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Besides, the necefsity of clearing the island for the maintenance of its inhabitants, precludes a pofsibility of. applying more of the timber than now stands to any public purpose, or of cultivating a sufficient quantity of the flag plant to be of any service.
But to what purpose retain a spot situated in the middle of the ocean, and at such a distance from England, when it is seldom pofsible for any vefsel to approach it in safety, from the dreadful surf which in general lathes its fhore; where there is no kind of fhelter for even a boat, nor any place of anchorage to be depended upon; and in fine, whose utmost extent does not exceed five miles in length and three in breadth ?
'In addition to the wreck of the Sirius, and former losses which have happened there, a boat, unloading one of the transports, with seven people, was destroyed in the presence of the inhabitants, who had it not in their power to give them any afsistance, although within a few yards of the spot-so suddenly did the surf get up.
'Three years have elapsed, in January last, since our arrival in this country, and saving a chance meal, the chief of our diet has been salt meat, and that sometimes in very reduced quantities.
The state we were in when the dispatches went from this place in the Supply, sternly threatens us again; there being no more than seven months provision now in store,. at the present allowance, which must, in the course of month, if no fhips arrive, be reduced to two-thirds, and fhortly after that to one half, (or perhaps lefs,) if no relief appear.
'We have little to look to from our granaries; and the-live stock, which consists of goats, pigs, and poultry, are so degenerate, and few in number, from want of food, that the whole would not afford the colony two days sub
What can have become of the Gorgon with major Grose and the rest of the troops, baffles all conjectures; the detachment under captain Nepean, have been here now eight months, in daily expectation of their arrival. I am afraid it is our fate to be very unfortunate.
The new corps seem to have come out without being well acquainted with their situation at this place; it is said they are to pay threepence per day for their ratian, and to have no spirits allowed them; if so, their case is pitiable.
It is probable government does not intend to continue the allowance of spirits any longer, for except a three months proportion which has lately been served, there has not been any issued for eight months past. The soldiers feel the want of that article very much, as they live but poorly, and have been long accustomed to the use of it.
'Much cannot be said respecting the natives; their wretched manner of life is a proof, among the many others, of the wretchedneis of their country. They have lately been persuaded to trust themselves amongst us, and their desire for food, without being at the trouble of collecting it, has induced them. to continue their intercourse.
'Previous however to this connection, his excellency, from reposing too great confidence in them, had nearly lost his life by a wound from one of their spears, and his game-keeper has since been killed by one of them, at Botany Bay. These are, I think, the only accidents that have happened lately, and I think it is likely our attention to them will be the means of preventing any happening in future.
'Five convicts, who had previously furnished themselves with a few provisions and necefsaries, made their escape from this place in a small open boat. We apprehend their
May 16. intention was to reach some of the East India islands; but they were, upon the whole, so badly appointed, that it is very improbable they could have survived long.
Detaining and punishing the convicts for attempting to get away, after their terms of transportation have expired, has occasioned much murmuring and discontent among them, and will, no doubt, impel them to attempt their liberty, however dismal or distant the prospect of obtaining it may be.
'I send this by Mr Morgan, surgeon of his majesty's ship Sirius, who returns to England in the Dutch vessel that brought us a little better than two months provisions from Batavia. He is a young gentleman of approved character and merit.
'If you condescend to receive this, and give him a hearing, you will receive a very just account of our situation in this colony.
Much also may be expected from captain Hunter, whose virtue and integrity is as conspicuous as his merit; and his officers, who are for the most part men of respec
table characters, can, from real experience, describe the steril territory of New South Wales.'
THE verses by E. T. 0. are received. It is with regret the Editor finds himself unable to insert one half of the pieces with which he is favoure! ; and he fears that, en account of the number and importance of his prose communications, he will be under the necefity rather of curtailing than of augmenting the limi's appropriated to poetry. May he once more request of his puecical correspondents to try always to perfect their picces inIt is in this way only they can insure their insertion. le verses by M. are received and under consideration. **Acknowledgements to other correspondents, in absence of the Editor, deferred.
LITERARY WEEKLY INTELLIGENCER,
WEDNESDAY, MAY 23. 1792.
THE LEMING, OR LAPLAND MARMOT.
IN N our northern climates we can scarcely form an idea of the terrible nature of those plagues of vermin which distrefsed Egypt; but in warm climates, the ravages committed by insects and vermin are well known, and terrible. Whole countries have been often laid desolate by locusts! not a green thing left for the subsistence of man or other animals; and extensive regions are totally uninhabitable by reason 、of the swarms of flies which there abound. With us, rats and mice sometimes become a little troublesome; but, compared with the vermin of warm cliinates, these would be accounted nothing. The lening is the only animal in cold regions, which is ever VOL. ix.
known to produce ravages, that can in any respect be compared with those of the torrid zone.
This surprising animal is found only in the northern parts of Europe and Asia. It is sometimes seen in Norway, Sweden, and Lapland, bursting forth from its concealed retreats, like a mountain torrent surmounting its banks by a thunder shower, and overspreading a vast extent of country, carrying ruin and desolation wherever it goes. Fortunately its appearance is only periodical, and not very frequent, or these regions, which in other respects are inhospitable to man, must have been totally abandoned by him. As the retreats where they inhabit for ordinary, and where they breed, have not hitherto, been fully explored by any natura:st, and as their irruptions are so sudden, and their numbers so great as to exceed imagination, we cannot be surprised at the ignorant natives seriously believing that they are generated in the clouds; from whence it has been supposed they are poured down in fhowers of rain. Myriads of them march together; and, like a torrent which nothing can resist, their course is mark ed with ruin and desolation ;-neither fire nor water prevent their progrefs. They go streight forward, in regular lines, about three feet asunder, and generally in a south-east direction. They swim across lakes and rivers, no opposition impedes them. If thousands are destroyed, thousands supply their pla ces, the void is quickly filled up, and their number does not appear to be diminished. They persist in their course, in spite of every obstacle; and, if prevented from proceeding, they either by assiduity surmount it, or die in the attempt. Their march is