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“ Confessing our unworthiness before God, we desire with heartfelt gratitude to bless him for preserving us from the fury of the thunderbolt, the storm, and the tempest; from the rage of conflicting elements, and the power of disease: but, in an especial manner, we praise him for making known to us by his Word and Spirit the way of everlasting life, through the mediation of his dear Son, our only hope and Redeemer; and as we know your aversion to everything like adulation, your conviction that all spiritual illumination and improvement are alone effected by the Eternal Spirit—are fully aware of the dread with which you regard the very thought of referring to any creature that which is to be wholly attributed to the Almighty power of the Holy Ghost -We would, while we thank God for your instrumentality, desire to unite with you in rendering to him all the glory of all the saving work which he hath been graciously pleased to accomplish in any of our hearts during our passage from England to these colonies.
We would congratulate you on your recovery from your late illness and imminent danger, and pray to God to perfect, in his goodness, your health, and to comfort your soul with the joys of his Holy Spirit.
“ We beg to express our warmest thanks for your patient, careful, and successful attention to the sick; for your earnest efforts to instruct our minds, to enlarge our understandings, to extend our knowledge,
to improve our morals, and to persuade us at all times, particularly during our present unfortunate situation, to be most attentive to our respective duties. For these, and for every other act of kindness experienced at your hands, we feel sincerely grateful : and deplore that any one of us should, at any time, have caused
mind the slightest uneasiness; or should have done or said anything to meet your disapprobation, or demand
your censure. “ Whilst we lament our misconduct and misfortunes, we confess the justness of our sentence, and beg leave to profess our attachment and loyalty to our Sovereign, and attachment to her government; our resolution, by a willing submission to the laws of her
representative in the colonies whither we are bound, to approve ourselves as reformed from our vices and follies ; and we earnestly implore that Divine grace may enable us to submit, in a proper form, to do all things as unto Christ Jesus.
“We also beg to acknowledge the kindness of the Admiralty in providing for our wants and comforts on our way
hither. “ Honoured Sir, we cannot take our last leave of you without feeling a deep sense of sorrow, that our crimes were the cause of our meeting, and must also be the cause of separation, and that to opposite sides of the world, in all human probability never to meet more on this side the grave! Oh, may we all, through rich and free grace, meet in heaven!
“We beg to be affectionately remembered to the
kind and Christian friends, and benevolent Societies, who aided you in making so careful and liberal a provision for our spiritual wants. May you all
partake largely of the blessings, the peace, and the joys of the Holy Ghost in Christ Jesus : to whose care we commit
you, and wish you, with all our hearts, a safe and happy return to the bosom of your beloved family, and to your friends! " And that the peace of God
rest and abide on you all, now and for evermore, is the unanimous and earnest prayer all : in whose name,
and by whose permission, I am, ,
“ Honoured Sir, your most obliged,
“ Inspector of Schools. “ Submitted on board the Earl Grey,' in the Harbour
of Hobart Town, January 14th, 1843." The address I received as containing an expression of the sentiments and feelings of the prisoners in reference to their sovereign the Queen; her Majesty's representative in the colony; the Right Honourable the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty; the laws under which they live; and to those benevolent Societies and friends in London, Brighton, and other places, who had so liberally contributed the means for furthering their intellectual and spiritual improvement, and securing their highest interests. In this address I trace the power of Christianity, and regard it as a tribute of praise to God, the Giver of all good,
and not to me, who am but an imperfect "earthen vessel,” of which he is graciously pleased to make use, for conveying to these men his written word, which is effectual, through the Spirit of truth, unto their present and everlasting salvation.
The number of prisoners on board the “Earl Grey" who have given to me their names as professed disciples of Christ, and are observed to regulate their temper, speech, and behaviour according to the requirements of the Gospel, now amounts to one hundred and fourteen; exclusive of Abraham Button, who is believed to have entered into the joy of his Lord.
The personal inspection of the prisoners by the proper authorities commenced on the morning of the 17th, and closed on the 19th. The registrar expressed much pleasure at the appearance and answers of the men ; and observed how striking were the effects produced on the minds, the countenance and carriage of men, by even a few months' scriptural instruction and sound moral discipline.
The examination of the schools was finally closed, and the people's progress ascertained and recorded. On the evening of the 19th, they assembled to receive from me their farewell address,* and to worship God together for the last time on board the “ Earl Grey." Our last songs of praise were Psalm li. :
“Have mercy, Lord, on me,
As thou wert ever kind,” &c. And Cowper's hymn :
* Part II. chap. xvi.
142 APPROBATION EXPRESSED BY THE GOVERNOR.
“ There is a fountain Gill'd with blood,
Drawn from Immanuel's veins :
Lose all their guilty stains,” &c. At three o'clock on the morning of Jan. 20th, 1843, the boats came alongside, agreeably to previous intimation, when the debarkation immediately commenced, and was speedily and orderly conducted, in the most perfect silence.
At the hour and place appointed, his Excellency Sir John Franklin inspected and addressed the prisoners, drawn up in open square, and spoke in high terms of approbation of their appearance, and behaviour on board the “Earl Grey:" he endeavoured to impress them with just views of the advantages they had enjoyed with respect to instruction and discipline during the voyage; and assured them that their future conduct would be expected to be in unison with the privileges they had possessed on board the “Earl Grey."
It requires a particular knowledge of the circumstances under which the prisoners are about to be placed on shore, to enable the reader to contrast them with those from which they are now removed for ever; and I would only observe, that it is perhaps impossible for us to conceive the feelings our prisoners experienced in the immediate prospect of landing, and when they went over the ship's side, and actually set their feet, for the first time, on the penal shores of Tasmania.