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1-018 (Text)

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addressee,male author,male,Convict,un
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Plaint Text :
Private Written
Private Correspondence
Clark, 1977
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1-018-plain.txt — 2 KB

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I seize this opportunity of letting you know, by a vessel that will sail very soon, our wretched situation, which has been occasioned by the miscarriage of our supplies, and that perhaps you have not yet heard of. To give a just description of the hardships that the meanest of us endure, and the anxieties suffered by the rest, is more than I can pretend to. In all the Crusoe-like adventures I ever read or heard of, I do not recollect anything like it; for though you may be told of the quantity of salt meat that is allowed us, its quality in boiling does not make it above half as much, besides other inconveniences I cannot now mention, and which I think make so many of the children very unhealthy. On the same account, I believe few of the sick would recover if it was not for the kindness of the Rev. Mr. Johnson, whose assistance out of his own stores makes him the physician both of soul and body. All our improvements, except our gardens, have lately been quite at a stand, neither do I think they will go on again till we have more assistance from England. God only knows what our Governor thinks of it, or what word he has sent home; but for my part, from the highest to the lowest, I see nobody that is so contented as they were at first. We fear the troops, and they are not contented with seeing those who live better than themselves, nor with us who live worse; and I think if the savages knew that we were as short of powder as we are of provisions they would soon be more daring than they are. We have heard that some convicts at home, who might have been pardoned for capital crimes, have chosen their former sentence rather than come here; and which, though it was contradicted, we cannot help thinking is true. We cannot tell, if they have heard of our Situation, how it could be, unless from the Cape or Norfolk Island, which we hear no more from than from England. We had some Jews and Dutchmen from thence that would have settled if they had thought it worth while. I should now be very glad of the things I refused to take with me when I came from London, and hope you will venture to send Some needles and blue thread; for, as the cloaths are all wore out that we brought from home, we are mostly in our Woolwich dresses, and the women look like gypsies. But to be serious. We have had so many disappointments about arrivals, &c., that the sullen reserve of superiority has only increased our apprehensions; and some of the most ignorant have no other idea than that they are to be left by the troops and the shipping to perish by themselves!  And really, if you was to see with what ardent expectations some of the poor wretches watch an opportunity of looking out to sea, or the tears that are often shed upon the infants at the breast, you must have feelings that otherwise you never could have any experience of.