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with them ; but were we uniform in our plans, and earnest in our
1790 wishes to accomplish it, 'tis very practicable. Here is an ample 26 July. field for the botanist or naturalist, the most beautiful shrubs, and the greatest variety of any in the world. The plumage of the birds Beautiful is uncommonly beautiful, some of which (as I am informed) are a
plants. new species, or rather nondescripts, such as the emu, having no wings, but they run very fast. "Seven officers have dined abundantly off the sidesman or sidebone of this creature, which cut up An emu for and was in appearance like a loin of veal, such is its immense size. I shall collect various seeds, birds, plumage, and other curiosities of the natives, some of which I shall have the honour of transmitting to you. "I am going, on Monday next, in company with Capt. Tench An explor
ing party. and Lieut. Dawes, of the marines, on a week's excursion, to explore westward; it is a severe business, as we sleep in the woods without covering, and the mornings and evenings are excessive cold. They are gentlemen whose minds are highly cultivated, and of great scientific knowlege ; I therefore anticipate the mental satisfaction I must receive with them, which I am persuaded will outweigh a few corporeal hardships. If we should make any discoveries worthy of remark, I shall think it an honour being suffered to pen them to you."
Thus, my dear sir, have I written to your friend. I can convey to your mind no better information on this subject. I will only add that I shall not only feel it my duty, but that I possess A duty. every wish to convey the like intelligence and make the same collections for you. I will now, previous to my concluding this tiresome epistle, enquire after your health, which I do most anxiously, tho' I must acknowledge there are many of my acquaintances and friends that I should feel more sorrow at loosing, but for this reason only, they are less fitted to depart. I need, therefore, only say I wish you happiness here ; your convluct will insure you it in another world. I also beg, most respectfully, to offer my kindest wishes for Mrs. Wathen's health, as well as your amiable niece's, Miss Coope's ; pray make me remembered to her, as an old Glostershire acquaintance, in the warmest manner.
I take the liberty, also, to say I felt interested for the welfare of Mrs. Wathen, your niece, tho’ she was the acquaintance only of a few hours ; and amidst the amiable groupe I cannot forget my friend, Mr. Phipps, whose wonderful understanding, as it expands and ripens by years, must be the admiration of the age, and whose soft and happy disposition will be his greatest ornament. I write in the fulness of my heart, and from a warmth of affection which I must ever bear you all. I
pray you accept it as such, and believe me, with all possible respect and gratitude.
I am, &c.,
LIEUTENANT VOWELL* TO UNDER SECRETARY NEPEAN, 30 July. Sir,
Batavia, July 30th, 1790. Since I wrote to you last, which was from the Cape of Good Loss of the Hope, we have had the misfortune to lose the Sirius. It happened Sirius.
at Norfolk Island on the 19th of March, where she went on the rocks in Sydney Bay, in a great surf, and was an entire wreck in less than ten minutes ; happily all the people got safely on shore. Captain Hunter, with the greatest part of the ship's company, are still at Norfolk. He sent me with the remainder part of the
people in the Supply to Port Jackson with the sad news. The Supply As there was not any relief arrived the Governor dispatched Batavia. the Supply to Batavia, there to take up a vessel and load her with
provisions, and it being thought necessary an officer ought to be put on board her. The Governor sent me in the Supply for that purpose. On the passage to this place we discovered a large track
of land extending from 10° 50' s'h latitude to about 7° 30', and Islands discovered.
from 162° 30' east longitude to about 161°, and two islands, the smallest of which is named Tench’s İşland; it lays in latitude 1° 39' s., and in 150° 30' east longitude : the other is called Prince William Henry Island; it lays in latitude 1° 15' s. longitnde
149° 50' east. Crossing the Equator.
We then stood for the equinoctial line, which we crossed in longitude 146° 30' east. It was intended to have gone through the straits of Macassar, but as we drew near it we found that the westerly monsoon had set in, which rendered that passage impracticable, and obliged us to go to the eastward of Celebes and through
the Spice Islands. Nothing particular happened till the 5th of Arrival at July, when we made the Island of Java, and the next afternoon Batavia.
got safe into Batavia road. Transport hired
A vessel is hired from the Shebander,† which, he says, is about 300 tons ; in her, after she is loaded, I am to return to Port Jack
The Supply will be ready much sooner than it is possible she
can be got ready, and Mr. Ball means to proceed for Port Jackson Anxious to and leave me to follow. My anxiety for returning is very great,
as we hear of some vessels leaving the Cape of Good Hope in May bound for Port Jackson ; by them I expect to hear whether I am confirmed. I have the satisfaction to say Governor Phillip still continues his kindness to me, and on Lieut. Maxwell being invalided appointed me second lieutenant, for all which I am to thank you as being the occasion nf it; and I hope my conduct has been such as to merit your kind attention, and that my future may be such as to recommend myself to your friendly protection.
I am, &c.,
NEWTON FOWELL. * Second Lieutenant of the Sirius. † A shebander, according to the
Imperial Dictionary, is a “Dutch East India commercial The Dutch snow, Waaksamheyd.
MAJOR GROSE TO SIR GEORGE YONGE.
1790 Sir, Portsmouth, July the 30th, 1790.
30 July. As it will be a matter of great satisfaction to the officers of this corps to get rid of two soldiers we are so unfortunate as to Bad soldiers, have with us, I write to request your permission to turn them over to the Navy; they are both sailors, and perfectly fit for that service, but as neither indulgence or punishment can bring them to act otherwise than so to make themselves continually troublesome, I hope you will be pleased to direct their being discharged, Their
discharge as it cannot well be conceiv'd how much injury we sustain in our asked for. discipline by two ruffians whose greatest study seems to be to excite mutiny and mischief wherever they go. Their names are
* They have hitherto been in almost every regiment in the service, from whom they have generally deserted, but when that has not happened they have been drummed out. They are not of those I receiv'd from the Savoy, † but were enlisted as recruits in last August. The men in general General conduct themselves since under my command at this place with conduct. the greatest propriety, and I am happy to say give constant satisfaction to both Army and Navy that have anything to do with them. With every respect, &c.,
LIEUTENANT FOWELL TO HIS FATHER. Dear Sir,
Batavia, July 31st, 1790.
31 July My last Ir. was written to you from ye Cape of Good Hope, since which time many things have happen'd, all which I shall relate as they occurr'd. After taking in our cargo, which consisted chiefly of flour for ye settlement at Port Jackson, we compleated the provisions for ye shipt for ten months, and on ye 20th of The Sirius Feby., 1789, weigh'd anchor, and left Table Bay. It was above a Cape. fortnight before we c'd get to eastward of ye Cape, and all that time blowing a gale of wind. On ye 10th of March, got ye wind from ye westward, stood to ye S.E. till we were between the 23rd and 24th degree of latitude, when we stood to the eastward for the South Cape of New Holland. We had very fine weather, the wind varying from ye N.W. to ye S.W. quarter. On ye 19th of Bound for April, we supposed ourselves not far from ye South Cape, shortened Jackson, sail, and hove too for the night, with ye wind at S.W., intending in the morning to make the land, and stand round it; and if this wind stood, expected to be at Port Jackson in less than a week. During the night the wind shifted from S.W. to S., and blew very hard, which brought us under low sail. At 4 o'clock ye next morning the wind shifted to S.S.E., and very unfortunatly Names omitted. | The Savoy Prison, London, to which military offenders were sent.
at ye same time all our small sails were split, and it blew too 31 July. hard even to set our foresail reeft, so that at this time we were A gale.
driving about, having no sail set except our mizen. At this time our drift was two miles an hour directly for the shore, which was on ye 20th at noon only fifty-five miles distant. In the afternoon, finding the gale did not abate, it was thought proper that something should be done to get the ship out of this unpleasant situation. The courses were reeft, and by this time one of the small sails was repair'd (the storm mizen stay-sail) and bent, and
the reeft hove sail also. The wind came to the south, and blew Heavy sea. so very hard, there was so great a sea running, that she would
not keep closer to the wind than abt. eight points. At noon of the 21st, by account (for we had not seen the sun since the 19th, which rendered our situation still more dangerous), Swilly* was only nine miles distant, and the weather so very hazy we could not see it; the wind still at south and blowing as hard as ever. More sail was wanted on the ship. The mainsail was double reeft, and set at half-past 2 in the afternoon; it cleared up a little, when we saw the land bearing N.E. abt. six miles, which was taken for the Mewstone,* and supposing it not possible to weather the South Cape, wore ship in hopes to weather the S.W. Cape, at the same time let the second reef out of the mainsail, the wind from south to S.S.E. At 5 we supposed that we saw land on the lee bow; but the weather being hazy, could not be certain. At 6 we saw it plain, which was very high, close under our lee bow.
Finding it was possible to weather it, we wore ship, and at this time, as we had the alternative either to carry a great press of sail or to go on shore, it may be needless to say the former was chose; and altho' at this time the ship had more sail upon her than she ever had before, yet we set the foretopsail, tho' it
very much endanger'd the masts. At 8 cd. see the land at some A dangerous distance under our lee. We were at this time in a very dangerous situation.
situation, nor cd. we tell when we sh’d be out of it, as we did not know what land it was we saw at 6 o'clock ; but we were certain ye land seen at 2 o'clock cd. not be the Mewstone, as we supposed. At 10 passed a point of land at a good distance. So heavy a press
a sail was on the ship that the sea made a fair breach over her, breaking on board.
which obliged every person to be very careful in holding fast for fear of being wash'd overboard. Indeed, the forecastle was constantly under water. At 12 the weather was very dark, and not seeing any land made us suppose ourselves out of danger; but Captain Hunter did not think it prudent to shorten sail till daylight. This was a very lucky precaution, for at 2 o'clock all on a sudden land was seen close on her lee beam. We had not room to ware, so stood on. We thought at this time we were among
On a lee shore.
* Swilly and Mewstone are two small islands or rocks on the Tasmanian coast, so named by Captain Furneaux, who discovered them in 1773. The latter resembles a small island ncar Plymouth, whence it took its name. Tench's Narrative, p. 43.
Near the shore,
breakers, and several heavy seas were shiped, some of which, I am
1790 sure, broke above halfway up the foreyard. When this land was
31 July. first seen some of the people were much frightened, the man at the wheel in particular, who threw the ship in the wind, and as she payed off again some of the people were heard to say that she was drifting very fast on it. However, by half-past 2 we were clear of the land, when we cd. plainly see it trend to the north- The ship ward. Here Providence seemed to favour us very much, for we land. were no sooner round this point of land than the wind came forward two points. Had this happen'd when the land was seen at 2 o'clock nothing cd. have saved us from going ashore. At daylight saw very plainly that the land we saw at 2 o'clock was Tasman's Head, and by the courses steer'd and the distance run Tasman's during the night proves the land seen at 6 o'clock last night to be the Head. S.W. Cape, and the land seen at 10 o'clock to be the South Cape. South Cape.
By carrying such a very heavy press of sail during the night the figure-head was washed away and the head-rails and knees of The ship
damaged. the head so much damaged that we were obliged to get lashings round the cutwater to secure it to the stem.
22nd.—The weather much more moderate ; some of the topmast back stays gave way.
Had this happened while so heavy a press of sail was on the ship in all probability the topmasts must have gone, and then, for want of sail, undoubtedly she must have gone on shore. Nothing extraordinary happen'd more during our passage, and on the 9th of May, in the afternoon, arrived at Port Arrival at Jackson. We appear’d in such shattered condition that at first Jackson. the ship was not known; but they were, as you may suppose, very glad to see us, for soon after our sailing one pound of flour was stopped from the week's allowance of each person, and on our arrival whole allowance was again issued.
During our absence Capn. Shea, of the marines, died, and Lt. Capt. Shea's George Johnston was promoted in his room. Six marines belonging to ye batallion were hung for robbing the provision storehouse and cellar. They had keys that fitted the locks. They were discovered by one of the keys being broke in the lock of the cellar door, and they could not get out the broken peice. As soon as it was discovered the lock was taken off and the broken key shown to all the blacksmiths to know if anyone had made such a key, and for whom. One of them immediately recollected the key, and said he made it for one of the marines for his chest. The lock of his chest was examined, and the key was found to fit it. Seven of them were concerned, but one of them turned king's Robberies. evidence and saved his neck.* He was the greatest villain and the first projector of the scheme. The method they took to robb the stores was : when one of them was sentinel some of the rest came and were admitted by him into the storehouse. This practice had been carried on near ten months before it was discovered.
* See Phillip's despatch. Ante, p. 297.