Narrative of a Voyage Round the World (Wilson)/Appendix
BRIEF ACCOUNT OF THE INHABITANTS OF
(ALLUDED TO IN PAGE 11.)
The inhabitants of Murray's Island are totally distinct from any of the Aborigines of New Holland, to whom, in every respect, they are far superior; but they have the character of being very treacherous, daring, and deceitful. Horsburgh, in his Directory, cautions voyagers to be on their guard, in their intercourse with the natives of the numerous Islands in Torres Straits, particularly with those of Murray's Island.
I touched there several years ago, and remained two days, during which, I had unreserved intercourse with the natives, whom I found to be, like all other savages, prone to thieving, but otherwise not evil disposed. I made some observations at the time, which, with other manuscripts, &c., were lost in the Governor Ready, and I therefore give the following imperfect sketch from memory.
On the 25th of June, 1822, I sailed from Sydney, in the ship Richmond, in company with the Mary Anne and Almorah. On the 11th of July, the three ships passed through the Great Barrier reef in safety, and anchored off Murray's Island. An immense number of natives were observed running along the shore; and, as we imagined, from their gestures, earnestly inviting us to land. Shortly after we anchored, a boat from each ship was manned, and the three Commanders and myself proceeded on shore; on approaching which, the natives, who had waded out a considerable distance, surrounded the boats, shouting, "Warēka, Warēka," "Mabouse," and "puta, puta," with great vociferation, and holding out bows and arrows, clubs, tortoise-shell, cocoa nuts, plantains, &c., calling, at the same time, "torre, torre."
There could not be less than three hundred of the natives in the water, and on the shore. They treated our Lascars with utter contempt, and the Lascars did not seem particularly anxious to cultivate their acquaintance.
An active barter soon commenced. The natives would not permit their commodities out of their hands, until they had possession of what they considered an equivalent; but, as we gave them our articles to inspect, without hesitation, they soon laid aside their mistrust. This caution, on their part, shows that they must have been cheated, in former dealings with Europeans. Old knives, and old iron hoops straightened, and cut into pieces of six or eight inches in length, were first brought into the market, and were exchanged to great advantage. But the tomahawks and axes, which had been reserved as superior articles of traffic, and concealed in the bottom of the boat, were all stolen by the natives, at the same time that they were apparently propitiating the muskets, which were in the stern-sheets, by placing green leaves on the locks, and repeating, in a conciliating tone, "puta, puta." One, who was detected, flagrante delicto, ran on shore,—the others clearing a way for him—and, although instantly pursued, he got clear off with his much-valued prize. This incident, however, did not disturb the general tranquillity; but afterwards, iron hoops were at a discount.
The barter being concluded, three of us went on shore, and the natives immediately selected the tallest of the party, whom, being like Saul among the people, they considered to be chief, and he was laid hold of by two powerful savages, who placed their arms in his, and thus escorted him through the assembled multitude. In proceeding along, the natives who were nearest us endeavoured to place leaves between the flints and the pans of our pistols and fowling-pieces, still repeating, "puta, puta."
After having walked a short distance along the beach, we met a group of women and children, and were somewhat chagrined by the children running from us, screaming, and clinging to their mothers, who, together with the men, laughed heartily at the fears we occasioned. The women stood aloof, and I, therefore, notwithstanding the admonitions of my companions, went forward to them; and, imagining that, where no rudeness is intended, there is seldom offence taken, I selected the prettiest-looking damsel, to whom I presented some trifling articles, which she willingly accepted. I then placed a handkerchief round her neck, gave her a small looking glass, and, at the same time, a gentle tap under the chin. Immediately, a simultaneous shout arose from the surrounding throng, in which I cordially joined, and imitated all their gesticulations as well as I could, to their evident delight and satisfaction.
We then took a walk through the town, and viewed their houses, which are built of bamboo, and thatched, and are exceedingly neat and clean. During our ramble, we observed several men labouring under elephantiasis, who were apparently confined in a space, enclosed with strong wicker-work, upwards of ten feet high. We also noticed several others, afflicted with a still more loathsome disease.
One of the natives, named Madiēa, whom we had dressed in a shirt and trowsers, now came, and, pointing to the setting sun, and to the ships, gave us to understand, that it was time for us to go on board; while others were using their best endeavours to persuade us to stay—it was imagined, for no very friendly purpose. Be that as it may, our officious friend insisted on our departure, by pulling us towards the boats which, since our landing, were lying out of the reach of the natives, and we thought it prudent to comply with his wishes. After having touched noses with him, we entered the boat, which drew near for us ;—the other two keeping off, to be able to act in case of treachery. We, however, parted in peace, and pulled towards the ships, with the boats pretty well laden with the natural and artificial productions of the Island, which, even taking our losses by theft into consideration, we had obtained at a very cheap rate.
Next morning, as the wind blew rather freshly, and the sky was completely obscured, and, consequently, not favourable for us to thread our intricate way through the Straits, it was deemed prudent to remain at anchor; and I therefore embraced the opportunity of accompanying Captain Warrington on a boat-excursion to the small adjacent islands, on one of which we landed, and walked to a village, formed exactly like that at Murray's Island. We did not meet with any inhabitants, but, as everything appeared neat and clean, we concluded, that it could not have been long deserted. On looking into the largest hut, we observed it filled with human skulls; and various were our conjectures, as to whether they had belonged to friends or foes. I felt a strong inclination to take one or two of them, but, from fear of giving offence, I refrained from doing so.
While continuing our stroll at our ease, we were startled by a confused sound of voices; and, on looking round, we beheld a number of natives wading through the channel (which separates this from the other small Island), waving their hands, and making a hideous noise; and, at the same time, we observed a large canoe, under full sail, filled with men, from Murray's Island, standing towards us. We therefore thought it prudent to get into the boat without delay, as we were several miles from assistance, had we stood in need of it. One of the boat's crew, whom we had missed, now came running to the beach, with a skull under his arm. Captain Warrington, who was exceedingly vexed at this imprudence, ordered the fellow to take it back to the place he had stolen it from; but, the natives being close at his heels, he threw the skull on the sand, plunged into the water, and reached the boat.
Having shoved off a little, we lay on our oars, and endeavoured, as well as we could, to explain to them, that the individual who had acted so reprehensibly, should be punished. They appeared pacified, and made signs for us to land; but, as the canoe was fast approaching, and as we had committed a fault—perhaps desecrated one of their holy places—we declined accepting their apparently earnest invitation. We therefore made sail, and kept as close to the wind as we could, that we might weather the canoe, which was now drawing very near. We succeeded in doing so; and, notwithstanding the clamorous endeavours of the natives to entice us on board, kept our luff, and invited them to accompany us to the ships, where they would be liberally supplied with torrè. They followed us for some time, but, not being able to draw to windward (although, with the wind abaft the beam, the canoe sailed far better than our gig), they made for the shore, and we reached the shipping without any accident.
During the day, great numbers of the natives were on the beach, and in the water, making all possible signs for us to come on shore, but none of them came on board. We saw no canoes, which, it appeared, were kept only on the south-west side of the Island.
After dinner, three boats (one from each ship), with the same party, well-armed, in case of accidents, went on shore. The native (Madiēa), who had evinced so much anxiety for our departure last night, was perceived standing on the beach, apart from the multitude, and dressed in his shirt and trowsers. As soon as we approached sufficiently near, his wife having previously assisted in divesting him of all incumbrance, he plunged into the water, swam off to us, and entered the boat without fear: on the contrary, he jumped on the stern-sheets, and, both by gesture and speech, assumed a superiority over the others, who were now, in great numbers, crowding around us. Whether the authority this native assumed was occasioned by our notice of him, we could not ascertain; but his endeavours to preserve the peace certainly tended to check the rude impetuosity and forwardness of the mob.
Barter soon commenced, but was not carried on so briskly as it was yesterday, in consequence of the natives preferring axes and tomahawks to old iron hoops, and our not being well supplied with the former articles. The natives, however, had entirely laid aside suspicion, and they freely permitted us to examine the articles which they wished to exchange, without requiring prior possession of the desired equivalent.
Having obtained all that I wished to possess, I went on shore with the native (Madiēa), who had, apparently, from the beginning of our intercourse, taken me under his protection, and accompanied him to the village, where he formally introduced me to another native, who, after a speech of considerable length, which I did not understand, but judged to be friendly, advanced towards me, and touched my nose with his. I therefore concluded, that this ceremony was in token of mutual amity, and explained to them that our mode of expressing friendship was by shaking hands, which they then did very heartily.
These two natives were well made men, considerably above the middle size, in whose fine open, but resolute countenances, I could not perceive the least indications of treachery. I therefore sat down beside them, and was not long in making an attempt to obtain some knowledge of their language. I had much trouble in making them understand my meaning; but, after this difficulty was removed, I obtained a pretty large vocabulary, comprehending the various parts of the body, and also all other objects within sight. I presented them with one copy, with their own language in one column, and the English in the other, which I told them to show to any other strangers who might hereafter pay them a visit. The other copy, as already mentioned, was unfortunately lost, and I can only call to mind the following few words:—"Warēka," or "Warēga," peace or welcome; "mabouse," come to us; "puta, puta,"—I could not satisfactorily make out the signification of this word, but imagined it meant—no danger, or, don't be afraid; "torre," iron; casse," give; "Girgir," the sun; " Kimiar," men; "Koskarail," women; "Madiēa, Oucāra, Wamaia, Wagēra," proper names of men.
Our grammatical exercises being finished, and being joined by many others, who had concluded their barter, we commenced a variety of gymnastic amusements, which were carried on with uninterrupted good humour. We had rather the advantage of the natives in wrestling, but they far surpassed us in archery; in short, it was absurd to make a comparison, nor could we help feeling mortification at our great inferiority in this respect, being so apparent: indeed, the most experienced and skilful modern European archers would have cut but a very sorry figure among these athletic savages, whose amazing feats could not have been surpassed by the English archers of olden times. Their astonishing adroitness can only be attributed to their being accustomed to this exercise from their early youth. We noticed the boys—some of them very young—amusing themselves, shooting with bows and arrows, suited to their strength.
With respect to their warlike instruments and canoes, I cannot do better than insert the following very accurate description, given in Captain Flinders's Introduction to his "Voyage to Terra Australis," which equally applies to the natives of Murray's, as to those of Darnley's Island, whom I believe to be the same people.
"Their arms were bows, arrows, and clubs, which they bartered for every kind of iron work with eagerness; but appeared to set little value on anything else. The bows are made of split bamboo, and so strong, that no man in the ship could bend one of them. The string is a broad slip of cane, fixed to one end of the bow, and fitted with a noose, to go over the other end, when strung. The arrow is a cane, of about four feet long, into which a pointed piece of the hard, heavy, casuarina wood is firmly and neatly fitted; and some of them are barbed. Their clubs are made of the casuarina, and are powerful weapons. The hand part is indented, and has a small knob, by which the firmness of the grasp is much assisted; and the heavy end is usually carved with some device.
"Their canoes are about fifty feet in length, and appear to have been hollowed out of a single tree; but the pieces which form the gunwales, are planks, sewed on with the cocoa nut, and secured with pegs. These vessels are low forward, but rise abaft; and, being narrow, are fitted with an outrigger on each side, to keep them steady. A raft, of greater length than the canoe, extends over about half the length; and upon this, is fixed a shed, or hut, thatched with palm leaves.
"These people, in short, appeared to be dexterous sailors, and formidable warriors."
The natives, in general, are tall, well made, and muscular men. They are of a dark chocolate colour, and possess intelligent countenances; their features more resembling those of Europeans, than those of any other savages I have met with. The males go entirely naked; but the females, even the youngest, wear a covering, from the waist to the knees.
They are exceedingly numerous. We counted upwards of three hundred at one time, and Captain Flinders states, that, including women and children, the inhabitants of Murray's Island must amount to about seven hundred; but, although the island seems very fertile (and the shores abound in fish and turtle) yet, as it is not more than two miles in length, and one in breadth, it may fairly be presumed, that it cannot support so large a population; and it is my belief, that many of the natives whom we observed here, belonged to Darnley's, Warrior's, and other neighbouring Islands, and even to New Guinea—communication being easily effected by means of their large canoes, in the management of which they are extremely dexterous.
At sunset, we left the shore, and gave the natives to understand that they would not see us again. Madiēa wept bitterly, which we thought rather extraordinary, as a two days' acquaintanceship rarely produces such a display of affection. We invited him to accompany us, and he willingly did so, and jumped into the boat. The assembled natives remonstrated with him, as we imagined, on his thus leaving his friends, and his native land; but, notwithstanding their entreaties, he persisted in going with us, which he did to a considerable distance, when, being overcome by the lamentations of the females, he lost heart, jumped overboard, and swam ashore to his companions.
We then stood up in the boats, and gave three farewell cheers, which were cordially and loudly returned by the natives, from whom we thus parted on the most friendly terms. During our intercourse, we behaved towards them with the greatest prudence and good humour, and endeavoured, as far as we could, to cultivate their friendship, for the advantage of those who might, through shipwreck, be at their mercy; and I have every reason to believe, that our conduct has been attended with good results, as I have heard of several shipwrecked people, who, since our visit, have been treated by them with great kindness and hospitality.
Next morning, at daylight, we got under weigh, and proceeded on our voyage, passing safely through Torres Straits, when the ships parted company. In a few days afterwards, the ship Richmond, in which I was a passenger, was totally lost on a coral reef, in the Java sea, and all the curiosities I had collected at Murray's Island were left to the Malays, whose proas were approaching the wreck in great numbers, when our former consort, the Almorah, providentially hove in sight, and rescued us from our perilous situation.
APPENDIX, No. II.
A SHORT VOCABULARY OF THE DIALECT OF
THE NATIVES OF RAFFLES BAY.
(REFERRED TO IN PAGE 171.)
|Mandro-gillie||1||Class of the natives, and applied to either sex.|
|Picka-ninnie||A young child, (evidently taken from us.)|
|A-wey-ea||The hair of the head.|
|Adiera, or Adgara||The cheeks.|
|O-ye, or oge||MamilUe.|
|Mana-wey-iæ||The nails on the toes and fingers.|
|Marbit||A white cockatoo.|
|A-lowarac||A black ditto.|
|Malīē||A flying iguana.|
|A-beidjiet||By this term, they designate all our domestic poultry.|
|A-londjeian||A diamond snake|
|Madjendīē||Turtle, or, rather, Tortoiseshell.|
|Manbidie||Different species of turtle, or, per haps, different parts of the same animal.|
|Argai, or Ardjai||Clouds.|
|Gar-agar, or, Gar-ahar||The sea.|
|Oboit Fresh water.|
|Tacora||A rendezvous of the natives, near Palm Bay.|
|Arkeolotte||Land at Fort Wellington.|
|Marēia||Land opposite the settlement.|
|Mala||A shrub, or young tree.|
|Walo-roo||A stump of any tree.|
|Imburbē||A stone-headed spear.|
|Burre buraī||Serrated spear.|
|Ebero||Their musical instrument.|
|Moolach||A basket, such as they usually carry.|
|Bell hai||A rope.|
|Mungedera||A net such as they wear round their shoulders.|
|Oboi, or Obon||A boat, ship, &c. &c.|
|Lipē Lipē||Canoe (Malay.)|
|Mul-wadie||Name given to the Malays by the natives.|
|Marēgĕ||Malay name of the natives.|
|Maregēē||Malay name for the north coast of New Holland, more particularly about Bowen's Straits, and Goulburn, and other small Islands adjacent.|
|Marabinde||Perforation of Septum Narium.|
|Poolark||Scarifications in different parts of the body.|
|Oroot||A scar from a wound.|
|Mambrual||Cloth of every description, or any woven article.|
|Wallā Wallā||Red apple.|
|Carga||Food in general—rice, bread, &c|
|Dagara Wamba||A dance.|
|Luda-duda||Shells in general.|
|Arichba, or, Ai ain||A stone.|
|Lă, mēt, yĕ, lŏ||Hot|
|May, yan, aya||To swim.|
|A, rad, ban||To depart.|
|Abē||To he, or, I am.|
|In, ye, uka||You hurt me.|
|Yad ma rew||Give it me.|
|Mangără, wo?||Do you intend to give us this?|
|Iră rā||To visits or go to a certain place.|
|Imban, era||To return to a certain place.|
|Irā ne, ōgă Tācǒră||Let us be off to Tacora.|
|Djeu, Djeu||Go, proceed forward.|
|Ah, wee||Come here.|
|Go, wee||Come with me.|
|Anō, ă lēē||Tie this.|
|Woola||To sleep, or, rather, to repose.|
|No no||No (I think borrowed from us.)|
|Goō-goō||By and bye—presently.|
|Ocorowa||Round the corner.|
(Surprise, or astonishment, is indicated by a shrill and long-
SPECIMEN OF THE DIALECT OF THE NATIVES
OF KING GEORGE'S SOUND.
(referred to in page 283.)
|Keou||The hair of the head.|
|Mial||The eyes (also, to see.)|
|Marl||The fingers (r scarcely sounded.)|
|Peerrr||The nails (r strongly pronounced.)|
|Maniet||A white cockatoo.|
|Gno-lap||A black ditto.|
|Wal-gah||Fish (in general.)|
|Ke ait||The sun.|
|Ki-ap||Rain, or fresh water.|
|Cay bur ugh||A ship.|
|Yer a men||Awake.|
|Wap-wur||To swim, or, to wade in the water.|
|Poortack||At present, or, by and bye.|
APPENDIX, No. III.
REMARKS ON TRANSPORTATION,
As the subject may not be unacceptable to some of my readers, I shall make a few observations relative to convict ships,—the management of prisoners during the voyage, and their disposal and treatment in New South Wales, and Van Dieman's Land.
On the requisition of the Secretary of State for the Home Department, the Lords of the Admiralty give public notice, that tenders for ships of a certain size (usually from 400 to 600 tons), to convey a given number of prisoners (generally from 200 to 300), to New South Wales, or Van Dieman's Land, will be received on a specified day. There is considerable competition, which, of course, has the effect of reducing the rate of freight. The lowest apparent tender, however, is not always accepted, as it occasionally happens, that, from peculiarity of construction, a vessel of less registered tonnage will afford greater accommodation, and, consequently, convey a greater number of prisoners than one of larger burden.
Before the tender is accepted, the vessel is carefully surveyed by competent officers, who use every means to ascertain that she is seaworthy, and, in all respects, properly adapted for the service she is about to be employed in. If the report be favourable, the vessel is engaged, and proceeds, without delay, to Deptford, to be fitted for the reception of the prisoners. The interior arrangements are done by contract, at the expense of Government, and under the superintendence of responsible officers; while the owners of the vessel are required to furnish her amply with every thing fit and needful for such a voyage, during which she must be manned with seven men and a boy, to every 100 tons register-measurement. It may, therefore, be inferred, that ships employed in this service are exceedingly well equipped.
When the vessel is nearly ready for the reception of the prisoners, application is made for a guard, which consists of thirty men of a regiment under orders for Sydney. Formerly, a guard of fifty men was considered requisite, when the prisoners amounted to 300; but it now never exceeds thirty, however great the number may be. As soon as the guard embarks, the ship sails either for Woolwich, Sheerness, Portsmouth, Cork, or Dublin, to receive the prisoners.
The expense of transportation, of late years, has been greatly diminished; insomuch, that, calculating the freight, provisions, superintendence, and, in short, every contingency, the amount for each individual does not exceed £14.
Various systems have been adopted in the transportation of convicts. In the first instance, the owners of the transport supplied provisions, medicines, medical attendance, &c., for a certain sum per head; but the mortality being so excessive while this system was in operation, other arrangements were deemed necessary, and Government determined to provide everything; by which salutary change the comfort of the prisoners, during the voyage, is rendered superior to that of any steerage-passenger.
The Master of the vessel has the same allowances, in the issue of provisions, as the Purser of a man-of-war. He also receives, as a reward for humane conduct, a gratuity of £50; and, should the vessel convey female convicts, the first mate receives £20, and the second and third mates £15 each, from Government, on their producing a certificate from the Surgeon Superintendent that they have conducted themselves to his satisfaction.
The individual, appointed by the Admiralty as Surgeon and Superintendent, is always a surgeon of the Royal Navy, of some standing, on whom the entire management and responsibility, as regards the convicts, rest. His duty is exceedingly varied and extensive; he being required, not only to officiate as physician, surgeon, and apothecary, but also as clergyman, school-master, justice of the peace, inspector of provisions, &c. &c.
His emoluments are—full naval-pay, half a guinea for each prisoner landed in health, £15 to defray his expenses in the colony, and £100 to pay his passage home. His time is also allowed, as if he were serving in a man-of-war, until his arrival in England, provided he embraces the first favourable opportunity of returning home.
I shall give a brief statement of my method of conducting affairs, which, with little variation, may be considered as the usual routine observed in convict ships. As soon as the prisoners are received on board, they are placed in their berths, according to a progressive number given to each individual; their bedding, wearing, apparel, &c., being also marked with a corresponding number, so that confusion and pilfering may be prevented. They are then divided into messes (six in each), the head of each being answerable for the cleanliness, &c. of the utensils, and the regularity and comfort of the mess. Cooks are chosen from those among them who have been sailors, or accustomed to the, sea; and others (I prefer the greatest rogues) are placed in authority, to preserve order and decorum in the prison, which they in general do very effectually.
As soon as we leave the land, the prisoners are freed from irons, and permitted to be on deck, from morning till evening; and these indulgences are continued during their good behaviour, which generally lasts, from the beginning to the end of the voyage.
Six months' supply of provisions is placed on board; every article of food is of the best quality, and issued in sufficient quantity, as the following Government scale of daily allowance will show.
|SPECIES.||To Male Con-
Years of Age.
|To Surgeons and|
|Oatmeal||Pts.||—||—||—||Not more than ½|
When fresh meat and vegetables are not issued, there is allowed, in lieu thereof, viz:—
|SPECIES.||To Male Con-
Years of Age.
|To Surgeons and|
And weekly, whether fresh or salt meat is issued, vinegar, not exceeding one quart for each mess of six persons, and to the guards, not exceeding one half pint per man a week.
The Master is required to supply the Surgeon (taking his receipts for the same) with lemon-juice and sugar, to be issued to the respective classes of persons on board, at his discretion, as medical comforts, not exceeding one ounce of each article, per day, to each individual.
And each convict, or settler, male or female, and children, is allowed two gallons of wine during the voyage.
The wives of the guards are served with half the allowance granted to their husbands; and their children one quarter of that allowance. Children, above ten years of age, are victualled as adults.
On the days on which flour is ordered to be issued, suet and raisins, or currants, are substituted for one fourth part of the flour, one half in suet, and the other half of the said fourth part in fruit.
One pound of raisins being considered ??? of flour.
Half a pound of currants, ditto.
Half a pound of suet, ditto.
The provisions are cooked carefully, and ??? regular intervals—break&st, at half-past ??? one P.M., and supper, at five P.M.
In the distribution of the lime juice, water, sugar, and wine, and issued about a fortnight after we leave England, daily at eleven A.M., and at four P.M., each prisoner answers to his name, comes aft to the windward gangway, receives and drinks his allowance, passes the quarter-deck, and then walks forward on the other side. In this manner, every individual comes under my personal inspection at least twice a day; an object of no small importance, in the preservation of order, cleanliness, and consequent health.
Six pints of water are daily allowed, without deduction, to each person—soldier, sailor, and prisoner—on board, and one gallon while passing the tropics;—an allowance, I believe, greater than is granted in merchant ships, even of the first class.
Indeed, it is more than many people think necessary; but I have always considered it of manifest advantage not to be niggardly in this important article, and the Lords of the Admiralty have now ordered the above-mentioned quantity to be issued.
There is always an exceedingly commodious hospital in prison-ships, and the medicines, medical comforts, and hospital stores, are copious, and of good quality. The sick are regularly visited twice a day, at nine A.M., and at six P.M., and oftener, if necessary. After the visitation of the sick, all complaints that the prisoners may have to make, are listened to, and their disputes settled. Cases, however, that require punishment, I always dispose of after the morning's visit.
With regard to punishment, I may mention, that I seldom have recourse to flogging, being enabled to preserve order without it, and finding other measures more effective—viz., If two prisoners quarrel, I place them together in handcuffs, and keep them so, until they become good friends, which generally takes place in a very short time. If any prisoner create disturbance below, or make use of improper language, I order him to parade the deck during the night, with his bed tied to his back;—four hours for the first offence, eight for the second, &c. I have seldom had occasion to repeat this punishment, which is feared and detested: indeed, many have frequently begged to be "punished like men;" i.e., flogged. They also have a great dislike to stand, during the day, under charge of the sentry, with their faces aft, and without permission to speak, or be spoken to.
I likewise find it a good plan to give a long lecture to any petty delinquent, and make him march off, without hearing his defence—a source of much grief and annoyance to the London pickpockets especially, who, in general, possess great volubility of speech, and considerable Old Bailey experience; and are, therefore, vexed at not having an opportunity of displaying their forensic skill. They have often complained of the hardship at being thus punished innocently.
There is, however, a class of prisoners, that, unless narrowly looked after, frequently occasion a great deal of disturbance. I allude to attorneys' clerks, of which class of the community I have, in all my voyages, had a considerable number. The few instances in which I have been compelled to inflict corporal punishment, have been on these gentry, to whom I show no mercy, if detected in fomenting disturbances; and I have invariably found, that flogging a lawyer has a wonderful effect in preserving order among the other prisoners.
The prisoners frequently, through mere bravado, make use of mutinous expressions, particularly in the hearing of young soldiers. In place of punishing such impudence with severity, I force the vaunters to parade the decks, with mock solemnity, and to beat up for volunteers to take the ship—to their infinite chagrin and mortification.
As soon as we get into fine weather, which, unless the wind be very unfavourable, happens in ten days or a fortnight after leaving England, schools are established, which all the boys are obliged to attend; and the adults are encouraged, but not compelled, to do so. The boys are divided into classes, according to their previous progress, and placed under the best educated, and most moral men among the prisoners, to whom I grant some authority, and several indulgences.
Every Sunday, after prayers, a public examination takes place, and trifling rewards are bestowed on those whose progress and conduct have merited praise. Divine service is performed by the surgeon, at least every Sunday forenoon, after muster, when the weather will admit of it, on the quarter-deck, where the prisoners are all assembled,—the guard and sailors being on the poop. I do not hesitate to say, that there may be as much real devotion—certainly far more outward decorum—in a convict ship, as in many churches on shore, where whispering, and other unseemly conduct occur during the performance of Worship, which would subject the prisoner, so irreverently behaving, to condign punishment.
Divine Worship at sea has often struck me, as particularly solemn, and calculated to make an impression on the most depraved of the human race. Indeed, I have observed, on several such occasions, many of the prisoners (who, according to their own statement, rarely attended a place of worship on shore), showing some symptoms of concern for the iniquity of their misspent lives.
It has been stated, that prisoners, during the voyage, become more depraved and demoralized, which I most positively deny; but that they become much better, I am not prepared to assert. As far, however, as regards decorum and propriety of language, there is a very great improvement; yet I cannot flatter myself that I have ever been instrumental in effectually, and permanently, destroying deep-rooted depravity.
Indeed, in my humble opinion, the usual period of the voyage is far too short to effect any radical change amongst people who have been, perhaps, habituated to crime from their earliest years, and hardly know what virtue is, even by name. The principal moral object which I hold in view, during the voyage, is to prevent, as far as possible, the ill effects likely to result from the unavoidable close association between the casual (and, perhaps, accidental) deviator from the paths of rectitude, and the hardened and experienced veteran in vice and iniquity; and I flatter myself, that my efforts in this way have not been altogether devoid of success.
My chief maxim is, never to permit the slightest slang expression to be used, nor flash songs to be sung, nor swearing; while indecent language is punished with unrelenting severity, and the individual so degrading himself is, in a variety of ways, exposed to contempt and scorn.
It may be imagined, that to effect this salutary change among those, who have been so long accustomed to hear and use language, interlarded with horrid and senseless oaths, would be a work of difficulty; but it is astonishing how soon, by proper management, it may be accomplished. I may here state, that I have always had the cordial co-operation of the officer of the guard, and the master of the ship, in checking those under their command, by punishing offences—especially impropriety of language—which might be passed over in a barrack-room, or in a private ship.
It would strike a stranger as rather a singular circumstance, that, amongst such a heterogeneous multitude, not a single expression is heard, which could wound the ears of delicacy; yet such is the fact. It may, however, be imagined, that this restraint is only partial, and that it is nearly impossible to restrain their almost unconquerable propensity while below; yet experience has taught me, that it can be effected.
Many people have a very erroneous opinion of a convict ship, in which they believe, anarchy, disorder, and irregularity, to hold undisputed sway; whereas, on the contrary, decorum, cleanliness, and quietness, prevail, in as great a degree as in a well-regulated man-of-war; and I have no hesitation in stating, that, in these respects, a convict ship is far superior to the very best merchant vessel that sails from the port of London. Indeed, this fact is so well known to those who have visited the colonies, that great interest is frequently used to obtain a passage in a convict ship.
I endeavour to find occupation for as many of the prisoners as I can; and, what with keeping their persons and their berths clean, assisting the sailors in various ways, preparing and cooking their provisions, and parading round the decks at stated times, the days pass uniformly and quickly during the voyage.
Convict ships now generally make the voyage direct; but, formerly, they used to touch at some port—i. e., Madeira, Teneriffe, Porto Praya, Rio de Janeiro, or the Cape of Good Hope. I consider it of importance, as regards the health of those entrusted to my charge, to touch somewhere during the voyage; and, whenever I have done so there has been no sickness in the ship—whereas, when I have not done so, a strong tendency to scurvy manifests itself among the prisoners, usually after passing the Cape of Good Hope, which, occasionally towards the end of the voyage, assumes a very insidious and untractable form, when, consequently, the surgeon has no sinecure. This circumstance I have remarked, as occurring more frequently of late years. The cases, however, that terminate fatally, are but few; and the emaciated soon recover their wonted vigour on the healthy Australian shores.
The average number of deaths, on the passage, is under two per cent.; no great mortality, when it is considered, that the constitutions of many of the prisoners have been greatly impaired by continued courses of irregularity and dissipation.
On the ship's arrival at Hobart Town, or Sydney, the prisoners are mustered on board, and their descriptions, trades, and occupations, taken by the police, when every circumstance relating to themselves, their connections, and former course of life, is elicited, with a degree of tact, which the most skilful and experienced rogues cannot elude.
After the muster-rolls are taken on shore, the prisoners are assigned to the various applicants, by the Board of Assignment; the members of which perform this important, but invidious duty, without emolument The assignments being made, and approved of by the Governor, the prisoners are landed early in the morning, and conducted, under the care of constables, to the prisoners' barracks, where they are drawn up in order, for the inspection of the Governor, who, in the forenoon of the same day, minutely examines each individual, inquires if he has any complaint to make, as to his treatment during the voyage—if he has had all his rations properly cooked, &c.—and if he has had a sufficient allowance of water—also whether his money, and other property (a list of which is read aloud to him,) be correct.
His Excellency then makes an address to the prisoners, relative to their past lives and future prospects,—explains distinctly what duties they must fulfil towards the masters to whom they are assigned,—and what they have a legal right to expect, in return. He points out the inevitable consequences attending bad conduct, and the good effects resulting from industry and regularity, which, he assures them, will, after a certain period of probation, be the means of restoring them to comparative freedom.
This address being finished, the master of the ship, and officer of the guard, are then asked if they have any complaint to make. If no complaints are made, the surgeon is complimented by His Excellency, for having performed his duty in a satisfactory manner.
The prisoners, who are not retained in the service of Government, are now ready to be delivered to their masters, who, either personally or by their agents, are in waiting to receive them, which they do, on paying £1 for each person, for a suit of clothing, which those who are fond of cavilling consider a great hardship, but very unjustly so; more especially at Sydney, where, for the same sum, the prisoner is supplied with bedding, which is, in itself, nearly worth the money.
In Van Dieman's Land, tradesmen and mechanics are not assigned to settlers, being retained for the service of Government: they are, however, lent for a certain period—from three to twelve months—to those who stand in need of, and apply for, them. In New South Wales, on the contrary, artificers of all descriptions are assigned to settlers, in the order of their application, in the same manner, and under the same conditions, as any other class of prisoners. Indeed, Governor Bourke will not assign a tradesman to any resident in Sydney, for two very efficient reasons,—1st. That free labour may be encouraged there;—and, 2dly. That the various artisans, who serve their time in the interior, may, on obtaining their tickets of leave, or emancipation, be induced to settle in the country towns, to their own advantage, and to that of the neighbourhood. There can be no question as to the beneficial results likely to ensue from this very judicious regulation.
Settlers are bound to provide their assigned servants with food, clothing, bedding, &c., according to a scale fixed by Government. In New South Wales, the weekly ration is as follows:—12lbs. of wheat, or 9lbs. of seconds flour, or, in lieu thereof, at the discretion of the master, 3½lbs. of maize meal, and 9lbs. of wheat, or 7lbs. of seconds flour; and 7lbs. of beef or mutton or 4½lbs. of salt pork;—soap, 2oz.; salt, 2oz.; and when maize meal is issued, 4oz. The clothing, annually, consists of two frocks or jackets, three shirts of strong linen or calico—two pair of trowsers—three pair of strong shoes, and one cap or hat—and each prisoner to be constantly supplied with at least one good blanket and palliasse or wool mattress. In Van Dieman's Land, the weekly ration was—beef, 10½lbs.; flour, 10½lbs.; sugar, 7oz.; soap, 3½oz.; salt, 2oz. The clothing, per annum, consists of two suits of woollen slop clothing, three pairs of strong boots, four shirts, one cap or hat, and a palliasse stuffed with wool, two blankets, and a rug. Last year, the ration of beef and flour was reduced in Van Dieman's Land, and a proportion of vegetables substituted—a very beneficial alteration to the settler, and also to the prisoner; and I have no doubt that, in New South Wales, vegetables will also form a part of the established ration. Indeed, it is surprising, that this has not been the case long ago, both on the score of economy and health.
The generality of settlers allow their assigned servants as much as they can eat, and supply them with clothes whenever they stand in need of them; as they find, by experience, that thus acting is conducive to their own comfort and interest. A stranger, on visiting a settler's establishment, may easily know whether it is well managed, by the appearance of the servants, especially on a Sunday. If they are observed to be clean in their persons, and neatly dressed, he may conclude that the farm is in a flourishing condition; while, on the contrary, if he notice them, on that day of rest, with tattered garments, long beards, and unwashed faces, skulking about their dirty, miserable huts, he may safely conclude, that neither the pigsties, nor the stables, nor the barn yard, nor the dairy, nor the flocks, nor the herds, nor the settler's mansion, are in the best order; but he will find disorder, insubordination, and mutual dislike, prevailing; and that the neighbouring magistrates have a great deal of trouble and inconvenience.
Those settlers who treat their assigned servants with kindness and sympathy, rarely have occasion to regret doing so; as they thereby get a fair proportion of labour done, as quietly and contentedly as if they had employed free men. I do not intend, by these remarks, to advocate over-leniency, which is as injudicious as too much severity; and I cannot too strongly reprehend irregular and inconsistent fits of kindness and familiarity, quickly, and, perhaps, captiously, succeeded by harshness and hauteur—a line of conduct invariably productive of unpleasant consequences, both to the servant and to the master. It is, I conceive, in a great measure, from the habits of discipline acquired in that excellent school—a man-of-war—that old sailors, in general, manage to keep their servants in pretty good order,—obtaining, at the same time, a just quantity of labour, without requiring much extrinsic aid.
The Government hold out every possible inducement to the moral reformation of the prisoners, by conferring indulgences on those whose conduct is even moderately correct. After a certain period of probation, they are either partially, or altogether restored to freedom, under certain limitations. A prisoner for seven years, who serves one master, four years; a prisoner for fourteen years, who serves six, and a prisoner for life, who serves eight years, is entitled to a ticket of leave—i. e., the power of selecting his employer, and working entirely for his own benefit. A settler, who studies his own interest, ought to give every facility to his servants in obtaining this boon. This is generally the case; but I regret to say, that instances occasionally occur, where the settler, just as his servant is on the point of obtaining his ticket—especially if he be useful—manages to catch him in some scrape, that it may be withheld;—conduct as disgraceful as it is injudicious. A considerate master will, and does overlook any slight fault more readily, as the period of his servant's comparative freedom draws near;—he being aware, selfishly speaking, that such conduct must ultimately tend to his own advantage. In Van Dieman's Land (I am not certain if it be also the case in New South Wales), there is a regulation, which tends to check the above-mentioned infirmity of human nature; i. e., whenever a settler is deprived of the services of a prisoner, by his having obtained a ticket of leave, another servant, of the same description, is forthwith assigned to him.
Tickets of leave are held on a very precarious tenure, as they can be taken away, by the decision of two magistrates; and that they are sometimes cancelled ex causis non æquis, there can be no doubt; yet, on the whole, the regulations respecting them are, as far as circumstances will admit, exceedingly proper and consistent.
After a prisoner has held a ticket of leave for a certain period, he has a claim to emancipation, which entitles him to all the privileges of a free person in the colony; but he cannot leave it, which, indeed, in many cases, would, if enforced, be felt as a very severe punishment.
There is an admirable regulation lately in force, regarding the assignment of prisoners; viz., that husbands shall not be assigned to their wives, nor wives to their husbands. Before this regulation was adopted, transportation, in many cases, was divested of its principal terrors, and, indeed, held out allurements to the immoral portion of the community. For example—the husband, after a successful course of fraud and plunder, had only to permit himself to be detected in the commission of a crime, which entitled him to the benefit of transportation. Before conviction, he made over to his wife all his ill-gotten wealth; and then he obtained a free and comfortable passage (far more comfortable than a steerage passage in any merchant vessel) either to Van Dieman's Land, or New South Wales.
In a short time, if he has had the policy to conduct himself properly, his wife and family were sent, at the expence of Government, to join him; or, if he did not choose to remain long in servitude, his wife came out in a private ship, at her own expence (which could be well afforded), and as soon as she arrived in the colony, her husband, whether in the service of a private individual, or in Government employ, was immediately assigned to her—thereby being rendered more independent than if he had obtained a ticket of leave.
It might be naturally supposed, that, as the wife had the power of getting her husband—now her assigned servant—flogged, sent to an irongang, or otherwise punished, that he would behave very kindly to her; but this was not invariably the case. I have occasionally witnessed the husband, forgetful of his inferiority, exercising his marital authority in a very unbecoming manner, to which the wife submitted, with meek and dutiful obedience.
The educated convicts are now not so well situated as in former times, when they were assigned to professional, or mercantile men, or employed as clerks in Government offices. From their education and acquirements, they obtained good situations, gave themselves airs, and lived like gentlemen; but these halcyon days are now gone, and the specials (as they are called) are neither assigned to private individuals, nor are they admitted into Government offices, nor are they sent into the interior, to live in indolence—but they are sent to a penal settlement, where they are compelled to work at tasks suited to their strength and delicate constitutions. That this is an exceedingly judicious regulation, no one, excepting those who are likely to come under its operation, will deny.
There has lately been a great deal of discussion in the colonies, as to the utility of having penal settlements, where, as many say, much expense is incurred, without adequate advantage; and, according to their opinion, the criminals confined there might be more usefully employed in making roads, bridges, &c., in the interior, where they could be kept as strictly, and at far less expense, than they are, according to the present system.
Prisoners who misconduct themselves, are liable to be punished in a variety of ways;—by the infliction of corporal chastisement, by being sentenced to an irongang, to a penal settlement, or by an addition to their original sentence. A single magistrate cannot order a prisoner to receive more than fifty lashes; but flogging, although awful and degrading in name, is often a mere farce;—the witnessing of the infliction being usually left to a constable, who is frequently a greater rogue than the culprit, towards whom, of course, he has a strong fraternal feeling. I have, on more than one occasion, accidentally seen exhibitions of this kind, when jesting, and jocularity, mock-expressions of pain, and mock-severity, sufficiently shewed the worse than uselessness of this mode of punishment thus inflicted.
The constable reports, that the prisoner has received his punishment, which is duly recorded; and then the constable, the flagellator, and the pseudo-punished (if they can find an opportimity,) take a friendly glass together, and the culprit returns to his employer, more saucy, and more useless, than he was before.
I think it is the duty of a magistrate, to be convinced that the punishment he has awarded has been properly carried into effect, either from personal observation, or from the report of a person, on whom dependence can be placed. A friend of mine, a magistrate (lately made), has acted in this way, with the greatest advantage—the neighbourhood having soon become very quiet.
That settler, however, will best consult his own interest, who avoids, if possible, bringing his servants before any tribunal, especially for petty offences. He has it in his own power to preserve order, and to punish offenders, by giving or withholding various highly-prized indulgences—i. e. tea, sugar, tobacco, &c.: and I can state, from actual experience and observation, that those who act in this manner, have very little reason to complain of their assigned servants.
It is not my intention to enter into the discussions which have lately taken place, respecting the question as to whether transportation be, or be not, an efficient secondary punishment—I shall only state, that sometimes it is, and sometimes it is not. A prisoner, who is assigned to a good master, and who conducts himself with an ordinary share of discretion, is, leaving the moral stigma aside, not much to be pitied, as his situation is, in all probability, greatly improved—his health and comforts being, from interested motives, well looked after. It is true that, if he misbehaves, he is liable to summary punishment; but the well-conducted have no occasion for apprehension, while the fear of being subjected to chastisement, frequently operates very beneficially on those, who, from nature, or from bad habits, are indolently inclined.
ADVICE TO EMIGRANTS.
In accordance with the custom usually adopted by those who have lately written on New South Wales, I shall conclude this work by a few words of advice to emigrants. My remarks, however, will only be applicable to those who intend to follow farming pursuits.
As soon as an individual has finally made up his mind to emigrate, and it is presumed that he has not come to this conclusion, without having bestowed due consideration on a subject of so much importance, the first object that engages his attention is, which part of the unoccupied world he ought to select—Canada, or New South Wales. I have visited both, but my knowledge being chiefly confined to the Australian colonies, the few observations I intend to make will be confined to them; and, without entering into any detail, as to which of these places offers the greatest inducements to emigrants, I may simply state, that every circumstance being duly weighed, the balance is, in my opinion, greatly in favour of Australia.
The autumn is usually considered the best time for leaving England; but this is a matter of minor importance, the most favourable season being, in reality, when the best accommodations can be obtained at the cheapest rate.
It is an object of no small importance for the emigrant—more especially if he have a large family—to embark in a good ship; and this may be accomplished without difficulty, more especially as, at the present moment, so many vessels are continually sailing for the colonies.
Before he engages his passage, he ought to be pretty certain, not only as to the seaworthy state of the vessel, but; also as to the character of the captain. I should not advise any one to select a ship where there are many dinner parties, and other entertainments, previously to sailing, as the numerous stores thus improvidently and lavishly expended—having been laid in for the voyage—will, of course, be deficient, to the manifest discomfort of the passenger. Moreover, the captain, after he gets to sea, regrets his indiscreet hospitality in port, and endeavours, vainly and impolitically, to make up for it, by niggardliness on board.
A few years ago, frequent disputes arose, during the voyage, between the captain and passengers, both in the cuddy and steerage; and, that the captain was generally in fault, may be inferred from the fact, that, in almost all instances, where passengers applied to a court of justice, a verdict was given in their favour. Of late years, however, these disputes have greatly diminished, and families may now embark in any vessel (some, of course, are preferable to others), with the certainty of being well, and even liberally, treated.
The average sum, for cabin passengers, is from £70 to £80; but a family—say a man, his. wife, and five children—may be very comfortably accommodated with a reasonable table for £300 or £350.
Although I am aware many are of a contrary opinion, yet I would not advise a passenger to have any written agreement, as to what kind and quantity of meat and drink is to be received by him during the voyage, as such conduct infers suspicion and mistrust. The owners of vessels trading to Australia from the port of London, are wealthy; and the masters highly respectable, and not likely to act with duplicity, after they have sailed.
Emigrants have frequently applied to me for information, as to what articles they ought to take with them to the colonies; and I have invariably advised them, not to expend their money in the purchase, either of merchandize, household furniture, agricultural implements, or a superfluity of wearing apparel; as they can obtain all these articles^ when they really want them, at Sydney, or Hobart Town, nearly on as reasonable terms as in England.
On arrival at Hobart Town, or Sydney, the first care of the emigrant must be, to get into the country as fast as possible, as a settler, who has a family, and moderate means, ought not to idle away his time, and spend his money, which he may do, in either of these places, with as much facility as in London. I would also particularly caution him to be on his guard against purchasing extraordinary good bargains, either in sheep, land, or cattle, which may be offered to him immediately on his arrival in the colony. The most judicious plan—whatever the temptation to purchase may be—is, still to keep his money, rent a farm, and remove his family to it as speedily as possible. He has then time to look about him; also to acquire a knowledge of the country, and its inhabitants; and to take advantage of a real good bargain, should any such occur.
Having got his affairs in some order, and his family settled on his farm, he ought to proceed in search of land; and, in doing this, he must make up his mind to struggle with many annoyances and disappointments. But a person who cannot dispense with what are called "necessary comforts," nor determine to bear up against disasters and many misfortunes, ought not to emigrate, as it is more than probable, that, being paralyzed by supposed insurmountable difficulties, he will become discontented and inactive, spend the remainder of his money, regret that he was ever induced to leave his native land, and write home dismal accounts of the colony. Whereas, had he exerted a little extra mental energy, all the difficulties which appeared, at first sight, insurmountable, might have been overcome, and he would have added another to the vast number of flourishing Australian settlers—many of whom, to my certain knowledge, have had great and varied difficulties to contend with in the first instance, and are now in the well-merited enjoyment of affluent independence.
Whether Van Dieman's Land, or New South Wales, ought to have the preference, must depend on the means and objects of the settler. If his object be to apply himself solely to agricultural pursuits. Van Dieman's Land (where there is still fertile land unlocated), possesses some advantages over New South Wales; but, if he intends to direct his attention to the growth of wool, on a large scale, then New South Wales is decidedly preferable.
I shall now suppose the emigrant in search of land in New South Wales. He will proceed either north, west, or south; but I have no doubt he will direct his course to the southward, where there is an immense extent of excellent unlocated pastoral land.
On arriving at the boundaries of the located country, he takes up his quarters at the out-station of some settler, who has, perhaps, recommended him to the care of the stock-keeper, or shepherd, with directions to show the stranger the unoccupied land—of course, at a respectable distance from his own run. But the stranger discovers, probably by means of a well-applied douceur, that there is a nice portion of Government land, well watered, in the immediate vicinity.
Elated with this important discovery, he proceeds no farther, but returns to Sydney, hastens to the Surveyor-General's office, and makes application for the land. Everything proceeds in due form: the District-Surveyor is directed to measure it, and it is advertised to be publicly sold by the Collector of Internal Revenue, on a certain day—i. .e, three months after the date of the advertisement. When the day arrives, the lot is put up at the minimum price, five shillings per acre: five shillings and sixpence is immediately bid, which offer is speedily advanced upon, frequently as far as fifteen shillings—and, on some occasions, it reaches one pound, to the great advantage of the Government—to the surprise and chagrin of the disappointed emigrant,—and to the rage of the purchaser, who, it may be readily imagined, is the owner of the adjoining land, and who thinks that the emigrant has committed a flagrant breach of hospitality, in putting the said land up for sale; while the emigrant thinks the other party has acted in a very unfriendly manner, by bidding against him.
Thus disappointed, the emigrant proceeds to put up for sale several lots, similarly situated, in the hopes that he may be successful in obtaining one of them; but each lot is purchased by the owner of the adjacent land, who feels much annoyance at being thus compelled to buy the land, which he purposed doing at a more convenient opportunity.
The emigrant now loses heart, and thinks every person combined against him, while, in fact, his disappointments are caused by his own injudicious conduct. In a pastoral country, it is of the greatest importance to the sheep-farmer, to possess extent of run; and he therefore uses every endeavour to prevent being hemmed in, as he is then forced, at much inconvenience and expense, to form new establishments, at a considerable distance in the interior. It is, therefore, not to be expected, that any individual—unless possessing a greater share of disinterestedness than usually falls to the lot of humanity—will, if he can prevent it, permit a stranger to occupy land, which would diminish the value of his own, by taking away the advantages of an extensive Government run. He, therefore, very naturally, uses the unlocated land, as long as he can, for nothing; with the determination, however, to purchase it at some future tune, or whenever it is put up for sale.
I therefore advise the emigrant not to be tempted to put up land for sale, immediately in the vicinity of another settler's, as he will not obtain it, unless at a price far above its real value; while, at the same time, by such a proceeding, he will subject himself to disappointment, and ruinous delay, which he will avoid, by proceeding, at once, to some distance from any located land, where he should select a section, or more, according to his means, well supplied with water—if possible, taking in every water-hole in the neighbourhood, as water, in many parts of New South Wales, is far more valuable than land. By this line of conduct, he will secure to himself the advantage of, perhaps, several thousand acres of excellent land—thus rendered useless to any other person; and then he need not view the visit of a new emigrant with apprehension.
When the settler has, at length, obtained his land, he ought to form his establishment on it, without delay; and it is presumed he has acquired, from personal observation, the most judicious mode of doing so. I may only state, that he cannot be too cautious in the expenditure of his capital, in improvements on his farm; more particularly in expensive buildings.
In all his pursuits and improvements, he ought to have in view the growth of fine wool, which, especially in the interior, must constitute his principal revenue; and it is supposed, that while he has been looking out for land, he has also been employed in procuring a flock or two of young ewes, which, at present, can be obtained, of good quality, for one pound per head.
Many calculations have been made, as to the immense increase of sheep, and the profit to be derived therefrom; but, as these calculations are frequently just within the limits of possibility, the settler may be disappointed in the anticipated results. Suffice it, therefore, to mention, that sheep-farming, taking all contingencies into consideration, offers an excellent and safe means of obtaining a large return for capital thus invested.
I would not recommend emigrants to carry out with them overseers, or indentured servants of any description, as I have never yet seen, nor heard of, such engagements terminating satisfactorily: on the contrary, they have invariably proved a source of great annoyance, expense, and inconvenience. The emigrant can be at no loss for servants in the colony, either free or assigned; especially as the Government very considerately give the preference to the applications of new settlers for assigned servants.
The principal drawback to the domestic comfort of a family, arises from the character of the female assigned servants, who are, for the most part, exceedingly depraved; but this inconvenience is gradually decreasing, from the number of free women now emigrating to the colonies, with great advantage to themselves, and to the general interests of society.
It is not to be denied, however, that there are other drawbacks to the comfort of an emigrant; the chief of which may be reckoned the bushrangers—i. e., runaway prisoners, who occasionally commit great depredations, and acts of cruelty; but the greatest danger to be apprehended from them is in the neighbourhood of towns; while in the interior, there is seldom much cause for alarm, although instances of wanton outrage, and insubordination, have sometimes taken place, even in well-regulated farms. But such unfortunate occurrences are exceedingly rare; and the settler, with judicious management, may consider himself more secure, in person and property, surrounded with prisoner-servants, in the wilds of New Holland, than he would be in many parts of the United Kingdom.
With regard to the class of persons likely to be benefitted by emigration, I may state, that those with large families, of industrious habits, and whose incomes are limited, are certain of bettering their condition, and need not be under the painful necessity, in their old age, of parting with their offspring; whom, on the contrary, like the ancient Patriarchs, they may see settled around them, and advancing towards independence.
It is not absolutely necessary, to the success of the emigrant, that he should possess much previous knowledge of rural affairs. Soldiers, merchants, professional men, and many others, whose previous habits of life have been very different, soon acquire the requisite knowledge; and I have already observed, that sailors make excellent settlers.
I have often contrasted the situation of half-pay officers in the navy, who are settlers in New South Wales, with that of those who remain at home, wasting their time in listless idleness; and, to me, the contrast is the more striking, being one day in London, where I seldom fail to meet a nautical acquaintance, solitarily perambulating the crowded streets—and another day, in Australia, where I meet the same class of officers, actively and profitably employed in the pleasing task of superintending their flocks and herds, and bringing their land under cultivation; and, instead of dining sparingly at an economical chop-house, or even at a club, sitting down, with the healthy olive branches smiling around, at a well-spread table, which, in turns, "abundat porco, hædo, agno gallinâ, lacte, caseo, copiaque omnium rerum quæ ad victum hominum pertinent," the produce of their own farms.
Although, as I have previously stated, a settler must, in the first instance, expect to struggle with numerous difficulties, and suffer various privations, yet, in a short time, by prudence and perseverance, he will be able, in the words of Cobbett, "to live well, keep generous hospitality, take his pleasure, enjoy a good deal of leisure, and possess his farm unincumbered."
To conclude.—During the number of years I have been connected with the colonies, I have never known an instance of a settler, either master or servant, possessing a moderate share of prudence and industry, who has ever had occasion to regret leaving his native land.
In the foregoing remarks, I have abstained from indulging in any theoretical views—imagining, that the relation of a few facts, derived from experience and observation, might be more acceptable to those who purpose emigrating to New South Wales, or Van Dieman's Land.
- Our friend Bongaree (observes Captain Flinders) could not understand anything of their language; nor did they pay much attention to him. He seemed, indeed, to feel his own inferiority, and made but a poor figure amongst them.
- Their canoes (observes Captain Flinders) have two masts, opposite to each other, and a sail extended between them; but when going with a side wind, the lee mast is brought aft by a backstay, and the sail then stands obliquely. In other words, they brace up by setting in the head of the lee mast, and perhaps the foot also; and can then lie within seven points of the wind, and possibly nearer. No boats could have been manoeuvred better, in working to windward, than were these long canoes, by the naked savages.
- The depth (observes Captain Flinders, in describing the attack these savages made on two English vessels,) to which the arrows penetrated into the decks and sides of the ship was represented as truly astonishing.
- Murray's Island has been considered, on many accounts, a very eligible spot to occupy. I perfectly agree as to its eligibility; more particularly if the abandoned British settlements, on the north coast of New Holland, should ever be resumed; but, from the warlike disposition of the natives, I doubt whether a sufficient number of soldiers could be spared from head-quarters to keep possession of it.
- Ships, on their way from Sydney to India, occasionally touch here, for the purpose of bartering for tortoiseshell, and the natives come off to the ships without fear. Dr. Rutherford, who visited Murray's Island in 1833, has furnished the "United Service Journal" with an interesting account of the inhabitants, &c. &c.
- They were given by Mimaloo, with a small turtle before him—he pointing out,at the same time, the best parts of it.
- Last year (1834), I had charge of 400 prisoners (the greatest number ever sent in one ship), without any additional guard.
- In corroboration of this statement, I may adduce the public testimony of His Excellency Colonel Arthur, Lieut-Governor of Van Dieman's Land. "Doctor Wilson, as is usual with that officer, has brought out the prisoners entrusted to his care, in the very best order, and yet punishment has been avoided."
- I do not permit dancing, wrestling, or, indeed, any amusement to take place among the prisoners. Although such exercises may be conducive to health, yet they are, in my opinion, inimical to moral reformation, by recalling those scenes of depravity and crime, of which these amusements had formed a part. On the contrary, I unceasingly endeavour to impress on their minds a sense of their fallen state, and that it is only by a long course of general good conduct, that they can ever hope to be restored to that society from which they are outcasts.
- I always used to touch at Porto Praya, to obtain a supply of fruit and vegetables, until my last voyage in the Governor Ready, when the Governor of the Island chose to consider the ship as a merchant vessel, and insisted on her paying dues as such; We appealed to the British Consul, but he could not render us any assistance; His Portuguese Excellency not being able to understand how any vessel could claim Government immunities, without a pendant, and a surgeon the only naval officer on board*. After some consideration, the master and myself agreed that our case should not be made a precedent of, and therefore gave the Consul to understand that we resisted the claim, and should sail without a port-clearance, and in spite of the authorities; which we accordingly did, although a little alarmed, until out of the reach of their guns.
This conduct of the Governor (who was under the Doctor's hands, and, as we imagined, acted under his advice, as he would have pocketed several dollars in his capacity of health-officer, had the claim been admitted) was exceedingly injudicious, as convict ships, by touching there, were of considerable pecuniary advantage to the Islanders.
^* The Admiralty have lately obviated this difficulty, by ordering that a pendant, similar to that worn by transports, should be supplied to the Surgeon-superintendent, and hoisted in a convict ship when she touches at any foreign port, on her voyage from England.
- I have just observed, in the newspapers, the melancholy account of the wreck of the convict ship George III. (the first instance of a male convict ship having been lost). Great sickness, principally scurvy, appears to have prevailed on board, which the surgeon attributes to the scanty distribution of provisions, and the substitution of cocoa for oatmeal. I am inclined to think, however, that if sickness now prevails in an increased ratio, it may be ascribed to the circumstance of the prisoners being embarked soon after their conviction, instead of being, as formerly, employed, for a long time, in the dock-yards, where, their habits being regular, their constitutions became improved.
- At Hobart Town, the prisoners are now landed previous to their assignment.
- This period might be shortened, without inconvenience to Government, and with great advantage to the emigrant.
- A square mile, 640 acres. Government do not dispose of less, except under peculiar circumstances.