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1-081 (Original)

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author,male,Collins, David,48 addressee,male
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Government English
Imperial Correspondence
Clark, 1977
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1-081.txt — 4 KB

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By my Letter No. 5 which I expect you will receive by the Schooner Edwin, (a Duplicate of which accompanies this), your Excellency will be informed of my Intention of Proceeding to the Settlement established under your Authority at the Derwent.
As your Excellency requests that I will be unreserved in my communications respecting the Settlement with the direction of which I have been entrusted, I shall proceed to state the motive that induced me to give the preference to the Derwent. The advantages which I must derive from establishing myself in a Place already settled had certainly great weight with me, as I mention'd in the Letter which I had the honor of addressing to you by the Calcutta; but a still stronger consideration than this determined my Election of that Place. [76] Between the departure of Captain Woodruff and the Receipt of your last Dispatches, I discovered an improper spirit among some of my Military, who expressed a dissatisfaction at a daily Drill, which I had found it necessary to order. Having received sufficient Evidence of their discontent, and of a design to wait upon me in a Body to state What they deemed a grievance, I resolved instantly to check it before it could proceed to any such unwarrantable length, and caused two Privates (who I had reason to believe were the most dissatisfied) to be confined, and brought them the following Day to a Court-Martial by which they were sentenced to receive each Nine hundred lashes, of which Punishment I attended the Execution myself, when one received Seven Hundred and the other five hundred lashes. The Public Order which I gave out upon this Occasion will be found in the continuation of my General Orders, which I send herewith.
This Punishment appeared to be attended with the effect which I desired. Nevertheless, on duly weighing the whole Circumstance, together with the weakness of my party in point of Numbers, I thought I could not do better than repair to the Derwent, where, by being joined by a Detachment of the New South Wales Corps, a Spirit of Emulation would be excited and a check given to that discontent which had manifested itself among my own People.
By this addition of strength I should, moreover, never have much apprehension from a large Sick-List, which indeed was once so great after the departure of the Calcutta Marines that I was obliged to reduce the number of my Centinels by day, mounting a Picquet in the Evening. I also reflected that having but three Subalterns if I should lose an Officer, or one of them be ill, I could not hold a Court-Martial upon Offenders, an inconvenience the occurring of which would be in some measure obviated by the Services of Lieu't. Moore.
These, Sir, were my Motives; it was my anxious wish to have had the Honour of establishing a permanent Settlement, with no other aid than what I brought with me from England; but events which I could not foresee determined me at the Time to Proceed to Risdon Cove. I found Port Phillip wholly unfit for the Settlement, and the idea of fixing one at Port Dalrymple I abandoned, not only from the motives which I have stated, but because I conceived the local Situation of the River Derwent more adapted for commercial Purposes. Its position at the Southern extremity of Van Dieman's Land gives it an advantage over every Harbour yet discovered in the Straits, and I entertain a Hope that when it is generally known that an Establishment is formed, so directly presenting itself as a Port of Shelter to Ships from Europe, America, or India, either for Whaling or other speculation, it will be greatly resorted to. [77] These advantages, no doubt, occurred to your Excellency, and influenced you to take Possession of that part of the Country. I, therefore, thought that I ran no risk (as I had been obliged to quit the place to which I was destined) of incurring any Blame in fixing on a Spot which had before been thought by your Excellency an eligible Situation for a Settlement.
My General Letter No. 6 will inform your Excellency of my Proceedings since my arrival in the Derwent; and as the Purport of this Letter will be stated in my Dispatches to the Secretary of State, it will afford me matter of great Satisfaction if the Propriety and expediency of the Measures which I have adopted shall receive your Excellency's Confirmation.