An Account of the English Colony in New South Wales, Volume 1 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 866 pages of information about An Account of the English Colony in New South Wales, Volume 1.
that M. De la Perouse had been compelled to fire upon the natives at Botany Bay, where they frequently annoyed his people who were employed on shore.  This circumstance materially affected us, as those who had rendered this violence necessary could not discriminate between us and them.  We were however perfectly convinced that nothing short of the greatest necessity could have induced M. De la Perouse to take such a step, as we heard him declare, that it was among the particular instructions that he received from his sovereign, to endeavour by every possible means to acquire and cultivate the friendship of the natives of such places as he might discover or visit; and to avoid exercising any act of hostility upon them.  In obedience to this humane command, there was no doubt but he forbore using force until forbearance would have been dangerous, and he had been taught a lesson at Maouna, one of the Isles des Navigateurs, that the tempers of savages were not to be trusted too far; for we were informed, that on the very day and hour of their departure from that island, the boats of the two ships, which were sent for a last load of water, were attacked by the natives with stones and clubs, and M. De l’Angle, the captain of the Astrolabe, with eleven officers and men, were put to death; those who were so fortunate as to get off in the small boats that attended on the watering launches (which were destroyed), escaped with many wounds and contusions, some of which were not healed at the time of their relating to us this unfortunate circumstance.  It was conjectured, that some one of the seamen, unknown to the officers, must have occasioned this outrage, for which there was no other probable reason to assign, as the natives during the time the ships were at the island had lived with the officers and people on terms of the greatest harmony.  And this was not the first misfortune that those ships had met with during their voyage; for on the north-west coast of America, they lost two boats with their crews, and several young men of family, in a surf.

Notwithstanding the pressure of the important business we had upon our hands after our landing, the discharge of our religious duties was never omitted, divine service being performed every Sunday that the weather would permit:  at which time the detachment of marines paraded with their arms, the whole body of convicts attended, and were observed to conduct themselves in general with the respect and attention due to the occasion on which they were assembled.

It was soon observed with satisfaction, that several couples were announced for marriage; but on strictly scrutinizing into the motive, it was found in several instances to originate in an idea, that the married people would meet with various little comforts and privileges that were denied to those in a single state; and some, on not finding those expectations realised, repented, wished and actually applied to be restored to their former situations; so ignorant and thoughtless were they in general.  It was however to be wished, that matrimonial connexions should be promoted among them; and none who applied were ever rejected, except when it was clearly understood that either of the parties had a wife or husband living at the time of their leaving England.

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An Account of the English Colony in New South Wales, Volume 1 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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