The Wild Goose
|The Wild Goose (1867)|
|Ther Wild Goose was a hand-written newspaper created in late 1867 by Fenian prisoners aboard the Hougoumont, the last ship to transport convicts to Australia. Transcribed by hand from the original while on display at Fremantle Prison 19 November 2006. Punctuation is from the original.|
THE WILD GOOSE;
A Collection of Ocean Waifs.VOL.1] Convict Ship “Hougoumont”, Saturday, December 21, 1867. [No7
ADIEU! With feelings of regret I come, the last of the Wild Geese; to bid you adieu. Week by week, one of our flock has tracked you across the ocean, and flown to you, if not welcome visitors, at least with an earnest wish to be both agreeable and welcome; and though few our number, and our visits having come to a premature end in consequence of the swift approach of the termination of your voyage. I hope that, if not to all, at least to some, our appearance has been a source of some little pleasure, and that we did not entirely fail in our aims. I fain would linger over this adieu – fain would say what my sister “Wild Geese” proposed to themselves the pleasure of saying, (but Wild Geese, like men, propose – and God disposes) had the length of your voyage permitted them to make another appearance . The end of your uneventful but rapid passage quickly approaches, and already your hearts are beginning to quicken in anticipation at what may be your future in the new land you are fast nearing. I know not what may be in store for you, I cannot pierce the inexorable veil of the future – drawn alike for me and you: but on bidding you a long farewell, most likely, however we may wish it never to meet again, I say to you – Courage, and trust in providence, you have in your keeping things the most precious to the heart of man – things that no power can wrest from you, no matter whether your position be that of convicts, exiles, or freemen, your own honor – hitherto preserved unsullied: and remember, that the honor of anyone is not a thing belonging to him alone, to be kept bright or stained at pleasure, but that the honor of each is the honor of all – a sacred trust which it is your duty to keep pure and untarnished. Follow bravely the path of unswerving uprightness, clearing the thorns of each others footsteps, like brothers: failures not discouraged, always remembering that “There is providence shapes all our ends, rough hew them how we may” you are sadly placed but I know will not be degraded by the dross with which you may be placed in contact; but that like the better metal, will come through the fire refined, strengthened and purified – that with your trust in honors star, that you will not permit yourself to be dragged down to the level of those beneath you. Those with whom necessity may force you in contact but cannot in association. Use your trials to the end that you may, “Know what a sublime thing it is to suffer and be strong”.
Volume 1, Saturday November 9th 1867 Page 8
Australia as our readers we presume would be grateful for a truthful account of the land to which we are going, and where they will probably sojourn for a lengthened period, we of our great good nature, condescend to impart to them some interesting particulars concerning that vast island, the knowledge of which may exercise beneficial influence on their future course of life. It is perhaps superfluous to say that our statements may be implicitly relied on. Australia is surrounded by water, and the sun is visible there during the day, when not obscured by clouds. Excellent authority informs us that, luminary is of material service to cooks, enabling them to dispense with the ordinary process of boiling and baking their meals over mere earthly fires. Native animals of various kinds, which may or may not be different from any we have ever seen, abound there: those which are not domesticated roaming about untamed, sustaining life by devouring what they eat. The chief production of the soil are ingenious for what we know or care. The island is as broad as it is long, and contains, as many square miles as its average length multiplied by its average breadth will produce. This great continent of the south, having been discovered by some Dutch skipper and his crew, somewhere between the 1st and 9th centuries of the Christian era, was, in consequence taken possession of by the government of Great Britain, in accordance with that just and equitable maxim, “What’s yours is mine; what’s mine is my own." That magnanimous government in the kindly exuberance of their feelings, have placed a large portion of that immense tract of country called Australia at our disposal. Generously defraying all expenses incurred on our way to it, and providing retreats for us there to secure us from the inclemency of the seasons and the carnivorous propensities of the natives, neither through their forethought must we take thought of the morrow as to how we shall clothe ourselves, or as to what we shall eat or drink. The inhabitants of Australia are chiefly convicts and kangaroos. The student in ethnology may not be surprised to learn that the males are all sons of their mothers. Their chief employment is a very fowl occupation: this announcement is official. Their religious ceremonies are performed with a tedium not known elsewhere. The form of government is popular and particularly gives satisfaction to high officers of state who secure themselves one thousand pounds a year for life for obliging the people by enduring the fatigues of office for twelve months. As an instance of the advanced state of civilization amongst the natives, the consumption of oysters and ale (from which the name of the country is derived) is so enormous, that we smack our lips at the bare idea, and fondly indulge in pleasing anticipations of the part we are destined to play in exterminating the molluscs of those vast seas, and draining the country of its vast potations.