On the morning of the 29th we moved away very early, passing over a rocky level country, covered with low brush, and very fatiguing to both ourselves and our horses. The morning was gloomy and close, and the day turned out intensely hot. After travelling only fifteen miles we were compelled to halt until the greatest heat was passed. Our stock of water and provisions only admitted of our making two meals in the day, breakfast and supper; but as I intended this evening to travel great part of the night, we each made our meal now instead of later in the day, that we might not be delayed when the cool of the evening set in. We had been travelling along the summit of the cliffs parallel with the coast line, and had found the country level and uniform in its character; the cliffs still being from two to three hundred feet in elevation, and of the same formation as I noticed before. There were patches of grass scattered among the scrub at intervals, but all were old and withered.

At four in the afternoon we again proceeded on our journey, but had not gone far before the sky unexpectedly became overcast with clouds, and the whole heavens assumed a menacing and threatening appearance. To the east and to the west, thunderclouds gathered heavily around, every indication of sudden and violent rain was present to cheer us as we advanced, and all were rejoicing in the prospects of a speedy termination to our difficulties. The wind had in the morning been north-east, gradually veering round to north and north-west, at which point it was stationary when the clouds began to gather. Towards sunset a heavy storm passed over our heads, with the rapidity almost of lightning; the wind suddenly shifted from north-west to south-west, blowing a perfect hurricane, and rendering it almost impossible for us to advance against it. A few moments before we had confidently expected a heavy fall of rain; the dark and lowering sky had gradually gathered and concentrated above and around us, until the very heavens seemed overweighted and ready every instant to burst. A briefer interval of time, accompanied by the sudden and violent change of wind, had dashed our hopes to the ground, and the prospect of rain was now over, although a few heavy clouds still hung around us.

Three miles from where we had halted during the heat of the day, we passed some tolerable grass, though dry, scattered at intervals among the scrub, which grew here in dense belts, but with occasional openings between. The character of the ground was very rocky, of an oolitic limestone, and having many hollows on its surface. Although we had only travelled eighteen miles during the day, the overseer requested I would stop here, as he said he thought the clouds would again gather, and that rain might fall to-night; that here we had large sheets of rock, and many hollows in which the rain-water could be collected; but that if we proceeded onwards we might again advance into a sandy country, and be unable to derive any advantage from the rain, even should it fall. I intended to have travelled nearly the whole of this night to make up for the time we had lost in the heat of the day, and I was the more inclined to do this, now that the violence of the storm had in some measure abated, and the appearance of rain had almost disappeared. The overseer was so earnest, however, and so anxious for me to stop for the night, that greatly against my own wishes, and in opposition to my better judgment, I gave way to him and yielded. The native boys too had made the same request, seconding the overseer’s application, and stating, that the violence of the wind made it difficult for them to walk against it.

The horses having been all hobbled and turned out to feed, the whole party proceeded to make break-winds of boughs to form a shelter from the wind, preparatory to laying down for the night. We had taken a meal in the middle of the day, which ought to have been deferred until night, and our circumstances did not admit of our having another now, so that there remained only to arrange the watching of the horses, before going to sleep. The native boys had watched them last night, and this duty of course fell to myself and the overseer this evening. The first watch was from six o’clock P. M. to eleven, the second from eleven until four A. M., at which hour the whole party usually arose and made preparations for moving on with the first streak of daylight.

To-night the overseer asked me which of the watches I would keep, and as I was not sleepy, though tired, I chose the first. At a quarter before six, I went to take charge of the horses, having previously seen the overseer and the natives lay down to sleep, at their respective break-winds, ten or twelve yards apart from one another. The arms and provisions, as was our custom, were piled up under an oilskin, between my break-wind and that of the overseer, with the exception of one gun, which I always kept at my own sleeping place. I have been thus minute in detailing the position and arrangement of our encampment this evening, because of the fearful consequences that followed, and to shew the very slight circumstances upon which the destinies of life sometimes hinge. Trifling as the arrangement of the watches might seem, and unimportant as I thought it at the time, whether I undertook the first or the second, yet was my choice, in this respect, the means under God’s providence of my life being saved, and the cause of the loss of that of my overseer.

The night was cold, and the wind blowing hard from the south-west, whilst scud and nimbus were passing very rapidly by the moon. The horses fed tolerably well, but rambled a good deal, threading in and out among the many belts of scrub which intersected the grassy openings, until at last I hardly knew exactly where our camp was, the fires having apparently expired some time ago. It was now half past ten, and I headed the horses back, in the direction in which I thought the camp lay, that I might be ready to call the overseer to relieve me at eleven. Whilst thus engaged, and looking steadfastly around among the scrub, to see if I could anywhere detect the embers of our fires, I was startled by a sudden flash, followed by the report of a gun, not a quarter of a mile away from me. Imagining that the overseer had mistaken the hour of the night, and not being able to find me or the horses, had taken that method to attract my attention, I immediately called out, but as no answer was returned, I got alarmed, and leaving the horses, hurried up towards the camp as rapidly as I could. About a hundred yards from it, I met the King George’s Sound native (Wylie), running towards me, and in great alarm, crying out, “Oh Massa, oh Massa, come here,” — but could gain no information from him, as to what had occurred. Upon reaching the encampment, which I did in about five minutes after the shot was fired, I was horror-struck to find my poor overseer lying on the ground, weltering in his blood, and in the last agonies of death.