For washing, three-pence for each article was paid; and the person who washed found soap, etc. If a woman was hired, she had one shilling and six-pence for the day, and her meals.
It must here be remarked, that the mechanic and the labourer were generally contented to be paid the above prices in such articles as they or their families stood in need of, the values of which had not as yet been regulated by any other authority, or guided by any other rule, than the will of the purchaser.
The want at this time of several public buildings in the settlement has already been mentioned. To this want must be added, as absolutely necessary to the well-being and comfort of the settlers and the prosperity of the colony in general, that of a public store, to be opened on a plan, though not exactly the same, yet as liberal as that of the island of St Helena, where the East India Company issue to their own servants European and Indian goods, at ten per cent advance on the prime cost. Considering our immense distance from England, a greater advance would be necessary; and the settlers and others would be well satisfied, and think it equally liberal, to pay fifty per cent on the prime cost of all goods brought from England; for at present they pay never less than one hundred, and frequently one thousand per cent on what they have occasion to purchase. It may be supposed that government would not choose to open an account, and be concerned in the retail of goods; but any individual would find it to his interest to do this, particularly if assisted by government in the freight; and the inhabitants would gladly prefer the manufactures of their own country to the sweepings of the Indian bazars.
The great want of men in the colony must be supplied as soon as a peace shall take place; but the want of respectable settlers may, perhaps, be longer felt; by these are meant men of property, with whom the gentlemen of the colony could associate, and who should be thoroughly experienced in the business of agriculture. Should such men ever arrive, the administration of justice might assume a less military appearance, and the trial by jury, ever dear and most congenial to Englishmen, be seen in New South Wales.
That we had not a thorough knowledge of the coast from Van Dieman’s Land as far as Botany Bay, though to be regretted, was not to be wondered at. As a survey of the coast cannot very conveniently be made by any of the ships belonging to the settlement, it must be the business of government to provide proper vessels and persons for this service; and it is to be hoped that we shall not be much longer without a knowledge of the various ports, harbours, and rivers, and of the soil and productions of the country to the southward of the principal settlement.
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