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Fears for the future.
MAJOR ROSS TO SECRETARY STEPHENS. 13 April. Sir,
Portsmouth, 13th April, 1787. I have to request you will please to inform their Lordships among the that the sickness which has, and still does prevail among the
marine detachment embarked on board the Alexander, transport, gives me a great degree of concern. Since the time of their first embarkation no less than one serjeant, one drummer, and fourteen privates have been sent sick on shore from her, some of whom, I am informed, are since dead.
How far the cause of this sickness may be of a malignant kind is not for me to say, but I am apt to suppose that the situation in which the marines are placed in that ship is of itself sufficient to
cause the disorder with which they are afflicted. Unhealthy I beg leave to observe, for their Lordships' information, that the
place allotted for the marines on board the Alexander is upon a deck, and immediately under where the seamen are birthed. In this place they are excluded from all air, but what passes through the hatchway leading from the seamen's birth, which must in some degree render it putrid before it reaches the others.
Should what is above hinted at be the cause of the present sickness on board of her, how much more have we to dread the fatal effeects of it in the more southern latitudes.
I have conversed with the agent for the transports on this
subject, who is perfectly of my way of thinking; but in the No remedy. present state of that ship does not see how the evil can be
He this morning proposed, if it could possibly be done, to have the convicts on board the Alexander reduced in numbers, so as to permit a sufficient space in the fore part of the ship to be taken away from what was allotted for them, and converted into a birth for the seamen, the marines then removed to where the seamen now are, and the present birth of the marines converted into the only thing it is fit for, the stowing away provisions.
You will likewise please to inform their Lordships how much I am concerned at finding myself under a necessity of mentioning again to them the children of the marines embarked in the transports, which have not yet been ordered to be victualled. What leads me to trouble their Lordships with it at this time is a scene of distress that I was witness to yesterday when visiting the
transports at the Motherbank. In one of them I found a marine, A hard case. his wife, and two children living upon a ration and a half of
provisions. I feel myself the more hurt at this from my having when last at Plymouth, and thinking myself authorized to do so, informed that part of the detachment that their wives and children were to be victualled in a certain proportion.
I am, &c.,
R. Ross, Major.
Reduction of numbers
No rations for the children,
Return of the Botany Bay detachment of Marines, the number 1787
of wives and children, and the names of the ships on board of 15 April which they are embarked, with the number on board of each
The First ship. April, the 15th, 1787.
RETURs of the male, female, and children convicts embarked 2-The for Botany Bay, distinguishing the number of each on board
convicts. each transport. April, the 15th, 1789.
UNDER SECRETARY NEPEAN TO SIR C. MIDDLETON.*
18 April. I send you enclosed copies of two letterst from Major Ross, Lieutenant-Governor of the new intended settlement, representing the unhealthy state of the party of marines embarked on board The sick the Alexander, transport, and the distressed state of the wives marines. and children of the detachment intended to proceed in the transport ships to Botany Bay. Lord Sydney will be obliged to you if
you will take any measures which you may think advisable for the better accommodation of the Alexander's party, and that you will be so good as to give orders that the women and children of Women and
children. A private letter. One of these letters will be found on page 78; the other is not recorded.
Wants to be
1787 the marines may be supplied with the same proportion of provisions 18 April. as hath been usually allowed to the women and children of troops
during their passage, which Major Ross states in one of his letters. * Convicts' I find from Captain Phillip that some of the convicts are almost clothing.
destitute of cloathing, and that it will be necessary to supply them with such articles as are needful immediately.
Captain Hunter and Lieutenant Shortland have been desired supplied.
to inquire into their wants and to supply them, and Lord Sydney will be glad if the quantity which they may issue out of the general stock be replaced, and that such a number of worsted nightcaps be also issued as may be requisite for the supply of such of the convicts whose hair it may be necessary to cut off.
I must beg of you to give me credit for official representation through the proper channel upon these points, which you shall
have as soon as the business is finished. I hope this will be the A perplexing last letter, except the general sweeping one, which I may have business.
occasion to trouble you with upon this business, which I must suppose has given you nearly as much perplexity as it has your
faithful humble servant. Phillip's I hope Phillip will get away on Saturday; all his civil comdeparture. missions, I expect, will pass the Great Seal on Friday. Provisions The children of the women convicts, Lord Sydney thinks, should for children. have a small proportion of provisions, which his Lordship begs
you will order; there are not above ten.
I omitted to mention that about £30, in ducates, will be necessary for Captain Phillip to purchase stock, and which Lord Sydney wishes
may be supplied to him ; and also that he may be allowed to purchase a hhd. of strong beer, in bottles—the latter he can easily procure at Portsmouth ; these articles will be requisite for the obtaining stock at some of the islands he may
have occasion to have recourse to. There is no oatmeal on board the convict ships to make gruel for the sick; it is a very necessary article, and Lord Sydney thinks that a couple of casks should be put on board each of the convict ships for that purpose, to be considered as surgeon's necessaries.
I am, &c.,
TRIAL OF PIRATES.
Duke of Richmond.
John Chas. Villiers, Esq.
* Note by transcriber.- Major Ross acknowledged this attention to his request in letters to Mr. Nepean.
pointed for the consideration of all matters relating to trade and 1787 foreign plantations, dated the 13th of this instant, proposing that 20 April. the draught of a commission should be prepared for the tryal of pirates within the Government of New South Wales, the description of which government is herewith annexed, marked A. His Territory. Majesty, taking the said report into consideration, was pleased, with the advice of his Privy Council, to approve thereof, and accordingly to order, as it is hereby ordered, that his Majesty's Advocate-General, with the Advocate of the Admiralty, do forthwith prepare and lay before his Majesty at this Board the draught of a commission, in order to be passed under the seal of his Commission. Majesty's High Court of Admiralty, for the tryal of pirates within the said new Government, under the act of the 11th and 12th of King William the Third ; and that they do insert therein the names of the persons contained in the annexed list marked B, as commissioners for carrying the said commission into execution.
A. The territory called New South Wales, extending from the New South Northern Cape or extremity of the coast, called Cape York, in the latitnde of ten degrees thirty-seven minutes south, to the southern extremiiy of the said territory of New South Wales or South Cape, in the latitude of forty-three degrees thirty-nine minutes south, and of all the country inland to the westward as far as the one hundred and thirty-fifth degree of east longitude, reckoning from the meridian of Greenwich, including all islands adjacent in the Pacific Ocean within the latitudes aforesaid of 10° 37' south and 43° 39' south.
List of names to be inserted in the Commission for the Trial of
Pirates on the coast of New South Wales. Arthur Phillip, Esq., Governor, or the Governor for the time Members of being
the court. Robert Ross, Esq., Lieutenant-Governor, or the LieutenantGovernor for the time being.
Andrew Miller, Esq., Commissary of Stores and Provisions, or the Commissary of Stores and Provisions for the time being.
Augustus Alt, Esq., Surveyor of Lands, or the Surveyor of
John Hunter, Esq., Captain of the Sirius.
Henry Lidgbird Ball, Esq., Lieutenant and Commander of the
And all other captains and commanders of his Majesty's ships who are or shall be within the Admiralty jurisdiction of the territory of New South Wales.
LORD SYDNEY TO GOVERNOR PHILLIP.* 20 April. Sir,
Whitehall, 20th April, 1787. Your letter to Mr. Nepean, of the 1st of March, inclosing
a copy of a letter to you from the Secretary of the Admiralty in Phillip's answer to certain queries which you had desired might be subqueries. mitted to the consideration of the Lord Commissioners of that
Board, have been laid before me, together with your observations upon the instructions, which have been prepared to pass under the Royal Sign Manual for your guidance in the exercise of the government of New South Wales.
With regard to the 1st and 2nd queries, to which the Admiralty have declined to give any answer, and referred you to the Treasury
Board, I am to acquaint you that their Lordships have caused Victualling contracts to be entered into for the victualling of the marines, ments. their wives and children, as well as the convicts, who are to take
their passage in the transport ships; and that any supplies which it may be necessary to provide for their maintenance during the voyage will be obtained and paid for by the contractor or his agent.
The 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th queries are, I observe, fully answered Queries already in the Secretary of the Admiralty's letter to you; and the 7th answered.
query is answered in the first paragraph of this letter.
8th. In case any of the convicts should be seized with an infectious distemper, a proper place is to be set apart in the ship on board of which they may be embarked for their accommodation, ånd if the disease should so spread itself as to render it absolutely necessary that the infected people should be removed away from
the other convicts, one of the transport ships may be converted Hospital ship.
into an hospital ship. But this step, you will observe, is not to be taken except upon urgent necessity.
9th. If any difficulties should be found by the masters of the Supplies.
transports in procuring supplies either of stores or provisions which they may stand in need of at places where the convoy may touch, the agent appointed by the Navy Board is instructed in what manner to proceed on such occasions.
The 10th query appears to be fully replied to by the Secretary to the Admiralty.
11th. Your instructions under the Royal Sign Manual point out in what manner the emoluments which would arise to you from the Sirius are, in case you should be able to send her home, to be paid to you.
12th and 13th. The Lords of the Admiralty will authorize any number, not exceeding forty, of the petty officers and men belonging to the Sirius who may be desirous of remaining at New South Wales, upon that ship's return to Europe.
The 14th query is answered by the Secretary of the Admiralty. All the queries which you submitted to the Admiralty being now fully explained, I am to acquaint you, in reply to your letter of
* See letter from Secretary Stephens. Ante, p. 48.