His Majesty's Sloop, Sulphur,
10th December, 1832.
In compliance with your Excellency's request, as to my opinion of the climate of Swan River, I beg leave to state, as a climate with regard to health, I am not aware of any other that can be compared with it.
As a proof of its salubrity, during the three years His Majesty's Sloop, Sulphur, was employed upon that station, not a single death, and very few important cases of disease occurred, notwithstanding the very great exposure of her men, not only to wet, but also night air, in consequence of her boats having been a great deal employed at a distance from the anchorage. When exploring the country, for several days, and sometimes weeks, have these people been exposed to the sun, fatigued in the evening after a day's exertion, slept in the open air, and that repeatedly in wet weather, without suffering in the slightest.
Another point ought also to be taken into consideration: the debilitated state of these constitutions which were undergoing this exposure, in consequence of having been so long a period upon salt provisions, and without vegetable diet; out of three years and ten months the Sulphur was employed upon the Swan River service, her crew were only 256 days upon fresh diet. A life of this description in any other climate, I have no hesitation in asserting, would have been productive of the most serious disease.
I have the honour to be, Sir,
Your most obedient and humble servant,
James Wingate Johnston, M.D.
Surgeon H.M.S. Sulphur.
To His Excellency Governor Stirling, &c. &c. &c.