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1-028 (Text)

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THE FOLLOWING PARTICULARS ARE EXTRACTED FROM A LETTER OF A Convict at New South Wales, and received a few days since by his Mother in this city.
"Rendering myself, during our passage from England, useful to the Captain, by making several articles of Cloathes for him, I had soon the good fortune to be released from my irons; and on my arrival at our place of settlement, was appointed by the Captain's kind recommendation to the Governor, Master Taylor over the rest of the convicts of that trade; and having made the Governor two coats, he was well pleased with my work, that he said, he would be a friend to me, and place a confidence in me, from a good character given of me by the Captain of the transport ship; and which promise he has been good as to fulfil towards me.
In consequence of this good luck, I work for all the Gentlemen here, and made a coat for the Judge, who resides at Sydney, the situation of which place is fine and healthy, but almost entirely covered with wood. Little will grow here for want of rain; for it has rained but very trifling for the last seventeen months; the corn, therefore is scorched.
No fruit whatever grows here - when we arrived here, there was not a sheep or cow in the Island; but now there are 30 or 40 sheep from the Cape, and 18 or 20 cows. Every thing is very scarce. The people here, before we came, had only seven ounces of flour a day. Tobacco was sold from our ship on arrival, at a guinea a pound and which was afterwards sold here at £3-10-0 per pound - flour at 1 / 6 a pound, and soap at 7 / - a pound.
Our allowance at present is eight pounds of flour a week, four pounds of pork one week, and seven pounds of beef another.
I have got a good garden planted with Indian corn - potatoes - greens - pumpkins, melons and tobacco; and Will Butler, who is a settler here, has got 40 acres of land, and his wife 20, and is very well to do, - he made me a present of three chickens. The price of a laying hen here is three dollars - a chicken a month old 1 / - - and the price of other things at this present time - pork 6d. per pound - potatoes 4d.
Barrington is made Head Constable here. I am fortunate to fall into so good a way; for the men in general, who do the work of felling trees, and burning them, in order to clear the ground, are obliged to work from sunrise till sunset, excepting the interval of rest from eleven o'clock till two in the afternoon - but we have Saturday and Sunday to ourselves.
As to Botany Bay - it is given up, as they can make no good of it, the ground is so bad. At this place, the town is a mile long - there is a house for the Governor, and a great number of huts - We have four different settlements - viz; Sidney Cove - Rose-hill - and two back settlements which are not yet named. I am not in the least afraid but I shall come home again, as some of the men are already going home in the ships that we came in. The Natives are pretty peacable here - but if they catch any of our people in the woods, they will kill them.
The only thing we have to drink is sweet tea, that grows in the woods - Rum is 24 / per gallon, and porter 1 / 3 per bottle but very scarce."
"Rose-hill, November 11th, 1791."

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