Lieutenant George Williamson Reveley
George was a Lieutenant in the Army on 6th July, 1814. The ship Surrey sailed from Cork on the 14th July 1816 and arrived in Sydney on the 20th December. The commander was Captain Thomas Raine and the surgeon John F Bayley. There were 150 male convicts on board guarded by a detachment of the 46th Regiment under the command of Lieutenant Reveley.
(written horizontally on 3 pages) Transcribed from original letters
I have at length the pleasure of availing myself of the favourable opportunity which now presents of writing to you by HM Brig Kangaroo, which will sail about the 24th this month to England direct, and am happy to inform you we arrived in this place all well on the 20th December, which will, I know, relieve my dear mother and you all a good deal of anxiety to hear of my safe arrival past the many difficulties and dangers naturally attendant so long a voyage. Hoping this will find all of my dear relations well, as I am, thanks to God.
At present I shall endeavor to give you a fuller account of the voyage than I did in my letters from Rio. Janiero, which I hope were duly received, as had I then given you any account of the conditions of the Blackguard we had charge of, it would no doubt have caused you more anxiety than there was really any reason for, and would have been highly improper of me to have done so then. A plot was laid among the villians to rise the day of our sail ing which was discovered by one of the attorneys in a letter to him, seven out of them which was in code known to the Inspector General of Prisoners, and we were constantly put upon our guard, notwithstanding they are all very minutely searched, one made his way under and had got a file & started taking off the irons of the rest; so the day we sailed I had my guns armed and loaded and the whole of the prisoners were turned upon deck. A file was found on the person, and two of them with their irons filed through. They were unarmed, well flogged, and double ironed & the rest were all quiet as lambs afterwards. We had now and then to punish one or two for stealing. We had a good laugh at them after we got out & it came on to blow, so think what they would have done with the vessel. The sailors had been some of them mutinous before but every hand went on very quiet & regular except while we were in Rio Harbor. Policemen mutinied and I had my good inside arms, one of them was very insolent to the Captain & just seizing hold of him, when I gave him a blow on the head with my sabre and everything went on very well afterwards. The whole of the convicts were all out of irons by the time of our arrival, a third of them in as ------ allowed on one week at a time.
Three ships have arrived from England with these few days, on behind of me the prisoners were very mutinous, and the guard fired and wounded one or two. We have received papers to latter end of September. I hope by the first ship after the receipt of mine to have a long letter from you and likewise a long one from Frank & giving me all the news you have in the North. Give my
dutiful and affectionate remembrances to my Dear Mother and remember me affectionately to my dear sisters and all my relatives,
& believe me to remain
Written vertically over the above portion:
From Madiera I kept a regular journal of the different days courses of the ship, so that by it I can mark Frank on any chart or Map. I also must of the particulars I before told you of the Portugese firing at us. They are very jealous of us as we can't easily perceive they supplied us with excellent water. When we were there they even quit in the ____ at St. Sebastion about fitting out an expedition against the Spaniards at Rio Plata & then were at 10,000 troops, some who were under Lord Wellington which are certainly the best altho not to be compared with English troops. A french frigate which brought out the Duke of Luisuiburg as french ambassador sailed for Europe a few days before we did, under a salute from the Batteries and man of war. I took a sketch of the fort from whom they fired at me, Santa Cruix, at one end of it is fixed a large old wooden cross. We saw the island of Tristan, the saint as but it was dusk, so I could not get a sketch of it but I took one of the islands of St. Pauls which we made about a month afterward. They are both desolate; upon the latter there are some hot springs, they go there to catch seals, and sea lions and sea elephants for out of the fin and oil, we intended to have come to anchor and the botanist and the passenger to have gone on shore. The captain wanted today the chronometers and the Emperor but the wind did not allow us. I assure you his caterpillars and insects is really wonderful, and he sends home immense collections to Sir J. Banks every year, he is going across the Blue Mountains to the new discovered country. The time being so long at sea is not so tedious as thought, we were generally amused by seeing whales or those wonderful inhabitants of the deep. We also saw that curious and so much dreaded by mariners Phenomenon the water spout but it was at a great distance and looked a good deal like a ship at a distance. We fell in with and spoke a few days before we made the land of N. H---d . A spanish ship returning via Batavia the master of her gave us very discouraging news that there had been a dreadful drought but which we were happy to find entirely false when we arrived, there has been almost incessant rains and the country has suffered much by some rivers overflowing their banks. A new judge and Lieutenant Governors of ___ Du__ Land have wor’d by this last ships behavior ___ ____
_____ last ships 600 strong here and 300 in England & I make no doubt we are now complete to a thousand. It is fully expected that there will be another regiment out to relieve us & that we shall go on to India, but some say we shall be here a year and some two. But as various The Comm expects we shall go soon & also letting the agents speak confidently of its directive. Your letters to me care of the agents or if you get your friend Jackson to call with it there and to give it to Mr. Downs who transacts the business for the 46th it will come safest & request him to give it to the officer who comes out, or if the vessel sails for the River it might not be too troubler more for J to give it himself to the officer. The officer brings all our letters.
We wear a very cheap dress, shell jackets made of scarlot camblet, or cloth. I shall be obliged by you to send by the first ship, or as soon as possible, as much of the former as will make three or 4 jackets. It can be bought in London for about 2 p a yard. Our quartermaster only charges 5 p a yard for it. There would be a great savings on the articles. Jackson could buy it, I should recommend it to be bought at a military tradesman in the Hay Market No 6 Donald. Currie and yellow cloth for f---ings and trimmings. Pack it up well & give it to the officer who will take care of it, and direct it to the care of my friend Lt. Cra---- pay Lt. ____ the only fear is ____
searched but Jackson will know how to manage it. Send me also ______ when I ____ get here then are some beautiful and interesting . Sub---- ____drawing . I want hair pencils also.
Written diagonally over the above porrtion:
We were three days in coming through Bass's
Straits. We had some good views. The country is nearly covered with thick wood
generally as far as you can see. We made the mouth of Port Jackson on the 20th
and had a fair wind right in. We were scarcely ___ before one or two of our
officers were already ___ in a boat. You may well ____ how anxious we are to
hear the news from old England and particularly when anything is a __ __ the
regiment. We fired a salute on coming in. Often ____________________ & as I
had ___ & for we did not expect to be ___ as to ____ is that day ___the
_____going on shore ______with all my letters ____the Lt. Governor Col. Moble
is up the country but I saw him next day with them and I find him a very
pleasant gentleman with officers and men. I have a capital map ___ ____ that I
am perfectly well satisfied with the exchange I ____ with my detachment on the
26th, the day after Christmas Day all in high health and spirits except one
man who died after we left Rio, of a lingering illness. The Colonel was very
well pleased with the state my detachment was in. In fact, I had studied these
comforts as much as I possibly could. It has just been discovered the foreman
of the Kangaroo is ___ so that it will be the means of detaining him a bout 3
weeks longer. I shall keep this open till the day she sails. I must not forget
to tell you that we had very grand doings on the 18th January his Majesty's
birthday.We had a grand review and the fort and its officers fired a royal
salute and afterwards we fired 3 vollies in honor of the day in Hyde Park as
___ is called which is the Race Course - after the military and civil office
waited on the Governor at Government House in the evening all attended a very
elegant ball and performance given by the Governor at Government House which
was ript up with the utmost harmony and festivity. While the approach of the
Sabbath pronounced it time for us to depart Friday April 4, Sunday is the day
fixed for the Kangaroo sailing. I must now conclude; assuring you that I am in
the best health and spirits as I hope all my dear relations are. Senior
Commander of the Kangaroo intends to touch no where on the voyage except
probably at St. Helena we calculate the voyage at 5 months. Adieu till I have
the pleasure of hearing from you.
I send this along with you for Frank under cover to Jackson to whom Captain Schau will ____ to London on his arrival. I kindly promised to deliver them.
(written horizontally and vertically on outside
after pages were folded to create envelope)
P.S. I am ------ you my -----y to have got rid of my charge so well ~ I assure you we had altogether a very favourable voyage, summer weather all the way & were blessed by Providence with very good breezes. We had some rough weather off the Cape of Good Hope where there is always a very long rolling sea owing to the meeting of the Indian and Atlantic Oceans, and the ship rolled so heavily as that the yard arm was within about yes a foot of the water and I am become quite a sailor and well I may after being out 11 months on board ships. I am anxious to take a few _____ this country precious to _____ ____. Shortly after we arrived a ship came in from New Zealand South Sea Islands. I got some fine shells and curiosities. Two New Zealand ships came by to visit this ____ ____ ____ beings they _____ ships have sailed for this distance ____ . But I must now return to the principal subject of my letter description of the voyage and of this country as well as I can. The first land we saw of New Holland was a low cape which was discovered ___ head at daylight on the 28th December, the same day we made the entrance of
Bapis Straits. We had a good deal of thunder & lightning as we passed throu, this country is frequently visited by very tremendous thunderstorms and we have had one or two since we came the loudest it can be remembered the colony by the oldest inhabitants.
For Mr. Reveley
Sydney Barracks NSW
Monday, May 12, 1817
My dear Brother,
I now avail myself of the opportunity of writing to you by ship, Sir William Bensley, which is to sail about Thursday for England via Calcutta. I hope you received safe, the letter I sent by favor of Captain Schaw of ours, per HM Brigg Kangaroo, which sailed from this on the 9th ultimo for England direct, enclosing one for Frank and also a small box of shells and curiosities sent by same opportunity has not miscarried ~ they were directed to the care of Mr. Jackson to whom Captain S was kind enough to promise to deliver them. The Kangaroo goes to the river in order to be --- off. Four ships have arrived here from England since ours by Thursday last, letters from Captain Clark who went home on leave state that the regiment to relieve us are now under orders and the ships taken up. We are to go to Calcutta and on our arrival to be at the further disposal of the Governor General. We are about 1,000 strong, fine young men and shall probably be, on our arrival in India, marched up the country. If you have opportunity of provisions or letters or hear of him from Col. Souther whose sons we think in Bengal, I hope he will not neglect it ~ Letters recommending are in India and highly important. I leave however entirely to you, confer your will, do the best you can for my interests. This letter at best short it is only meant to advise you of my safe arrival and that I'm in good health should my life by any unfortunate end have occurred. I hope to have the pleasure of receiving a long letter from you at first opportunity and that all my dear friends are well, to whom I long to be affectionately and kindly remembered,
and believe me to remain
My Dear Brother
Yours ever affectionately
P.S. [written across the first letter]
I calculate that this will be received about Christmas, that time of such sociable and harmonious enjoyment in the north. I most earnestly hope that my dear mother and aunt, and you all are in good health. I often think of you all. Assure my mother that I am perfectly happy and comfortable with my situation in life which is always my choice. I know that she will often think of me, particularly until she hears of my safe arrival, she will be anxious. We managed all very well. Both the captain and myself took the precaution of having a pair of pistols loaded in our cabins constantly, and when we were about to make any land I had the men's pieces loaded. The seamen were rather mutinous at Rio, but the guard behaved remarkably well all the voyage ~ I assure you I have joined a very fine pleasant corps of officers ~ and we here enjoy all the comforts of life. We live just as well as we could in England and somewhat cheaper ~ and tho I am so far away from my native country, yet we must not refuse at the will of Providence. It is our duty to be always satisfied with our fate, and altho the period must no doubt be far distant yet I cherish the hope that the period will thru the blessings of Providence sometime arrive, whereas we will sometime have the happiness to sometime return to that dear society of my friends at home. I assure you that there is no country that I have yet seen equal to Old England, although I cannot see it as a country for a soldier to live in. I now only hope to improve the appearance that any letters of introduction for an officer to India is of sufficient impact. I hope however that whoever you may apply to it will not be that person in London, you know who I mean, who berated you with such pride and haughtiness when you called on him. As for me I would scorn to speak to him if ever I meet him, and if you have any regard for me of which I never had regard to him, ------------you never will either I hope ------------------.
[1" edge of page missing at fold. Also, there is something written diagonally across part of this, and I can see Ceylon, and Bengal, but it is too light to read.]
Fort St. George, Decr. 28th 1818
I delivered a letter at the Port Office today for Frank and was told that the Europe would sail on the 1st or 2nd proxima which altered my intentions of sending by different ships, as this vessel goes home direct I have directed my Brothers letter to your care supposing he might be in the north ~ The monsoon is now over and we have fine weather. We are now anxiously looking out for ships from Europe & I hope to have the pleasure of receiving a letter soon and of hearing you are all well, and shall now turn to what is happening in this part of the globe.~
We arrived here all well on the 13th September in the Lady Castlereagh after a delightful voyage. ~ We left the Derwent at a time (26 June) when it is recommended to go to the Eastern Passage, so that we had an opportunity of seeing most of the Asiatic Islands. We touched at Sydney for dispatches 30th June, and the next land we saw, except the coast of North Holland, was St. How's Island and Ball's Perimid which has every appearance at a distance of a very high church spire - On Sunday the 12th of July we saw the Island of New Caledonia & several fires of the natives. We now got into the S.E. tradewinds and I assure you nothing can exceed the delightfulness of sailing with them in the temperate zone and South Pacific Ocean. The next Island we saw was St. Cristobal and on the following day (18th July) the Island of Coutranics (?) - about 11 o'clock a canoe was seen coming off, which at first appeared as if it had soldiers in it, but which was only the bright copper color of the natives, and red feathers they had fixed at each end of their canoe as standards. They viewed us with great astonishment and would not come very near the vessel; they held up some shells and fruit as if wanting to traffic. Having picked up a red handkerchief which was thrown overboard to them, they paddled off to their shore again in Lat. g 35 L, Lon 162.S E (?).
On the morning of the 22nd we saw the Isle of New Ireland, and in the evening had a great number of the natives alongside in their canoes when a very busy traffic commenced with shells and other curiosities & lasted about 2 hours when night put a stop to further operations. The next morning we entered St. Georges Channel and had natives off to us from the Duke of York's Island. I procured some specimens of Pearl Nautilus shells. We were near the coast of North Britain but had no natives off but saw plenty of fires ~ I took views of the most remarkable objects - we passed an immense number of small islands of inconspicuous note, were hardly a day without seeing some of them. The King of Wageen (?) paid us a visit bearing the E.I. Company's Hugy(?) and attended by a good number of his subjects. I got a curious Bird from these Malays of which I made a present to our Colonel, it is of the toucan species. We passed the Straits of Hass (?) and I saw the burning mountain of the Peak of Sombork we now entered the Indian Ocean & our voyage became not so interesting excepting as we hoped to be soon at the end of it. We saw no more land except some small islands called the Cocasnut Islands, til we saw the Indian Coast.
The headquarters was at Nelson on our arrival but we were ordered down to the Presidency. We have our Company still in N.S.W. but expect it soon and shall then be about 1,000 strong. I cannot at the present say anything as to saving money we have been put to a good deal of expense with the voyage and one way or another but expect some allowance~ The 86th Regiment is going home as soon as there are ships to convey them. They were detained to go to Ceylon to quell some disturbances but it is now over ~ we have one or two officers exchanged into it on account of their health but the climate, thank God, agrees with me very well. I hope you have a Merry Christmas ~ we are quite gay with balls and theatres etc. This has been a very sickly season and the country was visited by a dreadful storm the 20th or 21st of October. The whole of the huts in this neighborhood were blown down & several houses. Several ships were lost and the Lady Castlereagh so much damaged to be obliged to be sold. The storm as well as the immense fall of rain this season are alike almost unprecedented. There was a similar storm about 10 years since but its effects were not equal ~ I do not think I have any other news except that Captain Campbell is headed down to Calcutta.
I hope this will find you and all my dear relatives well. Remember me kindly and affectionately to my dear Mother, sisters, and Aunt. I will probably write next to one of my sisters ~ but shall be glad to hear from them. I hope to have the pleasure to hear from you when the first ship comes in from old England, as the arrival of the Regiment will no doubt have been put in the newspapers some time ago. I shall then for now conclude and remain, dear brother,
P.S. I hope Frank continues to like his profession. I have not seen any of our country folks yet. I noticed in the papers a long account of the election at Appleby. I should like to see a Kendal paper or two ~ to hear what old Billy Abbot says about his friend Pitt.
[On the cover of the folded letter]
I assure you I like India very well & think it is the finest country in the world for a soldier. It is said the Royals are to relieve us here but it is not known where we go to ~ some say Bangalon which is renowned the best station. Others that Masulipatam is to be our next quarter. I have not yet been able to purchase a horse but must soon as we cannot do without one. We live here as cheap as in N.S.W. and more comfortable. The most expensive time is on the march as we fund the carriages of our own company baggage and equipage. India is very quiet at present and no likelihood of a war soon.
The 46th was used mainly to protect the population at Sydney and Newcastle against hostile aborigines, escaped convicts and bushrangers. Under orders from England, the Regiment embarked for Madras in 1817 and served in India for fifteen years before returning home.
In 1819, George was in Australia on Garrison Duty. He went onto the half-pay of the 30th Regiment of Foot, 20th June, 1819 as Lieutenant. It is not known whether he was actually an officer of the 46th Regiment who exchanged to the 30th to go onto half-pay, which would not be unusual, or whether he was an officer of the 30th who was simply attached to this detachment of the 46th).
In 1820, George was back home in Crosby Ravensworth:
This information Kindly sent to us by The letters are transcribed as is
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