Page:An account of the English colony in New South Wales.djvu/36

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The passage of the fleet to Rio de Janeiro was performed without any material accident in eight weeks, and had fortunately been unattended with any disease, the Surgeon-reporting that they had brought in only 95 sick, comprehending every description of persons in the fleet. Many, however, of this number were bending only under the pressure of age and attendant infirmities, having no other complaints among them.

During their stay in this port, which was about a month, the convicts were each served daily with a pound of rice, and a pound and an half of fresh meat (beef), together with a suitable proportion of vegetables. Great numbers of oranges (a fruit with which the place abounded) were at different times distributed among them; and every possible care was taken to refresh and put them into a state of health and condition to resist the attacks of the scurvy, should it make its appearance in the long passage over the ocean which was yet between them and New South Wales. Their morals had been also attended to by the reverend Mr. Johnson, the chaplain of the colony, who performed divine service on board of two of the transports every Sunday while they remained here.

The next and last port of refreshment at which the fleet was to stop, was the Cape of Good Hope. Thither it bent its course, on quitting Rio de Janeiro; and in the short space of five weeks and four days crossed over from one continent to the other, a distance of upwards of eleven hundred leagues, fortunately without separation, or any accident having happened.

Here it was intended to lay in such articles of stores and provisions as had not been purchased in England; under the idea that, from their being a less time at sea, they would arrive in higher preservation than they would have done had they been put on board in the river.

With a requisition made by Captain Phillip, of a certain quantity of flour and corn, the governor, M. Van de Graaf, expressed his apprehensions of being unable to comply, as the Cape had been lately visited by that worst of scourges, a famine, which had been most severely