On the 18th the Britannia sailed for India. As the state of the settlement at the time of her departure required every exertion to be made in procuring an immediate supply of provisions, Mr. Raven was directed to repair to Batavia, to procure there if possible a cargo of European salted meat. The necessity of his immediate return was so urgent, that if he found on his arrival that only half a cargo could be got, he was to fill up the remainder of the stowage with rice and sugar, and make the best of his way back. If salted provisions were not to be got at Batavia, he was to proceed to Calcutta. Should circumstances run so much against us, as to cause his failure at both these ports, Mr. Raven was at liberty to return by way of the Cape of Good Hope, as provisions were at any rate to be procured, if possible.
On the 21st, the Fancy sailed for Norfolk Island, taking a cargo of rice and dholl for the use of that settlement; the Rev. Mr. Marsden also embarked in her to marry and baptise such as stood in need of those rites.
On the 29th the colonial schooner brought another cargo of Indian corn (one thousand one hundred and twelve bushels) from the Hawkesbury. For want of storehouse room, great quantities were left lying before the door, exposed to, and suffering much by the weather. As it had not been measured or received by the store-keeper, the loss fell upon the owners.
The cattle lately arrived seemed to suffer by their change of climate; one cow and several calves died; perhaps as much from mismanagement, as by the weather; for, with very few exceptions, it was impossible to select from among the prisoners, or those who had been such, any who would feel an honest interest in executing the service in which they were employed. They would pilfer half the grain entrusted to their care for the cattle; they would lead them into the woods for pasturage, and there leave them until obliged to conduct them in; they would neither clean them nor themselves. Indolent, and by long habit worthless, no dependance could be placed on them. In every instance they endeavoured to circumvent; and whenever their exertions were called for, they first looked about them to discover how those exertions might be turned to their own advantage. Could it then be wondered at, if little had been done since our establishment? and must it not rather excite admiration to see how much had been done? Whatever was to be seen was the effect of the most unremitting, and perhaps degrading vigilance on the part of those in whom the executive power had been from time to time vested, and of the interest that many individuals had felt in raising this country from its original insignificance to some degree of consequence.
Among the casualties of the month must be noticed the death of a man unfortunately drowned in attempting to save the life of a woman who was overset with himself in a passage-boat, coming from Parramatta. He had just got her into safety when she pulled him under water, and he perished. It is extremely hazardous, and requires very great caution in those who meddle with persons that are drowning.