A man found dead
A flood at the river
Two whalers arrive
Conduct of the labouring convicts
A seaman killed
A woman murdered by her husband
A Spanish prize arrives
Resources in New South Wales
We must now return to the other concerns of the settlement, from which we have been so long absent.
Some pleas of debt having been decided by the civil magistrates, to relieve them from that duty, and enable them to attend to that only of the justice of the peace, an order was issued, declaring that such pleas belonged to the court of civil jurisdiction solely, as was clearly expressed in the letters patent for establishing that court; but they were at the same time requested to use their utmost endeavours, as far as their influence as magistrates could be effectual, in recommending the settling of trifling debts by arbitration, and thereby prevent much vexatious litigation.
Agricultural concerns wore as unpromising an appearance in this as in the last month. The governor, in a visit which he made to Parramatta, found that the pasture over the whole country had been entirely burnt up; in consequence of which the grazing cattle were in great distress; and, from the lamentable continuance of the drought, the maize was every where likely to fail: a misfortune that would ruin the stock of hogs, and reduce the settlement considerably in the article of bread.
That he might ascertain what quantity of grain he had to depend on, all those who cultivated ground were directed to give in by a certain time a return of the wheat and other grain in their possession.
By the Diana whaler, which arrived from Norfolk Island, information was received, that the wheat harvest had been more productive there than usual; but the maize was likely to fall short from a similar want of rain.
Wheat at this time bore a high price in Norfolk Island, the settlers who had raised refusing to sell it, on account of the high rate of wages, at less than fifteen shillings per bushel.
On the night of the 24th, the acting commissary’s house was broken into, and robbed of articles to a considerable amount. The thieves appeared to have got in at the office window, and loosened the bricks of a partition wall; by which opening they got into the store-room, and, forcing the locks off the chests and trunks, carried away every thing that they could manage.
One evil among others which attended the frequent arrival of ships in the port was, the ready market which these plunderers found for disposing of their stolen goods; the seamen not hesitating to become the purchasers on leaving the place.