I trust that no man would feel more reluctant than myself to cast an illiberal national reflection, particularly on a people whom I regard in an aggregate sense as brethren and fellow-citizens; and among whom, I have the honour to number many of the most cordial and endearing intimacies which a life passed on service could generate. But it is certain that all these people were Irish.
Transactions of the colony until 18th of December 1791, when I quitted it, with an Account of its state at that time.
The Gorgon had arrived on the 21st of September, and the hour of departure to England, for the marine battalion, drew nigh. If I be allowed to speak from my own feelings on the occasion, I will not say that we contemplated its approach with mingled sensations: we hailed it with rapture and exultation.
The ‘Supply’, ever the harbinger of welcome and glad tidings, proclaimed by her own departure, that ours was at hand. On the 26th of November she sailed for England. It was impossible to view our separation with insensibility: the little ship which had so often agitated our hopes and fears, which from long acquaintance we had learned to regard as part of ourselves, whose doors of hospitality had been ever thrown open to relieve our accumulated wants, and chase our solitary gloom!
In consequence of the offers made to the non-commissioned officers and privates of the marine battalion to remain in the country as settlers or to enter into the New South Wales corps, three corporals, one drummer and 59 privates accepted of grants of land, to settle at Norfolk Island and Rose Hill. Of these men, several were undoubtedly possessed of sufficient skill and industry, by the assistance of the pay which was due to them from the date of their embarkation, in the beginning of the year 1787, to the day on which they were discharged, to set out with reasonable hopes of being able to procure a maintenance. But the only apparent reason to which the behaviour of a majority of them could be ascribed was from infatuated affection to female convicts, whose characters and habits of life, I am sorry to say, promise from a connection neither honour nor tranquillity.
The narrative part of this work will, I conceive, be best brought to a termination by a description of the existing state of the colony, as taken by myself a few days previous to my embarkation in the Gorgon, to sail for England.