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1-016 (Raw)

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Speaker:
addressee author,male,White, John*,32
ns1:discourse_type
Narrative Discourse
Word Count :
240
Plaint Text :
ns1:register
Public Written
ns1:texttype
Memoirs
ns1:localityName
http://dbpedia.org/resource/New_South_Wales
Created:
1790
Identifier
1-016
Source
White, 1790
pages
127-157
Document metadata
Extent:
63027
Identifier
1-016-raw.txt
Title
1-016#Raw
Type
Raw

1-016-raw.txt — 61 KB

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<source><g=m><o=b><age=32><status=2><abode=02><p=nsw><r=pcw><tt=mm><1-016>
22nd April 1788. On the morning of this day the governor, accompanied by the same party, with the addition of Lieutenant Cresswell of the marines and six privates, landed at the head of the harbour, with an intention of penetrating into the country westward, as far as seven days provisions would admit of; every individual carrying his own allowance of bread, beef, rum, and water. The soldiers, beside their own provisions, carried a camp kettle and two tents, with their poles, &c.
Thus equipped, with the additional weight of spare shoes, shirts, trowsers, together with a great coat, or Scotch plaid, for the purpose of sleeping in, as the nights were cold, we proceeded on our destination. We likewise took with us a small hand hatchet in order to mark the trees as we went on, those marks (called in America blazing) being the only guide to direct us in our return. The country was so rugged as to render it almost impossible to explore our way by the assistance of the compass. [147] 
In this manner we proceeded for a mile or two, through a part well covered with enormous trees, free from underwood. We then reached a thicket of brush-wood, which we found so impervious as to oblige us to return nearly to the place from whence we had set out in the morning. Here we encamped, near some stagnant water, for the night, during which it thundered, lightened [sic], and rained. About eleven o'clock the governor was suddenly attacked with a most violent complaint in his side and loins, brought on by cold and fatigue, not having perfectly gotten the better of the last expedition.
The next morning being fine, his excellency, who was rather better, though still in pain, would not relinquish the object of his pursuit; and therefore we proceeded, and soon got round the wood or thicket which had harassed us so much the day before. [148] After we had passed it, we fell in with an hitherto unperceived branch of Port Jackson harbour, along the bank of which the grass was tolerably rich and succulent, and in height nearly up to the middle, interspersed with a plant much resembling the indigo. [128] 
We followed this branch westward for a few miles, until we came to a small fresh-water stream that emptied itself into it. Here we took up our quarters for the night, as our halts were always regulated by fresh water, an essential point by no means to be dispensed with, and not very abundant or frequently to be met with, in this country. We made a kettle of excellent soup out of a white cockatoo and two crows, which I had shot, as we came along. The land all around us was similar to that which we had passed.
At night we had thunder, lightning, and rain. The governor, though not free from pain, was rather recovering.
24th. As soon as the dew, which is remarkably heavy in this country, was off the ground, we proceeded to trace the river, or small arm of the sea. The banks of it were now pleasant, the trees immensely large, and at a considerable distance from each other; and the land around us flat and rather low, but well covered with the kind of grass just mentioned. Here the tide ceased to flow; and all further progress for boats was stopped by a flat space of large broad stones, over which a fresh-water stream ran. [149] 
Just above this flat, close to the water-side, we discovered a quarry of slates, from which we expected to derive great advantage in respect to covering our houses, stores, &c., it being a material beyond conception difficult to be procured in this country; but on trial it was found of no use, as it proved to be of a crumbling and rotten nature. On this fresh-water stream, as well as on the salt, we saw a great many ducks and teal, three of which we shot in the course of the day, besides two crows and some loraquets [lorikeets].
About four in the afternoon, being near the head of the stream, and somewhat apprehensive of rain, we pitched our tents before the grass became wet, a circumstance which would have proved very uncomfortable during the night. Here we had our ducks picked, stuffed with some slices of salt beef, and roasted, and never did a repast seem more delicious; the salt beef, serving as a palatable substitute for the want of salt, gave it an agreeable relish.
The evening cleared up, and the night proved dry. During the latter, we heard a noise which not a little surprised us, on account of its resemblance to the human voice. What it proceeded from we could not discover, but I am of opinion that it was made by a bird, or some animal. The country round us was by no means so good, or the grass so abundant, as that which we had passed. [150] 
The water, though neither clear nor in any great quantity, was neither of a bad quality nor ill-tasted.
The next day, after having sowed some seeds, we pursued our route for three or four miles west, where we met with a mean hut belonging to some of the natives, but could not perceive the smallest trace of their having been there lately. Close to this hut we saw a kangaroo, which had come to drink at an adjacent pool of stagnated water, but we could not get within shot of it. A little farther on we fell in with three huts, as deserted as the former, and a swamp, not unlike the American rice grounds.
Near this we saw a tree in flames, without the least appearance of any natives; from which we suspected that it had been set on fire by lightning. This circumstance was first suggested by Lieutenant Ball, who had remarked, as well as myself, that every part of the country, though the most inaccessible and rocky, appeared as if, at certain times of the year, it had been all on fire. Indeed in many parts we met with very large trees the trunks of which and branches were evidently rent, and demolished by lightning. Close by the burning tree we saw three kangaroos. [151] 
Though by this time very much fatigued, we proceeded about two miles farther on, in hopes of finding some good water, but without effect; and about half past four o'clock we took up our quarters near a stagnant pool. The ground was so very dry and parched that it was with some difficulty we could drive either our tent pegs or poles into it. The country about this spot was much clearer of underwood than that which we had passed during the day. The trees around us were immensely large, and the tops of them filled with loraquets and paroquets of exquisite beauty, which chattered to such a degree that we could scarcely hear each other speak. We fired several times at them, but the trees were so very high that we killed but few.
26th. We still directed our course westward, and passed another tree on fire, and others which were hollow and perforated by a small hole at the bottom, in which the natives seemed to have snared some animal. It was certainly done by the natives, as the trees where these holes or perforations were, had in general many knotches cut for the purpose of getting to the top of them. [152] 
After this we crossed a water-course, which shews that at some seasons the rain is very heavy here, notwithstanding that there was at present, but little water in it. Beyond the chasm we came to a pleasant hill, the top of which was tolerably clear of trees and perfectly free from underwood. His excellency gave it the name of Belle Veüe.
From the top of this hill we saw a chain of hills or mountains, which appeared to be thirty or forty miles distant, running in a north and south direction. The northernmost being conspicuously higher than any of the rest, the governor called it Richmond Hill; the next, or those in the centre, Lansdown Hills; and those to the southward, which are by much the lowest, Carmarthen Hills.
In a valley below Belle Veüe we saw a fire, and by it found some chewed root of a saline taste, which shewed that the natives had recently been there. The country hereabout was pleasant to the eye, well wooded, and covered with long sour grass, growing in tufts. At the bottom of this valley, or flat, we crossed another water-course and ascended a hill, where the wood was so very thick as to obstruct our view. Here, finding our provisions to run short, our return was concluded on, though with great reluctance, as it was our wish, and had been our determination, to reach the hills before us if it had been possible. [153] 
In our way back, which we easily discovered by the marks made in the trees, we saw a hollow tree on fire, the smoke issuing out of the top part as through a chimney. On coming near, and minutely examining it, we found that it had been set on fire by the natives; for there was some dry grass lighted and put into the hole wherein we had supposed they used to snare or take the animal before alluded to.
In the evening, where we pitched our tents we shot two crows and some loraquets, for supper. The night was fine and clear, during which we often heard, as before, a sound like the human voice, and, from its continuance on one spot, we concluded it to proceed from a bird perched on some of the trees near us.
27th. We now found ourselves obliged to make a forced march back, as our provisions were quite exhausted, a circumstance rather alarming in case of losing our way, which, however, we met with no difficulty in discovering by the marked trees. By our calculation we had penetrated into the country, to the westward, not less than thirty-two or thirty-three miles. [154] 
This day we saw the dung of an animal as large as that of a horse, but it was more like the excrement of a hog, intermixed with grass.
When we got as far back as the arm or branch of the sea which forms the upper part of Port Jackson harbour, we saw many ducks, but could not get within shot of any of them. It was now growing late, and the governor being apprehensive that the boats, which he had ordered to attend daily, might be, for that day, returning before we could reach them, he sent Lieutenants Johnston and Cresswell, with a marine, a-head, in order to secure such provisions as might have been sent up, and to give directions for the boats to come for us the next morning, as it then appeared very unlikely that all the party, who were, without exception, much fatigued, could be there soon enough to save the tide down. Those gentlemen accordingly went forward, and were so fortunate as to be just in time; and they returned to us with a seasonable supply of bread, beef, rum, and wine.
As soon as they had joined us, we encamped for the night, on a spot about the distance of a mile from the place where the boats were to take us up in the morning. His excellency was again indisposed, occasioned by a return of his complaint, which had been brought on by a fall into a hollow place in the ground that, being concealed by the long grass, he was unable to discern. [155] 
We passed the next day in examining different inlets in the upper part of the harbour. We saw there some of the natives, who, in their canoes, came along-side of the boat, to receive some trifles which the governor held out to them. In the evening we returned to Sydney Cove. [132] 
1st May 1788. James Bennet, a youth, was executed for robbing a tent, belonging to the Charlotte transport, of sugar and some other articles. Before he was turned off he confessed his guilt, and acknowledged that, young as he was, he had been an old offender. Some other trifling thefts were brought before the court at the same time, and those concerned in them sentenced to receive corporeal punishment.
The Supply tender sailed for Lord Howe's Island to fetch turtle; as did the Lady Penrhyn transport for China. The Scarborough dropped down the harbour; she was followed the next day by the Charlotte, and they sailed in company for China! [156] 
Some of the natives came along-side the Sirius, and made signs to have their beards taken off. One of them patiently, and without fear or distrust, underwent the operation from the ship's barber, and seemed much delighted with it.
21st. William Ayres, a convict, who was in a state of convalescence, and to whom I had given permission to go a little way into the country, for the purpose of gathering a few herbs wherewith to make tea, was, after night, brought to the hospital with one of the spears used by the natives sticking in his loins. It had been darted at him as he was stooping, and while his back was turned to the assailant. The weapon was barbed, and stuck so very fast that it would admit of no motion. After dilating the wound to a considerable length and depth, with some difficulty I extracted the spear, which had penetrated the flesh nearly three inches.
After the operation, he informed us that he received his wound from three of the natives, who came behind him at a time when he suspected no person to be near him except Peter Burn, whom he had met a little before, employed on the same business as himself. He added that after they had wounded him they beat him in a cruel manner, and, stripping the cloaths from his back, carried them off, making signs to him (as he interpreted them) to return to the camp. He further related that after they had left him he saw Burn in the possession of another party of the natives, who were dragging him along, with his head bleeding, and seemingly in great distress, while he himself was so exhausted with loss of blood that, instead of being able to assist his companion, he was happy to escape with his life. [157] 
The Port Jackson thrush, of which a plate is annexed, inhabits the neighbourhood of Port Jackson. The top of the head in this species is blueish-grey; from thence down the hind part of the neck and the back the colour is a fine chocolate brown; the wings and tail are lead colour, the edges of the feathers pale; the tail itself pretty long, and even at the end; all the under parts from chin to vent are dusky-white, except the middle of the neck, just above the breast, which inclines to chocolate. The bill is of a dull yellow; legs brown.
25th. The Supply arrived from Lord Howe's Island without a single turtle, the object for which she was sent: a dreadful disappointment to those who were languishing under the scurvy, many of whom are since dead, and there is great reason to fear that several others will soon share the same fate. This disorder has now risen to a most alarming height, without any possibility of checking it until some vegetables can be raised, which, from the season of the year, cannot take place for many months. And even then I am apprehensive that there will not be a sufficiency produced, such are the labour and difficulty which attend the clearing of the ground. [158] 
It will scarcely be credited when I declare that I have known twelve men employed for five days in grubbing up one tree; and, when this has been effected, the timber (as already observed) has been only fit for fire-wood; so that in consequence of the great labour in clearing of the ground and the weak state of the people, to which may be added the scarcity of tools, most of those we had being either worn out by the hardness of the timber or lost in the woods among the grass through the carelessness of the convicts, the prospect before us is not of the most pleasing kind.
All the stock that was landed, both public and private, seems, instead of thriving, to fall off exceedingly. The number at first was but inconsiderable, and even that number is at present much diminished. The sheep, in particular, decrease rapidly, very few being now alive in the colony, although there were numbers, the property of Government or individuals, when first landed. [159] 
26th. Two men of the Sirius were brought before the criminal court and tried for assaulting and beating, in a cruel manner another man belonging to the same vessel, while employed on an island appropriated by the governor to the use of the ship. They were sentenced to receive five hundred lashes each, but could not undergo the whole of that punishment, as, like most of the persons in the colony, they were much afflicted with the scurvy.
28th. Captain Hunter, his first lieutenant, and the surgeon of the Sirius went to the point of land which forms the north head of Port Jackson. In going there they discovered an old man, with a little girl about five years of age, lying close to the ground watching their motions, and at the same time endeavouring to conceal themselves. The surgeon had his gun with him, the effects of which he let the old man see by shooting a bird, which fell at his feet. The explosion at first greatly alarmed him, but, perceiving that they intended him no ill, he soon got over his fears. The bird was then given to him, which (having barely plucked, and not more than half broiled it) he devoured, entrails, bones, and all. The little girl was much frightened, and endeavoured to hide herself behind the old man, to escape the least observation. [160] 
30th. Captain Campbell of the marines, who had been up the harbour to procure some rushes for thatch, brought to the hospital the bodies of William Okey and Samuel Davis, two rush-cutters, whom he had found murdered by the natives in a shocking manner.
Okey was transfixed through the breast with one of their spears, which with great difficulty and force was pulled out. He had two other spears sticking in him to a depth which must have proved mortal. His skull was divided and comminuted so much that his brains easily found a passage through. His eyes were out, but these might have been picked away by birds.
Davis was a youth, and had only some trifling marks of violence about him. This lad could not have been many hours dead, for when Captain Campbell found him, which was among some mangrove-trees, and at a considerable distance from the place where the other man lay, he was not stiff nor very cold; nor was he perfectly so when brought to the hospital. From these circumstances we have been led to think that while they were dispatching Okey he had crept to the trees among which he was found, and that fear, united with the cold and wet, in a great degree contributed to his death. [161] 
What was the motive or cause of this melancholy catastrophe we have not been able to discover, but from the civility shewn on all occasions to the officers by the natives, whenever any of them were met, I am strongly inclined to think that they must have been provoked and injured by the convicts.
We this day caught a Yellow-eared Flycatcher. This bird is a native of New Holland, the size of a martin, and nearly seven inches in length; the bill is broad at the bottom and of a pale colour; the legs dusky; the plumage is mostly brown, mottled with paler brown; the edges of the wing feathers yellowish; the under part of the body white, inclining to dusky about the chin and throat; the tail is pretty long and, when spread, seems hollowed out at the tip; beneath the eye, on each side, is an irregular streak, growing wider and finishing on the ears, of a yellow or gold colour.
Early the next morning the governor, Lieutenants G. Johnston and Kellow, myself, six soldiers, and two armed convicts, whom we took as guides, went to the place where the murder had been committed, in hopes, by some means or other, to be able to find out either the actual perpetrators or those concerned. As most of their clothes and all their working tools were carried off, we expected that these might furnish us with some clue, but in this we were disappointed. We could not observe a single trace of the natives ever having been there. [162] 
We then crossed the country to Botany Bay, still flattering ourselves that we might be able to discover, among a tribe at that place, some proof that they had been concerned, as the governor was resolved on whomsoever he found any of the tools or clothing to shew them his displeasure, and by every means in his power endeavour to convince them of his motives for such a procedure. In our route we saw several kangaroos, and shot a very fine teal.
A little before sun-set, after a long and fatiguing march, we arrived at Botany Bay. When we approached the bay we saw eleven canoes, with two persons in each, fishing; most of them had a fire in their canoe, a convenience which they seldom go without at any time or season, but particularly at this as the weather was very cold. Here we pitched our tents, for (as I have before observed) we never travel without them, and kindled large fires both in front and rear; still, however, the cold was so very intense that we could scarcely close our eyes during the night. In the morning the grass was quite white with a hoar frost, so as to crackle under our feet. [163] 
After breakfast we visited the grave of the French abbé who died whilst the Count de Peyrouse was here. It was truly humble indeed, being distinguished only by a common head-stone, stuck slightly into the loose earth which covered it. Against a tree, just above it, was nailed a board, with the following inscription on it:
HIC JACET
LE RECEVEUR
EX F.F. MINORIBUS GALLIA SACERDOS
PHYSICUS IN CIRCUMNAVIGATIONE MUNDI
DUCE D. DE LA PEYROUSE.
OBIIT DIE 17th FEBR. ANNO 1788.
As the painting on the board could not be permanent, Governor Phillip had the inscription engraved on a plate of copper and nailed to the same tree; and at some future day he intends to have a handsome head-stone placed at the grave. We cut down some trees which stood between that on which the inscription is fixed and the shore, as they prevented persons passing in boats from seeing it. [164] 
Between this and the harbour's mouth we found forty-nine canoes hauled upon the beach, but not a native to be seen. After we had passed them, we fell in with an Indian path, and, as it took a turn towards the camp, we followed it about two miles, when, on a sudden, in a valley or little bay to the northward of Botany Bay we were surprised at hearing the sound of voices, which we instantly found to proceed from a great number of the natives, sitting behind a rock, who appeared to be equally astonished with ourselves, as, from the silence we observed, they had not perceived us till we were within twenty yards of them.
Every one of them, as they got up, armed himself with a long spear, the short stick before described, used in throwing it, a shield made of bark, and either a large club, pointed at one end, or a stone hatchet. At first they seemed rather hostilely inclined, and made signs, with apparent tokens of anger, for us to return; but when they saw the governor advance towards them, unarmed, and with his hands opened wide (a signal we had observed among them of amity and peace), they, with great confidence, came up to him, and received from him some trifles which he had in his pocket, such as fish-hooks, beads, and a looking-glass. [165] 
As there appeared not to be less than three hundred of them in this bay, all armed, the soldiers were ordered to fix their bayonets, and to observe a close, well-connected order of march, as they descended the hill. These people (as already mentioned) seem to dislike red coats and those who carry arms, but on the present occasion they shewed very little fear or distrust; on the contrary, they in a few minutes mixed with us, and conducted us to a very fine stream of water, out of which some of them drank, to shew that it was good.
The women and children kept at some distance, one or two more forward than the rest excepted, who came to the governor for some presents. While he was distributing his gifts, the women danced (an exercise every description of people in this country seem fond of), and threw themselves into some not very decent attitudes.
The men in general had their skins smeared all over with grease, or some stinking, oily substance; some wore a small stick or fish-bone, fixed cross-ways, in the division of the nose, which had a very strange appearance; others were painted in a variety of ways, and had their hair ornamented with the teeth of fish, fastened on by gum, and the skin of the kangaroo. [166] 
As they conducted us to the water, a toadstool was picked up by one of our company, which, some of the natives perceiving, they made signs for us to throw it away, as not being good to eat. Soon after I gathered some wood-sorrel, which grew in our way, but none of them endeavoured to prevent me from eating it; on the contrary, if a conclusion may be drawn from the signs which they made relative to the toadstool, they shewed, by their looks, that there was nothing hurtful in it.
We halted but a short time with them, as it was growing late and we had a long way to walk. Before we parted from them the governor gave them two small hand-axes, in exchange for some of their stone axes and two of their spears. As we ascended a hill, after our departure from them, eight of them followed us until we had nearly reached the top, where one of those who had been most familiar with us made signs for us to stop; which we readily complying with, he ran to the summit and made a strange kind of hallooing, holding at the same time his hands open above his head. [167] 
As soon as we came up to him, we discovered another large body of them in a bay, about half a mile below us. Our new friend seemed anxious to carry us down to them, but, it not being in our way, we declined his offer. Seeing us take another direction, he halted and opened his hands, in order, as we supposed, to put us in mind that he had received nothing from us; upon which we presented him with a bird, the only thing we had, with which he returned, to appearance, fully content and satisfied.
We now proceeded towards the camp, where we arrived about sun-set.
This was the greatest number of the natives we had ever seen together since our coming among them. What could be the cause of their assembling in such numbers gave rise to a variety of conjectures. Some thought they were going to war among themselves, as they had with them a temporary store of half-stinking fish and fern-root, the latter of which they use for bread. This we remarked as several of them were eating it at the time we were among them. [168] Others conjectured that some of them had been concerned in the murder of our men, notwithstanding we did not meet with the smallest trace to countenance such an opinion, and that, fearing we should revenge it, they had formed this convention in order to defend themselves against us. Others imagined that the assemblage might be occasioned by a burial, a marriage, or some religious meeting.
The Tabuan Parrot, one of which was observed here, and of which a plate is annexed, is a bird about eighteen inches in length, and bigger than the Scarlet Lory. The head, neck, and under parts are of a fine scarlet; the upper parts of the body and wings are of a beautiful green; across the upper part of the wing coverts is an oblique bar of yellowish green, more glossy than the rest; the lower part of the back and rump is blue; there is also a small patch of blue at the lower part of the neck behind, between a scarlet and green, dividing those colours; the tail is pretty long, and of an olive brown colour; the bill is reddish; the legs deep brown, nearly black.
The female is mostly green; the head, neck, and under parts olive brown; belly red; rump blue; tail, on the upper surface, green, beneath dusky. [139] [169] 
The above inhabits Botany Bay, and seems much allied to the Tabuan Parrot described by Mr. Latham in his Synopsis of Birds; but in that the head, neck, and under parts incline to purplish or chocolate colour; both quills and tail are blue, more or less edged with green, and a crescent of blue at the back part of the neck; it has also the under jaw surrounded with green feathers. It is probable, therefore, that our bird is only a variety of the Tabuan species. [140] 
4th June 1788. This being the anniversary of his Majesty's birth-day, and the first celebration of it in New South Wales, his excellency ordered the Sirius and Supply to fire twenty-one guns at sun-rise, at one o'clock, and at sun-set.
Immediately after the King's ships had ceased firing, at one o'clock, the Borrowdale, Friendship, Fishburne, Golden Grove, and Prince of Wales fired five guns each. The battalion was under arms at twelve and fired three vollies, succeeded by three cheers.
After this ceremony had taken place, the lieutenant-governor, with all the officers of the settlement, civil and military, paid their respects to his excellency at his house. At two o'clock they all met there again to dinner, during which the band of musick played God save the King and several excellent marches. After the cloth was removed, his Majesty's health was drank with three cheers. The Prince of Wales, the Queen and royal family, the Cumberland family, and his Royal Highness Prince William Henry succeeded. His Majesty's ministers were next given; who, it was observed, may be Pitted against any that ever conducted the affairs of Great Britain! [170] 
When all the public toasts had gone round, the governor nominated the district which he had taken possession of, Cumberland County; and gave it such an extent of boundary as to make it the largest county in the whole world. His excellency said that he had intended to have named the town, and laid the first stone, on this auspicious day, but the unexpected difficulties which he had met with, in clearing the ground and from a want of artificers, had rendered it impossible; he therefore put it off till a future day. Its name, however, we understand, is to be ALBION.
The day was passed in cheerfulness and good-humour; but it was a little damped by our perceiving that the governor was in great pain, from a return of his complaint. Though his countenance too plainly indicated the torture which he suffered, he took every method in his power to conceal it, lest it should break in upon the festivity and harmony of the day. [171] 
His excellency ordered every soldier a pint of porter, besides his allowance of grog, and every convict half a pint of spirits, made into grog, that they all might drink his Majesty's health; [141] and, as it was a day of general rejoicing and festivity, he likewise made it a day of forgiveness, remitting the remainder of the punishment to which the sailors of the Sirius were subject, and pardoning Lovel, Sideway, Hall, and Gordon, who had been confined on a little sterile island, or rather rock, situated in the harbour, until a place of banishment could be found.
This act of lenity and mercy, added to many others which the governor had shewn, it is to be hoped will work some change on the minds of these men. Indeed some good may be expected from Hall and Gordon, who, since their sentence, have appeared penitent; but from Lovel and Sideway very little change for the better can be expected, because they seem so truly abandoned and incorrigible.
At night every person attended an immense bonfire that was lighted for the occasion, after which the principal officers of the settlement, and of the men of war, supped at the governor's, where they terminated the day in pleasantry, good humour and cheerfulness. [172] 
The next morning we were astonished at the number of thefts which had been committed, during the general festivity, by the villanous part of the convicts, on one another, and on some of the officers, whose servants did not keep a strict look-out after their marquees. Availing themselves thus of the particular circumstances of the day, is a strong instance of their unabated depravity and want of principle. Scarcely a day passes without an example being made of some one or other of these wretches, but it seems to have no manner of effect upon them.
10th. John Ascott and Patrick Burn, two convicts, were brought before the criminal court and prosecuted by Lieutenant G. William Maxwell of the Sirius, and Mr Kelter, the Master of the same ship, for having, a few nights before, in a riotous manner, with many more of the convicts, attacked some seamen belonging to the men of war, and behaving in an insolent and contemptuous manner to them. After a long and judicious hearing, the prisoners were acquitted, as the charge brought against them was by no means substantiated. [173] 
26th. About four in the afternoon a slight shock of an earthquake was felt at Sydney Cove and its environs. This incident had so wonderful an effect on Edward Corbett, a convict, who had eloped about three weeks before, on a discovery being made of his having stolen a frock, that he returned and gave himself up to justice. [142] A few days antecedent to his return he had been outlawed, and was supposed to have driven off with him four cows, the only animals of this kind in the colony. This, however, he declared himself innocent of, but confessed his having committed the theft laid to his charge.
The strictest search was made, but in vain, after the cows. It is probable that they have strayed so far off, in this endless wild, as to be irrecoverably lost.
Previously to the return of Corbett he must have suffered very severely from hunger; his eyes were sunk into his head and his whole appearance shewed that he had been half starved. While he was absent, he says, he frequently fell in with the natives, who, though they never treated him ill, did not seem to like his company. He informed us that, in a bay adjacent to that where the governor and his party had met with so many of the natives, he saw the head of one of the convicts lying near the place where the body had been burnt in a large fire. This, in all likelihood, was Burn, who was carried off at the time Ayres was wounded, as he has not been heard of since. [174] 
The natives of this country, though their mode of subsisting seems to be so very scanty and precarious, are, I am convinced, not cannibals. One of their graves, which I saw opened, the only one I have met with, contained a body which had evidently been burned, as small pieces of the bones lay in the bottom of it. The grave was neatly made, and well covered with earth and boughs of trees.
The Pennantian Parrot was about this time first noticed. The general colour of the body, in the male, is crimson; the feathers of the back black in their middle; the chin and throat blue; the wings blue, with a bar of a paler colour down the middle of them; the tail is long, and blue also, and all but the two middle feathers have the ends very pale.
The female differs in having the upper parts of the neck and body of a greenish colour; the top of the head red, and a patch of the same under each eye; the chin and throat blue; lower part of the neck and breast red, as are the rump and vent; [143] the middle of the belly dusky green; tail dark blue, fringed with chestnut; shoulders blue; the rest of the wing the same, but darker; bill and legs as in the male. [175] 
24th. The governor revoked the decree by which Corbett was outlawed, and he was tried by the criminal court simply for the theft he had committed, and sentenced to be hanged.
Samuel Payton, a convict, likewise received the same sentence, for feloniously entering the marquee of Lieutenant Fuzer, on the night of the fourth of June, and stealing from thence some shirts, stockings and combs. His trial had been put off to the present time on account of a wound in his head, which he had received from Captain Lieutenant Meredith, who, on his return from the bonfire, found Payton in his marquee. When brought to the hospital, in consequence of the wound which he had received, he was perfectly senseless. During the time he remained under my care, I frequently admonished him to think of the perilous situation he then stood in, and to make known the accomplices whom he was supposed to have; but he firmly and uniformly denied his guilt and disclaimed his having any knowledge of, or concern in, robbing Lieutenant Fuzer. [176] 
He further said that he did not recollect how he came to Captain Lieutenant Meredith's tent, or any circumstance relative to it. However, since he received his sentence he has confessed that he robbed Lieutenant Fuzer, and gave him information where to find the articles he had been robbed of; he at the same time acknowledged that he entered Mr. Meredith's marquee with an intention to rob him, doubting not but he should be able to make his escape undiscovered, as every one seemed so fully engaged on the pleasures of the day.
When he and Corbett were brought to the fatal tree, they (particularly Payton) addressed the convicts in a pathetic, eloquent, and well-directed speech. He acknowledged the justice of his sentence, a sentence, which (he said) he had long deserved. He added that he hoped and trusted that the ignominious death he was about to suffer would serve as a caution and warning to those who saw and heard him. They both prayed most fervently, begging forgiveness of an offended GOD. They likewise hoped that those whom they had injured would not only forgive them, as they themselves did all mankind, but offer up their prayers to a merciful REDEEMER that, though so great sinners, they might be received into that bliss which the good and virtuous only can either deserve or expect. [144] [177] 
They were now turned off, and in the agonizing moments of the separation of the soul from the body seemed to embrace each other.
The execution of these unhappy youths, the eldest of whom was not twenty-four years of age, which seemed to make a greater impression on the convicts than any circumstance had done since their landing, will induce them, it is to be hoped, to change their conduct, and to adopt a better mode of life than, I am sorry to say, they have hitherto pursued. [145] 
June 1788 (contd). The principal business now going forward is the erecting huts for the marines and convicts, with the cabbage-tree. We have been here nearly six months and four officers only as yet got huts: when the rest will be provided with them seems uncertain, but this I well know, that living in tents, as the rainy season has commenced, is truly uncomfortable and likely to give a severe trial to the strongest and most robust constitution.
The trees of this country are immensely large, and clear of branches to an amazing height. While standing, many of them look fair and good to the eye, and appear sufficient to make a mast for the largest ship, but, when cut down, they are scarcely convertible to any use whatever. At the heart they are full of veins through which an amazing quantity of an astringent red gum issues. This gum I have found very serviceable in an obstinate dysentery that raged at our first landing, and still continues to do so, though with less obstinacy and violence. [178] 
When these trees are sawed, and any way exposed to the sun, the gum melts, or gets so very brittle, that the wood falls to pieces, and appears as if the pieces had been joined together with this substance. How any kind of houses, except those built of the cabbage tree, can be raised up, the timber being so exceedingly bad, it is impossible to determine.
I have already said that the stone of this country is well calculated for building, could any kind of cement be found to keep them together. As for lime-stone, we have not yet discovered any in the country, and the shells collected for that purpose have been but inconsiderable. From Captain Cook's account, one would be led to suppose that oyster and cockle shells might be procured in such quantities as to make a sufficiency of lime, for the purpose of constructing at least a few Public buildings, but this is by no means the case. That great navigator, notwithstanding his usual accuracy and candour, was certainly too lavish of his praises on Botany Bay. [179] 
The peculiarity I have mentioned relative to the wood of this place is strange. There are only three kinds of it, and neither of them will float on the water. [146] We have found another resin here, not unlike the balsam Tolu in smell and effect, but differing widely in colour, being of a clear yellow, which exudes from the tree. This, however, is not to be met with in such quantities as the red gum before mentioned, nor do I think that its medicinal virtues are by any means so powerful.
A kind of earth has been discovered which makes good bricks, but we still are in want of cement for them as well as for the stone.
What animals we have yet met with have been mostly of the Opossum kind. The Kangaroo, so very accurately delineated by Captain Cook, is certainly of that class, and the largest animal seen in the country. One has been brought into camp which weighed a hundred and forty-nine pounds.
The conformation of this animal is peculiarly singular. Its hinder parts have great muscular power, and are, perhaps, beyond all parallel out of proportion when compared with the fore parts. As it goes, it jumps on its two hind legs, from twenty to twenty-eight feet, and keeps the two fore ones close to the breast; these are small and short, and it seems to use them much like a squirrel. The tail of these animals is thick and long; they keep it extended, and it serves as a kind of counterpoise to the head, which they carry erect, when bounding at full speed. [180] 
The velocity of a Kangaroo as far outstrips that of a greyhound as that animal exceeds in swiftness a common dog. It is a very timid, shy, and inoffensive creature, evidently of the granivorous kind. Upon our first discovering one of them, as it does not use its fore feet to assist it in running, or rather jumping, many were of opinion that the tail, which is immensely large and long, was made use of by them in the act of progression; but this is by no means the case. Had it been used in such a manner, the hair would probably have been worn away from the part which, of course, must be applied to the ground.
The tail, from its size and weight, seems to serve it for a weapon both of defence and offence; for it does not appear that nature has provided it with any other. Its mouth and head, even when full grown, are too small for it to do much execution with the teeth; nor is the conformation of either at all calculated for the purpose. Indeed, its fore feet, which it uses, as a squirrel or monkey, to handle any thing with, and which assist it in lying down, are too small and out of proportion, as are all the superior parts, to admit of its either possessing or exerting much strength. [181] 
It has been reported by some convicts who were out one day, accompanied by a large Newfoundland dog, that the latter seized a very large Kangaroo but could not preserve its hold. They observed that the animal effected its escape by the defensive use it made of its tail, with which it struck its assailant in a most tremendous manner. The blows were applied with such force and efficacy, that the dog was bruised, in many places, till the blood flowed. They observed that the Kangaroo did not seem to make any use of either its teeth or fore feet, but fairly beat off the dog with its tail, and escaped before the convicts, though at no great distance, could get up to secure it.
The female has a pouch or pocket, like the Opossum, in which she carries her young. Some have been shot with a young one, not larger than a walnut, sticking to a teat in this pocket. Others, with young ones not bigger than a rat: one of which, most perfectly formed, with every mark and distinguishing characteristic of the Kangaroo, I have sent to Mr. Wilson, of Gower Street, Bedford Square. [182] 
There is a peculiar formation in the generative parts of this animal. Of its natural history we at present know little, and therefore, as we are so unacquainted with its habits, haunts, and customs, to attempt particular and accurate descriptions of it might beget error, which time, or a fuller knowledge of its properties, would directly contradict. As to mere conjectures (and such too often are imposed upon the public for incontestible facts), it cannot be improper to suppress them.
Every animal in this country partakes, in a great measure, of the nature of the Kangaroo. We have the Kangaroo Opossum, the Kangaroo Rat, &c. In fact every quadruped that we have seen, except the flying squirrel, and a spotted creature, nearly the size of a Martin, resembles the Kangaroo in the formation of the fore legs and feet, which bear no proportion to the length of the hind legs.
The scarcity of boats will prevent our being so well supplied with fish as otherwise might be expected. Fish is far from abounding at the cold season of the year, but, in the summer, judging from the latter end of the last, we have every reason to conclude that the little bays and coves in the harbour are well stored with them. The fish caught here are, in general, excellent, but several of them, like the animals in some degree resembling the Kangaroo, partake of the properties of the shark. [148] The land, the grass, the trees, the animals, the birds, and the fish, in their different species, approach by strong shades of similitude to each other. A certain likeness runs through the whole. [183] 
8th July. A party of the natives came to the place where the Sirius's boat had been to haul the seine, and, having beaten the crew, took from them by force a part of the fish which they had caught. It is a great misfortune to us that we cannot find proper wood in this place wherewith to build a boat, particularly as fish is not only so very plentiful in the summer but the only change from salt provisions which we can procure, there being neither wild nor domestic animals fit for food.
Here, where no other animal nourishment is to be procured, the Kangaroo is considered as a dainty; but in any other country I am sure that such food would be thrown to the dogs, for it has very little or no fat about it, and, when skinned, the flesh bears some likeness to that of a fox or lean dog. [184] 
A few days since a civil court of jurisdiction (which consisted of the judge advocate, the Reverend Mr. Johnson, and myself), was convened, by his excellency, to hear a complaint made against Duncan Sinclair, master of the Alexander transport, by Henry Coble and Susannah his wife (the Norwich convicts who so much excited the public attention), for the non-delivery of a parcel sent on board the Alexander, by Mrs. Jackson of Somerset Street, containing wearing apparel, books, and other things, for the use of the said Henry Coble, his wife, and child, value twenty pounds. The parcel was proved (and this even by the acknowledgment of the master) to have been received on board; and it likewise appeared in evidence that, on moving it from one part of the ship to another, the package had broken and the books had fallen out, which books the convict said had been delivered to him.
The court, after deducting five pounds (the value of the books received), gave a verdict in favour of the couple, in whose cause the world had seemed so much to interest themselves, and in consequence of the authority unto them granted by Act of Parliament, in such cases made and provided, they adjudged the master of the transport fully to compensate the loss of the convicts, amounting to fifteen pounds. [185] 
Sinclair considered it as oppressive to be obliged to pay for that on account of which he had not received any freightage, but this objection had no weight with the court, as the ship was in the service of government and paid for the sole purpose of conveying these people, and the little property which they possessed, to this country.
13th. The Alexander, Friendship, and Prince of Wales transports, with the Borrowdale victualler, sailed for England. His Majesty's brig the Supply sailed at the same time for Norfolk Island, with provisions, &c. for the people there.
21st. I went down the harbour, with the master of the Golden Grove victualler, to look for a cabbage tree as a covering for my hut. On our return, we fell in with three canoes that had been out fishing. We rowed towards them, when the natives in them suddenly appeared intimidated, and paddled away with all possible dispatch. Willing to convince them that they had nothing to dread from us, we rowed after them, in order to present them with some trifles which we had about us. When we approached the canoes, an old woman in one of them began to cast her fish overboard, in great haste; whether it was for fear that we should take them from her, or whether she threw them to us, we could not ascertain. However, when we came along-side, our conduct soon convinced her that her alarms, with respect to us, were groundless. [186] 
She had in the canoe with her a young girl, whom, as she wore a complete apron, we could not help considering as such an instance of female decency, as we had not at any other time observed among the natives. The girl did not betray the least sign of apprehension, but rather seemed pleased at the interview. She laughed immoderately, either at us or at the petulance shown by the old woman, who, I believe, was more terrified on the girl's account than on her own.
After this we left them fully satisfied that we did not mean to offer them any injury.
We discovered the New Holland Creeper. The general colour of the bird is black, spotted in various parts with white: the bill is dusky, growing paler towards the tip; the neck, breast, belly, and sides are more or less streaked with white; over the eye is also a white streak, and the sides of the neck and beginning of the back have likewise some streaks of the same. The quills and tail feathers are marked with yellow on the outer margins; the last are rounded in shape, and two or three of the outer feathers spotted within, at the tip, with white; legs dusky; is about the size of a nightingale, and measures seven inches in length. It is probably a non-descript species. [187] 
July 1788 (contd). A party of convicts, who had crossed the country to Botany Bay to gather a kind of plant resembling balm, which we found to be a good and pleasant vegetable, were met by a superior number of the natives, armed with spears and clubs, who chased them for two miles without being able to overtake them; but, if they had succeeded in the pursuit, it is probable that they would have put them to death, for wherever persons unarmed, or inferior in numbers, have fallen in with them, they have never failed to maltreat them.
The natives had with them some middling-sized dogs, somewhat resembling the species called in England fox-dogs. A servant of Captain Shea being one day out shooting, he found a very young puppy, belonging to the natives, eating part of a dead Kangaroo. He brought it to the camp, and it thrives much. The dog, in shape, is rather short and well made, has very fine hair of the nature of fur, and a sagacious look. When found, though not more than a month old, he showed some symptoms of ferocity. It was a considerable time before he could be induced to eat any flesh that was boiled, but he would gorge it raw with great avidity. [188] 
23rd. The blacksmith's shop, which was built of common brush wood, was burnt down. Very fortunately for us, the bellows and the other tools were, through the exertion of the people, saved. To effect this was no easy point, as in the course of three or four minutes, the wood being very dry, every part of the shop was in flames.
29th. One of the convicts was met by some of the natives, who wounded him very severely in the breast and head with their spears. They would undoubtedly have destroyed him had he not plunged into the sea, near which he happened to be, and by that means saved himself. When he was brought to the hospital he was very faint from the loss of blood, which had flowed plentifully from his wounds. A piece of a broken spear had entered through the scalp and under his ear, so that the extraction gave him great pain. [189] 
Their spears are made of a kind of cane which grows out of the tree that produces the yellow gum; they are ten or twelve feet long, pointed, and sometimes barbed, with a piece of the same cane or the teeth of fish. [152] These they throw, with the assistance of the short stick already mentioned, which has a shell made fast to the end of it with the yellow gum.
With this gum they likewise fasten their barbs to their spears and fish-gigs. The latter of these differ from the former by having four prongs, and being always barbed, which is not generally the case with the spears.
Their spears, the only weapon they are ever seen to have that may be considered in any degree as dangerous, they throw thirty or forty yards with an unerring precision. When equipped for any exploit, they are also armed with a shield made of the bark of a tree, with which they very dexterously ward off any thing thrown at them. An humble kind of scymitar, a bludgeon, or club, about twenty inches long, with a large and pointed end, and sometimes a stone hatchet, make up the catalogue of their military implements. [190] 
We this day shot a Knob-fronted Bee-eater. This is about the size of a blackbird; the plumage mostly brown above and white beneath; the head and upper part of the neck are sparingly covered with narrow feathers, almost like hairs; but the fore part of the neck and breast are furnished with long ones, of a white colour and pointed at the ends; the tail is pretty long, and the feathers tipped with white; the bill is about one inch in length, and pale; but, what is most remarkable, on the forehead, just at the base of the bill, is a short blunt knob, about a quarter of an inch in length and of a brownish colour; the tongue is nearly of the length of the bill, and bristly at the end; the legs are brown. This inhabits New South Wales, and is supposed to be a non-descript species.
This day three canoes, with a man and woman in each, came behind the point on which the hospital is built, to fish. I went over to them, as did two other gentlemen, my assistants, without their shewing any fear at our coming; on the contrary, they manifested a friendly confidence. [191] We gave them some bread, which they received with apparent pleasure, but did not eat any of it while in our presence. We likewise presented them with a looking-glass, but this they received with indifference, and seemed to hold in no kind of estimation. [153] 
I gave one of the women a pocket handkerchief, which she immediately tied round her head, and shewed great satisfaction. She had a young child between her knees in the canoe (the way in which they always carry their infants), for whom she solicited something, in the most suppliant tone of voice I ever heard. The only thing I had about me was a narrow slip of linen, which I gave her; and, trifling as it was, she appeared to be perfectly satisfied with it, and bound it round the child's head. She would not come out of the canoe, though along-side the rocks; but the man quitted it, and shewed us some wild figs that grew near at hand. Such as were green and unripe he did not pull; but, after some search, having found one that was tolerably ripe, he made me pluck it and put it into his mouth. He eat it with an apparent relish, and smacked his lips, after he had swallowed it, to convince us how good it was. [192] 
At some little distance from the place where we were a sheep lay dead. As soon as he had discovered it, he took it by the horns, and, as well as we could understand him, he was extremely inquisitive and anxious to know what it was. When his curiosity was satisfied, he went into the canoe, where the woman had been waiting for him.
About ten or twenty yards from the shore, among the long grass, in the shallow water, he struck and took with his fish-gig several good fish; an acquisition to which, at this season of the year, it being cold and wet, we were unequal. While he was engaged in watching for them, both he and the woman chewed something, which they frequently spit into the water; and which appeared to us, from his immediately striking a fish, to be a lure.
While they were thus employed, one of the gentlemen with me sung some songs; and when he had done, the females in the canoes either sung one of their own songs, or imitated him, in which they succeeded beyond conception. Any thing spoken by us they most accurately recited, and this in a manner of which we fell greatly short in our attempts to repeat their language after them.
While we were thus amicably engaged, all on a sudden they paddled away from us. On looking about to discover the cause, we perceived the gunner of the Supply at some little distance, with a gun in his hand, an instrument of death, against which they entertain an insuperable aversion. As soon as I discovered him, I called to him to stay where he was, and not make a nearer approach; [154] or, if he did, to lay down his gun. The latter request he immediately complied with; and when the natives saw him unarmed they shewed no further fear, but, returning to their employment, continued alternately to sing songs and to mimic the gentlemen who accompanied me. [193] 
[NN] August. We this day shot the Sacred Kings-Fisher. This bird is about the size of a thrush, and measures nearly ten inches in length: the top of the head is blue, and crested; sides of the head, and back part of it, black; over the eye, from the nostrils, a rusty-coloured streak; the chin, the middle of the neck, all round, and all the under part of the body, buff-colour, more or less inclining to rust; the upper part of the plumage chiefly blue; but the beginning of the back is black, as are also the quills and tail feathers within, being blue only on the outer edges; the bill is large and black, but the base of the under jaw is whitish; the legs are brown. This bird is subject to great variety, several of them being mentioned by Mr. Latham in his Synopsis. [...] [194] 
12th. Celebrated the Prince of Wales's birthday. The men of war fired a royal salute, and all the officers in the colony, civil and military, dined with the governor. The evening was spent in making bonfires, and testifying such other demonstrations of joy as could be shewn in this country. The weather is now very wet and cold, and has been so for the last six weeks. Several mornings we have had a hoar frost, and a few distinct pelicles of ice were formed on shallow spots of water; the thermometer frequently as low as the freezing point.
16th. A convict who had been out gathering what they called sweet tea, about a mile from the camp, met a party of the natives, consisting of fourteen, by whom he was beaten, and also slightly wounded with the shell-stick used in throwing their spears; they then made him strip, and would have taken from him his clothes, and probably his life, had it not been for the report of two musquets; which they no sooner heard than they ran away. This party were returning from the wood with cork, which they had been cutting, either for their canoes or huts; and had with them no other instruments than those that were necessary for the business on which they were engaged, such as a stone hatchet, and the shell stick before mentioned. [155] Had they been armed with any other weapons, the convict would probably have lost his life. [195] 
That which we call the sweet tea is a creeping kind of vine, running to a great extent along the ground; the stalk is not so thick as the smallest honey-suckle; nor is the leaf so large as the common bay leaf, though something similar to it; and the taste is sweet, exactly like the liquorice root of the shops. Of this the convicts and soldiers make an infusion which is tolerably pleasant, and serves as no bad succedaneum for tea. Indeed, were it to be met with in greater abundance it would be found very beneficial to those poor creatures whose constant diet is salt provisions. In using it for medical purposes, I have found it to be a good pectoral, and, as I before observed, not at all unpleasant. [196] 
We have also a kind of shrub in this country, resembling the common broom, which produces a small berry like a white currant, but in taste more similar to a very sour green gooseberry. This has proved a good antiscorbutic; but I am sorry to add that the quantity to be met with is far from sufficient to remove the scurvy.
That disorder still prevails with great violence, nor can we at present find any remedy against it, notwithstanding that the country produces several sorts of plants and shrubs which, in this place, are considered as tolerable vegetables, and used in common. The most plentiful is a plant growing on the sea shore, greatly resembling sage. Among it are often to be found samphire, and a kind of wild spinage, besides a small shrub which we distinguish by the name of the vegetable tree, and the leaves of which prove rather a pleasant substitute for vegetables. 
22nd August 1788. His Excellency Governor Phillip, Lieutenant George Johnston, his Adjutant of Orders, Lieutenant Cresswell of the Marines, myself, and six soldiers, landed in Manly Cove, in order to examine the coast to Broken Bay. At a short distance from the shore, we saw sixteen canoes, with two persons in each, and in some three, employed in fishing. They seemed to take very little notice as we passed them, so very intent were they on the business in which they were engaged. [197] 
On our landing, we saw sixty more of the natives, about two hundred yards distant from us. Some of them immediately came up to us, and were very friendly. A black man who carried our tents gave two of them a stocking each, with which they seemed much pleased; and, pointing to the naked leg, expressed a great desire to have that also clothed. The morning was so cold, that these poor wretches stood shivering on the beach, and appeared to be very sensible of the comfort and advantage of being clothed.
We sent back our boats, and proceeded northward along the coast about six miles, where we were forced to halt for near two hours, until the tide had run out of a lagoon, or piece of water, so as to admit of its being forded. While we were detained here an old native came to us, and, in the most friendly manner, pointed out the shallowest part of the water we had to cross; but the tide ran with too much rapidity at that time for us to attempt it.
After we had waded through, one of our company shot a very fine duck, which we had dressed for supper, on a little eminence by the side of a cabbage tree swamp, about half a mile from the run of the tide. Here the whole party got as much cabbage, to eat with their salt provisions, as they chose. [198] 
While we had been detained by the tide, several natives were on the opposite side, who also pointed out to us the shoalest water, and appeared, by their signs and gestures, to wish us very much to come over; but, before the tide was sufficiently low, they went away. One of them wore a skin of a reddish colour round his shoulders.
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http://ns.ausnc.org.au/corpora/cooee/source/1-016#Raw