The Surprise was discharged this month from government employ, and Mr. Campbell began to prepare for making his passage to Bengal (whither he was bound) by the south cape of this country. Of the female prisoners who came out in this ship one was buried on the 21st; she had lain in of a dead child, and died shortly after of a milk fever. Her husband, a free man, came out with her to settle in the country.
Reaping our wheat-harvest commenced this month.
December.] The people of the Mercury being perfectly recovered from the disorder which afflicted them when they arrived, that vessel sailed on the 7th of December for the north-west coast of America. The master had permission to ship five persons belonging to the colony, and on the day of his sailing several others were missing from the labouring gangs, and were supposed to have made their escape in her; but on the following morning they were all at their respective labours, not having been able to get on board.
Some of the seamen belonging to this vessel, preferring the pleasures they met with in the society of the females and the free circulation of spirituous liquors which they found on shore, to accompanying Mr. Barnet to the north-west coast of America, had left his vessel some days previous to her sailing. Application being made to the lieutenant-governor, several orders were given out calculated to induce them to return to their duty, informing them, that if they remained behind they would be certainly sent to hard labour, and the persons who had harboured them severely punished. But our settlements had now become so extensive, that orders did not so readily find their way to the settlers, as runaways and vagrants, who never failed of finding employment among them, particularly among those at the river.
On the 8th a farm of twenty-five acres of ground in the district of Concord was sold by public auction for thirteen pounds. Four acres were planted with Indian corn, and half an acre with potatoes; there was beside a tolerable hut on the premises. This farm was the property of Samuel Crane, a soldier, who, too industriously for himself, working on it on the Sunday preceding his death, received a hurt from a tree which fell upon him, and proved fatal.
Every preparation for accommodating the lieutenant-governor and his family being completed on board the Daedalus, he embarked in the evening of the 15th. Previous to his departure, such convicts as were at that time confined in the cells, or who were under orders for punishment, were released; several grants of lands were signed, conveying chiefly small allotments of twenty-five acres each to such soldiers of the regiment as were desirous of, and made application for that favour; and some leases of town lots were given.
With the lieutenant-governor went Mr. White, the principal surgeon of the colony; Mr. Bain, the chaplain, in whose absence the Rev. Mr. Marsden was to do his duty; Mr. Laing, assistant-surgeon of the settlement, and mate of the New South Wales corps; three soldiers; two women, and nine men. The master of the transport had permission to ship twelve men and two women, whose sentences of transportation had expired.