It having been said that James Ruse, who in March last had declared his ability to support himself independent of the store, was starving, the governor told him, that in consideration of his having been upon a short allowance of provisions during nearly the whole of the time he had been cultivating ground upon his own account, the storekeeper should be directed to supply him with twenty pounds of salt provisions. The man assured his excellency that he did not stand in need of his bounty, having by him at the time a small stock of provisions; a quantity of Indian corn (which he found no difficulty in exchanging for salt meat) and a bag of flour; all which enabled him to do so well, that he absolutely begged permission to decline the offer. So very contradictory was his own account of his situation to that which had been reported.
The barracks at Rose Hill, being so far completed as to admit of being occupied, were taken possession of this month by the New South Wales corps.
Several thefts of provisions were committed; two, that were of some consequence, appeared as if the provisions had been collected for some particular purpose; and, if so, perhaps only passed from the possession of one thief to that of another. While a stalk of Indian corn remained upon the ground, the convicts resolved to plunder it, and several were severely punished; but it did not appear that they were amended by the correction, nor that others were deterred by the example of their punishment. So truly incorrigible were many of these people!
Finishing the clergyman’s and surveyor’s houses; bringing in bricks for other buildings; posts and paling for a fence round the run of water; and making clothing for the people, occupied the convicts at Sydney.
June.] The bad weather met with by the Supply during her late voyage to Norfolk Island had done her so much injury, that, on a careful examination of her defects, it appeared that she could not be got ready for sea in less than three months. In addition to other repairs which were indispensable, her main mast was found so defective, that after cutting off eighteen feet from the head of it and finding the heel nearly as bad, the carpenter was of opinion that she must be furnished with an entire new mast. This, when the difficulty of finding timber for her foremast (which, it must be remarked, bore the heavy gales of wind she met with, as well as could be desired even of wood the fittest for masts) was recollected, was an unlucky and an ill-timed want; for, should it happen that supplies were not received from England by the middle or end of the month of July, the services of this vessel would be again required; and, to save the colony, she must at that time have been dispatched to some settlement in India for provisions. She was therefore forthwith hauled along side the rocks, and people were employed to look for sound timber fit for a mast.
On his Majesty’s birthday an extra allowance of provisions was issued to the garrison and settlements; each man receiving one pound of salt meat, and the like quantity of rice; each woman half a pound of meat and one pound of rice; and each child a quarter of a pound of meat and half a pound of rice. And to make it a cheerful day to every one, all offenders who had for stealing Indian corn been ordered to wear iron collars were pardoned.