Strangers coming into the bay are served with beef, mutton, etc. by the Company’s butcher, who contracts to supply the Company, its officers and ships, with meat at a certain price, which is fixed at about three halfpence per pound, although he may have to purchase the cattle at three or four times that sum; but in return for this exaction, he has the sole permission of selling to strangers, and at a much higher price, though even in that instance his demand is not allowed to exceed a certain quota. Four-pence per pound was the price given for all the meat served to our ships after we came in.
During our stay here we made frequent visits to the Company’s garden, pleasantly situated in the midst of the town. The ground on each side of the principal walk, which was from eight to nine hundred paces in length, was laid out in fruit and kitchen gardens, and at the upper end was a paddock where we saw three large ostriches, and a few antelopes. Behind this paddock was a menagerie, which contained nothing very curious—a vicious zebra, an eagle, a cassowary, a falcon, a crowned falcon, two of the birds called secretaries, a crane, a tiger, an hyaena, two wolves, a jackal, and a very large baboon, composed the entire catalogue of its inhabitants.
In the town are two churches, one for the Calvinists, and another for the followers of Luther. In the first of these was a handsome organ; four large plain columns supported the roof, and the walls were ornamented with escutcheons and armorial quarterings. The body of the church was filled with chairs for the women, the men sitting in pews round the sides. By the pulpit stood an hour-glass, which, we were told, regulated the duration of the minister’s admonition to his congregation. In the churchyards the gravestones, instead of bearing the names of the deceased, were all numbered, and the names were registered in a book kept for the purpose.
Weddings were always solemnized on a Sunday at one or other of these churches, and the parties were habited in sables, a dress surely more congenial with the sensations felt on the last than on the first day of such an union.
To the care of an officer belonging to a regiment in India, who was returning to Europe in a Danish vessel, Captain Phillip committed his dispatches; and by this ship every officer gladly embraced the last opportunity of communicating with their friends and connections, until they should be enabled to renew their correspondence from the new world to which they were now bound.
Nothing remaining to be done that need detain the convoy longer in this port, every article having been procured that could tend to the present refreshment of the colonists, or to the future advantage of the colony, the Sirius was unmoored in the evening of Sunday the llth, Captain Phillip purposing to put to sea the following morning; but the wind at that time not being favourable, the boats from the Sirius were once more sent on shore for a load of water, in order than no vessel which could be filled with an article so essential to the preservation of the flock might be taken to sea empty.