A Complete Account of the Settlement at Port Jackson eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 199 pages of information about A Complete Account of the Settlement at Port Jackson.
suddenly fell upon them.  Our heroes were immediately routed, and separately endeavoured to effect their escape by any means which were left.  In their flight one was killed, and seven were wounded, for the most part very severely:  those who had the good fortune to outstrip their comrades and arrive in camp, first gave the alarm; and a detachment of marines, under an officer, was ordered to march to their relief.  The officer arrived too late to repel the Indians; but he brought in the body of the man that was killed, and put an end to the pursuit.  The governor was justly incensed at what had happened, and instituted the most rigorous scrutiny into the cause which had produced it.  At first the convicts were unanimous in affirming, that they were quietly picking sweet-tea*, when they were without provocation assaulted by the natives, with whom they had no wish to quarrel.  Some of them, however, more irresolute than the rest, at last disclosed the purpose for which the expedition had been undertaken; and the whole were ordered to be severely flogged:  Arabanoo was present at the infliction of the punishment; and was made to comprehend the cause and the necessity of it; but he displayed on the occasion symptoms of disgust and terror only.

[A vegetable creeper found growing on the rocks, which yields, on infusion in hot water, a sweet astringent taste, whence it derives its name:  to its virtues the healthy state of the soldiery and convicts must be greatly attributed.  It was drank universally.]

On the 24th instant the ‘Supply’ arrived from Norfolk Island, and Lord Howe Island, bringing from the latter place three turtles.

An awful and terrible example of justice took place towards the close of this month, which I record with regret, but which it would be disingenuous to suppress.  Six marines, the flower of our battalion, were hanged by the public executioner, on the sentence of a criminal court, composed entirely of their own officers, for having at various times robbed the public stores of flour, meat, spirits, tobacco, and many other articles.

CHAPTER IV.

Transactions of the Colony in April and May, 1789.

An extraordinary calamity was now observed among the natives.  Repeated accounts brought by our boats of finding bodies of the Indians in all the coves and inlets of the harbour, caused the gentlemen of our hospital to procure some of them for the purposes of examination and anatomy.  On inspection, it appeared that all the parties had died a natural death:  pustules, similar to those occasioned by the small pox, were thickly spread on the bodies; but how a disease, to which our former observations had led us to suppose them strangers, could at once have introduced itself, and have spread so widely, seemed inexplicable.* Whatever might be the cause, the existence of the malady could no longer be doubted.  Intelligence

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