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in conjunction with the regular and pious discharge of his duty, to render the convicts orderly, obedient, and religious.
"Compare this with the former system, and the difference will astonish every one. The contractors were then reproached with short allowance, both of victuals and clothing, while the quality of neither afforded satisfaction. It will scarcely be credited, that there was a set of men on board each hulk, denominated Die-Hards,' who, either in consequence of actual sale, or loss by gambling, assigned for life all their provisions to other persons, and resolutely made up their minds to starve themselves to death. Disease of course was prevalent, and prodigious numbers perished yearly. Good health and spirits under the new management immediately prevailed, while a disposition to industry began to be manifested, and the name of Die-Hards' was soon unknown.
"It appears, also, from the Surgeon's report, indeed, that since January, 1802, when the present establishment commenced, only 21 out of every hundred had died, although in that time there were upwards of 200 sick in the hospital.
"It is apparent, also, from the report of Commissioner Grey of the Dock-Yard at Portsmouth, and Rear-Admiral Coffin, while second in command of the fleet there, that the convicts conducted themselves with great order and regularity.
"With regard to the expense of maintaining the establishment, it seems probable, that the value of their labour nearly equalled the charge for their maintenance during the late war, although the dock-yard and ordnance officers fixed the rate of them as artificers, at eighteen-pence, and as labourers, at one shilling, a day per man. Even at this low estimate, the value of their services, in 1806, amounted, at Portsmouth alone, to 22,3517. 10s. 6d., exclusive of the work done on board for the use of the hulks: while the sum expended for supporting the whole of their establishment, there and elsewhere, was but 46,729. 3s. 3d."
Having thus extracted a brief history of the origin, continuation, and completion of the hulk system, we shall next present an account of those regulations, that led to the reform of it.
II. Circular Instructions to be observed and followed by Captain
Convict Hulk in Harbour
1. Whenever you leave the hulk, to give strict orders to the first mate, not to quit her during your absence.
2. To cause a book to be kept in the steward's office, in which every occurrence of the day is to be entered; and every day, an estimate is to be entered, somewhat similar to the following:--for example,
Total number of convicts victualled ; say 450
Of which, were on shore at work.....................350
And to particularise the shoemakers and taylors, and the work done by them, in the following manner :
Work by them.
Value of the labour this day £
3. The boats and men belonging to the hulk never to be employed on pleasure or private business, and if duty should require your absence for the night, you are always to send the boat back before the lock-up time and setting of the watch, with information to the first mate of your intention to sleep on shore, of which he is to make a minute in the occurrencebook, and also of your return on board after such absence, and to sign his name to it.
4. You, or the first mate, attended by an inferior officer, are to visit every day every part of the hulk, and to see that she is kept in the most perfect state of cleanliness. The hammocks are to be lashed up, and taken down every morning before the convicts go on shore to work, and whenever the weather will permit, they are to be brought upon deck to be aired. The decks, above and below, are to be washed twice a-week at the least, and to be swept, fore and aft, regularly every morning at nine o'clock, and at one in the afternoon, (and oftener if necessary,) and the dirt brought up from below and thrown into a dirt-tub to be kept for that purpose.
5. A daily allowance of provisions to be issued to the convicts, according to the following scheme of diet, a copy of which is to be kept constantly hung up upon each deck, so that the convicts may always know what they are entitled to receive.
A TABLE of the daily allowance of every Mess of six Convicts on board
The beef to be coarse wholesome meat; and the other articles to be good and wholesome of their kind.
The bread to be of the quality sent to His Majesty's troops of the line; and you are to use every possible means to prevent them from selling any part of their allowance, one to another, or to any other person.
6. You are to be careful and see that no other than standard weights and measures are used on board the hulk.
7. When provisions come on board, the officer having the guard upon deck, with the steward and contractor's man, shall attend to see them weighed and measured, and if any be damaged, or unfit for use, or be short of weight or measure, an immediate report thereof is to be made to you, or in your absence to the first mate, who, with the assistance of the surgeon, will inspect the same, and such as they shall find unfit for use are to be returned upon the contractors' hands, and an equal quantity of good provisions in lieu thereof be demanded immediately. And if the same bad provisions should again be. sent on board, or others equally bad on the same day, you are to cause them to be returned, and purchase an equal quantity of good in the market, and charge the amount to the contractor, making a minute thereof in the occurrence-book, and taking credit for the same in your account with me at the end of the quarter; when it will be deducted from the contractor's victualling account. When the provisions are issued for the convicts' use, you are to direct the officer having charge of the
' deck, with the steward, and two convicts, (to be chosen daily from their own body,) to see them weighed and measured, and delivered to the cook to be dressed, and as the presence of the two convicts is calculated and intended to prevent on their part all just cause of complaint respecting the weight and measure of the provisions, you are carefully to enforce their attendance, and for a neglect of this precaution on your part, no excuse whatever will be admitted. A minute of their names is to be made daily in the occurrence-book.
8. Whenever the weather will permit, all healthy convicts without distinction are to be sent on shore to work, and none
be suffered to remain during the working hours, except shoemakers and tailors, and such others as may be necessary for doing the duty of the hulk; and they are to be changed, daily or weekly, as shall be judged most proper and necessary, so as that this duty may be done by all in rotation.
9. You are on no account to suffer the shoemakers or tailors to work for any officer or other person belonging to the hulk, nor, during the usual working hours, for any person on shore, but to see that they are employed daily in making and mending clothes for the rest of the convicts; and when there is no such work for them to do, you are to send them on shore to labour.
10. Upon complaint being made by any of the convicts of their being too ill to go on shore to labour, you are to cause them to be examined by the surgeon, and if he recommends it, you are to order them into the hospital, there to be taken care of until they shall be recovered, and when they are fit for duty again, of which he will give you the earliest information, you are to remove them from the hospital, and send them on shore to labour
11. You are to take care that the surgeon visits the hospitals every morning and evening, and the hulk under your superintendance once a-day at the least, and you are to make a minute in the occurrence-book of his doing so, or of any neglect thereof.
12. A regular book is to be kept of the entries and discharges of convicts sent to the hospital, and during their continuation on that book, they are to be chequed of their common provisions on the ship’s book; therefore a copy of the sick book is to be annexed to every quarterly pay-book, and delivered to me at the end of every quarter.
13. The hospital bedding, dresses, and utensils, are to be taken the greatest care of, and those out of use to be always washed and cleaned, and kept in proper places ready for use again.
14. You are to visit the hospital once -a-day at least, and inform yourself of every thing relating to the sick, and to take