In a few days after the arrival of the Hope, the signal was again made at the South Head, and in a few hours the Chesterfield, the ship just mentioned to us by the American, anchored in the cove. She sailed from the Cape of Good Hope shortly after Mr. Page; and the master said he touched at Kerguelan’s Land, where, some other ship having very recently preceded him (which he judged from finding several sea elephants dead on the beach, and a club which is used in killing them) he remained but a short time, having very bad weather. He supposed the ship which preceded him to have been the first which had visited those desolate islands since Captain Cook had been there, as he found the fragments of the bottle in which that officer had deposited a memorial of his having examined them. This was conjecture and might be erroneous, as the mere pieces of the bottle afforded no proof that it had been recently broken.
Mr. Alt spoke of meeting with very bad weather, and of his ship having thereby suffered such injury, that he was compelled on the representation of his people to put in here for the purpose of getting repairs. Indeed her appearance very amply justified their representations; and it was a wonder how she had swam so far, for her complaints must have been of very long standing.
To expedite the building of the new barracks, which formed the most material labour at Sydney, two overseers and forty men were sent down from Parramatta. One barrack being now completed, towards the latter end of the month it was occupied by Captain George Johnston, a party-wall having been thrown down adapting the building to the accommodation of one instead of two officers.
On the last day of the month, two warrants of emancipation passed the seal of the territory, together with a grant of twenty-five acres of land to Ensign Cummings of the New South Wales corps. In the instructions for granting lands in this country, no mention of officers had yet been made; it was however fairly presumed that the officers could not be intended to be precluded from the participation of any advantages which the crown might have to bestow in the settlements; particularly as the greatest in its gift, the free possession of land, was held out to people who had forfeited their lives before they came into the country.
Among the regulations which took place at Sydney, must be noticed the dispensing with the officer’s guard which had always mounted there; and the changing the hours of labour. The convicts now had more time given to them, for the purpose not only of avoiding the heat of the day, but of making themselves comfortable at home. They were directed to work from five in the morning until nine; rest until four in the afternoon, and then labour until sun-set.
The Kitty, having delivered her cargo, began to prepare for taking some stores and provisions and a detachment of the New South Wales corps to Norfolk Island.