Page:An account of the English colony in New South Wales.djvu/44

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

the satisfaction of seeing the grape, the fig, the orange, the pear, and the apple, those delicious fruits of the Old, taking root and establishing themselves in their New World.

As soon as the hurry and tumult necessarily attending the disembarkation had a little subsided, the Governor caused His Majesty’s commission, appointing him to be his captain-general and governor in chief in and over the territory of New South Wales and its dependencies, to be publicly read, together with the letters-patent for establishing the courts of civil and criminal judicature in the territory. The ceremony of reading these public instruments having been performed by the judge-advocate, the Governor, addressing the convicts, assured them, among other things, that “he should ever be ready to shew approbation and encouragement to those who proved themselves worthy of them by good conduct; while, on the other hand, such as were determined to act in opposition to propriety, would inevitably meet with the punishment that they deserved.” He remarked how much it was their interest to forget the habits of vice and indolence in which too many of them had hitherto lived; and exhorted them to be honest among themselves, obedient to their overseers, and attentive to the several works in which they were about to be employed.

The convicts had been mustered early in the morning, when nine were reported to be absent. From the situation which had been unavoidably adopted, it was impossible to prevent these people from straggling. Fearless of the danger which must attend them, many had visited the French ships in Botany Bay, soliciting to be taken on board. It was soon found, that they had secreted at least one-third of their working-tools, and that any sort of labour was with difficulty procured from them.

The want of proper overseers principally contributed to this misconduct; those who were placed over them as such having been selected from among themselves for their good behaviour during the voyage, and few of them choosing to exert the authority re-