1908 - McNab, R. Historical Records of New Zealand, Volume I - [Pages 100-149, 1789-1792]

E N Z B       
       Home   |  Browse  |  Search  |  Variant Spellings  |  Links  |  EPUB Downloads
Feedback  |  Conditions of Use      
  1908 - McNab, R. Historical Records of New Zealand, Volume I - [Pages 100-149, 1789-1792]
Previous section | Next section      

[Pages 100-149, 1789-1792]

[Image of page 100]


The loyal.

The disloyal.

Bad weather.


Chased by canoes.

Christian was the officer on deck, and the whole watch being concerned except two midshipmen, who knew not what the officer was about, it is not surprising that the business was speedily done, all the able men being concerned, and also the greatest number, as may be seen by the following list:--

People who came in the boat.

John Fryer, master
Willm. Cole, boatswain
Willm. Peckover, gunner
Willm. Purcell, carpenter
Thos. Dr. Leward, act. surgeon
Wm. Elphinstone, master's mate
Thos. Hayward, mid'n
Jno. Hallett, do
Jno. Samuel, clerk,
Peter Linkletter, qr.-mr. Jno. Norton qr.-mr. Killed at Tofoa. Geo. Simpson, qr.-mrs. mate
Lawrce. Libogue, sailmaker
Robt. Tinkler, a boy
Jno. Smith, capt's servt.
Thos. Hall, ship's cook
Robt. Lamb, butcher
David Nelson, botanist 1
18, total.

People who remained in the ship.

Fletcher Christian, master's mate
Geo. Stewart, acting do
Peter Heywood, mid'n.
Edwd. Young, do
Chas. Churchill, corporal
James Morrison, boatsw's mate
John Mills, gunner's mate
Chas. Norman, carp'r's mate
Thos. M'Intosh, do crew
Josh. Coleman, armourer
Thos. Burkitt, seaman
Jno. Sumner, do
Jno. Williams, do
Mattw. Thompson, seaman
Thos. Ellison, do
Wm. Mickoy, do
Jno. Millward, do
Richd. Skinner, do
Mathw. Quintal, do
Michl. Byrne, do
Heny. Hilbrant, do
Isaac Martin, do
Alex. Smith, do
Willm. Muspratt, do
Willm. Brown, botanist's assist.
25, total remaining in the ship.

To return now to my proceedings in the boat. I steered to the W. N. W., as I formerly had heard from the Freindly Island people that land lay in that quarter..

The weather very boisterous, and obliged to keep right before the sea, which at times run into us and nearly filled the boat, and were obliged to throw all spare cloaths overboard and every article we could possibly do without.

On the 4th May, latitude 18° 58' 8., long. 182° 16' E., I discover'd land, an island, W. S. W. 4 or 5 leagues.

On the 6th discovered ten other islands, and that day at noon was in lat. 17° 53' S., and long. 179° 43' east. Many shoals.

On the 7th discovered other islands; at noon latitude 16° 33' S., 178° 34' E., were chased by two large cannoes, but got clear of them by rowing. At night torrents of rain, with thunder and lightning; caught 6 gallons water.

[Image of page 101]


1789 Islands.

Stormy weather.

Sufferings in the boat.

The Australian coast.

Landing on an island.

Division of the party.


On the 9th fair w'r; kept steering to the W. N. W. and west.

On the 10th very heavy rains, hard gales and a high sea unto the 14th; suffered much cold in the nights, being constantly wet..

On the 14th discovered land--five islands--and were at noon in latitude 13° 29' S., 169° 31'- E.; steered to W. S. W.

On the 15th discovered an island; latitude at noon 13° 4' S., long. 167° 35' E. Very fresh gale and high sea, with rain; constantly wet and constantly bailing. Distress'd for want of light to see to steer by, the w'r being stormy, with thunder, lightning, rain, and a high sea, keeping the boat before it to the 21st, when we had most dreadfull weather, and the rain fell so heavy that we could scarce keep the boat from filling.

To the 24th the weather and sea continued very bad, and we now dreaded the nights, for we were all benumbed with cold, and what added to our distress in the weak situation we were in, one of us in turns was obliged to be constantly bailing the boat in all this dreadfull weather, being continually wet, and never having a dry rag about us. The resource I directed to be taken was, in the intervals when the rain ceased to strip naked and wash and wring all our cloaths in the sea, which was a great refreshment.

To the 28th the weather better, when at midnight I fell in with most dreadfull breakers, but I was able to stand away clear of them. As I knew I was near the coast of New Holland, I considered this to be the reef off that coast, and I therefore stood to the west again in the morning to search for a passage within it. At 9 in the morning I saw the reef again, and soon after standing along it to the northward I discovered an opening, which I safely entered and got into smooth water.

At noon latitude 12° 46' 8., 145° 02' E. The entrance I came in at S. E., about 2 leagues.

At 1/4 past 5 in the afternoon I got into a bay on an island about a 1/4 mile from the main, and finding it uninhabited I determined on searching for supplies. Night came on. We, however, got a few oysters from the rocks, which gave us a tolerable good meal.

As our boat was only large enough to admitt one-half of us to rest at a time, I consented that one party should sleep on shore, but, unfortunately, having no materials, we could not light a fire.

29th May. --At dawn of day we went in search of water and what else we could get, and happily by digging found fine fresh water, and plenty of it. Oysters were the only supply besides, of which, with our allowance of bread, we made very good stews. When the sun came out strong I was enabled to kindle a fire by

[Image of page 102]



Fern roots as food.

Birds caught.

Poor living.

A fresh start.

Islands sighted and visited.

Stewed oysters.


a small magnifying-glass, and we then made tinder and matches to supply our wants in future.

All hands were very weak, which with dizziness in the head and a dreadfull tenesmus were the only complaints. At night part of us slept on shore.

30th May. --I now determined, as the people were a little refreshed, to proceed on. I therefore by noon got our small water-casks filled, and having found some fern root that I thought wholesome and very conducive to prevent thirst, I ordered a parcel into the boat. Birds could have easily have been got here if I had had arms. On that account every one we saw recalled to us our miserable situation, but Providence has been graciously kind to us, for we frequently caught by hand sea fowls, which made great additions to our dinners of bread. The frequent supply of water was also a great blessing, but I had not vessels to contain a sufficient allowance; it therefore happen'd that nearly half a pint of water was what each person received in the course of the day, issued at 8 in the morning, at noon, and sunset, with of a pound of bread at breakfast, and the same at dinner.

I found the latitude of this place 12° 39' S., 144° 44' E. The main appeared with a variety of high and low land, interspersed with wood, and the more interior parts mountainous.

31. --At 4 in the afternoon, having performed divine service, I sailed. Saw twenty natives, armed with spears, come down on the shore opposite to us. They were black, and waved to us to come to them.

I steered along shore to the N. N. W. and N. W. by N., in the direction of the coast. Saw several islands, and at 8 in the morning passed through a cluster, and saw more natives armed in the same manner, and made the same signs. I, however, did not land.

The appearance of the country all changed, being very low, and mostly sandhills. Landed on an island, and gathered shellfish, oysters, and clams; also water, in the hollow of a rock, which enabled us to fill our sea store.

From the heights of this island I saw a small key to the N. W. by N. As my present situation was, therefore, too near the main, having discovered at this place the natives to have cannoes, I again prepared to sail, so as to reach the key before night. At noon dined on stewed oysters and clams. Found the latitude of this isl'd 11° 58' S., 144° 29' E.

1st June. --With a continuance of fine w'r this evening I landed and spent the night at the key above mentioned; could get no supplies of any kind. Some of my people were taken ill with vomitings and dizziness; besides, a most dreadfull tenes-

[Image of page 103]





Torres Straits.

Timor sighted.


At anchor.

Off Koepang.

Kind treatment.

mus afflicted many of them, who had not been at stool for three weeks, and some more.

At noon I found the latitude of this key 11° 47' S., longitude 144° 24' E.

2nd June. --This afternoon it came on strong gales, and my people being still ill I preferred giving them a good night's rest to going to sea. At dawn of day I sailed; people much better. Passed several islands; the coast sandy and barren. At noon, lat. 11° 18' S., 144° 20' E., I saw what I considered to be Cape York, bearing W. 1/2 N., 3 leagues.

3rd. --At night I again stopt on an island, whose latitude is 10° 52' S., 141° 05' E., by corrected longitude from Cape York, whose true situation is 141° 15' E. My account, therefore, yesterday was 3° 05' wrong.

4th. --At dawn of day I again sailed, and followed the direction of the coast to the N. W.; saw many islands and breakers. At noon I was in 10° 31' S., and 140° 40' E. I now found I had doubled the north part of New Holland. 2

At 5 o'clock this evening I left New Holland, and steered accordingly for Timor, the latitude of which I was not very certain of. However, I determined to make it in the latitude of about 9° 30' S.

On the 12th June, at 3 in the morning, I saw the island of Timor, bearing W. N. W.

At daylight, finding I was on the S. E. end of it, I went to the south of the island, laying-to at night lest I might pass any settlement, for I was not certain where the Governor resided.

On the 14th, in the afternoon, after having passed through a very heavy breaking sea and shoal water, I discovered an opening, into which I entered and anchored at 3 o'clock, which I since find to be a bay on Timor, opposite to Pulo Samow, in the south entrance, the island Rotty being in sight to the S. W. by S.

Saw some Malays on the shore. Sent two men after them, and they brought several men to me. One of them agreed to be my pilot, and I agreed to give ten half-ducatoons to conduct me to the Governor.

This being settled, we rowed along shore, conducted by him, and on the morning, at dawn of day, I anchored off Coupang, and waited for leave to come on shore. At sunrise I was desired by a soldier to come on shore, and I was conducted to a gentleman's house (Captain Spykerman), who, upon my application, ordered breakfast and victuals for all hands; the Governor, from severe indisposition, not being able to see me just at that time. The surgeon, a Mr. Max, gave us every kind

[Image of page 104]


Sympathy from the Governor.

An extraordinary voyage.

Death of Mr. Nelson.

assistance in dressing our sores, and all who saw us were ready to contribute to the comfort of such poor distress'd creatures, one-half of whom could not have survived a week longer, and some, perhaps, not a few days.

The Governor, with much goodness, became anxious about us, and altho' his illness was very severe, I had it in my power to see him by 11 o'clock, and was received in a most affectionate and peculiar manner of kindness, which will ever endear him to my memory.

Orders were instantly given for our accomodation and supplies, and I had full power to see my people taken care of.

Thus happily ended, through the blessing of Divine Providence, without accident, a voyage of the most extraordinary nature that ever happened in the world, let it be taken either in its extent, duration, or so much want of the necessaries of life.

I remained at Coupang untill the 20th August, 1789, 3 during which time I had the misfortune to lose Mr. David Nelson (botanist), whose good conduct in the course of the whole voyage and manly fortitude in our late disastrous circumstances deserves this tribute to his memory. He died of a fever on the 20th of July.

I have not given so full an account to the Admiralty. You will please, therefore, to attend to it in that particular. 4

1790 Feb. 12.

Norfolk Island.


Government House, Sydney Cove, February 12th, 1790.


I had the honor of informing your Lordship of the state of this colony by the last ships which sailed from hence, and I shall now proceed to lay before your Lordship such circumstances as have occurred since their departure.

In February [1789] the Supply, armed tender, went to Norfolk Island with provisions and twenty-seven convicts, for although the officer who commanded there had but a very small number of free people, and in whom alone he could place any confidence, yet from the apparent impossibility of the con-

[Image of page 105]


1790 Feb. 12.

A convict plot.

The mutineers' plan.

Seize the Supply and go to Otaheite.

A woman informs.

The mutiny general.

The ringleader escapes the halter.

King's prudence.

A hurricane.

victs succeeding I never supposed they would attempt an escape, and which was the less to be apprehended from the great lenity they had been treated with.

But when the Supply returned I was informed that the convicts had laid a plan for confining the officers and free people on the island, which was to be carried into execution the first Saturday after the Supply or any store-ship arrived.

It was usual for the commandant to go every Saturday to a farm at a small distance from the settlement. There he was to be seized, and they were then to send, in his name, for the surgeon and several others, who, as they came out, were to be confined with him, and the marines, going on Saturdays into the woods to get cabbage-tree, were to be met on their return and confined with the rest, as well as those who came on shore from the ship, after which two convicts were to go off in a small boat belonging to the island and inform those on board that their boat had been staved in landing. This intelligence they supposed would bring more people and boats on shore. The people were to be secured with the others, and the convicts were then to go and take possession of the ship, with which they intended to go to Otaheite, and there form a settlement.

A woman discovered this scheme to a man belonging to the Sirius, with whom she lived, in hopes of persuading him to leave the island, and some of the convicts, being examined, confessed their intentions.

The commandant, finding there were, only three convicts who had not engaged in this affair, and that it would not be possible to send them all away when a ship should arrive, after taking such steps as he judged would prevent their attempting to carry their scheme into execution, returned them all to their different labours, and when the Supply arrived he received the convicts sent in her.

The convict who had first proposed the scheme was sent here to be tried; but no capital punishment could be inflicted upon him, as no attempt had been made to carry the scheme into execution.

My former letters mentioned that the officer sent to make the settlement on Norfolk Island, and who I had appointed to remain there as superintendent and commandant, was the second lieutenant. of the Sirius. He speaks well of the few he had to depend on, and I beg leave to assure your Lordship that he acted in that affair with great prudence.

It had been thought necessary, after the discovery was made, to cut down all the trees which were within a certain distance of the huts, and which probably saved many lives, for in the following month they had a violent hurricane. It came from

[Image of page 106]

1790 Feb. 12.

Gigantic pines.

Voyage of the Sirius.

Corn for Port Jackson.


Island and shoal.

the south-east, and crossed the island, confining itself to a very narrow space, so that while all the trees on one side of the valley were broken down or torn up by the roots, the trees on the opposite side did not suffer the smallest injury. One tree, which from its situation had been left standing, fell on a granary, which it destroyed. This hurricane was accompanied by very heavy rain, and a torrent of water, which came down from the hills, destroyed all their gardens of Indian corn, as well as doing considerable damage to the provisions.

I do not think the island is subject to hurricanes; if it was, some vestiges would appear, which I am told is not the case. Several of the pines which were blown down measured an hundred and eighty feet in length.

When the Sirius sailed from hence the 2nd of October, 1788, Captain Hunter was to have made the passage round the South Cape, which I am confident will be found the best passage from hence to the Cape of Good Hope; but having the wind southerly when he sailed, he did not attempt that passage, but went round Cape Horn. Arrived at the Cape of Good Hope the 2nd of January. Left it the 20th of February, and anchored here the 8th of May, 1789, having met with a very heavy gale of wind when so close in with the South Cape that it was for some time doubtful if it would be possible to clear it.

By the Sirius we received some seed wheat and barley and four months' flour for the settlement, which was all that ship could bring, with a year's provisions for the ship's company.

After the arrival of the Sirius the Supply was sent to Norfolk Island with provisions, and carried a lieutenant, one noncommissioned officer, and fourteen privates.

Two guns had been landed from the Supply, and a small redoubt was to be erected, which, with this little additional force, will, I presume, prevent the convicts from making any future attempts. The Supply, after landing the people and provisions, had orders to go in search of the reef seen by the Golden Grove, store-ship, and a shoal or island which Lieutenant Shortland informed me (by the Sirius) he had seen in his passage to the northward. The Supply cruized for several days in the latitude and longitude in which Lieutenant Shortland places the island, but returned without seeing it. There is some reason to think that a mistake has been made as to the latitudes in which the island and shoal are placed by Lieutenant Shortland; 5 and I

[Image of page 107]


1790 Feb. 12.

Vegetables and fish.

Cotton and cocoanuts.

New Zealand canoes and idols.

Lord Howe Island.

Rose Hill

trouble your Lordship with this information in case any ship sent into those seas should go to the northward without calling at this port, and which, from the accounts received from the Cape of Good Hope, there is reason to suppose the Bounty, store-ship, has done. The weather did not admit of the Supply's going in search of the shoal seen by the Golden Grove. The Sirius is now under repair; and, when ready for sea, I shall send that ship and the Supply to determine the situation and extent of the shoals and the island.

When the Supply left Norfolk Island the public were all very healthy, the damages sustained by the hurricane had been repaired, and they had vegetables in the greatest abundance. They get fish when the weather permits the boats to go without the reef, and at times in such quantities that fish is served to the people in lieu of salt provisions. They make their lines from the flax-plant; but unfortunately we have not any person who understands how to dress it.

Half a pod of cotton being found on this island, supposed to be brought there by a bird, and a cocoanut which was perfectly sound, and appeared to have been but a short time in the water, being thrown upon the beach, have given some reason to suppose that both those articles will be found on some island at no great distance.

Parts of two canoes, which answer the description given of the canoes of New Zealand, have been found on the rocks, and a wooden figure (very rudely carved), and which in every respect answers the description given of the idols seen in the Friendly Islands, has likewise been found, and probably was carried thither in one of the canoes.

Lord Howe Island has been examined, but no fresh water or good anchorage being found it can be of no other advantage to this settlement than occasionally supplying a few turtle.

I had the honor of informing your Lordship that a settlement was intended to be made at a place I named Rose Hill. At the head of this harbour there is a creek which at half flood has water for large boats to go three miles up, and one mile higher the water is fresh and the soil good. A very industrious man

[Image of page 108]

1790 Feb. 12.


Cook's "meadows."

Hose Hill guard,

Comfort at Sydney Cove.

Ravages of rats.

who I brought from England is employed there at present, 6 and has under his direction one hundred convicts, who are employed in clearing and cultivating the ground. A barn, granary, and other necessary buildings are erected, and seventy-seven acres in corn promise a good crop. The soil is good, and the country for seventy miles to the westward, which is as far as I have examined, lays well for cultivation, but even there the labour of clearing the ground is very great, and I have seen none that can be cultivated without cutting down the timber, except some few particular spots, which, from their situation (lying at a distance from either of the harbours) can be of no advantage to us at present; and I presume the meadows mentioned in "Captain Cook's Voyage" were seen from the high grounds about Botany Bay, and from whence they appear well to the eye, but when examined are found to be marshes, the draining of which would be a work of time, and not to be attempted by the first settlers. But I shall have the honor of giving your Lordship a more particular account of the country hereafter.

The captain's guard which untill lately did duty at Rose Hill is now reduced to a lieutenant and twelve privates, and intended merely as a guard to the store which contains the provisions, and which is in the redoubt; for I am sensible there is nothing to be apprehended from the natives, and the little attention which had been desired of the officers more than what was immediately garrison duty, when at Rose Hill, is now no longer required.

At Sydney Cove all the officers are in good huts and the men in barracks; and, although many unforeseen difficulties have been met with, I believe there is not an individual, from the Governor to the private soldier, whose situation is not more eligible at this time than he had any reason to expect it could be in the course of the three years station; and it is the same with the convicts, and those who have been in any ways industrious have vegetables in plenty. The buildings now carrying on are of brick and stone. The house intended for myself was to consist of only three rooms; but, having a good foundation, has been enlarged, contains six rooms, and is so well built that I presume it will stand for a great number of years.

The stores have been lately overrun with rats, and they are equally numerous in the gardens, where they do considerable damage; and as the loss in the stores could only be known by removing all the provisions, that was done, and many casks of flour and rice were found to be damaged or totally destroyed. The loss in those two articles by the rats since landing has been more than twelve thousand [pounds] weight.

[Image of page 109]


1790 Feb. 12.

Six marines hanged for theft.

How the stores were robbed.

The night-watch.


A marine transported.

A fine climate.

Lost in the bush.

While the stores were under examination the Commissary one morning found that a key had been broken in a lock. This had been done in the night, and a convict, Smith, knew the wards of the key left in the lock to belong to a marine, who, being confined with several others on suspicion, one of them offered himself as an evidence for the Crown, and accused six of his comrades, who were tried, and the charge being fully proved the six were executed. One of those who suffered accused two others, but no proof could be brought against them.

These men had for many months robbed the stores of provisions and spirits, and in a manner that did not expose them to any great risk; for having procured keys for all the locks, they never attempted to rob the store but when one of the party was centinel at the door. The key was in the lock when they unexpectedly heard the patrole, and, in the hurry, they turned the key the wrong way, and not being able to get it out broke it, knowing that the locks were always examined by the patrole.

Vegetables and provisions having been frequently stolen in the night from convicts and others, twelve convicts were chosen as a night-watch, and they have effectually answered the end proposed, no robbery having been committed for several months, and the convicts in general have lately behaved better than I ever expected.

Only two convicts have suffered death in the last year; four were executed the first year. A marine tried for committing a rape on an infant was found guilty; but being particularly recommended for mercy by the criminal court, his sentence was changed to transportation to Norfolk Island for life.

As near two years have now passed since we first landed in this country, some judgment may be formed of the, climate, and I believe a finer or more healthy climate is not to be found in any part of the world. Of 1,030 people who were landed, many of whom were worn out by old age, the scurvy, and various disorders, only seventy-two have died in one-and-twenty months; and by the surgeon's returns it appears that twenty-six of those died from disorders of long standing, and which it is more than probable would have carried them off much sooner in England. Fifty-nine children have been born in the above time.

Since the last ship sailed (November, 1788) two marines and two convicts have been lost in the woods. One convict has been killed by the natives, and ten wounded--for it is impossible to prevent the convicts from straggling, and the natives having been robbed and ill-treated, now attack those they meet unarmed.

Not succeeding in my endeavours to persuade some of the natives to come and live with us, I ordered one to be taken by

[Image of page 110]

1790 Feb. 12.

A native captured.

Carried off by small-pox.

Origin of the disease unknown.

Curious facts.

Provisions damaged.

Reduced ration.

force, which was what I would gladly have avoided, as I knew it must alarm them; but not a native had come near the settlement for many months, and it was absolutely necessary that we should attain their language, or teach them ours, that the means of redress might be pointed out to them if they are injured, and to reconcile them by showing the many advantages they would enjoy by mixing with us. A young man, who appeared to be about twenty-four years of age, was taken the latter end of December [1788], and unfortunately died of the smallpox in May [1789], when he was perfectly reconciled to his situation, and appeared so sensible of the advantages he enjoyed that, fully persuaded he would not leave us, I had for some time freed him from all restraint. 7 He had lived with me for the last two months, and his behaviour gave good reason for showing a more favourable opinion of the people of this country than what has been drawn from the report made by those who formerly touched on this coast.

Whether the small-pox, which has proved fatal to great numbers of the natives, is a disorder to which they were subject before any Europeans visited this country, or whether it was brought by the French ships, we have not yet attained sufficient knowledge of the language to determine. It never appeared on board any of the ships in our passage, nor in the settlement, until some time after numbers of the natives had been seen dead with the disorder in different parts of the harbour, and two men, with a boy of about eight years of age and a girl of eleven, had been brought to the hospital, in the small-pox.

Both the men died, but the boy and girl recovered. These people were brought up the middle and the latter end of April, and the small-pox never appeared in the settlement until the 2nd of May, when a man belonging to the Supply was seized with the disorder and died a few days afterwards; nor has it ever appeared in the settlement except on that man and the native who caught the disorder from the children.

In addition to the loss of provisions which we had sustained by the rats, a very considerable quantity of flour, rice, &c, had been lost and damaged in the passage by the badness of the casks and by a quantity of oil and tar having been put on board of the store-ships.

Although there could be little doubt but that supplies would arrive before the provisions we had in store were expended, it was necessary to guard against accident. I therefore directed only two-thirds of a ration to be issued to those who have hitherto received a full ration, by which our provisions would last until

[Image of page 111]


1790 Feb. 12.


Settlers wanted.

Poor results.

Officers and convict labour.

The fire-stick.

Lost in bush.

June, some few articles excepted. This order, which took place the 1st of November, 1789, included every person in the settlement, and at the same time the Sirius and Supply's ship's companies went to three-fourths allowance.

In December the corn at Rose Hill was got in; the corn was exceeding good. About two hundred bushels of wheat and sixty of barley, with a small quantity of flax, Indian corn, and oats, all which is preserved for seed. Here I beg leave to observe to your Lordship that if settlers are sent out, and the convicts divided amongst them, this settlement will very shortly maintain itself, but without which this country cannot be cultivated to any advantage. At present I have only one person (who has about an hundred convicts under his direction) who is employed in cultivating the ground for the publick benefit, and he has returned the quantity of corn above mentioned into the publick store. The officers have not raised sufficient to support the little stock they have. Some ground I have had in cultivation will return about forty bushels of wheat into store, so that the produce of the labour of the convicts employed in cultivation has been very short of what might have been expected, and which I take the liberty of pointing out to your Lordship in this place, to show as fully as possible the state of this colony, and the necessity of the convicts being employed by those who have an interest in their labour. The giving convicts to the officers has been hitherto necessary, but it is attended with many inconveniences, for which the advantages arising to the officers do not make amends. It will not therefore be continued after the detachment is relieved, unless particularly directed. The plan I should propose for giving the convicts to settlers will be submitted to your Lordship's consideration in another letter. The numbers employed in cultivation will of course be increased, as the necessary buildings are finished, but which will be a work of time; for the numbers in this settlement who do nothing towards their own support exceed those employed for the publick.

My intentions of turning swine into the woods to breed have been prevented by the natives so frequently setting fire to the country

The Sirius, for the conveniency of refitting, had gone into a small cove on the north side of this harbour; and it was customary for the people to walk from the opposite shore to the ship, which one of the mates attempting lost himself in the woods, and every search that could be made to find him proved ineffectual.

From the time our native died, orders had been given to take another whenever an opportunity offered; but they were always on their guard, and I was desirous of it being done without

[Image of page 112]

1790 Feb. 12.

Two natives caught.

One escapes.

Return of the Supply.

The Sirius.

Commendation of King.

Convicts sent to Norfolk Island.

Births and deaths.

being under the necessity of firing upon them. Towards the end of November two natives were taken, 8 and one of them proved to be a chief, who had been frequently mentioned to us as a great warrior. The necessary precautions were taken to prevent their escape, but which was effected by the chief, a fortnight after he was taken, from the neglect of those who had the care of him; the other remains; 9 he lives with me, and every possible means are used to reconcile him to us, and in which I make no doubt but that we shall succeed. The little information I am able to give your Lordship of these people and the country will be the subject of another letter.

In November the Supply sailed for Norfolk Island with some convicts, and returned after being absent about six weeks. All the people on that island were well, and their crops, after all they had suffered from rats, birds, and a worm which had done them considerable damage, so good that they had grain sufficient for six months' bread for every one upon the island, reserving sufficient for their next year's crops.

The third lieutenant of the Sirius 10 had for a considerable time laboured under a disorder, which terminated in the loss of his senses. I therefore appointed another officer in his room. And as the Sirius was now nearly ready for sea, having repaired the damages sustained in the gale of wind, and being strengthened in the best manner our situation permitted, all the officers belonging to her would be necessary when she went to sea, and as Norfolk Island was now settled, and likely to answer the views of Government, I discharged the second lieutenant from the Sirius, 11 and appointed another officer in his room; consequently, that officer, who continues superintendant and commandant of Norfolk Island, will no longer receive any pay from the Admiralty, and I beg leave to recommend him to your Lordship's attention as an officer who has fully merited everything I can say in his favour.

Early in January, 1790, the Supply again sailed for Norfolk Island with more convicts; and in her passage left a small party on Lord Howe Island to turn turtle; but in fifteen days only three were taken, so that no great advantages will at present accrue from thence. The island has fresh water, but no good anchoring-ground.

Since the deaths mentioned in a former part of this letter, one woman has suffered for a robbery, five children have died, and twenty-eight children have been born, making in all twenty-seven deaths and eighty-seven births.

I have, &c,

[Image of page 113]


1790 March.

Discovery and Gorgon.

The Gorgon.

Crew from the Sirius.

North American settlement



SIR,-- Whitehall, March, 1790.

It being the King's intention that his Majesty's ships Discovery and Gorgon--the former of which has been fitted for the purpose of surveying and the latter, as I informed you in my letter No. 6, for the conveyance of troops and stores to New South Wales--should be employed upon an expedition on the north-west coast of America, and his Majesty having, with that view, ordered that the lower-deck guns, carriages, &c, of the Gorgon shall be carried out in her hold, I am commanded to signify to you his Majesty's pleasure that as soon as the said troops and stores shall have been landed from the ship you do direct her commander to mount her guns and to put her in a fit condition as soon as possible for proceeding on that service.

As the present company of that ship is barely sufficient for navigating her, it will be expedient that as many officers and men as can possibly be spared from the Sirius should be lent to her during the expedition, which you will order to be done as soon as possible, and such deficiency as will then remain in the number of her war establishment of men you will complete from the marine corps now serving on shore.

One of the objects of this expedition being to form a settlement on the no.-west coast of America, 12 it is his Majesty's pleasure that you should select from among the people with you a proper number of persons to compose it, and that you should embark them either on board the Discovery or Gorgon.

The extent of this establishment, it is imagined, need not at first exceed thirty persons, a moiety of whom at least should consist of drafts from the new corps, under the command of a discreet subaltern officer, who is to be entrusted with the temporary superintendance of the new settlement. The remainder should consist of two or three of the most intelligent of the overseers, who have lately been sent out, a storekeeper, and any other persons who may be desirous of accompanying them, together with a few of the most deserving of the convicts, to whom you may offer a remission of a part of their service [sentence] as an inducement to go.

[Image of page 114]

1790 March.

Stores, &c.

The command.

Rendezvous at Owyhee.


Articles of barter.

And you will be careful to embark on board these ships such articles of stores, provisions, medicines, and utensils for building, &c, as you may judge sufficient for their use, in order to enable them to fulfil the object of forming such a settlement as may be able to resist any attacks from the natives, and lay the foundation of an establishment for the assistance of his Majesty's subjects in the prosecution of the fur trade from the N. W. coast of America.

As the chief command of this expedition is intended to be entrusted to the captain of one of his Majesty's ships now in the East Indies, directions have been sent to Commodore. Cornwallis to despatch such frigate immediately to Owyhee, one of the Sandwich Islands, situated in the latitude 20° 00' So., and long. 25° 00' Et. from Greenwich, directing her captain to wait there until he shall be joined by the Discovery and Gorgon, when he is to lose no time in making the best of his way to the American coast, agreeably to the enclosed instructions, a copy of which is transmitted to you for your further information. You will entrust the original to the care of the commander of the Discovery, and the duplicate with the commanding officer of the Gorgon. You will despatch both these vessels to the place of rendezvous, at Owyhee, as soon as they are in a situation to proceed thither, and upon their meeting with the frigate above mentioned the commanding officer will deliver to the captain of the frigate the dispatches which you shall have committed to their care, and will put themselves under his orders.

It is hoped that the frigate from the East Indies and the two vessels above mentioned will arrive at Owyhee soon enough to allow some time for refreshment to their crews, and to enable them to be on the coast of America early in the spring; but if, from any unforeseen event, the frigate which Commodore Cornwallis is directed to order upon this service should not reach the Sandwich Islands before the end of the month of April, 1791, it is his Majesty's pleasure that you should direct the senior officer of the two ships to open the dispatches, and proceed with those two ships to execute the instructions, leaving on his departure from thence one of his people with the natives, to be taken up again on his return, or adopting any other mode he may judge more advisable for conveying to the captain of the frigate information of the route he may design to take, with a view to his proceeding to the place of destination.

You will receive by the Discovery and Gorgon certain packages, marked and numbered agreeably to the enclosed list, 13 containing such articles as are most esteemed by the people of the Sandwich Islands and the inhabitants of the American

[Image of page 115]


1790 March.

The Bounty.

Mutineers to be apprehended.

The Sirius to be employed if necessary.

coast, in order to barter with them for provisions, and such other necessaries as they can supply, which packages they are to deliver to the commander of the frigate, if they should join him on their arrival at the Sandwich Islands, or to make use of themselves in case of his absence.

On the return of the Gorgon to Port Jackson from the intended expedition you will order the officers and men belonging to the Sirius on board their proper ship, and after embarking the remainder of the marines you will direct Lieutenant Harvey to make the best of his way with them to England, agreeably to the orders he has already received on that head.

In consequence of the information received from Lt. Bligh, late commander of H. M. ship the Bounty, of a mutiny having taken place in that vessel, by which he was deprived of his command, his Maj'y has judged it proper that the Gorgon should be directed, on her return from the N.-W. coast of America, to touch at the Society Islands, and eventually at the Friendly Islands, in order, if possible, to apprehend the mutineers, a list of whom, rec'd from Lt. Bligh, is enclosed. If he should succeed in this object, he is directed to bring those men, or any of them, in confinement, to Port Jackson. And you will, in that case, send them home in confinement by the Gorgon, in order that they may be brought to trial in this country for an offence so prejudicial to the discipline of his Majesty's service.

If the Bounty should be recovered and brought to Port Jackson, it is left in your discretion to detain her or employ her in such manner as you shall judge best.

If, by any accident, the Gorgon or Discovery should be disabled so as to be unfit to be employed on this service, it is left to your discretion to send the Sirius in the room of the Gorgon, and any light vessel, if any such should then be under your orders, in the room of the Discovery.

I have, &c,



The business on which you are employed by Government, for the due execution of which you will be entitled to the salary

[Image of page 116]

1790 Dec.


Climate. Cultivation.


Plants to be collected.

Water. Seeds.

Specimens to be collected.

The King's property.

you have stipulated to receive, consists of the following articles:--

In all places at which the ship you are on board shall touch and make a sufficient stay you are--

1st. To examine into the nature of the soil--whether it is sandy, gravelly, loamy, boggy, &c, &c, and carefully to remark the size of the trees that grow upon it, as well as whether they stand thick and close, or distant and separate one from the other.

2nd. The nature of the climate as far as you are able to judge of it from the productions.

3rd. The probable degree of fertility of the soil; whether, in case it should hereafter be found expedient to send out settlers, the usual grains, pulse, and fruit of Europe are likely to succeed, and if not, what other sort of produce would in your opinion be the most suitable.

4th. To enumerate, as far as you may find yourself able, the different trees, shrubs, plants, grasses, ferns, and mosses that are found in each country, noting particularly the places where those that are uncommon have been met with.

5th. To dig up plants of such as you consider most curious, plant them in the hatch which is under your care, and preserve them to the best of your ability for his Majesty's use on your return.

6th. You are from time to time, whenever the ship shall be watered, to acquaint the commanding officer what quantity of water the plants in your hatch are likely to consume by the week or the day, that he may be enabled to make proper provision for their future supply.

7th. You are to collect seeds of all such curious plants as you shall meet with at the season of ripening, and packing them carefully, when fully dry, in paper packages carefully sealed up, send them home by every opportunity that occurs for his Majesty's use.

8th. You are to dry specimens of all such plants, &c, as you shall judge worthy of being brought home, and more especially of all those of which you shall procure either living plants or seeds, in order that those who are employed in examining the plants you shall bring home may be assisted in ascertaining their names and qualities; and of these you are to deliver one compleat set to the Sec. of State for the Home Department.

9th. All the seeds of plants and the living plants you shall collect in your voyage you are to consider as wholly and entirely the property of his Majesty, and you are not on any account whatever to part with any seeds, plants, cuttings, slips, or parts of plants for any purpose whatever but his Majesty's use.

[Image of page 117]


1790 Dec.



The natives.



A collection of specimens to be made.

10th. In all your excursions on shore you are to examine with attention the beds of brooks and torrents and all other places where the natural strata of the earth are laid bare by water or otherwise, and wherever you meet with minerals that bear the appearance of oars [ores] of metals, coal, or limestone, or any other thing likely in your opinion to be usefull, you are to collect and preserve specimens of them carefully, noting the exact places in which each was found; you are also to search for similar substances among the pebbles and sand brought down by brooks or rivers from the inland country, and if you suspect them to contain even the most minute particles of metallic matter, for which you are to search with your microscope, you are to bring home samples of them.

11th. You are to inform yourself, as well as you are able, what sort of beasts, birds, and fishes are found in each place where you shall touch that are likely to prove usefull either as food or in commerce; and pay particular attention to the various modes of taking them which the natives or Europeans use. You are to note the places where seals or whales are found in abundance, to pay all possible attention to the natural history of the sea-otter, and to learn all you can concerning the wild sheep said to be found on the coast, and, if practicable, procure the skin of one of them for your employer.

12th. In all places where you can procure a friendly intercourse with the natives you are to make carefull enquiry into their manners, customs, ceremonies, religion, language, manufacture, and every other thing in your opinion likely to interest mankind. And if you find the abominable custom of eating human flesh, which they are said to practice, to be really in use among them, you are, if you can do it with safety and propriety, to be present at some of their horrid repasts in order to bear witness to the existence of a practice all but incredible to the inhabitants of civilised countries, and discover, if you can, the original motives of a custom for which it seems impossible to suggest any probable cause.

13th. You are to keep a regular journal of all occurrences that happen in the execution of your duty, and enter in it all observations you shall make on every subject you are employed to investigate, which journal you are on your return to deliver to his Majesty's Sec. of State for the Home Department, or to such person as he shall direct to receive them; and also one compleat collection of all the specimens of animals, vegetables, and minerals that you shall have procured, as well as such curious articles of the cloths, arms, implements, and manufactures of the natives as you shall deem worthy of particular notice.

[Image of page 118]

1790 Dec.

Mr. Menzies and his duties.

Surgeon of Discovery.


FURNISH Mr. M. [Menzies] with such proportion of the trade for Indians entrusted to his charge as may enable him to hire the assistance [of] the Indians as guides and to carry his luggage, and to induce them to give him such information as he may want from them.

That the plant-hatch be put under his care and direction, and that neither lumber or dogs the property of any person be put in it.

That he be allowed his share of the conveniences of the gunroom in point of store-rooms, &c, &c.

Assist him with boats when they can be spared from the duty of the ship.

Assist him with men and any such heavy luggage as he may have occasion to bring on board, particularly earth for his plants, as well as the plants themselves.

Take on board water for the plants in such quantities as shall be found necessary for the support of the plants on the requisition of Mr. M. [Menzies].

To be appointed surgeon of the Discovery, which he understands is intended to bear two mates.

To occupy the cabbin on board her which was intended for him as naturalist.

To receive £80 a year as a salary.

To have an assistant, who is to receive £20 a year able pay and ship's provision.

To obey such instructions as he shall receive relative to an investigation of the natural productions, comparative fertility, manners of natives of the countries he is to visit, &c.

To deliver his journal to his employers on his return, provided that if it is thought proper for publication he shall be allowed to publish it for his own benefit.

Given to Mr. Nepean, Deer. 15, 1790. 22nd, he told me Ld. G. 15 had agreed to the whole proposition, and ordered a letter to be wrote to Mr. Martin, 16 to request the appointment of surgeon for Mr. M. 17


Jan. 1.

Jan. 1st, 1791.

Mr. Menzies to receive £150 a year for every charge of salary, mess, servants' wages, &c, &c. Himself and his servant to be entered as supernumeraries for provision only, but his servant to

[Image of page 119]


1791 Jan. 1.

be placed in some situation in which his time as a seaman may go on. His servant was in the President's foretop during the late armament, and is 17 years of age.

Jan. 10.


Mount Pitt.

Deep soil.




Value of the Norfolk pine.


Norfolk Island is situated in the latitude 29°, and in the longitude of 168° east. Its form is nearly an oblong, and contains from twelve to fourteen thousand acres.

The face of the country is hilly, and some of the valleys are tolerably large for the size of the island. Many of the hills are very steep, and some few so very perpendicular that they cannot be cultivated; but where such situations are they will do very well for fuel. On the tops of the hills are some extensive flatts.

Mount Pitt is the only remarkable high hill on the island, and is about one hundred and fifty fathoms high. The clifts which surround the island are about forty fathoms high and perpendicular. The basis of the island is a hard, firm clay. The whole island is covered with a thick wood, choaked up with underwood.

The island is well supplied with many streams of very fine water, many of which are sufficiently large to turn any number of mills. These springs are full of very large eels.

From the coast to the summit of Mount Pitt is a continuation of the richest and deepest soil in the world, which varys from a rich black mold to a fat red earth. We have dug down forty feet and found the same soil.

The air is very wholesome, and the climate may be called a very healthy one. There has been no sickness since I first landed on the island.

There are five kind of trees on the island which are good timber, viz., the pine, live oak, a yellow wood, a hard black wood, and a wood not unlike the English beach. The pine-trees are of a great size, many of which are from one hundred and eighty to two hundred and twenty feet in height, and from six to nine feet in diameter. Those trees, which are from one hundred to one hundred and eighty feet in height, are in general sound; from the root to the lower branches there is from eighty to ninety feet of sound timber, the rest is too hard and knotty for use; it sometimes happens that after cutting off twenty feet from the butt it becomes rotten or shakey, for which reason no dependence can be put in it for large masts or yards. The timber of the pine is very usefull in buildings, and is plentifull

[Image of page 120]

1791 Jan. 10.

The flax-plant.

Dressers wanted.





The coast.

Sydney Bay.

along the coast; its dispersed situation in the interior parts of the island is well calculated for erecting such buildings as may be necessary. From what I have seen of this wood, I think it is very durable. Two boats have been built of it, and have answered the purpose fully.

The live oak, yellow wood, black wood, and beach are all of a close grain, and are a durable wood.

The flax-plant of New Zealand grows spontaneously in many parts of the island, but mostly abounds on the sea-coast, where there is a very great quantity of it. The leaves of which the flax is made is, when full-grown, six feet long and six inches wide. Each plant contains seven of those leaves. A strong woody stalk rises from the center, which bears the flowers. It seeds annually, and the old leaves are forced out by young ones every year. Every method has been tryed to work it; but I much fear that untill a native of New Zealand can be carried to Norfolk Island that the method of dressing that valuable commodity will not be known; and could that be obtained, I have no doubt but Norfolk Island would very soon cloath the inhabitants of New South Wales. 19

There are a great quantity of pidgeons, parrots, hawkes, and other smaller birds, which are now in a wild state.

The ground is much infested with different kinds of the grub worm, which are very destructive to the growth of vegetables. They are mostly troublesome about the spring. It is to be hoped that when more ground is cleared away that this evil will cease.

There is no quadruped on the island except the rat, which is much smaller than the Norway rat. These vermin were very troublesome when first we landed, but at present there are but very few.

The coasts of the island abound with very line fish. No opportunitys were ever lost of sending the boat out, which enabled us to make a saving of two pounds of meat each man a week.

The coasts of the island are in general steep, too, and excepting at Sydney, Anson, Ball, and Cascade Bays, they are inaccessible, being surrounded by steep perpendicular clifts, rising from the sea. Some rocks are scattered about close to the shore.

Sydney Bay, on the south side of the island, is where the settlement is made. Landing at this place entirely depends

[Image of page 121]


1791 Jan. 10

Anson Bay

Ball Bay

Prevailing winds





Vines and oranges.


Land in cultivation.

on the wind and the weather. I have seen as good landing as in the Thames for a fortnight or three weeks together, and I have often seen it impractable to land for ten or twelve days successively, but it is much oftener good landing than bad.

Anson Bay is a small bay with a sandy beach, where landing is in general good, with an offshore wind and moderate weather; but as the interior parts of the island are so difficult of access from thence no ships' boats have ever landed there.

Ball Bay is on the S. E. side of the island. The beach is a large loose stone. When landing is bad in Sydney Bay it is very good here, as it also is in Cascade Bay, on the north side of the island.

During the winter months, viz., from April to August, the general winds are the south and S. W., with heavy gales at times. In the summer the S. E. wind blew almost constant.

The spring is visible in August, but the native trees and many plants on the island is in a constant state of flowering. The summer is warm, and sometimes the droughts are very great.

All the grain and European plants seeded in December. From February to August may be called the rainy season, not that I think there is any stated times for rain in these months, as it is sometimes very fine weather for a fortnight together, but when the rain does fall it is in torrents. I do not remember above three claps of thunder during the time I was on the island. The winter is very pleasant, and it never freezes.

The proper time for sowing wheat and barley is from May to August, and is got in in December. That which has been sowed has produced twenty-fivefold, and I think the increase may be greater. Two bushells of barley sowed in 1789 produced twenty-four bushells of a sound full grain.

The Indian corn produces well, and is, in my opinion, the best grain to cultivate in any quantity, on account of the little trouble attending its growth and manufacturing for eating.

The Rio Janeiro sugar-cane grows very well, and is thriving.

Vines and oranges are very thriving; of the former there will be a great quantity in a few years. Potatoes thrive remarkably well, and yield a very great increase. I think two crops a year of that article may be got with great ease.

Every kind of garden vegetable thrives well, and comes to great perfection.

The quantity of ground cleared and in cultivation belonging to the publick was, on the 13th March, 1790, from twenty-eight to thirty-two acres, and about eighteen cleared by free people and convicts for their gardens.

London, 10 Jany., 1791.

[Image of page 122]

1791 Feb. 11.

Expedition to America.

The Sandwich Islands to be examined.

Convention between England and Spain.

Restoration of land.


MY LORDS, -- Whitehall, 11th February, 1791.

His Majesty having judged it expedient that an expedition should be immediately undertaken for acquiring a more complete knowledge than has yet been obtained of the northwest coast of America, I am commanded to signify to your Lordships his Majesty's commands that the necessary measures should be adopted for that purpose. The Discovery and Chatham, brig, being, as I understand, in readiness for this service, it is desirable that no time should be lost in their proceeding to the Sandwich Islands, where the officer commanding those vessels should be instructed to winter.

During the time of his remaining at those islands he is to employ himself in the survey and examination of them; and as soon as the weather is favourable, which may be expected to be in February or at latest in March, 1792, he should be instructed to repair to the American coast for the purpose of his survey.

It having been agreed by the late convention between his Majesty and the Catholic King 21 that the buildings and tracts of land situated on the north-west coast of the continent of North America, or on islands adjacent to that continent, of which the subjects of his Britannick Majesty were dispossessed about the month of April, 1789, by a Spanish officer, shall be restored to the said British subjects, the Court of Spain have agreed to send orders for that purpose to their officers in that part of the world; but as the particular specification of the parts to be restored may still require some farther time, the King's orders for this purpose must be sent out to the Sandwich Islands by a vessel which may carry out a farther store of provisions for the Discovery and Chatham, and should sail from this country in time to reach the Sandwich Islands in the course of the ensuing winter. If in consequence of the arrangement to be made with the Court of Spain it should hereafter be determined that the Discovery should proceed in the first instance to Nootka 22 or elsewhere, in order to receive from the Spanish officers such lands or buildings as are to be restored to his Majesty's subjects, orders to that effect will be sent out by the vessel above men-

[Image of page 123]


1791 Feb. 11.

But not to be waited for after January, 1792.

Objects of the expedition.

Water communication and commerce.

European settlements.

Commercial intercourse.

Scope of survey.

The commander's discretion.

tioned. But if no such orders should he received by the commanding officer of the Discovery previous to the end of January, 1792, he should be directed not to wait for them at the Sandwich Islands, but to proceed in such course as he may judge most expedient for the examination of the coast of north-west America comprised between lat. 60 north and lat. 30 north.

In the examination of this coast the principal objects which he is to keep in view are:--

First. --The acquiring accurate information with respect to the nature and extent of any water communication which may tend in any considerable degree to facilitate an intercourse for the purposes of commerce between the north-west coast and the countries upon the opposite side of the continent which are inhabited or occupied by his Majesty's subjects.

Secondly. --The ascertaining with as much precision as possible the number, extent, and situation of any settlements which have been made within the limits above mentioned by any European nation, and particularly by Spain, and the time when such settlement was first made.

With respect to the first point, it would be of great importance if it should be found that by means of any considerable inlets of sea, or even of large rivers, communicating with the lakes in the interior of the continent, such an intercourse as I have already mentioned could be established. It will, therefore, be necessary that for the purpose of ascertaining this point the survey should be so conducted as not only to ascertain the general line of the sea-coast, but also the direction and extent of all such considerable inlets, whether made by arms of the sea or by the mouths of large rivers, as may be likely to lead to or facilitate such communication as I have described.

This being the principal object of the examination, as far as relates to this part of the subject, it will probably appear to your Lordships that a considerable degree of discretion must be left to the officer commanding the expedition as to the best means of executing the service which his Majesty has in view. 23

* * * *

But as far as any general instructions can here be given on the subject, it seems desireable that, in order to avoid any unnecessary loss of time, he should be directed not to pursue any

[Image of page 124]

1791 Feb. 11.

Only navigable waters to be examined.

The commander to have charge of both vessels.

Course of survey.

Nootka and Cook's River.

Communication to the southward more important.

inlet or river further than it shall appear to be navigable by vessels of such burthen as might safely navigate the Pacific Ocean. But as the examination of such inlets, even to the extent here stated, may possibly require that the officer commanding the expedition should proceed up them further than it might be safe for the Discovery to go, it seems necessary that such officer should be authorised by your Lordships to take the command in person of the Chatham, brig, at all such times and in such situations as he shall judge it necessary or expedient, and that corresponding orders should be given to the officer commanding the latter vessel.

The particular course of the survey must, of course, depend on the different circumstances which may arise in the execution of a service of this nature. It will, however, be proper that the officer commanding on this expedition should be directed to pay a particular attention to the examination of the supposed Straits of Juan de Fuca, said to lay between 48 and 49 north lat., and to lead to an opening through which the sloop Washington is reported to have passed in 1789, and to have come out again to the northward of Nootka. 24 The discovery of a near communication between any such sea or strait and any river running into or from the Lake of the Woods, which is commonly laid down nearly in the same latitude, would be particularly useful. If the vessels employed on this service should fail in discovering any such inlet as I have spoken of to the southward of Cook's River, there appears the greatest probability that it will be found that this river rises in some of the lakes already known to our Canadian traders and to the servants of the Hudson's Bay Company. This point it would in that case be material to ascertain with as much precision as the then existing circumstances of the expedition may allow. But the discovery of any similar communication more to the southward, should any such exist, would be much more advantageous for the purposes of commerce, and should therefore be preferably attended to. With respect to the second of the points above mentioned, it is probable that more particular instructions will be given by the vessel to be sent to the Sandwich Islands after the Discovery. But if not, the officer commanding the expedition is to be particularly directed in the execution of this and of every other part of the service with which he is entrusted, to avoid with the utmost caution the giving any ground of jealousy or complaint to the subjects or officers of his

[Image of page 125]


1791 Feb. 11.

Keep friends with Spain.

Interchange of information.

Foreigners to be treated as friends.

Two summers allowed for the work.

Return by Cape Horn.

Western coast of South America.

Disputes with the natives to be avoided


Catholic Majesty; and if he should fall in with any Spanish ships employed on any service similar to that committed to him, he is to afford to the officer commanding such ships every possible degree of assistance and information, and he is to offer to him that they should make to each other reciprocally a free and unreserved communication of all plans and charts of discoveries made by them in their respective voyages.

If in the course of any part of this service his Majesty's ships or officers should meet with the subjects or vessels of any other power or state, they are to treat them in the most friendly manner, and to be careful not to do anything which may give occasion to any interruption of that peace which now happily subsists between his Majesty and all other powers.

The whole of the survey above mentioned, if carried on with a view to the objects here stated, without too minute and particular an examination of the detail of the different parts of the coast laid down by it, may, as I understand, probably be completed in two summers. In the intermediate winter the ships are to be directed to return to the Sandwich Islands, and during their continuance there to endeavor to complete any part that may be unfinished of their examination of those islands.

After the conclusion of the survey in the second summer the commanding officer should be directed, supposing the state and circumstances of his ships should admit of it, to return by Cape Horn, for which the season will then probably be favourable. It seems doubtful how far the time may admit of his making any particular examination of the western coast of South America. But if this should be practicable, he should begin such examination from the south point of the Island of Chiloe, which is in about 44 south latitude; and he should direct his attention to ascertaining what is the most southward Spanish settlement on that coast, and what harbours there are south of any such settlement.

In the execution of every part of this service it is very material that the commanding officer should be instructed to use every possible care to avoid disputes with the natives of any of the parts where he may touch, and that he should be particularly attentive to endeavor by presents and by all other means to conciliate their friendship and confidence.

I herewith enclose to your Lordships lists of such articles as have been procured for the purpose of presents. These will be delivered into the care of the commanding officer, to be disposed of by him according to the regulations which have been observed in similar cases.

I am, &c,

[Image of page 126]

1791 April 18.

Judicial proceedings at Norfolk Island.

Law-books required.


Flax manufacture.



Dear SIR, -- Gorgon, Teneriffe, April 18th, 1791.

After a very tedious passage of a month from Portsmouth we arrived here the 15th inst., and I suppose shall sail about the 21st; but as no vessel is yet at this place bound to Europe, it will be some time before you can receive this.

I must once more remind you of the necessity of some arrangement being made respecting the judicial proceedings on N. I. I am certain that when you consider the great number of inhabitants on that island, the necessity of that business being arranged will be obvious to you. A sett of common-form law books will be necessary, such as will give necessary information, and not lead one into the maze of law. I should think these books would be Burn's "Justice," Jacobs's "Law Dictionary," and Blackstone's "Commentaries." Should any other be necessary, I should suppose that a list of the books supplied Mr. Collins might be found at some of the offices.

Coals, seines, fishing lines and hooks will also be great essentials, and absolutely necessary.

We have a great deal of room [rheum] on board the Gorgon, and I am fearfull we shall have as much all the passage.

Should the manufacturing of the flax-plant on Norfolk Island be thought an object, which it must be, were it only to cloath those who are now there, two or three New Zealanders would be necessary to show how the operation of separating the flaxy from the vegetable part of the plant is performed, and without that assistance I do not think we shall succeed, as every method we could devise has been tried already, but without success.

If there could be a possibility of my being allowed the whole of the salary from my leaving Norfolk Island till I arrive there again, it would make a material sum to me. Major Ross receives his appointment as Lt.-Governor independent of N. I., and so I came home on service. I refer my claim to your friendship, and if it is customary to make any allowance for expences going out, it will be a little help to me, as my mess to New South Wales will be near £50. Should this be a customary allowance, I hope I shall not be excluded, and have desired my agent to wait upon you. If the first is improper, and the second unusual, no more can be done.

The enclosed is a letter for Mr. Davidson, in which is a receipt for some articles sent on board the Gorgon, and which would have been sent from Spithead, but as our departure from Spithead soon followed my getting to Portsmouth, and having much to do, it did not occur to me till too late.

[Image of page 127]


1791 April 18.

Two English ships, which from their appearance we took to be transports, passed this island on the 16th, standing to the southward. I believe Capt. P. [Parker] intends touching at St. Iago. I beg my respectfull comp'ts to Mrs. Nepean.

I am, &c,

July 5.

The Pitt.

Useful convicts.

A vessel in frame.


Further supplies


SIR, -- Whitehall, 5 July, 1791.

Agreeably to the intimation which was made to you by Lord Grenville in his letter, No. 10, of the 19th of February last, the ship Pitt has been taken up, and will proceed with three-hundred and fifty-six male and fifty-six female convicts to Port Jackson the first fair wind.

In selecting the convicts who compose the present embarkation care has been taken that no persons but such as are likely to be useful in the settlement will now be sent out. It will, I am afraid, be impossible, unless the Pitt should be detained longer than is expected, to furnish you by her with copies of the several Orders of Council for fixing the destination of these people; but, as another vessel will be dispatched to you in the course of the autumn with a further number of convicts, I shall avail myself of that opportunity of forwarding them to you.

You will receive by the Pitt a vessel in frame, which, when set up, will, I have no doubt, be found extremely useful to you; and also a proportion of salted beef and pork for four hundred convicts for twelve months. The supply was confined to these articles on the idea that, with the grain produced in the settlements, the flour already sent from home, the quantity purchased at Batavia, and the supply intended to be forwarded to you from Calcutta, you would not, at least for the present, be in want of flour or rice. I shall, however, before the departure of the next ship, endeavour to form the best opinion I can from your communications of the exact state of the settlement in this respect, and shall then make such preparation as may appear requisite for furnishing you with such further supplies as you may be supposed to stand in need of. The tonnage taken up in stowing away the vessel in frame has prevented you receiving by this opportunity some articles, particularly the clothing for the convicts now embarked, which could not, from the want of room, be taken on board.

[Image of page 128]

1791 July 5.

North American possessions.

Captain Vancouver's instructions.


Major Grose.

The ship Daedalus will proceed in the course of a few days to the north-west coast of America, to receive possession of the several places there which, in consequence of the late convention between his Majesty and the King of Spain, are to be restored. 27 This vessel, after the performance of that service and delivering to Captain Vancouver (employed in surveying the said coast) such stores and provisions as he may be able to take on board, will, agreeably to the intimation made to you by Lord Grenville in his letter before referred to, repair to New South Wales, where she may be expected early in the year 1793, and her commander will then follow your orders, either for going to Calcutta or elsewhere, for the purpose of procuring supplies. It is probable, however, that Captain Vancouver will not be able to take on board so much of the cargo of the Daedalus as may be sufficient to enable him to execute the orders he has received; if it should so happen, he will apply to you to order the Daedalus to rejoin him at the Sandwich Islands during the following winter with the remainder of her cargo; and on receiving such application you will comply therewith, or send some other vessel, which may then be with you, with those supplies, and any others he may stand in need of, which the settlement under your government may, without inconvenience, be able to furnish. Major Grose proceeds in the Pitt with one company of his corps; the other will follow in the next ship. The disposition which has in many instances been shown by the convicts to mutiny during the passage appears to render a military guard at all times indispensably necessary. 28

July 6.



MY LORDS, -- 6th July, 1791.

I transmit to your Lordships herewith the duplicate and translation of a letter from Count Florida Blanca, 30 signifying his Catholic Majesty's orders to the Spanish officer commanding at Nootka to cause such officer as may be appointed on the part of his Majesty to be put in possession of the buildings and districts

[Image of page 129]


1791 July 6.

The Daedalus.


To wait at Nootka.

To make friends with the Spaniards

and the natives.

or parcells of land therein described, which were occupied by his subjects in the month of April, 1789, agreeably to the first article of the late convention; and also to deliver up any persons in the service of British subjects who may have been detained in those parts.

The Daedalus transport having, I understand, taken on board the provisions and stores demanded by Capt. Vancouver for the supply of the Discovery and Chatham, tender, it is his Majesty's pleasure that your Lordships should order Lieut. Hergest, her commander, the moment she is ready for sea, to proceed with her to the Sandwich Islands, and on meeting with Captain Vancouver to deliver to him the letters above mentioned relative to the restitutions, and to put himself under his direction for the execution of this service, in order that Capt. Vancouver may be impeded as little as possible in the progress of his intended survey; but as the season is now so far advanced, it appears extremely probable that Captain Vancouver will have left the Sandwich Islands before the arrival of the Daedalus, and if it should so happen, Lieut. Hergest should be directed to make the best of his way to Nootka, where he may expect to be met by a Spanish officer, to whom he is to deliver Count Florida Blanca's letter, and to receive from him, on the part of his Majesty, possession of the buildings and districts or parcells of land of which his Majesty's subjects were possessed at that port, as well as at Port Cox and any other places on that coast; and having so done he is to await at Nootka until he shall be joined by Capt. Vancouver, who, as your Lordships will see by an extract of a letter from him, may be expected there in the course of the next summer.

During L't Hergest's continuance at Nootka or elsewhere on the American coast, he is to avoid with the utmost caution the giving any ground of complaint to the subjects or officers of his Catholic Majesty whom he may meet with, and to treat them in the most amicable and friendly manner; and if he should fall in with any Spanish ships employed on the said coast, he is to afford to the officer commanding such ships every possible degree of assistance and information, and he is to offer to him that they should make to each other reciprocally a free and unreserved communication of all plans and charts of discoveries made by them during their respective voyages. He is also to be particularly enjoined to treat in the most friendly manner the subjects or vessels of any other power or state or any of the native Indians which he may happen to meet with, and to be careful not to do anything which may give occasion to any interruption of that peace which now happily subsists between his Majesty and all other powers.

[Image of page 130]

1791 July 6.

Not to go southward of lat. 30° N.


The Daedalus to go to Port Jackson with live-stock.


The coast of America.

Your Lordships will likewise instruct L't Hergest on no account whatever to touch at any port on the continent of America to the southward of the lat. of 30° No., unless from any accident he should find it necessary for his immediate safety to take shelter there, and in case of such an event to continue there no longer than may be absolutely necessary. This restriction should also be strongly enforced on Capt. Vancouver, in order to prevent his having any communication with that part of the coast comprised within the lat. above mentioned and that part of South America where on his return home he is directed to commence his intended survey, that any complaints on the part of Spain upon this point may, if possible, be prevented.

From the nature of the service on which Capt. Vancouver is employed, a variety of circumstances may occur which may prevent his reaching the port of Nootka during the ensuing summer. If it should so happen, or that he does not arrive there before the month of November, it will be proper that Lieut. Hergest should be directed to proceed from thence to Karahoa Bay, and endeavour to fall in with him there or elsewhere in the Sandwich Islands, where Capt. Vancouver proposes to pass the winter.

As the Daedalus, after this service shall have been performed, is intended to be employed in N. S. Wales under the orders of Governor Phillip, it will be proper that your Lordships should direct Capt. Vancouver not to detain her at Nootka or at the Sandwich Islands any longer than may be absolutely necessary, but to dispatch her to Port Jackson with such live stock and other refreshments as may be likely to be of use in the settlement there, directing L't Hergest to touch at New Zealand in his way and endeavour to take with him a flax-dresser or two, in order that the new settlers may, if possible, be properly instructed in management of that valuable plant. Previous, however, to his dispatching the Daedalus he will consider whether, in case of his not being able to take on board the whole of her cargo, any future supply of those articles will be necessary to enable him to continue his intended survey, and, if so, that he will be careful to send notice thereof to Governor Phillip, who, on the receipt of such application, will be directed to redispatch the Daedalus or to send some other vessel to him with the remainder of those supplies, and any others which he may be able to furnish to such rendezvous as Capt. Vancouver may think fit to appoint.

I enclose to your Lordships herewith a sketch of the coast of America, extending from Nootka down to the latitude 47° 30", including the inlet or Gulph of Juan de Fuca, referred to in my former dispatch. 31 The surveys from which this sketch was

[Image of page 131]


1791 July 6.

Captives to be released.

compiled are said to have been made by one of the ships under M. de Martinez, in the year 1790, and will probably be found to be of use on the intended expedition. This sketch was obtained by Lord St. Helens from Count Florida Blanca, and I have the. satisfaction of informing your Lordships that from the declarations which have lately been made by that Minister there appears to be the strongest disposition on the part of his Court that every assistance and information should be given to his Majesty's officers employed upon that coast, with a view to the enabling them to carry their orders into full execution.

If either Capt. Vancouver or Lieut. Hergest during their continuance on the American coast should meet with any of the Chinese who were engaged by Mr. Meares and his associates, or any of his Majesty's subjects who may have been in captivity, they are to be directed to receive them on board, and to accommodate them in the best manner they may be able, until such time as opportunities may be found of sending them to the different places to which they may be desirous of being conveyed.


July 17.

Voyage of the Discovery and Chatham.


The Gorgon.


Discovery, in Simon's Bay,

SIR, -- Cape of Good Hope, 17th July, 1791.

I have the pleasure to inform you that on the tenth of this month we arrived in this bay in perfect health. Indeed, the whole of our people seem to enjoy that blessing in an infinite superior degree than on our departure from England. We have found the Discovery to answer in every respect equal, and in some instances beyond, our expectations. In the Chatham we have not been so fortunate, as she is neither so comfortable at sea, nor doth she sail at all equal to what was expected, being much inferior in those points to the Discovery. We are recruiting our provisions and refitting the vessels with all possible dispatch, and I trust in about a fortnight shall be able to proceed on our voyage. I shall, however, at that period do myself the pleasure of again addressing you; I only now take the opportunity of the departure of the Warren Hastings of informing you of our arrival, and that I had the pleasure of finding here the Gorgon, with Captain Parker and Captain King. The former sailed on Friday from this bay, and, I believe, to-day arrived in Table Bay, in order to take in the live stock and such of the Guardian's remaining stores as she could conveniently stow, in order to save the expence of

[Image of page 132]

1791 July 17.

Transports for Port Jackson.

transporting them from Cape Town hither, which is very exorbitant. The Active, Queen, Albemarle, Barrington, and Britannia, Port Jackson transports, are here, and will be able to take with them all the remaining part of salt meat of the Guardian's cargo. The Gorgon takes her cable and such of the refuse of stores as will remain. It is at present in contemplation to settle and close the accounts of that unfortunate business.

At the eve of our departure I shall write you fully respecting ourselves, until when I beg leave to say,

I have, &c,

Aug. 9.

A blot in geography.

Proposed exploration.

New Holland and Van Diemen's Land.


Discovery, Fals [False] Bay, Cape of Good Hope,

MY LORD, -- August, ye 9th, 1791.

Since receiving my instructions at Falmouth for the prosecution of our voyage I have much regreted not being fortunate enough in a farther interview with your Lordship to have gained your final opinion respecting the examination of that extent of coast of the S. W. side of New Holland, which in the present age appears a real blot in geography, particularly when we reflect on the many vessels that in this improved age of navigation have passed the meridians; we have every reason to suppose it occupies not more than 150 leagues to the south of it without endeavouring to bring home any farther information respecting that extensive country. And as it is my wish as well as my ambition through the course of this voyage that the whole of our time should be usefully occupied in acquiring every knowledge of the distant regions we are to visit, and on considering that Captain Cook's chart of the Sandwich Islands has left me but a small field to occupie two winters in their farther examination, therefore, as the depth of winter in this hemisphere is passed over and the spring fast advancing, and likewise as when I had the honour of communicating my wishes to prosecute such an examination your Lordship seemed highly to approve of the idea, it is my intention to fall in with the S. W. Cape of New Holland, and should I find the shores capable of being navigated without much hazard, to range its coast and determine whether it and Van Diemen's Land are joined, which from all information at present extant

[Image of page 133]


1791 Aug. 9.


Presents for the Sandwich Islands.

appears somewhat doubtfull. I should be exceeding sorry to loose this opportunity of throwing some light on the above subject, having sufficient time to do it and reach the Sandwich Islands, refresh, &c, &c, prior to proceeding on the American coast agreeable to my instructions.

I shall, however, prosecute this designe with the utmost caution, and should I find it attended with intricacy and danger, ever having the object of our voyage in view, abandon it and proceed into the Pacific Ocean.

I have taken this liberty of informing you of my intentions, judging it not unlikely that an opportunity may shortly offer of informing your Lordship how far I have been able to put them in execution. And have only to beg a few moments intrusion farther on your leisure to say--Mr. Menzies having applied to me for some spirits for the preservation of the different natural curiosities he may fall in with, I have thought proper to add to the bill some breeding sheep, garden seeds, &c, &c, which I intend as presents to the different chiefs of the Sandwich Islands. I shall likewise, as there are plenty of goats at Otaheite, which lays on my route to the northward from thence, procure a stock of those animals for the Sandwich Islands. The amount of the things purchased here being about 334 rix dollars, I have taken the liberty of drawing on the Treasury; for which with a letter of advice have transmitted them attested vouchers, and your Lordship's giving directions for the same to be paid will oblige him who has the honour to be, &c,



[This document does not appear in the "Historical Records of New South Wales," but is obtained from "A Voyage of Discovery to the North Pacific Ocean and Round the World," by Captain George Vancouver, 1801, pp. 67 to 74. --THE EDITOR.]

By the Commissioners for executing the office of Lord High Admiral of Great Britain and Ireland, &c.

LIEUTENANT Hergest, commanding the Daedalus transport, (by whom you will receive this), being directed to put himself under your command, and to follow your orders for his further proceedings; you are hereby required and directed to take him, and the said transport, under your command accordingly; receiving from her the provisions and stores intended for the use of the sloop you command, and the Chatham armed tender, or

[Image of page 134]


such part thereof as the said ship and tender shall be able to stow.

And whereas you will receive herewith a duplicate of a letter from Count Florida Blanca, to the Spanish officer commanding at Nootka (together with a translation thereof), signifying His Catholic Majesty's orders to cause such officer as may be appointed on the part of His Britannic Majesty, to be put in possession of the buildings, and districts, or parcels of lands therein described, which were occupied by His Majesty's subjects in the month of April, 1789, agreeable to the first article of the late convention, (a copy of which has been sent to you) and to deliver up any persons in the service of British subjects who may have been detained in those parts; in case, therefore, you shall receive this at Nootka, you are to deliver to the Spanish officer, commanding at that port, the above-mentioned letter from Count Florida Blanca, and to receive from him, comformably thereto, on the part of His Britannic Majesty, possession of the buildings and districts, and parcels of land, of which His Majesty's subjects were possessed at the above-mentioned period.

In case, however, this shall not find you at Nootka, when Lieutenant Hergest arrives there, but be delivered to you at the Sandwich Islands, or elsewhere, and the said lieutenant shall not have then carried into execution the service above-mentioned, (which in the event of his not falling in with you he is directed to do) you are immediately to proceed to Nootka, and to carry that service into execution as above directed, taking the said lieutenant and transport with you if you shall judge it necessary. But as they are intended afterwards to proceed to New South Wales, to be employed there, under the orders of commodore Phillip, you are not to detain them at Nootka, the Sandwich Islands, or elsewhere, longer than may be absolutely necessary, but to direct Lieutenant Hergest to repair with the said transport to Port Jackson, with such live stock, and other refreshments, as may be likely to be of use in the settlements there; and to touch at New Zealand on his way, from whence he is to use his best endeavours to take with him one or two flax-dressers, in order that the new settlers at port Jackson may, if possible, be properly in the management of that valuable plant.

Previous, however, to your despatching him to port Jackson, you are to consider whether, in case of your not being able to take on board the whole of the transport's cargo, any future supply of the articles of which it is composed, will be necessary to enable you to continue your intended survey; and, if so, you are to be careful to send notice thereof to Commodore Phillip, who will have directions, on the receipt of your application, to re-dispatch the transport, or to send such other vessel to

[Image of page 135]



you with the remainder of those supplies (as well as any others he may be able to furnish) to such rendezvous as you shall appoint.

And whereas Mr. Dundas has transmitted to us a sketch of the coast of North America, extending from Nootka down to the latitude of 47° 30", including the inlet or gulf of Juan de Fuca; and as from the declarations which have lately been made, there appears to be the strongest disposition on the part of the Spanish court, that every assistance and information should be given to his Britannic Majesty's officers employed on that coast, with a view to the enabling them to carry their orders into execution; we send you the said sketch herewith, for your information and use, and do hereby require and direct you to do everything in your power to cultivate a good understanding with the officers and subjects of his Catholic Majesty who may fall in your way, in order that you may reap the good effects of that disposition of the Spanish court.

You are to take the utmost care in your power, on no account whatever, to touch at any port on the continent of America to the southward of the latitude of 30° north, nor to the north of that part of South America, where, on your return home, you are directed to commence your intended survey; unless, from any accident, you shall find it absolutely necessary, for your immediate safety, to take shelter there: and, in case of such an event, to continue there no longer than your necessities require, in order that any complaint on the part of Spain on this point may, if possible, be prevented.

If, during your continuance on the American coast, you should meet with any of the Chinese who were employed by Mr. Meares and his associates, or any of his Majesty's subjects, who may have been in captivity, you are to receive them on board the sloop you command, and to accomodate them in the best manner you may be able, until such time as opportunities may be found of sending them to the different places to which they may be desirous of being conveyed; victualling them during their continuance on board, in the same manner as the other persons on board the said sloop are victualled.

Given under our hands the 20th of August, 1791.

To George Vancouver, Esq., Commander of his Majesty's Sloop the Discovery.
By command of their Lordships.

[Image of page 136]

1791 May 12.


In conformity to the first article of the Convention of 28th October, 1790, between our court and that of London, (printed copies of which you will have already received, and of which another copy is here inclosed, in case the first have not come to hand) you will give directions that his Britannic Majesty's officer, who will deliver this letter, shall immediately be put in possession of the buildings and districts, or parcels of land, which were occupied by the subjects of that sovereign in April, 1789, as well in the port of Nootka or of Saint Lawrence, as in the other, said to be called port Cox, and to be situated about sixteen leagues distant from the former to the southward; and that such parcels or districts of land, of which the English subjects were dispossessed, be restored to the said officer, in case the Spaniards should not have given them up.

You will also give orders, that if any individual in the service of British subjects, whether a Chinese, or of any other nation, should have been carried away and detained in those parts, such person shall be immediately delivered up to the above-mentioned officer.

I also communicate all this to the viceroy of New Spain by his Majesty's command, and by the royal command I charge you with the most punctual and precise execution of this order.

May God preserve you many years.

Aranjuer, 12th May, 1791.
To the Governor or Commander of the port of Saint Lawrence.

Aug. 22.

The Chatham and Discovery.

J. JOHNSTONE TO J. BERTERET (Banks Papers). 33

Cape of Good Hope, August 22, 1791.

The Chatham 34 was, without a doubt, the most improper vessel that could have been pitched upon. She draws 12 1/2 feet of water, and is scarcely the burthen of 120 tons; she has neither breadth nor length in the least reasonable proportion; where then is the fitness for rivers and shallows, which they say we are to explore? As you may conclude, we are very tender, and for sailing we have not been a match for the dullest merchant vessel we have met with. The Discovery sails much better, and she is stiff from her good bearings, and by her projecting sides affords great

[Image of page 137]


1791 Aug. 22.



Affray with the guard.

Complaint to the Governor.

Naval disputes.

convenience and room for working. She has answered so far as to please those belonging to her.

We could have anchored at Funchal in an hour or two, but the Discovery, having acted with much more caution in respect to the land, was not able to come to us, and therefore made us a signal to join her.

We anchored at Teneriffe in Santa Cruz Bay on the 29th of April, and here we took in 25 tons of stone ballast, finding our own--which was 25 tons of and 4 of iron pigs--too little.

On the Sunday after our arrival we dined with an Englishman, and both ships had liberty, in consequence of which all hands got drunk, and insulted everyone, even the Spanish centinels. The Spanish guard was called out, and some of our men were forced down to their boats rather roughly, when the capt., who heard of the attack just as he had finished his coffee, came down, and was instantly thrust by the butt end of a musket into the sea.

The capt., when he came on board, lamented that he was not decked in his uniform, as he could in that case have made a national affair of it; he wrote, however, to the Spanish Governor, resting his charge on there having been a lieut. in uniform among those who were beaten, and received an evasive answer. I daresay the Governor thought him in the wrong.

July 10, we came into False Bay and found the Gorgon, with five transports for New S. Wales. If you were to see the broils on board those ships you would think with me that duty and command are not sufficiently defined. There is a naval lieut. as agent, but between him and the master of the ship is a daily contention. The officer of the troops also thinks he has a command, so that on board of them regularity and subordination are out of practice.

Our astronomical quadrant is of Bird, vamped up by Roweden. We young astronomers take upon us to condemn its exactness, and find it awkward in the adjustment.

Oct. 24.

From the Cape to Sydney.


Extract from a letter from Lieutenant-Governor King to the Right Hon'ble the Marquis of Buckingham, dated Sydney, New South Wales, 24th Oct., 1791.

OUR voyage from the Cape of Good Hope can by no means be called a bad one. Many gales of wind happened, and the seas were in general very high; but in a ship like the Gorgon those incon-

[Image of page 138]

1791 Oct. 24.

Average length of passage.

Loss of live stock.

Harvest prospects at Sydney.

Good harvest at Norfolk Island.

Whale fishery.

Whales numerous.

veniences are not much felt, and was it not for the extreme cold (the thermometer being, on an average, below 40°) and the wet state of the ship, which made us unfortunately loose a part of our stock, the voyage, altho' in the depth of winter, and running 5,000 miles in the parallel of 43° and 44°, might be called a very good one.

The general run of all the transports and the Gorgon from the Cape of Good Hope to this port was eight weeks.

Out of 25 cows, 3 bulls, 62 ewes, 4 ranis, and 11 swine taken on board at the Cape we lost 8 cows, 3 bulls, 8 ewes, 3 rams; but to make up in part for those losses a very fine bull calf, 17 cows, and a cow calf are in very good condition, and grazing at Paramatta with about 60 ewes.

Very great exertions have been made here, and a vast tract of land cleared. A number of people have become settlers, one of which has been some months independant, and the rest are making great advances towards it. From present appearances, I think there is every reason to expect a plentiful crop of Indian corn. The wheat has suffered very much from the great droughts; for sixteen months scarce any rain; but some late rains has given it a more promising appearance. Poultry, swine, and goats would have been in great abundance had there been corn to support them, and which there will be in plenty when the crops are got in.

Respecting Norfolk Island, we have the most flattering accounts (both publick and private) of the appearance of a very plentiful harvest. A person sent there some time ago has made considerable improvements in dressing the New Zealand flax found on the island, from which he has made some very good coarse canvas.

There is a circumstance which will add greatly to the consequence of this settlement, which is the whale fishery. Most of the whalers which were destined for the west coast of America have altered their plans, and are now going to fish on this coast. The most experienced master of those ships declared on his arrival here "that in one day he saw more spermaceti whales on this coast than he had done on the coast of Brazil in six years." In the Gorgon we passed through a shoal of fifty. It is needless for me to point out the very obvious advantages which will accrue to the colony if this fishery succeeds, and which I think there is very little doubt of. Four of those [whaling ships} sailed yesterday to fish on the coast.

[Image of page 139]


1791 Nov. 23.

Discord and strife.

Ross's account.

Discontent-- the "acre plan."

The "acre plan" abolished.

Settlers at Norfolk Island.

The area of land granted to them.


DEAR SIR, -- Norfolk Island, 23 November, 1791.

After a week's pleasant passage, I landed here on the 4th instant, when I found discord and strife in every person's countenance, and in every corner and hole of the island, which you may easily conceive would render this an exact emblem of the infernal regions.

The accounts you will receive of this island from Ross (if he does not find it his interest to depart from the language he now holds) will be the most favourable and flattering, and, as far as I can observe at present, with great reason, for the crops, both publick and private, wear a most promising aspect.

On my landing here a general murmuring and discontent at Major Ross's conduct assailed me from every description of people on the island. The acre plan was represented to me by a representation signed by 158 convicts as a compulsive measure of Major Ross's, and the impossibility of their being able to maintain themselves within the prescribed time, viz., to be clear of the publick store in March, '92. I am convinced that Major Ross's ideas in setting that plan on foot was the most laudable, and an end much to be wished for; but, from what I can at present observe and understand, I do not imagine more than twenty men at the farthest can possibly maintain themselves for three months independent of the stores. This, with the loss of a very material book of the accounts, in consequence of the plan, and the discontent that prevailed, induced me to call in the swine, and to declare the plan done away, on condition of the time given them for the above purpose being made up in publick work at the expiration of their future tasks, and I have no doubt but it will prevent much misunderstandings and great discontents.

Forty marines and seamen and thirty-five convicts are settled here; twenty-four marines more are returning to Port Jackson with Major Ross to get their discharges, and will return here to settle, which will make the number of settlers, soldiers, and seamen sixty-four, who will have three thousand eight hundred and forty acres (each man has sixty acres); that doubled, for the intermediate Crown land, as pointed out by the instructions, will make it seven thousand six hundred and eighty; thirty-five convicts will have on an average twelve acres each, and, with the intermediate Crown land, will make the whole quantity of ground to be granted to the above people eight thousand four hundred and twenty, acres. Now, I do not think that there is more than that quantity of ground fit for cultivation on the island when the

[Image of page 140]

1791 Nov. 23.

Provision for others.


Swine given to settlers.

Seduced ration.

Influx of population.

The island not yet independent of supplies.


space the buildings stand on and a quantity of ground is left for the flax; but you will observe that the Crown land will still remain at the disposal of the Crown, and which I should apprehend must be cleared and cultivated for the support of the great number who are not, nor cannot, be admitted as settlers, as there are upwards of 37 invalids who cannot work, exclusive of the civil and military, who must be provided for.

The terms of the marines and convict settlers is as follows: The marines are to be independant of the publick stores in eighteen months, and the convicts in twelve months; they each take a woman, who they are to maintain independant of the stores in a twelve-month, viz., when their first crop is got off the ground, which will be in Decr., '92. Each settler will also take a convict after their first crop is got off the ground, and maintain him. From the hogs which will be delivered out to the settlers (and which could not have been done if the acre plan had not been abolished), and these swine which will be purchased from the convicts going from hence to Port Jackson and the marines, I hope there will be nearly enough to supply the whole of the settlers, so as to make them independant of animal food at the prescribed time. I have been thus far explicit in the acre plan, settlers, &c, that you may be informed of the real state, which may be much misrepresented.

I am told there are upwards of one hundred acres in wheat and sixty in Indian corn, which, from the appearance, will certainly produce well, and be of some assistance to us; but it will be necessary to reduce our ration soon after the departure of the ship that is conveying Major Ross away, and which I shall take upon myself.

Had I remained here, and no more people had been sent after January, '90, I am certain this island would now have been nearly independant for flour. Our numbers were then one hundred and sixty in all. Only twenty-two months has elapsed since that time, and the numbers have increased to one thousand men, women, and children; still less, therefore, it cannot be wondered at, if the independancy of this island is still removed to a greater distance of time. The time of our being independant for animal food is at a greater distance from the small quantity of stock on the island in proportion to the number of people to be supplied; and as for cloathing, much cannot be expected from the flax untill we can get a native of New Zealand. Specimens will be sent home of what has-been done with it.

[Image of page 141]


1791 Nov. 23.

A court of justice necessary--

for trial of capital crimes.

Law books.

A clergyman wanted.

Complaints and revilings.

You will excuse me when I again remind you of the great necessity there is for some regular and authorized mode of distributing justice. You will easily conceive that among such a sett of miserable and lawless wretches some mode should be adopted and put in force; there is not one among them that does not know how confined the power of a justice of the peace is, and when it is necessary to send a prisoner to be tried at the criminal court at Port Jackson, it may, and has happened, that the most usefull people here are taken away as witnesses. If a court could be established here for the trial of capital crimes, consisting of the Lieut.-Govr. as judge, the Deputy-Surveyor and two assistant surgeons (or the chaplain in the room of one of them), and those military officers which might have power to try and pronounce judgement; and in case of death being adjudged, not to be put into execution untill the Governor-in-Chief has signed or authorized the sentence. In this case it would be necessary to furnish the island with the same law books that are in possession of the Judge-Advocate of N. S. Wales. The clergyman who came out in the first fleet 38 accompanied me hither, and has been very usefull in marrying, christening, &c, but as he returns with Major Ross we shall be left to work over our work {sic), but I hope one will be sent out.

I have made a great effort in writing this long letter, as I am pestered with complaints, bitter revilings, backbitings, and almost everything to begin over again.

I hope you enjoy a good state of health, and shall be glad to be informed of it by the first ship you may send to our part of the world. I beg my best respects to Mrs. Nepean, and am

Yours, &c,

The Chatham and the Discovery


1791. --Chatham.

August. --Left the Cape; went to Dusky Bay; remained there three weeks; on the night of departure from thence parted company with the Discovery.

December 27. --Arrived at Metaire [Mattavai] Bay four days after the Discovery parted company.

[Image of page 142]



Stayed a month at Otaheite; were six weeks going to the Sandwich Islands; stayed ten days.

April 17. --Made the coast of America.

Aug. 28. --Anchored at Nootka, where the store-ship the Daedalus had arrived before. Mr. Hergest, Mr. Gooch, and one seaman had been cut off at Wohakoo. 39 Two years more will scarce complete the research to be done on the coast. Don Quadra, commandant of the Spaniards, is 40 ; he this day departs for New Spain, leaving a frigate in charge of the port. Vessels of all nations are in the port.

1792. --Discovery.

March 1st. --Arrived at Sandwich Islands. 16. -- 41 and wrote this letter from anchor. Explored the south-west side of New Holland from the Chatham's, lat. 35° 63' N., long. 116° 35 1/2' E. to termination; 42 Island, lat. 34° 22' S., long. 122° 08 1/2' E. Discovered an excellent port in 35° 05' 30", 118° 14' 13", consisting of a spacious and well-sheltered sound with two harbours--King George III Sound. Sailing round the south promontory of New Zealand, discovered a cluster of small rocky islands, seven in number, extending about three leagues, bearing from S. Cape S. 40, W. 19 leagues, lat. 48° 33' S., long. 166° 20' E., called the Snares. Discovered an island, named Oparo, lat. 27° 36' 30", long. 215° 57', inhabited by South Sea people. The Chatham discovered an island, 43° 48' S. 1., 183° 2' E., and sailed nearly in an E. direction for 12 leagues along the north side of it; called it Chatham Island. Discovered another in lat. 23° 42', long. 212° 54'; called it Broughton's Isle. From Owhyhee they called at Woaho, and on their arrival at Altowai did not find the store-ship. At Altowai were three Englishmen left by an American vessel to collect sandalwood and pearls. During their absence of twenty months the natives treated them well, but they told C. Vancouver that Trassa had captured Metcalf's schooner and killed all the men but one, who is believed to be residing at Owhyhee, and that Oio, King of Altowai, had attempted an American brig. The letter was left with these men. Every person on board the vessels, except Neal Coyle, a private marine, who died 8th Sept. last, are well.

[Image of page 143]


1792 Sept. 26.

From England to Nootka.

Massacre at the Sandwich islands.

A seaman killed.

Lieutenant. Hergest and Mr. Gooch carried off and killed.

Course of the voyage.


SIR JOSEPH -- Nootka Sound, Sept. 26th, 1792.

I was favoured with your letter by the Daedalus, store-ship, on our arrival here about twenty days ago. This ship has been about eleven months on her passage from England. On this side of Cape Horn she touched at the Marquesas, and in a few days after leaving them at a cluster of islands, where they found a fine harbour, and received good refreshments and much civility from the inhabitants. Though these were a new discovery to them, we have since learned that the Americans claim a priority.

They afterwards touched at the Sandwich Isles, where they unfortunately lost Lieut. Hergest, Mr. Gooch the astronomer, and one seaman at the Island of Woahoo, on the 10th of May last. The manner in which this fatal accident happened (they say) was thus: The vessel was laying off and on in Whyteetee Bay, on the south side of Woahoo, while they were procuring water and refreshments. Lieut. Hergest conceiving that this business was going on rather dilatory, ordered a few empty casks into the boat, and he and Mr. Gooch went on shore unarmed, to see the duty forwarded. While the casks were filling they both took a short walk back into a neighbouring plantation, and in the meantime a scuffle happened on the beach between the boat's crew and the natives, in which one seaman was killed before they could get to the few arms they had in the boat. Some of the boat's crew afterwards landed, and saw at a distance a group of the natives surrounding Messrs. Hergest and Gooch, hustling them back into the mountains, and stripping them, as they thought, of their clothes. The natives now arming themselves on all sides, with clubs, spears, and stones, obliged them to retreat to their boat for safety and join the ship, which soon after came to an anchor, and on the following day sent an armed boat on shore to demand the two gentlemen, when they were informed of their being both massacred on the preceding evening, and could procure no part of them, as the natives were all armed on an adjacent hill, where it was not in their power to use any compulsive means. Thus situated they left the Sandwich Island, and arrived here about the beginning of July.

I shall now proceed to give you a short account of our own progress since the date of my last letter to you from the Cape of Good Hope. We left that place on the 27th of August, 1791, and afterwards experienced a series of tempestuous weather until we passed the meridian of the east end of Madagascar. On the 26th September we made the coast of N. Holland, in the lat. of 35° south and long. 116° 15" east. We coasted on to the eastward for about 33 leagues, when we entered a harbour which obtained the

[Image of page 144]

1792 Sept. 26.

King George's Sound.

Climate and soil.

A delightful country.

New Zealand. The Snares.

The Chatham.

name of King George Sound, in lat. 35° 5" south and long. 118° 16" east. Here we remained for about a fortnight, which gave me an opportunity of examining the country in various excursions round the south, making a copious collection of its vegetable productions, particularly the genus. BANKSIA, which are here very numerous. The climate appears to be exceedingly favourable. The soil tho' light is good, and productive of a vast variety of vegetables, particularly inland, where the country appears chiefly covered with wood, diversified with pleasing pasturage and gentle rising hills of a very moderate height, well watered in many places by small rivulets. Whatever grains grow at the Cape would, I am certain, flourish here in greater perfection; in short, it is a delightful country, and well worth a more particular investigation from Government on account of its nearness and easy access to our settlements in India. We saw no natives or quadrupeds of any kind during our stay, tho' some recent traces of the former were very evident in two deserted villages at the head of the Sound.

After leaving it we traced the coast about sixty leagues further to the eastward, and quitted it on the 15th of October, in the latitude of 34° 22" south, and about the longitude of 122° east, shaping our course for Van Dieman's Land, which we made on the 26th, and passing round it on the following day entered Dusky Bay, N. Zealand, on the 2nd Nov., where we remained twenty days, and where I was particularly entertained among a vast variety of cryptogamic plants, of which I have made a tolerable good collection, and added a new genus to the order of Musci. Next day, after departing from Dusky Bay, we discovered, in a violent gale of wind which separated us from our consort, a cluster of dreary barren rocks and islets, which we called the Snares, off the south-west end of N. Zealand, in lat. 48° 3" south and long. 166° 20" east; and in our passage we discovered a small inhabited island, about eight or nine leagues in circumference, in the lat. of 27° 36" south and long. 215° 57" east from Greenwich.

We anchored in Mattavai Bay on the 30th December, where we joined our consort, 43 who arrived about a week before us. Here the natives informed us of the departure of Capt. Edwards in the Pandora, frigate, with 13 of the Bounty's people, but we are now sorry to learn of her being since lost in the Endeavour Straights.

We left Otaheite on the 24th January, 1792, and made Owhyhee on the 1st of March, where we left Tooworero with his friend Tianna, the hero of Mears' voyage. We continued among these islands till the 16th, when we directed our course to the

[Image of page 145]


1792 Sept. 26.

New Albion.

Beautiful views.

Captain Gray.

Conflicting reports

New Georgia.

N. W. coast of America, and made New Albion on the 17th of April, in lat. 39° 20' north, and longitude 236° 18' east. We continued tracing the coast to the northward without being able to find a harbour or inlet till we entered the Straits of Juan de Fuca 44 on the 29th, in lat. 48° 24' N. From this to Cape Mendocino, in lat. 40° 30' N. and long. 235° 48' E., the coast preserves nearly a south direction, and affords in many places, particularly to the southward, most beautiful prospects of hills and dales, varied with woods and extended pastures mounting up their sides, presenting to the eye delightful rural landscapes, and to the mind the idea of a mountainous country in a high state of cultivation, which I could not pass without often regretting my not being able to land and examine it more particularly. We understand at present the Spaniards have no settlement to the northward of Port St. Francisco excepting Nootka, and one lately established at the entrance of De Fuca Straits. It may appear curious that on the day we made the Straits of Juan De Fuca we should fall in with the very same Capt. Gray, which in Mears' voyage is said to perform that wonderful interior navigation in the sloop Washington. I accompanied one of the officers on board his vessel, the Columbia, and he positively averred to us that he was never above 50 miles up the Straits, and came back the same way he entered, and Mr. Duffin, who is in this port at present waiting to carry our despatches to China, says that he himself was not above 14 leagues up. On comparing this to Mr. Mears' assertions you will see the difference. A little within the straits, which is about 4 leagues wide, we passed a small port on our right hand, where the Spaniards have since established a settlement, and continued our course in an easterly direction for about 80 miles. Here the straits widens to about 7 leagues and divides out in various directions; some branches out in a south and south-easterly direction for about 50 or 60 miles into a fine level country, which obtained the name of New Georgia, abounding with extended lawns and rich pastures, not unlike in beauty of prospect the most admired parks in England. Others branch out to the northward and north-eastward, but the principal branch leads to the north-westward, which, after examining all the others attentively to their terminations, we pursued, passing behind Nootka, about 20 leagues inland, and came out to the sea on the 9th of Aug., about the latitude of 51° 10' N.

After this we again resumed our interior examination, keeping the continental shore aboard to the latitude of 52 1/2°. Here a series of dirty rainy weather obliged us in some measure to

[Image of page 146]

1792 Sept. 26.


Hospitality of the Spanish Governor.

He promises to surrender the territory.

A fterwards offers only a portion.

Menzies appointed surgeon of the Discovery.

relinquish our northern pursuits for this season, and being informed by one of the traders of the store-ship 45 being at Nootka, and the catastrophe, that befel her, we again came out to sea about the lat. 51° 40' on the 20th of Aug., and arrived here on the 28th, where we found Don Quadra, Governor of St. Blas, and commander-in-chief of the royal navy of Mexico and Callifornia, an officer to whose liberality and friendly hospitality we are all ready to testify our sincerest gratitude. He had his broad pendant on board a brig laying in the cove, the rest of his vessels, to the number of six, being at this time out examining different parts of the coast, two of which we had left in De Fuca's Straits behind Nootka.

He lived on shore at a very decent planked house, considering the situation, where he kept an open table, I may say, for the officers of every vessel that visited the port, and supplied them on board with greens and milk daily.

On our arrival he told Capt. Vancouver that he would put him in possession of this territory and port, 46 agreeable to his orders and the wish of his Catholic Majesty, giving up all the houses, gardens, &c, &c, as they stood, and that he would haul down the Spanish colours before he went away, and on our hoisting the English colours that he would salute the British flag. But on the arrival afterwards of an American trader, Capt. Inghram, he wonderfully prevaricated from his first intentions, as we believe by the advice of this man (Inghram), and would not give up any part excepting a small nook of the cove, about 100 yards wide, where Mr. Mears had his house and built his vessel, which could not be accepted of.

Don Quadra left this place a few days ago in the brig for St. Blas, parting with us in the most friendly manner, and leaving Don Coamano and a frigate to command here in his absence, but we expect to see him soon again on our way to the southward at the port of Monterey in Callifornia. He put himself under my care as a patient on or arrival here for a severe head-ache of which he complained, he said, for upwards of two years, and I was extremely happy that my endeavours proved serviceable in the re-establishment of his health before he went away.

The surgeon of the Discovery is to return to England in the store-ship by the way of Botany Bay on account of the ill state of his health, and Capt. Vancouver's earnest solicitations has induced me to accept his place, with this proviso, that he will take care it will not interfere but as little as possible with my other pursuits; indeed I have in some measure attended the surgeon's duty since we left the Cape of Good Hope, on account

[Image of page 147]


1792 Sept. 26.

Seeds for the King's gardens.

of Mr. Cranston's indisposition, and constantly prescribed for Capt. Vancouver himself since we left England, so that the difference now of attending the duty wholly will be very little, as I have two assistants, and the ship in general healthy; besides, I have by this change got an additional cabin, which will be very serviceable in preserving my collections, so that I trust it will meet with your approbation, as I can assure you that my endeavours will suffer no abatement in consequence thereof in executing the object of my mission.

Mr. Mudge, 1st lieu't of the Discovery, goes home by the way of China with dispatches for the Admir'y, under whose care I send this and a box of seeds directed to you for his Majesty's gardens; and as it is said that the Chatham will sail in the course of a few days for England by the way of Cape Horn I will embrace that opportunity to send duplicates.

I am also happy to acquaint you that Mr. Johnstone is lately promoted to the rank of lieutenant, and I have, &c,


Oct. 4.

Regular supplies necessary.

Advantages and disadvantages.

The Britannia hired by officers.

Phillip disapproves.


Sydney, New South Wales,

Sir-- 4th October, 1792.

The inclosed letter from the major-commandant of the New South Wales Corps, and which is accompanied with my answer, will serve to show the necessity of this colony's receiving a regular supply of provisions, and the opinion formed of those supplies which have been received from India.

I am sensible that the officers and men want conveniences which are found in garrisons long established; but here are some advantages to the officer and soldier not to be found elsewhere, and when the ration is regular, and the means of providing necessaries for the soldier is in a proper channel, I believe there will be no complaints of this country.

The Britannia was at anchor in the lower part of the harbour, ready to sail for New Zealand, when I was informed that the officers had come to a resolution of hiring that ship to go to the Cape of Good Hope, and in the same evening I saw Major Grose on the subject; but being of a very different opinion as to the propriety, as well as of the necessity of such a measure, I wished to prevent what may be supposed to affect the interest of the East India Company, by opening a door to a contraband trade; at the same time, as I could not prevent it, and do not believe that the Britannia goes to the Cape with any such view, I beg leave to say that I do not think his Majesty's service will suffer, if the reasons

[Image of page 148]

1792 Oct. 4.

The southern fishery.

assigned in Major Grose's letter should be deemed sufficient for the step which has been taken, and which being admitted may prevent much discontent.

In my letters by the last ships I have requested that the acts relative to the southern fishery may be sent, and such instructions as may be deemed necessary on that head, for I have no lawyer to consult, and it will probably be the same with the person who is to supply my place when I leave this country, which my state of health obliges me to hope I shall be at liberty to do after the arrival of the first ships, and I believe my returning to England will be the greatest service I can render this colony, independant of every other consideration, for it will put it in my power to shew what may, and what may not, be expected from it.

I have, &c,

The rations unwholesome.

Measures for relief.


Major Grose to Governor Phillip.

SIR,-- Sydney, October 4th, 1792.

The situation of the soldiers under my command, who at this time have scarcely shoes to their feet, and who have no other comforts than the reduced and unwholesome rations served out from the stores, has induced me to assemble the captains of my corps for the purpose of consulting what could be done for their relief and accommodation. Amongst us we have raised a sufficient sum to take up the Britannia, and as all money matters are already settled with the master, who is also an owner, I have now to request you will interest yourself in our favour, that you will, by representing the necessities of my soldiers, protect this ship from interruption as much as you can, and that you will assist us to escape the miseries of that precarious existence we have hitherto been so constantly exposed to.

With every respect, &c,
Major Commandant New South Wales Corps.

The Britannia chartered by officers.



SIR, -- Sydney, New South Wales, October 4th, 1792.

In answer to your letter of this day's date, requesting that I would interest myself in favour of the ship Britannia, which you inform me is taken up by yourself and officers, and that I would protect that ship from interruption as far as depends on me, I can only observe that the opinion I gave on the subject on the 2nd instant, when the business was first mentioned, must

[Image of page 149]


1792 Oct. 4.

East India Company may interfere.

The ration defended.

A special ship unnecessary.

Better times coming.

Officers' privileges.

have pointed out that any interruption which that ship might meet with, if the master acted contrary to the tenor of his license from the East India Company, did not by any means depend on: me, and I am still of the same opinion with respect to this ship's going to the Brazil, or the Cape of Good Hope, as I was at the above time. I am sensible that the garrison suffers many inconveniences from the necessary supplies not arriving, and which I should gladly do away by any means in my power, yet I cannot acquiesce with you in thinking that the ration served from the public stores is unwholesome; I see it daily at my own table; I am sorry to see that it is neither so good nor in that quantity as I would wish it; and every means in my power has, and will be, taken to remedy the evil. I offered to write to the Cape of Good Hope, and direct all the ships coming to this settlement to receive on board such necessaries as you might order to be purchas'd, and which I still think would be the best way of procuring them, or to employ the Atlantic, or either of those ships which are expected to arrive from day to day, in procuring the necessaries of which you stand so much in need, if, when those wants are stated officially, such a step appeared necessary; but with a ship lying in the harbour, already in the public employ, and others expected, I saw no necessity for taking up the Britannia, nor can I form any judgement how far that ship's going to the Cape will do away all the distresses you have mentioned, as only shoes and the ration are pointed out in your letter. With respect to shoes, the corps has received as many as were demanded, while there were any in store, and the Commissary, as he ever has done, will supply the quarter-master with leather, as long as any remains. As to the nature of the ration, it is, I believe, nearly as good as what is issued to the army and navy in India, and I think that there can be little doubt but that an ample supply of provisions from Europe will arrive before the Britannia can return to this port; and there is every reason to expect that a very few months will remove the inconvenience the colony labours under, of which you may form some judgement from what you have seen of my letters by the Gorgon and Supply, which ships may be supposed to have arrived in England by the latter end of last June.

When the Atlantic was sent to Calcutta, every officer was permitted to send for such articles as he wanted, and which will always be allowed, and everything else done for the accommodation of the officers and men under your command which the public service admits.

I am sorry that I cannot, with propriety, take any official step in this business.

I am, &c,

1   Died of fever at Koepang. Post, p. 104.
2   He had passed Cape York and was in Torres Straits.
3   Bligh arrived at Batavia on the 1st of October, 1789, and sailed for the Cape of Good Hope on the 16th October, arriving on the 16th December. He left the Cape on the 2nd January, 1790, and arrived at Portsmouth on the 14th March.
4   The last sentence is in Bligh's handwriting. Although Bligh did not give "so full an account to the Admiralty," he wrote and published, on his return to England in 1790, "A Narrative of the Mutiny on board His Majesty's Ship Bounty," which occupied 88 pages 4to. It was repeated in a fuller account of the Bounty's voyage, published in 1792.
5   Sir Charles Middleton's Island and Middleton Shoals, so named by Lieut. Shortland after Sir Charles Middleton, Comptroller of the Navy. Shortland gave the latitude and longitude as follows:-- "Sir Charles Middleton's Island, lat. 28° 10' S., long. 159° 50' E. Middleton Shoals, lat. 29° 20' S., long. 158° 48' E.' Search was afterwards made for the island and shoals by Lieut. Shortland, in the schooner Francis, and by Lieut. Ball, in the Supply, but without success. They failed to discover the shoals, because the latitude and longitude had been in the first instance incorrectly observed. The island, according to modern authorities, has no existence. The "Directory of the South Pacific Ocean," p. 856, gives the following information: "Middleton Reef, an extensive reef, covered at high water. Its west elbow, according to Captain Denham, is in lat. 29° 27' 40" S., long. 159° 3' 38" E. The following reported dangers may be said not to exist: Middleton Island, or Sir Charles Middleton's Island, said to be very high, in lat. 27° 58' S., long. 159° 30' E.
6   Dodd, Phillip's servant. He died January, 1791.
7   Aranbanoo. According to Hunter, Phillip called him Manly, because he was captured at Manly Cove.
8   Coleby and Bennilong.
9   Bennilong.
10   Lieutenant Maxwell.
11   Lieutenant King.
12   This design was given up, but an exploring expedition was sent out under the command of Captain George Vancouver, who had accompanied Cook on his voyage towards the South Pole. He was placed in command of the Discovery, and the armed tender Chatham took the place of the Gorgon as second vessel. Vancouver's instructions were not to go to Port Jackson for help, but to sail direct for the Sandwich Islands, and then explore the north-west coast of America for the purpose of discovering if possible, a north-west passage. Post, pp. 122-125.
13   No list recorded.
14   This paper, which is in the handwriting of Sir Joseph Banks, is headed "Draught of Instructions for Mr. Menzies." Mr. Menzies was the botanist sent out with an expedition of discovery and survey to the north-west coast of America, under Captain Vancouver. The vessels selected for the service were the war ship Discovery, and the armed tender Chatham. (See note to Grenville's despatch, ante, p. 113.) Mr. Menzies was appointed on the recommendation of Sir Joseph Banks, who made the necessary arrangements.
15   Lord Grenville, Secretary of State for the Home Department.
16   Mr. Henry Martin, Comptroller of the Navy. He succeeded Sir Charles Middleton, March. 1790.
17   Mr. Menzies was not appointed to this position in the first instance, but he undertook the duties subsequently.
18   In Lieutenant-Governor rung's handwriting.
19   Two natives of New Zealand were captured in 1793. and taken to Norfolk Island. From them the people learned something about the dressing of flax, but King's anticipation that "Norfolk Island would very soon cloath the inhabitants of New South Wales" was not realised.
20   Indorsed: "Copy of a letter from Lord Grenville to the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty, dated Whitehall, 11th February, 1791 (two enclosures)." The enclosures are missing. A different plan was proposed in the first instance; ante, p. 113. Instructions to Lieut. Menzies; ante, pp. 115-117.
21   The King of Spain.
22   Nootka Sound, on the north-west coast of America. (Vancouver Island.)
23   A blank occurs here. Twelve lines written by the transcriber, which the Minister, presumably, did not wish to go out of the office, have been erased.
24   The passage was found. The land which is separated by it from the American continent is called Vancouver Island, in honour of Captain Vancouver, who circumnavigated it.
25   A private letter.
26   Afterwards Viscount Melville. He succeeded Lord Grenville at the Home Office in June, 1791, Grenville going to the Foreign Office.
27   Ante, p. 122.
28   This despatch is unsigned, but it is obviously from the Right Hon. Henry Dundas.
29   Unsigned, but indorsed in Sir Joseph Banks's handwriting, "Draft to the Admiralty about the Daedalus." This letter is obviously from the Right Hon. Henry Dundas.
30   A Spanish statesman and political economist. When this letter was written Count Florida Blanca was First Secretary of State. "Annual: Register," 1790, p. 292.
31   Ante, p. 124.
32   Captain Vancouver was not yet aware that Lord Grenville's seat at the Home Office had been taken by the Right Hon. Henry Dundas.
33   MS. in Sir Joseph Banks's handwriting, indorsed, "Extract and abstract--J. Johnstone to J. Berteret."
34   The armed tender selected, in place of the Gorgon, to accompany the Discovery on Vancouver's expedition to the north-west coast of America. Ante, p. 113.
35   Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. He was Lord Grenville's brother.
36   A private letter.
37   Blank in MS.
38   The Rev. R. Johnson.
39   See Lieutenant Menzies' account, post p. 143.
40   Blank in manuscript.
41   Blank in manuscript.
42   Blank in manuscript.
43   The Chatham. Lieutenant Menzies was on board Captain Vancouver's ship, the Discovery.
44   See Lord Grenville's despatch, ante, p. 122.
45   The Daedalus.
46   Ante, p. 122.

Previous section | Next section