That the ground might with all possible expedition be prepared for wheat, all descriptions of persons were called upon to give their assistance; and there being at this, as at every other time, a number of idle persons wandering about the colony, who refused to labour unless they were paid exorbitant wages, these were again directed to be taken up, and, if found to prefer living by extortion or robbery, to working at a reasonable hire, to be treated as vagrants, and made to labour for the public.
During this month, the Walker went to sea upon the fishery; and the Martha snow went to Norfolk Island, with some articles for sale, the property of her owners.
April.] On the first day of this month, the court of criminal judicature was convened for the trial of several offenders. Robberies had of late been very frequent, both on household property and live stock. At this court, two men were found guilty of robbery, and one women, Mary Graham, of forgery. Several were sentenced to receive corporal punishment, and some were ordered to be transported to Norfolk Island. The governor extended his Majesty’s pardon to the woman and one of the men, leaving the other to his fate, and the day was appointed for his execution; but, the military officers soliciting in a body that the life of this man should be spared, the governor consented. He however directed that both the prisoners, being yet unacquainted with the pardon that was to be granted them, should be taken to the place of execution with their coffins, where the warrant for that execution should be read, and every appearance observed that could give solemnity to the moment, and impress the minds of the spectators with awe. These directions were followed. The ropes being put about their necks, the provost marshal produced the pardon and read it. One of the men appeared much affected; but the other declared that he was never in his life so well prepared for death, and scarcely seemed to desire a prolongation of existence.
On the 14th the Hunter bark sailed for Norfolk Island, whence she was supposed to be bound for Amboyna and Bengal; and on the 16th the Speedy whaler arrived from England, with fifty female convicts; and, what were much more welcome and profitable, eight hundred and thirty-two casks of salt provisions, which enabled the governor once more to issue a full ration.
In this ship arrived Captain Phillip Gidley King, the lieutenant-governor of Norfolk Island; and those marks of respect which were due to his rank and situation as a lieutenant-governor were directed to be paid to him by all guards, sentinels, etc.
On the evening of the same day, his Majesty’s ship the Buffalo returned from the Cape of Good Hope, having on board 85 cows and 20 breeding mares for the settlement. This voyage was performed in seven months, the Buffalo having sailed from Port Jackson on the 15th of last September. She made her passage thither in three months, having arrived in Table Bay on the 16th of December. This, therefore, will be found to be the proper season for going to the Cape by the way of Cape Horn.