Before Six O'clock The Whole Fleet
Were Under Sail; And, The Weather Being Fine And Wind Easterly, Proceeded
Through The Needles With A Fresh Leading Breeze.
In addition to our
little armament, the Hyena frigate was ordered to accompany us a certain
distance to the westward, by which means our number was increased to
His Majesty's ships 'Sirius', 'Hyena', and 'Supply', three Victuallers
with two years stores and provisions on board for the Settlement,
and six Transports, with troops and convicts. In the transports were embarked
four captains, twelve subalterns, twenty-four serjeants and corporals,
eight drummers, and one hundred and sixty private marines, making the whole
of the military force, including the Major Commandant and Staff on board
the Sirius, to consist of two hundred and twelve persons, of whom
two hundred and ten were volunteers. The number of convicts was
five hundred and sixty-five men, one hundred and ninety-two women,
and eighteen children; the major part of the prisoners were mechanics
and husbandmen, selected on purpose by order of Government.
By ten o'clock we had got clear of the Isle of Wight, at which time,
having very little pleasure in conversing with my own thoughts, I strolled
down among the convicts, to observe their sentiments at this juncture.
A very few excepted, their countenances indicated a high degree
of satisfaction, though in some, the pang of being severed, perhaps for ever,
from their native land, could not be wholly suppressed; in general,
marks of distress were more perceptible among the men than the women;
for I recollect to have seen but one of those affected on the occasion,
"Some natural tears she dropp'd, but wip'd them soon." After this the accent
of sorrow was no longer heard; more genial skies and change of scene
banished repining and discontent, and introduced in their stead cheerfulness
and acquiescence in a lot, now not to be altered.
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