August.] The Colonial schooner, having been dispatched with some stores which were wanted at Norfolk Island, left the Cove on the 7th; but the wind failing, she anchored in the lower part of the harbour. While lying here, some of her people became drunk, and insisted on taking the boat ashore. This being resisted, one of the crew fired a pistol at a soldier who was on board, which, it being dark at the time, missed him, but the ball went through the leg of a seaman belonging to the Supply, who had been lent to the schooner. He was brought up to the hospital, and the man who fired the pistol was conducted to prison, to answer for his rashness.
The Britannia and the Ganges sailed on their respective voyages. The commander of the latter was permitted to take on board several convicts who had become free, and some of the marine soldiers who had been discharged from the New South Wales corps, having completed their second engagement in that regiment. They had talked of becoming settlers, and remaining some years longer in the country; but the restless love of change prevailed, and they quitted the colony by this opportunity.
Mr. Clark, the supercargo of the ship Sydney Cove, having mentioned that, two days before he had been met by the people in the fishing boat, he had fallen in with a great quantity of coal, with which he and his companions made a large fire, and had slept by it during the night, a whale-boat was sent off to the southward, with Mr. Bass, the surgeon of the Reliance, to discover where an article so valuable was to be met with. He proceeded about seven leagues to the southward of Point Solander, where he found, in the face of a steep cliff, washed by the sea a stratum of coal, in breadth about six feet, and extending eight or nine miles to the southward. Upon the summit of the high land, and lying on the surface, he observed many patches of coal, from some of which it must have been that Mr. Clarke was so conveniently supplied with fuel. He also found in the skeletons of the mate and carpenter of the Sydney Cove, an unequivocal proof of their having unfortunately perished, as was conjectured.
By the specimens of the coal which were brought in by Mr. Bass, the quality appeared to be good; but, from its almost inaccessible situation, no great advantage could ever be expected from it; and indeed, were it even less difficult to be procured, unless some small harbour should be near it, it could not be of much utility to the settlement.
No circumstance deserving of attention had occurred for some time among the natives. On the 27th of this month, however, one of their young men stood the trial practised by his countrymen, for having, as it was said, killed some person in a quarrel. He stood manfully up against all their spears, and defended himself with great skill and address. Having had two shields split in his hand, by the spear passing quite through them, his friends, who were numerous, attacked his opponents, whom they disarmed, and broke their shields, with many of their spears.