Australian Access Federation

You are here: Home Corpora Corpus of Oz Early English 1-043 (Original)

1-043 (Original)

Item metadata
author,male,Palmer, T.F.,un addressee,male
Word Count :
Plaint Text :
Public Written
Official Correspondence
Ingleton, 1988
Document metadata

1-043.txt — 6 KB

File contents

WHEN Mr. White, the principal surgeon of this settlement, sailed last December in the DAEDALUS, I entrusted him with what is dearer to me than life, my character. I was under the necessity of defending this against the infernal machinations of Captain Patrick Campbell, master of the SURPRISE transport, who had hired and suborned some of the outcasts who sailed with him, to swear away my life by the accusation of mutiny, and the intended murder of him, and his principal officers. Of this murderous attempt of Campbell's I sent the most indubitable evidence of many depositions made before a magistrate. In the hurry, Mr Ellis sent the attested copies, as well the originals, so that my character depends on the safe arrival and honesty of Mr. White. They were accompanied with the dismal narrative of my sufferings (of which last I have a copy) and entrusted to the care of Mr. Joyce. I am extremely anxious for the fate of them. My history since then is little else than a register of vexations and persecutions.
The officers have monopolised all the trade of the colony. They suffer no one but themselves to board any ship that may arrive. They alone buy the cargo, and sell it at 1, 2, 3, 400, and even 1000 per cent. profit. Mr. Ellis and Boston were ordered into confinement for entering a ship and endeavouring to purchase things, not prohibited, for their use. With great respect, but firmness, they remonstrated against this invasion of the common rights of British subjects. This was construed into an audacious attack upon the privileges and interests of these military monopolists. And from that time (now many months ago) they have set their faces against them and me. They have had no grants and no servants. Mr. Boston, though sent out by the government principally to cure fish and make salt, has been the whole time unemployed My men, which I bought at a monstrous rate, with a farm, have been taken from me. A message has been sent me to pull off my hat to the officers, or I should be confined in the cells and punished. Public orders have been twice given for no soldier to speak to me under the penalty of 100 lashes. Now I never had omitted the ceremony of capping the officers, and never conversed with the soldiers. The most impudent claims on my property from the most unprincipled thieves were listened to, and enforced, without deigning to hear a single word I had to say.
The situation the colony is in at present is dreadful. It is put an half allowance, and even at this rate there is not enough in the stores to last three weeks. They have begun to kill the livestock. The cows are condemned, but all the stock in the colony will not last a month. The only respite is about three months provisions of Indian corn, a food inadequate to labour. In this state Mr. Boston wrote to the commanding officer that he was sent out by the government on purpose to make salt and cure fish, and that he would undertake, with the assistance of boats and men, to supply from Lord Howe's Island, in the neighbourhood, a full or even double allowance of well cured fish, at a third of the price of beef and pork. Can you conceive that little or no notice was taken of this, and nearly a flat denial given?
Yesterday a large ship came in from India, the ENDEAVOUR, Bampton master, with the company's colours flying. These were called American by some, by others the colours of Britain, - of a frigate sent to fetch us over. Good heavens! What were my sensations! mocked with groundless joy to be plunged again into melancholy. She brings live stock, arrack, tea, sugar, muslin, buffalo-fat, but only fourteen barrels of provisions. Fowls sell at 5 / - each; cabbages 6d.; park 1 / 6 per pound. I have never accepted any provisions of any kind from the stores, that no pretence might be made to demand my labour, and I therefore find living enormously dear. Mr. Muir, myself Mr. and Mrs. Boston and Ellis live together, and are all well.
It gave me great pleasure on landing to see the harmony between the natives and whites. This was owing to the indefatigable pains of governor Phillips, to cultivate a good understanding with them. When himself was speared he would suffer no vengeance to be taken, and on no account an injury to be done them by a white man. The natives of the Hawkesbury (the richest land possibly in the world, producing 30 and 40 bushels of wheat per acre) lived an the wild yarns an the banks. Cultivation has rooted out these, and poverty compelled them to steal Indian corn to support nature. The unfeeling settlers resented this by unparalleled severities. The blacks in return speared two or three whites, but tired out, they came unarmed, and sued for peace. This, government thought proper to deny them, and last week sent sixty soldiers to kill and destroy all they could meet with, and drive them utterly from the Hawkesbury. They seized a native boy who had lived with a settler, and made him discover where his parents and relations concealed themselves. They came upon them unarmed, and unexpected, killed five and wounded many more. The dead they hang an gibbets, in terrorem. The war may be universal on the part of the blacks, whose improvement and civilization will be a long time deferred. The people killed were unfortunately the most friendly of the blacks, and one of them more than once saved the life of a white man.
Governor Hunter, whose arrival is so anxiously expected, will come out with just and liberal ideas, I trust, of policy, and correct the many abuses and oppressions we groan under, as well as those of the poor natives. It seems a strange time to drive these poor wretches into famine, the almost certain consequences of driving them from their situation, when we are so near It ourselves.
Ever since I landed I have been attacked by the malady of the country, sore - eyes; so that I have been obliged to give up writing and reading. I have now blisters behind my ears, from which I find some relief Same lose their sight, but, in general, after the first attack, their vision is as good as ever.
You may be sure I am all anxiety concerning the fate of those men, who are suffering for the welfare of others. Remember me to them, if you have the opportunity, with all the sympathy they deserve.
I am, dear Sir,
Your much obliged and affectionate