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2-057 (Original)

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addressee author,male,Broadside,un
Newspaper Article
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Public Written
Newspapers & Broadsides
Ingleton, 1988
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Sydney, 6 April, 1831.
It will be remembered, that on Saturday, the 26th ult, the York, Captain Leary, sailed from Port Jackson for Madras, with a detachment of the 57th regiment, consisting of Major Hunt, Captain Brown, Mrs Brown and family, Lieutenants Edwards, Alexander, and E. Lockyer, Paymaster Green, Mrs Green and family, together with 9 sergeants, 12 drummers, 7 corporals, 132 privates, 15 women, and 39 children. Captain Leary having never passed through Torres' Straits, he availed himself of the company of the Edward, Captain Gilbert, bound for Batavia.
They accordingly proceeded to sea together, and agreed to keep as close to each other as possible, until they should have cleared the Straits. Having very little wind, their progress was slow, and on Tuesday last, the 29th, they had reached no farther than the latitude of Port Macquarie, and were about four degrees off that coast. Both vessels were sailing E.N.E, the course which had been mutually agreed upon, until day-break on the Wednesday morning, when they were again to consult for the day. So anxious, indeed, was Captain Leary to act in concert with his fellow voyager, that on Tuesday he wrote a note to the gentleman, minutely stating what he understood to be the arrangement for the night, and expressed his determination to adhere strictly to it.
About 5 o'clock in the afternoon, the hour at which the military gentlemen dined, the York was observed suddenly to change her course from E.N.E. to S.E. without any sort of intimation to Captain Gilbert of her reasons for so doing. Her stern sails were set, and it appeared that she was pursuing her new tack with all possible des-patch. The ships, at the moment this alteration took place, were about two or three miles apart, the Edward being in advance; but the latter being by far the best sailer, Captain Gilbert instantly pursued his comrade to demand an explanation, and at about 11 o'clock at night came within hail.
When his approach was observed, the York again shifted her course to S.W. Captain Gilbert remonstrated against this strange conduct, and called loudly for Captain Leary, but without receiving one word of reply, the York continuing to "sheer off". Gilbert, however, still pressed after, and on again coming up, renewed his calls for Leary, when a man dressed in a long frock coat was seen to leap upon the York's poop, and cried out, in a strange voice, "What do you want ?"
"I want Captain Leary," was Gilbert's answer, 'and you are steering wrong!"
"No !" replied the same voice, "we are going through Bass' Straits."
"Then," said Gilbert, "if you have no chart you had better come on board of me, for you are steering wrong for the Straits. You are not Captain Leary - Where is he? If you don't bring to, I'll run you down."
They sheered off. "I followed," says Captain Gilbert, "and came up a third time, and hailed them the same as before. They backed the main-yard, and endeavoured to get round me, as I suppose, to board me. Finding what they were about, I filled my main-sail, and left them at 3 in the morning of Wednesday, the 30th. They went steering the S.W. of New Zealand. I heard two guns go off and saw the flashes. In the afternoon, I signalled him that if the wind changed in the night, to steer N; he directly up stick and steered S. When they did this, they hoisted Marriott's signal, 'Under orders - bear away ! - come up!' Both myself, officers, and men then thought the ship was taken, for Leary was most anxious that I should not leave them on any account".
Nothing now remained for Captain Gilbert but to put back to Sydney and report the extraordinary transaction. To have attempted to take the York by force, filled as she was with armed soldiers, would have been madness, and the only way in which he had it in his power to serve the cause of humanity and his country, was to interupt his own voyage by returning with the mysterious tidings.
Such a lamentable tale we have to tell of the troops embarked on board the York. Lamentable on account of the character of the army, which the conduct of those on board had indelibly disgraced; but still more lamentable as to the officer and their families, whom the piratical mutineers must necessarily imprison and maltreat to ensure their own safety, even though they may feel desirous to soften the rigour of their confinement as much as possible. For we do not suspect any wanton severity will be exercised toward the officers by the misguided men, and that they will land them in New Zealand; which we sincerely hope they will do, and not carry them prisoners to South America.