By this conveyance the governor was also informed, that the Britannia had touched at the Island, and landed several convicts who had secreted themselves on board her while she lay in this harbour. Disappointed as these people generally were in their attempts to escape from the settlement in this manner, yet it had become so certain a system, that all the vigilance which could be exerted both on shore and afloat was insufficient to prevent them. As the masters were seldom refused permission to ship such as were free, it was their business to receive no more on board than they could feed; and during the run between Sydney and Norfolk island, the supernumeraries were generally discovered and brought up from below. Indeed, considering the description of people who formed the major or part of these deserters, it was not safe to have many of them on board, being a lawless, abandoned, daring set of wretches, to whom the commission of every crime was more familiar than the practice of any one virtue.
On the 20th of the month, the Deptford, a small brig, arrived from Madras, with a cargo of goods upon speculation for the Sydney market. The spirit of trade which had for some time obtained in the colony afforded an opening for adventurers to bring their goods to this settlement. The voyage from India was short and direct; and, from the nature of their investments, they were always certain of finding a ready sale, and an ample return upon the original invoice. But this intercourse was found to be pregnant with great evil to the colony; for, preferring spirits to any other article that could be introduced from India, the owners never failed to make the rum of that country an essential part of every cargo which they sent upon speculation. And, though every necessary measure was adopted to prevent all that arrived from being landed, yet, such was the avidity with which it was sought after, that, if not permitted, it was generally got on shore clandestinely, and very few ships carried back any of what they had brought down. To this source might be traced all the crimes which disgraced, and all the diseases that injured the colony.
Toward the latter end of the month a party set off on an excursion to the cow pasture plains. On reaching mount Taurus, a distinct herd of the wild cattle, 67 in number, was seen. It was conjectured, that this valuable collection of cattle had so considerably increased, as to find a convenience in dividing into different herds, thereby preventing those quarrels which might frequently happen among their males. This was confirmed by their falling-in with, in another place, a herd, in which there could not have been fewer than 170 of these animals. A couple of days were pleasantly occupied in examining this part of the country, which exhibited the beautiful appearance of a luxuriant and well-watered pasturage. The latitude of mount Taurus was found to be 34 degrees 16 minutes S and the river Nepean was discovered to