Page:An account of the English colony in New South Wales.djvu/41

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1788.]
9
OF NEW SOUTH WALES.

entrance, a harbour capable of affording security for a much larger fleet than would probably ever seek shelter or security within its limits.

In one of the coves of this noble and capacious harbour, he determined to fix the future feat of his government, it having been found to possess a sufficiency of water and soil. Having completed his research in three days, he returned to Botany Bay, and gave directions for an immediate removal thence; a circumstance which gave general satisfaction, as nothing had been discovered in that place which could excite a wish to pass another day in it. This removal would have taken place the morning following his return; but at day-light they were surprised by the appearance of two strange sail in the offing. Various were the conjectures of what nation these could be, and whence they had arrived. It was soon known, however, that they were two French ships, Le Boussole and L’Astrolabe, under the command of M. de la Pérouse, then on a voyage of discovery.

As Captain Hunter, with whom the Governor had left the charge of bringing the Sirius and transports round to Port Jackson (whither he had preceded them in the Supply), was working out when M. de la Pérouse entered Botany Bay, the two commanders had barely time to exchange civilities; and it must naturally have created some surprize in the French to find the English fleet abandoning the harbour at the very time when they were preparing to anchor in it: indeed, M. de la Pérouse afterwards said, that “until he had looked round him in Botany Bay, he could not divine the cause of their quitting it; having expected, from the intelligence given him at Kamschatka, to have found a town built and a market established; but by what he had already seen of the country he was convinced of the propriety and absolute necessity of the measure.” The countrymen of Captain Cook had the gratification of hearing this gentleman pay more than one tribute of applause to the accuracy of his nautical observations.

Governor Phillip, with a party of marines and some artificers, arrived in Port Jackson, and anchored off the mouth of the Cove in-

tended
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