The soil immediately about the settlement was found to be of too sandy a nature to give much promise of yielding a sufficient produce even for the small quantity of stock it possessed. At Rose Hill the prospect was better; indeed whatever expectations could be formed of successful cultivation in this country rested as yet in that quarter. But the convicts by no means exerted themselves to the utmost; they foolishly conceived, that they had no interest in the success of their labour; and, if left to themselves, would at any time rather have lived in idleness, and depended upon the public stores for their daily support so long as they had any thing in them, than have contributed, by the labour of their hands, to secure themselves whereon to exist when those stores should be exhausted.
Idleness, however, was not the only vice to be complained of in these people. Thefts were frequent among them; and one fellow, who, after committing a robbery ran into the woods, and from thence coming at night into the settlement committed several depredations upon individuals, and one upon the public stores, was at length taken and executed, in the hope of holding out an example to others. His thefts had been so frequent and daring, that it became necessary to offer a reward of one pound of flour to be given weekly, in addition to the ration then issued, for his apprehension. Another convict, named Ruglass, was tried for stabbing Ann Fowles, a woman with whom he cohabited, and sentenced to receive seven hundred lashes, half of which were inflicted on him while the other unhappy wretch was suffering the execution of his sentence.
The 19th was observed as the birthday of her Majesty; the colours were displayed at sunrise; at noon the detachment of marines fired three rounds; after which the governor received the compliments of the day; and at one o’clock the Supply, the only vessel in the country, fired twenty-one guns. The governor entertained the officers at dinner, and the day concluded with a bonfire, for which the country afforded abundant materials.
A day or two after this the place was agitated by a report that a great gun had been fired at sea; but on sending a boat down without the harbour’s mouth, nothing was seen there that could confirm a report which every one anxiously wished might be true.
A boat having been sent down the harbour with some people to cut rushes, a party of natives came to the beach while they were so employed, and took three of their jackets out of the boat. On discovering this theft, the cockswain pursued a canoe with two men in it as far as a small island that lay just by, where the natives landed, leaving the canoe at the rocks. This the cockswain took away, contrary to an order, which had been made very public, on no account to touch a canoe, or any thing belonging to a native, and towed it to the bay where they had been cutting rushes. The natives returned to the same