Journals Of Expeditions Of Discovery Into Central Australia And Overland From Adelaide To King George's Sound In The Years 1840-1: Sent By The Colonists Of South Australia By Eyre, Edward John


The bran and oats which I had applied for had been most liberally
provided, so that by remaining in depot - Page 81
Journals Of Expeditions Of Discovery Into Central Australia And Overland From Adelaide To King George's Sound In The Years 1840-1: Sent By The Colonists Of South Australia By Eyre, Edward John - Page 81 of 247 - First - Home

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The Bran And Oats Which I Had Applied For Had Been Most Liberally Provided, So That By Remaining In Depot For A Few Weeks Longer, We Might Again Hope To Get Our Horses Into Good Condition.

From his Excellency the Governor I received a kind and friendly letter, acquainting me that the HERO was entirely

At my disposal within the limits of South Australia, but that being under charter I could not take her to Cape Arid, or beyond the boundaries of the province, and requesting, that if I desired further aid, or to be met any where, at a future time, that I would communicate with the Government to that effect by the HERO'S return. The whole tenor of his Excellency's letter evinced a degree of consideration and kindness that I could hardly have expected amidst the many anxious duties and onerous responsibilities devolving upon him at this time; and if any thing could have added to the feelings of gratitude and respect I entertained towards him, it would be the knowledge, that with the disinterested generosity of a noble mind, he was giving up a portion of his valuable time and attention to our plans, our wants, and our safety, at a time when the circumstances of the colony over which he presided had beset his own path with many difficulties, and when every day but added to the annoyances and embarrassments which a sudden reaction in the progress and prospects of the province necessarily produced.

In the instructions I received relative to the cutter, I have mentioned that I was restricted to employing her within the limits of the colony of South Australia, and thus, the plan I had formed of sending our drays and heavy stores in her to Cape Arid, whilst we proceeded overland ourselves with pack-horses, was completely overturned, and it became now a matter of very serious consideration to decide what I should do under the circumstances. It was impossible for me to take my whole party and the drays overland through the dreadful country verging upon the Great Bight; whilst if I took the party, and left the drays, it was equally hopeless that I could carry upon pack-horses a sufficiency of provisions to last us to King George's Sound. There remained, then, but two alternatives, either to break through the instructions I had received with regard to the HERO, or to reduce my party still further, and attempt to force a passage almost alone. The first I did not, for many reasons, think myself justified in doing - the second, therefore, became my DERNIER RESORT, and I reluctantly decided upon adopting it.

It now became my duty to determine without delay who were to be my companions in the perilous attempt before me. The first and most painful necessity impressed upon me by the step I contemplated, was that of parting with my young friend, Mr. Scott, who had been with me from the commencement of the undertaking, and who had always been zealous and active in promoting its interests as far as lay in his power. I knew that, on an occasion like this, the spirit and enterprise of his character would prompt in him a wish to remain and share the difficulties and dangers to which I might be exposed: but I felt that I ought not to allow him to do so; I had no right to lead a young enthusiastic friend into a peril from which escape seemed to be all but hopeless; and painful as it would be to us both to separate under such circumstances, there was now no other alternative; the path of duty was plain and imperative, and I was bound to follow it.

On the 28th, I took the opportunity, whilst walking down to the beach with Mr. Scott, of explaining the circumstances in which I was placed, and the decision to which I had been forced. He was much affected at the intelligence, and would fain have remained to share with me the result of the expedition, whatever that might be; but I dared not consent to it.

The only man left, belonging to the party, was the one who had accompanied me towards the head of the Great Bight, and suffered so much from the heat on the 6th January. His experience on that occasion of the nature of the country, and the climate we were advancing into, had, in a great measure, damped his ardour for exploring; so that when told that the expedition, as far as he was concerned, had terminated, and that he would have to go back to Adelaide with Mr. Scott, he did not express any regret. I had ever found him a useful and obedient man, and with the exception of his losing courage under the heat, upon the occasion alluded to, he had been a hardy and industrious man, and capable of enduring much fatigue.

The native boys I intended to accompany me in my journey, as they would be better able to put up with the fatigues and privations we should have to go through, than Europeans; whilst their quickness of sight, habit of observation, and skill in tracking, might occasionally be of essential service to me. The native who had lately joined me from Adelaide, and whose country was around King George's Sound, would, I hoped, be able to interpret to any tribes we might meet with, as it appeared to me that some of the words we had heard in use among the natives of this part of the coast were very similar to some I had heard among the natives of King George's Sound. Three natives, however, were more than I required, and I would gladly have sent the youngest of them back to Adelaide, but he had been with me several years, and I did not like to send him away whilst he was willing to remain; besides, he was so young and so light in weight, that if we were able to get on at all, his presence could cause but little extra difficulty.

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