The Account of the English Colony of New South Wales must here be closed for a time, the writer being embarked in the Britannia on his return to England. On reviewing the pages he has written, the question involuntarily arises in his mind, In what other colony under the British government has a narrator of its annals had such circumstances to record? No other colony was ever established under such circumstances. He has, it is true, occasionally had the gratification of recording the return of principle in some, whose want of that ingredient, so necessary to society, had sent them thither; but it has oftener been his task to show the predilection for immorality, perseverance in dissipation, and inveterate propensity to vice, which prevailed in many others. The difficulty under such disadvantages of establishing the blessings of a regular and civil government must have occurred to every well-informed mind that has reflected on our situation. The duties of a governor, of a judge-advocate, and of other magistrates and civil officers, could not be compared with those in other countries. From the disposition to crimes and the incorrigible characters of the major part of the colonists, an odium was, from the first, illiberally thrown upon the settlement; and the word ‘Botany Bay’ became a term of reproach that was indiscriminately cast on every one who resided in New South Wales. But let the reproach light on those who have used it as such. These pages were written to demonstrate, that the bread of government has not been eaten in idleness by its different officers; and that if the honour of having deserved well of one’s country be attainable by sacrificing good name, domestic comforts, and dearest connections in her service, the officers of this settlement have justly merited that distinction.
Particulars of the BRITANNIA’S VOYAGE to ENGLAND; with Remarks on the STATE of NORFOLK ISLAND, and some Account of NEW ZEALAND.
The Britannia sailed from Port Jackson, in company with his Majesty’s ship Reliance and the Francis colonial schooner, on the 29th of September.
On the 4th of October, we had Ball Pyramid off Lord Howe’s Island distant about five leagues, and were from that day until the 15th, owing to light and contrary winds, before we reached Norfolk Island; where we found his Majesty’s ship Supply, which had been there several days. On the following morning we had communication with the shore.
The interval between the 16th and 23rd was occupied in receiving on board the Britannia Lieutenant-governor King and his family, who were returning to England. On the 25th the colonial schooner, which had attended for that purpose, received Captain King’s letters to Governor Hunter, and the three ships made sail from the island.
During the time we were there, the weather fortunately proved extremely favourable for communicating with the shore, and large quantities of stock and grain were received on board, in addition to what we brought from Port Jackson, and sufficient for a much longer passage than we had any reason to expect in the run to the Cape of Good Hope.