Diary of ten years eventful life of an early settler in Western Australia and also A descriptive vocabulary of the language of the aborigines/The colony (14)
|←The colony (13)||Diary of ten years eventful life of an early settler in Western Australia and also A descriptive vocabulary of the language of the aborigines by
The colony (14)
|The colony (15)→|
Feb. 12th.—The Abercrombie, by which my last letters should have gone, was only to sail yesterday. It is a long time since we had so many vessels in our port at once. Four of them intended to sail yesterday—the Alice, Eleanor, Abercrombie, and the Gailhardon. The last named ship is from India; she touched here on her passage to the neighbouring colonies, and I hope she is the forerunner of a regular series of ships communicating with us twice a year. Several passengers were landed here, who came to prepare the way for an establishment for rearing horses,—a speculation chiefly entertained by a Mr. Prinsep, of Calcutta. There were many passengers on board, some going for health, on leave of absence, and some for mercantile pursuits, and some as settlers in Van Diemen's Land. The Governor had several of them to dine with him; I dined there also. They appeared pleased with this place, and surprised that so much progress had been made.—A few days ago I met with a fortuitous confirmation of the idea of a sea to the North East of this. Seeing a large shell among the natives I asked where it came from? They said from Djeering,—a place to the N.E. of this; and, when I enquired particularly, they still persisted that it came from the sea, which was very far off in that direction. It had been handed from one to the other till it came here. When I said there was no sea in that direction, they said yes, you might go round North to King George's Sound or South to King George's Sound. The inference is that there is some branch of the sea nearer us than the Gulf of Carpentaria, or else their knowledge of the country and communication with one another are far different from what we suppose, and much greater than they display.
I fear I shall be ordered to King George's Sound on a most unpleasant duty. Matters there seem to require some investigation, and the Governor thinks of going down and instituting an enquiry by a board of Council, and acting accordingly. Irwin is going down on his own duties, so he and I are likely to be the board. Mr. Roe and I, some days ago, as Commissioners of Roads and Bridges, were engaged all day in visiting and examining the "flats, or shallows," about Perth, for the purpose of reporting upon the practicability of making a passage across by rampart and bridge. We were obliged to walk about in our shirts through the water, under the burning sun, so that the skin has come off my legs and face.—I have had many grapes this year on my trees, so that I have been able to eat of them as freely as in days of old off the gooseberry bushes. I do not know how it is, but I do not eat the grapes with the same zest as the gooseberries. They will soon be very abundant here. Every one is rearing some. They are now selling at 4d. a pound.—I had a curious case to settle in Perth a few days since. A native came to complain of a white man having stolen his wife. He was very angry and threatened to spear the person. The Governor referred the case to me, and I had no small trouble in settling it to the satisfaction of all parties, which was done principally by means of flour given by way of damages, and accepted, after some demur, as a peace offering. A most agreeable change in the weather; for two days past the thermometer had ranged about 76°, whereas it was formerly 96°.
Feb. 16th.—A very hot ride from Perth in the very heat of the day, and the country was on fire on each side of the road.
Sunday.—I have had a visit to-day from Mr. B—. He intends to try whaling next season. He is quite in raptures with Port Leschenhault, both as a port and agricultural settlement, and as a whaling station. He says the land is superior there to what it is here.
Feb. 23rd.—We were to have had some long sittings of Council this week, but Irwin wanted to transact some business at his place (Henley Park), and wanted me to help him.—The masons, after an interval, have begun with my house again at Perth, and have the brickwork nearly finished. A man who lives near me now (Galway), splits excellent laths from the red gum trees, at 4s. a hundred.
Monday night.—Yesterday was anything but a day of rest with me. I left this at 7.30 in the morning, got to Perth in time for service, took an early dinner at Irwin's, and went to afternoon service at church, when their baby was christened Frederick Courthope Irwin. Started from Perth at 6, and reached this at 8.30, not a little tired.—The natives are very troublesome in stealing wheat and grapes, &c. I broke five spears belonging to one man to-day, and took a bag of wheat from him. It was old Gear, but he could not be taken. Got some potatoes dug, which looked very well at the tops, but there was nothing but misshapen withered-looking roots on them. Without moisture they will not do in summer.
Tuesday.—At the request of some neighbours, I killed a wether to-day. It was nearly all engaged beforehand, as the meat will not keep long enough in this weather to permit us to kill for ourselves. The days are very warm, but the nights begin to be cool. People expose themselves unthinkingly, and colds are frequent. I am just shaking off one by perspiration and exercise.
March 3rd.—The necessary repairs having been done to our colonial schooner by the aid of H.M.S. Pelorus, I suppose we shall soon set out on our trip to King George's Sound. Irwin rode up with me this morning before breakfast, and he has returned again.
March 5th.—The first rain of the approaching winter fell to-day.
Tuesday.—The Governor and a party were to go yesterday to dine on board of the Pelorus, and to return to-day. So I also have played, and remained at home. Encouraged, however, by the slight rain and cloudy sky, I got a few potatoes planted. Thermometer is at 70°, at 9 p.m. Mr. Roe's house and mine are next each other at Perth. Two very large trees stood in the street just in front, in such a manner as to obstruct the view very much, but they leaned towards his house particularly in such a manner, that it was rather an anxious job to get them away. Many a time we have measured the distance and calculated the length of the trees, and were afraid to touch them; but at last, by the aid of a number of soldiers, who undermined the larger one, and, by means of block and chains, they were safely uprooted, to our great satisfaction and Mr. Roe's peace of mind.
Sunday.—A small vessel (colonial) has arrived from Java with sugar, tea, rice, flour, matting, &c. She touched at Shark's Bay for water, but saw nothing of Messrs. Grey and Lushington, nor of the Beagle. We may look for her in a month. The influenza has reached us here, and many are attacked by it; but it is slight. I have had something like it, but I believe it has gone, or is going very fast. Some of the natives have taken it also. I have been obliged to-day to pay some attention to myself—in other words, to take a little medicine and feel much better for it. I have a "hydrophobia" of physic.
March 12th.—Making some preparations for my trip, as I must leave this to-morrow to be present at a Council meeting. Then to Fremantle on Wednesday, and sail on Thursday morning.
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April 19th.—I have only this night been able to return here. We were longer on our trip to the Sound than we expected, but as we touched at several settlements on the coast which I had great desire to see, and, the weather being fine, the delay has been rather agreeable than otherwise. A vessel was lying at the Sound when we were there. We anchored on Sunday evening at Port Leschenhault. Where we landed, we found Mr. Bull, Lieut. Armstrong, and a droll sort of East India establishment, consisting of seven Indians of the class called "hill coolies," under charge of a Scotchman called Miller. They had with them, as the commencement of flocks and herds, one young hunchbacked bull, and two hairy sheep. There is an extensive estuary there, into which the river Preston and the Collie discharge. The land on the estuary is low and well watered (where we saw it), having shelly marl underneath, and having the appearance, to a great extent, of having been recently recovered from the sea. But on an excursion of nine miles up the Collie, we were rather disappointed in the land. There is, however, a tract of good country higher up the river, but we had not time to reach it. Sharks are very numerous in the estuary and river, so that we dared not bathe. There are several low promontories of columnar basalt near to this place, just south of PortCasuarina, which form part of the port. After ten days delay, we sailed to the Vasse inlet, which is in Geograph Bay. Here there are great estuaries and much land, apparently recently recovered from the sea. The substratum is of recent limestone with shells. The land is consequently fertile, though in general very sandy. There is much grazing ground, and the swamps are extensive. The sandy lands bear good grass also. This place was named "Vasse" after a man belonging to the French expedition in 1804 (or thereabouts), who was lost or abandoned. Some natives of that neighbourhood recollect him. They treated him kindly and fed him, but he lingered on the sea coast, looking out for his vessel. He gradually became very thin from anxiety, exposure, and poor diet. At last the natives were absent for a time on a hunting expedition, and on their return they found him dead on the beach, his body much swollen (as they described it) perhaps dropsical. They offered to conduct me to the spot and show me his bones, but we had not time to go. At this part of the settlement there are only two settlers with their establishments, and some soldiers. Six miles farther down the coast the Bussell family live. We stayed there two days, and spent them very agreeably. About their place we saw more good land in one continued tract than we saw elsewhere. Their cattle thrive greatly; and the climate is moderately cool. Three days sail from that, with contrary and shifting wind, took us to Augusta, just behind Cape Lewin. This bay is well situated for whaling, and is a pretty spot, but the ground is too heavily timbered. Most of the settlers have deserted it and gone to the Vasse district. We were detained there four days; then, after three days' sailing, we reached the Sound, where we lived with Mr. Drake.
Saturday night.—The Governor had reached the Sound a few days before us, by the Pelorus, but he returned again two days after our arrival, leaving us to settle the business on which we had come down. The settlement has increased considerably since we were there five years ago, although not much has been done within the last two years. There is much ground fitted for gardens, but no wheat lands, or rather no land fitted for it without much trouble and manure. Many whaling vessels are beginning to frequent the port, and an excellent station for building ships, with great abundance of timber admirably adapted for the purpose, has been discovered in the neighbourhood at Torbay. These circumstances have given a fillip to the place, and the people are beginning to awaken up. One ship, of 150 tons, is nearly completed. A French man-of-war and a whaling ship, with many American whalers, have been there during the season. The natives there have learned so much to use our language, even amongst themselves, that many young lads are scarcely able to speak their own dialect purely. I found more difficulty in conversing with the young than the old men, in their own language, on that account. They act quite as servants there, and depend very much on the settlers for food when not hunting.
There is a great natural curiosity in that neighbourhood. A tract of sand blowing, like that at Rosgul, has overwhelmed a forest, and many of the remnants of the wood may be found turned into a soft sandstone. The sand, having insinuated itself into every pore and crevice of the decomposing wood, has substituted itself in the same shape, being cemented together by calcareous matter. We dredged there one day for oysters, but without success, as we had not time to go to the proper bank.—Bought an accordion, of two octaves—the first I had seen—for 30s., or rather for a ewe lamb. I am pleased with its power of forming chords and agreeable harmony, without much trouble in learning. Had a large corroboree of natives in honour of the Governor. Blue lights and sky rockets were lighted and fired by the men of the Pelorus. The natives appeared very regardless of them. These were our amusements. Our business was not so pleasant, but, by a little dexterity of management and judicious handling, we brought matters to a tolerably satisfactory conclusion. The climate of King George's Sound is cool in summer, but I should think too cold and blustery in winter for pleasure. It would afford an excellent bathing retreat from Swan River, during the hot months of January and February.
Sunday.—I had concluded my story of travel last night. We sailed on Thursday from King George's Sound, and arrived at Fremantle on Sunday night, or Monday morning rather. On my return to Perth, I found my house nailed up, my quondam servant "Cassim" having been put in gaol in the mean time, for being concerned in a robbery. I have now hired a Bengal man, who does not understand a word I say. He is, however, even with me, for I do not understand a word he says, so how we shall get on time must tell.
May 4th.—I continue my journal from yesterday, and even in that space of time something important has occurred. News came this evening that a native had been shot last night at Mr. Brockman's, while in the act of dragging off a sack of flour out of the mill store, which he had broken open. I had been just setting out for Perth, but went to the spot immediately. The natives in the meantime had collected to bury the body, and I found them just commencing their operations. It was an excellent opportunity for impressing a lesson upon them when their minds were in that state, so I harangued them over the body. Anthony's oration over Caesar was nothing to it. I told them that they had stolen repeatedly, that at last the Governor became angry and told me to go and enquire why the natives stole so much; that, as soon as the Governor spoke, I had come up to enquire, and that already one man was taken prisoner and one man was shot; that if they would steal no more and spear no more the Governor would perhaps say "it was enough," but if they persisted he would tell the soldiers and the white men to shoot them as they did at Pinjarrah and at York. I apostrophised those who had been in the habit of stealing, told them I saw many of their faces around me, and that I knew their names, but, as one lay dead before me, I would not speak more of it. I addressed the brother of the deceased, and told him that he and his brother assisted many others in killing two white men over the hills, that many of those who did so were long since dead, that his brother now lay dead, and that, if he either stole from or injured white men any more, he would soon be dead also. The whole scene appeared to have some effect upon them, and at last they assured me that with respect to white men they were now quiet and would not seek to retaliate, but they would kill a black man for it, but not near our houses. Having left matters in that state at the graves, I went down to D—'s, and whilst I was there a constable came and told me that he had a warrant to apprehend three natives who were about here, and he wanted assistance. They (the natives) took the alarm, so I put spurs to my horse and followed the principal one for some distance, but he got among bushy swamps, and though I rode round about for a long time, I could see no more of him. In the pursuit, I got a capsize off my horse, from a difference of opinion as to which side of a tree to go to. I split the difference by knocking against the tree. The two cocks of the gun stuck into my clothes, and one then rebounded on my reaching the ground, and the gun went off harmlessly. I find that the hammer has bored a hole in my side, which I did not discover till this evening, when, after riding about all day to warn the different settlers to be on their guard, I found my shirt bloody and torn, sticking to my side. On dismounting I thought my troubles were over, and was looking wistfully towards bed after tea, when a shout from the other side informed me that Major and Mrs. Irwin and Mackie had arrived at Henley Park and would probably be here. In the meantime I have given you this account, and this moment a second shout announces them.
May 7th.—Major Irwin slept here, but the rest of the party remained in their own house, which is in progress of repair. On the next morning (yesterday) I had to go to Perth to confer with the Governor, but in the meantime he had sent up soldiers and an interpreter, and a long letter to me, pointing out what he thought most politic and advisable on the occasion. Fortunately I had not only anticipated his wishes (by my interview with the natives at the grave), but had advanced far beyond his most sanguine hopes. However, as part of the purport of the letter was to request me to remain here a little, and I thought it best to return, I rode back here last night. This day I have taken the round of all the houses, to see how matters stand. Everything is satisfactory. I have directed patrols of soldiers in different directions, merely as a matter of precaution till affairs are more settled. A rumour was forwarded to me that certain natives had threatened to kill a white man in revenge. I endeavoured to trace the rumour to its source, but found it groundless. I had a long conference with several of the more influential natives. They say they attach no blame to the white men for shooting this man, that we had given them fair warning, that the man would persist in thieving, and he deserved his death, that they had no enmity against us for it, but that they would endeavour to kill the native who was very active in encouraging the deceased to steal, that a party had gone to gather strength for that purpose, and that in the meantime they had driven away out of their grounds several strangers who had been committing thefts and bringing them into trouble, and that they had determined to keep them away, and even apply to us to assist them if they could not do it themselves. They brought to me a boy of whom I had complained to them for stealing fowls; they delivered him to me, and I made one of them flog him soundly. This was all done readily at my orders, and they seemed very desirous to be on good terms with us, and glad to get out of the scrape so easily. The truth is, the deceased is not very nearly connected with them, and his relatives were thinned a little after the murder of Jones and Chidlow.
Thus, you see, we are gradually gaining ground with the natives, for they now seem to acknowledge our superiority and rely upon our justice and good faith. Tribe by tribe we shall be able to bring about in the same way, and so eventually give them by degrees as much of civilization as their habits will permit them to endure. The interment of the body the other day was conducted with a good deal of ceremony, and was not without interest. They selected a clear spot in the neighbourhood of some tall mahogany trees; the grave was then dug in a direction due North and South, about 4 feet long, about 3 feet deep, and perhaps 18 inches wide. The clay from the grave was carefully heaped up on the western side into a slightly curved crescentic shape, not unlike the outline of a body lying in a recumbent position on the right side,—a form, I suspect, which it is intended rudely to resemble, for at one extremity the earth was moulded into a round form, connected with the rest of the mound by a small junction, which they said was to represent the head and neck. Their next care was to fold or double the legs so that the heels should touch the back part of the thigh. This was a matter of some difficulty, for the corpse had stiffened; but they succeeded. Then they cut off his hair and beard short, and singed it smooth. Then, by the application of fire, they stripped the nail from the little finger of his right hand, and tied that finger and the thumb together. The woman rubbed his forehead with a white earth, and bestowed a profusion of kisses upon the face. In the meantime others lighted some brushwood and burned it in the grave, a process which seemed to interest them very much, as they crowded and peeped into the grave with great curiosity, as if either looking for some appearance, or drawing some omen from it, but all seemed carefully to stand out of the way of the smoke from the grave. A frog seemed disturbed from its rest by the fire, and hopped about the grave. They mentioned it seriously to one another, but I could not understand whether any importance was attached to the circumstance. Then one took a bough, and brushed out the ashes, and scattered them to the wind. All that were in that direction appeared to hurry away as if afraid of the ashes and the smoke. Then they placed the body carefully in the grave on its right side with the head to the South, the face directed to the East, in which they seemed to be particular. When I remarked this, they said that the people to whom the deceased belonged always buried the bodies North and South, the face looking to the sunrise, but that others buried the bodies East and West, with the face looking to the midday sun. During the preparation of the body there arose a great discussion as to whether the nail should be taken from the thumb also. Some were of one opinion, some another; at length one old man, a stranger, was appealed to. He said one was sufficient (the finger), and so it was done. The body being placed as above was first covered with green boughs, then with grass trees and pieces of wood firmly trodden down; then the earth was scraped from the Eastern side so as to fill up the hollow. His cloak was buried with him, his spear broken into pieces, his throwing board, his knives, stick, ornaments and feathers were then all stuck in the mould, his bag torn, and the contents strewed about. A screen of boughs was then made over the grave, the trees in the neighbourhood were marked with rings and notches. A piece of fire was left burning in front of the mound. The ceremony appeared then completed, and they all retired, and so shall I now for the night.
May 2th.—I know not how it has happened that I have omitted to make the usual daily or even hebdomadal entries for some time past; a good deal of public business has been on hand meetings of Council, both Legislative and Executive, meetings of committees about roads, about churches, about whaling companies, about a supply of labourers (which is a very pressing subject), meetings of agricultural societies, and many other such things. I have had several Acts to prepare for the Council. One of them has been troublesome, not so much from the length of it, as the finding out some mode of adapting the machinery of old countries to our infant state. I allude to an Act to regulate the management of roads and streets and all other internal communications.
We are in a most absurd state for want of more population. Not a sailor can be obtained to man our colonial schooner; she lies idle, and there are a number of persons sentenced to transportation lying in gaol, a useless expensive dead weight upon us. All the men are gone into the whale fishery. One company was so prodigally conducted, that the shareholders dissolved it yesterday, by general consent, and received the large repayment of £1 for each share of £15, paid up a year ago.
I went to Perth on Monday with the Acts of Council ready drawn up, and thought to have had a busy week, with all the Council, preparing for our great day for discussing our budget, &c., which was fixed for Tuesday next, when, lo and behold, I found the Governor had gone off somewhere into the country; that Major Irwin had gone to York, and Mr. Brown, the Colonial Secretary, had gone to Fremantle, in delicate health. So the "balance of us," as the Americans say (that is, Roe and myself) put off the Council for another week, and I came home here to-night.
A number of natives from King George's Sound have been in Perth for some time past. They set out this day on their return, but first came to know if I had any commands, and I sent a letter by them. They are almost civilised. My poor old goat "Jenny," which I have so often spoken of, died on Monday last, of a surfeit of wheat. She was a valuable and affectionately familiar creature, and, as one of the original stock brought here by me from the Cape, was quite one of ourselves. I should be ashamed to confess how grieved I felt at her loss. The rains are so long delayed this year that sheep and lambs over the hills are suffering very much. The weather is warm also, and vegetation very backward. These phrases sound inconsistent to you, but everything is topsy-turvy here, as well as the seasons.
May 28th.—Finding that I had some spare time on hand, I started on Saturday morning on a short trip into the bush Certain land which I was entitled to occupy as a part of my original grant is still to be definitely fixed. I had it at a place called Lennard's Brook, 36 miles to the north of this. Then, being the only person having land there, I was told that it would be impossible to survey it for me or give me protection, and I was allowed to change it. I chose again in a place called Toodyay valley, when, behold, from the direction of the boundaries of some earlier grants there, I find myself elbowed out of the place which I desired, and I now think of looking out some other quarter, as that is not well watered. To look for some place was the object of my late visit to the bush. It is not easy to find any desirable place unoccupied within any reasonable distance. I went from this twelve miles north, then N.E. for thirteen miles, which brought me to a place called Gogomen, in a valley parallel to the Swan River; then north ten miles, to a place where the valley expands to a mile broad, with a swampy lake in the centre of it. This is called Gabbi Yandirt. I have described it on a former occasion. I then proceeded westward ten miles, to Lennard's Brook, where we slept last night, and returned this evening (about 32 miles in all). I was disappointed in the land there, but water is abundant. The result of my observation is that a man often goes far to look for something very good which he cannot find, whilst he overlooks that which is comparatively at his hands. I have seen better ground within ten miles of this than anywhere else on my expedition, but I shall not be allowed to take it so near. In fact, just above Mr. Bull's grant, on Ellen's Brook, I saw land which, considering its propinquity and the frequent pools in the brook, would form a very fair location. I found Mackie and Mr. Robert Brockman making themselves very comfortable at my table and fireside when I came home. They have just gone, at nine o'clock. The weather has been delightful—too much so; we are looking for rain and in want of it. I hear that the Beagle has returned, but I have not yet heard any news from her.
May 29th.—Native dogs during my absence have carried away all my ducks but two; but, strange to say, one duck came back yesterday after having been missing for two days. It had the mark of the dog's teeth on its back. They had also killed a number of Irwin's and Mackie's sheep. I believe nine have been lost within a week. It is thought that the scarcity of water has compelled them to come nearer us in such numbers. Rain still holds off, and the weather is very warm in the day and frosty at night or towards morning.
June 2nd.—Dined on Wednesday last in company with Captain Wickham, of the Beagle, and this morning had one of the officers to breakfast with me. I endeavoured to glean what news I could. They will not be able to leave any maps or charts here, or indeed to give any detailed account of their operations, because their time here will be so limited. I will, however, give you a rough outline of their expedition. In a deep bay, called Roebuck Bay, they saw a river running strong to the sea, with fresh water six or seven fathoms deep at its mouth. Still it has a bar and shoals in its course. This is named the Fitzroy river. They went up a considerable distance (say 20 or 30 miles) from the mouth, but the navigation for boats became impeded by fallen trees. The land on both sides appeared fertile to as great a distance as they could see, and covered with very long rich grass. The river was apparently subject to very high floods at some distant intervals, for they observed old marks of floods upon the trees. These floods, they supposed, happened eight or nine years ago. The country, generally speaking, was of low elevation; the temperature very high, but not unhealthy, for there was not a case of sickness among them. They met Messrs. Grey and Lushington, who have gone home, and you will probably have heard of their failure before this reaches you. All agree that it happened to be the most unfavourable part of the entire coast where they (Messrs. G. and L. landed. In endeavouring to go inland they were stopped by a river (named the Glenelg). (P.S.—I fell asleep at these words. I have been amused looking at the writing of the last few lines—rather sleepy looking.)
June 3rd.—There was a ball on Friday night in Perth. I was up almost all night, so that accounts for the sleepiness. I had been busy all day yesterday, and rode up here late at night; so, no wonder I nodded. This day I took a ride into the hills, about seven or eight miles from this, to look at a part of the river, but I was disappointed in the land. There is to be a ball on Monday night given by the naval and military men here—"a United Service ball." I shall have to go down to it, for one has no option in these matters, for fear of giving offence.
June, 7th.—The United Service ball was a splendid one. The rooms were decorated with the ship's flags, which had a fine appearance. The company did not come away till near six o'clock in the morning. I have seen the sketch of the bay and river made by the Beagle. They were about 100 miles from the coast, inland, taking into account the depth of the bay, but about 25 miles up the river. It is melancholy to think that Messrs. Grey and Lushington should have succeeded so badly. They have had their sufferings and dangers, and difficulties, but if they had not been so very impatient, and had started inland from the spot where the Beagle's nautical survey terminated, they might have had a different tale to tell. There are still 300 miles of coast unexplored in that quarter, i.e., from lat. 22° to 17°. It is in between 16° and 17° (I believe) that Roebuck Bay and the Fitzroy river are found. The Beagle sails next week to survey Bass Straits, and returns here about eight or nine months hence, to try the N.W. coast again. I have been declared entitled to have my land, 6000 acres, on Ellen's Brook, in a succession of square miles up the Brook, which I consider a favourable arrangement for me. The grant will contain about 9½ square miles. I am bound to describe the boundaries to be fixed for me, so I must employ my spare time about this immediately. I got a thorough drenching coming home to-night, and the water in the river was level with the horse's back when I crossed. We have had heavy falls of rain.
June 9th.—Irwin came home yesterday, and remained here for the night. He is desirous to get the house at Henley Park ready for Mrs. Irwin, but work proceeds slowly. Our Governor now talks openly of being about to leave us soon. I went this evening to look at the boundaries of Mr. B—'s grant, with reference to which my lower boundary on the brook is to be fixed. There were some very heavy showers, and I got drenched, but only in the lower limbs thanks to the indiarubber cape.
June 10th.—I took James with me to-day, and rode up Ellen's Brook to the distance of about nine miles from this. I am very well pleased with the place as a pasture farm. For the first three miles there are pools of water, which continue all the year, at intervals of perhaps a mile apart; after that, there is a tract of several miles (perhaps five or six) without any water, and the first pool met with is brackish or salt. But there is a considerable extent of pasture ground which will improve by being fed upon, and perhaps fresh springs may be found. There is also limestone to be found in that quarter.
June 28th.—There is a gap here which I can hardly account for. I brought this to Perth some time since to send by the Beagle, when, behold she had sailed that morning before I had calculated upon the movement. We have been in daily, nay, hourly, expectation of ships from India, from England, from Van Diemen's Land, &c.; but they come not. At length, however, one vessel has come from Launceston with sheep, principally belonging to Mr. Talbot, who was here at the outset of the colony, but has been taking care of the property of one of his uncles in Van Diemen's Land for some time. A vessel which was coming here from Hobartown (the Dart) has been wrecked in the harbour of South Australia, which does not speak much in favour of that port. A very excellent harbour has been lately ascertained to exist in the colony at the mouth of the Murray River, on Mr. Peel's property, only, seventeen miles south of Fremantle, with much very good land in its neighbourhood. This colony has never since its settlement been so long without arrivals of ships and supplies, consequently the prices of such things as we cannot grow here are exorbitant. There has not been for a long time any supply of soap; some few pounds have been sold at 10s. or even 12s. a pound. Salt meat is 1s. 2d., and fresh meat 1s. 8d. It is well for those who have not to go into the market largely. Having my own sheep and my own flour, I feel these prices but little. This ship brought literally nothing but the sheep for us. It is absurd to look into the dealers' shops now; there is not so much in them all as would fill a cobbler's stall. The Governor and Mr. Roe are on a little excursion to the south. We have got our Council business over, and there is now a cessation.
July 3rd.—My last letter was closed on Friday, and sent by the Tamar, which sailed on Monday for the Isle of France. I went down to Perth on Sunday night, in order to be there in time for the sessions, which commenced on Monday morning. There were but five persons to be tried. One white man, for larceny, received a sentence of six months' imprisonment. A Lascar was also found guilty of larceny and was sentenced to twelve months' imprisonment, this being his third offence of the same nature. Two of our own aborigines were indicted for house breaking, and one of them received a sentence of seven years' transportation, and the other twelve months' imprisonment, the latter being but a boy. Another native, for murdering a native woman in the street, was condemned to be executed, but I suppose he will be reprieved. This was all our business. It was all over by one o'clock. The Governor, not having yet returned from the south, and having nothing to detain me long in Perth, I came away yesterday evening, fearing that this day would be very unfavourable, as a storm appeared approaching. The storm has come on; there has been much rain to-day. Killed a wether this morning, weighing 34lbs. We consider that a good weight at this time of year; it was not a year old. I have had some losses among my sheep over the hills, supposed to be owing to the sudden spring of young grass. They appear affected by internal inflammation. Dogs which eat the flesh go mad. The lambing also has not been so successful there this year as usual. A person has just been requesting me to give him some information about the native language. I find the little smattering I have of it very useful on many occasions, as it enables me to know what they are saying to the interpreter on their trial.
July 5th.—A native dog attacked the flock to-day in broad daylight, singling out a fine lamb and hunting it down. The boys were not with the flock at the moment, but I happened to be in the neighbourhood and saw the dog gnawing at the neck, having eaten the head off. A number of crows were discussing the head at a little distance off. I have put nux vomica into pieces of the lungs and spleen, and laid them out very invitingly. I hope he will accept my invitation. He carried off another duck the night before last. J— has now got a lot of wheat to dispose of; he is actually selling it at 20s. a bushel. I am paying 1s. 6d. a bushel for threshing wheat. I tried to-day the plan of ploughing wheat into the ground. The crows will not get at it so readily. They are very destructive. We hire natives, if we can, to walk about and keep them off.
July I6th.—The Governor returned in the beginning of last week from his expedition, greatly pleased with the country he had seen at Leschenhault, especially on the upper part of the Collie River. An American whaler was in the port when he was there. They have got a fine Yankee story to tell about a shark 30 feet long, which got entangled in the buoy rope attached to the anchor, and by its exertions actually weighed it and let the ship go adrift, to their no small consternation, until they discovered the cause. Many people saw the occurrence. The shark was eventually caught, and 37 gallons of oil procured from its liver. Mr. S. N. Talbot, from Van Diemen's Land (a nephew of Lord Talbot) has been staying with me for some days. He was in this colony at its first settlement, but went to Van Diemen's Land to manage his uncle's property, and has paid us a visit now, bringing some sheep to place on his grant here. He says he is surprised at the advance we have made, and how much we have done with such little means—much more in proportion than what they could do in Tasmania with so many convicts. He has this day gone to see the Canning district. I rode with him all about the neighbourhood. Great pruning of peach trees, vines, and figs, &c. There has been very little rain this winter so far, and the ground is scarcely damp enough. The river hereabouts is salt yet, the fresh water only just beginning to come into it.
July 20th.—What a tantalizing thing! A vessel on her route from India passed this port some time ago, and called at King George's Sound, and there gave them abundant supplies of many things which we are in great want of here. She had intended to come in here, but it was blowing fresh when she was off Rottnest, and she sheared off. Are we never to have a vessel? It is ludicrous to hear the talk about soap, especially amongst the ladies. Major Irwin and the family (I believe) to-day came up to reside at Henley Park (that is the name of the place opposite to this). I see unusual lights in the windows, but the evening has been so unfavourable that I could not stir out. A man was here to-day looking for casks for oil for the Fremantle Whaling Company. I am afraid that will be a bad business. I have actually paid £70 on one share and not received a penny yet.
I have made our interpreter give me a translation of the Lord's Prayer and the Ten Commandments in the native language. It is singular that they have no expression for either a wish or a want, and yet one would think they had enough of both. Some of the phrases cannot be rendered accurately, nor be even properly paraphrased. It is strange also that they have no expression either for "trespass" or "forgiveness." Heart-cooling, or becoming good, is the only near equivalent, so I was obliged to make him paraphrase that part thus, "Your heart be good to us as our heart is good to others also." The whole prayer will thus stand literally: "Our father of the sky being. Thy name we praise always. We then soon thy people shall be. What you tell us we shall perform on earth, like as in heaven. Food you us to-day give. Your heart to us good be (or is), if our heart so others to you. Us in evil put not. You us well lead; then Thine is the people and power and praise, always always so." That is the nearest approach at present.
Sunday.—The Irwins only arrived late last night. The river is so swollen, I cannot get over, and there is no boat. The Governor has called upon us to give him our considered opinions on the propriety of reprieving or otherwise the native sentenced to execution, in order that they may be entered on the minutes of Council to go home, to have her Majesty's further pleasure known in the matter, as there is no power in the Governor to pardon for treason or murder.
Monday.—I had poison placed for several nights for native dogs, our own dogs being tied up. This morning I found one dead on the spot, where she must have taken it. How active it (nux vomica) must be! Arsenic does not kill them, they reject it. I have only one poor solitary duck left out of 20, and it was in the act of being carried off two nights ago when I ran out and frightened the dog off, but could not see it in the darkness. This has been a day of continued soaking rain, the first of the kind there has been this winter.
Friday.—Went to Perth on Tuesday. The river was so high I could not cross at the ford, so I went up to the ferry at Guildford. I had much trouble in getting across some brooks. On Wednesday a rumour reached the Governor that some natives from King George's Sound had come overland, bringing a mail thence. He despatched a messenger to look for them, and the mail was brought in. Everyone hurried to the opening of it—a large looking parcel—but, behold, when "the pie was opened," out came a quantity of soap! There were some letters informing us that no fewer than eight vessels had been at the Sound lately—two from India, laden with all things of which we are in want, such as sugar, rice, soap, tea, &c., &c. Prices very cheap. One of them was coming here, but the weather was rough, and she was frightened. How tantalizing! But a vessel called the Emerald Isle has sailed from Calcutta for this, and may be expected hourly. No sailors could be got to man our colonial schooner.
Saturday.—Some native women had a dog with them here to-day, and some one gave it a piece of poisoned meat; after a short time it fell aud rolled into a trench in the garden, without any noise, and lay dead. None of the natives saw it, and when they were going away they called for a long time, but I had had it buried in the meantime by a man who was planting cabbages. It was a European dog, which had been given to them.
Thursday Night.—Started with Irwin on Tuesday at eight o'clock for Perth. The Governor had summoned a Council for ten. After Council there was a meeting of the trustees of Church property, of which I am one, and, after that, a meeting of the trustees of streets, and to which I was obliged to explain the Act which has been lately passed. On Wednesday there was a meeting of the trustees of roads, bridges, &c., at which I had to act similar parts. I fear our plan will not work well, for everybody wishes to have the roads made, but nobody wishes to pay for them. This morning there was another Council, at which the Governor called on me for an opinion (written) on the subject of whether he should reprieve the native who was sentenced to death for killing a native woman. This opinion was entered on the minutes in order to be transmitted to the Secretary of State in referring the decision for Her Majesty's confirmation. "We returned to-night, and got very heavy showers by the way.
Friday Night.—This day there was a meeting of the Agricultural Society at Guildford, which was well attended. Some business was done, and more projected, and another committee appointed, of which I was one, to draw up a statistical memorial to the Secretary of State. The Governor dined there with us, and we had a very pleasant party. Broke up at dusk, and Mr. Talbot rode here with me, and we took a cup of tea with D— in passing.
Saturday.—Mr. Talbot went away this morning, and was replaced by Mr. S. Burgess. The men are busy breaking up three or four acres of new ground on the part which was Wright's grant, but I hope is mine now.
Sunday.—I had just done breakfast to-day when Mr. Logue arrived. He appears well pleased with his progress over the hills. We went over to Major Irwin's, but were late for service. I there heard of the arrival of the shepherd. I will say no more now, but with trembling hope will await your letter.
Monday.—S— went to Perth and Fremantle and returned yesterday. I had a messenger at his house all day expecting his return. About an hour ago he brought me the first batch of letters, and I have hastily run over them. I am quite amused to see so much interest about the kyli. I cannot satisfy myself about the spelling. The German "keile," if of two syllables, is just it. I am sorry that nasty word "boomerang" has been suffered to supercede the proper name. Boomerang is a corruption used at Sydney by the white people, but not the native word, which is tur-ra-ma; but "kiley" is the name here, which I am glad to find, as it confirms a theory of mine that this country has been peopled from the west or nor'-west probably, and that it may be possible to trace affinities of language, habits, and weapons with some of the elder nations of (to you) the eastern countries. Mr. Schoales and Mr. Nash are both with me this evening. We dined at Irwin's.
August 26th.—I am becoming very irregular with the journal. Mr. Schoales and Nash have been looking about for a grant, and S— has been shewing them several places and tempting them to settle beside him. I had been obliged to ride to the house of a constable about a native who had been taken prisoner there. It appears that all the natives who were imprisoned on Rottnest Island contrived to make their escape about two days ago. The boat was upset in the surf, and one of them drowned. A Perth man, his relative, blamed the others for drowning him, and followed after and speared one of the runaways to death. Another was taken prisoner near this. The natives had each a chain on his leg, which was fastened to one large bullock chain, which was locked round a tree (not a very large one). They burned the tree through at night, and so escaped, carrying off the only boat on the island. They deserve credit for their ingenuity.
Sept. 2nd.—There was an occurrence to-day of rather a novel nature. After service at Irwin's a number of natives came there on their way to my place to look out for one of those who had escaped from Rottnest, and who they said was near this. They blame him (Daubain) for drowning one of the Perth natives who were also trying to escape. Near my place they fell in with a brother of his, and a question arose as to whether they should kill him instead. Some were for it, and some against it. The man broke away, and ran down past my kitchen. I opened the gate and told him to take to the river and swim across, whilst I shut the gate and gained time for him. He hesitated on the brink, but, as they approached he plunged in, and, when they arrived, they threw at him in the water, but between his diving and their hurry, he reached the other side in safety. He then picked up some spears and defied them all from the opposite bank. My boat was there, and some jumped into it it and crossed, whilst others flung spears at him. Then he fled, and took refuge in Major Irwin's. After a time a friend of his came as a mediator, and arranged a sort of truce, which I suspect, like many other truces, was a mere matter of convenience on both sides. The mediator embraced each of them, and took possession of their mero (their board for throwing the spear—the amentum), and harangued them, as I understood. He agreed that the tribes of Daubain should retire to the hills, and yield to the Perth men the privilege of gleaning our fields at harvest time. Meantime the other party slipped out of the other side of the house, and fled. The son of the man who had been drowned saw him, and gave chase singly, but missed him in the bush. He returned, was embraced, and consoled, but wept bitterly, and made a most pathetic appeal to us, or rather against us, for sheltering the brother of his father's murderer. I did what I could to answer him. I reminded him that when they were in the bush not near the house, I had not interfered, but that when they took shelter in our houses we thought it right to protect them. Then I said this was not the murderer, and that we touched none but the murderer. "Well," he said, "you know this man to be bad; he has killed men, he has speared women, he has stolen sheep, he has eaten pigs, he will do so again; you will then be angry, and want us to go and look for them. I will not go any more." His grief was unaffected, and I felt for the poor fellow as I reasoned with him—although his ideas of revenge were savage. It was altogether an interesting scene.
Sept. 3rd.—I sent a long letter to Mr. Mitchell, the missionary, to-day, giving him some useful phrases of the native language. He wants me to send him one as a servant. Mr. G. Eliot spent Saturday here. He is soon going to Leschenhault, upon the Governor's grant. The boys have lost all my cattle to-day at the hills, and I am rather uneasy, as a number of natives were seen about the neighbourhood during the day.
Sept. 6th.—I have just returned from Perth, having been there since Tuesday morning. Schoales and Nash have not yet settled themselves; they dined with me yesterday and breakfasted to-day. Miss Whitfield was married to-day to Mr. G. Stone (our Sheriff). I was not a little amused with my black servant (Motu) in Perth. The last black man I had would not eat pork being a Mussulman, and, supposing this man to be the same, I set him down to some beef, but he was quite indignant at being asked to eat it, for he is a Hindoo. "Me cow eat, me mother eat," said he with vehemence. I knew what he meant, but being a little provoked I said gravely, "What! was your mother a cow, then?" "Yes!" says he, "all same; me cow eat, me mother eat, my church say it." My cows were found yesterday morning grazing on the hills.
Saturday.—In an evil hour I was appointed chairman of a committee to collect information to send to an English association. It is a great and altogether unsatisfactory job. People keep back their communications to the last moment, so I shall be hurried out of measure, just when I want time for my own affairs. These things are more tedious than you could believe. I would rather write half a dozen free and easy letters than concoct one statistical table. In the report which we are preparing to send to the association I write upon the introduction of labour and the sale of Crown lands. The concluding sentence on the latter subject which I just this moment finished is this: "A graduated scale rising in proportion to the progress and resources of the colony would seem to be more just as an equitable arrangement, more politic as a measure for encouraging immigration, and more effectual as a means for raising a revenue from the sale of Crown lands."
Monday.—Having to go to Perth in the morning, when I dare say we shall have councils and all sorts of business preparatory to the Governor's departure, I have been getting on with the report for the association. I have just finished a new edition of mine upon "Sales of Lands." I find I have to steer clear of Scylla and Charybdis, i.e., the desire of some to get the Government price reduced or abolished, in order to tempt fresh immigrants, and the desire of others (early struggling settlers) to keep up the price of land that they may sell theirs. So too with the introduction of labour some are for convicts, others against, as I am.
Friday.—"Wonders will never cease." The Clarinda arrived on Tuesday, bringing here Mr. Grey, the explorer. I wish he had come here first, and so does he now. He is quite surprised to find how far advanced we are, after the reports he heard on all sides about us. He has greatly surprised us by giving a most favourable account of the land he saw at lat 16°. He says his reports to the Colonial Office have been most favourable, and that he has no doubt that some settlement will be made there, as his instructions were to look for a spot suited to the growth of sugar and cotton, which that place is suited for in a most remarkable degree. It was well watered, and the land rich beyond anything which he had ever seen before, with rivers running (sluggishly), though it was at the end of summer.
Oct. 11th.—I have been so occupied with one thing or another for some time past that I have not been able to write anything in the shape of a journal. The Governor having gone to York, I took the opportunity of getting my flock washed at this place, there being no one to manage it but two boys; so I set about it myself, and, with a little contrivance, managed to get the entire business over without any fuss, and, what is more, without any drinking.
The Governor returned on Tuesday. I went down yesterday, and returned this night. Mr. Grey (the explorer) is to sleep here to-night. He has got so far as Irwin's, and I now expect him. After much confusion, I have at last got out of my hands the report of the committee of which I was chairman. We intend to print it here, if possible, and if so, we shall be able to send you copies, as well as to London. The portions of the report relating to the introduction of labour, the sale of Crown lands, and all the suppletive parts are mine. I could not get the others to work; every one seemed desirous to shift the trouble off his own shoulders. Many were ready at finding fault, but slow at every other thing.
The natives have been very unsettled amongst themselves for some time. One of them, Naral by name, killed one Nanderry in Perth, and fled. A number pursued him, and I believe have killed him. Others have now gone out in turn to look for revenge. Such is their savage life.
Saturday.—Mr. Grey having spent a day with me, went away this morning. He is quite pleased with this country, and confesses he came here full of prejudices against it, which are daily wearing away. He also finds many of his South Australian theories (for he was one of those people) completely contradicted here and overturned.
Sunday.—We have had Mr. Mitchell, the clergyman, here for service, for the first time. We had service in the morning, as usual, at Irwin's, when I read Burder's admirable sermon of "Looking unto Jesus;" and, this evening, we had a plain practical illustration of the first Psalm, from Mr. Mitchell; we have also hymns and psalm singing.
Friday.—I was detained in Perth since Tuesday morning until now, preparatory to the Governor's departure. He insists upon taking law proceedings against several debtors to the Government. I do not like it, but cannot help it.
Saturday.—I have written out two or three sketches illustrative of the manners and habits of the natives. I know not whether anything will come of it; perhaps if I think them worth it on a second perusal, I may send them to you in some shape or other. Mrs. Irwin has urged me to do it.
Sunday.—I have just come from Major Irwin's. Mr. Mitchell lectured there this evening. We read morning service there as usual. Mr. Mitchell comes at five from Guildford. Monday.—Arranging to-day about getting a sermon preached in support of the mission, and in several affairs of that sort. Kept three natives picking caterpillars off the potato tops, which are almost completely destroyed. I am sorry to say that there are great complaints of the crops at York this year. The season has been unusually dry—less rain falls there than here.
Oct. 24th.—There was not very much to detain me this week, so I have been able to get home soon. Mr. Brown (Colonial Secretary) is to sleep here to-night, and the Governor is coming up on Saturday. There was a meeting about roads, &c., in Perth yesterday; much talk, and nothing done. People were not satisfied when the Government undertook the management of such things, and Mr. Roe and myself as commissioners, had to hear all the brunt of the clamour. Then an Act was passed, giving the management of it to the general body of landholders, and, though six months have elapsed, they have not been able to do anything but wonder what is to be done, and how much trouble it is. In my official character I had to file an information, in the nature of a bill for foreclosure. You would have been horrified to see the bill. As I had to do it all myself, and there was no object in having it long, and a good saving of trouble in having it short, I left out all the charging and confederating and interrogating parts, and did not make use of one word that was not absolutely necessary, so that the whole bill was contained in part of a sheet of paper. A very nice question is involved in it—whether a Mr. T— holds an estate as the survivor of two joint tenants (my former travelling companion Mr. T— being drowned), or whether an interest goes to the latter's heir, or to his executor if it was a commercial partnership. Hay harvest has begun up here.
Friday.—The Governor came up to breakfast this morning at Irwin's; then went round all the farms in the neighbourhood, on his way to Guildford to an agricultural meeting, it being understood as his farewell visit. There was a numerous party, much speechifying, and some scenes.
Saturday.—Mr. Peel came here to-day. The first piece of news he gave was that Mr. Brockman has returned from India at last, after twelve months' absence, he only expecting to have been away for three months. We were beginning to be uneasy about it. I go to Perth to-morrow to be present at a sermon preached by Mr. Mitchell for the mission.
Sunday.—This has not been to me a day of rest. I rode to Perth in the morning, when Mr. Mitchell preached, and a collection was made in aid of the mission. Major Irwin and myself held the plates at the door—rather a begging-looking sort of business. The amount obtained was no great sum—£11; but we are to have a meeting on Wednesday to form an auxiliary society. The Governor is to take the chair. I dare say we shall get other subscriptions then.
Nov 8th.—On reaching Perth on Tuesday, I found that another vessel had arrived from Sydney with a general cargo, which will make our markets moderate again. We have had this morning very heavy and long-continued rain—a thing rather unusual at this time of the year. I fear it is too late to benefit the crops at York, which have suffered from drought. Mr. Brockman had an auction to-day of some of the goods from the ship; the prices were not so low as we thought. I bought £9 or £10 worth, and know not what I have got for it. Tea, brought straight from India, was bought in by Mr. Brockman at 5s. per lb. I bought a bag of sugar at 3d. a lb.; candles, floor matting, window blinds, rope, twine, castor oil, and pepper are among the other things which I bought. The charge made to me this year for washing and shearing my flock near York is £13 15s., besides expense of two men and four bullocks and the cart for sixteen days.
Monday.—Mr. Mitchell was here yesterday. We had a good congregation. I have this day made arrangements with two men to let my farm at Jilgaring, near York; to one of them, 4000 acres with a house, barn, stockyard, and 30 or 40 acres under cultivation, all for £20 a year, and I give him also 100 sheep to keep for three years on a fourth share of the increase; to the other man I let 4000 acres for five years, and I give him 200 sheep on fourths. These are surely good terms. I had the men busy in digging a drain to carry water from a piece of ground in Wright's grant, and as I was fixing some sods close to one of the men, he called out, "Look at the snake." Sure enough there was one close behind me, raising its head, and looking intently at my operations. As he described it, however, he "put an end to its speculations" by chopping it in two with the spade. The man mowing near us killed another immediately after.
Friday.—Had two public meetings on Wednesday—one to consider about giving some token of respect to our Governor on his intended leave. It was decided that a piece of plate shall be given to him, and an address be presented. The other meeting was to receive communications through Mr. Brockman from the Agricultural Society of Calcutta. I was chairman of the meeting. They sent us samples of wheat and barley; both seemed very poor, nothing like so good as we have ourselves; and the wheat was all eaten with weavil.
Friday.—Just returned from Perth. The Governor, Irwin, and some others have gone to Port Leschenhault again, in the Champion. They wanted me to go, but I could not get away.
Saturday.—I have been expecting Schoales here to-day, but he has not arrived. I wished the Britannia had arrived before the Joshua Carroll sails. I surely expect now some return from former consignments of wool, and am anxious to know what she may have brought in order to know what to send for. My official duties are really beginning to be very serious. Questions of great importance are occurring much more frequently, and more onus is thrown upon me than formerly.
Sunday.—Schoales came here in the morning. Mr. Mitchell also came to service, and he administered the sacrament. It is the first time I have had an opportunity of taking it since coming to the colony.
Monday.—Schoales went off this morning with Jemmy Miller to look for a kangaroo. I gave him a horse and they went up Ellen's Brook, but have returned unsuccessful, or—as Schoales technically expresses it—they "took nothing by their motion."
Nov. 29th.—The Joshua Carroll is said to be likely to sail on Sunday, so I brought down this letter in order to get ready. I have sent by this vessel seven bales of wool.
Dec. 17th.—Since I sent my letter by the Joshua Carroll I have not found it convenient to renew my journal, but I shall now pick up some dropped stitches, and the work will afterwards proceed more regularly. For the last fortnight we have been busied at the harvest. I have eleven persons cutting, most of whom are working by the job, at 25s. an acre. I expect to have all cut down to-morrow evening. On Wednesday last I got 250 sheep over from York, with the loss of only three. These are to be put on my farm at Ellensbrook. We are all a little anxious about our fee simples.
Sir James Stirling is making arrangements for his departure. Last week H.M.S. Conway touched here on her way from Sydney to India. She brought a great number of letters and papers for this colony which had been lying at Hobart Town and Sydney for more than a year. We had been expecting servants by the Britomart, but no—even those settlers who have arrived have not brought any for themselves, at least not enough. There are some who seem to wish to become stewards or overseers, but are imbued with too high notions to work. These will not do for us in any way. We are able to be our own overseers; we want workmen. I hope the investment of my wool money may soon come out. I am really very badly off for many things. I had to go this day to Mr. Brockman to beg of him to let me have two or three pair of summer trousers, of which he brought a large stock from India. I have literally only one pair of boots and one of shoes; and there are none to be got now. The ships seem to bring nothing now. The Governor is to give a parting ball at Government House on Thursday night, when I trust it will be cooler weather than it is just now.
I must mention two or three incidents—domestic, viatory, and otherwise. Going into my store-room at Perth the other day, a mouse jumped out of the sugar bag, and I gave chase, hunting it from post to pillar. At length it ran across me, when I made a kick at it sufficient to annihilate a million of mice. The blow took effect upon a tin canister, and sent it flying among some bottles of claret, demolishing four of them at one blow, and making the "claret flow" with a vengeance; but the mouse escaped. Coming up from Perth that day I saw some emus near the road. Stooping on the horse, and keeping some bushes between me and them, I rode up within twenty yards before they took the alarm. It was a mother and two young ones. The poor mother became anxious and troubled, and fussed about like a hen with chicks, running and turning and leading them off. My horse seemed to enjoy the sport, and volunteered to follow in their wake, but, in a short time, we had to stop at the edge of a soft swamp which they passed with impunity. Sitting the other night at an evening party in Perth, a little kitten came playing in the room. I felt something thrown against my leg several times, but did not pay much attention; at last, on a repetition, I looked more closely, and found it a large scorpion which the kitten was tossing about so unconcernedly. I put an end to the play by setting my foot on it.—Calamity! Paid a tailor for making a pair of trousers, which fit so badly that I cannot wear them. N.B.—Rode to Perth in the same trousers, and found that money was not all I lost by them.
On the 20th the Governor and Lady Stirling gave a farewell ball to almost everybody. Dancing was kept up literally till breakfast time next day. I bathed and breakfasted and set about my daily occupation rather sleepily. Contrary to what is usual, the Governor has become more and more popular every day, and we cling to him with the greater tenacity in proportion as the time approaches for his departure. I came up here on the 22nd, and was congratulating myself upon having some peace and quietness at home these Christmas times, but "there's many a slip," &c., for on Sunday I found that some of my men had sent for a 3-gallon keg of rum, and had laid a plan to have merry times at my place, inviting some of the neighbours. I spoiled their plans by dismissing them all, and locking up their rum, and thereby saved some broken heads I suspect. That was not all, for the next evening (Christmas eve) came a hasty summons for Irwin and myself to the Executive Council, and we sat that night in Council till 12 o'clock. Came up next morning and spent the day with S— and D—; then one day's rest; then went to Perth to attend Council, and next day up to Henley Park (Irwin's), to a wedding anniversary dinner; then next day to Perth again to prepare for the sessions, as we had particular cases of perjury impending. Upon that day also was the auction of the Governor's furniture. Remained in Perth on Sunday. On Monday a deputation waited upon the Governor with an address from all the colony,—i.e., from all classes of colonists. After that he sat in Council with us for the last time, and read a written address to us, to which, being unapprized of it, we had not prepared any answer, but I said what I could think of at the moment. This closed his administration, and also the year of grace, 1838.