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An Historical Journal of the Transactions at Port

Beef one pound and an half per ditto


Flour--three

pounds per week, for every grown person.

Beef--one pound and an half per ditto; or, in lieu of the beef.

17 ounces of pork.

Rice--one pound per ditto.

Children above twelve months old, half the above ratio. Children under twelve months old, one pound and an half of flour and a pound of rice per week. In future, all crimes which may by any three members of the council be considered as not of a capital nature, will be punished at their discretion, by a farther reduction of the present allowance of provisions."

Every day, and during every breeze from the westward, we now looked out upon the sea; but on this unfrequented ocean we could expect nothing to appear but what might be intended for us. Day after day we talked to each other respecting our situation, as no other subject seemed to occupy the mind of any one among us. We were here situated upon an island of only five miles long, and three in breadth, three hundred leagues from the nearest part of the Coast of New South Wales, deprived of every hope of finding any relief by a change of situation, and we had the additional mortification of anticipating, in a short time, a farther reduction of our allowance of provisions.

At this particular season we had one advantage, which, when that leaves us, will reduce us to very great

distress; I think, then, that many of the convicts (who are indolent to astonishment, and who can, and frequently do, eat at one meal what they are allowed for a week) must, when the resource I am going to mention fails, perish for want, or suffer death for the depredations they are so much inclined, even in times of plenty, to commit upon others.

In the month of April we found that Mount Pitt, which is the highest ground on the island, was, during the night, crowded with birds. This hill is as full of holes as any rabbit warren; in these holes at this season these birds burrow and make their nests, and as they are an aquatic bird, they are, during the day-time, frequently at sea in search of food; as soon as it is dark, they hover in vast flocks over the ground where their nests are. Our people, (I mean seamen, marines, and convicts) who are sent out in parties to provide birds for the general benefit, arrive upon the ground soon after dusk, where they light small fires, which attract the attention of the birds, and they drop down out of the air as fast as the people can take them up and kill them: when they are upon the ground, the length of their wings prevents their being able to rise, and until they can ascend an eminence, they are unable to recover the use of their wings; for this purpose, nature has provided them with a strong, sharp, and hooked bill, and in their heel a sharp spur, with the assistance of which, and the strength of their bill, they have been seen to climb the stalk of a tree sufficiently high to throw themselves upon the wing. This bird, when deprived of its feathers, is about the size of a pigeon, but when cloathed, is considerably larger, for their feathers are exceedingly thick; they are webb-footed, and of a rusty black colour; they make their holes upon the hills for breeding their young in; they lay but one egg, and that is full as large as a duck's egg.


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