An Historical Journal of the Transactions at Port Jackson and Norfolk Island
by John Hunter
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Italics in the book are enclosed by underscores [_] in the ebook


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LONDON Printed for John Stockdale, Picadilly January 1, 1793.

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The ships destined for Botany-Bay rendezvous at the Mother-Bank.—Leave that place, and proceed on the voyage.—The convicts on board one of the transports attempt an insurrection.—Are timely discovered, and the ring-leaders punished.—Arrived at Santa Cruz.—Transactions there.— Attempt of a convict to escape.—Description of Laguna, and the adjacent country. Departure from Santa Cruz.—Pass Cape Frio.—Arrive at Rio Janeiro. Transactions there.—City of St. Sebastian described.—Table of Winds, Weather, etc.


Anchor in Table-Bay.—Refreshments procured there.—Depart from the Cape of Good Hope.—Captain Phillip quits the Sirius, and proceeds on the voyage in the Supply.—The Sirius arrives in Botany-Bay.—Finds the Supply at anchor there.—Arrival of the Bussole and Astrolabe.—Leave Botany-Bay, and anchor in Port Jackson.—The Table of Winds, Weather, etc.


Frequent interviews with the natives.—Weapons described.—Ornaments.— Persons, manners, and habitations.—Method of hunting.—Animals described.—Birds, and insects.—Diary of the weather.—Departure of the Bussole and Astrolabe.—A convict pretends to have discovered a gold mine.—The fraud detected.—Observations for the longitude, etc


The Sirius leaves Port Jackson.—Sails for the Cape of Good Hope, by the Eastern Passage.—Falls in with many large islands of ice.—Casts anchor at Robin's Island.—Tables of the winds, weather, etc.


Depart from Robin's Island, and anchor in Table Bay.—The sick sent on shore.—Arrival of the Alexander transport.—Provisions procured for the settlement at Port Jackson.—Departure of the Sirius.—In great danger from a violent tempest.—Arrives safe at Port Jackson.—Tables of the winds, weather, variation of the compass, etc.


The small-pox makes its appearance among the natives.—Its fatal effects.—A criminal court held.—Six marines tried and convicted.—Governor Phillip visits Broken-bay.—Explores its various inlets.—Returns to Port Jackson. Broken-bay surveyed.—Botany-bay surveyed.—Two natives brought to the settlement, and kindly treated.—One of them makes his escape.


The Sirius and Supply sail for Norfolk Island.—Land the marines and convicts.—Wreck of the Sirius.—Some provisions saved.—Martial Law established.—Ratio of provisions settled.—Vast numbers of birds caught.—In distress for provisions.—Receive a supply from Port Jackson.—Officers and crew of the Sirius leave Norfolk Island, and arrive at Port Jackson.—Norfolk Island described.—Its situation and extent.—Soil.—Climate, etc.—Table of Winds, etc.


Great improvement of the country at Rose Hill.—Vicissitude of the climate. Norfolk Island remarkably healthy.—A native runs away from the settlement.—Frequent visits from the natives.—Governor Phillip wounded by the natives with a spear.—Natives again visit the settlement.—Entertain the governor, etc. with a dance.—Decorate themselves for that purpose. Method of dancing described.—Music and singing.


Captain Hunter leaves Port Jackson in the Waaksamheyd transport.—In danger amongst some islands.—Isle of Pines described.—Stewart's islands discovered.—Fall in with Bradley's shoals.—Discover a cluster of islands.—Name them Lord Howe's Groupe.—The natives described.—Attempt to find anchorage on the coast of New-Britain.—Are disappointed.—Anchor at the Duke of York's island.—Attempt to procure water.—Are attacked by the natives.—A few shots fired.—The natives dispersed.—A reconciliation effected.—Natives described.—Weapons.—Ornaments, etc.—Produce and soil.—Leave the Duke of York's island.—Natives from the Admiralty islands visit the ship.—Their canoes described.—Phillip's islands discovered.—Anchor at Hummock island.—Refreshments procured.—Visited by the Raja.—A quarrel ensues.—Several of the natives killed.—Articles of barter in request.—Canoes described.—Leave Hummock island.—Anchor at Batavia.—Tables of latitude and longitude, etc.


Captain Hunter waits on the Governor at Batavia.—Applies for a passage to England.—Purchases the Waaksambeyd for that purpose.—Leaves Batavia.—Passes the Keelings.—Arrives at the Cape of Good Hope.—Leaves that place, and anchors at Saint Helena.—Departs from Saint Helena.—Arrives at Portsmouth.—Tables for the variation of the compass.—Captain Hunter's letter to the Lords of the Admiralty.


Lieutenant King visits Monsieur De la Peyrouse at Botany-Bay.—Polit reception there.—An account of his adventures.—Lieutenant King returns to Port Jackson.—Sent by Governor Phillip to form a settlement on Norfolk Island.—Leaves Port Jackson.—An island discovered.—Arrival at Norfolk Island.—Difficulty in finding a landing-place.—Lands the convicts, provisions, and stores.—Ground cleared, and tents fixed.—A store-house erected.—Vegetables, and various sorts of grain sown.—Distressed by rats.—General orders for the regulation of the settlement.


Regular employment of the convicts.—Meet with an unlucky accident.—Thefts detected.—The robbers punished.—Pestered with rats.—Method of destroying them.—Live stock on the settlement.—Trees discovered which afford food for hogs.—Some of the settlers poisoned.—Cured with sweet oil.—A convict punished for using seditious language.—Birds on the island. Description of Arthur's Vale.—His Majesty's birth-day kept.—Flourishing state of the gardens.—Arrival of the Supply.—Four persons drowned.—Provisions and stores received.—Queries from Governor Phillip, and the answers.—Ball-Bay described.—The landing-place cleared.—Arrival of the Golden Grove transport.—Marines and convicts brought in the Golden Grove.—Provisions and stores.


Quantity of provisions received by the Golden Grove.—Timber sent to Port Jackson.—Observations on the navigation near Norfolk Island.—Number of persons on the settlement.—Nepean and Phillip Islands described.—Corn reaped.—A party sent to Ball Bay.—Talk-work of the convicts.—The free people exercised.—Plot to seize the island discovered.—Orders made public for the preservation of regularity.—Oath of allegiance administered.—Provisions and stores examined.


A violent hurricane at Norfolk Island.—Arrival of the Supply.—Convicts sent from Port Jackson.—Provisions and stores.—Departure of the Supply.—Robberies committed.—Employment of the convicts.—Wheat infested with caterpillars.—A store-house erected.—Arrival of a party of marines from Port Jackson.—Thefts committed.—Orders read for preserving regularity.—A female convict punished.—Pernicious effects of the grub-worm.—Gardens plundered.—A granary erected.—Wheat destroyed by paroquets.—Number of inhabitants on the island.


The arrival of the Sirius and Supply at Norfolk-Island.—The loss of the Sirius.—Captain Hunter and the crew saved.—A general meeting of the officers convened.—Sundry regulations adopted.—Martial-Law proclaimed.—Lieutenant-Governor Ross takes the command.—Lieutenant King leaves Norfolk-Island.—Description of Norfolk-Island.—Face of the country.—Water—Soil—Climate—Timber— Insects—Fish—Seasons—Winds—Coast, and Bays.—Present state of cultivation.—General behaviour of the convicts.—Number of inhabitants on the island.—Grain and live-stock.—Lieutenant King arrives at Port Jackson.—Finds the country greatly improved.—Manners and customs of the natives.—Vocabulary of the language.


Lieutenant King sails for Batavia.—Meets with a dangerous shoal.—Discovers Tench's-Island.—A description of the inhabitants.—Prince William-Henry's Island described.—Touches at Kercolang.—A description of the inhabitants, their cloathing and utensils.—Passes through the Streights of Salayer.—Arrival at Batavia.—Interview with the governor.—Batavia described.—Situation and extent.—Manners and customs of the inhabitants.—Government and police.—Annual exports.—Departure from Batavia.—Mortality amongst the sailors.—Arrival at the Isle of France.—An account of that island.—Sails from the Isle of France.—Arrival in the English Channel.


The Lady Juliana Transport arrives at Port Jackson.—Loss of the Guardian.—A settlement made at Sydney-Cove.—A state of the settlements at Sydney-Cove and Rose-Hill.—A general return of male convicts, with their employments.


An excursion into the country.—An interview with the natives.—Governor Phillip wounded with a spear.—A second interview with the natives.—Occurrences on that occasion.—Five convicts effect their escape in a boat.—The settlement visited by the natives.—Their customs.—Arrival of the Supply from Batavia.


Fruits in season described.—The manners of the natives.—Disputes with them.—Arrival of a vessel from Batavia.


The depredations of the natives.—Bannelong's behaviour.—The Supply sails for Norfolk-Island.—The quantity of provisions brought in the Waaksam-heid from Batavia.—The appearance of a prodigious number of Bats.—The return of Bannelong.—The manners of the natives further described.


An excursion into the country.—Occurrences on the journey.—Surprising dexterity of the natives in climbing trees.—Their superstition.—Their method of curing wounds.—Their language.—Their manners and disposition.


A second excursion into the country.—The first grants of land to settlers.—A barter with the natives established.—The arrival of several vessels from England.—A new harbour discovered.—The names of the first settlers.


Arrival of the Gorgon, and several transports at Port Jackson.—The number of convicts brought out in these vessels.—A whale-fishery established on the Coast of New South Wales.


The Supply leaves Port Jackson.—Receives some damage in a storm.—Doubles Cape Horn.—Passes Staten's land.—Anchors at Rio Janeiro.—Refreshments procured.—Departure from Rio Janciro.—Proceeds towards England.—Arrives off the Lizard.—Particulars respecting Norfolk-Island.

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A. Altamont, Countess of Andrews, James Pettit, Esq; Abercorn, Marquis of Atkins, Edwin Martin, Esq; Kingston-Lisle Addington, Right Hon. Henry, Speaker of the House of Commons Arden, Sir Richard Pepper, Master of the Rolls Arden, John, Esq; Ashley-Hall, Cheshire Appleyard, Mr. 6 Copies Arch, J. and A. 6 Copies Anderson, Mr. J. 2 Copies Archer, Mr. John, Dublin, 12 Copies Astley, Mrs. Duckenfield Lodge, Cheshire B. Banks, Sir Joseph, Bart. Bolton, Duke of Berkeley, Captain Bath, Marquis of Buckingham, Marquis of Badcock, Colonel, Little Missenden-Abbey, Bucks. Best, Richard, Esq; Chatham Buccleugh, Duke of Bradshaw, Mr. Beaufort, Duke of Bunbury, Sir Charles, Bart. Barnard, Mr. jun. Bredalbane, Earl of Barker, Lieutenant-Colonel Barwell, Richard, Esq; Bayham, Lord Browne, Mr. William, Bristol Baldwin, Mr. 6 Copies Becket, Mr. 6 Copies Bell, Mr. 6 Copies Brown, Mr. 3 Copies C. Curzon, Lady Charlotte Chesterfield, Earl of Cherry, George, Esq; Chalmers, George, Esq; Charlston Library Charlston, Senate of Chichester, Sir John, Bart. Chatham, Earl of Castera, J. Paris Clarke, George Hyde, Esq; Hyde-Hall, Cheshire Cock, Thomas Theophilus, Esq; Messing, Essex Clarke, Edward, Esq; Cadell, Mr. 2 Copies Clarke and Son, 2 Copies Crowder, Mr. 2 Copies Cole, Lieutenant George Coxe, Daniel, Esq; D. Dacre, Lord Darby, W. T. Esq; Dartmouth, Earl of Dorset, Duke of Dalrymple, Alexander, Esq; Davison, Alexander, Esq; Dimsdale, R. J. Esq; Delaval, Lord Donowell, Mr. John, Architect Dover, Lord Deighton, Mr. 7 Copies Donegal, Marquis of De Lancy, Colonel De la Pole, Sir John, Bart. De Saussure, H. W. Esq; Charlston Darton and Harvey, 6 Copies Dilly, Mr. 12 Copies Dangerfield, Mr. E. 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Esq; Madden, James, Esq; Mornington, Earl of Miller, Lady Madox, John, Esq; M'Queen, Mr. 2 Copies Murray, Mr. 25 Copies Miller, Mr. 3 Copies N. Newcastle, Duke of Nepean, Evan, Esq; Nelthorpe, John, Esq; Lincoln Nicholls, Mr. Northesk, Earl of O. Otridge, Mr. 4 Copies Ogilvie and Co. 2 Copies P. Pitt, Right Hon. William Peachy, John, Esq; Peachy, Sir James, Bart. Petrie, William, Esq; Patterson, John, Esq; Norwich Putland, William, Esq; Pye, Henry James, Esq; Pinckney, Charles, Esq; Charleston Payne, Mr. 6 Copies Phillips, Mr. 6 Copies R. Rivers, Lord Rose, George, Esq; Rittson, John, Esq; Rastall, Rev. Mr. Newark Robinson, Thomas, Esq; Rolt, Colonel, Bagden-Lodge, Marlborough Regiment, 73d Bengal Rudge, Samuel, Esq; Robson, Mr. 27 Copies Robinsons, Messrs. G. G. J. and J. 50 Copies Rivingtons, Messrs. F. and C. 6 Copies Richardson, Mr. 6 Copies Redhead, Henry, Esq; S. 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Warwick, Earl of Wedgewood, Josiah, Esq; Wentworth, Lord Wright, Mr. William, Academy, Apsley, Wooburn, Bedfordshire Wenman, Right Hon. Viscount Wood, Mr. Hutton Worcester Society Watts, Lieutenant John, R. N. Warren, Sir John Borlase, Bart. Wilkie, Mr. 6 Copies White and Sons, 6 Copies Walker, Mr. David, 2 Copies Walker, Mr. John, 6 Copies Walter, Mr. 12 Copies Y. Young, Arthur, Esq Yates, Joseph, Esq Young, Sir George Yorke, Charles, Esq.

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1. Captain Hunter 2. Vignette on the Title Page. [Refer to paragraph "On our speaking to her, she raised herself up"...] 3. A Map of New South Wales 4. View of the Settlement on Sydney Cove, Port Jackson 5. The Southern Hemisphere, showing the Track of the Sirius 6. A Chart of Botany-Bay, Port Jackson, and Broken-Bay, with the Coast and Soundings 7. View at Rose-Hill 8. A Man of Lord Howe's Groupe 9. A Man of the Duke of York's Island 10. Canoes of the Duke of York's-Island 11. Canoes of the Admiralty Islands 12. Track of the Waaksamheyd Transport 13. A Plan of Norfolk-Island 14. A Family of New South Wales 15. Non-Descript Shells, of New South Wales, Plate I. 16. Non-Descript Shells, of New South Wales, Plate II. 17. Non-Descript Shells, of New South Wales, Plate III.

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Chapter I

October 1786 to September 1787

The ships destined for Botany-Bay rendezvous at the Mother-Bank.—Leave that place, and proceed on the voyage.—The convicts on board one of the transports attempt an insurrection.—Are timely discovered, and the ring-leaders punished.—Arrived at Santa Cruz.—Transactions there.—Attempt of a convict to escape.—Description of Laguna, and the adjacent country. Departure from Santa Cruz.—Pass Cape Frio.—Arrive at Rio Janeiro. Transactions there.—City of St. Sebastian described.— Table of Winds, Weather_, etc.

It being the intention of government to remove the inconvenience, which this country suffered, from the goals being so exceedingly crouded with criminals, who had been by the laws condemned to transportation, the east coast of New Holland was the place determined upon to form a settlement for this salutary purpose. The east coast of New Holland is that country, which was discovered and explored by Captain James Cook, in his first voyage round the world, and by him called New South Wales. Botany Bay, the only place he entered with the ship, which could be called a harbour, having been mentioned in the narrative of that voyage, as a convenient place for a settlement, was fixed upon by government for the intended design.

On the 25th of October, 1786, his Majesty's ship Sirius, lying in the dock at Deptford, was commissioned, and the command given to Arthur Phillip, Esq; the Supply armed tender was also put in commission, and Lieutenant Henry Lidgbird Ball was appointed to command her.

The Sirius was a ship of about 540 tons burthen, exceedingly well calculated for such a service; she mounted 20 guns, and had a spar deck over them, was of a round full built, and was all together a very capacious and convenient vessel. The Supply armed tender was a brig, and was one of the vessels which were employed in carrying naval stores from one of his Majesty's dock-yards to another; she was a very firm strong little vessel, very flat floored, and roomy, mounted eight guns, and had a deep waist, which I feared would be found a very great, if not a dangerous inconvenience in so low a vessel on so long a voyage. The Sirius's compliment was 160 men; that of the Supply, 55 men. These two ships were intended, after having performed the service of escorting the convicts to the place of their destination, to remain in the country to be employed as the governor might find necessary for the public service, until they should be relieved by other ships from England.

I had some reason, during the equipment of those ships, to think I might be employed upon this service, in some way or other; and as Captain Phillip was appointed governor of the new settlement, and of course had much business to transact in London, I frequently visited the Sirius, and frequently received his directions in any thing that related to the fitting her; she was out of the dock and the rigging in hand when I first went on board, On the 9th of December, the ship being ready to fall down the river, we slipped the moorings and sailed down to Long-Reach, where we took in the guns and ordnance stores. On the 15th, I was informed by a letter from Mr. Stephens, Secretary to the Admiralty, that there was a commission signed for me in that office, and desiring I would come to town and take it up. The nature of the service upon which the Sirius might be employed in those seas to which she was bound, having been considered, it was judged necessary that an officer, bearing a certain rank, should command that ship in the absence of Captain Phillip, whose prefence, it was to be supposed, would be requisite at all times wherever the seat of government in that country might be fixed. In consequence of Mr. Stephens's letter, I repaired to the Admiralty, and received a commission, appointing me Second Captain of his Majesty's ship Sirius, with the rank of Post Captain, and with power to command her in the absence of her principal Captain; subject nevertheless to his controul, and to such orders and directions for my proceedings as he might see occasion to give me, for the good of the service. This appointment of a Second Captain, to a private ship, being the first instance in our service, it could not, consistent with the established regulations of the navy, take place, but by the authority of the King's order in council: an order from his Majesty in council, authorizing the Lords of the Admiralty to make such appointment, was therefore given.

On the 30th of January, 1787, two transports, one having male, the other female convicts on board, dropt down to Long-Reach, but they having business to transact with the owners of the ships, relative to their ships companies, were permitted to proceed as low as Gravesend, where the Sirius joined them the next day, and proceeded immediately to the Nore, where we anchored the same day, and were joined by his Majesty's armed tender Supply: on the 4th of February, we anchored in the Downs, and were detained there by bad weather and contrary winds, until the 19th, when we put to sea in company with the Supply and transports, and arrived on the Mother-Bank on the 21st: at this anchorage, all the transports and store-ships were directed to rendezvous; the latter were already arrived, and, while we lay here, the other transports joined us from the westward.

On the 9th of May, Captain Phillip arrived in Portsmouth, and the next day came on board, and issued the signals and other necessary orders to Lieutenant John Shortland, the agent for transports, to be delivered to the masters of the different ships.

On Sunday the 13th, we sailed from the Mother-Bank in company with the Supply armed tender, six transports, having on board 600 male, and 200 female convicts, and three store-ships, carrying provisions and various other stores: on board the ships carrying convicts, were embarked 160 marines, with their proper officers; Major Robert Ross was commandant of the battalion, and appointed lieutenant-governor of the new settlement; a surgeon and three assistants were also embarked in the transports, with medicines and necessaries for the people under their care. The wind being easterly, we ran out at the Needles, and were accompanied by his Majesty's ship Hyena, Captain De Coursey, who had received orders from the Admiralty to see us 100 leagues to the westward.

We had light breezes with fair and pleasant weather down the channel, but had the mortification to find that two of our transports sailed exceedingly bad; one of which, the Hyena towed two or three days. On the 15th, at sun-set, the Start Point bore north-east half east by compass, distant seven or eight leagues: at noon on this day (which finishes the nautical and begins the astronomical day) the longitude, by account, was 5 deg.. 01'. west of the meridian of Greenwich, and by a timepiece made by Mr. Kendal, with which the Board of Longitude had supplied us, it was 4 deg.. 59'. west; we had a variety of weather from this time till the 21st. when being in latitude 47 deg.. 52'. north, and longitude 12 deg.. 14'. west, Captain Phillip put his dispatches on board the Hyena; she saluted us with three cheers, and we parted company; the wind was now, and had been for some days before, in the south-west quarter, with hazy weather, our progress to the southward was therefore but slow; much attention was required on our part to the rate of sailing of the different transports, in order to prevent separation.

At this time a report was made from one of the transports, both by the commanding marine officer on board, and the master of the ship, that a discovery had been made of an intended insurrection amongst the convicts in that ship; in which, if they had succeeded, they were to have quitted the fleet in the night, and afterwards to have made such use of the ship, as they should, upon farther consideration of the matter, determine amongst themselves. Captain Phillip had very humanely, a few days previous to this scheme, directed that the irons with which most of the male convicts had hitherto been confined, should be taken off them generally, that they might have it more in their power to strip their cloaths off at night when they went to rest, be also more at their ease during the day, and have the farther advantage of being able to wash and keep themselves clean; this indulgence had no doubt left it more in the power of those who might be disposed to exert their ingenuity, in so daring an attempt, to carry their plan into execution with a greater probability of success; but I am thoroughly convinced, that so strict an attention to duty was paid by the whole of the marines employed on this service, that such an attempt would have terminated in the destruction of those who appeared most active and forward in it. Two of the principals were brought on board the Sirius, severely punished, and sent on board another transport, properly secured in heavy irons.

On the 23d, the wind inclined to the north-west, and, after heavy rain, settled in that quarter; by the favour of this change we proceeded to the southward, at the rate of between 70 and 100 miles in 24 hours. On the 26th, the wind shifted to the northward, and from that to the north-east; our latitude at this time was 42 deg.. 10'. north, and the longitude 11 deg.. 36'. west; variation of the compass, 20 deg.. 19'. west.

On the 29th in the evening, (as we intended making the islands of Porto Sancto and Madeira) being but a little distance from the former, and the weather being hazy, we shortened sail, to prevent the convoy from falling suddenly in with the land in the night: at day-light the next morning, we saw the Deserters off Madeira, bearing west-south-west, five leagues distant; we had passed the island of Porto Sancto in the night, having steered to pass eight or nine leagues to the eastward of it; we found the ship set this last 24 hours 12 miles to the southward of the log. At noon the south-easternmost Deserter bore by compass north 17 deg.. west, by which we made its latitude 32 deg.. 29'. north, and its longitude by the time-keeper 16 deg.. 38'. west of Greenwich; the variation of the compass was here 17 deg.. 00' west: from hence, with a light breeze from the northward, we steered south half west, by compass, and at five P.M. on the 1st of June, we made the Salvages; which was rather sooner than we expected, by the distance we had run from the Deserters off Madeira, and the latitude observed the preceding noon, by which we judged ourselves not less than 17 leagues from them. At midnight we were exactly in their parallel, and saw them very distinctly by the light of the moon, which was very clear; their latitude, deduced from the preceding, as well as following meridian observations, is 30 deg.. 12'. north, which is 12 miles to the northward of what they are generally placed, either in tables or charts; their longitude, by our time-keeper, is 15 deg.. 53'. west. I had never seen these rocks before, and always understood them to be small inconsiderable spots, but the largest is so high as to be seen at the distance of seven or eight leagues, and appears to be about a mile and a half in length, from north-west to south-east; there are a few scattered rocks appear above water, to the westward; and I have been told, that a reef of considerable extent stretches out from them to the westward.

From the time of our passing these rocks until the evening of the 3d, we had very light airs and variable, but mostly from the south-west quarter, and every day found we were affected by a southerly current of 10 or 12 miles in 24 hours. The wind now sprung up from the northward, and we steered for the island of Teneriffe, directing our course by the longitude determined from the time-keeper, the account being 1 deg.. 04'. to the westward of it, and our lunar observations within three miles of it: at day-light in the morning we saw the island of Teneriffe, and at noon Point de Nagara, or north-east point, bore south-west by south, distant five leagues; some of the convoy being considerably astern we brought to, and in the afternoon, there being a fresh of wind from the north-east, we bore away and made the signal for the convoy to make all the sail possible, in order, as we were strangers to Sancta Cruz road, that we might save day-light to the anchorage, which we effected, and had the whole convoy in before dark; at half past six in the evening we anchored in 15 fathoms water, soft ground, being a mixture of sand and black mud: we moored with the bower anchors, and had the church of St. Francisco south 73 deg.. 00'. west, the easternmost point in sight, called Point Roquet, (from a small rock which lies a little detached from it) north 78 deg.. 00'. east, and a fort to the south-west of the town, south 45 deg.. 00'. west, distant from the nearest shore about two and a half cables length. The ground all over this bay is said to be foul; we therefore buoyed up our cables, but had no reason, upon examining them afterwards, to believe there was any foul ground where we lay.

The next morning, Captain Phillip sent an officer to wait on the governor with the usual information of whom we were, and our business at that island; but, previous to our anchoring, the master attendant, and some other officers, were on board the Sirius for this very purpose; a ceremony which I believe is seldom neglected. When the officer returned, he brought a very polite reply from the governor, signifying his sincere wishes that the island might be capable of supplying us with such articles as we were in want of, and his assurances that every refreshment the place afforded we should certainly have. Captain Phillip then waited on the governor, accompanied by Major Ross, myself, and several other officers; we were most politely received by him, and he repeated his hope that Teneriffe might afford every refreshment which we had occasion for.

Two days after this visit, the governor, who was then the Marquis Branceforte, and captain-general of the whole of the Canary Islands, notwithstanding he had the day before returned Captain Phillip's visit by an officer, came on board himself, attended by several officers. He remained about an hour on board, and asked many questions respecting the extent of our voyage, and situation of the place where we were going to settle, all of which we explained to him by a general chart of the world. A day or two after this visit, Captain Phillip received an invitation to dine with him, and to bring as many of the principal officers as could be spared from the ships: we waited on him in a party about twelve, and were very hospitably and politely entertained; in short, on the whole, I never met with so polite and so pleasant a man in any foreign port I have ever visited.

During the time we lay in this road, the ships companies, the marines, and convicts, were every day supplied with fresh provisions, of which there appeared to be great abundance on the island: vegetables and fruit were at this time scarce; potatoes, onions, and pumpkins only were to be had, and those but in small quantities. It was Captain Phillip's intention, when we arrived here, to have remained only three or four days, but we found that the watering of the ships was a business which could not be completed in so short a time. During our stay, the watering the ships was our principal consideration, and it was often unavoidable to be employed in this necessary business on board the transports after dark; the watering-place being only contrived to load two boats at a time.

A convict one evening, while every body was employed in clearing a boat of water, contrived to slip into a small boat, and dropt away from the ship unperceived; when he got to some considerable distance off, he then exerted himself at his oars, and got on board a foreign East-India ship, which was lying here, and offered himself as a seaman, but was refused; finding himself disappointed in his hope of getting off in that ship, he judged it necessary, knowing that he would very soon be missed, and search made after him, to quit that ship; he landed to the westward of the town, but on a place where there was a good deal of surf, and where the rocks behind him were inaccessible. The officer of marines on board that transport, having ordered the convicts to be mustered as usual at setting the watch, when they were always put below, found this man was missing, and immediate information of it sent to Captain Phillip; who next morning sent an officer from the Sirius to the governor, requesting his assistance in recovering the deserter; orders were immediately given by the governor for that purpose; in the morning early, boats were dispatched from the ships to row along shore to the westward, to endeavour to recover the boat he had taken away, and a little to the westward of the town, they discovered the boat beating on the rocks; and rowing in to pick her up, they discovered the fellow concealing himself in the cliff of a rock, not having been able to get up the precipice: the officer presented a musket at him, and threatened if he did not immediately come down and get into the boat he would shoot him; the fellow complied, rather than run the hazard of being shot, and was taken on board, punished, and put in irons until we got to sea, when he was liberated in the same manner as the rest.

Before we were ready to put to sea, a party of us had determined to make a short excursion into the country, where we had no doubt of finding its aspect more inviting than the prospect from the ships: for this purpose, we set out one morning very early, accompanied by two British gentlemen, who were merchants resident here, (Mr. Little and Mr. Armstrong,) and who had shown us upon every occasion much civility and attention: those gentlemen had previously provided horses, mules, provisions, etc. We directed our journey to the city of Laguna, which was, and is still called the capital of the island; it is said to be but three or four miles from Santa Cruz; but, whether from the badness of the road, (which is certainly the worst I ever saw in any country,) or the slowness of our progress from that cause, I thought it not less than twice that distance.

When we arrived at Laguna, we walked through many of the streets, which are very regular, and cross each other at right angles; the buildings in general are good, and some of the streets are wider than you generally see them in any of the Spanish or Portuguese towns: there are two parish churches, which have short square steeples, but they appear above all the other buildings; there are also two nunneries, and three or four convents, which are built in a quadrangular form, and have good gardens. In the middle of the town is a conduit, which supplies the inhabitants with water. This city stands on a plain of considerable extent, over part of which we rode, until we came to the foot of the hill from whence the town is supplied with water. We ascended the mountain, and traced the stream to its fountain-head, where we found it issuing from cavities in several parts of the hill, and was conveyed down the declivity in stone-troughs, and received on the plain by troughs of wood, supported about seven or eight feet above the ground by props; through this aqueduct, the water is carried to the center of the city, over a plain, from a distance of four or five miles.

The plain on which Laguna stands, is pleasant and fertile; it was now the height of their harvest, and many people were employed in cutting down the corn, with which this plain seemed to be well planted; there were also many pleasant gardens here, and the soil in general appeared rich. The plain is surrounded by very high mountains, down the sides of which in the rainy season, (for their rains are periodical,) vast torrents of water run, from which cause, I apprehend, its unhealthiness must proceed; for I was told, when remarking how thinly the town of Laguna appeared to be inhabited, that very few, who had it in their power to choose their place of residence, would continue in Laguna. The governor has a palace here, but generally resides at Santa Cruz; and this city, once the residence of persons in great authority, is now quite deserted by people of any distinction. I saw nothing of the lake from which it derives its name, but was given to understand that it was now a very inconsiderable piece of water; probably the accounts given of there having been a large lake here, may have originated from the plain being quite a swamp during the fall of the heavy rains. We returned to Santa Cruz the same evening, very much pleased with our excursion: I regretted much, that the time proposed for settling our business here, would not admit of a visit to the Peak, a mountain so much spoken of by all who have visited this island, for its wonderful height.

The bay of Santa Cruz is defended by many small batteries of four or five guns each, which are placed at certain distances from each other, round the bay, and close to the water-side, which exposes them much to the annoyance of ships; but their principal fort is near the landing place, and is a strong work, but the water being deep very near in, they are all exposed to the attack of ships: on the whole, it is said, they mount near one hundred pieces of cannon.

The town of Santa Cruz is very irregularly built; the principal street is broad, and has more the appearance of a square than a street; the governor's house stands at the upper end; it is but a mean looking building, and has more the appearance of a country inn, than the palace of a governor: at the lower end of the street there is a square monument, commemorating the appearance of Notre Dame to the Guanches, the original inhabitants of the island. The out-skirts of the town have more the appearance of a place deserted and in ruins, than a place of trade, for many of the houses there are either left half built, or have fallen to decay from some other cause, and the stone walls, which were their principal fences, are broken down and in ruins.

On the ninth of June, in the afternoon, the transports having completed their watering, the signal was made from the Sirius for every person of our fleet to repair immediately on board their respective ships, and on the 10th, in the morning, we put to sea with a light air of wind from the land.

The island of Teneriffe is situated in latitude as observed in the road, 28 deg. 29' 5" north, and longitude, determined by the time-keeper, 16 deg. 18' 00" west.

We steered to the south-west until we were near the meridian of the island of Sal, the northernmost of the Cape De Verde Islands, and then shaped our course so as to fall in a little to the eastward of it. At 10 in the evening of the 18th, being at no great distance from the island, we made the signal for the convoy to shorten sail, the distance not being sufficient to admit of our carrying sail all night; at nine the next morning we saw the island bearing north-west by north, distant four leagues: I make the latitude of the north end 16 deg. 48' north, and its longitude, determined by the time-keeper, is 23 deg. 03' west, the south end is in latitude 16 deg. 39' north. We steered from abreast the center of this island, south half east by compass, which carried us about three or four miles wide of the reef, which extends from the north-east part of Bonavista, and runs from the shore in a south-east direction three or four miles: it was about two o'clock in the afternoon when we made the island of Bonavista, so that we had a very good opportunity of seeing the reef, from which I observe Captain Cook says, in one of his voyages, he was in great danger, and that it lies off the south-east part of the island; which is certainly a mistake, for we ran down the east side of the island, at the distance of three miles from the reef, and I make its latitude and longitude as follows:—

Island of Bonavista: Latitude of the north end 16 deg. 13' north. Longitude by time-keeper 22 deg. 51' west. Latitude of the south end 16 deg. 00' north. Variation of the compass 11 deg. 19' west.

At twelve o'clock at night, having an intention of anchoring in Port Praya Bay, in the island of Saint Jago, we made the signal and brought-to till day-light; we then made sail, the weather very hazy, which is generally the case among these islands: we ran close round the south end of the isle of May, and stretched over for the south end of Saint Jago; but when we opened Port Praya Bay, we were suddenly taken aback with the wind from north-west, and every ship appeared to have the wind in a different direction. In this situation it was thought that any attempt to gain the anchorage under such unfavourable circumstances might be attended with the danger of some of the ships getting on board each other; it was therefore determined to give up the intention, and the signal was made for that purpose.

The object for which we endeavoured to get into this bay, was, a supply of fresh vegetables for the ships companies and convicts, an article with which we had been but scantily provided at Teneriffe. Port Praya Bay, on the island of Saint Jago, is situated in latitude 14 deg. 54' north, and longitude 23 deg. 37' west. This was about noon of the 20th of June, and we took our leave of these islands, and steered to the southward, intending to cross the equator, if possible, two or three deg. to the eastward of the meridian of Saint Jago.

We had a fresh gale from the north-east until we were in the latitude of 10 deg. 30' north; the north-east trade now became faint and variable, and in 9 deg. 30' north we had frequent calms, with dark cloudy weather, and heavy showers of rain; squalls were seen now rising from every part of the horizon, and appeared to threaten much wind, but they seldom contained any thing but torrents of rain; the breezes, which were very light, and were generally from the southward, very much retarded our progress towards the line. In latitude 8 deg. 30' north, the wind fixed in the south-west quarter (rather an extraordinary circumstance in these latitudes) and blew a fresh gale, with which we stood to the eastward; but as it was generally far southerly, we were soon in longitude 18 deg. 26' west, by the time-piece, on which we had more reliance than on the dead reckoning, for here we found a current setting considerably strong to the eastward; our lunar observations, which we never failed to make at every opportunity, constantly confirmed the truth of the watch.

Finding no prospect of a change of wind by continuing to stand to the eastward, we tacked in the above longitude, and latitude 6 deg. 48' north, and stood to the westward; for the wind now appeared fixed between south-west and south, a steady gale with a large sea from the southward; many of the convoy sailed so heavy, and were so leewardly, that to gain ground thus circumstanced was impossible; we had therefore only to hope, that by standing off to a greater distance from the coast of Africa, we might find the wind incline to the eastward of south: we, therefore, kept working in this manner for twelve days, in the course of which time our dead reckonings were four deg. to the westward of the truth, occasioned by the the strong easterly currents; in the latitude of 4 deg. 30' north, and longitude, by the time-keeper, 19 deg. 40' west, the wind began to incline to the south-south-east, which gave us some reason to hope that the south-east trade wind was at no great distance.

It continued wavering between the south by east and south-east until we had got another degree to the southward, when it settled at south-east a steady breeze; but the easterly current, which would now have been an advantage to us by keeping the transports to windward, had ceased, and we found a strong westerly one running for several days, from 30 to 45 miles in 24 hours, by which our account was brought back to its original agreement with the time-keeper and lunar observations. The greatest velocity of the westerly current, was between latitude 3 deg. 00' north and the line, and its direction appeared to have been nearly west, for we never found our observations for the latitude materially affected by it; the same was the case with the easterly current, which may account for the ships from the northward, bound to the coast of Brazil, who may have no other way of determining their longitude but by account, scarcely having been sensible of any current; so very nearly does the westerly set, counteract, in the passage, that to the eastward.

On the 14th of July, in the evening, we crossed the equator in longitude 26 deg. 10' west, and with 5 deg. 00' of west variation. The south-east trade wind now made us ample amends for the failure of the north-east, for it blew a fresh and steady breeze from east-south-east to east, which I believe is rather uncommon when the sun has so great north declination: if the wind had not favoured us so much, we must have fallen in with the coast of Brazil, far to the northward, which, with this convoy, would have been attended with much loss of time, and some degree of danger; however, with this favourable slant, we carried all the sail possible, and were enabled to keep at a distance from the coast, but not so far as to be able to make the island of Trinidada, which it was Captain Phillip's intention to have done, had the wind permitted.

We passed its parallel 4 deg. 30' to the westward of it, and had for several days kept a look out for an island, which the Portuguese call Ascencao, and is said to lie between Trinidada and the coast of Brazil; but the existence of which there is much reason to doubt. We did not see any thing until the 3d of August, when we made Cape Frio; at 12 o'clock at night we were right abreast of it, and had it bearing north half west five or six miles; its longitude, by the time-keeper, is 41 deg. 40' west of the meridian of Greenwich* and its latitude is 22 deg. 58' south. This cape is an island distant two or three miles from the main land; we had very light airs and variable weather between the Cape and Rio Janeiro, which is a distance of 18 or 20 leagues; we never approached the shore nearer than five or six miles, at which distance we had 30 fathoms water over a soft bottom, and at four leagues distance had 42 and 43 fathoms, with the same soft ground.

[* It will appear hereafter that we had not the true rate of the watch, and consequently that the above longitude is not correct.]

On the 6th of August, a light breeze from the sea carried us within the islands which lie off the harbour, where we anchored for the night, with the convoy, in 14 fathoms water, clear soft ground, the island Raz (a low flat island) bearing south by west two miles, and Rodondo (a high round island) south-west by south. The next morning an officer was sent to the town, to wait on the viceroy, and give him information who we were, and for what purpose we had visited that port: in the afternoon of the 7th, with a breeze from the sea, we weighed, and, with the whole convoy, sailed into the harbour.

As we passed Fort Santa Cruz, we saluted with 13 guns, which was returned by an equal number from the fort; we anchored off the town in 171/2 fathoms water, over a good soft bottom, and moored with best bower to the south-east, and the small bower to the north-west; Fort Santa Cruz south 36 deg. 00' east; the Sugar Loaf south, 7 deg. 00' east; and the Flag-Staff, on the Island Cobres, north 78 deg. 00' west, distant from the town one mile and a half. In going into the harbour, there being very little wind, some of our convoy were alongside of each other, and were drifting in with the tide; at which the master of the port, who was on board the Sirius, expressed much uneasiness; but he was told our seamen knew very well how to manage their ships, and that there was no danger: the Portuguese will not allow more than one of their ships in the narrows at a time.

The ships in general had been remarkably healthy; the whole number buried since we left England was sixteen, six only of that number had died between Teneriffe and this place, which certainly is a very trying part of the voyage to people who have not been accustomed to warm climates, and being fed wholly on salt provisions; many of those whom we had lost since we left Portsmouth, had been lingering under diseases with which they were afflicted when they embarked; consequently little hope could be entertained of their recovery in such a situation and under such circumstances.

On our arrival here, there were but four out of the whole number in fevers, and a few others with various but trifling complaints; and between 20 and 30, in whom symptoms of the scurvy had lately appeared, the seeds of which it was hoped and expected would be effectually eradicated before we left this place. Fresh provisions were immediately provided on our arrival, and served to the ships companies, marines, and convicts; vegetables were also provided, of which they were to have a proportion served with their other provisions every day whilst we remained here; oranges and other tropical fruits were in vast abundance at this time; the convicts also had a proportion of oranges with their other provisions, this fruit being in such great plenty, that the expence attending the purchase of a few for each individual a day, was too inconsiderable to be noticed. Indeed, it was no uncommon thing to see the country boats, as they passed the ships, throw in a shower of oranges amongst the people.

We had not been ten days in this harbour, before we found the convicts in every ship much more healthy than when we left Spithead. Much pains had been taken by some (who, from whatever cause, were averse to the expedition) to make the world believe that we were, whilst lying at the Mother-Bank, so very sickly as to bury eight or ten every day; and that a malignant disease raged with great violence on board the transports: how far those reports were true, will best appear by the returns which will no doubt be sent to England from this place. Among such a number of people confined in small ships, to have no sick on board, was not to be expected; but the reports spread by some industrious persons exceedingly exaggerated our numbers. I may, without a probability of being much mistaken, venture to say, that there are few country towns in the island of Great-Britain, which contain 1500 inhabitants, (the number which the ships employed on this service had on board) which have not frequently as many sick as we had, at the time it was given out we buried such numbers daily.

At this place we met with every thing that was civil and polite; a day or two after our arrival, the whole of the officers were introduced and paid their respects to the Vice-King, who seemed desirous of making the place as convenient and pleasant as possible, consistent with his instructions, relative to foreigners, from the court of Portugal.

It has ever been a custom here, that when any foreign ships are in this harbour, a guard boat rows constantly night and day, and when any boat from such foreign vessel goes on shore, a soldier is put into the boat, and continues on board her during her stay on shore: this custom is intended to prevent smuggling, a crime which is punished here with the utmost severity; and when any foreign officer lands, an officer from the guard is ordered to attend him wherever he goes: this restraint, which would certainly have been very ill relished by us, however necessary it might have been for our own convenience to have complied with it—was not even in the beginning offered, but every officer permitted to walk where he pleased, except in the forts; a liberty never granted to strangers; nor was any centinel ever placed in any of the King's boats at landing, not even in those of the transports; an extraordinary mark of civility and confidence, and of which every officer in our fleet was perfectly sensible. But when the masters of the transports went on shore, a non-commissioned officer from the guard attended them wherever they went, and their sailors were attended by a private soldier.

During our stay here, we were permitted to erect a tent on the island Enchados, (a small island about a mile and a half farther up the harbour than where we lay with the ships,) for the purpose of landing a few of the astronomical instruments which were necessary for ascertaining the rate of the time-keeper; they were put under the charge and management of Lieutenant William Dawes, of the marines, a young gentleman very well qualified for such a business, and who promises fair, if he pursue his studies, to make a respectable figure in the science of astronomy.

The weather was rather unfavourable, during the time the instruments were on shore for ascertaining the rate of the time-keeper, but as constant attention was paid, every opportunity that offered was made use of, and the watch was found to be 2"-27. which is near a second more than was its rate at Portsmouth.

The 21st of August being the anniversary of the Prince of Brazil's birth-day, at sun-rise in the morning we displayed the flag of Portugal at the fore top-mast head, and that of our own nation at the main and mizen: half an hour after ten, the Vice-King received compliments upon that occasion; all the officers of our fleet which could be spared from duty on board, landed, and in a body went to the palace to make their compliments upon this public day; the viceroy upon this, as well as upon every other occasion, showed us particular attention. We were the first company admitted into the levee-room, then the clergy and military, after which, the civilians and some of the military promiscuously.

When we entered the room a signal was made from the palace, and the fort began to fire. Orders had been left with the commanding officer on board the Sirius, to begin to salute after the fort had fired two guns, which was particularly attended to, and a salute of twenty-one guns was given. It is rather uncommon upon such occasions, for an English ship of war to salute at so early an hour, but certainly the greatest compliment which we could at such time pay them, was to observe in this case the custom practised by their own ships.

On Monday the 3d of September, the watering of the convoy, and every other part of their refitting being compleated, the signal was made from the Sirius for every person to repair immediately on board their respective ships, and at the same time the signal for unmooring was shown; and on Tuesday morning, with a light breeze from the land, we weighed with the convoy. When the Sirius had got within about half a mile of Fort Santa Cruz, that castle saluted us with 21 guns, which was answered by us with the same number; a very high and uncommon compliment, and such I believe as is seldom paid to any foreigner; but was no doubt meant as a suitable return to the attention paid by his Majesty's ship to the birth-day of the Prince of Brazil. We carried wind enough out to run us clear without the islands before night.

The harbour of Rio de Janeiro may be known when you are off it, by a remarkable hill at its entrance, called Pao d'Asucar, from its resemblance to a loaf of sugar; but there is a hill to the south-east of the harbour, which is called by some the False Sugar-loaf; but which, as you view it from the eastward, I think has more the appearance of a church, with a short spire steeple; this hill points out the harbour to ships at a distance, much better than Pao d'Asucar. The land to the westward of the harbour is high and broken, and is commonly so covered with clouds, that you cannot discover the true make of it.

Right off the harbour lie several small islands, all steep to, or nearly so; a few rocks project a very small distance from some of them, but which cannot be considered dangerous, as no person possessed of common prudence would ever take a ship so near as they lye; within those islands (if you have not wind to carry your ship into the harbour) you may anchor; the best birth for getting under way with any wind, is to bring the island Raz (a low island) to bear south or south half west one mile, in 14 or 15 fathoms water, soft bottom; there is nothing in the way between this anchorage and the harbour; you will observe in the entrance a small island or rock, fortified, called Lage; you sail about mid-channel between this island and Fort Santa Cruz, observing that the tide of flood sets upon Santa Cruz point, and the ebb upon the island; the soundings from the outer anchorage decrease from 14 fathoms, where we lay, regularly, till near abreast of the Sugar-loaf, where it is six and a half fathoms: from this depth you drop into 12, 14, and 16 fathoms. Run up, and anchor off the town in 17 or 18 fathoms, clear soft ground.


Latitude: 22 deg. 54' 13" south

Longitude, deduced from our time-keeper of the meridian of Greenwich, and which agrees with that laid down in the new requisite tables, but which certainly are not correct: 42 deg. 44' 00" west.

Longitude, determined by two astronomers sent from Portugal for that and other purposes: 43 deg. 18' 45" west.

Longitude, by an eclipse of Jupiter's third satellite, taken by Lieutenant Dawes, on the island Enchados: 43 deg. 19' 00" west.

Longitude, by a mean of several distances of sun and moon taken by me at the outer anchorage: 43 deg. 11' 15" west.

Longitude, by Lieutenant Bradley: 43 deg. 33' 00" west.

The tide flows here at full and change of the moon, north-east by north and south-west by south, and rises between six and seven feet.

The harbour is very extensive and commodious; there are many convenient bays in it, where a vast many ships may be laid up in perfect security from any bad weather. The town is large, well built, and populous, but ill situated for the health of its inhabitants: it stands upon low ground, which was formerly swampy, and is surrounded with hills of immense height, which entirely exclude the benefit of the refreshing sea and land breezes; so that in the summer time, it is really suffocating hot, and of course very unhealthy. The streets, some few of them, are pretty wide, the others in general rather narrow, and mostly intersect each other at right-angles. The square, or parade, opposite to which the boats land, is large, and the buildings round it are good, and on the south side of this square stands the viceroy's palace. The churches are very good buildings, and their decorations exceedingly rich, and they seem to have excellent organs in them; all those which I saw here, as well as at Teneriffe, had what in a large church I conceive to be a considerable improvement, and it is what I never have seen applied to any of our organs, even in the largest churches in England; each pipe of the organ has a tube which projects from its lower part in a horizontal direction, and is wide at the outer end, like a trumpet: these tubes throw every note distinctly into the church, and prevent, what I have frequently observed, in many of our organs, some of the tones being almost lost in the body of the instrument.

I observed here, that the different mechanics carry on their business in distinct parts of the town, particular streets being set apart for particular trades; you find one street filled with taylors, another with shoemakers, a third with carpenters, etc. etc.

As far as numerous forts and guns can be said to give strength to any place, the city of Saint Sebastian may be considered as strong; the island of Cobres, which overlooks and lies close to the town, has a strong work upon it, the east end of it is rather low, and there is good depth of water off it, so that ships of very large size may come very near in, and there are many hills very near, which command the town and most of the works which defend it.

The annual exports from Rio de Janeiro are, 3,200 arobes of gold, which are sent to Portugal, and of which the King has a tenth part; 6,000 cases of sugar, each weighing 40 arobes; 5,000 cases of rice, and 1,500 casks of rum, each cask containing eight almudas*.

[* An arobe is thirty-two pounds; an almuda, four gallons and a half.]

Before we left this port, we took on board the following seeds and plants, viz.

Coffee plant and seed, cocoa-seed, jalap, ipecacuhana, tamarind, banana, orange, lime, and lemon-trees, guava seed, prickly pear, with the cochineal in seed upon it, pomrose, grape, tobacco, and rice for seed.

[A TABLE of the WINDS and WEATHER, etc. etc. in the Passage from the Island of Teneriffe to Rio de Janeiro, Coast of Brazil, on board His Majesty's Ship SIRIUS.] [The table is included in the HTML version]

Chapter II

September 1787 to January 1788

Anchor in Table-Bay.—Refreshments procured there.—Depart from the Cape of Good Hope.—Captain Phillip quits the Sirius, and proceeds on the voyage in the Supply.—The Sirius arrives in Botany-Bay.—Finds the Supply at anchor there.—Arrival of the Bussole and Astrolabe.— Leave Botany-Bay, and anchor in Port Jackson.—The Table of Winds, Weather, etc.

We had light and variable winds for the two first days after leaving Rio de Janeiro, then it veered round to the north-east, and freshened up, and was some times as far to the northward as north by east; we steered off east-south-east and south-east. In latitude 25 deg. 50' south, the weather became dark and cloudy, with much rain and lightning all round the horizon, which shifted the wind to the southward, and the weather cleared up. On the 19th, we saw several Pentada birds. On the 29th, having had thick hazy weather during the night, some of the convoy had been inattentive to the course, and were found at day-light considerably scattered and to leeward; we bore down and made the signal for closing. Nothing worth relating happened this passage. On the 12th of October, as we were expecting every hour to make the land, the weather being hazy, with a strong westerly wind, at midnight we made the signal and brought to; at day-light we bore away and made sail, and at six o'clock saw the land, distant 10 leagues; at noon, the entrance of Table-Bay, at the Cape of Good Hope, bore east three leagues. At the distance of seven or eight leagues from the land, the Supply armed tender being ordered to wait for the sternmost of the convoy, Lieutenant Ball took that opportunity of sounding, and at the before-mentioned distance had 115 fathoms, over a black sandy bottom; and at five leagues distance he had 90 fathoms, sand with small stones. The water appeared, at a much greater distance, considerably discoloured, from which I think there is reason to suppose that the soundings from this part of the coast run farther off to the westward. We were all this time in the parallel of 34 deg. south. On the 14th of October, at five in the evening, we anchored with all the convoy in Table-Bay, Cape of Good Hope, and at sun-rise the next morning we saluted the fort with 13 guns, which was answered by the same number.

By altitudes taken this morning for the time-keeper, it appeared that we had not had sufficient time at Rio Janeiro for ascertaining the true rate of the watch's going, having determined what we have allowed this passage, viz. 2"-33 from a very few observations, and those not to be relied on, the weather having been very unfavourable; for, by the difference of time between the meridian of Rio Janeiro and the cape, both which places are well determined, the watch has lost at the rate of 3"-17, which we shall hereafter allow to be the true rate; and as a proof of that having been really its rate all along, by allowing it from the time of our leaving Portsmouth, until our arrival at Rio Janeiro, we shall have the longitude of that place 43 deg. 33' 30" west of the meridian of Greenwich, which is 45' 45" to the westward of that laid down in the new Requisite Tables, and which agrees very nearly with the observations made on the spot.

As Table-Bay was the last port at which we could touch for refreshments during our voyage, such articles as we were in want of, both for present consumption, and for stocking the intended settlement, were applied for, in such quantities as we could find room for on board the different ships. Eight or ten days elapsed before any answer could be obtained from the council, what necessaries and in what quantities they could supply us with: this delay occasioned our passing more time here than was at first intended or expected.

A few days before we sailed, having compleated such articles of provisions as we wanted, we embarked on board the Sirius six cows with calf, two bulls, one of which was six or seven months old, with a number of sheep, goats, hogs, and poultry of different kinds; on board one of the transports were put three mares, each having a colt of six months old, and a young stallion; a quantity of live stock was also put on board the store ships; so that the whole on government account, I think, amounted nearly to one stallion, three mares, three colts, six cows, two bulls, forty-four sheep, four goats, and twenty-eight hogs. The officers on board the transports, who were to compose the garrison, had each provided themselves with such live stock as they could find room for, not merely for the purpose of living upon during the passage, but with a view of stocking their little farms in the country to which we were going; every person in the fleet was with that view determined to live wholly on salt provisions, in order that as much live stock as possible might be landed on our arrival.

November 12th, having completed all our business at the Cape, we made preparations for our sailing; and on the 13th, we weighed with the whole convoy, and stood out of the bay.

During the time we lay in this bay, I took a considerable number of lunar observations, by a mean of which I make Cape Town, in longitude 18 deg. 24' 30" east of the meridian of Greenwich: latitude observed in the bay, 33 deg. 55' south, and variation of the compass, observed about 18 leagues to the westward, 21 deg. 52' west.

We had fresh gales from the south-south-east and south-east, and sometimes at south, for the first eight days, which, with a large sea, so very much distressed our cattle, that we were very apprehensive we should lose some of them. On the 25th, being in latitude 38 deg. 40' south, and longitude 25 deg. 05' east, Captain Phillip embarked on board the Supply, in order to proceed singly in that vessel to the coast of New South Wales, where he made sure of arriving a fortnight or three weeks before us, as some of the convoy sailed very heavy; he took with him from the Sirius, Mr. Philip Gidley King, second lieutenant, and Lieutenant Dawes, of the marines, who had hitherto kept an account of the time-keeper, which he also took with him; several carpenters, sawyers, and blacksmiths were likewise put on board the Supply, in order, if they arrived in sufficient time, to examine the place attentively; and the governor had fixed on the most eligible spot to build upon, there to erect some temporary store-houses for the reception of the stores, when the convoy arrived; but as a number of working people would be wanted in carrying on such service, three of the best sailing transports, under the command of Lieutenant Shortland, the agent, were also directed to quit the convoy, and make the best of their way to Botany-Bay; Major Ross, the lieutenant-governor, embarked in one of those transports; the remaining transports and store-ships were left under the care of the Sirius.

The next day, after parting company, the Supply was in sight from the mast-head, and the three transports were about seven or eight miles from us, but the wind having shifted to the south-east in the night of the 27th, we stood to the southward and saw no more of them. I was at this time of opinion, that we had hitherto kept in too northerly a parallel to ensure strong and lasting westerly winds, which determined me, as soon as Captain Phillip had left the fleet, to steer to the southward and keep in a higher latitude.

We had the winds from the north-east with squalls and hazy weather, until the 29th, when it backed round to the westward again, and the weather became fair. After the time-keeper was taken from the Sirius, I kept an account of the ship's way by my own watch, which I had found for a considerable time, to go very well with Kendal's; I knew it could be depended on sufficiently to carry on from one lunar observation to another, without any material error; for although its rate of going was not so regular as I could have wished, yet its variation would not in a week or ten days have amounted to any thing of consequence; it was made for me by Mr. John Brockbank, of Cornhill, London, upon an improved principle of his own. The lunar observation, which I never failed to take every opportunity, and which Lieutenant Bradley also paid constant attention to, gave me reason to think, by their near agreement with the watch, that it continued to go well. On the 1st of December our longitude, by account, was 36 deg. 42' east; by the watch 36 deg. 48' east; and by distance of sun and moon 36 deg. 24' east: latitude 40 deg. 05' south, and the variation of the compass 29 deg. 40' west.

For three successive days both Mr. Bradley and myself had a variety of distances, by which our account seemed to be very correct. I now determined (if I could avoid it) never to get to the northward of latitude 40 deg. 00' south, and to keep between that parallel and 43 deg. or 44 deg. south. After the 3d, I found, by altitudes taken for the watch, that we went farther to the eastward than the log gave us, and no opportunity offered for getting a lunar observation to compare with it until the 13th, when both Mr. Bradley and I got several good distances of the sun and moon, by which our longitude was 70 deg. 22' east, by the watch 70 deg. 07' east, and by account 67 deg. 37' east.

On the 14th, the weather being very clear, we had another set of distances, which gave our longitude 73 deg. 06' east, by the watch 73 deg. 09' east, and by account 70 deg. 34' east. Again, on the 15th, I observed with two different instruments, one by Ramsden, and the other by Dolland, and the results agreed within ten miles of longitude; the mean was 75 deg. 18' east, by the watch 75 deg. 16' east, and by account 72 deg. 49' east. Mr. Bradley's mean was also 75 deg. 18' east; so that, as I have already observed, the ship seemed gaining on the account; but there was no reason to believe, that in the middle of this very extensive ocean we were ever subject to much current: I therefore attribute this set to the eastward, to the large following sea, which constantly attended us, since we had taken a more southerly parallel. The variation of the compass continued to increase pretty fast, until we were as far to the eastward as 39 deg. 00' east, where we found it 31 deg. 00' west; from that longitude to 54 deg. 30' east, it increased very slowly to 32 deg. 00' west, which was the highest we had; during all that time we were in the parallels of 40 deg. 00' and 41 deg. 00' south.

We saw many whales, of a very large size, during this part of our passage, but very few birds. On the 16th, we saw a quantity of sea weed, which I suppose might have come from the island of Saint Paul, as we were now near its meridian, and not more than 60 leagues from it. We had at present every prospect of an excellent passage to Van Diemen's Land: for although the wind sometimes shifted to the north-east, it seldom continued more than a few hours; then backed round again to north-west and south-west, between which quarters it seemed to blow as a trade wind; from north-north-east to the westward, and round to south-south-west are in general its limits: we had frequently hazy weather, but not so thick as to be called foggy; the wind in general very fresh.

Whenever there was an appearance of hazy weather coming on, the signal to close was always made, and the convoy kept in as close order as possible, to prevent those ships which sailed heavy from the risk of being separated from the Sirius. On the 20th, the wind increased and was steady between west-north-west and south-west; we seldom sailed less than 50 leagues in the 24 hours, and frequently more. With the north-west winds we generally had foul weather, but whenever the wind changed to the south-west quarter, it cleared up and became pleasant. It seems to be exactly the reverse of the effects produced by those winds in the northern hemisphere, where it is well known to seamen, that southerly and south-west winds are generally attended with hazy and foul weather, often accompanied with strong gales; it was exactly so here with the wind from the north-west. We knew by experience, when in the open ocean at a distance from land, in either hemisphere, that the winds which blow from those quarters of the compass next to the elevated pole, are generally dry and clear, and from the opposite, generally wet and hazy.

On the 1st of January we had a very heavy gale of wind from north-north-west to west-north-west, attended with frequent and very violent squalls or gusts, and hazy weather; the convoy in general were brought under a reefed fore top-sail, and the Sirius carried her three storm stay-sails; so that the transports should not find it necessary to attempt carrying more sail than was consistent with safety: the sea was very high and irregular, and broke with great violence on some of the ships; the rolling and labouring of our ship exceedingly distressed the cattle, which were now in a very weakly state, and the great quantities of water which we shipped during this gale, very much aggravated their distress; the poor animals were frequently thrown with much violence off their legs, and exceedingly bruised by their falls, although every method, which could be contrived for their ease and comfort, was practised; the ship was very ill fitted for such a cargo; and the very lumbered condition she had constantly been in rendered it impossible to do more for them, except by putting slings under them; a method which, when proposed, was rejected by those to whose care and management they were intrusted; from an idea, that they would entirely lose the use of their legs by such means, although it were only practised in bad weather.

We perceived the sea now covered over with luminous spots, much resembling so many lanthorns floating on its surface; whether this appearance proceeded from the spawn of fish, which may swim in small collected quantities, or from that animal of a jelly-like substance, which is known to sailors by the name of blubber, I cannot tell, but I believe the latter, as we had seen in the day some of a large size. We had now also many sea-birds about the ship, such as albatrosses, gulls of different kinds, and a large black bird, which, in the motion of its wings, had much the appearance of a crow, but its neck and wings are longer than those of that bird, and it is altogether larger.

On the 4th of January we had a number of good observations for the longitude, and as it was probable they might be the last we should have an opportunity of taking, before we should make Van Diemen's Land, the result, which gave 135 deg. 30' east, was marked with chalk in large characters on a black painted board, and shown over the stern to the convoy; at the same time a signal was made which had been previously appointed.

On the 6th in the evening, as I intended running in for the land all night, I made the signal for the convoy to close, and to drop into the Sirius's wake, under an easy sail; the night was dark, but clear in the horizon, so that we could see near two leagues a-head. This night the aurora austreales were very bright, of a beautiful crimson colour, streaked with orange, yellow, and white, and these colours were constantly changing their places: the highest part was about 45 deg. above the horizon, and it spread from south by east to south-south-west. On the next morning at sun-rise, one of the transports having pushed a little a-head, made the signal for seeing the land, in which, however, she was mistaken: we at this time judged ourselves not less than 33 or 34 leagues from it, deducing our distance from the last lunar observation.

It may not be improper, before I proceed farther, to observe of the compass, that its westerly variation decreased from the longitude of 54 deg. 30' east, where it was greatest, (viz. 32 deg. 10' west,) to longitude 135 deg. 30' east, where it was 1 deg. 00' east.

We continued steering in for the land, and the weather being cloudy, in order to make sure of our latitude, which, in our present situation, was of consequence, we took two altitudes before noon, by which we were in 44 deg. 05' south, which being seventeen miles to the southward of the rock, called the Mewstone, we hauled from east-north-east to north-east, and at three P.M. of the 8th, (by log,) we made the land in that direction, stood well in with the Mewstone, and, as the wind was fresh from the westward, I would have gone within it, and ranged along the coast from point to point; but having a convoy of transports and store-ships astern, who were to be led by the Sirius, I was apprehensive, in case it fell little wind under the land, and night set in, an accident might have happened to some of those ships, which all the knowledge I could have gained, by a nearer examination of the coast, would not have compensated: I therefore stood on without the Mewstone, and steered in for the south cape, which we passed at three miles distance, leaving the rocks Swilly and Eddistone without us. The south cape terminates in a low rocky point, and appears to be a bold shore, and the hills within it, which are moderately high, appear to have many tall trees upon them, which are very streight, and seem to have no branches, except near the top; from which circumstance, I suppose them to be the palm or cabbage tree.

To the eastward of the south cape, between that and the next point of land, which is called Tasman's-head, is a large bay, at the bottom of which there appears to be an island or two; from the south-west cape to the south cape there are several bays, and pretty deep bights, which may probably afford some good harbours; there are also several appearances of islands on this part of the coast, but most of them seem to lie pretty near the land, except the Mewstone, (a high ragged rock) which is about ten miles off, and Swilly and Eddystone, which lie about south by east from the south cape, about five leagues distant. Swilly is a high rock, and the Eddistone has, at a distance, the appearance of a sail; these two rocks are at the opposite ends of a ledge of sunken rocks, on which the sea seemed to break very high: this ledge lies east-north-east and west-south-west; the two rocks are in one with that bearing.

The latitudes and longitudes of the different points or capes, seem to have been very correctly determined by Captains Cook and Furneaux, when they were here; it would therefore be superfluous to mention them here from any other authority; they have settled them as under:

South-west cape lat 43 37 00 S. long 146 07 00 E. of Greenwich South cape lat 43 42 00 long 146 56 00 Tasman's-head lat 43 33 00 long 147 28 00 Swilly Island, or rock lat 43 55 00 long 147 06 00 Adventure bay lat 42 21 20 long 147 29 00

Such observations as we had an opportunity of making near this coast, agree very well with the above.

We had just got to the eastward of the south cape as it became dark, and were about four miles from it when it fell calm, and soon after a very light air sprung up from east-north-east, which, with a large westerly swell, scarcely gave the ships steerage way: this situation gave me some anxiety, as I was uncertain whether the sternmost ships had seen Swilly, and they were at this time a little scattered; the breeze, however, favoured us, by freshening up at north-east, which enabled the whole of us to weather those rocks, without the apprehension of passing too near them in the dark: in the morning at day-light they bore west-south-west three leagues.

Here we saw many animals playing along-side, which were at first taken for seals; but, after having seen a considerable number of them, I did not think they were the seal, at least they appeared to me a very different animal from the seals to be met with on the coast of America and Newfoundland; for they have a short round head, but these creatures heads were long, and tapered to the nose; they had very long whiskers, and frequently raised themselves half the length of the body out of the water, to look round them, and often leaped entirely out; which I do not ever recollect to have seen the seal do: from these circumstances, I judged them to be something of the sea-otter.

On the night of the 8th, it blew so strong from north-north-east and north, as to bring us under close reefed main top-sail and fore-sail; this gale was accompanied with thunder, lightning, and rain, which soon changed it to the south-west quarter, and immediately cleared the weather. On the 10th, we had two very violent white squalls from north-west, with lightning, thunder, and rain: these squalls came on so very suddenly, that some of the convoy were taken with too much sail out, which obliged them to let go their tacks and sheets, by which means one ship carried away her main-yard in the slings, another had her three top-sails blown from the yards, and a third lost her jibb, and some other trifling accident: this occasioned a short delay, but as soon as these accidents were repaired we made sail, and availed ourselves of every slant of wind, to get in with the coast. I was desirous of falling in with it about Cape Howe, which is in latitude 37 deg. 30' south, and longitude 150 deg. 00' east, and from thence to have run down along the coast to Botany-bay; but the wind prevailed so long from the north-ward and north-west, that we could not fetch that part of the coast.

On the 15th, by a good lunar observation, I found our longitude to be 152 deg. 43' east, which was twenty-five leagues farther from the coast than I expected we were. Every endeavour was exerted to get to the westward, and on the 19th in the evening, judging from the last observation, (the dead reckoning being out,) that we could not be above eight or nine leagues from the land, the wind being from the eastward, I made the signal and brought to with the convoy till day-light, when we made the land in latitude 34 deg. 50' south, six or seven leagues distant. We steered in slanting to the northward, until we were within about six or seven miles of the shore, and then steered along the coast at that distance, not choosing, as the wind was easterly, to carry the convoy nearer.

At noon, we were abreast of Red-point, which is well determined by Captain Cook: I observed its latitude to be 34 deg. 29' south; this point being only ten leagues from Botany-bay, I made sail a-head of the convoy, in order if possible, to get sight of its entrance before night. There are a number of projecting points hereabout, which by being so near in shore deceived us a good deal; however, we perceived from the masthead before dark, what I had no doubt was the entrance of the bay, as we were now near its latitude; which is certainly the only true guide whereby you can find it; for the coast has nothing so remarkable in it as to serve for a direction for finding this harbour.

About three leagues to the southward of Botany-bay, there is a range of whitish coloured cliffs on the coasts, which extend some distance farther south, and over these cliffs the land is moderately high and level; on this level land there is a small clump of trees, something like that on Post down hill, near Portsmouth: these, I think, are the only remarkable objects here.

As soon as we had brought the entrance of the bay to bear north-north-west, we brought to, and made the signal for the convoy to pass in succession under the Sirius's stern, when they were informed, that I intended, as the wind was easterly, to keep working off under an easy sail till day-light, and that the entrance of the harbour bore north-north-west seven or eight miles; which I supposed they could not have been near enough to have seen before dark.

The next morning being fair, with a south-east wind, we made sail at day-light for this opening, and, by signal, ordered the ships into the Sirius's wake. When the bay was quite open, we discovered the Supply and the three transports at an anchor; the former had arrived the 18th, and the three latter the 19th. At eight A. M. of the 20th, we anchored with the whole of the convoy in Botany-bay, in eight fathoms water.

As the ships were sailing in, a number of the natives assembled on the south shore, and, by their motions, seemed to threaten; they pointed their spears, and often repeated the words, wara, wara. The Supply had not gained more than forty hours of us, and the three transports twenty. We probably met with fresher winds than they had done, otherwise I think these ships, all sailing well, should have had much more advantage of the heavy sailing part of the convoy.

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