To the latter of these gangs additions were every day making; scarcely a day or a night passed but some enormity was committed or attempted either on the property or persons of individuals. Two notorious characters, Luke Normington and Richard Elliott, were detected on the night of the 13th in a very suspicious situation in the commissary’s stock-yard, which was well filled at the time with sheep and other stock. These were sent to the jail-gang, in company with one Sharpless, a convict, who, after marrying a woman that was a perfect antidote to desire, pretended to be jealous, and gave her such a dreadful beating, that her life was for some time in danger.
Stock of all denominations was at this time fast increasing in the different districts. An officer of the New South Wales corps, having obtained the governor’s sanction for his quitting the colony in one of the ships now preparing for the Cape of Good Hope, sold to government a flock of goats, consisting of about one hundred animals, for L490 10s. This was a valuable acquisition, and promises of stock to several deserving settlers were now performed.
The Britannia, being now cleared of the cargo she brought from Bengal on government account, was fitting again for sea, when Mr. Raven, the master, proffered her to the governor for the purpose of going direct to England, if his excellency should have any occasion to employ her in such a voyage. There were at this time several soldiers in the New South Wales corps wholly unfit for service; the governor had for some time intended to send home Mr. Clark, a superintendant of convicts, whose engagement with the crown had expired; and James Thorp, a person who had been sent out with a salary of L105 per annum, as a master millwright, but who was at this time unemployed in the settlement. To ease government at once of these expences, the governor thought it adviseable to charter the Britannia, for the purpose of taking home such invalids and passengers as might be ordered, at the rate of fifteen shillings per ton per month; the charter to be in force on the first day of the ensuing month.
The public stores were opened during this month at Parramatta and the river for receiving Indian corn; which was taken in at five shillings per bushel for this season; but it was generally supposed, that there would not be occasion to give that price for it again.
Fresh pork was at this time purchased by the commissary at one shilling per pound, and issued as a ration, in the proportion of two pounds of fresh for one of salt meat.