May.] On Monday the 7th of May Captain Phillip arrived at Portsmouth, and took the command of his little fleet, then lying at the Motherbank. Anxious to depart, and apprehensive that the wind, which had for a considerable time been blowing from the quarter favourable to his passage down the Channel, might desert him at the moment when he most wished for its continuance, he on the Thursday following made the signal to prepare for sailing. But here a demur arose among the sailors on board the transports, who refused to proceed to sea unless they should be paid their wages up to the time of their departure, alleging as a ground for this refusal, that they were in want of many articles necessary for so long a voyage, which this money, if paid, would enable them to purchase. The custom of their employ, however, being against a demand which yet appeared reasonable, Captain Phillip directed the different masters to put such of their people as refused to proceed with them to sea, on board of the Hyaena frigate, and to receive an equal number of her seamen, who should afterwards be re-exchanged at sea, her captain being directed to accompany the fleet to a certain distance.
This difficulty being removed, and the ship’s companies of the Sirius and the Supply having received the usual advance of two months’ wages, on Saturday the 12th the men of war and some of the transports got under sail, with a view of dropping down to St. Helen’s, and thence proceeding to sea; but the wind falling short, and proving unfavourable, they brought up at Spithead for the night, and at day-break next morning the whole fleet weighed with a fresh breeze, and, having a leading wind, passed without any accident through the Needles.
The transports were of the following tonnage, and had on board the undermentioned number of convicts, and other persons, civil and military, viz
The Alexander, of 453 tons, had on board 192 male convicts; 2 lieutenants, 2 sergeants, 2 corporals, 1 drummer, and 29 privates, with 1 assistant surgeon to the colony.
The Scarborough, of 418 tons, had on board 205 male convicts; 1 captain, 2 lieutenants, 2 sergeants, 2 corporals, 1 drummer, and 26 privates, with 1 assistant surgeon to the colony.
The Charlotte, of 346 tons, had on board 89 male and 20 female convicts; 1 captain, 2 lieutenants, 2 sergeants, 3 corporals, 1 drummer, and 35 privates, with the principal surgeon of the colony.
The Lady Penrhyn, of 338 tons, had on board 101 female convicts; 1 captain, 2 lieutenants, and 3 privates, with a person acting as a surgeon’s mate.
The Prince of Wales, of 334 tons, had on board 2 male and 50 female convicts; 2 lieutenants, 3 sergeants, 2 corporals, 1 drummer, and 24 privates, with the surveyor-general of the colony.
The Friendship, (snow,) of 228 tons, had on board 76 male and 21 female convicts; 1 captain, 2 lieutenants, 2 sergeants, 3 corporals, 1 drummer, and 36 privates, with 1 assistant surgeon to the colony.