The small redoubt that was begun in July last being finished, a flag-staff was erected, and two pieces of iron ordnance placed in it.
In order to prevent, if possible, the practice of thieving, which at times was very frequent, an order was given, directing that no convict, who should in future be found guilty of theft, should be supplied with any other clothing than a canvas frock and trousers. It was at the same time ordered, that such convicts as should in future fail to perform a day’s labour, should receive only two thirds of the ration that was issued to those who could and did work.
Unimportant as these circumstances may appear when detailed at a distance from the time when they were necessary, they yet serve to show the nature of the people by whom this colony (whatever may be its fate) was first founded; as well as the attention that was paid by those in authority, and the steps taken by them, for establishing good order and propriety among them, and for eradicating villany and idleness.
December.] James Daley, the convict who in August pretended to have discovered an inexhaustible source of wealth, and was punished for his imposition, was observed from that time to neglect his labour, and to loiter about from hut to hut, while others were at work. He was at last taken up and tried for breaking into a house, and stealing all the property he could find in it; of this offence he was convicted, and suffered death; the governor not thinking him an object of mercy. Before he was turned off, he confessed that he had committed several thefts, to which he had been induced by bad connections, and pointed out two women who had received part of the property for the acquisition of which he was then about to pay so dear a price. These women were immediately apprehended, and one of them made a public example of, to deter others from offending in the like manner. The convicts being all assembled for muster, she was directed to stand forward, and, her head having been previously deprived of its natural covering, she was clothed with a canvas frock, on which was painted, in large characters, R. S. G. (receiver of stolen goods) and threatened with punishment if ever she was seen without it. This was done in the hope that shame might operate, at least with the female part of the prisoners, to the prevention of crimes; but a great number of both sexes had too long been acquainted with each other in scenes of disgrace, for this kind of punishment to work much reformation among them. This, however, must be understood to be spoken only of the lowest class of these people, among whom the commission of offences was chiefly found to exist; for there were convicts of both sexes who were never known to associate with the common herd, and whose conduct was marked by attention to their labour, and obedience to the orders they received.
On the 11th, the governor set off with a small party in boats, to examine the different branches of Botany Bay, and, after an excursion of five days, returned well satisfied that no part of that extensive bay was adapted to the purpose of a settlement; thus fully confirming the reports he had received from others, and the opinions he had himself formed.