From Norfolk Island Lieutenant King wrote, that he had cleared seventeen acres of ground upon the public account, all of which were either sown or ready for sowing; that caterpillars had done much damage to some wheat which had just come up; and that he was erecting a storehouse capable of containing a large quantity of stores and provisions, and had made a visible road from Sydney Bay to Cascade Bay. The pine trees, of the utility of which such sanguine hopes had been entertained, were found to be unfit for large masts or yards, being shakey or rotten at thirty or forty feet from the butt; the wood was so brittle that it would not make a good oar, and so porous that the water soaked through the planks of a boat which had been built of it. Mr. King also lamented their ignorance of the proper mode of preparing the flax plant, which rendered it useless to them. A single pod of cotton had been found on the island, and a tree had been discovered, the bark of which was strong, and of a texture like cotton. A species of bird also had been met with, which burrowed in the ground, and had been seen in such numbers about the summit of Mount Pitt, the highest hill on the island, that they were contemplated as a resource in any future season of distress, should they be found to visit the island at stated periods, and to deposit their eggs on it. Mr. King spoke well of the general behaviour of the subjects of his little government since the detection of their late scheme to overturn it.
From the frequent commission of offences in this settlement and at Rose Hill, where scarcely a night passed but complaint was made on the following morning of a garden being robbed, or a house broken into, so favourable a report could not be given of the general conduct of the people. The frequency of these enormities had become so striking, that it appeared absolutely necessary to devise some plan which might put a stop to an evil that was every day increasing. The convicts who were employed in making bricks, living in huts by themselves on the spot where their work was performed, were suspected of being the perpetrators of most of the offences committed at Sydney; and orders had been given, forbidding, under pain of punishment, their being seen in town after sunset. These depredations continuing, however, a convict of the name of Harris presented to the judge-advocate a proposal for establishing a night-watch, to be selected from among the convicts, with authority to secure all persons of that description who should be found straggling from the huts at improper hours. This proposal being submitted to the governor, and the plan thoroughly digested and matured, the first attempt toward a police in this settlement commenced on Saturday the 8th of August. The following are the heads of the plan: