Page:Life and Adventures of William Buckley.djvu/28

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5
LIFE OF BUCKLEY.

already said, that my brother was supposed, a short time since, to be still living at Middlewitch.

My fortune had now changed. I was a prisoner, working at the new fortifications being thrown up for the defence of Woolwich. In about six months, however, a new light broke out over my unhappy existence, and an opportunity was afforded me of ultimately retrieving my character, and acquiring freedom: this was by the determination of the British Government to found a penal settlement at Port Phillip, on the south-eastern coast of New Holland; that part known as New South Wales being the only portion of the Continent then occupied. Being a mechanic, I, with others, was selected and placed on board His Majesty's ship Calcutta, Captain Woodriff. Lieutenant-Colonel Collins, of the Royal Marines, was appointed Governor, and he accompanied the expedition, having with him in the same ship, several officers and a detachment of his corps, as a guard over the prisoners during the voyage, and after their landing. The treatment I received on the passage was very good, and, as I endeavoured to make myself useful on board, I was permitted to be the greater part of my time on deck, assisting the crew in working the ship. In justice to the officers placed over us, I must say, the treatment all the prisoners received at their hands, was as far from suffering, as could be expected, at a time when prison discipline was generally carried out by coercion, and the lash and the rope were, in too many instances, considered too good for all who had been convicted. To amend