it was hinted to me, that if I had as many lives as Plutarch, I was sure to lose them all; for that my persecutors were determined upon my destruction. But I put my trust in Him who had so often saved me, and said inwardly that God had more power than ten devils. I prepared myself for my defence, and craved of McKay, the jailor, to let me have a couple of glasses of spirits. I reminded him that he ought to know what a day of trial was, as he had himself been tried for his life; the consequence was, that he allowed me to get the spirits. I got my paper and pencil ready; for the colony I knew had been searched to procure some iron-mouthed fellows to swear against me. The Court met at eleven o'clock; there were eight magistrates, besides Judge Atkins. I wrote a note on a small bit of paper to Colonel Paterson, which I handed to him; the purport of it was to request that the witnesses against me might be kept apart, adding that all I desired was a fair hearing.

The first witness called was John McKeown; being sworn, he said that he never would have joined in any conspiracy but for me, and it was the same with every man from Castle-hill to the branch; that every time Cunningham and Johnson came into camp, they brought the news that I had more than half the soldiers on my side, and that the moment the body of the people came to Parramatta, the soldiers had agreed to do all the rest. This witness further stated that he saw me in company with Cunningham, that I was to have ammunition for the whole party, that I was to go to Sydney, and take Dawes Point and the Magazine, and put the Governor to death; that the Judge was to be flogged to death, with about twenty more, whom they called tyrants.

Question.—Did you hear the prisoner say all this?

McKeown.—No; I only heard him say, that he would put the Governor to death, and flog the Judge to death.

Judge Atkins.—Did he say for what reason he would flog me to death?

McKeown.—Because, Sir, you had ordered men to be flogged, and they had died from the flogging.

Judge Atkins.—You swear that you heard Holt say that the Governor and Judge should be put to death. Now, gentlemen, I believe that is enough; we need ask no more questions! (to witness) you may go down.

Colonel Paterson asked me if I wished to put any questions to this witness. I smiled and bowed, and then began my cross-examination of him.

Holt.—By the virtue of your oath, what month was it when you saw Holt and Cunningham in conversation together?

McKeown.—I don't know.

Holt.—Was it one month ago?

McKeown.—I don't know.

Holt.—Was it three months ago?

McKeown.—I don't know.

Holt.—Is it a year ago?

McKeown.—No, I believe it is not.

Holt.—What was the day of the week?

McKeown.—I can't tell.

Holt.—What were you doing?

McKeown.—I was going out from my breakfast.

Holt.—Was there any body with you?

McKeown.—No.

Holt.—Do you recollect where you were going to work?

McKeown.—No.

Holt.—Was it Sunday?

McKeown.—No; I believe it was Monday.

Holt.—What hour of the day?

McKeown.—Nine o'clock.

Holt.—Is that the usual hour for the men to come to breakfast?

McKeown.—Yes.

Holt.—Was Cunningham at work?

McKeown.—I believe he was.

Holt.—By the virtue of your oath, how long is it since you were flogged?

McKeown.—I can't tell.

Holt.—By the oath you have taken, did you ever see Holt at Castle Hill?

McKeown.—No; I did not.

Holt.—Come, Sir, do you know me?

McKeown.—No, Sir.

Judge Atkins.—Go down.

"Now, gentlemen," said I, "I believe that is enough! Pray, gentlemen, call for that man's character, and call him in again, and put him on his oath, and he will not swear two words according to what he has now sworn. Gentlemen, I am sorry to find myself so much mistaken. I thought that I lived in one of His Majesty's islands where the well-founded and glorious law of England would be allowed to flow in its full and free, course of impartiality, sweeping away, by the strength of its tide, all the impurities of our nature; but, instead of this, I see the current of justice impeded by hatred and malice, and overshadowed by a dark design against my life. I only wish for a man-like trial, and I desire only British law. I despise all interest"—

The worthy Judge here interrupted me and said, "Take him away; he knows more law than all this Court."

I answered Judge Atkins: "I have forgotten more law than, I believe, you ever knew, and I never saw occasion to change the name by which I was baptized."

The magistrates all hung down their heads, to conceal a smile, as they knew that Tommy had received a slap in the teeth.* Three or four other witnesses were then examined, but their testimony amounted to nothing against me, and so the matter ended, and I was sent to gaol again.

[* See page 77. I am unable to elucidate Holt's piquant observation, unless indeed by presuming that in making out Mr. Atkins' official appointment, some mistake had occurred respecting his Christian name, which obliged him to act in his official proceedings, as Richard, instead of Thomas; or it is possible that his name may have been Thomas Richard, and that in consequence of the reason stated, he used only the latter.]

My wife went to ask his Excellency what I had done? He said, if I had done nothing I knew what was going on, and would not come in and tell. "But," said the Governor to her, "if your husband gives four thousand pounds bail for his good behaviour, I will let him stay."

Mrs. Holt merely replied, that I had always conducted myself well, since I had arrived in the Colony. The Governor thought that I could not find bail to so large an amount, but Mr. Smyth the Provost Marshal, who was by, offered himself as one of my bail, in which offer he was soon joined by Mr. Cox, Mr. Marsden, and Mr. Hobby.* Upon hearing which, the Governor said, "No, he has too many friends in the Colony, and shall go."

[* The name of Lieutenant Thomas Hobby, appears in the New South Wales corps; his commission, as Lieutenant bearing date 9th November, 1797.]

The "stay," and "shall go," of the Governor, completely overcame my poor wife; she knew that he possessed or exercised the power of sending any one from the Colony to Norfolk Island, a place of horrid banishment and cruel treatment, and she felt that I should be separated from her and my family, and exposed to cruel usage; falling down upon her two knees she exclaimed, "It was both a sin and a shame to send a man away from his family, upon charges which could not be proved against him on a fair trial," and, in the bitterness of her heart, she added, "may God requite you as you deserve. He will be with you when you will be out of this."


11. Norfolk Island

[18 April 1804]

I remained in gaol until the 18th of April, when my poor wife and child came down to see me, and I heard that on the 19th the ship Betsey, from India, was to sail for Norfolk Island. I was put on board early in the morning, and was thus cruelly separated from my faithful and affectionate partner, leaving her behind me in a strange country, on my way to a stranger one, a barbarous island, the dwelling place of devils in the human shape, the refuse of Botany Bay, the doubly damned.*

[* Norfolk Island, which is situated on the twenty-ninth parallel of south latitude, to the northward of New Zealand, had been so favourably spoken of by Captain Cook, that Captain Phillip, in 1788, was directed to form a settlement there. This service was entrusted to Lieutenant King, of the Sirius, who performed it in so satisfactory a manner, that on his return to England, in 1791, he was promoted to the rank of Commander, and in 1800 succeeded Captain Hunter, as Governor of New South Wales. Norfolk Island was abandoned as a government settlement, in 1805-6, at which period Holt returned from it to New South Wales, via Van Dieman's Land; but it was again resumed as a penal settlement, in 1825.]

[1 May 1804]

In twelve days we made Howe's Island, which is small, and about five hundred miles from Port Jackson.

[17 May 1804]

On the 17th of May, we got sight of Mount Pitt.*

[* The highest ground on Norfolk Island.]

[19 May 1804]

On the 19th, I was put into the boat with my bed, trunk and other matters. The boat had also several chests of tea in her. When I was within twenty perches from the shore, I heard the villainous blood-hounds on the beach cry out, "Put him out of the boat," on which I was made to leap into the sea, and I just had the presence of mind to pull out my watch and to thrust it into my mouth to preserve it from the salt water. They wanted to put a chest of tea on my back, for me to carry on shore, but I would not support it by my hand, and when they found this, the chest was lifted up, and dashed down with its corner against my back, between my shoulders, which hurt me very much. I feel the effects of that blow to this day, and probably shall do so, as long as I live.

It would have been far more merciful, in those days, to have hanged all who violated the laws of their country, than to have sent them out to New South Wales, and its dependencies, subject to the unmerciful treatment of human tigers, who tortured or killed those within their power, according to the caprice of the moment. I saw many a fine man die in misery, inch by inch, from the oppression he experienced—the most cruel of all deaths.

I was put in gaol immediately on my arrival, although I had the act of my emancipation. But what was the use of any legal right or document, where there was no court or authority to redress grievances. For if the Governor was disposed to hang, or otherwise put to death any one without trial, He could do so, as Major Foveaux did, when he took Peter McClean and Sullivan* out of church one Sunday, put them into a cell, and two hours afterwards had them hanged without any trial, a practice contrary to the laws of England, and I am confident, to the wish of our gracious king, who is even more merciful than the laws are just.**

[* This name is subsequently written by Holt, Wollihan.]

[** Probably this is the occurrence thus noticed in the history of New South Wales, bearing Barrington's name. "By information from Norfolk Island, intelligence was received, that a plot was fortunately discovered on the 14th of December 1800, formed by some of the convicts to murder the officers, and by getting possession of the island, to liberate themselves. Two of the ring-leaders were immediately executed, and others properly punished."

Major Foveaux, of the New South Wales corps, (in which his commission as Major, bore the date of 10th June 1790), sailed from Port Jackson, on the 29th of June 1800, in the Hunter, for Norfolk Island, to take the command of that settlement.]

The day after landing I was ordered to labour, which, being a lawful freeman, I at first refused to do. Many of my countrymen advised me to submit, as any excuse to flog or hang a man was eagerly laid hold of. I had heard of this Major Foveaux a long time, and I had seen him in Port Jackson; so, upon consideration, I took their good advice, as they also told me that he was shortly to be sent to England, to answer for his various misdeeds; and I joined the working gang, and continued to labour until the Major gave up the reins of government to a perfect gentleman, and an excellent officer, Captain John Piper.

Major Foveaux had no sooner left the shore in the boat, to proceed to the ship that was to convey him away, than this worthy man came to the gaol. He took me by the hand, and told me, that he had not lost a moment in releasing me.

"You will consider yourself," said he, "at perfect liberty to proceed to any part of the island you please, and anything that I can do to make your residence comfortable, shall be done. You can draw your provisions from the public stores as usual, but you need not work."

I blessed my God for this signal deliverance, and prayed both for my benefactor and oppressor,: but my prayers for the latter were not very charitable. To Captain Piper I returned many thanks for his great kindness, but I declined taking anything from the stores.

Immediately upon leaving the gaol I took a lodging from George Guy, who was the attendant upon the doctor, at the dispensary. I agreed with him for my diet and lodging at fifteen shillings a week; he had no family, except a woman he lived with, or she with him, which was the same thing. In this respect no one was very particular. Major Foveaux set the example here, by taking the wife of sergeant Sherwin to live with him, and what was worse, he confined the sergeant: so the poor fellow, seeing the danger he was in, thought it better to save his life, and to lose his wife, than to lose both. He was wise enough to perceive that it is very foolish to quarrel with the judge where there is no jury, for no man will give a verdict against himself. So Ann Sherwin remained with Major Foveaux, and the sergeant left the regiment as soon as he could, and married a young woman, by whom he had five children.

When I left New South Wales, Sherwin, who was a remarkably good man, was storekeeper at Parramatta. He has often passed a night at my house, at George's River, when he told me of the treatment he received, which was enough to make the blood of any honest man boil. Ann Sherwin had great influence over the tigerly Major and, notwithstanding her faults she had a good heart. Many a man's prayer have I heard offered up for her, for she was always ready to intercede for the oppressed, and many thousands of lashes has her interference saved; especially to unfortunate Irishmen, to whom she was always very partial.

A mistress generally possesses more power over a man than a wife, and Mrs. Sherwin certainly took every opportunity of using the influence she possessed, in the cause of mercy. But what morals, or good conduct, can be expected from the lower orders, when their Governor sets them an example of profligacy. Our good old king's conduct was an example which all men might imitate to advantage, and it is in every way worthy of admiration and respect.

Governor King's proceedings respecting the poor convict women, on their arrival in the colony, was abominable. They were disposed of by Potter, the bellman, as so much livestock. I have seen them afterwards sold, some of them for a gallon of rum, others for five pounds and so on; and thus they were transferred from one brutal fellow to another, without remedy or appeal.

The day of Foveaux's departure from Norfolk Island, was one of great joy to all he left behind him. A general change in the countenances of young and old was perceptible, and the people gave God thanks for their deliverance from the power of this man. The new Governor had the good will and respect of every one, for he had always conducted himself as a Christian and a gentleman.

When I was put to hard labour, upon my first landing in Norfolk Island, I offered to pay a man for doing my work, but this would not be allowed, I must work myself, and in consequence of this offer, and my wearing good clothes, the dirtiest work was assigned to my share. I was locked up every night with the worst of criminals, and two hours before day in winter, every man was made to get up and to tie up his bed, which he had to carry out into the gaol yard, and there it remained until night, whether it rained or not.

We were then marched before the door of Robert Jones, who was the head gaoler or superintendent of convicts. Bob Jones' real name was Bob Buckey in some part of England; his father, his two brothers, and himself, were concerned in many robberies; and a reward being offered for their apprehension, this wretch prosecuted his father and his two brothers to conviction. The three were hanged, and he came to be transported under the name of Robert Jones, by which he thought that he should not be known. I have been present when some of the soldiers have told him of these transactions. When this Jones came out in the morning, he would order some of the convicts to one place, and some to another. Tony Chandler, an Englishman, was one of the overseers. Peter McGuire was another, or, to call him by his proper name, Peter Walsh. He was the nephew of Paddy Walsh, of Coolagad, near Hays of Ballidunure, in the County of Wicklow. Young Walsh was a sailor in the fleet at the Nore, and was transported under the name of Peter McGuire, which was his mother's name. This he told me himself.

Chandler and McGuire would proceed with their respective gangs to where they were directed, and a task would be given to each man. It was often the case that the men would work very, hard to get this done early in the day, so that they might have some time to work for themselves to earn some provisions, as what was allowed was not sufficient to support them; five pounds of flour to each man being the allowance for seven days to live and work upon. When upon these occasions the convicts were returning from the public labour earlier than usual, they have frequently been turned back to the Cascade to launch a boat, and kept there until ten o'clock at night, without having, during the entire day, tasted a morsel of food. I have myself with them experienced this treatment, and have been sent back to gaol with the gang wet from head to foot, in which condition we have been turned in, and reckoned like a flock of sheep, without time being allowed to us to prepare our food. The next morning, when the bell rang at five o'clock, the order for every one to get up was given in these words, "Turn out, you damned souls." We had then to look for our wet rags; and if the slightest grumbling escaped the lips of any one the order was, "To the triangle," where the flogger was ready to give the unfortunate wretch twenty-five lashes on his bare back, after receiving which, he had to go to work as usual. I ask, whether hanging or shooting, which puts a man out of his misery at once, is not infinitely preferable to this kind of treatment;—hard labour, want of sufficient food, the protracted endurance of wet, cold, and hunger, and if a word, or even a breath of complaint, reaches the ears of your cruel task-masters, the flesh is cut from your back, and you are worked with double severity.

I think that the usage I have seen men receive in Norfolk Island exceeds in cruelty anything that can be credited. There was, in particular, one poor young man named Michael Cox, from the County of Cork: he was compelled to walk about and work with a chain, weighing twelve pounds, on his leg, and while labouring under a dysentery was driven up to his middle in the sea, and obliged to bring heavy packages ashore, He soon became too weak for work, and too late had his irons knocked off. Cox died in a few days after, and I hope he obtained forgiveness for his crimes, whatever they may have been, and mercy in Heaven; for no clemency was extended to him in Norfolk Island.

I often thought that the doctors at the Dispensary were afraid to exempt a man from his work, although the two that were there in my time were both excellent men. One of them was D'Arcy Wentworth who was Surgeon-General of New South 1804 Wales at my departure; the other was William Redfern, who was the Assistant-Surgeon to Doctor Wentworth. They both came from the North of Ireland.

During the time I was associated with the convicts, I was kept at the heaviest work, and Bobby Jones, when the Government had not employment for all hands at hard labour, would go to Major Foveaux, and tell him that he wanted different little things done and request that he might have the use of a gang, which he would immediately send to his own farm. At last, between fasting and hard work, I fell down. When I recovered a little, I went to the house of George Guy, and told him that I wanted to see the doctor. Guy went for Mr. Wentworth, and when he came he felt my pulse, shook his head, and, in a very sad tone of voice, said, "Poor fellow!—you are suffering." He then ordered some medicine for me, and went to the Commandant—that tyrant, Foveaux—and told him that he believed he was acting beyond his power, and that if I died from the effects of labour, and from the want of proper food, he should feel it to be his duty to make a notation accordingly.

Foveaux replied, in a grim manner—"Then we'll exempt him." So Mr. Wentworth desired me to go in to my unhappy lodging, and not to do any more work until he directed it. If I could have bought or borrowed a pistol, the world, I think, would soon have been rid of this man-killer, Foveaux, and with as short a warning as he gave the two men he hung without trial; for why should any man, with the means of placing himself upon equal terms, and exchanging life for life without the endurance on his part of protracted misery, allow himself to be murdered by a lingering death, and see his murderer rejoicing before him? There are cases in which a man who shudders at the idea of murder may be obliged to become an assassin in self-defence; and did not tyrants feel and tremble at this power which an act of self-sacrifice can accomplish, there would be, I believe, more despotism and injustice in this world than already exists.

[27 August 1804]

I was fourteen weeks and two days in torture from my landing on Norfolk Island; but I have already stated. Captain Piper, the successor of Major Foveaux as Commandant, was a worthy and honourable gentleman. Major Foveaux was recalled, as I have been told, to explain his conduct in hanging the two men, who, by his order, were put to death. It is not difficult for a criminal to take his trial when there is no prosecutor, and no evidence to prove the facts; and, besides that, there are plenty of fine silver-tongued gentlemen in England to plead for a client who has the means of feeing them well for their plausible words and ingenious conceits. It is a counsel's business to hang the innocent, or to let them be hanged, which is nearly the same thing, and to get the guilty free. Major Foveaux, therefore, came out again to the colony, with the title of Colonel, instead of Major.*

[* Major Foveaux was promoted to the Brevet rank of Lieutenant-Colonel on the 29th April, 1802.]

I remained in Norfolk Island until Government began to evacuate it; and when Governor King reflected on his conduct towards me, he forwarded orders to Captain Piper to send me back. Norfolk Island is not more than twenty-one miles in circumference. It is seven miles long, and four miles wide, and produces the sugar-cane, lemons, oranges, plantains, bananas, coffee, and guavas, and all sorts of fruits which I have seen in the Brazils. This island lies in 29° 14'. South, and is much warmer than Port Jackson. As the first inhabitants were not sent here for their good behaviour, their children and descendants are not the best conducted; indeed, they are pretty strong specimens of human depravity. I remember one day, when the Rev. Henry Fulton was reading the Fourth Commandment, to keep holy the Sabbath day, Tony Chandler sung out, "Turn out, you damned villains, and launch the boat;" and his voice was more omnipotent than the parson's, who in a minute was left with a few women for his congregation, to hear the rest of the Commandments. As I was going out, I said to Mr. Fulton, "I perceive, Tony Chandler's word has more power here than the Word of God." Fulton smiled, and shook his head.

I was one day upon Mount George, when I saw fourteen ships standing towards the island. I walked down and told Captain Piper of the appearance of this fleet. When he and Mr. Wentworth had examined these ships through a spy-glass, they expressed themselves much alarmed, as at that time the French flag was victorious in many parts of the world. I went to my lodging, and shortly after Edward Kimbley came to me. This Kimbley was chief constable under Bobby Buckey, otherwise Bobby Jones. Of course I submitted myself, and went with him, and was committed to the gaol with sixty-five more, who had been driven there by these creatures—I mean Foveaux's blood, hounds. They were weak enough to think, that if all the Irishmen were not confined, we would turn upon them, and kill them, which they knew they well deserved. They therefore got some soldiers to surround the gaol, and scaffolds were placed all round it, and if the fleet had proved to be French men-of-war, it was intended to have set fire to the gaol, and to have burned us all alive. Fortunately we did not become aware of this intention until the next day. We were kept within, the doors close locked; the soldiers were upon the scaffolds, and the arrangement was that any of the Irish prisoners who effected their escape through the fire were to have been shot by the soldiers.

In this manner things remained all night, the guilty consciences of these wretches rendering them far more afraid than the innocent men whom they meditated to bum alive, but who were ignorant of their diabolical conspiracy. When the morning came, all the settlers, soldiers, and loyal men that could be mustered, amounted to no more than two hundred. They assembled at the Cascade, and had lugged down there two field-pieces. One old man had ordered the whole island to be searched, and all the broken bottles to be brought to him; and he swore that he would charge the two six-pounders with these fragments of glass, which would cut the French to pieces if they attempted to land. By these proceedings, it will be perceived how ridiculous the defence they could have made would have proved.

About ten o'clock one of the ships sent her boat ashore, and when it was found that the fleet was not that of an enemy, we were all liberated. When I heard of the plan for setting the gaol on fire, and indeed saw the preparations and the torches, I was exceedingly enraged at the scoundrels who could seriously have contemplated so infamous a proceeding; and immediately set off to seek Captain Piper, and to enquire of him whether he had any knowledge of this inhuman design, for the destruction of men who had committed no fault.

He wondered at what I said, and asked me who was my authority for making the statement that I had done? I told him George Guy; whom he sent for, with Jones, and Kimbley, and several others. Then the whole truth appeared. Captain Piper declared his innocence of this wicked conspiracy; and he immediately broke and displaced a great number of those who had avowed their knowledge of it. I observed to Captain Piper that it was a melancholy thing that poor Irishmen should be always under suspicion; and that, in my opinion, if it had so happened that the fleet was an enemy, and that they effected a landing, those on shore took the wrong way to be treated as civilized persons, by putting to a savage death their prisoners. I said that it would have been the most barbarous act that ever was committed. If these Irishmen had been guilty of a fault or a crime, in their own country, they had suffered for it; and whatever that fault or crime might have been, it was no excuse for murdering them, as McClean and Wollihan* had been by Foveaux.

[* Quere, Sullivan? See p. 221.]

[November 1805]

I never had one moment's peace of mind, in Norfolk Island, and was rejoiced beyond measure at the prospect of my leaving that infernal place. The ship Sydney, from India, had arrived to move some of the settlers from Norfolk Island to the Derwent,* with some of the stock which belonged to government; and there were orders for me to go in the first ship. The Sydney was commanded by Captain Forrest; his mate, Mr. November. Robinson, and the sailors, were all from Bengal; they were Mahommedans, Sepoys, and Lascars. Her loading occupied about three weeks, during which time I found employment in getting my sea-stores prepared. I had been in the condition of a free man about fifteen months on the island, and amongst the persons I had become acquainted with, was a man named James Mitchell, one of the missionaries who had been sent out by Sir Joseph Banks to cultivate the natives of Owhyhee and Otaheite. He, however, thought better of his mission, and considered that it would be a more profitable speculation for him to enter into business, which he did; and, at the time of which I speak, he had made, a very handsome provision for himself. At my departure from Norfolk Island, he gave, me the choice of supplying me with the money, or with the goods which I required. I chose the former, and drew my own bills, which, were in the following form. "I promise to pay the bearer the sum of Five Pounds, on demand."

[* "Captain John Hayes, of the Bombay Marine, visited Storm Bay and D'Entrecasteaux's Channel, [on the southern part of Australia,' now known as Van Dieman's Land,] with the private ships Duke and Duchess, from India, in 1794. He went much further up the Rivière du Nord, than the boat from the French ships had done [in 1792,] and gave it the name of the Derwent River. This name is likely to efface the first appellation, and with some degree of propriety; both from the superior extent of Captain Hayes' examination, and from North River being an equivocal term for a stream at the south end of Van Dieman's Land.

"That Captain Hayes had some intimation of the French discovery Is evident; but, not knowing the distinctive appellations given, he took upon himself to impose names every where. Succeeding visitors have gone with his Sketch in their hands, whilst the Charts of D'Entrecasteaux were unknown in that part of the world; from whence, and still more from those names having now become familiar to the settlement established in the Derwent River, it will be difficult, if not impossible, in many cases, for the original discoverer to be reinstated in his rights.

"The head of the Derwent is the sole part where Captain Hayes' Sketch conveys information not to be found more accurately in the Charts of D'Entrecasteaux."—Flinders, 1814.]

And then affixing my signature, I passed this to Mr. Mitchell, who received it as cash. The first bill that I drew on home was for fifty pounds, at ten days after sight. My son paid it punctually, and Mr. Mitchell afterwards very readily continued to supply me with cash.

During the greater part of the time that I remained on Norfolk Island, I had nothing to employ me; so I amused myself by fishing, both day and night. I usually angled from off the rocks by day, and took fish in the sea; at night, I prepared a bob with large worms, on a hank of thread; and I took eels by spearing. Having held a lighted torch for some time over the water, the eels soon began to rise to the surface, and to play about. With this torch in my left hand, and a short hand-spear in my right, I have taken as many as three hundred eels in a night. My night-lines, with a large hook, were able to hold a fish of fifty pounds weight. I have caught silver eels in a mill-pond, which weighed thirty-two pounds. I thus kept myself occupied, for I could not sleep, from thinking upon my unfortunate banishment, and about my poor wife and family. My life was miserable, when I was not at work. I desired to have my fair proportion of labour, and all that I complained of was labouring like a slave, and being compelled to herd with the vilest wretches in the creation.

Mr. Mitchell had biscuits, pork, French barley, flour, and rum, which sold at three pounds a gallon; so I procured from him all these articles, ready for my voyage, and settled with him, by passing him my bill for eighty pounds sterling, at thirty-one days after sight, payable to John Macarthur, in Port Jackson. The captain of the Sydney gave me notice that he intended to sail on Friday. This was on Thursday morning, and I therefore went round the island, and took leave of all my acquaintances: I can safely assert that there were many in Norfolk Island that were very partial to me. I was, altogether, nineteen months and two days on that cursed island. In the morning I came to the beach, with a man to carry my trunk and bed; and I told John Drummond, the beach master, that I wanted to put my goods in the boat, but he would not allow me, and boat after boat went off to the ship, until near night. I was therefore obliged to go to Captain Piper, and it was not until I had taken this step, that my pork cask, bread, and flour, were allowed by this petty tyrant to be embarked. When I was in the boat, with all my property, I prayed to God that I might have the satisfaction of returning to the villains Drummond and Jones the torment they inflicted on me,—and I had!

The cause of Drummond's retarding my embarkation was this. The sea was as calm as a mill-pond in the morning, which, at Norfolk Island, is a sure sign of a sudden change; and he wished to detain me to the last moment, merely to occasion me considerable trouble and risk in getting on board the ship; but I reached the Sydney with my goods in safety, just as the storm began to rise. I had given the boatmen a glass of rum, after they had put my things on deck, and had sent them down to the steerage, when I perceived Drummond coming alongside; I assisted him up. He had an order to search the ship, for Mary Ginders, the wife of William Ginders. She was concealed in a sack of cabbage on board, and was stowed away snug enough. Drummond searched to no purpose, for she could not be found—at least by him. When he had concluded his examination I went over to where he was standing, and said, "Well, Drummond, you are not on the beach now."

"No, nor you either," said he.

I swore a big oath, that I would rid the world of one tyrant; and, taking hold of him, if it had not been for the interference of Mr. Robinson, I would have thrown Drummond overboard.

The moment he got free of my hands, he ran down into the boat, and I saw no more of him for three years, when I had my satisfaction of the wretch, as well as of Bobby Buckey, alias Jones.*

[* Although Holt has before adverted to the satisfaction which it gave him to repay Drummond and Jones, "in their own coin," the obligations he was under to them, he makes no further mention of the matter.]

We sailed that night, with a very strong breeze, which continued for several days, but we did not make Storm Bay passage for twenty-two days. We were very near being upon the rocks, as our ship refused her helm in a gale on a lee-shore; but we bore out, and dropped anchor, got down our yards, and mended some of the rigging.

[2 December 1805]

The next day it moderated, and December, weighing our anchor we soon came alongside of Betsey Island,* but coming in the mouth of the Derwent River, the land breeze blew so strong in our teeth, that we were obliged to drop anchor again. However we were not more than two hours when the sea-breeze sprung up, and then with all hands to the capstan bars, the anchor was soon up, and crowding on all sail our vessel could carry, about four o'clock in the evening we dropped anchor so close to land, that you might have chucked a biscuit from the ship ashore. Captain Forrest landed immediately with the dispatches from Norfolk Island.

[* "This," says Flinders, "is the isle of Willaumez, of D'Entrecasteaux; but it was known to me from the sketch of Captain Hayes, and is still to the colonists, under the name of Betsey's Island."]

There were on board a great number of sheep and cattle belonging to government, and a Mr. George Guest, with his wife and six children.


12. Derwent River

[3 December 1805]

I remained in the ship that night, and the next morning I was visited by Mr. Denis Carty, a young man from the County of Wexford; he was very glad to see me. I then dressed myself and went on shore, to pay my respects to Governor Collins, who received me very kindly, and told me he was sorry to hear of the severe conduct of Governor King towards me. He said that he was in possession of the history of the whole transaction, and he also said that Foveaux's treatment of me was unpardonable, and ought to subject him to trial.

I remarked to his Excellency that "if the storm which produced misfortune was a thousand miles off from the spot where I stood in sunshine, it was sure, by some sudden shift of the wind, to burst over my head, and to strike me down to the earth with its lightning."

He said, "You have a just right to say so."

Governor Collins made me take a couple of glasses of wine, and he told me to call in the evening upon him, as he had a good deal of business to transact with Captain Forrest. Therefore, taking a respectful leave of the Governor, I went to my friend Carty, and dined with him. After dinner we walked together towards Newtown, which was the government settlement, and in the evening I went to call upon the Governor.

He asked me how I liked the climate?

I told him, very well, for what I had seen of it, which was not much; that I certainly liked the temperature of the air, and as far as I could judge, preferred the place to Port Jackson.

Governor Collins then said, that he would feel obliged to me, if during my stay I would take his boat and boat's crew, and explore the land along the river, making any remarks or observations that occurred to me, upon the ground, so that he might know where best to appoint a location to place the settlers in, that would arrive from Norfolk Island. He added, the superintendent will bear you company, with your friend, Mr. Denis Carty.

I told his Excellency, in reply, that it would give me great pleasure to put him in possession of everything that my slight knowledge might enable me to observe.

He shook his head, and remarked that though he had never seen me before, yet that he had a full account of what sort of a man I was.

I bowed, and thanked him for his good opinion of me.

He presented me with some wine and cakes, and made me sit down. Governor Collins further requested, that at my convenience I would go through the government crop, and the settlers' crops, and acquaint him with my idea of what they might be expected to average.

I told him that I would do this the next day, as I could not go exploring until the day following, requiring a smith to make me an instrument which perhaps I might want. He was very curious to know what this instrument was. I answered that, "the face of the earth was as deceitful as that of man." That many a man looked honest and good, if you were to judge him from his countenance, but that a smiling countenance often disguised the heart of a villain. "This," said I, "experience has convinced me of."

"Your observation is perfectly correct, Mr. Holt," observed the Governor, "you are, I perceive, a moralist."

To convince the Governor that he had not formed a false estimate of me, and to illustrate the moral, I said, "Sir, does not Major Foveaux look smiling and pleasant, even when he is ordering a man to receive from one to five hundred lashes? I am not going Sir, to explore for you, and to return with a fine account, which might mislead you: no, Sir, I must bore into the soil, and examine what is beneath the surface, it is for this purpose that I require an auger made."

Governor Collins seemed pleased at my explanation, and was so good as to remark, that I perfectly agreed with the character which he had heard of me. I wished his Excellency good evening, and went to join my friend, Mr. Carty, to whom I mentioned my intention of going through the crops, the next day, in order to make a return of my opinion respecting them to the Governor.

[4 December 1805]

On the following morning, my friend Mr. Carty, and I set out, after breakfast, upon this business; what very much surprised me was, perceiving that there had been a frost as thick as a dollar, as it was the 4th of December, which in this part of the world may be compared to July in Ireland, and is, in fact, considered the prime hot month. We proceeded to Newtown, and going through the government wheat, I soon observed that one-fourth of it was smutted. Mr. Clark, the overseer of the crops, met me, and I asked him what his opinion was about the produce? He said, he never saw a better looking crop in his life. I made a slight remark to him about the fulness of the ears of wheat. "Yes," said lie, "did you ever see such an ear before, in your life?" I answered, "that, I really did not remember to have ever seen such an ear of wheat before;" and well I might say so, for not one single grain of wheat was there in it. It was an ear of smut. I left the sagacious superintendent perfectly happy in his joyous ignorance. I did not see any occasion for making him miserable; besides, it is a foolish thing ever to take an apprentice without a fee; it spoils trade to do so; and is not of any utility to the teacher. Upon coming to the end of the government crop; Mr. Clark wished me good morning, and a pleasant walk. When he parted from us, I put my friend Mr. Carty, in full possession of all my knowledge respecting the smut in wheat: I had a few ears in my hand, which enabled me to explain and show him the nature of this destructive blight; "about which," said I, "Mr. Clark knows nothing. He may understand mending a flag-walking lady's shoe, but I am sure he is quite ignorant of a crop of wheat."

This Mr. Clark had been a shoemaker in London; by interest he got out to New South Wales as a free settler, and he was then made superintendent of the government crops, about which he knew nothing. It is this kind of interest that is so injurious to the public; the interest which appoints men to situations for which they are not qualified. Clark was no more fit to be a superintendent of a farm, than I am to be secretary of state. But the worst thing in the appointment of an unqualified person to office, is, that he generally attempts to make up for his ignorance by presumption, and becomes overbearing and tyrannical. He is jealous of every one who has abilities to fill the post in which he is placed, and, in proportion to his inability, is his conceit. It is the cause of misery to thousands, to take a tiger from the land, or a shark out of the water, that go about seeking whom they, may devour, and place them as rulers; instead of a man with the heart of a Christian and the head of a scholar. Oh that those who are put in authority over us would well weigh and consider the disposition and qualifications of the men, by them appointed to be governors in the far off comers of the earth!

Mr. Carty and I went on the settlers' farms,. The first we came to belonged to a settler from Cornwall, in England. I entered into conversation with him about his crop, and asked him how he liked the country, and so on. He said, that in a few weeks he hoped he should like the country better than he had hitherto done, for he would then begin to shear his wheat.

I remarked, that I wished he could clean drag it; that is, in the same way that we drag the dirty wool off the sheep's tails, to make them clean. The settler, or farmer, did not seem to understand me.

I said, "Sir, how many bushels do you expect to the acre?"

He replied, "I think there will be thirty-five, some say forty."

"It looks," said I, "as if you will not get more than thirty."

"Why, sir," he observed, "it is well headed, and large grain."

I stepped into the wheat, and began to pick off a few large, blue-looking ears of smut, and when I had a dozen of them in my hand, I asked the farmer "Had he ever seen finer wheat in England?" He said, not. Then I told him, that I feared he was much mistaken in his calculations, as I did not think his crop would produce him twenty bushels to the acre, and that only with much trouble, to get it fit for use. I then explained to him his mistake; and showed him that out of the dozen ears which I had in my hand, the produce was not equal to one sound ear.

I made a note of all this in my book; and I went on to the next farm, which belonged to a Mr. Hayes, who resided there with his wife and daughter. They were manufacturers of straw; plaiting it, in the neatest manner, for the use of ladies. The daughter was a beautiful girl; she was the prettiest violet that I saw growing at the Derwent. The old lady was very pleasant, as my friend and I carried a bottle of good rum with us. I saw a very fine greyhound here, and admired her beauty so much, that the old lady took me to look at her pups. She had nine, and Mrs. Hayes asked me what I might value them at?, I told her that I did not know, as I had never seen any sold. She said that she would, keep one of them, and that the other eight had been sold for eighty pounds, and to be taken when six weeks old. I said that I would make a note of this also; which I did.

I examined the wheat upon the farms of all the settlers, and brought back with me, for the Governor, samples both of the wheat and the smut. My visit to the settlers' farms, and the conversations that I had with them about their crops, left all the poor fellows in a perfect fever.

I waited on the Governor, and, after showing him samples of the smut, I told him that, as near as I could calculate, to deduct the smut from the apparent produce, would render the crop one thousand bushels of wheat short of the returns that had been made to him.

He asked me, whether Clark, the superintendent, was with me when I made my examination?

I answered that "he was with me when I inspected the government crop."

"And did he not see the smut?" enquired the Governor.

"No, sir," said I; "the poor man knows nothing about it."

His Excellency made me remain with him a good while in his tent; and, among other things that he spoke of, he expressed a wish that I would inspect the stock.

I told him that I would do so with much pleasure; and accordingly, the next day, I made my inspection, in company with Mr. Patrickson, who was a tailor by trade, from St. Giles', in London, and was superintendent over the stock and town. I went through the sheep, and found them in a most unhealthy condition, requiring much care and doctoring. The cows were also in a very bad state. There were five hundred of them, which had just arrived from India, one of the hottest countries of the globe; and the long sea voyage, with want of sufficient water, had produced a great scurf on their skins.

Having completed my examination, and made my observations, I gave my opinion to his Excellency upon the best mode of treatment. He was pleased to express himself as very much obliged to me.

I said, "Sir, if I have been of any service, it is not to government that I desire to be so; but my wish is, to evince my respect for the character of Colonel Collins."

The Governor said, "that he felt obliged to me for this compliment, and valued my opinion of him."

This gentleman had the good will, the good wishes, and the good word of every one in the settlement. His conduct was exemplary, and his disposition most humane. His treatment of the run-away convicts was conciliatory, and even kind. He would go into the forests, among the natives, to allow these poor creatures, the runaways, an opportunity of returning to their former condition; and, half-dead with cold and hunger, they would come and drop on their knees before him, imploring pardon for their behaviour.

"Well," he would say to them, "now that you have lived in the bush, do you think the change you made was for the better? Are you sorry for what you have done?"

"Yes, sir."

"And will you promise me never to go away again?

"Never, sir."

"Go to the storekeeper, then," the benevolent Collins would say, "and get a suit of slops and your week's ration, and then go to the overseer and attend to your work. I give you my pardon; but remember, that I expect you will keep your promise to me."

I never heard of any other governor or commandant acting in this manner, nor did I ever witness much leniency from any governor. I have, however, been assured, that there was less crime, and much fewer faults committed among the people under Governor Collins, than in any other settlement, which I think is a clear proof that mercy and humanity are the best policy.

Colonel Collins died at the Derwent, sincerely lamented by every one there, as well as by all to whom this amiable and excellent gentleman was known, even by reputation.*

[* "Colonel David Collins was the eldest son of General Arthur Tooker Collins and Harriet Frazer, of Pack, in the King's County, Ireland, and grandson of Arthur Collins, author of the 'Peerage of England,' &c. He was born on the 3rd March, 1756, and received a liberal education under the Rev. Mr. Marshall, Master of the Grammar School at Exeter, where his father resided. In 1770 he was appointed Lieutenant of Marines; and in 1772 was with" the late Admiral McBride when the unfortunate Matilda, Queen of Denmark, was rescued from the dangers that awaited her by the energy of the British Government, and conveyed to a place of safety in the king her brother's Hanoverian dominions. On that, occasion he commanded the guard that received her Majesty, and had the honour of kissing her hand. In 1775, he was at the battle of Bunker's Hill, in which the first battalion of marines to which he belonged so signally distinguished itself; having its commanding officer, the gallant Major Pitcairne, and a great many officers and men, killed in storming the redout, besides a very large proportion wounded. In 1777 he was Adjutant of the Chatham Division, and in 1784 Captain of Marines on board the Courageux, of 74 guns, commanded by the late Lord Mulgrave, and participated in the partial action that took place with the enemy's fleet, when Lord Howe relieved Gibraltar. Reduced to half-pay at the peace of 1782, he resided at Rochester, in Kent, (having previously married an American lady, who survived him without issue); and, on its being determined to found a colony, by sending convicts to Botany Bay, he was appointed Judge-Advocate to the intended settlement, and, in that capacity, sailed with Governor Phillip, in May, 1787 (who, moreover, appointed him his secretary); which situation he filled with the greatest credit to himself, and advantage to the colony, until his return to England, in 1797. The history of the settlement, which he soon after published, followed by a second volume,—a work abounding with information highly interesting, and written with the utmost simplicity,—will be read and referred to as ft book of authority, as long as the colony exists whose name it bears. The appointment of Judge-Advocate, however, proved eventually injurious to his real interests. While absent he had been passed over, when it came to his turn to be put on full-pay; nor was he permitted to return to England, to reclaim his rank in the corps; nor could he ever obtain any effectual redress, but was afterwards compelled to come in as a junior captain of the corps, though with his proper rank in the army. The difference this made, in regard to his promotion, was, that he died a captain instead of a colonel-commandant,—his rank in the army being merely brevet. He bad then the mortification of finding, that, after ten years distinguished service in the infancy of a colony, and to the sacrifice of every real comfort, his only reward had been the loss of many years' rank,—a vital injury to an officer. A remark which his wounded feelings wrung from him, at the close of the second volume of his history of the settlement, appears to have awakened the sympathy of those in power; and he was, almost immediately after its publication, offered the government of the projected settlement on Van-Dieman's Land, which he accepted, and sailed, once more for that quarter of the globe, where he founded his new colony; struggled with great difficulties, which he overcame; and, after remaining there eight years, was enjoying the flourishing state his-exertions had produced, when he died suddenly, after a few days' confinement from a slight cold, on the 24th of March, 1810.

"His person was remarkably handsome, and his manners extremely prepossessing; while, to a cultivated understanding, and an early fondness for the belles lettres, he joined the most cheerful-and social disposition. How he was esteemed by the inhabitants of the colony over which he presided, will appear, by the following extract of a letter announcing his decease:—'By the death of Colonel Collins, this colony has sustained a loss it will take a number of years to get over. I have known and served with him from the first establishment of the colony; and, when I speak the feelings of my heart on this melancholy occasion, I am sure that it is not my single voice, but that of every department whatsoever in the settlement, who, with the most heartfelt regret, universally acknowledge him to have been the father and friend of all.'"]

After I had given Governor Collins my advice respecting the treatment of the government stock, I ordered the coxswain of his boat to be ready the next morning, at six o'clock. I had my marl-auger; and Mr. Clark, the superintendent, and my friend Mr. Carty, embarked with me. We soon got to Herdsman's Cove, the place where Doctor Mountgarret first made the settlement.*

[* "The first settlement (on the Derwent—see note on p. 236) was made in Risdon Cove, in 1803, by Captain John Bowen, of the navy, who was sent from Port-Jackson for that purpose, by his Excellency, Governor King; but on the arrival of Colonel Collins, in 1804, it was removed to Sullivan Cove."—Flinders.

Sullivan Cove is nine miles from the entrance of the Derwent, on the west side; Risdon Cove is four miles higher up.

Flinders says, "In the afternoon of the 25th December, 1798, we got the sloop, (the Norfolk, in which Mr. Bass accompanied him, and they had discovered Bass's Strait, and that Van-Dieman's Land was an island,) with much difficulty, five or six miles further up the river, (Derwent,) to an inlet which I called Herdsman's Cove, from the pastoral appearance of the surrounding country. Two streams fall into it; and up the principal one, in the north-east corner, I went two miles with the boat. The water was there found fresh, and the depth sufficient to allow of its being reached by the sloop; but the banks being steep and channel narrow, I was deterred from watering in this place, by the fear of detention from foul winds.

"The width of the Derwent abreast of Herdsman's Cove, is half-a-mile; but except a very narrow channel, close to the eastern shore, it is too shallow even for boats. The intention of proceeding further with the sloop, was therefore abandoned; but so soon as the rainy blowing weather permitted, which was not until the 28th, I accompanied Mr. Bass in a boat excursion up the river. Three miles above Herdsman's Cove, the banks open out to a mile in width; the river, from running north-westward, turns to the south-west; and the deep channel makes a short cut across to the convex bank, leaving the mud to collect in the opposite elbow. A great deal of long aquatic grass growing upon these mud flats, seemed to have attracted the black swans, for the number Collected there was not estimated at less than five hundred.

"The width of the Derwent is contracted in the southwest reach to little more than a quarter-of-a-mile, and we had not rowed far up it before the water became perfectly fresh. The land, on both sides, rises to hills of moderate elevation, and the rather steep acclivities being well clothed with verdure, they had an agreeable appearance."

After advancing five, miles above this elbow of the Derwent, Flinders and his enterprising companion returned to their little vessel.]

I went ashore here, and followed the course of a fresh-water river, or rather brook, and I found very nice land along its banks; but it did not continue so far as to tempt a settler to take a farm there. I ordered the boatmen to row about four miles up the Great River, and I told them that I would fire two shots within a minute when I wanted them. I ranged through the forest, and, as I had brought two grey-hounds with me, I had a nice chase after a kangaroo-rat, which is an animal nearly as large as a hare. The dogs killed her, and I shot a wood-duck. The claws of this bird enable it to perch on the boughs of trees, and, at the same time, it has the power of diving under water like a duck, and the plumage is nearly the same. I made the man who attended us carry my game. After this much sport, I began to lean towards the Great River; in doing which, we came to a beautiful spring of water, by the side whereof I sat down, and with Mr. Clark, and my friend Mr. Carty, took some refreshment. We soon set forward, and met the boat. Mr. Clark wished to return, and I was very glad of it; he went back by land, and Mr. Carty and I proceeded on in the boat.

At the next fresh water stream that I perceived emptying itself into the main river, I went ashore, and finding some good looking land, applied my marl-auger to it. I found black mellow earth, of a very good appearance. Having given orders to the boat as before, I took out my pocket compass and directed my course due north, for about two miles'; I then altered it, and began to make for the river again; but I could not find above a hundred acres of good land in connexion. Upon again embarking, we started a fine flock of black swans.

[20 December 1805]

It was the 20th of December, and at that season the swans all go up the river, until their wings get quills, which they drop in this month.*

[* Flinders, who visited Van Dieman's Land, in December 1798, remarks that, "out of the flocks of black swans, from one-fifth to one-tenth of them were unable to fly; and since the same thing has been found to obtain in the months of January and May, as well as in October, it is probably so at all times of the year."]

"We came up with this flock, but only took one of them. Soon alter we saw a very pretty stream of strong running water, coming down out of a glen about two miles beyond Dromedary Mountain. I made the boatmen row for the bank, and making fast the boat there, we all went ashore. I tried the ground, and found it to be a black sandy loam. I liked it much, but the question was how far it extended. I made what observations I thought necessary, after examining about two miles square, and laid down a plan of it, as well as I was able. On our return to the boat, the dogs started and killed a small kangaroo, the men soon paunched it, and we set out towards. Alum Rock.

When it was about five o'clock, I thought it better to go ashore, and to make up our fire for the night. Accordingly, we drew up our boat, and having lit a fire, one of the men plucked the swan, and another skinned the kangaroo; the duck and rat remained for the morning. Our camp-kettle was put on with a piece of salt pork in it, and after we had enjoyed ourselves, we all lay down, and slept soundly until the morning.

[21 December 1805]

Perceiving a considerable mountain at the distance of about four miles, I was anxious to get to the top of it, that I might have an extensive view, and discover the nature of the surrounding country. I therefore made the boatmen row me under the butt of this mountain, and landing, I began to advance up the side; it took me two hours to reach the top. There I sat down, and I saw the finest looking country eyes ever beheld. The land at both sides of the river was very flat, and free from timber, the river was very wide, and the mountain that I was upon was soft, sandy ground, which rose higher than Table Mountain, or Mount Dromedary.* I took a glass of rum, and called it Mount Casha. We thought the plains below us were too far for us to attempt to explore, as we could not bring the boat on with us, a rocky ledge running across the river from one side to the other, which prevented our passage.

[* Flinders, in 1798, says, "The banks of the Derwent are not remarkably high, but the country in general may be termed mountainous. Mount Table, at the back of Sullivan Cove, is supposed to be three quarter of a mile in height; nor do I think, from having seen it beyond the distance of thirty miles from the sloop's deck, that it can be much less."]

We next proceeded towards Alum Rock; it is a bluff rock, about forty feet above the level of the river, and the alum very clear.

[23 December 1805]

On my return I had an unsatisfactory account for the Governor. I went to him, and reported that there appeared to me to be several good single farms, but no place of sufficient extent to answer for a large settlement. I described to him Mount Casha, and the plains that I saw from the summit of the mountain. He said he would send a party to explore these plains, and to examine the river; and he remarked, that if I could remain a week longer, he would request me to proceed to Pit Water plains; but the ship had moved to Frederick Henry Bay, and fearing that I might miss my passage in her, I thought it better to follow her. The Governor proposed to me to come and live with him, and he offered to make me superintendent over the government stock, and cultivation, promising at the same time, to give me as much land as I desired, besides a town grant, and every encouragement that a man could expect; "for," said he, "I might as well have two old women as the present superintendents, to arrange and conduct business that is of vital importance to the well-being of the settlement."

I told his Excellency, that as I had a good deal of horned cattle, and stock, it would be troublesome for me to remove.

He instantly said in reply. "I will soon manage that; for I will make Governor King take your stock in New South Wales, and I will give you full value for them here." And Governor Collins did write to Governor King to make this request, viz. that he would take my stock and grain at a fair valuation, and send my family down to Van Dieman's Land. When the Rev. Mr. Marsden came to inform me of this, that Governor Collins had written for me, my wife was not satisfied to move; so I declined going, and the day that I did so, was a bad day for me, as I might soon have made a fortune under Governor Collins; but having one hundred and ten acres of land, and good beginnings of every kind of stock, I thought it better not to go against my wife's inclination, and as Mr. Marsden said that Governor King would not remain long in the colony.

My parting conversation with Governor Collins, was on the 23rd day of December 1807.*

[* This 1807, in Holt's manuscript, must have been intended for 1805, for he particularly mentions his conversation with Governor King, after his return to New South Wales; and Captain King was superseded in the government by Captain Bligh, on the 13th of August, 1806. "The little rebellion," also, as Holt calls it, by which Governor Bligh was deposed, occurred on the 25th of January, 1808. That 1807 is an error, also appears from Holt's own assertion, that he was away from New South Wales twenty-two months and two days. Now he has stated that he left the colony on the 19th of April, (1804); that he reached Norfolk Island on the 19th of May; and he says that he was fourteen weeks and two days treated as a convict, after which he lived about fifteen months as a free man on the island, which makes the time of his departure from thence, November 1805. The month of December, therefore, in that year, was passed by him at the Derwent, and his return to Port Jackson, must have been in February, 1806.]

Leaving the town of Derwent, with all my little goods in a boat, a storm arose as we were passing Betsey's Island, which obliged us to go ashore until the weather moderated, and we did not make Frederick Henry Bay until six o'clock in the evening. It lies twenty-four miles from the town. I got my little property safely on board.

[25 December 1805]

On the 25th, being Christmas day, I had many serious thoughts about my wife and family.

A party going ashore from the ship, to cook their dinner, and dine on the island, near which we were at anchor, sergeant McGawley and sergeant Thorn asked me to join them, and I accepted their invitation. The island was called Desolate Island, and indeed I, thought so, although we had a good dinner and plenty to drink. After dinner a black American, who was one of the party, played upon the vial, and Thorn had his flute, so that we did not want music to make us enjoy ourselves in this forlorn place. After we returned on board, we had a great dance with all the sailors.

[29 December 1805]

Captain Forrest having got his oil on board, and stowed below, sailed on the 29th for St. Groof.

[7 January 1806]

On the 7th January we got in the Groof. The land is in the form of two half sickles, with a passage between them. We had only ten tons of oil to take in, and while this was shipping, sergeant McGawley, Thomas William Keilly, one Johnson, and myself, went ashore. The morning was remarkably fine, and there was not the slightest appearance of an approaching storm. We brought a leash of greyhounds with us, and had some noble sport, killing two kangaroos, and shooting some ducks. We suddenly saw the ship move, and immediately this was followed by a hurricane that almost drove her out of the water; she had dragged her anchors, and in another minute would have been lost, but for black Charles, who dropped the bower anchor, and saved her. The boat, which was sent for us only ten minutes before, was stove in pieces; another boat was manned, and succeeded in picking up the crew, and having put them on board, came to take us off,, which was no trifling undertaking, for the swell was so great that the rise and fall of every sea was twenty feet; after great exertion and peril, we reached the ship, and she got out to sea, running fourteen knots an hour under bare poles, with only her stay-sail set, to keep her steady. The current ran so strong, that it carried us through Banks' and Bass's Straits, and then we fell in with the land of New Holland. Soon after, a great fog came on, in which we overshot Sydney Head, and ran down to New Castle [Newcastle], at the Coal River, where the fog cleared off. Having tacked, we made the Head about nine in the morning, and at twelve dropped anchor off Sydney.


13. In Sydney Again

[5 February 1806]

I went on shore immediately, and the first man I met was Richard Cheers, one of my old butchers. We had a glass together. I then went to Mathew Kearns, and ordered him to get a chaise ready, and in one hour and twenty minutes I was in Parramatta. John Rediton drove the chaise from Sydney. I went into James Larra's Hotel, and had a bottle of Madeira. Rediton returned with the chaise, and I walked over to Mount Hester, which was only a mile and a half from Parramatta. I was not seen or recognized by any one, until I was in the court before my own door. The dogs began to bark at me, and Mrs. Holt came to the door. The sight—the unexpected sight of me completely overpowered her with joy, and she swooned away. I ran forward, and took her up in my arms; she fainted a second time. Pleasure and sorrow, however differently they may affect the heart, are alike overpowering to the human frame. Twenty-two months and two days had we been separated, which was a long time for a man and his wife who were fond of each other, and who had always lived in love and harmony together, to be parted. My two children clung with their arms round my neck, crying with joy at seeing their father once more, and on their little knees they gave their curses to Governor King, for separating me from them. My men, hearing of my arrival, which was soon spoken of, all left their work to welcome me home. I was tired with the questions which were asked of me. And I think we all passed that night in talking about, and thinking of, Norfolk Island and the Derwent.

[6 February 1806]

Next morning, I had as many visitors to see me, as I had on my return to Dublin, after being out of Ireland fifteen years, three months and five days. I went to view my stock, and found a great increase of every kind. My cows had the liberty of running with Captain Kent's herd. He was the only gentleman that had an English bull in the country. He and I were well acquainted before I was banished to Norfolk Island, so he allowed my stock to run with his, although for the stock of any other person in the colony, he charged three guineas for each cow. This gentleman was Port Captain of Sydney Harbour; he had married a niece of Governor Hunter's. Mrs. Kent was an excellent woman, beloved of every one. I must say this, and I say it with considerable pride, that I had many good friends in New South Wales. The gentlemen of the country knew that I had been sent away for a crime of which I was innocent, and they did not disguise their feelings, by their conduct towards my poor wife and young family.

In the course of a few days, during which I had arranged various matters, his Excellency, Governor King, sent for me. I waited on him accordingly, and thanked him for allowing me to return to my family. And I have this proud consolation, that he told me with his own lips, HE WAS SORRY I HAD BEEN UNJUSTLY PUNISHED!

Governor King was further pleased to say, that he would hereafter be my friend.

I replied that "it was too late to offer physic to a dead man." Nor could I restrain myself from making impertinent answers to his Excellency.

He inquired how I liked Norfolk Island?

I said, "I have no objection to either the ground or the climate, but I despise the inhabitants, and above all, their late head."

The Governor said, "Mr. Holt, what do you mean?"

"I mean. Sir," I replied, "Major Foveaux. It is not my way to assert what I do not mean. He, Sir, had no right to put me to hard labour. You, Sir, gave me an emancipation order, which made me a free subject. Nothing criminal was proved against me, when I was under trial, and witness after witness were produced; nothing criminal could be proved against me. It was your passion, Sir, and no other cause, that banished me to Norfolk Island. You have acted contrary to the laws of Great Britain. Remember, Sir, that I never was a convict, and as long as I conducted myself as a peaceable subject, I was under the protection of those laws. I was sent here a state prisoner, not a convict. But to gratify k your love of arbitrary power, you consigned me to the iron fangs of a monster worse than that Ogre the seed of Abarcurtinea, and the offspring of the Patagonians, that eat human flesh, and drink blood. He put me to hard labour, to try if it would break my heart, and only for Doctor Wentworth, would my life have been the sacrifice; but he will be tried in a court where there are no stags or informers. When the last trumpet shall sound, and all men must give an account of themselves, when their Judge, the great and impartial though merciful Judge of the universe, will have, the actions of all men laid before him, without the crafty devices of councillors to disguise the truth; then, I say, the case of the poor man, and even the convict,, will be fairly considered. We are all. Sir, creatures of clay, and, there will be at that last solemn day, no distinction of persons. The highest and the lowest must give an equally strict account of themselves, and from those to whom most is given, will most be expected."

The Governor heard me patiently to the end, and then told me that he never gave orders to put me to labour. He then said that he thought I might turn preacher, instead of Crookes, who was a little swaddling fellow, that taught in the school at Parramatta. The Governor concluded by saying, "Go home, Mr. Holt, and beware of rocks and quicksands;" which latter words he repeated three times over, and then asked me if I knew what he meant?

I told him, very coolly, that I could not be certain what he meant, but I believed what he intended to say was to warn me from keeping bad company.

He answered, "Yes, I see that you do know."

Upon which I bowed and departed.


14. Oranges and Cattle

I had, in my plantation, as many peaches as would make me five hundred gallons of cider.* I therefore sent for my carpenter, and desired him to make me a cider-press, which was completed and ready when the fruit was ripe.

[* Dr. Lang, in his account of New South Wales, recently published, (1834), tells us that peaches abound everywhere; and that the fruit is "so abundant as to constitute a considerable part of the food of the colonial pig, in the peach season. Peaches are sold in Sydney market by the basket or, bushel, at from fifteen pence to two shillings and six pence."

"If a peach-stone," adds the doctor, "is thrown into the ground in a favourable situation, in New South Wales, a large quantity of fruit may be gathered from the tree, that shortly after shoots up from it, without any subsequent culture, at the expiration of the third or fourth year."]

I began to pound my peaches, and to get the pipes and hogsheads in order. I made my cider and had got it into my cellar, and then I began to think of converting it into the best use to benefit my family. Peach cider sold then at Parramatta, for nine, pence a quart, but ten gallons of cider made one gallon of brandy, several degrees above proof; so as I had Doctor Balmain's* still by me, ever since I had bought his farm and stock for Mr. Cox, I thought it a better plan for me to make some brandy, as I would then get my money in a considerable sum, instead of by small instalments.

[* Collins mentions, that in September, 1796, "the Rev. Mr. Johnson, and William Balmain, Esq. were nominated the acting magistrates, in the district of the town of Sydney."]

I must admit that I knew it was a breach of a general order to do what I intended, but as I had sustained so much loss by being innocently sent away, and as no offer of remuneration had been made to me, I did not consider that it was any great crime for me to make the most I could of the produce of my own farm. Thus it ever is, one illegal act is sure to be followed by another; and if either deserve punishment, is it not the first' which led to the second aggression? Justice is even-handed.

After some consideration about a convenient place to establish my still, as I dared not have it in my house, I determined upon a spot at a little distance, which was called the Rocks of Jerusalem. Here I fixed my casks, with the still, and as the water came off the rock into my flake stand, and I had a small brook to take away my feints, I soon made twenty gallons, which I sold for fifty pounds, spirits selling at that time, in the r public houses of the colony, at five shillings the half-pint. I repeated the same process again, and when I conveyed it away, I rode in my cart, sitting on the kegs with my blunderbuss loaded in my hand; for I was determined not to let my home manufacture be taken by any of the rascally constables, who were as great cowards, as they were tyrants. I' continued to make and sell until I had consumed all my cider. I then bought five hundred weight of sugar, and put it into my casks to ferment, mixing half a gallon of water with every pound weight of sugar. By which process, twelve pounds of sugar produced one gallon of good rum. I made my composition with half-ground wheat for backen, as we had no oatmeal, and it took ten or fifteen days to prepare it fit for distilling.

While this was going forward at the Rocks of Jerusalem, I went up to the Hawkesbury to see some of my cows, that were among Mr. Cox's cattle; and passing by the house of Lieutenant Cummings, he hailed me, and reproached me for not calling in to see him, as I passed. I replied, that I did not know where he lived.

He made me alight, put up my mare, and come into his house. In the course of conversation he then said, "I wish you had come a week later." I asked the reason; observing, that I thought a visit one week was as good as another.

"Why," said he, "it only makes this difference, that next week I should have had some good rum made."

He then showed me his fixtures in so free a manner, that he threw me completely off my guard, and I told him that I was at the same game myself. He appeared not in the least surprised, and merely remarked, "You have a very fine place to carry on your distillery in the rocks."

"Yes," I said, "Jerusalem Rock is an excellent place."

He asked me in what part I had fixed my still, and I told him the precise spot. The very night I commenced working, he gave information, and I was caught. My men and son had just began, and about half-a-gallon of singlins had run at the time of this surprise. I was walking down towards the rocks, when a light-horseman and two constables seized me; one of whom, putting a pistol to my head, said, "If you speak one word, I will blow your brains out."

I answered, "You damned rascals, what are you about?" and I said this in so loud a voice, that my men heard me, and started off. The light-horseman fired at them across the brook; and my son, who had seized the blunderbuss and levelled it at the horseman, would have fired in return, if he had not happily thought that he might kill me as well as those by whom I was arrested. My son escaped, but my two men were taken prisoners; and Oakes, the head constable, brought me and my men before Major Abbott.

Upon our appearing before the major, he demanded of Oakes, how he dared to bring me at that hour, and in that manner, as a prisoner. "You know very well," said he, "that Mr. Holt would have come in the morning."

"I certainly would have done so, major, if ordered," was my reply.

"Well," said he, "go home, and come in to me at nine o'clock to-morrow morning."

I wished Major Abbott a good night, and returned home. My poor wife was full of lamentations, as usual. "Now, my dear," said she, "you will be taken away from me again."

I told her she need not be alarmed, for that they could do nothing more to me than put me under bail not to distil again for one year, as this was the law in the colony at that time. I began then to consider what defence I could make, or what I should say. I might have denied that I was engaged in distilling, as I was taken twenty perches from the still; but then my poor men would certainly be flogged, and that would make them accuse me! I reasoned with myself, and I saw no scandal nor fraud in what I had done, which should induce me to deny the truth, or feel ashamed of my conduct.

The following morning I walked into Parramatta, where I met Major Abbott. "Well, Mr. Holt," said he, "you are never to be out of trouble." I laughed, and so did the major. "This is a bad job," he added.

"Yes, sir," said I, "it is bad enough; but it is not also a scandalous one. I have defrauded no one, and there is no treason that I can see in a man making the most of his own property. However, as far as you may consider it a crime, I am guilty, although I was not upon the spot when the seizure took place. To save you the trouble of enquiry and examination into this business, Major Abbott," I continued, "I am here ready to admit that I am the person who was carrying on the distillery, and I therefore hope that you will order my two men, who are in gaol, to be discharged. They were my servants, and obeyed my orders; and, if I had to lose my life for it, no other man should be punished for my crime or fault."

The major looked at me for some time before he spoke. "Well, Holt," said he, "you are a fine-spirited fellow I know, and, I believe, an honest man. You have, however, acted with so much candour in this business, that I will ever after think well of you."

I thanked the major for his favourable opinion of me, remarking that, in the course of my life, I never knew any good to come of shuffling; for that I had always observed, it only made a bad matter worse, and that I would hate myself to the end of my life, if I allowed my men to be flogged for my misdeed. He told me that he would promise me the men should not be flogged, but that he was afraid they would be taken from me; and so they, were, and all indulgence that Government had given me was stopped.

Major Abbott desired that I would attend the court on the following Saturday, bringing the two men with me, who would be required to get bail in the sum of one hundred pounds each, and myself in the sum of two hundred pounds sterling, that I would not distil any spirits for one year. I thanked the major for his conduct towards me, and returned home, where I ordered my mare to be saddled, and then went to the Seven Hills, to see my old friend John O'Mara. I told him the business, and he promised to come forward as one of my bail. I then went to the Pennant Hills, and asked John William John, a Welshman, to be my other bail, which he consented to, and we passed our bond for the four hundred pounds; the nature of which was, that I was not to distil any spirits for one whole year. When the bond was signed, I observed, that "I was not sorry that I was bound only for one year, as on to-morrow twelve months I could begin again to distil."

Major Abbott laughed, and told me, that, if I did so, I had better not let any Irishman again into my secret. Cummings was the informer, and Hugh Byrne also gave information against me. This Hugh Byrne was a driver* in the county of Wicklow; he lived in Ballynabarney; near Ballinderry, and was nicknamed Hugh Yesty. Cummings was in want of his breakfast before I left the colony; and Byrne was cast for death for stealing government cows; but was respited, and transported to the Coal River for his life. This I have, from my son's letter, since I left the colony. Byrne was a first cousin of Michael Dwyer, commonly called Captain Dwyer.

[* A trade unfortunately too well known in Ireland, although probably the term will not be understood in England. A driver, means a person employed to distrain or drive the cattle from a farm, for the taxes, rent, or tithe; hence Byrne's soubriquet, Vesty, from bear, a collection, tribute, or tax.]

I never attempted to distil any more; for I clearly saw, let me do it as secretly as I could, it would be sure to be found out. And a new law was made, by which any one taken in the act of distilling, was to be transported for three years to the Coal River; the land where the distillery was carried on, to be confiscated to the crown; the horse and cart which conveyed spirits distilled in the colony, to be seized and sold; any house in which such spirits were disposed of to be fined, and those who drank the spirits to be imprisoned. Yet, notwithstanding this severe law, distilling was not suppressed, the temptation being so great, in the enormous profit to be obtained, by the sale of spirits. The cause of the great price of spirits, and of the attempt to suppress the private distillation in the colony, which was produced thereby, may be fairly stated as owing to the monopoly obtained by some of the chief persons at Sydney, who were in a combination, by which they made enormous fortunes; to the great misery of the large mass of the settlers. These gentlemen would purchase an entire cargo of spirits, and put it into their stores. For a few weeks after the arrival of this cargo, they would sell it at two pounds ten shillings a gallon, and then would raise the price to three pounds a gallon,—indeed, I have known spirits sell at four pounds the gallon; yet these gentlemen bought this spirit at ten shillings the gallon. So seductive an article was spirits, that the poor and the feeble-minded could not resist its purchase at any price, and they therefore became the victims of imposition.*

[* Mann, in his observations upon the trade and manufactures of New South Wales, says, "Spirits are also bought up with astonishing rapidity, and, when prohibited, will ever be obtained by some means or other; and I have known it to sell as high as thirty shillings per bottle; the general price by the retailer, however, is from ten to sixteen shillings per bottle. Most of the people in the colony, male and female, give way to excessive drinking. It is to no purpose that the higher orders set examples of sobriety and temperance; it is of no avail that the Governor uses every prudent exertion to restrain the immoderate traffic in these pernicious liquors; threats, entreaties, and punishments are equally useless, and, while spirits are to be procured, the inhabitants will possess them at the price of every other comfort of life."

Enormous as the cost of spirits was in New South Wales, there was more drank there than in any part of the world that I know of; and it is my opinion, that to this infatuation, much of the crime in the colony may be attributed. It may be thought a strange idea, but it is my honest conviction, that if spirits were to be had at a moderate price in New South Wales, there would be less intoxication, and consequently less crime. Drunkenness, according to my view of human nature, would soon work its own cure; it is the love of drinking that is so dangerous, and love, I have observed, is always increased in proportion to the difficulties it has to encounter. We seldom prize that which is easy of acquisition.

Having given up all idea of again risking my peace of mind by distilling, I began to till my ground, to attend to my stock, and to collect in the debts that were due to me. One morning, as I was walking in my orchard, a man came to my house, and, enquiring for me, my wife told him where he would find me. He asked me whether I would buy a couple of young heifers, if I got them cheap? I told him that I had no objection; adding, "Who is it that has got those heifers to sell?"

He replied, "Dick Troy."

"Why, has Troy heifers to sell?" said I.

"Yes, sir," answered the man, "he can sell two every month."

"Has he any of his own?" said I.

"No, sir," said the man; "but he is herd in the Government stock-yard, and when a cow or two calves, he need not return the calves, and then he has more than the number that is in the book with Mr. Jamieson, the superintendent over the stock."

I listened to the fellow, and thought that there was some scheme in this, which I could not fathom; for I had known the rascal for some years, and he had been under my care, as a Government-man to Mr. Cox. His name was James Staines; and both Troy and he were from the county of Kildare. I made him no reply, and he went away.

When I came in, my wife asked me what this man wanted; I told her, and she instantly said, "My dear, depend upon it, this is some plot to endeavour to get you hanged." I replied, "Never fear that, nothing shall ever make a thief of me." As I walked about, I began to think upon the matter, and, turning it over in my mind, it appeared to me very like a plan to entrap me; for otherwise, I thought the fellow would never have the impudence to come so openly to ask me to buy heifers which belonged to the Government. I walked into Parramatta, and meeting Mr. Marsden, told him word for word what had passed, with my opinion of Staines. Mr. Marsden desired me to stop, and he would mention it to the Governor, by whom I was soon sent for. His Excellency questioned me as to everything that I knew concerning this Staines, and advised me to buy the two heifers from him and Troy.

I replied that I did not wish to do so.

The Governor said that I must buy the heifers.

My answer to this was,—that as yet an offer at a crime only had been made, but that, if I purchased, the crime would be complete; and that it was a capital crime, by the commission of which, the lives of these two men would become forfeited to the law. Moreover, I added, to be the receiver of stolen goods, as well as the informer, would be an everlasting stain upon my character; for the world would believe that I had bought these heifers for my own gain.

The Governor then pledged me his solemn word and honour, that the lives of these men should not be forfeited; and said that he desired their prosecution, to prove to the authorities and those in office how necessary it was to be vigilant in their duty. At last, I thought that his Excellency began to doubt the truth of my story, from my unwillingness to act as he desired; and that I had fabricated a tale to get myself into favour, as many had done before me. I said that if I bought the heifers I should be countenancing thieves, and that the whole world should never make a thief of me. The Governor, however, pressed me so much, that at last I promised him that I would enquire of these men further about the matter, and how they could so easily dispose of the Government stock.

I went accordingly, and saw both Troy and Staines. I looked at the cattle, and enquired the price that they wanted for the two heifers; which was twenty pounds a head. The Government price would have been twenty-eight pounds; so that the profit on the two to the purchaser would have been only sixteen pounds sterling, with perhaps the addition of ten pounds of rope into the bargain, and a disgrace for ever to his name.

I asked Troy how I was to get these heifers into my herd? James Staines, who was a very inventive rogue, and was never at a loss for an expedient, suggested, that if I would go to the Hawkesbury and drive my cattle home, he and Troy would meet me on the way, and would put the two heifers into my herd. On my return to Parramatta, I related to Mr. Marsden the conversation that I had with these two fellows, and the plan they proposed to me.

"Very well," said Mr. Marsden, "I will inform the Governor."

The result was, that I received orders to follow up the business. Captain Houston, of the ship Buffalo,* was in the room at the time, and he asked me if I wanted money to pay for the cattle? "No, sir," I replied, "I do not; I have money enough of my own." Captain Houston then said, "Show me some of the notes, then, until I mark them." I gave him notes to the amount of twenty-five pounds, and he marked them.

[* In the volumes bearing Barrington's name, it is remarked, that "This ship, notwithstanding she was named the Buffalo, had at her head a carved figure of a kangaroo, with which the natives appeared very much pleased, not expecting to see the animals of their country represented by us in wood."]

The following morning I went to Mr. Cox's, and drew my cattle out of his herd, and drove them towards home. On my way I met Captain Houston and the boatswain of the Buffalo, and they passed me by. I had not driven on my herd much farther, when I met Staines; he got before me, and turned my cows off the road into the forest, and it gave me as much as I could do to keep in sight of Staines and the cattle. After two miles chase, Staines met Troy and the Government herd, and Troy turned two heifers into my herd; and then Staines drove the Government cattle through the forest, towards Parramatta. Captain Houston, who was at hand, now came up and seized Staines, and took the notes out of his pocket. He looked at them, and then said, "You got those notes from Holt?" Staines answered that he did not; but Captain Houston having marked them, was sufficient proof of that fact. Troy and Staines were both sent for the next morning, and put into confinement.

As an example, the Governor had them both tried; and they were found guilty of a crime for which they ought to have been hanged, but I had his word of honour for their lives.

Robbery is a bad trade; for it generally ends by the gallows, and is also the cause of leading others to the same end. I remember a man in New South Wales, who, to my own knowledge, had four hundred acres of land, one hundred head of cattle, several hundred sheep, and some of the best horses and mares in the colony. I have seen his son ride his own mare, and win fifty guineas, on the race-course of New South Wales. This unfortunate-man,—but I will also say, that he was a man not to be pitied,—bought a cow from the Government-stock for twelve pounds, well knowing that he was trafficking in what was stolen. The beast was soon discovered by the brand of the broad-arrow, and the man was apprehended and committed to gaol. When he found out the person who was to be his prosecutor for buying this cow, knowing that, she was the property of the crown, he formed a plan for his son and his brother to lay in wait for the prosecutor, and shoot him. It would be too tedious to explain the manner in which it happened, that the man, upon whose life this design was formed, came to be shot by Pierce Collet, who, in a few moments afterwards, was joined by the two Kearns. The three of them, however, were hung for the murder; and Mathew Kearns, the man who bought the cow, and possessed all the land and stock that I have mentioned, was hanged also. Now, the disgraceful death of four men, and the murder of another, was caused by the desire of robbing Government of four pounds; as old Kearns could have bought the cow for sixteen pounds. At his shameful exit, his estate and stock, were valued at nine thousand pounds.

However, I am of opinion that a man born to be hanged must die by the gallows, at a particular minute. How otherwise, indeed, could I have escaped the halter? And as for Kearns, since he was hanged, there have been no less than fourteen men tried for buying Government cattle, and cast for death, not one of whom was executed; they were either respited and transported to the Coal River for life, or pardoned.

The ship Tillicherry arrived in Port Jackson, with Irish prisoners; among others came Michael Dwyer, commonly known by the name of Captain Dwyer, in the County of Wicklow, after my departure.* There were also Martin Burke, John Merrinna, Arthur Dwyer and Hugh Byrne. These five transports had made terms with Government, and got paid for going to New South Wales. According to their conduct, they were to receive the encouragement and indulgence of free settlers. Upon their landing, Governor King gave each man one hundred acres of land, at George's River.

[* Dwyer, "the Wicklow desperado," has been before mentioned in a note, vol. i. p. 157. "Dwyer the noted rebel leader, more cruel than Hacket, or Holt, and who had been the occasion of many atrocious murders near Baltinglass, obtained," according to Sir Richard Musgrave, "a protection from General Moore, in 1798, and remained for some time in his camp, corrupting his soldiers, and yet for more than two years he bids defiance to the king's troops, and keeps the inhabitants of a large tract of the County of Wicklow, in terror and dismay."

"After the rebellion of 1798," says Mr. Wright, in his guide to the County of Wicklow, "a few of the outlaws remained concealed in the fastnesses of the Wicklow mountains, and with these the government thought proper to capitulate, rather than continue so difficult a pursuit, with so little success, as it had hitherto been attended with. The most celebrated offender was Dwyer, better known as the Wicklow desperado; being closely pursued, for several days, by a body of Highlanders, he took shelter in St. Kevin's bed, and having fallen asleep, the Highlanders had nearly come upon him by surprise; however, he had just sufficient time to leap from the cave into the lake, and ultimately reached the opposite shore, in safety, accoutred as he was. The Highlanders found it impossible to carry their muskets with them along the difficult path-way, so that Dwyer was permitted to make towards the opposite land, without molestation."

With reference to this occurrence, the following dialogue is said to have taken place, when the late Lord Norbury visited Glendalough. Upon that facetious Judge inquiring for St. Kevin's bed, it was pointed out by his Lordship's guide, as "that hole in the rock."

The comment was, "Oh, I see. The saint was a holy man; fond of being rocked to sleep. Eh?"

"I have hard (heard) so, my lord."

"Hard lying, no doubt," observed the Judge, "just the den for a Rockite."

"Indeed, then, your lordship, before Captain Rock's time, the rebel Dwyer used to shelter himself in the bed—Captain O'Dwyer, I mean; and mighty proud he was of that same great O. Sure he would write it before his name so large, that it looked among the other letters, just like a turkey's egg in a hen's nest."

"Very strange retreat for a rebel, with so much orange liking ( lichen) about the cliff."

"'Tis true, for you, my right honourable lord, and the orange men were near taking Dwyer."

"Aye, near making a D'Oyer and Terminer business of it?"

"But, please your lordship, Dwyer leaped into the water, like a fairy?"

"A complete leperchaun, that rascal."

"And a party of soldiers, my lord, on the top of the cliff—"

"What—Highlanders?"

"They were so, please your lordship, and when they fired at Dwyer, he dived like a duck."

"Yes; ducked, and so got off scot free?"

"Oh! 'twas all right enough with him; he was up again, winking his eye at the smoke."

"Smoked them, did he?—Did not like their invitation to a Caledonian ball? There are divers other stories about your lake, no doubt?"

"Plenty, my lord; there's one by Moore."

"No more at present—that will do. Moore's songs haunt me, as if I had murdered them in singing."

"On the 14th of December, 1809, Dwyer, worn out, and nearly hunted down by the activity of his pursuers,' is stated to have surrendered himself to Captain Hume, having previously stipulated that his life should be spared, and his wife and children should be the companions of his days in exile."]

My eldest son, being now twenty-one years of age, desired to get a farm for his stock which I gave him; and he went to the Governor, and asked him for this indulgence. His Excellency gave him a grant of land, of one hundred acres, adjoining to the grants which he had given to those five Irishmen. I soon raised a house, and built stock-yards for him upon his farm; and as it was a better place for feeding stock, than where I lived, I removed to it myself, with my family and stock. In the course of the first year, I cleared forty-four acres, and made all sorts of convenient buildings; and I remained there until I sold my property in New South Wales, and prepared to leave the colony for Ireland.


15. A New Governor

Governor Bligh arrived in the colony, with his daughter, and his son-in-law. Captain Putland. The Governor was a Post Captain in the Royal Navy. Governor King, therefore, prepared for his departure, his time having expired.

We had now a total change in our government; and Captain Bligh, having received from the Duke of York, instructions concerning the officers of the military detachment, he ordered the soldiers to be paid in cash; and Mr. John Birch, who had come out with the Governor, as Paymaster of the Regiment, and the other officers, had nothing to live upon but their pay. Government had sent out various articles, which were placed in his Majesty's stores, to pay the settlers for the grain and animal flesh, sent in by them for the support-of the military and convicts; a small charge only of per centage for the freight being made upon the prime cost. The poor convict, if he had by his labour earned one bushel of wheat, could put it into store, and obtain in return any articles that he wanted for use, in the amount of ten shillings. The settlers, when they turned into store, pork, beef, mutton or grain, were paid with goods, for which they were charged very little more than the market price in England. This made the poor very happy as they had goods of all kinds at moderate prices, for the use of their families and workmen. The former practice was to draw from the stores all the goods, in large quantities, and to pay the soldiers only in goods; for every ten shillings' worth of which, according to the value they were delivered at out of the store, the soldiers paid twenty, and if they objected to this mode of payment, they were most probably sent to the guard-house, tried by a Court Martial, for mutiny, and sentenced to imprisonment.

Captain Anthony Fenn Kemp, when a soldier came to him for his month's pay, would usually accost him with, "Well, what do you want?"

"I want to be paid. Sir," the soldier would say,

"What will you have?" was always Captain Kemp's answer. "I have very good tobacco, ten shillings the pound, and good tea at twenty shillings the pound, prints at eight shillings a yard," and so on.

If the poor soldier answered, "Sir, I do not want any of your goods," the Captain's comment was, "You don't! You are a damned saucy rascal?" Perhaps then the soldier would say, "Sir, if you please, give me half money, and half goods." But this proposal was equally objectionable to Captain Kemp, and generally led to his thundering out, "Begone, you damned mutinous scoundrel, or I'll send you to the guard-house, and have you flogged for your impertinence to your officer." The soldier, having no redress, would take his monthly pay in property, which he did not want, and then he would endeavour to dispose of what he had received, to some person who had money; generally selling it for less than half the price he was charged by his Captain. This system of monopoly and extortion compelled the soldier to serve his Majesty for half his nominal pay; I can prove what I assert, as I have often bought goods from the soldiers myself, upon these terms. It was, I must confess, very provoking to see the officers draw the goods from the public store, to traffic in them for their own private gain, which goods were sent out for the advantage of the settlers, who were compelled to deal with those huxter officers, for such articles as they may require, giving them from fifty to five hundred per cent, profit, and paying in grain.

It thus would happen, that one of these monopolizers, who never grew a grain, would sometimes have a thousand bushels of wheat to put in the store; and this was the manner in which all those old tailors,, and shoemakers, staymakers, man-milliners, tobacconists, and pedlars, that were called captains and lieutenants, made their fortunes; by the extortion and the oppression of the soldier, the settler, and the poor. Any one who doubts what I assert, may inquire of any soldier who ever belonged to the 102nd regiment of foot, concerning my statements, and he will find what I say to be correct. The men are to be fallen in with, in many parts of Ireland and England.*

[* The following extracts from Dr. Lang's account of New South Wales, appear to support Holt's assertions. "In the years 1790 and 1791, a military corps, designated the New South Wales Corps, which was afterwards embodied as the 102nd regiment of the line, was raised in England, for the service of the colony. That service it may naturally be supposed, was not considered, at so early a period in the history of the colony, either as the most dignified, or the most enviable in which a British officer could be engaged; and commissions were consequently procurable, in the 'New South Wales Corps, on much easier terms than in certain other military bodies, such as the Guards or the Blues. It was, therefore, quite possible that gentlemen might have found their way into that corps, who possessed only in a very limited degree, that honourable high-mindedness, which should ever constitute the proud distinction of the British officer; combining, as he is supposed to do, the elegant accomplishments of the scholar, with the unexceptionable morals of the reputable citizen, and holding in equal abhorrence the practices of the pettifogging dealer, and the profligate] rake. And if such was actually the case, it was not to be wondered at, that members of the corps I allude to, should, in process of time, be found sullying their hands with the slime of colonial pollution, and banding together on every proper occasion, to maintain by violence, or injustice, what they had obtained by the sacrifice of honour.' In short, for I have no wish to be a dealer in enigmas, I am decidedly of opinion, that the formation of the New South Wales Corps, was, both in a moral and political sense, the most ill-advised and unfortunate measure that the British government could, possibly have adopted towards their infant settlement, on the Coast of New Holland, and that, like the wrath of Achilles to the Greeks, it entailed ten thousand sorrows on the colony of New South Wales."

"The extraordinary fluctuations in the value of articles of domestic consumption, to which the colony was subject, for many years after its original establishment, and the extraordinary profits that were not unfrequently realized on the investment of a small capital, in mercantile speculation, afforded the officers of the New South Wales Corps, both a temptation and an excuse for endeavouring to eke out their military income, which, in such circumstances, was often inadequate enough, by engaging, either directly or indirectly, in such speculations."

"During Governor King's administration, the population of New South Wales consisted chiedy of those who sold rum, and of those who drank it; as the general maxim of the colony, at that period was, make money, honestly if you, can, but by all means make money, it may naturally be supposed, that the sellers of this article of universal requisition, would include persons of all ranks and professions."

Anthony Fenn Kemp, is a pawnbroker in London; he was qualified for any kind of huxtering or dealing, before he left New South Wales, for although he held his Majesty's honourable commission, as a captain in the army, he served his full time to that trade.

But notwithstanding what I have said of the officers of the New South Wales Corps, which was made his Majesty's 102nd regiment, there were belonging to it, two gentlemen who never dishonoured themselves, or his Majesty's cloth. They were Captain John Piper, and Captain Edward Abbott. They were both men of honour and resolution. They conducted themselves, in all respects, as officers and gentlemen. They served the poor, and they upheld the oppressed, by which they kept themselves poor; but they would have been rich, indeed, if prayers and good wishes could have made them wealthy, and they retained their own self-respect. They were too noble-minded to desire to make a fortune from the labour of the settler, the plunder of the soldier, or from the sweat of the convict's brow.

[1807]

I have been told, that these two gentlemen are now at Port Dairympie, the one in the office of Judge Advocate, the other as Naval Officer; wherever they may be, they cannot be better than I wish them. It is deeply to be lamented, that any one should ever receive a military commission, but a gentleman, who may be depended upon, to act with honour and resolution. These are the two great qualifications for a soldier; any man possessing them, will conduct himself well in the field of battle, and will treat those over whom he may have command, with humanity. Not so the poor, low, mean, despicable creatures, who are thrust into a position for which they are unfit, and who, upon all occasions, disgrace the commission which they bear. They are cowards in the field, and tyrants over those whom they dare to trample on, knowing that they have not the power of defending themselves.

Governor Bligh followed the orders which he had received, upon his departure from England; and Mr. John Macarthur, formerly a captain in the 102d regiment, continued to carry on his old game of brow-beating and extortion. Finding that this practice was likely to be stopped, he and Captain Anthony Fenn Kemp, with several others of the same regiment, felt themselves aggrieved at their proceedings being checked.

[1808]

They entered into a league against the Governor, and led Major George Johnstone to believe that Governor Bligh's intention was to ruin them all.

[25 January 1808]

The Governor, finding it necessary to commit Macarthur to prison for insolence and disobedience of orders, Major Johnstone came from his own house, which was about two miles from Sydney Barracks, and called all the soldiers to arms at the rear of the barrack. The major then marched his regiment down to the parade-ground, and from thence proceeded at their head to the Government House. The first person they met was the Rev. Henry Fulton, and he asked Major Johnstone what he and the soldiers wanted, marching in this manner with drum and fife? The Governor and Fulton were both astonished at these proceedings. Fulton was made a prisoner; upon seeing which, Bligh became very much alarmed, being afraid that they would put him to death, and he retired and hid himself under one of the beds. Mrs. Putland, the Governor's daughter, made fight, but was soon overcome, and the Governor was pulled out from under a bed, and placed in confinement.*

[* Dr. Lang, who has entered into an able and pathetic vindication of the conduct of Governor Bligh, thus relates the particulars of this most memorable occurrence in the history of New South Wales, which took place on the very day previous to that which commenced the twentieth year of the settlement of the colony:—

"Colonel Johnstone was, in an evil hour, most unfortunately persuaded to usurp the government of the colony. Orders were accordingly given for the regiment to form, and the drum was beat loud and hard, between six and seven o'clock in the evening. The regiment was instantly formed in the barrack-square, and marched immediately, at a quick pace, towards Government House, with bayonets fixed, colours displayed, and military music. Mrs. Putland, the Governor's daughter, whose husband, a lieutenant in the navy, had been interred only a few days before, (on which occasion Colonel Johnstone was chief mourner,) presented herself at the door of the house, and endeavoured to prevent the entrance of the military with her parasol; but the house berng surrounded by the soldiery, Colonel Johnstone, and a number of the latter, soon effected an entrance. The Governor, however, was for some time not to be found; but every room and crevice in the house being eagerly searched for him by the soldiers, he was at length discovered standing behind a cot, which was hanging in a back apartment, to which he had retired on the approach of the military, in the act of concealing certain papers of importance."]

The military then went to the gaol, and liberated Mr. Macarthur; and all the people that had been put into official situations by Governor Bligh, were instantly dismissed.

This revolution put the colony into considerable confusion. Major Johnstone held the reins of government for some time. He wrote to Colonel Paterson, who was the Lieutenant-Governor, and was then at Port Dalrymple, requesting his return to Sydney, to take the place of Governor Bligh; but the colonel refused to come, stating, that if they had begun a rebellion at Sydney, they might end it among themselves. Colonel Foveaux arriving from England,—having been, as I before mentioned, raised from the rank of major to that of colonel,—Major Johnstone gave up his command to him, and then wrote again to the Lieutenant-Governor to come to Sydney. This occasioned another change in the government of the colony, which rendered everything very unsettled for some time.

Colonel Paterson made conditions with Captain Bligh, for he was no longer Governor, to go on board his ship, and there to remain until orders should arrive from England concerning this unpleasant business. Captain Bligh promised to do so; but, as soon as he got on board, he weighed anchor, and sailed for the Derwent, and assumed the command there, leaving us without ministerorpriestof any kind, or preacher, except a barn-ranter, that neither Roman-catholic nor protestant would go and listen to. There was no clergyman to visit the sick, baptize the infant, or church the women; so we were reduced to the same state as the heathen natives, who had none of those ceremonies performed among them.

Governor Bligh wrote to England, to state that he had been deprived of his authority by a rebellion at Sydney, in which the whole of the military, officers and soldiers, were concerned. Upon the receipt of this alarming intelligence, a regiment, or part of a regiment, was immediately embarked for Sydney. During this interval, our Lieutenant-Governor gave grants of land, free pardons, emancipations, and all other kind of indulgences and comforts, to those under him.


16. A Free Pardon for Holt

[12 January 1809]

On the 12th of January, 1809, my son was married to Elizabeth Bray, a young woman who was born in New South Wales. She was the daughter of Sergeant Bray, from the county of Galway, in Ireland. Her mother's name was Mary Downes, from the county of Tipperary. I approved of the match, but there was no one to marry them. I remembered, however, to have heard, that in such cases a magistrate might perform the marriage ceremony; so I went, in company with Joseph Lewellin, who was step-father to this young woman, to Colonel Paterson, to procure a licence from him for them to be married, and we all then proceeded to Major Abbott, who performed the ceremony, in the presence of Mr. Finucane, the secretary at that time.

[4 June 1809]

As it approached the fourth of June, (the king's birthday,) several people were busy in getting petitions'drawn up, for presentation on that day, to Colonel Paterson soliciting a free pardon. I went to Major Abbott, and asked him to sign my petition to this effect, and to interest himself for me; but he observed, that petitioning in this manner was, in his opinion, degrading myself to the level of a convict. He was going out, and, taking me by the arm, he walked down with me to the colonel's. Colonel Paterson came out to see us.

"Now, sir," said Major Abbott, "you are giving free pardons to many people, and I think that Mr. Holt deserves his freedom as well as any man in this colony."

The Colonel replied, "Major Abbott, as it is your wish, I will give Mr. Holt his free pardon."

[5 June 1809]

The major thanked him, and so did I, very sincerely. As we went away together, Major Abbott remarked that he was very glad that it had occurred to me to look after my pardon, as perhaps such another opportunity for doing so might not occur again. I then returned home, where I remained until the 5th day of June, when I came down from George's River to the Governor's office, to enquire about my pardon.

I was told that no directions had been given to make it out; upon which I made it my business to see Mr. Finucane, and asked him about it. He replied that he had received no orders to make out my pardon, and enquired when the colonel had promised it to me. I related to Mr. Finucane all that had occurred, and the manner in which Colonel Paterson had granted Major Abbott's request in my favour.

"Well," said he, "I will take care that the colonel shall not forget his promise."

He went to the colonel, and very speedily returned to the office, when he gave orders to the clerk to fill up a free and absolute pardon for me.

[6 June 1809]

I remained in town that night, and the next morning Major Abbott sent his orderly sergeant for me, and handed me my free pardon, wishing me much luck with it. After making my grateful acknowledgments to him, I came away. At the time I was exceedingly glad; but I now am as sorry that I had so much interest made for me, as to allow me to leave so fine a country and return to Ireland. Upon my return home, my wife and children were very much pleased that I now had it in my power to go or stay where and when I liked. A few weeks after this, I drew up a memorial to Colonel Paterson, representing that I had been several years in the colony, and had never received any grant of land, and that, by my unaided industry and good conduct, I had acquired two hundred and ten acres of land, with four hundred sheep, fifty head of cattle, and seven horses and mares; and therefore praying for a grant of ground.

The colonel, I understand, was well pleased at this statement of my stock, and said that hfe would give directions to Mr. James Meahan, the acting surveyor, to assign a grant for me.

Mr. Meahan was a friend of mine; he lost no time in measuring out one hundred and ten acres of land for me, adjoining my son's farm, and the necessary deeds were prepared and signed by the colonel. I called it Holt's Fancy, and a very good farm it was. My bounds adjoined thirteen thousand acres that were laid down in the map for common land, which was of advantage to my farm, as it thereby possessed the right of commonage: On my leaving New South Wales, I sold it for ever, for the sum of fifty pounds, to Martin Short, from the County of Kildare, a sufferer for his country, and a carpenter by trade.


17. Arrival of Governor Macquarie

[4 January 1810]

On the 4th of January, 1810, three ships hove in sight of Sydney,—the Dromedary, the Indostan, and a store-ship,—which came up to the Cove with every preparation to give a broadside, if they saw occasion. The account which had been sent to England, by Governor Bligh, represented the country in a state of insurrection, and, accordingly. Governor Macquarie* thought that he and his battalion would have to fight their way. Upon hearing of the arrival of the new Governor, I rode down from George's River to have a look at the strange troops, and to see his Excellency.

[* Lieutenant Colonel of the 73rd regiment. Dr. Lang states, that he assumed the government of the colony on the 28th of December, 1809, which he retained until December, 1821.]

[6 January 1810]

On the morning of the sixth, the troops began to disembark, and the 102nd regiment fell in under arms, to salute his Excellency. I waited to see the whole battalion land, with the Governor; Ellis Bent, the Judge-Advocate; the Rev. Mr. Cooper, Chaplain; and a full staff of officers. The old soldiers kept their ranks until all the 73 rd regiment had passed by, and marched up to the parade ground. The Governor Macquarie, and his Lieutenant, Richard Charles O'Connell, had their commissions read for them by the Judge-Advocate, before all the officers, soldiers, and inhabitants. The 73 rd then marched out of town, and pitched their tents one mile and a half from the barrack.

The old soldiers, with their wives and children, were full of lamentations that evening; for they saw that they must quit New South Wales, and they knew that it was a very different thing living there and living in England. Anthony Fenn Kemp lost his commission as Judge-Advocate, and, from being a magistrate and a great officer in the colony, became nothing more than a captain in the 102nd regiment; and, worse than this, his rotten tobacco would no longer pay the soldiers, so that misfortunes came upon him in various shapes. The old soldiers and sergeants now began to split, and inform respecting this little rebellion that had taken place; for, although there was no fighting, I consider it to have been a rebellion,* where they made a prisoner of his Majesty's representative, contrary to the law of Great Britain. Governor Macquarie would have had no difficulty in recruiting, if he was willing to receive the old soldiers as volunteers, and some of them he did keep out of charity.

[* After detailing the dispute between Governor Bligh and Mr. Macarthur, Dr. Lang says, "In regard to what followed, there can be but one opinion—it was downright rebellion."]

Comfort and happiness now began to appear in the countenances of all the inhabitants of the colony. John Macarthur lost his villainous trade, but it had lasted him long enough to enable him to make a large fortune; putting his mutton and beef into his Majesty's stores, at one shilling and sixpence the pound, and getting bills on the Treasury of Great Britain. All the oppressors were smashed together, and it was amusing enough to hear them abusing each other and cursing the Governor. The only two individuals whose characters stood free from blemish, were Major Abbott and Captain Piper. They now enjoyed the reward of their honourable conduct, in the esteem of the Governor, and the good wishes of the settlers and others; of which these gentlemen were, in every respect, most worthy.

Governor Macquarie lowered the price of beef and pork to one shilling the pound, in the first year of his government; in the course of the second, to nine-pence; and, in the third, to eight-pence,—and the meat was sold in the open market. This was of great service to the poor, and injured no one but those who could bear it, and had too long enjoyed an unfair profit. His Excellency issued a proclamation, directing every one who had received a free pardon, or a grant of land, since the arrest of Governor Bligh, to deliver up such pardon or grant to the secretary, Mr. John Thomas Campbell. This news did not please me much; but I went to my good friend Major Abbott, and asked him for his advice. He told me to bring in my pardon and grant, and that he hoped they would both be continued to me. I did as he directed, and delivered up both at the Governor's office; nor did I make any enquiries about them for a year afterwards. I then memorialized his Excellency on the subject, and I procured the recommendation of Captain Piper, which was to the following effect,—that "the long residence and good conduct of the memorialist deserved the favourable attention of Governor Macquarie." The Rev. Mr. Marsden signed another strong recommendation of me to the Governor's notice, as did also Surgeon-General Wentworth, who went to his Excellency in person, and gave me a verbal character, which was even better and stronger than what he had written.

Governor Macquarie came to me to the door, and said, that if my character was as had been represented to him, he would give me both my pardon and the grant which he had recalled, and he promised to make further enquiries about me.

I assured his Excellency, that I felt satisfied the answers to every enquiry he was pleased to make about me, would be an additional recommendation of me to his notice, and would fully confirm the statements before him. After this I retired, and heard no more on the subject, until I received a note from Michael Robinson, who was head clerk in the Secretary's Office, requesting me to call there for my free pardon.

Upon the receipt of this note, I went immediately to my countryman. Mr. Campbell, the Secretary, handed me my pardon; upon getting which I put my hand in my pocket, and gave two pounds to Mr. Robinson. I went straight to the hotel, and sitting down there, drew out a notice of my stock and estates, to be sold by private contract, and stated that ten months' credit would be given upon approved security.

I then took this to Mr. Howe, the printer, and desired him to put it into the Weekly Gazette,* which was done accordingly. The Governor was very much surprised when he saw this advertisement for the disposal of my stock and estates; and he remarked, that it was much to be regretted, that a man of my knowledge and experience in farming should leave the colony. There was, indeed, no one in New South Wales that understood the treatment of cattle, and their diseases, so well as I did. Robbers and pickpockets seldom make these matters their study, which will account for the great want of knowledge there was respecting a very important subject.

[* The late Mr. Robert Howe was editor of this paper.

"The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser," price sixpence, ornamented with an oval device, containing the implements of husbandry, and the motto, "Thus we hope to conquer," was first published by the authority of Governor King, at Port Jackson, on the 6th of March, 1803.]

Governor Macquarie, according to my opinion, was a clever, sensible man, and one that it was not easy to out-wit. However, he was certainly over-reached in one matter, and that was in the building of an hospital.* Having mentioned his wish, that there should be a large hospital in Sydney, three gentlemen prepared and submitted to his Excellency the plan of a large and fine building, for this purpose, at which he was much pleased.

[* Dr. Lang's account of this affair seems to bear out Holt's statement. "The demoralizing influence," observes the Doctor, "indirectly resulting from the gratification of Governor Macquarie's taste for public buildings, cannot be more fitly illustrated than in the plan he pursued for the erection of a general hospital in Sydney. Had the convicts been dispersed over the territory in the way I have suggested, an hospital of comparatively small dimensions would have been sufficient at head qaarters; at all events, a plain substantial edifice'was all that was wanted for such a purpose, till the expense of erecting ornamental buildings could be borne by the revenue of the colony.

The colonial architect, however, having submitted to his Excellency a plan for a spacious and costly edifice, consisting of a centre building and two detached wings, to be erected of cut stone, with a double verandah or covered portico, completely surrounding each of the three piles of building—Governor Macquarie determined that it should by all means be carried into effect. With this view he made an agreement, on the part of the colonial government, with Messrs. D'Arcy Wentworth, Blaxcell, and Riley, by which these gentlemen stipulated to erect a building, agreeably to the plan proposed, on condition of receiving a certain quantity of rum from the king's stores, and of having the sole right to purchase, or to land free of duty, all the ardent spirits that should be imported into the colony for a term of years. The Rum Hospital", as it was called at the time, was accordingly erected on these conditions; and standing, as it does, on the summit of one of the two ridges on which the town of Sydney is built, and which, running in a northerly direction towards the harbour, with a valley terminating in the beautiful inlet called Sydney Cove, between, is, it must be acknowledged, a highly interesting and striking feature in the aspect of one of the most thriving and best situated commercial towns in the world."

Dr. Lang further says:—"In the year 1824, the Rum Hospital was calculated to be worth £20,000. Iam confident as good a building could now be erected for £10,000. The quantity of Bengal rum which the contractors received from government, was 60,000 gallons, which at the time was worth the whole estimated cost of the building. The monopoly was for three years; it was afterwards extended to three and a half; and as the contractors could purchase spirits at three shillings and retail, them at forty, it was supposed to be worth at least £100,000. In short, the monopoly was a sort of regium donum, or royal gift, over and above the fair market price of the article bargained for."]

The cost of completing this noble building was estimated at fifty thousand pounds, which was so large a sum, that it seemed to be out of the question. The gentlemen then offered to build the hospital free of expense to the government, if the Governor would grant them the following contract; which his Excellency, not perceiving all the evil and the extortion that arose out of it, agreed to do. Namely, that D'Arcy Wentworth, chief magistrate and surgeon-general, Alexander Riley, and Garret Blaxcell, gentlemen, merchants, would build and complete the said hospital, to the satisfaction of his Excellency the Governor, at their own expense; in return for which, his Excellency was not to allow any one but the said three geutlemen to buy any spirits imported into the colony, for three years. His Excellency passed a bond to them, to secure this bargain; and they gave their bond to complete the work, which they immediately commmenced. The first-floor is ten feet from the ground, with a verandah ten feet wide. The next floor is sixteen feet high. Persons, when walking in the verandah, are on a level with the wall; and those on the top verandah are twenty-six feet from the ground. These verandahs are fixed on round pillars of cut stone, which are most beautiful columns. It is capable of holding fifteen hundred persons, and is in a delightful situation, commanding a view of the town, and extensive prospects of the harbour.

I have never seen a more commodious building. But who is it that has really built this hospital? Why, the unfortunate people themselves. When a vessel arrives from Bengal, and in this way upwards of five hundred thousand gallons of spirits were imported, it is the custom to lower her yards and hoist an admission flag. One of these three gentlemen would then go on board, and enquire of the captain how much spirits he had got. The captain would produce his bill of lading. Mr. Wentworth, or Mr. Riley, or Mr. Blaxcell, would then ask the price; and seeing that the vessel was chartered for Port Jackson, and therefore could not go to any other port, they knew that no one but themselves could purchase.

The captain was therefore at their mercy; and in this way they usually bought at about nine, or, at the most, ten shillings the gallon, upon which one shilling duty was to be paid to the orphan's fund. The buyers placed the spirits in the bonded stores; and then the publicans would, as far as they were able, purchase at the first sale at two pounds the gallon; at the second sale, the price generally rose to two pounds ten shillings; and, at the third, to two pounds seventeen shillings and sixpence. This increase of the merchants' price, from two pounds, to two pounds seventeen shillings and sixpence, was, perhaps, in the course of six weeks. The publican retailed the spirits thus purchased by him, at five shillings the half-pint. These three gentlemen, who have the monopoly of the spirit trade, say that they built the hospital; but I assert it is the poor people of the colony that built it. This was the only mistake that I observed in the conduct of Governor Macquarie, during the time that I remained in the colony.

[1 January 1811]

On the 1st of January, 1811, I received my free pardon

[10 June 1811]

On the 10th of June, I sold the Glen Bride estate,* and twenty-eight head of cattle, with a mare and a foal, to Mr. Edward Lord, for the sum of one thousand pounds sterling, giving six months' credit. Mr. Garret Blaxcell, passed his note to me for this money, as Mr. Lord was going to England, and left the management of his business to Mr. Blaxcell.

[* Query, "Glen Bight?" When Holt's attachment to Brush Farm is remembered, the names of "Glen Bight," and "Brush Island," mentioned in connexion by Flinders, vol. i. clvi., among his and Bass's discoveries, in 1798, lead to the supposition that some association exists between these names. If not, the closeness of the coincidence is singular.]

[2 July 1811]

On the 2nd of July, I sold to Mr. William Redfern, Assistant Surgeon to the Surgeon General, my sheep, that is to say, the remainder of them, after the butchers had bought all the fat wethers, for the sum of six hundred guineas. I had sold five English-bred cows for the sum of two hundred pounds, and I sold Mr. James Meahan my saddle mare, a brood mare, a young colt, with carts, harness, saddles, bridles, and all other accoutrements belonging to the horses. Then I had eight hundred bushels of wheat, which I put into his Majesty's store. I sold Mount Hester farm, for one hundred and fifty pounds sterling; and then I went to live in Sydney, until a ship would offer, homeward bound.


18. Homeward Bound

[21 August 1812]

On the 21st of August, there arrived the Isabella, from London, laden with clothes, and other goods for sale. She took in. her a return cargo of oil, pearl-shells, and green hides, with thirtyr-four passengers. I was anxious to agree for my passage, and I accordingly spoke to Capt. George Hicton, who commanded the Isabella, on the subject.' He told me that the matter did not rest with him, but referred me to Mr. Grenville Macarthur, part-owner of the ship. I went to him and agreed for a passage for six persons, viz. ray wife,. my son, three of my servants, and myself, for thirty pounds a head, which came to the sum of one hundred and eighty pounds; and I was to find all provisions and water-casks, sufficient to hold one hundred and twenty gallons for each person. My agreement was to have ten feet by eight in the steerage, to build a comfortable cabin for myself and wife; a place for my son's cot to hang outside of our cabin, and room for my three men to sling their hammocks. All this being arranged, I had to bring my wheat to the mill, to get my flour ready, and my biscuits made. I had reserved of my best wheat, plenty for this purpose, and I had kept up three large hogs, that were fat four months before they were killed. I bought a bullock for twenty pounds, that we might have a change of provisions on the passage, and I also bought a cask of raisins, and salted the fat of the bullock, for a plum-pudding eats well at sea. I laid in twelve dozen of wine, twenty gallons of rum, forty pounds of tea, one hundred and sixty pounds of sugar, and I bought water-pipes.

There was at this time one of my servants who had not received his free pardon. I offered to leave fifty pounds as a provision for him, at the latter end of his days, in the care of my son, who was, and is still, living in the colony. Upon my telling him of my intention, the old man began to cry, but when I saw that he was so much attached to me, that he desired to go with me, I told him to get ready, for that we should all go together. I then went with him to the Government House, where the orderly sergeant asked me if I wanted to see the Governor.

"Yes, I do," said I, "if you please," and then I told the old man to appear deaf and bothered, and not to seem as if he heard one word that any one spoke to him. He did as I desired, acting his part right well.

I was ordered to come in by his Excellency, who enquired my business. I told him that I had at the door, an old servant, who had been with me ten years; that for the last three years he had not been able to earn his bread, but he had conducted himself so well, that I was satisfied to pay his passage, and bring him home with me, to his own country, to spend the last moments of his life with his wife and seven children.

"If," said I, "he is one of those poor creatures to whom your Excellency can extend your benevolence by granting him his pardon, both he and I will for ever pray."

The Governor ordered old John Byrne to come in. I said, "Your Excellency will perceive that he is quite deaf." The Governor spoke a few words to him, but John could not hear in the least what he said. His Excellency then took up his pen and wrote a line to Mr. Campbell, the secretary, which he gave me, and desired that I would deliver it to him myself. We both thanked him, and Byrne came to his hearing in a wonderful manner, before we were ten steps from the Governor's door. I was not mistaken in the Governor's goodness, for the next morning John Byrne's pardon was received. I had procured Philip Harney's pardon, about ten months before this, and Edward Kilbride had served his term of transportation. So that I had nothing more to do but to get everything ready for sea.

I got my bullock and my hogs killed and cured, and put into my casks. I calculated my supply for a nine months' voyage, and I laid in everything in proportion. All my old acquaintances flocked round me, and I had a fresh company every night. The passengers in the Isabella, were Captain Robert Durie, Mrs. Durie, and daughter; Captain Richard Brookes, Sir Henry Browne Hayes,* and his man, Samuel Brickwell. Mary Anne Spencer, Mary Bindel, Elizabeth Davis, with fourteen marines—thirty-four passengers in all. There were twenty sailors and officers, making the total number on board the Isabella fifty-four persons.

[* See note at page 122, of this volume.]

I got my cabin comfortably made, and all my provisions stowed in their proper places, and I put my old man, John Byrne, on board, as a watch upon my goods.

[1 December 1812]

On the 1st of December, 1812, my wife and son came on board, and we all slept there, for the first night.

[2 December 1812]

On the 2nd, we went to dine and slept on shore, at Mr. Patrick Cullen's, where we met a large party at dinner.

[3 December 1812]

On the 3rd, we went on board again, and had a party from shore to dine with us. Soon after we unmoored, and dropped down in the stream.

[4 December 1812]

On the 4th of December, his Excellency the Governor came on board with Major Maclean, and several officers. They all wished us a good passage; and we weighed anchor and sailed.

[5 December 1812]

The 5th, we had a very fine day, with a fair wind, but the 6th was very stormy, and we were obliged to lie-to, for twenty hours, after the expiration of which, we got a gentle breeze, and went on pleasantly until the 15th, when at twelve o'clock at night, we were opposite the west Cape of Campbell's Island, on a lee shore.

[16 December 1812]

At one in the morning, the alarm was given, that there was very high land to leeward. Captain, Richard Brookes instantly went on deck, and seeing the great danger we were in, immediately ordered the sailors to put on more sail, and he stood by the helm. He soon said there was no danger, as she was gaining to windward, but he never left the helm till we were past the Cape. He then came down, and told Captain Hicton that, he and his sailors were very much to blame, for not keeping a better lookout; and he further said, that five minutes more would have made an end of our voyage, for then all the men in the world could not have saved the Isabella; and he begged that more care might be taken in future. Captain Brookes was a mariner of great skill and experience.

We passed on very pleasantly until we came to the Diego Ramirez, a small cluster of uninhabited islands,* but all covered with various sorts of birds. These islands appeared, at the distance of two miles, like several cocks of hay, but when near they were very rough and dangerous. We passed them by safely, and had a fair wind for some days.

[* About fifty miles S.S.W. of Cape Horn.]

[24 December 1812]

On the 24th, the wind became foul, and it blew such a gale that we were obliged to lie-to for fifty-six hours, and we were very hard set to cook our Christmas dinner. We lost four of our sails, and the mainsail and jib were much injured. A calm followed this storm, and we took advantage of it to put our rigging to rights; we then made sail, and the first land we saw after this, was Staten Island,* which is inhabited by Patagonians. They are cannibals, and eat the flesh of Christians (when they can get it); it lies beyond Cape Horn, about one hundred miles. We had shortly before this come in sight of Cape Horn, which is the South Cape of America.

[* Close to the N.E. of Cape Horn.]


19. Wreck of the Isabella

[7 February 1813]

On the 7th of February we were in sight of Falkland Islands. The captain thought to have passed to the north side of these islands, having the main-land on our left; but he could not weather the North Cape, and was obliged to tack about; we had a fair wind, going eight knots an hour afterwards.

He shortly after got drunk, and came into my cabin, and talked wildly, saying he would not let any man know what harbour he would enter; and further, he asked, if the ship should sink, and all on board perish, who was to be responsible but him? I looked at the captain very earnestly, and said, it did not matter much, if all perished, where the responsibility rested, as no one would be alive to prosecute. He then went to Mrs. Bindel's cabin, and got into bed. About two o'clock in the morning he went on deck, and altered our course about four points, which led us in between New Island and Steeple Jason, straight for Eagle Island.

About three o'clock I heard a great alarm upon deck; and shortly after the sailors shouted:

"Rocks on one side and breakers on the other."

I leaped out of my cot, as did my wife; we dressed ourselves, and I assisted our son to get up. We then all three fell on our knees, to implore God's mercy and assistance. I did not forgot the Almighty's gracious interference on former occasions; and, although I never would fail to make exertions in danger, I always first prayed for God's support and protection.

We prayed, and our prayers were heard.

While on our knees, the ship struck on a rock with great violence, and, in a moment after, lost her rudder. My poor wife took our boy and placed him between us, saying, "Let us all, linked in each others arms, go to our watery graves together." We resigned ourselves to our fate, and thought of nothing but our great Creator. I believe no one else on board prayed but ourselves. The sailors were cursing and swearing most horribly at the ship, and it was altogether a most frightful scene of confusion and noise.

Captain Brookes was on deck all the time; and to his exertions, skill, and cool intrepidity, under God, we were indebted for our lives. When the rudder was unshipped, he made the sailors square the yards, and run for the land; and by the gracious goodness of our God, the ship passed in between two rocks, with her bowsprit over the dry land, when she was, at it were, wedged in, and freed in a great measure from the force of the waves. I heard Captain Brookes cry out, "There is how no danger of our lives." He ordered the carpenter to stand by with his broad axe, and the moment she struck to cut the rigging on the windward side, and two or three blows of the axe brought the mainmast down, the top resting on a rock, and the butt of the mast against the gunwale, which kept her steady.

It was now daylight. The sailors ran about, desiring, with the greatest insolence, every one of the passengers to hand out their wine and spirits. The want of discipline soon manifested itself in their conduct. A small boat was lowered down, in order to put the females ashore, into which Sir Henry Hayes, his man, with Madison, and Bellingham, got, and rowed off; but they had a narrow escape of their lives. Captain Brookes now took the sole direction of everything; he sent down the kedge-anchor and hawser; slung the accommodation chair; put a messenger on each side, and by this means we soon got the women out of the vessel. We first placed poor Mrs. Durie in safety on the dry land; she was within a few days of her confinement; Mrs. Holt followed next; and in a short time we had them all landed in safety.

My sick old man and my son followed, and my care was thus lessened. My other two men, instead of assisting me to get my goods landed, went and joined the marines and sailors, and began to drink. My poor old John, however, feeble as he was, stayed by my trunks and goods, as I sent them down.

I had my cash, both paper and coin, about me. The honest marines and sailors wanted me to pull off my great-coat, and go down in the chair; but I knew what they were about, and did not comply. I asked Philip Harney and Edward Kilbride to assist me in saving my goods and provisions, and getting them ashore, but they both said, "Damn them if they would."

I then went ashore, and gave orders to my son and old Byrne to stay by the trunks, until I found Mrs. Holt; and I wandered with Captain Durie in search of our wives. At last we found them, sitting together, on "Sorrowful Bank," as I called it. I said, "that sorrowful as it was, I was glad to see them safe on shore." Mrs. Durie asked me to have a glass of rum. "I will, madam," said I, "for it is wanted to me, as I have not broken my fast this day."

She handed me a bottle, and told me that the men were gone to look for fresh water. I waited with them until two o'clock in the afternoon, and we all gave God thanks for our safe deliverance. Captain Durie and I then went towards the wreck, and I began to think how we could make a place to sleep in. I viewed the ground, and fixed on a spot where I thought it best to pitch our tent; it was a hollow, between two banks.

I proceeded to the ship, and got some spars and long oars, which I fixed across from bank to bank; I also got a couple of sails, and spread them over, and so covered the top, and thus made a kind of tent. I then took the hatches of the ship and laid them down, and fixed our beds on them; then I went for our trunks and luggage, as well as my old man, who was not able to do anything to help himself. This tent was large enough for Captain Durie's family as well as my own, and we got something to eat and drink under its shelter.

When I went again on board, I found the sailors and marines all dead-drunk, with my two ungrateful rascals lying on the deck.

[9 February 1813]

In the morning of the 9th of February, at break of day, the first person I saw was Kilbride, asleep and drunk; and going to the wreck, I saw Harney lying on the deck, with his head and face so much swelled, that I scarcely knew him.

He had been robbed of fifty-nine dollars, which he had got from me a few days before. I was anxious to get my sugar-cask, which had one hundred pounds weight remaining in it, but I could not find it. My chest had been broken open and rifled of everything worth taking, and nothing but plunder was going forward in every part of the ship.

It reminded me of the plunder of the Ancient Britons, when they went through Wicklow and Wexford, or the scene I was witness to at the time that I burned the Marquis of Waterford's lodge, in Hollywood Glen, when the countrymen acted in just the same manner.

Captain Brookes and myself now began to consider what was to be done in our new situation; and we suggested, that as we had neither king nor government, nor laws nor constitution, that it was necessary for the good of all to make certain rules for our regulation while on the island, to shape our conduct by; and to extend our means of living as long as possible. So, having called all hands to choose a council, Captain Robert Durie had the voices of all; he named Captain Brookes; and they both named Lieutenant Landin; then the marines named Sir Henry Browne Hayes, for he was a favourite with them, as he used to sit down on the deck and play hora the brouze and hide the button with them, two plays practised by blackguards. Then Brookes and Durie proposed me; and afterwards Hicton and George Davis, the master and mate of the Isabella, were elected.

We proceeded to draw up the following articles or laws

First—That no man should be exempt from work, till our provisions were all landed.

Second—Any man found guilty of stealing or robbing, was to be punished according to his offence.

Third—Every man should attend roll-call in the morning.

Fourth—That no man should have more provisions than another.

Fifth—That all private stores should belong to the general store.

Sixth—That nothing should be done without the voice of the majority.

Seventh—That the provisions should be served, out twice a week, to prevent waste in the first part of the week.

Every man signed 'these articles, as consenting to them.

When this was done, we all set to work at the wreck, and first got out the bread, flour, peas, and rice, then the pork and beef; and having ascertained the quantity, made a calculation to see how long these provisions would last. It was resolved, that we should proportion our supply for one year, which, according to our numbers, gave two pounds of bread, half a pound of flour or rice, and one pound of beef or pork, to each person per week. We then had our wine and spirits gauged, and found that, for the same time, namely, twelve months, we could allow a pint of wine, or half a pint of spirits, daily, to every man. We also got out a considerable quantity of gunpowder.

I proposed that the best shots should be employed as our sportsmen, and as there were a great quantity of geese and other wildfowl on the island, we might get a good supply of fresh provisions in that way. "But," said I, "it ought to be proved who are the best shots among us: powder and shot are ten times more valuable to us on an island that is full of birds, than the biscuits, beef, or pork that we have landed; as long as our ammunition lasts we cannot want, and it therefore is, above all, our particular duty to see that it is not thrown away, and that every shot fired gives us the full value for it."

All agreed with what I said; and a board being set up, with a piece of paper on it, marked as a target is painted, we ordered the marines to get their muskets in order; and it was resolved that he who went nearest to the mark for three shots, should be appointed the sportsman. We measured out the distance for them to fire, which was one hundred yards. Johnson fired first—he was an Irishman—and did not come near the mark. In short ten fired, and only two hit the mark. Upon repeating their shots they all missed, except two; and John Bellingham was the only man that put each shot inside of the ring.

I had a fair joke now against the soldiers and their shooting, telling them that I had good reason for knowing all soldiers to be bad marksmen, as they had missed me so often in 1798; for that probably more shots were aimed at me, with the intention of killing me, than had ever been aimed at any man alive and able to tell the story. Turning to Captain Durie, I said, "The soldiers of the year 1798, in Ireland, would have picked up a poor living, if made fowlers on the Falkland Islands." At this remark there was a general laugh.

It was then agreed that the sportsman should have an extra allowance of spirits in bad weather, and also that he should have men allowed him to bring home the geese he shot. The first day he killed twenty-four geese, and we allowed a goose to every four persons. My mess was a large one; it consisted of Captain Durie, his wife, child, and servant; myself, my wife, child, and servant, and Captain Brookes; in all nine persons. The others were divided into different messes, as they could agree to arrange them.

We then agreed to appoint a store-keeper, and Sergeant William Beain was, at my suggestion, fixed on for that office, and we placed a sentry over the stores; but as I found a great many drunk in the morning, I called the council to meet, and brought the drunken men forward; they were all marines and sailors. I stated that the allowance of wine and spirits given the day before, could have produced no appearance of intoxication at that time, therefore that there must have been some dishonest proceedings. I then moved that some of the passengers should be put as sentries, thinking it would stop this practice; but this change proved of no use. So we formed a new store in the midst of our little camp, in order to guard our stock the better; for you may rest assured you might as well expect to squeeze honey out of a smith's anvil, as to make an old marine or sailor honest: it surpasses the art of man. They used to bore holes in the sides of the pipes of wine, and then turn the pipes down, so that when they came to be inspected there was no appearance of any place where the wine could have been drawn off. Still the same thing was going on; and I called another meeting, at which it was agreed to make a vault or cellar in the ground, and to sink out pipes of wine and casks of spirits three or four feet under the earth, so that they could not be touched except by raising, and we had a small hand-pump to take out what we wanted; by this means we at length succeeded in keeping the men from getting more than their fair allowance. We had now to call the sentry, but before this the twelve o'clock sentry was sure to come without calling.

We then set the carpenter to work to raise our long-boat, and to deck her in order that, in case of emergency, we might put to sea in her.

[14 February 1813]

Sunday, the 14th was very wet, and the water came through our tent as we sat at dinner. Mrs. Durie began to bewail her hard lot, and gave many evil wishes to Hicton, whose drunkenness had caused all our misfortunes.

This poor lady was now near her time of lying-in, and had nothing but the cold and wet turf for the floor of her apartment. I endeavoured to comfort her, and told her that God had already been gracious, and saved all our lives, and was able, and would provide for her in her necessity. "With His help, madam," I said, "I will have a house raised for you by this time on Tuesday next." She looked at me very earnestly, as did her husband and Captain Brookes.

I then said, "Captain Durie, have you any command over these marines? If you have, let me have some assistance to-morrow."

After dinner, I went out and took a view of the ground where I thought I could best erect a cabin, and I was not long in fixing upon a proper spot. At five the next morning we began to work; but having no spade, to cut the sods, I luckily remembered "a large old sword, which I had given to my old man at Sydney, to guard my cabin with, before I went on board the Isabella. The ground was uneven, in banks, varying between three and five feet in height; each bank was about three feet square. With this sword I cut into the bank, and then got a man to take hold of the long grass that grew on the top, and as he pulled it towards him, I, being on my knees, cut round every side of the bank, and when he pulled it down, then cut off the grass and shaped it into proper sods for my wall. Sergeant Beain assisted me, and old Byrne pulled the grass down, as I have mentioned. At night I had the walls up of a cabin twenty feet long, ten wide, and seven high.

[15 February 1813]

I made Beain get one of the yards of the ship; this I cut in two, and at each end there was a mortice where the pulley was fixed; this answered for my ridgepole or board to go into. When we got the ridge set, I took some of the boards of the deck and placed them on the walls, and the other ends I nailed to the ridge, giving it a good coat of pitch; then I got three good sails, and stretched them well one over the other, so that the rain would fall off quickly; and this formed an excellent roof, which, having pegged strongly down, was secured from being blown off by the wind.

[16 February 1813]

I then, with some of the cleck planks, made a platform of flooring; and, having removed the stove from the ship, and cut a hole for the funnel, I brought coals out of the wreck, and one of the cabin tables, with a few chairs. By three o'clock the table-cloth was spread in the new habitation, and we sat down happily to dinner, and many a grateful bumper was drank, with thanks to me for what I had done. This was on Tuesday, the 16th February, 1813. Mrs. Durie, I am sure, would speak of me to this hour with gratitude. She is, I believe, now in some part of Scotland, where the first battalion of the 73rd regiment is stationed.

The carpenter's proceedings with the longboat were superintended by Captain Brookes, who was a good seaman, and understood the best manner of fitting her. As for Hicton, none of us made free with him, it being through his means that we had been brought into our miserable condition, so he kept in his hut. The different parties lived as most convenient to themselves, with their several acquaintances. Mrs. Durie and my wife kept very much to themselves; and I am sure of this, that there never was a Captain's wife and a General's wife fonder of one another.

We passed the remainder of this week very pleasantly; but my Wife and myself felt very deeply for a lady in Mrs. Durie's uncomfortable state, and our feelings of pity and regret were much increased by the recollection, that a lady who had been reared with every tender care, and who had been accustomed to every attention, should be confined under a bank in a turf bog, without the comforts of house and home, and no assistance but from God and Mrs. Holt. I talked with my wife about her case, until it left us no time to think for ourselves, and we did all that was possible to assist her through her trouble.

[21 February 1813]

On Sunday, the 21st, we were sitting at dinner, when I observed Mrs. Durie's countenance change, and I saw her time was come. I took a glass of wine, and said to Captain Brookes:

"A safe passage to all on their journey;—gentlemen," said I, "we will take a walk;" and out we went.

In about an hour and a half we returned, and the poor lady had been safely delivered of a daughter: so the hand of the Lord assisted these two females in their distress; and Mrs. Durie recovered by his blessing, and the aid of her friend, without the assistance of any doctor. Thus does our merciful God act to all that put their trust in him. Upon hearing this good news, we came in, and sitting down, enjoyed ourselves proclaiming the young lady queen of the island, as the first-born there, and declaring her name to be Ann Providence Durie.

We drank very heartily that night, as well on this this account of the christening, as that our friend Captain Brookes intended to sail next morning.

We put in the long boat three months' provisions of every article that we had, and then called all hands to give their voices for some one to command the boat. Captain Durie named Captain Brookes, I said the same; and three-fourths of the people voted for him. Sir Henry Browne Hayes wanted to go, but all, except five or six marines, refused to agree to it. Captain Brookes was given the command, with power to choose what companions he thought proper. He fixed on George Davis, the mate of the Isabella wreck, Lieutenant Landin, Joseph Woolley, a marine, and Anthony the Irishman, as he could speak different languages, and an American, which were as many as she could hold.

All hands went down to where the boat lay, and we launched her off the stocks; after all her stores were on board I brought down a bottle of rum to christen her, and you may be assured I filled my glass, and drank prosperity to "FAITH AND HOPE." She hoisted her sails, and went to sea.* We prayed for her success, as she was all the hope we had to get our lives safe off from these islands.

[* The following is Lieutenant Landin's narrative of the wreck of the Isabella, and of his subsequent proceedings for the assistance of his shipwrecked companions.

"Having received his Excellency the Governor's permission to return on leave of absence to England, I embarked, and sailed from Port Jackson on the 4th December, 1812, in the Isabella, of London, 193 tons burthen, in company with Captain Durie, of H. M. 73rd Regiment, and family, a detachment of Royal Marines, with several other men and women passengers, who, with the crew of the vessel, amounted in all, to fifty-four souls. Two months after our departure, we passed Cape Horn, when it was the intention of the Master of the vessel to put into some port in the Falkland Islands for a supply of water, which intention, however, he changed as he approached them, being entirely unacquainted, and having no charts whereby he might be directed to a port.

"His first intentions were to have steered between the islands and the continent of South America, till on the 7th of February, about six o'clock in the evening, the land was perceived too far ahead to weather, when he put about to go on the eastern side of the island. At about twelve o'clock at night, when not the least apprehension was entertained of danger, the alarm was given of being close in with the land.

"No time was lost in taking in sail, and hauling close to the wind, which we had scarce done, and in a fair way to weather it, when we struck with great violence on a ledge of rocks under water, and unshipped the rudder, and could plainly distinguish heavy breakers all round us; after striking very hard for some time, we at last drifted off, and found ourselves, between two and three in the morning, close in with the shore; having cut away the masts, and the tide ebbed, some sailors got on shore by the wreck, when a hawser was made fast, and all the people safely landed; and likewise succeeded in saving all the provisions, which precluded the possibility of our suffering from want of sustenance for some time, but left us as we now were upon a desert and uninhabited island, surrounded by rocks and islands on every side, where we could not suppose that any vessel would ever approach. No prospect of ever being extricated from our deplorable situation remained, but endeavouring to discover some Spanish settlement, which we supposed to exist on some of the islands, which, however, we were very ill-provided to do, having only a small long boat, about seventeen feet and a half long; we got her, however, put in the best possible order, and increased her weight by putting an additional streak upon her,-and about two-thirds of a deck, to enable her the better to withstand a heavy sea. These improvements being completed, Mr. Brookes, a passenger, (having been a long time master of a vessel) was nominated to navigate her, with the master and two seamen of the Isabella, and a marine to go in her, who, together with myself, (having volunteered my services, conceiving that an application made by an officer belonging to the service of his Britannic Majesty-might be of more avail than by a private individual, in procuring relief) sailed on the 21st of February, attended, as might be well supposed, by sincere wishes for our success. We steered first towards an entrance about ten leagues to the N.W. of us, which we supposed to be the entrance to Falkland's Straits, intending to proceed to Port Egmont, as being the most likely place to find the settlement, where we might find a vessel either to carry off all the people to Rio de Janeiro, or one by which we might proceed ourselves for assistance. From foul winds we were five days before we reached the entrance we saw from the island, during which time we encountered a very heavy gale of wind, while we lay at anchor under the lee of a small island, where we found what at first we had taken for the entrance to the Sound, was a large Bay. We then steered towards the northward, and in attempting to haul round, when we had cleared the Sound, we were driven out by a heavy current to the southward, and during a dark night, found the greatest difficulty in weathering the rocks on the Eastern Island, and next morning were obliged to run to the southward to find a port to recruit ourselves, being quite exhausted the preceding evening.

"Having found this, and now discovering it totally impracticable to find the port we were in quest of, we formed the determination of attempting the passage to the main, for which we sailed on the 8th March, and being favoured with comparatively very moderate weather and fair winds, we arrived at St. Lucia, in the River Plate, on the 26th. General Rondeau, at that time commanding the army besieging Monte Video, offered me a passport to Monte Video, but at the same time informed me of H.M. ship Nereus being at Buenos Ayres, of which I was glad to avail myself, and again embarked in the boat, and arrived on the evening of the 11th March. I cannot here refrain from bearing testimony to the eagerness and activity of Captain Heywood, displayed in refitting H. M. brig Nancy, which arrived next day totally dismasted, to send to the relief of the people on the island, which was completed on the 15th April. Knowing by experience the danger of approaching those islands, which have hitherto been so inaccurately described, and Lieutenant D'Aranda, Commander of the Nancy, having no clue whereby he might discover the particular island that my fellow-sufferers were on, none of the people that were in the boat having any intention to revisit them a second time, and likewise conceiving that what observations I had been enabled to make, might be of service to Lieutenant D'Aranda, I applied to Captain Heywood for a passage to return in the Nancy, which was readily granted, and after a very boisterous passage, in which Mr. D'Aranda evinced the greatest perseverance, we discovered the land on the 14th", and anchored on the 15th of May in the Bay, which at our departure we had taken for the entrance of the Straits, from whence I was enabled to conduct him to the island. On our arrival, we found most of the people absent, a shallop belonging to an American brig having approached the island in search of seal skins, and having given up every hope with respect to the safety of the boat, they entered into an agreement with them to carry them off the island; and all the able hands were now absent fitting the brig, which lay among some of the islands at some distance, to bring her round to carry them all off. On the 15th of June the American brig arrived, when Mr. D'Aranda conceiving they had broke their agreement made a prize of her, determining to send her direct to England. The object of my return being now completed, and anxious to proceed as quickly as possible to deliver up the despatches with which I was charged by his Excellency the Governor of New South Wales, I embarked in the Nannina, American brig, and sailed from the Falkland Islands on the 27th of July, when, on the 23rd of August, we were compelled for want of sufficient provisions for so long a voyage, to put into Rio de Janeiro.

"Richard Landin,
Lieut. H. M. 73rd Regt."]

The next day I began to build a house for my own residence, with the assistance of my old man, who had much recovered, and my son.

With the wainscoting of the cabin of the wreck I made a comfortable bed-room for myself and wife, and another for my son and old Byrne. As for my other two men, they behaved so ill at the time of the wreck, that I took no notice of them afterwards; for as they neglected me in the time of need, I knew their value, and treated them accordingly; but him I found faithful is not forgotten by me to this day. When my house was completed, I built a kitchen for Mrs. Durie and myself; and when I had it put together, I got the copper from the vessel and coppered it. The chimney I made in the same manner as the chimneys to the small houses in the country parts of Ireland, and I got a hob-stone from off the beach. My chimney was so wide that I could lay a beam nine feet long across it, which was sometimes necessary, as we had nothing to cut up the wood with.

[1 March 1813]

On the 1st of March we had a strong southerly wind, which blew the Isabella out of the water high and dry; and then we got all the lead from her, which was her most valuable store. Bellingham went out every day to shoot, unless it happened to be very stormy; and I advised him always to keep, if possible, a day's allowance in store, which would render the supply almost a certainty. He did so, and I acted as commissary. Every day, when Bellingham returned, he came to me, and delivered up what he had shot, which I took an account of, and this is the cause of my being now able to write all the particulars, as I kept a journal of all the transactions that happened upon land or sea; and when I had an hour to spare, I used to put down the occurrences of my life, as I remembered them.

If I had a leisure day, I spent it in exploring the island upon which we had been wrecked, and sometimes went out with Bellingham. In one of these excursions, we saw a flock of as many as thirty geese; and when we came up to them, I killed six at the first shot. Bellingham charged, and then fired, killing at the second shot five more; and we never left the spot until we had killed the last of the flock. When the live geese saw their friends that had been shot fall down on their backs, or the wounded fluttering about, instead of taking to the wing and flying away, they would collect about the dead and dying, and look on with surprise and wonder, so that we certainly could not call them wild geese. I have also seen a flock of geese, as soon as we came in sight of them, rise and fly towards us, and alight around where we stood, looking at us without any signs of fear, and cackling as if they were rejoiced at meeting with us. I have knocked down some of them with my stick; and I very seldom went out that I was not able to bring back with me a goose or a pair of ducks. After I had seen the first day's sport, I always took a stick with me, and I found that a load for three men could with ease be procured in the course of one day, so that I felt no apprehension at our wanting food.

One day I walked out with Captain Durie, and we went down to the south-east side of Eagle Island, which was the name of the island that we were on, as we afterwards found. The adjacent island was called George's Island. As we walked along near the shore, we saw several large animals, but we did not know what they were. When we advanced towards them, they got up and made towards the water, into which they plunged. Upon our return back, we saw another of those animals get up out of the tussocks; it faced us, but I perceived by its shape that it could not run fast; it was about the size of a two years' old bull, with a head bigger than that of an ox, and eyes as large as tea-cups. I had only my stick in my hand; and as it came towards us, I stood right before it, and when within reach, made a blow at one of its eyes, which completely put it out. The animal roared very much; but instead of advancing, stopped, which I took advantage of, and changing my position, made another blow without loss of time at the other eye, which I struck with such force that the juice from it squirted out into my face. The animal roared very loudly; but I quickly struck it on the nose, which made it turn from the water, and go towards the place it had come from. As it appeared to me, that in this first engagement I was the master, having blinded the animal, and perceiving that it laid down its head, I felt inclined to complete my work, and gain the complete victory. I called to Captain Durie to bring me a stone, which he did; but I thought it too light, and sent him for another of a larger size. He brought me a second stone, and with both of them I attacked the animal.

By one of these, which struck it on the back of the head, it was killed. I examined the place, and found that the skull, in the spot of the death-wound, was not much thicker than the shell of an egg. I viewed and examined the animal, but I could not tell what to call it. Captain Durie and I felt the skin, upon which was a very smooth, short, close hair, not unlike that with which trunks are covered. And what did my great exploit turn out to be? Only killing a young sea-elephant of a year old. When we returned, we described our adventure, and one of the men went and cut out the tongue, of which he made a good mess for his supper.

A full grown sea-elephant is as large as two English bullocks, and produces eight barrels of oil. These animals are amphibious; that is, they can live in the water or out of the water, for days together. They burrow holes in the ground a quarter of a mile from the sea, where they lie during the hot weather; and seldom leave, unless they are in want of food, when they go to the sea. They move nearly as fast backwards as forwards. These great animals have a forked tail, divided for about three feet, with large fins on each part. They have two very large fins, or small arms, about five feet from the head, and on these they bear and travel on the land; and, when in the sea, use them as oars, to pull through the water. In these islands they are-very abundant. I had at one time forty-five of their tongues drying in my chimney, in Eagle Island, and I took some of them to sea with me, and I made a present of some to Captain D'Afandaj commander of his Majesty's gun-brig, Nancy.

There was a kind of duck on these islands, which the Americans call loggerheads, but they cannot fly, having wings too small for that purpose; their body is larger than that of an Irish goose; and, in very stormy weather, when we could not use a musket with effect, we would go to fresh water ponds, and get between these ducks and the sea, and drive them inland. The moment they found themselves among the grass, they would run their heads under the grass, and there they remained till we came up to give them their death-blow, or I should rather have said blows, for they are a very strong fowl, and require two or three blows with a heavy stick from the stoutest arm, to kill them. Their flesh is very dark, being much like that of the wild goose in Ireland. We used to skin them, as the feathers were of no use, and were very hard to pluck. The body weighed about fourteen pounds, and when stewed down made very good soup.

Some very fine celery grew on the island,* as fine indeed as I ever saw in Dublin market, which was very useful to us for cooking and making soup. The heavy rains washed down the earth from the banks and high grounds, and thus the celery was earthed as it grew, without any labour. It soon banished the scurvy, with which many of the sailors were very much afflicted when we were wrecked. Before we left Eagle Island they were quite well, and every one got to look fat and wholesome.

[* When the Betsey, whaler, visited the Falkland Islands, in 1801, the seeds of several vegetables were sown on the various islands by her crew, especially celery, of which a cask had been taken by the Betsey in a Spanish prize. It was, however, the constant practice for all whalers to pay particular attention to the cultivation of vegetables upon the uninhabited islands they were likely to visit.]

There was another sort of sea-bird, which we called divers, and the seamen called "black shags." They never flew from us, and any one might go in among five hundred of them, and with a long staff knock down ten at a blow. They had no gizzards, and their flesh was black and tasted fishy; but if put into fresh water for ten hours before cooking, it took Off the fishy taste. It was the same with the sea geese, or the geese that lived upon the salt water, and eat small fishes and sea-weeds; but the flesh of the dry-land geese was more like the flesh of poultry, and was far whiter than that of a goose in England or Ireland. The land geese lived upon a berry, called the cranberry, upon which food they got as fat as any geese I ever saw.

The ducks, widgeons, teals, snipes, and doves, were far superior to any in this kingdom. The barnacle or abrant was another bird, something less than a goose in size, but very fat and pleasant for food. I have also seen, in Eagle Island, the most beautiful swans that eye ever beheld. The head was scarlet, and the neck black down to the breast, the body milk-white, and they were larger than any others that I have met with. In taking a walk along the sea shore, the small birds would sometimes alight on my hat, and from that hop down to my shoulders. I have indeed often put up my hand and caught them; and after looking at them, I would let them go. It was quite clear that they knew nothing of danger from man, as the passengers and crew of the Isabella were probably the first people who had sojourned on the island. The eagle and the hawk were so plenty, that I often wondered at seeing such an abundance of other birds.

I was very fond of birds, and when I left Port Jackson, I, brought twenty-one parrots, and one cockatoo, with me in a cage; they cost me sixty guineas. Fifteen of these parrots spoke, and whistled, in a very remarkable manner. It was wonderful how readily they picked up any tune played to them, on the flute or fife, and how perfectly they imitated every note of it, as true as a drum-major. My cockatoo spoke as much as any woman, and he could bark like a dog, either a great dog or a little one, and imitate other animals. He had acquired these accomplishments by walking out every morning and perching himself on the yard gate, where he had an opportunity of hearing the sounds made by the dogs and sheep, and if he thought that the sheep were not driven out in or about the usual time, he would call, "Phillip, Phillip—damn you—come and reckon your sheep—you ought to be out." These words, and many more he had learned quite perfectly, and was very fond of repeating "damn you,"—"damn you," I have observed that parrots and children, are good scholars at bad words.

When I was wrecked on Eagle Island, and had but two pounds of bread to live on for seven days, I was obliged; to turn my pretty birds out to look for their own livelihood, and to my inexpressible vexation, I saw the eagles dart at several of them, and in a moment destroy them. Four of them, however, escaped, and fled into our tent or cabin to us, for protection, and perching on my wife's lap, cried "Pretty dear,"—"Pretty Polly." Their enemies were standing almost at the door so she could not turn them out, but kept them,, and we divided our mess with them. Of these four birds, I sold three at, Rio de Janeiro, for ten pounds, and the other is at Mr. Peter Latouche's, at Bellevieu, in the County Wicklow.

[4 April 1813]


20. Rescue and Voyage to Rio de Janeiro

We remained living between hope and despair until the fourth day of April, when Captain Durie and myself, took a walk after dinner down towards George's Island, when we perceived a small vessel coming from Berkeley's Sound, and bearing towards Eagle Island. Captain Durie said, "That is our Faith and Hope." I looked steadily at the little bark but soon perceived that it could not be our long boat, and I told Captain Durie that I was satisfied it would prove to be a vessel of three times her size. We went down to the shore, and I pulled out my pocket handkerchief, and fixed it to the end of my cane, as a signal of distress.

The signal was perceived by the vessel, and she bore in shore, and lowered a boat. By this time, fourteen of our people had collected on the beach. The first man that landed was Captain Edward Fanning, from Nantucket, in America. He looked at me very earnestly and came over, and shook hands with me; asking, "How was the settlement of the world?" I answered, "Very well."

To explain to the reader the cause of his coming up to me, I must state, that I wore my beard under my chin, as a mark of what I was,* and he wore his in the same manner. After speaking two or three words together, which made us know more than I am going to relate, he asked me into his boat.

[* An United Irishman. See page 189 of this volume.]

I introduced Mr. Durie to him, and both of us, with Hicton, went on board his vessel, where we found Captain Charles Barnet, and Captain Andrew Hunter. We told them our sorrowful tale, and they said that they had seen our flag, and could not tell the meaning of it. I invited these three gentlemen to do us the honour to spend the night with us at Newtown Providence, as I had called the little settlement, and they promised to accept our invitation, as soon as they got past the Cape of Barren Island. Captain Durie and I, therefore, went home to order supper to be prepared, and Mrs. Durie and Mrs. Holt, were quite in dudgeon with us, that we did not wait for them to accompany us back to the shore. As we got down, our visitors had just landed, and we piloted them up to our habitations, and introduced them into Mrs. Durie's, where the table was spread with such provisions as we had, and with wine and spirits, of which they cheerfully partook. These gentlemen told me, that my name was well known in America, and that they were very glad to see me and my family, and would render us any service in their power. They further said that if our long boat reached the River Plate, it would be a miracle, and more than could be reasonably expected, for there was a terrible sea to cross. I told them that I would pay anything in reason, for a passage for myself, my wife, son, and servant, to any place from whence there was a chance of obtaining a passage to England, or Ireland. Captain Fanning's and Captain Hunter's reply was, "Make yourself easy, General Holt, we are bound to protect you and your family, and if every one else should pay, you and yours must go free, as you are a citizen of the world." Captain Hunter also told Captain Durie, that as he and I were so intimate with each other, he and his family should be treated in the same manner.

We were so much delighted at the prospect of being, released from our confinement to Eagle Island, that we were very merry, and kept it up jovially with our new friends, until past twelve o'clock that night. We talked of several matters concerning America, and among other things, the Americans told us that there was a war between America and Great Britain, but that, notwithstanding this, they thought themselves in duty bound, as men and sailors', to save the lives of people in distress, belonging to any country.

The next morning was, according to our reckoning, the fifth day of April, but we were a day too fast, as there was a day lost in our voyage out, so a day was gained in coming home. Captain' Durie, and I, called all hands together, and when they were assembled, I spoke to Hicton, as nearly as I can recollect, in these words:—-"Captain Hicton, by your misconduct you have brought many lives into jeopardy, upon this desolate island, and you do not, even now, when you have an opportunity, seem at all sensible of your duty to your passengers, and crew. You have done nothing as yet, towards obtaining a passage for any of us, but leave us to our own exertions and resources. I now tell you, that Captain Durie, and myself, with our families, have determined to go with our kind-hearted American friends—the gentlemen who are present."

Sir Henry Hayes then stepped forward and said, that "No one should go until all went together." I laughed at him, and told him that "he had about as much command over me as he had over Miss Pike,* when he attempted to take her out of her carriage."

[* See Note, at page 122 of this volume.]

A loud laugh followed my remark. Captain Hunter then said, that "He always felt happy in being able to save any one's life, or relieve any man when in distress; and that he would, give up the further prosecution of his voyage until he had landed us all either in South or North America, whichever circumstances might make it most desirable to do."

I said, "Now you ail have heard the generous offer made by Captain Hunter. Let all those who are inclined to accept it, follow me and step over on this side, and those who wish to remain on the island let them stand by Sir Henry Hayes." I was followed by Captain Durie, and every one, else, except George Hilton, Sir Henry Hayes, Samuel Brickwell, and Mrs. Bindel. Hicton, seeing how matters stood, asked, us first, "what, it was that we all wanted?" and then said, that "as a good deal of the wreck still remained, if it was the general wish that he should abandon his vessel, or give her up to the Americans, he would do so, and make the best bargain for us all that he could, but that we should sign a paper to this effect," which we all did. He then signed articles, and the Americans became masters of whatever remained of the Isabella, and of the whole stores.

[6 April 1813]

On and after the 6th of April we received rations from the Americans, viz. four pounds of bread, and three pounds of beef or pork, which was double the allowance of bread, and two-thirds more of salt meat, than we had hitherto received; a goose was also allowed for every three persons, each day. Mrs. Durie and her family, five in number, went to the Nannina brig, where she lay, at New Island. Mary Spencer and Mrs. Hughes also went on board the brig, with five marines and five sailors, making the total seventeen. This thinned our camp on Eagle Island; and I would have gone too, had not Captain Fanning advised me to remain with him and Captain Hunter, "for the purpose," as he said, "of making a little society for them," as these American gentlemen would not associate with Hayes or Hicton.

The first thing the Americans began to remove from the wreck was the oil, and then the ship's copper. The pearl shells they put into casks; but when the oil and shells were ready for transportation, a road was wanted by which the casks could be rolled to the other side of the island.

I told Captain Fanning that if he would give me the men, I would quickly lay out the road for him, as it was a business that I had formerly practised. The ground was a bog, and full of small banks; so I got the boarding pikes, and put them up for sights, and then got the carpenter, with his adze, and Sergeant Beain with another, and they soon knocked off the heads of these little round banks. I kept two men, with boarding pikes, employed in filling in the hollows with the sods, and in one week I had the road completed, fit for rolling over the oil and pearl shells, and for the conveyance of seal and sea-lion skins, or anything else. By this means we got over the Isabella's anchors, cables, and all her iron work.

I frequently walked along the coast, and whenever I saw a shoal of sea-elephants or lions, I immediately informed Fanning, and the next morning he would proceed to the place with his boat's crew. I generally accompanied him, and I thought the killing of these animals very good sport. A large elephant is allowed to have ten barrels of blood in it, and eight barrels of oil. I have occasionally brought Mrs. Holt to see a shoal of these sea monsters killed. Until she had actually seen them, she would not believe the accounts that I had given her of their size.

Captain Fanning and Captain Hunter having joined my mess, we lived very merrily together, as ''the two captains had the management of the wine and spirits, and everything else; we did not, therefore, stint ourselves. A few brace of ducks or other birds were generally shot by Captain Fanning, which made a very agreeable change J in our diet, in addition to the meat in store. Sometimes we had beef, and sometimes pork, and sometimes the tongue of a sea-elephant, as we saved the tongues of all that were killed.

[25 April 1813]

On Sunday morning, April 25, Captain Fanning killed eleven sea-elephants in about half ah hour. The geese now began to get scarce, and Captain Fanning took his boat and went over to George's Island. On the 4th of May, he brought back eighty-nine geese, which they saved in the following manner: they drew out the entrails, and put a handful of salt into each bird, and with this the goose would keep very well for ten days, hanging in the store.

[11 May 1813]

On the 11th of May, Captain Fanning brought sixty-two geese from the same island.

[16 May 1813]

On the 16th, a further supply of fifty geese; so that we had an abundant supply of food after the Americans joined us.

During all this time we were busily occupied in moving everything across the island, from the Isabella to the shipping place; and there was a good cargo of seal and sea-lion skins in the wreck, besides which we every day added to the quantity by killing more of these animals.

[17 May 1813]

On Monday, the 17th of May, about four o'clock in the evening, the Nancy, gun-brig, belonging to his Majesty King George, hove in sight. At first we thought that she was the Nannina; but Captain Hunter, when he looked at her through his spy-glass, saw that she was an armed vessel. Captain D'Aranda was the commander of the Nancy. Here was an upside-down turn in the ministry, which put us all in a quandary, for much as I wished for a deliverance from Eagle Island, I regretted that anything unfortunate should happen to those who had so well treated us, and who had acted in every respect like men and Christians.

Lieutenant Landin had served as the pilot to the Nancy, to direct her where to find us. He was the only one of the six who embarked in the long-boat, that returned. Mr. Landin came ashore with Captain William D'Aranda; and the moment that he saw Captain Hunter, he desired him to consider himself a prisoner, by which we saw clearly that it was the English captain's intention to make a prize of the Nannina, and the Americans prisoners of war. I could not help thinking this a hard case, considering their conduct to distressed British subjects.

Hunter answered, "Very well. Many a good man has been a prisoner." I was very sorry indeed to hear this word prisoner. Captain Fanning, with his boat's crew, were at this time absent from Eagle Island, procuring geese, with a supply of which, as I have before stated, they had returned the previous day.

I asked Lieutenant Landin, and Captain D'Aranda, to come and take some refreshment, which they did, drinking tea with Mrs. Holt, and taking a glass of wine with me. Mr. D'Aranda, was so good as to ask me if I wanted anything for myself and family. I thanked him, and told him that I wanted nothing, except a little tobacco, to comfort my old man, Byrne; but, I observed, at the same time, that my store of sugar was getting low. Mr. D'Aranda said he would send both the next day, and he invited me to go and see the Nancy, which I replied, that I should have much pleasure in doing.

[18 May 1813]

The next day I went to pay my respects to Captain D'Aranda, who sent a boat for me, with an officer in it, and had the yards manned, when I went on board, and the same when I was coming away. He could not have paid a greater compliment to any person of high rank. Captain D'Aranda's table was furnished with various dishes, and he told me to want for nothing. He ordered Beain to serve out seven pounds of bread, and seven pounds of meat, and as many geese as Bellingham could kill, so that we now had more victuals than we could consume; and soon forgot the time when we were obliged to live on two pounds of bread for a week. The two Americans continued to live with me.

[25 May 1813]

On the 25th of May, the shallop returned, and she was immediately made a prize of, by the orders of Captain D'Aranda, and the Americans were made prisoners of war. We still remained in camp, and looking out for the arrival of the brig Nannina.

[15 June 1813]

At seven o'clock in the morning of the 15th of June, I spied the brig coming in between New Island and Port Louis. I told Hunter and Fanning, and we saw the Nannina bearing down to Jack's Harbour, where the Nancy lay. As soon as she dropped anchor, the Nannina was boarded, by one of the officers of the gun-brig, and Captain Valentine Barnet, an old man, sixty-nine years of age, was ordered ashore, and Captain Basil Pease with him; and they both came to Newtown Providence that night. I received them with as much respect—perhaps more, than if they had been commanding vessels. I felt for them, with all my heart, and tried to make-them as comfortable as I could, in their misfortune. But the old gentleman's case was the worst; for on the fourteenth, in the morning, Captain. Charles Barnet went ashore to kill a few fat hogs, to bring on board, fearing, that having so many more mouths, the provisions might run short on the voyage, there being forty-eight persons, in addition to the ship's company.

Five marines, and-three of the Isabella's's old sailors, weighed anchor and came away, leaving two of the Isabella's sailors, three American sailors, and Barnet ashore. So that old Captain Barnet's case was doubly distressing, being made a prisoner himself, and losing his son. The reason that there were so many captains on board the Nannina, may require to be explained. These gentlemen, knowing that war was about to break out between the United States and Great Britain, agreed, in New York, to make a voyage as a joint speculation, for the purpose of procuring oil and skins, and they all shipped themselves in this one vessel, to be out of the way of the war. Here was another example that it is no use attempting to avoid trouble or danger, although it is every man's duty to do what he thinks is best, that he may have nothing to reproach himself with, in the hour of trial.

I pitied, these poor gentlemen very much, and my sorrow for them was nothing more than a debt of gratitude; but I said little, remembering the proverb, that "a shut mouth denotes a steady head." By a letter which I received from New York, I learned that young Captain Barnet had never been heard of since, so that it is probable he perished on the island, with the other poor fellows. I think that leaving these men on the island, was a disgrace to the British flag, and much worse in every respect than the seizure of the Nannina, considering the humane service in which she was employed.

[20 June 1813]

We all remained ashore, until the 20th of June, when I received a note from Captain D'Aranda, saying, that he wished that I should come on board his vessel, with my family, and he sent the shallop round to carry our goods to the Nancy. I rose early, and got my cot, bed, and trunks, across the island, the poor American captains helped me to pack them, and they made their men carry my luggage over for me. I thanked them, and shook hands with them, at the same time assuring them that if I ever could serve them in any way, I would do so, and this was my intention. I left old Jack Byrne with them, as he felt himself very unwell on the water, and I therefore wished him to remain until the last moment ashore.

When I saw my goods safely on board the shallop, my son and myself walked through the mountains, to where the Nancy lay, and we arrived there full two hours before the shallop. I must say, that Captain D'Aranda used towards me, and my family, every politeness and civility. He never had a party at dinner but he invited Mrs. Holt, my son, and myself. We were put on the starboard side of the gun-room, and Doctor Price on the larboard side, The Doctor with the two Lieutenants, and myself, messed in the gun-room.

I went twice to see my old American messmates, bringing some tobacco with me, and I told them what I had heard concerning themselves and vessel. Doctor Price and I became very intimate. He was always at my side, except when he was going through his inspections, and a very hard drinking man he was. While the Nancy was smoked, Mrs. Holt and I paid a visit to the Nannina, and spent a day on board of her, with our old friends Captain and Mrs. Durie. They also felt very sorry for our American benefactors, who had been plundered of their feather-beds, which were ripped open, and the feathers let fly away with the wind, and boat-sails made of the ticken.* The issue of wine and spirits to the Americans, was also stopped; they were deprived of the comforts of life, and put on half allowance, and under decks, and yet the men were made to work. Which I always thought was contrary to the treatment of prisoners of war, but the longer a man lives the more he learns.

[* In the eyes of an Irish peasant, this treatment of a feather-bed, (which is considered as a respectable marriage portion), would appear almost as unpardonable an offence as sacrilege.]

I heard that the Nannina brig was to sail from the Falkland Islands, direct to England, and as I wished to shorten my journey homewards, I wrote to Captain D'Aranda, as follows:

To Captain Dirlanda.*
Dear Sir,

I hope you will pardon my impartnance to pursume to ask the liberty of going in the Nannina brig as I hear she is to sail streight to England. My long absence from my country and the eager desire to embrace a child dearly belove by her parens haiseings my wishes to go. your complying with this will ever obblige your very umble sarvant to command.

Joseph Holt.

[* Holt's spelling has been preserved in this letter, as a specimen of his orthography.]

The captain sent for me, and told me I might go in the Nannina, but he said that he was afraid the accommodations were not fit for me or my wife.

I thanked him kindly, and said that as it was but a short passage, we would put up with whatever accommodations there were, and proceed in the Nannina. So Captain D'Aranda, having given me my wish, left me, and I made ready to shift my quarters.

[10 July 1813]

On the 10th day of July, I moved to the Nannina.

[27 July 1813]

On the 27th, she sailed. She had been robbed of her compass, and there were no lamps, nor had we as much spare rope as would fetter a frog, nor a second sail to put up, if we lost one. Our orders were to stay outside of the islands, until the Nancy came to us. We sailed in the morning, and a gale of wind coming on, we bore away, towards the river Plate, and when we were within eight hours of reaching the mouth of that river, a strong head-wind came, which drove us to sea again.

[14 August 1813]

On the fourteenth of August we got in sight of Grande Island, and only for old Barnet, who knew the coast, we should have been lost. The Americans, for self-preservation, often went up aloft to take in reefs and handle the sails. Old Barnet said to me that we had gone within five feet of the rock, when we went through a passage only about one hundred feet wide, and with very dangerous rocks on both sides; but he got us out of danger, and told Mr. Ash, the Prize Master, where we were. We then bore out to sea, and sailed more by guess than by knowledge, as we had no maps on board nor anything to direct us, except old Barnet's memory; and a very fine old fellow he was, as I ever saw.

[16 August 1813]

On the sixteenth of August we saw a sail to windward, and thought that she was an enemy. I went below, and took out of my trunk three hundred dollars, which I 'hid under the lower deck. If the enemy proved to be an American I felt there was no fear of my dollars, but it was "better to be sure than sorry." We bore towards her gallantly, and when she saw that we were inclined to meet her, she tacked about and took another course.

[21 August 1813]

On the twenty-first we saw the Sugar-loaf, a great high mountain just at the entrance of Rio de Janeiro, and on the twenty-third we came to anchor.

[23 August 1813]

When the Americans came on deck I shook hands with them, and thanked them for all the service they had done me; and I told them that I was ready to serve them in return. I moreover said, that I felt it was my duty to become their servant, and to do what I could for their comfort. "Go," said I, "and write your letters, and I will deliver them. I do not care a farthing for one nation more than another, beyond what honour and manhood requires."

Captain Hunter then said, "Holt, I was mistaken in you, though many told me that you would stand our friend, I did not think so—now I see the difference between what I was told and what I thought. I now feel every confidence in you." He then wrote to General Thomas Sumpter's secretary; the General was Minister Plenipotentiary of the United States. When Captain Hunter's letter was ready I called a canoe, and went ashore in it, and inquired for General Sumpter's office, which I soon found. I went up stairs and inquired for General Sumpter, when one of the clerks pointed him out to me where he sat. I stepped over, and inquired if he was the gentleman for whom my letter was directed; to which he answered that he was.

I then gave him the letter, which he opened, and began to read it; but when he came to the place where my name was mentioned in it, he stopped short, and looking at me very earnestly said, "Sir, will you walk this way?" upon which I followed him into his private room. General Sumpter then said, "Pray, sir, are you the man who commanded in Ireland in the year 1798?" I answered, "Yes, sir, I am." He gave me his hand and said, "that he was glad to see me, observing that my present conduct was like my former character, very much to my credit. He then made me sit down, and I related to him the whole transaction with respect to the Americans and the Nannina.

Hicton had offered to swear that he did not engage the Americans to take us off from the Falkland Islands, but I had made notes of the matter. I had also a few honest fellows, who would not fail to speak the truth; and I told General Sumpter that, if he pleased, I would put my journal into his hand the next day, but he said it was not necessary.

He then entered into conversation with me, asking me several questions about New South Wales, and many other things. Mr. Sumpter then wrote a letter to Captain Hunter, which he handed to me, and I returned with it to the Nannina.

The next morning Admiral Dixon came on board the brig; Mr. Ash, the Prize Master, was on shore, and the Americans were below. The Admiral came over to where I was standing, and I saluted him.. He asked me if I was one of the people who had been shipwrecked on the Falkland Islands. I told his worship that I was, and I related to him, as clearly as time would admit, all the particulars of our story.

The Admiral then inquired where the Americans were? I told him that they were below, and I called them upon deck. Old Barnet and Hunter came upon deck, and they related to the Admiral exactly as I had done the circumstances of their conduct; and old Barnet, in conclusion observed that it was a bad job for him. "I think not," said Admiral Dixon, "it was the hand of God that guided you there to save so many lives."

He then turned to me and asked, "How long had you been on Eagle Island before the gentlemen arrived there?"

[24 August 1813]

I told him "From the eighth of February to the fourth of April, living on two pounds of bread and one pound of beef or pork; and," I added, "the Americans generously gave us plenty of food. It is my opinion, your worship," said I, "that a vessel taken up by British subjects, and for the purpose of saving their lives, ought to be considered as an exception to the general rule respecting prizes. Although there was a war between England and America at the time that the Nannina was seized, the conduct of the Americans towards us clearly showed that there was no enmity on their part."

The Admiral said that he agreed with me, and he told the Americans to go ashore, and to consider themselves no longer as prisoners. This pleased me very much, to find that my poor friends were once more at liberty. So we got ready to go ashore; and I Called a canoe, in which we all went, with my wife and son, and landed at the Palace Square. On going into the town, I saw the English flag hanging to a pole, at the door of a house. I entered, and called for a pint of rum, in order to give a couple of men a glass; the landlord brought me about three naggins.*

[* Naggin, or noggin, is the common name in Ireland for a quarter of a pint measure.]

I looked at him very keenly, and asked him, if he kept up his old fashion of short measure?—I knew him at once, and also the woman that was with him; his name was Thomas Green, from Cumberland, and the woman's name was Mary Dalton, from Dublin, and both of them came out to Port Jackson, in the Tillicherry. He called me out, and begged of me very earnestly not to say that I had ever seen him in New South Wales. I promised him that I would say nothing about the matter; whatever his honesty may have been, he certainly always was a very civil and well-spoken man: and he provided a lodging for me at the house of Patrick Rowley, from the County of Kerry, a carpenter by trade. We lived in St. Joseph Street, just above the Palace Square. I lodged there for fifty-nine days before I sailed for Saint Salvador.

[25 August 1813]

The next day I returned to the Nannina, and, 25. having got a boat, brought all my goods ashore. After I had got myself settled in my lodgings, I went to pay a visit to General Sumpter, who made me spend the day with him and Mrs. Sumpter. There was also with them Mrs. Rutter, wife of Counsellor* Rutter.

[* Quere Consul?]

They seemed highly entertained at the relation of my adventures, although some of the passages in my life must have been mortifying to the breast of humanity. When I mentioned the treatment I had received from Governor King, and from Foveaux, they wondered that the law of Great Britain could ever be administered in so base a manner; and when I told them of the hardships that my wife had suffered in consequence, and of her excellence and faithful attachment to me through all my misfortunes, they requested of me most earnestly,, and indeed made me promise, that I would bring my wife and son to dine with them, and asked me to appoint the day. I thanked-.those ladies most graciously for the honour they had done me in inviting my wife to dine with them, and I requested that they would be so good as to name the day when we should wait upon them. They fixed upon the Friday following, and we attended according to my promise.

I spent that evening with the greatest pleasure. General Sumpter made me some very handsome presents; and at seven o'clock I took my leave of the ladies, and returned to the city, where I found my poor wife fretting at my long absence. I told her where I had been, and that I had promised that she and my son should dine with the general and his lady on the following Friday, when I would introduce her to Mrs. Sumpter, and to Counsellor Rutter's lady.

[29 August 1813]

The general's seat was about a mile out of the city, in a beautiful part of the country, just by where Sir Sidney Smith lived. We went there; and, in the whole course of my life, I never received so many compliments as I did on that day. After dinner, the band sat in the verandah, and played various tunes and marches; among the rest, "Erin go bragh." The day and the evening was spent with the highest satisfaction. There was a large party of gentlemen and ladies, to all of whom Mr. Sumpter presented me; telling the company, at the same time, of the manner I had acted towards their countrymen, and producing Captain Hunter's letter, which he made the company read. "This," he said "is an additional testimony of the character of General Holt, which is well known in the United States, and his latter conduct will increase the high respect in which he is held by the American people."

General Sumpter was so good as to say, that he would be very happy if I would come and stay at his house during the time of my remaining in the country; but he said, "I ought to mention to you, that a compliance with my wishes might hurt you in the eyes of the English! Government." I thanked the general, and said, "Sir, I do not think that it can injure any man keeping the company of a gentleman." I further told him, that although there were many Englishmen and Irishmen here, yet not one of them had paid me any attention, or offered me the least civility, since my arrival. Again thanking him for his kind proposal, which, however, I gratefully declined, I said, that I would do myself the honour of calling to see him and his good lady occasionally, and that I did not care whether my visits pleased or vexed any one.

Counsellor Rutter asked me many questions about the shipwreck; and told me the manner to proceed, to get every one an allowance of provisions daring the time that we remained in harbour. I felt much obliged to him, as I always desired to be of service to my fellow-creatures, who did not know how to help themselves. He directed me to draw out a list of the names of every one who was shipwrecked in the Isabella, and to hand it to Consul Cunningham, who was the English Consul, under the Plenipotentiary of Great Britain. As it was now eight o'clock at night, Mrs. Holt felt anxious to get home to our lodging, where our trunks were, for they contained our fortune, and she did not wish to give an opportunity for vice. The general's carriage was ordered to the door for our accommodation, and we took our leave of the company. When we came to our lodgings, we found all our things safe there, and just as we had left them.

[30 August 1813]

The next morning, I drew out a statement, in conformity with Mr. Rutter's suggestion, and laid it before Consul Cunningham, who did not seem inclined to be civil; but observed that I, and some' others mentioned in the list, had no right to get any relief. He looked very fiercely at me. I returned his look as little in the lamblike fashion as I was able, and replied, "Sir, I was not aware, that when the Act of Parliament was made for the preservation of his Majesty's, subjects, that there were any exceptions. I know what the law is, and I will take care that it shall be put in force." I then left his office; and I was never yet conquered when I was right. I determined at once to apply to headquarters.

[31 August 1813]

The next morning, I drew up a short memorial to his Excellency Lord Strangford, to which I signed my name, and took it 'to his house myself. When his Excellency received it, he gave orders to his man to bring me into the drawing-room, and to say that he would be with me in a few minutes. I followed the servant, and sat down, and in five minutes his Lordship walked in. I got up, and saluted him, but he made me sit down, and he was good enough to sit down beside me. To my great surprise, he asked me, when I had heard from my brother? I told his Lordship about eighteen months ago.

"Sir," said his Excellency, "I was at Ballyarthur when you were very busy in that neighbourhood, and often expected that you would pay us a visit." His Lordship further said, that "he was very well acquainted with my brother William."

I told his Excellency, that it gave me great pleasure to see a noble gentleman like himself at so great a distance from Ireland, and one who knew my friends. I said, "My Lord, I never thought of paying you a visit before this day; but I hope, as you have graciously condescended to recognise me, that you will take under your humane care the poor shipwrecked creatures, as whose representative I appear before your Excellency, and who stand in need of a great and powerful friend like yourself. It is their sufferings which have induced me to trespass upon your Lordship's notice."*

[* Upon my mentioning this passage in Holt's autobiography, to Lord Strangford, his Lordship said, that he had but a very faint recollection of seeing Holt at Rio de Janeiro. "My only acquaintance in the traitor line," observed Lord Strangford, "whom I remember to have found at Rio, was old Margarot, the Scotchman, one of our aboriginal reformers. I saw much of him, oil his return, with his wife, and an old cat, which had accompanied him from Scotland, and been the companion of his exile."

Lord Strangford, upon my subsequently submitting the above passage to him, informs me that, "Holt is wrong in many of his statements." "I cannot conceive," writes his Lordship, "that I could have spoken to him of Ballyarthur, where I never was in the whole course of my life; nor of his brothers, of whose existence I knew nothing, till I received your letter this morning."]

Lord Strangford told me, that he would go as far as his authority allowed him to do. I then related the treatment I had received from Mr. Cunningham. I said, "My Lord, if Mr. Cunningham had handed me a pistol, and kept another himself, I should have known what to do; but he acted very unlike a gentleman in the manner he addressed me." My Lord smiled, and said he was very sorry that Consul Cunningham did not know me; but he desired me to call the following morning upon the Consul, and that he would then probably know who I was, and do anything for me that I required.

When I was about going, I put my hand in my pocket, and pulled out my bills, to show his Excellency who my agent was in New South Wales; and I asked his lordship if he would give me cash for one hundred and seventy pounds, which was the smallest bill I had. He said he could not do so, and that there was no occasion. I answered, that it was a pity to see a man in want, who had a full and fair demand by bills upon the national treasury of England, for two thousand five hundred pounds, observing, that "though my paper was good, it made a bad dish to bring to table to satisfy the appetite, when it could not be converted into available cash."

[1 September 1813]

His Excellency said, that he felt satisfied Mr. Cunningham would arrange everything for me to my entire satisfaction. I accordingly waited upon Mr. Cunningham the next morning, at his office. He received me in a very different manner indeed to what he did at first.

He shook hands with me, brought a chair for me, which he placed close to his own, and took down every name from my memorial, and after that every one was paid one shilling and threepence per day, and had their provisions on board the Nannina during their stay. As for myself and family, I was in no want; but sooner than let Mr. Cunningham have the money, I drew at my departure for myself, wife, and son, the one and three-pence a day each for fifty-nine days, which made the sum of ten pounds eighteen shillings and three-pence sterling: for I thought that if I did not draw this money, it would come to Mr. Cunningham, as it is such little windfalls as this would have been, that make up the emoluments of men placed in government situations abroad. It may be judged of what service this allowance-money was to those who suffered shipwreck with me, as it enabled them to lay in various little stores, which made them comfortable on their passage home.

Had I not followed up this business, and taken the proper means of obtaining this allowance, we never should have got one shilling, and all that money would have fallen a prize to those who had the care of the English funds abroad. Mr. Russell was our Vice-Consul at Rio de Janeiro; he was an Irishman, and very good to his countrymen.

I was brought into court concerning the Nannina, and I made a statement of everything that happened, from the 4th of April till the 24th day of August. Admiral Dixon, his Excellency Lord Strangford, the American Minister, Spanish Minister, Dutch and French, all met for the purpose of seeing whether the American vessel could be made a prize, as she was employed by British subjects, and in saving of lives.* In this point lay the question; otherwise as there was a war between the two nations, there could be no doubt that she was a lawful prize.

[* Lord Strangford remarks on this statement:—"The meeting of the admiral, the foreign ministers, and myself, is a complete fabrication. England and Portugal were at war with Holland and France, and there was neither a Dutch nor a French minister, nor even a consul for the States at Rio de Janeiro during the whole of my long residence there. As to the American, Mr. Sumpter, it happened that literally and exactly we never met, nor interchanged one word with each other, till the very night before I left Rio, in 1815! when accident threw us together at the house of the Marqueza de Bellas. I have, for particular reasons, a most perfect recollection of this fact."]

It was admitted by every one, that the greatest credit was due to the Americans for their conduct, of assisting their enemies in distress,. Admiral. Dixon gave his opinion in favour of the Americans, and desired that the Nannina should be released and put in order for them. I forgot to mention, that on leaving the Falkland Islands, the small shallop, which was made fast to the-Nannina, was lost in one of the storms which we encountered. The Americans required that this shallop should be made good, with all their other losses, upon which the case was ordered to stand over, until Captain D'Aranda came in from Buenos Ayres. Upon his arrival, he insisted, that by the law of nations and of war, the Nannina was a lawful prize; and he re-seized her, and brought her home to England, where she was sold. This I have by letter from Valentine Barnet, of New York. However, I did my duty, and all that was in my power to serve the Americans; nor, by doing so, have I incurred the displeasure of any of the English that had honour and humanity in their hearts.

I often visited my friend Mr. Sumpter, and I always found both him and Mrs. Sumpter very much pleased to see me. He wished me to go to America to live, and the General said that he would get me a very fine estate there, which I have no doubt he would have done, as I found him, up to the moment that we parted, act fully up to his professions.

The unfortunate negroes, who are brought to this place from Africa, ere publicly sold in the market-place. When a ship-load of them arrives here, and are landed, they are driven for sale into a large Square, in the centre of which there are five or six great boilers fixed, where these unfortunate creatures boil some cabbage. Every six of them have a small tub, capable of holding about two gallons of water; into these tubs a certain quantity of a substance, very much resembling oatmeal, is put, and then a ladle full of boiling water is poured on this meal, with a cabbage-leaf or two. No sooner is the boiling water added, than it becomes a mess as thick as "stir-about," which they eat with their hands, haying no kind of spoon or other convenience for doing so. When a purchaser comes to look at these poor wretches, they are all made to stand up, and the person who wants to buy examines them, in the same manner as a man would a horse at a fair, looking at their teeth and limbs; and when he agrees for the number that he wants, he pays down his money, and drives them home.

The purchaser then drives them through the town, and shows them the way in which they are to get their living, either by carrying water, or baskets, or in various other ways; and after four or five days they must earn for their master one cruzado a day, that is, two shillings and sixpence, Sundays as well as week-days. Good, young negroes, sell at from fifty to sixty pounds each, which produces to the purchaser, during the life of the slave, seventeen and sixpence a week. The owner of ten negroes is accounted to be a person of no bad fortune, having one pound five shillings paid down to him every night. No excuse will be taken for the non-payment of this money; but what surprised me was, to see the negroes working on the Sabbath day, in a country which is filled with priests, and friars, and monks; though, indeed, they pay more attention there to holidays than they do to Sundays.

There was hardly a week, during the time that I remained at Rio de Janeiro, in which one or two saints' holidays were not observed. During the day-time there is not much appearance of anything particular going forward,, but at night there are bonfires, and other marks of rejoicing, with sky-rockets, and all sorts of, powder inventions, illuminations, singing psalms, and moving images about. It is, indeed,, a grand sight to behold the image, of the Virgin Mary with our Saviour in her arms, and the figures of several saints, as large as the size of life, and dressed up as if they were living. I went to see some of these processions, and they exceeded anything that I ever saw, or am likely to see again. There were numbers of little children, about eight years old, dressed in the finest clothes, made to imitate angels, with wings fixed to their shoulders; and these beautiful little creatures went along the streets singing psalms. They were followed by images and an old priest, who was reading prayers and chanting psalms, with two negroes holding large wax candles in their hands; and then came the young students, walking after the elders of their church.

It is beyond my knowledge to describe the images that are to be seen in every church; and at all hours of the day and night, people are to be found; with beads in their hands, praying before these figures. I have been brought in by different parties, to view the works in their churches; and I have seen the images of John the Baptist, and John the Evangelist, and Jonathan, the son of Saul; and I never expect to see the like again, while I am on this earth. I saw, in the same church, the image of our Saviour, as he was crucified, and the mark of where the spear-wound was in his side. To look upon that glorious image, ought to make the most hardened sinner repent of his sins.

My beard was now of fourteen years' growth; and I used to comb it down regularly; The priests took me for a German, but some of the Americans told them what countryman I was, and that I wore my beard on account of the misery of my country, and as mourning for my banishment. Then the priests were twice as partial to me as before, and would say, "Senhor á grande esta bom," that is, Sir, it is very good.

I wondered much at the manner in which the priests visited the sick. When any person that was ill wanted to have the priest, and sent for one, the priest would not obey the summons, unless accompanied by eight soldiers and a drummer, and during all the time that the priest remained within, the drummer kept beating his drum, and-upon the' coming out of the priest, the soldiers would fire a round, and then walk away.

Within an hour after any person died, two stout negroes made their appearance, bearing a long pole and a thing like a hammock, with strings to each end of it. The corpse being put into that strong cloth or net and sowed up, they carried it out and laid it upon the ground. Then the negroes placed the pole beside it, and tied the cloth in which the dead body was wrapped, to the pole, and by this means raising it up, away they went to the burial ground. There they laid down their burthen, and stripping off the cloth, tumbled the corpse into a hole by the side of which two more negroes were waiting to do their part of the work, prepared with a large piece of wood like a paving rammer. The moment the body was in the hole, they began to pound it till every bone was broken in pieces; then a full tub of lime was pitched into the hole, and after it a tub full of Agoa, that is what they call water, upon the lime. Over this they put a covering of twelve inches of clay, and so leave it. In the course of ten days the negroes would raise the bones and burn them; so in this, kind of way they always had holes ready for use.

This was the manner in which all the Europeans were interred, until Sir Sidney Smith got a piece of ground for a burial place, and had it walled in; and there has been a very fine church, built there. Ever since, the sailors and Europeans are buried there, in the same manner as in England. All this I have myself seen.

The female negroes stand in a pond of water, and wash clothes at so much a dozen, and they are obliged to pay their masters, every night, two shillings and sixpence. I was one day in the market, where bought some salad, and I put it up in a handkerchief. There were nearly forty negroes about me with their baskets, but my purchase was so small, that I thought I could carry it home myself, very well, without the assistance of any one; but I have been told, that I ran a very great risk of being murdered in doing so, as in this city a man thinks nothing of plunging a knife into you, at the slightest offence; and if he killed you dead on the spot, and he could get to one of the churches, and put his little-finger in the key-hole, until the Padre came, his life was safe. Several murderers have been pointed out to me, walking about the streets, and some that had killed three or four men.

During the time that I was at Rio, I saw no less than five persons suffer death; they were all murderers, and my Lord Strangford went to the Queen, and told her that she should follow the English law, and hang every murderer. The Sept Queen did not think very well of this advice at first, but when his lordship spoke in a threatening manner, she gave her consent, and no one who was not there, ever saw such a hanging match as it was. The moment the hangman had the rope fixed upon the neck of the criminal, he put his feet upon the shoulders of the man that was to die, and it was a most horrible sight to see the devil of an executioner, dancing on the other wretch, to put him out of the world.

In my eyes the women here are the handsomest race in the world. Their skin is beautiful, equal in clearness to the skin of a new laid egg; their eyes are black as sloes, their hair is dark, shining like polished jet, and falls in ringlets over their face, their teeth are as even as rows of printing, and white as pearls; their eye-brows are like those of a doll, their waists of the nicest form, and their feet and legs as if they were modelled in wax-work. They are most complete patterns of the neatest form for a woman. What helps to make the appearance of those nice ones even more beautiful, is that in one street you would probably see women of five or six different tints of colour; but women no more than other things, should not be taken by their looks, for these heavenly creature's that I have described, may be very devils in temper. I have seen much deception in the course of my life, but thanks be to God, I have surmounted those who thought to have taken me in, at many times, and in various places.

[October 1813]

During my stay in the city of Rio de Janeiro, I continued, occasionally,, to pay my respects to General Sumpter, and Counsellor Rutter, and at length I agreed with John Hutchinson, Captain of the Venerable brig, bound to Liverpool, for my passage to England. This was a great relief to my mind,, and I went immediately, and informed General Sumpter.

[14 October 1813]

He made me remain with him the whole of this day, which was the 14th of October, 1813, and Mrs. Sumpter and. Mrs. Rutter were, so good as to say that I must come with my family, and spend another day with, them. The day was appointed, and the General was to send his carriage for Mrs. Holt, as the country was so very warm, for at that time my wife was not very well, and it was dangerous for her to walk in the heat of the day.

[16 October 1813]

We went on the 16th of October, and passed the day with much pleasure. There was a very large party in the evening, and as Mrs. Holt was walking in the garden, with the ladies, Mrs. Sumpter told her not to provide any cordials for her voyage, as she had a case ready packed for her. It was untruth to call what was in that case cordials, for many a one drank a glass out of it, and could not tell what they were drinking. This was the last evening we spent at Mr. Sumpter's.

[17 October 1813]

The next day Mrs. Holt received her case of cordials, and as the General found that I was fond of smoking, he sent me a basket of cigars, to amuse me on the passage. I went again to call upon Captain Hutchinson, and repeated the agreement I had made with him, which was to pay him one hundred and fifty pounds sterling, for the passage of myself, my wife, and son, for which he was to furnish our table with fresh meat, and poultry, every day during the passage; and after dinner, he and we were each to drink a bottle of good Madeira wine. He observed that Mrs. Holt and my son would not be able to drink their bottle. My answer was a simple one, that as he proposed no reduction in the passage money, there should be none in the allowances, for what they were not able to drink, I might have no objection to.

"He must be a bad man," said I, "that would not take his wife's part, on such an occasion." He asked me how much spirits I should wish to have in the course of the day? I told him I was no tippler, and therefore never put myself upon an allowance, but as he had put the question to me, I might as well candidly tell him, that I thought four glasses in the four and twenty hours would not seriously hurt my constitution, nor his store. He then said that he was only joking, and that I should have as much wine and spirits as I pleased to call for. I desired him to commit our agreement to paper, as then there could be no mistake. He said there was no occasion, for he had heard too much of me and my character to have any doubt in his dealings with me.

In addition to the one hundred and fifty pounds, Captain Hutchinson was to get one shilling and three-pence a head, for every day that we were on board his vessel, so that both sums added together, it was well worth his while to provide comfortably for us during what is reckoned as a ten weeks' passage.


21. Passage to England

Having finally Agreed with Mr. Hutchinson, I moved my goods on board the Venerable brig, and left myself as little as possible to do on shore. I went to the Consul's office, and received the money due to me, which Was ten pounds, eighteen shillings, and three-pence, sterling, and an order from the Consul to Captain Hutchinson, to receive on board the Venerable brig, Joseph Holt, Hester Holt, Joseph Harrison Holt, and John Byrne, my servant, and that John Hutchinson would be paid for each person, the regular payment allowed by the law of Great Britain. I delivered the order myself, to Mr. Hutchinson, who received it without objection, and after that, he was bound to carry me and my family to England.

[21 October 1813]

On the 21st of October, 1813, I took leave of General Sumpter and his lady; after breakfast he went and wrote a protection as follows:—

"To all Commanders of any public or private armed Ship, of the United States—

"Sir,

If the bearer heare of General Joseph Holt should fall into your power I do recommend [him] and his famely to your friendship and attension. I have myself the proofe his Justice and friendship to Amerricans who was taken by the British brig of War Nancy while engaged in relieving the crew of a brutish ship which was wrecked on the faulkland islands in which General Holt and family was passengers. I therefore pray you to facilitate as much as circumstances will purmit the continuance of his voyage home. Whatever he sayes is his own property it is to be pursarve and kepe will be respected as such and not taken from him.

I have the honour to be, Sir,
Your obblige sarvant,
Thomas Sumton, Jun.
Minaster Plenpottantrey of the United States
at the Curt of Riedegan ne ro.*

[* This letter is accurately printed from Holt's manuscript, and although he states that, at the time of his writing, the original was in his possession, the transcript has been no doubt made from memory. In allusion to an improved version of this letter, with which the same liberty of translation (if I may so term it) was taken, as with the rest of Holt's manuscript, Lord Strangford has remarked that, "Sumpter wrote remarkably well and correctly; and I think," adds his lordship, "that he could hardly have penned the whole of the document given by Holt."]

He gave the above written protection to me, and sealed it with the eagle seal, leaving the letter open. I have it by me now, in Dunleary. General Sumpter opened his desk, and said to me, "Sir, from the nature of your misfortunes, perhaps you are out of hard cash; here, take as much as you may want, of gold or silver, and on my honour and word I do not wish you to return this money to me, unless it is quite convenient for you to do so; but I do desire to hear from you, of your health and welfare."

I answered, "General Sumpter, I am fully sensible of the obligation your generous offer places me under to you, and I value your friendship more than gold or silver. I am happy to be able to assure you that I have hard cash enough left to serve me for a year to come, at least; at the same time, I return you my sincere thanks, and will ever bear in mind, and memory, your offer to me."

I put out my hand, which he took, and held it in his for some time; he then said, "I am afraid they will not receive you well, in your country.—I mean that you will not be comfortable there; and remember, if this should be the case, that America is always large enough properly to maintain a true patriot, and will do so, should you ever come there."

I am sorry to think, that as far as my experience goes, my worthy friend, General Sumpter, spoke the truth to me, and many times since my return, have I thought of what he said to me at parting. It has, indeed, been my misfortune to be looked upon with suspicion, and to be insulted by some of the lowest ruffians—I do not mean in rank, but in bigotry—that the world ever produced. But this has ever been the case in Ireland; bigotry of various kinds rules that land, in the place of law and justice. I am sorry that it comes within my knowledge to say this, and the more so, as I fear that this will ever be the case.

I returned to the Venerable brig, and on the morning of the twenty-third, our convoy fired a gun, and hoisted her signal for sailing. We were convoyed by the Nereus, Nisus, and the Inconstant, three frigates, with the Fairy and Satellite brigs, a very strong convoy. Our number of merchant vessels, leaving the rendezvous, was thirty-two. We passed the forts and batteries about nine o'clock in the morning, and sailed for Saint Salvador. We had very disagreeable winds during the passage.

[24 October 1813]

On the twenty-fourth, we were honoured by the company of Major Kennedy, a Frenchman, who was under cover at Rio de Janeiro, and he had agreed for his passage with Hutchinson. Myself and wife were accommodated in the state cabin. Major Kennedy had one side of the main cabin, and my son had the other. Captain Hutchinson slung his cot in the centre of the cabin, Mr. William Moore, chief mate, lay in a small room, and Mr. Crosby, the second mate, lay in another small room opposite; so that we were stowed nearly as thick as three in a bed. Major Kennedy was a very pleasant, funny gentleman, but as he did not understand English, it made his jokes not easily comprehended by us.

[19 November 1813]

On the 19th of November, we sailed down by the land, and coming near Bahia, and finding that we could not get into harbour, by daylight, our convoy made a signal for us all to lie-to. The total number of our fleet, including our convoy, was thirty-seven sail. Every vessel was ordered to hang out a lanthorn at the fore-mast head; this was done in order to prevent the ships from getting foul of each other.

About one o'clock in the morning, a brig called the Brothers, struck against the Venerable, and had like to have sunk us. There was a great hole made in our brig, just over my bed, which much alarmed myself and my wife. The two vessels got their rigging entangled together, and they were both obliged to cut away, to get clear of each other. In the morning we made sail, and at ten o'clock dropped anchor. The boat was lowered, and as I was ready to go ashore, I went with Captain Hutchinson. "Captain," said I, "this is a part of the world that I never was in before, and therefore I think that I offer you a fair bet, which is, that we will meet three persons ashore, to whom I am known." He refused my offer, saying, "That if I was to go to the most remote part of the world, I would be sure to be known."

[20 November 1813]

Saint Salvador is a very old city, and is walled round, at the sea-side. You must pass through a gate, at which there is a. sentry, to get into the city. We went to an English hotel, kept by Brown and Carter, and called for a bottle of cider. While we were drinking it, a genteel looking man came in, and staring at me for a few minutes, he asked me if I was General Holt? I told him that he was not mistaken in believing me to be the man who was so called. He wished much to detain me in conversation, but I was anxious to view the city. I told him so, and went through as much of it as time would allow. I had learned a little of the Portuguese language, sufficient, at least, to enable me to ask a question or two,, such as the way I should go, or for anything that I wanted.

I went through the greatest part of the city that day, and returned to the house of Brown and Carter, where I met some of the sailors belonging to the brig, and as they had their boat ashore, I returned with them to the Venerable. I described to Mrs. Holt all that I had seen, and gave her an exact account of the form of the city, and of the inhabitants, as far as I had seen them.

[21 November 1813]

The next morning, a boat came from the shore, with a few people in it of respectable appearance. I heard a man ask if there was a passenger of the name of Holt on board. The mate answered, "Yes." I went upon deck, and inquired who it was that wanted Holt? And a man in the boat said, that he wished to see Holt. I told him to come on deck, and that I would bring him to Holt. When he came on deck, I desired him to follow me into the cabin, which he did, and I called to the Steward for a bottle of wine. "Now," said I to my visitor, "sit down, and just let us take a glass together, and while we are doing so, you can tell me if you have any particular business with Holt."

He said, that he only had a great wish to see him (and he kept his eyes fixed upon me); that he had once seen Holt at his mother's house, during the rebellion in Ireland, and that he was very desirous of seeing him again. I told him, if he had anything to say to Holt, he probably would never have a better opportunity of doing so, than he had at the present moment. He caught me by the hand, and said, that although he thought it must be me, yet be could not be sure, for that I had got out of his perfect recollection. He then told me that his name was Molloy, that he came from the County of Kildare, and he reminded me of some circumstances which I had forgotten, but when he mentioned them, they came back quite fresh into my mind. We soon knew each other perfectly, and "Now, said he, "if you want to know my business with Holt, it is to invite him and his friends, to dine with me." He pointed out to me his house, and told me that he kept the English Hotel, in Saint Salvador, where he had made a very comfortable fortune.

I went ashore with Molloy, and an excellent house he has in that city, where I spent a few hours with him. He reminded me of the service I had done to his family, and said, that he was in gratitude bound to pay me every respect and attention he could. He was astonished when I told him that my wife and son had been in the cabin, on board with us, and he most eagerly intreated of me to promise to dine with him the next day, and to bring my family. I said, that this must depend on how the water would be, as Mrs. Holt was very timid in coming ashore.

[22 November 1813]

The next morning I went ashore, bringing my mistress with me, but the hill was so steep, and the day so hot, and Mrs. Holt felt herself so unwell, that she did not attempt to get up the hill, and I returned with her and my son in the boat, to the brig. After this, I went to my friend, Mr. Molloy's, and excused Mrs. Holt. He and I had a repast, and some wine, while we were drinking of which, he told me that he had made thirteen thousand pounds in seven years, in the house in which we were, and he further said, that when he got seven thousand pounds more, he would come back home to Ireland. He told me the narrow escape he had in getting away. I hope, notwithstanding his resolution to return to Ireland, that he will stay where he is, and not come back to a nation full of treachery, deception, and vile invention, where the people are striving, one to cut the throat of another.

[23 November 1813]

I went the day following into the country to view the plantations, but the bread-fruit interested me more than anything else that I met with. I saw one hundred of this fruit growing upon one tree, and each fruit as large as the largest twelve-penny loaf in Ireland. In appearance it is like a great bladder filled with fat. The first cut is crusty, but the second is like the cut of a loaf; and ten minutes' toasting makes it fit for table. The flavour is very nice. All sorts of spices, grow here, and there are people here of all colours and of all countries. The streets of Saint Salvador are very narrow, and the houses very high. I was walking one day, when I came to the end of a narrow street, of which I asked the name; but if I had walked a few steps, I might have known it without asking, as the street was called after the business which was carried on in it. I saw, in a cloud of dust, twelve negroes, who were quite naked, grinding snuff, which was the name of the street in question. And what from the heat of the country, the stench of the negroes, and the penetrating dust of the snuff, I should have thought it almost impossible to sustain life there for half an hour. I never went ashore again after that day.

[1 December 1813]

On the 1st of December our convoy fired a gun, and hoisted a signal for sailing. Forty vessels immediately got under sail, and about one o'clock we were outside Bahia, and steered for Pernambuco, which is in latitude 8°.

[4 December 1813]

The 4th of December we saw several Portuguese returning from Pernambuco and Maranham, after disposing of their goods at these places. And it was curious to see a high mast and great sails fixed in a catamaran, which is a parcel of timber joined together, and no boards to keep out the water. The captain sits on a three-legged stool, up to his knees in water, and seems as proud as the greatest captain in the British navy. We passed along very pleasantly, and Major Kennedy amused us all very much by his attempts to speak English. He would say, "Damn your eyes, and that good English." I had much fun with him, telling him that he was getting impudent since he had been admitted into the company of a general, meaning myself. The Major would look at me very earnestly for some time, and at last would make use of his new-learned words, "Damn your eyes and that good English." Many little diverting things occurred on the passage, which I do not take the trouble of setting down.

[24 December 1813]

On the 24th of December, in the morning, we saw the hills over Pernambuco; and in the evening, about seven o'clock, we were within two leagues of the town, and our commodore made a signal for us to lie-to till morning. Captain Hutchinson, on account of the fright he had got at Bahia, hauled outside to windward, and kept his station till morning.

[25 December 1813]

At day-light the signal was made to sail; and at eight o'clock in the morning we came to anchor. This was the fourth Christmas-day that I ate my dinner on the water. The boat was lowered, and Captain Hutchinson, Major Kennedy, and myself went on shore. It was my delight to go through all the towns that I could in foreign countries, and to view the forts, and barracks, and all the public works, as, old as I was, I did not know but that, in the chances of war, it might come to my lot to storm some of these towns or fortifications. Therefore I wished to inspect every place, examine the harbours, take the bearing of the batteries, and look at the entrances of the towns. I bought two chapeaux, with fruits of various kinds; and I drank some good rum, at sixpence a quart, and wine at nine-pence a quart. Oranges sold at four-pence a hundred, limes at a penny a dozen, citrons at the same, guavas at a halfpenny a dozen, and all other fruits at the same rates. I made a purchase of some rum of superior quality, for two shillings a gallon, and I bought a pine-apple for three-pence, and put it in my rum, with a few orange peelings. In one week you could hardly know that it was rum. This was my private store, which I kept in order to give my old servant his grog as usual.

Pernambuco is built on a very nice hill, and it draws from the water a gentle breeze, which makes this city, although it is in a very hot climate, much more wholesome than Saint Salvador. The houses are from three stories to five stories high, and the streets so narrow, that a book or any other thing may be handed from the window of one house to the opposite. I have, in walking down a street, extended my arms from my body, and the street was not as wide as my hands and arms stretched out. The only thing that I saw which disgusted me, was the carcase of a dog hanging up for sale. I asked the price of the hind quarter, and the butcher told me four shillings. If the head had been cut off, I should never have suspected that it was the carcase of a dog. I saw in this town the handsomest woman that I ever beheld in any part of the world;, and I likewise saw the ugliest woman there that ever drew breath, who was one of the biggest also. One was as black and the other as fair as nature ever created. All colours, all sizes, all forms, of men and women, are to be seen here. There are fewer slaves in Saint Salvador and Pernambuco than in Rio de Janeiro.

Captain Hutchinson laid in at Pernambuco a stock of poultry, fruit, and all things necessary for our voyage. On the 30th of December the signal was made for sailing, and in thirty minutes there were twenty-five anchors left in Pernambuco Roads, as the anchorage is called. We got out safe, leaving our bower-anchor after us; but we were better off than some of the other vessels, for we brought away three-fourths of the cable. The Venerable brig had nineteen thousand dry hides, besides coffee, cotton, and wool.

[3 January 1814]

On the 3rd day of January, 1814, we made the island of Fernando, in latitude four. It is a place that the Portuguese transport their people to. Our vessel was a very bad sailer, which the Commodore observing, he would occasionally send the Fairy brig back to pull us on, by dropping a small cable, to which we made fast, and then she soon had us first.

[10 February 1814]

We sailed very pleasantly until the 10th of February, on which day there came a hurricane, and it was as much as we could do to stand the sea. The Venerable had on her only her foresail and stay-sail, and all hands were on deck. We parted with our convoy in a gale, in latitude thirty-eight, and we had very foul winds for several days afterwards.

[18 February 1814]


22. Life in England and Ireland

On the 18th, at seven o'clock in the morning, we made Cape Clear, in latitude 51°, 22'.

[22 February 1814]

We had a variable wind up Channel; and on the 22nd we came into the king's dock, at Liverpool, about twelve o'clock. I went up into the town, to enquire for lodgings, and being recommended to Mrs. Robinson, in Sparling-street, No. 87, I took lodgings from her at fourteen shillings a week.

[27 February 1814]

On the 27th of February I took the coach to London, and I met in it with Mr. Thomas Carty, from the county of Wexford. We passed the time very agreeably, until we came to Stoney Pass, and the coach stopped suddenly. I put out my head, and found neither the coachman nor guard in their places. I called to Mr. Carty to come out, and to hand me one of the pistols, saying, "Come, we will not suffer ourselves to be robbed in the coach." There was one of the proprietors of the coach in it, and he said, "There was no fear." I asked him if he was one of the owners of the coach. His answer was, "Yes, Sir, I am." I said I was very glad of it, as it would give me the less trouble when I got to London. He endeavoured to pacify me; but when the coachman and guard came back, I demanded of the guard to see his fire-arms, and I found that they were not loaded, which gave me more reason to speak with authority. I told the coachman I would have him fined fifty pounds. I said no more until I came to the Swan with Two Necks, in Lad-lane; and when I got out of the coach, the owner came and asked me to walk in. I refused to do so, but he pressed me so much, that I went in, when he asked me to take share of a bottle of wine with him, and hoped that I would look over the mistake that had happened on the road.* So I said I would.

[* This passage is so obscure, as to be incomprehensible. Holt's alarm can only be accounted for by considering the state of distrust and excitement in which he had so long lived.]

[March 1814]

I wished to go to Greenwich to see my old friend. Captain Brookes, who, I heard lived there; but when I got to Greenwich, and asked after him, I was told that he had purchased a ship, and loaded her, and that he and his family had gone out to New South Wales. I inquired for a decent lodging, and was recommended to a Mr. Woodcock's, at the sign of the White Hart: I found it to be a very genteel house, and there I remained. I ordered the coachman to get some drink, and told him to call upon me in the morning, as I had some particular business for him to do. I had brought with me fifty-four letters for England, and I sorted them out, for there were several that I had promised to deliver with my own hand; these I kept, and the remainder I sent to the post-office. Then I told Nathaniel Elms, the coachman, that I would give him one guinea if he would drive me to every street and number I wanted to go to in London. He agreed to the offer; and, to make our journey the more handy, he got an open chaise, and we set out to London.

My first object was to go to Charing Cross, to the regimental agents, to lodge my bills with them, being drawn by the pay-master of the 73rd regiment upon them. We went there, and lodged my bills, and got their receipt for the same. Then I went to Whitehall, to the National Treasury, and lodged some of my bills there; when that was done, we proceeded to deliver the letters. The coachman drove me to every place I directed him, and I soon got rid of all my letters, except one, which I had pledged myself to deliver with my own hand. The promise respecting this letter I made to Mr. Robert Jenkins, a merchant in New South Wales, that I should myself give it either to his mother or his sister. So I ordered the coachman to drive to Well Street, number eighteen, near Cripplegate, London City. When I arrived there I got out of the chaise and rapped; there soon appeared a very fine young woman, whom I supposed to be the sister of Mr. Jenkins, so I put my hand in my pocket and handed the letter to her. She said, "Sir, who is this from?" I answered, "Mr. Robert Jenkins." That moment she swooned away; and the old lady came out, and, seeing her daughter in a faint, upon hearing the same words she fainted too, so that the coachman and myself had got something to do upon our hands to recover them.

When they came to, they told me the cause of their fainting was, that they had heard that Robert Jenkins was dead two years ago, and both mother and daughter took hold of me, and insisted upon my remaining with them. I felt myself obliged to comply with their wishes; so I paid the coachman, and the old lady gave him his dinner, and he went away very well satisfied.

Then their inquiries went on one after the other, and I was able to tell them every particular concerning Mr. Jenkins; and, among other things, I told them that he was married to the widow of Captain Forrest, a lady of great fortune. Both the old and the young lady were so much taken up with the recital of passages in my life, that they thought nothing could be got good enough for me; and, indeed, the great attention that they paid me, made me leave them sooner than I otherwise would have done, as I did not wish to put them to so much trouble.

I remained with them four days, and then returned to Greenwich, to Mr. Woodcock's.

[8 March 1814]

On the 8th of March, and on the 9th I walked in the King's Park, to view the curiosities of that place. I had promised Mrs. and Miss Jenkins that I would call upon them again, and spend a few days more with them before I would go to Liverpool. In my absence, Mrs. Jenkins had written to her other daughter, who was on a visit in Gloucester, which town is one hundred and twenty-one miles from London, and when she got the news of her brother, she was curious to see me; so she and a cousin-german of hers, of the name of Richard Warren Coley,* a surgeon in the navy, who had spent many years in India, came up to London. When I returned to Well Street I was received by the whole party with every expression of esteem and friendship. Mr. Coley and I went to look after my bills, to see if they had been accepted; and finding that they were not ready, he made me go to Abraham Toulmin, Esq., the navy agent, and give him power to act for me.

[* Holt writes the name Richard Farmer Coley.]

As I felt uneasy at being away from my family so long, I came to the coach-stand, at Snow Hill, and paid my fare, and then I went back to Mrs. Jenkins and took leave of ray worthy acquaintance.

[16 March 1814]

I arrived in Liverpool on the 16th of March; and my wife and son were as much rejoiced at seeing me as if I had been seven years away.

[17 March 1814]

The 17th of March the Irishmen all assembled, and walked in procession, dressed with the ornaments that are due to the memory of St. Patrick, a band, playing "Patrick's Day in the Morning," going before them. I brought my son with me to show him his countrymen. I drank at Peter Ryan's, near the Packet-house; and I got a cold, which so much affected me that I was confined to my bed.

[18 March 1814]

On the 18th of March, I was so bad that I could not tell what doctor to send for, whether for the body or the soul.

[1 April 1814]

I got ease on the 1st of April, and having received all my bills from London, I felt very anxious to return to Ireland. So I went down to the Packet-house, and agreed for my passage.

[3 April 1814]

We went on board the 3rd, and sailed.

[5 April 1814]

On the 5th day of April, 1814, I landed at the Pigeon House, in Dublin Bay. I was so very bad that I told my wife if I should die not to report it until we came to anchor, but thanks be to God, she has me yet—and like to continue with her for some time.*

[* Holt survived twelve years after this. At the end of his manuscript autobiography the following note occurs:—"Departed 16th May, 1826, aged 70 years." It is, I think, in the writing of his son.]

There was a great number of men in the packet, and among them was Mr. Farrell, chief peace officer in Major Sirr's office; and when the packet came to anchor, as I was getting my trunks upon deck, Mr. Farrell came up tome, and told me that I should go with him to a magistrate. I asked him for what? and he said to show by what authority I had returned from New South Wales. I told him that I would see him damned before I would go with him, as I had my authority for coming home. He replied that it was his duty to see it. My answer was, "Then you shall wait on me; and if you come with me to the Custom House, when I open my trunks, I will show you by what authority I have returned to Ireland." He came with me, and when I opened my trunks, I showed him my free pardon, saying, "I hope you are now satisfied." He said "Yes," and went away.

I suppose he reported to Major Sirr what had happened, while I got my trunks and goods loaded upon two cars; for by the time that I came up to Kevin-street, there were two servants waiting for me, as if out of respect. It was enough to vex any one, to see the greedy appetite they had to make me a prisoner. If Jemmy O'Bryan, the wilful murderer, had come to life, they could not have followed him more close than they did me. The two men told Major Sirr had sent for me. I answered, "He is in a great hurry to see me, I suppose; so you shall go and get me a coach, for I cannot impair my health by walking." They said they would get a coach; and if it was not for the persuasion of my brother, they should have got one, for I cared as much for Major Sirr as a cow cares for a holiday. My brother said the distance was very short, and I could lean on his arm in walking, and so went on.

When I entered the office, I hardly had breath to speak one word. I saluted the gentlemen, and then addressed the Major, saying, I was not going to talk standing, and I went over to a chair and sat down; and then, as well as my breath allowed me, I asked the Major if it was to see my alacrity that he had sent for me? "Yes," said he, emphatically.

"Well, Major," said I, "You will, I hope, have no more trouble on my account," and putting my hand in my pocket, I pulled out my conditional pardon, which I handed over to him.

The Major read it; and when he came to a certain part of it, where the words were to "abide by the consequences," he looked at me, and said that this was not sufficient.

"Major," said I, "when you have done with that, I will show you another."

He handed me back the paper I had given him, and then I pulled out my absolute free pardon, and gave it to him. In a moment he said, "that will do."

"Major," said I, "if I had not that precious bit of paper, I never would have come to Ireland, for I was well aware of the good wishes in store for me here."

He told me to go into the next room, until a clerk took down the heads of my pardon, and entered it in the books. I went out, and was shown into a little private room, until they had done with my paper, and then it was brought to me. I had the pleasure of speaking to Alderman Darley that day, in the office, and he welcomed me home to my native country.

[14 April 1814]

I returned to Kevin-street, and went to lodge with Mosey Moyes, where I remained nine days. My health was so bad, that Doctor Percival wished me to go into the country; so I went to Sandy Mount, and lodged at Joshua Holt's for fifty-four days.

[6 June 1814]

I then returned to Kevin-street, at the corner of Redmond's Hill, on the 6th June, 1814, to live in a house which I took from Margaret Byers, and bad luck to both—house and woman.

I consulted with my wife, and told her that the only way to get to the knowledge of what the people of Ireland had in their minds, was for me to set up a tavern, and there every one might have free access to me, to ask me whatever questions they pleased, and that this would also be the means of preventing people from troubling me unnecessarily; but I found my plan turn out the reverse of what I intended, as it only brought me into trouble; for, if I did not sit down and drink with my customers, most of whom came on purpose to see me, I gave offence to them, and if I did drink with them, they were sure to offend me. I mean the lower order of the people. When they came into my house, they were, perhaps, three parts drunk; and the first thing they would insist upon, was to shake hands with me, and then to ask if I remembered so and so, or such a thing, in the year 1798,. If I did not answer them, then one swore that I did not like to tell; and another abused me, and said, who cares for a transported vagabond like him? and so it went on.

After I had taken this house, I was told that the Major [Sirr] would not grant me a licence to sell spirits. I went to him, and enquired if this was the case; but he said, that with the character I had brought home from two governors, I was entitled to every indulgence that any other subject received, and that he would certainly grant me the licence. When I came back, I put the carpenters to work, and made my house fit for business. While I was getting the place in order, several of the publicans, who were jealous of me, would say, "Damn that bloody old rebel—He surely never will get his licence."

Being satisfied with what the Major had told me, and having his promise for the licence, I took no notice of anything that was said, and made no remark until I had my cellar ready. Then I laid in six hogsheads of porter, and one hundred and sixty gallons of whiskey, with some rum, brandy, gin, and other cordials, measures of all sorts, and other necessaries, to begin trade with. I also engaged three waiters, and putting fifty pounds in my pocket, I went down to Major Sirr's office, and took out my police licence. The Major then desired one of the peace officers, to go with me to the Lord Mayor's office, where there were a few shillings more to pay; and we came to another office, and paid forty-six pounds and ten-pence, there, for a small bit of parchment, with which in my pocket, I came home and tapped two hogsheads of porter, and mounted on the shelves, in my bar, sixty gallons of spirits.

I had my waiters ready, and opening my doors within one hour afterwards, no one could get room to sit down in the house. The two hogsheads of porter were sold in seven hours, and the spirits in proportion. I was obliged to get two more waiters, and with five waiters, I went on in this manner for four months, selling from ten to fourteen hogsheads of porter every week, which inflamed the hearts of my neighbours, who seeing my success in business, endeavoured to change the feeling of the people towards me.

A report was circulated, that I kept an Orange Lodge in my house, which turned the minds of the workmen and mechanics against me, and I had a neighbour of the name of James Smith, a publican, who would say to the people passing his door—"Would you go to Holt, the swaddler, and pass by an honest man's door?" Some more would say. "Holt is a friend of Major Sirr's." Another report circulated, to reduce the esteem and friendship the people had towards me, was, that I had been a traitor to my countrymen abroad. This compliment, if a return of truth and gratitude was due to me, and should have been paid—why did not some honest man go to William Goff, or Father Dixon, of the County of Wexford; or to Father Harold, now in Clontarf; or John Flinn, in Dunlaven; or Denis McGuire, of Monrath, who now lives in Dublin; or John Byrne, of the Seven Churches, who lived with me ten years in New South Wales; or Edward Kilbride, who lived with me seven years abroad. All these above-written names I refer to, whether I was ever a traitor to my countrymen. I can call on them for an unblemished character, during my banishment.

I would not take this trouble to gratify the impartial reader, only to show how far a malicious mind can prevail on a weak and feeble set of people, and a bad report gets so much help, that it travels faster than water can run, or wind can blow. My good, good reader, I will lay you down a moral of what I have wrote in the last page. If feeble, and weak minded Irishmen fall out, without cause, reason, reservation, or thought, one will call the other a rogue, thief, or stag, or informer, hangman, and such like respectable names. The standers by, or listeners, never take time to investigate whether the man so abused is guilty or not, but the first company they meet, if any conversation takes place, they report what they have heard said of such a man. One tells ten, and ten tell thirty, and so it goes on, till all the country has the same report. I can only compare this to the Quaker, who would not beat a bad dog, but turned him away, crying out "bad dog," which the neighbours all taking for "mad dog," and not' taking time to consider whether the dog was bad or mad, ran out and killed him. So this is an example of the manner in which people with "bad" characters, are run down. I think there is as little difference in the way of what is called crime, between people shouting after me "a bad character," as shooting at me with a ball. My character defies the world to this present time, in all parts of the globe that I have visited.

[1815]

I found it a moral impossibility for me to command my temper and passion, living as I did, a publican; and for this reason, one vagabond set would come in and call me a bloody croppy;—such rascals as this, I would kick properly, and if I had shot a fellow belonging to this set, I had the protection of the laws of my country. Another gang of ruffians would come in, and call me a bloody Orange man. I am sure that many of these scoundrels were bribed for calling me these names, and making those disturbances in my house, in order to involve me in difficulties.

I was so tormented by various rascals, and drunken blackguards, that I thought it better to get rid of my house, at once, for I saw that it was impossible for me to live as a publican in Dublin.


[1815 to 1826]

[The events of the remainder of Holt's life, a few of which he has imperfectly noted, are not remarkable. By his speculation, in entering into business as a publican, he lost considerably, and he was soon disgusted at the trade. He then took some land at Dunleary, now called Kingstown, near Dublin, upon which he built a few houses, and on the rent arising from these houses he lived, the remainder of his days, always repenting bitterly of his folly, in having left New South Wales, where he was prospering, and was generally respected.

Holt's manuscript concludes with the following jingle; upon which, it is only necessary here to remark, that the passage printed in italics, appears to have been an addition, after Holt's death.]

This world I now have travelled round,
And but little truth or justice found;
For the number of tyrants is so great,
It makes me almost mankind hate.
But the time will come, when cut down like a weed,
The Lord will make their hearts to bleed.

* * * * *

Till my history is in print,
I will no more represent.
In Kingstown me and my family live and dwelt.
And all my friends do wish us well
.

JOSEPH HOLT.
Departed, 16th May, 1826.
Aged 70 years.


THE END


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