His royal highness Prince William Henry’s birthday was distinguished by displaying the colours at the flag-staff; and this compliment was paid to other branches of the royal family whose birthdays were not directed to be observed with more ceremony.
On the 26th the Supply returned from Norfolk Island, having been absent five weeks and two days. From the commandant the most favourable accounts were received of the richness and depth of the soil and salubrity of the climate, having been visited with very little rain, or thunder and lightning. His search after the flax-plant had been successful; where he had cleared the ground he found it growing spontaneously and luxuriant: a small species of plaintain also had been discovered. His gardens promised an ample supply of vegetables; but his seed-wheat, having been heated in the long passage to this country, turned out to be damaged, and did not vegetate. The landing was found to be very dangerous, and he had the misfortune to lose Mr. Cunningham, the midshipman, with three people, and the boat they were in, by the surf on the reef, a few days before the Supply sailed. Short, however, as the time was, the carpenter of chat vessel replaced the boat by building him a coble of the timber of the island, constructed purposely for going without the reef, and for the hazardous employ she must often be engaged in.
The settlement at Sydney Cove was for some time amused with an account of the existence and discovery of a gold mine; and the impostor had ingenuity enough to impose a fabricated tale on several of the officers for truth. He pretended to have found it at some distance down the harbour; and, offering to conduct an officer to the spot, a boat was provided; but immediately on landing, having previously prevailed on the officer to send away the boat, to prevent his discovery being made public to more than one person, he made a pretence to leave him, and, reaching the settlement some hours before the officer, reported that he had been sent up by him for a guard. The fellow knew too well the consequences that would follow on the officer’s arrival to wait for that, and therefore set off directly into the woods, whence he returned the day following, when he was punished with fifty lashes for his imposition. Still, however, persisting that he had discovered a metal, a specimen of which he produced, the governor, who was absent from the settlement at the opening of the business, but had now returned, ordered him to be taken again down the harbour, with directions to his adjutant to land him on the place the man should point out, and keep him in his sight; but on being assured by that officer, that if he attempted to deceive him he would put him to death, the man saved him the trouble of going far with him, and confessed that his story of having discovered a gold mine was a falsehood which he had propagated the hope of imposing on the people belonging to the Fishburn and Golden Grove, from whom, being about to prepare for Europe, he expected to procure cloathing and other articles in return for his promised gold-dust; and that he had fabricated the specimens of the metal which he had exhibited, from a guinea and a brass buckle; the remains of which he then produced.