Information having been received toward the close of the last month, that some natives had thrown a spear or fiz-gig at a convict in a garden on the west side, where they had met together to steal potatoes, the governor sent an armed party to disperse them, when a club being thrown by one of the natives at the party, the latter fired, and one man was wounded. This circumstance was at first only surmised, from tracing a quantity of blood from the spot to the water; but in a few days afterward the natives in the town told us the name of the wounded man, and added, that he was then dead, and to be found in a cove which they mentioned. On going to the place, a man well known in the town since the intercourse between us and his countrymen had been opened was found dead, and disposed of for burning. He had been shot under the arm, the ball dividing the subclavian artery, and Mr. White was of opinion that he bled to death.
It was much to be regretted that any necessity existed for adopting these sanguinary punishments, and that we had not yet been able to reconcile the natives to the deprivation of those parts of this harbour which we occupied. While they entertained the idea of our having dispossessed them of their residences, they must always consider us as enemies; and upon this principle they made a point of attacking the white people whenever opportunity and safety concurred. It was also unfortunately found, that our knowledge of their language consisted at this time of only a few terms for such things as, being visible, could not well be mistaken; but no one had yet attained words enough to convey an idea in connected terms. It was also conceived by some among us, that those natives who came occasionally into the town did not desire that any of the other tribes should participate in the enjoyment of the few trifles they procured from us. If this were true, it would for a long time retard the general understanding of our friendly intentions toward them; and it was not improbable but that they might for the same reason represent us in every unfavourable light they could imagine.
About the middle of the month a theft of an extraordinary nature was committed by some of the natives. It had been the custom to leave the signal colours during the day at the flagstaff on the South Head, at which place they were seen by some of these people, who, watching their opportunity, ran away with them, and they were afterwards seen divided among them in their canoes, and used as coverings.
On the 18th the Supply quitted the cove, preparatory to her sailing for Norfolk Island, which she did on the 22nd, having some provisions on board for that settlement. She was to bring back Captain Hunter, with the officers and crew of his Majesty’s late ship Sirius. Her commander, Lieutenant Ball, labouring under a very severe and alarming indisposition, Mr. David Blackburn, the master, was directed by the governor to take charge of her until Mr. Ball should be able to resume the command.