January 20th, 1850 — On board the “Neptune,” Simon’s Bay. — Matters go on as before. The colonists await the Downing Street award: and so do I. But there is feverish impatience and expectancy ashore; and no wonder. What a terrible new element convictism will be to this colony if the red-tape rascals succeed in forcing it on! But the people seem to be girding themselves up to prepare for the worst — providing door-bolts and locks, also rifles and ammunition, with commendable diligence. A good clergyman of Simonstown — why should I not name the worthy fellow? — Mr. Judge, who comes to see me sometimes, has assured me that the inhabitants of the country, even in the neighbourhood of Capetown, seldom secure their houses at night by barring the door or otherwise: and when he speaks of the bare possibility of these three hundred choice miscreants, who have graduated in burglary and thievery in the finest schools on earth, being let loose among his parishioners, tears of indignation and apprehension stand in his eyes. I trust the evil day may be averted.
Feb. 8th. — No despatch yet; and we have been rocking here in Simon’s Bay, “wearing the ring of our anchor,” as the captain says, nearly five months. Oh! thou despatch of heaven, rise upon our darkness like a star! let thy red-tape dawn upon us out of the northern wave? I am tired of the Cape: for the vintage season is long past; and I can no longer have my usual breakfast of grapes and coffee.
A few days ago there was an alarm — a large black-hulled steamship, like a man-of-war, appeared rounding the south-western point of False Bay. I thought I recognised the Scourge, the very pirate craft that carried me to Bermuda, two years ago. Our despatch at last, thought everyone. The captain of the Neptune, the “surgeon-superintendent,” the naval people on shore, all made sure that suspense would be at an end in half an hour. Signal flags carry the news flying over the mountains and Constantia vineyards, to Capetown. Now, ye anti-convict leaders, what if the crisis is upon you? what if Lord Grey have sent out positive orders to land the bandits, and an additional regiment of soldiers to look on? How beats the general pulse at the Town Hall this morning? Turns the cheek of Fairbairn pale or red? I could almost wish to see the issue tried.
But the ship turns out to be the Hindostan, a Red Sea steamer, returning from London, where she has been newly refitted. And she brings no despatches.
Sir Harry Smith has not issued his government paper-money — if he did, I believe nobody would take it at any price. Never was a nominal government before brought to such a state of contempt. One thing is said to gall the fine old soldier terribly; the colonists had a project lately of erecting at Capetown a marble statue of the hero of Aliwal, the Pacificator of the Caffir frontier; and subscriptions were opened for it in all districts. The contributors are now everywhere changing the destination of the money, and transferring it from the statue fund to the Anti-Convict Association. The man who would not send the Neptune straight to sea again, the very moment of her arrival, shall have no statue in South Africa. But nothing has so perfectly convinced me of the impotence of the government, and omnipotence of people, as certain legal proceedings that have lately taken place.
A Mr. Letterstedt brought an action of damages against Fairbairn and others, members of the A.-C. Association, for having published his name and pointed him out for public vengeance, and so injured him in his business: he claimed £5,000. The Attorney-General, Mr. Porter (an Irish lawyer and very able man) was his leading counsel. The case excited intense interest, as so many other cases must stand or fall with it. But when it came on for hearing before the three judges of the Supreme Court (in civil cases there are no juries), the defendants declined the jurisdiction of the court, on the ground that two of the three judges had already prejudged the case, because they had given their opinion to the government that it would be illegal for him to send away the “Neptune” by his own authority. So preposterous a ground of declinature never was heard of in any court; and so the Attorney-General clearly proved; and so it was ruled by the majority of the judges, that is by the two who were excepted against; whereupon the third, one Musgrave, said he was not satisfied) and that he would not sit with the other two to try the case. And now comes the best part of the story: Mr. Musgrave having retired, the other two were to proceed with the trial, and appointed a day. On the day appointed, the defendants withdrew their plea — they would make no defence — would not, even by their presence, countenance any judicial proceedings of government judges, convict judges, judges who found law against sending the Neptune away — they would just let these evil bandit judges decide as they pleased, and would carry the whole affair before the Queen in Council — then the Attorney-General was to proceed ex-parte, making no doubt of heavy damages for his client. Another adjournment of the court took place, and on the next morning, Mr. Attorney comes into court with a long countenance — announces that his client, Mr. Letterstedt, will not proceed with his action. Neither plaintiff nor defendants, on maturely considering the matter, will hold any communications with Sir Harry Smith’s judges — who had dreamed of law against sending away the Neptune.
In other words, the case was removed from the Supreme Court to the new Super-Supreme Court of Public Opinion, by certiorari. The Anti-Convict Association is now the Court of First Instance and of Last Resort in South Africa.
I have been very ill again for the last two months — the same damnable asthma: nearly as bad as at Bermuda, but not quite. It is the close imprisonment, I think, and the suspense, and want of exciting occupation, that give the foul fiend such power over me.
Feb. 10th. — The Cape papers give extracts from Van Diemen’s Land papers, by which I find that O’Brien, Meagher, O’Donoghue, and MacManus, in the Swift, and Martin and O’Doherty in the Elphinstone, all arrived at Hobart Town about the same time — that they have been allowed to live at large, but each within a limited district, and no two of them nearer than thirty or forty miles. Even to be admitted to thus much liberty, each was required to promise that he would not make use of it to effect his escape. O’Brien refuses to give this promise, and is, therefore, sent to a small island off the coast, named Maria Island, which is appropriated to the most desperate convicts. It is not easy to understand the object of so carefully separating the prisoners, and planting each by himself in the midst of a felonious population, unless it be, by depriving them of one another’s society, to force them into association with such miscreants as they are likely to meet, that so they may become at last the felons their enemies call them. Or, possibly, it is done with a view to more easily reducing them singly to submission. “Government,” of course, would like to bring us all to our knees, and present us in the attitude of begging pardon. And if these men were allowed to live together, they might support one another’s spirits, arid speak disaffected words, and possibly even hatch seditious schemes for future practice. Now, it is hoped that, surrounded by strangers, never hearing or seeing anything to remind them of their cause and comrades, and almost forgetting the sound of their own voices, they may grow weary of their lives, their spirit may bow or break, and they may crawl to the foot of her Gracious Majesty’s throne. My Lords Grey and Russell and Clarendon we will try conclusions with you in this matter.
But the lot of these men is hard and cruel: and I now expect that it will be my lot also. Whatever “Her Majesty’s Government” may do with these poor Neptune convicts, my destiny, I feel assured, will be an allocation in some remote Van Diemen’s Land police district — to live there alone, as best I may, breathing the miasma of that most hideous den, that so I may cease to do evil and learn to do well.1
Feb. 13th. — I knew it. Lord Grey’s despatches have arrived, captain of the flag-ship came on board here to-day, accompanied by some naval officers. He took his stand on the quarter-deck at the capstan; and the prisoners were ordered up from below to hear their fate. I was walking on the poop, and stopped at the rail a few minutes looking down at the scene. The men poured aft as far as the gangway in gloomy masses, some scowling black, some pale as death; and when Captain Bance unfolded his papers the burliest burglar held his breath for a time. Neptune to proceed forthwith to Van Diemen’s Land; on arrival there prisoners to receive (in compensation for the hardships of their long voyage and detention) her Gracious Majesty’s “conditional pardon” — except “the prisoner Mitchel,” whose case, Lord Grey says, being entirely different from all the others, is reserved for separate consideration, but special instructions respecting it are to be forwarded to the governor of Van Diemen’s Land. When the reader came to the exception of “the prisoner Mitchel,” he raised his voice, and spoke with impressive solemnity. In a moment all eyes, of officers, sailors, prisoners, soldiers, were fastened on my face; if they read anything but scorn, then my face belied my heart.
So it runs — I am to spend certaifi years, then, among the gum-trees in grim solitude — utter solitude, for I cannot bear to think of bringing out my poor wife to those regions of outer darkness, or rearing up my boys in that island of the unblessed: I will be lonely, with a solitude that Zimmermann never dreamed of, lonelier than “a corpse within its shroud” — for I must make to myself, as it were, a shell to walk in, and present porcupine quills on all sides to the beings in human shape who will there flit around me — for that is a land where men are transformed into brutes — “let a man be what he will when he goes there, a man’s heart is taken away from him, and there is given to him the heart of a beast.” And of the whole population of V. D. Land, more than three-fourths are convicts, or emancipated convicts, or the children of convicts, begotten in felony, and brought up in the feeling that their hand must be against every man, as every man’s hand is against them. Oh! I descend into the realms of Dis — my ears hear already the rushing of Cocytus flood, and the wailing of damned spirits thereon. Be strong now, and be calm and humble withal, O my soul! Let what tincture of philosophy soever I have drawn in my eclectic method from Porch, from Garden, from Grove, yea, from Mount of Olives, too, let all stand by me now. Let me provide the charm of mild words and demeanour, a demulcent sop for the three-headed dog; but towards the great enemy — the grand government necromancer, who keeps those gardens of hell, let my face be as marble, my heart as adamant. So may Almighty God preserve me in my human shape, and when my infernal pilgrimage is done, lead me forth again to upper air through the Gate of Horn.
But this is mythology — in plain English, I will root myself somehow in the earth, and daily dig and delve there, holding as little intercourse as possible with the people around me, but showing no pride or ill-will to them — only to the “Government,” and so pass through this ordeal as quietly and gallantly as I may.
15th. — I have seen some English papers: this Cape affair has caused wonderful excitement and indignation: a horrid insult has been offered to the supreme Majesty of England — not to speak of the savage inhumanity of refusing victuals to the public services, and to the poor sea-beaten convicts. England does not, of course, charge herself with all this; yet she, or her Government, is the only party guilty of inhumanity, and of treachery (which is worse), in attempting to run such a cargo as this: all the consequences resulted necessarily from that villainy. And the colonists are not only justified in refusing provisions to the servants and soldiers of such a government, but would been have justified in cutting all their throats.
I can find in these papers hardly anything relating to Ireland. Ireland, I do fear, is too quiet. The “Government” papers speak of that country now as a piece of absolute property that has fallen into them, and as to which they have only to consider how best it is to be turned to their advantage. If the country were not lying a dead corpse at their feet, would the Times venture to express itself thus — the worthy Times is commenting on Lord Roden’s dismissal, and recounting what painful but needful measures the “Imperial Government” has been taking for Ireland of late. “Law,” says the Times, “has ridden rough-shod through Ireland: it has been taught with bayonets, and interpreted with ruin. Townships levelled with the ground, straggling columns of exiles, workhouses multiplied and still crowded, express the full determination of the legislature to rescue Ireland from its slovenly barbarism, and to plant the institutions of this more civilised land.”
Here is the tone in which these most infamous Government scribblers (who do, however, scribble the mind of the Government), presume to speak of Ireland. And the clearance devastations are evidently as determined as ever: and there is no law in the land in these days; and the O’Connell-Duffys are preaching constitutional agitation; and the Orangemen are crying, “To hell with the Pope,” and the Catholic bishops are testifying their loyalty; and Murder and Famine and Idiocy are dancing an obscene Carmagnole among the corpses. “Of a surety,” exclaimed Don Juan D’Aguila, “Christ never died for this people.”
17th. — There is an urgent hurry here to get the Neptune to sea: the commodore has been kept in the bay for the last four months, when he ought to have been cruising in the Mozambique Channel, because the governor would not let him go while we stayed, and while there was danger of disturbance at the Cape. He sends a party of his sailors now every day to the Neptune, to hasten the storing and provisioning: we may probably sail to-morrow.
There is great rejoicing at Capetown — a reconciliation of parties; moderates and immoderates burying their differences. There are to be high public rejoicings, a grand dinner, and illuminations, such as South Africa has never yet beheld; Capetown has for years been lighted with gas, and on the night after we have set sail (not before, for they would not insult the poor convicts) the southern firmament is to be startled by a splendour that will out-blaze Fomalhaut and the bright star of Ara. I have got the Cape newspapers, with their advertising columns full of “the Dinner,” “the Illuminations,” in large capitals. Here are my last extracts from the South African Press —
Fireworks may be had, wholesale or retail, at G. Ashley’s.
Composition candles — Large stock — which, for the present joyful occasion, will be sold at low prices.
Lord Grey’s despatches have been published by the governor: they are very long, partly apologetic, and partly expostulatory, altogether shuffling. It is quite clear that he expected this resistance, and was fully aware both of the existence and extent of the feeling here against his measure, but persisted in it, with the hope of overbearing everything by Government authority and influence. Indeed, he never denies that he was aware of all the facts in time to prevent the Neptune from leaving Bermuda: for he only says they came to his knowledge after orders had been given to the Neptune to sail — that is, from London, with her cargo to Bermuda. He is a monstrous rogue.
Three o’clock in the morning. — I have been walking all night on the deck, enjoying a most lovely night, and taking my last look of Africa. So the contest is over, and the colonists may now proceed about their peaceful business, with no worse enemies to disquiet them than the Caffirs and the panthers. May their vineyards and corn-fields be fruitful to them while the sun visits Capricorn! Long may they sleep in peace, without bolt or lock on their hospitable doors! and travel over kloof and karroo with the bullock-whip for their sufficient weapon! Most heartily I congratulate the Cape on the fearful importation she has escaped.
I watched the sun set behind the hills; and his last purple gleams blushing on the peaks of distant mountains, turning every splintered cliff into a perfect amethyst. And well I know within the foldings of those amethystine ridges lie many emerald vales; and to the good people who dwell there, the feet of those who cany this day’s tidings will be beautiful upon the mountains. Morning will dawn to-morrow on the proudest day South Africa has yet beheld.
“Adieu! the Orient glimmers afar,
And the Morning Star
Anon will rise over Madagascar brightly.”
[I wonder whether the Cape knows FreiUgrath’s glorious Cape ballad.] Good-night Africa!
19th. — We sail this day: the wind full against us, blowing straight up the bay: no matter — the commodore has sent the Geyser war-steamer to tow us out. We have got the hawser fixed, and are moving slowly out of Simon’s Bay, and down the broad expanse of False Bay. The mountains are fading behind us. Another continent has arisen from the sea before me, and now Africa vanishes too. Shall I ever set foot upon dry land more?
April 4th, 1850. — It is more than a month since I made my last entry in this dreary log-book. All this time we have been going straight before the wind, which is always westerly in this southern ocean, along the parallel of 46° south latitude, and often at the rate of 200 miles a day. They say we are nearing Van Diemen’s Land.
I have been very ill all the time; and grow worse. Seafaring has become a horror to me, for it is more than eleven months since I came on board this ship of evil omen, “rigged with curses,” freighted with hell — and I long to touch some shore, were it even the New Jerusalem, where there shall be no more sea. The mob of prisoners on board, as I look down over them from my solitary walk on the poop, seem in high spirits, at the thought of being all landed free, in a magnificent new country, where the climate is matchless, and labour is highly paid. They look at me with a sort of respectful pity; and doubtless think my crimes must have been enormously villainous indeed to merit the distinguished consideration of being singly excepted from their universal emancipation.
6th. — The mountainous southern coast of Van Diemen’s Land! It is a soft blue day; soft airs, laden with all the fragrances of those antarctic woods, weave an atmosphere of ambrosia around me. As we coast along over the placid waters, passing promontory after promontory, wooded to the water’s edge, and “glassing their ancient glories in the flood,” both sea and land seem to bask and rejoice in the sunshine. Old Ocean smiles — that multitudinous rippling laugh seen in vision by the chained Prometheus. Even my own sick and weary soul (so kind and bounteous is our Mother Earth) feels lightened, refreshed, uplifted. Yet there, to port, loom the mountains, whereunto I am to be chained for years, with a vulture gnawing my heart. Here is the very place the Kaf, or Caucasus, where I must die a daily death and make a nightly descent into hell.
It must have been on these mountains (πέτραις ὑψηλοκρἡμνοις) that strength and force bound the victim Demigod — for did not Kratos say unto Hephaistos, “We have come now to the utmost verge of the earth?” Where was that, but at the antipodes? — the limited geographical knowledge of the poet was unequal to his inspiration. Would that I had committed the godlike crime, and gathered fire from those empyrean urns whence the stars draw light — then might I hope to possess the godlike strength also of the Titan crucified! Oh! Divine Æther! and ye swift-winged winds! ye gushing river-fountains! and thou boundless endless, multitudinous chorus-laugh of ocean waves! Oh! Earth! mother of all things! and world-seeing circuit of the sun! No answer; but, enter convict-servant with a mockery of dinner. Eating or sleeping is not for me these three days past; partly from severe illness, partly from the excited expectation of once more, at the end of two years, seeing the face of a friend. There, amongst or behind those shaggy mountains, wander Martin, O’Brien, Meagher, each alone in his forest-dungeon. Surely I shall contrive some means of meeting them once.
This evening we entered the inlet known as D’Entrecasteaux’ Channel, which runs up about twenty-five miles on the west side of Bruni Island, and divides it from the mainland of Tasmania. On the east side of Bruni spreads out Storm Bay, the ordinary approach to Hobart Town harbour; but this channel adjoins Storm Bay at the northern extremity of Bruni; from whence a wide estuary runs many miles farther inland. We are becalmed in the channel; but can see the huge mass of Mount Wellington, ending to the eastward in steep cliffs. In the valley at the foot of those cliffs, as they tell me, bosomed in soft green hills, bowered in shady gardens, with its feet kissed by the blue ripples of the Derwent—lies that metropolis of murderers and university of burglary and all subter-human abomination, Hobart Town.
But as we lie here becalmed, between lonely wooded hills, the land seems virgin yet, as when La Perouse sailed up the same channel of old, startling the natives from their kangaroo flesh-pots on the shore. These woods are all of evergreen trees; and even from the deck I can see the long streamers of bark peeling oft their trunks and festooned from branch to branch; for all this tribe, the Eucalypti, shed not their leaves but their bark. The trees seem almost all of great height; but on the whole the forest looks poor and ragged, because the boughs and branches are so conspicuous in their nakedness; and the footage is thin compared with the bulk of the trunks. This is certainly the first impression made on an eye accustomed to the umbrageous masses of beech and sycamore that build up the cathedral arches and aisles of our European woodlands. But I can scarcely believe that I am verily to set my foot upon dry land again.
7th. — We made our way this morning to the head of D’Entrecasteaux’ Channel, where it communicates by a narrow passage with the great Storm Bay — took a pilot on board at this passage, a little dark man, at whom I gazed as narrowly and curiously as ever did Abel Jans Tasman at the first Australasian savages he saw, or they at Abel. But indeed our little pilot was a mere Englishman in tweed pantaloons and round jacket; and he came down to his boat from a neat white cottage on a hill, with a greensward lawn sloping from its door to the boat-pier, and some sweet-briar hedges protecting and adorning its garden.
Two o’clock afternoon. — We are at anchor in the Derwent, a quarter of a mile from the quays and custom-house of Hobart Town. Why should I write down, here again, what I see, what everybody sees, at every sea-port? The town slopes from the river to the hills precisely like any other town. Several church steeples, of course; a small battery on a point; a windmill on a height; merchants’ stores along the quays; waggons carrying merchandise hither and thither; and the waggons have wheels; and the horses are quadrupedal and solid-ungular. A good many ships lie in the harbour; and one Carthaginian frigate, the Mæander.
Our bold captain and surgeon-superintendent have dressed themselves (and the latter in sword and epaulettes looks grand enough), to await the official persons; the official persons ashore, with that deliberate dignity which becomes their high position, move slowly, and in their several convict bureaus prepare their stationery and tape, that they may board us in due form. So I have time to dwell upon, to appropriate and assimilate, one of the loveliest scenes in all the world. The harbour is the broad estuary of the river Derwent. The town lies on the western side, backed by gardens and villas, rising on the slope of wooded hills and ravines, which all lose themselves in the vast gloomy mass of Mount Wellington. On the eastern side, which seems nearly uninhabited, there are low hills covered with wood; and directing the eye up the river valley, I see nothing but a succession of hill and forest, till blue mountains shut up the view. I long to walk the woods, and leave behind me the sight and sound of the weariful sea.
8th. — Official persons on board, with their stationery and tape, also police constables. I know not what forms and ceremonies are going forward, because I stay close in my cabin; but I hear a calling of roll; and the prisoners, with washed faces, are walking aft one by one. The doctor tells me nothing will be known about me and my destination till to-morrow. The special despatch, regarding me, has gone of course to the governor, one Sir William Denison; but that potentate is on a hunting party, and may not be in town even to-morrow. Meanwhile the real convicts on board are said to be in high glee: they are to land free: and a proposal has come out to the ship, inviting twelve of the most powerful men to take service as constables on the island. Dr. Gibson, our superintendent, who has been here before, and knows the ways of the place, informs me that almost all the petty constables on the island, and even some of the chief-constables, are convicts; and further, that the most desperate villains are actually selected for the. office. “A dozen of our worst Neptune ruffians,” said the doctor, “you will see in a few days dressed in blue, armed with carbines, and placed in a position to predominate over you, and your friends who have arrived here before you.”
Dr. Gibson, however, says he believes (whether he has reason to believe it I know not), that the instructions are to treat me with some consideration: and he promises that he will go ashore to-morrow, and if he finds I am to be assigned a residence in some of the interior police-districts, he is to use his influence to induce the governor, on account of my shattered health, to let me live along with John Martin. Some Hobart Town newspapers have come on board. O’Brien is still in very close confinement on an island off the east coast, called Maria Island, a rugged and desolate territory, about twelve miles in length, where the jailers keep one of their main strongholds. He has refused to accept their “ticket-of-leave” on the terms of giving them his parole not to escape while he holds it; and the convict-authorities are much irritated by his determination. They use him hardly enough! And his health is failing.
By the advertisements I see there are no fewer than five ships at present laid on for California from the two ports, Hobart Town, south, and Launceston, north. There is now a brisk trade between Van Diemen’s Land and San Francisco: apples, onions and potatoes being the chief articles of export from this island. Along with these specimens of the vegetable kingdom, however, the Californians must be receiving from Van Diemen’s Land assortments of the choicest and rarest scoundrelism in all creation. Emancipated convicts, also, have the “sacred hungering for gold.”
Evening. — An official person was brought to my cabin door half an hour ago, by the doctor, and introduced to me by the name of
Emmett — A convict official by the name of Emmett! He handed me a communication from an individual styled “Comptroller-General,” informing me that instructions had been received from the Secretary of State to allow me to reside at large in any one of the police-districts I might select (except those already used as the dungeons of my friends) — subject to no restriction, save the necessity of reporting myself to the district police-magistrate once a month. This condition of existence is, I find, called “Ticket-of-leave.” I may accept it or not, as I think proper; or, having accepted, I may at any time resign it: but first of all, I must give my promise that so long as I hold the said “ticket,” I shall not escape from the colony.
O’Brien, as I said, has refused to give his promise; but Martin, Meagher, O’Doherty, and the rest have done so. Some of them, as I hear, speak of surrendering their “comparative liberty,” and, of course, withdrawing their promise, so soon as their health shall have been re-established by a few months’ wandering in the bush. I decide to do as the majority of my friends have done, especially as Dr. Gibson informs me that the close confinement of Maria Island would probably kill me at once. He seems, indeed, most anxious to get me ashore; and takes credit for bringing me so far alive, after my ten months’ solitary confinement in Bermuda, and eleven months and seventeen days’ cruising in the Neptune.
Wrote a note to the “Comptroller-General,” and placed it in the hands of Emmett, informing him that I would promise not to escape so long as I should enjoy the “comparative liberty” of the ticket: and, on his suggestion and the doctor’s, I wrote another note, telling the authorities I was very ill; had been ill for many months, and was utterly unfit to be sent off by myself, to one of the remote districts, amongst entire strangers. The doctor is to back this with his professional authority; and he and Emmett say the governor will be sure to allow me to go up to a place called Bothwell, where John Martin vegetates. So Emmett left me. He says he is related to the family of; but no, the man is an impostor.
Hobart Town has quite an imposing appearance from the water, standing out against its grand mountain background. Why should not I write a minute account of the town this evening, as I have leisure, and no prepossessions or narrow personal observations to distract me? Sterne gave to the world a valuable directory of Calais upon that principle.
Hobart Town, Hobartia, Hobarton. Coat of arms, a fleece, and a kangaroo with its pocket picked; and the legend Sic fortis Hobartia crevit: namely, by fleecing and picking pockets. This town, if we may trust its archives, the authority of which I see no reason to call in question upon the present occasion — was once no more than a small village; and, as it boasts at present no less than twenty thousand inhabitants, it must have grown up little by little, I suppose, to its present size — and so forth.
To my utter amazement, I had a letter to-day from Patrick O’Donohue, who has been permitted to live in the city of Hobart Town, informing me that he has established a newspaper called the Irish Exile, enclosing me a copy of the last number, and proposing that I should him in the concern. Herein is a marvellous thing. How happens it that the convict authorities permit him to conduct a paper at all? Or what would be the use of such a publication here, even if he were competent enough to manage it? The thing is a hideous absurdity altogether: but I am glad to learn that none of my friends takes anything to do with it; though I suppose it assumes to be a sort of “organ” for them. The Irish Exile is bepuffing me now most outrageously: God preserve me from organs of opinion! Have I sailed round the terraqueous globe, and dropped in here in a cove of the far South Pacific, to find an “able editor” mounted stilt wise upon phrases tall, and blowing deliberate puffs in my face? Gladly I would bare my brow to all the tornadoes and ouragans of the West Indies, to the black-squalls of the tropics, to the heavy gales of the British Channel, and the typhoons of the China Seas, rather than to the flattering flatulence of these mephitic airs. I was tired, indeed, of the sea; but at sea there are, at anyrate, no organs of opinion. Eurus and Boreas are often rude enough; but, at least, they blow where they list, and pipe not their notes under the censorship of a Comptroller-General.
To be sure, one may cite Virgil against me, with the Comptroller-General Æolus, and his quos ego.
But what of this? I retire to my cot to-night in a black and blaspheming humour, vilipending both sea and land.
12th. — Sitting on the green grass by the bank of a clear, brawling stream of fresh water. Trees waving overhead; the sunshine streaming through their branches, and making a tremulous network of light and shade on the ground. It is Bothwell, forty-six miles from Hobart Town, from the Neptune and the sea, and high among the central mountains of Van Diemen’s Land. Opposite sits John Martin, sometime of Loughorne, smoking placidly, and gazing curiously on me with his mild eyes.
1 “Cease to do Evil — Learn to do Well” was the inscription set above Richmond Prison, Dublin wherein O’Connell and the Traversers, and, later, some of the Young Irelanders were confined. — Ed.