The quantity of provisions received by these ships being calculated for the numbers on board of each for nine months only after their arrival, and as, so large a body of convicts having been sent out, it was not probable that we should soon receive another supply, the governor judged it expedient to send one of the transports to Bengal, to procure provisions for the colony; for which purpose he hired the Atlantic at fifteen shillings and sixpence per ton per month. In the way thither she was to touch at Norfolk Island, where lieutenant-governor King, with some settlers, was to be landed; and the Queen transport was hired for the purpose of bringing back lieutenant-governor Ross, and the marine detachment serving there, relieved by a company of the New South Wales corps.
On the 25th, the anniversary of his Majesty’s accession to the throne, a salute of twenty-one guns was fired by the Gorgon, and the public dinner given on the occasion at the government-house was served to upwards of fifty officers, a greater number than the colony had ever before seen assembled together.
The following morning the Atlantic sailed for Norfolk Island and Calcutta. For the first of these places, she had on board Lieutenant-Governor King and his family; Captain Paterson of the New South Wales corps (lately arrived in the Admiral Barrington); Mr. Balmain, the assistant-surgeon, sent to relieve Mr. Considen; the Rev. Mr. Johnson, who voluntarily visited Norfolk Island for the purpose of performing those duties of his office which had hitherto been omitted through the want of a minister to perform them; twenty-nine settlers discharged from the marines; several male and female convicts, and some few settlers from that class of people.
At Calcutta, Lieutenant Bowen, who was continued in his employment of naval agent, was to procure a cargo of flour and peas, in the proportion of two tons of flour to one ton of peas; and was for that purpose furnished with letters to the merchants who had made proposals to Lord Cornwallis to supply the colony, the governor meaning for that reason to give their house the preference.
The Salamander had returned from Norfolk Island, where every person and article she had on board were safely landed. By letters received thence, we learned that it was supposed there had formerly been inhabitants upon the island, several stone hatchets, or rather stones in the shapes of adzes, and others in the shapes of chisels, having been found in turning up some ground in the interior parts of the island. Lieutenant-Governor King had formerly entertained the same supposition from discovering the banana tree growing in regular rows.
It was not to be doubted but that the tranquillity and regularity of our little town would in some degree be interrupted by the great influx of disorderly seamen who were at times let loose from the transports. Much less cause of complaint on this score, however, arose than was expected. The port orders, which were calculated to preserve the peace of the place, were from time to time enforced; and on one occasion ten seamen belonging to the transports were punished for being found in the settlement after nine o’clock at night.