[* Sixty pounds of flour, which had been offered as a reward for bringing to justice a garden-thief, were paid to the watchman who fired at him.]
So great was either the villainy of the people, or the necessities of the times, that a prisoner lying at the hospital under sentence of corporal punishment having received a part of it, five hundred lashes, contrived to get his irons off from one leg, and in that situation was caught robbing a farm. On being brought in, he received another portion of his punishment.
Among other thefts committed in this season of general distress, was one by a convict employed in the fishing boats, who found means to secrete several pounds of fish in a bag, which he meant to secure in addition to the allowance which was to be made him for having been out on that duty. To deter others from committing the like offence, which might, by repetition, amount to a serious evil, he was ordered to receive one hundred lashes.
At Rose Hill the convicts conducted themselves with much greater propriety; not a theft nor any act of ill behaviour having been for some time past heard of among them*.
[* They had vegetables in great abundance.]
At that settlement a kangaroo had been killed of one hundred and eighty pounds weight; and the people reported that they were much molested by the native dogs, which had been seen together in great numbers, and, coming by night about the settlement, had killed some hogs which were not housed.
The colony had hitherto been supplied with salt from the public stores, a quantity being always shaken off from the salt provisions, and reserved for use by the store-keepers; but the daily consumption of salt provisions was now become so inconsiderable, and they had been so long in store, that little or none of that article was to be procured. Two large iron boilers were therefore erected at the east point of the cove; some people were employed to boil the salt water, and the salt which was produced by this very simple process was issued to the convicts.
Our fishing tackle began now, with our other necessaries, to decrease. To remedy this inconvenience, we were driven by necessity to avail ourselves of some knowledge which we had gained from the natives; and one of the convicts (a rope-maker) was employed to spin lines from the bark of a tree which they used for the same purpose.
The native who had been taken in November last convinced us how far before every other consideration he deemed the possession of his liberty, by very artfully effecting his escape from the governor’s house, where he had been treated with every indulgence and had enjoyed every comfort which it was in his excellency’s power to give him. He managed his escape so ingeniously, that it was not suspected until he had completed it, and all search was rendered fruitless. The boy and the girl appeared to remain perfectly contented among us, and declared that they knew their countryman would never return.