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Title:      Some Passages in the History of Van Diemen's Land
Author:     Sir John Franklin
eBook No.:  0500101.txt
Edition:    1
Language:   English
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Date first posted:          January 2005
Date most recently updated: January 2005

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Title:      Some Passages in the History of Van Diemen's Land
Author:     Sir John Franklin








Narrative of Some Passages in the History of Van Diemen's Land, During
the last three years of Sir John Franklin's Administration of its
Government is Sir John Franklin's account of the dispute with his former
Colonial Secretary, John Montagu.

As a naval officer Franklin had been used to loyalty from his
subordinates. In Van Diemen's Land he did not receive this and moreover
upon his recall to London he found Downing Street apparently more willing
to believe Montagu. It was an episode he wanted to forget yet the wound
smarted and, because silence might be misconstrued, he had to vindicate
himself, at least to his friends, before he set out on that last Arctic
voyage. Whatever official opinion might be they must know the truth. He
was a fair man so the Narrative is presented with surprisingly little
rancour or prejudice.

The edition was small and known copies bear an inscription that each was
given to the recipient 'By Order of Sir John Franklin'. It has long since
become an important collector's item both as a personal record of an
important passage in Tasmania's history and as the last plea of a man
whose tragic death gained him a sure place among British heroes.

G.T. Stilwell,
Librarian of Special Collections,
State Library of Tasmania.

Hobart, June 1967.



The Facsimile edition on which this Ebook is based was photographed by
the printing company from an original copy in the Allport Library and
Museum of Fine Arts, Hobart, with the kind permission of the Allport
Bequest Management Committee of the Tasmanian Library Board.

Negatives were prepared by the printers and retouching was carried out to
eliminate extraneous marks. Contact positives were made from the
negatives, offset printing plates made of the facsimile pages, and the
modern text and the whole book printed on an offset lithographic press.

The Publisher is indebted to the Tasmanian Library Board for their
permission to reproduce the original and to Mr. Geoffrey Stilwell,
Librarian of Special Collections for the State Library of Tasmania, for
the Introduction and his valued assistance in the preparation of this



The following pages have been written chiefly for my friends in Van
Diemen's Land in order not to leave them in ignorance of the steps which
I have taken to vindicate the honour of my late office, and my character
as their Governor, from ex-parte representations on points on which, so
long as I exercised the functions of government, I was precluded from
offering any explanations.

Misrepresentations therefore long remained to a great degree
uncontradicted by myself and unrefuted by my friends, not from want of
goodwill on their part but from want of a sufficient knowledge of all the

The especial reference I have made to Van Diemen's Land will account for
much minuteness and many circumstantial details which may seem somewhat
tedious and obscure to those of my readers less informed and less
interested in local matters than my Tasmanian friends. But there is not a
single observation, however trivial, which is not intended to meet some
special point on which studious misrepresentation has either been made or
may be anticipated.

I have ventured on no statements which I cannot prove, though I have
refrained in many instances from bringing the proof forward, either from
consideration to individuals whose interests might be compromised, or
from the regard which I consider due to the confidence of social

A few words may be necessary to account for the delay in the appearance
of the pamphlet. When all hope of any satisfactory adjustment of my
differences with the Colonial Office was at an end, and the only
alternative left me was a resort to the present step, circumstances of
too private a nature to enter into here, unavoidably prevented its

The work most reluctantly begun has occupied more time than I had
anticipated. It was very far from being finished when the preparations
for the Arctic expedition called off my thoughts and time to other duties
more congenial to my habits, and still more imperative; and thus it has
happened that, to my extreme vexation and regret, I find the day of my
departure at hand without the satisfaction I had expected of seeing my
pamphlet out of the press. This delay has however given me the advantage
of receiving from Van Diemen's Land the documents contained in the
Postscript. I have had this part of the work printed off and have
enclosed a copy to the Secretary of State for the Colonies.

In executing a task which has been exceedingly painful to me and
altogether foreign to my tastes and habits, I trust it will be found that
I have studiously avoided the introduction of matter inculpating others
except where it could not be avoided without destroying the integrity of
my narrative, or where it was required in justice to myself.

I have disclaimed throughout, and do again disclaim, the existence of any
vindictive feelings either towards the individual, my differences with
whom have laid the foundation of my present act of self-defence, or
towards any others, and I close my work under circumstances which will
give to this assurance a depth and a seriousness to which words so easily
uttered may not always be strictly entitled.

With respect to the Minister whose name I have been compelled to bring
forward so frequently in the following pages I trust it will be found
that I have not been altogether unmindful of my late official
subordination to him, nor of the respect which I consider due from a
commissioned officer of Her Majesty's service to a member of the ministry
under which he has the honour to serve.

John Franklin.

40 Lower Brook Street, 15th May, 1845.




Downing Street, 13th September, 1842.

Number 2, 27th January, 1842.
Number 3, 8th February, 1842.
Number 4, 9th February, 1842.
Number 7, 18th February, 1842.
Number 9, 18th February, 1842.
Number 14, 22nd February, 1842.
Number 18, 26th February, 1842.
Number 19, 1st March, 1842.
Number 33, 5th March, 1842.


I have received the series of Despatches enumerated above, reporting the
various occurrences which led to the suspension from office of Mr.
Montagu, the Colonial Secretary of Van Diemen's Land, and to the arrival
of that gentleman in this country.

This voluminous mass of papers has occupied much of my time, and has
engaged my deliberate attention. In proceeding to announce to you the
decision at which I have arrived I shall not attempt to enter with any
minuteness into the various details and circumstances of the transactions
to which they refer. Unfortunately the merits of the question are already
so much darkened by the redundancy of the discussions in which it has
been involved that any addition to their length or number would rather
increase than dissipate the obscurity. I shall therefore confine myself
to a brief recapitulation of the charges preferred against Mr. Montagu,
and to a statement of the conclusions which I have adopted respecting
each of them.

1. You have represented in substance (I purposely abstain from the
quotation of the pages over which the complaint is spread) that Mr.
Montagu had acquired an influence and authority in the administration of
the affairs of your Government far exceeding that which properly belonged
to his office; that this influence was maintained by means which, if not
culpable, were at least objectionable and was used in such a manner as to
render his continued employment incompatible with the freedom and
independence of action which the Lieutenant-Governor ought to maintain.

I am not disposed to controvert but rather to adopt your opinion that
various circumstances had concurred to place in the hands of Mr. Montagu
a degree of personal authority which, if not balanced by great energy and
decision in his immediate superior, would probably tend to invert the
relations which ought to subsist between them. But I find no reason to
impute to Mr. Montagu the blame of having acquired this power by any
unworthy means or dishonest arts; or of having employed it for any
sinister purpose, or in an unbecoming spirit.

2. It is represented that when you overruled Mr. Montagu's advice in the
case of Dr. Coverdale Mr. Montagu manifested his discontent by words and
by a course of conduct unbefitting his position and yours,
disrespectfully intimating that the zeal which he had till then exhibited
in the performance of his duty would be relaxed, and carrying that
intimation into effect under such circumstances as to justify the belief
that it was his design to embarrass you by suddenly exposing you to what
he esteemed insuperable difficulties.

I am not able entirely to acquit Mr. Montagu of having, in reference to
Dr. Coverdale's case, employed some language which you not unnaturally
regarded as a menace, or of having ceased to render you his efficient
services in the same cordial and zealous spirit which till then he had
been accustomed to evince towards you. It may be difficult to condemn a
public servant who faithfully and ably performs whatever lies within the
strict range of his duty for not advancing further and yielding the aid
which public spirit would prompt, or which a stronger personal regard for
his superior would suggest. But the abrupt abandonment of a cordial
cooperation for a service confined within the exact limits of positive
duty may be the subject of a legitimate reproach, and from that reproach
Mr. Montagu is not, I think, altogether to be exempted.

3. Mr. Montagu is charged with having made an improper use, in the course
of these proceedings, of the name of a lady the most intimately allied to

I pass as rapidly as possible from such a topic, confining myself to the
single remark that the imputation does not appear to me to be

4. The next ground of accusation is Mr. Montagu's neglect to take proper
notice of articles insulting to yourself and your family which appeared
in a newspaper established under his auspices and for which he had
obtained your patronage, and his having by his conduct given countenance
to the opinion that he had some personal connection with these injurious

After fully weighing every part of this case I entirely acquit Mr.
Montagu of all connection with the offensive articles in question, or
with the authors of them, or of having done anything to promote such
publications, or having omitted to do anything which, from his position
in reference to yourself and your Government, might reasonably have been
expected of him to prevent and discourage them.

5. You complain of the language addressed by Mr. Montagu to your private
secretary and to yourself on the subject of these newspaper paragraphs as
having been wanting in the respect which it was his duty to observe
towards you, and as having in one instance conveyed an insulting
imputation on your credibility.

On this part of the case also I think that Mr. Montagu is entitled to be
entirely acquitted of blame. He did indeed make use of an inadvertent
expression in one of his letters to you, but the frankness and
earnestness with which the error was acknowledged, and with which your
forgiveness was solicited, seem to me to have been an ample atonement for
an unfortunate selection of words; for such and not any intentional
insult was the real character of the offence.

6. It is imputed to Mr. Montagu that he made an improper appeal against
your suspension of him to the public at large through the local
newspapers at the very moment when he was contemplating a return to this
country to prefer his appeal to myself.

I think that he has fully exculpated himself from this accusation.

Finally you represent that Mr. Montagu authorised the expenditure of
large sums of public money in erecting the tower and spire of a church
not merely without your authority but with a studious intention of
keeping you in the dark on the subject.

Here again I think that Mr. Montagu is entitled to be completely absolved
of the fault imputed to him. He had no notice of the charge before
leaving Van Diemen's Land but he has since repelled it to my entire

The result of my consideration of the whole subject is, as you will see,
to relieve Mr. Montagu from every censure which impugns the integrity or
the propriety of his conduct, while I am compelled to admit that the
circumstances of the case are such as to render his restoration to his
office in Van Diemen's Land highly inexpedient. It was therefore
gratifying to me to have it in my power to offer him an equivalent which,
while it would mark my undiminished confidence in his disposition and
ability to render effective public service, would direct his talents to a
field of labour in which they could be exerted without the inconvenience
which must attend his resumption of his duties as Colonial Secretary at
Van Diemen's Land.

I offered for his acceptance the vacant office of Colonial Secretary at
the Cape of Good Hope and he has cheerfully accepted it. It cannot be too
distinctly understood that Mr. Montagu retires from the situation he has
so long filled with his public and personal character unimpaired and with
his hold on the respect and confidence of Her Majesty's Government

Mr. Bicheno has been appointed to succeed Mr. Montagu at Van Diemen's
Land, and his arrival may be expected shortly after your receipt of this

I am not aware it could answer any useful purpose to enter more fully
into the merits of this protracted controversy. But, reluctant as I am to
employ a single expression which is likely to be unwelcome to you, I am
compelled to add that your proceedings in this case of Mr. Montagu do not
appear to me to have been well-judged, and that your suspension of him
from office is not, in my opinion, sufficiently vindicated.

I have the honour to be, Sir,

Your most obedient humble servant,


To Sir John Franklin, etc.


The above document is my text for the observations contained in the
following pages, and my apology for giving them circulation. The Despatch
in question, addressed by the Secretary of State for the Colonies to
myself, was made by his lordship to answer a double purpose. It not only
served for the expression of his judgment to myself, but was officially
transmitted to the late Colonial Secretary of Van Diemen's Land as the
official answer to that gentleman's defence; and he received no other.
Hence its circulation and publication in Van Diemen's Land whilst I was
still administering the functions of government, and its subsequent
reappearance in a London newspaper at a period preceding by a short
interval my return to England.

A few months after the arrival and circulation in Van Diemen's Land of
this Despatch a key to it and commentary was sent by Mr. Montagu to the
colony in the form of a libellous manuscript, reflecting upon my
character and honour and on that of Lady Franklin, and purporting to be
minutes of conversations which Mr. Montagu had with Lord Stanley BEFORE
THE DESPATCH WAS WRITTEN; or the substance of statements made verbally to
his lordship by Mr. Montagu in the interviews with which he was honoured
by his lordship in Downing Street.

The manuscript was extensively circulated in this country and in Van
Diemen's Land, and the fact of such conversations having taken place has
not been repudiated by Lord Stanley, nor has Mr. Montagu's conduct been
disapproved of.

Under these circumstances the reserve which my position imposed upon me
whilst I still administered the Government of the Colony, and which
afterwards both duty and policy forbade me to violate so long as I had
any hope of redress or counteraction from Lord Stanley, seems to me no
longer possible. It is not without infinite pain and reluctance that I
adopt the only alternative which remains to me.

My administration of the Government of Van Diemen's Land extended to a
period of somewhat more than six years and a half, and the services of
Mr. Montagu under it as Colonial Secretary occupied somewhat less than
three years of that period. It is to the first two years, before he went
on leave of absence to England, that the observations I am first about to
make apply.


On arriving in the colony, fully aware of the existence of strong party
feeling which distracted it, and to which repeated allusions were made in
the addresses with which I was presented, aware too that much was
expected from me in counteraction of the policy of the late
administration, and that it was my duty to be on my guard against the
errors into which any hasty judgment on this head might easily lead a man
of my inexperience in colonial government, I determined not to disturb
the policy of my predecessor without necessity, yet to lose no time in
learning and judging for myself.

The administration of Sir George Arthur had met with His Majesty's
approbation. Though the Government of Van Diemen's Land had not been to
him a bed of roses, yet every appeal against his acts and measures in
Downing Street had signally failed. It was the wisdom of the Colonial
Office in that day, so long as a governor was retained in office, to
support him; and that Sir George Arthur's policy had claims to recommend
itself to my imitation could scarcely be doubted, not only from this test
of its merit, but also from the unusual length of time he had been
retained in the Government. This protracted administration, extending to
double the usual period, had come in aid of other causes to give to my
predecessor a degree of influence and power unknown to any other governor
under the crown.*

(*Footnote. Except perhaps the similarly-situated Governor of New South

I would not be understood to cast the slightest imputation on the
exercise, by my distinguished predecessor, of his peculiar privileges,
when I assert that the power which the head of the Government then
possessed to grant crown lands and to assign unlimited supplies of
convict labour was sufficient to enable him to make or to mar the
fortunes of any individual under his Government.

This unbounded patronage did not descend to me. I succeeded however to
the inheritance of many a troublesome case consequent upon the cessation
of the free-grant system, and many an importunate appeal for the
reconsideration of former judgments; and in these the opinions of my
predecessor and the advice of those of his officers who were best
acquainted with the subject had necessarily to be consulted.

A new Governor on entering into office does not, like a new prime
minister, form his own cabinet; he works with the instruments he finds
around him and who for a time have a great advantage over him from their
superior local knowledge and experience.

It is not to be wondered at that I found the chief places of influence
and emolument in Van Diemen's Land filled by the relatives and friends of
the late Lieutenant-Governor. They formed a compact and strong body of
connections and adherents bound to their late chief by the ties of
obligation and gratitude, and by that esprit de corps which ever exists
where opposition is active and in any degree prevailing.

The office of Chief Police Magistrate, which in a penal colony and under
the then existing system of convict management was one of great
importance, was occupied by Mr. Forster; and the still more influential
office of Colonial Secretary, through whom all correspondence between the
Governor and the departments of Government, or between him and the
colonists, is carried on, was filled by Mr. Montagu. These gentleman had
married two sisters, nieces of Sir George Arthur, and owed entirely to
him their occupation of offices which are almost invariably in the
present day filled from home. They were by virtue of their offices
members of the Legislative and Executive Councils, and in both, but
especially in the Executive Council which consists of only six
individuals, their influence was very generally felt.

These gentleman had been particularly recommended to me, together with
several other members of his government, by my predecessor. I found them
possessed of much talent for business and of great local knowledge. Mr.
Montagu, of whom I have chiefly now to speak, was thoroughly acquainted
with the affairs and resources of the colony, with the interests and
private affairs of individuals, and with the technical machinery of
government. He had, during a residence of twelve years in the colony,
risen through the successive offices of Private Secretary and Clerk of
the Councils to those of Treasurer and Colonial Secretary, the last two
in consequence of the suspension by my predecessor of the officers
holding those appointments.*

(*Footnote. This fact is stated to show to those who after reading Lord
Stanley's Despatch might doubt the correctness of the fact that the
suspension by the Governor even of a Colonial Secretary is not an event
of unexampled occurrence.)

Mr. Montagu had also another source of influence. This was his
money-agencies in connection with the Derwent Bank, a most influential
establishment which, at a later period than that of which I am speaking,
and when few estates were not more or less encumbered, held nearly
three-fourths of the mortgages in the colony. Though his official
situation in the colony prevented Mr. Montagu from being a Director of
the Bank yet he represented in it, for himself and others, stock to a
very large amount, and it was well understood in the colony that the
Manager of the Bank, Mr. Swanston, conferred with him on every important
occasion, and that the Bank and the Colonial Secretary reflected and
augmented each other's influence. The people of Van Diemen's Land are
well aware that for years the Derwent Bank has held half the colony in
its thraldom.

Having mentioned two leading members of that family compact or party by
which I found myself surrounded and who, from their official situations,
were brought into daily and close communication with me, it is not
necessary to go at present into further details. The existence of such a
party was known to the whole colony; it was recognised by name, in
conversation, and in the periodical press; nor was its designation
altogether a stranger to the newspapers of England.

I could not but be aware that a party, so strongly bound by ties of
relationship and of gratitude to my predecessor and who were powerful
instruments in carrying out his measures, might, should a change of
policy become necessary, or should any views of my own militate strongly
against its prejudices or partialities, become extremely difficult to

At an early period of my government it was not difficult for me to
perceive that I was more effectively supported by Mr. Montagu in any
measure which carried out the views of the late Lieutenant-Governor than
in the efforts I made to conciliate parties hitherto adverse or obnoxious
to the government; but for these indications I made large allowance in
consideration of his long service under Sir George Arthur, whose policy
and feelings he had been trained to share, and they were not of a nature
to lead to any misunderstanding between us.

Mr. Montagu was zealous in business, extremely active and assiduous, and
above all he strove to render himself necessary to me, an object which
was much favoured by some circumstances connected with my then private
secretary, and which made it exceedingly difficult for me to cooperate
with equal cordiality with both parties.

I have ever felt myself bound to the utmost of my power to support the
officers who served under me, and Mr. Montagu evinced his confidence in
this disposition when, on occasion of his being attacked by a newspaper
on some point on which he felt very sensitive, he requested and received
my contradictory testimony for transmission to the Secretary of State.
And of Mr. Forster I may say that he has repeatedly and candidly
acknowledged to me that whatever popularity he possessed in the colony
began with my administration and continued to increase with it.

It may be gathered from all these circumstances that I appeared,
especially in the eyes of those who were opposed to the late
administration, to identify myself with it, an impression which was I
believe willingly fostered by Mr. Montagu and Mr. Forster, since it added
to their personal influence whilst it enabled them to attribute to some
sinister secret influence all those cases in which the assertion of my
will was in known opposition to their wishes. I am now throwing the light
of after-knowledge and experience on a period in which Mr. Montagu
possessed my almost unlimited confidence.

In the first session of the Legislative Council I threw the doors of the
council-room open to the public, having obtained in England the sanction
of the Secretary of State to a measure which I felt required due
deliberation, as it would almost inevitably involve the adoption of a
similar measure in the other Australian colonies; and on the same
occasion I took both pride and pleasure in bringing forward, in my
Address to the Council, the honourable testimony borne to Sir G. Arthur
in reply to a despatch which he had addressed to Lord Glenelg on his
recall, and which was contained in a despatch addressed to myself.

The bringing publicly forward this eulogium of my predecessor, instead of
quietly depositing it in the archives of my office, was condemned by some
as a gratuitous intrusion of a topic not alike acceptable to all, but by,
as I conceive, a more right-minded portion of the community it was
regarded with approbation. Sir G. Arthur's relatives thanked me for the
tribute paid to their late Governor, and that officer himself afterwards
conveyed to me, in terms highly flattering to me and honourable to
himself, his acknowledgments, not only for this but for the general
consideration evinced towards him in my early conduct of affairs.

Before the next session of the Legislative Council I had an opportunity
of infusing into it a portion of the independent and liberal sentiments
of the community by nominating to a vacant seat a gentleman of great
wealth and of superior talents, now deceased, but whose politics were
conscientiously opposed to the late Lieutenant-Governor; and in my
subsequent appointments it was equally my object to represent as much as
possible the interests and sentiments of all the respectable classes of
society, and to counteract the too prevailing influence of one family and
its partisans.

To every succeeding member of council of whom I had the nomination I
distinctly made known the perfectly independent tenure by which he held
his seat; and all will bear witness that, with whatever tenacity I may
have urged some measures of my government which I deemed necessary for
the public welfare, I have ever respected that independence, and that
they have not been the less honoured by me in social life because of an
occasional opposition which tended to frustrate my purposes. By these and
similar means party-spirit became less virulent, and a beneficial change
was wrought in the aspect of society.

After a period of about two years Mr. Montagu obtained from me leave of
absence to visit England with his family. It was on some accounts a very
inconvenient period for making changes in his department, and I would
willingly have induced him to defer his departure; but Mr. Montagu gave
me family reasons of such urgency that they more than balanced in his
representation the retention of his office, if the alternative were

In granting Mr. Montagu's request I saw that his presence in England
might be of infinite advantage to the colony if he had legitimate access
to the Colonial Office and had means of making available his knowledge
and experience in colonial affairs, and especially on the subjects of
emigration and convict discipline. The latter was in a state of
transition; the old system of assignment being under sentence of
condemnation, whilst nothing very definite was yet promulgated as to what
should take its place. My despatches on this subject were to go home in
the same ship with Mr. Montagu, and I offered them to his perusal
beforehand that he might be the better prepared if he saw occasion to
explain and support the views they contained.

Mr. Montagu declined reading them at the time on the ground of the great
pressure of official business and of his personal affairs, but accepted
permission to read them on his voyage. I furnished him also with strong
recommendatory letters to the Secretary of State for the Colonies and to
one or two subordinate members of the Colonial Office, besides many
others to private friends.

The friendship I had always felt for Mr. Montagu seemed, as is usual in
such cases, to augment with the opportunity thus afforded me of obliging
him, and this feeling was further confirmed by the intimacy which arose
between him and the members of my family when he was enabled before his
departure for England, having disposed of his own residence, to become
with his family my guest, for a short period, at Government House. It was
either at this, or at a nearly identical period, that he expressed to me
his regret at not having before become intimately acquainted with Lady
Franklin, accompanying this observation with other remarks, which proved
or appeared to prove that that lady had won his entire confidence and
esteem; and he gave a farther proof of this by hoping that she would
correspond with Mrs. Montagu during absence, and by requesting for
himself that she would favour him with her written notes on those
subjects on which they had conversed, and which he "felt sure he could
make use of in England with great benefit."*

(*Footnote. These terms are used by Mrs. Montagu in a note (still in Lady
Franklin's possession) which she wrote at Mr. Montagu's request to remind
Lady Franklin of his wishes on this subject.)

The subjects chiefly alluded to were the means of education in the colony
and the moral tendencies of the contemplated changes in convict
discipline, a subject on which Mrs. Fry had had much conversation with
Lady Franklin previous to my departure from England, and on which
(particularly on the condition of female convicts) she had requested Lady
Franklin's communications.

It will be presently seen why I make these apparently trivial and
domestic revelations.

There were circumstances attending the temporary vacation by Mr. Montagu
of his office and my choice of Mr. Forster, whom he urgently recommended
to me as his locum tenens, on which I do not intend here to dwell;
suffice it to say that the appointment of Mr. Forster, which was chiefly
grounded on the solemn assurance given me by Mr. Montagu* that he would
certainly return to the colony, alienated from me the attachment and
deprived me of the zealous and able services of another officer of my
government, who conceived he had better claims than Mr. Montagu's
brother-in-law to the vacated office, while the preference did not, as it
will afterwards appear, secure to me the fidelity of him at whose earnest
solicitation I made the decision.

(*Footnote. I gave to the Secretary of State this solemn assurance of Mr.
Montagu as one of my reasons for the appointment of Mr. Forster.)

Those who knew Mr. Montagu best were aware before he left Van Diemen's
Land that he never intended to return unless he failed in other objects
of ambition which occupied his thoughts and efforts during his residence
in England, and this fact could not but become apparent to me when I
received announcements the most positive from himself of his return,
which were in direct contradiction to the communications made at the same
time to his correspondent in the colony Mr. Forster, who was however
authorised to inform me that there was little or no probability of the
event anticipated. Letters by the same ship and bearing the same date
brought these contradictory statements of which I will say no more than
that, however desirable Mr. Montagu might have felt it to keep up his
credit and influence in the colony by the announcement of his return, in
case such an event should at last take place, the mode by which he
attempted to effect it was not exactly that which might have been
expected from him.

It was apparently in a similar spirit that Mr. Montagu withheld from me
while in England the result of his communication at the Colonial Office
which he transmitted freely however to Mr. Forster, from whom alone I
derived such meagre portions of information on subjects immediately
affecting the interests of the colony as were either pointed out by Mr.
Montagu himself for communication, or were the result of Mr. Forster's
discretion. Some clue to this want of confidence was disclosed when the
advice tendered by Mr. Montagu to the Secretary of State on the changes
in contemplation in the convict system appeared in some points to differ
considerably from my own. Mr. Montagu alleged however as a reason for his
reserve an illness from which he had been informed I was suffering in Van
Diemen's Land. It is strange that Mr. Montagu should have relied so much
on the continuance of this illness as to think it necessary at the
distance of ten or twelve months to presume on my unfitness to receive
his communications; but be this as it may, Mr. Montagu, on his return to
the colony, made this apology, and I felt bound to accept it.

Mr. Montagu was absent from the colony somewhat more than two years. On
his return I willingly put aside some unpleasant impressions which the
circumstances I have just mentioned had left on my mind, and felt, after
some necessary explanations, that the resumption of his duties should be
the renewal of our former cordiality.

But Mr. Montagu's pretensions, as they afterwards developed themselves,
were not limited to the possession of my confidence, and the sphere,
always sufficiently extensive, of his former influence; he aimed at that
inversion of our relative positions which Lord Stanley would appear under
certain conditions to regard with so much indulgence, as explained by him
in the document prefixed to this narrative.

Mr. Montagu had returned, it was understood, with a large increase to his
commissions for the Derwent Bank, and with a vast accession of claims to
political importance derived from his boasted intimacy with the officers
of the Colonial Office in Downing Street.

From this latter position, viewed in connection with the statement he
made of his repeated refusals of places not only of emolument but of
power, it could scarcely be doubted that Mr. Montagu's return to the
subordinate office of Colonial Secretary in Van Diemen's Land was in his
estimation an act of condescension. This sentiment however was veiled
from my observation; but I could not but be sensible that Mr. Montagu had
become more jealous of control, and that his determination, whenever we
differed, was to carry his point at all hazards.

Neither could I any longer resist the impression which had prevailed in
the colony before he went to England, though then rejected by me, that
his love of influence and power was indulged at my expense, and that he
wished it to be believed that in him resided all the energy and power of
the government, and that he was desirous of shifting from himself only
that share of responsibility which he found inconvenient or unpopular:
anything that was unpalatable to individuals or disagreeable in its
results was willingly attributed to me; popular and pleasant things were
all of the procuring of Mr. Montagu.

Nevertheless these manifestations were not immediately, or all at once,
developed; they became so by circumstances.

The circumstances which, about six months after Mr. Montagu's return to
the colony, led to the complete development of his ambitious policy and
to the crisis which followed, were these:

I had removed from his post of District Surgeon (which includes the
medical charge of prisoners within certain limits) a young man who was
represented to me as having carelessly and inhumanly neglected his duty
in a particular case. The Principal Medical Officer (as the Head of the
Convict Medical Department is called) recommended that he should be
severely reprimanded. The Colonial Secretary, through whom the report
came to me, added his recommendation that he should be dismissed. I
concurred, after examining the papers, in the latter suggestion, and
moreover wrote some severe animadversions on the Surgeon's conduct, to
the extent of intimating my impression that, had the patient been
promptly looked after, his life might possibly have been saved.
Subsequent circumstances were brought forward which gave a more
favourable aspect to the case. I was moreover made aware that the comment
I had written upon it greatly aggravated the Surgeon's offence. It was
the opinion both of Mr. Montagu and Mr. Forster that I had inadvertently
conveyed a charge of manslaughter against Dr. Coverdale, and Mr. Forster
even expressed to me his belief that the Attorney-General's opinion
should have been taken as to the tendency of my observations.*

(*Footnote. As this commentary and suggestion were not made until some
time after the memorandum conveying the imputation had been written by me
and acted upon they could only produce upon me a most painful impression
and great anxiety to repair the inadvertence.)

These facts convinced me I had acted with some precipitation and, not
having yet learnt that it is a greater blunder in a ruler to repair than
to commit an error, it was a relief to my mind when I received a
respectful memorial from some of the most respectable inhabitants of the
district in question, headed by the very Foreman of the Coroner's Jury,
who had previously passed some severe strictures on the Surgeon's
conduct, expressing the sense entertained by the neighbours and friends
of Dr. Coverdale of his general humanity and skill and their desire to
retain his professional services.

To the revision of my original sentence Mr. Montagu offered the most
strenuous opposition. I delayed at his request the sending my answer
until I had received the memorandum he requested to address to me on the
subject, considering that, as one of my official advisers, he had a right
freely and fully to express his opinion; but when on receiving it I found
his arguments insufficient and moreover founded in part on mistaken data,
I persisted in my decision, of which he was as usual the official organ
of conveyance.

It was Mr. Montagu's subsequent conduct which could not be justified or

After absenting himself for several days and sending his papers to me,
contrary to his usual custom, without note or comment, I found it
necessary to send for him on business which was to be transacted in the
Executive Council. Mr. Montagu took the earliest opportunity after this
interview to inform me that he had business also of another nature with
me. In a very deliberate and formal manner he informed me that evil
consequences would ensue from the step I had taken respecting Dr.
Coverdale; that great excitement prevailed in the district of Richmond;
that the petition was an entirely political movement; that he knew how it
was got up; that Dr. Coverdale's punishment was stated to be HIS (Mr.
Montagu's) act and that to restore him was to degrade his (the Colonial
Secretary's) office; that I must not in future expect the same assistance
he had hitherto rendered me, though he should keep within the line of his
official duty; that he feared however my official labours would be
greatly augmented, he hoped the evil consequences he foresaw might NOT
take place. My reply was to the effect that I hoped also and expected
that they would not; that I knew of no agitation whatever in the Richmond
district, nor why there should be any; that I neither knew nor cared
whether the petition was got up by Mr. Gregson as he asserted, or by
anyone else; that he was at perfect liberty to make known the whole facts
of the case; that I saw no reason why his office should be degraded, or
his usefulness diminished, or my labours increased; but if that were to
be the case I hoped I should be well able to bear it. My reply might
certainly have been couched in less forbearing terms but, hoping that Mr.
Montagu was labouring under some delusion and would soon see the folly
and impropriety of these idle and disrespectful observations, I treated
the subject as an ebullition of personal feeling of which he would soon
himself be ashamed.

Mr. Montagu's however were no idle threats. From that day, or more
correctly speaking perhaps from the day when he reluctantly transmitted
my answer to the petition, the current business of my office assumed a
very different aspect.

Mr. Montagu absented himself as much as he could from personal
attendance; the papers he forwarded to me were no longer accompanied by
the necessary information, which had to be elicited step by step from the
Colonial Secretary's Office; needless questions were referred to me;
every effort was made to overwhelm me if possible with the investigation
of minute details, and to make me feel that my dependence on Mr.
Montagu's ordinary services was not to be broken with impunity. It was
currently reported at this period out of doors by Mr. Montagu's nearest
business to transact at the Colonial Secretary's office reported that
they had unusual difficulty in getting any business done.

Another case had grown out of that of Dr. Coverdale, which still farther
widened the breach between us.* It left me, after every possible
endeavour on Mr. Montagu's part to relieve himself from error at my
expense, under the conviction that he had unduly ANTICIPATED a decision I
did actually make in the appointment of a successor to Dr. Coverdale, and
had hastened the arrival at Richmond of that successor, with the view, as
I could not but conceive, of rendering any revision of my first decision
on that case more embarrassing.

(*Footnote. The Kilgour case.)

This case had not been long disposed of when my attention was called to
the pages of a newspaper, the Van Diemen's Land Chronicle, which began to
draw invidious comparisons between me and my predecessor Sir George
Arthur, and to exhibit myself and my family in odious and malignant
characters before the public.

The scurrility of a great portion of the press of Van Diemen's Land is
well-known and, though there is no denying that it exercises a baneful
influence on the community generally, yet are its statements, by the
enlightened part of that community, taken for what they are worth.

But the paper in question was ushered into the world with high moral as
well as intellectual pretentions and under peculiar auspices. It
contained in its first number, which came out about three months before
the agitation of the Coverdale case, the following paragraph: "We shall
be enabled to afford our readers the only authentic official information
in reference to government measures." In fact, the patronage of this
newspaper had been requested of me by Mr. Montagu, and the writers in it
were his and Mr. Forster's personal friends. The editor, Mr. Thomas
Macdowell, a young man of education and talent, had been recommended to
me by a personal friend of my own in England and, at a period antecedent
to the present, had been named to me at Mr. Swanston's instigation, and
through Mr. Forster's means, as a fitting person to be made my private
secretary, a suggestion I could not entertain on account of his being
then engaged in conducting, in a way not at all suited to my ideas of
propriety, the Courier newspaper.

The brother of this gentleman was the ex-Attorney-General, son-in-law of
Mr. Swanston, the Manager of the Derwent Bank, and who was the very
intimate friend and associate of Mr. Montagu.

Both the Messrs. Macdowell were at this moment on such terms with me as
admitted of the one being a candidate for public employment after
resigning the Courier newspaper, and of the other transmitting to the
Secretary of State through me his assurances of respectful feeling
towards myself, and his desire for renewed official employment in the
colony which owed to my 'unwearied exertions' the blessing of a place of
education for his children.*

(*Footnote. Alluding either to the Queen's School or to the College.)

When Mr. Montagu informed me that Mr. T. Macdowell meant to support the
Government and begged me to allow him a discretionary power to
communicate such official intelligence to his paper as it might be
thought proper to give I replied that I did not think Mr. Macdowell was
to be trusted,* and I asked him also what Mr. Elliston would say to such
a thing, Mr. Elliston being the respectable proprietor of the Courier
newspaper, which had the monopoly of the commissariat tenders (the
greatest boon in the power of the Government to bestow on any newspaper)
and gave a general though uncertain support to government measures.** It
was in allusion to this fact that Mr. Montagu replied, "Oh! Elliston
knows on which side his bread is buttered." Mr. Montagu farther informed
me that Mr. T. Macdowell had requested him to ask permission to see Lady
Franklin's literary and other periodicals which he understood were
received by her from England. This request I promised to convey to

(*Footnote. Meaning to be trusted in the stability of his political
sentiments or in the wielding of his pen, as his sallies in the Courier
had already shown.)

(**Footnote. Mr. Elliston was unable, in consequence of his pecuniary
obligations to the Derwent Bank, to resist the influence of that
establishment even when it was exerted against the Government.)

(***Footnote. Lady Franklin was surprised at the expression HER
periodicals and, as she had never patronised any newspaper whatever, and
did not wish to begin now, when especial reference was made to her, she
considered it advisable to take no further notice of the request as this
would be less disrespectful both to Mr. Montagu and Mr. Macdowell than a
direct refusal. Mr. Montagu was included in this consideration since, if
he had not felt a personal interest in Mr. Macdowell and his paper, the
natural and proper channel for Mr. Macdowell's request would have been
the private secretary or the aide-de-camp.)

The result of our conversation was that, believing from Mr. Montagu's
interest in the subject that Mr. Macdowell would be in some way or other
dependent upon Mr. Montagu, and would therefore be under control, I
acquiesced in the request (though not in the terms propounded in the
first number of the Van Diemen's Land Chronicle) and expected Mr. Montagu
to be the person to look after its fulfilment. It was entirely foreign to
my habits to attend to these matters but, having Mr. Montagu's
conversation fresh in my memory, I repeated the substance of it to my
private secretary in his office,* and again in the presence of other
members of my family, including my aide-de-camp, who perfectly remember
its tenour and, shortly after, on receiving from Count Strzelecki, a
table of the comparative latitudes of the mountains in Van Diemen's Land,
desired my private secretary to forward it to Mr. Macdowell's paper.

(*Footnote. Mr. Henslowe's testimony to this point is amongst the
documents which went home to Lord Stanley and confirms and remarkably
illustrates all I have stated besides giving some additional facts.)

It appears that Mr. Henslowe, on the faith of the statement I had made to
him that the Van Diemen's Land Chronicle was a paper for which my
patronage had been obtained, did himself at different times furnish some
articles to it. Their subjects were humorous or critical and wholly
unconnected with colonial politics, and the circumstance was unknown to
me or to anyone else in my household.

It was at a period exactly identical with the public manifestation of a
rupture between myself and the Colonial Secretary, which could no longer
be concealed, that the insulting articles of the Van Diemen's Land
Chronicle arrested the public attention.* Rumours were soon spread abroad
in the colony that the Colonial Secretary used the Van Diemen's Land
Chronicle directly or indirectly to abuse and degrade the
Lieutenant-Governor and his family.

(*Footnote. Among the papers sent to Lord Stanley is a letter from the
Brigade Major which, while it gives evidence of the current reports that
Mr. Montagu was in some way or other mixed up with the scurrilous
articles in the Chronicle, confirms, on Mr. Montagu's own authority, my
assertion of the discretionary power he possessed to give official
intelligence, though as he asserts on trivial articles only, a
distinction I was by no means aware of. Mr. Montagu has attempted to
invalidate this testimony, which has been again persisted in by the
Brigade Major. The same document testifies to the intimate companionship
existing between Mr. Montagu and Mr. T. Macdowell, and gives an instance
of the intimate knowledge Mr. Montagu possessed of the arrangements
between the two brothers (Macdowell) as to the production of their
several articles.)

I was myself informed by one who was well-acquainted with Mr. Montagu's
mind that such were the tactics resolved upon that on a certain day named
in advance the Van Diemen's Land Chronicle would open its fire upon me
and boldly espouse Mr. Montagu's cause, and so it happened.

The current impressions on this subject not only reached my private
secretary's ears but were the source of some embarrassment to him; he was
repeatedly questioned as to whether the Colonial Secretary continued his
countenance and support to the paper, so much so as to think it his duty
to obtain from Mr. Montagu his unqualified denial to such imputations.

The Colonial Secretary first evaded any direct reply and then expressed
his resentment at the interference. This correspondence took place during
a few days that I was absent from the seat of government; it was
afterwards laid before me by Mr. Henslowe and, the Colonial Secretary
having taken no steps to repudiate the insinuations contained in it, it
was impossible for me any longer to overlook or delay the notice of the
very singular position in which Mr. Montagu appeared to have placed

On the 11th of January 1842 I addressed to him a memorandum reminding him
of the conversation which had taken place previous to the appearance of
the Van Diemen's Land Chronicle, called his attention to the scurrilous
articles against myself and my family which had appeared in it during the
last month, and inquired whether he had taken any steps to uphold under
such circumstances the dignity of my government.

Mr. Montagu's reply was of a nature which surprised me. Had he disclaimed
a knowledge of the offensive articles I should have thought it
extraordinary since not only were all the colonial papers filed at his
office on the day of publication but Mr. Montagu was himself a subscriber
to Mr. Macdowell's paper, and continued to receive it at his house; but
such an answer, had it been in Mr. Montagu's power to have made it, would
at least have shown that he withheld his countenance of them.

Again, had Mr. Montagu expressed his regret at the offensive articles and
at his own inability to control them, had he pointed out that he had
abstained from any communication with the editors since the period when
it was no longer creditable for him to be connected with them, or had he
expressed his anxiety to learn and to execute any wishes of the
Lieutenant-Governor on the subject, he would then have done as much
perhaps as, in the very unfortunate predicament in which he had placed
himself, could have been expected, but Mr. Montagu did not any one of
these things.

He informed me that he had no recollection whatever of anything I had
said respecting the newspaper, except the conveying a request from the
editor for Lady Franklin's periodicals,* and a voluntary communication
from myself to him (Mr. Montagu) of Mr. Macdowell's intention to support
my government in his newspaper; consequently that it was entirely out of
his (Mr. Montagu's) power to "withdraw assistance he had never given," or
"to assert the dignity of my government by any step of that description."

(*Footnote. Mr. T. Macdowell's letter upon this subject, in answer to one
Mr. Montagu addressed to him, says not one word about "Lady Franklin" in
reference to the "periodicals.")

Having taken up this position it must I think be unnecessary for me to
prove that Mr. Montagu placed himself in a predicament from which I could
neither rescue him nor in which I could suffer him to remain.

In the words of a colonial writer of whose name I am ignorant, but who is
evidently not ill-disposed towards Mr. Montagu, "any third-class boy of
common capacity must have foreseen that the only result must be (and be
so understood by both) that one of the combatants, either the
Lieutenant-Governor or himself, must retire from the field."*

(*Footnote. Letter of Civis, Courier. See Appendix A.)

The climax of Mr. Montagu's language in the correspondence which passed
on this subject was contained in the following insulting imputation in
his letter of the 17th of January: "But I trust your excellency will also
pardon me for submitting to you--and I beg to assure you that I do so
under a deep conviction of the necessity of supporting my statement--that
while your excellency and all the members of your government have had
such frequent opportunities of testing my memory as to have acquired for
it the reputation of a remarkably accurate one, your officers have not
been without opportunity of learning that your excellency could not
always place implicit reliance upon your own."

Unwilling to bandy more words with Mr. Montagu I paused on the receipt of
this letter and, having again patiently reviewed the events of the last
few months and considered the little prospect there was of any real and
healthy confidence being reestablished between us,* I felt that, without
detriment to the public service and dishonour to myself, I could not
retain Mr. Montagu as Colonial Secretary and accordingly used the powers
vested in me of suspending him from office until Her Majesty's pleasure
should be known. This determination I conveyed to Mr. Montagu on the 25th
of January 1842, exactly three months after his "announcement" of his
intention to withhold the assistance he had previously rendered to me as

(*Footnote. As a proof of the utter and hopeless want of confidence which
characterised our relations at this period I may state that I found it
necessary to address a memorandum to Mr. Montagu, dated 18th of January,
instructing him to make no use of any conversation which might pass
between us, and informing him I should abstain from doing the same
myself, in consequence of the experience I had had of the danger of a
contrary proceeding. In Murray's Review of the 4th of February I found it
stated that Mr. Montagu, on the 18th of January, had requested of two
public officers then in Government House, and one of whom he detained in
it for the purpose, to take down and attest the report of a conversation
with myself, with which report he would furnish them, thus providing
himself with two witnesses, as he might conceive, against me, in case my
statement should differ from his. One of these witnesses was the Colonial
Treasurer and the other the Clerk of the Councils, the latter an officer
who is by the nature of his office intimately attached to the
Lieutenant-Governor. On reading this fact in Murray's Review I called
upon these officers to give me their statements upon it and thus found
that the newspaper in question had been favoured, though not by either of
these gentlemen, with an authentic narrative. I need not remark upon the
petty indignity to which a Governor might thus unconsciously have been
subjected under his own roof.)

On the eve of the day named by himself for handing over the business of
his office to his successor, and six days after his suspension had been
made known to him, he apologised for the expression above-quoted, which
he begged to withdraw, and disavowed any intention of disrespect. I
conveyed to Mr. Montagu my appreciation and acceptance of this apology
but, as my decision had been formed on public grounds and on the whole of
Mr. Montagu's conduct and was generally known in the community, I could
not reverse it for an act of tardy reparation addressed especially to my
personal feelings. This act of Mr. Montagu enabled me however to inform
him of my intention to recommend him to the Secretary of State for
employment as an able and experienced officer whose services might be
useful to the crown in any country but in Van Diemen's Land.

The Secretary of State is well aware how amply I redeemed this pledge
even though I did so under circumstances (intervening between this crisis
and Mr. Montagu's departure for England) which might have excused me for
renouncing it.*

(*Footnote. I allude to Mr. Montagu's appeal virtually, though not
avowedly, to the public through the newspapers, his threats of unwearied
persecution of me and of expulsion from all the clubs of London, and his
attempts to excite the popular feeling in his favour at my expense, for
all which extravagances I made more than sufficient allowance in
consideration of the excitement of his feelings.)

And the Secretary of State took me at my word--the despatch at the head
of this narrative contains the proof of it. Mr. Montagu was called to the
councils of his lordship without delay, for Lord Stanley had need of his
services. That those services, which were then deemed of more value than
I believe they have since proved themselves to be, should have met with
their reward was a result which might have been expected, but it was not
to be expected that the humiliation of Mr. Montagu's late official chief
should have entered into the terms by which they were acknowledged.

On the day which immediately followed the communication to Mr. Montagu of
my dispensing with his farther services the newspapers of that day
announced the event in the very words of my communication, though the
draft of the memorandum remained locked up in my office; and when that
event was finally confirmed and gazetted the whole of the evening papers
on the day following contained, according to the advertisement of the
morning papers of that day, an "authentic precis" of the correspondence,
including that which had been carried on through my private secretary
between Mr. Montagu and myself, as well as the personal correspondence of
those gentlemen, evidently compiled from the documents themselves. This
"authentic precis" was an ex-parte statement, full of the grossest

One of the newspapers alluded to was that of all others which I should
have imagined the least likely to have been adopted as a vehicle for
authentic communication by anyone careful of Mr. Montagu's reputation,
being that which is edited by Mr. Robert Lathrop Murray, a person whose
reputation is so well known at the Colonial Office that, when I
communicated these facts to Lord Stanley, I deemed it quite unnecessary
to do more than simply refer to that notoriety. Yet in spite of these
facts Lord Stanley has "fully exculpated" Mr. Montagu from the imputation
"that he made an improper appeal against my suspension of him to the
public at large through the local newspapers."

By the same ship which took home Mr. Montagu, who wisely judged that to
plead his own cause on the spot was his best policy, I addressed two
despatches to the Secretary of State, the first announcing my suspension
of Mr. Montagu, and the reasons for it, which are mentioned in a
condensed form in the preceding pages, the second entering into the same
subject with more detail. Both were accompanied by numerous documents
connected therewith in order that his lordship might be put into full
possession of everything which, without violating private confidence and
compromising others, could bear upon the case.

The documents were necessarily numerous, since they included not only my
own representations, but those which I possessed on Mr. Montagu's side
also; but I fear that Lord Stanley, in his very sensitive recollection of
the budget, has unconsciously magnified its bulk, since I find him in the
margin of Number 150 Despatch enumerating two which did not relate to Mr.
Montagu's suspension, though they treated of a case in which he
necessarily made a conspicuous figure.*

(*Footnote. The St. George's Church case.)

Lord Stanley's formidable list also includes some which were little more
than vehicles for the transmission of papers which at Mr. Montagu's
request I had caused to be copied from the records of his office and that
of the Clerk of the Council, a labour which obliged me to employ
additional clerical assistance for several weeks.* My shoulders are
deemed broad enough to bear the Colonial Secretary's heavy contribution
as well as my own.

(*Footnote. Mr. Montagu requested me to forward to the Secretary of State
copies of all the Minutes of Council, notes and memoranda made by himself
during the last quarter of 1841 and up to the middle of January 1842; the
transmission of these documents forms the subject of three of the
despatches enumerated by Lord Stanley.)

With respect to the case alluded to, the St. George's Church case, as
forming the subject of two despatches which Lord Stanley has enumerated
in the list of those relating to Mr. Montagu's suspension, it is so amply
explained in the Appendix, in the letter of Mr. Henslowe, my private
secretary, to Mr. Young that I feel myself relieved from the necessity of
unfolding it here. I shall simply state that the treatment of it was
required by the remonstrance of a late Director of public works who had
been accused by me of having, without my authority, engaged in very
costly improvements of a church for which I had sanctioned only some
necessary and simple alterations.*

(*Footnote. The cost to the Government of the alterations sanctioned by
me were estimated at 150 pounds; for the improvements and decorations
undertaken without my knowledge the cost of stone alone at the Government
Quarry was estimated at above 2000 pounds.)

When Mr. Montagu left the colony I had commenced the investigation of
this matter in the course of which reference was necessarily made to Mr.
Montagu, who stated that he was unable to find the plans of the expensive
alterations undertaken, and that he had "never seen" the authority on
which Captain Cheyne had commenced the work.

Within a month after Mr. Montagu had sailed the plans were found and
shown to me for the first time, and collateral evidence was produced in
support of an assertion made by Captain Cheyne that he had acted upon
these plans, under instructions, both verbal and written, given him by
Mr. Montagu.

As this case involved the expenditure of a considerable outlay of public
money and the conduct of the dismissed Director of public works it was a
duty incumbent upon me to send it home to the Secretary of State, even
though its tendency might be to modify the efficacy of the qualified
eulogium I had passed upon Mr. Montagu's fitness for office, and to make
it appear as if my last and crowning charge were the one ounce more upon
the camel's back, without which the victim might not yet break down under
his lading.

By an exertion of that dexterous ingenuity which characterises Mr.
Montagu's ordinary mode of defence he, when called upon by Lord Stanley
for explanation, involves it in a cloud of detail which mystifies his
reader and disappears himself in the vapour he has raised whilst one
solid impression alone remains upon Lord Stanley's mind, that namely of
my having brought forward another charge against Mr. Montagu which has
not the slightest foundation in truth, since Mr. Montagu "has repelled it
to" his lordship's "entire satisfaction," and is "entitled," in his
lordship's opinion "to be completely absolved of the fault imputed to

It is anticipating the course of events but not irrelevant to my purpose


Having brought my narrative to this point I must trespass on my reader's
patience while I revert for a few moments to the past for the sake of
bringing forward an episode which is necessary to the further
understanding of my story.

It will be felt as that story advances that, however painful the subject,
I have no alternative.

In the first interview which I had with Mr. Montagu after Dr. Coverdale's
restoration to office, and after he had pointed out to me the disastrous
consequences I might expect from that act, Mr. Montagu informed me of a
new view of the case, to which he solicited my attention, apologising
that in bringing it forward he should have to mention the name of a lady.
My surprise may be conceived when Mr. Montagu proceeded to intimate to me
that it was Lady Franklin who had attempted to agitate the Richmond
district in Dr. Coverdale's favour; that at any rate her appearance in
that district (she had accompanied me on a visit to a respectable settler
there, and had been persuaded by me to stay a day behind) was CONNECTED
with the agitation; that, if not connected with it, it was COINCIDENT
with it; that if the coincidence was only ACCIDENTAL, it was at least

Through all these phases of expression did Mr. Montagu convey to me his
belief that Lady Franklin had been conducting herself in a manner as
unbecoming her position as it was opposed to fact.

The only reason Mr. Montagu could give me for his statement respecting
Lady Franklin was a letter he had received from Mr. Forster, to the
effect that Lady Franklin had, in conversation with him (Mr. Forster) in
the Richmond district, mentioned Mr. Montagu's name in connection with
the removal of Dr. Coverdale, as being the supposed cause of it or one of
the causes; and Mr. Forster considered that the interests of the
Government were thereby affected.*

(*Footnote. It is worthy of note that, when Mr. Forster wrote the letter
from Campbelltown on which Mr. Montagu avowedly based his representation
of Lady Franklin's interference, he was with me at Campbelltown in
constant official and personal communication, and that on one occasion he
reported to me occurrences connected with the Richmond district, and yet
not one word did he communicate of the circumstances respecting Lady
Franklin's conduct, which in his opinion "affected the interests of the
Government." Had they done so in his estimation, and thus involved the
public peace, it would have been incumbent upon him as chief police
magistrate to have made them known to me.)

I informed Mr. Montagu that I would refer the matter to Lady Franklin,
having never myself heard her mention Mr. Montagu's name in any way
whatever connected with Dr. Coverdale. The consequence was a
correspondence between Lady Franklin and Mr. Montagu, in which Lady
Franklin expressed her keen and indignant sense of the injury done her,
and referred him to me for the explanation she had given me and which she
thought in the first instance, before denouncing her officially to her
husband, he should have requested of herself.

But Mr. Montagu had no desire for this explanation and, finding that the
correspondence ended in nothing but mystification on Mr. Montagu's part,
Lady Franklin at my request wrote me a statement of all she said and did
in the Richmond district, by which it appeared that she had not mentioned
Mr. Montagu's name to anyone in any form or manner whatever in relation
to the Coverdale story, either in the Richmond district or anywhere else,
had never conceived the idea in her own mind of Mr. Montagu's being the
cause of my removing Dr. Coverdale from office, nor had heard the
observation made by anyone else. It also appeared that the only persons
who ever mentioned Dr. Coverdale's case to her were the two friends at
whose house she was staying at Richmond, and that the lady of that house
had told her that it was thought possible the whole of the case might not
have been placed before me; an opinion which, without knowing anything of
this particular transaction, Lady Franklin combated warmly; and that when
the same lady intimated to her that the feeling for Dr. Coverdale was so
strong that it was contemplated to get up an expression of the public
opinion to me for his restoration Lady Franklin ventured to say she hoped
that would not be done, because of the difficulty which she saw must
exist against my reversing my decision, and because, if the petition were
not granted, the people of Richmond and Dr. Coverdale would be still less
contented than before. The exact words used by Lady Franklin, extracted
from the letter she wrote to me by my desire, have been placed before
Lord Stanley.

This memorandum of Lady Franklin's I placed in the hands of Mr. Montagu,
who read it in my presence and returned it to me without a single word of
acknowledgment or any observation whatever.

Had the matter ended here, however destructive Mr. Montagu's proceedings
were of all domestic intercourse or social confidence, yet the public
need not have had any cognizance of the matter. Mr. Montagu's policy
however was of another kind: he at once assumed the attitude of the
injured person and informed my private secretary, whose domestic
acquaintance he had never sought before, that Lady Franklin was now the
cause that the intercourse he desired between their respective families
could not be cultivated, since it was impossible for Mrs. Montagu to
"drive up to the door."* He exhibited extensively Lady Franklin's
correspondence with him and with Mr. Forster, but without her explanatory
memorandum, or any explanation on her part which was necessary for
understanding it; reasserted all that this memorandum contradicted and
exulted in the cloud of mystification by which he had baffled the object
she had in view in writing to him, and which was to convince him of his
error and bring him to entertain juster views. Mr. Montagu had the field
entirely to himself; Lady Franklin was precluded by every sentiment of
delicacy and dignity from recrimination; but she was not slow to perceive
the use Mr. Montagu was likely to make of this private quarrel to my
injury and determined, at whatever sacrifice to her personal feelings, to
seek for a reconciliation. Through the medium of the Colonial Treasurer,
Dr. Turnbull, an intimate friend of Mr. Montagu's, as well as a
much-esteemed friend of my own, and afterwards through Sir John and Lady
Pedder, Lady Franklin endeavoured to procure a renewal of amicable
relations with Mr. Montagu. She offered to throw the correspondence on
both sides into the fire, or to abandon any particular expression
whatever in her own which might have displeased him, and to meet him
again as if nothing had happened, and all this, it is to be observed,
while under a deep sense of injury; for Lady Franklin was persuaded that
Mr. Montagu's object in denouncing her to me was to create distrust in my
mind respecting her and to destroy my confidence not only in her
discretion but in her uprightness, by which means a check would be
removed which he persuaded himself existed to the increase of his

(*Footnote. The private Secretary and his family were inmates of
Government House.)

Lady Franklin's overtures were of no effect; when her concessions were
repeated to Mr. Montagu he replied (to Dr. Turnbull) that he did not ask
for her concessions, and that he believed she was at that very moment
dictating some of the correspondence which was going on between him and
"Sir John Franklin," on the Kilgour case.*

(*Footnote. Distressed at this imputation Lady Franklin condescended to
request that Mr. Montagu might be set right on this point. I say
CONDESCENDED because no other word applies fitly to the voluntary denial
of a gratuitous and utterly unfounded assertion.)

With respect to the mediation undertaken by Sir John Pedder it entirely
failed in consequence of the terms in which Mr. Montagu expressed his
acquiescence being such as the Chief Justice deemed inadmissible.

These negotiations terminated thus unfavourably on or about the 20th of
November, that is to say, within a month of the day on which Mr. Montagu
had denounced Lady Franklin to me as the agitator of the Richmond
district. It is necessary that these dates should be borne in

It was after these proceedings that the Van Diemen's Land Chronicle began
those personal and insulting diatribes to which I have already alluded.
From the beginning of December 1841 to February 1842 the public read in
the leading articles of this weekly journal a series of dastardly and
impudent, though cunningly devised falsehoods, the general object of
which was to excite hatred and contempt for my government and myself, and
the special one, subservient and tributary to the other, to show that
Lady Franklin's malign influence over me was the sole cause of Mr.
Montagu's suspension which arose out of her interference in the Coverdale

That fons mali, the Coverdale case, now for the first time appeared in
the public journals; the transactions to which it related had for some
time been set at rest; the agitation which Mr. Montagu's imagination had
conjured up had not been heard of and, but for the labours of the Van
Diemen's Land Chronicle, the "Richmond petition" had slept for ever in
the tomb of the Capulets. But its disinterment was required and it came
forth again at the bidding of Mr. Macdowell to witness to the truth of
his reckless assertions. It was in vain that the real and sole author, as
the Reverend Mr. Aislabie declared himself to be, of that petition
addressed a letter to Mr. Montagu, whom he confounded with the author of
the "authentic precis" of the case of Mr. Montagu's suspension published
in the Courier newspaper, remonstrating against the use of Lady
Franklin's name in connection with that petition and claiming exclusive
property in it. Mr. Montagu, personating as it would seem the author of
the "precis" quoted Lady Franklin against herself, assured Mr. Aislabie
he had read in her own handwriting that she was the getter-up of the
petition, and pointed out to him that this story was quite consistent
with his own. The Van Diemen's Land Chronicle supported Mr. Montagu, and
dismissed Mr. Aislabie with gibes and sneers. There was no farther
attempt at contradiction,* and the newspaper-reading public must have
perceived that the Coverdale case was most satisfactorily disposed of.

(*Footnote. The Courier still occasionally admitted into its columns an
article sent to it by individuals it did not desire to offend, but was
becoming every day less able to resist the influence of the Derwent Bank.
The Advertiser newspaper was changing hands, and had not yet taken up
that independent support of the Government which afterwards distinguished
it. Murray's Review, the unflinching champion of every monument and relic
of the late administration, of which at an earlier period it had been the
unscrupulous reviler, was of course the advocate of Mr. Montagu. Its
pages were particularly distinguished by their exhibition of passages
from the correspondence of Lady Franklin and Messrs. Montagu and Forster,
for the benefit apparently of that portion of the public which had not
yet been favoured with a sight of it in manuscript. A newspaper which has
just come in my way enables me to let Mr. Murray speak for himself as to
his possession of authentic information: Murray's Review, November 18,
1842. "When Captain Montagu was removed from his office we published the
WHOLE CORRESPONDENCE which had taken place; the letter (autograph of Sir
John Franklin) in which that removal was finally announced we also gave,
and we refer the whole colony thereto, whereby the utter falsehood of the
statement is made apparent, that 'INSULTING COMMUNICATIONS TO LADY
FRANKLIN' formed any portion of the immediate cause of Captain Montagu's
dismissal; further we will not permit ourselves to go.")

It is difficult to conceive how, in the absence of all opposition, the
rancour could have been sustained which disgraced these unmanly
productions, and by what process it was that the ex-Attorney-General, Mr.
Macdowell, whose treatment by me in the circumstances which had deprived
the colony of his services had been the subject of his eulogium for its
fairness, and whose expressions of gratitude for kindness received from
me had been transmitted to the Secretary of State,* should have been so
suddenly converted into an enemy, and his brother, the hitherto warm and
graceful eulogist of Lady Franklin whenever an opportunity presented
itself of being so, into her unscrupulous calumniator.

(*Footnote. See Appendix B.)

Yet whatever may have been the impulses under which these gentlemen wrote
no one who knows the connection then subsisting between Mr. Montagu and
Mr. Swanston, the head of the Derwent Bank, and the dependence of the
elder Mr. Macdowell on his father-in-law, Mr. Swanston, but must be aware
that any offensive writings of theirs, as far at least as the elder Mr.
Macdowell was concerned, could have been checked at either of those
gentlemen's pleasure.

Instead of this however Mr. Montagu's intimacy with the editors of the
Chronicle was such as to countenance the belief that it met with his
approbation. I do not speak of family intercourse but of that association
which the public could best appreciate, because they witnessed it. The
elder Mr. Macdowell was constantly to be found in Mr. Forster's office,
and Mr. Forster and Mr. Montagu, who until within a few weeks of Mr.
Montagu's departure formed one family, living in the same house and
receiving their mutual or separate guests at the same table, could not
but be confounded in the estimate formed of their private feelings.

When Mr. Montagu and Mr. Forster simultaneously requested of me leave of
absence (as they had also done on a former occasion, immediately after
the settlement of the Coverdale case) in order to go into the interior
Mr. Thomas Macdowell, the avowed editor of the Van Diemen's Land
Chronicle, met them by appointment at the house of Mr. Forster's brother
at Hamilton in order to form a third in the party. They travelled
together, were seen in the same settlers' houses, bespoke their social
fare and accommodations at the same inn, and ended by appearing together
as companions at a public sale of stock numerously attended at no great
distance from Hobart Town.

Mr. Montagu has denied to Lord Stanley any association or influence
whatever with the abusive newspapers or their authors; I must leave him
to reconcile these statements with the internal evidence of the
newspapers themselves and with the fact I have just related, or with the
additional fact that the elder Mr. Macdowell, the ex-Attorney-General,
formed one of the members of the last family-party at Mr. Forster's house
on the day of Mr. Montagu's embarkation.

My reader will look back to Lord Stanley's despatch and consider the
opposite conclusion to which his lordship has come upon this subject.
Lord Stanley's exculpation of Mr. Montagu exhausts the power of language
to make it more complete; and this is an inevitable conclusion because
his lordship's sentiments on the conduct of a public officer who has any
connection, direct or indirect, with the public press for the purpose of
embarrassing the government under which he serves are such as would not
permit him the exercise of the smallest indulgence.*

(*Footnote. In making the above observations I have not been unmindful of
the fact which Mr. Montagu has had ready in his own defence, namely that
the Van Diemen's Land Chronicle, previous to its outbreak against me,
contained one or more articles highly condemnatory of Mr. Montagu with
reference to Captain Cheyne's removal from office, and admitted into its
pages the whole of the official correspondence between those two officers
on the Bridgewater case. The secret history of this circumstance is
unknown to me; but if it prove, as it would appear to do, that the editor
of the newspaper had at one time a quarrel with the Colonial Secretary,
it only brings out with the greater force the unscrupulous adherence
which he afterwards manifested to Mr. Montagu when it was thought
desirable to exhibit the tactics which would be opposed to me. See

But I must hasten to the conclusion, which will probably prove to the
reader an unexpected one, of the episode I commenced a few pages back.

On the 27th of January 1842, two days after Mr. Montagu's suspension had
been communicated to him but before he had actually resigned his office
into the hands of his successor, Dr. Turnbull requested an interview with
Lady Franklin; his object was to request, on Mr. Montagu's part, her
intercession with me for a reconciliation. Dr. Turnbull was commissioned
to say that Mr. Montagu was ready to apologise in the fullest manner,
consistently with his feelings as a gentleman, for everything that had
given me displeasure; that he would pledge himself to carry out all my
views for the future with the utmost zeal, even on points on which he
might continue to differ with me in opinion; that having been already
suspended he should regard it (his restoration to office) as entirely "an
act of grace." He requested Lady Franklin's mediation and good offices.
No reference appears to have been made by Mr. Montagu, since none was
communicated to Lady Franklin, to recent misunderstandings and rejected
offers of reconciliation on her part; she felt that it was because she
had been injured by Mr. Montagu that he had now chosen her for his
advocate, and such an appeal has ever been with generous minds

Yet Lady Franklin had too clear a notion of my relative position with Mr.
Montagu at this juncture, and too correct an one of her own, not to feel
the difficulty of the predicament in which she was placed. She promised
Dr. Turnbull her efforts to incline me to listen to Mr. Montagu's wishes,
but gave him little hope of success, since she anticipated the greatest
objection on my part to her interference. And Lady Franklin's
anticipations were fully justified, for I entirely disapproved of her
being made a channel of communication, and so informed Dr. Turnbull.
Notwithstanding, the negotiation was not entirely abandoned; Lady
Franklin gave into my hands some papers which had been sent to her by Mr.
Montagu, drawn from the records of the Colonial Office, the object of
which was to seek further to engage her sympathy with his feelings by
proving that he had once in Downing Street spoken of me as "an absent
friend."* On the appearance the next day of an abusive article in the Van
Diemen's Land Chronicle Mr. Montagu sent to me to express his regret at
it and his sense of the injury it must do to himself, and in the presence
of several witnesses in the street he upbraided Mr. T. Macdowell with his
abuse of a lady; finally, on the evening of the day when his successor
was to relieve him in his office I received from him that apologetic
letter to which I have already alluded and on the frankness and
earnestness of which Lord Stanley has commented. There is no denying
these characteristics of Mr. Montagu's letter of the 31st of January, and
I am not ashamed to say that it deeply affected me, even though I had a
light by which to judge of it which Lord Stanley did not possess, and
which took away from the spontaneous and disinterested character which
Mr. Montagu attempted to give it after it had failed in its object.

(*Footnote. The subject of these pages is unimportant but they included a
correspondence between Mr. Stephen, the Under-Secretary of State, and Mr.
Montagu which contains the expression alluded to. The papers had not been
returned to Mr. Montagu when, after he had quitted his office and before
his embarkation (that is on some day between the 2nd and 10th of
February) he wrote to Dr. Turnbull to beg him to send them back,
designating them as the "Loane Papers." It is remarkable that Mr.
Montagu's note was either ante-dated or post-dated a month.
Notwithstanding, if still in Dr. Turnbull's possession, it remains as a
record of the active steps taken by Mr. Montagu to engage Lady Franklin's
good offices.)

Mr. Montagu's letter of the 31st January is an anomaly in his
correspondence with me. He acknowledges the announcement he made to me of
his intention to withdraw from cordial cooperation, is able to understand
at once all those observations on my part which had hitherto baffled all
his efforts to comprehend them, and begs to offer me every reparation and
apology for the offensive imputation he had made in a former

I regarded this letter as a last effort of Mr. Montagu or his friends to
procure his reinstatement in office; and though my deep and anxious
deliberations on it did not result in my yielding to his desire, which it
appeared to me neither safe nor consistent to do, yet was it not
altogether written in vain since it enabled me to put more warmth into
the terms by which I sought to avert from Mr. Montagu any permanently
serious consequences either to his reputation or his pecuniary interests
from the step I had taken. My forbearance and consideration in this
instance have I believe been used against me. The eulogium I passed upon
Mr. Montagu's talents may have been used as an argument why I should not
have deprived myself of them, and my recommendation of him to office in
any other colony than Van Diemen's Land as the reparation offered by an
uneasy conscience for the infliction of a gratuitous wrong. Be it so. I
may stand convicted of a political blunder, but retain the blessed
consciousness of having done no man, not even Mr. Montagu, more injury
than the stern demands of duty forced upon me.

It does not appear to me necessary to enter into any detail of the manner
in which Lady Franklin executed the commission with which Mr. Montagu
entrusted her. Those who know her will be assured she acted feelingly and
faithfully; and if there be any who have accepted Mr. Montagu's
representations of her as exhibited in the Van Diemen's Land Chronicle
and its plagiarists, or in the pages of Mr. Montagu's manuscript book, to
them I feel myself released from affording explanations which perhaps
nothing I could say would render acceptable.

Previous to embarking for England Mr. Montagu, under the influence I
presume of some compunction as to the policy he was about to pursue in
conducting his defence in England, inquired of Dr. Turnbull whether he
believed Lady Franklin was sincere in the mediation she had undertaken.
"As sincere as it is possible to be," replied Dr. Turnbull. Mr. Montagu
returned no answer and embarked without conveying a word of notice or
acknowledgment to Lady Franklin.

When Dr. Turnbull mentioned these circumstances to Lady Franklin she
replied that she could not be blind to the policy which Mr. Montagu had
in view respecting her, and that she believed a conspiracy was organised
which would have its agents here (in the colony) as well as its prime
agent at home for the purpose of ruining her husband, if they could do
so, through her. Lady Franklin excused herself for entertaining a
conception which involved a belief of so much falsehood and want of
principle in the agents by referring to private letters which detailed
how actively this policy was already pursued by Mr. Montagu's relations
and friends in the colony, and by pointing to the actual state of the
local press, and particularly to the pages of the Van Diemen's Land
Chronicle and the Courier which appeared now to be printed and published
for no other purpose than to advocate the policy supposed. Dr. Turnbull
endeavoured to combat this conviction of Lady Franklin as arguing a
dereliction of principle in Mr. Montagu of which he did not believe him
capable, adding however, "if after what has passed he (Mr. Montagu) ever
does use your name in any other language than that of respect and
gratitude I will say it will be the basest of actions."

At this period one of the editors of the local press, by way apparently
of apology to my private secretary for the articles he admitted into his
columns, described the power which Mr. Montagu wielded as "tremendous";
indeed the "authentic precis" which had been sent to the Courier and
which gave Mr. Montagu's own version of his suspension had been received
by that paper upon authority which it could not dispute. The press was at
this period an engine to influence the public mind for a special private
purpose. The most startling leading articles were written expressly for
Lord Stanley's eye (having first served their purpose in the colony) in
order to make him believe that statements so uncompromising and so bold
must needs be true and indisputable or else the public would not bear
them.* The Tasmanian editors have, I am sorry to say, an overweening
confidence in the curiosity and credulity of successive Secretaries of
State for the Colonies, and issue forth their most TELLING articles on
the eve of departure of the latest despatch-bag, fondly trusting that the
freshest newspaper at least will be placed before the Minister and
attract his attention. This practice is well understood in the colony and
boasted of.

(*Footnote. There are some things the public will not bear. When the
editor of the Review got possession, after my departure from Van Diemen's
Land, of a STOLEN private journal of the Reverend J.P. Gell, written
while he was still an inmate of my family on his first arrival in the
colony, and when that receiver of stolen goods picked out the most
piquant and personal passages of this private journal, strung them
together by asterisks and published them in the columns of his newspaper
in order to give to the public an epitome of the confidential
conversations and domestic manners of Government House, of which he
promised them further supplies, the weight of a whole community's
reprobation fell on the hoary head of that editor. I am not aware of more
than one Tasmanian journal (though my acquaintance at present with the
productions of the Tasmanian press is very limited) that was found to
transfer the guilty columns of the Review to its own pages. The
Launceston Examiner, in a long and creditable article upon this
transaction, has the following observation: "But if the plan of the
Review is correct, then we must advertise for private correspondence and
personal memoranda; we must advise the valets of gentlemen to ransack
their employers' cabinets and, having secured the secrets of the
escritoire, pass them through the auctioneer's hands, purchase them in a
lot of useless pamphlets, and publish the intelligence obtained in
juxtaposition with a pious expression of horror at the personality of the
press." Launceston Examiner, February 28th, 1844. Mr. Gell endeavoured in
vain to recover his journal and thus was unable even to verify the
passages said to be extracted from it. I may remark that some key to the
personal malignity of the editor of the Review towards myself and my
family may be found in the fact that when, several years before I left
Van Diemen's Land, he had the assurance to send in his card to the
aide-de-camp preparatory to a levee I was about to hold, I desired it
might be RETURNED to him.)

With the strong suspicion I had on my mind that Mr. Montagu's intended
policy in conducting his defence at the Colonial Office would be to show
that the offence he had committed against Lady Franklin by denouncing her
as an agitator and exciter of discontent was the real cause of his
suspension there seemed to be but one course for me to pursue, but this
was a painful one; and indeed it was not until after much anxious
deliberation that I introduced into an official despatch the name of a
lady, though that lady could look to me alone for protection from calumny
and insult. In so doing I limited my observations to the mere dry
statement that Mr. Montagu had imputed to Lady Franklin a desire and
attempt to agitate the Richmond district in favour of Dr. Coverdale, that
the real facts of that case were subversive of this statement, and had
been the means of exposing her to unwarrantable publicity, accompanying
this very succinct account with the letter which Mr. Aislabie addressed
to Mr. Montagu on reading the "authentic precis" in the Courier (see
above) the latter's reply and an extract in refutation of that reply from
the very letter or memorandum of Lady Franklin to which Mr. Montagu
referred as evidence against her and which he had read in my presence. I
did not think proper to trouble his lordship with any notice of the
private communications which had passed between Mr. Montagu and Lady
Franklin relative to this affair, and with respect to Mr. Montagu's last
critical act, that of his application to Lady Franklin for her
intercession--a secret which he had himself hidden, and which he desired
Dr. Turnbull to hide from his nearest relations and friends--I abstained
from placing it unnecessarily before his lordship. Mr. Montagu's
subsequent conduct has since forced upon me a disclosure which he must be
well aware I could have used from the first with great advantage, and
which he could not have attempted to invalidate, since the very secrecy
which he observed prevented his supporting his own statements by a single
witness, whilst on the other side there were three witnesses to attest
the same facts, besides those members of my family to whom Lady Franklin
had Dr. Turnbull's permission to communicate it.

The specific grounds on which I had removed Mr. Montagu from office
during Her Majesty's pleasure having been detailed in the two despatches
I have already mentioned, I wrote a supplementary one, dated the 18th
February 1842, the object of which was twofold: namely first to explain
as well as I could in a document of this nature and with means limited by
the checks which my respect for my predecessor and my desire not
necessarily to injure Mr. Montagu or anyone connected with him,
multiplied around me, the general reasons why my present estimation of
Mr. Montagu and of the value of his services differed from that I had
once entertained; and secondly to prove that under no circumstances of
change in the officer administering the government ought Mr. Montagu to
be restored to office in Van Diemen's Land. The reasons by which I
supported this latter position were such as I deemed no minister, with
Lord Stanley's high responsibilities and who possessed his devoted zeal
for the welfare of the colonies he governed, would consider himself
justified in disregarding, and thus, when his lordship informed me in his
despatch Number 150 that he considered it highly inexpedient to restore
Mr. Montagu to his office in Van Diemen's Land, I believed that, however
inconsistent was the declaration with the tone of his lordship's
despatch, yet at least his lordship had respected this, my conscientious
and solemn statement.

In the same despatch I alluded to several cases of misunderstandings
between public officers and the Government, or with one another, which
had, in more than one instance, obliged me to dispense with the services
of individuals who perhaps, under less adverse circumstances than those
in which they were placed, might still have served the Government with
alacrity and zeal. It is not my intention to shift from myself the
responsibility of these painful duties, or to exonerate any public
servant from blame by the provocations to which personal hostility, or
ill-will, or intrigue in the individual who formed the channel of
communication with the Government may have subjected him, but certain it
is that to such sinister influences have these officers almost invariably
attributed the results of their indiscretions. This observation is not
irrelevant or gratuitous when referring to Mr. Montagu, since it is well
known that one of the points which he worked most unscrupulously and
successfully with Lord Stanley against me was that of the cases here
alluded to. I say unscrupulously because the suspension of the Director
of Public Works in the year 1841 was urged upon me by Mr. Montagu on
public grounds as a measure which admitted of no delay;* and on a
previous occasion, when the permission was given me to remove a public
officer who had offered an opposition alike vigorous and unbecoming to a
measure of my government,** which I had resolved, from a sense of its
importance to the public interests, if possible, to carry, Mr. Montagu,
then in England, and profiting by the access he had to the Colonial
Office to convey to me such information as he thought useful, caused me
to be informed through his confidant and correspondent Mr. Forster that
my delay in effecting this removal had been disapproved of, and in short
that if I did not now exercise the power vested in me to remove him my
own "days were numbered."

(*Footnote. Mr. Montagu once ventured to hint at his own resignation
being the alternative of Captain Cheyne's retention, but afterwards
voluntarily retraced his words though he ventured to submit to me this
proposition: "that as in the usual course of things my administration
must be drawing to a close ('though of course if I wished it I could
remain as long as I pleased') it would be an unfair and a cruel thing to
leave to a new Governor the task of commencing his government by removing
a public officer with whom it was impossible to act, and whose removal
was my own duty." Mr. Montagu's words may have been more guarded than
these but I am faithful to the sense.)

(**Footnote. This case being that of a government officer does not offer
any contradiction to the statement I have made. See above.)

This is not the place for me to discuss or defend any acts of my
government which are not connected with the immediate subject of my
present narrative; those to which I now allude need not my justification
since they have been approved of and confirmed by the Secretary of State;
but I wish to point out the influences to which Lord Stanley would appear
to have submitted his judgment, and also to show that I had substantial
reason for entertaining the belief which I expressed to his lordship upon
Mr. Montagu's suspension, that henceforth there would be no occasion for
any such decisive measures, and that mutual confidence and cooperation
might be reckoned upon amongst all the members of my government.

The experience of the last year and a half of my administration of
affairs in Van Diemen's Land, namely from Mr. Montagu's departure till
the arrival of my successor, fully justified this anticipation. My
government was not weakened but more firmly united and strengthened by
the removal of Mr. Montagu; and if there were a few who identified
themselves with him, although their duty should rather have led them at
all hazards to identify themselves with the Lieutenant-Governor, others
who, to their credit, sympathised more with Mr. Montagu in his misfortune
than they had ever done with the Colonial Secretary in his pride of place
and influence, and many who deemed they could not safely express any
opinion but such as they were solicited or expected to express,* though
the public generally were ignorant of any other version of affairs than
that which Mr. Montagu and his own party newspapers had given them,
uncontradicted, yet I will venture to say that the removal of Mr. Montagu
was a popular as well as a necessary measure; that it met with the
approval of the great body of the colonists, and that many regretted only
that for the peace of the colony that which had been done then had not
been done before. This sentiment came to me from many quarters,
accompanied by expressions of respect and attachment and of confidence in
my government which were both seasonable and gratifying to me.

The productions of a corrupt and mendacious portion of the press,
inasmuch as they were addressed to the worst passions and weaknesses of
the community, had fallen far short of their object and, though written
with the ulterior view of conveying instruction and advice to the
Secretary of State, had not yet obtained his countenance.

(*Footnote. It was never lost sight of that Mr. Montagu might RETURN, and
his best friends will scarcely deny that he has a vindictive memory. It
was even rumoured that he might RETURN AS MY SUCCESSOR, and certain it is
that Mr. Montagu did his best to favour such an impression, and openly
spoke of this prospective event after he had left the colony.)

After the embarkation of Mr. Montagu on the 10th of February 1842, if
tranquillity were not at once restored yet the heaving of the waters was
only the remains of the storm that was passing away. Even party-spirit
was constrained to suppress its manifestations and to wait for a future
day when perhaps the thunder-cloud might return. The Van Diemen's Land
Chronicle itself, after a few more scurrilous articles which lasted as
long as the supposed transmission of my last despatches to England on the
one absorbing subject, showed symptoms of exhaustion. It struggled on
however two or three months longer, lived to congratulate me facetiously
on my return from an exploring expedition to Macquarie Harbour, and then
died what may indeed be called a NATURAL death, though neither full of
years nor of honour since it had apparently accomplished all the ends of
its existence.

I took advantage of the profound tranquillity which succeeded the
departure of Mr. Montagu, and the thorough confidence I placed in the
long-tried and worthy officer* who succeeded him, to accomplish an
expedition which, whenever undertaken, must have involved an absence of
several weeks from official quarters, and an entire interruption of
communication during the greatest portion of that period. The object of
this expedition was to visit the abandoned penal settlement of Macquarie
Harbour on the western coast of Van Diemen's Land, with the view of
ascertaining whether the capabilities of that place were such as to make
it desirable to reestablish a penal station there for the reception of
the doubly-convicted felons who were now for the first time to be sent to
my charge from New South Wales and Norfolk Island. Macquarie Harbour had
hitherto been accessible only by sea and was of difficult entrance; the
interruptions to communication with it were frequent and were amongst the
reasons which had caused the abandonment of the settlement by my
predecessor, after much labour and expense had been bestowed on its
formation. It was a part of my plan therefore to examine into the nature
of the country between it and the settled districts, in order that I
might judge of the fitness of employing a large body of convicts to
establish a land-communication between them, and of opening the country
to the occupation of enterprising settlers. I had at a period long
antecedent to the present announced my intentions on this subject to the
Secretary of State, but had hitherto been prevented from carrying them
into execution.

(*Footnote. Mr. Boyes, Colonial Auditor.)

As a preliminary step for the furtherance of my project at the present
moment a small gang of from eight to ten convicts had been employed for
several months in setting up marks, and in cutting a foot-track through
the hitherto impenetrable forests in which in former years many a
wretched fugitive from the penal settlement had perished. This party was
increased, when I was able myself to commence the journey, by an
additional number of prisoners to carry tents, tools, and provisions. The
prisoners were selected for their good conduct and for being within a
short period, according to the then existing rules of convict discipline,
eligible for indulgence or alleviation of their sentences--circumstances
which it is not unimportant for me to notice here in reference to a
future part of my narrative. The history of this little expedition,
however interesting to the parties concerned in it, is not subject-matter
for these pages. The sudden breaking-up of the weather after I had
already advanced into the unsettled districts, and the prevalence of
contrary winds which made me a prisoner in Macquarie Harbour, prolonged
my return much beyond the period anticipated when I set off, and caused
some uneasiness respecting us in the community--a circumstance to which I
attribute in a great degree the cordiality and warmth with which my
return was greeted by all classes.

The untoward delay alluded to was not without some good results since it
enabled me to give my mind to the consideration of a subject which, but
for the increase of labour that had been thrown upon me by the conduct of
the late Colonial Secretary, would have earlier engaged my active

The assignment of convicts into private service, which had till lately
been the condition of prisoners on their first arrival in the colony, was
abolished, and instructions had been received and were acted on to
dispose of the newly-arrived prisoners in labour-gangs, under the control
and in the service of the Government, in different parts of the country.
This new system was however to apply only to a small portion of the
period which assignment used to occupy, and I had hitherto received no
instructions as to what was to be done with the prisoners when that small
portion of the period expired. My despatch to the Secretary of State of
the 1st of April 1842, written during my absence on the exploring
expedition, contained some suggestions on this head, and an intimation of
my intention to give it maturer consideration, and to act upon my own
responsibility if instructions should continue to be withheld. On my
return to headquarters my attention was attracted still more forcibly to
the necessity of taking upon myself such a responsibility, having before
my eye the practical evils of prolonging the first stage of punishment in
the case of prisoners who were eligible for a second; and I was still
further impressed with the conviction that the administration of the
department required some amendment.

It is here necessary to observe that, about a year before the period of
which I am now speaking, I had, on the urgent representations of the
Colonial Secretary and of the Chief Police Magistrate (Messrs. Montagu
and Forster) formed the superintendence of the government gangs into a
new department under the name of the Probation Department, and placed it
under the control of Mr. Forster who thus became Director of the
Probation Department in addition to his former office of Chief Police
Magistrate. He and Mr. Montagu saw great advantages for the public
service in this union which I considered it was worth while to prove;
whilst at the same time it was distinctly anticipated and stipulated by
me that its duration was uncertain.

The experience of a twelvemonth which had now elapsed convinced me of the
necessity for a separation of the officers thus united in the person of
Mr. Forster. I found that the gangs dispersed all over the country, and
which were increasing with unusual rapidity, required closer attention
than it was possible for the Chief Police Magistrate, who was also an
Executive Councillor, with all his energy to give to them and, if this
was apparent when the business of the Probation Department was confined
merely to that first stage of the prisoners' punishment to which I have
alluded, it was evident that when it came to include the multifarious
arrangements attendant upon the ulterior condition of the prisoner in his
subsequent stages, which I was now about for the first time to introduce,
the superintendence of the whole by one individual was a moral and
physical impossibility. On the 17th of August therefore I communicated to
Mr. Forster my views and decisions upon this subject but did not bring
them into operation, nor relieve Mr. Forster of his charge of the
Probation Department until the 27th of September. He remained after the
separation precisely in the same position as he was the year before when
I gave him the superadded charge with its emoluments.

In the organisation of the new or developed department I was much
assisted by an able individual* who had long been an esteemed officer of
the Van Diemen's Land Company's Establishment, and in that capacity had
had considerable experience in the management of convicts. I appointed
this gentleman, who had recently quitted the service of the company, to
the superintendence of the new department, to which I gave the name of
Department of Convict Discipline, because it was to embrace the whole
sequence of transitions and regulations in the convict's life, and
appeared to me a name more significant and less liable to misapprehension
than that of probation, originally applicable only to the first stage of
punishment, and which experience had taught me had been productive among
the convicts of mischief.

(*Footnote. Mr. Milligan.)

For the assistance of the head of this new or revised department in that
branch of it which related to the investigation of applicants' claims for
servants I formed a board, including two other officers of my government
of great experience and ability* in convict matters; and thus the
services of three most efficient individuals were secured for one branch
of the department in which I considered a divided responsibility was
desirable in lieu of the divided services of ONE, and this at a cost not
exceeding by more than 200 pounds a year the expenses of the late
arrangement. The saving which I calculated upon as the consequence of
withdrawing the men from the gangs and enabling them to enter private
service on wages was from 30,000 to 40,000 pounds a year.

(*Footnote. Mr. Price, Police Magistrate of Hobart Town, and Mr. Gunn,
Superintendent of the Male Penitentiary.)

My despatch to Lord Stanley in explanation of these changes bears date
the 17th November 1842, when I was enabled to speak with confidence of
their early results, and it was accompanied by a report of the whole
system of convict management in operation. But, previously to sending
home this elaborate statement, and antecedently even to my communication
to Mr. Forster, I wrote a short despatch to the Secretary of State to
ANNOUNCE the changes contemplated, which I informed his lordship I should
afterwards explain. I must beg the reader, whose memory has been already
somewhat taxed, to bear the latter circumstance in remembrance.

Mr. Forster, in his reply to my letter to him of the 17th of August,
requested me to submit to Lord Stanley, along with my own, his
representations and reports on the department from which he was relieved.
With this request, as Mr. Forster well knew, I was bound to comply. There
was no other LEGITIMATE mode in which he could transmit the
representations which he was entitled, if he thought proper, to make.
Accordingly when the Matilda sailed on September the 6th Mr. Forster,
still in occupation of his double office, applied to my private secretary
to know whether or not my despatches went by that ship, and was informed
in the negative, my plans for the new department not being yet finally
arranged, and my time being much occupied by the business of the
Legislative Council then sitting. The inference in my mind from Mr.
Forster's application was inevitable, that his own communications for the
Secretary of State were delayed until mine were ready, which was not, as
I have said, until the 17th of November. The ship conveying these
despatches had been long detained in the harbour and afterwards made a
very long passage but, even could I have foreseen these circumstances, I
should probably have deemed them of no material importance since I had
already given Lord Stanley notice of the intended changes and had shown
the importance I attached to that communication by sending a duplicate
via Bombay, which preceded the arrival in England of the original.

In my despatch of the 17th of November I had the honour of informing Lord
Stanley that, having thus on my own responsibility and in the absence of
instructions from home, remodelled the whole system of convict discipline
in the colony as respected male prisoners, I should before long report to
him upon the condition of the female convicts, having been for some time
making the most searching investigations into the evils of the then
existing system.

The changes already effected were referred to in my address to the
Legislative Council at this period. The business of this session was
carried on with unexampled ease and harmony. I am unable to refer to any
former occasion of the kind when the proposed appropriation of the
revenue passed the Council with equal facility, and when a better temper
or greater unanimity prevailed. It was impossible for me not to feel that
public confidence in my government had increased and was increasing, and
that the spirit of faction was overruled by the good sense and good
feelings of the community.

I refer with the more satisfaction to the period of my government
intervening between Mr. Montagu's departure and the close of the year
1842 because I believe it will lose nothing by a comparison with those
earlier periods of my administration which, if any confidence be due to
Mr. Montagu's VOLUNTARY COMMUNICATIONS to me, both on his return from
England and during his residence there, had secured the satisfaction and
approbation of Her Majesty's Government.

This period of tranquillity and peace was however drawing to a close.

I took little note of the rumours that were afloat on the return of the
first ships from England after Mr. Montagu's arrival there, having myself
received communications from various quarters which, though not
officially derived from Downing Street, left me in no doubt that Lord
Stanley approved my act of suspension. Letters from various friends in
England congratulated me on this decision and on the support which Lord
Stanley had so justly given to my government. These communications were
founded it appears upon assurances which had been given at the Colonial
Office that it was Lord Stanley's determination to retain me in the
government and undoubtedly the conclusion though illusory was a natural

I make this observation with some reluctance as without explanation it
may appear to indicate an undue anxiety as to my own position, if not the
employment by me of those private means of interference with the course
of public matters which I am about to expose as having been so freely
employed in the case of my opponents. I must therefore state distinctly
that, when I sent home my despatches respecting Mr. Montagu, I left them
to their merits and their fate; nor did I, nor did anyone belonging to
me, ask of a friend to ascertain even so much as what that fate might be
at the Colonial Office; still less did it enter into my contemplation to
set to work any means which should procure for me a partial or more
favourable hearing than the merits of the case demanded. I was too
confident of the propriety of my decision in the case of Mr. Montagu to
be very solicitous as to its consequences, at least as respected myself;
I wish to speak however without disrespect or presumption, my only real
care having been to destroy the tyranny and mischievous influence
throughout the colony of an individual and a party who had shown
themselves as capable when offended of virulent and vindictive opposition
to the government as under other circumstances they could be zealous in
its support.

It was natural however, nay inevitable, to give credit to the spontaneous
communications of my friends above alluded to. And the accuracy of these
did not appear to me to be overturned by the assertions made by Mr.
Montagu's relations and friends in the colony that, up to a certain
period which they named, Lord Stanley's judgment of the case before him
was in my favour.

Nevertheless notes of approaching triumph were sounded louder and louder
by Mr. Montagu's adherents. Revelations were made of the confidence
reposed in Mr. Montagu by the Secretary of State; his appointment to the
Secretaryship of the Cape of Good Hope was announced and was spoken of by
his friends as a promotion most congenial to his feelings, but this was
considered hyperbolical. His successor in Van Diemen's Land was also
named (in due time the Gazette notices in the London papers confirmed
these appointments) and whilst all these matters were subjects of
household discussion in every family in the colony I remained unhonoured
by any communication upon them from the Secretary of State.

The appointment to the Cape of Mr. Montagu, whom I had recommended for
official employment in terms which could leave no doubt of my sincerity,
did not in itself either surprise or displease me, but it did appear to
me that the natural and proper order of things was somewhat reversed when
I had to learn from the private statements of an adverse clique and from
the public prints circumstances which in the highest degree concerned
myself and my government.

Documentary evidence exists in my possession that Lord Stanley's
despatch, which is at the head of this narrative, was known to be in the
colony before I received it myself by the Duchess of Northumberland in
January 1843, and I have besides the testimony of a resident at Port
Phillip to its having been publicly read at a dinner-table in that colony
at a date prior to my receipt of it. At the same time it was made known
in Van Diemen's Land, from the same private sources of information, that
Mr. Montagu's salary as Colonial Secretary was to be paid to him up to
his departure for the Cape, the funds of the colony being thus to be made
chargeable with the salaries of two Colonial Secretaries, of one of whom
it was pronounced by Lord Stanley that it was "highly inexpedient" to
restore him to office. When I heard of this alleged condition of Lord
Stanley's as to the salary I made no scruple of replying that I DID NOT
BELIEVE ONE WORD OF IT; but FOUR MONTHS AFTER, in April 1843, I received
from Lord Stanley a command to call upon the Legislative Council to vote
this penalty upon the colony for my misdeeds.

Lord Stanley's despatch was received by me on the 18th of January 1843;
all reserve was now thrown aside and Mr. Swanston, manager of the Derwent
Bank, the agent of Mr. Montagu and a member of the Legislative Council,
placed a copy of it for general inspection on his office-table.

The public read at the same time with myself how Her Majesty's minister
thought proper to treat the representative of Her Majesty's authority in
a distant but most important colony, over which he was at that moment

Undoubtedly the Secretary of State was the judge to pronounce upon my act
in having suspended the Colonial Secretary, and as he disapproved of that
act he was bound to convey his sentiments to both Mr. Montagu and myself.
But I trust I am not overstepping the bounds of decorum when speaking of
my late official chief in saying that he was bound also to respect the
office I held and the character I bore. It was not owing to any
consideration on Lord Stanley's part if my government were not made,
after the publication of his despatch, an object of contempt; and his
lordship's imputation of want of energy and decision fell harshly and
somewhat strangely on a man who had spent above forty years in the
service of the crown, in almost every trying situation in which one of
his profession could be placed, without a stain upon his character or an
imputation on his capacity, until he had the misfortune of falling under
his lordship's censure for an act which might seem to indicate the very
reverse of the weakness attributed to him.

Nor was it to have been expected that, because the duty of protecting my
wife from the injurious statements which I believed Mr. Montagu was
prepared to make against her, had obliged me to introduce her name into a
despatch, her name should therefore have been placed at the head of one
of Lord Stanley's divisions of the subject before him in terms of most
ambiguous meaning.

The ink was scarcely dry on his lordship's despatch before its import was
mentioned by a relative of Mr. Montagu's in the hall of the Admiralty: it
was sent to Mr. Montagu who it will be recollected was then on the spot,
four days after its date, unaccompanied by any injunction of privacy, but
on the contrary bearing on it the stamp of being Mr. Montagu's own
authorised property to be used as he thought proper.

Previous to receiving it Mr. Montagu had been circulating a memorandum,
as he calls it, of the most defamatory character against me and my wife
in order to account for his removal from office, a copy of which
memorandum is deposited in the Colonial Office, but after the receipt of
this despatch he put aside, as he very reasonably might, his memorandum,
deeming his object perhaps nearly as well secured, and in a more
legitimate manner, by the circulation of his lordship's document.

Accordingly Mr. Montagu spared no pains to give the official document
publicity; it was discussed at the naval and military clubs, disseminated
undoubtedly, as he tells Lord Stanley his memorandum had been, in "THE
forwarded as we have seen to Van Diemen's Land, to Port Phillip, to
Sydney, where it was brought under Sir George Gipps' observation, and
wherever else it was capable of exciting any interest.

The despatch as I have said arrived on the 18th of January. In the
Courier of the 20th is the following announcement: "We anticipate next
week to be enabled to lay the substance of it before our readers;" it was
not until several months later however that it appeared verbatim in the
columns of the Courier newspaper.* Its appearance in this paper was
announced by the following paragraph:

One word to the Advertiser before we have done. We agree with him that
"the open circulation of the opinion of Lord Stanley" will give a zest to
Mr. Montagu's triumph and, to mark our sense of the unanimity on this one
point between ourselves and our contemporary, we promise to publish the
despatch containing the decision of Lord Stanley in this notable case in
the next edition of the Courier. Courier, June 30, 1843.

(*Footnote. Mr. Montagu acknowledges as will be afterwards seen that he
sent a copy to Mr. Forster and another to Mr. Swanston. The Courier also
informs us that it HAD ITS OWN COPY. This is an additional fact the
accuracy of which must be settled by Mr. Montagu and Mr. Elliston.)

When the next edition of the Courier appeared on the 7th of July I read
for the first time the following letter from Mr. Stephen to Mr. Montagu,
which formed a preface to the despatch:


Downing Street, 17th September, 1842.

I am directed by Lord Stanley to transmit to you for your information a
copy of Despatch (Number 150, 13th September 1842) which his lordship has
addressed to Lieutenant-Governor Sir John Franklin, communicating to him
his opinion in regard to the circumstances which led to your suspension
from the office of Colonial Secretary at Van Diemen's Land.

You will consider that despatch as conveying to you his lordship's
decision in your case.*

I have the honour to be, Sir,

Your most obedient, humble servant,

James Stephen.

John Montagu, Esquire, etc.

(*Footnote. It appears from Mr. Montagu's own statement in a letter to
the Secretary of State, dated 16th of January 1844, that his lordship's
decision was verbally communicated by himself to Mr. Montagu on the 29th
of August (1842) and that "he did not expect a more formal announcement
of the issue of his case.")

It thus appeared that the possession by Mr. Montagu of a despatch
addressed to myself was not, as I had at first vainly imagined, the
result of inadvertence on Lord Stanley's part, or an unauthorised act of
partiality on the part of any friend of Mr. Montagu's in that office, and
misused by him, but the deliberate act of Lord Stanley himself, executed
by his express command.

Mr. Montagu's reply to Lord Stanley's despatch was not published in Van
Diemen's Land. It was of a character too vituperative towards myself and
revealed too plainly the unworthy method of defence which he had adopted
to make it safe or prudent to do so; but it was circulated in manuscript
and alluded to in the public prints.*

(*Footnote. In the Appendix C will be found a letter addressed by a
gentleman whose testimony is unimpeachable, to an officer of my
government, in which the impression produced on the writer by this letter
of Mr. Montagu's is given. The same letter contains a disclosure of
considerable importance when viewed in connection with some of Mr.
Montagu's assertions but which it would be premature here to dwell upon.)

The despatch and these accompaniments were in fact the leading theme of
every local newspaper, and they were in most of them the text-book of
every species of vulgar insult. The complimentary gift of a copy of the
despatch to Mr. Montagu, the making ME the recipient of the unbounded
eulogium lavished upon HIM, and HIM the depositary of the unmitigated
censures bestowed upon ME, was a course at once so unique and so
ingenious that it took the colony by surprise. The least that could be
said of it by Mr. Montagu's relations and friends was that it was an
UNPARALLELED instance of favour.

On the receipt of the despatch I hastened to request of Lord Stanley that
he would lose no time in appointing my successor unless he was enabled to
give me the assurance of possessing, what this despatch seemed to render
so equivocal, the continued confidence of Her Majesty's Government. But
long before this conditional resignation could reach England my successor
was on his voyage out and he arrived, as will be afterwards seen, in the
colony four days before I received the official notice of my recall.

If it be wondered at that, instead of this conditional resignation I did
not instantly throw up the government, I have no hesitation in declaring
that such an act would have been a weak and cowardly surrender of the
interests and welfare of the colony to my personal feelings at a crisis
of peculiar difficulty, and at the distance of what may be figuratively
called a twelvemonth from home. It was the very act most desired by an
agitating and mischievous faction, and that which would have neutralised
the good I expected to realise by the removal of Mr. Montagu. I had no
reason to suppose that Lord Stanley's despatch was meant to lead me to
such a precipitate measure or to indicate that my place was already
understood to be vacant; but on the contrary I had grounds for thinking,
as I have already stated, that it was Lord Stanley's intention and desire
to retain me in the government. If it were otherwise why did Lord Stanley
not send back Mr. Montagu to an office from which he had been, according
to his lordship's judgment, unjustly displaced? Why had he acknowledged
that it was highly inexpedient to do so? The restoration of Mr. Montagu
must either have been inexpedient on public grounds, in which case I must
have succeeded in making good in some degree my arguments against it, or
it was inexpedient because Lord Stanley did not desire my resignation,
which he knew must instantly have followed Mr. Montagu's reinstatement.
His lordship having abstained from this act I had no excuse for
precipitately abandoning my post, which I conscientiously felt, under the
circumstances in which the colony was then placed, would have been a most
unjustifiable dereliction of my duty. It would besides have been a
crowning triumph to a factious and insolent party, of which I meant to
deprive them.

But this is not all. Lord Stanley's despatch was a mystery to me; it was
inconsistent with itself, and impaired every preconceived idea I had
formed of his justice and his courtesy; nay it did more. Had Mr. Montagu
been allowed to dictate the despatch to any subordinate in the Colonial
Office it could scarcely have more tenderly and delicately identified
itself with him. Even the small measure of blame which is attributed to
Mr. Montagu by Lord Stanley, being precisely that measure which Mr.
Montagu takes to himself in his apologetic letter to me of the 31st of
January 1842,* and no more, could not be avoided, though even this grain
of censure is subsequently absorbed in the glowing and sweeping
exculpation which relieves the ex-Colonial Secretary from every censure
affecting not only the integrity but even the PROPRIETY of his conduct.

(*Footnote. Lord Stanley it will be seen by a reference to the Despatch
Number 150 "cannot acquit Mr. Montagu of having used in the case of Dr.
Coverdale some language which I might not unnaturally regard as a
menace," and considers that he is not altogether to be exempted from the
reproach of having substituted a service confined to the exact limits of
positive duty for that of a "cordial cooperation.")

But whatever might have been the misgivings to which this singular and
partial advocacy of Mr. Montagu gave birth in my mind I did not commit
the great blunder of revealing them. There was nothing in my reply to
Lord Stanley which could indicate other than a full persuasion on my part
that I read his lordship's deliberate sentiments in his lordship's own
selected words, which I was bound to receive with deference, even whilst
I remonstrated against their application. My desire was to write with
moderation as well as with respect, as if some warmth of expression was
anywhere elicited from me, it was only when, in reference to the
equivocal mention of Lady Franklin's name, I denounced the infamous
intrigues by which it had been outraged, explained my motives for having
brought it forward and called upon his lordship's sense of justice as a
minister, and of honour as a man, to put me in possession of those
statements by which Mr. Montagu had established to his lordship's
satisfaction, if such were indeed the case, a charge which was false in
all its bearings. I told Lord Stanley, in reference to the public
exposure of his despatch at the Derwent Bank, that I felt persuaded he
had not contemplated such an indignity being offered to an officer still
encumbered with the cares and responsibilities of government (being then
ignorant that the copy of which Mr. Montagu had obtained possession was
given by the express act of Lord Stanley) for that he knew my position as
the administrator of the affairs of the Government could command respect
only so long as it received it from the source whence it was derived; and
reminded him of what he must be well aware that it would have been less
painful to my feelings to have been relieved from my charge than to be
placed in so embarrassing a situation. I assured him however that the
good sense and good feeling of the community had repudiated the
proceeding of Mr. Montagu and his agents, and had been evidenced by many
personal assurances of respect and attachment which I had received in
consequence of it.

It was by no means, I will venture to say, Lord Stanley's intention that
I should precipitately throw up my government, nor did he anticipate any
such occurrence. His lordship's policy, it would appear, was not only to
retain me in the government until he had made all the new arrangements
which followed his communication with Mr. Montagu in Downing Street, but
to withhold from me the knowledge that any such changes were in
contemplation. When the new Colonial Secretary left England, at the
beginning I believe of December 1842, my recall was decided upon, nay was
a matter, as I have since understood, of notoriety in England, though the
name of the individual fixed upon as my successor had not publicly
transpired; yet Mr. Bicheno was the bearer to me of no communication,
either official or confidential, of the impending change. The letter by
which Lord Stanley introduced him to me contained no intimation that, so
soon as he and the Assistant Colonial Secretary who accompanied him had
become initiated into their new duties, they would be followed by the new
Governor, whose arrival was apparently delayed merely for the purpose of
avoiding the embarrassment which might have attended the simultaneous
arrival of so many new officers.

Mr. Bicheno brought me some important despatches from Lord Stanley
respecting the changes which his lordship was about to introduce in
prison discipline, and in those despatches I am addressed as the person
who was at once to commence initiatory steps for this purpose; and my
zealous solicitude was bespoken, or rather (apparently) confided in, for
the due execution of the duties thus devolving upon me.

Nevertheless these despatches, however calculated to mislead me as to the
point in question, were, as well as others which I received at the period
of Mr. Bicheno's arrival in April 1843, of such a nature that I could no
longer doubt that the influence obtained by Mr. Montagu with Lord Stanley
pervaded the dictation of the whole.

Mr. Montagu's arrival in England had been simultaneous with the urgent
need then felt in Downing Street for the advice and information of some
practical and intelligent man acquainted with the colony in order to
frame those instructions for the management of the convicts which, since
the abolition of assignment I had been led, as I have before stated, to
expect, and was anxiously awaiting from home. Mr. Montagu recommended
himself and was recommended to Lord Stanley as the very man to suit his
lordship's purpose. So soon as Lord Stanley had decided upon the
condemnation of my suspension of Mr. Montagu, and had bestowed upon him
eulogiums, which, but for this propitious event might never have been
elicited, he could have had no scruple in availing himself of Mr.
Montagu's services and of admitting him to his utmost confidence. There
could have been no objection, after Lord Stanley had with so little
ceremony entirely set aside all my statements and preferred those of Mr.
Montagu, that he should, in the despatches I now received on convict
discipline, neglect altogether to notice that I had myself announced to
him a plan for the management of the convicts, which must have been at
that moment in operation in the colony, and the report of which must have
been on its way home. Lord Stanley either wholly forgot that he had
received such a despatch from me or thought it not worth his while to
wait for the Governor's opinions when he had the ex-Colonial Secretary by
his side; whether my plans should be found to have anticipated his own or
to clash with them was of little importance.

Accordingly Lord Stanley quotes to me the "very high authority of the
late Colonial Secretary" for statements of a very startling nature, and
never seems for a moment to suspect either that the late Colonial
Secretary's data might be incorrect, or that his authority might, without
prejudice to the case, have been veiled from my observation. Had I been
aware that Mr. Montagu would have been so quickly called to his
lordship's councils I might have felt it my duty to have pointed out that
my testimony to his fitness for office was not intended to apply to his
being the adviser of Lord Stanley in all matters relating to Van Diemen's
Land, and that upon convict matters recent experience had proved to me
the unsoundness of some of his views, and that his opinions on such a
subject were liable to be biased by his family interests.

Though Mr. Montagu may have abundant proof to show that I at one time
entertained different sentiments as to his judgment he must also show, in
order to convict me of inconsistency, that I have had no reason to change

I am not about to enter here into any elucidation of these remarks, or
into an investigation of the new system sent out for me to initiate. In
some of its features it resembled that which I had already brought into
operation in the colony on my own responsibility, particularly as
respected the distribution of the convicts after they had served their
time in the labour-gangs into private service on wages; but under the
present administration of the system it appears to be freed from many of
those restraints and checks by which I had endeavoured in this and
subsequent stages of the prisoner's sentence to guard the interests and
safety of the colonists, and to promote, as I conceived, the good conduct
and moral benefit of the prisoners themselves. Experience will probably
prove that the period of an excessive and uncontrolled increase of the
convict population is not that in which a greater degree of license can
be prudently accorded.

The only specific feature of the new system, as conveyed to me in Lord
Stanley's despatch, which I shall here notice, is the appointment which
his lordship announced to me of a new officer, to be called the
Comptroller-General of Convicts, who was to unite in his own person the
powers, if not the labours, of various subdivisions of the convict
department, and was to communicate directly with the Governor without the
intervention of the Colonial Secretary; thus diminishing the labours and
the influence of the latter officer and transferring them to the new
official, who would become in fact a second Colonial Secretary.

The Comptroller-General of Convicts Lord Stanley informed me was to be
sent out from England, but this fact was considered doubtful by the Chief
Police Magistrate of the colony, Mr. Forster, who had private reasons for
believing that himself would be the person appointed, and some of the
colonial papers of the day boldly promulgated his appointment. Whatever
reasons I might have for regarding as authentic any anticipations
entertained by Mr. Forster in general respecting his interests at the
Colonial Office I could not give any weight to such conjectures in the
present instance, since not only was Lord Stanley's despatch before me,
informing me that the Comptroller-General would be sent out from England,
but also I considered that in coming to this decision his lordship had
been guided by the most judicious and sound policy. It was particularly
desirable that on the arrival of a new Governor so great an increase of
political importance should not be bestowed on an individual already in
long possession of official influence in another department intimately
connected with that of the convicts, and in which he had had an army of
subordinates at command. Such a concentration of personal influence and
official powers might have a tendency to create a species of imperium in
imperio, which would be neither convenient nor safe.

I have alluded to the general tenor of my communications in the month of
April 1842, when the new Colonial Secretary arrived, as indicating the
all-pervading influence of Mr. Montagu over his lordship's deliberations
in the government of that colony.

It will be recollected that four months back there arrived in Van
Diemen's Land private information addressed to Mr. Montagu's friends that
his salary was to be paid to him from colonial funds up to the date of
his appointment to the Cape. Simultaneously with the arrival of the new
Colonial Secretary came the order to me from Lord Stanley to call upon
the Legislative Council for their approbation of this item in the

The execution of this order became the duty of my successor. I did not
see it in the estimates which were brought by him before the Legislative
Council previous to my departure from the Australian colonies, nor have I
observed any notice of it whatever in the debates of Council.

Another despatch in the bag of the John Renwick in April 1843 demands a
few words of notice; it related to the Macquarie Harbour expedition
mentioned above. I must premise that this despatch, like every other
which had a tendency to weaken my legitimate authority and impair the
energies of my government, was announced by Mr. Forster's friends in the
colony, and in the public prints before it was transmitted to me. It
began to be understood in the colony that the Governor's office was by no
means the most authentic source of Downing Street information, and
certainly it was not in possession of the earliest.

The despatch to which I am now alluding was founded on an insolent
article in the Van Diemen's Land Chronicle of the 3rd of May 1842 which
attributes to me the granting indulgences, or remission of punishment, to
certain prisoners who accompanied me in the expedition to Macquarie
Harbour in reward of their having acted as palanquin-bearers to Lady
Franklin during a portion of that journey. I speak from memory, not
having a copy of the newspaper in question by me. Lord Stanley, referring
to the Gazette notice of the indulgence, and of course giving no "credit
to the unworthy motives attributed to me," yet requests me to account for
the unusual course which appears to have been taken on the occasion and
begs to know whether there was any truth in the assertion that they were
thrice-convicted felons who had been thus pardoned by me.

It would be superfluous and tedious to enter here into the details which,
in obedience to Lord Stanley's command, I had the honour to submit to him
in explanation of the corrupt conduct imputed to me; and this is the less
necessary since his lordship has condescended to assure me since my
return to England, though not until I had made application on the
subject, that he was satisfied with my explanation. The palanquin and its
alleged occupant and its bearers formed however no part of my elaborate

But however grotesque may be the aspect of this incident it was
impossible for me not seriously to feel and to deplore the injury done to
good government by thus arraigning at the bar of judgment the governor of
a colony, the representative of the Queen's authority there, on the
absurd and abusive representations of a colonial newspaper; that colony
also the farthest removed from the protection of Her Majesty's
Government, the receptacle of her most refractory and lawless subjects;
that newspaper the identical publication which I had already brought
before Lord Stanley's notice as the most personally malignant and
libellous of the local press, at the time when its especial object seemed
to be the advocacy of Mr. Montagu's interests and purposes.

I ventured to assure his lordship in my reply to his despatch that there
was no respectable individual in the colony who did not already feel the
injury done to his interests both at home and abroad by the licentious
press of the colony, and who would not deplore that new aspect of
importance which had now been given to it by its being thus made the
foundation of a despatch such as I had just received from him. I informed
Lord Stanley that the subject of that despatch was already in the
possession of Mr. Montagu's friends in the colony BEFORE it was
transmitted to me, that the public were in possession of the fact through
their means, but that of course they possessed it unaccompanied by the
explanations I offered to his lordship, and which it was out of my power
to lay before the public. In conclusion I expressed my satisfaction at
the assurance his lordship had given me, that he gave no credit to the
unworthy motives attributed to me; but I entreated him to do me the
justice to believe that no suspicion would naturally enter my mind that
any but the highest motives could ever be attributed to me by Her
Majesty's Government for any exercise of the lawful authority vested in

In order to give Lord Stanley some idea of the use made of this
occurrence I transmitted to him a colonial newspaper (Murray's Review*)
and called his attention to another statement made in the same newspaper,
which seemed well calculated to arrest his lordship's attention. This was
no other than the announcement of the author's intention to publish the
correspondence which had passed between his lordship and Mr. Montagu on
his late suspension. Whence were these interesting documents derived? The
answer is attached to a story which forms the most remarkable feature in
my narrative.

(*Footnote. We rejoice to find that the newspaper press of this colony
has such weight with the authorities at home as to produce despatches
from the Secretary of State to the Lieutenant-Governor calling upon that
functionary for explanations upon points which the newspaper press had
brought under public consideration. It will be remembered that the late
Van Diemen's Land Chronicle commented with much severity upon the fact
that the Lieutenant-Governor had PAID the prisoners of the crown employed
by his excellency upon the late "BOOK-MAKING" expedition to Macquarie
Harbour as palanquin-bearers to Lady Franklin, or some other of the suite
of his excellency, by granting to them pardons; a measure in itself
extremely objectionable and wholly uncontemplated by the Home Government,
to be bestowed in remuneration for any services rendered for the personal
accommodation of any governor. In consequence of the statement of our
late contemporary the Lieutenant-Governor has received a despatch from
the Secretary of State, calling upon him to make known whether that
statement is true, and if it is to furnish the home authorities with a
detail of the claims which the palanquin-bearers had to such indulgences.
Sir John Franklin is therefore now compelled, and solely, the Secretary
of State avows, in consequence of the representations of the newspaper
press (the Van Diemen's Land Chronicle) to render explanations which he
will not only find difficult, BUT WHICH BEING SO COMPELLED TO RENDER,
must be productive to him if he possesses the shadow of feeling of the
deepest mortification. Murray's Review.)


When Mr. Bicheno, the new Colonial Secretary, arrived in Van Diemen's
Land in April 1843 he brought with him under cover a bound folio book of
312 manuscript pages. It was the document alluded to above, at the
commencement of this narrative, as forming a key to and commentary upon
Lord Stanley's despatch on Mr. Montagu's defence in Downing Street, both
written and verbal; and under the latter head a record of those
defamatory statements I have alluded to.

The book was entrusted to Mr. Bicheno by Mr. Montagu, who did not explain
to him its contents, with a request that it might be delivered to Mr.
Forster. This officer, after reading, as he has stated, only a part of
it, transmitted it according to Mr. Montagu's farther directions to Mr.
Swanston, who extensively circulated it in the community. It was perused
by the two Judges, by the leading counsel and solicitors of Hobart Town,
by several Members of Council, by clergymen, by settlers in the interior,
by some who had only to go to the Derwent Bank and request a sight of it,
by others to whom, when it became convenient to deny its contents, it was
offered in order to enable them to swear to a deception of which they
were not the dupes.*

(*Footnote. It seems scarcely credible that Mr. Swanston, bound by his
oath as a Member of the Legislative Council to uphold the honour of his
Sovereign, should have transmitted a book, the leading object of which
was to traduce the representative of that sovereign, to a colonial
newspaper with the editor of which, communication or cooperation had
until now been considered immeasurably detrimental; and with whom, if I
have been rightly informed, the alleged intimacy of a public officer in
the time of my predecessor had been brought forward as one of the grounds
of his dismissal.)

The terms on which its perusal were granted were easy and safe. The
readers were forbidden to copy it but they might speak freely of its
contents.* It was evident that the publication was complete and that it
was a publication in the worst and most injurious form.

(*Footnote. The following extract from one of the local newspapers
attaches more caution than was really observed to the conditions imposed
upon the readers, but it characterises accurately the underhand mode of
its dissemination: The book was sent to some in confidence; they were to
read the book, not lend it, nor make known its contents, but they might
give the results of their knowledge. They had an ex-parte statement, a
collection of documents, notes of conversations, and statements which
were to be received as facts: from the perusal of those they were to form
a judgment and to publish that judgment. But the documents, the notes of
conversation, and the statements themselves, were to be carefully
concealed: there was to be no opportunity given of combating or
disproving them; they were not to be even mentioned, lest they might be
rebutted, but a conclusion was to be drawn from them and given to the
public; and this, though some of them were false and many distorted,
though important facts relative to some were concealed, and others
misstated. Verily we have heard of fair play in our time, and if this is
honesty we should wish to have a definition of treachery. What the
opinions were notwithstanding we may judge by the facts, that one
confidant declared to Captain Swanston that the book was unfit to meet
the public eye, and that another flung it from him with disgust at its
treachery, its meanness, and the calumnious nature of its contents.
Hobart Town Advertiser, June 26, 1843.)

I should do injustice both to many of those who read, and to all of those
who refrained from reading, Mr. Montagu's book did I not acknowledge both
the high and honourable feeling which prevented the latter from indulging
their curiosity, and the very natural and reasonable excuse of many of
those who on the other hand yielded to the temptation. Who that had read
Lord Stanley's despatch Number 150, and there were few in the colony who
had not read it, but must desire to learn how Mr. Montagu had conducted a
successful defence "which was not allowed to face its opponent," and to
be made acquainted with the unexpected illumination which Mr. Montagu's
revelations had now thrown upon it?

Mr. Montagu revealed to the public in Van Diemen's Land that his line of
defence with Lord Stanley had been this: he was the victim of Lady
Franklin's hatred, and she alone was the cause of his suspension. To
establish this point was the one leading object of Mr. Montagu's policy
for, if established, Mr. Montagu conceived that all my official arguments
and statements against him would fall to the ground and appear only as
the delusive representations by which I sought to disguise my own
weakness; every effort therefore was concentrated upon this point. It was
necessary in the first place to prove me a fool; accordingly I am
represented as a perfect "imbecile," of whom it had been absolutely
necessary that he (Mr. Montagu) should have the guidance, a fact
sufficiently accounting for and excusing his undue assumption of power.
It was necessary to vilify the character of Lady Franklin and impute to
her sufficient motives for her determination to get rid of him. She is
represented as an "intriguing," "clever," "dangerous," bad woman," and
her hatred to Mr. Montagu as caused by his refusing to "pander" to her
desire of travelling about the colony at the public expense.* It was most
desirable that the act should be represented as hers alone, and that
neither myself nor others should be accused of any participation in it
since that would have raised up defenders of the measure in the accused
persons, or have helped to prove that it was a right measure and thus
have weakened the pressure upon a helpless individual, and upon me, over
whom it was to be shown that her influence was supreme. Accordingly Lady
Franklin's name is the only one Lord Stanley is permitted to hear. Not
one word is said by Mr. Montagu of that "FIERCE PHALANX OF HIS ENEMIES"
(to use his own expression) which surrounded me, and from which he
expressed his belief in the hour of danger "that Lady Franklin alone
could SAVE me;"** not an allusion to my faithful and fearless private
secretary who, it may be recollected, had come prominently forward on his
own personal responsibility to obtain from Mr. Montagu a disavowal of the
imputation attached to him in connection with the abusive Van Diemen's
Land Chronicle.***

(*Footnote. This charge, involving the very serious one of my
misapplication of the colonial funds, was treated by me in my despatch to
the Secretary of State with some detail. It is sufficient here to state
that I informed his lordship that on no single occasion that I could
bring to my recollection had the funds of the colony been called upon for
Lady Franklin's purposes, and consequently that on no occasion whatever
had Lady Franklin or myself been aware that Mr. Montagu refused to pander
to such purposes.)

(**Footnote. This observation was made by Mr. Montagu to a mutual and
intimate friend a few days before his suspension, with the intention, as
it was understood, of its being repeated.)

(***Footnote. This act on Mr. Henslowe's part had excited the resentment
of Mr. Montagu, the more so as it was an unexpected return for the
courtesies and blandishments which, after the misunderstanding on the
Coverdale case, he had lavished on my private secretary for the first
time since their intercourse had existed. The moment thus chosen appeared
to Mr. Henslowe to be singularly ill-adapted for these flattering
attentions since it would have been an embarrassing and an unbecoming
position for my private secretary, who was an inmate of my family, to
commence a hitherto unsolicited friendship with Mr. Montagu at a moment
when the latter had withdrawn from all cordial cooperation with me, and
when the intimacy between our respective families was at an end. But Mr.
Montagu had previously instructed Mr. Henslowe to expect "squalls" from
Downing Street and to "look out for himself." See above.)

Mr. Henslowe's correspondence with Mr. Montagu respecting this newspaper
was before Lord Stanley. It served probably only as another proof of Lady
Franklin's enmity since Mr. Montagu had not scrupled to state his belief
at the time not only that Lady Franklin was privy to but that she
dictated that correspondence.

It would take up too much time to enter into any detail of the various
imputations made against my wife and myself in Mr. Montagu's record of
his conversations with Lord Stanley, for it was in Lord Stanley's
presence and into his ear and that of Mr. Hope, Under-Secretary of State,
that these defamatory statements had been poured. Some of them appear in
the Appendix in the racy account given by one of the readers of the Book,
as Mr. Montagu's manuscript volume was technically called in the colony,
of the contents of that compilation; and those who have more curiosity on
the subject may find them in the series of Van Diemen's Land Chronicles
of an earlier period which shadowed forth the coming book of Mr. Montagu
with remarkable precision. It is sufficient here to state that Mr.
Montagu's catalogue of Lady Franklin's delinquencies embraces a most
comprehensive range of subjects, from the establishment of a newspaper of
her own,* to which she contributed articles from her pen to the
countermanding of Mr. Montagu's supply of plums and cabbages from the

(*Footnote. About the time of Mr. Montagu's suspension the Advertiser, a
paper not hitherto distinguished for any very steady support of
government, passed into new hands, and opposed a firm and creditable
opposition to the agitation movement and the abusive productions of the
adverse party. Mr. Montagu's charge against Lady Franklin of her being
connected with this newspaper is an illustration of that armour of
recrimination in which he generally found it convenient to invest
himself. The charge appears also in a portion of the written defence of
Mr. Montagu as given by him to Lord Stanley and published in the Courier
newspaper. On this account, though otherwise almost too ludicrous for
refutation, I imposed upon myself the task of informing Lord Stanley that
his assertion or rather insinuation (for Mr. Montagu had carefully thrown
from himself the responsibility of it by stating that it was the current
report in Van Diemen's Land) was utterly untrue in every possible sense,
either as applied to the newspaper in question or to any other,
accompanying this denial by a letter to the same effect, addressed to my
private secretary from the respectable proprietor and editor of the
Advertiser, who makes the additional remark in the character of an
occasional visitor at Government House that Lady Franklin had never
conversed with him on any political subject whatever. This is not an
unfit place to remark that, when the Van Diemen's Land Chronicle
commenced its opposition to the Governor, and marked the moment of doing
so, by attacking with every species of insult the Governor's wife, there
appeared in its columns an impertinent paragraph upon the inroad made
upon colonial funds for her convenience or pleasure by the hire of the
Breeze schooner. A very temperate article in reply appeared in the
Courier to the effect that of all scandal the Lieutenant-Governor should
at least have been safe from this. The author of this article, an
understood contributor to the Courier, must have been well-known to the
Messrs. Macdowell, yet it suited their purpose to inform the public, as
if on authority which could not be disputed, that the article was from
Lady Franklin's pen, and that it was no longer made a secret of; and when
this assertion was denied by the Courier the public were again informed
by Mr. Macdowell that he could not take the ghost's word for it, for
that, in addition to its forming the general topic of conversation before
he alluded to it in his paper, the article itself bore INTERNAL EVIDENCE
of its manufacture, and that the testimony of his own senses must be
abandoned before he could abandon his conviction as to its origin. And
here the matter rested for nearly two years, when the publication in Mr.
Montagu's book of his insidious and safe imputation against Lady Franklin
respecting the Advertiser revived the remembrance of it, and induced my
private secretary to request of Mr. Bradbury, Secretary to the Board of
Education, whom he knew to be the author, his written avowal of it, in
order that unanswerable evidence might in this one tangible instance be
afforded of the falsehood and misrepresentation to which Lady Franklin
had been exposed. Mr. Bradbury, thus called upon, unhesitatingly avowed
himself the author of the article, adding that it was written "without
the slightest suggestion from any person whatever." The correspondence
between Mr. Henslowe and Mr. Bradbury appeared in the Advertiser and,
though Mr. Bradbury could show that he had made no GRATUITOUS avowal of
the truth--that in fact he had done that only which no gentleman or man
of honour could help doing, this unexpected exposure was not forgiven.)

(**Footnote. The charge of stopping Mr. Montagu's supply of fruit and
vegetables is supported in the Book by a letter from Mr. Herbertson,
Superintendent of the Government-garden, in which he is made to state
that he had stopped them by Lady Franklin's order (at a period shortly
preceding Mr. Montagu's suspension). Knowing that Lady Franklin had never
given any such order, or caused it to be given, I desired that Mr.
Herbertson might be examined before the police magistrate of Hobart Town,
when he made his declaration that he had never written any such letter as
the one given in the book; that the initial letter of his christian name,
said to be affixed to the letter in the book, was not his own, and
moreover that he never received any such order from Lady Franklin as that
contained in the letter, either written or verbal. The following is the
manner in which the Van Diemen's Land Chronicle prepared me a year or two
before to anticipate Mr. Montagu's story. I quote one only of many
passages to the same effect, dispersed through the pages of that paper:
Lady Franklin however can inflict all these injuries by directly
interfering in the affairs of government, and yet pass without
observation, nay with a certain degree of applause before the world. She
proceeds to Government-garden and SUSPENDS a supply of vegetables to
Captain Montagu's house before he is deprived of his office. This in
itself is a very LITTLE act, but yet it betrays much, and will be quoted
in the London circles with immoderate laughter. Van Diemen's Land
Chronicle, February 11th, 1842.)

The college also, the new government-house, the despatches, of which she
is represented as the sole writer, all find a place in the indictment
and, in case any or all of the charges should fail, her general
interference with the government comes in to supply the deficiency.

With regard to myself the chief charge in addition to my general
imbecility is the falsehood by which I had supported the St. George's
Church case, and which is said to have done me more injury with Lord
Stanley than anything else in my despatches, particularly as being an
after-charge on my part; and secondly the treachery I had shown, in
writing home in a despatch relating to Mr. Montagu's suspension,
statements extremely injurious to Dr. Turnbull and Mr. Forster, which I
concealed from them, and which are contrasted with statements of an
opposite character respecting these gentlemen addressed by me to Mr.
Montagu himself. The former charge is treated in Appendix D. Upon the
latter, which is also alluded to in the first part of Mr. Young's letter,
I shall say a few more words, as it gives a remarkable illustration of
the evils against which I had to contend in my government at this period,
and of the unworthy means employed to alienate from me the attachment and
fidelity of one of my most worthy officers. The dissimulation and
double-dealing here attributed to me were calculated to injure me greatly
in the colony amongst all who found it difficult to believe that so bold
an assertion could be made without any foundation in fact. With Lord
Stanley, if his lordship condescended to read or inquire into the
contents of his own despatches or into those of his predecessors, it
could do me no injury, as he would find that I had written home no such
statement as the one imputed to me; that with regard to Mr. Forster I had
scrupulously forborne to implicate him in the detail of circumstances
which led to Mr. Montagu's suspension; and as respects Dr. Turnbull had
never omitted an opportunity of speaking of him in terms of the highest
commendation and friendship.

Dr. Turnbull had no reason to doubt this fact; but what could he do when,
informed by Mr. Forster several months before the arrival of the same
story in Mr. Montagu's book, that I had written secretly against him to
the Colonial Office, and that Mr. Montagu, then in England with access to
that office, was his authority? What could Dr. Turnbull do when his
informant Mr. Forster laid upon him an injunction of secrecy which made
it impossible for him to reveal this painful communication to me, and
relieve his mind of the suspicions insinuated? The painful impression
thus produced upon Dr. Turnbull's mind was such that he hesitated before
he accepted a private invitation to spend the Christmas with me and my
family in the country; and though the conflict of his feelings was at
last ended it was by the exercise of his own faith in my honour, and not
by any elucidation of facts. From this satisfaction his unguarded pledge
of secrecy had precluded him; and when it was observed that our friendly
relations continued unbroken it was made a subject of reproach to him, as
arguing a degree of insensibility to right and wrong which could not fail
to injure his prospects "UNDER A NEW GOVERNOR."* When Mr. Montagu sent
out this tale of my falsehood and treachery, in the first instance in a
letter to Mr. Forster, he must either have known it to be a fiction, or
he was grossly misinformed; but between that period and the transmission
some months later by Mr. Bicheno of the book, in which a second edition
of the story appears, he must have convinced himself of his error, if it
were one, and was bound in his book not to have repeated, but to have
contradicted it. The bane however was forwarded to the colony without the
antidote. [See the letter in the Appendix D. of Mr. Young, who thought it
necessary to warn Dr. Turnbull against me as a person not to be trusted.]
I shall say no more on this subject except to state that, on becoming
acquainted with these charges against my good faith, I submitted
unreservedly to Dr. Turnbull, to whom it was due, and to Mr. Forster, to
whom it was not due, all the despatches I had sent home respecting Mr.
Montagu's suspension.

(*Footnote. Mr. Swanston's words.)

From the above notices of the contents of Mr. Montagu's book it is not to
be wondered at that the general testimony of its readers pronounced it to
be "pernicious," "highly injurious," "mean," "underhanded," "pitifully
malicious," "highly improper," "a moral assassination," "calculated to
lessen the authority and respect due to the representative of the
sovereign," and indicating in Captain Swanston, from whom the readers
derived the book, a "direct intention to bring His Excellency's
government into contempt."*

(*Footnote. Mr. Forster's determination after a partial perusal, "NOT TO
COLONY," proves that it must have been known to him to contain matter in
reference to me unfit for him to possess.)

It was evidently a libel of the most flagrant and injurious character,
since its tendency and object were not only to defame my personal
character and that of my wife, but to embarrass and impede my government
and to produce disorder and agitation in the community. It is my firm
belief that, had I succeeded in getting the book into my own hands, and
had brought it before the Supreme Court of Van Diemen's Land, laying my
damages at what amount I pleased, there is not a jury which could have
been impanelled in the colony which would not have returned me a verdict
to the full amount. A recent libel case in Van Diemen's Land which grew
out of this book transaction, and which was not tried until after my
departure from the colony, fully justifies my assertion.*

(*Footnote. I allude to the cause of Gregson v. Dobson. Mr. Gregson is
one of the oldest colonists of Van Diemen's Land, a man of education and
talent and of independent and honourable sentiments. After the removal of
Mr. Montagu, between whom and himself there was the most irreconcilable
opposition of interests and feelings, I appointed him, pending Her
Majesty's pleasure, to a seat in the Legislative Council. The appointment
was displeasing to the friends of Mr. Montagu, and I received from Mr.
Dobson, a solicitor of Hobart Town and an intimate friend and connection
of Mr. Swanston's, a remonstrance upon the subject, denouncing Mr.
Gregson in the most libellous terms in connection with some intricate
transactions in which he was stated to have been engaged. Knowing that
the exposure of this document would set the community in a blaze, and
having no doubt of Mr. Gregson's integrity, I submitted the paper to the
acting Attorney-General, who advised me to decline entering into the
investigation, and the decision to which I came upon this official
"opinion" was communicated to the parties concerned. Their next step was
to send me a copy of a letter addressed to the Secretary of State, which
I was informed was to be transmitted to him by a ship then on the point
of sailing for Bombay. I replied that my despatches would go by another
ship, and my transmission of any documents upon the subject in question
would depend upon my receiving them IN TIME (for the observations I might
be disposed to make upon them). No documents were ever sent to me, but
the letter transmitted by India to the Secretary of State arrived in
Downing Street while Mr. Montagu was in England. It would appear that on
this ex-parte statement Mr. Gregson was presumed to be guilty, for the
confirmation of my appointment of him to the Legislative Council was
withheld during my administration. The Derwent Bank party and its organs
of the press exulted over the symptom, and prophesied his ignominious
dismissal. To my successor was assigned the task of investigating the
charges which the Secretary of State had received by the unofficial
channel described. Sir Eardley Wilmot would appear to have felt
embarrassed by the commission, and advised Mr. Gregson, who had before
this time been made aware by me of the charges sent home against him, to
bring his case into the Supreme Court; he did so, laid his damages at
5000 pounds (for the charges against him involved falsehood, fraud, and
perjury) pleaded his own cause, and obtained a verdict from the jury to
the full amount of the damages laid. The jury was a common one, the
defendant having refused a special jury, though Mr. Gregson offered to
let him strike the whole. [This is a circumstance which, as the
introduction of civil juries in Van Diemen's Land was an act of my
administration, I regard with satisfaction as an instance of its
judicious working.] The trial lasted from the 19th to the 26th of March
1844. An effort was made by the defeated party, on account of the
enormous damages, to procure a second trial, but it totally failed, the
judges declaring that five, ten, or even twenty thousand pounds would not
be sufficient compensation for so malicious a libel.

During the trial repeated allusion was made to the scandalous libels of
Mr. Montagu's book, for it was owing to that publication that Mr. Gregson
first became acquainted with the infamy which it had been sought to cast
upon his own character. Mr. Gregson had been one of the first persons to
draw my attention to the "moral assassination" as he termed it of Mr.
Montagu's work; this he did in an official letter to my private secretary
and, having thus boldly denounced and characterised the act, he desired
that a copy of his letter might be sent to Mr. Swanston, the chief agent
in the dissemination of the defamatory production. Mr. Swanston replied
by forwarding to me a letter for transmission to Lord Stanley, referring
to the tainted character of Mr. Gregson as it was deposited in the
records of Lord Stanley's office; this letter, as well as the former one
of Mr. Dobson's, hitherto withheld from him, I communicated to Mr.
Gregson, and hence all that followed.

In the course of the trial in the Supreme Court an effort was made by Mr.
Macdowell, counsel for the defendant, to convict me of having suppressed
a letter forwarded by Mr. Dobson for transmission to the Secretary of
State. Mr. Macdowell supported this grave charge upon the evidence of my
late private secretary Mr. Henslowe, now Police Magistrate of
Campbelltown, whose evidence however being directly subversive Mr.
Macdowell was called upon to withdraw the charge in the same public
manner in which it had been announced, which was done accordingly.)

I was absent at Launceston when Mr. Montagu's book came into circulation
at Hobart Town. On my return thither the public mind was in a state of
great excitement. The revelations of the book had dropped like sparks of
fire upon the sun-dried herbage, into the most combustible of
populations, and had spread with a celerity that baffled all restraint;
there was an itching curiosity to know the full measure and quality of
these revelations, and the appetite grew with the samples which were
given to satisfy it.

Mr. Montagu's book was at the height of its publicity when a circumstance
occurred which produced a startling effect upon the public mind, and no
little consternation and surprise even amongst his nearest relatives and

The public had read in its pages that it was by the vilification of a
lady that Mr. Montagu boasted he had achieved his own exculpation to the
entire satisfaction of the Secretary of State, and in particular that he
had left no means untried to prove that, from the beginning to the end,
she was the author of his suspension.

The public now learned for the first time that it was his own appointed
advocate that he had thus traduced, and that the influence which he had
represented to Lord Stanley as all-powerful and malignant had been used
to save him, and had proved too weak for his purpose.

A rumour of this nature having gained ground in the community was
extremely unacceptable to Mr. Montagu's relations and friends. They had
been kept in ignorance of the fact and Mr. Swanston and Mr. Forster, in
the presence of Dr. Turnbull, pronounced it to be without foundation.

Dr. Turnbull, considering himself bound by a promise to Mr. Montagu to
keep his secret, was silent; but being called upon by me and advised by
the elders of his church (before whom he carried the case) to reveal the
whole truth and protect Lady Franklin, he gave his testimony to the
accuracy of the facts stated, and entered into details which proved the
freshness of all the circumstances of this transaction in his memory. The
effect produced by this disclosure was such that even Mr. Montagu's best
friends knew not how to defend him. Mr. Forster indeed caused Lady
Franklin to be informed* by Dr. Turnbull that he (Mr. Forster) had done
her great injustice, having been ignorant up to that moment of Mr.
Montagu's conduct in this affair, but Mr. Forster did not authorise Dr.
Turnbull to make this acknowledgment generally known.

(*Footnote. Mr. Forster's personal intercourse with my family ended soon
after that of Mr. Montagu.)

A reference to the local journals at this period will show that the
slanders of Mr. Montagu's book, especially in respect to the new story
just revealed respecting his application to Lady Franklin, but which had
no place in that compilation, took possession of the public mind to the
exclusion of almost every other subject of interest. The newspapers in
the interest of Mr. Montagu did what they could to pervert and mystify
facts. On the other side his conduct was either held up to execration in
no measured terms, or formed the subject of keen and bitter sarcasm.

It was time to check if possible this state of things. I had clearly a
right to be put in possession of documents which were so detrimental to
my own character and so destructive to the peace of the community;
accordingly on the 26th of May I called on Mr. Swanston, as
Lieutenant-Governor, and in that capacity as President of the Legislative
Council, of which he was a member, to deliver up to me Mr. Montagu's
book. The book was at once withdrawn from circulation, but Mr. Swanston
took ten days, during which period I renewed my application, before he
was prepared to send me his reply, which was an "unqualified denial" of
the nature and character attributed to the "documents referred to," and a
refusal to give up the book on the ground of its being a "private
communication." I made a similar application to Mr. Forster with the same
result. I have already shown how far such an assertion was available and,
if I were to mention a few of the persons who had the reading of the
book, it might be a matter of surprise that Mr. Swanston had not better
consulted Mr. Montagu's reputation than by stating that he had sent it
only to a very few of Mr. Montagu's "personal friends."* Mr. Young's
letter (see Appendix D) will show how much claim that gentleman had
amongst the respectable readers of the book to be considered a personal
friend of Mr. Montagu; but when Mr. Swanston penned this paragraph he did
not foresee that Mr. Young's letter would ever be written. It was clear
that if privacy had been intended by Mr. Montagu, which is not pretended,
Mr. Swanston his agent must have violated it in every possible way.

(*Footnote. A colonial writer observes, "Mr. Montagu's friends draw
largely on the simplicity of their admirers when assuming that the book
stands on the footing of a private communication. From a letter the
intention of a writer may be incorrectly inferred: he may express himself
in the warmth of unpremeditated composition: he may disclose to a friend
what he would not confide to the world; but when copies are bound up and
forwarded in various directions it MAY HAPPEN that they are unread, but
then it may be safely concluded that the design has been frustrated.

"In Captain Forster we have an instance either of remarkable caution or
unusual indifference. He did not read the book himself but handed it to
his friend. But the world in general is more curious: and Captain Montagu
did not miscalculate when he expected from the curiosity of the public
greater success. In our apprehension the intention is not improved by a
measured concealment--the prohibition of copying and extracting from the
contents. It no doubt has prevented his Excellency from offering a direct
refutation; but it reflects no honour on his assailant.

"The contents of the book are differently described; but we may safely
assume that it is calculated not only to injure Sir John Franklin in his
private capacity, not only to vex and annoy him, but to undermine the
moral weight of his government.***When the history of the book reaches
the Colonial Office the result may be seen without a spirit of

"We are relieved from the necessity of arguing that the circulation of a
book, injurious to any individual in a manner which shuts him out from
reply and defence is a violation of justice. Those who palliate the
affair show their sentiments by their excuses. The book was under the
charge of secrecy; men of prudence and respectability alone were to read
it; extracts were forbidden; its circulation was to be cautious and
limited: all which assumes that no man can appear in the face of day and
assert that he would acknowledge the candour and honour of an adversary
who should bind up accusations and send them everywhere but to the house
they defamed and the person whom they condemned.***It is not derived from
the laws of chivalry, or the rules of polite society, or courts of
justice, but from the common sense of reasonable beings that if a charge
is circulated to the disparagement of an individual by those who move in
the same circle he is entitled to hear it.***

"Mr. Montagu is said to complain that Lady Franklin's influence is
omnipotent. His own experience does not however support his allegation.
It appears that when dismissed from his office he invoked her ladyship's
mediation. It was employed and it failed. Had he distrusted her sincerity
would he have sought her aid? The Review is evidently embarrassed with
the inconsistency between the charge and the proof; but by a device such
as only occurs to practised ingenuity he has attempted to remove the
difficulty. Mr. Montagu did employ Lady Franklin; that is admitted. He
sent her on an errand of peace; that is acknowledged: but she was
authorised only to bear an offer of pardon to her rebellious husband!
After this, imagination must droop her wings, and conjecture can
accomplish no more. But when she failed ought Mr. Montagu, like a
defeated suitor, to turn his back upon the bench and to charge his
counsel with perfidy?".*** Launceston Examiner, July 12, 1843.)

The cause of Mr. Swanston's delay in answering my letter was afterwards
revealed to me on testimony of unquestionable authority. The most
offensive passages in Mr. Montagu's book had been removed, and Mr.
Swanston was then able to give his "unqualified denial" to their

That the original work was libellous and actionable I consider confirmed
by this act of precaution on Mr. Swanston's part.

In consequence of Mr. Swanston's and Mr. Forster's refusal to give up the
book it became necessary for me to take in a tangible form the evidence
of its contents from some of its readers.

A portion of this I transmitted to Lord Stanley, with remarks upon its
nature and upon the obstacles which had attended its production. Of these
documents the only one I shall here adduce is the letter already
mentioned of Mr. Young, addressed to my private secretary (see Appendix)
and I do this with the less scruple because as will be seen it is the
testimony, I am far from saying of an enemy, but of one who had no desire
at that time to be considered as a friend, and because the reasons which
induced him to write it, namely to expose the falsehoods of Murray's
Review in Mr. Montagu's case, are such as to preclude the supposition
that publicity can be objectionable to him. I will only add as to the
value of this testimony that Mr. Young is a solicitor of the first
respectability in Hobart Town, and a man of unimpeachable integrity and
great independence of character; in other respects one who, when he
chooses to speak his mind, speaks it freely and, as my readers will
judge, without any choice of courtly expressions.

It would be easy for me to bring forth proof upon proof, not only of the
accuracy of all that I have stated respecting Mr. Montagu's book, but of
the apprehensions of danger and injury to themselves which were felt by
individuals when called upon to give testimony to facts which were
adverse to the interests of the Derwent Bank,* and to those of an
ascendant and vindictive party. I shall be borne out in my assertion by
the knowledge and experience of the community in Van Diemen's Land when I
assert that a general impression had long prevailed in that colony, and
was justified by facts, that whoever offended that party was sure sooner
or later to suffer for it.

(*Footnote. The Review asks, "what object could Captain Swanston have in
making so general an exhibition of the book?" Does he forget who and what
Captain Swanston is, and on what his colonial influence depends? That he
held a high station, not because he was Captain Swanston, or even because
he was rich, but because he was the representative of 270,000 pounds of
mortgages which extended his influence into the houses of half the
colony? That by the same means, and combined with him, he had the
influence of the principal executive officer of the government? That
these two, and they almost alone, were the representatives in the colony
of the mass of wealth centred in the Derwent Bank, that the alliance of
the Colonial Secretary was of the utmost importance in supporting his
influence, and that by the act of the Governor he lost it? Any chance of
recovering such influence was grasped at with avidity. To gain general
credence for the report that the power of the Governor was obliged to
succumb to that of Captain Montagu would at once restore this very
influence, and we have seen the means he took to effect it. Had he been
successful he would at once have confirmed his own personal power and
supported the Derwent Bank. Is any other cause wanted? Was it nothing to
have the power to annoy and if possible injure the Governor, to whose act
in removing his colleague he owed his altered situation and diminished
power? power diminished in one respect, but still great, and which,
without much care, may be the means of again establishing his former
ascendancy? It will be difficult for any future Colonial Secretary to
resist the claim of Captain Swanston, backed by the opinions of men
chained to his interests by the weight of 270,000 pounds of incumbrances,
most of whom owe their very existence as land-holders by his mere
sufferance.***No one can deny the influence; it is as evident as noonday,
and not the less that it places a considerable portion of the press
completely at his feet." Hobart Town Advertiser, June 20, 1843.)

Nothing but the fear of designating individuals to their injury, and an
unwillingness to name them even in the absence of such fear without their
consent, prevents me from giving illustrations of this fact, which are
more to the purpose than anything I have submitted to Lord Stanley.

The painful task remained to me of communicating to Lord Stanley the
unexpected revelation Mr. Montagu had made of his proceedings in Downing
Street, and the wretched tissue of intrigues by which this disclosure had
been made an instrument for undermining my government and destroying the
peace and order of the community.

It would have been consolatory to me if I could have deemed it
superfluous to add any comments or explanations of my own for the
repudiation of Mr. Montagu's aspersions; but the events of the last few
months, and those which were now disclosing themselves, convinced me that
to trust to Lord Stanley's rejection of them or his reprobation would be
on my part a blind presumption. It was evident that Mr. Montagu's
defence, though on every point so clear and convincing as to leave to
Lord Stanley only the choice of varied modes of expression by which to
convey the self-same and "entire satisfaction" he had in it was yet of a
nature that it could not be revealed to me. This mystery was cleared up
and accounted for by the "conversations." Mr. Montagu published what Lord
Stanley desired to withhold; and the question was no longer, why did Lord
Stanley WITHHOLD Mr. Montagu's statements, but why did he ACCEPT them?

Mr. Montagu has objected to any portions of his book being entitled
"notes of conversations," but designates them as merely statements made
verbally to Lord Stanley and Mr. Hope, without his lordship's or his
under-secretary's answers. The distinction is of little moment; the very
argument itself goes to prove that Mr. Montagu was unchecked in his
imputations on my character and efficiency, and in his statements
regarding Lady Franklin. There does not appear to have been a single word
of remonstrance--of disapprobation; no voice to defend the accused
because the accused was absent, no remark upon the GRATUITOUS nature of
such vituperations, since Mr. Montagu had been already exonerated from

But Lord Stanley has not only left uncounteracted the appearance of his
having so accepted Mr. Montagu's statements but, by giving publicity to a
despatch from which such a conclusion is necessarily inferred, has
increased the injury to an indefinite extent. I have no doubt that there
was in Lord Stanley's mind an entire absence of any specific intention of
this kind; but his lordship has rigorously abstained from the
condescension of telling me so.

It is evident that I was now forced by the very nature and necessity of
the case to bring Lady Franklin's name again before him; for I had to
protect and defend her against charges made, and revealed to have been
made, in his lordship's office, and which therefore could neither be
regarded and put aside as idle gossip nor reserved for private refutation
at some future period, if an opportunity for such should be granted to
me. I had no other certain way of making known my contradiction of Mr.
Montagu's imputations, and my sense of their nature and object, than by
dealing with them directly and plainly; and by proving that the very
effrontery of his policy, which was a dangerous one, had ensured its

To the sweeping accusation of Lady Franklin's interference with all the
departments of government and her unlimited influence over me (a state of
things which Mr. Montagu, who considered it necessary "to have the
guidance of me," must have found extremely inconvenient) I gave as
serious and as unqualified a denial as if the charge had been one which
the Secretary of State for the Colonies was perfectly able to appreciate,
and fully justified to accept, in explanation of the ex-Colonial
Secretary's misconduct.

But Mr. Montagu's charge, whether derived exclusively from his personal
knowledge of Lady Franklin, or from the more intimate acquaintance which
Mr. Forster first cultivated with her during Mr. Montagu's absence,
demands a moment's consideration.

It will be recollected that on Mr. Montagu's departure for England in
1839 he professed the greatest possible regard for Lady Franklin,
regretted that he had not known her more intimately at an earlier period,
asked for her opinions, requested them even in writing for his own use in
England, extolled her exertions to do good, and acknowledged himself
under great personal obligations for kindnesses received. It is to be
presumed therefore that up to this time her mischievous interference in
public matters had not come under his cognizance or censure.

On Mr. Montagu's return to Van Diemen's Land Lady Franklin was absent
from the colony. It must therefore have been during the period of about
four months only, previous to the Coverdale affair, that her evil
influence became so apparent to Mr. Montagu; he then selected, amongst
whatever instances in proof of it which he had in store, that instance
undoubtedly which he thought not the WEAKEST but the STRONGEST.

His delusion on this head furnishes a standard by which to judge of the
truth and accuracy of his judgments in all similar cases; her universal
agency is not brought forward until her particular agency is proved to be

But Mr. Montagu has a LETTER in his possession from Lady Franklin which
he received in England, and in all probability he has among his stores of
memoranda many a note of her conversations which, in the absence of more
legitimate proofs, might serve his object at the Colonial Office did he
permit himself to make use of them.

One of the very few observations which I have heard attributed to Lord
Stanley in the conversations recorded between him and Mr. Montagu in
Downing Street had reference to this practice of Mr. Montagu's of making
notes of private conversations to be laid by for use. The alleged
observation of Lord Stanley was one natural to an honourable-minded man
in his lordship's station; it expressed his disapprobation of such a
practice. Though I cannot vouch for the accuracy of this circumstance
since I did not receive it on the same testimony as that which
establishes the contents of the book, yet I shall not permit myself to
believe that one-sided and unverified testimonies of this nature, to give
them no harsher name, are documents received at the Colonial Office in
proof of any injurious accusations against the absent and the

Of the letter alluded to I may have again occasion to speak; it is
sufficient here to say that it was written by Lady Franklin to Mr.
Montagu in the confidence of friendship; with no fear of treachery before
her eyes; with the vivid remembrance of his desire that she would give
him her written opinions upon any subject which could benefit the colony
while he was in England; with no notion that any political importance
could be attached to any suggestion made in that letter, bearing as it
did upon the face of it, and avowedly, that it had as yet received no
sanction from me, and with the certainty that her words could have no
other weight or efficacy with Mr. Montagu than that which he might
himself think proper to give to them.*

(*Footnote. It may not be unimportant to add that though Lady Franklin
has no note or memorandum of her letter to Mr. Montagu yet that I retain
a very clear and lively remembrance of the main and subordinate subjects
of it as reported by her to me within a very few hours after it was

Upon the friendly and confidential intercourse which Mr. Forster, while
Acting Colonial Secretary in Mr. Montagu's absence, cultivated with Lady
Franklin I shall abstain from making any observations. It was sought for
by him and frankly entered into by her, and has doubtless placed him in
possession of her opinions on many points. The position thus created for
himself by Mr. Forster was maintained by him until the period of Mr.
Montagu's return from England.

But, lest these explanations should be understood in a sense beyond my
intention, I must permit myself one or two remarks.

If I wished to deny that Lady Franklin took a deep and most anxious
interest in the welfare of the colony, which she knew to be the object of
my own daily solicitude, there are many things that would tell a
different story.

Mr. Montagu also may possibly be aware that, if at any time I have been
in want of any help which Lady Franklin was capable of giving me, I have
not hesitated to a avail myself of it. There was a season indeed when
some domestic aid was almost indispensable to me owing to the want of a
private secretary. This is a fact quite consistent with the formal
denial, if it be necessary, of Lady Franklin's interference in the
government, or of her being the general despatch-writer. No one knows
better than Mr. Montagu how to make this distinction, and I would ask
where is the man who would scruple on occasion to avail himself of the
capacity of his wife when he knows the conscientious earnestness with
which she enters into the feelings and responsibilities arising out of
his public duties?

I have perhaps unnecessarily said as much to Lord Stanley. If, read by
the light of Mr. Montagu's verbal statements, my words have conveyed to
his lordship an impression entirely different from their intended meaning
and from the facts of the case, and inconsistent therefore with the full
denial given above, it must be that, being proof against the sneers of
any man on this point, I did not sufficiently guard the candour of my
admissions by an explanation of the stringent limits within which I
expected them to be understood.

There were two subjects (as I have had the honour of informing Lord
Stanley in illustration of some of Mr. Montagu's positions) in which Lady
Franklin took an earnest and anxious interest; these were education, and
the reformation of the criminal, particularly of the female criminal. On
the latter subject Lady Franklin carried on a correspondence with Mrs.
Fry at the particular request of the latter lady who submitted portions
of it to Lord Stanley which were retained in the Colonial Office.

It would appear that Lord Stanley did not consider this as improper
interference in the Government since he furnished a gentleman sent out to
investigate the state of the convict boys' establishment in Van Diemen's
Land with a copy of portions of Lady Franklin's letter, and conveyed to
her also by the same person a kind message respecting it.

Under the head of education, the other subject alluded to, I must say a
few words on the College which I attempted to found in Van Diemen's Land,
not only because it makes a formidable figure in Mr. Montagu's
accusations against Lady Franklin in his book, but because it was a
measure of my government to which I attached much importance.

I had not been long in Van Diemen's Land before I became sensible of the
absence of any adequate education beyond a few private schools for the
higher or wealthier classes of society, and especially of the want of
some endowed institution analogous to the Etons and Rugbys of England
which might be capable of encouraging the students to pursue a course of
liberal education beyond those mere years of childhood which are all that
are in general given to it in a money-making colony: something moreover
which might tend to attach the resident to the soil, and make it really
to him what it professedly is in after-dinner speeches, his "adopted

Some efforts had been made in the time of my predecessor to establish a
superior public seminary of education, but they appear to have had no
result, owing I believe to the diversity of opinions which prevailed
respecting its religious principles and arrangements. Sufficient
encouragement however was stated to have been given to Sir George
Arthur's views to enable me to hope that another effort in the same
direction and with higher aims might be successful. In order to avoid at
the outset any conflicting views I deemed it advisable not to explain my
own till I had taken the first step towards their accomplishment. Instead
therefore of submitting my plans to public discussion, or even to a more
limited scrutiny, I preferred communicating at once with my friend the
late Dr. Arnold of Rugby, of whom also I requested the great favour of
selecting a person fitted for the important charge contemplated, and of
recommending such person to the Secretary of State for nomination. This
was in the latter end of 1838. My letter, which contained besides its
immediate object much necessary information on the state of society in
Van Diemen's Land, and the prospects and resources of the colonists, I
enclosed open to Lord Glenelg with a request that, if his lordship
approved of my suggestions, he would forward it to Dr. Arnold. This was
accordingly done by Lord Normanby, the successor of Lord Glenelg in
office, with whom Dr. Arnold kindly undertook to negotiate the terms upon
which he considered it essential that the Principal should be appointed.
It was not until the beginning of 1840 however, during Mr. Montagu's
absence in England, that I received from Lord Normanby his lordship's
official approbation of my proposal with all the correspondence between
the Colonial Office and Dr. Arnold to which it had given rise.

In April 1840 Mr. J.P. Gell,* M.A., of Trinity College, Cambridge,
selected by Dr. Arnold as being eminently qualified to be the superior of
the College, and who had received Lord Normanby's nomination, came out to
Van Diemen's Land, and in the following session of the Legislative
Council I read an elaborate minute on the foundation I wished to
recommend to their adoption and endowment, and stated that I had already
represented to the Secretary of State the importance of obtaining for it
a royal charter.** The proposal was listened to with great interest and
carried through the Council with only two dissentient voices. Money was
voted for the erection of the College buildings, for the foundation of
scholarships, and for the means of immediately commencing the Queen's
School, an initiatory institution which was intended to prepare boys for
the future College; and whilst this was going on in the Council addresses
came in from various districts of the island expressing the sense of the
colonists upon the great benefit about to be conferred upon them, their
opinions upon the religious principles on which it should be based, and
their desire that the locality should be fixed within their respective
district limits. The latter petitions were backed by promises of
specified subscriptions to a large amount in case of such localities
being selected. In fact one part of the colony was bidding against
another which should have the College within its limits.

(*Footnote. Now the Reverend J.P. Gell.)

(**Footnote. In my despatch to the Secretary of State I suggested that
the valuable assistance of Dr. Arnold and of Dr. Peacock, Dean of Ely,
should be requested for the framing of the Charter.)

I fixed upon a site which proved to be the same as that which Lady
Franklin a few months before had suggested to Mr. Montagu in a letter
which he received on the eve of his embarkation from England,* thus
presenting to him a proof, brilliant and conclusive, that Lady Franklin's
influence over me was irresistible and that she had reckoned on its being
so beforehand.

(*Footnote. This is the letter alluded to in a former page.)

My decision as to the site put an end to the prolonged discussions on
that subject, for I had given free scope to the expression of public
opinion upon it, and found public opinion to be as various as the
interests of the different localities. My own judgment was confirmed by
the strong representations made to me in its favour by Mr. Gell, and by
the then Archdeacon of Van Diemen's Land, my most faithful and attached
friend and counsellor.

The site formed a small portion of a little farm of eighty acres
belonging to the Government, about twenty miles from Hobart Town, easy of
access both by land and water, on the skirts of a rural township or
village which had been one of the most zealous and the most liberal in
its pecuniary subscriptions, yet secluded advantageously from the evils
of the large towns. The farm, which was but little profitable, had been
some years before ordered by the Colonial Office to be sold, but the
execution of the order had been delayed, in consequence of my
predecessor's representations, until farther instructions were received.
The cottage residence upon it was extremely dilapidated and was likely to
remain so since under these circumstances I did not feel myself justified
in charging Her Majesty's Government with the expensive repairs which
would be required to make it habitable. Such being the case I considered
that my successor in the government would receive compensation for the
loss of the farm if considered by Her Majesty's Government entitled to
it,* and that it was desirable for me in the meantime to secure the land
if possible from the crown for the purposes of the College. The
Lieutenant-Governor has it not in his power to appropriate more than ten
acres of land to any public purpose without the previous sanction of the
Secretary of State. This portion of the farm therefore I set apart for
the College and requested from the Secretary of State the gift of the
remainder. The first stone of the College was laid on the 6th of November
1840, in the presence of the Executive and Legislative Councils, of the
heads of various departments, of the clergy, and of my friends Captains
Ross and Crozier, and the officers of the Erebus and Terror, then about
to sail from our shores to the Antarctic Ocean.

(*Footnote. It may not be irrelevant for me here to state that in the
year 1840 the Legislative Council voted an increase to the
Lieutenant-Governor's salary so as to make it amount to 4000 pounds a
year. I transmitted this vote to the Secretary of State, declining to
recommend the Council's liberal vote to his lordship's acceptance in my
own case, but recommending that it should be considered in that of my
successor, since I had found that the present salary was totally
inadequate to the expenditure required. I received from Lord John Russell
an expression of his lordship's approbation of the "spirit" in which my
sentiments on this subject had been conveyed to him. At the first meeting
of the Legislative Council after the arrival of Sir Eardley Wilmot a
similar vote of the Council was again passed and received the sanction of
Lord Stanley.)

The College was dedicated to Christ: Himself the great Cornerstone of a
building which was intended to train up christian youth in the faith as
well as in the learning of christian gentlemen, and the prayer of the
late excellent and revered Archdeacon Hutchins invoked a blessing on our
work. (See Appendix E.)

Mr. Montagu had not at this time returned to the colony; he did not
arrive until early in the following year. I soon perceived that the
College did not meet with his approbation. Mr. Montagu's objections to it
however would have given way if he could have persuaded me to change the
site of the building to the immediate neighbourhood of Hobart Town, on or
adjoining to the property of Mr. Swanston, and such was Mr. Montagu's
estimate of his own or Mr. Swanston's influence in that neighbourhood
that he pledged himself to procure a subscription of 4000 pounds if I
would effect this change. It may be easily concluded after all that I
have stated above that such a proposition could not be entertained by me
for a moment. Mr. Montagu's hostility to it became more undisguised, he
opposed more than the vis inertiae to the erection of the buildings, and,
when the time arrived that it was no longer worth his while to conceal
his hostility to my government and his thorough disaffection to myself,
the Van Diemen's Land Chronicle gave a transcript of his sentiments which
all his friends as well as foes could recognise.

Mr. Montagu was so well aware that he thwarted my wishes and endeavours
for the establishment of the College in Van Diemen's Land, and he has at
the same time such indubitable proof that my wishes on this subject were
warmly and anxiously participated in by Lady Franklin, that the
conclusion seems to him highly plausible that hence arose one of the
reasons for his suspension. It suited his purpose to present this aspect
of the matter to Lord Stanley, if I may credit his own testimony in his
book, and this is why I deem it necessary to enter into this explanation.

I may be excused perhaps for adding that Lady Franklin's intention of
contributing to the endowment of the College gave her a personal concern
in its success. This intention was scarcely known to any but her own
family; but the last act of Lady Franklin in Van Diemen's Land was to
make over 400 acres of land which she had purchased in the neighbourhood
of Hobart Town with a small museum erected on it into the hands of
trustees* for the benefit of a future college. The endowment was not made
to the favourite foundation at New Norfolk, for over this the shadows of
annihilation had already fallen, but to any collegiate institution
whatever which might be founded in Van Diemen's Land with the approbation
of the bishop of the diocese for twenty years to come; and, in default of
any such foundation at the end of that period, to the improvement of the
existing schools of the colony at the discretion of the trustees.

(*Footnote. It was originally intended by Lady Franklin that the
Tasmanian Society of Natural History should be the trustees of this
property but, as that body had no legal or chartered existence, and was
moreover threatened with extinction when I left Van Diemen's Land, this
part of her wishes could be no further carried into effect than by making
complimentary mention of them in the deed and selecting the trustees from
their number. Some circumstances which occurred in Van Diemen's Land
shortly before my departure induce me to be thus minute.)

Having entered with more detail than I intended into this transaction I
shall not discuss any other points upon which I had to protect my wife
against Mr. Montagu's calumnies. The main charge (that of being the cause
of his suspension) to which all the others were subservient, without
which they were all good for nothing, was evidently one which could not
stand against my full and flat contradiction. Accordingly I gave to the
Secretary of State my unqualified contradiction to this statement of Mr.

In transmitting to Lord Stanley the substance of the foregoing pages
respecting the disclosures of Mr. Montagu's book I could not but call his
lordship's attention to the nature of the unequal contest in which I had
been engaged and if, in characterising Mr. Montagu's policy and pointing
out the evils attendant upon the abandonment of the Governor by the
minister whom he had looked to for support, I expressed myself with a
freedom and warmth not usually characteristic of official despatches, it
was that the occasion called for it, and that I wrote under a deep sense
of injury. I did not forget the respect due to my official superior, nor
has Lord Stanley accused me of doing so. To have made my representations
in private rather than officially and in a straightforward way was not
according to my notions either of duty or decorum, and would have been a
great injustice to myself, which I was not called upon to commit. The
evil had been already done, it was public, and I rejoiced that, while
still in the seat of authority, it had pleased God to afford me the means
of recording in the archives of that colony, which had witnessed the
injuries and insults to which a governor might be exposed when the shield
of Her Majesty's government was no longer interposed to protect him, the
defence which truth and a good conscience, that armour of proof, had
enabled me to make.

In the despatches deposited in those archives my successors may read that
I defended the honour of my office, and pledged myself to leave no lawful
means untried for the full exposure of the system of intrigues and
misrepresentations by which Lord Stanley had been deceived, and his
apparent sanction obtained for the injury of my character and the
degradation of my government. I assured his lordship that I believed this
to be my appointed path of duty.

My principal despatch on this subject bears date the 19th of July 1843;
it was accompanied or followed by several others illustrative of
particular facts. One of these transmitted to Lord Stanley the published
copy before alluded to of his lordship's despatch (Number 150) as
contained in the Hobart Town Courier of the 7th of July.

In the despatch conveying this publication I submitted to his lordship
that, had he thought fit to remove me from my office at the time that he
transmitted the original, I should have had little ground of complaint,
though, now deeply as ever, and even more than ever impressed with the
justness and necessity of my act of suspension, the good effects of which
were proved by the quiet and healthy state of the colony; but that, since
an imperative sense of duty had prevented me from abruptly throwing up my
government in disgust, I felt myself entitled, until I could receive Lord
Stanley's decision upon my conditional resignation, to the protection due
to my office, and still more was the community entitled to the protection
of the government from the evils attendant on the unbridled triumph of an
adverse and agitating faction.

The despatch at the beginning of this narrative was published in all the
newspapers of the colony at this particular moment in order to prove that
Lord Stanley and the writer of the book held the same sentiments. It was
evident that I was left in the seat of little better than nominal
government, while the Colonial Secretary, whom I had dismissed from
office, was in possession of the unlimited confidence of the Secretary of
State, a position of which there cannot be a doubt that Mr. Montagu
possessed the talent to take a full advantage.

I gave to Lord Stanley another presumptive instance of the influence of
the family compact as it was boastfully exhibited in Van Diemen's Land at
this period.

The Colonial Times newspaper of the 25th of July (1843) informed the
public that, by a ship just arrived (the Jane) which sailed on the 18th
of March, information had been received that Lord Stanley refused to
recognise my removal of Mr. Forster from the Probation Department (see
above) and that he was to be reinstated forthwith. The Courier of the
28th of July repeated the same intelligence with the additional
information that Mr. Forster was also to be appointed Comptroller-general
of Convicts, an appointment which might be expected immediately to
supersede that to which he was to be reinstated, and which Lord Stanley
had himself told me would be filled by an officer who was to be sent out
from England.* (See above.) The source of this information could not be
doubted for, on the morning of the very same day on which the Colonial
Times, an evening paper, came out, Mr. Forster had received a private
letter from a Department in Downing Street informing him that he was to
be reinstated in the office of Director-general of the Probation System,
a department, it may be observed, which was no longer in existence. Mr.
Forster had himself made a communication to this effect to Mr. Bicheno,
the Colonial Secretary, for my information.

(*Footnote. The following is the passage from the Courier. It forms the
leading article:

Our readers will not be surprised to hear that Dr. Milligan, as Inspector
of the Department of Convict Discipline, has not been confirmed by Lord
Stanley. Advices have already been received by which it is understood
that the Secretary of State for the Colonies no sooner had intelligence
of this strange appointment than he issued instructions to reverse the
Lieutenant-Governor's decree, and to reinstate Mr. Forster in the post
for which he is acknowledged to be so eminently qualified. Although this
announcement has not yet been officially received we are enabled
positively to state that such is the fact. Mr. Forster is to resume
immediately his duties as Chief Police Magistrate* and Director of the
Probation Department. Upon the arrival of Sir Eardley Wilmot, who stands
pledged to embark from England on or before the 1st of April, and may
therefore daily be expected, Mr. Burgess will relieve Mr. Forster as his
successor to the office of Chief Police Magistrate. This gentleman, who
we hear is a barrister, will accompany our new Lieutenant-Governor. Mr.
Forster has been chosen by Lord Stanley to hold a responsible office
under the new system as Comptroller-general of Convicts, with a salary of
1000 pounds per annum, with 200 pounds allowed for travelling expenses
and other contingencies. Mr. Milligan returns whence he came if anyone
knows where that is. Courier, July 28, 1843.

(*Footnote. Of this he had never been deprived.)

Allusion to the same event is made at an earlier date, the 14th of July,
in Murray's Review.)

The communication was a startling one, for when the Jane left England on
the 18th of March my despatch reporting the change I had effected in Mr.
Forster's position and the reasons for it had not yet arrived there, so
that if Lord Stanley had really come to the decision referred to it must
have been upon private, ex-parte and unauthorised information, a course
which appeared to me incredible, unless his lordship had yielded to the
influence of some such delusive misrepresentations as those which I had
reason to believe had already prevailed in his lordship's office.

Moreover the assurance his lordship had given me in his despatch of the
25th of November 1842 (Number 175) that the Comptroller-general would be
sent out from England was one which I felt to be of considerable
importance to the colony, and I had understood that it was in that light
his lordship regarded it. I should therefore at once have concluded that
Mr. Forster's informant had been misled had I not lately witnessed so
many remarkable instances that official information from that quarter (I
mean the quarter of Mr. Forster and Mr. Montagu's correspondents) might
always be trusted to, especially in cases where the exhibition of Mr.
Montagu's paramount influence at the Colonial Office was the object
intended; and had it not been for this fact I should have deemed it
unnecessary, as I respectfully submitted to Lord Stanley in my despatch
of the 29th of July, to press upon his lordship the justice of suspending
his judgment upon any case connected with the colony and with my
government until he was in possession of the entire statements belonging
to it.

The above was the last I think of the Downing Street bulletins issued in
Van Diemen's Land during the short remaining term of my government. I
waited to see the result of this.

But I had still another duty to perform in justice to myself.

It was not to be supposed that the affairs of that vast colonial empire
over which Lord Stanley presides could receive in their minutiae his
lordship's attention. It was evident that the capacity of no one man
could enter into the particulars of all the various cases which are daily
brought before his lordship from every quarter of the globe, and thus
that a division of labour recognised by the government no less than by
every principle of justice must of necessity be established in his
lordship's department. Such were the reasons, expressed in nearly these
words, which I respectfully submitted to Lord Stanley as my apology for
believing that he had probably delegated to inferior officers the
examination of Mr. Montagu's case.

Amongst these subordinate officers I knew Mr. Montagu to have personal
and intimate friends: I also knew that it was his avowed policy always to
ingratiate himself with the subordinates in office in order the better to
gain the ear of the chief; and further I was aware that no means had been
left untried by Mr. Montagu to collect from all quarters in his favour a
weight of influence difficult to resist, and to give to his serviceable
talents an importance which, at the juncture referred to, was likely to
be more than duly appreciated.*

(*Footnote. The following fact is an illustration of these positions.

Previous to the interruption of all amicable relations between Mr.
Montagu and myself it became known that the Acting Clerk of the Councils,
Mr. Nairn, would have to relinquish his situation in consequence of
arrangements from home. Under these circumstances I had in view the
offering him the only vacant situation then at my disposal, when Mr.
Montagu represented to me that the office of Assistant Colonial Secretary
would in all probability soon become vacant by the resignation of Mr.
Mitchell, and that there was no one whom he considered better fitted to
fill it than Mr. Nairn, nor anyone whom he should prefer to him. These
views recommended themselves to me on account of Mr. Nairn's capacity and
knowledge of affairs, and because he had entered official life in Mr.
Montagu's office under my government, and been trained under Mr.
Montagu's eye. To Mr. Nairn Mr. Montagu made similar representations,
with the additional proposal that he (Mr. Nairn) should return
immediately to the Colonial Secretary's office where he had no doubt I
would sanction his receiving an immediate salary of 250 pounds a year,
waiting the vacancy of the superior office.

Within a month after Mr. Montagu's embarkation for England the
anticipated vacancy occurred and Mr. Nairn, then out of employment,
received from me the appointment of Assistant Colonial Secretary under
Mr. Boyes. I also reported the appointment with strong recommendations to
the Secretary of State.

In the same ship in which Mr. Montagu took his passage to England was a
young man of good family and connections who had been some little time in
the Colony for the purpose of learning farming, and was going home not
intending, I believe, to return.

To this gentleman Mr. Montagu addressed himself, informed him that the
place of Assistant Colonial Secretary was about to become vacant, advised
him to apply for it without delay, enhanced its actual value, and in
short induced Mr. Seymour to make up his mind to another antipodean
voyage as quickly as possible should he succeed in the application to the
Colonial Office, which on Mr. Montagu's representations he determined to

The result of that application is well-known. Mr. F. Seymour returned to
the colony in company with Mr. Bicheno in 1843 as Assistant Colonial
Secretary, and then learnt for the first time that the person he had
superseded was the faithful and long-tried clerk of Mr. Montagu for whom
that gentleman had first bespoken my future appointment, and whom he had
afterwards taken active means to supplant.

It is no disparagement to the talents and application of Mr. Seymour, of
whom, from personal knowledge, I have formed the most favourable opinion,
to say that, having had no previous official training or experience, I
found it necessary, on the representation of Mr. Bicheno, the new
Colonial Secretary, to place him under an apprenticeship for about two
months to Mr. Nairn. Thus I had to retain the services of these two
gentlemen for the same office, the one at whole, the other at half

An absent man, and one who disdained to obtain from the private
sympathies of his judge, if he could have presumed upon doing so, what
was due only to justice and truth, was likely to be sensitive to the
consequences of so unequal a position. Having then with more honesty than
discretion perhaps expressed my conclusions from these facts I entreated
of Lord Stanley that he would, either in his own person or by the
assistance of individuals unconnected with Mr. Montagu or with Van
Diemen's Land, thoroughly investigate the whole of the circumstances
which had transpired in reference to Mr. Montagu since the period of his

It was clear that at this period I believed Lord Stanley had been
unconsciously deceived by Mr. Montagu, and that I had in his lordship's
candour and justice implicit trust. Though I knew that the personal
consideration of all the documents to which I referred him must involve a
considerable amount of labour I ventured to express my conviction that I
should be doing his lordship great injustice did I suppose that such a
consideration would weigh with him when a higher and a sacred duty was in
the balance. I marked this despatch confidential (it met alas! with the
fate of many other despatches so distinguished) and sent a copy of it to
my friend Sir James Ross with a request that he would deliver it
personally into the hands of Lord Stanley, a commission which Sir James
Ross lost no time in executing.

In about the second week, I believe, in July I read in the Times
newspaper of the 24th of February the Gazette notice of Sir Eardley
Wilmot's appointment to the government of Van Diemen's Land, an
announcement which, however securely I had been looking to my release
from the cares of government, could not but cause me some surprise, for I
had as yet received no notice from the Colonial Office on the subject,
and it was natural for me to conclude that, as in the case of my
predecessor, several months would be granted me for settling my affairs
both public and private before the arrival of my successor. This
conclusion was the more inevitable because the Colonial Secretary, who
arrived in April, had not, as I have already stated, been authorised to
make any communication to me indicative of an approaching change.

There were at this time only two vessels in the harbour bound eventually
and direct for England, it being that season of the year (the Australian
winter) when the wool exports are not ready, and when few passengers with
families undertake but from necessity a voyage which must bring them off
the English coast in the stormy season.

Of these vessels one only was suited to my purpose. She was about to sail
for Sydney with an English cargo and was then to repair to Port Phillip
to take in the first wool-cargo that presented itself, and be ready to
sail at the close of the year or the beginning of the next.

I detained this vessel by the kindness of the captain a couple of days in
order to get some of my heavy baggage on board, and engaged a passage in
her for myself and my family from Port Phillip, to which place it would
thus be necessary for me to repair at a fixed period.

Woeful were the countenances of the Derwent Bank clique when they found
that not even the announcement of the impending arrival of my successor
could scare me from my post. It was expected by them that the Gazette
notice in the Times would have served me instead of a despatch; but
perceiving that I was of a different opinion they foresaw that I should
be still on the spot when Sir Eardley Wilmot arrived; and then, what
disclosures! what warnings! The virtuous indignation excited at my
immovability knew no bounds!

The organs of the sentiments of this party teemed with the most ludicrous
exhibitions of disappointment and rage; whispered threats of what was to
happen when the aegis of my governor's commission could no longer shield
me from the terrors of the law were made to reach my ears. Emissaries
were employed to arouse if possible the timid misgivings of members of my
family, and even kind and well-meaning friends, knowing the unprincipled
audacity of a few of the understrappers of this party, brought before me
the possibility of their venturing to bring some fabricated legal case
against me for the pure sake of annoyance as soon as I had resigned the
government. I was assured by these friends, in order to reconcile me to
this view of things, that my predecessor could not with impunity have
ventured on the step I was contemplating.*

(*Footnote. My predecessor does not appear to have participated in the
fears entertained for him, if I may judge from a letter which he had the
kindness to leave for me at Government House, and in which he appears to
have contemplated at one time the receiving me on my arrival, which was
later than was expected.)

Notwithstanding the two ships left the harbour, the one for England the
other for Sydney, and still Government-house retained its occupants. The
case grew desperate in the eyes of those who were so anxious that it
should be ready swept and cleaned for Sir Eardley Wilmot.

I took the first opportunity that presented itself at a public meeting to
allude to the approaching change in the administration of the government;
but my post was still, according to my old-fashioned notions, on the deck
of my vessel. I was waiting for orders and recognised none but those of
my chief.

In the meantime, under the impression that my recall despatch would
certainly precede by a considerable interval the actual arrival of my
successor, I was preparing for settlement in the Legislative Council,
already adjourned beyond the ordinary period, a measure which I deemed of
the utmost importance.

Had Lord Stanley's most valuable and masterly despatch, if I may be
permitted so to characterise it, enclosing a letter to the late Dr.
Arnold on the grant of a royal charter for the College, been brought
before the Legislative Council at this period according to my intention,
I have little doubt that it would have recommended itself to that body,
and thus that a measure which for four years had occupied the public mind
would at last have been accomplished. I had solicited this charter soon
after the arrival of the Principal of the College, and had subsequently
pressed it on the consideration of the Secretary of State. Lord Stanley
now held out the promise of the desired boon on certain conditions, the
consideration of which I thought it right to defer till the arrival,
first of the new Colonial Secretary, and then of the Bishop of Tasmania,
whose opinions as a new and important element in the judgment to be
formed it was most desirable to obtain. The subject was now under
discussion in the Executive Council, of which the Bishop is a member, and
on the 17th of August it was decided that at the following meeting the
opinions of the members should be finally expressed upon the propositions
of the Secretary of State.

On the evening of that day Sir Eardley Wilmot landed on an unfrequented
part of the coast from the Cressy prison-ship, which had mistaken the
entrance of the port, and on the following night he entered Hobart Town.
He brought me no communication from Lord Stanley as to his appointment
and, no explanation of the anomaly. On Sunday the 20th however the
Gilmore prison-ship arrived, and conveyed to me the duplicate of a
despatch from the Secretary of State announcing to me the appointment of
a successor in the government of the colony, and on Monday the 21st I
received by the Eamont merchantman the original of the despatch, bearing
date the 10th of February, in which his lordship signified his pleasure
on this subject.

Of this recall-despatch I shall say but little. That Lord Stanley should
call to mind at the last moment that the person he addressed had lawfully
represented the Queen's authority in the place to which he was appointed
and, unless convicted of misdeeds, was entitled to the ordinary
acknowledgments of his faithful services, was under all the circumstances
I have related scarcely perhaps to be expected. It could not "be too
distinctly understood" in the case of Mr. Montagu that he "retired from
the situation he had so long filled with his hold on the respect and
confidence of Her Majesty's Government undiminished." The inferior
officer thus complimented, what terms remained for the Governor?

The despatch, in civil language, was to the effect that, my term of
service having expired, I must be expecting my discharge, and a hope was
politely expressed that the term of six weeks or two months, which it was
expected would elapse before my supersession, would be sufficient for my

On the day when the original of the despatch arrived Sir Eardley Wilmot
took the oaths of office. I remained still ten days longer in Government
House, being unable, in spite of the exertion of the utmost diligence, to
remove my family and dispose of my effects in less time. During this
period Sir Eardley Wilmot resided with the Colonial Secretary and paid a
visit to Launceston where there is an official residence.

The above events were reported by me to Lord Stanley in a despatch dated
from Government House on the day I resigned the government. I expressed
in it my trust that the speedy arrival of Sir Eardley Wilmot after his
appointment, without any announcement or timely notice, contrary to his
lordship's intention as expressed in his despatch, would be an ample
apology, if any were wanting, for not having anticipated his lordship's
wishes, and sooner prepared for the vacation of my office, and I
regretted the embarrassment which had thus been caused on my successor's
account as well as my own. It appeared to me the result of wilfulness or
great negligence in some inferior branch of his lordship's department,
where it must have been well-known, I conceived, that the ship by which
the original despatch was transmitted was one not fitted for the
conveyance of any speedy missive. It had been on some former occasion,
when despatches were unusually detained, represented as such at the
Colonial Office "a notoriously slow sailer." On the present occasion the
ship put back and was detained for six weeks in Ireland, whilst no care
was taken to send the duplicate by the intervening opportunities prior to
the sailing of the Gilmore, an official irregularity which could not fail
to strike me forcibly. Had the despatch arrived at the time intended by
the Secretary of State I should have had a short six weeks' notice of the
arrival of my successor.

The "notoriously slow sailer" was a weak point in my remonstrance upon
the unbecoming mode of my recall; it certainly savoured more of the
Captain than of the Governor, and when, in the interview with which I was
honoured on my return to England, Lord Stanley condescended to point it
out to me, I at once abandoned it.

It must be recollected however that, as the Governor also, I had some
reason to be sensitive as to the sailing qualities of despatch-bearing
ships, since it was the unusually long passage of a vessel bearing my
despatch and reports on convict discipline in November 1842 which
subjected me to the observation of Lord Stanley, when he had decided upon
overturning my arrangements, that it was desirable that I should have
given him earlier information on that subject.

My despatch upon the late events, dated from Government House 21st
August, with a few observations to which they gave rise, was not closed
until after an interval of two or three weeks when I was living as a
private individual in the midst of the people over whom I had been so
lately presiding, in the house of the Brigade-Major, which he had kindly
vacated for my convenience. It was one of the many hospitable homes which
the kindness of my friends placed at my disposal.* Here, surrounded by
friends and greeted in public with more outward demonstrations of respect
than even in the days of my government, I remained for two months, busily
occupied, having yet two or three months more before me ere the Rajah, in
which I had engaged my passage, would complete her cargo at Port Phillip.

(*Footnote. The scurrilous and mendacious articles in Murray's Review on
this occasion were alluded to in terms highly flattering to myself in a
professional London journal which was probably not aware that the
fictions of the Van Diemen's Land editor are too well-known in the colony
to need refutation, or which at any rate considered that they might admit
of exposure elsewhere. The article in the United Service Gazette was sent
out to Van Diemen's Land and produced a plat rechauffe from Mr. Murray,
garnished with fresh ornaments and seasoned with condiments to relieve
its staleness. I owe the knowledge of this otherwise unimportant fact to
the kindness of a valued friend of mine, a staff officer of the 51st
regiment, who sent me Mr. Murray's story with his own marginal comments,
accompanied by a letter in which he expresses his regret that such
"abominable untruths should have the SEMBLANCE even of confirmation by
appearing in a newspaper daring to try and connect them with the 51st
regiment," whose well-known sentiments of regard and respect he appeals
to as a sufficient assurance to me, if I needed such, "of the contempt
and abhorrence felt on this occasion by himself and the rest of his

It was in the house of the Brigade-Major, as well as in Government House
during the short period which intervened between my successor's landing
and my vacation of that residence, that I received the numerous and kind
addresses which were presented to me on my retirement from the
government. They have been placed in the Colonial Office, and are also in
the hands of my friends both here and in Van Diemen's Land. Of these
addresses I will merely say that they were the results, not of the
hole-and-corner combinations of personal adherents and partisans, but of
public meetings convened in almost every case after my successor's
arrival. To this fact I attribute one element of their value. They were
addressed to me after I had retired from the government, when those who
wrote and adopted them could no longer, to use the language of one of
these documents, be influenced by fear or favour in the presence of a new
Governor, and in the face of a blighting faction, always ready by sneers
or by bullying to wither or to crush the expression of any sentiment but
its own.

That the writers and the signers of them, who amounted to thousands, may
have felt that my six or seven years' government of Van Diemen's Land had
not altogether been free from error (and who more conscious of this than
myself?) I can scarcely doubt; that they may have felt that an abler hand
would more easily have controlled the evil elements with which I had to
contend, or a subtler intellect have turned them to its own political
purposes, may be also true; yet with all these allowances I am justified,
I think, in believing that they will look back to my government of Van
Diemen's Land as one the influence of which was for good and not for
evil, one which promoted the moral and religious interests of the colony
and did not neglect its economical welfare, though this was retarded
(within a very recent period) by circumstances over which, as one of
these addresses justly says, I had no control, and which have overwhelmed
alike all the Australian colonies. I trust they will feel that it is a
government which, had it been supported by the present Secretary of State
for the Colonies since the epoch of his accession to power, would have
left permanent traces of its beneficial working.

It is painful to me thus to speak of myself; but I will venture to say--I
believe I have said it before--that had not the colonists of Van Diemen's
Land appreciated my endeavours for their good, and given me their esteem
and confidence and support, it would not have been possible for me,
abandoned as I was by the minister, and sacrificed to the intrigues of a
party which had access to his ear, to have carried on my government.

I have yet one more fact to relate in illustration of this assertion.

Some pages back, when treating of the events of 1842, I stated that I had
separated the administration of the Convict and Police Departments, which
had been for the last twelvemonth experimentally united in the person of
Mr. Forster.

The representations of Mr. Forster on this subject, notwithstanding the
intimation conveyed to me by that officer of his intention to transmit
them through my hands, the only legitimate channel, reached England
before my own Report, but not before a despatch (previously alluded to)
which I took particular pains should reach the Secretary of State in time
to give him due notice of my intentions (see above). Without waiting
however for the announced Report, or taking any notice of the
announcement, but acting, as I was now informed by his lordship himself,
in a despatch dated March 23, 1843,* on private information, Lord Stanley
commands me to restore Mr. Forster immediately to the place of Director
of the Probation Department.** The act which appeared to be commanded of
me was not possible except by a fiction. It was not in Lord Stanley's
power, any more than it was in his intention, to make the actual system
of convict management fall back upon the old one of a year ago. He could
not mean me to break up all the arrangements which had been made and were
acted on, to meet the exigencies of accumulated bodies of convicts, to
recall the prisoners sent into private service, to dismiss the board
which regulated their distribution, and to crush all the growth of a
system which, when Mr. Forster administered the Probation Department, had
not received its development. If his lordship had desired me to give Mr.
Forster the same amount of labour he had in his former situation, though
that amount I had considered too much for his convenient and adequate
performance, or the same amount of salary, and to restore to him with
these the same title, leaving the newly-grafted department, which
embraced the secondary and subsequent stages of punishment, to be
separately considered, such an arrangement, though a complicated and an
uneconomical one, would have been intelligible and practicable. But I
could not so understand my instructions. I was to remove Mr. Milligan,
the officer who had been performing Mr. Forster's former duties, with the
superadded ones involved in the extension of the department, and to put
Mr. Forster in his place under the disguise of his old title, and thus,
by the insertion of a few words in the Gazette, announcing Mr. Forster to
be appointed Director of the Probation Department, proclaim to the colony
that the new Department of Convict Discipline, which had superseded and
absorbed it, the rules and appointments of this new department and the
officer administering it were nothing more than shadows. To have done so
would have been, in my view of things, to delude Lord Stanley and to
stultify myself. I received his lordship's despatch by the same ship
which brought my successor, and my timely recall (for such I must in the
present instance consider it) relieved me from the very painful
predicament in which I was placed since, as I had the honour of
submitting to Lord Stanley, so long as I administered the government I
could neither recognise the principle that my public acts, based on the
most disinterested zeal for the public good, should be overturned by
private and ex-parte representations in his lordship's office, nor could
I consent to be the instrument of making known to the public the personal
affront involved in the orders given to me.

(*Footnote. Lord Stanley's despatch was marked private. It is difficult
to conjecture the intention of this designation since the act commanded
was a public one and could not be made to appear in any other light than
as the consequence of peremptory orders from the Colonial Office. And
besides, the contents of his lordship's despatch were, as I have already
stated, public property before the despatch itself arrived in the colony.
The despatch was not even written until after the sailing of the ship
which brought the private information. I refer the reader to the extract
from the Courier (see above) where it will be seen that not only did that
newspaper announce Mr. Forster's restoration and his appointment to the
Comptroller-generalship but that this announcement on private information
was expressly stated to be with the KNOWLEDGE THAT THE OFFICIAL STATEMENT
proof could not be required of this premature information coming from the
Colonial Office. That office alone could know and could communicate such
a fact as that the official despatch had not yet been sent.)

(*Footnote. It must be borne in mind that the restoration involved Mr.
Forster's reoccupation of a double office.)

The reappointment of Mr. Forster bore the aspect of a mere gratuitous
triumph since the same despatch informs me that he would enter upon his
duties merely as a PREPARATION for those of Comptroller-general, which
appointment was to be almost immediately expected (it arrived I think
about a month after). It will be perceived that this was in direct
contradiction to Lord Stanley's communication to me a few months before
that the Comptroller-general would be sent out from England.

The same appointment recognises that very division of the Convict and
Police Departments which, for the sake apparently of a month's triumph to
Mr. Forster, I was condemned for having effected. It is worthy of
observation that so well known beforehand was this result of Mr.
Forster's means of private influence with the Colonial Office, or so
thoroughly was it relied on, that the Hobart Town Almanac, a sheet
published by Mr. Elliston of the Courier at the close of 1842, after all
the changes I had made had been gazetted, recognises no such thing as the
Department of Convict Discipline, and no such person as Mr. Milligan, the
administrator of it!

I could not hesitate to point out once more, humbly but earnestly and
faithfully, to Lord Stanley, the evil of these private influences in his
lordship's office. Though my personal connection with the colony had
ceased I had its interests deeply at heart, and could not contemplate
without the greatest alarm a system which placed it at the mercy of
ex-parte and interested statements, veiled however before they could be
brought under Lord Stanley's consideration in the specious garb of the
public good. What governor, I respectfully submitted to Lord Stanley,
could be safe if, instead of being regarded as the MOST faithful, the
MOST trustworthy, and the MOST disinterested of Her Majesty's servants in
the colony he governs--for such, viewing his awful responsibility, he at
least ought to be--he is treated inversely to his high functions and his
station, and finds his own subordinate officers preferred before him? And
if the governor, who is supposed to have the right of easy access to Her
Majesty's Government, be not safe under such influences, how much less
the private individual! It was this conviction, I added, pressing home to
the feelings of every colonist, which made the case of the governor, in
an instance like the present, the case of every man. I ventured to affirm
that the history of the home administration of this colony, since the
period when Mr. Montagu first established himself in his lordship's
confidence, was a practical commentary on those simple and obvious
truths--that the influence of a family compact was universally believed
and openly discussed in the colony; that in recent instances the many
deplored and the few triumphed in it. I trusted that, if his lordship had
thought fit hitherto to mistrust the representations which had been made
to him on these sinister influences, he would listen to those of the
Governor of a colony who closed his administration by entreating his
consideration of the facts now submitted, and that he would perceive I
spoke the language, not of wounded feeling alone, but of duty and respect
to him and to his sovereign.

I am thus particular in noticing certain passages in my despatches and
letters to Lord Stanley, not because I have any pleasure in repeating
language which might perhaps have been subdued and curtailed with
advantage, but because I wish my friends to be aware of the provocations,
if they are to be considered such, which Lord Stanley has received from
me. Yet I must do his lordship the justice to believe that the treatment
I have received at his hands is neither owing to my homely, but never
disrespectful, language, nor to his entire disregard of the truths
therein conveyed. I attribute his lordship's policy towards me to other

It will be seen farther on that my only answer to the remonstrance I
respectfully transmitted to Lord Stanley on the transaction I have just
alluded to was that his lordship does not think it necessary to discuss
with me his appointments, etc.

To return for a moment to my instructions respecting Mr. Forster's

I was so impressed with the fatal consequences of this measure as
affecting the just authority of the Governor and the dignity of his
office that, in justice to Sir Eardley Wilmot, as well as to the
meritorious officer who was to be unceremoniously ousted from his place,
for no fault of his, I felt it to be my duty to represent to His
Excellency my opinions, and to suggest that a short delay would probably
bring the appointment of Mr. Forster to be Comptroller-general, and thus
necessarily supersede, with the introduction of the new system of convict
discipline, all existing arrangements.

I felt convinced that such a compromise would be acceptable even to Lord
Stanley, since his lordship would probably not have sent me the
instructions he did send had he been aware how irreconcilable they were
to existing institutions, and that he would probably regret those
instructions when he read my explanatory despatch on the changes, of
which under mistaken views he had now disapproved. Sir Eardley Wilmot
agreed with me in this view of things, but he was immediately after
induced to change his opinion, and the very next day, I believe, or the
following one, Mr. Milligan, at a few hours' notice, was dismissed from
his office, like a discomfited usurper, and Mr. Forster slid glibly and
comfortably into it. He found everything ready to his hand, the machinery
in good order, the wheels well-oiled, every officer at his post,
understanding well his business. The whole affair was more like the
sleight-of-hand exhibition of the conjuring art than the serious result
of the Secretary of State's deliberations. In the Gazette announcement
not the slightest notice was taken of the ex-Inspector of Convict
Discipline, or of the department which he had with great diligence
organised. It was simply announced that Mr. Forster was appointed
Director-general of the Probation System. He was so gazetted,
unconditionally, for the first time; for it must be recollected that Mr.
Forster's original appointment to this office proceeded from me, and not
from the Secretary of State, and that his lordship's confirmation of it
had not been received; yet neither this circumstance nor the fact that,
being an experimental measure,* it was liable to revision according to
the results of its working, was of any avail in favour of my just
influence with the Secretary of State, when the interests of Mr. Forster
were in the balance. Undoubtedly the trial had lasted a shorter time than
I had anticipated, for it had already convinced me that, to give to the
chief Police Magistrate of the Colony who is, or was, by virtue of his
office, a member also of the Executive Council, the farther control of
the Convict Department was to accumulate in his person an undue and
unsafe degree of patronage and power. It would have been a great weakness
in me with these convictions to have been stopped from doing what, on
this and on other no less important grounds, I thought right, because Mr.
Forster was the relation and the friend of Mr. Montagu. I was well aware
of all that would be urged on this score and on others against the
changes I made in Mr. Forster's position, but these considerations did
not weigh with me one jot when the path of my duty was plain before me.

(*Footnote. In my minute to the Executive Council, May 20th 1841, I state
that "in submitting my views to Her Majesty's Government I shall request
the continuance of this arrangement (namely Mr. Forster's charge of the
Probation department) may be contingent upon my future reports as to its
efficiency." The minutes of the Executive Council are regularly
transmitted to the Secretary of State.)

To the Secretary of State I gave no other reason for withdrawing from Mr.
Forster the charge of the Probation Department than those which, in
language as little disagreeable to Mr. Forster's feelings as I could
command, I had already addressed to himself. The reasons I gave were more
than sufficient to prove the justice and necessity of my decision.*

(*Footnote. The propriety of the changes I had effected in the
administration of this department was best exemplified by the results.
There was perhaps no period in which the convicts were under better
control than that which extended from the introduction of the above
changes to the close of my government, and certainly none in which the
colonists were better satisfied with the advantages to be derived from
convict labour. I have already stated that a considerable saving to Her
Majesty's Government was also effected.)

It may be satisfactory to my friends in Van Diemen's Land to know that I
explained my views on this head to Sir Eardley Wilmot, and strongly
advised His Excellency, under the operation of the new system, to be
jealous of delegating his patronage even as regarded the most subordinate

With these exceptions, which my sense of duty urged me to make, I
refrained from having any communication with my successor as to the state
of party-feeling, the character and conduct of individuals, the
scandalous intrigues which had been recently practised, or my own
grievances at Lord Stanley's hands. It was quite sufficient for me to
have these things to relate to Lord Stanley himself; and besides, the
peculiar delicacy of the position in which I found myself placed as the
survivor of my government on the spot where I had administered it forbade
my taking advantage of the circumstance to the prejudice of others. By so
abstaining however I denied myself some explanations which the justice a
man owes to himself might otherwise have led me to desire. These
principles and explanations I also laid before Lord Stanley.


On the 3rd of November 1843 I embarked with my family from Hobart Town
amidst a burst of generous and enthusiastic feeling which, much as I had
confided in the attachment of the people of Van Diemen's Land, could not
but surprise as well as deeply affect me. It was a day never to be
forgotten by myself or by any one member of my family.*

(*Footnote. A faithful account of the kind feelings elicited by my
departure from the shores of Van Diemen's Land, both on the northern and
southern sides of the island, was given in the Hobart Town Advertiser,
November 7, 1843, and in the Launceston Examiner, November 18, 1843.)

Having freighted a vessel for the accommodation of myself and party,
among whom I had the pleasure of including my esteemed friend the Bishop
of Tasmania, we first visited a settlement of respectable free
agriculturalists on the banks of the Huon river. Here, located upon land
belonging to my wife, upon terms which were to enable them to become
shortly the independent possessors of it, they had hewed themselves an
opening in the dense forests which clothe the banks of that river, and
had laid its soil open to the sun. In the rustic wooden chapel of this
settlement, which is accessible only by water or by a foot-track through
the bush, the Bishop administered for the first time the sacraments of
our church to the inhabitants of the Huon forests. Proceeding to the
entrance of Bass Strait, on our way towards Launceston, a gale obliged us
to take shelter under Swan Island, one of two sites I had fixed upon for
the erection of lighthouses necessary for the safe navigation of Bass
Strait, and for which I had obtained the sanction of the Secretary of
State. On landing I was requested to lay the first stone of the building.
On Goose Island we found the lighthouse completed, and the officer who
had been appointed to its charge residing there, but the lanterns had not
yet arrived. We then proceeded to Flinders Island, the dwelling-place of
the sole remnant of the Aborigines of Van Diemen's Land, now scarcely
exceeding fifty souls including some half-castes. A few of the younger
members of this interesting black family were baptised by the Bishop, who
promised himself another pastoral visit to them.

Entering the port of George Town and anchoring there a signal was made to
Launceston, and a deputation from that town, according to previous
arrangement, waited on me on board my schooner, and presented me with an
address signed by the most respectable inhabitants of the town and
district on my retirement from the government.

I quitted the Tamar with the conviction that I had left some of my most
estimable and attached friends in that district, and here also I parted
from the Bishop who, having intended to continue his pastoral visit with
me to Circular Head, found himself unexpectedly obliged to return to his
more urgent duties at Hobart Town.

Circular Head is the headquarters of the Van Diemen's Land Company's
Agricultural Establishment. Situated at the north-west part of the
island, remote from other settlements, it has for many years planted its
own population on the soil and existed almost as a little colony of
itself. It is now rapidly and I trust successfully extending its

From the officers of the Company resident here I met with every kind
attention. During the successive years of my government of Van Diemen's
Land I had never before been able to visit this spot; it was the last on
which I set foot in Van Diemen's Land. We quitted its shores, probably
forever, on the 29th of November, and crossed over to Portland Bay
whence, after visiting the magnificent pasture lands in the interior, we
sailed for Port Phillip. The Rajah had not yet taken in all her cargo,
and six weeks more elapsed before she was ready to sail, though the
season here is generally a little in advance of Van Diemen's Land and she
was one of the first ships which left the harbour. Our time was divided
between a residence at an hotel in Melbourne and some excursions into the

During all this time we were deeply indebted to the kind attention and
valuable assistance and companionship of my valued friend Mr. La Trobe,
the excellent and able Superintendent or Deputy-Governor of Port Phillip.

Finally on the 10th January 1844 we embarked on board the Rajah and
commenced our homeward voyage by the westward passage, one which is
frequently taken by vessels at the commencement of the season when the
westerly winds have not yet become permanent.

These details are wholly unimportant and, to say the truth, I have no
other object in giving them but to afford my readers a little
breathing-time in my narrative.

From George Town in Van Diemen's Land I had transmitted to Lord Stanley
an account of my departure and about a dozen or more addresses received
from various public bodies and from different districts of the island. On
leaving its shores I believed that for a time I had left all annoying
subjects behind, but I was destined to meet the Secretary of State and
his lordship's despatches again even in the course of my voyage home. The
Rajah arrived in due time at St. Helena, and here the first thing I
learnt was that Lord Stanley's already notorious despatch Number 150 had
arrived fresh from Cape Town where it had just been published in the
colonial journals. Nothing more natural I thought considering that the
despatch had been published by Mr. Montagu's friends in the Van Diemen's
Land journals in July, and that Mr. Montagu was now in the month of March
living at the Cape. In the intervening period it had been sent to the
London Morning Herald where it appeared with a sort of apologetic heading
in praise of Lord Stanley's intolerance of cruelty and injustice, of
which what followed was to be the illustration.

The remaining part of my story must be quickly told. I landed at
Portsmouth on the 6th of June 1844 and immediately transmitted to Lord
Stanley a letter written at sea, which related to the St. George's Church
case--a case which had formed the crowning-point of Mr. Montagu's
triumphant exculpation.

Subsequently to my transmission of the statements upon which Lord Stanley
had formed his decision in this case I had at two or three different
periods transmitted to his lordship documents, as they came into my
possession, in further illustration of the positions advanced; and in
particular in my despatch Number 95 (19th July 1843) I reported to him
the discovery of the lost authority which had hitherto baffled my most
diligent search. The circumstances attending the production of this
document were so remarkable that I had deemed it desirable to submit them
to the consideration of the Executive Council since the members of that
council and the whole colony had read in Lord Stanley's despatch Number
150 that Mr. Montagu was "entitled to be completely absolved of the fault
imputed to him, and had repelled it to his lordship's entire
satisfaction." Moreover it was an act of justice to Captain Cheyne, the
accuracy of whose statements was established by the discovery of the
document. The deliberations of the council and my own investigators were
arrested however by the abrupt termination of my government in
consequence of the sudden arrival of Sir Eardley Wilmot, but not before
the council had had the fullest evidence that there had been "foul play"
in the former suppression of the document, that every possible resistance
had been offered to its present production, and that it was Mr. Montagu
and not myself who gave the authority for the altered plans of the
church. I forwarded the minutes of council and other necessary documents
to Lord Stanley with a copy of the authority given by Mr. Montagu. (See

On arriving in London, and going to the Colonial Office to leave a note
for Lord Stanley in which I reported my return and requested the honour
of an interview with his lordship, a letter which appeared to have been
waiting my arrival was instantly put into my hands.

The reader who has had the patience to follow me through the preceding
pages may perhaps feel interest enough in the result to form to himself
some anticipation of the contents of a letter thus meeting me halfway in
my approach to the source, as I conceived, of justice and redress.

He will speculate whether it was a general acknowledgment of the series
of despatches, yet unanswered, which I had addressed to his lordship
subsequent to the receipt of that which forms the text of this pamphlet,
with a gracious assurance that they had all been carefully considered,
and should be fairly and freely discussed, or whether it was a prefatory
explanation of the untoward circumstances attending my recall, or a
satisfactory acknowledgment of my recent letter on the St. George's
Church case, or an answer to some one or other of those earnest yet
respectful remonstrances which I had addressed to Lord Stanley on points
on which he was now aware that I had been deeply aggrieved. There was
abundant room for selection. It might be an expression of his lordship's
regret at the manner in which I had understood the despatch Number 150,
and at the use which had been made of it, and of his lordship's opinion
that the conduct of Mr. Montagu and his adherents respecting the book was
not to be defended; perhaps an assurance of satisfaction with the
explanation I had been called on to make on the assertion of an abusive
newspaper, or even a dignified admission that it was to be regretted my
announced despatches on an important public measure, which had been
overturned on the private representations of Mr. Forster, had not been
waited for; perhaps an approving acknowledgment of my Reports on Convict
Discipline, even though they had arrived too late for his lordship's use;
or at all events a cordial assurance that the omission of all the usual
expressions of approbation on my retirement from my government was by no
means intended for censure, and admitted of being amply supplied.

No such conciliatory measure awaited me. The Secretary of State disdained
the easy reparation even of wrongs which he had not intended, or in which
he had no immediate part; but his lordship did not disdain to place
himself in the attitude of the offended person, whilst at the same time
he informed me that he did not think it consistent with the relative
position held by himself and by me in Her Majesty's service to take
notice of my charges and insinuations, and that he would not make to his
subordinate officer explanations which he owed to Her Majesty the Queen
and to Parliament alone. His lordship had not so reasoned on the claims
of a subordinate officer when he preferred Mr. Montagu to me.

The observations I have quoted are addressed to my successor Sir Eardley
Wilmot in a despatch dated 31st January 1844, under cover to myself. In
this Lord Stanley has taken the pains to cull from a series of despatches
and letters written during the last few months of my government and
subsequent residence in Van Diemen's Land all the passages reflecting on
the conduct of his lordship's office by which my government had been so
seriously embarrassed. The character of these selected passages may be
pretty correctly ascertained by the epitome of them exhibited in the
foregoing pages; and if, when withdrawn from the context which modifies
them, and made to stand apart from the facts of which they are the
commentary and the moral, they present a somewhat startling array, the
cause should be looked for not in the presumption of him who had at
different periods felt it his duty to make these reflections but in the
stubborn truths and singular circumstances which had forced them upon me.

But Lord Stanley is pleased to overlook the facts I brought forward and,
as if no illustrations whatever had been given of the observations I had
respectfully submitted to him, his lordship, as the champion of the
subordinate members of his office, against whom, he observes, the charges
would appear to be directed, calls upon me for some specific statements.
My statements I thought had been specific enough, but it was clear to me
that Lord Stanley's intention was at once to shift my position from that
of a complainant to that of a defendant, and to make it a personal and
therefore an embarrassing question. It would have been exceedingly
difficult for me to have replied to these observations of the Secretary
of State without incurring the risk of giving farther cause of
displeasure to his lordship, because any explanations I could offer,
however well-intended, were likely to fall far short of his lordship's
requisitions. The depositing in the archives of Van Diemen's Land of Lord
Stanley's unmitigated denial and broad and flat contradiction of all my
statements seemed to me to meet in the fullest manner the reason alleged
by his lordship for addressing his despatch to my successor, and to
fulfil every object which he could reasonably desire.* Moreover the tone
of his lordship's despatch was ill-calculated to remove or alleviate the
unpleasant feelings which his lordship's previous conduct towards me had
excited, and to have replied to it under the influence of irritation and,
when I was still looking for the adjustment of differences and the
compensation of injury, would have been as impolitic as unbecoming.
Nevertheless I was glad of the opportunity afforded me a few days after
to give to Lord Stanley personally an explanation of one of the passages
which had displeased him, and which on reperusal appeared to me capable
perhaps of bearing an offensive construction which I had not intended.**

(*Footnote. Lord Stanley's intention was to leave on record in the same
place where the charges were deposited his "equally formal and public"
refutation of them. His lordship's object has been fulfilled perhaps
beyond his intention. The public in Van Diemen's Land were in profound
ignorance of the contents of the four despatches and letters referred to
by Lord Stanley, one-half of which were written after my retirement from
the government, and did not necessarily form part of the archives of Van
Diemen's Land. The same reserve does not appear to have been observed
respecting his lordship's reply. My communications from Van Diemen's Land
lead me to believe that even its phraseology, on some points at least, is
familiar to the public. This may not be an improper place to state that
up to this day my communications with Lord Stanley, whether verbal or
written, have not been transmitted to the colony.)

(**Footnote. The passage referred to I explained by the practice of
precis-writing; if the precis-writer be not absolutely indifferent to the
issue of the case he deals with, or be not severely trained in the habit
of subduing his own partialities, an unfair conclusion may be arrived at.
Lord Stanley, by assuring me that he had examined all my despatches
himself, thought fit to dispel an illusion to which my implicit faith in
his lordship's justice and candour had helped in a great degree to make
me cling.)

In pursuance of a subject which is likely to embarrass the thread of my
narrative if not at once disposed of I may add that at a subsequent
period, but before any result had arisen from the interview with which
Lord Stanley honoured me, I learnt that his lordship had expressed his
expectation that I should have answered the letter and despatch above
alluded to. On obtaining this information I lost not a moment in
addressing to Lord Stanley such apologetic explanations of any hasty or
indiscreet expressions in my series of quoted despatches as were called
for either by the personal explanation into which his lordship had
condescended to enter with me on some minor points, or by his assurance
that I had totally misunderstood his own habits and the course of
proceeding invariably observed in his office. I assured his lordship that
I had not the remotest intention in anything I had said to question his
vigilant administration of his department or his desire at all times to
do impartial justice. As I had been also informed, to my great surprise,
that his lordship's under-secretaries considered themselves included
under the term subordinates, I hastened to assure his lordship that no
such intention had existed in my mind, and expressed my regret that the
term should have been considered capable of this extended signification.*

(*Footnote. To Mr. Stephen, with whom I had had the honour of a personal
acquaintance and whose impression on this point was peculiarly painful to
me, I addressed a private letter which he kindly assured me was

My letter bore date the 13th of August and was sent on that day. It had
not been received by Lord Stanley when he wrote one to me, bearing the
same date but which I did not receive until the 14th.

In the last paragraph of this letter Lord Stanley expresses his
dissatisfaction at my having left his despatch to Sir Eardley Wilmot of
the 31st of January preceding unanswered, and his opinion that I should
either have adduced the evidence on which my charges were founded or
admit that, under irritated feelings, I had made them without sufficient
consideration. My letter above-mentioned, which Lord Stanley had not at
that moment received, did not meet his lordship's requisitions on these
points. It seemed to be expected from me that I should acknowledge that
no influence had existed, and had been used against me, in Lord Stanley's
office; no ex parte statement received or acted on there; that no
improper transpiration of news had been traced to it; no slanderous
statements listened to in that office, circulated there, and thence
extensively disseminated. This was pressing me too far; the evidence of
these facts was before me, and much of it was before Lord Stanley also.
My charges were specific enough and it rested with Lord Stanley to make
such inquiries into his own office as would enable him to know where the
fault lay. The correspondence on this subject terminated unsatisfactorily
but not till a period far beyond that when all hope of redress on my part
from Lord Stanley on the causes I had of complaint had been peremptorily

My interview with his lordship took place on the 18th of June. Of this
interview I shall say in a few words that his lordship said little and
listened patiently. He assured me however that my recall was not
connected with Mr. Montagu's suspension, but had been delayed a few
months in order to disconnect the two events.* I assured his lordship
that it was not of my recall at the usual period, and still less at a
period beyond even the usual one, that I should have thought of
complaining, had it not been for the circumstances which preceded and
attended it; neither was it his lordship's disapproval of a particular
act of my government, of which he was the official judge, that I felt I
had a right to arraign, but because no reasons whatever were given me for
that disapproval; because Mr. Montagu's assertions had in every case been
preferred to mine, and the grounds for such a judgment withheld from me;
moreover because the terms in which that judgment was conveyed could not
but be exceedingly painful and injurious to me; yet being such they had
been given to Mr. Montagu, who had no right to them without any shadow of
consideration for me, and had been by him, as might have been expected,
made public. I took the liberty of remarking to Lord Stanley that I
believed this act of giving to an inferior officer a transcript of the
exact terms in which his superior was censured was without a parallel in
the annals of his office. Lord Stanley answered me nothing except by an
expression of some incredulity or surprise at finding his despatch had
been published in an English newspaper. When I mentioned that the
reference to Lady Franklin in equivocal terms in that despatch made the
injury more poignant, and was proceeding to point out how its publication
had given impunity to the attacks of the press, under corrupt influence,
his lordship arrested me by expressing his extreme repugnance to the
bringing the name of a lady into the discussion. It was not in my power
to respect this scrupulous delicacy on his lordship's part, which does
not appear to have existed, if Mr. Montagu we correct in his assertion,
when Mr. Montagu's calumnious statements respecting that lady were made
to his lordship, and which seemed therefore somewhat unseasonable when
the question was only of her justification; but this is a part of my
communications to his lordship on which it becomes me perhaps to be

(*Footnote. As Lord Stanley desired it to be understood that my recall
had nothing to do with Mr. Montagu's suspension it is to be regretted he
had not resisted the pressure which apparently made him act as if the one
were the necessary consequence of the other. The movements of the
Colonial Office are better understood in Van Diemen's Land than his
lordship supposes. It was well known that my post was considered vacant
as soon as his lordship had pronounced his decision on Mr. Montagu's
case. It was so spoken of by members of Mr. Montagu's party in Van
Diemen's Land--the highest authority recognised at that time in the
Colony for Downing Street information. If this be the case the putting
off to the latest moment the gazetting of the new governor and the
official communication to me, whatever other advantage these delays may
have possessed, could not have had that of widening the distance between
the two events, namely the non-confirmation of Mr. Montagu's suspension
and my recall. The only apparent disconnection was this--that the terms
of my recall were not put into the same despatch as that containing the
judgment of the Secretary of State on Mr. Montagu's suspension. It was
well known that before my answer to that despatch could reach England my
successor was far advanced on his voyage to Van Diemen's Land. In fact
the interval between the issue of the despatch on Mr. Montagu's
suspension in September 1842 and the embarkation of Sir Eardley Wilmot in
March 1843 was scarcely more than sufficient under ordinary circumstances
for the maturing of the arrangements necessary to the change.
Nevertheless as Lord Stanley has condescended to assure me that it was
his intention and wish to disconnect the two events referred to I am
bound to accept and acknowledge his intended consideration.)

On my remonstrance upon the injury done to my authority in the colony by
making the injurious observations of a colonial newspaper, which I had
myself brought before his lordship's notice as the organ of Mr. Montagu's
sentiments, the ground of calling upon me for an explanation of my
conduct; and on my further remonstrance, that I had received no
acknowledgment of the explanation thus called for and duly submitted,
Lord Stanley replied that he thought I had received an answer; and
farther alleged that it was necessary to be prepared with a reply to any
questions which might be put to him in the House on such subjects. I
refrained from remarking to his lordship that probably the most rigid and
minute investigators in that house into the conduct of public men would
not think it necessary to drag before the eye of the British public the
name of the governor's wife and her supposed palanquin-bearers, which
formed the gravamen of the antipodean newspaper's charge; and that if a
secretary of state for the colonies and his governors were to be prepared
to answer all the tribe of colonial prints they would have enough work
upon their hands. It was clear to me that his lordship's attention could
not have been SPONTANEOUSLY given to the consideration of this paltry

With respect to that act of my government which Lord Stanley had not
waited to have explained by myself, who was the only competent person to
explain, but which he had condemned and reversed on the private
representations of a subordinate officer, who was the person most
interested in overturning it, his lordship admitted the fact, adding that
Mr. Forster's friends had come about him and that he might perhaps have
been himself the person to have communicated his decision to one of them
before it was officially transmitted to me. The candour of this admission
took from me all desire to reply.

As to my general report on the changes I had introduced in convict
discipline, and of which the arrangement respecting Mr. Forster had been
the only portion Lord Stanley had hitherto noticed his lordship observed
that, the despatches on that subject having crossed each other, he had
been unable to make use of mine, but had transmitted instructions that,
where advisable or practicable, my suggestions should be attended to.

On that embarrassing subject which the revelations of Mr. Montagu's book
had brought to light, and on the conduct of Mr. Montagu and his friends
in the composition and circulation of that book, I did not expect Lord
Stanley to say much, but he said less than I expected. I was suffered
indeed to enter almost without interruption into a variety of details in
illustration of this subject. It would have been difficult to have
guessed whether his lordship knew but little and wished me to unburden my
mind for his information, or whether, having already heard much, he might
not be seeking for the means of comparing parallel or conflicting
statements; or rather whether, as he had apparently given an unchecked
hearing to Mr. Montagu's statements when Mr. Montagu had nothing to gain
by making them, because everything had been gained already, he might feel
it right to grant an equal degree of indulgence to me whose only object
was self-defence. However this might be Lord Stanley refrained from
expressing any sentiments on Mr. Montagu's conduct, yet he intimated to
me that the case might be reopened and undergo a revision. I left his
lordship under the impression that I should hear again from him on this
subject when he had given it due consideration, and that in the meantime
I should at least be honoured by a letter expressing to me that cordial
approbation of my government, the omission of which in my letter of
recall I had considered equivalent to censure, and which his lordship had
intimated to me might yet be supplied. I refrained from suggesting any
mode or terms by which this acknowledgment might be effected, conceiving
that it was more becoming in me to leave the adoption of these to Lord
Stanley's justice and generosity.

That his lordship, even under the pressure of parliamentary labour, which
at that time weighed on him, could not wholly forget the humble, perhaps,
but undoubtedly just claims I had on his consideration I was well aware,
for they had been again at intervals submitted to his lordship from
several quarters which could not fail to command his attention; yet week
after week passed away without either summons or letter, and but for an
occasional demand upon me for an explanation on points of expenditure
from the Lords of the Treasury, which were transmitted to me in the
ordinary course from the Colonial Office, the memory of the facts I
related in that office, which I never afterwards approached, might be
supposed to have passed away.

There was one circumstance however in my interview with Lord Stanley
which appears to have left some traces on his lordship's mind: I had on
that occasion placed in his lordship's hand the original document in Mr.
Montagu's own handwriting and bearing his signature, on which the
expensive alterations in St. George's Church, Hobart Town, had been
carried on without my knowledge.*

(*Footnote. See Appendix G for the authority in question indorsed on a
note addressed by Mr. Logan, one of the Churchwardens, to Mr. Montagu.)

Lord Stanley was already in possession of the means by which that
document had come into my possession and of the judgment of the Executive
Council upon it.

On the 15th of July I received from his lordship an account of the
defence made by Mr. Montagu when called upon to reply to this charge and
which his lordship deemed satisfactory; his lordship farther informs me
that, having disposed of this case in the manner communicated to me in
Number 150, my subsequent despatches had not led him to perceive any
material alteration in its features, though one of them, it must be
remembered, Number 95 of the 19th of July 1843, had communicated the
discovery of the lost document.

The unanimous opinion of the Executive Council appears to have had more
weight with his lordship than my own unaided statements, and accordingly
his lordship proceeds to add that he considers it due to me now to state
that he concurs in the opinion of the Council, and that it appears to him
that Mr. Montagu was in error in supposing that I was acquainted with and
approved of the alteration in the plans of St. George's Church. At the
same time his lordship sees no reason to attribute to Mr. Montagu any
corrupt motives in the matter and, being able to conjecture in what way
such an inaccuracy might take place, considers that no useful end would
be attained by prolonging a discussion on the subject.

Lord Stanley miscalculated my deference to his judgment when he expected
me to be satisfied with such a measure of justice as this. With no
inclination to question his estimate of Mr. Montagu's motives thus
tenderly protected I remonstrated against the position in which his
lordship was willing to place me, and which appeared to me to be that of
a man relieved of a charge made against himself, instead of that of a
person who had established by irrefragable evidence the charge he had
brought against another. I pointed out to his lordship that in adopting
the opinion of the Council he had stopped short of its comprehensiveness,
for that the Council had not only pronounced that _I_ had NOT given the
authority for the church, but that MR. MONTAGU HAD. I humbly conceived
that an explicit recognition of the latter fact was due to me, and the
more so if the statement were true, which Mr. Montagu laboured to
disseminate in the colony, that my charges on this subject had injured me
more in Lord Stanley's mind than any of the others I had brought against

On the 3rd of August, nearly seven weeks after the interview which Lord
Stanley had accorded me, I addressed a letter to his lordship in which I
took the liberty of respectfully reminding him that I was still anxiously
awaiting the result of his consideration on the points I had personally
and in a series of despatches submitted to him. This letter was
accompanied by a separate paper containing a summary of the points
alluded to in order that his lordship might again be made fully aware of
the grounds of my appeal. And in order that his lordship might be in no
doubt as to how much I desired from him, or how little I should be
satisfied with in reply to my representations, I ventured in my letter to
submit to him the following requests:

1. I submitted how indispensable it was for me to be assured by his
lordship of his belief that in my suspension of Mr. Montagu I was
actuated solely by a desire of the public good and not by personal or
private motives.*

(*Footnote. This was necessary to meet the assertion made by Mr. Montagu
and not repudiated by Lord Stanley that his suspension was solely
attributable to Lady Franklin's hatred of him and influence over me.)

2. I requested an expression of Lord Stanley's opinion upon the conduct
of Mr. Montagu in transmitting for circulation to the colony under my
government his recorded account of certain defamatory statements made by
him in the Colonial Office, as well as upon the conduct of those officers
of my late government who had aided in the circulation of the same.*

(*Footnote. It will be perceived that my request was limited to that
portion of Mr. Montagu's conduct in which Lord Stanley had no part.
Whatever might be the nature of my reflections upon Lord Stanley's
condescension in learning from a subordinate officer, after he had
decided upon his case, the opinions of that officer upon the conduct and
capacity of the governor who had dismissed him, yet, so long as no note
of these conversations transpired beyond the walls of the official
chamber in which they took place, what passed on that occasion could only
be considered as strictly confidential. But when a written and minute
statement of these private communications was sent out to the colony
itself for circulation, to the derogation of the governor's authority and
character, then a cognizable and even flagrant act of impropriety was
committed, which I felt sure Lord Stanley could not have foreseen and,
when called upon, could not but condemn.)

3. I solicited an assurance of Lord Stanley's acceptance of my statement
that it was Mr. Montagu and not myself who gave the authority for certain
building alterations in St. George's Church.*

(*Footnote. A reference above will show that this request was still
called for; and even had Lord Stanley's letter to me on this subject been
entirely satisfactory it was a private document which I had no means of
placing amongst the public records.)

4. I trusted that if the explanation I had been called upon to give of my
conduct in granting certain rewards to meritorious convicts, which had
been called in question on the authority of a local newspaper, appeared
satisfactory to his lordship, I might be favoured with an acknowledgment
to that effect.

And again, that if I was correct in thinking that Lord Stanley had
expressed his favourable opinion of my views on Convict Discipline, as
successfully worked during the last year of my government, and which had
been reported in despatches that crossed his lordship's instructions on
the same subject, I should not be refused the written expression of that

(*Footnote. Lord Stanley's favourable consideration of these two points
was slightly intimated in his personal communication with me, but the
expression of it could not of course be made use of by me until it was
deliberately recorded.)

5. I solicited the written expression of Lord Stanley's assurance that my
recall was unconnected with Mr. Montagu's suspension, and that the
circumstances attending it were unintentional.*

(*Footnote. The assurance already given by Lord Stanley in the personal
interview required only to be written.)

6. I reminded Lord Stanley of his personal assurance to me that the
omission of any expression of approbation in the despatch announcing my
recall was not intended for censure, and expressed my conviction that if
the anxious efforts I had made worthily to keep the high trust which had
been reposed in me during the usual period of a colonial government were
appreciated by him, as they had expressly been by the great body of the
colonists, this indispensable testimony would be supplied.

Last. I requested that a copy of any communication embodying these points
with which his lordship might be pleased to honour me should be
transmitted to the Lieutenant-Governor of Van Diemen's Land with
directions that it should be laid before the Legislative Council at their
next setting.

For such a step, which was indispensable in order to place me in a proper
position in the eyes of the colonists who had witnessed the attempted
degradation of my government and character, I had already adduced to Lord
Stanley the example of one of his lordship's predecessors, and I ventured
to express my conviction that the act would be acceptable to the people
of Van Diemen's Land, and would tend to strengthen their confidence in
and attachment to Her Majesty's Government.*

(*Footnote. Publicity on such reparation as the Secretary of State was
enabled to afford me could alone meet the injurious effects of the
publicity of his lordship's despatch.)

In conclusion I expressed my trust that Lord Stanley, in considering
these requests in connection with the various points on which I felt
myself aggrieved, would perceive that the redress for which I looked to
him was bounded by a perfect recollection of our relative positions, and
by profound respect for his lordship's dignity and high office. His
lordship would perceive that I had refrained from pressing my own claims
at the expense of an officer whom he had seen fit to uphold, and whom I
did not desire to injure; but in saying this I could not avoid expressing
my determination not to shrink from any exposure of the machinations
which had been used to injure me, if the interests of my character should
demand it; adding that, exceedingly painful as such a course would be to
me in the circumstances both private and professional in which I was
placed, I had deliberately looked to it as my only remedy should every
other fail me. I told Lord Stanley that I felt it to be my duty to say
this, as the only proof I could give him of the depth of my sense of
injury, and I besought his lordship rightly to appreciate my motive.

Being most anxious that Lord Stanley should not precipitate a reply which
would have to me such important consequences I requested that he would
previously grant me another interview, or if it were equally agreeable to
him that he would permit me to fix upon one of my friends to wait on him
in my place, in which case I would beg his lordship's reception of my
much-esteemed friend Mr. Robert Brown of the British Museum, a request
which was immediately granted for a distant day.

I think it will be apparent from the account I have here given that I was
not unmindful of Lord Stanley's position, and that, if his lordship had
had any doubt hitherto as to the nature of the redress which I expected
from him, he must now be aware that it was restricted within limits which
showed how anxious I was to save him from embarrassment, and to avoid
even the appearance of asking him for an acknowledgment of error. His
lordship's despatch could not be unpublished; his acceptance of Mr.
Montagu's calumnies I could not even desire to convict him of; his
restoration of Mr. Forster could not be undone. These and many other
points on which I felt deeply aggrieved I refrained altogether from even
alluding to in my letter of requests, because the only reparation of
which they were susceptible involved admissions which I did not expect,
and acknowledgments which, to be of any value, should be graciously and
spontaneously conceded; but with so much the more reason did I conceive
that on the few points submitted I ought to obtain ample satisfaction. I
gave to Mr. Brown therefore no other instructions previous to his waiting
upon Lord Stanley in my behalf than that he should, if necessary, impress
upon his lordship the moderation of my requests and the impossibility on
my part of my resting satisfied with the disregard of any one of them.

Of the interview in question, which took place on the 12th of June, all
that I shall permit myself to state is that it elicited from Lord Stanley
an acknowledgment that Mr. Montagu had been permitted, both to his
lordship and to Mr. Hope, to make those injurious representations
respecting myself and Lady Franklin which are recorded in his book; nay,
that he had placed a memorandum to that effect in Lord Stanley's office.

In order that there might be no doubt of the identity or similarity of
the statements made to Lord Stanley and Mr. Hope with those recorded by
Mr. Montagu in his book, Mr. Hope was requested to read, and did
accordingly read in Lord Stanley's presence, the letter of Mr. Young as
given in the Appendix which contains a selection from, or, as another
witness states, a portion only of the offensive and reprehensible matter
dispersed throughout that section of the book.

Lord Stanley informed Mr. Brown that he would write to me in the course
of two or three days; but in this instance the deed anticipated what the
promise held forth, and the very next day, too soon even for his
lordship's receipt of my instant acknowledgment of an observation made by
him to Mr. Brown that he had not received a reply to his despatch to Sir
Eardley Wilmot,* the letter was written, within the compass of which I
was to find all my indemnification for those months and years of trial
and endurance which I have imperfectly described in the foregoing pages.

(*Footnote. See above.)

The letter of Lord Stanley of the 13th of August being intended I presume
for such publicity as I thought proper to give it, as well as being the
measure of reparation which his lordship has deemed sufficient for the
case, I give verbatim with my comments; premising that for its full
understanding it is necessary to read the extracts from Mr. Montagu's
letter to Mr. Stephen which are referred to in it. They are given in
Appendix H.


Downing Street, 13th August, 1844.


In compliance with your request I yesterday saw Mr. Brown of the British
Museum in reference to the causes of complaint which you conceive
yourself to have against the Colonial Office. I did not however gather
from that gentleman anything which had not been already fully represented
to me by yourself in person, and in the voluminous correspondence which
you have from time to time transmitted. Adverting now to your letter and
statement of the 3rd instant I must beg to observe that, until I received
it, I was not aware that you were in expectation of any farther
communication from me;* nor do I indeed now know what is the "immediate
decision" to which you expect me to come.**

(*Footnote. See above for the grounds of my expectation that I should
receive some farther communication from Lord Stanley.)

(**Footnote. The phrase had reference to the suspense in which I had so
long been kept, as well as to the specific points then submitted to his
lordship's judgment.)

I regret to find that I have been unsuccessful in removing from your
mind, by reiterated explanations,* the impression not only that you were
recalled from your government as a mark of disapprobation, but that the
course I adopted subsequently to my disapproval of your suspension of Mr.
Montagu, and every step which I took, was calculated to lower you in the
eyes of the colonists and to embarrass your government. I have in vain
explained to you the very different motives by which I was actuated, and
the accidental circumstances which produced some of the results of which
you complain, and I certainly was both surprised and pained to find all
these circumstances again formally enumerated in the statement which you
have now transmitted to me.**

(*Footnote. I am at a loss to account for his lordship's impression that
he had given me "reiterated explanations" but, if the term applies to his
having said the same thing to me twice over, or even more often in the
one interview I had with him, I am constrained to observe that no
repetition of his lordship's verbal explanation, however acceptable to
me, could compensate for the absence of any tangible expression of it.)

(**Footnote. Lord Stanley confuses the grounds of my complaint by
blending deliberate measures with accidental circumstances and, under
cover of this confusion, I am made to appear as obstinately refusing to
accept the explanations which on a few points his lordship condescended
to offer me. These points are enumerated in my letter of the 3rd of

I did not, and I do not think that the charges on which you suspended Mr.
Montagu were sufficiently substantiated to justify that course of

I came to that conclusion on a careful perusal of the documents
transmitted by yourself and none others,* and not (as you have repeatedly
asserted, and without any evidence to justify the assertion, and
notwithstanding the most formal contradictions) upon ex-parte statements
and private representations of Mr. Montagu or his friends.**

(*Footnote. "AND NONE OTHERS." This is a startling assertion. Lord
Stanley, in his despatch Number 150, gave me to understand that Mr.
Montagu had answered all my charges one after another in the most
satisfactory manner; again in the interview of the 18th of June that he
had judged the case entirely on Mr. Montagu's WRITTEN DEFENCE (meaning
not on his verbal representations, which were then under discussion)
portions of which WRITTEN DEFENCE he transmitted to me in his letter of
the 15th of July on the St. George's Church case.)

(**Footnote. It would have been still more satisfactory had his lordship
been able to assure me that no opportunities had been afforded to Mr.
Montagu of making ex-parte statements and private representations, either
to his lordship himself or to any of the officers of his department,
prior to his lordship's decision. It must have been very difficult for
Lord Stanley to extract the pure, impartial conclusions he desired to
make on the documents before him, from the prejudices he had imbibed
through other channels, and which gave their tone and colouring to every
paragraph of the despatch at the head of this narrative. If Lord Stanley
had wished me to infer that he did not accept or does not retain the
impressions Mr. Montagu conveyed to him, why does he deny me the
satisfaction of telling me so? he could be at no loss for language to
convey such a sentiment without committing himself with me.)

Nor are you correct in representing that I was called upon to decide, or
did in any way decide upon the credibility of two parties.* I had to
decide whether the charges which you brought against Mr. Montagu of
motives were substantiated,** and whether his conduct had been such as to
warrant his removal. My opinion was in the negative; but that opinion did
not imply any disbelief of your integrity or honour; nor did I ever
impute to you that in removing him you were not actuated by a sense of
public duty.*** Having come to that decision I was bound to communicate
it to the accused party and, thinking that he had been unjustly removed,
I might unquestionably have sent him back to his office.

(*Footnote. Lord Stanley must at least admit that, in a matter of
conflicting evidence, Mr. Montagu's statements were invariably preferred
to mine; with how much correctness of deduction has been proved in the
St. George's Church case. It required nothing less than the production of
an irresistible document written and signed by Mr. Montagu himself, AND
lordship's opinion of error. See above where it is admitted that the
document was unattended to when first mentioned.)

(**Footnote. I brought against Mr. Montagu not the charges of MOTIVES,
but of ACTIONS and the failure of duty.)

(***Footnote. I am not sure whether Lord Stanley has perceived the drift
of my application to him on this point, and that an acknowledgment of his
lordship's belief that I was actuated by a sense of public duty in my
suspension of Mr. Montagu, and not by any personal or private motive, at
once sweeps away all Mr. Montagu's charges on that head. See note above.)

If I did not take that course it was solely in deference to your feelings
with a view not to embarrass your government, or place you in a position
in which you must have tendered your resignation.* Perhaps I erred in
this respect; but if I did so it was as I have said from consideration
for you and from nothing else.

(*Footnote. Until I received this assurance personally from Lord Stanley
I had concluded that, though my specific charge against Mr. Montagu had
failed, yet that his lordship had not felt himself justified in resisting
the serious representation I made to him that, even were my own removal
resolved upon, Mr. Montagu ought not to be restored to a colony where he
had already lived too long (see above). Unquestionably the publication of
the despatch did as much to embarrass my government as any measure from
which his lordship in consideration to me refrained. But Lord Stanley may
have some ground for dissatisfaction at my want of due perception of that
consideration, for he is probably conscious of having behaved to me with
greater courtesy than under the influence of Mr. Montagu's accepted
statements he thought was required of him.)

From the same motives, and being desirous that your recall at the
expiration of the usual term of colonial government might not have the
appearance of being connected with my disapproval of Mr. Montagu's
removal I postponed sending you the usual letter for some months.

I conclude this is a sufficient answer to the fifth request in your
present letter. I had hoped that my previous personal declaration to that
effect would have rendered unnecessary the repetition of the statement
that the postponement was felt by you to be a greater injury than your
immediate recall would have been.* You are already aware of the
circumstances (the ship conveying the despatch being driven back by
stress of weather) which prevented your receiving notice of your recall
six weeks or two months before the arrival of your successor. I have
expressed my regret at the accident, but the declaration which you have
made, that it must have been known at the Colonial Office that the vessel
which took out these particular despatches was a notoriously slow sailer,
is, I may be permitted to add, only one instance of that unfortunate
ingenuity with which you appear to convert the most trivial circumstances
into studied slights.**

(*Footnote. The reader who has gone through the preceding pages and
recollects the embarrassment to which my government was subjected in
consequence of the publication of Lord Stanley's despatch, and other
measures of the Colonial Office, will not wonder that I should have
considered my immediate recall as a much less injury. But the observation
is not made in my letter of requests and required no notice from Lord
Stanley in this place.)

(**Footnote. Having in the interview of the 18th of June acknowledged the
hasty conclusion to which I had in one of my despatches given expression
on this point, and having neither repeated nor alluded to it in any form
whatever afterwards, I should have been spared I think this observation.
See above.)

You call upon me to express my opinion of Mr. Montagu's conduct in
forwarding to Van Diemen's Land and causing to be extensively circulated
a book containing "defamatory statements" with regard to yourself. On
receiving your complaint on this subject I called on Mr. Montagu for an
explanation. I send you extracts from a letter which I received from him
in reply [see Appendix H]. The memorandum referred to was sent to me. It
is not necessary nor would it be right that I should communicate it to
you.* It contained expressions purporting to have been used, and which
very likely were used, by Mr. Montagu to Mr. Hope and myself. That they
were not favourable to you by whom he had just been suspended,** is
undoubtedly true; but they were, I must say, much less "defamatory"***
than much which you have placed on record in the Colonial Office with
regard to Mr. Montagu. That gentleman having expressed his regret at the
imprudence which led to even the limited circulation of that memorandum
in the colony,**** I have not thought it necessary to take any further
steps; but it may be satisfactory to you to receive the assurance of Mr.
Montagu that, in transmitting to his friends his own vindication, he had
no desire to embarrass your government.*****

(*Footnote. It is admitted by Lord Stanley that he communicated to Mr.
Montagu for his defence all the complaints I had made against him, yet he
refuses to put me in possession of the memorandum embodying Mr. Montagu's
statements against me. The nature of those statements may perhaps appear
to Lord Stanley a sufficient reason for this incongruous proceeding, and
it is not perhaps to be wondered at that he should object to reveal to me
what he did not object to give ear to. Hence the safety of Mr. Montagu's
policy. Lord Stanley did not foresee that Mr. Montagu, encouraged by the
immunity given him, and in the intoxication of success, would himself
have the effrontery to make public the machinery by which he had effected

(**Footnote. Lord Stanley might have substituted for this observation
"over whom he had just gained a triumph," for Mr. Montagu's complete
exculpation and his promotion to the office of Secretary to the
Government at the Cape were already communicated to him when he indulged
in these vituperative descriptions of the Governor who had recommended
him to office; and at a later period than this, after he had received
from Lord Stanley the complimentary, and altogether unexpected gift of a
copy of the despatch addressed to myself, Mr. Montagu acknowledged the
favour by a "few final stabs," more deadly than any of the preceding
ones. (See Appendix C.) Mr. Montagu's gratitude to Lord Stanley seems to
have invariably found an outlet for its expression in abuse of myself.)

(***Footnote. Lord Stanley in his advocacy of Mr. Montagu appears to
forget that what I have placed on record in the Colonial Office was
subsequent, and in answer to Mr. Montagu's statements in the book, was
written solely in self-defence, and was not merely provoked but made
necessary by Mr. Montagu's unexampled proceedings. If Mr. Montagu's
statements are to be compared with any of mine they should be compared
with those made in my despatches respecting his suspension, in which, in
remembrance of former friendship, I told Lord Stanley that "I had Mr.
Montagu's welfare still at heart," and endeavoured as far as was in my
power to secure his future honourable employment in some other field of
action, whilst I deprecated his return to Van Diemen's Land. That I have
since said worse things of Mr. Montagu than he has said of me I may
readily admit; how could it be otherwise? I characterised his conduct as
such conduct deserves to be characterised by every honest and honourable
man; and if my sentiments are placed on record in the Colonial Office it
is a matter over which I have no control, but which nevertheless appears
to me both right and proper, since where the poison is deposited there
also should be the antidote. Does Lord Stanley imagine that, having been
with my wife publicly defamed by Mr. Montagu in England and in the colony
under my government, I should address to him mere PRIVATE remonstrance
upon it, or wait for a personal interview? Nevertheless whatever
observations I had to make upon Mr. Montagu's conduct were confined to my
strictly official and privileged correspondence with Lord Stanley, not
embodied in memoranda for circulation in society in England, or written
down in a book, as Mr. Montagu's statements were, for circulation in Van
Diemen's Land. The circumstances I have pointed out stamp Mr. Montagu's
statements with the character of defamations cognizable as such in any
court of law, and take from mine every shadow of resemblance to them.)

(****Footnote. "EVEN THE LIMITED CIRCULATION." lord Stanley has
condescended to assure me that he has read every word of my despatches
himself. Were it not for this assurance I should have presumed to doubt
whether his lordship could have read a single word of that part of my
despatch Number 95 of the 19th July, 1843, or its Appendix, wherein I
speak of the contents, and the EXTENSIVE CIRCULATION of Mr. Montagu's
book. As these matters are capable of proof, and as I did not make my
assertions without calculating that such might be called for, nor indeed
without adducing at the time the names and statements of some of the most
respectable individuals in Van Diemen's Land as my authorities, I cannot
but express my surprise, both at his lordship's apparent contempt for
those respectable authorities, and at the reliance he appears to place in
my ability to accept a statement so entirely at variance with my
knowledge of facts.)

(*****Footnote. It would be impugning the discernment of my readers to
make any lengthened comment upon this paragraph. The wretched excuse of
Mr. Montagu which Lord Stanley is so willing to accept for himself; the
anxious extenuation of Mr. Montagu's fault, glaring as it is; the
expectation expressed (not in mockery, for Lord Stanley would surely not
condescend to use it towards me) that I should be satisfied with Mr.
Montagu's gracious assurance, made moreover to the Colonial Office and
not to me, that in all he had done he had no desire (to annoy me or (see
Mr. Montagu's statement in the Appendix H)) to embarrass my government,
all attest more forcibly than any words of mine can express, the
embarrassment in which Lord Stanley is placed by having suffered himself
to be mixed up with Mr. Montagu in this question.)

You will excuse me if I persevere in declining to discuss the question
which was unfortunately raised of the interference or non-interference of
Lady Franklin in the affairs of government. I have frequently expressed
my regret that any lady's name should be introduced into discussions of
this kind, and I think it quite unnecessary that I should express any
opinion on the subject.*

(*Footnote. Anyone reading this passage in Lord Stanley's letter would
inevitably suppose that I had requested his lordship to pronounce an
opinion upon Lady Franklin's conduct, and not only so, but had pressed it
upon him with more warmth than was becoming. The reader has before him
every one of the requests I made to Lord Stanley in the language in which
they were made, and will see that I am justified in asserting that his
lordship cannot point out to me the passage in that letter in which I
make any such appeal, or even hint at it. Lady Franklin's name was
deliberately and carefully kept out of sight in my letter of requests,
not only in order to spare Lord Stanley the necessity of touching upon a
delicate and embarrassing subject but, because I hoped his lordship's
reply would be of such a nature as that I could make use of it to my own
benefit, and in a document thus intended for a certain measure of
publicity, I could not desire the introduction of a lady's name. I may
farther observe that, however desirous I may have been to remove any
impression which Mr. Montagu may have produced on Lord Stanley's mind to
my wife's prejudice, I could by no means think of requesting his lordship
to pronounce an opinion upon a point which I humbly conceive did not come
within his cognizance, which I alone was competent to decide, and for
which at least I alone was responsible. I refer the reader above for the
reasons which made me feel it necessary to guard Lord Stanley against the
use which I had every reason to believe Mr. Montagu intended to make of
Lady Franklin's name, and without which precaution I conceived that very
false and injurious impressions might be produced on Lord Stanley's mind
of which I should ever remain IN IGNORANCE; Lord Stanley pays no
attention to this fact, but would endeavour to throw upon my own want of
sense of propriety the odium of introducing into a discussion of this
kind the name of a lady who, it is left to be inferred, might have
remained unmolested but for my self-inflicted act. It is worthy of remark
that, though Lord Stanley here prominently and gratuitously brings
forward Lady Franklin's name in a letter intended for publicity, he has
carefully abstained from alluding to it in the part where Mr. Montagu's
book was under discussion.)

I think I have already informed you that I am satisfied that Mr. Montagu
and not you signed the authority for certain alterations in St. George's
Church and that in that respect your statement was more correct than his.

The papers transmitted fully bear out your assertion.*

(*Footnote. Lord Stanley had not given me the explicit acknowledgment to
which I was entitled on this point. It was on this account that I was
obliged to trouble his lordship with a renewed application for it.)

I do not hesitate also to state that the explanation sent by you on the
11th of May 1842, in reference to a charge made against you by a colonial
newspaper, was deemed satisfactory; had it been otherwise it would have
been my duty to prosecute the inquiry; but, seeing a statement of facts
which it was very desirable that I should be able on your part to
contradict or explain, I thought that I was only performing a duty to you
and to myself in desiring to be furnished with that explanation.*

(*Footnote. Lord Stanley will not condescend to grant at my request an
acknowledgment, which I might have expected gratuitously from his justice
and courtesy, without making the offensive observation that if I had not
escaped condemnation under the first accusation he would certainly have
carried the matter farther; and yet in the same spirit which dictated and
guarded every line of my letter of the 3rd of August I refrained from any
allusion to certain facts and circumstances respecting this transaction
which, while they aggravated the indignity shown me, would have been
embarrassing to Lord Stanley to deal with. See above and compare.)

With regard to Convict Discipline you are aware that, the subject being
one of great interest and importance, and on which I had long been
expecting a definite proposal from you, I availed myself of the presence
in this country of Mr. Montagu and Mr. Plunkett, the Attorney-General of
New South Wales, and of Mr. Bicheno's early departure, to mature, in
concert with Sir James Graham, a scheme, founded in great measure upon
past experience, which was transmitted to you in my despatches of the
25th of November 1842, Numbers 175 and 176, and the 12th of December
1842, Number 182.*

(*Footnote. Though the "definite proposal" from me expected by Lord
Stanley did not arrive in England until after his lordship's instructions
on Convict Discipline had been despatched yet the ANNOUNCEMENT of my
proposal (showing that the latter would be speedily on its way, and also
that I attributed great importance to my timely notice of it being
received as soon as possible, for which purpose I transmitted it via
India) must have been received about a month previously (see above). I am
at a loss to conceive why the early departure of Mr. Bicheno, who however
did not leave England until AFTER the arrival of the above announcement,
should have been supposed to affect the matter in any degree; the
Office-bags of the Colonial Department destined for Van Diemen's Land
being as a matter of course sent by every convict-ship which sails for
the colony and, in default of such, by any merchant-ship which is

These despatches were crossed by others from you, informing me of the
measures which you had simultaneously taken and provisionally introduced,
and on the receipt of them I was happy to find that in the main they
coincided with my own views, and that it was therefore unnecessary to add
anything to the instructions I had already sent. I do not think it
necessary to discuss the appointments which you made and of which I was
not informed by you until some months after I had learnt them through
private channels.*

(*Footnote. Who, on reading this observation, would suppose that it was
meant as an answer to my just complaint that Lord Stanley had restored
Mr. Forster to an office which I had deemed it necessary to abolish (that
of Director of the Probation Department) upon the private and premature
representations of that officer, without even waiting to hear my reasons
for a measure which was connected with arrangements of vital public
importance? Undoubtedly this treatment of the Lieutenant-Governor by Lord
Stanley admits now of neither discussion nor redress, and accordingly,
had Lord Stanley condescended to read my letter of the 3rd of August in
the same spirit in which it was written, he would have seen that I
refrained altogether from touching upon, or even alluding to, the
subject; but throughout Lord Stanley's letter it seems as if his lordship
regarded as one and the same my statement of the points on which I felt
myself aggrieved, and my letter of requests, in which I omitted some of
the most important of those injuries in order to relieve his lordship
from the difficulty of considering them. It may be that, disdaining to
take cognizance of this respectful forbearance on my part, Lord Stanley
has purposely introduced the points I avoided in order to show the
absolute scorn with which he could afford to treat them, or the skill
with which they could be eluded; even under this supposition however
there is one point which his lordship does not even approach, I mean the
publication of his despatch Number 150.)

Lastly I have to assure you that the absence of any expression of
approbation in the customary letter of recall was not intended to be in
any way "equivalent to censure." I do not doubt that during your
administration of the government of Van Diemen's Land your best
endeavours were applied to an honest and faithful discharge of your
duties, and certainly nothing came under my notice which could in any
degree derogate from your high character for honour and integrity.

I shall if you desire it communicate this correspondence, which you must
allow me to hope may now terminate, to Sir Eardley Wilmot; but I do not
think it necessary to instruct him to lay it before the Legislative
Council who, it appears to me, have nothing to do with the matter of
which it treats.*

(*Footnote. The remaining paragraph of Lord Stanley's letter is omitted
as having reference to the question which I have summarily treated of
above, where the express subject-matter of the paragraph is given. My
reply to his lordship's observations there quoted, and which, though
written with perfect respect and candour, did not go far enough to
satisfy his lordship, had not been received by him when he wrote this
letter but had crossed it on the way.)

I have the honour, etc. etc.,


Sir John Franklin, etc. etc.


The amount of Lord Stanley's testimony to the matter in which for nearly
seven years I conducted the arduous government entrusted to me is (unless
I greatly err in my construction of it) "as far as I know of you you seem
to me to be an honest man and to have done your best." It had been
represented to Lord Stanley that the injurious imputations contained in
his despatch Number 150 were calculated to injure even my professional
character, since energy and decision must be at least as necessary on the
quarter-deck as in the council-room. I have not pressed upon Lord Stanley
the same consideration. However indifferent his lordship may have been to
the import of his words I believe that it was as far from his desire as
it was beyond his power to inflict on me this injury; and had it been
possible for me to have any doubts as to the first of these points his
lordship's explicit declarations would be forbidden their continuance.
But however valuable may be to me Lord Stanley's opinion of the "honour
and integrity" of my personal character, or his estimation of my
professional one, neither the one nor the other can compensate me for the
absence of those expressions of approbation and respect from Her
Majesty's Government at the close of my administration, which an ADEQUATE
FULFILMENT of duty (not merely an exertion of "BEST ENDEAVOURS") should
command. It was not perhaps to be expected that a boon, for which I ought
not to have been forced to ask, should, when asked for, be grudgingly
conceded or partially withheld. It may be that Lord Stanley could not
conscientiously do otherwise. In either case my business is to prove, if
I am able to do so, that it has been withheld undeservedly and unjustly.

I shall certainly not add to my list of public or private wrongs the
refusal of Lord Stanley to make public in the colony his letter of the
13th of August. There remained for me but one more step to take, and on
the 30th of August I addressed to his lordship the following letter:

Herstmonceaux, Sussex, 30th August, 1844.

My Lord,

I should have had the honour to acknowledge earlier your lordship's
letter of the 13th instant if I had not considered it right to wait for
some time after your lordship's receipt of mine of the same date.

It is with infinite pain that I am under the necessity of stating to your
lordship that the terms of your lordship's letter are inadequate to
afford me the satisfaction I expected from you; and I regret this the
more because your lordship, having partially conceded to me a few of the
points I had the honour to lay before you, though in language little
conciliatory to my feelings, would appear to have anticipated a different

This may be a sufficient reply to the question your lordship has been
pleased to refer to me respecting the communication of a copy of your
lordship's letter to Sir Eardley Wilmot. As far as my own wishes are
concerned I can have no desire that a copy of it should be forwarded to
Sir Eardley Wilmot.

It would have been satisfactory to me to have been permitted to point out
to your lordship the grounds of my inability to accept your lordship's
letter as a reasonable reparation for the injuries I have received, but
your expressed desire that the correspondence should terminate forbids my
doing so.

It may not be superfluous for me in the meantime to state that neither in
Van Diemen's Land, where the injuries I have received in my government
are best understood, nor in this country where, as well as in the colony,
the unprecedented act has been witnessed of the publication in the
newspapers of a despatch condemnatory of a Governor who was still in the
exercise of his functions, can your lordship's letter, either in its
substance or its terms, produce an impression which can at all counteract
the evil that has been inflicted.

I have the honour, etc. etc.

John Franklin.

The Right Honourable Lord Stanley, etc. etc.


I here close a narrative which has extended to a length unfavourable, I
fear, to its general effect, and possibly even to its clearness. Being
well aware of the importance of precise and circumstantial statements I
have been led into a minuteness of detail which required very numerous as
well as careful references and collations. By treating of events, for the
sake of greater accuracy and fidelity in the course in which they
occurred, some repetitions also have necessarily been made which might
have been avoided had a subject once begun been carried on unbroken to
its close.

But however much my narrative may have suffered from the conditions I
have thus imposed upon myself I trust that it will not be found to have
failed altogether in its purpose, which has been that of vindicating the
character of my government on a point upon which it has been assailed,
and of bringing the truth to light wherever I conceived that honour and
duty imperatively required it at my hands.

It was possible, nay even easy, for Lord Stanley to have removed the
necessity of this step for, though the past could not be recalled, he had
at least the means of counteraction in his hands. The measure of
reparation I was prepared to accept from his lordship could not have
compromised him, and did not necessarily disturb any existing
arrangements. I neither asked of Lord Stanley to undo his acts nor to
recall his words, yet though I thus respected his lordship's position and
feelings he has had little consideration for mine. I believe it is
impossible for anyone to read Lord Stanley's letter without feeling that
it is a document which, if his lordship had deigned to place himself for
a moment in my position, he could not have written. I shall refrain from
the expression of my feelings on some portions of it, and I trust I shall
not be convicted of a captious or uncandid spirit when I remark that even
some of its admissions derive as much value from the evident reluctance
with which they are made as from their intrinsic importance. It would
appear that what Lord Stanley could not withhold without withholding a
reply altogether he determined to render unpalatable.

Lord Stanley must be well aware that he has written me a letter which I
can make no use of for the just and honourable purpose I had in view, and
it is Lord Stanley himself who has forced me to make a use of it which he
probably did not contemplate, and which I have not adopted without
infinite pain and repugnance.

His lordship's despatch at the head of this narrative and his letter at
the close of it explain at a glance my excuses for the step I am taking,
and must convince everyone that no man who values the blessing of an
unsullied reputation could refrain from offering a counteraction of them
unless he laboured under some feeling of self-condemnation, or were
withheld by a sense of incapacity or weakness.

And if there are any of my friends who conceive that I might afford to
pass by the unmerited treatment I have received at the Colonial Office
because it is not the department in which my professional life has been
passed and to which my affections and sympathies most closely cling, to
them I must remark that, even in the point of view they suggest, I cannot
forget that an eventful portion of my earlier years was spent in the
career of discovery under its auspices.

But I may say more than this; for when I entered the service of Her
Majesty in the Department of her Colonies I placed my honour in that
service as thoroughly and as faithfully as in any other; and though Lord
Stanley has not comprehended the spirit of my devotion to the public
service, nor the loyalty of a heart as true to its allegiance in this as
in any other field of duty, I owe it to myself to show that I know of no
distinction in the trusts with which I am honoured, and have not been
less solicitous to merit the approbation of my sovereign in the
department of her Colonial government than in that of her Naval service.

As for the act which has led to so long a train of consequences--I mean
the removal of a high public officer from a place which I considered that
he had justly forfeited and in which his continuance appeared to me
detrimental to the public interest--it is one which I shall ever look
back upon as justified by every principle of good government, and which,
though it has entailed upon me evils which it ought not to have entailed,
I trust I should not shrink from doing again were the past once more in
my power and the future known to me as the present is.


It was my intention to have made a few observations on the present state
and the prospects of Van Diemen's Land under the operation of the
existing system of unlimited and uncounteracted Convict Transportation;
but this discussion, which involves many other auxiliary considerations,
would lead me too far and, under the pressure of duties more imperative
and now more immediately belonging to me, I have thrown aside my notes
upon the subject, happy in the belief that the colonists of Van Diemen's
Land will have no doubt of the interest I take in a matter of such vital
importance to them as well as to the British Government, and still
happier in the conviction that the deliberate and anxious efforts of the
Secretary of State for the Colonies are given to remedial measures.

The cure of the evil, in its very nature rapidly progressive, cannot be
applied with the celerity which the case demands, and no one who has the
welfare of Van Diemen's Land at heart but will desire that hope as well
as patience will revisit her mansions and her homesteads, and retain her
unsettled and anxious colonists within the sphere of their accustomed
labours, sympathies and duties.



My latest communications from Van Diemen's Land include some documents so
highly illustrative of the conduct of Mr. Montagu and of the character of
that policy by which he has effected his objects that I deem it right to
publish them entire, leaving to the discernment of the reader to make
such observations as they naturally suggest, and subjoining a few notes
of my own only where they appear to me absolutely called for.

I am informed that Dr. Turnbull had been advised to publish the
correspondence in Van Diemen's Land, Mr. Montagu having in this, as in
other instances, sent copies of his own statements there for circulation.

The following article from the Hobart Town Advertiser of the 25th October
1844 proves the notoriety of the correspondence:

We have the gratification to announce to the public that Lord Stanley has
expressed to Captain Montagu his entire satisfaction in regard to the
Book. Lord Stanley did not come to this determination until he had
carefully perused it and we repeat he THEN expressed his entire
satisfaction at the whole of Captain Montagu's conduct in respect
thereto. Murray's Review.

We fear we must dispel this illusion. In this, as in the affair of THE
BOOK itself, the Editor of the Review has not been taken into the
confidence of his protege. So far from Lord Stanley having expressed his
approbation of Captain Montagu's conduct that gentleman has himself most
serious misgivings on the subject. Perhaps the Editor of the Review is
not aware that there is at this instant a correspondence in the colony in
which that gentleman has requested that a memorandum of events might be
verified which contradicts some of the strongest statements against him;
that he has accompanied it with a letter in which he alludes "to the
tenacity of his own memory, and the defect of that faculty in another,
and requests that the FACTS related some time since, which tell very much
indeed against him, may be reviewed and REMEMBERED as he relates them;"
that his relation has however met with a flat contradiction, and that the
correspondence bears the strongest internal evidence that it has been
entered into in consequence of Lord Stanley requiring that some
discrepancies in Sir J. Franklin and Mr. Montagu's statements may be
reconciled which, as they are direct contradictories, is of course an

We said all along that, in the affair of the Book, Captain Montagu had
forgotten his habitual caution in the triumph of momentary success. His
correspondence shows that he has now discovered his error, that he would
repair it if possible; but the answer he has received will no doubt show
him that truth is in the end all-powerful; and that there requires to
make up a case not merely a very good memory in the concoctor but a very
pliant one in the witnesses. In the latter part Mr. Montagu has not been
quite so successful as he could wish.

We are not just at present at liberty to make further use of this
correspondence, but it is by no means unlikely that it may be published;
and then Mr. Montagu will, under his own hand, have shown that the
character long since attributed to him was neither a false one in his
youth nor abandoned in his manhood. Hobart Town Advertiser.


Cape of Good Hope, 30th April, 1844.

My dear Turnbull,

In December last I received letters from Van Diemen's Land dated in May
1843 informing me that Sir John Franklin had called upon you to make him
an official statement in writing of what had occurred in conversation
between you and me in January 1842, upon the occasion of my sending to
Lady Franklin to negotiate a reconciliation between Sir John Franklin and
myself, a few days after he had suspended me from the office of Colonial
Secretary of Van Diemen's Land.

My letters inform me that you intend sending me a copy of your statement
to Sir John Franklin, but it has not yet arrived, which I much regret as
I should have preferred observing upon it before giving you my own
recollection on the subject. Not having heard from you I have prepared a
memorandum upon it, and transmit it herewith rather than permit any
further delay.

I understand you have expressed the opinion that I was not justified
after that conversation in introducing Lady Franklin's name at all in my
defence to Lord Stanley, and that you are of opinion that I so pledged
myself upon the occasion referred to.*

(*Footnote. Dr. Turnbull had expressed NO SUCH OPINION. See Dr.
Turnbull's reply which is given in the sequel.)

I am quite positive I never did make any such pledge.

To have made it would have been an act of felo-de-se as my whole case
turned upon the fact of Lady Franklin's improper interference in the
business of the Government which, because I noticed it to Sir John
Franklin, led to his suspending me from office. Unless I could have
proved as I did that Sir John Franklin's proceedings against me, which
terminated in my suspension, occurred in consequence of my having
mentioned Lady Franklin's name to him I should have been shut out from
the means of showing the motives which induced him to take that step.* I
proved that up to that day the most unlimited confidence subsisted
between Sir John Franklin and me;** and how I was to have shown that that
confidence and harmony ceased without introducing Lady Franklin's name I
know not. To have made a promise not to mention her name at all would
have been tantamount to a declaration of justification of Sir John
Franklin because it would have deprived me of the means of exposing the
only and true reason of his conduct towards me.***

(*Footnote. Mr. Montagu here, with characteristic and most politic
effrontery, avows the one leading principle of his plan of defence which
he carried through without compunction to the end.

(**Footnote. Admitting this to be true, that the most unlimited harmony
existed between us up to a certain day when he mentioned Lady Franklin's
name, this does not prove what Mr. Montagu asserts. On the same day that
he mentioned Lady Franklin's name, and BEFORE he had mentioned it, Mr.
Montagu threatened me with his withdrawal of his usual cooperation, etc.,
and FROM that day he kept his word. Even as respects the use of Lady
Franklin's name he committed a gross offence in so doing; but a greater
when I offered him the proof that ALL his suppositions and statements
were entirely opposed to facts, and he refrained from retracting what he
had said or acknowledging his mistake. Such behaviour might well excite
MY displeasure without involving Lady Franklin in the subsequent series
of events. But though Mr. Montagu's assertion of the unlimited harmony
and confidence which subsisted between us up to that day does not prove
what he would wish in this instance, it DOES prove that his
representations of Lady Franklin's disturbing and habitual interference
in the affairs of government is without foundation.)

(***Footnote. Mr. Montagu here avows the desperate necessity which drove
him to the defence he employed.)

I fully admit that I pledged myself to you not to repeat to anyone the
conversation which passed between us upon the occasion referred to
herein, for the reason you will find inserted in the accompanying
memorandum. That pledge I have religiously adhered to, and I never
mentioned it even to Mrs. Montagu until December last, when I heard that
you felt it expedient to repeat it, first to the elders of your church
and afterwards to Sir John Franklin.

But I think I can show you from your own acts that you have quite
forgotten the facts of the case, and that you yourself could not at the
time alluded to have supposed that I ever pledged myself not to mention
Lady Franklin's name after that interview.

In the first place you must remember that the conversation occurred on
the 28th of January,* and that I remained in Van Diemen's Land until the
10th of February. During that interval there was scarcely a day that I
had not several interviews with you, and at most if not all other persons
were present.

(*Footnote. The conversation in which Dr. Turnbull explained to Lady
Franklin Mr. Montagu's wishes and reported to him the result took place

Our conversations were naturally upon my case and, as the prominent point
upon my mind and upon the minds of those I have alluded to was respecting
Lady Franklin's interference in Dr. Coverdale's case and her subsequent
conduct, and of the facility I should have from the evidence I had in my
possession of showing that my suspension was clearly to be ascribed to
her feelings against me, it must have been evident to you at that time
that I was under no pledge not to mention her name in my defence, as I
repeatedly and openly, as was well-known to everyone I conversed with in
Van Diemen's Land, stated that I meant to impute the blame to her as
having been the cause of my suspension. I could mention in detail several
such conversations but I think it unnecessary; I will however mention one
other circumstance which perhaps will convince you that my recollection
of the conversation is right and yours is wrong.

You may perhaps remember that the Reverend Mr. Aislabie wrote to me on
the 7th of February to inform me that, with the private petition which
was got up at Richmond to restore Dr. Coverdale, Lady Franklin had not
anything to do, and it was not got up during her stay in that district
(see above).

That letter I received on the 8th of February and replied to it on the
same day.

In my reply I stated, "that I as well as others had read in Lady
Franklin's handwriting that she did suggest to Mrs. Parsons the private
petition in Dr. Coverdale's case,* and you are aware that a private
petition was subsequently adopted and succeeded." Before sending that
letter I consulted with you, Mr. Forster and Mr. Charles Arthur upon it.
We assembled in Mr. Forster's office, when all three advised me to send
it,** which I did, and Mr. C. Arthur then made a copy of it on the back
of Mr. Aislabie's letter, which original letter and copy are now
deposited in the Colonial Office in Downing Street. I then had another
copy of my letter to Mr. Aislabie made, as well as of his to me, and sent
them under the same advice on the same day to Sir John Franklin for his

(*Footnote. When, in the Richmond district, at the house of Mr. and Mrs.
Parsons, Mrs. Parsons told Lady Franklin that it had been a question in
the district whether the respectable inhabitants should not make a public
representation to the Lieutenant-Governor of their desire that Dr.
Coverdale should be reinstated, Lady Franklin replied to the effect that
she saw strong objections to such a course, and thought individual,
private and personal representation might be preferable. This private
conversation, related in a letter of Lady Franklin's to me, and shown by
me to Mr. Montagu, is the handwriting of Lady Franklin here referred to.
The letter of the Reverend Mr. Aislabie to Mr. Montagu, received by Mr.
Montagu before he left Van Diemen's Land (this letter is subjoined) will
show that this conversation had nothing whatsoever to do with the
petition which was subsequently presented from the district, and that Mr.
Montagu knew that it had not, by direct information from the person who
himself wrote the petition and procured the signatures. Mr. Aislabie's
statement to Mr. Montagu was direct and unequivocal that "it is untrue
that the petition was got up during Lady Franklin's stay in the district,
and equally untrue that Lady Franklin had anything to do with it; or that
he (Mr. Aislabie) with whom the letter originated, took his idea from any
other person." Mr. Montagu says that he sent this letter to Lord Stanley;
the reader will not be surprised that I sent it also (see above).

(**Footnote. Dr. Turnbull has passed this observation without notice. It
may be one of those points not specified in which he says his
recollection differs from Mr. Montagu's; and Dr. Turnbull might well feel
diffident in bringing forward his own recollections when the evidence of
three persons would appear to be forthcoming against him. But however
this may be I have a memorandum of an interview with Dr. Turnbull on the
14th March 1842 in which he told me he had not seen Mr. Aislabie's
letter, and knew nothing of it but what the Van Diemen's Land Chronicle
had said; he also told me that he had a perfect recollection of Lady
Franklin's letter to me (the same as that referred to by Mr. Montagu) in
which she denies having recommended the petition for Dr. Coverdale. Dr.
Turnbull added that he had read this in her own handwriting.)

Now surely if I had been under the pledge not to mention Lady Franklin's
name again you would not have advised such a letter to Mr. Aislabie; for
you cannot have forgotten that all four of the persons present agreed
that such a statement respecting Lady Franklin's interference,
transmitted as it was to Sir John Franklin himself, furnished a most
important link for the line of defence which all three of you knew I
intended to pursue before Lord Stanley on my arrival in England.

In addition to what I have stated respecting your own acts I will now
show you from Lady Franklin's acts that she never could have understood
that I had pledged myself not to mention her name after my conversation
with you of the 28th of January.

In the first place you must of course admit that, if I was pledged as you
have stated, Lady Franklin thought she was equally pledged to the same
effect; otherwise to require the fulfilment of such a pledge from one
party only would have been an absurdity. That she did not consider
herself pledged is evident from the fact that one of Sir John Franklin's
charges against me was that I had made an improper use of her name, and
he transmitted to the Secretary of State a copy of the correspondence she
had had with me* in the previous October respecting her interference in
the Coverdale case. Now if we were mutually pledged that her name was not
to be mentioned why was this charge made, and the correspondence
transmitted to Lord Stanley, if I had undertaken not to mention Lady
Franklin's name at all?

(*Footnote. This is a misstatement but it is of little importance. The
correspondence referred to I transmitted in February 1842 to Mr. Stephen,
Under-Secretary of State, with a letter in which I informed him of the
application which Mr. Montagu had made to Lady Franklin for her
intercession in his behalf. The private nature of these documents, and
the desire I felt not unnecessarily to reveal Mr. Montagu's unsuccessful
application for restoration to office, induced me to request of Mr.
Stephen that he would not make any use of these communications unless the
protection of Lady Franklin should require it. My despatch Number 3, 8th
February 1842, shows that in the same spirit I carefully guarded against
Mr. Montagu's apologetic letter of the 31st of January 1842, being
regarded as it really was an application for restoration to office.)

I cannot suppose Lady Franklin would thus act against me under the belief
that she could do so with impunity because I was silenced by the pledge
alleged. I hope I have said enough to convince you of your error, for
error I am sure it is, from my knowledge of your character and from my
conviction that you would not say anything you did not believe to be

I have often heard you lament your deficient memory, and I have as often
heard you express yourself in strong terms of the retentiveness of mine.
I trust what I have now stated will produce a similar effect.

It has given me great pleasure to hear from Van Diemen's Land of the
well-being of Mrs. Turnbull and your family, and I was very glad to find,
after you lost the situation of Acting Treasurer, that Sir John Franklin
augmented your income from 500 to 900 pounds a year by allowing you to
hold two or three appointments in addition to your own of Clerk of the
Council. I hope for your sake that Sir Eardley Wilmot will not disturb
the arrangement, though I should be afraid you would not be permitted to
enjoy it very long.*

(*Footnote. The facts are grossly misstated, but it was expedient to
convict me of committing, and Dr. Turnbull of accepting, bribery.)

Believe me,

My dear Turnbull,

Yours very sincerely,

John Montagu.



Cape of Good Hope, 30th April, 1844.

On the 25th of January 1842 Sir John Franklin wrote and informed me that
he should suspend me from office, and required me to name a day for
delivering it over to my successor.

On the 27th of January I wrote the letter numbered 1 to Sir J. Franklin.

During the evening of that day,* Dr. Turnbull called upon me and stated
that he had just left Lady Franklin, who had expressed to him her great
concern at the rupture between Sir John Franklin and me, that he was sure
she was quite sincere in her expressions of regard for me and in her
opinion of my value as a public officer, that he was sure she would
willingly do anything in her power to bring about a reconciliation, but
he distinctly informed me that he had made all this known to me without
her knowledge, and that he was not authorised by her to make any
communication whatever to me.**

(*Footnote. Mr. Montagu has omitted to state that on the MORNING of that
day (27th) he sent Dr. Turnbull to Lady Franklin to open the business of
mediation which he wished Dr. Turnbull to undertake for him; he is
desirous of making it appear that this movement originated in Lady
Franklin and not in himself, and puts off the result of it till the next
day (28th) when Dr. Turnbull had no interview at all with Lady Franklin.)

(**Footnote. As the conversation here introduced did not take place it is
unnecessary to make any observations upon it.)

I told him I did not believe a word she had said, that I knew perfectly
well she had directed every move Sir John had made against me in
consequence of my bringing her gross interference in Dr. Coverdale's case
under Sir John's notice, that I cared not for her sympathy, and needed
not her mediation. We separated.

The next morning (28th of January) I sent for Dr. Turnbull and told him I
had further reflected on the previous evening's conversation. I said, I
have not changed my opinion of Lady Franklin, and felt no doubt from my
own knowledge of her character that she had an object in view which I do
not at present discover, and I added, "Timeo Danaos;" but to this I
superadded that I considered I was bound to suppress my feelings in a
matter of this kind in order that I might be enabled to show my relations
and friends that I had left nothing undone, consistently with the
character and conduct of a gentleman, to avert the infliction of a
suspension; for although I felt not the smallest particle of doubt that
the result would be the reversal of Sir John Franklin's proceedings, yet
under any circumstances the pecuniary loss must be very serious, in
addition to the inconvenience and danger to Mrs. Montagu, whose delicate
health with an infant but a few months old to nurse rendered the voyage
painful and hazardous.

Under these circumstances I requested him to wait upon Lady Franklin and
inform her I was anxious for a reconciliation, and to request her to
believe my most solemn assurance that I never intended any disrespect to
Sir John Franklin, and hoped she would satisfy him thereon.

In about one hour Dr. Turnbull returned and said Lady Franklin was much
pleased at the message, and he saw a prospect of a reconciliation. He
then produced my letter (Number 1) which I had written the previous day
to Sir John, and which he said Lady Franklin had given him* with a
request that I would alter it in certain respects so as to make it more
acceptable to Sir John Franklin. As there was nothing objectionable in
the alterations proposed I wrote the letter (Number 2) while Dr. Turnbull
remained with me and sent it by him to Lady Franklin. I gave it the same
date (27th January) as the letter it displaced. About three hours
afterwards Dr. Turnbull came back to me. He said he had been with Lady
Franklin during the whole interval; he seemed agitated, spoke as
confidently as ever of Lady Franklin's sincerity for a reconciliation,
and expressed his own hope that it would be brought about. He said she
would effect it upon two conditions* but that, before telling me what
they were, I was required to pledge myself not to mention to anyone the
conversations which passed through him in this negotiation,** in the
event of the reconciliation not taking place, and that Lady Franklin and
Dr. Turnbull would pledge themselves in like manner. I consented. Dr.
Turnbull said the conditions are that I should advise Sir John Franklin
in the Executive Council to build the college at New Norfolk and the
bridge at Bridgwater, and that I would conduct the public business just
as I did before the Coverdale affair occurred.

(*Footnote. Lady Franklin did not give any letter to Dr. Turnbull; but
she is made by Mr. Montagu throughout to originate every step in the
affair. The drift of Mr. Montagu's statement respecting the letter is
this that I received a letter from Mr. Montagu which, through Lady
Franklin and Dr. Turnbull was returned to him and subsequently replaced
by one altered from that which I originally received, though bearing the
same date. The facts are that on the 28th I received Mr. Montagu's letter
of the 27th; the original in my own possession is endorsed to that effect
by myself. Mr. Montagu never directly or indirectly received any request
to alter that letter after I had received it. I never received any letter
but one of that date, and the one I possess neither replaced nor was
replaced by any other. Mr. Montagu gives to his application to Lady
Franklin a date which alone renders this transaction possible. The point
of this date is an important one, and Mr. Montagu in his letter to Dr.
Turnbull says, "in the first place you must remember that the
conversation occurred on the 28th of January. It will be obvious that had
the right date (the 27th) been given by Mr. Montagu I could not have been
made to have received a letter the draft of which was shown to Lady
Franklin late on that day, and which bears my own attestation of being
sent to me on the 28th. Dr. Turnbull at the interview referred to showed
Lady Franklin a draft of a letter of apology from Mr. Montagu to myself;
having read it she remarked that she thought it was not the sort of
letter which would be likely to remove my displeasure; that to have that
effect a letter should above all things be honest and candid, have no
mystification, and have some little warmth and feeling in it; such a
letter as the one Dr. Turnbull showed was not likely to do any good at
all. It was no doubt this letter to which Mr. Montagu refers.)

(**Footnote. A statement positively and distinctly contradicted both by
Lady Franklin and by Dr. Turnbull. See in his letter to Mr. Montagu his
indignant comment on the observation.)

(**Footnote. Mr. Montagu seems to have a distinct recollection of some
pledge or other, but forgot that it was himself who exacted a pledge and
not Dr. Turnbull. The pledge Mr. Montagu exacted was that of concealment
of his application to Lady Franklin. He informed Dr. Turnbull that he did
not intend to mention it even to Mr. Forster (his bosom friend and

I replied, as respects the public business, I will conduct it in any way
Sir John Franklin pleases; I have no feeling upon that subject and will
cheerfully obey any instructions he thinks proper to give me on that
head. I added the only difference since the Coverdale affair consists in
this--previously I wrote my opinion upon the conduct of public officers
and others upon the papers as they passed through my office on their way
to the Governor, and of course before he had seen them; afterwards with
his express permission I forwarded papers of that kind to him without
such opinions; nor did I offer them subsequently unless specially
required to do so.

This constituted the whole difference. I added I did not know, until I
then learnt it through Lady Franklin and Dr. Turnbull, that Sir John
required any change in that respect; I said however I would make it

(*Footnote. All misstated. Lady Franklin thinks she may have remarked to
Dr. Turnbull that the way in which Mr. Montagu transacted business
displeased me, but the exacting a condition was out of the question, and
I need hardly add is positively denied by her.)

As respected the bridge at Bridgwater I said to Dr. Turnbull, "You know
as well as I do that I have invariably advised the building of that
bridge in the Executive Council, and so Lady Franklin can learn by
consulting the Minute Book."* The opposition to that bridge had been made
by other Members of Council and not by me. I could therefore have no
difficulty in consenting to that part of the first condition.

(*Footnote. An insinuation of the same character as the others. The
Minute Book of the Council was not open to Lady Franklin as this remark
implies. It was kept in my office and Lady Franklin did not go there to
consult the Minute Book or for any other purpose. But Mr. Montagu reasons
quite correctly about the Bridgwater bridge. It was known to be Mr.
Montagu's hobby. The newspaper reports of the proceedings in the
Legislative Council might have afforded Lady Franklin the amplest
evidence that it was not necessary to stipulate for the bridge at

But as respected the other part of the first condition, namely to advise
building the college at New Norfolk, I expressed my regret that Dr.
Turnbull, who knew as well as I did all that had passed between Sir John
Franklin and myself upon that subject, should have been the bearer of
such a condition to me. He knew how sorely I had felt the proposition
Lady Franklin had made to me the previous September (which I repeated to
him and one or two other persons at the time) to prevail upon me to
violate my oath of office as a Member of the Executive Council and
Colonial Secretary, and to aid her endeavours to get that building

(*Footnote. Mr. Montagu was opposed to the site of the college being at
New Norfolk and in favour of a site near Hobart Town, on or adjoining Mr.
Swanston's property at New Town. About a year before the conversation
referred to by Mr. Montagu took place I had deliberately fixed on the
site at New Norfolk, had laid the first stone of the college in the
presence of all the principal government officers, and a religious
service had been performed on the spot. It was not likely that I should
change it. The conversation to which Mr. Montagu refers took place at my
own house at dinner. Lady Franklin, in a conversation which was carried
on with perfect good humour on both sides, endeavoured to persuade Mr.
Montagu that the site I had fixed on in the country was preferable to a
site in or near the town, and tried to engage his interest in forwarding
my efforts to get it erected. This Mr. Montagu calls "asking him to
violate his oath of office.")

I told Dr. Turnbull that neither the dread of any consequences nor the
offer of any earthly inducement could prevail upon me to accede to that
part of the first condition, and if, upon that point Lady Franklin
remained firm, I should be equally so. He left me, and on the following
morning he told me that Lady Franklin would not depart from that
condition and that my suspension must take place.*

(*Footnote. It is scarcely necessary to observe that it never entered
into the mind of Lady Franklin to make, nor into that of Dr. Turnbull to
propose, any conditions whatever. See Dr. Turnbull's flat contradiction
of this statement of Mr. Montagu in Dr. Turnbull's subjoined letter.)

The paper Number 3 gives the particulars of the New Norfolk College
affair I have herein referred to.

John Montagu.


Hobart Town, September 11, 1844.


I have received and perused your letter of the 30th of April last,
together with the Memorandum of the same date by which it is accompanied,
and I shall now observe upon several of the points to which you advert.

1. The information which you had received respecting my intention of
sending you a copy of my statement is quite correct. I had indeed in July
last prepared a copy for you but, at the request of the
Lieutenant-Governor (Sir John Franklin) who stated to me that, by
forwarding it then, I should do him an act of injustice, I reluctantly
altered that intention.*

(*Footnote. I objected to Dr. Turnbull's sending a copy of his statement
because I considered that Mr. Montagu should be left to his own
unassisted recollection! that I was right in this judgment I think Mr.
Montagu's letter and memorandum sufficiently prove.)

2. I do not remember ever to have expressed the opinion that you were not
justified in introducing Lady Franklin's name at all, and I am quite
certain that you never gave me any pledge not to do so.

The only pledge to which my recollection extends was one required by
yourself, namely that the negotiation in which I had been engaged on your
behalf should not be revealed, a pledge which so far as I am concerned
was kept most faithfully until after the affair had transpired through
another channel, and been denied in my own presence in a communication I
had with Mr. Forster and Mr. Swanston, and until after I had learned that
in the Book you had yourself stated that in the hearing of the Secretary
of State you had imputed to her ladyship in terms of the most cruel
reproach the having procured your removal from office.

Even then my first determination went no further than to reveal the
negotiation to Mr. Forster, who was much astonished at what I told him,
and requested me to inform Lady Franklin that up to that moment he had
been in perfect ignorance of any such application having been made to her
ladyship. But on the morning after I had done so, namely on the 11th of
May, I received a letter from Sir John Franklin which led to my making
the same communication to others, and which commenced as follows:

My dear Dr. Turnbull,

Nothing less urgent than the immediate contradiction of falsehood
concerning a much-injured lady would have caused me to intrude upon the
solemn preparation which I am aware you are making previous to the
reception of the Holy Sacrament but, my dear wife having last evening
made known to me, with your permission, the substance of your late
communication to Mr. Forster, I feel that it would be a dereliction of
the sacred and affectionate tie which unites us if I were to lose any
time in conveying to you my sacred and solemn conviction that it is
incumbent upon you personally to make a similar communication to Sir John
Pedder and Mr. Swanston to that you have made to Mr. Forster.


Thus appealed to on a point as to which I had been undecided I at once
proceeded to the Derwent Bank and the Court House, but neither Sir John
Pedder nor Mr. Swanston was in his office. I then called at Government
House and saw the Private Secretary, told him what I had done, and that I
would endeavour to see them after the morning service.

I then went to church, and after the service had ended I entered the
vestry where I found the Reverend Mr. Lillie of St. Andrews, the Reverend
Mr. Bell of St. John's, Mr. Walker and Mr. Gunn. I at once told these
gentlemen what had happened and what I had been doing. I also read to
them Sir John's letter, when they were all of opinion that I had no
alternative but to protect Lady Franklin as I had been so solemnly
required to do.

I need scarcely add that I again immediately went in search of Sir John
Pedder and Mr. Swanston. Such was the manner in which the different
incidents occurred, and not as you have been erroneously informed. I may
add that two days afterwards, namely on the 13th of May, Sir John
Franklin called upon me in writing for a statement of the particulars,
which however I did not furnish until the 3rd of June.

As I am clearly of opinion that you were not pledged not to mention to
the Secretary of State Lady Franklin's name in connection with any facts
really necessary to your defence, provided of course you did so in a
manner not inconsistent with the position in which you had placed
yourself with regard to her ladyship, it does not appear to be requisite
that I should follow you through the arguments used by you to disprove
the existence of any such pledge.

It may be right that I should mention that my recollection varies from
yours in some particulars, but that I remember you appeared throughout
occasionally to suspect the sincerity with which Lady Franklin had acted
towards you, for at the very last interview which we had together you
asked me whether I thought she had been sincere; and on the very last day
of the mediation, when considering the terms of the letter to be
addressed to Sir J. Franklin which, according to my recollection was not
sent until the next day, you observed in effect that Lady Franklin had
acted ungenerously towards you in suggesting as necessary a retraction in
writing of the obnoxious passage in your letter of the 17th of January,
for you thought it would be equivalent to an admission of your having
been guilty of the charge of disrespect imputed to you by Sir John
Franklin; and also on the ensuing day, when I showed you the draft of the
letter entreating further inquiry, and of which you also disapproved, you
said that LADY FRANKLIN WAS TRIFLING with you, that you had given her an
opportunity of retracing her steps, and that if she did not avail herself
of it SHE MUST TAKE THE CONSEQUENCES. I concluded with you in the opinion
that there was no longer much hope of reconciliation, but suggested that
you were not then in a position without actual proof of insincerity to
say anything against her. You differed from me but what you said I have
forgotten; even the previous particulars had not come to my recollection
when I wrote my statement, and therefore it is that I mention them now.

I am not at all prepared to contend with you as to the claim which you
prefer to the possession of a more retentive memory. Were mine very
retentive the events and conversation of the period in question would, I
am ready to admit, notwithstanding the excitement and agitation which
prevailed and in the very vortex of which I was placed, have left more
numerous and distinct impressions upon my mind.

But I should do myself a positive injustice did I omit to make the
observation that, to say the least, I was quite unprepared for the
assumption of superior accuracy on your part, and indeed surprised at it.

To your concluding paragraph and allusion to Sir Eardley Wilmot, the
meaning of which it is impossible to mistake, and which I exceedingly
regret, the most obvious answer appears to be the simple remark that the
fears you have expressed have proved to be groundless, and that, had you
been aware of all the circumstances connected with my treatment after I
left the office of Treasurer, you could not possibly have entertained

I have carefully perused your Memorandum; my recollection differs from
yours on several points, but the two following are the only instances in
which I appear to have any personal interest, and to which it is
therefore incumbent upon me to advert:

I DISTINCTLY recollect that you did not allude to any previous
conversation when you requested me to wait upon Lady Franklin, and I have
no recollection of the conversation you have mentioned, neither do I
believe that any such ever did take place.

I NEVER stated that Lady Franklin would effect the reconciliation upon
two conditions, and I NEVER proposed to you the conditions which you have
recorded. I would have cut off my right hand sooner.

But I see from the result that I myself have greatly erred in one
particular. I acted for the best, but I ought to have sent you my
statement; by not doing so I have perhaps inflicted both on you and
myself a serious wrong. You might have seen from it how much your own
recollection must be at fault. I had been previously reminded too, more
than once by Mr. Forster, of the necessity of furnishing you with it; in
order to correct any error, so far as it is yet possible, I now send it
to you. It is I assure you not without extreme concern that I feel it to
be impossible under existing circumstances to address you otherwise than

Your very obedient Servant,

Adam Turnbull.



To the Reverend W.J. Aislabie (Chaplain of the Richmond District).

Colonial Secretary's Office, October 22, 1841.


I am directed by the Lieutenant-Governor to acknowledge the receipt of
the communication of the 14th instant, signed by yourself and twenty-five
inhabitants of the district of Richmond, in which you state that, without
questioning the propriety of His Excellency's decision arising out of the
lamentable death of Richard Higgins, you will be thankful if His
Excellency will restore Dr. Coverdale to the appointment which he lately

I am to inform you that, having considered the request of so many of the
most respectable inhabitants of your district, including the Foreman of
the Jury on the Inquest, the Lieutenant-Governor has, in compliance with
your desire thus unanimously and respectfully communicated to him,
thought proper to comply with your request by returning Dr. Coverdale to
his former office.

I have, etc. etc.,

John Montagu.


Mr. Aislabie's Reply.

Richmond, October 25, 1841.


I have the honour to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 22nd
instant, in which you inform me that "the Lieutenant-Governor has, in
compliance with your desire thus unanimously and respectfully
communicated to him, thought proper to comply with your request by
returning Dr. Coverdale to his former office."

In the name of those inhabitants who signed the letter of the 14th
instant and of those now made acquainted with its purport who had no
opportunity of signing it, I return His Excellency the warmest thanks for
his compliance with their request, and I shall take care that every one
of them shall see your letter, that all may know the handsome terms in
which this favour has been conveyed.

For myself I can unfeignedly say that no public act by which I have been
affected has ever given me so great satisfaction.

I have the honour, etc. etc.,

W.J. Aislabie.

To the Colonial Secretary.


Reverend Mr. Aislabie to Mr. Montagu.

Richmond, February 7, 1842.

My dear Sir,

I think it due to Sir John Franklin and to yourself that an error in the
Courier of the 4th instant should be immediately corrected by me.*

(*Footnote. Extract from a Precis published in the Hobarton Courier
Newspaper, Friday, February 4, 1842.

***In the beginning of October Sir John and Lady Franklin went to the
Richmond district, where her ladyship remained several days, and during
that period a private petition was got up to Sir John Franklin to restore
Dr. Coverdale, and about the end of October he was restored accordingly
without any reason whatever being assigned for such an act of grace.

Captain Montagu, it is understood, submitted to the Lieutenant-Governor
that the course pursued upon the occasion was very undesirable, as
tending to lower the dignity and character of the Government.

The correspondence which ensued upon the subject of necessity caused the
name of Lady Franklin to be introduced, in consequence of which, offence
being taken, an apology was demanded by her ladyship* from the Colonial
Secretary and by him, under all the circumstances of the case, absolutely

(*Footnote. No apology was demanded.))

That paper contains, "that in the beginning of October Sir John and Lady
Franklin went to the Richmond district, where her ladyship remained
several days, and during this period a private petition was got up to
restore Dr. Coverdale."

It is untrue that a petition was got up during Lady Franklin's stay in
the district, and equally untrue that Lady Franklin had anything to do
with it, or that I, with whom the letter originated, took my idea from
any other person. I will relate all I know about it.

We heard that Sir John Franklin would stay in Richmond three hours on his
way to Mr. Parsons': when however I proceeded to the inn, intending to
pay my respects to him and if possible to speak to him concerning Dr.
Coverdale's case, I found that he had passed on. I afterwards saw Lady
Franklin once, who honoured us with a morning visit; Dr. Coverdale's name
was not mentioned.

I had not framed any further intention on the matter until one evening
something led me to ask, or Dr. Coverdale to offer, a perusal of the
papers referring to it. Having perused them, without making known my
intention to any person, I proceeded to Hobarton the following morning,
when His Excellency granted me an interview,* and at its conclusion told
me he would see the principal medical officer. I believe this was on the
13th of October for on the 14th of that month I wrote and procured
signatures to the letter requesting the reinstatement of Dr. Coverdale.

(*Footnote. Lady Franklin knew nothing of Mr. Aislabie's application to
me, nor did I say anything to her on this subject, till the Richmond
Memorial, which I decided on complying with, was before me.)

Hence you see how greatly the writer in the Courier must have been
misinformed as to the date and origin of the letter, and how false his
position that "the correspondence which ensued upon the subject of
necessity caused the name of Lady Franklin to be introduced."

I feel certain that justice to all parties demands this earliest possible
refutation of the statement in the Courier of the 4th instant. I shall
therefore send a copy of it for the information of His Excellency the

I remain, dear Sir,

Yours very truly,

W.J. Aislabie.


Mr. Montagu to Sir John Franklin.

Newlands, February 8, 1842.


The Reverend Mr. Aislabie having acquainted me that he has transmitted to
Your Excellency a copy of a letter dated yesterday, which he has
addressed to me, I feel it to be right to furnish Your Excellency with a
copy of my reply to that gentleman, and which I have now the honour to

I have the honour, etc. etc.,

John Montagu.

His Excellency, Sir John Franklin.


Copy of Letter Enclosed.

Newlands, 8th February, 1842.

My dear Sir,

I beg to acknowledge your letter of yesterday.

For the statements in the Courier, or in any other newspaper, I am not
responsible, and should not have noticed that to which you allude; but I
feel I am bound to notice a statement from yourself, and to inform you
that I as well as others have read in Lady Franklin's handwriting that
she did suggest to Mrs. Parsons the private petition in Dr. Coverdale's
case, and you are aware that a private petition* was subsequently
adopted, and succeeded.

(*Footnote. There was but one petition or letter, or communication
presented in Dr. Coverdale's case, i.e. the one written and presented by
the Reverend Mr. Aislabie.)

In making this announcement I beg you will understand that I have no
intention of impugning your statement of your own conduct, and you will
perceive that yours is not inconsistent with Lady Franklin's account of
her own upon the subject of the petition.

As you have forwarded a copy of your letter to Sir John Franklin I shall
follow your example and send His Excellency a copy of this note.

I remain, dear Sir,

Yours truly,

John Montagu.

To Reverend W.J. Aislabie.



After some preliminary observations in favour of Mr. Montagu Civis

On taking that position on the receipt of the memorandum he (Mr. M.) must
have been aware of the utter irreconcilableness of it with the altered
views of the Lieutenant-Governor towards the object aimed at by the
censure passed on Mr. Macdowell; and if so he must have been further
aware that, consistently with his feelings as a gentleman, his honour as
a man, or his dignity as the representative of Her Majesty, the
Lieutenant-Governor was bound, after such an avowal of his sentiments, to
see that the next officer in his government did cordially and effectually
second and support him in those his altered views. And even it may be
regretted that some calm looker-on was not invited to the discussion
whose experience and knowledge of the world would have softened asperity
and induced a better understanding of the grounds of the irritation,
under the effects of which His Excellency most justifiably dictated the
memorandum in question. Had this been done I cannot for a moment believe
but that Captain Montagu himself would have admitted the change in His
Excellency's sentiments towards Mr. Macdowell was forced upon him by an
imperative necessity which knew no control; at least all would admit that
the constant weekly vituperation, supported by a masterly flow of
ironical ratiocination which acknowledged no authority of reason or
common sense, was such that His Excellency would have undoubtedly
derogated from his honour to have longer borne it without evincing the
strongest, nay, the sternest marks of his displeasure.

To whom could he address those marks of his displeasure for instant
development and operation but the Colonial Secretary? By what
unaccountable process of reasoning could that officer have brought his
mind to the conclusion that any gentleman, after such an expression of
dissatisfaction, would by any means whatever be induced to retract his
words, to make his denouncement, and to submit to the eternal disgrace of
witnessing his government, purse and family exposed to a sharpness and
bitterness of animadversion most galling to his feelings? The conclusion
is inevitable. The Lieutenant-Governor having taken his determination,
and the Colonial Secretary his position, it must have been evident to
those acquainted with the circumstances that, from that moment either Sir
John Franklin must resign or the Colonial Secretary be removed...Then why
assume an attitude of self-defence, the sole effect of which would only
be to screen Mr. Macdowell from the effects of His Excellency's

I am not the censor of the press; such an office is not within the
category of a Colonial Secretary's duties. My best ability is puzzled by
the bizarre situation in which so inconceivably strange a memorandum
places me. In short I do not understand your memorandum; and to be plain
at once I will take no step whatever in furthering the denunciation you
have been pleased to thunder at the devoted head of Mr. Macdowell. Such
was instantly, no doubt under a perfect consciousness of his own
innocence, evidently the view Captain Montagu took of His Excellency's
memorandum, and any third-class boy of common capacity must have foreseen
that the only result must be (and be so understood by both) that one of
the combatants, either the Lieutenant-Governor or himself, must retire
from the field.




In Mr. Macdowell's letter to Lord John Russell of July 31st, 1841,
soliciting the reconsideration of his lordship's judgment he writes:

Your lordship will feel, I am persuaded, that no complaint of that kind
(disrespect) was ever in His Excellency's thoughts, so far as I was
concerned. His Excellency, I feel alike convinced, read my letter in the
consciousness of what was due from me, not less to his high station and
characteristic urbanity than to his unfailing kindness to me
personally...I have ever found Sir John Franklin an indulgent master; I
have served him according to my poor abilities faithfully; it would ill
become me if I possessed the power in this colony to forget his kindness
when I was no longer permitted to partake of it.



February 9th, 1843.

My dear ----,

I have since you left seen copies of the despatch Number 150 to Sir John,
as also of Lord Stanley's letter to Captain Montagu enclosing it and
Captain Montagu's reply, the latter being one of the most extraordinary
productions I ever saw, giving Sir John a few final stabs, more severe
than any preceding ones could be.

I have no doubt whatever that this is a verbatim copy of the despatch and
not mere extracts; indeed Lord Stanley's letter to Captain Montagu states
that he encloses a copy of the despatch he has sent to Sir John Franklin,
LORD STANLEY IN REPLY. These various documents are now circulated
throughout the colony and shown to all, as also A STATEMENT OF A PERSONAL



Mr. Thomas Young to Mr. Henslowe.

10 Liverpool Street, July 13, 1843.


I have to acknowledge receipt of your letter of yesterday's date
enclosing me copies of two letters addressed by Mr. Thomson to Mr. Price
on the subject of Captain Montagu's correspondence with Lord Stanley,
intimating that you were commanded by the Lieutenant-Governor to transmit
me the same, and to request that I would favour His Excellency with any
observations that might suggest themselves to me.

I was determined for various reasons to make no written communication in
this matter. Since I formed that resolution however a very material
change of circumstances has taken place. I have been placed by Murray's
Review before the public as one of seven who have read the book, and week
after week I find myself, along with the others referred to, to testify
to the most unblushing falsehoods--that the correspondence bound up in
the Book does not contain the statements quoted in the Advertiser
newspaper. I am thus directly made a party to this statement if I do not
speak out.*

(*Footnote. The following extract from a Number of Murray's Review
illustrates Mr. Young's observation:

It has been industriously reported that the Book contains some letters
and statements detrimental to Lady Franklin. The report is entirely
unfounded: that lady's name is never mentioned but incidentally and
necessarily in the course of Captain Montagu's defence, and then only in
relation to those matters which were fully given to the public in this
journal at the time. Now this is a faithful precis of the whole contents
of this book, about which, we repeat, so much and so ridiculous an outcry
has been raised. We ask any man of ordinary understanding, be his party
what it may, under what pretence Captain Swanston could have forwarded to
Lord Stanley a collection of documents, the original of every one of
which is already at the Colonial Office--copies of the very book itself
in the hands of Captain Montagu's numerous friends in England--copies of
it WE KNOW received by the mess of the Royal Artillery, both United
Service Clubs, and many other quarters; WE KNOW also that a copy of "the
despatch" is in the possession of Sir George Gipps at Sydney, and we have
reason to believe a copy of the very book itself. We assure the
Government House clique that they will find no difficulty in obtaining
the book in England; and therefore we again ask, upon what possible
pretence could Captain Swanston have forwarded to Lord Stanley a
"verified" copy of a book, every word contained in which has been already
brought under his consideration, the original document deposited in his
lordship's office, and the book itself we have no doubt in his lordship's
hands, it being in the hands of every individual connected with these
colonies in England? We assure the semi official that we have above
afforded him a full and accurate precis of the contents of the book.
Murray's Review, June 16, 1843.)

Another reason induces me to answer your communication, and that is,
before the correspondence formed the subject of newspaper controversy I
spoke of its contents to many individuals. Justice to myself therefore on
both grounds compels me to answer your communication. His Excellency is
well aware that he is entitled to no courtesy at my hands.

I received the correspondence from Captain Swanston along with a note
requesting me to return it to him after I had perused it. The note only
expresses "correspondence," not "and notes of conversation," as
erroneously stated by Mr. Thomson in this particular. This note I showed
to Mr. Thomson in vindication of myself against the insinuations of the
Review. The correspondence was not solicited by me, but I understood was
thus sent to me by Mr. Swanston in reference to a conversation I had with
him on the subject of the result of it, in the decision of Lord Stanley,
as that bore upon the position of Dr. Turnbull, in the relation which he
stood to His Excellency, having thereby apparently turned his back on his
old friend. Captain Swanston also held a similar conversation with the
Reverend Mr. Lillie and Dr. Officer, the latter gentleman having first
spoken to me on the subject. The very nature of this conversation was to
induce me to speak to Dr. Turnbull. I did so, and in doing this it became
necessary for me to disclose to him a certain portion of the

I also mentioned to him that Lady Franklin was spoken of in disparaging
terms without representing to him the exact expressions.

After having perused the correspondence I sealed it up and returned it to
Captain Swanston without having shown it to anyone, or having made any
extract from it. I had read aloud however certain very pungent parts of
it to Mrs. Young and my daughter and, unless Captain Swanston believed me
to be indeed a perfect anchorite, how could he suppose that I could
resist gratifying the female portion of my household by withholding from
them such very exciting portions of the book? He never dreamt that I was
to seal it up in my own bosom; of what value was it there? Accordingly I
considered myself at perfect liberty to speak of it freely, and I did so
to many individuals, and indeed the subject formed the general topic of
conversation. That I was entitled to do so Captain Swanston very frankly
admitted to me, as well as to Dr. Turnbull, to whom he stated that the
book was not sent to me to be perused in secret, and that I was at
liberty to make the communication to him which I did: this was in answer
to a question put to Captain Swanston by Dr. Turnbull in reference to
this communication. It is very plain therefore that, if I have stated
that the book contains any of the statements alleged by the Advertiser to
be contained in it, but which are now positively denied by Murray's
Review, that I receive the "lie direct" if I hold my peace. This is a
powerful motive to open one's mouth. Not that I am the least anxious to
give Mr. Murray a public denial, for it is well known here that his
statements of facts are generally purely imaginative. I am anxious
however so far as I am concerned that those individuals to whom I have
spoken of the correspondence may know that I now reiterate the statements
which I formally made, some of which I find correctly stated in the
Advertiser, but which are now so unblushingly denied by the Review. And I
am the more induced to do this as the continued reiteration by Mr. Murray
of the denial of these statements seems to imply that he is sanctioned by
the Custodier of the Book to make them. This I cannot however believe,
but I am disappointed in not having seen a public denial from Captain
Swanston on this subject.

I have therefore to state that Mr. Thomson has (substantially) correctly
asserted the statements which I made to him, with one or two slight
mistakes. The verbal statements referred to are said to be
"conversations" with Lord Stanley. There are however no rejoinders from
Lord Stanley so far as I can recollect; the whole are merely statements
said to have been made to Lord Stanley by Captain Montagu: you will
perceive the distinction in this.

When I read the phrase "intriguing, mischievous, bad woman," in the
Advertiser I exclaimed in the presence of Mrs. Young and my daughter,
"That is too bad: Captain Montagu does not state that in the book:" they
both exclaimed at the same time, "Well, you read us that from the book."
Upon repeating this to the Reverend Mr. Lillie he at once stated, "I
noted these expressions as well as the others asserted in the Advertiser
as to pandering." Mr. Lillie has since explained to me that he is not so
clear as to the words INTRIGUING and MISCHIEVOUS, but that he clearly and
distinctly recollects the epithet of "bad woman" being applied to Lady
Franklin in that part of the book which records the verbal statements.

The statements contained in Mr. Thomson's second letter are also
substantially correct. In the same record of the verbal statements Sir
John Franklin is represented as a "mere imbecile," and "that it is only
necessary to see him to be convinced of the fact." This evidence of
course His Excellency will carry along with him, and Lord Stanley will be
able to appreciate its accuracy.

After having perused the Book I stated to Captain Swanston that I
considered it highly honourable in Captain Montagu having recorded in it
the verbal statements which he made to Lord Stanley in order that his
friends and others might see the WHOLE CASE UPON WHICH HIS LORDSHIP HAD

I regret exceedingly that Captain Swanston has not deemed it proper to
forward His Excellency a copy of the Book. This was the true way to have
tested its accuracy and to have made Captain Montagu stand upon high
ground. I almost now feel ashamed at having been one of the privileged
few in being favoured with the perusal of a successful defence which is
not allowed to face its opponent.

The low, taunting, boasting bravado of the Review on this head is quite
in keeping with its editor's other statements on the subject; but I
cannot allow myself to believe that Captain Swanston has authorised him
to make such a proposition of giving a copy provided it be published in
the Gazette. If a sincere desire to give it so great a publicity exists
why complain of a lesser publicity having been given to it? The
publication in the Gazette however is so utterly absurd as to prove the
total want of sincerity in the offer.

I cannot conclude without stating that I experienced a feeling of
loathing in reference to one part of His Excellency's treatment of
Captain Montagu. In His Excellency's communication to Captain Montagu
suspending him from his office he states that, although he was forced to
adopt the measure in consequence of Captain Montagu's entanglement
through his local prejudices and interests in this place, yet he was
happy to bear testimony in his favour as to his usefulness, and that he
would represent to the Secretary of State that he had no doubt he would
efficiently fill a similar honourable office elsewhere, where these
prejudices and interests referred to did not interfere. I quote the
instance you will perceive from memory. Now at the very time that this
letter was written it appeared to me that the St. George's Tower Despatch
was got up, from its having immediately followed Captain Montagu's
departure, and in which despatch he is accused of having imposed upon and
deceived His Excellency in having contracted for the erection of the
Tower upon a second plan, by which the Government would have been put to
an enormous additional expense, contrasted with the first plan, of which
His Excellency only knew and approved of. The hypocrisy of the first
statement as contrasted with the last appeared to me truly disgusting. I
must say however that after the recent discovery of the mediation through
Dr. Turnbull that Captain Montagu has excelled His Excellency in this
respect. The beseeching prayer of Captain Montagu to obtain Lady
Franklin's mediation to restore him to office and to the confidence of
His Excellency, and which appears to have been so readily and generously
granted by her ladyship, makes a sad contrast with his subsequent slander
of that lady's character: the utter baseness of the man, in having so
acted under the circumstances, is beyond all comment.

I enclose you the copy of Mr. Thomson's letters, having referred to them
in connection with this letter, and I have to request that you will
forward a copy of this letter and of Mr. Thomson's to Captain Swanston.

I have the honour, etc. etc.,

Thomas Young.

F.H. Henslowe, Esquire, Private Secretary.


Mr. Henslowe to Mr. Young.

Government House, July 14, 1843.


I have the honour, by desire of the Lieutenant-Governor, to acknowledge
the receipt of your letter of yesterday's date, together with the copies
of Mr. Thomson's letters which you have returned, and which, with your
communication, will be forwarded according to your request to Captain

His Excellency observes in your communication one passage involving a
misrepresentation of so serious a nature that it cannot be allowed to
remain on record unaccompanied by a fitting refutation.

You are pleased to say that "at the very time when Sir John Franklin's
letter to Mr. Montagu was written," conveying to that gentleman the
expressions of kindness produced on the part of His Excellency by too
confiding a generosity, "the St. George's Tower Despatch was got up."

The facts of the case are as follows: On the 17th December 1841 Captain
Cheyne sent in a somewhat elaborate remonstrance against his suspension,
in which the question of St. George's Church formed a prominent part.

His Excellency, without going into this document, sent it to Mr. Montagu
for his observations, who returned it on the 30th of December.

His Excellency was prevented by press of business from giving this
subject any further consideration for some days; when he did however
inquire into it so much mystery and confusion appeared as to render it
quite unintelligible.

ON THE 19TH OF JANUARY His Excellency requested that the Colonial
Secretary would procure for him the various PLANS and the authority upon
which Captain Cheyne had commenced the erection of the LARGE TOWER, and
additional alterations then in progress, for His Excellency knew that he
had never given any such authority but as yet had no cause to suspect
anyone of misconduct except Captain Cheyne.

Mr. Montagu's reply on the 24th January was that he HAD BEEN UNABLE TO
upon which the erection of the large Tower had been commenced.

Before the arrival of the last-mentioned memorandum Mr. Montagu had been
suspended, and on the 1st of February in answer to Mr. Montagu's earnest
representations His Excellency was induced to address him in the terms to
which you refer.

About the same time as the above-named reply Mr. Montagu forwarded to His
Excellency a letter from the Reverend Mr. Fry, dated 23rd January, in
which IT WAS STATED that HE (Mr. Fry) had SUBMITTED THE PLANS to His

This it was in His Excellency's power by collateral evidence to disprove
but Mr. Montagu nevertheless rested upon Mr. Fry's evidence to show that
the Lieutenant-Governor had HIMSELF approved the plans.

On the TENTH OF FEBRUARY Mr. Montagu sailed.

On the EIGHTH, for the first time, Captain Cheyne, who had been charged
by the Lieutenant-Governor with commencing the alterations without
authority, stated in reply that he had received both verbal and written
instructions from the Colonial Secretary.

On the 14th of February, four days after Mr. Montagu's departure, His
Excellency, still as much as ever in the dark, sent a series of questions
to the Colonial Secretary to be propounded and answered. Nor was it until
the 19th that His Excellency received information of such a nature as to
lead him to put an immediate stop to the works. He was still seeking for
information and for the PLANS, WHICH COULD NOT BE FOUND but which were at
length discovered some days after--on what precise day does not

It was then that Sir John Franklin forwarded to the Secretary of State on
the 6th of March the despatch which he had commenced on the 26th of
February, and which was written with no view of influencing Mr. Montagu's
case but, as in duty bound, to elucidate Captain Cheyne's; and upon every
principle of justice His Excellency was bound, when at length in
possession of the facts, to exonerate Captain Cheyne from the blame which
had been attached to him.

Two points remained to be cleared up. In JUNE 1842, four months after Mr.
Montagu's departure, Mr. Fry wrote to His Excellency to express his
"regret at having made an erroneous statement" in reference to the PLAN
which he supposed he had submitted to His Excellency, and to explain that
the plan could not have been submitted by him, as he first stated to Mr.

In MAY LAST (1843) fifteen months after Mr. Montagu's departure, Captain
Cheyne produced a letter from Mr. Montagu in which that gentleman had
urged him to send the plans FOR THE LIEUTENANT-GOVERNOR'S APPROVAL. The
plans were sent but Mr. Montagu stated in January 1842 THAT HE HAD NEVER
SEEN ANY AUTHORITY. These papers have been submitted to the Right
Honourable the Secretary of State.

Upon the terms in which your inferences upon this subject are couched His
Excellency deems no comment to be necessary.

I have, etc. etc.

F.H. Henslowe,

Private Secretary.

Thomas Young, Esquire, Liverpool Street.


Mr. Young to Mr. Henslowe.

10 Liverpool Street, 18th July, 1843.


I have the honour to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 14th
instant conveying to me by command of His Excellency an explanation of
the circumstances connected with the St. George's Tower Despatch. After
having expressed myself in the strong terms I did to you in my letter of
the 13th instant in reference to this subject I feel it due to His
Excellency, after he has favoured me with this explanation, to state to
His Excellency through you my opinion regarding it. And in doing this it
gives me much pleasure to say that my sentiments on the subject are
entirely changed.

The explanation which you have given is most ample and satisfactory, and
this has been much strengthened since by a communication being made to me
by Captain Cheyne of the discovery of the original order to him by
Captain Montagu to proceed with the erection of the second tower. I now
perceive that His Excellency has been grossly maligned by Captain Montagu
in his defence to Lord Stanley on this subject.

And on another point I am equally satisfied that His Excellency has been
as greatly traduced. The success of such a defence as this has proved
itself to be, upon two points which bear materially upon the character
and complexion of all the rest, it is to be hoped will only be

After such a conviction being produced on my mind I feel it due to my own
self-respect, as well as in justice to His Excellency, to make this
candid acknowledgment, and to request that the expressions of disrespect
which I used in my letter to you of the 13th instant, in so far as they
referred to His Excellency, may be considered as withdrawn.

I have the honour, etc. etc.

Thomas Young.

F.H. Henslowe, Esquire, Private Secretary.




Christo Dicatam
Hanc Omnis Humanitatis et Scientiae Domum
Johannes Franklin Eq. P.H., Eq. R., LL.D. R.S.S.
Insulae Tasmaniensis Praeses
Consilii Sententia Impensis Coloniae Fieri Jussit
Lapidem Auspicalem Posuit
Anno Victoriae Quarto
vii Id. Nov. MDCCCXL.


Interfuere Viri Spectatissimi Ex Utroque Consilio
Gulielmus Henricus Elliott Eq. H. Milit. Praefect.
Johannes Lewes Pedder Eq. Aur. Justiciarius Principalis
Gulielmus Hutchins M.A. Archidiaconus
Matthias Forster Secretarius
Adam Turnbull Thesaurarius
Josias Spode Irenarches
Edvardus Macdowell Procurator Regius
Georgius Thomas Gulielmus Blaney Boyes Rationalis
Georgius Henricus Barnes Portitoriis Conquirendis Praepositus
Thomas Anstey
Thomas Archer
Carolus Swanston
Carolus Maclachlan
Gulielmus Effingham Lawrence
Gulielmus Page Ashburner
Michael Fenton
Juventuti Educandae Praeposito Johanne Philippo Gell M.A.
Operum Publicorum Curatore Alexandro Cheyne


Jacobus Clark Ross Et Huic Comes Franciscus Crozier
Per Ignota Septentrionalis Oceani
Anglorum Perenne Nomen Laturi Incepto Bene Auspicato
Lubenter Interfuere



July 1, 1841.

My dear Sir,

Agreeably to your desire the plans of the new portico, spire, and other
improvements for St. George's Church have been submitted to Mr. Fry, Mr.
Hone and Mr. Barnard, who have authorised me to say that they, with
myself, highly approve of the design, and respectfully request your
assistance in effecting its completion.

Yours, etc.,

Charles D. Logan.

J. Montagu, Esquire, Colonial Secretary.

Endorsed on the above note is the following order in Mr. Montagu's

Captain Cheyne is now authorised to proceed with the work as speedily as
possible, and if anything should occur to delay its progress he will have
the goodness to report the cause to me for the Lieutenant-Governor's

John Montagu,

July 2, 1841.



Extracts from Mr. Montagu's Letter of 16th of January 1844.

Number 1.

I sent to Van Diemen's Land two copies of Lord Stanley's despatch to Sir
John Franklin which contained his lordship's decision upon my case. When
I received your letter of 17th of September 1842, transmitting to me a
copy of that despatch, I felt I had a right to show it to whom I pleased.
I imagined it was sent to me for that purpose, to enable me to satisfy
those who were aware of my suspension from office that I had obtained a
complete and honourable acquittal. I did not hesitate to distribute many
copies for that purpose in England. I did it openly, and sent them to
several persons with whom I knew Lord Stanley associated, and through
whom I doubted not his lordship would, and perhaps did, hear of the use I
had made of his despatch. For the same reason I sent two copies to Van
Diemen's Land, one to Mr. Forster and one to Captain Swanston. I
requested them to show it to my friends and to those who took an interest
in my case;* but I stipulated that no newspaper was to have one word of
the despatch communicated to it.**

(*Footnote. A direction to which Captain Swanston probably understood he
might give a liberal interpretation, since the despatch lay at the
Derwent Bank for general inspection.)

(**Footnote. See note above. The Courier newspaper, which first published
Lord Stanley's despatch, must have derived it either from Mr. Forster or
Captain Swanston, or must have had a third copy of its own.)

I begged that it might not be used in triumph over Sir John Franklin.
Having obtained justice I was satisfied and desired not to do anything
which might wear the appearance of conveying to him reproach or
humiliation.* My only motive was to satisfy the minds of my friends and
those who under trying circumstances had continued their confidence in

(*Footnote. An observation which shows Mr. Montagu's perfect apprehension
and calculation of the nature and tendency of the despatch.)

Number 2.

With respect to the bound folio book which had been shown to various
persons by one of my friends I admit that I sent it to Van Diemen's Land
for the following reasons: Lord Stanley no doubt remarked in reading the
documents in my case, which passed between Sir John Franklin and myself
before my departure from Van Diemen's Land, that he suspended me from
office without furnishing me with a specific definite charge. I left the
colony without in fact knowing the actual fault imputed to me.* Under
this state of things, a few of my most intimate friends being anxious to
know the full particulars of the charge against me, and what might
transpire upon it in England, I promised I would send them a copy of my
correspondence with the Colonial Office. The book referred to by Sir John
Franklin contains that correspondence and, with the exception of the two
memoranda in it to which I will presently refer, I pledge you my honour
it does not contain one single word beyond copies of the letters I wrote
to the Colonial Department and of those I received from it on this
subject.** The book I sent to Van Diemen's Land by Mr. Bicheno and
requested him to deliver it to Mr. Forster. In my letter transmitting it
I told Mr. Forster that I sent it for the perusal of a few particular
friends for their personal information, in accordance with my promise,
and that I wished it to be considered quite private. He repeated my
injunctions upon delivering it to Captain Swanston, who treated it as
requested.*** He writes to Lord Stanley, "The documents were forwarded to
me for my own personal information. The papers Mr. Montagu has sent me
were entirely confidential communications. I have shown the book to none
but a very few of Mr. Montagu's personal friends, and gentlemen only to
whose character and reputation Sir John Franklin himself bears ample
testimony."**** To the best of my recollection I requested Mr. Forster to
show the correspondence to Captain Swanston, a most sincere friend to
whom I am under many obligations; to Sir John Pedder, a dear and sincere
friend of nearly twenty years' standing; and to Mr. Charles Arthur, Mrs.
Montagu's cousin, the police magistrate of Norfolk Plains. In thus using
this correspondence I did not feel that I was in the slightest degree
acting contrary to custom in such cases. I did not intend to violate any
official usage. I considered it as my private property and that I was at
liberty to use it at my discretion. I can solemnly declare that in
sending it out I had no wish, no intention of annoying or prejudicing Sir
John Franklin or his government in any way whatsoever.*****

(*Footnote. This excuse is a plausible one to those who are ignorant of
facts. But Lord Stanley, who has the voluminous correspondence before him
which passed between Mr. Montagu and me before Mr. Montagu left Van
Diemen's Land, and also all the counteracting statements, testimonies and
vouchers with which Mr. Montagu provided himself, cannot make and has not
made this amongst the other excuses his lordship has adduced for Mr.
Montagu's conduct. Nay, more: Lord Stanley, by adducing the St. George's
Church case as one of which Mr. Montagu had no notice before he left Van
Diemen's Land, virtually contrasts it with the other charges of which he
was cognizant, and thus contradicts Mr. Montagu's assertion. (See Number
150.) Nevertheless I may remark that the subtle character of Mr.
Montagu's conduct was such as to make it extremely difficult to embody as
specific charges, that thorough disaffection, and those minute but
incessant reticences of duty which were productive of more serious
impediments in the administration of affairs than a more open opposition
would have been. I have explained to Lord Stanley that this is by no
means inconsistent with the acknowledgment of the services which Mr.
Montagu rendered when under the obligation of his oath in the Executive
Council; but this Mr. Montagu has endeavoured to bring forward against

(**Footnote. Mr. Montagu does not state how large a portion of a folio
book containing 312 pages was occupied by his memoranda; nor does he seem
to feel that when these were left out of consideration there was no
occasion to pledge his honour to the contents of what remained.)

(***Footnote. See above.)

(****Footnote. Mr. Swanston has not stated whether he includes under the
term of Mr. Montagu's "personal friends" and under the terms which follow
Mr. Robert Lathrop Murray and one or two others whose names I refrain
from mentioning.)

(*****Footnote. See contents of Mr. Young's letter and other
illustrations of the temerity of Mr. Montagu's assertion.)

Number 3.

The first time I had the honour of seeing Lord Stanley was on the 29th of
August 1842. He then informed me that he should not confirm Sir John
Franklin's act of suspension. As I did not expect a more formal
announcement of the issue of my case and, being naturally anxious to
communicate it to my friends and relations, I drew up a memorandum which
does not contain, as Sir John Franklin has represented, Memoranda and
Minutes of Conversations between Lord Stanley and me, but merely the
substance of the decision in my case as communicated to me by Mr. Hope
and Lord Stanley, with certain statements I made to them, without adding
any observations of theirs thereupon.

This memorandum I circulated in England amongst some of the persons to
whom I have already stated I sent a copy of the despatch. As soon as I
received your letter of the 17th September 1842, transmitting Lord
Stanley's despatch, which you informed me I was to consider as conveying
to me his lordship's decision upon my case, I stopped circulating the
Memorandum and, putting it with the Correspondence, thought no more about

Unfortunately I did not separate it as I ought to have done from the
correspondence, and a copy of it was sent with the other documents to Van
Diemen's Land. I can assure you most positively that, when I put it with
the letters, I had no intention of sending it to Van Diemen's Land. On
the contrary I had determined not to make any farther use of it after the
receipt of the Despatch, but it was copied with the other documents and
passed unobserved.* I would here remark that the fact of the book
containing this memorandum having been sent by me for the perusal of a
few intimate friends will easily account for a species of inattention to
it, which could not be claimed for it, if a more public or a more
extended one had been contemplated but, having no such object in view,
and my mind being exceedingly occupied with pressing business at the
time, I did not give proper consideration to it, which I now extremely

(*Footnote. See Appendix C where it appears, by a private letter from a
gentleman residing in the colony to his friend, of a date several months
ANTECEDENT to the arrival of the memorandum in the book, that a statement
similar to that memorandum was then current in the colony.)

It is not my intention to justify having sent that memorandum to Van
Diemen's Land. I cannot defend it. I was wrong, and I am sorry for having
been so thoughtless.*

(*Footnote. It seems superfluous to make any comments on this embarrassed
statement: at one time one of Mr. Montagu's memoranda slips into his
book, and gets bound up in it unobserved; at another time it would appear
to have been a wilful error which he cannot defend. Nothing is attempted
to be said of the introduction of the other memorandum. The whole leaves,
I think, but one impression on the mind--that of a consciousness on Mr.
Montagu's part of great delinquency from which he did by no means foresee
that Lord Stanley would so easily relieve him.)

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Some Passages in the History of Van Diemen's Land by Sir John Franklin

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