The only addition made to the weekly ration in consequence of the arrival of the Royal Admiral was an allowance of six ounces of oil to each person; a large quantity, nine thousand two hundred and seventy-eight gallons, having been put on board that ship and the Kitty transport, to be issued in lieu of butter; as an equivalent for which it certainly would have answered well, had it arrived in the state in which it was reported to have been put on board; but it grew rancid on the passage, and was in general made more use of to burn as a substitute for candles, than for any other purposes to which oil might have been applied.
Toward the latter end of the month, the convicts received a general serving of clothing, and other necessary articles. To each male were issued two frocks made of coarse and unsubstantial osnaburgs, in which there were seldom found more than three weeks wear; two pairs of trousers made of the same slight materials as the frocks, and open to the same observation as to wear; one pair of yarn stockings; one hat; one pair of shoes; one pound of soap; three needles; a quarter of a pound of thread, and one comb.
The females received each one cloth petticoat; one coarse shift; one pair of shoes; one pair of yarn stockings; one pound of soap; a quarter of a pound of thread; two ounces of pins; six needles; one thimble, and one pair of scissors.
These articles were supplied by commission; and Mr. Davison, the person employed by government, was limited in the price of each article, which was fixed too low to admit of his furnishing them of the quality absolutely necessary for people who were to labour in this country. The osnaburgs in particular had always been complained of, for it was a fact, that the frocks and trousers made of them were oftener known to have been worn out within a fortnight, than to have lasted three weeks.
The month closed with a circumstance that excited no small degree of concern in the settlement: Governor Phillip signified a determination of quitting his government, and returning to England in the Atlantic. To this he was induced by perceiving that his health hourly grew worse, and hoping that a change of air might contribute to his recovery. His Excellency had the satisfaction, at the moment that he came to this resolution, of seeing the public grounds wear every appearance of a productive harvest. At Toongabbie, forty-two acres of wheat, sown about the middle of last March, looked as promising as could be wished; the remainder of the wheat, from being sown six weeks later, did not look so fine and abundant, but still held out hopes of an ample return. The Indian corn was all got into the ground, and such of it as was up looked remarkably well.