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N° I.

(Page 143.)

THOUGH the currents of the ocean have long occupied the attention of scientific men, no general theory has yet been found to answer under all circumstances. It may, I think, be assumed that oceanic currents depend upon principles as fixed as those to which we refer the currents of air; and also, that heat and cold operate in like manner upon both; to these causes may be added the influence of the heavenly bodies, and it is therefore to be regretted, that navigators have never thought of comparing with accuracy the changes and courses of currents with the revolutions of the sun and planets. Colonel Capper observes, that “the currents in the northern Indian ocean, the gulf of Sind, and the bay of Bengal, almost invariably take the same course

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as the wind. The cause of this connection between the wind and water seems almost to speak for itself; from the vernal to the autumnal equinox, that is, during the S.W. monsoon, the lower current of air, and also the waters of the southern hemisphere are put in motion, to fill up a vacuity, caused by the rarefaction of the atmosphere, and the evaporation of the waters of the northern atmosphere, both of which are increased near the land. And on the contrary, from the autumnal to the vernal equinox, when the sun is on his return to the tropic of Capricorn, the atmosphere being rarified over every part of the southern hemisphere, the wind and water operated on by the same causes, will move in a contrary direction from the N.E. to the the S.W. As a confirmation of this hypothesis, currents are always found in proportion to the strength of wind, and both the winds and currents grow weaker towards each equinox.” The currents running to the northward in the Indian ocean, between the vernal and autumnal equinoxes, may

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also be strengthened by the fusion of the southern polar ices, during the southern summer solstice; and this will operate, though in a dimishing ratio, until the sun reaches the equator on his return to the southern hemisphere. See St. Pierre's Theory of Currents in “Les Etudes de la Nature.”

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N° II.

(Page 162.)

List of Plants found at Port Philip, October, November, and December, 1803.


Lesser Celandine.

Everlasting, several varieties of.

Indigo. Indigo fera ulatissima. Lin.


Thistles, several species of.


Devil's bit Scabious.

Plantain Rebwort.

Trefoil, several species of.


Veronica Spike, a variety of, bearing white flowers.

Geranium, several species of.

Heaths, several beautiful species and varieties.

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Wild Parsley.

Vetchling, several species of.

Samphire, several species of.

Hottentot Fig.

Kangaroo Grass.

Quake Grass, and several species found in England.

Oxye Daisy.

Black Knapweed.



Wild Parsnip.




Fern, several varieties of.

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(Page 167.)

Meteorological Journal for the Months of October, November, and December, at Port Philip.


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Thermometer.  Weather. 
Days.  Winds.  Remarks. 
Sun rise.  Noon.  Morning.  Noon.  Night. 
Oct. 11  68  70  S. S. E.  clear pl.  str. br.  calm 
12  74  76  S. W.  fair  str. br. clo.  rain 
13  59  65  S. W.  clo. rain  str. br. clo.  str. br. 
14  59  59  S. W. W.  str. br. clo.  li. br. rain  fair 
15  64  64  W. N.  fair  fair  fair 
16  66  66  E.S.E. S.E.  fair  str. br. clo.  fair 
17  72  76  S. E.  fair  fair  fair 
18  58  64  S. E. S.  fair  fair  fair 
19  74  80  E. S. W.  fair  cloudy  fair 
20  68  70  variable, calm  fair  fair  fair 
21  66  66  variable, calm  fair  fair  fair 
22  74  74  E. S. S. W.  fair  fair  fair 
23  76  76  S. S. W.  fair  str. br. clo.  fair 
24  76  76  S. S. W. W.  fair  fair  fair 
25  60  64  calms  fair  fair  fair 
26  59  60  calm  fair  fair  fair 
27  71  71  W. W. by S.  fair  cloudy  fair 
28  67  67  S. W. S.  fair  fair  fair 
29  69  69  S.  squally  fair  fair 
30  73  74  N.  rain  cloudy  cloudy 
31  —  —  S. W.  dark gl.  cloudy  squally  Severe thunder and lightning, and heavy rain at 8 P. M. 
Nov. 1  70  76  W. S. W.  str. br. rain  rain  rain 
72  75  S. W.  str. br. rain  squally  rain 
69  80  W. S. W.  str. br.  rain  rain 
68  81  S. W.  rain  rain  rain 
70  74  from S. W.  gloomy  gloomy  gloomy 
76  78  S. W.  cloudy  cloudy  cloudy 
68  69  S. W.  str. br. rain  cloudy  rain 
65  70  S.  cloudy  cloudy  cloudy 
66  70  S. by E.  fair  fair  fair 
10  70  74  N.  fair  fair  fair 
Nov. 11  73  75  N. N. E.  fair  fair  fair 
12  75  75  S. S. E.  rain  cloudy  fair 
13  69  71  S.  str. br. clo.  cloudy  cloudy 
14  58  74  S. S. E.  str. br.  squ. rain.  rain 
15  64  70  S.  cloudy  cloudy  cloudy 
16  59  72  S. S. W.  fair  fair  fair 
17  58  62  S. W. N.  fair  fair  fair 
18  60  74  W. S. W.  fair  fair  fair 
19  57  64  S. E.  hv. squ. rain  fair  rain 
20  59  64  S. S. W.  squ. rain  fair  fair 
21  77  80  Calms  fair  fair  fair 
22  64  70  S. W. N.  str. br. rain heavy squ. and rain 
23  57  60  N. W. W.  heavy squs. thund. lightning, and rain throughout 
24  72  76  S. W. S.  dark gloomy weather, squalls and rain throughout 
25  74  74  W. S. W. S.  fair  cloudy  cloudy 
26  76  78  Calms  fair  fair  fair 
27  70  76  variable  fair  squ. rain  fair 
28  69  71  N. W. S. W.  heavy squs. thund. lightning, and rain throughout 
Nov. 29  70  74  N. E. S. W.  heavy squalls with thunder, lightning, and rain, and a heavy shower of hail at 11 A. M. 
30  70  72  W. N. W.  heavy squalls and continual rain 
Dec. 1  58  59  W. N. W.  heavy gale with severe thunder, lightning, and rain 
58  76  N. W. S. W.  heavy squalls, thunder, lightning, and rain 
74  78  W. S. W.  fair  fair  fair 
74  76  Calms  fair  fair  fair 
74  78  E. N. E.  fair  fair  fair 
60  90  Calm N. W.  fair  fair  fair  At 1 P.M. a strong puff of wind from N. W. raised the thermometer from 70° to 90° in a few minutes. 
77  80  S. W. W.  str. br.  cloudy  cloudy 
75  77  S. W.  squally  cloudy  cloudy 
69  75  S. W. S.  fair  fair  fair 
10  70  74  S. W.  fair  fair  fair 
11  60  70  S. W.  fair  fair  fair 
12  59  61  S. by E.  fair  fair  fair 
13  61  73  S. S. E.  fair  fair  fair 
14  68  72  S.  fair  fair  fair 
15  70  76  S. S. W.  dark cloudy  cloudy  cloudy 
16  70  75  S. W.  fair  fair  fair 
17  58  59  W.  fair  fair  fair 

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N° IV.

(Page 193.)

Observations on the various kinds of Timber found in New South Wales.

NEW South Wales produces a great variety of timber trees, to some of which the colonists have given names descriptive of their qualities, and others they call by the names of those trees which they most resemble either in leaf, in fruit, or in the texture of the wood. Among the former are the blue, red, and black butted gums, stringy and iron barks, turpentine and light wood; and among the latter are the she-oak, mahogany, cedar, box, honeysuckle, tea-tree, pear-tree, apple-tree, and fig-tree. These trees shed their bark annually at the fall of the year, and are always in foliage, the new leaves forcing off the old ones.

The blue and red gums are nearly of the same texture; they are very tough and strong, and in

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ship-building are adapted to framing; the best size is from two feet to two and a half, for when larger, the timber is generally unsound in the heart. The blue gum, while standing, is subject to be pierced by very minute worms, which make innumerable holes scarce visible to the naked eye.

Black butted gum and stringy bark differ very little either in quality or appearance; they are much tougher and stronger than English oak, and are particularly adapted to planking. They will also answer for lower masts or lower yards, for beams, or any other purpose where straight timber is required. If intended for spars, they ought to be procured as near the size wanted as possible, for the toughness lies in the outside, and the wood at the heart is generally decayed. Iron bark is not so tough as the two former, but is extremely strong and hard, and runs good from two to four feet; in ship-building it would answer for framing, beams, &c. In New South

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Wales it is chiefly used in house building and common furniture. Turpentine is a small wood of no service but in flooring houses. Light-wood grows to twenty inches, and from its buoyancy (whence its name), is proper for building small craft and boats.

The oak is distinguished according as it grows either on the hills or swamps; the former runs to between twelve and eighteen inches, and when larger is always shaken in the heart, the grain is short and cross, and the wood is apt to fly and warp; it is used chiefly in cabinet work, particularly vineering. The swamp oak is the same size, and differs from the other in having a more uniform grain, and being consequently much tougher; in ship-building it would answer for scantling. Of both these woods the paling and shingles are made in New South Wales.

Mahogany runs good to three feet, and by its texture can scarcely be known from the mahogany

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of Jamaica. In ship-building it answers well for framing.

Cedar nearly resembles the mahogany of Honduras in its grain, and might be applied to the same purposes. When growing, it resembles the mountain ash, both in its leaves and berry.

Box (so called from its leaves) is a sound and very tough wood; its size about two feet and a half, and would answer for any purpose of shipbuilding.

Honeysuckle (named from its leaf) is a soft wood, fitter for joiners' work than ship-building. At Port Jackson its size does not exceed two feet, but at Port Philip it is found good to four feet; its limbs are crooked, and perhaps it might be advantageously used in the upper works of ships, for knees, &c.

The tea-tree has its name from the leaf also, it is small and very curly; and far as I know, it has never been used in building, but from its appearance,

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while standing, I should think it might answer in small craft and boats.

The pear-tree is so called from its bearing a fruit resembling a pear in shape, but of the hardness of wood; it grows straight, its largest size sixteen inches, and is only fit for joiners' work.

The apple-tree takes its name from the leaf, the limbs are large and crooked, and running from two feet to two and a half, might probably answer for framing and kneeing ships, but has never been tried.

The fig-tree is the banyan tree of the East Indies, well known for its branches striking downwards and taking root; the wood of it is entirely useless.

It may be remarked, that all the large timber trees of New South Wales, except those growing in swamps, are unsound in the hearts; this probably proceeds from insufficiency of moisture,

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as well as from the continual firing of the grass in the forests, which must dry up the sap of the young trees. It also deserves to be noticed, that several of the gums, iron, and stringy bark, mahogany and box trees, which were felled at the first establishment of the colony, are now perfectly sound and hard, though exposed to the weather for fifteen years,

From the foot of the Blue Mountainsnote specimens of three or four kinds of timber, unknown

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at Port Jackson, have been brought, which, it is the opinion of shipwrights, would be very valuable in ship-building: one kind in particular cannot be known from the beech.

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N° V.

Observations respecting the selection of convicts for transportation, and on the means of preserving health on the voyage.

UPON the proper selection of convicts to be transported to a new colony, its improvement must almost totally depend. The advice of Lord Bacon upon this subject is worthy of attention. “The people wherewith you plant,” says his Lordship, in his essay “on Plantations,” ought to be gardeners, ploughmen, labourers, smiths, carpenters, joiners, fishermen, fowlers, with some few apothecaries, surgeons, cooks, and bakers.” How little such a selection is attended to in the transportation of convicts to New South Wales, was sufficiently exemplified

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on board the Calcutta, where, out of three hundred and seven convicts, there were but eight carpenters and joiners, three smiths, one gardener, twenty labouring farmers, two fishermen, nine taylors, and four stone-masons. The remainder may be classed under the heads of gentlemen's servants, hair-dressers, hackney-coachmen, chairmen, silk-weavers, calico-printers, watch-makers, lapidaries, merchant's clerks, and gentlemen. It requires no argument to demonstrate the little use such trades are in an infant colony, where agriculture is the chief pursuit, and where manual labour is infinitely more necessary than ingenuity. It is true a watch-maker deals in metals as well as the smith, but we doubt whether, with all his exertions, he could make a hundred nails in a day. With respect to gentlemen convicts, they are worse than useless, for they are invariably troublesome, as the present government of New South Wales can sufficiently attest. The education and the manners of such people

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will, in most instances, prevent their being employed in manual labour; they will always find advocates in the feelings of those who hold the rank which they once held, and this will prevent their being confounded with the common herd of convicted felons: but, although by their crimes they have lost the reality of their original rank, the shadow of it remains, together with a portion of the feelings which constituted their former character; hence they contemplate their degradation with impatience bordering on phrenzy; they are guilty of indiscretions (particularly in language) which must create continual disturbance to the administration, where coercion is the only engine of government, and where consequently jealousy is continually on the watch to anticipate insurrection.

The method of selecting the convicts sent out in the Calcutta might certainly be improved. A

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list of four hundred convicts was sent to the surgeon of that ship, from which he was to choose three hundred. In this selection, he, of course, regarded merely health and age, for he was to receive 10l. for every convict landed in health in New South Wales. Of their characters he could have no knowledge, and he had no instructions respecting peculiar trades, in preference to other.

The dreadful mortality which has, in several instances, taken place among the convicts on board transports going to New South Wales must proceed chiefly from a want of attention to cleanliness, both in persons of the convicts and the ship herself; for, in every instance where proper precautions were taken, no such mortality has taken place. The convicts, in general, being equally indolent and careless, as well as unused to a ship, will in many instances be found so

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negligent of themselves, that severity is sometimes necessary to prevent their becoming the most disgufting objects from vermin and dirt. In passing through the warm latitudes in particular, the most rigid attention to cleanliness can alone prevent disease; the following precautions, if strictly followed, will, as far as it is in the power of man, prevent the admission of sickness, or effectually check its progress, in the most crowded ship. When the prison is on the orlop deck, where the air has but a scanty admission, it should never be wetted, the dirt should be scraped off every morning, and the deck afterwards scrubbed with biblesnote and dry sand.

Every part of the prison should be clean, so that no receptacle for bones or other filth could be found; and should it be necessary to stow any

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articles whatever in the prison, the space they occupy ought to be bulkheaded round. Particular care is requisite that no wet cloaths are hung up or left about the prison.

Every convict should be supplied with a hammocknote, a very thin mattress, and one blanket, care must be taken that every man hangs his hammock up in his proper birth, else laziness will induce the greater number to spread it on the deck even in the wet; in dry weather the beds should be aired as often as possible, (if every day, the better,) and the hammock scrubbed once a month.

If the ship touches at Teneriffe or Madeira, or if not, after she has passed those islands, the

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beds, blankets, jackets, stockings, shoes, and every kind of woolen clothing, should be taken from the convicts, else, from the total want of fore-thought, the greater part of them will be lost, before they again feel the want of them in the high southern latitudes. The flocks in the beds should be taken out, and, after being exposed to the sun, remade; all the woolen-clothing well-washed(if the ship touches at the islands, in fresh water, if not, in salt), and afterwards dipped in lime-water, and dried without wringing. The fumigations, by means of devils composed of wetted gun-powder, are perhaps often carried to too great an excess, and, in fact, this kind of fumigation is liable to many and great objections, particularly in cold or wet weather, when it is most commonly practised; the cold air, rushing into the fumigated apartments when opened, immediately condenses the vapour that remains, and leaves a degree of dampness that must be unwholesome.

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In wet weather it is impossible to let a sufficient quantity of air into the apartment after fumigation, without, at the same time, admitting a proportionate quantity of moisture; hence the people often return to it before the vapour is evaporated, and inhale a considerable quantity, which must affect the lungs. In all weathers, fires of sea-coal (for charcoal is liable to the same objections as fumigations with gun-powder) will be found infinitely more effectual in clearing the prisons of foul air, than any kind of fumigation. As to fumigation by acids, it is usually performed on so small a scale, that I cannot conceive it productive of any advantages, if any such are inherent in it.

In passing through the warm latitudes, I would strongly recommend, that the convicts be obliged to bathe, at least, twice a week. This might be so regulated as to give but little trouble, a certain proportion bathing every day, and if performed

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under the superintendence of a medical man, no danger could arise from it. In short, it will be found, that wholesome diet, sufficient exercise, and proper attention to cleanliness, are the most effectual preventatives of disease on long voyages. The first, the Government of England supplies with a liberality peculiar to itself; but the two latter must be left to the care of the person to whom the charge of so many of his fellow creatures is entrusted.

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