Thus happily was the colony once more put upon something like a full ration of provisions; a change in our situation that gave universal satisfaction, as at the hour of the arrival of the Britannia there were in the public store only twenty-four days salt provisions for the settlement at the ration then issued. A delay of a month in her voyage would have placed the colony in a state that must have excited the commiseration of its greatest enemies; a vast body of hard-working people depending for their support upon one pound and a half of soujee, or bad Bengal flour, four pounds of maize, one pound of rice, and one quart of peas for one man per week, without one ounce of meat! But with this new ration all entertained new hopes, and trusted that their future labours would be crowned with success, and that the necessity of sending out supplies from the mother country until the colony could support itself without assistance would have become so evident from the frequency of our distresses and the reduction of the ration, that the journalist would no longer have occasion to fill his page with comparisons between what we might have been and what we were; to lament the non arrival of supplies; nor to paint the miseries and wretchedness which ensued; but might adopt a language to which he might truly be said to have been hitherto a stranger, and paint the glowing prospects of a golden harvest, the triumph of a well-filled store, and the increasing and consequent prosperity of the settlements.
His excellency this month thought fit to exercise the power vested in him by act of parliament, and by his Majesty’s commission under the great seal, of remitting either wholly, or in part, the term for which felons might be transported, by granting an absolute remission of the term for which Elizabeth Perry had been sentenced. This woman came out in the Neptune in 1790, and had married James Ruse a settler. The good conduct of the wife, and the industry of the husband, who had for some time supported himself, his wife, a child, and two convicts, independent of the public store, were the reasons assigned in the instrument which restored her to her rights and privileges as a free woman, for extending to her the hand of forgiveness.
This power, so pleasing to the feelings of its possessor, had hitherto been very sparingly exercised; and those persons who had felt its influence were not found to have been undeserving. I speak only of such convicts as had been deemed proper objects of this favour by the governor himself; the convicts, however, who came out in the Guardian were emancipated by the King’s command, and of these by far the greater part conducted themselves with propriety.