A further reduction of the ration was directed to take place at the end of the month, one pound being taken from the allowance of flour served to the men. From the state of the provision stores, the governor, on Christmas Day, could only give one pound of flour to each woman in the settlement. On that day divine service was performed here and at Parramatta, Mr. Bayne, the chaplain of the new corps, assisting Mr. Johnson in the religious duties of the morning. There were some among us, however, by whom even the sanctity of this day was not regarded; for at night the marine store was robbed of twenty-two gallons of spirits.
At Parramatta various offences were still committed, notwithstanding the lenity which had been shown to several offenders at the close of the last month. Many of the convicts there not having any part of their ration left when Tuesday or Wednesday night came, the governor directed, as he had before done from the same reason, that the provisions of the labouring convicts should be issued to them daily. This measure being disapproved of by them, they assembled in rather a tumultuous manner before the governor’s house at Parramatta on the last day of the month, to request that their provisions might be served as usual on the Saturdays. The governor, however, dispersed them without granting their request; and as they were heard to murmur, and talk of obtaining by different means what was refused to entreaty (words spoken among the crowd, and the person who was so daring not being distinguishable from the rest), he assured them that as he knew the major part of them were led by eight or ten designing men to whom they looked up, and to whose names he was not a stranger, on any open appearance of discontent, he should make immediate examples of them. Before they were dismissed they promised greater propriety of conduct and implicit obedience to the orders of their superiors, and declared their readiness to receive their provisions as had been directed.
This was the first instance of any tumultuous assembly among these people, and was now to be ascribed to the spirit of resistance and villany lately imported by the new comers from England and Ireland.
Among the public works of the month the most material was the completing and occupying the new store on the east side, which was begun in October last; its dimensions were eighty by twenty-four feet; and as it was built for the purpose of containing dry stores, the height was increased beyond that commonly adopted here, and a spacious loft was formed capable of containing a large quantity of bale goods. This was by far the best store in the country.