But to what a distance was that period now thrown by this unfortunate accident, and by the delay which took place in the voyage of the Lady Juliana! Government had placed a naval officer in this transport, Lieutenant Thomas Edgar*, for the purpose of seeing justice done to the convicts as to their provisions, cleanliness, etc. and to guard against any unnecessary delays on the voyage. Being directed to follow the route of the Sirius and her convoy, he called at Teneriffe and St. Iago, stayed seven weeks at Rio de Janeiro, and one month at the Cape of Good Hope; completing his circuitous voyage of ten months duration by arriving here on the 3rd day of June 1790.
[* He had sailed with the late Captain Cook.]
On Lieutenant Edgar’s arrival at the Cape he found the Guardian lying there, Lieutenant Riou having just safely regained that port, from which he had sailed but a short time, with every fair prospect of speedily and happily executing the orders with which he was entrusted, and of conveying to this colony the assistance of which it stood so much in need. Unhappily for us, she was now lying a wreck, with difficulty and at an immense expense preserved from sinking at her anchors.
Beside the common share which we all bore in this calamity, we had to lament that the efforts of our several friends, in amply supplying the wants that they concluded must have been occasioned by an absence of three years, were all rendered ineffectual, the private articles having been among the first things that were thrown overboard to lighten the ship*.
[* The private property of the officers was all stowed, as the best and safest place in the ship, in the gun-room. Some officers were great losers.]
Government had sent out in the Guardian twenty-five male convicts, who were either farmers or artificers, together with seven persons engaged to serve as superintendants of convicts, for three years from their landing, at salaries of forty pounds per annum each. Of these, two, who were professed gardeners, were supposed to be drowned, having left the ship soon after she struck, with several other persons in boats, and not been heard of when the Lady Juliana left the Cape. The superintendants who remained came on in the transport; but the convicts, of whose conduct Lieutenant Riou spoke in the highest terms, were detained at the Cape.
A clergyman also was on board the Guardian, the Rev. Mr. Crowther, who had been appointed, at a salary of eight shillings per diem, to divide the religious duties of the settlement with Mr. Johnson. This gentleman left the ship with the master and purser in the long-boat, taking provisions and water with them; and of five boats which were launched on the same perilous enterprise, this was the only one that conducted her passengers into safety. They were fortunately, after many days sailing, picked up by a French ship, which took them into the Cape, and thence to Europe.