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Dispatches have been recently received at Lord Hobart’s office from New South Wales, dated in August 1801, by which it appears, that the quantity of salt provisions remaining in store in the beginning of the year, being very inconsiderable, and it being possible that accidents might happen to ships sent from England with meat, the governor had judged it necessary to send the Porpoise to the island of Otaheite, for the purpose of salting pork for the use of the colony: and as it was absolutely necessary to send thither a quantity of salt for this purpose (an article which the colony could not furnish), he fortunately was enabled to purchase about fifteen tons of salt from the master of a whaler which put in there from one of the Cape de Verd islands. On this voyage the Porpoise sailed in the month of May 1801, and her commander, Lieutenant Scott, was furnished, in addition to very ample instructions for his guidance, with a letter from the governor to Pornarre, the king of Otaheite, urging him to give Mr. Scott every protection and assistance in the execution of the business on which he was sent to the island, and recommending particularly to his care such of the missionaries as resided in the place. It was pointed out to him how much this conduct would ensure his majesty the favourable opinion of King George; and Mr. Scott was provided with a quantity of such articles for barter as were likely to please the eye as well as be useful to the people whom he might have to deal with; among which were some red and yellow cloth, some tomahawks, axes, knives, scissors, shirts, jackets, etc.: and, as nothing was more likely to ensure success than a handsome present to his Majesty, a mantle and some other articles of dress decorated with red feathers, together with six muskets and some ammunition, were given to Mr. Scott to be presented to the king.
Directions were also sent to the lieutenant-governor at Norfolk Island, to salt a quantity of pork for the use of the principal settlement.
The governor had likewise entered into a contract with a merchant in India, to freight a ship with cattle and rice, after the arrival of which he was of opinion that further supplies of cattle might be unnecessary, the stock in the country, independent of the wild herd, being very considerable. That herd was grown very furious, and, having got among the mountains to the westward, rendered any attempts to take them dangerous and useless.
The Lady Nelson brig had been in Bass Strait, and surveyed Western port, where she found a very good harbour. She had also been, in company with the Francis (colonial schooner), to Hunter river, where they took in between them 45 tons of coal, which were exchanged with the master of the Cornwallis, for a quantity of nails and iron, articles that were much wanted; thus, for the first time, making the natural produce of the country contribute to its wants.