Page:An account of the English colony in New South Wales.djvu/42

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10
[1788.
ACCOUNT OF THE ENGLISH COLONY

tended for the settlement, on the evening of the 25th; and in the course of the following day, sufficient ground was cleared for encamping the officer’s guard, and the convicts who had landed in the morning. The spot chosen for this purpose was at the head of the Cove near a run of fresh water, which stole silently through a very thick wood, the stillness of which had then, for the first time since the creation, been interrupted by the rude sound of the labourer’s axe, and the downfall of its ancient inhabitants:—a stillness and tranquillity which, from that day, were to give place to the noise of labour, the confusion of camps and towns, and the busy hum of its new possessors. That the greater part of these did not bring with them

“Minds not to be changed by time or place,”

was servently to have been wished; and, if it were possible, that on taking possession of Nature, as they had thus done, in her simplest, purest garb, they might not sully that purity by the introduction of vice. But this, though most desirable, was little to be expected;—the habits of youth are not easily laid aside; and the utmost that they could hope in their present situation was, to oppose the soft harmonising arts of peace and civilisation to the baneful influence of vice and immorality.

In the evening of this day, the whole of the party then present were assembled at the point where they had first landed in the morning, and on which a flag-staff had been purposely erected, and an union jack displayed; when the marines fired several vollies; between which the healths of His Majesty and the Royal Family, with success to the new colony, were most cordially drunk. The day, which had been extremely fine, concluded with the safe arrival of the Sirius and the convoy from Botany Bay,—thus terminating the voyage with the same good fortune which had from its commencement been so conspicuously their friend and companion.

The disembarkation of the troops and convicts took place from the following day, until the whole were landed. The confusion that ensued will not be wondered at, when it is considered, that every man

stepped