Besides the Criminal court, there is an inferior one composed of the Judge Advocate, and one or more justices of the peace, for the trial of small misdemeanours. This court is likewise empowered to decide all law suits, and its verdict is final, except where the sum in dispute amounts to more than three hundred pounds, in which case an appeal to England can be made from its decree. Should necessity warrant it, an Admiralty court, of which Lieutenant Governor Ross is judge, can also be summoned, for the trial of offences committed on the high seas.
From being unwilling to break the thread of my narrative, I omitted to note in its proper place the sailing of the ‘Supply’, Lieut. Ball, on the 15th of the month, for Norfolk Island, which the Governor had instructions from the ministry to take possession of. Lieut. King of the Sirius was sent as superintendent and commandant of this place, and carried with him a surgeon, a midshipman, a sawyer, a weaver, two marines, and sixteen convicts, of whom six were women. He was also supplied with a certain number of live animals to stock the island, besides garden seeds, grain, and other requisites.
A Description of the Natives of New South Wales, and our Transactions with them.
I doubt not my readers will be as glad as I feel myself, to conclude the dull detail of the last chapter. If they please, they may turn from the subtle intricacies of the law, to contemplate the simple, undisguised workings of nature, in her most artless colouring.
I have already said, we had been but very few days at Port Jackson, when an alteration in the behaviour of the natives was perceptible; and I wish I could add, that a longer residence in their neighbourhood had introduced a greater degree of cordiality and intermixture between the old, and new, lords of the soil, than at the day on which this publication is dated subsists.
From their easy reception of us in the beginning, many were induced to call in question the accounts which Mr. Cook had given of this people. That celebrated navigator, we were willing believe, had somehow by his conduct offended them, which prevented the intercourse that would otherwise have taken place. The result, however, of our repeated endeavours to induce them to come among us has been such as to confirm me in an opinion, that they either fear or despise us too much, to be anxious for a closer connection. And I beg leave at once, to apprize the reader, that all I can here, or in any future part of this work, relate with fidelity of the natives of New South Wales, must be made up of detached observations, taken at different times, and not from a regular series of knowledge of the customs and manners of a people, with whom opportunities of communication are so scarce, as to have been seldom obtained.