July.] Among the many evils that were daily seen flowing from that state of dissipation which had found its way into the different settlements, we had to regret that two men lost their lives by the hand of violence. On Tuesday the 4th of this month, John Smith, a seaman belonging to the Indispensable, was shot at Sydney in the house of Mr. Daniel Payne, the master boat-builder, by a convict-servant of his; and on the same day, at the Hawkesbury, David Lane was shot by his master, John Fenlow, a settler at that place. The latter of these unfortunate men lived but a few hours; Smith the seaman was taken to the hospital, where he languished until the 9th, and then died. Fenlow and the convict were taken into custody, and would have been immediately brought to trial; but, through the carelessness of one of the watchmen, Fenlow found means, though incumbered with heavy irons, to escape from the cells, and was not retaken until the latter end of the month, when some natives discovered him lurking near his own grounds at the river, and, giving information, he was easily apprehended and secured.
These transactions were productive of some internal regulations which had long been wanting. Several settlers, with whose conduct the governor had had but too much cause to be displeased, were at length deprived of all assistance from government, and left to the exercise of their own abilities, pursuant to a notice which they received to that effect in the last month. Several other settlers also, who had been victualled from the public stores long beyond the period allowed them by the crown, were struck off from the victualling books. All persons off the stores, who of course did not labour for government, were ordered forthwith to appear at Sydney, in order to their being mustered and examined relative to their respective terms of transportation; when certificates were to be given to such as were regularly discharged from the commissary’s books, and the settlers were directed not to employ any but such as could produce this certificate. Frequent visits were directed to be made by the magistrates, for the purpose of settling such differences as might arise among the settlers and other persons; and the governor signified his determination of inspecting their conduct himself from time to time, and of punishing such as were proved to afford shelter or employment to the thieves and vagabonds who ran to the river and other districts from this town and Parramatta.
These regulations being made known as publicly and generally as was possible, in order that none might plead ignorance, the town of Sydney was shortly filled with people from the different settlements, who came to the judge-advocate for certificates of their having served their respective sentences. Among these were many who had run away from public labour before their time had expired; some who had escaped from confinement with crimes yet unpunished hanging over their heads; and some who, being for life, appeared by names different from those by which they were commonly known in the settlement. By the activity of the watchmen, and a minute investigation of the necessary books and papers, they were in general detected in the imposition, and were immediately sent to hard labour in the town and jail gangs.