Volume 03: Letters of John Macarthur to his sons, 1815-1832

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desirous to be supplied with my Rams, he should therefore be glad to see me as early as possible to fix a price upon them, and to arrange some plan for their conveyance to the Derwent. I had heard that the Settlers at Van Dieman's Land were willing to give £20 a head for such as might be obtained in good health – but as I had been obliged to make great exertions in my approaches before I could prevail upon the Govr. to write about them, and being fully sensible that my advancement has always been and continues to be, a fearful object at Govt. House and to the creatures who surround it, I told him that I should be satisfied to receive five Guineas pr. head for the Sheep, and to take land at 5s/ pr. acre in payment. – To the price of the Sheep he made no objection (how could he when he knew the Settlers [original crossed out] expected to pay 20 Guineas) but said he thought I valued the Land too low – I replied that he must know it was the current price at which thousands of acres had been selling for some time past. – It availed nothing, and I clearly saw, that I must consent to take Land at 7/6 an acre or give up the plan I had so long and so anxiously been seeking to commence – You will observe this is the first Land in New South Wales that Government have ever received anything for – When I had closed the agreement for the purchase of the Rams, I cautiously suggested to him far from offering umbrage or causing jealousy that they might on their arrival at the Derwent be disposed of to great advantage by publick auction, if Govt. would give a little credit (our

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Settlers never have money) and consent to take provisions in pay-ment, which might be done without any increase of expense to the Crown, as the Provisions so raised would remove the necessity of making purchases to the same extent, – and that, as Government only gave land for the Sheep, the whole of the proceeds (except about 400£ for freight and food in the Passage) would be applicable, to the creation of a fund to be distributed in Prizes amongst the most enterprising Settlers who should endeavour to improve their flocks – That it would also be very appropriate in that way. This proposal was well received, and I was directed to write Colonel Sorell and acquaint him with the arrangement I know not whether Col Sorell borrowed the idea of Prizes from me (for it has been long spoken of by me as a method which ought to be adopted to encourage the breeding of fine woolled Sheep) – but whether it originated with him, or me, matters not, it cannot fail to prove beneficial. No.3 is a copy of the Letter I wrote to Colonel Sorell the next day. The three Hundred Rams are to embark on board a fine Ship in two days, and I sincerely trust they will safely reach their destination – The Commissioner had been always acquainted with my intentions, and as soon as I had completed the bargaining with the Govt. I waited upon the Commissioner and told him the practicalities.

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he was so much satisfied with what had been done, and with my plan for raising funds to encourage the Settlers to proceed that I thought it a good time to enter upon a discussion, that I had before touched upon, – the necessity of adopting some plan for making the breed of Merino Sheep universal throughout the Colony – I dignified my willingness to undertake the management and to reserve the whole of the Male Sheep of my Flocks to distribute amongst the proprietors of Sheep, taking land in exchange at any fair price that might be determined upon. – The only condition that I insisted upon was, that Govt. should give me the exclusive use of 50,000 Acres to pasture my Flocks upon – for the following reasons: – That mine is the only Flock in the Colony from which pure Merino Rams can be obtained – that to give the Merino Race every advantage of constitution and size it is necessary they should enjoy a large range of Pasturage, and be secured against all hazard of intermixture with the coarse woolled Flocks, which would be sent to graze in the vicinity of mine (with a view of exchanging by bribing the Shepherds or mixing with my Rams, and consequently mixing their coarse woolled Rams with my fine woolled Ewes to the

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certain destruction of the whole undertaking, the moment it should be known that my sheep were sent to the common Field to Pasture - that it was well known the sole cause of my flocks having remained pure was their having been strictly confined to my own enclosed grounds. - which of course I could continue to do upon a limited scale, but not to an extent to supply a hundredth part of the growing demands of the Colony for Merino Rams. [Following heavily crossed out]

That such an establishment would [crossed out] serve an abundant supply of fine woolled rams, which Govt. might distribute at their pleasure without a shilling of cost, in any case, or any other equivalent than the grant of a certain proportion of such Lands, in exchange for the Rams they might require, as they now bestowed gratis, and with no other object than the production of Corn and Cattle, from which they are obliged to pay by Bills on the English Treasury. These bring no inducement to the Settler to grow either Corn or Cattle beyond what he wanted for his own support unless

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Govt. wore the purchases of the surplus. - That by stocking the Country with fine woolled Sheep, a most valuable export would be obtained - the returns of which would increase the demand for labour and gradually prepare the Colonists to depend upon their own exertions, and in time enable them altogether to provide for their own expenditure - That by granting me an exclusive Pasturage to the extent I asked. Compleat scoring would be had, for the Merino Race of sheep being preserved pure - , for their being increased - and improved to the greatest degree of which they are capable - and for their offspring being diffused throughout all the present coarse woolled Sheep in the Colony. That a compleat Check would be given to fraudulent speculators, who frequently sell coarse bred Sheep, showing a little cross of the Merino, the offspring of which is still coarse and the ignorant Farmer, who purchases disheartened from pursuing a business in which he finds - "he has no luck" - such is the almost universal excuse from ignorance - or neglect - That if Government took

Last edit 11 months ago by Portia
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