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

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You will easily imagine how much it must have profited me, that you had succeeded in proving for the Colony almost all the indulgences that can be central to it in its present state, and at your success in forming a friendly connexion in Downing Street. You cannot cultivate that too assiduously – with respect to the appointment of Colonial Agent it must not be thought of until we are entirely regenerated by the change which we hope from Mr Bigges Mission – In our present state Governor Macquarie's distinguished Convict friends are the majority and their voices perpetuate in every publick question – they depend altogether upon the continuance of the Govt. expenditure, and when that becomes heavily diminished they will be involved together in a mass of ruin and bankruptcy. They abase and demean against the organs of such a change, whenever it does take place, and take place it must (unless it be intended the Colony shall absent millions instead of hundreds of thousands of the publick wealth) will of course be outrageous – What then I ask would be the situation if an Agent to such constituents – do what he might, he would be blamed for the miscarriage of all their abased and impracticable requests, and after all his labour be ignominiously discharged their service, without a guinea of recompense – You have no idea of these people my Dear John, nor have I any desire you should – The only places to acquire it out of this Colony, are St Giles, and the Flash Houses to which the Gentlemen of the fancy Clubs retreat – Good God! what labors has the new Governor, wherever he may be to perform. I maintain, it would be easier to found five Colonies than to reform this – He must have unlimited Authority, with power to cleanse out the Aegean Stables –

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Dr Bowman has performd miracles already at the Hospital considering that he is entirely unsupported (except by the remittance he receives from the Commission) - At Government House - he is an object of aversion, which they take little pains to conceal - Between ourselves the Law Department is a Compleat Pest but I am at present in their hands and must preserve a prudent silence. It was not inaptly remarked by a shrewd man "When these people came here, they represented themselves as the Pillars of the Colony - I think they prove Catterpillars" - It is a most improper thing to allow judges Fears - some shocking cases, have I hear been laid before Mr Bigge, which will I hope, altho he is a Lawyer, make a due impression - if they are permitted to proceed they will swallow up the Colony - for such is the litigious spirit of the convict gentry you cannot avoid Law, and when you get into the hands of this "second priesthood" you are at Sea without compass or Rudder - I have sent you a Letter brought to me in the Admiral Cockburn from a House in London - I have replied to them civilly, and told them you would be ready to attend to any preparation they might have to make altho not to alter the present plan of selling the wool without consulting me. - I adopted this as a civil mode of getting rid of their proposal, tho there can be no harm in hearing what they have to say.

I shall write to Lt. Govr. Sorell to take measures to obtain a Petition in due time from the Letters at

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van Dieman's Land for a continuance of the exemption from Duty on Wool, and I shall take the necessary steps to procure another here signed by the respect-able people, not Sir John Jamesons ragtag and bobtail, – The one from the Derwent will have great weight as they have so large a number of Sheep (170-000) and all very coarse woolled – consequently any duty would operate upon them as a total prohibition – The Petition shall be forwarded to you if I can so manage it – we look to hear of the success of your Oil exemption Act –

I observe what you say of the probability of Mr Bigges being offered the Government, I do not know a fitter man, or so fit, when it is considered that he will have the advantage of so much sound information of the real state of things – But I do not think he would accept it unless it were made more lucrative than it is at present that is to say by all honorable means – nor am I quite sure that he would not be appalled by the difficulties of the task – difficulties that, as I before said, are increasing every hour – What can Government be thinking of! do not the increasing expenses alarm them? – If that do not – the increasing confusion vice and immorality of all the Settlements ought – But they will hear enough of this from Mr Bigge when he makes his report.

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I find James has told you of the Governor's order respecting the wild Cattle - it was not my intention to speak of it on this occasion - nothing could be more ungentlemanly and faithless - first he cajoled me out of my plan - approved of it and presumed to leave its execution to me - then made some absurd alterations of his own and employed another tactic without saying a word to me - the truth is - he attached no value to consistency or his word - Your Mother has mentioned the melancholy fate of the poor young man, he died in our house at the Cow Pastures, an event that has inexpressibly distressed us all, for he was a most deserving young person -

I must beg you to make an apology to Mr Young for not writing to him on this occasion, for I am really too unwell to write to anyone, and it is with exceeding great difficulty that I have contrived to scrawl these unconnected Sheets to you - Tell him that I have received his accounts and Invoices up to the 30th of last June, and all satisfactory and I believe correct - His last Letter was dated - 19th July, and contained a most melancholy statement of herding affairs and the Wool Market in particular but I hope times had mended when the Consignment by the Surry arrived, or at least that its improved condition and quality would have been compensate for the fall in prices - we shall expect to hear in June of its arrival

[Letter ends here]

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My dear John,

Your Brother went to Sydney this morning to despatch our Letters by the Brighton as she sails to morrow morning, and having some business to transact at the Colonial Secretary's Office he learnt a most extraordi -nary piece of intelligence relating to the proceeding in the vexatious Law Suit with which I have been for long harrassed which occasioned him to return immediately to me. Enclosed is a minute of what he heard. I shall therefore only shortly state, that Major Goulburn's Chief Clerk told him, that Mr Campbell had learned less than two months since under the Deal of the Colony and the attestation of the Secretary, and that he believed Mr Campbell had transmitted the Papers to an agent in England with instructions to prosecute the appeal before the Higher Council. You may judge my astonishment, when I tell you that I have never received notice of any appeal having been given in, or that the required Securities

Last edit 9 months ago by Portia
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