State Library of NSW
Collection 18: Letters from the Rev. Richard Johnson to Henry Fricker, 30 May 1787-10 Aug. 1797, with associated items, ca. 18881787-1797
The Rev. Richard Johnson was appointed as the first chaplain to the colony of New South Wales in 1787, an appointment he held until 1800 when he returned with his family and Governor John Hunter on HMS Buffalo. Henry Fricker, Portsmouth, England, was one of a group of Portsmouth and Lymington friends of the Rev. Johnson, and acted as a channel for news once Johnson and his wife Mary had left on the First Fleet convict transport Golden Grove in 1787. Johnson owed his appontment to friends within the London Eclectic Society, notably the Rev. John Newton, the Rev. Henry Foster, William Wilberforce and John and Henry Thornton.
Port Jackson - New South Wales
April 9th, 1790. -
Tis now a long long time since I have been able to write to or hear from you. - Am happy however to embrace this fresh opportunity of scribbling over a few Lines to you to inform you we are still alive & well, but have had many ups & downs, Changes & Visissitudes of Providence since we left England - & I can only tell you, that sd. we be so fortunate as to set out feet upon English Ground again, I think it wd. not be a little that sd. induce us to venture a second time upon the deep & mighty ocean. I dont speak this by way of murmuring & complaining - I still believe this is God's appointment, & this is a sufficient argument to silence every objection or Complaint. - I will now give you a little information respecting our situation, wch, you will find not the most comfortable in the world. -
Tis now about two Years and three Months since we first arrived at this distant Country - All this while we have been as it were buried alive - never having an opportunity of hearing from our fds. - The Sirius frigate has once since that period been at the Cape of Good Hope, & this means we have had a little information of publick affairs, but this is very small.
It was fortunate for us however that the Sirius has had a Voyage to the Cape, for otherwise we sd. have been very precariously situated. - Our stock of Provisions brought from England, is nearly exhausted, & as to flour - we sd. have been without any for some Months had it not been for the supply we recd. by her from the Cape - This Providence appears still greater as she was very nearly cast away by Dieman's Land as she returned here. - Had this been the Case our situation here must have been deplorable. –