The settlers, being dissatisfied with the reduction in the price of grain which had been ordered, presented petitions to the governor, in which they stated the various hardships that for a considerable time past they had laboured under, in the hope that he might be induced to receive the crops of the present season at the usual price. Having taken their petitions into consideration, he desired them to recollect, that near four years since he had given them notice, that the high price of grain could not be continued longer than that season; and though he had not any doubt of their having sustained the losses which they represented, and they must be sensible he had used every means in his power to remove and relieve their misfortunes; yet his duty to government compelled him to adhere to the reduction of which they complained. At the same time he could not avoid observing, that some of these misfortunes had in many instances proceeded from a want of that attention to their own interest, which every man possessing common discretion would have shown; many of them having parted with their last bushel for the gratification of the moment, thereby reducing their families to distress and nakedness.
He likewise informed them, that he had much pleasure in finding that government had a serious intention, as early as the public concerns of the nation would admit, of administering every possible relief, by supplying the inhabitants with such necessaries and comforts as they might require at a moderate price. He was, however, obliged to direct the commissary to receive the grain of this season at the prices ordered by him in the month of October.
In the evening of the day on which the Britannia sailed, the Plumier, a Spanish ship, anchored in the cove. She was a prize to three whalers, who had taken her near Cape Corientes, on the coast of Peru. Her cargo consisted chiefly of bad spirits and wine, which, on her being condemned by the Court of Vice-admiralty as a lawful prize, were removed into the Supply, and an order was given out, strictly forbidding the landing of any spirits, wine, or even malt liquor, until a regular permit had been first obtained. This restriction upon wine and malt liquor was occasioned by spirituous liquors having been landed under that description.
At length the commissary was enabled to issue some slop-clothing to the convicts, a quantity having been received by the Walker; but, unfortunately, much of what had been put on board arrived in a very damaged state, as appeared by a survey which was immediately taken.
On the 14th the Martha schooner anchored in the cove from Bass Strait, whence she had brought with her one thousand seal skins and thirty barrels of oil, which had been procured there among the islands.
The court of criminal judicature being assembled on the 16th, two mates of the Walker were brought before it, and tried for using menaces to a person who had stopped their boat when attempting to land spirits without a permit; but as he had not any special authority for making the seizure, or detaining the boat, they were acquitted.