CAPTAIN HENRY WATERHOUSE, R.N. (1770-1812)
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CAPTAIN HENRY WATERHOUSE, R.N. (1770-1812) Autograph letter signed ('H.Waterhouse') to Viscount Sydney, [HMS] Reliance , Port Jackson, Sydney, 20 August 1797, 7 pages, 4to , describing the voyage from the Cape Colony with the merino sheep which he purchased (with John Shortland and William Kent) and introduced into the colony of New South Wales; giving an account of his impressions on the return to New South Wales in June 1797 from this voyage which had been undertaken to buy stock and provisions for the colony; lamenting the lack of working men but stressing the excellent prospects for the colony providing that industrious individuals find a market for their stock and that such men are encouraged to emigrate to the colony because the convicts whose terms of transportation had expired had so few resources ('before their crop is reap'd, it in general is mortgag'd to the opulent man'); describing as 'honest & sober' various named individuals after whom Lord Sydney had enquired (though he accepts that Sydney might smile at his reference to 'this land of Honesty & integrity'), referring to Peate, chief constable of the town of Sydney who acted 'with great propriety' until the demands of a large family including a wife 'not of gentlest kind' encouraged him to drink and forced him to resign his office and retire to his farm although 'he is reported honest & industrious but barely lives from hand to mouth'; also [Robert] Sidaway [1757?-1809, arrived as a convict in First Fleet transport Friendship in January 1788, received absolute pardon in 1794, given contract as baker to troops, opened first theatre in Sydney in 1796], the principal baker in the colony and one of the greatest speculators ('reported to be worth a considerable sum of money which is hourly increasing') and others, though all of the 'sedition Gentlemen ' except one had either died or escaped. Waterhouse describes the lengthy voyage from the Cape at times in appalling weather ('the sea breaking over the ship with shocks that are inconceivable, a few more of which I am well convinc'd must have sent her to the bottom'), the problems feeding the stock (black cattle, horses and sheep) when their fodder ran out ('we fed them - or rather forc'd them - to eat the seamens' biscuit, & any other messes we could make up'); he refers to the wreck of the Sydney Cove and the discovery of coal by some of the survivors 'which has since been examin'd by the surgeon of the Reliance [George Bass] & another Gentleman, who went down to the place in a small boat & brought a quantity up, they report immence strata of coal & it proves exceeding good, time may possibly make it of consequence to this country'; and he gives news of Bennelong who would occasionally leave his lodging with Governor Hunter and join his fellow Aborigines when he would live 'in their stile & [...] subject to all their Laws', remarking that Bennelong is able 'to throw the spear & weild [ sic ] the Club with his former dexterity' and that he remembers 'his English benefactors' with gratitude often enquiring after Lord Sydney's family. A characteristic letter by one of the naval officers of the First Fleet who made a significant contribution to the prosperity of the colony of New South Wales. It was written during his second tour of duty in the colony and a few weeks after his return from a voyage in HMS Reliance to the Cape of Good Hope to secure stock for the colony. It was the purchase of merino sheep by Waterhouse, Shortland (see preceding lot) and William Kent (of HMS Supply which sailed with Reliance ) during the time they spent in the Cape Colony (16 January -11 April 1797) and the introduction of the breed into New South Wales which has secured their names among the founding fathers of Australia. Waterhouse supplied merino lambs to many of the settlers including John Macarthur and Samuel Marsden and when he left New South Wales in 1800 he sold most of his flock to William Cox. He corresponded with Sir Joseph B
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