Some dispatches and returns being sent by this ship, it appeared, that here and at Norfolk Island were existing, at the latter end of last month, four thousand four hundred and fourteen persons of all descriptions, men, women, and children. Estimating the daily expense of these at two shillings a head, (a fair calculation, when every article of provisions, clothing, stores, freight of ships, allowance for civil and military establishments, damaged cargoes, etc., etc. was considered,) it will be found to amount annually to the sum of one hundred and sixty-one thousand one hundred and eleven pounds; an expense that called loudly for every exertion toward easing the mother country of such a burden, by doing away our dependence on her for many of the above articles, or by affording a return that would be equal to some part of this expence.
Separated as we were from Europe, constantly liable to accidents interrupting our supplies, which it might not always be possible to guard against or foresee, how cheering, how grateful was it to every thinking mind among us, to observe the rapid strides we were making toward that desirable independence! The progress made in the cultivation of the country insured the consequent increase of live stock; and it must be remembered, that the colony had been supplied with no other grain than that raised within itself since the 16th day of last December.
The permission given to officers to hold lands had operated powerfully in favour of the colony. They were liberal in their employment of people to cultivate those lands; and such had been their exertions, that it appeared by a survey taken in the last month by Mr. Alt, that nine hundred and eighty-two acres had been cleared by them since that permission had been received. Mr. Alt reported, that there had been cleared, since Governor Phillip’s departure in December 1792, two thousand nine hundred and sixty-two acres and one quarter; which, added to seventeen hundred and three acres and a half that were cleared at that time, made a total of four thousand six hundred and sixty-five acres and three quarters of cleared ground in this territory. It must be farther remarked in favour of the gentlemen holding ground, that in the short period of fifteen months*, the officers, civil and military, had cleared more than half the whole quantity of ground that had been cleared by government and the settlers, from the establishment of the colony to the date of the governor’s departure. The works of government, however vigilantly attended to, always proceeded slowly, and never with that spirit and energy that are created by interest.
[* The officers did not begin to open ground until February 1793.]