The very little attention which had long been, and continued to be shown to the duties of religion, and the want of that decency and respect which were due to the return of the Sabbath, were now so glaringly conspicuous, that it became necessary to repeat the orders which had indeed often been given upon that subject, and again to call upon every person possessed of authority to use that authority in compelling the due attendance of the convicts at church, and other proper observance of the Sabbath. The women were also directed to be more punctual in their appearance; for these still availed themselves of the indulgence which as women they had been treated with, seldom thinking themselves included in the restrictions that were laid upon others.
The wheat crops, at this time nearly ready for the reaper, wore the most promising appearance, the stalks every where, particularly at the Hawkesbury, bending beneath the weight of the richest ears of corn ever beheld in this or indeed any other country. But, like other countries, a crop was never to be reckoned in this, until it was gathered into the barn. About the middle of the month there fell a very heavy storm of thunder, lightning, and rain, attended also with a shower of hall from the SE that beat all the fruit off the trees, and destroyed the gardens in and about the town of Sydney, though it was not felt more than two miles from that place. A heavy gale of wind and rain took place at the Hawkesbury the day preceding the storm at Sydney, which laid much of the wheat, and beat down one end of the public store. This destructive weather, having subsided for a day, recommenced on the 20th, and continued without intermission until the 25th, when it again cleared up; and, to increase the vexation, myriads of caterpillars were found destroying the young maize.
That it might be exactly known what was the produce of this year’s harvest, proper people were appointed, by order of the governor, to visit each district; and, from the respective owners, to collect an account of what each farm had produced.
The building of the public gaol at Sydney was not yet completed; nor, although a meeting of the officers had been lately held to consider of the means, was any mode devised of defraying the still heavy expense thereof. It had been suggested to raise a fund on the importation of merchandise; but nothing conclusive was yet determined upon.
December.] The Britannia whaler having, as was before stated, arrived a full ship, and being again ready for sea, on the 2nd of this month sailed for England. In her, Mr. Raven, who brought out the Buffalo, and some of his officers took their passage; and agreement having been made with Mr. Turnbull, the master, to furnish them, six in number, with a passage for the sum of two hundred and fifty pounds.* The Walker sailed at the same time on her fishing voyage.
[* Mr. Raven was charged with dispatches; which, from his earnest desire not to lose any time in delivering, he unfortunately lost. When the ship was within sight of the Isle of Wight, he got into a boat, which was captured by a small privateer, and was carried into France with his dispatches, not having had time to sink them. He was soon liberated himself, but was not able to obtain even the private letters that he had with him.]