Bennillong, who assisted at it, returned without his wife, the lady having been without much difficulty persuaded by her mother, whom she accidentally met at the Yoo-lahng, to leave her husband, and return with her to the place of her residence. Bennillong, notwithstanding the European polish which he could at times assume, was by no means a favourite with, or held in much estimation by the females of his own complexion. If any unfortunate girl was seen to be in his train for any time, she was well known to be actuated less by inclination than by the fear of his exercising that right which the stronger always claimed the privilege of possessing over the weaker sex.
The business of the settlement now reclaims our notice.
Some time in this month the house of John Mitcham, a settler in the district of Concord, was attacked by three villains, and set on fire, together with a stack of wheat, which he had just completed and secured against the weather. This unfortunate man was indebted about L33 which the contents of his wheat-stack would have paid off, but now, besides being very much beaten, he had the world to begin again, with a load of debt which this untoward accident would much increase. The man himself knew not to what cause to attribute it; and he was as ignorant who were his enemies; for two of them had blackened their faces, and to the third he was a stranger.
On its being represented to the governor, he gave information of the mischief in the public orders; and at the same time called upon every man who valued the safety of his person, and the security of his property, to use the utmost vigilance in discovering and bringing to justice these daring offenders, that the law might have an opportunity of showing its ability to defend the property of every inhabitant of the colony, by the punishment of those who dared to attack it. He also observed, as a further inducement, that the inhabitants could not fail to see the danger of suffering evils of this kind to pass unnoticed; as the most ignorant must know, that every reduction in the quantity of wheat must be attended with a reduction in the weekly ration; a circumstance by which every man, whether on or off the public store, was affected. The Order concluded with an offer of conditional freedom, and permission to become a settler, to any person, who, being a convict, would come forward and give such information as might serve to convict the offenders before a court of criminal judicature.
Dogs had increased to such an extent as to occasion their becoming the object of a public order, restricting the number kept by each person to no more than were absolutely necessary for the protection of his house and premises. Much mischief had been done by them among the hogs, sheep, goats, and fowls of individuals.
There were at this time in the town of Sydney three schools for the education of children; and this being the period of their breaking-up for the Christmas holidays, the governor was gratified with the sight of 102 clean and decently dressed children, who came with their several masters and mistresses, and in form paid their respects to his excellency, who examined the progress of the elder scholars in writing, specimens of which he kept for the purpose of comparing with those which they should present to him on the following Christmas.