Among Many Other Troublesome Parts Of Duty Which The Service We Were Engaged On
Required, The Inspection Of All Letters Brought To, Or Sent From The Ships,
Was Not One Of The Least Tiresome And Disagreeable.
The number and contents
of those in the vessel I was embarked in, frequently surprised me very much;
they varied according to the dispositions of the writers:
But their constant
language was, an apprehension of the impracticability of returning home,
the dread of a sickly passage, and the fearful prospect of a distant
and barbarous country. But this apparent despondency proceeded
in few instances from sentiment. With too many it was, doubtless, an artifice
to awaken compassion, and call forth relief; the correspondence
invariably ending in a petition for money and tobacco. Perhaps a want
of the latter, which is considered a great luxury by its admirers
among the lower classes of life, might be the more severely felt,
from their being debarred in all cases whatever, sickness excepted,
the use of spirituous liquors.
It may be thought proper for me to mention, that during our stay
at the Mother Bank, the soldiers and convicts were indiscriminately served
with fresh beef. The former, in addition, had the usual quantity of beer
allowed in the navy, and were at what is called full allowance of all species
of provisions; the latter, at two thirds only.
From the Departure, to the Arrival of the Fleet at Teneriffe.
Governor Phillip having at length reached Portsmouth, and all things
deemed necessary for the expedition being put on board, at daylight
on the morning of the 13th, the signal to weigh anchor was made in the
Commanding Officer's ship the Sirius.
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