An Account of the English Colony in New South Wales, Vol. 2
David Collins

Part 7 out of 7

The _Lady Nelson_ brig had been in Bass Strait, and surveyed Western
port, where she found a very good harbour. She had also been, in company
with the _Francis_ (colonial schooner), to Hunter river, where they
took in between them 45 tons of coal, which were exchanged with the
master of the _Cornwallis_, for a quantity of nails and iron,
articles that were much wanted; thus, for the first time, making the
natural produce of the country contribute to its wants.

The _Francis_ being nearly worn out, the governor had purchased a
vessel called the _Harbinger_, to be employed in going to and from
Norfolk Island, the service of the _Porpoise_ being required for
longer voyages. The _Supply_, which had been long since condemned,
was fitting up as a hulk to receive such convicts as were incorrigible,
in which capacity she might still be very useful. It was intended that
the _Lady Nelson_ should, at the proper season, be employed in an
accurate survey of Bass Strait.

Accounts having been received of the Union between the Two Kingdoms, that
event was celebrated on the 4th of June 1801, and on that occasion the
new union flag was for the first time displayed in New South Wales. The
governor took that opportunity of releasing several of the Irish
insurgents who had been in confinement.

It appeared, on examining the registers of the several terms of
transportation of the convicts, that the clerks, who necessarily had had
access to them, had altered the sentences of about two hundred prisoners,
receiving a gratuity from each equal to ten or twelve pounds. This was a
very serious evil; and proper steps to guard against it in future have
been taken both at home and in the colony.

That necessary institution, the Orphan School, had been carried into
effect, and the house which had been purchased for the reception of the
children was occupied by them.

It appeared, upon collecting the accounts of the expenses attending the
erecting of the county gaol, that that building had cost the sum of L3954
the greatest part of which had been paid by assessments upon individuals.

Every encouragement was given to promote the growth of wool fit for the
purpose of manufacturing, and three hundred and six yards of blanketing
had been made from what had been produced in the year preceding the date
of the dispatches, from the flocks belonging to government and to
individuals. In five months four hundred and seventy-two yards of flax
had been manufactured into linen.

The colony continued healthy. In July 1801 there were one hundred and
eighteen persons on the surgeon's list.

The spirit of adventure, which still manifested itself in the arrival of
ships upon speculation, received some check in the governor's sending
back three vessels that had arrived from Bengal, on board of which were
not less than fifty-four thousand gallons of spirits and wine.

A quantity of copper coin having been received, the governor published a
table of all the specie legally in circulation within the colony,
affixing the following rates to each, at which they should be considered
and be a legal tender in all payments or transactions within the
territory, viz.


A guinea L1 2 0 A rupee L0 2 6
A johannes 4 0 0 A Dutch guilder 0 2 0
A half ditto 2 0 0 An English shilling 0 1 1
A ducat 0 9 6 A copper coin of 1 oz 0 0 2
A gold mohur 1 17 6 A ditto of 1/2 oz 0 0 1
A pagoda 0 8 0 A ditto of 1/4 oz 0 0 01/2
A Spanish dollar 0 5 0

And as the supply of copper was sent to relieve the inconvenience under
which persons who wanted to make small payments laboured, no sum
exceeding L5 was to be deemed a legal tender in this money. It was also
declared, that the exporting or importing (except from the treasury) of
any sum of the copper coin exceeding L5 should be punished by a
forfeiture and fine of treble the value of the sum so exported or

Several ships had arrived from India, England, and America, most of which
had brought, upon speculation, cargoes consisting of wine, spirits,
tobacco, teas, sugar, hardware, wearing apparel, etc, etc. the sale of
which was, with the governor's approbation, advertised by the commissary,
and publicly sold to all descriptions of people.

It appears, that from these ships

59,294 gallons of spirits ) had been imported.
30,896 gallons of wines )

26,974 gallons of spirits ) had been landed.
8,896 gallons of wines )

32,320 gallons of spirits ) had been sent away.
22,000 gallons of wines )

Three ships had arrived with convicts, viz.
The _Royal Admiral_, on the 22nd of November 1800.
_Luz. St. Anne_, on the 21st of February 1801.
_Earl Cornwallis_, on the 12th of June following.

On the 30th of June 1801, there were in the settlement, five thousand
five hundred and forty-seven persons of all descriptions, of whom seven
hundred and seventy-six were children. At Norfolk Island the whole number
of persons was nine hundred and sixty-one, making a total of six thousand
five hundred and eight persons under the authority of the governor.

At Norfolk Island it was fortunately discovered, on the 14th of December
1800, that a plot had been formed by some of the convicts to murder the
officers, and, getting possession of the island, to liberate themselves.
Two of the ringleaders were immediately executed.

Major Foveaux, the lieutenant-governor, had found, what had been so much
wanted and hitherto unknown, a good landing-place for boats and small
craft, in Anson's Bay, where there were four and five fathoms of water
within a few yards of the shore, which was a fine sandy beach, and the
passage free from rocks or shoals.

The following was the state of the live stock, and ground in cultivation,
in New South Wales:

In June 1801 Sheep Cattle Horses Goats Hogs
6269 362 211 1259 4766

In August 1801 Sheep Cattle Horses
488 931 32

Acres of Wheat Acres for Maize
Government 467 300
Individuals 48571/4 3564
Total 53331/4 3864

A stack, containing 1000 bushels of grain, the property of an individual,
had been unfortunately destroyed by fire.

The Hawkesbury had again inundated the adjacent country; and many of the
settlers, who had farms on its banks, had in despair totally abandoned

With this information I must here conclude my labours; and, as the
annalist of the English Colony in New South Wales, probably take my leave
for ever of that country, in whose service I spent the first nine years
of its infancy, during all the difficulties and hardships with which, in
that rude state, it had to contend: a country which has eventually proved
the destruction of my brightest prospects; having, by my services there,
been precluded from succeeding to my proper situation in the professional
line to which I was bred; without any other reward as yet to boast of,
than the consciousness of having ever been a faithful and zealous servant
to my employers, and knowing that the peculiar hardship of my case has
been acknowledged by every gentleman, in and out of office, to whom it
has been communicated.



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