In her passage from the Cape of Good Hope to this port, the Britannia met with much bad weather, running for fourteen days under her bare poles. The prevailing winds were from SW to NW. She came round Van Dieman’s Land in a gale of wind without seeing it. To the southward of New Zealand Mr. Raven fell in with the rocks seen by Captain Vancouver, and named by him the Snares. In the latitude of them Mr. Raven differed from Captain Vancouver only four miles; their longitude he made exactly the same. Such similarity in the observations was rare and remarkable. He passed some islands of ice at three and five leagues distance, in latitudes 51 degrees and 52 degrees S and longitudes 232 degrees and 240 degrees East.
At the Cape Mr. Raven found the Pitt, Captain Manning, from Calcutta, to whom he delivered his dispatches; and he received information from the captains of the Triton and Warley East Indiamen of the agitated state of Europe; of the naval and military preparations which were making in our own country; and of the spirit of loyalty and affection for our justly-revered sovereign which breathed throughout the nation, accompanied with firm and general determinations to maintain inviolate our happy constitution. These accounts, while they served to excite an ardent wish for the speedy arrival of a ship from England, seemed to throw the probability of one at a greater distance, particularly as Mr. Raven could not learn with any certainty of a ship being preparing for New South Wales.
Among other circumstances which he mentioned was one which deserved notice. The Royal Admiral East Indiaman, Captain Bond, was lying on the 19th of last December in the Tigris. She sailed hence on the 13th of November, and, admitting that she had only arrived on the day on which she was stated to a certainty to be at anchor in the river, she must have performed the voyage in thirty-seven days from this port. This ship, it may be remembered, made the passage from the Cape of Good Hope to this place in five weeks and three days; a run that had never before been made by any other ship coming to this country.
From the length of time which the Britannia had been absent, our observation was forcibly drawn to the distance whereat we were placed from any quarter which could furnish us with supplies; and a calculation of the length of time which had been taken by other ships to procure them confirmed the necessity that existed of using every exertion that might place the colony in a state of independence.
When the Sirius went to the Cape of Good Hope in 1788, she was absent seven months and six days.
The Supply, which was sent for provisions in 1789, returned herself in six months and two days; but the supplies which had been purchased for the colony were two months longer in reaching it.
The Atlantic sailed hence for Calcutta on the 26th of October 1791, touching at Norfolk Island, from which place she took her departure on the 13th of November; and, calculating her passage from that time, she will be found to have been seven months and one week in procuring the supplies for which she was sent out.