On the whole, (thunder storms in the hot months excepted) I know not any climate equal to this I write in. Ere we had been a fortnight on shore we experienced some storms of thunder accompanied with rain, than which nothing can be conceived more violent and tremendous, and their repetition for several days, joined to the damage they did, by killing several of our sheep, led us to draw presages of an unpleasant nature. Happily, however, for many months we have escaped any similar visitations.
The Progress made in the Settlement; and the Situation of Affairs at the Time of the Ship, which conveys this Account, sailing for England.
For the purpose of expediting the public work, the male convicts have been divided into gangs, over each of which a person, selected from among themselves, is placed. It is to be regretted that Government did not take this matter into consideration before we left England, and appoint proper persons with reasonable salaries to execute the office of overseers; as the consequence of our present imperfect plan is such, as to defeat in a great measure the purposes for which the prisoners were sent out. The female convicts have hitherto lived in a state of total idleness; except a few who are kept at work in making pegs for tiles, and picking up shells for burning into lime. For the last time I repeat, that the behaviour of all classes of these people since our arrival in the settlement has been better than could, I think, have been expected from them.
Temporary wooden storehouses covered with thatch or shingles, in which the cargoes of all the ships have been lodged, are completed; and an hospital is erected. Barracks for the military are considerably advanced; and little huts to serve, until something more permanent can be finished, have been raised on all sides. Notwithstanding this the encampments of the marines and convicts are still kept up; and to secure their owners from the coldness of the nights, are covered in with bushes, and thatched over.
The plan of a town I have already said is marked out. And as freestone of an excellent quality abounds, one requisite towards the completion of it is attained. Only two houses of stone are yet begun, which are intended for the Governor and Lieutenant Governor. One of the greatest impediments we meet with is a want of limestone, of which no signs appear. Clay for making bricks is in plenty, and a considerable quantity of them burned and ready for use.
In enumerating the public buildings I find I have been so remiss as to omit an observatory, which is erected at a small distance from the encampments. It is nearly completed, and when fitted up with the telescopes and other astronomical instruments sent out by the Board of Longitude, will afford a desirable retreat from the listlessness of a camp evening at Port Jackson. One of the principal reasons which