As the Indian corn began to ripen the convicts recommenced their depredations, and many were punished with a severity seemingly calculated to deter others, but actually without effect. They appeared to be a people wholly regardless of the future, and not dreading any thing that was not immediately present to their own feelings. It was well known that punishment would follow the detection of a crime; but their constant reliance was on a hope of escaping that detection; and they were very rarely known to stand forward in bringing offenders to punishment, although such rewards were held out as one would imagine were sufficient to induce them. It being necessary to secure four dangerous people, who, after committing offences, had withdrawn into the woods, a reward of fifty pounds of flour was offered for the apprehension of either of them, but only one was taken.
The easy communication between Sydney and Parramatta had been found to be a very great evil from the time the path was first made; but since the numbers had been so much augmented at Parramatta, it became absolutely necessary to put a stop to the intercourse. The distance was about sixteen miles; and, unless information was previously given, a person would visit Sydney and return without being missed: and as stolen property was transferred from one place to another by means of this quick conveyance, orders were given calculated to cut off all unlicensed intercourse.
A report having been falsely propagated at Parramatta, that it was intended by the governor to take the corn of individuals on the public account, the settlers and convicts who had raised maize or other grain, and who were not provided with proper places to secure it in, were informed, that they might send it to the public store, and draw it from thence as their occasions required; and farther, that they were at liberty to dispose of such live stock, corn, grain, or vegetables, which they might raise, as they found convenient to themselves, the property of every individual being equally secured to him, and by the same law, whether belonging to a free man or a convict. Such of the above articles as they could not otherwise dispose of, they were told, would be purchased by the commissary on the public account at a fair market-price.