To secure our fresh water, which, though very low, might still be denominated a run, the governor caused a ditch to be dug on each side of it at some distance from the stream, and employed some people to erect a paling upon the bank, to keep out stock, and protect the shrubs within from being destroyed.
April.] The supplies of provisions which had been received in the last year not warranting the continuing any longer at the ration now issued, the governor thought it expedient to make a reduction of flour, rice, and salt provisions. Accordingly, on the first Saturday in this month each man, woman, and child above ten years of age, was to receive:
3 pounds of flour, 1 pound being taken off; 3 pounds
of rice, ditto; 3 pounds of pork, ditto;
or when beef should be served,
41/2 pounds of beef, 21/2 pounds being taken off.
A small proportion was to be given to children under ten years of age; and this ration the commissary was directed to issue until further orders. Of this allowance the flour was the best article; the rice was found to be full of weevils; the pork was ill-flavoured, rusty, and smoked; and the beef was lean, and, by being cured with spices, truly unpalatable. Much of both these articles when they came to be dressed could not be used, and, being the best that could be procured at Batavia, no inclination was excited by these specimens to try that market again.
It having been reported to the governor, that Bryant had been frequently heard to express, what was indeed the general sentiment on the subject among the people of his description, that he did not consider his marriage in this country as binding; his excellency caused the convicts to be informed, that none would be permitted to quit the colony who had wives or children incapable of maintaining themselves and likely to become burdensome to the settlement, until they had found sufficient security for the maintenance of such wives or children as long as they might remain after them. This order was designed as a check upon the erroneous opinion which was formed of the efficacy of Mr. Johnson’s nuptial benediction; and if Bryant had thought as little of it as he was reported to do, his taking his wife with him could only be accounted for by a dread of her defeating his plan by discovery if she was not made personally interested in his escape.
This order was shortly after followed by another, limiting the length of such boats as should be built by individuals to fourteen feet from stem to stern, that the size of such boats might deter the convicts from attempts to take them off.
About this time some information being received, that it was in agitation to take away the sixteen-oared boat belonging to the colony, or some one or two of the smaller boats, a sentinel was placed at night on each wharf, and the officer of the guard was to be spoken to before any boat could leave the cove. In addition to this regulation, it was directed, that the names of all such people as it might be necessary to employ in boats after sun-set should be given in writing to the officer of the guard, to prevent any convicts not belonging to officers or to the public boats from taking them from the wharfs under pretence of fishing or other services.