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An Historical Journal of the Transactions at Port

A seaman belonging to the Sirius


The 8th ushered a male child into the world, and as he was the first born on the island, he was baptized by the name of Norfolk. At noon on the 15th, parties were sent out in search of the cockswain of the coble, who had lost himself in the woods, as he was returning from Ball-Bay, where the boat had been hauled up the preceding day at sun-set: he was found on the 18th, naked and almost exhausted, insomuch that he was obliged to be carried to the settlement, having received several deep cuts and bruises which rendered him incapable of getting out of his bed for some time.

Thomas Watts, a convict, was punished with twenty-four lashes, on the 19th, for contemptuously refusing to work, and being abusive to the corporal of marines, who reprimanded him for not going to work with the rest of the convicts.

The weather, during this month, was very fine and settled, and the wind northerly until the 22d; from which time to the end of the month, we had constant heavy rain, without an hour's interval of dry weather: such a continuance of rainy weather I never heard of, and it was frequently attended with heavy gales of wind from the north-east.

In consequence of some irregularities which had happened, I found it necessary to assemble all the free people on the 23d, and to read the articles of war.

The next day, Robert Webb, a seaman belonging to the Sirius, but who was employed as a gardener on the island, came to me, and signified a wish to speak with me in private, which being granted, he informed me that a plan had been concerted among the convicts, to surprize me, with the rest of the officers, marines, and free people; and to possess themselves of the public stores, and afterwards to endeavour to surprize the Supply, or any other vessel that might come here, and make their escape from the island. On my interrogating him, he said that Elizabeth Anderson, a female convict, who lived with him, had given him this information the day before, and on his doubting the truth of what she advanced, she offered to convince him of the truth of her assertion, by bringing him within hearing of a convict whom she would entice to relate the plan; which being agreed to by Webb, this morning (the 23d.) Elizabeth Anderson invited William Francis (a convict) into the hut, to drink a dram, when he related the circumstances of the plan, and how it was to be carried into execution; Webb being at this time hid from the view of Francis, by a piece of tent which was hung before the bed he lay in.

As I thought it necessary to substantiate this information, I caused Robert Webb and Elizabeth Anderson to be kept apart, and took their depositions on oath separately, both of which perfectly agreed in every particular, and were in substance as follow:

"That yesterday (the 22d.) between nine in the morning and noon, Elizabeth Anderson being washing, she sighed, when William Francis, who stood near her, asked what she sighed for; she answered, she was very low; William Francis then asked her, if she could get her liberty, whether she would leave Webb, and on her saying yes, he said, the first ship that comes here, except the Sirius, we will every man and woman have our liberty, to which we were all sworn last Saturday; and we (the convicts) would have had it already, if the Sirius was not the first ship expected, and the day that Watts was flogged was intended to have been the day for making Mr. King and the free people prisoners."


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