The rewards which had been formerly held out upon similar occasions were now offered to any man or woman who would come forward with evidence sufficient to convict such diabolical incendiaries before the court of criminal judicature; and the inhabitants were called upon by that duty which every man owed to society, as well as to his own individual interest, to use every means in their power to discover the perpetrators of such horrid mischief, which in its extent, involved the lives of their fellow-creatures.
This was the second time such a circumstance had happened in the settlement, a circumstance that even staggers credulity. What interest, what motive could drive these wretches to such an action? The destruction of the building, they must know, would be instantly followed by the erection of another, at which they themselves must labour! Could it be for the purpose of throwing obstacles in the way of government: that government, which had ever been mild and not coercive, which had ever stood forward to alleviate their miseries, and often extended the arm of mercy, when their crimes cried aloud for that of punishment? and yet on no other principle can it be accounted for.*
[* May the annalist whose business it may be to record in future the transactions of the colony find a pleasanter field to travel in, where his steps will not be every moment beset with murderers, robbers, and incendiaries.]
The harvest was now begun, and constables were sent to the Hawkesbury with directions to secure every vagrant they could meet, and bring them to Sydney, unless they chose to work for the settlers, who were willing to pay them a dollar each day and their provisions: for at this time, there were a great number of persons in that district, styling themselves free people, who refused to labour unless they were paid the most exorbitant wages.
The following was the state of the live stock and ground in cultivation in the different districts, as appeared from reports collected at the latter end of the month of August last: viz
Bulls and Oxen 188
Acres of Wheat 5465
Acres of Maize 2302
Acres of Barley 82
Acres of Oats 8
By this account it will appear, that there was a considerable increase of live stock, except in the article of horses, and female goats. A great addition had been also made to the ground in cultivation, the whole amounting at the above period (August) to 7857 acres; making an increase of 1745 acres, in twelve months.