[Editor: A letter from an officer in New South Wales, as well as a brief news item regarding some convicts to be sent to Australia. Published in The Edinburgh Advertiser, 12-16 June 1789.]
[A letter from an officer in New South Wales]
By a letter from an officer on board the Sirius, at Botany Bay, to a gentleman in this city, we have a more favourable account of the country than what has yet appeared. “The inhabitants (he says) are exceeding shy, and don’t seem to wish for any communication with us. The less, in my opinion, the better, as they seem fond of thieving every thing they can lay their hands on. We have an island, as large as Inch Kieth, allowed us for our garden and stock; both are doing well, and in a fair way to flourish. Already we have good savoys, cabbages, and yams, and a number of good vegetables have made their appearance, from the seeds we put in the earth on our arrival here. — This island affords every thing our flocks want, and lies about a mile and a half from the ship. — Plenty of fine fish to be had with our seine-nets.”
On Saturday morning early, the convicts for Botany Bay were removed from the tolbooth, in order to be put on board the Peggy, Captain Cruden, to carry them to Plymouth. When the cart on which Anderson and Macdonald, two notorious offenders, had been put, was got opposite to the Calton, Macdonald, who was chained to his neighbour, found means to get his hand extricated from the hand-cuff, and made his escape, by running down the precipice which leads to the Low Calton. Anderson likewise attempted to get off, but was soon apprehended, and carried, along with the other convicts, down to Leith from whence they were carried out in boats, and safely lodged aboard the ship.
The Edinburgh Advertiser (Edinburgh, Scotland), vol. LI no. 2657, 12-16 June 1789 [“From Friday June 12, to Tuesday June 16, 1789”], page 381
Inch Kieth = (also spelt “Inchkeith”) an island in the Firth of Forth, Scotland
seine net = a large fishing net with floats attached to its top edge and weights attached to its bottom edge, enabling it to be deployed vertically in water, and then used to catch fish by pulling its ends together or by dragging it ashore