At the settlement of the Hawkesbury one man had been drowned, and another killed by the natives.
The gentlemen who conducted the inquiry found most of the settlers there oftener employed in carousing in the fronts of their houses, than in labouring themselves, or superintending the labour of their servants in their grounds. There was at this time a considerable quantity of spirits in the colony from the Susan, the Britannia, and Indispensable, and no doubt much of it had found its way to the settlers; but that they could be so lost to their own true interests, could be only accounted for by recollecting their former habits of life, in which the frequent use of intoxicating liquors formed a part of their education.
With a view to check the drunkenness that prevailed in the different districts, the governor had directed licences for retailing spirituous liquors to be given to certain deserving characters in each; but it was not found to answer the effect he expected. Instead of the settlers being disposed to industry, they still indulged themselves in inebriety and idleness, and robberies now appeared to be committed more frequently than formerly. He therefore judged it necessary to direct, that none of those persons who had obtained licences should presume to carry on a traffic with settlers or others who might have grain to dispose of, by paying for such grain in spirits. He assured them, that should any persons he thereafter discovered to have carried on so destructive a trade, their licences would immediately be recalled, and such steps taken for their further punishment as they might be thought to deserve. He also desired it might be understood, that trading with spirits to the extent which he found practised was strictly forbidden to others, as well as to those who had licensed public houses.