The governor having been informed, by some of the natives who dwelt in the neighbourhood of the cow pasture plains, that several of the wild cattle had been killed, and imagining this mischief to have been done by some of the Irish convicts (who were nearly as wild themselves as the cattle), a party of the military, with Hacking, a man well acquainted with that part of the country, was sent out with orders to surprise, and if possible to secure them. After being absent some days, they returned and reported, that, having searched the country round, no traces were seen of the cattle in any of the places where they had been accustomed to range, nor did they meet with any white people; but the natives persisted in asserting their having seen some of them among them, and added that some of the calves had been run down by them. This was not impossible; and the idea was somewhat strengthened, by their finding some short spears pointed with the leg bone of the kangaroo, which were supposed to be designed for stabbing the calves when caught. Although it was the opinion of these people, that the cattle had quitted the part of the country in which they had been so long known to graze, there was yet much reason to believe that this was not the case; for, on visiting them, they were not always to be found in one spot.
It will be sufficient to state the following circumstance, to show the unpleasant and distressing situation of the principal officer of the settlement, by the construction that was put on his endeavours to rectify every abuse that the inhabitants might labour under.
An infamous and seditious anonymous paper was dropped in the streets, in which the governor and every officer in the colony were most scurrilously abused and libelled, and accused of practising extortions in the way of trade. This would not have been misplaced, had the abuse been confined to the description of persons who really deserved it, and truth had been attended to, which would have afforded them ample materials. But, although it must have been evident to every one who had sense to see it, that the governor, from the hour of his arrival, had used his utmost endeavours to put an end to the practice of so much imposition; yet this libeller inferred, from his not succeeding, that he was become one in the number of retail traders who disgraced the settlement.
A reward was immediately offered for the discovery of the offender; but, as might have been expected, without success.
The three persons who had been sent out with the Irishmen, that were so desirous of discovering a country wherein they might live more at their ease, returned on the 9th, so much exhausted with fatigue that two of them were scarcely able to move when they arrived. Wilson, who was the third, having been longer in the habit of travelling through the woods, kept up their spirits, and thereby enabled them to reach Prospect Hill about sunset; where, from long abstinence, having