This being the state of the stores, supplies were ardently to be desired. It was truly unfortunate, that Mr. Bampton had not been able to procure any salted provisions at Bombay, but in lieu thereof had brought us a quantity of rice. We now began to grow grain sufficient for our consumption from crop to crop, and grain that was at all times preferred to the imports from India. Dholl and rice were never well received by the prisoners as an equivalent for flour, particularly when peas formed a part of the ration; and it was to be lamented that a necessity ever existed, of forcing upon them such trash as they had from time to time been obliged to digest.
The effects of this ration soon appeared; several attacks were made on individuals; the house occupied by Mr. Muir was broken into, and all or nearly all that gentleman’s property stolen; some of his wearing apparel was laid in his way the next day; but he still remained a considerable sufferer by the visit. Some private stock yards were attacked; but finding them too vigilantly watched, a fellow played off a trick that he thought would go down with the hungry; he stole a very fine greyhound, and instead of secretly employing him in procuring occasionally a fresh meal, he actually killed the dog, and sold it to different people in the town for kangaroo at nine-pence per pound. Being detected in this villainous traffic, he was severely punished.
A criminal court was assembled on the 20th for the trial of Mary Pawson, a settler’s wife at the river, for the crime of arson. On the trial there was strong evidence of malice in the prisoner against the wife of the owner of the house; but not any that led directly to convict her of having set the house on fire. She was therefore acquitted; but the adjoining settlers disliking such a character in their neighbourhood, the husband, who had nothing against him but this wife, sold a very good farm which he possessed on a creek of the river, and withdrew to another situation, remote and less advantageous. At the same time a notorious offender, James Barry, was tried for attempting to break into a settler’s house at the Ponds with an intent to steal, the proof of which was too clear to admit of his escape. He was sentenced to suffer one thousand lashes, and on the Saturday following received two hundred and seventy of them.
On the same day a civil court was held for the purpose of granting probate of the will of Thomas Daveney, late a superintendant of convicts, who died on the 3rd of the month. The cause of his death was extraordinary. He had been appointed a superintendant of the convicts employed in agriculture at Toongabbie by the late Governor Phillip, who, considering him trust-worthy, placed great confidence in him. Some time after Governor Phillip’s departure, his conduct was represented to the lieutenant-governor in such a light, that he dismissed him from his situation, and he retired to a farm which he had at Toongabbie.