If any thing could produce the integrity so much to be desired, this measure seemed the best calculated for the purpose; an interest was created superior to any reward that could have been held out, a certain salary, an increase of ration, a greater proportion of clothing, or even emancipation itself, if given at the time. To those who had no other prospect but that of passing their lives in this country, how cheering, how grateful must have been the hope of returning to their families at no very distant period, if not prevented by their own misconduct! There were two in this situation among those placed at the stores, Samuel Burt and William Sutton, both of whom had conducted themselves with the greatest propriety since their conviction, and who beheld with joy the probability that appeared of their being again considered and ranked in the class of honest men and good members of society; estimations that depended wholly upon themselves.
As a store-keeper was a person on whom much dependence must necessarily be placed, it being his duty to be constantly present whenever the stores were opened, and with a vigilant eye to observe the conduct of the inferior servants, at the strong recommendation of the officers under whom he had served, Sergeant Thomas Smyth was discharged from the marine detachment, and placed upon the list of superintendants of convicts as a storekeeper. This appointment gave general satisfaction; and the commissary now felt himself, under all these arrangements, more at ease respecting the safety of the stores and provisions under his charge.
On the night of the 10th a daring burglary was committed. Mr. Raven, the master of the Britannia, occupied a hut on shore, which was broken open and entered about midnight, and from the room in which he was lying asleep, and close to his bedside, his watch and a pair of knee-buckles were stolen; a box was forced open, in which was a valuable timepiece and some money belonging to Mr. Raven, who, fortunately waking in the very moment that the thief was taking it out at the door, prevented his carrying it off. Assistance from the guard came immediately, but too late—the man had got off unseen. In a day or two afterwards, however, Charles Williams, a settler, gave information that a convict named Richard Sutton, the morning after the burglary, had told him that he had stolen and secured the property, which he estimated at sixty pounds, and which he offered to put into his possession for the purpose of sale, first binding him by a horrid ceremony* and oath not to betray him. Williams, on receiving the watch, which proved a metal one, worth only about ten pounds, and the disproportion of which to the value he had expected, probably had induced him to make the discovery, immediately caused him to be taken into custody, and delivered the property to a magistrate, giving at the same time an account how he came by them. All these circumstances were produced in evidence before a criminal court;