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An Account of the English Colony in New South Wales, Volume 1 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 744 pages of information about An Account of the English Colony in New South Wales, Volume 1.
of the present ration to support a labouring man; but it was well known that the labour required was infinitely short of what might have been justly exacted from them, even had the ration been much less.  They mostly wrought by tasks, which were so proportioned to their situation, that after the hour of ten in the forenoon their time was left at their own disposal; and many found employment from settlers and other individuals who had the means of paying them for their labour.  At this period, it was true, the labouring convict was menaced with the probability of suffering greater want than had ever been before experienced in the settlement.  On Saturday the 22nd (the last provision-day in this month) there remained in store a quantity of salt meat only sufficient for the inhabitants until the middle of the second week in the next month, at which time there would not be an ounce of provisions left, if some supplies did not arrive before that period.  But even this situation, bad as it certainly was, was still alleviated by the assistance that the officers, settlers, and others were able to afford to those whom they either retained in their service or occasionally hired for labour as they wanted them.  Some who were off the store, and who well remembered their own distresses in the years 1789 and 1791, declared, that with a little industry, and being allowed the indulgence of going out in a boat, they could, even at this time, earn a better subsistence than if they were employed by Government, and fed from a full store.  Nothing was lost; even the shark was found to be a certain supply; the oil which was procured from the liver was sold at one shilling the quart, and but very few houses in the colony were fortunate enough to enjoy the pleasant light of a candle.

The seed-wheat as yet escaped, and might remain untouched for another fortnight.  The Indian corn was ripening; and it was hoped, that by making some little deduction from the wheat, it would be ready in time to save all the seed that had been reserved for the next season.  To lose the seed-wheat would be to repel every advance which had been made toward supporting ourselves, and to crush every hope of independence.  All that had been done in cultivation, every acre which was preparing for the ensuing crop, would long have remained a memorial of our distress; and where existed the mind that could have returned to the labour of the field with that cheerful spirit or energy that would have been necessary to ensure future success?

The watch at Parramatta, under the direction of Barrington the constable, ever on the look-out for the murderers of Lewis, detected a man of bad character in offering a dollar in payment for some article that he had purchased, and which dollar appeared to have been buried in the ground.  He had been taken up before, and on searching him at that time was not in possession of any money.  As nothing more, however, than this circumstance was adduced against him, he was discharged, it being admitted that he might have earned something since that time by his labour.

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