Their Ration Of Provisions,
Except In Being Debarred From An Allowance Of Spirits, Was Equal To That
Which The Marines Received.
Under these circumstances I record with pleasure,
that they behaved better than had been predicted of them - to have expected
sudden and complete reformation of conduct, were romantic and chimerical.
Our cultivation of the land was yet in its infancy. We had hitherto tried
only the country contiguous to Sydney. Here the governor had established
a government-farm; at the head of which a competent person of his own household
was placed, with convicts to work under him. Almost the whole of the officers
likewise accepted of small tracts of ground, for the purpose of raising grain
and vegetables: but experience proved to us, that the soil would produce
neither without manure; and as this was not to be procured, our vigour
soon slackened; and most of the farms (among which was the one belonging
to government) were successively abandoned.
With the natives we were very little more acquainted than on our arrival
in the country. Our intercourse with them was neither frequent or cordial.
They seemed studiously to avoid us, either from fear, jealousy, or hatred.
When they met with unarmed stragglers, they sometimes killed, and sometimes
wounded them. I confess that, in common with many others, I was inclined
to attribute this conduct, to a spirit of malignant levity. But a farther
acquaintance with them, founded on several instances of their humanity
and generosity, which shall be noticed in their proper places, has entirely
reversed my opinion; and led me to conclude, that the unprovoked outrages
committed upon them, by unprincipled individuals among us, caused the evils
we had experienced.
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