Charles White: Convict Life extract
CONVICT LIFE IN NSW AND VAN DIEMENS LAND
The following is from Convict life in NSW and Van Diemens Land, Charles White. Published by White at Bathurst 1889
It was early in the year 1787 that a fleet of eleven sailing ships could be seen rendezvousing off the Isle of Wight, the names of the vessels being the Sirius, frigate ; the Supply, armed tender ; the Golden Grove, Fishburn, and Barrowdale, store ships ; and the Scarborough, Lady Penrhyn, Friendship, Charlotte, Prince of Wales, and Alexander, transports. On board were Captain Arthur Phillip, styled Governor and Commander-in-Chief of New South Wales, with Other inferior officers, a Lieutenant-Governor, a chaplain, a commissory, judge advocate, surgeon, adjutant, quarter-master, two assistant surgeons and an agent for transports ; a garrison of 200 marines, fully officered ; 200 soldiers, forty of whom were allowed to take their wives and families ; 81 other free persons and 6o6 convicts making a total of 1044 persons. Of this number 1030 were safely landed in the colony in January, 1788, having been eight months on the water. Of the number landed about 300 were females, twenty-eight being wives of the military, and 192 convicts. It must not be supposed that these male and female convicts were criminals of the deepest die, for they were mostly young persons from the agricultural districts of England, and out of the whole 696, only 55 were sentenced for longer periods than seven years, and the sentences of a large number would expire within two or three years after their landing. The laws of England a century ago, and their administration, were very different from what they are now, and large numbers of those who crowded the goals, and were sent from the goals across the water to the new land, had never been accused of anything worse than poaching or smuggling, while many of them were suffering for political offences which in later days made statesmen, and crowned the “transgressors” with imperishable glory. That there were some very bad men and women in the first batch, and in the batches that followed in their wake, is true ; but the number was proportionately small, and their influence for was necessarily contracted.
The first ship of the fleet, the Supply, with the Governor oil board, anchored in Botany Bay on 18th January, 1788, and was closely followed by the other ships. Concerning the landing we find the following record in the history of Governor Phillip’s voyage, published in the following year : “At the very first landing of Governor Phillip on the shore of Botany Bay, January 18th, 17S8, an interview with the natives took place. They were all armed, but on seeing the Governor approach with signs of friendship, alone and unarmed, they readily returned his confidence by laying down their weapons. They were perfectly devoid of clothing, yet seemed fond of ornaments, putting the beads and red baize that were given them on their heads and necks, and appearing pleased to wear them. The presents offered by their new visitors were all readily accepted, nor did any kind of disagreement arise while the ships remained in Botany Bay.”
The early records declare that one man who was caught by the solitary clergyman in the settlement stealing potatoes from a garden, was sentenced to 300 lashes, to have his ration of flour stopped for six months, and to be chained for that period to two others who had been caught robbing the Governor’s garden.
During this trying period Governor Phillip lived on the same ration as was allowed to the meanest person under his charge, the weekly provision issued to everyone being simply two and a half pounds of flour, two pounds of rice, and two pounds of pork. The humanity of the Governor is seen in the fact narrated by Collins that he gave up 3 cwt. of flour which was his own private property, declaring that he did not wish to have on his table at such a time more than the ration that was received in common from the public stores.
When the people were on the very verge of despair and death, their eyes were gladdened by the sight of a provision ship sailing into the harbour, and bringing 127,000 lbs. of flour, being a four months’ supply for the settlement. A few days afterwards four ships arrived bringing 1000 male and 250 female convicts. It can readily be imagined what would have happened had these transport ships discharged their living freight before the public larder had been replenished the timely arrival of the vessel with provisions.
It is worthy of record that the first grant of land was made to a settler named Ruse in 179 1, he having declared that he was able to support himself without aid from the Government stores on a farm which he had occupied fifteen months, the grant of land having been made as a reward for his industry. In December, 1792, there were 67 settlers holding under grant 3,470 acres, of which 470 acres were under cultivation and another hundred cleared. The bulk of this land was near Sydney, and was then, as it is now, looked at from an agriculturist’s point of view, “miserably barren;” and the little provision that was won from the soil was chiefly due to the fact that the work was done by convicts and without pay. These free settlers, most of them convicts free by servitude or pardon, were supported entirely for eighteen months by the Government, assistance being rendered as soon as they went on the land. They were clothed, received their tools, primitive implements of husbandry, and grain for seed, from the Government stores, together with the use of as many convicts as they would undertake to clothe, feed, and employ; while huts were erected for them also at the public expense.
The year of Governor Phillip’s departure was made remarkable also by the arrival of the first foreign trading vessel. She was from the United States, and entered Port Jackson in November, loaded with goods which the enterprising American skipper considered suitable to the new
market. As it happened, the goods forming his cargo were in great demand, and he disposed of them at a high profit. In the same month one of the first warrants of emancipation was made out in favour of the notorious London pick-pocket, Barrington, to whom the credit of composing the prologue to one of the first dramatic representations attempted in the colony was given, and which contained the oft-quoted lines
True patriots all, for be it understood,
We left our country for our county’s good.”
The following is the full text of that peculiar document :
From distant climes, o’er widespread seas we come,
Though not with much éclat, or beat of drum;
True patriots all, for, be it understood,
We left our country for our county’s good:
No private views disgraced our generous zeal,
What urged our travels was our country’s weal;
And none will doubt, but that our emigration
Has proved most useful to the British nation.
But you inquire, what could our breasts inflame.
With this new passion for theatric fame;
What in the practice of our former days,
Could shape our talent to exhibit plays?
Your patience. Sirs, some observations made.
You’ll grant us equal to the scenic trade.
He, who to midnight ladders is no stranger.
You’ll own I’ll make an admirable ranger.
To seek Macheath we have not far to roam.
And sure in Filch I shall be quite at home.
Unrivaled there, none will dispute my claim,
To high pre-eminence and exalted fame.
As oft to Gadshill we have taken our stand.
When ’twas so dark you could not see your hand.
Some true-bred Falstaff we may hope to start,
Who, when well holster’ d well will play his part.
The scene to vary, we shall try in time,
To treat you to a little pantomime.
Here light and easy columbines are found.
And well-bred harlequins with us abound;
From durance vile our precious selves to keep
We often had recourse to th’ flying leap;
To a black face have sometimes ow’d escape.
And Hounslow Heath has proved the worth of crape.
But how, you ask, can we e’er hope to soar
Above these scenes, and rise to tragic lore?
Too oft, alas! we’ve forced th’ unwilling tear,
And petrified the heart with real fear.
Macbeth a harvest of applause will reap,
For some of us, I fear, have murdered sleep;
His lady too with grace will sleep and talk,
Our females have been used at night to walk.
Sometimes, indeed, so various is our art,
An actor may improve and mend his part ;
” Give me a horse,” bawls Richard, like a drone,
We’ll find a man would help himself to one.
Grant us the favour, put us to the test,
To grain your smiles we’ll do our very best;
And, without dread of future Turnkey Lockits,
Thus, in an honest way, still pick your pockets.
The first fitful throbbings indicating the death agony of the penal system of the colony were now heard, and the first breathings of that free national life now in full vigor were observed. When Macquarie was recalled in the latter part of 1821, after having held the reins of government for twelve years, the colony was undergoing a change which in its completion was to exhibit New South Wales to the world as the grandest instance of successful colonization ever. recorded in history, and not a few of the blessings this day enjoyed may be traced to the vigor of Macquarie’s administration. Even in his day the progress towards freedom and greatness was well marked, and he had the satisfaction of recording to the Home Government a few facts indicating the material progress that had eventuated during his term of office. Here are a few extracts from a communication which he addressed to Earl Bathurst almost immediately after his return to England”
“I found the colony barely emerging from infantile imbecility, and suffering from various privations and disabilities; the country impenetrable beyond forty miles from Sydney; agriculture in a yet languishing state; commerce in its early dawn; revenue unknown; threatened with famine; distracted by faction; the public buildings in a state of dilapidation and mouldering to decay; the few roads and bridges formerly constructed rendered almost impassable; the population in general depressed by poverty; no public credit, nor private confidence; the morals of the great mass of the population in the lowest state of debasement, and religious worship almost totally neglected. Such was the state of New South Wales when I took charge of its administration on 1st January, 18 10. I left it in February last (his communication is dated July, 1822), reaping incalculable advantages from my extensive and important discoveries in all directions, including the supposed insurmountable barrier called the Blue Mountains, to the westward of which are situated the fertile plains of Bathurst; and, in all respects, enjoying a state of private comfort and public prosperity, which I trust will at least equal the expectation of His Majesty’s Government. The change may indeed be ascribed in part to the natural operation of time and events on individual enterprise : how far it may be attributed to measures originating with myself, as hereinafter detailed, and my zeal and judgment in giving effect to my instructions, I humbly submit to His Majesty and his ministers.
Governor Brisbane succeeded Macquarie, and entered upon his duties on 1st December, 1821. He was eminently unfitted for his position, for although a soldier he was weak and vacillating, and too much given to transferring to others the duties which he himself should have performed. At this time the struggle for supremacy between the different classes was at its height, and it required the vigorous brain and strong determination of a powerful, courageous man to guide the affairs of State, between the unscrupulous grasping of the disappointed military, the forceful demands of the wealthy emancipists for the restitution of legal and other rights, and the clamoring of the free settlers of the humbler class retired soldiers and sailors and emigrants who, although generally taking sides with the emancipists against the “pure merinos,” as the official aristocrats were called, were not unmindful of the claims of “Number One”. Brisbane neither had the courage nor the tact to manage matters properly. He was tossed hither and thither between the contending forces, and in order to escape from the clamor he made himself a retreat at Parramatta, where he established an observatory and devoted himself to the pursuit of scientific studies, seeking rest from the turmoil and strife of active official life in the quiet contemplation of the stars. Events did not stand still, however, and during his administration several important changes took place. The old monopolizing and domineering spirit, which had been checked by Macquarie, broke out stronger than ever, and militarism re-asserted itself, the Governor having practically to stand aside while officials help themselves and each other to place and power, and
divided the land in great slices between them.
Sudds and Thompson were two soldiers of the 57th Regiment doing duty in the colony in 1825. Thinking the lot of convicts preferable to their own, by reason of the indulgence granted and the opportunities for amassing wealth offered to that class, they committed a felony, by stealing a piece of cloth from a shop in George-street, Sydney, for the express purpose of getting themselves convicted, believing that after a short sentence they should emerge into a condition that would enable them to enjoy the privileges and opportunities enjoyed by the many favoured emancipists. Arrest, trial, conviction, and sentence followed, as they desired, the sentence being transportation to one of the auxiliary penal settlements for seven years. In the course of the trial, however, the motive leading to the commission of the crime was fully revealed, as was also the fact that there was widespread discontent among the military on account of the inferior position they were compelled to occupy. Fearing that the discipline of the troops would be seriously endangered if a check was not put upon these low-bred aspirations, Sir Ralph Darling, himself a military man, determined to take the men out of the custody of the civil power, and teach them and their fellow soldiers a lesson they would never forget. He issued a General Order in pursuance of which the two men were taken from the custody of the gaoler and brought to the Barrack- square in Sydney, where, in presence of the military, it was announced that their sentence had been changed to seven years hard labour in irons on the roads, and that on the expiration of their sentence they were to be returned to their regiment. But this was not all. The Governor invented a special form of ” ironing ” to suit the regimentals. The two men were stripped of their uniform and clothed in the convict dress; iron collars with long projecting spikes were then riveted round their necks and fetters and chains riveted on their legs. They were then drummed out of the Regiment and marched back to gaol while the band played ” The Rogue’s March.” What followed is best told in the words of the only one of the two who survived to tell the tale. Sudds, who was in bad health at the time, overcome with grief, shame, and disappointment, which was not at all relieved by the heat of the sun on the day of the exposure in the Barrack-square, re-entered the prison only to die, and this is the manner in which his fellow- prisoner, Thompson, described the new experience of prison-life, when examined on board the Phoenix hulk: ”
“We were taken to the parade ground and the regimentals taken off us, and a suit of yellow cloth put on each of us, and a General Order read to us by Brigade Mayor Gillham, by the order of his Excellency General Darling. After the Order was read to us a set of irons was put on each of us. The irons consisted of a collar which went round each of our necks, and chains were fastened to the collar on each side of the shoulder, and reached from thence to the basil, which was placed about three inches from each ankle. There was a piece of iron which projected from the collar before and behind, about eight inches at each place. The projecting iron would not allow me to stretch myself at full length on my back. I could sleep on my back by contracting my legs. I could not lie at full length on either side without contracting my legs. 1 could not stand upright with the irons on. The basil of the irons would not slip up my legs, and the chains were too short to allow me to stand upright. I was never measured for the irons, and Sudd’s collar was too small for his neck, and the basils for his legs, which were swollen. I never heard him say he had the dropsy in the West Indies. Sudds was turned out of the hospital the morning of his punishment, and taken to the barracks about an hour afterwards. Sudds was taken from the hospital to the Session on the 6th November. [The inquiry was held on 23rd April following] ; he appeared to be very ill, insomuch that the man who was handcuffed with him was obliged to sit down on the grass in the court yard in order to enable him to lie down. He continued in that way until after the trial. ”
After the yellow clothes and the irons were put on us in manner before mentioned, we were drummed out of the Regiment, the ‘ Rogue’s March ‘ being played after us by two or three drummers or fifers. We were not drummed out in the usual way, which is, to put a rope about the neck, cut off the facings and place a piece of paper on the back, with a description of the offence which the party may have committed.
Instead of this we had the ins-bacon and the yellow clothing. On our return to the same ward in the gaol, Sudds sat down with his back to the wall saying that he was very ill, and wished to go to the hospital again, but he did not go to the hospital till next morning. The basils of his irons cut his legs during the time we were coming from the barracks to the gaol; it was owing to the sharpness of the basil and the weight of it that we were cut. The night of the day of punishment Sudds was so ill that we were obliged to get a candle about eight o’clock from Wilson, the under-jailer, in order to keep up a light during the night. I gave him some tea which I had purchased. About ten o’clock he was very ill. I requested a fellow prisoner to get up and look at him, thinking he was dying. The fellow prisoner, whose name I do not know, did look at him and said he was not dying, but he did not think he would live long. I then asked Sudds if he had any friends to whom he would wish to write. He said he had a wife and child in Gloucestershire, and begged that if he did not get better by the next night, I would read some pious book to him, adding “that they had put him in them irons till they had killed him’ ”
The Governor and his friends endeavored to account for Sudds’ death by stating that he had previously suffered from dropsy, and that he had been neglected by the medical officer ; but they were unable to produce evidence in support of their allegations, and the report of the medical officer of the gaol fully disproved the theory they had set up to ease their consciences under the self- accusations of murder, which must have been ever repeating themselves. Dr. Mclntyre declared : ” I found him in a state of delirium on the 26th instant, and he was removed to the General Hospital, where he gradually became worse, and expired the following morning. After a minute dissection of the body, no apparent disease was found to exist to account for his immediate death.” The iron had entered this poor man’s soul.
Fare-ye-vell, my Vitechapel boys, fare-ye-well for a while,
For you see the bobbies and the beaks has tumbled to my style
But it’s all wery vell vhen you’re in luck, your friends will stand a cup.
But vhen you’re down they keeps you down acause they turns you up.
So fare-ye-well, my Vitechapel boys, and you vot keeps a fence,
I’m going avay to Australia, but not at my own expense.
I’ve got an out an out good name for being a roving blade,
I’m fly to every downy dodge, and a stunner at my trade;
But the best of all the flyest coves am werry much to blame,
Because they makes the bobbies fly to tumble to their game.
I nailed this yellow vipe from a swell, whilst going up Drury-lane;
And this bandanna from a bloke whilst drinking champagne
This from a foreigner I took vhilst valking Leicester-square,
And this vone from another chap as grand as a Lord Mayor.
There’s one or two more lately you see taken folks in quite unavares,
I should like to know the difference betvixt these vipes and the railway shaes;
The Crystal Palace ‘cotched it too, but they had themselves to thank,
But the biggest swindle of ’em all, was the Royal British Bank.
When Mr Dickens wrote his work, he drew my character so veil
Betvixt the artful dodger and me none could the difference tell,
Mr Cruckedshanks vot drink no gin — in his picture you may see
The very dodger vhat I mean — all of a tvist like me.
I never injured any one, and vorked hard for what I got
For nothing comes amiss me, except the vile garotte,
For every finger dodge there is, I’ve got a happy knack,
And never like a coward struck any man behind his back.
Now fare-ye-vell, my Vitechapel boys, to part vith you I grieve
But I’ll return to you vonce more, vhen I’ve voaked the ticket of leave.
Here’s one dodge that keeps up my pluck, and does my spirits cheer,
This is ven I return again, you’ll welcome the dodger here.
My mother’s family, the Solomons and Phillips were from the Bow Bells cockney district and I always pictured them as part of the barrow boy and rowdy music hall culture (which they were on both counts). They held many of the cockney colloquial sayings and, of course, the songs. My grandfather, Sid Phillips, worked a barrow outside of Sydney’s Mark Foy’s emporium. My mother and her siblings, when children, had the task of visiting parts of the rich eastern suburbs to ‘collect’ flowers! Later, from the post war 1940s Sid sold stationary (and collected racing tips) at Paddy’s Market. I found this song in Hugh Anderson’s Farewell To Judges and Juries and it is from the broadside published by H. Disley, Printer, High Street, St. Giles, London. Not dated. The idea of a story fashioned around convict transportation and Charles Dickens was too good to be denied. I set the tune to it for a concert I gave at the Mitchell Library, February 2007. A few explanations: a ‘fence’ is someone who receives stolen property, The Crystal Palace was an iron and glass building originally erected in London’s Hyde Park to house the Great Exhibition of 1851. More than 14,000 exhibitors from around the world were gathered inside to display examples of the latest technology developed in the Revolution. The ‘Mr Cruckedshanks’ refers to George Cruikshanks the painter who, apparently, ‘drank no gin’. I particularly like the play on words where the singer says ‘The very dodger what I mean – all of a twist like me’ which, as you can see, refers to ‘Oliver Twist’
The idea that Australia was the best country to succeed the American colonies and Africa as the receptacle of convicts from the overcrowded gaols of England originated with Thomas Lord Sydney, who was Secretary of State for the colonies from 1784 to 1789. The objects of the project were : ” (i). To rid the mother country of the prisoners whose rapidly increasing numbers in the gaols rendered penal discipline so difficult; (2). to afford a proper place for the safe custody and punishment of the criminals, as well as for their reformation ; (3). to form a free colony out of the materials which the prisoners thus reformed would supply, together with the free immigrants who might settle in the country after the work of settlement had been completed. The project was a wise one, but it did not meet with the approval of a few of the leading philanthropists of England, who stoutly opposed it by tongue and pen, and this opposition was only borne down by the Government gagging the press, imprisoning one of the foremost objectors, and carrying on their work in secret. When their scheme was complete, in August, 1786, the Commissioners of the King’s navy, having been furnished with a statement showing all the criminals sentenced to transportation, published advertisements in the official Gazette and the London Observer intimating that the Government intended to charter seven vessels to convey between 700 and 800 felons to Botany Bay.
They also posted placards conveying the same intimation at the most popular coffee-houses in London. The result was that the Treasury Board shortly thereafter concluded a contract with the owners of six vessels to convey the criminals to the new country. Three storeships were also engaged to accompany the fleet, and H.M.S. ” Sirius,” mounted with 20 guns, and an armed brig, the ” Supply,” were placed in commission. As it was expected that the voyage would last nearly a year, the work of fitting and equipping the vessels therefore was one of considerable magnitude, and several months elapsed before it was complete.
At different times the transports were loaded with their living freight, until the whole of the convicts had been “housed ” in safety, being placed in irons (the females excepted) in the holds of the vessels, which were divided into compartments. When the squadron was ready to sail the total number of persons on board was 1036, and comprised 11 officials of the civil establishment, 18 officers forming the military staff, 184 marines from which the garrison was formed, 28 women, wives of the marines, with 17 of their children ; and 586 male and 192 female convicts.
As it is with the prisoners that I have to chiefly deal, it is necessary that a few particulars concerning their characters should here be given. Many persons have taken it for granted that the men and women who were honoured with the title of ‘First Fleeters’ were necessarily ‘first ruffians’ villains of the deepest dye ” the worst of all the bad convicts of all England, Scotland, and Ireland. But nothing could be farther from the truth. They were in fact the picked men and women of the gaols, the major part being (to use the words of Captain Tench, who commanded one of the transports) ” mechanics and husbandmen, selected on purpose by order of the Government.” It must not be forgotten that in those days sentences of death were as frequently passed by the judges as magistrates’ orders to inebriates to pay a fine of five shillings are made now a days and the “crimes” to which the capital sentence was attached were, some of them, not so bad as the offence of drunkenness. Hence transportation was inflicted on hundreds ” it may not be beyond the mark to say thousands ” who were guilt}^ of offences which in the present age are accounted most trifling, and which are now punished with a small fine, or at most a few weeks’ imprisonment. It is on record that in 1789 a wealthy gentleman named Eyre was transported to Botany Bay for stealing a few quires of notepaper, and hundreds were sent across the seas for offences not in any degree greater than that. As late as 181 8 a reverend doctor, who was tutor to the Earl of Chesterfield was transported hither for forging a tenpenny postage stamp to a letter. That Gentleman ” for he was a gentleman in every sense of the word ” afterwards became famous in the land to which he was sent as a felon.
Origin of First Fleet Convicts:
As previously stated, the number of convicts brought out in the first fleet was 778. It is stated that only those whose health was robust were chosen as the first Australian exiles, and this no doubt explains how it was that SO few of the “first fleeters ” died on the voyage out, and how it was that so many of them lived to become very old colonists. From the returns furnished by the officials I find that of the 778, no less than 265 were convicted in London, 55 in Exeter, 25 in Bristol, 18 in Gloucester, 18 in Launceston, 16 in Kingston, 14 in Maidstone, 13 in Reading, 12 in Winchester, 12 in Shrewsbury, 12 in Manchester, 10 in Worcester, 9 in Warwick, 9 in Dorchester, and several in each of the towns of Liverpool, York, Croydon, Oxford, and other places. Out of the 778 exiles nearly 700 were sentenced to 7 years’ imprisonment, and the sentences of 5 of them commenced in 1782, 41 in 1783, 190 in 1784, 209 in 1785, 168 in 1786, and 51 in 1787. There were 4 of the exiles who had in 1786 been sentenced to 5 years’ imprisonment, and only 24 sentenced to 14 years in 1785 and 1786. Only 39 were sentenced to penal servitude for life, and 17 of this number were convicted in 1785. So that before the colony had been established five years no less than 650 of the 778 had served their sentences and become free.
A First Hand Convict Report:
One of the earlier convicts, who afterwards became somewhat famous in New South Wales, thus describes the embarkation and initial movements of the floating ‘Black Marias’ employed to convey exiles to the new land, and his narrative may be taken as fairly descriptive of the first voyage undertaken.
“My fellow prisoners, to the amount of upwards of 200, were all ordered into the hold, which was rendered as convenient as circumstances would admit, battens being fixed fore and aft for hammocks, which were hung 1 7 inches apart from each other; but being encumbered with their irons, together with the want of fresh air, soon rendered their situation truly deplorable. To alleviate their condition, as much as was consistent with the safety of the ship, they were permitted to walk the deck in turns, ten at a time; the women, of whom we had six, had a snug berth made for them, and were kept by themselves.
“ My messmate, the boatswain (the writer had purchased certain privileges above his fellows, having a little money and some influential friends) had provided me with a neat slung hammock, and gave me a berth next his own; at the same time addressing some of his shipmates who were present, with, ” Lookee, my hearties, as I know you are all above distressing a gentleman under misfortune, I’m sure you will consent to his having this here berth ; but if so be as how any of you don’t like it, why, you may have mine” it isn’t the first time I have prick’d for the softest plank.’ Whether from the oratory of my new friend, or the insinuating appearance of a large can of flip, produced from an ample liquor case, which promised a succession of the same arguments, the iron muscles of his auditors were softened down to a significant smile, and universal nod of assent. The settling of this important business afforded me great satisfaction, as it not only assured me a comfortable berth for my hammock, but a place also for my little property, which I should have immediately under my eye. “ We lay about a week at Long Reach, when we dropt down to Gravesend ; here the captain came on board, and some soldiers of the New South Wales Corps ; we got under weigh the next morning, and proceeded to the Downs ; it blowing strong to the westward, we came to an anchor. The wind veering about we were at daybreak again under sail, and arrived at the Mother Bank, where lay several other transports for the same destination. “ It was about ten days before we were ready to sail from hence, the interval being employed in getting fresh stock and replenishing our water. On the report of our being ready for sea being made to the admiral, a lieutenant of the navy came on board, as agent for transports, and immediately made the signal for the masters of the other ships to come on board, to whom he delivered their sailing instructions, and on the following morning made the signal to weigh. By a quarter past 9 we were under easy sail, and it blowing a stiff easterly breeze, we ran through the Needles. It was delightful weather, and the prospect on each hand must have afforded the most agreeable sensation to every beholder,, being, perhaps, as rich and luxuriant as is anywhere to be met with ; but, alas ! it only brought a fresh pang to the bosom of one who in all probability was bidding it adieu for ever.
[Convict life in NSW and Van Diemens Land, Charles White. Published by White at Bathurst 1889]