There was little probability that such a party would be able so unexpectedly to fall in with the people they were sent to punish, as to surprise them, without which chance, they might hunt them in the woods for ever; and as the different tribes (for we had thought fit to class them into tribes) were not to be distinguished from each other, but by being found inhabiting particular residences, there would be some difficulty in determining, if any natives should fall in their way, whether they were the objects of their expedition, or some unoffending family wholly unconnected with them. The very circumstance, however, of a party being armed and detached purposely to punish the man and his companions who wounded McIntire, was likely to have a good effect, as it was well known to several natives, who were at this time in the town of Sydney, that this was the intention with which they were sent out.
On the third day after their departure they returned, without having wounded or hurt a native, or made a prisoner. They saw some at the head of Botany Bay, and fired at them, but without doing them any injury. Whenever the party was seen by the natives, they fled with incredible swiftness; nor had a second attempt, which the governor directed, any better success.
The governor now determining to avail himself as much as possible of the health and strength of the working convicts, while by the enjoyment of a full ration they were capable of exertion, resolved to proceed with such public buildings as he judged to be necessary for the convenience of the different settlements. Accordingly, during this month, the foundation of another storehouse was laid, equal in dimensions and in a line with that already erected on the east side of the cove at Sydney.
On the 17th the Dutch snow the Waaksamheyd anchored in the cove from Batavia, from which place she sailed on the 20th day of last September, meeting on her passage with contrary winds. She was manned principally with Malays, sixteen of whom she buried during the passage. Mr. Ormsby the midshipman arrived a living picture of the ravages made in a good constitution by a Batavian fever. He was in such a debilitated state, that it was with great difficulty he supported himself from the wharf on which he landed to the governor’s house.
The master produced a packet from the sabandhaar (his owner) at Batavia, inclosing two letters to the governor, one written in very good English, containing such particulars respecting the vessel as he judged it for his interest to communicate; the other, designed to convey such information as he was possessed of respecting European politics, being written in Dutch, unfortunately proved unintelligible; and we could only gather from Mr. Ormsby and the master, who spoke bad English, that a misunderstanding subsisted between Great Britain and Spain; but on what account could not be distinctly collected.