We had long conjectured, that the non-arrival of supplies must be owing either to accident or delays in the voyage, and not to any backwardness on the part of government in sending them out. We now found that our disappointment was to be ascribed to both misfortune and delay. The Lady Juliana, we have seen, sailed in July last, and in the month of September following his majesty’s ship Guardian, of forty-four guns, commanded by Lieutenant Edward Riou, sailed from England, having on board, with what was in the Lady Juliana, two years provisions, viz 295,344 pounds of flour, 149,856 pounds of beef, and 303,632 pounds of pork, for the settlement; a supply of clothing for the marines serving on shore, and for those belonging to the Sirius and Supply; together with a large quantity of sails and cordage for those ships and for the uses of the colony; sixteen chests of medicines; fifteen casks of wine; a quantity of blankets and bedding for the hospital; and a large supply of unmade clothing for the convicts; with an ample assortment of tools and implements of agriculture.
At the Cape of Good Hope Lieutenant Riou took on board a quantity of stock for the settlement, and completed a garden which had been prepared under the immediate direction of Sir Joseph Banks, and in which there were near one hundred and fifty of the finest fruit trees, several of them bearing fruit.
There was scarcely an officer in the colony that had not his share of private property embarked on board of this richly freighted ship; their respective friends having procured permission from government for that purpose.
But it was as painful then to learn, as it will ever be to recollect, that on the 23rd day of December preceding, the Guardian struck against an island of ice in latitude 45 degrees 54 minutes South, and longitude 41 degrees 30 minutes East, whereby she received so much injury, that Lieutenant Riou was compelled, in order to save her from instantly sinking, to throw overboard the greatest part of her valuable cargo both on the public and private account. The stock was all killed, (seven horses, sixteen cows, two bulls, a number of sheep, goats, and two deer,) the garden destroyed, and the ship herself saved only by the interposition of Providence, and the admirable conduct of the commander.
The Guardian was a fast-sailing ship, and would probably have arrived in the latter end of January or the beginning of February last. At that period the large quantity of live stock in the colony was daily increasing; the people required for labour were, comparatively with their present state, strong and healthy; the necessity of dividing the Convicts, and sending the Sirius to Norfolk Island, would not have existed; the ration of provisions, instead of the diminutions which had been necessarily directed, would have been increased to the full allowance; and the tillage of the ground consequently proceeded in with that spirit which must be exerted to the utmost before the settlement could render itself independent of the mother country for subsistence.