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September October 1788




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September 5th. About half after six in the evening, we saw an aurora australis, a phænomenon uncommon in the southern hemisphere.

October 2d. His Majesty's ship the Sirius sailed for the Cape of Good Hope, for a supply of flour, it being discovered that our stock of this article bore no proportion to the salt beef and pork.

The same day the Golden Grove sailed for Norfolk Island, with a reinforcement of male and female convicts; two free men, as gardeners; a midshipman from the Sirius to fill up the vacancy occasioned by the death of Mr. Cunningham; a sergeant, corporal, and six privates; and a supply of necessaries for eighteen months.

4th. A convict, named Cooper Handley, who went out with an armed party of marines to collect wild vegetables and sweet tea, strayed from them, and was afterwards met by the natives, who murdered and mutilated him in a shocking manner. The natives were so near our men that they heard them very distinctly shouting and making a great noise, yet were unable to overtake them in the pursuit. In the evening, a party of soldiers and convicts were sent out to bury the deceased.




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10th. A general court martial was convened by warrant from the governor. When the members, with the deputy judge advocate, were assembled, they gave it as their opinion that, notwithstanding the governor has full power and authority to grant and hold court martials among regular troops, yet, as a corps of marines, under the influence of a particular code of laws, and instructions from the Admiralty, and only amenable to that board, they could not proceed to trial, the board of Admiralty not having delegated any part of their authority over the marine corps, particularly that of holding court martials, to the governor; neither did any part of the act of Parliament for forming a colony in New South Wales contain directions relative to that subject. The marine instructions, with respect to court martials, state that no general court martial can be ordered but by the Lord High Admiral, or three commissioners for executing the office; nor any sentence be carried into execution until approved of by him or them, unless the marines, as in America, should be, by act of Parliament, considered as a part of the army, which is not the case here. They are truly and literally governed and regulated by the same rules and instructions as the marine divisions at


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Chatham, Portsmouth, or Plymouth; and, consequently, their proceeding to trial would not only be illegal, but a direct insult to the governance and power of the Board under which they act, and to whom every appeal from them must come, unless an act of Parliament, in that case made and provided, otherwise directs.

28th. A marine went to gather some greens and herbs, but has not returned; as he was unarmed, it is feared that he has been met and murdered by the natives.

31st. A sergeant and four privates, who had been missing three days, returned. They were sent by the commanding officer to look for the marine, and lost themselves in the woods. In the evening of this day we had very loud thunder, and a shower of hail; many of the hail-stones were measured, and found to be five-eights of an inch in diameter.

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