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

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 744 pages of information about An Account of the English Colony in New South Wales, Volume 1.
commandant and his officers, and for such of the people as did not accompany them in their escape—­this was their scheme.  Not one difficulty in the execution of it ever occurred to their imagination:  all was to happen with as much facility as it was planned; and, had it not been fortunately revealed to a seaman belonging to the Sirius, who lived with Mr. King as a gardener, by a female convict who cohabited with him, there was no doubt but that all these improbabilities would have been attempted.

On being made acquainted with these circumstances, the commandant took such measures as appeared to him necessary to defeat them; and several who were concerned in the scheme confessed the share which they were to have had in the execution of it.  Mr. King had hitherto, from the peculiarity of his situation—­secluded from society, and confined to a small speck in the vast ocean, with but a handful of people—­drawn them round him, and treated them with the kind attentions which a good family meets with at the hands of a humane master; but he now saw them in their true colours, and one of his first steps, when peace was restored, was to clear the ground as far as possible round the settlement, that future villainy might not find a shelter in the woods for its transactions.  To this truly providential circumstance, perhaps, many of the colonists afterwards were indebted for their lives.

On Thursday the 26th of February the island was visited by a hurricane which came on early in the morning in very heavy gales of wind and rain.  By four o’clock several pines of 180 and 200 feet in length, and from 20 to 30 feet in circumference, were blown down.  From that hour until noon the gale increased to a dreadful hurricane, with torrents of heavy rain.  Every instant pines and live oaks, of the largest dimensions, were borne down by the fury of the blast, which, tearing up roots and rocks with them, left chasms of eight or ten feet depth in the earth.  Those pines that were able to resist the wind bent their tops nearly to the ground; and nothing but horror and desolation everywhere presented itself.  A very large live oak tree was blown on the granary, which it dashed to pieces, and stove a number of casks of flour; but happily, by the activity of the officers and free people, the flour, Indian corn, and stores, were in a short time collected, and removed to the commandant’s house, with the loss only of about half a cask of flour, and some small stores.  At noon the gale blew with the utmost violence, tearing up whole forests by the roots.  At one o’clock there were as many trees torn up by the roots as would have required the labour of fifty men for a fortnight to have felled.  Early in the forenoon the swamp and vale were overflowed, and had every appearance of a large navigable river.  The gardens, public and private, were wholly destroyed; cabbages, turnips, and other plants, were blown out of the ground; and those which withstood the hurricane seemed as if they had been scorched.  An acre of Indian corn which grew in the vale, and which would have been ripe in about three weeks, was totally destroyed*.

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