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Title: The Founding of South Australia. Author: Edited by Edwin Hodder. * A Project Gutenberg of Australia eBook * eBook No.: 1306571h.html Language: English Date first posted: November 2013 Date most recently November 2013 Produced by: Ned Overton. Project Gutenberg Australia eBooks are created from printed editions which are in the public domain in Australia, unless a copyright notice is included. We do NOT keep any eBooks in compliance with a particular paper edition. Copyright laws are changing all over the world. Be sure to check the copyright laws for your country before downloading or redistributing this file. This eBook is made available at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg Australia Licence which may be viewed online.
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Several quotes have been indented rather than further reduced in font-size.
THE FOUNDING OF SOUTH
[From a Miniature.]
AUTHOR OF "HISTORY OF SOUTH
AUSTRALIA," "LIFE OF GEORGE FIFE ANGAS,"
"MEMORIES OF NEW ZEALAND LIFE," ETC., ETC.
SAMPSON LOW, MARSTON, AND COMPANY
St. Dunstan's House
It fell to my lot to write the "History of South Australia," and in that work it was stated:—"Honours are divided among the claimants to be founders of South Australia. Edward Gibbon Wakefield was the first to set forth the principles of the new form of Colonisation; Mr. Gouger, the Secretary of the South Australian Association, took up the idea, and worked it into practical shape; Colonel Torrens brought experience and influence to bear to make the scheme popular, and ensure its acceptance by the Government; while Mr. George Fife Angas made the working of the Act of Parliament possible."
In filial regard for the memory of her father, Mr. Robert Gouger, Miss Adelaide Gouger carefully preserved all that remained of his journals and papers relating to South Australia, and the important part he took in its foundation, and, as no authentic record has hitherto been published of his life-work, she kindly placed in my hands all the documents in her possession, with the request that I would edit them.
It was desirable that the story of Mr. Gouger's services should be told, and although there may not be many living who remember him personally, the flourishing Colony of South Australia bears witness to his zeal; and, to quote the words of Mr. Edward Gibbon Wakefield, "the successful issue of his long contests with the judgments of ignorance, the insults of pride, and the delays of idleness should be a lesson of encouragement to the advocates of useful projects."
|| In Early Days
|| A Revolutionary Expedition
|III.|| The Country and Colonisation
|IV.|| A Joint Stock Land Company
|V.|| The South Australian
|VI.|| In Suspense
|VII.|| Imperium in Imperio
|VIII.|| A Crown Colony
|IX.|| Vexatious Delays
|XI.|| A Problem Solved
|XII.|| A Voyage to South
|XIII.|| In Holdfast Bay
|XIV.|| A Reign of Squabble
|XV.|| In Storm and Stress
|XVI.|| Lengthening Shadows
THE FOUNDING OF SOUTH
Robert Gouger was born on the 26th of June, 1802. He came of an old French family, and the name was originally pronounced Gougére. His great-grandfather emigrated from France in 1685, on the revocation of the Edict of Nantes, and settled in Ramsgate, where he built himself a house. He was drowned at sea—a fate which also befell his son George—from which it is to be inferred that the business in which the family were engaged had relation to mercantile affairs connected with shipping in foreign parts.
The father of Robert Gouger was born in 1763, married in 1787, and died in 1840. He was the father of eleven children, Robert being the youngest but one. All of these have now passed away: four of them died young, others lived to a good old age, John, the eldest, dying at 93, Mary at 96, Sarah at 95, Alfred, the youngest and unmarried, at 78.
Robert Gouger's mother was a remarkable woman, and her influence left its distinct mark on the characters of all her children. She was particularly clever and well read, and could enter into the studies of her children in their school-days, however abstruse the subjects might be, no less than when in later life her sons embarked on their careers. When grown to manhood she guided them with her counsel; it was to her keen judgment they submitted the points they could not solve themselves. It was she who made the brightness, attractiveness, and happiness of a beautiful home-life, and at the same time inspired her children to press forward to wider fields of action and intellectual attainment. She lived in advance of her time, and in knowledge and accomplishment was abreast of the most advanced of the women of her day. This in no way detracted from her activity in household duties, but only gave a zest to them, and her wise management enabled her to devote her time and thought to the subjects which interested her children. With her son Robert, and his schemes for colonisation, she was in such full sympathy that there was scarcely a phase in the many-sided subject she did not thoroughly understand, nor a situation in which he was in perplexity in which she could not render practical aid.
To both father and mother each member of the family owed a deep debt of gratitude for the formation of their characters.
Of the brothers of Robert Gouger, the subject of this memorial, the career of Henry was perhaps the most remarkable. He resided for some years in Bengal, where he followed what was then regarded as the hazardous occupation of producing raw silk in competition with the Commercial Resident of the East India Company. That was in the days when the arbitrary power which that Government possessed was intrusted to its servants, who, as is well known, sometimes used it in the most unscrupulous manner to crush the spirit of private enterprise, and to retain in their hands the virtual monopoly of a branch of industry which, by an act of the British legislature in 1813, had been declared open to all its subjects under certain restrictions.
While in Bengal, Henry Gouger was attacked by an illness which baffled medical skill, and he was advised, as a last resource, to try a change of climate as affording the only means of recovery. On the suggestion of a friend, he determined to make a voyage to Rangoon, the chief seaport of the Burmese Dominions, and thence by the Irrawaddi to Amerapoorah, then the capital of the Empire. His idea was, that in addition to finding health, he might find that a highly lucrative commerce could be established with Amerapoorah and the regions beyond, especially in the introduction of British cotton manufactures, which were at that time beginning to supplant the native fabrics in most of the markets of the East.
Unhappily these dreams did not come true. The Burmese Empire was then (1822) a terra incognita; he found scarcely a man in authority who was not oppressive, corrupt, crafty, and cruel; he saw prospects of immense fortune, but depending upon enormous difficulties to be overcome; he was staggered at the barbarity of the king and his court, and over and over again he met with extraordinary perils, and no less extraordinary escapes. Soon after the bombardment of Rangoon he was falsely accused of being a British spy, and was cast into prison, where, under horrible circumstances, and amid appalling scenes of torture, he was detained for two years, eventually escaping with only his life. To the day of his death he bore traces of the frightful sufferings he had undergone in Burmah, and in his later years he could do little more than stroll about in the beautiful grounds of his home at Frogmore House, Blackwater, Hants, where he led the quiet life of a country gentleman, beloved by all who knew him.
He was a man of very considerable literary ability, and in his last years he wrote a book, published by Mr. John Murray in 1860—the year before the author's death—entitled "The Prisoner of Burmah; A Personal Narrative of Two Years' Imprisonment in Burmah."
Henry Gouger died while a second edition of his work was in preparation, and the preface was therefore written by his brother Alfred, who passed the edition for the press. In his preface Alfred speaks of the "perfect truthfulness and simplicity" of his brother's character, of his "good taste," of "the spirit of manly independence which characterised every act of his life," of "his energies and resources," and of "the clearness and tenacity of his powers of memory."
Similar excellences appear to have attached to all the Gouger brothers—they did at all events as regarded Robert, with whose history we are alone concerned in these pages, and also as regarded Alfred, the youngest of the family.
Before passing away from our reference to Henry Gouger, one incident connected with his residence in Burmah may be recorded here. After his escape from prison, the first Burmese war was in progress, but the British were anxious for peace, and a Treaty had been practically agreed to. Gouger in due course reported himself to Sir Archibald Campbell, the General Commanding, who received him with great kindness and consideration. The army continued to advance until it reached Yandaho, a place well known as being the spot on which the belligerents settled their animosities, and here Gouger was able to render very important services to Sir Archibald Campbell and to the Government. We will let Mr. Henry Gouger tell the story in his own words.
"On the 22nd or 23rd of February , two dignitaries from the Burmese Court arrived in the camp, with honest instructions this time, to consent to the terms made known to them. The preliminaries had been complied with by the release of the prisoners, and the arrival of a quarter of a million sterling in specie, being one-quarter of the stipulated indemnity.
"But now a singular difficulty arose. How the British army could have advanced thus far into the country without having a man among them capable of translating a State document into the Burmese language, it is not easy to explain. So it was, however, and this clearly shows how slight the intercourse must have been between the two countries before this time. The General's interpreter was a native youth of Chinese extraction, who, of course, spoke the Burmese language fluently enough, and English indifferently. With this his knowledge ceased; he could neither write nor read the Burmese, and had not Dr. Judson [the famous American missionary] and myself been at the General's disposal, the impediment would have been a serious one, as the Burmese could not be expected to put their hands to a document written in a language they did not understand; nor, on the other hand, could the British Commissioners trust to a native copy alone. The English Treaty was, therefore, placed in our hands for translation, and when we produced a Burmese copy, both were to be acknowledged as original documents of equal validity. It gave me great pleasure to make some return for Sir A. Campbell's kindness, in this and other ways where my knowledge of the language was required—indeed, by an extraordinary accident, I was the means not only of aiding the General, but also of enriching the Exchequer of the East India Company to the amount of nearly £70,000, in a manner that was not less gratifying to me because it came from the pocket of my late oppressors. The affair is worth recording.
"The fifth article of the Treaty has these words:—'As part indemnification to the British Government for the expenses of the war, His Majesty the King of Ava agrees to pay the sum of one crore of rupees.' It will naturally be asked, What kind of rupee is intended? It is not a coin of the country. The Burmese only know it as the coin issued to the British troops, and these being chiefly from the Madras Presidency, the Madras rupee was the one issued and passed into general circulation. This was the one commonly known to the Burmese, and one crore, or ten millions, of these rupees they would naturally expect to pay—no other could have been reasonably demanded of them. But there was another kind of rupee current in Bengal in those days, denominated the sicca rupee the metallic value of which was between 6½ and 7 per cent., greater than the Madras rupee; and as both the General and the Civil Commissioner came from Bengal, I had reason to think the sicca rupee was the one they intended, though they had failed to express it in the words so carelessly used. As the Treaty was not yet signed, I went to communicate my thoughts to Sir Archibald Campbell. He saw the blunder at once, summoned the Burmese chiefs instantly to a conference, at which I was present, and explained to them that, although the words be allowed to stand in the Treaty, sicca rupees were those intended and would be claimed; and paid they were ultimately, in full tale! A memorandum was attached to the Treaty expressive of this understanding." *
[* "The Prisoner of Burmah," by Henry Gouger Second edition. John Murray, 1862, pp. 297-9.]
Very few records have been preserved of the early life of Robert Gouger, the youngest but one of the six brothers. He spent his childhood at Stamford, in Lincolnshire, was educated at a school in Nottingham, and obtained his business knowledge in London in the office of his father, who was a city merchant of excellent repute and of good means.
As a youth he showed signs of unusual intelligence, addicting himself to study for the mere love of it, and beguiling his leisure hours with recreation in Natural History. He was an ardent lover of nature, and delighted in roaming over woodland and moor in search of birds, butterflies, and insects, which he collected and classified with no ordinary skill, stuffing the birds and setting the butterflies himself with infinite pains and dexterity.
Later on he developed a taste for music, and possessing a good rudimentary knowledge, he found the "concord of sweet sounds" a source of enjoyment, not only then but throughout his life. Added to this his tastes were literary; he read standard works on all subjects with care and intelligence, and was in the habit, it would appear, of making digests of what he had read—an excellent habit which has sadly fallen into disuse in the present day. His literary recreation was in reading the works of the great poets, and in his many and long rambles a favourite book would serve as his guide, philosopher, and Mend. As the days went on ambition dawned, and he became a frequent contributor of poems to the magazines—Blackwoods in particular—where they were gladly received and published.
By the time Robert Gouger had arrived at the age of manhood the foundations of his character were not only laid, but were placed in position ready for the building upon them the work of his life.
In matters of religion he had accepted without reservation the Christian faith in which he had been brought up. He had laid hold, too, of the grand simple landmarks of morality—that it is better to be true than false, better to be generous than selfish, better to be chaste than licentious, better to be brave than to be a coward, and, in proportion as he held to these virtues, he hated, with a good and hearty hatred, those who wantonly disregarded them.
In politics he was an out-and-out Radical—at first, from his home-training and home associations, but later from his own convictions, the result of careful inquiry and observation. Even before he had reached manhood he had developed a strong, passionate interest in the poor. He could not reconcile the idea of so much luxury and extravagance and so much terrible poverty existing side by side in London and the other great centres of population in the country. He knew not how, but he felt sure that there must be something essentially wrong in the Poor Law system when this was the case; he was convinced that the poor laboured under unjust disadvantages in not having among themselves men who could tell in high places the story of their sufferings, and plead for redress of their wrongs. Wherever he went—and he travelled much, both in his own country and on the Continent—he made investigations, and noted in his diary the condition of the people, their habits, their wants, the insanitary state of their dwellings, their modes of living, their need of reformation, their lack of education, and the lethargy of the clergy in all practical matters relating to the general condition of the poor. He was an intimate friend of Robert Owen, the great "Social theorist," and was deeply interested in his views on the co-operative system, and in the many important reforms he introduced, having for their object the improvement of the status of the labourers in his employ.
It was his sympathy for the oppressed working classes, and the hopeless state into which they were drifting through want of employment, that first called out his zeal for colonisation—the great work of his life—and it was that also which inspired him, in an hour of great political excitement, to espouse the cause of "the oppressed twelve millions of Spaniards" to which further reference will shortly be made.
The impression left on the mind of the present writer, after a careful study of all his private papers known to be in existence, is, that from first to last, Robert Gouger was a shrewd, intelligent, observant man, faithful in small duties as in great, conscious always of the obligations of Christianity combined with high morality; that he was inspired by a strong sense of duty in all the exacting labours he undertook, buoyed up by a yearning aspiration to serve his fellow creatures, especially the struggling poor; adventurous, even to recklessness, in any cause he espoused with enthusiasm; prodigal of time and energy in every movement to which he was pledged.
This estimate is borne out by one who knows the whole story of his life, and has said that he "was a truly Christian man, with deepest religious convictions, and the very soul of honour."
Some extracts from a carefully written MS. will give a better idea of what manner of man Mr. Gouger was, in his earlier days, than can be given from any other source. He was, as we have seen, and as we shall see more fully later on, a man of an adventurous spirit, and the stirring times of 1830 gave him an opportunity to indulge his love of daring enterprise.
"On the 20th of August, 1830," he writes, "I left England to join Colonel Valdes, who was at Havre with the Spaniards whom I had seen on board the Mary. I landed at Calais on the day Louis Phillippe was proclaimed King of the French, and gave my first shout for liberty on that joyous occasion. It appeared a favourable omen to me. A despot had just been hurled from his throne, and a citizen king occupied his place. An officer who stood by me, threw me a tri-coloured cockade in return for my enthusiastic cry,* and this I wore during the whole of my residence on the Continent. . . .
[* The tri-coloured cockade, much faded, is still in the possession of Miss S. Adelaide Gouger.]
"On the 24th I arrived at Havre, where I found
Colonel Valdes and about 80 Spaniards, the greater part of whom
were officers. On the following day, being summoned by Colonel
Pinto, Valdes went to Paris, leaving me with four Spanish
officers, to superintend the departure of the officers and
soldiers for Bayonne. The plan of hiring a ship to make a descent
upon the north of Spain, which had been determined upon by
Valdes, being found impracticable for want of funds, the men were
observed to walk to Bayonne, a distance of 700 miles. This and
other business detained me at Havre nearly a fortnight, during
which time I was enabled partially to learn the Spanish
language. . . .
"September the 8th saw me at Paris. Finding I was in good time for the movements which were to take place in Spain, I resolved to comply with the request of Colonel Pinto to remain some days with him to assist in the English correspondence.
"The glorious and successful struggle which the Parisians had made on 'The Three Days' was marked in a variety of ways and places.
"On the 14th I had the honour of an interview with General Lafayette. I was introduced by Colonel Pinto, and remained with the General for nearly three hours. The General, who is in his 73rd year, was still in good health and tolerably active. His appearance commands respect, but there is a blandness in his manner which places those who are with him perfectly at ease. He received me very cordially, and on being told that I was going to fight for the constitutional cause in Spain, was warm in his congratulations. At the conclusion of a long but interrupted interview, he invited me to his house on the following Tuesday, and desired me to remember that in leaving Paris I left a friend who would be always glad to see me. From his long residence in America and his frequent interviews with English people, the General speaks the English language remarkably well. Speaking of revolutions, he said it was only necessary to 'teach a soldier he is a citizen, and rather a citizen than a soldier,' to effect any useful salutary change that may be desired.
"On the 16th September I left Paris with Colonel Minuisir, a Spaniard, brother-in-law to General Torrijos, late Minister of War in Spain, and Comte Linati, a Frenchman, for Lyons."
While Mr. Gouger was in Lyons he found time to write to his brother Alfred, to whom he explained, more fully than in his diary, the object of his mission to Spain, and an extract from that letter will enable the reader better to understand the further extracts from the diary:—
"Lyons, Sept. 30th, 1830.
"My Dear Alfred,
"Before this letter reaches you I shall have been in Spain, and most probably have seen an enemy's camp.
"You will perceive by the arms on the top of this sheet * that we are now somewhat above a conspiracy. We have chargés d'affaires at London and Paris, which conspirators seldom avow. If, however, you know not what name to give us as a party, I hope our deeds will soon show that we are worthy of a better name. We may soon be 'legitimate warriors.' Shame on man! that success should determine the goodness of a cause; succeeding, we are the saviours of a country; defeated, we are traitors, and ignominy is heaped upon us. When will men think rightly? However, be our party fortunate or otherwise, there is some satisfaction in knowing that some of the finest-minded men in the world are engaged with us; that the cause is that of liberty for the oppressed twelve millions of Spaniards, and that the sympathy of all who wish well to a good cause will be with us. I have never regretted for one moment the step I have taken. I am convinced that it is a card worth playing, and, although a dangerous one, it is not the leas deserving of being played. I cannot, however, be indifferent to what I know must be the feelings of all my family relations. The affectionate attention I have received from you all, has not been thrown away. Believe me, my dear Alfred, I shall never cease to grieve for the unavoidable separation which my present pursuit entails upon me. But affection always descends. I believe the child never loves the parent as the parent does the child. What, then, must be the feelings of my dear father and mother? I know that I have always felt the warmest feelings towards them, and, although I spared them the pain of a formal separation, I am sure they must have suffered much since on my account. The anxiety I am occasioning my family is the only drawback I feel to the gladness my enthusiasm for the cause I have undertaken creates. However, I comfort myself with the idea that I may be again installed among you, in the service of Spain, in my native country or in France, after the Liberal Government is settled. . . .
[* The letter was written on official paper.]
"P.S. Tarbes, September
30th.—I finish my letter from this place, whence I
go immediately into Spain. I shall probably precede Colonel
Gurrea to some important place with despatches, but, if not, I
shall perform the same service for Valdes. I may now be
considered a military man, and you would think so if you saw my
equipage. I have a good horse, and am clad in a cocked hat, with
a tri-coloured plume of feathers, laced surtout, and
jack-boots!. . . .
"I enclose the song the Spaniards will sing in going into battle.
We now return to the diary to follow up the thread of the narrative:—
"The business which led us to Lyons, namely, the
formation of a committee of Frenchmen to assist the
constitutional Spaniards in reaching their country and supplying
us with arms, ammunition, &c., during the revolution, being
satisfactorily arranged, on the 21st we proceeded to
Nismes. . . . Political feeling was rather high
here. The Royalists were strong in the neighbourhood, in
consequence of which a regiment of the line was stationed there,
and any person who went from home after 8 o'clock at night was
required to carry a lanthorn. Two travellers, Frenchmen, were put
in jail on the preceding day for non-compliance with this
order. . . .
"September 28th.—At Toulouse I met Mr. John Hutt, who was rendering his valuable services to the Spanish constitutional cause by conducting the pecuniary affairs consequent on the formation of a division to be commanded by Colonel Gurrea. From him I learned of the intrigues which a party, calling themselves patriots and lovers of liberty, were carrying on at Bayonne with the secret intention of preventing revolutionary movements. . . .
"September 30th.—At Bagnères we found Colonel Gurrea, who, although much annoyed by the intrigues of Mina, was moving on in the even tenour of his way, disregarding every object but the great one he had in view—the liberty of his country. "With him were the two sons of General Milans, and other Spanish officers of distinction, who were preparing for the day of arms. ... The minor officers were all exceedingly attached to Gurrea, who had raised himself almost from the ranks by his bravery and skill. Already three fortified places had declared they only waited his approach to open their gates to him, while his knowledge of the country and the guerilla mode of warfare raised the greatest hopes from this incursion. . . .
"October 2nd.—Reached Bayonne. Here I found Valdes, Pinto, and a great number of Spanish officers, by whom I was heartily welcomed, and whom I was quite as pleased again to recognise. . . .
"October 12th.—Bayonne has been the seat of numerous intrigues since Valdes arrived. Mina quickly followed him, and has been doing all that lay in his power to shackle the movements of the constitutionalists enrolled under the banner of Valdes. His followers have been instigated to seduce the officers and men of our expedition, in which, however, they succeeded only in the case of some weak-kneed Frenchmen. Happily, we shall now shortly be beyond the reach of their intrigues, and shall have but one enemy to encounter...
"I have twice been into the villages where our men and arms are placed. The first time was with Colonel Minuisir and Navarette, a Spanish engineer officer, to inspect the men and arms. We found the soldiers all anxiety to depart, but bearing their disappointments well. The second journey was of a more important nature. Intelligence having arrived that the sub-prefect of Bayonne intended to seize the arms and ammunition in the depôts at Villa-Franca and Usteritz, Colonel Minuisir, accompanied by myself and three officers, started at eleven at night to walk to the former village, to take measures against a proceeding so fatal to our plans. Some little difficulty was found in getting through the gates so late at night, but a silver key, added to my being metamorphosed into an English physician going to visit a friend who was suddenly taken ill, obtained us a passage. Arrived at Villa-Franca, we aroused six officers, who, with us, immediately proceeded to remove the arms to a place of safety. We chose for this purpose a shed, open on all sides to the weather, as being the most unlikely place for arms to be concealed. This occupied the whole night, and our work was just completed as the morning dawned. . . .
"October 13th.—This morning we entered Spain. Being appointed aide-de-camp to General Valdes, I was constantly with the officers and messed with the staff. At about 2 o'clock we halted at the little village of Urpaz, where the priests paid us a visit and the inhabitants welcomed us. After a short rest we proceeded to Zugarramurdi, a fortified village about four miles from the frontier. Here the General established his head-quarters, and we remained organizing our little baud until the 17th. Our whole force consisted of about 400 men, of whom more than half were Frenchmen. The whole body was formed into three battalions, and a company called the Campania Sagrada, or Sacred Company, which consisted of educated Frenchmen who had volunteered into the service, and Spanish officers who had as yet no men to command. The three battalions were under the respective commands of Colonels Leguia, Trias, and Albeniz; the Campania Sagrada, in which I was enrolled as private, was under the command of Captain Roa. . . .
"October 17th.—Left head-quarters for Vera at 2 a.m., a town about 25 miles from Zugarramurdi, where about 400 of the troops of the line were stationed, and who were daily expecting to be reinforced from Pamplona. It was hoped that we might be enabled to surprise this place and take possession of it prior to the reinforcements. We reached Vera at about 11 o'clock in the day, but peasants had given notice of our approach to the enemy, and they were quite prepared to receive us. An officer bearing a white flag was sent with a few men to sound the wishes of the Royalist soldiers; they met, embraced, and we thought they had consented to join us, but on retiring to their commanding officer the order to fire was given, which, being returned by our troops, the action began. In a few minutes the enemy, driven from all the posts, retired into a strongly fortified convent situated upon a hill in a very commanding situation. From this place it was found impossible to dislodge them; our cannon (two 6-pounders) were not sufficiently powerful to make any impression upon the walls, and an uncovered approach was impossible without loss of half the men. We were therefore obliged to retire, and the signal tor retreat on our part was one for a sortie on theirs. This was repelled by the bayonet, which quickly decided the matter in our favour. By this movement, however, we were divided, and the retreat was effected in three columns, that in which I was thrown being under the command of Colonel Minuisir, and consisting of about 80 men.
"It was now about 5 o'clock in the afternoon, and having procured a guide, we marched uninterruptedly for some hours. About 10 o'clock, however, as we were marching between two mountains, one of which was clothed with a wood, a fire suddenly opened upon us. The enemy, who turned out to be 150 men from Pamplona, were placed on the side of the mountain protected by the wood. This rendered our return fire ineffectual, while theirs upon us was murderous. We then charged with the bayonet, which drove them from their hiding-place; and in a few minutes decided the affair in our favour. This rencontre placed us in a very perilous situation. A surprise at night from a very superior force (150 to 80) was in itself dangerous enough, but the evil did not end here. At the first fire the guide ran away, and alter the action we found ourselves 'planted' in the wilds of the Pyrenees without knowing what direction to take. The enemy, though routed, might rally, and our men were fatigued with the effects of a day's severe marching, fighting, and abstinence. . . .
"Tired, reduced in numbers, with enemies before and behind, it was not our object to fight. We, therefore, patiently waited the return of the other parties, and as one of them brought an old man as guide, we gladly availed ourselves of his services to conduct us from this mountainous labyrinth to our head-quarters. A most arduous march at length brought us to Zugarramurdi, which we reached at 7 o'clock on Monday morning, after having been engaged in uninterrupted walking and fighting since 2 o'clock the preceding morning.
"We were not allowed to rest long. At noon the same day the enemy, reinforced by large bodies of Royalist volunteers, made their appearance on the heights above the village to the number of about 2,000 men, while our force, from the desertion of some Frenchmen, from killed, and from others unable to march from fatigue, did not now exceed 250 men. These excessive odds did not, however, prevent General Valdes attacking them. He ordered about 50 men to advance en guerilla between the two bodies which were descending upon us, with orders, when attacked, to retire gradually to the village; while he, with the rest of the troops, endeavoured to turn the right wing, consisting of about 600 men. In this movement he was completely successful. Unaccustomed to the bayonet in the hands of persons who knew they could expect no mercy if taken, the volunteers of Juannito made no stand against our decisive attack. The first division, thrown into confusion, retreated upon the second, who, panic struck by the rapid flight of their comrades, without even waiting for our near approach, joined the first division in their retreat. For five miles they were chased without having time to rally, and the approach of night only put an end to the pursuit.
"In this action we lost but few men, while on the part of the Royalists much blood was shed. To prevent surprise, and for the sake of giving the troops an uninterrupted night's repose, we encamped that night in France.
"October 19th.—At daybreak of to-day we returned to Spain and in a short time were at Zugarramurdi. General Valdes then created two ensigns, and, as he was pleased to think that my conduct had been useful to the cause, he thanked me for my zeal, and conferred on me the same grade, requesting still my services as aide-de-camp.
"October 20th.—Information reached us to-day that the enemy was still near us, to the number of 3,000, and in the afternoon we observed a column of about 100 men marching towards our encampment of last night. This having the appearance of a surprise, we remained this night in the village. No alarm of any kind.
"October 21st.—The morning had not dawned when I received a message from General Valdes, requiring my attendance. On my arrival he informed me that it was the united opinion of the staff-officers that a body of British troops, commanded by British officers, would prove of the greatest importance to their cause, and requested my opinion as to the possibility of obtaining them. I showed him the difficulty of the attempt, and mentioned the many obstacles thrown in the way of the expedition which had been planned for making a descent upon the South of Spain under General Torrijos in the ship Mary; nevertheless, as the war against Spanish despotism was actually begun, perhaps some persons might be found willing to make the adventure. After some conversation it was determined I should immediately go to England to make the trial, and I was accordingly required to be in attendance as soon as the necessary papers could be prepared for me.
"These arrangements were scarcely concluded, when a messenger arrived informing us of the melancholy death of Colonel de Pablo, a constitutional chief of great valour and political integrity, who was wounded the day before while leading his troops in an attack on the Royalists. This brave commander was savagely butchered by the enemy, whose prisoner he became in consequence of his wound.
"In the course of the day I took my leave of the General and his brave corps for the purpose of executing my new and difficult commission. I could not quit these fine fellows without considerable emotion; I felt conscious that if I ever rejoined them, many whom I there saw would have fallen sacrifices to their patriotism, and this conviction cast a gloom over my mind I could not conceal. . . .
"November 2nd.—After four days and nights of uninterrupted travelling, I found myself at Paris. Here I remained a few days, during which the evil tidings arrived of the complete defeat of Valdes and the loss, or dispersion, of his whole column. With him sunk all the hopes of the constitutionalists, and a week after the French Government ordered those of the refugees whom the Royalist bullets had spared to be removed to Bourges, an inland town of France, thereby completely putting an end to all future hostilities.
"November 8th.—I once more landed on my native shore."
Bound up with this diary—which contains excellent descriptions of the country through which he passed, the scenes he witnessed, and the persons he met—are the orders issued by General Valdes to his corps, and the MS. letter authorising Mr. Gouger to make terms with any British officers or volunteers who might desire to engage in the cause. At the end of the volume a note is added: "The total defeat of Valdes, the consequent retreat and eventual dispersion of all the revolutionary forces, with the excitement I found in the popular mind in England on my arrival, quite prevented even the endeavour to raise the body of men I had been commissioned to attempt."
It may be mentioned here that Captain Light, who afterwards became the Surveyor-General of South Australia, where he was closely associated with Robert Gouger, took an active part in this Spanish Revolutionary War, and received the rank of Colonel. He was wounded for the first time in his distinguished military career, and the wound was a source of trouble to him for the rest of his life.
In the year 1829, when Robert Gouger commenced the real labour of his life, the position of the working classes of this country was only just becoming capable of definition. Many of the vexatious laws under which they had formerly groaned were being relaxed, and the reproach that the "common people" were merely a part of the machinery of the country was being gradually taken away.
The great fiscal reforms of Huskisson in 1825; the labours of Joseph Hume; the repeal of the Combination Laws, which rendered the union of working men in self-defence no longer criminal; the repeal of the laws relating to artificers going to foreign parts, which made emigration possible when the labour market was overstocked; and other measures of relief, were paving the way for further reforms generally, and for the great Reform Bill of 1832 in particular.
But at that time, and especially in that year (1829), there was great poverty and consequent distress throughout the country. All trades, pursuits and professions were becoming more and more overcrowded, and multitudes of people of all decrees and ages were moving about without employment, useless to themselves, and a burden to the public. The spirit of turbulence was abroad, too, and when, owing to stagnation in trade, there was a movement among employers of labour to reduce wages, the only argument the mass of the working classes knew how to use effectively, was violence. Throughout the country riotous assemblies were held for the discussion of grievances, and, in the factory districts, where the introduction of machinery appeared to the ignorant to be the end of all their hopes, mobs of discontented men employed themselves in breaking the windows of the factories, smashing the machinery, destroying the looms, and in many instances setting fire to the mills.
It was in this year that Sir Robert Peel, owing to the enormous increase in the population,* instituted the new police force in the metropolis, which superseded the staff of parochial watchmen, who were wholly inadequate for the public protection. In their day plunder and robbery of all kinds were committed with impunity, and after sunset no one considered it safe to venture out of doors.
[* In Birmingham, for example, the population in 1815 was 90,000, in 1832 150,000.]
The question, therefore, at that time, which affected the minds of all thoughtful people was, What is to be done with the unemployed and surplus population? Into this question Robert Gouger threw himself heart and soul, and in every action he took he was supported by the advice and sympathy of his father and mother, who entered with the keenest interest into the social politics of the day.
The only way out of the difficulty appeared to be to send the surplus population to some British colony, so relieving the Mother Country of the burthen, and, at the same time, opening up new spheres of commerce and enlarging others already in existence. But colonisation up to that time had not been a marked success. New South Wales was founded as a penal settlement so early as 1788—eighteen years after its discovery by Captain Cook. The first settlement in Van Diemen's Land (Tasmania) was made in 1803 by a guard with a body of convicts, and, until 1824, was a dependency of New South Wales, but in that year it was made an independent colony. It had but a poor reputation, however, for many years after that, in consequence of the hostility of the natives, and the depredations of escaped convicts, known as bush-rangers.
Neither New South Wales nor Van Diemen's Land were popular, therefore, as a field of emigration, the great drawback being that they were still penal settlements, and that the trade of the colonies was in the hands of the early convicts who had served their time.
In 1829 the Swan River Settlement in Western Australia was founded, and for a time attracted many well-to-do families to emigrate there. But it was soon discovered that the colony had been established on an altogether wrong basis, and that disastrous consequences must in course of time ensue. Free grants of land had been made in enormous quantities, and had been selected before the colonists sailed. One individual had been granted half a million of acres, and as he naturally selected his "lot" close by the port, other emigrants had to go beyond this vast and most eligible tract before they could settle. Ultimately land was sold, but at the ridiculously low price of one shilling and sixpence per acre, and consequently, as everybody who went out was thus enabled to become a landed proprietor, no labourers were found to cultivate the soil. The result, which far-seeing men had apprehended was soon realised. The scheme was an all but total failure.
The renewal of interest in colonisation at the period of which we write was due, in great measure, to Mr. Edward Gibbon Wakefield, who advanced the theory that free grants should be entirely abolished; that Crown lands should not be sold at a low price; that hired labour could never be obtained side by side with great cheapness of land; that "the exchange of land for labour was the only method of realising a just proportion between land, labour, and capital"; and that "the universal sale of land, instead of land-grants, and the exclusive employment of the purchaser's money to promote education," should be the principle upon which colonisation in the future should be based.
Robert Gouger, who at one time had been almost induced to cast in his lot with the Swan Kiver Settlers, saw at a glance, in the light of these new theories, the rotten basis on which that colony was founded, and without hesitation gave up all thought of settling there, and unreservedly adopted the principles of colonisation as laid down by Wakefield.
To a man of Gouger's energy, to see a thing as practicable was to set to work and prove it, and as the subject of colonisation had for a long time past been an absorbing theme with him, he now made it the business of his life. Fortune favoured him. A band of intending colonists who had been impressed with the soundness of Wakefield's arguments in favour of the American plan of selling waste land instead of jobbing it according to the English plan, placed themselves in communication with Mr. Gouger, whose name had begun to be associated with every movement in favour of emigration.
He saw that any attempt to aid these intending colonists single-handed must be abortive, and that the only present assistance he could render them would be to influence public opinion, and to form provisional committees of influential men to take steps for the foundation of new colonies. But Wakefield's doctrine was as yet a novelty, and was being fiercely opposed by some, ridiculed by others, and, as if by common consent, ignored by the Colonial Department of the State.
Nevertheless, Gouger succeeded in calling general attention to the subject, and in forming two or three provisional committees. But that was all. When the storm of controversy set in, several well-known men, who had given a qualified adherence, withdrew their names, and when the task of securing a subscribed capital was commenced, one and all forsook their posts, and the matter was, perforce, allowed to drop for a time.
During the period to which we have referred, there are no detailed records, so far as is known, of Mr. Gouger's actions. If he kept a diary then, there is no trace of its existence, but from contemporary sources it is clear that he was in no wise cast down by his first defeat, and was actively engaged in originating a new society.
At first his society was simply denominated "The Emigration Society," but in process of time it assumed the more ambitious title of "The National Colonisation Society," of which Robert Gouger was the secretary. And here a few pages of a rough note-book, dating from February 3rd, 1830, to May 12th, 1830, throw some light on his movements. Upon him devolved the task of influencing public opinion by articles in the press, by advertisement and appeal, and eventually by personally setting forth the scheme, by word of mouth and by pamphlet, to members of the Government, and of both Houses of Parliament, and to men in high positions in the commercial world.
The object of the society was not to found a colony in South Australia, but to collect and diffuse information as to the best places for establishing colonies, and to explain and recommend the Wakefield system as the basis of any operations of a fixed and definite character they might undertake.
One of the rules was:—
"That one of the earliest measures of the society be, to establish a general correspondence with the colonies, in order to ascertain in what districts the greatest demand for labour exists, and in what settlements colonists may direct their enterprise with the greatest advantage."
Enough has been said to show that the task Robert Gouger set himself was a gigantic one, but the brief diary to which we have referred contains only a record of dry and bewildering labour, useful to himself as memoranda, but of little interest now. He was greatly assisted in his work by the circulation of two small books: one, entitled "A Letter from Sydney, edited by Robert Gouger," * in which the writer, whose name, for certain unknown reasons, was not disclosed at the time, dealt largely with the convict question as affecting the social condition of New South "Wales, and sketched the outline of a plan for more systematic colonisation. The other book was entitled, "The State of New South Wales, with Annotations by Robert Gouger." **
[* "A Letter from Sydney—the Principal Town of Australasia—Edited by Robert Gouger. Together with an Outline of a System of Colonisation." London, 1829.]
[** "The State of New South Wales in December, 1830. In a Letter addressed by R. S. Hall, Editor of the Sydney Monitor, to Robert Gouger, Esq., Secretary to the National Colonisation Society." London, 1831.]
In the course of the year Mr. Gouger had opened up correspondence with Canadian settlers as to the prospects of the society in regard to Canada, and also with the Cape; he had organised a crusade in many of the large centres of population in the provinces, for the discussion of the new principles in colonisation, and he obtained the adhesion to those principles by a large number of influential men, among whom may be mentioned John Mill, Malthus, Buckle, Sir Francis Burdett, Labouchere, Milne, John Abel Smith, and Sir H. Parnell; and he had scattered abroad by pamphlet, prospectus, and all available literature, full information as to the rise and progress of emigration.
The entries in the note-book relating to those proceedings show a dogged perseverance, a determined will, and singular force of character—the work of any one day, from early morning till late at night, being as much as the work of any ordinary man in a week. Occasionally the notes are varied by records such as the following:—
"April 29th, 1830.—I went on board the Brunswick in the London Docks, in which vessel were more than 200 persons going to New York. They had been sent from Norfolk by the parishes, and cost per head £7, averaging two children to one adult. On landing at New York they were to have ten shillings each given them by the Captain, and they were provided by the parish with a change of clothing. They were all in good spirits, and seemed contented and happy."
The last entries in the diary are as follows:—
"May 10th, 1830.—Took
possession of offices No. 21, Regent Street.
"May 12th.—The meeting to-day went off very coldly indeed. Resolution for a public meeting on the 26th was carried, but I much fear the result."
The result was the break up of the society. The Colonial Department in London had again and again been urged to acknowledge the Wakefield system with a view to its adoption by any colony that might be founded by the Colonisation Society. But Mr. Wilmot Horton, Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies, persistently opposed this, and an account of his action is given by Mr. E. G. Wakefield, which accounts for the pessimism in the last entry in Gouger's Journal:—
"This suggestion having been pressed upon the Government by a society established for the purpose of promoting systematic colonisation, Mr. Wilmot Horton, jealous, it would seem, of any interference with a subject, part of which had employed his thoughts for some years, became a member of the society, and then broke it up by getting into the chair at a public meeting, and zealously condemning the objects of those with whom he had professed to unite himself. But, at the same time, he greatly promoted the objects of the society by attacking their views, and thus causing those views to be examined. As an example of the assistance he thus gave to the dispersed members of the society, I may mention that he persuaded Colonel Torrens to join him in conducting a written controversy with two of those gentlemen, and that, in the end. Colonel Torrens became one of the warmest advocates of the measure to which he had objected when it was first submitted to him." *
[* "The Art of Colonisation." By E. G. Wakefield. Footnote on p. 280.]
Repulsed and disappointed, Mr. Gouger did not despair. He was confident in the ultimate success of his labours, in some form or other, and in the meantime help came to his cause from unexpected quarters.
In 1831 full particulars reached England of the splendid services rendered to the world by the discoveries made in South Australia by Captain Sturt, the famous explorer, who wrote: "A spot has at length been found upon the South Coast of New Holland to which the colonist might venture with every prospect of success, and in whose valleys the exile might hope to build for himself and for his family a peaceful and prosperous home. All who have even landed upon the eastern shore of St. Vincent's Gulf agree as to the richness of its soil and the abundance of its pastures. Indeed, if we cast our eyes upon the chart and examine the natural features of the country behind Cape Jervis, we shall no longer wonder at its differing in soil and fertility from the low and sandy tracts that generally prevail along the shores of Australia."
Attracted by these favourable reports, once more a party of intending colonists applied to Mr. Gouger for his aid, and he at once obtained from Colonel Torrens an introduction to Lord Goderich, Secretary of State for the Colonies, to whom Mr. Gouger, Major Bacon, and Mr. Graham submitted a scheme for founding a colony in South Australia. This scheme met with the qualified approval of Lord Howick, the Under-Secretary, but Lord Goderich threw cold water upon it, and when the draft of a charter, drawn up by Colonel Torrens, was, later on, submitted to him, he proceeded forthwith to cut it ruthlessly to pieces.
Every endeavour was made by Colonel Torrens to remove his objections, and the provisional committee, with Robert Gouger as their secretary, agreed to modify the charter; but Lord Goderich was inexorable, and, after a lengthy correspondence, into which we need not enter here, the "incident closed," the provisional committee was broken up, and the intending emigrants took their departure to America instead of Australia.
No memoranda of Mr. Gouger's in relation to this movement—which dragged its weary course for nearly two years—appear to have been preserved, but it is matter of history that one effect of these negotiations was tho acknowledgment by the Government of the principle of colonisation, for which there had been so much contention.
Colonel Torrens, in his work on "Colonisation," says: "To Lord Howick belongs the honour of having been the first to give practical operation to the principle of selling the colonial lands at the disposal of the Crown, and of employing tho proceeds of the sale in conveying voluntary emigrants to the colonies."
To this expression Mr. Edward Gibbon Wakefield, in his "Art of Colonisation," adds this testimony:—
"Not the least impression was made upon the Government while the Duke of Wellington's administration lasted. But soon after the change of Ministry which followed the 'Three Days of Paris,' soon after Lord Howick succeeded Mr. Horace Twiss as Under-Secretary for the Colonies, the measure suggested by the Colonisation Society was, in part, adopted by the Government. Defective as is that part of a measure—defective because incomplete—still, it cannot fail to be of great service to the colonies. Whatever the people of Canada, and of the English settlements in America, may gain by the check which has thus been put upon official jobbing in the disposal of waste land, they owe, not very remotely, to the workmen of Paris or M. de Polignac. For this great improvement they are more immediately obliged to Lord Howick; to the leading members of the Colonisation Society, Mr. John Sterling, Mr. Hutt, now M.P. for Hull, and Mr. Charles Tennant, then M.P. for St. Albans, and more especially to Mr. Robert Gouger, the Secretary of the Society, whose efforts to procure the adoption of its whole plan have been unceasing for several years. The successful issue of Mr. Gouger's long contests with the judgments of ignorance, the insults of pride, and the delays of idleness, should be a lesson of encouragement to the advocates of useful projects."
In view of the fact, that, although extravagant hopes of success had attended the formation of the Swan River Settlement, it had proved an almost total failure, it behoved the projectors of any new colony in Australia to put forth some very strong recommendations of their scheme if they would secure the ear of the Government and the ready cash of subscribers. It was necessary, at any rate, that they should show distinctly that whatever were the causes of failure at the Swan River those causes should not operate in any new project.
Such was the burden of the Press when it became known in June, 1833, that, notwithstanding the rebuffs Mr. Gouger and his colleagues had received in their previous attempts, they were again taking action for founding a colony in South Australia.
It was at this point in the history of the movement that Mr. Gouger began to keep a systematic Journal, and henceforth in these pages we shall, aw far as possible, let him tell his own story in his own words.
The first of the large-sized and closely-written volumes is headed—
"Private Journal Relating to
Renewal of the attempt to found a Colony at Port Lincoln."
The Journal commences thus:—
"June 22nd, 1833.—In the course of conversation with Mr. W. W. Whitmore, M.P., upon the subject of colonisation, it appeared desirable to make an attempt to found a colony upon the southern part of Australia, not only for the sake of testing certain principles of colonisation, but as affording another outlet for the superabundant capital and population of Great Britain. It was therefore determined that I should send to Mr. Whitmore a paper containing the heads of a charter which he could show to the Secretary of State for the Colonies."
On the next day the following letter was sent:—
Mr. Gouger, to Mr. W. W. Whitmore, M.P.
"I have taken the liberty of enclosing a sketch of those points which it appears to me must be included in any charter in order to the successful formation of the colony at Spencer's Gulf. They are simply such as are necessary to give effect to the principles of colonisation, and to offer to a Company such a reasonable expectation of profit as may induce commercial men to invest money in the speculation; at the same time I should trust that Government will not object to them, as all the parts to which they formerly objected are now left out, and the appointment of the Governor and the mode of administering the affairs of the Colony are left entirely at their discretion.
"The only ground upon which I can conceive that an objection will be raised to the plan, as at present submitted, would be to the inexpediency of increasing our colonies, and thereby producing, to a certain extent, the very dispersion which the principle of colonisation seeks to prevent. To this objection, however, should it be urged, it may, I think, be answered that the mode of administering the affairs of the other colonies in Australia has effectually prevented concentration for a long period, and that there are circumstances in all the other Australian Colonies which will prevent for some time capitalists from embarking their property in the purchase of land there, especially with a view of settlement. The establishment, therefore, of a colony to which the reasons restraining such an employment of capital do not apply, would have the effect of creating a fund for the purposes of emigration, rather than of diverting to a new spot a fund which otherwise would have been employed in one of the colonies. The circumstances which prevent to a certain extent the emigration of capitalists to the other colonies may be stated to be, in addition to the dispersion already produced, the existence of the convict system in New South Wales and Van Diemen's Land, and the want of labour and of a harbour at Swan River, together with the inconveniences which must result from the divisions of that colony consequent upon the settlement formed at King George's Sound.
"There are, however, points to which the attention of the Government should be called in relation to the regulation of the colony which it has been deemed imprudent to insist upon as indispensable to the formation of the colony, and which must therefore be left to the decision of the Ministry. Of these, the most important is free trade.
"A fact is mentioned by Colonel Hanson, in his pamphlet on the Swan River Colony, which indicates an evil from which it is highly desirable that this colony should be exempt. He states that at the time of the greatest privation in the colony, there was strong inclination among the Dutch at Java, within three weeks' sail of them, to send provisions and other articles for their supply, but that the presence of the Sulphur sloop effectually prevented any such contraband traffic. It is desired that Port Lincoln should be free as is the Port of Singapore."
The enclosure referred to the above letter was:—
"A sketch of the most important heads of a
charter for founding a colony by means of a Land Company.
"1. The sale of all land in the colony at, or above, a fixed minimum price.
"2. The employment of the proceeds of such sales in the conveyance to the colony of young pauper labourers of both sexes in equal numbers.
"3. The increase of the minimum price of land till it shall be found adequate to the full supply of the labour required for its cultivation.
"4. The territory of the colony to be defined and to extend over a space sufficiently large to prevent any alteration in the value of land in the colony by the .adoption of another system of disposing of land in its vicinity.
"5. The Governor and all the officers of the colony to be appointed by the Crown.
"6. The company to have the pre-emption of 1,000,000 of acres to be selected within a given time at the minimum price; 500,000 acres to be paid for within five years from the date of the charter.
"7. The company to defray the expense of the government of the colony until the population shall exceed a given number, the entire cost of the government to be limited, and the whole to be considered a colonial debt, to be repaid at such times and in such amounts as may be agreed upon.
"8. A land tax, or a tax upon rent, to be levied from the commencement of the colony, for the purpose of raising a fund for repaying the company, in the first instance, the sum which it shall have advanced for the purposes of the Government, and afterwards to meet the Government expenditure.
"9. Perfect freedom of trade."
These papers were duly forwarded to Mr. E. G. Stanley,
successor to Lord Goderich in the Colonial Department. Against
the respective numbers in this sketch Mr. Stanley
2. How to be accomplished?
3. Not sufficiently explicit.
8. Land Tax very difficult of collection.
9. Cannot be granted; the colony must stand on the same footing as other colonies in that part of the world.
On July 5th, a meeting of committee was held at the office of Messrs. Gouger & Co., of Leadenhall Street, to consider this paper and the remarks upon it, and to send in a more detailed plan to Government. There were present Mr. Whitmore, M.P., in the chair, Messrs. J. Montefiore, Mangles, Samuel Mills, E. Heathfield, Col. Torrens, A. Borradaile, R. D. Hanson, Robert Gouger, and Captain Gowan.
After much discussion, the following letter and accompanying papers were sent in to the Colonial Office through Mr. Whitmore.
"I have the honour to enclose a series of propositions (No. 1), which are submitted by way of suggestions for the establishment of a colony on the southern side of Australia, subject to such modifications as may be deemed necessary by His Majesty's Government. It may be right to remark that the proposed limit of territory comprehends part of the unsettled lands included within the range prescribed as the limit of the colony of New South Wales by the Royal Commission under which that colony was founded; but this territory being very remote from the settled parts of the colony, it is presumed that this will not be found an insuperable difficulty to the establishment of the proposed new colony.
"By the enclosed paper (No. 1), it is proposed that the Joint Stock Company, the formation of which will be necessary to the colony, should be pledged to an advance not exceeding the sum of £100,000 by way of guarantee against the colony becoming chargeable to this country, and the promoters of the plan hope that arrangement will be deemed satisfactory by H.M. Government. Should, however, the preference be given by H.M. Government to the expense of the colony being assumed by the company without limit, I beg leave to submit as an alternative the enclosed paper No. 2.
Enclosure No. 1.
"The object proposed is to found a colony on the
southern coast of Australia by means of the purchase of waste
land from the Government by a Joint Stock Company and by private
individuals. This principle of the sale of land has been adopted
for the purpose of procuring the means of conveying to the colony
the unemployed population of the United Kingdom, as well as with
a view of preventing those evils which, in other countries, have
resulted from the dispersion of the colonists, while the mode of
applying the money arising therefrom will supply the want of
labour, which is the chief impediment to the progress of new
"In order to obviate the objection which might arise from the apprehension of expense being occasioned to the Home Government, it is proposed that the cost of the formation and government of the colony should be advanced by the company hereinafter mentioned.
"The following is a statement of the principles upon which it is deemed expedient that the colony should be founded; and, with a view to maintain them inviolate for a certain period of time, it is proposed that they should be embodied in a charter to be granted to the colony by the Crown.
"1. The territory of the colony to be defined, and to extend over a space sufficiently large to prevent any alteration in the value of land by the adoption of any other system of disposing of land in its vicinity.
"The extent of land which it is thought desirable to fix as the territory of the colony is that lying between the 130th and 140th degrees of east longitude (both inclusive) on the southern coast of Australia, including the islands on that line of coast. The object of such an extent of territory being required is, as above stated, the prevention of any other system of disposing of waste land in the vicinity being adopted; for if land should ever again be given away (as heretofore in the colonies) in the neighbourhood of the estates of the company and of individuals, the value of these would fall, and the supply of labour would be rendered unequal to the cultivation of the appropriated land.
"2. The sale of all land in the colony at, or above, a fixed minimum price.
"This regulation will ensure the concentration of the settlers in proportion to the price at which the land is sold, and being adopted by H.M. Government in relation to the colonies already established in Australia, needs here no comment.
"3. The employment of the proceeds of such sales in the conveyance to the colony of young pauper labourers of both sexes in equal numbers.
"The selection of the emigrants to be made by the directors of the company so long as the company shall continue to advance money to defray the expenses of the government of the colony, careful regard being had to the ages of the emigrants, who, generally speaking, should not exceed twenty-five years.
"4. The minimum price of Government land to be advanced from time to time as the circumstances of the colony may admit.
"It is proposed that the first minimum price should be 5s. per acre: the necessity of such a regulation as this is therefore apparent. Five shillings an acre will give £100 as the price of 400 acres; this sum would convey to the colony six persons, three men and three women. The labour of three men is, however, obviously insufficient for the cultivation of 400 acres of land, and the advantages which are expected to arise from this plan cannot be realized in any great degree until the price shall be so raised as that the purchase money of the 400 acres shall suffice for the passage of as many labourers as are required to cultivate it effectively. The precise sum which it would be expedient to demand as minimum price of land must be left to experience to determine, but, as artificers of various kind must be provided for the colony, as well as mere farm-labourers, it is evident that a considerable increase in the minimum price would be desirable.
"The reasons for the low price fixed upon as the minimum price at first are—the fact of that being the price of land in the other Australasian settlements, and the necessity of offering some premium to the persons who undergo the hardships and incur the risks of the first settlement, and to give to the company a sufficient inducement to undertake the expense of founding the colony.
"5. A land tax, or a tax upon rent, to be levied from the commencement of the colony for the purpose of raising a fund in aid of the expenses of the colony.
"In those colonies, the population of which is scattered over a vast extent of territory in proportion to people, and in which the regulations attending the disposal of waste land have not been uniform, it has been found difficult to collect a land-tax or quit rent; but as in the proposed colony the population will be more concentrated than in the other Australasian colonies, it is presumed the difficulty and expense of collection will not be an insurmountable barrier to the imposition of this tax, while the advantages of direct taxation appear to be such as to justify the trial.
"It appears necessary that a charter, embodying the following provisions, should also be granted to the company, together with the usual clauses limiting the responsibility of shareholders, &c.
"6. The company to have the pre-emption of 1,000,000 of acres to be selected within a given time at the first minimum price.
"The inducement to the company to found the colony is this right of pre-emption at the first minimum price. Having the first choice of land they will be enabled to select that upon which the seat of Government will be placed, and that which will form the sites of the principal towns, as well as any spots which, either from locality or fertility, may possess a peculiar value. The profit of the company will arise from the additional value which the increase of population and growth of capital always confer upon land, and from the increase in the minimum price at which the Government land will be sold, while the price paid by the company for their land will be uniform at whatever period it may be taken up.
"The operations of the company in selling land will be wholly distinct from those of the Government, and will be confined to their 1,000,000 acres. On this land they will perform such works as they may deem expedient with a view to attract population thereto and to Increase its value, while the Government will sell, in an entirely unimproved state, the land not purchased by the company to any individual or bodies of individuals who may be desirous of purchasing it.
"7. The company to advance from time to time, as may be required, the money requisite for the government of the colony, such advances not to exceed £5,000 per annum for the first three years and £7,500 for any subsequent year not amounting in all to more than £100,000, the whole to be considered a colonial debt, to be repaid at such times and in such amounts as may be agreed upon. In default of such repayment the company to be entitled to the further choice of land at the minimum price of five shillings per acre, to an extent equal in value to the amount of such default.
"It is proposed that the subscribed capital of the company shall be £500,000, to be divided into shares of £50 each; one half of the subscribed capital of the company to be employed in the purchase of land in the colony from the Government, and the remaining half to be reserved as a fund for the purpose of carrying on the government and for the construction of roads, bridges, wharves, &c., and the foundation of a town or towns, so far as these latter objects shall be deemed desirable by the company.
"8. The Governor and all the officers of the colony to be appointed by the Crown.
"It appears highly desirable that the whole power and responsibility of the Government should devolve upon the Governor until the colony shall be thought sufficiently advanced to receive the grant of a legislative assembly.
Enclosure No. 2.
"If a proposal for founding a new colony in Australia, comprehending a full guarantee to His Majesty's Government on the part of the colonists against the contingency of every charge falling upon this country in respect of the government and management thereof, should be deemed preferable by H.M. Government to the plan suggested in the paper No. 1 in that respect:—"The proposed Joint Stock Company would be willing to undertake the entire management and settlement of the colony-under the pledge of its subscribed capital for the fulfilment of that condition:—The land to be sold and the proceeds of the sale to be applied in the manner already suggested. The management of the colony to be relinquished to H.M. Government, whenever required, upon the company being released from the liability to further advances in respect of the government of the colony.
Memorandum from Mr. Stanley.
"Downing Street, 27nd August, 1833.
"I see no objection to selling to a company a
large tract of land at a minimum price of 5s. per acre, and
agreeing that within certain extended limits no land shall be
sold by the Government below that price, reserving to the
Government the power of selling any amount at or above that price
"2. The company, however, must be bound to purchase the whole of their land, whether they settle it or not, by fixed instalments within a limited period.
"3. The whole of the purchase money to be expended in sending out emigrants, but a corresponding sum to be also paid over each year, to be laid out for the expense of the civil government, or in carrying out an additional number of emigrants. The latter application not to be made without the consent of the company.
"4. The proposal of a land-tax appears quite inadmissible as a mode of raising revenue. At all events, if it be adopted, it must be at the risk of the company, and they must be responsible to Government for a fixed annual income.
"5. The advances made by the company for the civil government of the colony to be a debt on the colony, the repayment to commence when the whole advances shall have been made, or sooner if practicable, not to exceed per cent, per acre on the whole sum advanced. In default of other payment, may be repaid in land, at a price not less than 5s. per acre, nor below the average selling price by more than one-fifth.
"6. Adequate provision to be made out of the produce of all lands, whether sold by the company or by the Government for the support of religion and of education.
"The Government to retain the power of consolidating the colony with any other for legislative and judicial purposes.
In consequence of the above communication, Mr. Gouger called a meeting of committee on September 13th, to be held at Mr. Heathfield's, but no person attending, Mr. Borradaile was called upon, and after some consultation the following paper was agreed to be sent to Mr. Whitmore, to be forwarded by him to Mr. Stanley. The paragraphs in Mr. Stanley's memorandum were numbered, and to these the numbers below refer.
"(1) The quantity of land which the company
proposes to purchase of the Government is one million acres, to
be selected between the 132nd and 141st degrees of east
longitude, both inclusive, and between the 20th parallel of south
latitude on the north, and the Southern Pacific Ocean on the
south, which includes the shores of the large inlet known by the
name of Spencer's Gulf, together with the island called Kangaroo
and other islands adjacent.
"It is deemed proper here to call the attention of His Majesty's Government to the boundaries of New South Wales, more especially as the promoters of the colony find it said, in Barrington's "New South Wales," vol. i., p. 50 (upon what authority, however, is not known), that on the landing of Governor Philip at New South Wales, some document (whether a Royal Commission or Letters Patent is uncertain) was read by the Governor, by which the colony was found to extend as far westward as the 135th degree of east longitude, including the adjacent islands.
"It is hoped that no impediment will arise through this circumstance to the foundation of the colony on the site proposed, as, if the boundary of New South Wales should be considered as unchangeably fixed by the declaration alluded to, the proposed colony would be deprived of every safe harbour hitherto discovered on that part of the Australian continent, and no inducement would remain for founding the proposed colony. It is, moreover, suggested that no injury would be done to any individual in New South Wales by the boundary being altered if it has been considered settled. On the contrary, that great benefit would arise to every resident in that colony by the settlement of what cannot yet be said to be even their actual frontier.
"(2) The promoters of this plan acquiesce in this proposition, subject to the provision that in the event of the plan of founding the colony being at any time relinquished, or of the colony, if founded, being given up, the company shall not be liable to the continuance of the annual payment hereinafter mentioned; but in either of such events, the expense of removing the emigrants who had been taken to the colony through the medium of the company, to the nearest settlement, to be borne by the company.
"The payment for the land to be made by instalments, and to be extended over a period of fifteen years.
"(3) The committee are of opinion that if by "a corresponding sum" be meant a sum equal to the purchase money of the land, it would be very difficult, if not impracticable, to raise a capital for the purpose. They propose that the money to be advanced for the maintenance of the civil government should not exceed £7,500 per annum for the first three years, nor £10,000 for any following year, and that such advance shall cease with the payment of the last instalment for the land.
"(4) The proposal of a land-tax is founded on the considerations: (1) That such an impost would serve as a check to speculative purchasers of land, the object being to get the land into cultivation as soon after purchase as possible, and more especially as an advantageous means of raising revenue. This tax is proposed not to be levied until the colony has been founded three years.
"It is clearly understood, however, that the payment of the civil government of the colony is not to be considered as depending for support upon this tax. The company are security to the Government, and whatever sum the company may receive by the adoption of the tax in question will be a credit in favour of the colony against the company.
"(5) Interest at 5 per cent, per annum to be computed upon the several sums advanced from the respective times of advancing them, such interest to become principal when the whole principal shall have been advanced. Repayment of the aggregate sum to be made to the company by annual instalments of not less than 10 per cent., and such part of the aggregate sura as may from time to time remain unpaid to bear simple interest of £5 per cent., to be paid in like manner. In default of payment in money, payment to be made in land as proposed.
"(6) If one particular form of worship is to be established, the unfairness to all those who do not agree with that particular creed or form of Church discipline, is apparent. "While the promoters of this object agree in thinking that religious teaching and other instruction is most important, they feel convinced that these objects will be best promoted by leaving their execution to the colonists themselves, who will thus avoid a source of much contention.
"(7) It is considered particularly desirable that the proposed colony should not be subjected to an incorporation with any other colony, especially on the ground of assuring those who may contemplate settling in the colony, that it could not become a penal settlement; it is therefore suggested that its consolidation with any other colony should not take place unless it should fail in paying its own expenses."
More than a month elapsed without any reply whatever being received from Mr. Stanley in acknowledgment of the foregoing paper, and Mr. Gouger, therefore, addressed the following letter to Mr. Whitmore.
Mr. Gouger to Mr. W. W. Whitmore.
"I begin to be very anxious to obtain a reply to the paper which Mr. Heathfield forwarded to you on the 14th of last month with a view, if you approved of it, to its being sent to Mr. Stanley. This gentleman is at present in London, and as his time is now more devoted to the details of his office than it can be expected to be during the sitting of Parliament, this would appear to be the time to induce him to examine the subject closely, and to decide upon it. The heads of Mr. Stanley's memorandum approximate so closely to the propositions of the committee, that but little correspondence seems now necessary, and I therefore am led to hope that much time need not be consumed in completing the arrangements.
"The receipt of Mr. Stanley's memorandum has caused me to change my plan as to leaving England, and I therefore remain here solely to occupy myself in promoting the foundation of the new colony. Since I had the pleasure of seeing you, I have been fortunate enough to procure for the measure the support of some influential persons besides those whom you have seen, and every day confirms me more strongly in the opinion of ample means being procured to carry out the scheme so soon as Mr. Stanley shall enable us to go before the public. Indeed, the present moment seems to me particularly favourable for raising money for any feasible project. The several companies now forming for banks and railroads find little difficulty in getting their shares taken. Excuse me, therefore, if I seem impatient of delay. Will your addressing a letter to him, or my seeing him for the purpose of laying before him evidence as to the soil and harbours, tend to remind him of the application, and, perhaps, induce him to examine it? If so, may I request you to send me a note to deliver to him? Again, my seeing him might perhaps lead to a conversation upon various parts of the plan, and so prevent a lengthened correspondence.
"In the course of a few days I hope to send you a paper on the effect which the formation of new colonies by means of land companies may have on the pour rates: this I am preparing for the Poor Law Commissioners, and it will form a part of their Appendix.
"I fear Mr. Heathfield's assistance cannot be retained for the company, as he is appointed to the management of a railroad company.". . . .
Mr. Whitmore having replied on October 11th, that "he was too well aware of the full occupation of Mr. Stanley's time to urge an interview," there was nothing to do but to wait.
It was a relief from official discouragement for Mr. Gouger to receive a cheery letter at this time from his brother Henry, who possessed considerable influence in India, and took a warm interest in Robert's colonial schemes:—
"I have read attentively the pamphlets you sent me touching the formation of a colony at Spencer's Gulph. If carried into effect, I have no doubt the colony would receive considerable assistance from the emigration of men who have made a competence in India, who generally prefer retiring to a more temperate climate when their means admit of such a change. I know myself many who would prefer settling in Van Diemen's Land to returning to England, were they not deterred by the state of society naturally consequent on a convict population. Should your scheme succeed, too, we shall not see the Indian ships returning to England, full, as they sometimes now are, with officers in the company's service, on leave to the Cape of Good Hope. These invalid gentlemen would generally prefer such a settlement as yours on the South Coast of Australia, where they could reside without infringing the regulations, which do not allow them to reside to the westward of the Cape under forfeiture of pay. These, as well as your resident settlers from India, would be numerous, I have no doubt. Of the latter you can i'orm some idea from the number now residing in Sydney and Van Diemen's Land, even in the face of such inconvenience as I have alluded to.
"When prepared, send me your papers and I will give them publicity in Calcutta for you.
The next entry in the Journal is as follows:—
"November 27th, 1833.—From the date of Mr. Whitmore's letter to the present time no very important step was taken towards founding the colony, with the exception of the publication of 'England and America,' which has been favourably reviewed in many papers, (No answer from Mr. Stanley, nor has any intimation been received of his feeling on the subject.) On this the rooms at 4, Adam Street, Adelphi, were taken, and the following circular was distributed:
"I have the honour to inform you that an association, or temporary society, has been formed for the purpose of establishing a chartered colony at Spencer's Gulph, on the South Coast of Australia, on the novel plan suggested by the Colonisation Society, and lately adopted by the Government as to New South Wales and Van Diemen's Land; that a negotiation with His Majesty's Government for obtaining a charter for the colony, similar to the charters under which Virginia, the Carolinas, Maryland, and Pennsylvania were founded, though suddenly broken off last year, has been renewed, and with the prospect of a favourable termination, and that the society desire to obtain your countenance and assistance in whatever degree or manner you may be disposed to forward this public undertaking.
"By becoming a member of the Society and taking an interest in their proceedings, you would not incur any pecuniary or other responsibility, since no subscription is required, and it is understood that the society shall consist of three distinct classes of persons: Those who may intend to settle in the colony; those who may chose to become trustees for laying the foundation of the colony (as in the case of all our old and successful colonies in America); and others who, from public motives, may wish to patronise a great national work, independently of personal objects and without any personal responsibility.
"For the present the society will have rooms at 4, Adam Street, Adelphi, where some member will be found at all times; where those may meet who are inclined to take the most active part; where full information may be obtained concerning the soil, climate, and situation of the proposed colony; the plan according to which it is to be formed; and the state of the negotiation with His Majesty's Government.
"November 27th, 1833."
It will be seen, that by this time Mr. Gouger had made up his mind that further negotiations with the Colonial Office as to the establishment of a Joint Stock Land Company were impossible. He could not brook the vexatious delays which prevented him from "striking his iron while it was hot;" he saw some of his best supporters wavering because of the hard conditions suggested by the Government, and he could not himself see how to overcome one of those conditions, namely, "that the company must be bound to purchase the whole of its land by fixed instalments within a given period."
Negotiations with the Government were therefore again broken off, but not before he had formed a farther plan for carrying forward his cherished scheme of founding a colony in South Australia.
It was for the furtherance of this new plan that the rooms were taken in the Adelphi, and the circular, given above, was issued.
When the idea of starting "The South Australian Association" forced itself on Mr. Gouger's mind, he was anxious to proceed at once to its formation, and as a preliminary step to call a public meeting in order to make the matter known. He went so far as to obtain the promise of many influential men to attend it, and his labours were incessant in working up an interest in the new movement; but, as Christmas was near at hand, it was decided to postpone the meeting until the New Year, he guaranteeing to prepare in the meantime a sketch of the prospectus, and others of the temporary sub-committee to prepare evidence as to the soil and general capabilities of the colony.
A few extracts from the Journal will show his activity towards the close of this year of disappointment and fruitless labour.
"November 28th, 1833.—Saw
Mr. Pottinger, a gentleman introduced by Mr. Richard Norman, and
who is anxious to go to Australia. He proposes to take out with
him about sixty families from Ireland, residents on his estates
there, and about £20,000.
"December 5th.—The sub-committee appointed to arrange the evidence appear desirous of omitting a considerable part of it. To this I object, on the principle of being candid, by way of disarming opponents.
"In a conversation upon the mode of procedure after the charter should be obtained, and upon the first expedition, its resources, &c., Mr. Pottinger offered, in case the necessary funds could not be readily procured, to make an advance of them upon the faith of being repaid, with interest, when the colony should be established, or when the trustees had effected the required loans. . . .
"December 6th.—Pottinger proposed to get, through the medium of Lords Bexley and Roden, the sanction of the Bishop of London to the plan of the colony, and his name as patron of a society for founding and endowing a church.
"December 7th.—Rowland Hill called to say he had conversed with his brother Matthew about the colony, and that he would willingly give it his assistance if, on close examination of the details, he approved of them. I offered to Rowland Hill the management of the thing at home, provided he would undertake to work assiduously with us now in getting the plan ready.
"December 9th.—Captain Hill called at the office; he approves fully of the plan intended to be pursued, and proposes to join the first party of emigrants. He said that he would join anybody in the purchase of an exploring vessel to the amount of £1,000, and would undertake the command of the ship. . . .
"December 11th.—Called on Abraham Borradaile, who approved fully of the prospectus and of the plan of the Association. He would not, however, allow his name to be placed on the committee, in consequence of the great number of Radicals whose names appeared there. When some moderate persons should appear to sanction the measure, he would then add his name.
"December 12th.—Called on Grote, and had a long conversation with him, at the termination of which he said he would be a member of the committee on two conditions; first, that his name should not be published without his seeing that the list of the committee was strong enough almost to compel the Ministers to grant the charter; and, secondly, that no person should be invited to be on the committee, excepting those persons whose names he then saw.... Proposed at the office that the persons who intended to emigrate should form a committee, or a society, for the following, purposes: getting up a little land company, to be confined to the colonists as subscribers; forming a society for building a church and paying a clergyman; another for building a chapel (if need be) and for paying a parson; and another society for establishing schools, and setting on foot a subscription for procuring a colonial library. This I recommended Hanson to take the management of, and he consented. . . ."
Day after day the Journal bears witness to the unremitting toll of Mr. Gouger in the prosecution of his work. Morning, noon, and night, day after day, his one consuming thought was to make known the principles upon which he hoped to found the colony and to obtain influential supporters. Here follows an entry of one day's work, a specimen of many, which need not be recorded:—
"December 13th.—Called on Montefiore, who said he would join the committee on the understanding that he pledged himself to nothing at present except a general approval and support of the measure. On Borradaile without seeing him. On Mangles, who was out, but I left him a note with the prospectus, saying I would call early in the week. On Senior, who said he would join the committee on the understanding that he was not to be called upon to devote much time to the measure. He would see John Lefevre and Stephen, and endeavour to get them to view the matter favourably. On Buller, who now allowed his name to be used, and would endeavour to get the Bishop of Llandaff to give his sanction to the project. He also promised to write to his uncle, a Tory, for the same purpose. Received a letter from Poulett Scrope, saying that he would belong to the committee and give the measure all the assistance in his power. Peter Peachy called, and entertains some idea of forming one of the first settlers. . . ."
G. Poulett Scrope, M.P., to Mr. Robert Gouger.
"I am much indebted to you for the obliging terms in which you have communicated to me the proposal that I should join the association for encouraging the formation of a new colony in Southern Australia.
"I have felt the strongest interest in the progress and prospects of the National Colonisation Society from its first commencement; though, from having been hitherto rarely in town for any considerable period, I have abstained from introducing myself to its principal supporters.
"I may say, too, that though I believe I formerly differed something from you as to the extent to which the principle of concentration ought to be enforced by putting a very high price on waste lands, we approximate now, I believe, very closely indeed in our views; and if the principles of that exceedingly able and powerfully written work "England and America" are to be understood as those of the society, I think I can profess an almost complete accordance with them.
"It will therefore be very agreeable to me, should the gentlemen composing the provisional committee of the South Australian Association think fit to admit me as a fellow labourer. In which case, when Parliament meets, I hope to be able to take an active part in promoting the objects of the society.
"R. Gouger, Esq."
It was the absorbing wish of Mr. Gouger to form the provisional committee and to issue the prospectus before the end of the year, and he left no stone unturned with this view. The Journal continues:—
"December 14th.—Rowland and
Matthew Hill called to talk upon the measure. The first of these
has some difficulty in fixing his name to the prospectus as
secretary in consequence of the Bruce Castle Establishment, but
he nevertheless is desirous to have the office. Hanson read a
paper at the rooms which he had written as a preface to the
evidence as to the soil. This was adopted by the committee.
"December 17th.—Parkes wishes to take other and better rooms and to get up a larger subscription. Romilly fully approves the measure, but will speak to Grote upon the subject before he decidedly gives his name. Grote thinks the committee will be strong enough to come before the public when the acquiescence of Strutt, Warburton and Romilly shall have been obtained. . . . In a conversation upon a church establishment, it was agreed that an attempt should be made to found a society for building a church, and to set this on foot, Mr. Pottinger offered to subscribe £50. . . .
"December 19th.—Saw Hume with Pottinger. Hume approves entirely of the plan, and appeared pleased at having an opportunity of declaring how much he was in error upon the subject two or three years ago when I conversed with him. He understands now the whole subject, sees that the only chance of failure in our plans is the difficulty of keeping labourers, and proposes, if we cannot get £2 an acre put upon land as the minimum price, to have a very high fee upon transfer. This, he thinks,, may prevent labourers buying a small lot and then subdividing it. He will not belong to the committee, but will support the scheme in Parliament and out.
"December 20th.—Pottinger informs me that Richard Norman is willing to advance the whole of the funds required for the undertaking, and that he wishes to converse with me on the subject. Pottinger showed me letters he had received from Lords Downshire and Donegal. Rowland Hill called to say that Dr. Birkbeck could not join the committee in consequence of ill-health, but that Dr. Southwood Smith would do so and give the association all the assistance in his power. Dined at my brother's in company with Mr. Shand, &c. My brother seems disposed to do much as Norman has offered: he sees that money may be made by a spirited adoption of the plan by any capitalist. Shand says that many persons from India will join the colony if it should be established.
"December 21st. . . Saw Warburton. The only difficulty which occurred to his mind was relative to the pecuniary responsibility of the trustees. . . . He has read 'England and America,' and spoke very pointedly against the old system of granting, and in favour of the present mode of selling land. He approves entirely of the plan, and will give it his warm support. . . . Captains Hudson and Currie called. The latter was with Stirling at the first landing at Swan River, and condemned much the plan then pursued of landing on Garden Island. If they had landed on the mainland at first they would have saved three months' time. . . . Colonel Torrens signified through D. Wakefield his assent to belonging to the Provisional Committee. . . . To obviate the difficulty of keeping labourers from becoming very soon landowners, Pottinger proposes to oblige all persons to procure a license to trade or to occupy land. The cost of the license to be £6.
"December 23rd. . . . Called on Norman and had a long conversation with him on the plan, and finally on his undertaking, to raise the necessary money and to become agent for the colony. I mentioned 8 per cent. as the interest I recommended to be paid, and pointed out the extent of shipping business which he would have if he adopted the proposition.
"December 24th. . . . Saw Hanson's proof, and found that he and Pottinger had determined to print Hanson's paper instead of Wakefield's. The reason Pottinger assigned for this is that the question of drought is discussed in Wakefield's paper, which is unnecessary, as it is not believed that the circumstance of drought influences South Australia. . . . Dr. Lang called and reported that land in the Bathurst Plains lets for £1 an acre per annum, and that a friend of his purchased 4,000 acres, 160 miles from Sydney, for 15s. per acre.
"December 26th. . . . The first meeting of the Provisional Committee was held; Grote in the chair, and present: Clay, Mills, Romilly, Hawes, Melville, Rowland and Matthew Hill, Roebuck, Norman, Pottinger, Gowan, Torrens, and Southwood Smith. Everything went off as well as possible. Grote kept the meeting to business, and made an admirable chairman. The prospectus was passed, with the addition of Clause XIII. . . . Thus the first step, upon which so much depends, is taken, and that without fear. . . ."
The prospectus of the association, which had been the subject of so much labour and care, ran as follows:—
SOUTH AUSTRALIAN ASSOCIATION.
Adelphi Chambers, John Street,
W. Wolryche Whitmore, Esq., M.P., Chairman.
|Aubrey Beauclerk, Esq., M.P.|||||Jacob Montefiore, Esq.|
|Abraham Borradaile, Esq.|||||Richard Norman, Esq.|
|Charles Buller, Esq., M.P.|||||Thomas Pottinger, Esq.|
|William Clay, Esq., M.P.|||||J A. Roebuck, Esq., M.P.|
|William Gowan, Esq.|||||John Romilly, Esq., M.P.|
|George Grote, Esq., M.P.|||||G. Poulett Scrope, Esq., M.P.|
|Benjamin Hawes, Esq., M.P.|||||Nassau W. Senior, Esq.|
|Rowland Hill, Esq.|||||Dr. Southwood Smith.|
|Matthew D. Hill, Esq., M.P.|||||Edward Strutt, Esq., M.P.|
|William Hutt, Esq., M.P.|||||Colonel Torrens, M.P.|
|John Melville, Esq.|||||Henry Warburton, Esq., M.P.|
|Samuel Mills, Esq.|||||John Wilks, Esq., M.P.|
|George Grote, Esq., M.P.||Joseph Parkes, Esq.|
Robert Gouger, Esq.
"The object of this association is to found a
colony, under Royal Charter, and without convict labour, at or
near Spencer's Gulph, on the south coast of Australia, a tract of
country far removed from the existing penal settlements.
"For raising funds wherewith to remove people to a distant place, as well as to establish and maintain social order in the colony, making provision for defence, for the security of persons and property, and for the education of the colonists, some authority is required. When the 'heroic work,' to use an expression of Lord Bacon, of planting a colony, and converting a desert into the abode of civilised society, is undertaken by the Government of the Mother Country, the requisite authority exists. But individuals cannot extend society to distant places without forming a compact amongst themselves, and obtaining some guarantee for its being observed. All the old and most successful British colonies in America—Virginia, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Georgia—were founded by individuals whose public spirit, prudence, and resolution were not otherwise assisted by the Government of this country, than as a charter from the Crown erected each of those bodies of individuals into a corporation, with the authority required for accomplishing, to use the words of several of those charters, 'their generous and noble purpose.'
"In this respect, the South Australian Association, confiding in the paternal goodness of his present Majesty, and trusting that their undertaking will be favourably viewed by an enlightened and liberal administration, will endeavour to follow the example of the London and Plymouth companies, which founded Virginia; of William Penn and his companions, who founded Pennsylvania; of Lord Baltimore and his associates, who founded Maryland; and of Lord Perceval and his co-trustees, who established the colony of Georgia.
"The following extracts from the Georgian Charter will, in some measure, explain the objects of the South Australian Association, and the means by which it is proposed to accomplish them:—
"George the Second, &c., to all to whom these presents shall come, greeting. Whereas we are credibly informed that many of our poor subjects are, through misfortunes and want of employment, reduced to great necessities, insomuch as by their labour they are not able to provide a maintenance for themselves and families; and if they had means to defray their charge of passage, and the expenses incident to new settlements, they would be glad to be settled in any of our provinces in America, where, by cultivating the lands at present waste and desolate, they might not only gain a comfortable subsistence for themselves and families, but also strengthen our colonies, and increase the trade, navigation, and wealth of these our realms:. . . .
"And whereas we think it highly becoming our Crown and royal dignity to protect all our loving subjects, be they never so distant from us, to extend our fatherly compassion even to the meanest and most unfortunate of our people, and to relieve the wants of our above-mentioned poor subjects; and that it will be highly conducive for accomplishing those ends that a regular colony of the said poor people be settled and established in the southern frontiers of Carolina; and whereas we have been well assured, that if we would be most graciously pleased to erect and settle a Corporation for the receiving, managing, and disposing of the contributions of our loving subjects, divers persons woula be induced to contribute to the uses and purposes aforesaid:
"Know ye, therefore, that we have, for the considerations aforesaid, and for the better and more orderly carrying on the said good purposes, of our special grace, certain knowledge, and mere motion, willed, ordained, constituted, and appointed, and by these presents, for us, our heirs and successors, do will, ordain, constitute, declare, and grant, that our right trusty and well-beloved John Lord Viscount Perceval, &c., &c., and such other persons as shall be elected in the manner hereinafter mentioned, and their successors to be elected in manner as hereinafter is directed, be, and shall be one body politic and corporate, in deed and in name, by the name of The Trustees for establishing the Colony of Georgia in America. . . .
"And we do hereby for us, our heirs and successors, give and grant unto the said Corporation and their successors, full power and authority to constitute, ordain and make, so many bye-laws, constitutions, orders, and ordinances as to them, or the greater part of them at their general meeting for that purpose, shall seem meet, necessary, and convenient for the well ordering and governing of the said Corporation. . . .
"And we do hereby for us, our heirs and successors, ordain, will, and establish, that for and during the term of one-and-twenty years, from the date of these our letters patent, the said Corporation assembled for that purpose shall, and may, form and prepare, laws, statutes, and ordinances, fit and necessary for, and concerning the government of the said colony, and not repugnant to the laws and statutes of England; and the same shall and may present under their common seal to us, our heirs and successors, in our or their privy council, for our or their approbation or disallowance; and the said laws, statutes and ordinances being approved by us, our heirs and successors, in our or their privy council, shall from thenceforth be in full force and virtue, within our said province of Georgia. . . .
"And our will and pleasure is that the common council of the said Corporation for the time being, or the major part of them, who shall be present, being assembled for that purpose, shall from time to time, for, during and until the end and expiration of twenty-one years to commence from the date of these our letters patent, have full power and authority to nominate, make, constitute, commission, ordain and appoint, by such name or names, style or styles as to them shall seem meet and fitting all and singular, such governors, judges, magistrates, ministers and officers, civil and military, both by sea and land, within the said district, as shall by them be thought fit and needful, to be made or used for the government of the said colony (save always and except such officers only as shall by us, our heirs and successors, be from time to time constituted and appointed for the managing, collecting and receiving, such revenues as shall from time to time arise within the said province of Georgia, and become due to us our heirs and successors),* provided always and it is our will and pleasure that every governor of the said province of Georgia to be appointed by the common council of the said Corporation, before he shall enter upon or execute the said office of Governor, shall be approved of by us, our heirs or successors, and shall take such oaths, and shall qualify himself in such manner in shall respects as any Governor or Commander-in-chief of any of our colonies or plantations in America are by law required to do.
[* This exception occurs in several of the Charters, and seems to have had for object the control of the Home Government over the foreign trade of the Colony—a power usually reserved by the King under the old system of colonial trade.]
"The South Australian Association consists of
three Classes of Members. First, Persons who propose to settle in
the colony: Secondly, Persons willing to aid the Association
without taking a responsible part in the proceedings: Thirdly,
Persons who may take an active part in the preliminary
proceedings of the Association, and may become, under the
proposed Charter, Trustees for carrying its provisions into
"The Provisional Committee, of which a list appears above, is divided into Sub-committees for particular objects, such as preparing a draft of the proposed Charter; communicating with His Majesty's Government; procuring and publishing information relating to the soil, climate, and other natural circumstances of the South Coast of Australia, and communicating with and promoting concert amongst those who may propose to be the first settlers in the new colony.
"It is desired that the Charter of Incorporation may contain provisions (amongst others) to the following effect:
"I. The colony to be erected into a province under the name of South Australia, extending from the 132nd to the 141st degree of east longitude, and from the south coast, including the adjacent islands, to the tropic of Capricorn.
"II. The whole of the territory within the above limits to be open to settlement by British subjects.
"in. Provided that within the said limits, no waste or public land shall become private property, save by one means only: viz., by purchase at a fixed minimum price, or as much above that price as the competition of public auction may determine.
"IV. Provided also that, subject to the above restriction, and to the necessity of previous surveys, all persons, whether residing in the colony or Great Britain, shall be free to acquire property in waste or public land, in fee, and without limit, either as to quantity or situation.
"V. That the management of the surveys and sales of waste or public land be confided to a responsible Board, with the best provisions for constant publicity in their proceedings.*
[* Considering that the power over the proportion between the inhabitants of a country and the territory at their disposal exerts a most important influence on the value of land, capital, and labour, complete responsibility and publicity appear quite necessary.]
"VI. The Corporation of Trustees to have authority for enabling individuals, whether residing in Britain or in the colony, to subscribe money into a joint stock for the purpose of buying waste or public land.**
[** This provision will, it is conceived, be most useful. Without some such provision, either the Corporation of Trustees must, in order to the commodious laying out of the first town and of roads, whereby to connect it with the interior, become a Land Company, and purchase a large block of land with a view to profit; or individuals might, by making purchases in the situation most favourable for a town, not only create a monopoly price of land near the seat of government and centre of commerce, but might altogether prevent the observance of method and regularity in laying the foundation of the future capital. Whereas, if the first body of emigrating capitalists were enabled to combine their funds, and to purchase a large tract of land in the most favourable situation for the first town, it would be for the interest of each and all of the owners of that favourable situation to lay out the ground for a town in the most convenient and ornamental manner, and at first to sell town lots at a very moderate price, with a view to the increase in the value of adjoining lots. It is in this way, generally, that towns are formed in new American settlements; many combining to do that in the best way, which separated individuals could not do at all. On this account it was at one time intended that the South Australian Association should be a Joint Stock Land Company as well as a body politic; but the intention has been abandoned on the ground that the Corporation of Trustees ought not to be engaged in any pecuniary speculation, and that companies for the purchase of land in the colony may be formed under the authority given to the association. In America the formation of such companies is greatly facilitated by the Government.]
"VII. That the whole of the purchase-money of
waste or public land, after defraying the necessary cost of
surveys and sales, be employed in conyeying British labourers to
"VIII. That the emigrants conveyed to the colony with the purchase-money of waste land be of the two sexes in equal numbers, and that the Corporation be bound to give a preference amongst the applicants for a passage cost free to young married persons not having children; so that for any given outlay of their money, the purchasers of land may obtain the greatest amount of labour wherewith to cultivate the land, and of population to enhance its value.
"IX. That until the colony be settled, and the sales of waste or public land shall have produced an immigration fund, adequate to the want of labour in the colony, the Corporation of Trustees have authority to raise money on loan by the issue of bonds or otherwise, bearing colonial interest, for the purpose of conveying selected labourers to the colony; so that the first body of emigrating capitalists going out to buy land may from the first be supplied with labour. And that until such loan or loans be repaid with interest, the Corporation be held bound to apply all the net proceeds of the sales of land in repayment of such loans.
"X. That for defraying the necessary expenses of the Corporation and Colonial Government, the trustees have authority to raise money on loan by the issue of bonds or otherwise, and that provided the said expenditure do not exceed £ in the whole, the amount thereof shall be deemed a colonial debt, and secured upon the entire revenue of the colony.*
[* It is thus provided that this colony shall be founded and maintained without any expense whatever to the Government of the Mother Country.]
"XI. That, as in the case of our old colonies in
America, of the company for founding Sierra Leone, and of the
East India Company, the Corporation of Trustees have authority to
frame and administer regulations or laws for the maintenance of
order, the protection of persons and property, and other objects
of local government.
"XII. That the said authority of the Corporation of Trustees shall continue until the colony, having, like all the chartered colonies of Britain, a local legislative assembly, shall have paid off its debt to the Corporation of Trustees, and shall undertake to defray the whole cost of its future government and protection.
"XIII. That the trustees shall be protected against personal liability."
Of course, this first prospectus could only set forth what the association desired, and it had to be altered in many important particulars as time went on.
The year 1834 opened well for Mr. Gouger; the Provisional Committee had got into working order, the prospectus had been successfully launched, and the Press had favourably reviewed it. But there were prophets in those days, and some of them saw rocks ahead! The Spectator * which had been faithful throughout to Mr. Gouger and his schemes, wrote:—
[* January 4th, 1834.]
"A body of gentlemen, surpassed by none in sagacity, business-like habits, or weight of character, have undertaken to plant a colony on the South Coast of Australia. The project may be considered a revival of that which, more than a year since, occupied the South Australian Company, with Mr. Wolryche Whitmore at their head, and was defeated by Mr. Hay, the Tory Under-Secretary for the Colonies. In the present case it appears that the committee are in direct communication with the Principal Secretary, Mr. Stanley, who, besides never having been a Tory, has visited Canada and the United States, and is just the sort of man not to let an underling decide for him. Mr. Hay is the Tory bum-bureaucrat (permanent official) of the Colonial Office. He, no doubt, will, as before, strive to prevent the formation of a colony which is to be governed at a cheap rate, to defray the whole cost of its government, and to be governed in local matters by the colonists themselves. But we doubt whether he will be able to lead Mr. Stanley by the nose as he led Lord Goderich. Mr. Stanley's knowledge of colonies, with his undoubted talents and industry, will enable him to appreciate the greatness of the present undertaking as an experiment in the art of colonisation. If he should do this—which, indeed. Lord Goderich did while he thought for himself—he will decide accordingly; and having promised to let the colony proceed to its destination, he will keep his word—which Lord Goderich did not as to a similar promise. In short, Mr. Stanley, notwithstanding some defects of temper, is a man; while Lord Goderich, with the most amiable disposition, is, begging his pardon, and speaking politically, 'an old woman.' We may, therefore, congratulate the new association on the removal of Lord Goderich to the sinecure of the Privy Seal."
In concluding a long article, the Spectator commented on the "Very judicious statement of the objects of the South Australian Association," as given in the prospectus, and commended it to all who desired that colonisation should be pursued systematically, with a view to raising the profits of capital and wages of labour, by a great and continual enlargement of our field of production. The article concluded thus:—
"The men who have undertaken to found the colony are not wild projectors; nor have they, we are confident, merely lent their names to a wild project. They are, most of them, public men with a high character to sustain; and they have not embarked in this important work without a sense of the heavy responsibility incurred in their engagement with the public. Here, then, is an opening such as never was presented before, to young men and heads of families in the middle class, who, with the sense to perceive the difficulties that beset their order in England, may have the courage to decide on being amongst the founders of a society in which no such difficulties can exist. To thousands who answer to this description we recommend the prospectus of the association."
Mr. Gouger's Journal for January in this year is the record of a bewildering amount of labour, almost inconceivable to any one but an enthusiast, who, having put his hand to the plough, will not turn his head for a moment to halt or to look back. There were, of course, as in all new associations, minor dissensions to be appeased, little ruggednesses to be smoothed over, prejudices to be overcome, and endless suggestions to be considered. In addition, there was an overwhelming amount of clerical labour to be performed; advertisements to be sent out, letters to editors of newspapers to be written, constant attendance to be given at the office of the association to answer inquiries and give detailed information about the colony and the immediate prospects of intending emigrants, while batches of letters were received from all parts of the country asking for information or exploiting new ideas.
Under the strain Mr. Gouger took one day's rest, but the entry in the Journal on the following day was, "Returned to town, where, in consequence of a day's absence, the affairs of the office were getting into confusion."
During the first fortnight of January no fewer than twenty-eight capitalists, heads of families, representing eighty-nine souls, had determined to go to the colony so soon as arrangements could be made, defraying, of course, their own cost of passage. And during the same period a host of clergymen and ministers, physicians and surgeons, engineers and architects, made applications for "posts" in the new land of promise.
One of the subjects which at this time pressed upon the attention of the committee was, what to do with intending colonists who were waiting to go out, and another, what steps should be taken to meet the "religious difficulty" of establishing churches and chapels. These subjects, among others, are touched upon in the following extracts from Mr. Gouger's Journal:—
"January 9th, 1834.—It was
proposed to form, a society of colonists in aid of the
Provisional Committee; the objects of the society to be, to
gather information upon all subjects likely to occupy the
attention of the Committee. Pottinger to-day has had a
conversation with Mr. Earle, Mr. Stanley's secretary, and the
result was very satisfactory. Mr. Earle says that the charter
will be obtained if it can be shown that the Government is to be
put to no expense, and if the money for the execution of the
project is procured
"January 12th.—Called on Parkes. He was just come from Ellice, who has given him much information relative to the charters of the Hudson's Bay and other companies. With the letters of introduction Ellice has given him, he will be able to obtain for Wakefield all the precedents he requires. Ellice has promised to do all he can privately to influence Stanley in our favour, and says he sees no reason why he should not succeed. I showed Parkes a proof of the Church Society paper, which he likes much. . . .
"January 15th—Rowland Hill agrees to work with me on the conditions that his name is not advertised as secretary, and that his brother may supply his place in case he may be unwell.
"January 16th.—The Church Society paper printed. The meeting of the provisional committee called for to-day was held, and was a complete scene of turmoil in consequence of some crotchets of Hawes'. He proposed that all proceedings should be stopped until the Government had consented to grant the charter. This was echoed by Borradaile and Montefiore, who, together with Hawes, talked about the fact of money having been asked for, for the purposes of the Committee. This led to reading the letters of Romilly and Senior, who had declined continuing on the Committee in consequence of the call for money. Clay and Grote stopped this by saying that if more money were required they would willingly subscribe again, and they had no idea of entering upon a thing of this kind without contributing towards the expenses.
"January 18th.—I recommended to sub-committee a protest against application to Stanley before a large body of colonists should be procured to accompany the paper which they might prepare.
"January 20th.—In consequence of the feeling in the committee of last Thursday relative to advertising being delayed, I wrote Grote a letter begging him to take a decided course. Just as it was going off he came in, and we had a long talk upon the subject. We agreed in wishing that the communication with Government should not be put in until (1) the money was certain; (2) until a strong body of colonists was obtained; (3) until the Church Society was got up; (4) until Whitmore and Scrope came to town. Wrote to the Bishop of London, requesting him to accept the office of patron to the society, and to appoint clergymen. Called on Currie, who would be a member of the Church Society, and allow subscriptions to be received at his house."
The "South Australian Church Society," to which many references have been made in Mr. Gouger's Journal, was warmly advocated by Mr. Whitmore—who was chairman of the provisional committee—and by Messrs. Raikes Currie, John Labouchere, and Pascoe St. Leger Grenfell, who were on the permanent committee.
In their prospectus it was stated that, "Amongst those who, with their families, propose to settle in the new colony, are some dissenters from the Church of England, and they are engaged in raising funds for the purpose of establishing their mode of worship. The emigrating members of the Church of England, also, are most anxious that the faith and discipline to which they subscribe should be planted from the very beginning, and preserved for their children by means of a sufficient religious establishment. With this view, they are prepared to contribute towards a fund, to be vested in trustees, for the purposes of building churches and clergymen's houses, and supporting clergymen in the colony."
"January 21st.—Saw Mills,
and reported to him the state of the association, and begged him
to allow advertisements to be inserted. He clearly saw the
desirableness of this, and promised to vote in favour of my
views. Received a very warm letter from Carrie in favour of the
"Went to Elliot [of the Colonial Office] and told him exactly our present condition, the reasons for not applying to Government, and the fear we entertained of being thrown over if we went to Government without being fully prepared. After hearing and considering the matter fully, he decided in favour of going to Stanley immediately, and for this reason: that he knew Stanley's tone of mind to be such as to induce him to decide upon the thing itself, unswayed by the fact of having a body of colonists, or by the outcry they might make if he refused the measure. The general feeling in the Colonial Office was, that we should get the charter, and he mentioned as an important fact in our favour, that the Australian colonies had been, since our advertisement, removed from Mr. Hay's superintendence to Mr. Lefevre's. He recommended our sending in a paper containing the mere outline of the plan, and asking Stanley to fix a time for seeing a deputation.
"January 22nd.—It was rather a full meeting of the Provisional Committee, and everything went off pleasantly enough. It was decided that application should be immediately made to Government, and a sub-committee—consisting of Grote, Whitmore, Clay, Hawes, Pottinger, Hutt, Torrens, Gouger, M. D. Hill, Warburton, and G. W. Norman—was appointed for conducting the communication with Government. A committee was also appointed for examining the charter. Some alterations were made in the wording of the prospectus. All letters were directed to be written on paper, printed thus:—
'The Provisional Committee are anxious that it should be distinctly understood, that although no effort will be spared by them to obtain from His Majesty's Government a Charter on the principles stated in the publications referred to, yet, as they may not succeed, there is necessarily doubt as to whether the Colony will be established or not; they therefore hope that no person will take any decided step with a view to emigrating to South Australia so long as such doubt continues.'
"January 24th.—Received a
letter from Poulett Scrope, saying that he feared, 'from private
sources of information, that Government is still much prejudiced
against the Association and its scheme.'
"January 25th.—Rowland Hill recommended me to go down to his brother at Westminster, and to get him to go with me to Shaw-Lefevre. This I did. I told Lefevre that 'my chief object in seeking the interview was to show him, as well as a bad headache would allow, the difference between this scheme and the last attempt to found a colony in the neighbourhood of Spencer's Gulf. In the last attempt, almost all those who were connected with the scheme intended to make money by it; this was not the case now—we were not attempting to get anything out of Government, we were not trying to make a bargain; but that the object of every meeting with Stanley would be to confer upon the best mode of doing a great thing, and the object of which was wholly national.' He replied, 'that whatever the objections to the scheme might be, it was quite clear that nothing like jobbing could be urged against it. The great respectability of the names would be a sufficient guarantee for that.' I then said that in the course of the correspondence which was about to take place between the Committee and Government, it might be very desirable for me occasionally to see him, not officially, but as a private individual, to converse upon the measure—this kind of intercourse might prevent interminable correspondence. He said, 'that he should be very glad to see me at all times, and would try to get all he could out of me.' On the whole, I am of opinion that he is rather in favour of the measure than otherwise, but he was very guarded, and said, 'that he might perhaps like to be more communicative than I might find him; but that he had found it necessary to say little, and that little cautiously.'
"Matthew Hill said he heard that application had been made to Stanley for the Governorship of the colony—this, he thought, very injudicious, and he should take an opportunity of saying that 'no application of a private nature which had been made was known to, or authorized by, the committee.'
"January 27th.—Gave Nicol part of the charter to be printed. Saw Parkes, and went with him to the Colonial Office.
"The object of our visit to the office was to obtain a late day in the week for the interview. Parkes relates that his conversation, on the whole, was favourable. Stanley took the papers to Brighton with him on Saturday, and, as he told Earle, read them carefully. He says, 'there is very great difference between the present plan and the last; that there are several points for discussion, and that it will not be all smooth work to us.' Earle further reports that he (Stanley) has conversed the matter over with Lefevre, and has instructed the latter as to the points on which discussion may arise. The Church, Earle thinks, is not likely to be a stumbling block. It is pretty clear that Stanley does not object to the matter in limine. Captain Sturt called; he is very favourable to the colony, and thinks that good land and a harbour will be found in Gulf St. Vincent, near a creek, discovered by Captain Barker. He also reports that the land is good by Port Lincoln, on what authority, however, he did not say. He will call again."
"I am directed by Mr. Secretary Stanley to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 23rd instant, transmitting a printed sketch of the objects for which the South Australian Association has been formed; and I have to acquaint you that he will be able to receive a deputation of the Company on Friday next, at two o'clock. Having paid the utmost attention to the prospects now submitted to him, varying, as they do, most materially from those before offered to his notice, Mr. Stanley feels it expedient thus early to apprise the Company that there are many of them to which he thinks it impossible that he can give his sanction.
"Immediately on receipt of this letter, I sent a
copy to each of the Sub-Committee, and announced a meeting on
Thursday to consider of the form of communicating with
"Jan. 31.—The deputation appointed to be received to-day consisted of Grote, M. D. Hill, Rowland Hill, Parkes, Pottinger and Gouger. They were received by Stanley in the presence of Hay, Lefevre and Earle, his three secretaries. Mr. Grote commenced the conversation by 'apologising for the absence of Mr. Whitmore, who, although not present, took a very warm interest in the scheme. Advertisements had been issued with a view to ascertain whether or not the public would sanction the measure; this was the sole object of those announcements having been issued. The effects of these advertisements were that numerous offers had been made of money, and that a considerable number of respectable persons were desirous of going to the colony. The persons who acted with him in the committee were not influenced by any pecuniary motives; their sole object was to do a thing which they agreed in thinking was fraught with public benefit. He then adverted to the large powers which were asked for the trustees, and said that it was necessary to mention some things in relation to them, more especially as they were not dwelt upon in the printed statement issued by the association. The first was, that the trustees were to be uniformly approved by the Crown; and the second that all laws were to be submitted to the Privy Council before being enforced in the colony. Any other provisions would be cheerfully acceded to which would have the effect of making the trustees responsible (without pecuniary loss) for the performance of their duties.'
"To this Stanley replied 'that numerous important alterations had been made in the plan since Mr. Whitmore sent him the paper before him, and he gave a decided preference to that original proposal as regarded certain provisions. By the present plan, that power was to be placed in certain irresponsible individuals which belonged properly to the Colonial Office, and not only were these individuals irresponsible, but they were not influenced by any pecuniary motive in seeking to govern well. By the present plan, the colony would be a republic, and as the officers were to be appointed by the trustees, the colony would be wholly independent of the mother country.'
"This was answered by Grote, saying that, 'whatever the powers might be which were sought for the trustees, they were no more than those which had been granted in many instances by the Crown, and more especially in the charters for founding the settlements in America and the colony of Sierra Leone.'
"Stanley remarked that 'nothing could be more vicious in principle than the plans of these charters; by them large blocks of land were given to individuals, and by their general mismanagement the colonies there planted died off repeatedly before a successful attempt was made. As to the Sierra Leone colony, he thought nothing of that. If this proposition was admitted, from some cause not now to be ascertained, the colony might fail, or the trustees might throw up their powers. In that case, the shareholders would be ruined, the emigrants would be ruined, and the Government would be blamed for granting so much power to irresponsible individuals. Again, he did not see the advantage of placing that power in individuals, doubtless very respectable, which ought to reside in the Colonial Office.'
"To this Matthew Hill replied, that 'it was necessary some body of persons possessed of considerable powers should be appointed, or capitalists would not have confidence in the colony, and so would not subscribe money. Government undoubtedly might manage the colony, he did not of course wish to compare the probable management of the trustees with that of Government, but it must be borne in mind, that if Government founded the colony themselves, they must also find the means wherewith to do it.'
"In reply to this, Stanley repeated 'his preference for a company pledged to purchase a given quantity of land at a given rate per annum, and at a given price; the directors of such a company would have a direct interest in governing well.'
"Upon this, Gouger asked 'whether it would not meet the objection urged, if the trustees were obliged to qualify by taking a given number of bonds, say five bonds of £100 each?'
"This question and a remark made by Matthew Hill as to the probable interest of a body of money-getting directors being different from that of the colony at large, Stanley answered by saying, 'that he did not see, on consideration, that it materially signified whether the trustees consisted of shareholders, or of persons not possessing pecuniary interest in the colony in whom the shareholders had confidence, so long as funds were raised to meet the necessary pecuniary responsibilities.'
"In answer to a question, however, put subsequently by Parkes, he said, 'that the management of the colony must be in the Colonial Office.' Upon this point it was clear he had no decided opinions.
"Another reason he gave for preference of the other plan was, 'the greater security for funds being advanced to foimd the colony. In this case, rather an unfavourable opinion might be formed from the fact of its being necessary to raise money in the first instance for a the purposes of the colony, not only for the Government purposes, but for sending out emigrants.'
"Grote replied to this, that 'very considerable funds were, he understood, in the hands of individuals ready to embark for the colony—these individuals would purchase land, and this would form an emigration fund.' On Grote's appealing to Gouger and Pottinger, they stated that 'thirty-five families of respectability had enrolled their names at the office, and that their united capital was estimated at nearly £200,000.' This communication seemed to have great effect upon Stanley, and he did not recur to the subject.
"Stanley then adverted to 'the proposition of giving the trustees the power to appoint all the officers of the colony. In the communication with Lord Goderich the same thing was asked and refused, and he could not, on the part of Government, recommend such a measure. It would be necessary that all the officers should be appointed by the Grown, and that a certain sum should be guaranteed to be paid yearly to Government, in order to meet the necessary expenses. He had no objection, however, to limit the charge to a certain gross amount and sum per annum, and to make the whole a colonial debt. This limitation would be a check upon Government.' He was a little indistinct as to the source whence such a sum was to be drawn. At one time he said the company was to assure it, and at another time he said it was to form a part of the produce of the sales of land.
"In answer to a question put by Pottinger, he said that 'he would not allow the land tax to be security for the Government expenses—he expected nothing to arise from this source.' Here he was prompted by Earle, who whispered the word 'customs,' and he then said that the colony 'would have the tax of customs.'
"On Parkes asking 'if he could fix a minimum sum to be raised for the maintenance of the Government establishment?' he replied, that 'that had better be raised by the trustees'; and in reply to a question put by Matthew Hill, he said, 'that there was no objection to fix a time in the charter when the colony should be entitled to a legislative assembly, that should be made to depend upon the number of male adults in the colony, the quantity of land brought into cultivation, and the fulfilment of certain other conditions. He would not say that the colony should have but one assembly. It should have at a certain time an elective assembly.'
"In answer to a question put by Parkes, he said that 'there should be no exclusive church, but that a fund must be raised for the purposes of religion and education, to be shared equally among all sects, as at present in Upper Canada.'
"He thought it right to mention that 'a clause in the Australian Company's charter might throw some hindrance in the way; he would not say that it would do so, but he thought it right to mention it. This was a clause preventing the establishment of another company in Australia for purposes similar to its own.'
"Gouger replied to this, that 'the Australian Company was founded for the purpose of growing wool, and that the proposed charter was for the purpose of founding a colony.'
"Gouger then mentioned 'the boundaries of New South Wales, which, according to a paper read by Governor Philip, on landing at New South Wales, were found to extend to 135° of east longitude; but as Van Diemen's Land has been formed into a province since that time, he presumed that no difficulty would arise on that head.'
"This fact Stanley did not appear to be aware of, and said that 'of course, anything which he had said did not at all go to approve or otherwise of the locality—whether or not the site proposed was fit for the formation of a settlement was another question.'
"On the whole, Stanley appeared to admit that a charter, with such provisions as he had described, might be granted on the requisite funds being raised, and towards the end of the interview he certainly relinquished some of the difficulties with which he set out, especially as to the appointment of trustees.
Thus ended the first interview with Stanley, the above account of which has been revised by Pottinger and Rowland Hill. The fact of his having his three secretaries with him was inauspicious enough, especially that marplot, Hay. At first he appeared to be completely against the plan, and I expected him to give us a flat refusal; during the interview, however, he relaxed, and showed more inclination to see whether or not the scheme could be modelled to meet his views. It is clear to me from his manner that all he wants is patronage to places here and there; here, the sole appointment of commissioner, and there, the appointment of all the officers. This point I feel every inclination to cede to him, more especially as he has no objection to limit the annual expenditure—the limit, however, must be ascertained.
"His plan of the Church is also as free from objection as can be hoped from him.
"The chief obstacles are (1) as to the appointment of trustees, for unless the public have confidence in these the money cannot be procured, and for this purpose it is quite necessary that they should have wide political powers; (2) as to the mode of raising funds for the maintenance of the government of the colony—this must not come out of the proceeds of the sales of landy as he once proposed, but from some other source."
There was the rub! The one thing needed was lacking, and although Mr. Gouger, with his aspiring and hopeful nature, could write with an easy mind, "the funds must come from some other source," it was many a long day before that source was found.
The next step was to prepare a fresh draft of a charter to be submitted to Mr. Stanley, and having had an expression of his views, Mr. Gouger, and the sub-committee working with him, took special pains to enlarge upon those points which would tend to make things agreeable in the Colonial Department without altering any part of the scheme relating to the principles for which they were contending.
We continue our extracts from Mr. Gouger's Journal:—
"February llth.—Called on
Lefevre, who received me very well. I told him that my chief
object in calling was to assure him that the intention of the
committee was to found a colony wherein the system of
colonisation they approved should be tried, free from any
disturbing causes, and that no experiment in legislation was
intended. The fact of the majority of the committee being
Radicals depended upon two circumstances; first, that the Whigs
were in office, and, therefore we could not hope to have them on
the committee; secondly, that I was a Radical, and therefore knew
more Radicals than any other class of men.
"February 22nd.—Sent Stanley the following letter with the signatures attached:—
"The undersigned, being members of the
Provisional Committee of the South Australian Association, have
the honour to transmit to Mr. Secretary Stanley two interleaved
copies of the draft of a charter.
"The papers which were laid before Mr. Secretary Stanley on the 23rd of January last had been drawn up with a view rather to afford information to the public as to the general principles and objects of the Association, than to specify the details of the proposed undertaking. In the accompanying draft, therefore, though it contains nothing contrary to the plan which had been framed for public information, there will be found numerous provisions which did not appear in the other printed statements. The most important of these added provisions relate to the control of His Majesty's Government over the acts of the corporation; and some of them have been inserted expressly with a view to meet certain objections which had occurred to Mr. Secretary Stanley, and which were expressed by him to the deputation from the committee. It may be remarked, also, that the powers proposed to be conferred by the present charter are much less extensive and far more under the control of His Majesty's Government than those conferred by any previous charter for similar purposes.
"The substitution of the word 'Commissioners' for that of 'Trustee' is not a merely verbal change; for it indicates, and will draw attention to the fact, that the persons acting under the charter would be servants of the supreme Government, and quite as much subject to its control as the members of any Royal Commission.
"Supposing that the measure in its present shape should have Mr. Secretary Stanley's approbation, the committee would propose that before the introduction of a bill authorising His Majesty to grant the charter, ample security should be given to His Majesty's Government, by persons resident in this country, for the payment of a sum adequate to meet the expenses of Government (which sum they would propose should not exceed £7,000 in any one year, or £100,000 in the whole), together with ample security for the immediate purchase of waste land to the amount of £620,000.
"If, however, the great pains which the Committee have taken to render the charter wholly unexceptionable should not prove successful, if Mr. Secretary Stanley should still disapprove of the measure or any part of it; and if there be any modification of it that would make it entirely agreeable to him, the Committee beg that he will be pleased to specify such modification on one of the enclosed drafts, and to return the same to them, so that without giving him the trouble of a long correspondence and repeated interviews, they may obtain for their own guidance an accurate knowledge of his views.
|W. W. Whitmore.|||||Wm. Molesworth.|
|Geo. Grote.|||||G. P. Scrope.|
|William Hutt.|||||B. Hawes, jr.|
|Robert Torrens.|||||E. Strutt.|
|Henry Warburton.|||||M. D. Hill.|
|William Clay.|||||R. Norman.|
|Geo. W. Norman.|||||Raikes Currie.|
|H. G. Ward.|||||Abraham Borradaile.|
|John Wilks.|||||Jacob Montefiore.|
|Joseph Parkes.|||||D. Wakefield.|
|J. A. Roebuck.|||||Joseph Wilson.|
"February 25th.—Lefevre told
——— that Stanley felt convinced we had some
hidden object, in consequence of our committee being all
Radicals, and he was therefore very suspicious of the measure.
Finished to-day my digest of the evidence as to the locality, and
not before it is wanted, for it is now out of print.
"February 26th.—Called on Currie, who has seen the Bishop of London, and conversed over with him the plan of the Church Society. The Bishop is decidedly against any provision for religion to be raised in the colony upon the mode recommended by Stanley. He thinks a provision for religion generally, the funds arising from which should be divided amongst all sects, very objectionable, and would much prefer depending upon a society to be got up here, and the voluntary subscriptions of churchmen in the colony. He recommends the appointments to be made by the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, as from that body much pecuniary aid might be expected.
"February 27th.—Called on the Bishop of London. His conversation was much of the same character as that reported by Currie. He will allow his name to be used as President of the Church Society, and told me I might use his name wherever I liked to that effect. He liked the association, but would not give his name to it, as the committee consisted of Radicals and Unitarians. No mention was made of schools. He prefers this mode of getting up the Church form of worship to any other plan.
"March 3rd.—Received a letter from Whitmore, stating he had had a conversation with Stanley respecting the charter, and found him decidedly adverse to the plan of commissioners, stating that he could not submit to such an imperium in imperio—he said he should not object to the principles of the measure recommended in other respects, but he seemed resolved to take his stand upon this point. "Whitmore considered that his mind was so fully made up on this point, that he thought a meeting of the committee should be summoned to take the present posture of affairs into consideration.
"March 5th.—Pottinger took me on one side to say, that, if I encouraged the idea, he would guarantee the money for an exploring expedition, whether the charter were obtained or not. If it were not obtained under the present control at the Colonial Office, he would find the money if Stanley would give him an assurance in writing that no colony should be formed there until his report were made, or within two years. This shows Pottinger to be at least in earnest.
"March 12th.—Saw Lefevre. Wakefield has urged me to say little to Lefevre about the plan of the charter, and simply to ask for an answer. Immediately on entering the room, however, he began to talk about the objection which Stanley entertained to the plan, viz., the appointment of commissioners with the delegation of extensive powers. I answered this by saying, that the commissioners were as much dependent for their power upon the will of the Secretary of State as were the commissioners for the issue of Exchequer Bills, or any other commissioners, and that their functions were not more important to the State. This led to a conversation which lasted nearly an hour, in which he confessed that he had mistaken, or rather had not perceived, the bearing of that part of the measure, and that he was sure Stanley had not seen it. He would, therefore, speak to Stanley upon the subject, and wished me and G. W. Norman to see Stanley. I said I had no objection at any time to do so, but that it must be considered a private interview. Lefevre called the measure a most seductive one, and remarked that if the Colony were successful, as he fully believed it would be, that other Colonies would wish to be under our orders. This showed the feeling which Wakefield has always said was the guiding principle at the Colonial Office. I answered that it would be the plan, not the men who carried the plan out, that would be the matter of envy, and if this were found so good, I presumed Mr. Stanley would be glad to adopt it in other cases. I am quite certain Lefevre is sincere, and wishes to do all we require.
"March 14th.—In consequence of a message being left for me by G. W. Norman, I went down to the Colonial Office to see Lefevre. Lefevre has seen Stanley since I saw him, and has got the final instructions for a letter. Stanley retains all his old objections, and will not listen to the appointment of commissioners with legislative powers. I gave Lefevre a copy of the Church Society paper with the names filled in. At first, he was highly amused with the idea of having done the Bishop, but after a short time he said it was a very interesting and important paper.
"March 17th.—Called on Lefevre in consequence of our not having received any letter. He said that I should have it in an hour if I would call for it, and 'then we would read it together.' In an hour I called again and got the letter. Having read it, I said that it would be considered by some of our committee as a decisive answer in the negative, for as they considered that power to govern was indispensable, which Mr. Stanley distinctly refuses to grant, the thing would, in the estimation of many, be at an end. He replied he hoped not, for the plan was a very ingenious one, and he should like much to see it tried; there was truly no hope of Mr. Stanley's acquiescence being obtained for the appointment of commissioners with governing powers, but he thought there was room for another communication which might succeed. I remarked that nothing was said in the letter about the administration of the fund arising from the sales of land; in whom would that power reside? He replied, in any body we named. Mr. Stanley would not object to the Emigration Fund being expended by some person or persons appointed for the purpose. On this I reminded him that the emigration fund was public money; that if he appointed anyone to see to the disposition of this fund, he would be a commissioner, if he appointed more than one, they would be a Board of Commissioners—in that sense had he no objection to commissioners being appointed? He replied, 'certainly not.' I then adverted to the funds required for carrying the plan into effect—who was to raise money? He said, 'we might borrow it.' To this, I said that 'the Colonial Office could not borrow it, or they would be considered as borrowing on Government security; the proper persons to borrow money for the Government expenses would be the commissioners before named.' He saw no objection to this. Then I said, 'it appears that, after all, commissioners may be appointed, but their powers are not to extend beyond controlling the emigration fund, and raising money by the issue of bonds.' On his saying something about the land being taken from the control of Government, I replied that all we required was the continuance of one system of granting land, supposing it to be a good one; some one mode must be the best of those in operation, and I suggested that it became His Majesty's Government to ascertain by a commission, or by a committee of enquiry, which was that best mode—this ascertained, it was incumbent on the Government to do all in their power to perpetuate that mode; and the committee would be perfectly satisfied if an Act of Parliament were passed for the purpose of ensuring the continuance of such a plan. By these means, no land would be taken from the control of the Government. On my saying that I felt obliged to him for the kindness and attention he had shown during the negotiation, he said that he hoped I should come to him again with some modification of the plan, and he recommended especially that I should enibody such a plan as our conversation of this morning had elicited—he would consider such a letter private, until I told him to consider it as official. The letter received to-day from Lefevre, on behalf of Stanley, is as follows:—
"I am directed by Mr. Secretary Stanley to communicate with you as chairman of the provisional committee of the South Australian Association, in reply to a letter dated the 21st ultimo, addressed to him by the gentlemen composing that committee, transmitting for his consideration a copy of the draft of a proposed charter to carry into effect the objects of the association.
"I am to express Mr. Stanley's regret that you were prevented from being present at a conference which took place between a deputation from that committee and himself on January 31st, on which occasion Mr. Stanley communicated his general views upon the subject, and his objections to the plan then proposed to him.
"Mr. Stanley has since been led to believe that a minute of the discussion which took place at that conference has been made, and has been circulated amongst the members of the provisional committee. As no draft of any such minute has been brought under Mr. Stanley's notice, he cannot either admit or judge of its accuracy, and he therefore desires me (in order to prevent any misconception of his views) to recapitulate to you the substance of the opinions which he expressed at that conference.
"It was agreed to postpone the consideration of the evidence which might be in the possession of the parties as to the fitness or unfitness of the particular tract selected for the purpose of settlement, until it should have been ascertained how far the political views of the proposed company, and their project of colonisation, might meet the concurrence of the Secretary of State. With reference to this point, and reserving the former question to be thereafter discussed, Mr. Stanley, in conforming with the views he entertained in August last, and which were communicated to you in his memorandum of the 22nd of that month, declared himself willing, unless prevented by any express or implied stipulation with the Australian Agricultural Company, to treat with a body of persons associated as a company, with an adequate subscribed capital, for the sale to such company of a large quantity of land in South Australia, at the price of 5s. per acre, with the understanding that the amount paid by the company for such land should be laid out in sending emigrants from this country to the colony, under the direction of the company, and with a guarantee on the part of Government that, within a district of very considerable extent, no further land should be sold by the Crown under the minimum price of 5s. per acre, reserving, however, to the Crown the power of selling any quantity either at or above that price.
"Mr. Stanley, however, signified that in consideration of this arrangement the company should be bound to provide, for a given number of years, a fixed annual sum in payment of the expenses of the Civil Government, the officers of which were to be appointed by the Crown, but that the company should be allowed to reimburse themselves for the amount which might thus be advanced by them towards these expenses, either by charging it as a debt on the colony, or, by taking an equivalent in land. Mr. Stanley also stated that out of the lands to be hereafter sold by the company or by the Government, a fund must be set apart for the purpose of enabling the Government to afford assistance to the colonists in providing for education and religious instruction, not to be limited to any exclusive church or denomination, and he likewise intimated that when the population of the colony should have reached a given number. His Majesty would take into consideration the propriety of giving the inhabitants a share in the legislation of the colony, and in the control of its finances. Mr. Stanley pointed out to the deputation the important differences which existed between the plan which they then brought forward and that in which he had thus intimated his inclination to acquiesce, and he most especially drew their attention to the strong objection which he felt to the interposition of a body of trustees between the Government and the parties actually interested in the intended colony. Mr. Stanley had hoped that the result of the conference, to which I have adverted, would have been such a proposal on the part of the provisional committee as Mr. Stanley would nave felt himself justified in assenting to; but he regrets to perceive that the more matured plan which has been brought under his consideration in the shape of 'the proposed charter for the South Australian Commission' is very widely different from that which he was inclined to sanction. Mr. Stanley perceives that the parties who bring forward this plan and who stipulate for the withdrawal from the power of the Crown of the whole of a large territory, are not prepared to insure the application of more than a very small amount of capital to the purchaser of any part of this territory, so small, indeed, as not to hold out a sufficient guarantee for their experiment being effectually set on foot. He perceives also that as the proposed charter is framed, the whole active legislative power over the colony is to be taken from the Crown, and is to be placed in the hands of commissioners, not (except in the first instance) selected by the Crown; not removable except for positive misconduct or neglect; not responsible either to the colonists or to the Government at home for the measures which they may propose, and not personally interested in the success of the undertaking which they are to conduct.
"On the other hand, the Secretary of State for the Colonial Department, who will be unable to carry into effect any measure whatever, however essential he may consider it to the welfare of the colony, will still have the task of checking and controlling the proceedings of the new legislative body, and will therefore be subject to the responsibility of the failure of the experiment without being able to contribute to its success.
"Unless this important feature of the proposed charter is abandoned, unless the government of the colony is to be left in the hands of the Crown and its constitutional advisers, until it is able to govern itself—unless, in fact, the provisional committee of the association find themselves able to assimilate in a much greater degree their project to that which I have above sketched out as meeting Mr. Stanley's views, Mr. Stanley will be under the necessity of declining to proceed any further in this negotiation with the South Australian Association, a course which the intrinsic merits of their plan, considered as a means of facilitating emigration, and the respect which he entertains for the distinguished individuals composing the committee, would lead him sincerely to regret.
"I am further to add, that, in the event of the association ultimately deciding to treat for the purchase of a tract of land upon the terms above suggested by Mr. Stanley, Mr. Stanley would not object to the following stipulations being made in their favour, namely, that the minimum price at which the Crown should sell any additional land to individuals should be somewhat higher than that at which the company should have purchased it; and that a considerable part of the purchase-money of such additional land should be expended in promoting emigration upon such principles as might be hereafter agreed on by the association and His Majesty's Government.
"To W. W. Whitmore, Esq.,
"After much consultation with Edward and D. Wakefield, I sent Lefevre the following letter and paper containing answers to the objections which have been from time to time proposed by the Colonial Office to the plan.
"I take advantage of your obliging offer to receive from me a letter which should be considered private and confidential.
"I write without the knowledge of any of the committee.
"It appears to me that your official letter of this day must have the effect of dissolving the present association, and my reason for saying so is, that Mr. Stanley insists on a Crown colony, while the sole object of the association is to found a chartered one. The very great difference between a Crown and a chartered colony is clearly pointed out in the enclosed paper, which was not written by me, or, as you will readily see, with a view to its being laid before Mr. Stanley, and which I should not have thought of submitting to you in your official character.
"Supposing you to have read that paper, I conclude you will perceive that the committee (who will not meet till Friday next) are almost sure to object to a colony which should be chartered as to the money, the trouble, and the responsibility, but Crown as to every kind of power. This is why I believe that your official letter will induce them to dissolve the association and to appeal to Parliament.
"But as the sole object of some of the committee is, like my own, simply to found the colony on the principles laid down as to land and emigration without regard to questions of government, and as you allow me to express my wishes as an individual, I submit to you whether all Mr. Stanley's objections might not be removed if the association were to keep together merely for the purpose of enabling him to found a Crown colony.
"The only obstacle to the founding of a Crown colony is the want of funds for defraying the cost of government. But this difficulty would soon be at an end if the association were able to assure the public that a colony, on the principles laid down as to land and emigration, was about to be founded. In that case the colonists going out, and others here, wealthy persons, who wish the colonisation system to be tried, would advance sufficient funds for all Government purposes.
"I therefore submit for your consideration that Mr. Stanley should (following the example of Sir George Murray as to the Swan River) bring a Bill into Parliament to the following effect:
"To make laws and appoint officers for the
"To appoint commissioners for disposing of the waste land and the money obtained by the sale thereof, according to the principles laid down as to land and emigration.
"To raise money, on the security of the colonial revenues, for the purposes of the colonial government.
"This would be a Crown colony; but as it would be founded and extended on the principles laid down as to land and emigration, I do believe that many of the most influential persons in our committee, and some who do not yet belong to it, would take great pains in collecting a respectable body of colonists, and in finding, by way of loan, the sum required for government expenses, but of course they would act merely as individuals, since by the proposed Act of Parliament every sort of power would be vested in the Colonial Secretary.
"To this plan it seems to me impossible that Mr. Stanley should have any objection whatever, if he have no objection to our trying the principles of mere colonisation.
"I earnestly beg of you to examine it, and trust that you may be able to give some private and merely verbal intimation of your opinion respecting it by Thursday at latest.
"I have written without reserve in order that I might not be mistaken, and I have shown, I trust, what I fear that you have not fully understood before, that my sole object is the principles of colonisation without regard to questions of government.
"For your kindness which has enabled me to take a course so well calculated to remove all difficulties, I beg leave to return you my sincere thanks.
"P.S.—The proposed Bill might, if that
course were preferred, be introduced by Mr. Whitmore or some
other member of the association.
"I ought to have said that there is not the least chance of the committee assenting to a Joint Stock Company for the purchase and sale of land, as suggested in your official letter. If the measure were turned into a private speculation, those who are interested in it would immediately withdraw. If their object had been private advantage they would of course have jumped at Mr. Stanley's proposal that they should have land at a lower price than other people; but such a preference would be directly contrary to the principles of colonisation which they wish to see adopted."
"Answers To Objections
made by the Colonial Office to the South Australian Commission.
Sent to Lefevre with the foregoing letter.
"See the charter, its conditions, restrictions, and reservations.
"I. That the charter would create an imperium in imperio.
"Answer. The Latin answer is, Qui facit per alium facit per se. It is a delegation of authority. An independent and a delegated authority are widely different. For example, the recent Act of Parliament and Orders in Council, which establish a branch of the English Government within the Chinese Empire, have set up an independent authority as respects the Chinese Government; but as respects the English Government, the superintendents of the English trade at Canton will exercise a delegated authority. The religious government of the Quakers is, by sufferance, an imperium in imperio; but the authority exercised in perpetual succession, by the heads of the Established Church, is a delegated authority. So is the authority of the East India Company, of the Grosvenor Place trust, of every canal or railway company, and of the hundreds, nay thousands of corporations that exist in Great Britain and Ireland. Delegation of authority in perpetual succession has, for ages, been a leading principle of the British Government; as one central authority acting everywhere by means of temporary agents has ever been a leading principle of the Turkish Government, and, since the time of Napoleon, of the French Government. And in nothing has the British Government more strictly adhered to the principle of delegated authority than in the foundation of colonies. Allowing that the first settlement in New South Wales was not a colony, but a distant jail, there is but one exception to the English rule of founding colonies by means of a delegated authority in perpetual succession. That exception is the Swan River settlement. Whether the delegation of authority be a better mode of government than the constant and immediate agency of the supreme authority in all the details of government is a question; but there can be no question that the term imperium in imperio is totally inapplicable to the proposed commission, except for the purpose of misleading, except for the purpose of hiding the truth, which is, that the proposed grant would be a delegation of authority in strict accordance with the principles of the British constitution and with the practice of the British Government in the foundation of colonies.
"II. That the commission would interfere with the King's prerogative.
"Answer. No; for the King would exercise his prerogative in granting the charter. This is the Latin objection repeated in English. The English answer is, that the King would do that which it is one of his prerogatives to do, and which his predecessors have done over and over again in the exercise of their Royal prerogative. It is a great prerogative to have the power of delegating so much authority.
"III. That the authority required is too extensive.
"Answer. It is less extensive, by far, than in any preceding case. So much of the charter consists of conditions, restrictions, and reservations, that it hardly deserves the name of a grant, unless, indeed, it be considered a grant to the Secretary of State as well as to the corporation. By the conditions, restrictions, and reservations of the grant, the Secretary of State for the time being would nominate the first commissioners; would have a veto on the nomination of successive commissioners; would have power to remove commissioners for neglect or misconduct, and to appoint others in their room; would have a veto upon the appointment of the chief servants of the corporation, upon all the laws made by the corporation for the colony, and even upon the instructions given by the corporation to their servants in the colony. He would, besides, receive copies of all the pecuniary accounts of the corporation, and of all the correspondence with the colony. He would, in short, have entire control over the corporation, except in the original appointment of their servants. Amongst the thousands of cases in which the British Government has delegated authority for a specific purpose by means of a grant from the Crown, there is, probably, not one in which the authority given was so much restricted, so much held in subservience to the supreme authority, as in the present instance.
"IV. The corporation would dispense patronage.
"Answer. Of course it would select the servants, paid with its money for conducting its affairs. Responsible for the fate of the colony, it would choose (subject to the Ministers' veto) the persons on whose conduct the fate of the expedition must depend.
"V. The corporation would meddle with what belongs to the Colonial Office.
"Answer. What is it that belongs to the Colonial Office? Not the deserts of South Australia, nor the families who wish to settle there, nor the money which is ready to be advanced for founding and governing the colony. The corporation would meddle with nothing but a colony which remains to be founded, and that which is not yet in existence cannot belong to the Colonial Office.
"VI. The charter will diminish the powers of the Colonial Office.
"Answer. Not so; for as to no part of the subject-matter of the charter did the Colonial Office ever exercise any power whatsoever. That over which the corporation would exercise a much restricted power remains to be created. But the charter would add to the power of the Colonial Office by creating, where now there are only savages and kangaroos, a colony, over which the Colonial Minister would, by means of the conditions, restrictions, and reservations of the grant, exercise much control.
"VII. The corporation might establish a republic in New Holland.
"Answer. With the help of the Colonial Minister, the King, and Parliament, but not without, as no law framed for the colony is to take effect without the express approval of the Secretary of State, and, as the Parliament reserves to the King and Parliament the office of framing a constitution for the colony, the word 'republic' seems to be used, like the term imperium in imperio, only for the purpose of exciting prejudice.
"VIII. The Colonial Office is ready to find proper persons to found and govern the colony.
"Answer. Be it so; but then the Colonial Office must find the money and take the responsibility. In that case the colony would be formed according to the French or Turkish principle of central authority, instead of the old English principle of delegated authority. In that ease no charter is required, and there is an end of the question.
"IX. But the Colonial Office cannot find the money. Parliament grumbles at paying £7,000 a year for the Swan River, and would not give anything for another such colony. The Colonial Office is ready to expend the money, but somebody else must find it.
"Answer. This is the very pith of the question. The Colonial Office wants the patronage; but there can be no patronage without money, nor any money without a charter. None will lend their names for raising the money, unless they have a control over the money raised on their responsibility. So that when the Colonial Minister insists on expending the money, he declares in effect that there shall be no money to expend.
"X. The Colonial Minister wishes, on the contrary, that the money should be raised. He wants not the money but the appointments.
"Answer. That is to say, the corporation is to take all the trouble and responsibility of the undertaking, while its servants, on whose conduct and character the success of the undertaking will depend, are to be chosen by the Colonial Minister or his successor, or the successor of his successor. Or rather this money-finding and responsible corporation is not to have any servants of its own; it must find the money, and have the blame of failure, but must not control the work. Such a proposition, surely, was never made before. The Colonial Minister wants a chartered colony as to the money, the trouble, and the responsibility, but a Crown colony as to the patronage. The two opposite principles of control and delegated authority can never be so united. In either case, the appointment of servants necessarily goes along with the money, the trouble, and the responsibility.
"XI. The Minister objects to the principle of chartered colonies.
"Answer. Passing by the fact that the principle of Crown colonies is a modern innovation, introduced by the conquest of foreign colonies; that the very existence of a Colonial Office is of quite recent date; that during all the while when England was engaged in founding the thirteen great colonies of North America she was so unfortunate as not to have a Colonial Minister; and that no English colony (except the Swan River abortion) was founded otherwise than by charter; the present objection amounts to a decree against colonisation. The Minister cannot found a Crown colony, because Parliament will not give him any money for that purpose; but he forbids others to found a colony with their own money, that is, a chartered colony. He prefers a mere desert, and the uneasiness and distress which a new colony might relieve, to a colony which should not afford him any patronage. Though he would not lose any patronage by allowing a chartered colony to be established, still, because he would not thereby gain any patronage, he says that the thing shall not be done. He acts like the dog in the manger, preventing others, through mere whim or envy, from using that which he cannot use himself. Colonial Minister by name, he becomes in fact the Secretary of State for the Prevention of Colonies.
"That strange conclusion is undeniable, if this national undertaking (which has for object to enlarge the field of employment for English capital and labour) is to be prevented by the veto of one Minister. But this is a question in legislation, while the office of Colonial Minister is purely executive. This, then, is a most proper subject of appeal to the Cabinet and to Parliament. It forms no part of the duty of a Colonial Minister to decide whether new colonies shall be Crown or Chartered; still less is it his business to decide whether or not the British nation shall found more colonies. These are questions not of colonial administration, but of national legislation. The administrative authority which the Colonial Minister exercises in some distant provinces (some colonies and some not), was given to him by the Legislature; while the Legislature has placed some distant provinces quite out of his control. It was not the Colonial Minister, but Parliament, which made the Swan River a Crown Colony, and which renewed the charter of the East India Company. The whole question, then, is properly legislative and may be divided into three parts.
"1st. The expediency of colonisation on national grounds.
"2nd. Which is better, that new settlements should be Crown Colonies, governed entirely by the Colonial Minister, and at the national cost, according to the French principle of central authority, or, chartered colonies founded and governed by a body corporate, at no cost to the nation, according to the English principle of delegated authority and the well-tried practice of the British Government in respect to the foundation of colonies?
"3rd. Supposing colonisation to be expedient on national grounds, and that we cannot decide which is better—a Crown Colony or a Chartered one—still is not a chartered one better than none at all?
"Before this paper had gone in to Mr. Lefevre, Pottinger showed me a paper which he had prepared, and which contained heads of a plan for founding a Crown Colony. This I was not sorry to have, as it would at any rate prevent the annoyance of his opposition. His paper as read to me rendered the produce of the sales of land applicable to the expenses of Government as well as to the purposes of emigration. This I insisted on erasing, and finally it was agreed to say that the immigration fund should be applicable to the expenses of Government in case of the failure of all other means. In no other respect did it differ from the plan of the foregoing letter to Lefevre, and I hesitated whether or not it would be advisable to send this in rather than the 'answers to objections.' Wakefield, however, decided this point rather roughly, and the letter and enclosure were sent in.
"March 19th.—Called on Lefevre to learn whether or not he could express a decided opinion on the plan of the Crown colony. He did not seem at all hurt at the tone of the paper he yesterday received, but denied strongly that the refusal to the chartered colony was grounded upon a love of patronage. He had not read the letter sufficiently attentively to enable him to express an opinion upon which I might act, but thought, at the first blush, it looked more likely to meet Mr. Stanley's views. Just then his luncheon came in, and I told him that if he would allow me to read to him the heads of the plan more in detail, while he ate his luncheon, I should be glad. He assented, and I read the following paper, which is founded on Pottinger's above mentioned:—
"It is proposed to His Majesty's Government to
found a colony in South Australia, and the following provisions
are submitted for consideration. As a preliminary to the
introduction of an Act of Parliament, His Majesty's Government
must be fully satisfied that ample funds are ready to be invested
in the purchase of land; that the body of intending emigrants are
possessed of sufficient capital to maintain and employ the
labourers taken to the colony; and that the country will not be
put to any expense whatever, either in the founding or in the
government of the colony. The amount of capital to be provided
for these purposes to be determined by the Secretary of
"1. The colony to be erected into a province and in the name of South. Australia, and extending from —— to ——.
"2. Within the above limits no waste or public land to become private property, save by one means only, viz., by purchase at a fixed minimum price, or as much above that price as competition at public auction may determine.
"3. Subject to the above restriction, and to the necessity of previous survey, all persons, whether residing in the colony or in Great Britain, to be free to acquire property in waste or public land, without limit as to quantity or situation.
"4. The whole of the purchase-money of waste or public land to be employed in conveying poor persons, natives of the British Isles, from Britain to the colony, subject, however, to the contingency mentioned in Article 5.
"6. The expenses of the local government, which shall not exceed the annual sum of £————, to be provided for by the issue of bonds bearing colonial interest, or by taxes, to be levied in the colony. The produce of the sales of land to be applied to this purpose only in case of the failure of all other means.
"6. His Majesty's Government to authorize the issue of bonds for the purpose of founding the colony; the amount to become a colonial debt, provided it do not exceed £————.
"7. Taxes to be levied in the Colony as soon as practicable, to be applied, in the first instance, to replacing the amount deducted from the produce of the sales of land (should any such deduction have taken place), and afterwards to the liquidation of the colonial debt.
"8. The laws of the colony to be framed by His Majesty's Government until such time as the colony shall have a legislative assembly.
"9. All the officers of the colony to be appointed by the Crown.
"10. Fpon the male population amounting to —— and upon undertaking to liquidate the colonial debt, the colony to be entitled to a local legislative assembly.
"11. Adequate provision to be made for the support of religion and education.
"When I had finished reading this paper, Lefevre said, 'I think that will do—it is a very important paper, and I should like to have it.' On talking about the mode of executing the plan, I remarked that commissioners must still be appointed to administer the emigration fund, and to raise money by the issue of bonds. To this Lefevre assented, and dictated the following words: 'It is obvious that commissioners must be appointed for the purpose of raising the money for the government of the colony, as well as for selecting and sending out emigrants; these commissioners, of course, will be appointed by the Crown.'
"In the course of conversation after this, he said he hoped that I should not be obliged to take my threatened journey to America, and that, even if this plan went on, that I should not leave the country. To this I replied that it was very uncertain, and could only be decided by circumstances which might arise at the time. He then said he thought I ought to belong to the Statistical Society, and that he should be very glad to propose me as a member. I answered that if I remained in England, I should be much obliged to him to do so.
"March 20th.—Edward Wakefield thinks I have lost sight of the principle of colonisation in allowing the introduction of any clause making the immigration fund applicable to any other purpose than the conveyance of labourers, under the contingencies mentioned in the 5th clause of the foregoing paper. I did not care about it, because I felt assured that the colony might be said to have failed, if no funds could be raised in it by taxes, and if no money could be borrowed upon that security. He maintains that, however that may be, the principle has been lost sight of, and a premium is offered for the failure of other means by the introduction of such a power. I shall therefore alter the paper I gave Lefevre. Went down to the house with D. Wakefield. There we saw Scrope, Ward, Grote, Clay, Hutt, and Wilks. Showed them Lefevre's official letter, and the plan for founding a Crown instead of a Chartered colony. Clay, Scrope, and Ward thought that if Stanley would pledge himself to keep entire the colonisation plan, sufficient inducement would be held out to capitalists to embark money and to go to the colony. Grote and Hutt, on the contrary, appeared to think that self-government was necessary to the success of the colony. They were all much annoyed at the refusal, and they certainly showed much earnestness for the success of the measures.
"March 21st.—The meeting of the provisional committee took place, Whitmore was in the chair, and twenty-one persons were present. W. Strutt proposed Mr. Hawkins, M.P., as member of the committee. After the letter from Lefevre to Whitmore was read, Whitmore said that although Mr. Stanley objected to founding a chartered colony, that he did not think the committee ought to dissolve the association; if Mr. Stanley would agree to carry out the colonisation principles to which they were all so much attached, the form of government they required being denied them ought not to be considered a sufficient reason for refusing to go on with the measure. At least he would not leave the committee; if he did, he should think he were neglecting a great public duty. On this Hawes proposed that Lefevre's letter be copied and circulated amongst the members of the committee. He could not decide what ought to be done, he required time, and wished to meet again after the Easter holidays. To this Torrens objected. This plan had been now before the public some years, and he saw no reason why we could not decide at once. The subject was so familiar to the minds of many of the committee, that they could at once see what ought to be done. Gowan followed on the same side. I then reported that I had seen Lefevre several times lately, and could assure them that no hopes remained in my mind of being able to found a chartered colony. Mr. Stanley was decidedly averse to the delegation of sufficient power for the purpose. I related some parts of the conversation between Lefevre and myself, and then read the letter and resolutions which I wished the committee to adopt at that meeting. Hawes then put his resolution for adjournment, and Torrens proposed his amendment for adopting the letter and resolutions. A long conversation followed, but the event was in favour of the letter and resolutions. They were therefore read and re-read, until approved. D. Wakefield read the draft of the Act of Parliament, but this was rejected on the ground of their not being sufficiently advanced in the negotiation. Towards the conclusion of the meeting Grote, Clay, and Ward came in, and ripped open some points which had before been disposed of, thus much embarrassing the affair. Each of these had his own peculiar crotchet—Ward was strong on self-government—Grote on the probability of raising money, and Clay on the position of the committee with the public. Ward was sensible enough with his hobby; but Clay was trifling. Grote asked Norman, Currie, Clay, Hawes what they thought about the chance of getting money. Norman, Clay and Hawes differed with Currie in a trifling degree. They were very cautious in what they said about it, but Currie said he thought there was no doubt whatever of ample funds being raised—this he qualified again by saying that he would not put his opinion on paper; he said it in his private capacity and not as a committee man. They all thought there was a fair probability of the money being raised, and the resolution was framed accordingly."
The following are the resolutions, referred to in the foregoing chapter, which were forwarded to Mr. Lefevre, together with the letter signed by Mr. George Grote:—
"March 2lst, 1834.—Resolved:
That Mr. Lefevre's letter to Mr. Whitmore of the 17th instant
leaves no hope that His Majesty's Government will consent to the
foundation of a chartered colony in South Australia.
"That in case His Majesty's Government will obtain from Parliament the authority necessary for planting a Crown colony in South Australia, provision being made in the Act for the permanent establishment of that mode of disposing of waste land, and of the purchase-money of such land which has been recommended by this committee, coupled with provisions for good government, the South Australian Association shall continue its existence as a private and temporary society for the purpose of promoting the success of the measure.
"In the absence of Mr. Whitmore, the chairman of the provisional committee of the South Australian Association, I have the honour to acknowledge the receipt of your letter to him of the 17th instant, which has been submitted to the committee.
"The committee wish me to express, in the first place, their fear that their objects have not been thoroughly understood by Mr. Secretary Stanley. It is true that at the interview to which you refer, Mr. Stanley suggested that the association should be a Joint Stock Company, for the purchase and sale of land; but this never was the object of the present association; and I may add that the proposal at the conclusion of your letter for bestowing land on such a company at a lower price than that which should afterwards be paid by others, is directly contrary to one of the chief objects of the association, viz., that in the intended colony, land should be uniformly sold upon equal terms to all applicants.
"In order to express what have been the objects of the association, I must briefly advert to the difference between a Chartered Colony and a Crown Colony.
"A colony founded by charter is one example of that delegation of authority which, in perpetual succession, has for ages been a leading principle of the British Government; while a colony founded by the Crown is an example of that central authority, acting at whatever distance from the seat of Government, by means of temporary agents, which is a leading principle of the French government. In either case, however, the trouble, the responsibility, and the authority necessarily go together.
"Now the object of this association was to found a colony by means of an authority delegated in perpetual succession to certain persons who should incur the trouble and responsibility of conducting the undertaking. Mr. Stanley objects to such a delegation of authority. It follows that he objects to a chartered colony; for, of course, no body of persons would consent to take the trouble and responsibility of such an undertaking without obtaining at the same time sufficient authority for carrying their objects into effect.
"But while the committee conceive that Mr. Stanley's determination puts an end to the project of a chartered colony, and though they would have very much preferred that mode of proceeding, they are of opinion that a Crown colony would be very desirable, provided that the Secretary of State, in founding such a colony, should take effectual means to establish permanently, so as to leave no room for change by his successors, that system in the disposal of waste land, and the purchase-money of such land, which has been recommended by this association. But in the founding of a Crown colony the difficulty is to obtain funds for the purposes of government. It is not to be expected that Parliament should make a grant of money for that purpose, so that, unless some other means can be devised for raising the necessary funds, Mr. Stanley's objection to a chartered colony will amount to a decree against the colonisation of South Australia.
"But the committee are inclined to believe that other means for defraying the expenses of a Crown colony may be employed with effect. They conceive that, if the proposed method of treating waste land and immigration were permanently established and securities given for good government, the prospect of the success of the colony would be such as to afford a fair probability that persons in England would be ready to advance upon the security of the future sales of land and upon the security of the ordinary revenue of the colony, both a fund for supplying the richer colonists with labour until the immigration fund should be sufficient for that purpose, and a fund for defraying the charges of Colonial Government. Their present view of the subject, founded on the assumption that your letter of the 17th instant puts an end to the question of charter, is more fully explained by certain resolutions this day passed by the committee, of which I have the honour to enclose a copy.
"The committee, then, compelled to abandon the principle of a chartered colony, yet trusting that the Crown may be disposed to establish permanently for South Australia the best mode of treating Waste land and immigration, beg you will be so good as to inform Mr. Stanley that, if he should intimate to them his intention of permanently establishing by Act of Parliament the system for the sale of land and immigration by them suggested, coupled with securities for good government, they will, as a private but temporary society, exert themselves to promote the success of the measure.
"March 22nd.—Sent the above
letter to Lefevre, with a note (private) saying that I should
call on Monday to give him the rough draft of an Act of
Parliament, which would explain the most important articles
required by the committee. I omitted to state that on Friday,
when I was with Lefevre, he said that if it was decided to bring
in an Act of Parliament he would require my assistance, and that
I must be always with him.
"March 25th.—Called on Torrens, who informed me that he intended applying for the Governorship, and with that view intended going to Lefevre to-day, and giving him a letter for Stanley. I expressed my pleasure at hearing that he was going to do so, and heartily wished him success.
"April 7th.—This morning I saw Lefevre, according to appointment. The conversation between us was almost a repetition of Lefevre's with Torrens. I gave him the digest of the evidence as to the soil, &c., with Wakefield's preface—this he promised to give Stanley.
"Before leaving, I told him I had the greatest desire that the best man who could be found should be offered the governorship. I would not mention names, but I thought it very important that no person who held that, or any other high official situation, should be allowed to trade in land—it would be just as improper for the Governor to deal in land as it would be for the Master of the Mint to trade in bullion, the Master-general of the Ordnance to deal in stores, or for the Chancellor of the Exchequer to negotiate loans. To this Lefevre quite assented, he said he saw the great importance of such a provision, and it should not be forgotten. As to men, ne asked me how I should like Torrens as Governor? I replied that he was, in my opinion, the most fit man I had ever seen for the appointment, and that he would receive the suffrages of the committee, if they should be appealed to.
"This conversation I reported to Torrens, who was waiting for me at the Golden Cross, and at 3 o'clock he had his interview with Lefevre. Between the time of my leaving and his going to Lefevre, Stanley had been talking to Lefevre about the measure. Lefevre says he begged Stanley to look tenderly at the plan, for that he took much interest in the matter. On this, Stanley said he was like his predecessors. Hay had founded Fernando Po, Twiss had founded Swan River, and he, Lefevre, wanted, he supposed, to found Spencer's Gulf. However, he would at once consider the matter, and he directed Lefevre to send all the papers about it to his house that evening, especially the paper as to the soil, which I had this morning given Lefevre. Lefevre, on the whole, led Torrens to believe that there was no insurmountable difficulty in the way, and said that on Wednesday at 2 o'clock he should be able to give a decided answer.
"April 9th.—Torrens again saw Lefevre. There is no longer any difficulty in the way, unless the question of money should be deemed one, and it is not yet sure how Stanley may proceed with a view to putting the committee in the way to getting this. I have before shown Lefevre how likely we were to be placed in a vicious circle—we cannot actually get money until we know decidedly how the Act of Parliament will run, and if Stanley will not assure us of what the Act shall be, before he sees the money, we shall do nothing. Lefevre tells Torrens that the draft of the Act of Parliament which I privately gave in, Stanley has seen and approves, with one remark only, 'that the wording of the money clause is vague.'
"Stanley wishes to see some of the leading city men, so as to receive from them an assurance that money will be obtained, or at least that there is a sufficient probability to justify him in making the trial. The letter, therefore, which we are to receive from Lefevre in answer to our last communication will be an assent on Stanley's part to the plan, provided the preamble of the Bill can be proved—that is, if money can be procured. If the committee as a body will speak before Stanley, as they do in committee, he will be assured that 'there is a fair probability that the trial will be successful'—these are Grote's cautious words. Nothing more is known about the Governorship—Sir John Jeffcott has applied for the appointment of judge.
"April 10th.—Nothing important—I wrote, however, a private note to Lefevre, begging him to word his letter so as to keep to himself the writing of the Act of Parliament, instead of leaving it to our committee—this on the score of saving time, for I offered him the complete draft of an Act written within three days, if he required it; it would occupy our committee three weeks.
"I sent the following letter to Lefevre by Pottinger's desire:—
"It is my intention, should H.M. Government found a colony in South Australia upon the principles submitted to them, to invest £20,000 in that colony, and I have reason to believe that the capitals of the following gentlemen will amount to considerably upwards of £50,000.
"I beg also to state that several of my tenants, who wish to emigrate, have from £100 to £1,000.
"This letter may go towards proving the preamble
of the Bill, but certainly militates against Pottinger's claims
for the Governorship.
"April 14th.—Called with Torrens on Lefevre. Lefevre says that the letter, which we shall have in the course of the day, will contain a promise to accede to our wishes, if we can fulfil four conditions—1st. That the soil is fit for colonisation; 2nd. That £35,000 should be invested in the purchase of land; 3rd. That £650,000 was in the hands of the persons going to the colony; 4th. That the expenses of the Government should be provided for by the Association and to the following amounts—for the first three years, £5,000 a year; for the next three years, £8,000 a year; for the next four years, £10,000. The letter will refer to the draft of the Act I gave Lefevre, and will approve of it. It will also invite some persons from the Association to see Stanley. Thus the matter may be considered done at last, for with these four conditions it will be easy to comply.
"April 16th.—The promised letter from Lefevre arrived to-day about 4 o'clock. The following is a copy:—
"I have received and laid before Mr. Secretary Stanley your letter to me of the 21st ultimo, and the resolutions of the South Australian Association which it contained. I have also brought under his notice the rough draft of an Act furnished to me by Mr. Gouger, which has been suggested as advisable to be brought in for the purpose of founding a colony in South Australia.
"I am directed by Mr. Secretary Stanley to state to you that, approving of the general principles regarding emigration, upon which the committee intended to found the proposed colony, he should not be unwilling to sanction the experiment as defined in the draft of the Act before referred to (reserving to himself the power of suggesting such modifications as may appear to him to be necessary), if the following points could be satisfactorily established.
"1st. That the district pointed out for the colony is favourable in point of soil, climate, and water, for the establishment of a colony.
"2nd. That there are persons willing to purchase land in the colony to an amount of not less than £36,000.
"3rd. That there are persons willing to embark for the colony with a capital of not less than £50,000.
"4th. That there are sufficient funds actually subscribed for, and effectually guaranteed, for the support of such parts of the establishment of the colony as may appear to His Majesty's Government to be absolutely essential (including a provision for religious instruction) during the periods, and after the rates following, i.e.,
For the first 3 years . . . £5,000 per annum.
For the next 3 years . . . £8,000 "
For the next 4 years . . . £10,000 "
"Mr. Stanley is well aware of the difficulty of satisfying this fourth condition, and he much doubts whether, upon the plan suggested in the draft for raising a loan for these purposes, on the security of the current revenues of the colony, a sufficient fund could be obtained. At the same time, Mr. Stanley would not feel justified in consenting to the foundation of any new colony at present, unless the revenues of the Mother Country could be thus protected from all expenses incidental to it.
"Mr. Stanley perceives that, without some provisional sanction of this scheme on his part, it would be almost impossible to ascertain the disposition of the public with respect to it, but he thinks that even such provisional sanction ought not to be given, unless he should be furnished with good grounds for believing that these points could be ascertained before a formal application should be made to Parliament on the subject.
"Upon the several foregoing points, therefore, Mr. Stanley would be glad to see Mr. Whitmore, yourself, and any other three gentlemen of the committee who might think proper to accompany you on Friday the 18th instant, at 1 o'clock.
"To George Grote,
Esq., M.P., &c., &c."
April 25th.—Grote called to ask if we could not have a meeting this evening at the House of Commons, to talk over the question of the minimum price of land; accordingly, R. Hill, Grote, Clay, Scrope, Hutt, Torrens, and Hanson, met me at the House, and continued there till 11 o'clock. After a great deal of irrelevant conversation, Grote, Clay, and Scrope, appeared to decide upon fifteen shillings per acre, while Torrens, Hanson, Hill, and Hutt, united with me in opposing so low a price. At the end of the palaver I told Grote I hoped that as soon as he saw that ample funds were ready for the purchase of land in our colony, at a high price when compared with New South Wales and Van Diemen's Land, that he would move that the price of other colonial land should be raised. This he caught at eagerly, and said it ought clearly to be done.
"Minute of Conversation with Mr. Secretary Stanley, revised by Clay and Grote.
"The deputation consisted of Mr. Whitmore, Mr.
Grote, Mr. Raikes Currie, Colonel Torrens, Mr. J. Pottinger, Mr.
Clay, Mr. Gouger, and Mr. Mills; they were received by Mr.
Stanley in the presence of Mr. Lefevre and Mr. Earle.
"The conversation commenced by Mr. Stanley remarking that the soil of the proposed site did not appear from the evidence presented to him to be decidedly fit for colonisation; it must be admitted by all that it would be very desirable to know more upon the subject. On this, Mr. Gouger asked to be allowed to point out on the map the places where there was reason to believe water and good soil were to be found. This was done, reference being made in particular to the evidence of Captains Gould and Sutherland; after which Mr. Stanley appeared to consider the proposed locality fit for colonisation, and did not recur to the subject.
"He then asked what probability there was of the funds being obtained which were necessary to found the colony; he particularly mentioned the £35,000 for the purchase of land, and the £50,000 which it was necessary the individuals should possess who first emigrated to the colony. Mr. Grote, in answer, expressed his opinion that these funds would be raised with facility if an Act of Parliament were passed on the principles recommended by the association, but until this were given us, no one would consider the project a reality—Mr. Currie, Mr. Clay, and Mr. Mills confirmed this opinion. Mr. Clay here suggested that the best course would be, for a Bill to be brought in at once and to be passed through the House without delay, provision being made in the Act for its not being put into operation until the conditions which Mr. Stanley required should be fulfilled. This would make that a reality which was now a thought, and would completely distinguish this plan from the bubble schemes of 1825. Mr. Stanley appeared to give this idea much consideration, and certainly seemed favourable to it; he did not, however, express a decided answer in favour, but left the deputation under the impression that he approved of Mr. Clay's suggestion.
"Mr. Stanley then asked what was to be the minimum price of land? This caused some conversation, in the course of which Mr. Stanley appeared to think that a price above, or even so high, as 10s. per acre, would prevent persons possessed of capital going to the colony, and being procurable at a much lower rate in other colonies. This remark was answered by Mr. Grote and others, who showed that it would be even more advantageous to capitalists to give a considerable price for land, in the first instance, because the low price would be attended with a proportionately greater deficiency in the supply of labour,—which formed the great bar to the prosperity of capitalists in a new colony. It was finally determined that a sub-committee of the South Australian Association should examine this subject, and that they should report to Mr. Stanley both their opinion and the grounds on which it rested.
"Mr. Stanley then asked whether the funds for defraying the Government expenses would be easily provided. To this question Mr. Grote, Mr. Clay, Mr. Currie, and Mr. Mills gave a similar opinion to that which they had previously given as to the advancement of the funds for other purposes. It was here mentioned by Mr. Grote that it was proposed that the money should be raised at colonial interest, and that the rate ought to be something about 8 per cent. Mr. Gouger here remarked that the current interest of New South Wales and Van Diemen's Land was about 12½ per cent., and it would be no hardship on the colonists of South Australia to pay 8 per cent., while that rate of interest would be a sufficient inducement to English capitalists to advance the money. Mr. Stanley then asked, where was the evil of paying the advances for the government from the produce of the sales of land—this would avoid a national debt being incurred. Mr. Gouger answered this by saying such a measure would be an infringement on the main principles of the plan of the association, and would much complicate the question of minimum price. Nor was such an addition to the price of land necessary while individuals of the highest respectability were willing to take bonds; such a security would be the best possible. To this Mr. Stanley made no objection.
"Mr. Stanley now enquired what plan it was proposed to pursue relative to the first expedition? Mr. Gouger replied that perhaps the commissioners would send out two ships, one of 200, and another of 100 tons; the first would discharge her cargo on some favourable point, and then proceed to Van Diemen's Land for food, while the other would survey the coast. After about four or six months, the most desirable site of the first town would be ascertained, and about that time a third vessel would arrive, filled with artisans and labourers, to form roads and to prepare houses for the reception of the body of emigrants, which would speedily afterwards follow.
"In conclusion Mr. Stanley said that there appeared to be no great difference in the views of the committee and of the Government, and that he saw no reason for refusing his assent to the measure, provided he were satisfied as to the minimum price to be demanded for land; he must, however, submit the plan with all its details to the different members of the Government for their consideration.
"After the meeting Torrens went to Lefevre privately, to learn if anything were decided about the appointments. Torrens returned dispirited. Lefevre says there is little chance for him, but there is none for Pottinger. Stanley has some one in his eye for Governor. This is a bad omen, for if Stanley is inclined to give away the appointments according to the interest made by individuals, and not according to the fitness of the persons, there is much fear of the colony failing from that cause. This excited much discussion between Edward and D. Wakefield and myself, and it was determined to go to the House, to try to get Whitmore to interfere privately. As to my own place, it was determined that I should take the following letter to Lefevre, in the morning of to-morrow, but this was not done from Whitmore asking me for it in the House after a conversation with Edward Wakefield.
"Knowing that if you should assent to the formation of a colony in South Australia, numerous applications will immediately be made to you for the appointment of Colonial Secretary, I trust that you will not think me indiscreet in thus early expressing a hope that you will be pleased to confer the appointment upon me.
"The grounds upon which I venture to make this request are, the years which I have devoted to this undertaking, and I hope I may add, my knowledge of the principles and details of the mode of colonisation about to be pursued. I can have no other claim upon your good opinion; and as I am totally unknown to you, I beg leave to refer you for evidence on this point to the committee of the South Australian Association, and in particular to Mr. Mills, Mr. Hutt, Mr. G. W. Norman, Mr. R. Currie, Colonel Torrens, Mr. Grote, and Mr. Whitmore.
"Whitmore took this letter into the House, and,
in passing through the lobby afterwards, said there was no doubt
of my request being granted.
"April 19th.—It is now the object to get the colonists to act in a body, and for this purpose I have caused letters to be written to all the applicants at the office.
"In the House of Commons the foundation of the colony was mentioned last night for the first time. On the Swan River expenses being moved, Hume asked why Government refused to gentlemen a charter for founding a colony free of cost, while they came down to the House for money for Swan River? On this Stanley replied that he had that day seen some gentlemen from the South Australian Association, and he was happy in being able to inform the House that every prospect existed of the colony being founded without delay. Whitmore congratulated the House and Stanley on the subject.
"April 28th.—The following is a copy of the resolutions adopted by the sub-committee on the minimum price of land:—
"At an adjourned meeting of the sub-committee appointed to inquire into, and report upon, the price proper to be inserted in the Act of Parliament as the minimum price of waste land in South Australia, present,
"Mr. Grote, Mr. Scrope, Colonel Torrens, Mr. R.
Hill, Mr. Gouger, Mr. Hutt.
"It was resolved,—
"That the price of land should be adjusted, if possible, so as to produce the following results:—
"1. A fund sufficient to carry out the labourers necessary to cultivate the land in the most favourable manner, together with a due proportion of artisans and other non-agricultural labourers, females accompanying the males in equal numbers.
"2. To render the acquisition of land by the emigrant labourer neither so easy as to prevent a proper combination of labour nor so difficult as to remove too far the reward of industry and frugality.
"3. To induce capitalists to emigrate to the colony.
"That, with a view to the determination of the price of land, it appears desirable, in the first instance, to consider what sum per acre would produce the first result, viz., the required emigration fund, and then to modify this sum, if necessary, with reference to the second and third results. It is therefore necessary to ascertain,
"(1) The number of labourers required to cultivate in the most advantageous manner a given quantity of land in the colony.
"(2) The proportion of artisans and other non-agricultural labourers.
"(3) The cost of the passage of such persons to the colony.
"That in the opinion of this committee two hundred acres will probably require four male agricultural labourers.
"That the same quantity of land will require one male artisan or other non-agricultural labourer.
"That two hundred acres of land should therefore be sold for a sum sufficient to carry out ten persons—half of them men and half women.
"That the cost of passage will probably be about £15 per head.
"That, in order to produce the first result, viz., the required emigration fund, two hundred acres of land should therefore be sold for £150, or at the rate of 15s. per acre.
"That, taking into consideration the second and third results, the price of 12s. per acre appears most desirable for insertion in the Act of Parliament as the minimum.
"April 29th.—Saw Edward Wakefield. We disagreed materially on the mode of going to work after the Act of Parliament should be brought in, and this led to much unpleasant talk between us. It is unnecessary to sketch the conversation and its results. The sooner forgotten the better.
"April 30th.—The meeting of committee took place for the purpose of receiving the report of the sub-committee on the minimum price of land. The resolutions were confirmed, and a report and letter embodying them was sent to Mr. Lefevre."
Here the Journal abruptly ends, and there is no trace of any further notes written by Mr. Gouger, until January, 1835, when he commenced a fresh volume.
As Mr. Gouger did not commence his second Journal till January, 1835, it will be necessary to give a brief sketch of events from the time when the first Journal ceased, viz., from May, 1834.
Just when matters appeared to be on a fair footing, when Mr. Gouger had sent in his draft of the proposed Bill, when the energetic and persevering band of men who had devoted so much time and thought to the colonisation of South Australia were congratulating themselves that their success was now only a question of days, there came a change of administration in the Colonial Department, and Mr. Spring-Rice (afterwards Lord Monteagle) succeeded Mr. Stanley as Secretary of State for the Colonies.
Vexation, apprehension, and fear lest all the work would have to be done over again, took possession of the provisional committee, while poor Robert Gouger, who had known neither rest of body nor mind for some years, was almost in despair. It is no wonder that he ceased to record events in his Journal—like Sisyphus, he no sooner reached the top of the hill than the heavy stone fell back again. His was a most unthankful task; the committee looked to him to do everything, while some of them did nothing but consider what plums they could secure for themselves; the waiting emigrants blamed him, and as there was no one else upon whom they could expend their wrath, they vented it on him. Some who had set him in the forefront of the battle drew back and deserted him in his hour of need. But his faith failed not. He did not pause to lament over the seemingly wasted years, during which he had worked unceasingly without fee or reward other than that which from the beginning had buoyed him up and urged him on—the thought that he was engaged in a work which should prove of lasting good, not only to his poorer fellow-creatures, but to the nation at large.
Happily this period of anxiety did not last for long, and in the end it worked good rather than evil. Mr. Spring-Rice took up the cause with great spirit, and in course of time announced that he was prepared to recommend the passing of a Bill on the principles laid down by Mr. Gouger in his draft.
"The long-looked-for day at length arrived when 'a Bill to erect South Australia into a British province, and to provide for the colonisation and government thereof, was brought before the House of Commons by Mr. Whitmore, with the sanction and approval of the Colonial Secretary. Here it had many friends and supporters—Lord Howick, Mr. J. Shaw-Lefevre, Lord Stanley, and Mr. Spring-Rice, together with some of the Parliamentary members of the provisional committee, doing yeoman's service, and it passed the third reading without any serious hindrance. In the House of Lords the Bill was introduced by the Marquis of Normanby, and was so warmly supported by the Duke of Wellington that the opposition, which at one time threatened to be dangerous, was overcome. He expressed himself as deeply interested in this new experiment in colonisation, and desired that it might have a fair trial.* He also recommended that Colonel Light, his companion in arms, should be the first surveyor-general of the new colony. On the 15th of August, 1834, the last day of the session, the Bill received the royal assent." **
[* See Appendix, p. 237.]
[** "The History of South Australia." By Edwin Hodder. London: Sampson Low, Marston & Co., Ltd, 1893. Vol. I., p. 28.]
The leading features of the Act (4 & 5 Will. IV., cap. 95) have been given in the preceding chapters of this work, and need not be repeated here; but it will be well to call attention to one part of the Act which, but for the timely intervention of one member of the Board of Commissioners, might have rendered the whole measure inoperative. It was this: the concluding clause of the Act restrained the Commissioners from entering upon the exercise of their general powers until they had invested £20,000 in Exchequer Bills, and until £35,000 worth of land had been purchased.
With this brief introduction, we may now resume our quotations from Mr. Gouger's Journal.
"One year has now elapsed since the formation of
the South Australian Association. Thirteen months ago the
Association consisted but of two persons, Mr. Rhodes and myself.
Since that time how much has been accomplished? After delays the
most vexatious, an Act of Parliament has been passed empowering
the King to found the so long talked of colony. This first step,
achieved amidst annoyances and obstacles, only to be imagined by
those who have been engaged in this or similar work, has not,
however, been followed up with so much success as might
reasonably have been expected. The appointment of commissioners,
necessarily delayed in consequence of Mr. Grote's absence from
England, was unaccountably neglected by Mr. Spring-Rice, until he
was dismissed from office, and all hope of the thing proceeding
until the new Government was settled, was renounced by the whole
body of colonists. The new year is ushered in by considerable
political ferment, caused by the general election, and, before
the meeting of Parliament, little will be thought of by ministers
but party intrigues and plots for retaining
office. . . . Lord Aberdeen rules at the Colonial
Office, while Stuart-Wortley and Hay are the
"The body of emigrating capitalists is now very small. Six months ago there were certainly more than 200 respectable families desirous of emigrating, but the many and long delays which have taken place during the progress of the work have consumed not only the patience but the capital of a great number, most of whom, therefore, are dispersed, some having gone to America and some to our own colonies. The party commonly attending at the Office can hardly be said to amount to two dozen families, and of these but very few are possessed of much property. Edward Wakefield is in Lisbon.
"January 12th.—I returned to town from Barkway, where I had been spending nearly three weeks. On arriving at the Office on the following day, I met Colonel Torrens, Dr. Wright, Kingston, Gilbert and Taylor. They had written to me to come to town, as they had determined to wait no longer, but to proceed at once to address the Colonial Office.
"It was finally determined that Torrens should obtain an interview with Lord Aberdeen, and learn from him whether or not he would allow us to choose our own commissioners, and whether he would reverse or retain the nominations for colonial appointments. In the meantime I agreed to furnish Torrens with letters from Grote, Clay, and Norman, stating that they did not withdraw from the commission in consequence of any alteration of opinion as to the excellence of the measure. Torrens was also to present Lord Aberdeen with the following list of names from which the commissioners are to be selected.
|Mr. Childers.|||||Mr. R. Norman.|
|Mr. Montefiore.|||||Mr. Ward.|
|Sir J. R. Reid.|||||Mr. Mills.|
|Mr. H. G. Ward.|||||Mr. Hutt.|
|Mr. Borradaile.|||||Mr. Lyall.|
|Mr. Angas.|||||Mr. G. W. Norman.|
|Mr. Buckle.|||||Colonel Torrens.|
"January 16th.—I have at length decided on addressing the Duke of Wellington, and this morning sent him the following letter:—
"My Lord Duke,
"The passage of the South Australian Colony Bill through the House of Lords being entirely due to your Grace's expressed approval of its object and plan, and having, during the discussion on the Bill, had the honour of repeated interviews with your Grace, I venture to address your Grace upon the subject, although I am aware that any proceedings relative to the Colony must emanate from a department of the State other than that over which your Grace presides. If a further apology is necessary for the liberty I have taken, I can only offer the anxiety which I may be supposed to feel in. the advancement of a measure to which I have devoted nearly five years of my life.
"For some weeks before Mr. Rice ceased to be Colonial Minister, the gentlemen who intended emigrating to South Australia expected in each succeeding Gazette to find the appointment of commissioners for carrying into effect the provision of the Act: eight gentlemen, selected by Mr. Rice and Mr. Whitmore, had consented to take upon themselves the office of commissioners, and to perform the duties gratuitously, and the body of emigrants eagerly hoped that as soon as the appointment of the commission should be sanctioned by His Majesty, nothing remained to cause fresh delay. On the dissolution of the late Administration, however, the gentlemen who had accepted the office of commissioners refused to act, but not, according to their own declaration, in consequence of any change in opinion relative to the beneficial character of the measure. Notwithstanding this refusal, the body of colonists feel assured that the present Government will give to a measure so totally divested of party politics, the same encouragement which it received from the late Administration, and they propose to request the Secretary of State for the Colonial Department to appoint other commissioners who they are convinced will fulfil the provisions of the Act with equal readiness and ability.
"Under these circumstances, and not having the honour of being known to the Secretary of State for the Colonies, I venture to express a hope that your Grace may not refuse to favour me with such a note, or so to mention the subject of the colony to the Earl of Aberdeen, as will secure for me, on the part of the colonists, a reception from his Lordship different from that which, as a total stranger, I could hope to obtain.
The Duke of "Wellington to Mr. Robert Gouger.
"The Duke of Wellington presents his compliments
to Mr. Gouger, and has received his letter.
"The Duke is always anxious not to interfere in affairs in which he has no official right of interference. "He recommends Mr. Gouger to call upon Lord Aberdeen, and will send to his Lordship his letter.
"January 23rd.—According to appointment, Colonel Torrens and I went to Lord Aberdeen to-day at 2 o'clock. We were received in the presence of the eternal Under-Secretary and Marplot-Hay. His Lordship put on a most austere manner, which seemed to augur anything but well. His appearance partakes of the quaint precision of a methodist parson, the cynical expression of Lord Brougham, and the pride of Lucifer. Colonel Torrens commenced by saying that in consequence of the change of ministry, Mr. Grote, Mr. Clay, and several others of those persons who had consented to be commissioners now withdrew, and that consequently the colony was no nearer foundation than immediately after the passage of the Bill. He concluded by asking leave of His Lordship to grant to him the same power which was allowed by Mr. Rice, viz., to lay before him a list of names of persons willing now to act as commissioners. To this Lord Aberdeen replied that he could not understand how those gentlemen who had agreed to act while the late ministry was in rule, could refuse to act now; he did not consider the measure a question of party politics, nevertheless he could not quarrel with those gentlemen's decision. He would readily allow us to name to him persons who were willing to act, and if in his opinion they were fit, he would appoint them whether they agreed with the present Government in politics or not. Torrens replied that we saw the necessity of procuring the aid of the best people possible, for unless such were appointed, neither could the loan be raised in the City, nor could respectable emigrants be induced to go to the colony. To this Lord Aberdeen acquiesced. On my remarking that I believed Mr. Rice had intended to nominate as commissioner one of the gentlemen in the Colonial Office (Mr. Elliott had been mentioned), Hay replied, 'an inferior in the office certainly could not be appointed.' On the whole the interview was favourable. All we desired was granted, but it was done in such a manner as to leave an impression on my mind that it is still intended to burke the colony if possible."
Mr. George Grote to Mr. Robert Gouger.
"I am sorry to have to communicate to you that I still feel decidedly unwilling to act as a commissioner under the South Australian Colony Act. The reasons which induced me to retract the consent which I had given under the Melbourne Ministry have not been diminished in force by subsequent consideration. "My opinions on the usefulness and practicability of the enterprise have undergone no change. But my feelings and position with regard to the present government are such as would make it unsatisfactory, both to them and to myself, that I should undertake a responsible duty under them.
"With every wish for the prosperity of the colony, and for the maintenance of those principles on which it rests its claim to support,
letters from Grote, Clay, and G. W. Norman, saying that they
positively declined acting as commissioners for founding the
colony of South Australia. The two first of these gentlemen
retire merely in consequence of the change in
Government—they will not act with persons whom they go into
Parliament to oppose. At the same time they declare their full
adherence to the principles of the measure. Mr. Norman, on the
contrary, does not enter into the question of change in Ministry,
but says his opinion has altered upon the plan itself—he
thinks it can only be carried into effect by the Government as a
ministerial measure. Thus our friends desert us, and, as
usual, in our greatest hour of need.
"January 28th.—Had a long conversation with Jacob Montefiore—he is anxious to be a commissioner, and says he approves fully of the measure, and thinks there is ample security afforded in the Act whereby to raise the required loan. How the money market will receive it is a different question; but he will give it at all times as his opinion that the money ought to be raised on the security offered. I told him that I should be very glad to name him as commissioner if he would exert himself to carry the measure. He declared he would, and I therefore told him his name should be on the list.
"Wrote a letter to Angas asking him to join the commission.
"My Dear Sir,
"I was this morning favoured with your letter, of the 28th inst., requesting permission to send in my name to Lord Aberdeen as one of the individuals willing to act as a commissioner under the South Australian Colony Act. As the present Government is disposed to appoint the commissioners, irrespective of their political sentiments, and declare that their acceptance of that office shall not commit them to any political cause, I can feel no objection to redeem the pledge I gave you in London should his Lordship think proper to appoint me. The Act of Parliament will regulate the procedure of the commissioners, and can haye little to do with party politics.
"I feel a deep interest in the success of the measure, and trust a fair experiment will be made of it, although I feel perfectly indifferent as to the gentlemen who may take an active part in it providing they are suitable persons; and I can assure you, I shall be glad to give place to any one who shall be considered more competent by his Lordship.
The importance of this letter cannot be overestimated. Mr. George Fife Angas was a man of sterling Christian character, of great wealth, and of wide influence. For the previous four years he had been carefully watching the progress of the movement in favour of colonisation in South Australia, and at one time had taken an active part in the deliberations of the provisional committees. On him was to devolve the solution of the monetary difficulty that stood in the way of everything, and would, but for his assistance, have rendered the Act of Parliament inoperative.
Wortley has resigned acting as Under Secretary for the Colonies,
and Mr. W. Ewart Gladstone supplies his place. He is M.P. for
"February 7th.—In the afternoon Torrens saw Hay The ostensible object of the interview was to ask if the names obtained were strong enough for the appointment; the real object was to propitiate Hay. Torrens reports that this is completely effected. Hay said that, 'whatever his opinion as to the measure had been, and whether or not he thought we wanted more colonies, his course now must be different. The Legislature had decided that another colony should be formed, and the business of the Colonial Office now was to put the act into execution; he would therefore render the measure all the aid he could. He complained of the attacks which had been made upon him, and said they were unfair.' Torrens replied, 'he had always objected to them, and he sincerely hoped there would be no more of them.' He asked who was chairman now that Whitmore had left us, and on Torrens saying that no one but himself, amongst the old commissioners, was moving in the matter, he said that he should consider him (Torrens) chairman. Torrens, having remarked that he would take care no objectionable names were connected with them, then withdrew.
"This interview is doubtless important, and, if Hay is in good faith, will tend much to expedite matters.
"February 13th.—It was now decided by Torrens, R. Hill, Brown, and myself, at once to send in the names rather than wait even a day longer for Villiers and Campbell. Accordingly Torrens produced the following letter, which was agreed to:—
"South Australian Association.
"In obedience to your Lordship's commands, I have the honour of submitting for your Lordship's consideration the names of gentlemen willing to act under the Colonial Office as commissioners for carrying into effect the Act of Parliament for colonising South Australia.
"I have also the honour of enclosing a letter from Mr. Palmer, stating hie willingness to act, should your Lordship be pleased to appoint him one of the commissioners, but at the same time expressing a wish to have the name of his son inserted in the commission instead of his own.
"Since the retirement of Mr. Wolryche Whitmore the executive functions which he performed as chairman have fallen upon me. Having much more leisure, and, perhaps, I may venture to add, more knowledge of the object and principles of the proposed colony than the other gentlemen who are now willing to act as commissioners, I am desirous, should the arrangement be approved and sanctioned by your Lordship, to continue, after the commission shall be formed, to serve under the Colonial Office as chairman in the place of Mr. W, Whitmore.
"As it was considered desirable that the wishes of the colonists should be expressed in regard to the immediate appointment of the commissioners, it was agreed that I should write the following letter to Torrens for him to send to Lord Aberdeen:—
"My Dear Sir,
"In sending you the names of the gentlemen who are willing to become commissioners under the South Australian Colony Act, I am requested by the body of persons intending to go to the colony, to beg you will represent to Lord Aberdeen their ardent hope that his Lordship will, by the early appointment of the commissioners, relieve them from the embarrassment and anxiety which the lengthened delay has occasioned. This point the colonists hope you will do all you can to impress upon his Lordship, and I am convinced you will not fail to do so, as you are aware of the injuries which some of the party hare suffered from their repeated disappointments.
Lt.-Colonel Torrens, Chairman.
George Fife Angas, Esq.
Jacob Montefiore, Esq.
William Alexander Mackinnon, Esq., M.P.
George Palmer, Esq.
Samuel Mills, Esq.
John Wright, Esq.
"I gave Torrens, on a slip of paper, a familiar
description of these gentlemen, so that, if required, he might
not be at fault in relation to them. This he accidentally left
with Hay—though in the hands of an enemy it can hardly do
"With these documents in his hand Torrens went to Hay, and the following is an account of the interview, taken down from Torrens' dictation immediately on his return; it was given, at my request, in the presence of Brown.
"After Torrens had read the list of names and their description, Hay remarked that it would be necessary to ascertain in what way the commissioners could be held responsible for the due execution of their duties—suppose they were to resign in the midst of their operations, leaving the colonists to shift for themselves. Torrens replied, that must not be considered as an absolutely impossible case, yet it must be nearly as improbable as that the Government of England should throw up its functions, leaving the country to shift for itself. That of the gentlemen who volunteered to act, some might look to honour, some to future emolument, some to the gratification of benevolent motives, and that these motives were as likely to be permanent as the motives which induced the Government itself to act. Hay said, there should be some penalty on their resigning; to this Torrens made no reply. Hay then said, that though the Government assented to the measure, they did not altogether approve of it; and that, if such a colony was to be established, they would prefer administering it themselves. Torrens replied, that, in point of fact, the Colonial Office had the management of the colony; they had the appointment of the Governor, and of the whole of the colonial functionaries, just the same as in any other colony, and that the commissioners under the Act could be considered in no other light than as an emigration committee, whose business it was to sell the colonial land, and to employ the proceeds in sending out poor emigrants. Hay then asked, what would become of the poor emigrants if the commissioners declined? Torrens replied, that if the functions of the commissioners should cease, the only consequence would be, that unless the Government chose to sell the land themselves, no more land would be sold, and no more emigrants would be sent out. Mr. Hay asked, in this case, what would become of the emigrants already sent out; Government could not sanction a plan which would endanger their being left in destitution. Torrens replied, it was impossible they could be left in destitution, because no emigrants could be sent out except in conjunction with capitalists who required their services in the colony. That, previous to sending out any poor emigrants, capitalists requiring their services must have paid down the price of their passage in the purchase of land, and that, therefore, by the plan of the colony there could be no labourers without capitalists to give them employment. This answer appeared to satisfy Hay on this point, who paid that the questions would require further and more deliberate consideration, and that Lord Aberdeen would send a very early reply to the letter then delivered.'
"Thus ended this interview with the ancient foe to South Australia. It is clear his enmity is not eradicated, though Torrens thinks all will yet go smoothly. For myself I dubitate greatly.
"February 17th.—Received from Hay the following letter:—
"I am directed by the Earl of Aberdeen to acknowledge the receipt of your letter to his Lordship of the 13th instant, enclosing the names of various gentlemen willing to act under his Lordship's authority as commissioners for carrying into effect the Act or Parliament for colonising Southern Australia.
"Lord Aberdeen considers it to be an essential preliminary to the further discussion of the subject, that it should be distinctly understood whether the proposed commissioners are, or are not, to be accountants to the Crown, and personally responsible for the receipt and application of the money to arise from the sale of lands in the proposed colony. By the 9th clause, the power of appointing a treasurer and other officers, and of removing such treasurer and officers, and of appointing successors, is given to the commissioners, and by the 11th clause it is declared that all monies under the control of the Board shall be received and paid by the treasurers so appointed, who are to give securities for the faithful discharge of their duties to such amount, and in such manner as to the said commissioners may seem fit. The following clause, the 12th, enacts that all accounts of the treasurer shall be submitted to the Lords of His Majesty's Treasury, and be audited in the same manner as other public accounts. The Act also gives to the commissioners extensive power of selling or leasing land, of receiving and applying the purchaser money or the rent, and of taking up large sums at interest. The 21st clause absolves the commissioners from personal liability to the lenders for any loans which they may so raise, or on any bonds which they may issue. But Lord Aberdeen does not perceive in this Act any declaration that the commissioners shall not be accountable to the Lords of the Treasury for the receipts and payments effected by their treasurer with their order or concurrence. His Lordship presumes that all the money which they shall receive as commissioners must be considered as part of the King's revenue, and that the commissioners, not being a corporate body, must be regarded only as His Majesty's agents (though appointed under the authority of Parliament) for the management, receipt and expenditure of that part of the revenue of the Crown. The treasurer being their nominee, liable to removal at their bidding, and by no other authority, and giving securities subject only to their approbation, would seem to be in effect their agent, for whose acts they would be answerable to the Lords of the Treasury. In confirmation of this view of the subject, it may be noticed that the Governor of New South Wales (in common with the Governors of His Majesty's Colonies) is held responsible to the Lords of the Treasury for all issues of money made by the Colonial Treasurer with his sanction, although the Colonial Treasurer is appointed, and, when necessary, removed, by the Crown, and enters into such securities as the Lords of the Treasury prescribe.
"Lord Aberdeen being led to apprehend from the tenor of your letter, and from the language of the enclosures, that the gentlemen proposing to act as commissioners consider themselves as completely irresponsible to the Lords of the Treasury, his Lordship thinks it right that their attention should be distinctly drawn to the question in order that they may, if necessary, by consulting His Majesty's Attorney, and Solicitor-General, ascertain what would be the legal consequences in this respect of their undertaking the proposed Trust. You will have the goodness to understand that Lord Aberdeen does not intimate—as, in fact, he has not formed—any decided opinion upon this matter, but thinks it of such essential importance, and involved in such obscurity, as to require a solution of the question on the highest accessible authority before the discussion advances further.
"After much consultation on this letter, between
Torrens and myself, we agreed that there was nothing in it
tending to discourage or to lead us to suspect Hay of renewed bad
faith. We, moreover, agreed that the commissioners ought to
sustain the responsibility required of them, which is nothing
more than a pledge for honesty and honour. Having thus
determined, we called on Hay according to appointment, though we
had little to say to him. He received us very civilly, and
behaved in a very different manner to that which he manifested
when Torrens last saw him. Torrens and I told him we saw nothing
in his letter but what should be answered in the affirmative. Hay
replied, he must have such an opinion expressed in writing by
each of the commissioners. We thanked him for his promptitude; he
said he would not allow of delay in our matter, but would help us
all he could. Torrens then gave him a paper relative to the
Church Society, and the rules of the Literary Association; and on
my telling him that they were put into his hand merely to show
that there existed a body of persons willing to go to the colony,
and who were somewhat above the common class of emigrants, he
replied, they certainly proved that some persons, fond of
intellectual pursuits, were prepared to emigrate with us.
"March 18th.—To-day a meeting of the Provisional Committee was held to examine the accounts and settle them. They were found correct, and a letter was ordered to be written to each member for his share of the expense. D. Wakefield wrote the accompanying letter, which excited no little surprise:—
"Supposing that the meeting of the Association at 4 o'clock to-day, which I regret that a prior engagement will prevent me from attending, is for the purpose of winding-up the business, I beg leave to say that I shall be ready to pay my share of the expenses incurred, when informed of the amount. I regret, in common with hundreds with whom I have conversed on the subject, the total failure of the project after the signal victory obtained over ignorance and prejudice in getting the Act of Parliament.
"March 21st.—The negotiation still at rest. The Treasury appears to resemble the Court of Chancery as far as delay goes."
Mr. D. Wakefield was totally wrong in the conclusion to which he had jumped. There was no "winding-up of the business" in contemplation, and his conversation "with hundreds" on the "total failure of the project" was as prejudicial to the interests of the Association as it was untrue. It was a part of Mr. Gouger's "luck" to be associated with men who would cry "Wolf, wolf!" when there was no wolf, and it tended greatly to increase the burden of his labour.
Mr. Wakefield's letter created "no little surprise" to the Provisional Committee, but the acts and deeds of the Provisional Committee shortly afterwards "created no little surprise" to Mr. Wakefield.
The letter of Lord Aberdeen, of the 16th of February, 1835, relating to the functions of the proposed commissioners, and suggesting a consultation with His Majesty's Attorney and Solicitor-General, caused a long and irritating delay at a very critical time. Mr. Gouger was sent from pillar to post, day after day, one Department of the State referring him to another, and that other referring him back again, as the manner of officialism is, until he could bear it no longer. More than a month passed, every day full of such vexatious and wearisome circumlocution as would have taxed the patience of Job, and a record of which would undoubtedly have tried the patience of the reader if inserted here. At length came the following entries in the Journal.
"March 22nd.—Though Sunday,
called on Torrens, and after a long search, found him. I then
told him that unless he would move, I would. The procrastination
was no longer bearable.
"March 27th.—Met Torrens and told him everything that had occurred since Monday last, and said that, although I saw the importance of our meeting daily, I would not waste time by waiting hours for him. He wishes me to meet him every day precisely at 1 o'clock, at his lodgings, and this I have agreed to do. He tells me that Edward Wakefield is coming to town, and that in his opinion he must be conciliate—this is all very well, but the business must not be sacrificed to him.
"April 6th.—To-day I saw Torrens and gave him the letter I had for him. It was merely to say that the business had been dismissed from the Treasury. Ha informed me that he saw Hay on Friday, who told him that nothing had to be determined now, but to fix on the Under-Secretary who was to sit in the commission.
"I have had a long conversation with Westall. He proposes to sell me six engravings of South Australia for £15 each. I have consented to purchase them, and shall at once issue a prospectus about them.*
[* Several of Westall's original sketches are now in the library of the Royal Colonial Institute, London.]
"April 7th.—Called at the
Colonial Office on Hay with Torrens, but could not see him.
Torrens wrote a note asking him to lay before Lord Aberdeen the
papers immediately. The division against the Government last
night, causes much dread that ministers will resign before our
matter is concluded.
"April 8th.—The ministers have resigned, and consequently another delay must be incurred. During four administrations at the Colonial Office have we been working this measure. Lord Goderich, Stanley, Rice, Aberdeen, and now another.
Letter from Hay to Torrens.
"I have laid before the Earl of Aberdeen your letter of the 7th instant, in which you state the names of two gentlemen who are willing to act as solicitor and as treasurer to the South Australian Company, and you request to be informed whether those gentlemen whose names were submitted in your letter of the 13th February last as commissioners for carrying into effect the provisions of the Act of Parliament for colonising South Australia, have been approved by his Lordship. In reply I am directed to acquaint you, that under the present circumstances of the Government, Lord Aberdeen does not feel at liberty to proceed with the arrangements of the South Australian Company. I am directed to add, that it was not until the 4th instant that the decision of the Board of Treasury was received at this department, on the point of reference which it was thought necessary to make to that Board, in consequence of the question raised by your letter of the 13th of February, relative to the personal liability of the commissioners.
"April 10th.—Torrens has
seen Edward Wakefield, who has just returned from Lisbon.
Wakefield says that he shall not in any way interfere in the
business; that it is in Torrens' hands, who understands the
matter, and that with him the management of the commission must
"April 28th.—On my arrival in town to-day, I find that Torrens has been working at the matter of the colony during my absence. Hutt and he called on Charles Grant [the new Secretary], and urged him to appoint the commission at once. He replied he would lose no time about it, and seemed well disposed towards the colony. A letter has just arrived from the Colonial Office, which, when Torrens comes, may be found to decide the point. In the course of the afternoon, he came and gave the gratifying information that the commissioners were appointed.
"I have had under my consideration, the letter which you addressed to the Earl of Aberdeen, under date of the 13th February last, submitting the names of certain gentlemen who are ready to act under this department as commissioners for carrying into effect the provisions of the Act of Parliament for colonising South Australia; and I have to acquaint you that I see no reason to doubt that the parties, whose names are stated underneath, may with propriety be accepted by His Majesty's Government as members of the Commission, viz.:—
Lieut.-Colonel Torrens, Chairman.
W. A. Mackinnon, Esq., M.P.
G. F. Angas, Esq.
George Palmer, Esq., Jun.
W. Hutt, Esq., M.P.
Jacob Montefiore, Esq.
John Wright, Esq.
Samuel Mills, Esq.
"Having understood that it has been considered desirable to appoint a commissioner who may be the representative of this department, I have selected Ed. Barnard, Esq., one of the agents-general for the colonies, and formerly agent for the Australian provinces, as a member of the commission.
"Thus has terminated a correspondence maintained since last August, which a week ought to have settled."
Colonel C. J. Napier to Mr. Robert Gouger.
"I thank you for your letter of yesterday, and am glad that Mr. Charles Grant goes to work so quickly. For myself, I will not move a step, till I am gazetted, and my pay, begins. If Mr. Grant chooses to appoint another man, he is welcome, but I will adhere, most rigidly, to the course of conduct that I, long since, laid down for myself; namely, not to ask any government for an appointment, and, as I am exceedingly poor, I cannot afford to throw away another shilling in attendance upon the convulsive fits of the Colonial Office, which end in nothing I Till I am gazetted, I have neither right, or inclination, to interfere in anything, and therefore, by going to London, I do nothing but lose money, and, consequently, independence of mind; for he who lays out money in the public service, must make it up by getting employment, and to get this, he must ask favours, which I will not do. I shall therefore wait a little while upon the course of events. If I see another man appointed, I shall, as they say, 'follow my own inventions.' If I be appointed, I shall go, at once, to town, and work as hard as I can in the service of my good friends at John Street, for whose interest I shall. Governor or not Governor, always entertain the sincerest good wishes. Since I saw you, I have married, and Mrs. Napier is all ready to go to Australia at the shortest notice, like a good soldier's wife.
"May 5th.—The commissioners
are to-day gazetted, and thus the next important step in the
formation of the colony is taken.
"May 6th.—Colonel Torrens, Hutt, Angas, and Rowland Hill dined with me to-day. After dinner Hill read his proposed terms for selling land; these were violently opposed by Torrens, who has a mortal antipathy to the auction plan. Hutt differed from Torrens' view, as also from that of Angas, who maintains that the tender is useless, and the auction the only fair plan. I fear there will be some difficulty in bringing these views into anything like harmony.
"May 8th.—The first meeting of the commissioners took place to-day at Osborne's Hotel. It was attended by all, with the exception of Wright and Mills. The Act was read and discussed, and finding that the first thing to be done by the commissioners was to take the required oath, arrangements for doing so were ordered to be made. The next thing to be done was the appointment of a secretary, but as nothing could be legally done until the oath were taken, Mr. Rowland Hill was requested to act as secretary pro tempore. A sub-committee, consisting of Hutt, Angas, and Lefevre, was appointed for the purpose of considering and reporting to the Board on the best mode of selling land. Torrens, as chairman, is, of course, on all sub-committees. Adjourned to 2 o'clock on Monday. The best feeling pervaded the Board; a good deal of conversation took place on the formation of a Joint Stock Company for the purchase of land; the general feeling was in favour of the measure; but on the necessity of an Act of Parliament being urged, and the disinclination of the colonists to such a proposal, the conversation ended in nothing.
"May 11th.—The commissioners were to-day sworn into their office before Mr. Baron Gurney, and at one o'clock the Sub-committee on Land met. Again the best feeling was evinced by them, and consequently much progress was made. The price was fixed at twelve shillings, and Hill's plan of allotting half-an-acre of town land to every £50 subscription to the sum of £85,000, required by the Act of Parliament, was agreed to. The mode of distribution of town lots to be determined by the subscribers to the fund. The mode of tender for land purchased in the colony was also adopted, and the matter would soon have been finally determined, had not the hour of the Board arrived. Six members attended—Torrens, Hutt, Angas, Palmer, and Hills. A resolution requesting me to attend the meetings of the Board during my stay in England was passed unanimously. Palmer mentioned Biddulph's wish to be the treasurer, and to supply all money required for present purposes, and Hutt mentioned my brother's readiness to attend the Board at their next meeting, to learn from the commissioners whether or not he could be appointed agent, and if so, they could put the advance of money upon a business-like footing.
"May 12th.—I received this morning from Hutt two letters, one from Mr. Whitmore and one from Lord Glenelg. These appear to indicate that I am in a fair way for my appointment. Nevertheless, by way of placing my services on record, by the advice of Hutt and Rowland Hill, I addressed to Lord Glenelg the underwritten letter.
Mr. Robert Gouger to Lord Glenelg.
"Though I cannot hope to add any reasons to those already offered to your Lordship by Colonel Torrens and Mr. Hutt personally, and by Mr. Whitmore and Mr. Grote by letter, why your Lordship should confer upon me the appointment of Colonial Secretary for South Australia—I beg leave to lay before your Lordship a statement, which will in some measure indicate the time and exertion I have devoted to the prosecution of the plan for founding the colony.
"Early in 1830, in conjunction with Mr. Hutt, I founded a society, whose object it was to show the evils arising from giving land away, attaching conditions of cultivation to occupiers of land, and to make known to the public those principles of colonisation on which the new province is to be founded. The existence of the society was short; but its publications induced Lord Howick, when Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies, partially to adopt the plan of the society, and to issue, in January, 1831, those terms for selling land in New South Wales and Van Diemen's land which have since remained in force, and which have been the means of raising, for the purposes of the Government, a very considerable revenue.
"In the autumn of 1830, I proposed the foundation of a colony in South Australia by means of a Land Company, to which plan, however, Lord Goderich, after a correspondence of many months, saw reason to decline acceding.
"In June, 1833, Mr. Stanley being Secretary of State for the Colonial Department, I renewed the negotiation with Mr. Wolryche Whitmore, and the proposition being in the main approved by Mr. Stanley, the South Australian Association was formed for the purpose of assisting in carrying the measure. To this association I acted as Hon. Sec., and the object and plan, meeting at length with Mr. Stanley's complete approval, during Mr. Rice's administration at the Colonial Department, the sanction of the Legislature was given to it. On the secession of the gentlemen selected by Mr. Rice and Mr. Whitmore as commissioners, Lord Aberdeen directed Colonel Torrens and myself to form the commission which your Lordship has just appointed.
"During the long period in which I have been thus engaged, not only have my exertions been wholly unrequited, but I have expended a considerable sum of money, and refused some lucrative offers, that I might persevere in the prosecution of the subject. I allude to this to show that, as far as services go, I may urge some claims on your Lordship's consideration. On the point of ability for the office to which I aspire, besides the testimony of the gentlemen mentioned above, I may refer your Lordship to the correspondence of the South Australian Association with the Colonial Office; and for my bearing in life and general fitness for the office, not only can I refer to the gentlemen who formed the committee of the South Australian Association, but to a memorial which I have been given to understand the body of persons going to the colony forwarded last autumn through Mr. Whitmore and Mr. Rice, of the purport of which I was ignorant until several weeks after its presentation.
"May 14th.—The Board met
to-day. Angas thinks that enough bonus is not allowed to the
first settlers, and he therefore wishes to have the whole of the
£35,000 worth, purchased by the first body, selected before any
other person can tender for land. This occupied at least an hour
in the discussion. I was strenuously opposed to it on the ground
of its obliging any person who had emigrated in the first body,
though unfortunate enough to come in after the £36,000 had been
subscribed, going so far from the town for land He must
necessarily, go at least fifteen or twenty miles. After all, the
point is not determined.
"May 15th.—At a meeting of the sub-committee on land, I proposed, to obviate the objections of Angas and Lefevre, that the town should be divided into 3,000 lots of one acre each, the subscribers to the £35,000 to have the privilege of selection among this number of lots. This was finally agreed to, and another meeting was fixed for to-morrow to arrange the wording of the terms.
"May 20th.—Saw Napier. He tells me that he has made his acceptance of the office of governor dependent upon Government assenting to his having under his command a body of troops, and leave to draw on the Government here for £100,000 in case of distress I Lord Glenelg entertained the idea, says Napier, and will speak to his colleagues about it I Napier tells me that his appointment is safe.
"In the afternoon I again saw Napier. He says that Lord Glenelg cannot agree to the proposition he made relative to the troops, and leave to draw on Government, but recommended Napier to go and call on the commissioners and hear their opinion. Consequently Napier went, and found them all sitting in council on the terms for selling land. He there restated his terms, and he says was answered by 'absurd generalisations.'
"Since writing the above I have seen Hill, who gives a very different report of Napier's visit to the commissioners. They think him mad, and his conduct was so annoying to them that they agreed to try and prevent his being governor. He said he would not trust to New South Wales and Van Diemen's Land taking off the labourers should they be distressed. He would have a King's ship there for the purpose, with other trash of the same kind. Torrens was so perturbed as to get to something like high words with Napier. However, he left, and on his leaving it was agreed that Barnard should go to the Colonial Office, to try to prevent the continuance of their negotiation with him, and to appoint somebody else in his stead. Napier has certainly put on a new style of action.
"The interruption of Napier, prevented the commissioners finishing the terms of selling land; a new idea was started by Barnes, which, indeed, would have prevented this at any rate. He suggests that all land shall be sold for 12s. an acre, subject to a land-tax, which shall be the matter of competition. Thus, when an eligible situation is offered for sale, the competitors will bid up the land-tax, and so provide a fund for the maintenance of Government. Mr. Freshfield's opinion is to be taken as to its legality.
"May 26th.—Received letter from Brown. The intelligence of my appointment being confirmed is the source of no small woe at Barkway, though, of coarse, expected.
"On my arrival in town I found the annexed letter awaiting me from Edward Wakefield. He has written, it seems, to Torrens, Hill, and Hutt. The last of these read his letter in part to the commissioners at their meeting yesterday, but its arguments did not change the course of action adopted by the commissioners:—
"My Dear Gouger,
"I find it necessary to write a few lines about the colony.
"Unable to tell whether you are a party to the plan for making 12s. the minimum price for land, I hardly know what to say, but must say something.
"As you have known my opinion on that subject ever since you have known me, I need not repeat it, nay, I trust that you hold it now, but still fear that you may become the advocate of some other opinion. In the latter case I have a request to make, which is, that you will take some method of letting the commission know that I have always thought £2 the very lowest price that ought to be required for the object in view. I have written upon the subject to those of the commissioners whom I know, but still wish to take some means of representing to the others that I do not agree with you, if it be so. My opinion is of no consequence to them, but it is of great consequence to me that such of them as know of our intimate connection in this affair should not suppose that you express my opinion, if, in fact, you do not. If they start with 12s., the colony will be a second Swan River, and if you support that price, many people will naturally suppose that I do. It is for the sake of a year or two hence that I wish to guard myself from only a seeming participation, through you, in an experiment which, in my opinion, must fail. The principle is mine, and I have a right to defend it from the injury which it would sustain, if the colony, with 12s. for land, were considered a fair trial of the principle. With 12s. for the lowest price, whatever the average may be by means of auction, this colony will be no trial of the principle which it has cost me so much pains to establish thus far. On the contrary, with that lowest price and freedom of appropriation which is not permitted elsewhere, this colony will be worse off for hired labour than Canada or New South Wales, and will fall into a very low place in my catalogue of beggarly new colonies. But you know my views on the subject as well as you know your alphabet; and I will therefore only request that you will find an opportunity of saying to the commission what my opinion has always been and still remains. I could, of course, address them in their official character, but prefer leaving it to you to make a statement, in the way you like best, of the total difference of opinion between us (if it exist) on this, by far the most important point in the whole affair. If, however, you have not wholly changed your mind on the subject, you must be almost as anxious as I am to see a much higher price adopted. In that case, I will take some other method of telling the commission that 12s. will not be considered as carrying into effect the plan which we put forth in 1829, and which we steadily supported, without allowing a single important change in it, up to the passing of the South Australian Act.
"You will, I hope, see my object in this distinction. If our connection had continued, I should have said: 'Speak out! battle for the truth; be no party to an ordinary new colony.' But supposing that you may have changed your mind, and reflecting that I can no longer support you in a controversy, I will not lead you into one which you might think likely to hurt your prospects, and therefore say: Do not mention the subject if you still agree with me, but state what my opinion was, and is, in case you agree in the proposal to make 12s. the lowest price; and at all events, let me know what you do.
"So far as concerns me and the new colonising principle. On your own account, I long to add some of the arguments by which, just this time six years ago, you were induced to abstain from going to ruin at the Swan River. But I will still hope that South Australia is to be something very superior to that abortion.
"P.S.—If you have any reason for disliking
to speak to the commissioners, I will write to them. Indeed, I
think of addressing them publicly in a pamphlet letter which
shall give a history of the project, and show clearly how much it
has always been at variance with so low a price as 12s."
"The projected subdivision of the commissioners in three sub-committees was agreed to to-day. Hutt, Lefevre, and Angas were appointed to the management of the publications to be issued by the commission. Hutt, Mackinnon, and Palmer for correspondence with Government and the country, and for general purposes, and Mills, Wright, and Montefiore are to manage the financial department and the raising the required loans. I am to take the work of the general purposes committee upon myself as secretary.
"May 29th.—Two gentlemen called to-day at the office, having rather important errands. Mr. Barton Hack, a Quaker, called to say he has some friends, persons of capital, desirous to emigrate. He appears to be a highly respectable man, and is very well connected. The other is a Captain Hindmarsh, a post-captain in the navy, who wishes to be appointed Governor. He has letters from Lords Auckland, Palmerston, Howick, Sir Pulteney Malcolm and others, asking for the appointment for him. He appears to be a jovial, hearty and energetic man. I have directed him to Lefevre.
"May 30th.—Called on Lefevre with Hill to see the terms for selling land which he has devised. His plan is to sell the first £35,000 worth of land at 12s. 6d. an acre (80 acres for £50), and then to raise the price to 17s. 6d. per acre—the decision between two or more persons for the same lot of land to be by auction. This plan much simplifies the matter, and I hope will be adopted. I urged upon Lefevre the necessity of coming to an early decision—the commission having now been gazetted a month, and no public step having been taken. He concurred in the necessity of getting at I once into operation, and said he would be ready by J Tuesday next to lay before the Board his perfected plan. Speaking of Captain Hindmarsh, he says he has seen Sir P. Malcolm, who gives the very best character of the captain, both publicly and privately. He is very distinguished as a naval officer, having been engaged in every naval combat since Lord Howe's of the first of June, 1794, and particularly noticed by Lord Nelson. He has a wife and four children, three of whom are daughters above 15 and under 22 years of age.
"Rowland Hill has to-day received a long letter from Edward Wakefield, still urging the old topic (£2 an acre for land) and speaking of me as his mere delegate in the previous committees! This gentleman will not let me get away without a downright quarrel with him, and Hill himself thinks he wishes to quarrel with him. I have to-day sent the following letter to him in answer to his of the 25th May:—
"I think you have unnecessarily taken alarm about the price intended to be asked for land in South Australia, and I fancy by the style of your letter of the 25th that you have been misinformed as to my declaration upon that subject. I am now, as much as ever, an advocate for what is commonly called a high price of land—that is, such a price as will, by combination of labour, enable the purchaser to cultivate his land advantageously. What that price is, you, as well as I, maintain must be left to experience to determine; in the meantime, we agree that it is better to begin at a price decidedly too low, than at one decidedly too high. So far principle.
"Now for expediency. I am clearly of opinion that if anything like the price you mention in your letter signed 'Kangaroo' be fixed by the commissioners, the colony will never be founded, for no one will buy land at that price, unless it be a joint-stock company, which shall have power given it to take the site of the town—nor do I think £2 an acre can be obtained. To enable the commissioners to do anything, therefore, I have been induced to agree to 12s. being required for land until the conditions of the Act be complied with, on the understanding that the price is then to be considerably advanced. That this concession to expediency will ruin the colony I cannot for one moment believe—nay, I do not think it will cause any injury, for if labourers be wanting after the expenditure of the £35,000 and before fresh sales take place, the 17th clause of the Act meeting the difficulty, empowers the commissioners to raise money on loan to send out emigrants.
"I have to-day told the commissioners in conformity with your wish, that you hold different views to mine upon this subject.
Mr. E. G. Wakefield to Mr. Robert Gouger.
"My Dear Gouger,
"I have not 'taken alarm' about the price for land. My present opinion is nearly seven years old. I think now, on the subject of price, exactly as I thought during the long period when my opinions were represented by you.
"I do not maintain that the question of price ought to be left to experience. Unless the price be high enough for its object, it will be the same as no price at all. To begin with, no price would be absurd. I look upon 128. as no price, in this sense. It is not a hired-labour price. Beginning with that price, there will be no experiment, no experience of anything but disaster.
"How do you know that nobody will buy land at a sufficient price? That experiment has not yet been tried. That experiment may be tried here without risk to anyone.
"We wholly disagree, you see, on what you call principle. I must now consider you as one of the opponents of my principle.
"On the two points in your letter which you place under the head of expediency, I again disagree with you, I think that people here will be more ready to pay a sufficient than an insufficient price; and I sincerely hope that, with an insufficient price, the colony may not be founded.
"The supposition that, 'if labourers were wanting,' the want could be supplied by means of the 17th clause of the Act, appears to me to be a delusion. After the want was felt, four months must elapse before the commission could even know of it; and four more before they could supply it. But in the course of those eight months the want would have disappeared; the colony would have been made like Swan Kiver during that period of its existence when labourers were glad to emigrate to Van Diemen's Land; and the new supply of labourers would not even find employment. The 17th clause of the Act may help to prevent, but cannot cure, a want of labourers for hire.
"We wholly disagree, you see, as to both principle and expediency.
"I am obliged to you for having spoken to the commissioners, as you have thereby saved me, and my plan of colonisation, from all responsibility as to the success of this undertaking. My firm belief is that, if the commissioners should act in agreement with you, the first expedition will prove a lamentable failure. Yoa and I have often foretold as much, and for the very reasons which I still urge.
"P.S.—Since this was written I have seen
R. Hill, and determined to write to the commissioners. You will
see by my letter how widely we differ in the most essential
"June 1st.—Captain Hindmarsh called; he has been introduced to Lord Glenelg by Sir Pulteney Malcolm, and the latter afterwards assured Hindmarsh that he should have Lord Glenelg's assistance, but that the commissioners must be consulted, and their approval obtained. I had a long conversation with him relative to the claims of the colonies, and the manner in which the project had been commenced and matured. He said that he would see that justice was done to all before he made any attempt to get any appointments for his friends. He afterwards went to Wright and others at the rooms, and repeated this to them. He will bring his family to town at once."
Colonel C. J. Napier to Mr. Gouger.
"As I wish the colony success, and that others take a different view of it from mine, I advise you to try and get Colonel Light appointed Governor. Whether he would accept it, or not, I cannot say, but his great accomplishments, and his character being so generally known, not only for his distinguished services in the Peninsula, under the Duke of Wellington, but also in Spain at the time Sir Robert Wilson was there, would give an éclât to the appointment which might be useful to the colony, and at the same time secure an able man for the work. As Light's friend, I would not advise him to take the post, for the reasons which make me decline it myself.
"As far as you are personally concerned, you would find him all you could wish.
"Hoping that you may not be disappointed in your own claims, which I think too strong to be rejected,
Mr. Gouger to Colonel C. J. Napier.
"If I had been desirous, in consequence of Colonel Light's high character, of recommending his appointment to the office of Governor of South Australia, I should nevertheless have been prevented acting in favour of Colonel Light by the promise of Lord Glenelg having been given to Captain Hindmarsh, the gentleman you saw at Portsmouth, and to whom you communicated the fact of your resignation. Since I received your letter. Captain Hindmarsh has visited the commissioners, and having succeeded in gaining their suffrages, may be considered virtually appointed.
"June 20th.—Torrens asked me
to meet the Wakefields at a reconciliation dinner, but this I
refused. I told Torrens that I never again would meet them as
friends; if I met them in public life for the furtherance of a
public object, well and good; but I would not meet them in
"June 22nd.—Mr. Angas is undertaking the management of a School Society, to include infant as well as other schools.
"June 24th.—Hindmarsh has returned to town, and is ready to lend a willing hand. A meeting of the publication committee having been ordered at Lefevre's rooms at Somerset House, Hindmarsh and I went down, and almost immediately after Angas came in. He has very much assisted in publishing the measure in the West of England, and intends to take himself £5,000 worth of land, to be divided into small farms and let on lease to small farmers, who will be supplied with, money by him, the tenants having leave to purchase the estate at their convenience at a given price. The sub-committee ordered 8,000 copies of the 'regulations' to be printed, and £10 worth of advertisements in the country. The register to-day show £2,500 subscribed for land.
"June 29th.—Called with Hindmarsh on J. A. Smith, Grote, Currie, Borradaile. Labouchere, C. Buller, and some others. We also went to Sir G. Grey to try to get the matter of postage accorded to us—but we were unsuccessful. Hindmarsh tells me of two or three youths who will be under his care in the colony, and who must be in some way provided for; of these, young Torrens is one.
"July 4th.—After the last meeting I went to Barkway and was detained there by illness. On my return I found the Board assembled at a special meeting to fix the offices and salaries. Before I arrived, a resolution had been passed obliging the officers to purchase land in proportion to their salaries, for each £100 of salary they were to purchase £500 of land. The absurdity of this was evident at once, but as it had been proposed by Torrens, and had been already passed, I did not think it prudent to disturb the meeting.
"July 6th.—Wrote a long letter to Torrens begging him to reconsider his plan for making the government servants take land, and giving him my opinion upon it. Before sending it, however, I showed it to Lefevre, who was immediately convinced the measure would not do, and who promised to write to Barnard about it. He considers the plan very injudicious indeed. Offer Darton and Harvey my 'Guide to South Australia.'
"July 7th.—At the meeting of the Board to-day, and before confirmation of the minutes. Mills, Barnard, and Angas expressed their disapproval of the mode of forcing land on government officers; but did not move that the proposition be negatived, owing to Torrens' absence. The minutes were confirmed subject to the reconsideration of that part of them.
"July 9th.—Accompanied Angas and Hindmarsh to Gravesend to see the embarkation of the girls for Van Diemen's Land, who had been admitted by the Emigration Committee, Everything was devised for their comfort which could be managed at a moderate expense, and the girls appeared generally to be of a respectable class. During the passage down I had much conversation with Angas and Montefiore in relation to the offices—both will support Brown, and both will oppose Gilles and Wakefield.
"July 13th.—Numerous applications, and some of them from very good men. Sir P. Malcolm again promises to get us a King's ship to go out in, and as a great favour, has given me a favourite shepherd dog.
"July 14th.—At the meeting of the Board to-day the proposition for qualification of officers by buying land was negatived. The questions of appointments then followed, and Wakefield was proposed by Torrens as candidate for judge. This was universally disliked, and after a great deal of conversation, in which all present took part (excepting myself and Hill), it was agreed that he should be offered a compensation in money for the labour he had performed, and, it was added by Lefevre, that it was to be hoped the hint would be taken. It was ordered that the applicants should all send in testimonials. Brown was nominated commissioner of Emigration and Auditor-General, and Kingston Deputy-Surveyor. Gilles was fought hard for by Torrens, but he, too, was opposed by all who knew him, and Torrens and Hindmarsh were instructed to see him with a view to his retirement The commissioners now having testified their approval of me, it was agreed that they should write a letter to Lord Glenelg asking him to confirm my appointment. I was, moreover, voted a sum, adequate to my expenses, for lecturing in Stamford and other places. I proceed on my journery on the 16th."
Here the Journal ends.
The abrupt termination of the Journal was due to several causes, some domestic and some official, and before we follow Robert Gouger on his voyage to South Australia, there are gaps in the narrative which it is desirable should be filled up here.
The appointment of the Governor, Captain Hindmarsh, having been settled, and his salary fixed at £800 per annum, and an allowance of £500 for outfit, the following gentlemen, to several of whom reference will be made later on, were appointed to hold offices in the colony:—
Resident Commissioner and Registrar
Mr. James Hurtle Fisher
Mr. Robert Gouger
Sir J. W. Jeffcott
Advocate-General and Crown Solicitor
Mr. Charles Mann
Naval Officer and Harbour-Master
Capt. Thos. Lipson, R.N.
Governor's Secretary and Clerk of the Council
Mr. George Stevenson
Colonial Treasurer, Collector of Revenue, and Accountant-General
Mr. Osmond Gilles
Commissioner of Emigration and Auditor-General
Mr. John Brown
Colonel William Light
Mr. G. S. Kingston
Assistant Surveyors (5)
Junior Assistant Surveyors (2)
Mr. Thomas Gilbert
After the appointment of the Board of Commissions to carry out the provisions of the Act of Parliament, their first duty was to fulfil the conditions required from them by the Government, viz., to sell £35,000 worth of land, and to invest £20,000 in the name of trustees before any act of the Board would be valid. This money question had hitherto been the crucial point, and it remained so now. In June, 1835, therefore, the Commissioners published their first "Regulations" for the sale of land at £1 per acre; and for two months, advertisements, pamphlets, and maps were scattered broadcast; agents were appointed at considerable expense to aid the Commissioners, but all to no purpose.
At the end of that time not half the required quantity of land had been disposed of, and there seemed to be no chance of selling any more.
At this crisis Mr. George Fife Angas said to his colleagues on the Board of Commissioners: "Without some collateral association to assist the Commissioners I do not see how the Act is to be carried into effect." "He then proceeded to unfold a scheme which was, in brief, that a Joint Stock Company should be formed with sufficient capital to purchase the requisite quantity of land; to take out its own agents, servants, and other emigrants, and supply them with provisions while they carried on operations of a reproductive and remunerative character; and to provide the capital for the working of the Colonial Government." *
[* "The History of South Australia." By Edwin Hodder. Sampson Low, Marston & Co. 1893. Vol. I., p. 34.]
Mr. Angas was a remarkable man—no shrewder ever lived, and few men served his day and generation with greater energy, conscientiousness, and courage. ** He had proposed a scheme, and he meant to see it through. He "was ready to act on the moment, and, assisted by Mr. Henry Kingscote and Mr. Thomas Smith, at once subscribed sufficient capital to purchase the whole of the unsold land, to be handed over to the Company, when formed, at cost price, with interest at 6 per cent. This purchase was the basis of the operations of the Company, and, as a matter of fact, of all future operations of the Commissioners, and thus the initial difficulty in founding a colony under the Act was overcome. But a concession had to be made by the Commissioners to effect it. The offer for the purchase of the land was at the reduced rate of 12s. per acre, partly because it was evident there were no more purchasers to be obtained at £1 per acre, and partly because this reduced price would be an incentive to capitalists to invest in the proposed Company." ***
[** See, for a full account of the work of Mr. Angas, in relation to South Australia, "George Fife Angas, Father and Founder of South Australia." By Edwin Hodder. Hodder & Stoughton. 1891.]
[*** "History." Vol. I., p. 35.]
On Mr. J. Wright, another of the Commissioners, devolved the task of raising the sum of £20,000 to invest in trustees, and a difficult task it was. But he succeeded; and although the terms were not entirely approved by the Commissioners, they were glad enough, in the emergency, to accept them, and on the 19th November the required sum was invested as a guarantee to the Government, in the names of three Trustees, in the 3 per cent. Consols.
On the 22nd of January, 1836, the South Australian Company was formed, with a subscribed capital of £200,000.
The original Directors of the Company were George Fife Angas (Chairman), Raikes Currie, M.P., Charles Hindley, M.P., James Hyde, Henry Kingscote, John Pirie (Alderman), John Rundle, M.P., Thomas Smith, James Ruddall Todd, and Henry Waymouth.
As, however, Messrs. Angas and Wright were Commissioners, they were prohibited from having any pecuniary interest in the colony they were appointed to establish, and both, therefore, retired from that Board.
The objects of the Company were briefly—(1) To erect upon their town land, wharves, warehouses, and dwelling-houses, and to let, or otherwise dispose of them to the colonists. (2) To cultivate and improve their country land, and to lease, or sell, parts of it at their discretion.
(3) To lay out farms, erect suitable buildings thereon, and let the same on lease, with the right of purchase before the expiration of such lease, at a price to be fixed at the time of the tenant taking possession. (4) To grow wool for the European markets. (5) To establish whale, seal, and other fisheries in the gulf and seas around the colony, and to cure and salt fish for exportation. (6) To salt and cure beef and pork for ships and for general export. (7) To establish a bank or banks; to make loans on the security of land or produce, and to perform all necessary and expedient banking operations. (8) To select, contract with, and provide the requisite tools for carpenters, brickmakers, lime-burners, blacksmiths, boat-builders, fishermen, and others, so that every want of immigrants might be supplied on their arrival in the colony.
Within a month or two of the foundation of the South Australian Company, appointments to the various departments, both at home and in colony, were made, and their fleet sent forth;—the John Pirie, with 21 passengers, goods, and the live stock; the Duke of York, with 42 passengers, including Mr. S. Stephens, the Colonial Manager of the Company; the Lady Mary Pelham and the Emma, with passengers and whaling and general stores.
The colonial officials were, of course, sent out by the Board of Commissioners—Captain Hindmarsh, the Governor, in the Buffalo; Colonel Light, the Surveyor-General and his staff of assistants in the Rapid; Mr. G. S. Kingston, Deputy-Surveyor, and other officers in the Cygnet, and Mr. Gouger, Colonial Secretary in the Africaine.
Happily, Mr. Gouger's diary, written during the voyage, has been preserved!, and from that we shall now proceed to quote such extracts as will throw light on his character and work.
Extracts from "Some Rough Notes of a Voyage from Gravesend to South Australia in the Africaine, Captain Duff, 316 Register, commencing June 30th, 1836," by Robert Gouger.
"June 30th.—At 4 o'clock my wife * and I joined the Africaine at Gravesend, which immediately afterwards moved down with the tide. Fortunately the weather was delightful, the light winds that blew gave hardly any perceptible motion to the ship, and were refreshing in the extreme, and when the Africaine anchored on Deal, for the reception of the Captain and some of the party, we were in good health and spirits. In the course of the afternoon, Captain Duff and his wife came on board. They had been married but on the previous Thursday—a circumstance which caused a little delay in the departure of the ship from London . . . . The vessel being in disorder in consequence of this day commencing her voyage, prayers were not read, I distributed, however, amongst the passengers and sailors some books supplied by friends for the use of the ship during the voyage—afterwards to be given to some public institution. On conversing with some of the labouring emigrants, I find they are desirous of establishing a school on board for the instruction of some of the party who are not able to read. When the first trials of the passage are over, this will be a subject for attention.
[* Mr. Gouger was married to Miss Harriet Jackson, a London lady, on the 22nd of October, 1835.]
"Sunday, July 10th.—Prayers
were read by Mr. Everard, the surgeon. The whole of the
passengers and crew were present, and were most attentive and
orderly. My protégé, Pollard, officiated as clerk. My wife
remains very unwell indeed. She has been under the care of Mr.
Everard now nearly a week, and nothing can exceed his kind
attention; still she does not progress. Now for some gossip about
the ship. Our cabin party, besides Captain and Mrs. Duff,
consists of our noble selves; Mr., Mrs., and Miss Brown (the
emigration agent, his wife, and sister); Mr. and Mrs. Hallett, a
merchant and purchaser of land who settles in the colony, and is
partner with Duff (the Captain of the ship); Mr. Everard (the
surgeon of the ship) and his wife; Mr. Skipper, the son of a
wealthy solicitor of Norwich, and who is articled to Mr. Mann
(the Attorney-General of the Colony). The first-mate also dines
in the cuddy, thus we have the unfortunate number of thirteen! We
fare sumptuously every day.
"The intermediate party (i.e., between the cabin and the steerage) consists of eighteen persons, viz., Mr. Deacon, who intends to keep an hotel in the colony; my clerk (Mr. Nantes); Mr. Thomas (the printer of the colonial newspaper), with his family; and four proprietors of land in South Australia. They fare differently to the cabin passengers, having fresh meat once a week only, and on other days salt fish, beef, or pork. The labourers and their wives and families occupy the next compartment of the ship.
"Their number is about fifty; they are all contented, and have every cause to be so. Pollard has volunteered to take care of the poultry, pigs, and sheep on board, besides my goats. He takes excessive pride in them, and boasts of their condition daily. Moreover, he milks my goats, and performs upon the pigs and sheep the kindly offices of the butcher when occasion requires.
"... I shall confine my remarks to Captain Duff, whose conduct in every respect merits the warmest encomiums. He appears to be a thorough sailor, decisive and skilful; he pays equal attention to all the passengers; has no favourites apparently, and is, therefore, a general favourite. . . .
"July 18th.—The wind fell in the night, and for four hours we were absolutely becalmed. This proved exceedingly trying to my poor wife, for the ship being no longer steadied by the wind, and there being so much sea, it was tossed about in a very disagreeable manner. The waves, which broke against her with considerable violence, gave the idea at night of a storm. . . . Mr. Everard's advice not having alleviated H.'s sufferings, I requested the assistance of another medical gentleman on board (Mr. Slater), who suggested a swinging cot, which, being arranged with a few trifling alterations, produced greater comfort. . . .
"July 20th.—Flocks of flying-fish have surrounded the vessel to-day, and have afforded much amusement.
"July 23rd.—H. is now quite well, and for the last two days has enjoyed herself on the deck. Yesterday we entered the torrid zone; the heat is, however, not at all oppressive to any of the party. The thermometer in my cabin is generally 78°, but the thorough draft, which we manage at almost all times to keep up, renders the temperature agreeable. Some of the passengers in the intermediate cabin, last week manifested discontent. One complained of the bread, another of the beef, another of the wine; indeed, each had some complaint to make, but, rather a subject for marvel, no two agreed on the same complaint. . . .
"Seeing that the real cause of the discontent was idleness and ennui, it occurred to me that it would be well to get up some general amusement, and I consequently proposed to enrol a body of volunteers to be drilled. Fortunately, I found on board a man who had been a soldier in the Peninsular war (Mr. Wickham), and, after a little persuasion, he agreed to spend half-an-hour a day with us for the purpose. . . .
"Sunday, July 24th.—Mr. Everard again read prayers, and introduced a suitable prayer for the success of the voyage and its object.
"July 26th.—This morning the first-mate found on the deck a flying-fish."
It may be mentioned here that, throughout this and subsequent voyages, Mr. Gouger made elaborate notes concerning every new form of life with which he came in contact. Thus he describes the flying-fish scientifically, gives its length and breadth, the manner and length of its flight, and accompanies the description with an admirable drawing in which the various shades and hues of the fish are given with great vividness and accuracy. The old love of natural history, which had been his favourite study in the days of his youth, but had been completely abandoned in the years of stress and storm in Australian affairs, returned to him in these hours of comparative idleness; every bird or fish brought on board—and there were many—became the object of his special care and amusement. But these and other details, not falling within the scope of our present purpose, have been omitted in our extracts.
"July 28th.—H. remains in
excellent health and spirits. Yesterday a large turtle passed us,
and in the evening the ship was absolutely surrounded by large
fish—there being, according to Captain Duff's computation,
not fewer than one hundred porpoises and bottle-nosed whales
around the ship at the same time, some of which were 20 feet
long. . . .
"August 12th.—I was always averse to allowing labouring emigrants spirits, on board ship, and am now more than ever convinced that the practice is most injudicious. Very few indeed ever think of helping the sailors by pulling at a rope, or of rendering any other assistance—on the contrary, they are generally to be seen rolling on casks, or hen coops, enjoying (a new thing for them) idleness, with unusually full meals; then they become unhealthy, and the allowance of spirits makes them vicious. The women, many of whom have perhaps very seldom tasted rum before, and, if so, in small quantities, now drinking largely, become quarrelsome, and the causes of quarrel amongst the weak emigrants.
"From these considerations, carried out practically as I have seen in several instances, I am thoroughly convinced that no ship, containing a large number of poor persons, can be other than an arena for discord while spirits are served out as an article of rations, or can be obtained, except in particular cases, by the authority of the surgeon.
"August 15th.—Several dolphins have been sporting about the ship to-day, but we have not succeeded in taking any. One of my Cashmere kids died. We have also, I fear, lost the beautiful heliotrope which my mother so kindly left as a last gift on board the ship to H. It has had water regularly, but whether it is the sea air, or the absence of the sun (for it could not be hung on deck), which has killed it I know not; nevertheless, the stump, cut down as it is, shall be still a cabin passenger, in the hope that the climate of Australia may revivify any spark of life which may yet be at the root. The mignonette before withering, providently gave its seed, and the third little pot of treasure, the musk plant, still lives, but in a very precarious state; our other pets, the dog and the bird, are well and contented.
"August 18th.—During the night a slight change of wind occurred, affording us the prospect of relief from our lengthened imprisonment; this is doubly agreeable, as the Captain has more than once intimated his intention to go into the Island of Ascension instead of the Cape, should this weather continue. We were near it, and the detention there, while getting water, would be much shorter than at the Cape. This is a great temptation, especially now that we have had every hope of making a quick passage; but it will be a source of great disappointment to me, and to most of the passengers, as we have prepared long lists of etceteras to be purchased at the Cape; besides which we have looked upon two or three days' sojourn there as a holiday, which could hardly be enjoyed on a volcanic island, where nothing else can be had but water and turtle! Since the first of this month we have made no more southing than 390 miles.
"August 24th.—The wind, which held out a favourable promise on the 18th, has not deceived us, and we are therefore relieved from the apprehension of going to Ascension. . . . Yesterday an attempt was made by Captain Duff to decrease, the allowance of water to every passenger, with the obvious view of avoiding the necessity of putting in at the Cape; this, however, was resisted by all, and on Mr. Brown representing to the Captain, that, as 'Agent for Emigration,' he would consider the decrease of allowance of water as a breach of contract with the Commissioners, and would so prevent the payment of the passage-money of the steerage passengers, the Captain countermanded his order, and the usuful amount of water was to-day served out. The quantity allowed is six quarts a day for each adult, children have less in proportion to age; and when it is remembered that this is to suffice for washing, cooking, tea, and all other uses, it cannot be said to be extravagant.
"August 27th.—By reference to the ship's log it appears that we have made as much progress during the last four days as we did during the whole antecedent part of August. The demands upon our gallant Captain's patience not being now so great as they were—when about £15 a day (estimated expenses of the ship) were going out of his pocket, without any progress in the voyage being made—the austerity he then assumed has softened down, and he is nearly himself again. In fact, the Captain's visage is a pretty good barometer; nothing seems to annoy him but a calm or an adverse wind. The wrangling and complaints of the passengers he manages to dispose of readily enough.
"Sunday, September 4th.—The weather is still fine and the wind favourable, but the change from heat to cold is to me anything but agreeable. My time is divided between reading, renewing my acquaintance with figures, and amusing myself with my goats. We are both looking forward to our arrival at the Cape with feelings of anticipation a little similar to those experienced by schoolboys before the holidays. It is uncertain, however, whether our holidays are to be spent at Simon's Bay or Cape Town.
"September 8th.—Since Sunday we have had strong breezes; a landsman would perhaps call the wind a gale. Flocks of the Cape pigeon are constantly about the ship, with some birds of black plumage, and now and then an albatross is seen sailing majestically through the air. The largest of those we have seen would not measure, perhaps, more than 9 or 10 feet from wing to wing; occasionally they are met with, 14 feet in width. Several Cape pigeons have been caught by the passengers with a line and hook, baited with pork, one of which having been given me I have skinned and preserved.
"September 17th.—The thermometer is now at 57°, a degree of cold that affects H. and myself very much, and, unfortunately, neither of us has made a provision for very cold weather . . . . The cabin I occupy is the larboard stem cabin; besides the two stem windows, there is a ventilator, on the deck, about three feet in diameter, which, however, is divided between mine and the adjacent cabin. Thus I have a sufficiency of air and light for all purposes. But there is an advantage in the possession of a stem cabin far beyond that of ventilation, or even abundance of light, viz., the power of abstracting one's self from the company of the rest of the passengers. In our case the companion-ladder is between the stem cabin and the cuddy, so that when the door is shut it is impossible to hear the never-ceasing conversation in which some of the party are sure to be engaged. To be alone is the greatest luxury we enjoy on board; were I the occupant of a cabin adjacent to the cuddy, I verily believe that, instead of passing my time agreeably, I should be suffering from a brain fever caused by the continual din and noise of my worthy fellow passengers. "Were the society throughout agreeable and intellectual, the conversation of even such persons would occasionally tire, but it is not to be expected that a party meeting greatly by chance, would be all of this kind, nor can all be expected to go through sea-sickness, and other ship inconveniences, without petulance, or perhaps discord. From all this the stem cabin may be a refuge; if the 'azure demons' are tormenting, there is no occasion to annoy others; if others are similarly possessed, the stem cabin screens from them. At any rate, we have found it a most delightful retreat, in proof of which I may truly say that, on an average, I have not been more than four hours a day out of it, while H. has not been more than half that time. It is money well spent which purchases the stem cabin.
"September 22nd.—This morning, about 10 o'clock, the Africaine anchored in Simon's Bay. The fine day, and the joyousness of all on deck at the prospect of a holiday on shore, seemed to give us new life and vigour, and about 11.30 we got into a boat to convey us to land.
"Simon's Town is situated at the foot of some high rocky hills, which, overshadowing the town, give it a romantic and very pleasing appearance. The houses (of which I imagine there are about 160) are well built, after the English style, but with flat roofs, and, with a few exceptions, are in the occupation of store and innkeepers, both parties depending for support upon the custom of ships calling at the Bay. Having taken a hasty glance at the goods offered at the stores, and made some purchases, I procured (at the rate of fifteen shillings per day) a horse and gig to drive to Cape Town, to which place we were accompanied by two of our fellow passengers (Mr. Williams and Mr. Slater), who kindly offered to guide their movements by our own, that, in case of distress in 'our travels in Africa,' they might be ready to give assistance. The first six miles lie over a sandy beach, where the winding of the shore, and the occasioned tracks of wheels, are the only indications of the road, and which is at all times, to a certain degree, dangerous, but especially so at high tide. Once, indeed, we were close upon some quick-sands, which would have been found very troublesome, to say the least, had not a horseman seen our danger, and galloped up to inform us of it. These sands past, the road opened into a rich alluvial soil, on which were seen small spots of cultivated ground, and occasionally about a dozen cottages in sufficient contiguity to be collectively deemed worthy of the title of a village. The road from the sands to Cape Town is in excellent order, and may well vie with the best in Britain. During our little journey many novelties attracted our attention, and diverted us from the perils of the way. The skeletons of whales abounded on the shore, and numerous wild flowers—prized highly in England—we remarked upon the rocks. The wild flowers increased in number and beauty as we proceeded inland, among which the most frequent were the geranium and arum lily, the arbutus, azalia, gum cistus. Many kinds of cactus in great luxuriance, the pomegranate, and sugar-tree, with heath in vast profusion; some varieties of which are the pride and care of English hot-houses. Besides these we saw many splendid shrubs and flowers, the names of which our botanical knowledge could not supply. The birds, again, were particularly beautiful and varied in plumage, but they also were strangers to me. We entered Cape Town just as the sun was sinking behind the hills, and soon found ourselves at the George Hotel, the only hotel in the town properly so called—all other houses for the resort of travellers being boarding-houses.
"The luxury of large rooms, abundance of fresh water, and the absence of 'sea lurches,' were now sources of delight to us, after having been pent up in a ship during twelve weeks, and when to these were added a daintily served up cup of tea, with hot toast and other sundries, we felt determined to throw our complaints away, and fully to enjoy our trip. A short walk in the town concluded our day's wanderings.
"September 23rd.—Almost the whole of this day was spent in making purchases; Captain Duff having informed us that he should positively sail from Simon's Bay the next day (Friday), at 12 o'clock precisely. The very limited time thus allowed us for procuring our supplies, prevented our seeing much of the town, excepting that which is occupied by shops and stores. The last are well supplied with goods, and one shop (an ironmonger's) might have challenged a comparison with any in the best English county towns. The prices of all things imported from Great Britain are, however, extravagantly high. Of the few things we required, many were at least double the English prices—some much more. The little we saw of the town impressed us with a favourable idea of the place: it is clean, the streets wide, the houses well built with flat roofs, and regularly formed. It was not until after some minute investigation that we were able to discover the probable habitations of the labouring people; so well arranged, and (to outward appearance) well appointed were the majority of the houses... The church is a new and neat edifice, placed in very good taste on a piece of rising ground at the top of a long and wide street, looking towards the Bay, and between the two hills known by the name of Table Mountain and the Lion's Rump. In the evening I accompanied Mr. Thompson, a resident, to the museum which, under the care of three brothers, has become exceedingly interesting. The animals and birds are beautifully preserved, and the number is very considerable. Mr. Slater, M.R.C.S., proposes to found a museum in South Australia."
Mr. Gouger proceeds in the Journal with a vivid description of people he met, who showed him hearty colonial hospitality, conducted him over their farms, and told him of their failures and successes. One old farmer begged him to stay an indefinite period, and finding this impossible, "he put into a basket a couple of favourite black pigeons, and a fine black hen, whereby to remember him." After several adventures on the return journey, owing to the high tide and the dangerous state of the sands, the party returned in good time to the ship, and the Journal continues:—
"We proceeded on our journey with light but
"September 28th.—Spoke with a schooner on her way to Swan River. Her cargo contained, among other things, spirits of various kinds, equal in quantity to 100 puncheons, which the Captain regarded as his most profitable investment. One hundred puncheons to 1,600 persons, one puncheon to 16 persons—men, women and children! The cost of this importation would suffice to pay the passage of 100 labourers to the colony, or thereabouts—a mode of expenditure infinitely more profitable to the colony, seeing that the main cause of difficulty there is the want of labourers.
"October 14th.—This morning we passed the singular little island of St. Paul's. . . . It is surprising that some misanthrope has not chosen it as his abode. Tristan d'Acunha has its Corporal Glass, Pitcairn Island its Adams, but St. Paul's is yet open to a hermit.
"October 30th.—This morning brought us within sight of land, causing considerable excitement on board.
"November 1st.—Towards evening the west end of Kangaroo Island appeared in sight.
"November 2nd.—To-day the wind blew from the N.E., which enabled us to make some advance. As in course of tacking we frequently went within two or three miles of Kangaroo Island, and as the weather seemed peculiarly inviting, some of the young men of our party expressed a desire to land and walk across the island by Captain Sutherland's track. [The men resident in the island assert that Sutherland never was across the island at all.] Their wish being communicated to Captain Duff, he at once gave his consent, and a boat was lowered to convey them to the shore.
"November 3rd.—About 4 this morning I rose and went on deck to watch the appearance of the shore of Kangaroo Island and Yorke's Peninsula at the south. . . .
As I watched the changing shore, and reflected on the years of anxiety and labour which I had devoted to this enterprise, the alternations of hope and chagrin which I had suffered as the prospect of its accomplishment appeared near or distant, the degree of success which had at length been attained, and withal the Providential protection which, 'He who holds the waters in the hollow of His hand' had been pleased to extend to us; my varied emotions almost overcame me, and I was by no means sorry to retreat to a part of the ship where, undisturbed, I could watch the progress of the vessel.
"About 11 o'clock Nepean Bay opened to us, and all eyes were directed to the shore in the expectation of seeing our fellow-colonists. At length we observed three vessels at anchor in the Bay, upon which signals were hoisted and the guns fired. These were answered from the ships and the shore, and presently a boat put off which, in due time, brought to us Mr. Samuel Stephens, the Company's Colonial Manager.
". . . . Before deciding where to take up our temporary residence until the arrival of the Governor, Brown and I thought it expedient to see Col. Light, who was then surveying at Cape Jervis. We accordingly sent for Captain Lipson, the Harbour Master, who, we understood, was in the Colonel's confidence, and in the evening he rowed from the Cygnet to us. From him we learned that a most enchanting country had been discovered at Cape Jervis, with which Col. Light was so much pleased as to be almost fixed in its favour, but that its superior advantages to Kangaroo Island were not the only cause of the removal of the depôt from the island. . . ."
Then follows, in the Journal, an excellent description of Kangaroo Island and its resources, its flora and fauna, and a digest of the arguments for and against its being a desirable place for a settlement. The Journal continues:—
"November 3rd.—The opinion
which the sealers (Stephens and Lipson) give of the pedestrian
party succeeding in reaching the settlement are very
discouraging—nay, fearful! All agree in saying it is
impossible but that they should be lost in the woods, and, unless
very fortunate in finding water, would be starved to death. With
a degree of folly hardly to be imagined, they refused to take
from the boats fresh water which had been provided for them, thus
they would, in a few hours, be suffering from thirst to be
quenched only in such pools as might be left from the winter
rains. On hearing this statement we thought it advisable to send
after them, and an agreement was .made with three sealers and a
native woman to go in search of them, and they immediately
started on their expedition. Reliance is chiefly placed on the
sagacity of the native woman, who is distinguished for her skill
"November 7th.—This morning the Africaine left Nepean Bay, and in a few hours reached Cape Jervis, and anchored in a bay where we discerned the Rapid, and, on an adjacent hill, some tents. A boat, which put off on our approach, brought us Colonel Light, who piloted the ship into Rapid Bay. A party of us accompanied Colonel Light on shore, being desirous of seeing as much as we could of the land now, in case we should have to move onward with the ship. Now we found that the accounts we had heard of the beauty of the mainland, glowing as they were, were not exaggerated, for it is impossible to imagine a more lovely valley than that which skirts the Bay. . . . Delighted as we were with the spot, we determined, on the recommendation of Colonel Light, to proceed higher up the gulf, where he discovered there was, at all times, fresh water, and a fine harbour for shipping, of which advantage Kapid Bay is destitute. . . .
"November 17th.—We have now been some days at Holdfast Bay, so named by Colonel Light, in consequence of the excellent holding ground afforded here for shipping; and all hands are employed in erecting tents, building huts, and landing goods and cargo; but an account of my residence here does not fall naturally into this paper, for this is a narrative of my voyage to South Australia, and not of my residence in it. The landing, and first impression of South Australia as a place of abode, is an epoch worthy of another chapter."
Extracts from "Memoranda of a Residence in Holdfast Bay. By Robert Gouger."
"November 25th, 1836.—Though
the Africaine anchored here on the 9th ultimo, for the
purpose of discharging cargo, I have been obliged to neglect my
Journal in consequence of the many calls upon my time, therefore
the accounts which follow may not be given in chronological
order. On landing with Colonel Light on the 10th, we were
informed by Mr. Field, the first officer of the Rapid, 'that a
river had been recently discovered running apparently into the
creek, known by the name of Sixteen-mile Creek '—that he
had seen it, and said it was of important magnitude. This being
the case, it became a question whether or not the
Africaine should at once commence the discharge of her
passengers and cargo, or wait the report of the Colonel. With a
view to the settlement of this question. Colonel Light,
accompanied by Captain Duff, Mr. Brown, and myself, started the
next day upon a walking expedition to the river. At a distance of
about five miles we came within sight of it; it ran through a
low, swampy country, covered with most luxuriant grass, and
skirting a range of beautiful, well- wooded hills, from the
centre of which rose Mount Lofty. We did not prolong our
excursion, as the Colonel felt satisfied that the river would be
found to run to the creek, but, as from the nature of the
country, he thought the investigation might last some days, he
felt a desire to strengthen the party at Holdfast Bay, and
disembark there at once. He was also anxious to land without loss
of time, as the whole surveying party (officers and men) had been
unprovided with fresh meat since their arrival, and he thought it
necessary to give them a change of food, and considered that the
most advantageous course would be to despatch the
Africaine to Van Diemen's Land for the purpose of bringing
sheep and oxen to the colony.
The next day, therefore, saw the ship's boat busily employed in landing passengers and cargo. The question now was, where to pitch our tent and build our hut. Mr. Kingston (the Deputy Surveyor-General), with his men, were located about a mile from the beach, but I at once determined to go further in search of a place for my temporary abode. I at length determined on a spot shaded by large gum-trees, in the middle of a meadow covered with pasture of a richness hardly to be surpassed, and more within the precincts of the surveyor's tents. The next day, therefore, saw the tent struck, and erected on the newly-chosen site. . . . The first thing to be done was to transport my packages from the beach to the tent, a distance of little more than a mile (but not of British turn-pike road, nor with the aid of waggons and horses). My only assistants were Pollard, my boy Alfred, and a portable truck, which I had brought from England. The road was first a deep sand, then an uneven field covered with high grass, and intersected by two gullies, which, in the wet season, doubtless bring down water to the rivulet running into Holdfast Bay, but they were now fortunately dry. Three journeys from the beach to the tent with laden truck was a good day's work. The heat was sometimes very oppressive, and the mosquitoes troublesome; but the flies are afflicting. Nothing can equal their cruel perseverance. . . . While these toils were going on, Harriet had the refuge of the ship, to which also I returned every evening, not, however, without having to wade breast-high in the sea to reach the boat, which, except at particular times of the tide, could not get over a sand-bank about twenty yards from the beach. At length the time arrived when H.'s affectionate impatience to aid me would not be restrained, and on Saturday,
"November 19th we left the Africaine, and took up our residence in the tent. Troops of mosquitoes entertained us with their music, and we, in return, entertained them with a full repast, and in the morning we were well-nigh in a fever from their visitation. It is not, however, from these insects alone that annoyance has been felt, as scarcely a day passes without something turning up to excite surprise, if not apprehension. Within two yards of our tent, five centipedes of about five inches long have been caught—one actually in the tent, and one night I put my hand within an inch of a large scorpion. Enormous ants and very small frogs abound also in our tent, but the first of these are harmless, and the others cause us no disturbance. We have had frequent gales of wind, and the changes from heat to cold have been somewhat extraordinary; in one instance, within twelve hours the thermometer ranged between 105° and 50°, both in the shade. It would, however, be premature to pronounce an opinion as to the climate, and I endeavour to console myself, and others, with the assurance that, when the clearing of land and cultivation shall have commenced, many of the annoyances will no longer exist. Some of the emigrants brought with them tents, and those generally are insufficient habitations for day or night, in consequence of their being single. My own tent, being double, is, in comparison with any in the colony, a very comfortable residence—the outside being of draped cloth, not one drop of rain has entered. It also has a verandah which serves as a store-room, thereby keeping the interior in excellent order and neatness, and a boarded floor, which I have laid down, is a luxury of much importance It is, however, the only one yet in the colony, though nearly fifty habitations of various kinds have been erected. Those who did not provide tents have built huts, for which every facility exists—there being a little forest of straight poles about a mile off, and plenty of long sedge-grass wherewith to thatch them. Game is in great abundance on the plain; it is almost impossible to walk two hundred yards without putting up quails; wild ducks and other water-fowl are to be met with constantly on the river and in the lagoons. White cockatoos, parrots, and parrakeets of splendid plumage are to be found on almost every other tree. These, and a peculiar kind of plover, are excellent eating:. Kangaroos are plentiful—one fine fellow (nearly as large as a jackass), with his mate, bounded by within twenty yards of my tent yesterday while I was carpentering, but had passed out of reach before I could get my rifle, though loaded in the tent. Fish are also numerous, though few have been taken.
"November 27th.—The Africaine, Rapid, and Cygnet left us this morning. The first to Van Diemen's Land for supplies, the Rapid up the gulf, and the Cygnet to Port Lincoln to await the arrival of the Governor.
"November 30th.—I have now seen what I have so often heard and read of—a country on fire! Perhaps some imaginations could realise it from the American novels; mine never could. . . .
"I had a trench dug about twenty yards round me, which would, I hoped, effectively stop its march. This precaution has kept me and my enclosure safe, while all beyond is black and desert. One decided advantage has been gained by this conflagration, viz., the destruction of myriads of insects, &c.
"December 1st.—We have long been anxiously expecting a visit from the natives, and have been somewhat uneasy at their lengthened absence, more particularly as two natives have been sent by land from Rapid Bay to inform the other tribes of our peaceful intentions."
Throughout his lengthened labours on behalf of South Australia, Mr. Gouger had taken the keenest possible interest in every question that related to the Aborigines. He was anxious that full justice should be done to them, that their pre-emptive rights should be respected, and that every effort should be made to win them over to civilisation and Christianity. His introduction to them, and the kindly way in which he treated them, speak well for his humanity, and he concludes a rather long notice of them by saying: "If these natives be a fair specimen, there is nothing to fear from a residence among them, but having heard much of their ferocity, I must be cautious in giving an opinion as care may be required in dealing with them."
"December 11th.—Prayers were
read to-day in Mr. Kingston's tent by Mr. Gilbert, and a sermon
was to have been read also, but information arrived that a large
ship was sailing into the bay, and the anxiety was so great that
the larger part of the congregation separated and went to the
beach, expecting it might be the Governor. It proved, however, to
be the Emma from Kangaroo Island, bringing the Company's
"I returned to my dinner and we had hardly finished when two gentlemen made their appearance. They proved to be the Captain of the Emma and Captain Nelson of the John Pirie, who brought us letters from England. Our first enquiry was of the fate of the six poor fellows who, it will be remembered, landed on the western shore of Kangaroo Island, intending to walk across it by 'Captain Sutherland's track.' Of these only four have been found, Mr. Nantes, a clerk in the office of the Colonial Secretary, and three labourers. Mr. Slater (a surgeon) and Mr. Osborne (printer) are, it is feared, lost. Mr. Nantes states that, after being out nine days, Osborne was unable to proceed, and that Slater, with his characteristic generosity, said he would stay with him, while the rest of the party pushed on, in the hope of sending relief to the two left behind. Two days after this, Nantes and his party were found by a fishing boat, and were conveyed to the settlement, not having tasted food for four days, but are now recovering and are in tolerably good health. Parties sent in search of Slater and Osborne say that they have the tracks of but one person, and as he appears to walk in circles, or backwards and forwards, they fear he is out of his mind. This doubtless was Slater; Osborne most probably has perished. Search parties were, however, still out when the Emma left, though no hope remains of finding either alive. Thus to Captain Sutherland's very erroneous account of the interior of the island, it is to be feared two gallant and educated young men have fallen victims. . . .
"December 14th.—The last fortnight has been devoted to the building of my hut, which nearly adjoins the tent, and is 12 feet wide by 21 feet long. Only six nails were used in its construction; the uprights, cross-pieces, beams and joists being all tied together with cordage. The wood was cut in a copse about a mile distant, and the thatch, which consists of a kind of reed, 10 feet long with long wide leaves, was drawn by the portable truck before alluded to; I look forward to the hut, when finished, as being cooler and far more agreeable—during the heat of the day—than the tent. I have also built a shed for my goats to sleep in, in the upper part of which the fowls have taken up their abode. The latter reward my care by laying eggs plentifully. The Cashmere goats thrive admirably, but my two lads from the Cape have died. We originally supplied ourselves with five servants (male and female) before leaving England, but of these Alfred Young is the only one who preserves his loyalty, though assailed by evil advisers. I have, however, been fortunate in securing the services of Colsman and his wife till the site of the chief town shall be fixed upon.
"December 16th.—The Tam-o'-Shanter has to-day worked into the Bay, and will discharge her cargo at the harbour, 8 miles from us. We now find that no doubt remains as to the fate of Slater and Osborne, the islanders having given up their search as hopeless. Their loss is much regretted by all who witnessed their quiet, unassuming demeanour on board. We have been fortunate in securing other servants from this ship.
"December 18th.—Col. Light arrived here to-day by the Rapid from Kangaroo Island. It is impossible for him to speak in more depreciating terms than he does of the lands adjacent to Port Lincoln and of the entrance to the harbour. . . . This being the case, he considers the position for the site of the chief town as determined, and has therefore returned to Gulf St. Vincent with the full intention of making an accurate survey of the harbour and river eight miles north of Holdfast Bay. The Tam-o'-Shanter left behind her a considerable quantity of excellent porter. This, with other goods, supplied the first store in the colony, opened by Mr. Thomas.
"December 27th.—Last Sunday was Christmas Day! What a temptation to regale on plum-pudding! Nevertheless we did so! In the morning we attended prayers, read by Mr. Kingston, with a sermon on 'The birth of Christ,' hut the congregation did not exceed 30 persons. Yesterday was oppressively hot: in the hut the thermometer stood at 86°; in the tent, under the inner covering, 104°; and under the outer covering, 116°. The fowls and goats appeared exhausted by the heat, the open mouths and outstretched wings of the former, and the frequent and laborious panting of the latter, showed their painful sensations.
Mr. Gouger's Tent and Hut.
morning, on going as usual to let out my goats, I saw two large
vessels entering the Bay, which proved to be the Buffalo
(bringing the Governor and other officers) and the Cygnet
from Port Lincoln. Before 8 o'clock a messenger arrived at my
tent requiring my attendance on board. I found His Excellency and
all the party in good health and spirits and full of hope and
ardour to commence their colonial career. After some consultation
it was decided that the Governor and emigrants should land here
at once, and that, in the course of the day, the necessary oaths
should be taken and the Governor's commission read. At 3 o'clock
the marines from the Buffalo were drawn up in a line, and
the whole of the colonists assembled in front of my tent. Before,
however, reading the commission in public, I took the necessary
oaths of office and, as senior member of Council present, I
administered to the Governor the oaths of office. We then held a
Council in my tent for the purpose of agreeing upon a
proclamation requiring all to obey the laws and declaring the
Aborigines to have equal rights and an equal claim with the white
man upon the protection of the Government. The Commission was
then read in public, a feu de joie was fired by the
Marines, the white ensign hoisted, and a salute fired by the
ships. The proclamation having been read, the meeting adjourned
to Mr. Kingston's tent, where a cold dinner was provided for such
as chose to partake of it, and the festivities were kept up to a
late hour. Rapidly as my heart beat on this occasion—an
occasion to which, during the years I had devoted to the
prosecution of the enterprise, I dared sometimes to anticipate
and rejoice in—I was not suffered long to bestow even one
thought upon it. . . .
"December 29th.—The Commission had hardly left my tent yesterday when the doctor was called in attendance upon my wife, who this morning at 6 o'clock gave the new province a son! I say 'gave the province a son,' for he is claimed by the Governor as his godson, as being the first child born in the colony, after the establishment of the Government.
"December 30th.—Wife and child both going on well. . . . A meeting of the Legislature was held in my tent, at which two Acts were passed—one establishing Courts of General and Petty Sessions, and another fixing the Qualification of Jurors; some Magistrates were also appointed at the meeting.
"December 31st.—My wife taken seriously ill with symptoms of fever. . . .
"January 1st, 1837.—H. somewhat better. Mr. Howard performed Divine service in the Government Hut, and preached an excellent and impressive sermon from these words: 'Lord, let it alone this year also.'
"January 2nd.—A Council was again held in my tent, when an Act was passed for the Summary Determination of Disputes between Masters and Servants.
"January 7th.—H. has been getting on very slowly, but to-day she thinks herself strong enough to remove from the hut to the tent, where she will have less noise, as when known that the tent is occupied by her, persons on business will go to the Government Hut during proper hours. Previous, however, to H.'s taking possession, I was called upon therein, as Magistrate, to decide the first case which had arisen in the colony, but which was dismissed with costs.
"January 17th.—The last week has been one of intense pain. On Sunday Mr. Everard declared H.'s state to be most serious. This induced me to arrange a meeting between Mr. Everard and Dr. Jackson, of the Buffalo, as the former had expressed an opinion that my wife was labouring under pulmonary consumption, which opinion Dr. Jackson confirmed. . . . On Saturday last I decided two cases of quarrel between master and servant, according to the Act passed by the Legislative Council, on the 2nd ultimo, without which enactment the long process of a civil action would have been required to procure redress. This promises to be a most useful law, and is highly popular in the colony.
"January 22nd.—This week has brought two arrivals to the colony, the Coromandel, from London, with emigrants, and the Africaine from Van Diemen's Land, with stock. Received letters from home, and though often separated from my family before, I never felt, on receiving communications from my relatives, such strong emotion as I now do... I received to-day official information from Col. Light and from the harbour-master, that the bar at the entrance of the harbour would allow the passage of the Buffalo and all ships of that burden, which is a most fortunate thing for the colony. To-day our infant has been privately baptised by Mr. Howard. The name given to him is 'Henry Hindmarsh,' the first after one of my brothers, and the second was given, not only out of respect to the Chief Magistrate of the province, but as a matter of permanent interest in the history of his birth.
"January 23rd.—H. has to-day been in a dreadful state from increased fever, causing intense anxiety . . . .
"January 25th.—Yesterday H. passed a more comfortable day, and was able to take a little nourishment; has had a good night, and to-day is still mending. The great difficulty is the want of more air and quiet . . . . The William Hutt arrived here to-day from Kangaroo Island, bringing the remainder of my goods left by the Africaine.'
"In consequence of our not having stone or cement floors, the white ants have made sad devestation, not only with our clothes, but various articles, occasioning great loss. . . .
"February 3rd.—Every day adds to the weakness of my dear wife, and not even hope will soon exist as my solace; but this Journal is not a place for a detail of her sufferings; this mournful history must be reserved for exclusive communications; as it, however, mainly influences all my movements, it maybe necessary sometimes to advert to it.
"Much dissatisfaction has arisen in the minds of many of the colonists upon the important subject of the site of the capital, and among the dissentients to Col. Light's plan, is the Governor himself. The Governor feels very strongly upon the point, and now says that unless 500 acres are surveyed for building land at the harbour, he will not proclaim the port nor establish the Government at Adelaide. . . .
"February 4th.—Dr. Wright having recommended me, for the sake of change of air, to build a cottage on high ground at Adelaide, I walked over there this morning, with a view to fixing upon a spot on which to locate temporarily. This was my first visit to the disputed ground, not having walked many yards from my tent during my wife's illness.
"After having taken a rapid view of the place, which presents beauties and facilities for improvement quite beyond my expectations, and decided upon a plot of ground for the erection of my cottage, I called upon Col. Light and found him exceedingly anxious to do all he could for the public weal, and equally anxious to provide for the accommodation of all parties.
"February 6th.—I saw the Governor to-day, and after some consideration it was decided to call a public meeting for Friday, 10th.
"February 16th.—The public meeting was held at the time appointed, and, after much discussion, it was determined by Col. Light, to survey at the harbour 437 acres for a town, retaining the site of Adelaide for the residence of the Government.
"This wise arrangement appears to please all. For my own part I shall select all the land over which I have any control, at Adelaide, under the firm assurance that, eventually, the harbour will be the Blackwall to our London."
When Mr. Gouger hastily concluded his notes on "a Residence in Holdfast Bay, "he was in a state of great mental anxiety. Troubles fell thick and fast upon him. His wife was in a precarious condition; his destination was uncertain; his duties were onerous in the extreme, and over all the future there hung the shadow of a great fear.
"Not even hope will soon exist as my solace," he had written in his diary on the 3rd of February; by the time he concluded that brief diary all hope had gone, and on the 14th of March his beloved wife passed away. Two days later, his infant son, Henry Hindmarsh, died, and on the 25th of March, mother and child were buried together in one grave at Adelaide.
While his heart was being torn assunder by these distressing circumstances, he was in a most anxious state on account of the unsettled and disturbed state of the colony. His tenderness as husband and father, "would not permit him to walk many yards from his tent during his wife's illness"; his high sense of honour would not allow him to neglect one single duty required of him in his official capacity. It happened, therefore, that night and day he was at work; now at the bedside of his wife, now in the Councils of the Government, and all the time with a brain on fire and a heart that was well-nigh to breaking.
The trouble with regard to the colony may be briefly told here. Immediately after the proclamation of the colony in Mr. Gouger's tent, there was great bustle and excitement among the settlers; the Governor had won the interest of the people; much complimentary speech-making had taken place, and there was a spirit of hopefulness inspiring the settlers. But, below the surface, things were not so hopeful. It was soon discovered that on board the Buffalo, in the course of their voyage, a quarrel had occurred between the Governor, Captain Hindmarsh, and the Resident Commissioner, Mr. J. Hurtle Fisher, as to the exercise of the respective powers entrusted to each by the Board of Commissioners.
Soon after their arrival in the colony, it was manifest that there was a settled misunderstanding between the two—a grievous thing, so far as the interests of the colony were concerned.
Two days after the Governor landed, he came into contact with Col. Light, the Surveyor-General—one of the cleverest and at the same time most peace-loving officers a colony ever had—as to the proposed site for the capital; the Governor stepped entirely outside his well-defined functions, to clamour for the site being fixed in the neighbourhood of Encounter Bay, which the Colonel very properly—as events soon proved—considered altogether unsuitable. Beaten in his attempt to coerce Col. Light, Hindmarsh's next interference was with regard to the proposed laying out of streets, squares, and open spaces—another matter with which he had practically nothing whatever to do—while still harping on the question of the site of the capital. Col. Light naturally resented these aggravating interferences, as they were serious reflections on his judgment and ability, and he laid before the Governor the clear and explicit instructions he had received from the Commissioners, which were that the choice of the site of the capital was to be left solely to the Colonel, "whose own judgment on this point was to be paramount and conclusive." Matters came to a crisis between them when Mr. Gouger, as Colonial Secretary, called a meeting, at the Governor's command, to discuss the question; the result was that 218 voted for the Colonel's choice, and 137 for that of the Governor and his "party" = 81 in favour of Col. Light.
Thereupon, not knowing how to take a hint, the Governor was foolish enough to appeal to the Commissioners, and to make a formal complaint against Col. Light, who had only exercised the powers made binding upon him. For this the Governor received a sharp rap on the knuckles from the Commissioners, who wrote:—
That "When he [Hindmarsh] applied for the office of Governor, he was distinctly informed that the right of selecting the capital would be vested solely in the Surveyor-General," and that when he pressed the Board to cede this right to him, "he was seeking for an extension of power inconsistent with the principle, of the colony; and that a Governor of South Australia must be content to receive and to hold his appointment subject to the condition of non-interference with the officer appointed to execute the surveys and to dispose of the public land."
Still unable to take a hint, the Governor came to an open rupture with the Resident Commissioner—with whom, as we have said, he had quarrelled on board ship—not only as to the naming of places, opening the port, and such like functions, but by a series of bickerings as unbearable on the one side as they were undignified on the other.
This bad example was very contagious. Rival newspapers were started, one to represent the views of the Governor's party, the other to advocate the claims of those who took the side of the Resident Commissioner. There was a chronic state of dissension, and it is no wonder that there was disorder.
It was an exceptionally trying time for Mr. Gouger, whose duties as Colonial Secretary brought him in constant contact with the Governor, and placed him at the head and front of these offendings. With two parties ruling, it was a matter of hourly consideration how to steer a middle course. Traps were laid to catch the feet of the unwary whichever way they went.
And so it happened that many were caught. One official was charged with inciting the people to sedition; another with setting the judge at defiance; the Emigration Agent was charged with disobedience to the Governor's commands, and was suspended; and the Colonial Secretary, Mr. Robert Gouger, was charged with having assaulted the Colonial Treasure, and was suspended!
The act of Captain Hindmarsh in suspending Mr. Gouger from his office was cruel to the last degree, and, according to the testimony of others, which we shall quote, as unjust as it was cruel. To a man of his sensitive nature—" the very soul of honour "—and coming at a time when he was oppressed with manifold troubles, personal and official, it was a death-blow from which he never recovered.
A few quotations from the statements of others as to the conduct of Captain Hindmarsh will be preferable to any expression of our own opinion.
The colonists soon became tired of his maladministration, and from all quarters the Commissioners received complaints, and appeals for their intervention. The grounds of complaint were mainly—
(1.) That he had, a second time, retarded the progress of the surveys by interfering with the Surveyor-General.
(2.) That he had assumed some of the powers delegated to the Resident Commissioner.
(3.) That he had incurred expenses without authority.
(4.) That he had suspended and discharged a number of public officers without sufficient cause.
So widespread was the feeling, and so urgent the terms in which it was expressed, that the Commissioners at once placed the matter before Lord Glenelg, the Secretary of State for the Colonies, concluding their letter thus:—
"However much they might respect the rank of Captain Hindmarsh as a distinguished officer of the British Navy, they were compelled, by a paramount sense of duty, respectfully to recommend, on the several grounds they had endeavoured to explain to his Lordship, that he might be immediately recalled from the Government of South Australia."
Although anticipating events in their chronological order, it may be said here that Lord Glenelg wrote in reply (February 21st, 1838):—
"Governor Hindmarsh appears, from his own showing, to be incapable of carrying on the Government. With the exception of the Judge and Harbour Master, he is more or less, at variance with all the official functionaries of the colony, whether belonging to the Government or to the Commission."
Hindmarsh was peremptorily recalled, and on July the 14th he left the colony, after fourteen months' reign of squabble, greatly to the relief of the bulk of the colonists.
Meanwhile it had fared ill with Robert Gouger. Crushed and broken as he was, he at once determined to leave the colony and place his case in the hands of the Commissioners, or, if need be, appeal to the Government for the redress of his grievances, not knowing at that time that from various quarters formal appeals for the removal of the Governor had been despatched. If sympathy could have sustained him, he would soon have been strong and active again, for it was lavished upon him on all hands; but there was too deep a wound in his heart for early healing, and he smarted under the pain, "sharper than a serpent's tooth," of base ingratitude. Still, everything that his friends could do for him they did, willingly and promptly; and the following is a copy of a letter addressed by some of them to Colonel Torrens, the Chairman of the Board of Commissioners:—
"We cannot allow Mr. Gouger to relinquish his situation as Colonial Secretary of this Province without expressing our deep feeling of regret that he should have been so summarily suspended from an office which he had filled with zeal and ability, which few could have surpassed, and without expressing the sincere respect and esteem we feel for his character. In looking forward to the future, we strongly feel that the loss to the public service of one so well qualified to assist in carrying forward the great principles upon which this colony has been formed, must greatly retard the rapid progress which it has hitherto made. And further, that the security and confidence we have felt that the best measures would be adopted for the public benefit, have been much lessened by the treatment of one who has laboured so much and so unremittingly for the colony. As landholders and as individuals who have vested their whole interest in South Australia, we have felt it our duty to lay before you our sentiments on this important occasion, and trust that the appeal we feel compelled to make to you will not be without its effect.
John Barton Hack,
Edward Wright, M.D.,
John Brown, Emigration Agent,
William Light, Surveyor-General,
Charles Mann, Advocate-General,
J. H. Fisher, Colonial Commissioner,
Charles Brown Fisher,
R. K. Hill,
Thomas Young Cotter, Colonial Surgeon,
Samuel Stephens, Colonial Manager of the South Australian Company,
Thomas Gilbert, Colonial Storekeeper,
Edward Stephens, J.P.
W. H. Neale,
"To Colonel Torrens, Chairman of the Colonisation "Commissioners of South Australia."
On the 8th of November, 1837, having made all arrangements for a lengthened absence, Mr. Gouger, with a heavy heart, bade farewell to South Australia, to lay before Her Majesty's Government the injustice of his suspension, and the deplorable condition of the colony consequent upon the conduct of the Governor.
It was a coincidence that exactly a year to a day had elapsed between his landing in Holdfast Bay and his departure from the same place. It was a year into which had been crowded some of the happiest moments of his life, and the year of his deepest sorrows and disappointments.
The plaintive story of his journey "home" is famished from a Journal, from which some extracts are given in the next chapter.
"Memoranda made by Robert Gouger during a voyage from South Australia to England, by way of Van Diemen's Land, in the Katherine Stewart Forbes."
"November 8th, 1837.—At
daybreak this morning the Katherine Stewart Forbes left
Holdfast Bay for Launceston, where she hoped to get a cargo of
wool and oil for England. She is a splendid vessel (457 tons
register), and a refreshing breeze carried her down Gulf St.
Vincent at the rate of seven knots an hour.
"Before the next morning we found ourselves past the Back Stairs Passage, and fairly in the ocean. How different were my sensations when I last entered a ship! I was embarking in the Africaine from England to South Australia, with feelings raised to a high pitch of enthusiasm by the success which then crowned my hopes of seven years. The province was founded. I had recently married, and was taking to it my beloved wife. I am now quitting it for the purpose of seeking justice for the colony... But I am leaving it without my wife . . . . and child . . . .
"November 20th.—Thoughts in relation to my melancholy bereavement filled my mind for some days on boards and deprived me alike of peace by day and sleep by night. I became seriously indisposed, and was unable to leave my bed. I gradually recovered, however, strong stimulants having been given to me, and, by the twelfth day, when we reached Van Diemen's Land, I was much better. We had had adverse and rather boisterous winds immediately after entering Encounter Bay, until within two days of our arrival, which had made this voyage, instead of a five or six days' run, just double that time.
Nov. 22.—" We started this morning in the cutter down the river Tamar to Launceston, the ship having anchored at George Town until her destination was finally determined. It was a lovely day, the wind fair, and I had hardly been ten minutes in the boat before I felt the soothing influence of the scene.
"The rapid progress of the cutter, the loveliness of the ever-changing scenery, the healthy freshness of the wind, softened, however, by a warm sun, acted with almost magical force upon me, and brought me a quiet serenity of mind, which I have seldom felt equalled, and I entered Launceston a different being.
"Dec. 7th.—On arrival at Hobart Town I called on Maconochie (the Governor's private secretary), and found him, as in England, remarkably friendly. He told me I must see the Governor, but on my telling him I came simply to pay my respects to him (the Governor) as a matter of courtesy, and as I thought he might fancy himself placed in a disagreeable position as between Hindmarsh and myself, I begged Maconochie to tell him that if that should be the case, I should wish to be told he was too busy to see me. Maconochie took the hint, and so did Franklin, for, on my calling at 2 o'clock, I was told Sir John could not possibly see me, he was too much engaged! On the following morning I returned to Kermodes at Mona Vale.
"During my stay at Hobart Town, I called on Mr. Todd, a gentleman who had been deterred from going to South Australia in consequence of the squabbles. I have so explained matters that I am convinced he will yet go. Mr. Clowes, however, a Scotch clergyman with a large family, who had determined to go to the Province, is now moving off to Port Philip. This shows some of the harm the Governor has done the colony.
"January 1st, 1838.—The year opens with the most gloomy prospects for the Province. On Saturday, December 30th, news arrived of the death of Sir J. W. Jeffcott. He had left S. Australia on the 19th November, to proceed to V. D. Land, but having been disappointed at not finding a vessel at Kangaroo Island for Launceston, he was advised to go to Encounter Bay, where the Gem was said to be.
"He accordingly went in the South Australian, and was on board her when a severe gale came on, and destroyed her (the Gem was not at Encounter Bay). From this ship he escaped, and all were saved, but, being obliged to remain at Encounter Bay for some time, he went, with some other persons, to take Alexandrina upon an exploring expedition, and when returning the boat upset in a heavy surf, by which he. Captain Blinkinsopp, and two men, were drowned. The afflicting tidings reached me at Mona Vale, and spread distress around. Miss Kermode, to whom he was to have been immediately married, bore the intelligence with great firmness.
"March, 1838.—I continue this record on board the K. S. Forbes, on my voyage to England, but before speaking of her I must dispose of V. D. Land and my friends there. . . .
"About the end of January, Mr. Mann arrived in Hobart Town from South Australia, he having resigned his office of Advocate-General, in consequence of his differences of opinion to the Judge and Governor upon essential points. He came for the purpose of consulting Stephen relative to the powers of the Governor and Council, and as to some libel cases which the Colonial Commissioner has against the Editor of the Gazette. From him I learn the appointment of Jickling to be Judge, Wigley to be Resident Magistrate, Johnson, Clerk of the Court, and, in his place of Advocate-General, George Stephen was to appear. This last person is neither a barrister nor attorney, but was merely Clerk of the Court at Hobart Town. All these appointments took place without the consent of the Council of Government, and that of George Stephen, without the Council even being informed of the intention.
"I was at Kermode's when Mann arrived, and being informed of the fact I immediately went to Hobart Town, and remained with him until my departure, with the exception of a week when I went to Ellenthorpe.
"How much time have I lost at Fisher's request! I promised to stay until I received cases from him to lay before Alfred Stephen. These cases never arrived, and I never once heard from him until Mann's arrival. I have thus lost three months, during the greater part of which I ought to have been performing my voyage. However, I have acted as I thought most desirable for the interests of the Province, and I must extract consolation from the conviction. This stay has, moreover, cost me at least £50 more than it would if I had pursued my journey direct. About the middle of February I heard from Morphett, enclosing a specimen of the attacks made upon those adverse to the Government. Papers scattered about at night! Insidious slanders propagated in darkness! This is the way in which the Governor's party thinks fit to try to injure their adversaries. But enough of these people! It is ¦ fortunate that the people in V. D. Land understand the bearings of South Australian politics; they do not believe one word of the Gazette, and they have shown how they appreciate the calumnies which have been propagated therein, by their kindness and hospitality to me. Mr. Pedder, the Chief Justice, Mr. McDowel, the Attorney-General, Captain Swanston, and many of the first persons in the colony, have called upon me, and invited me to their houses. This, moreover, is without an introduction to any one of them.
"Nothing can be more gratifying to me, politically, than has been my reception in Van Diemen's Land. . . .
"The influence of transportation (convictism) extends itself beyond the sphere of those immediately connected with the management of it. The women and children of the highest class are frequently prejudicially acted upon by convictism, and the mode adopted to govern it. They become tyrannical, vindictive, and severe. This temper once formed, its influence runs through all domestic relationships, and the consequence is a general want of blandness of manner and kindness—even between the most intimate relations. I have heard ladies using language, to which their ears have become habituated by the propinquity of their convict servants, which, when they first arrived in the colony, must have been abhorrent to them. I have heard ladies threaten their men with a 'little bit of solitary' for misdemeanours of the most pardonable kind, and I have known a lady order her servant to drive her to the police office, where she laid a complaint against him; his back was 'scratched,' or 'teazled,' to use colonial phrases,—in English, he was flogged, and he was then ordered to drive back the fair mistress. The children are brought up with these examples before them, and I have heard them, when just escaping from infancy, hold out similar threats to their female servants, who were, a few months before, their nurses. The men are generally overbearing, sometimes cruel, or when the mind takes that course, either from natural mildness, or because it is seen that the harshness they can use will not avail, their servants are treated with a lenity amounting to puerility."
Voyage from Hobart Town to England viâ Cape Horn.
"March 8th, 1838.—Left
Hobart Town in the morning early, anchored off the Retreat, five
miles down the Derwent, for Captain Veil and two passengers. The
next morning the voyage may be said to have fairly commenced.
"March 16th.—The dreaded voyage to the Horn has, as yet, been more like summer sailing than in the Southern Pacific. The cabin is made very warm and comfortable by a stove, which has been fixed in it, and I have enjoyed much better health than during the whole year past. Although the anniversaries of this day, and of the 11th, bring to my mind vividly (and what days do not?) the loss of my beloved wife and child, still my renewed health gives elasticity to my spirits, and I have been able to review the death-bed scenes of those so dear to me with more quiet than I could have anticipated.
"April 20th.—Passed the bulwarks of a ship painted green inside and black outside. The Glenberin is thus painted, in which my friends, the Parramores, have sailed.
"April 22nd.—Passed the Falkland Islands, without, however, seeing them, and we are now protected from the swell occasioned by the strong westerly winds which have hitherto blown.
"The Captain talks of going into Bahia or Pernambuco for cabin supplies and water. I am sorry for this, as it will prolong the voyage.
"April 25th.—Going on exceedingly well; since the 19th we have made eleven degrees of latitude northward, and the weather is therefore much warmer.
"May 2nd.—On April 30th a severe gale set in from the north-west, which obliged us to close reef top sails, and carry only sufficient sail to keep the ship steady. It continued all night, and about noon the next day the sea was tremendous; the wind still increasing.
"While we were at dinner, at half-past three, a man came running in to ask what was to be done—the wind had suddenly chopped round to the south-east, and there was every appearance of a storm from that quarter. In less than five minutes, however, there was a dead calm, the two winds had met precisely where we were, and it was not till an hour had elapsed that the breeze set in well from the south. The appearance of the seas on this meeting of the winds was very peculiar, the waves, which were very high, and coming rapidly from the northward, were met by the south-east wind, and a spray thereby occasioned equal to that of the most fearful breakers on a rocky coast. To-day it is a dead calm; we are nearly in the latitude of Buenos Ayres.
"May 28th.—To-day the whole ship was thrown into consternation. We had anchored off Pernambuco in 5½ fathoms water, and the Captain had gone ashore for the purpose of making arrangements relative to the supply of water and fresh provisions, when we found that we had anchored at high tide, and that the water was shoaling so fast that we feared for the safety of the ship. In a short time afterwards she bumped violently against the bottom.
"The chief mate immediately sent the second mate on shore to inform Captain Veil of the danger the ship was in, and he hoisted the Captain's private signal.
"In the meantime the sky became cloudy, and a heavy squall arose from leeward, bringing in with it a fearful swell. The evening at this time was approaching, and there was no moon. The striking of the ship increased in frequency and violence, and now became very alarming; the strokes took place at each pitching of the vessel, the mast and rigging trembled terribly, the rudder was injured though not unshipped, but each moment seemed to threaten fatal injury. The wind again was blowing on shore, so that it was impossible to ship anchor and go to sea, a thing which the chief mate would have done at his own risk if the wind had allowed him. About 8 o'clock the Captain came on board and brought intelligence that the lowest tide was at half-past eight, and that he had made arrangements on shore that launches and troops from the arsenal were to be sent up to render aid in case he fired guns of distress. About half-past nine the wind veered and came off from the land, whereupon Yell determined to weigh anchor and get, if possible, off the reef. About half-past ten the anchor was up, and the time for determining our fate had arrived. If she moved not, it was evident she would, by the morning, be a wreck, and the wind was so light there was little hope of forcing her over. For some time she drifted with the current, still striking hard occasionally, and there seemed but little hope but that, in the course of a short time, we should be against the rocks of Blinda, an eminence to the northward of Pernambuco. Guns of distress were consequently fired, for not only the cargo but our lives seemed somewhat to depend upon assistance from the shore. (I ought to have said that our jolly boat was left ashore by the second mate, he and his crew returning in the cutter with the Captain; and the cutter broke away from the ship during one of the concussions whilst she was on the reef.) Our guns were answered by blue lights, and the hope of assistance somewhat relieved our feelings.
"At this time my own sensations were tried to the uttermost. The chief mate told me he feared it would be all over with the ship, and that by the morning she would be a complete wreck. He had heard me say (he said) that I had valuable papers on board, and he recommended me to put them at once into an empty water cask, to which he would attach a pig of iron for an anchor, and throw both overboard, as the most sure way of saving them and any other things I had about me. At the same time Miss K. fell into strong hysterics, and by way of preventing the attention of the Captain and officers being devoted to her, she became my charge. Her female servant refused to help her, saying that she had enough to do to think of herself! I made no reply to the woman, nor to the steward who also refused assistance. My own mind was mercifully preserved in a state of perfect tranquillity. I felt no fear, but a firm confidence in the Almighty filled my heart; and knowing how little I could expect from human aid, I placed myself in His hands, and never in my recollection before felt so powerfully the strength of religious consolation and trust. During the whole time, when not occupied in getting Miss R. round, or in pulling at ropes, &c., my mind was occupied in prayer, and surely it was answered, both in the tranquillity of my mind, and the event of the danger.
"When there remained in the minds of the Captain and officers hardly a hope of saving the ship, the land breeze set in with some strength, and the ship gradually answered to her helm. Still we were not off the shoal, but she struck continually with so much force that I could sometimes hardly keep on my legs, and this continued until about half-past eleven, when the soundings gradually deepened, and she bore away to the eastward into deep water. We had been upon the reef bumping for about six hours. In the morning we found ourselves about eight miles to the northward of Pernambuco, with a strong current carrying us northward, and an adverse wind. The ship, too, was making about double the quantity of water which she made when she sprang a leak at the commencement of the voyage (about 9 inches an hour), still, however, no very serious injury appeared to have been sustained. She is a remarkably strong ship, having the bottom of an 800-ton ship, and to this it is perhaps owing that the damage done is so little. In the middle of the following night we again found ourselves opposite Pernambuco, and we again anchored in the roads, but about two miles south of the bank, the cause of our injury and trouble.
"We landed at Pernambuco in the course of the morning, and received the congratulations of those of its inhabitants with whom we had dealings, they having given up all hope of the ship being saved.
"May 28th, In the course of last night we incurred a second danger in consequence of the chronometer being injured by the shock of the ship's bumping on the night of the 21st. The Island of Fernando de Noranha, about ten miles long by three wide, was announced about one o'clock this morning, to be right ahead of the ship, whereas the chronometer gave the longitude of the ship at least a degree to the eastward of the Island. In an instant the ship was put about, and we sailed in a south-east course until daybreak, when we again tacked, and about the middle of the day went between it and the Roccas shoal, a most dangerous reef, some miles to the westward. We shall now have to depend upon dead reckoning and lunars instead of the chronometer for our longitude. The night was very dark, and the great height of the land alone rendered it visible to the sailors. Our ship, her cargo—and perhaps our lives, have thus been twice saved within a week, from dangers which were apparent to us—from how many unseen dangers have we been protected? Who can tell? Our nearness to severe injury, or death, from imseen causes, is doubtless much more frequent than from causes seen, and upon which our energies can be brought to operate, yet for these mercies how seldom is gratitude felt!
"June 8th.—I now allow days to pass me not unnoticed, but silently, which under other circumstances would have been mentioned with joy. . . .
"June 13th.—I have been again miserably ill. My anxiety has well-nigh overcome me, and the task I am about to encounter weighs upon my mind fearfully. Oh! that the first three days after my arrival were well over! I am so conscious of right respecting my political matters, that I am perfectly easy on that score; if I could know I should meet my relatives alive and in health, I should indeed rejoice—the anticipation of fresh calamity has been the occasion of my last fit of illness. . . . After three days of intense suffering how delightful is the sudden return to ease! My eyes, however, will yet hardly permit me to read or to do this little bit of writing.
"June 16th.—We are now fast losing sight of the southern constellations, the North Pole star is in sight, and the Great Bear has for some days been visible. The first time I saw the Southern Cross I recollected, and have by no means yet forgotten, a school incident relating thereto. Disregarding my proper geographical lesson, I was amusing myself by looking on the celestial globe at the Horologium—the cross and other constellations, only seen in the southern world—when the lord of the ferule came behind me, and hitting me rather viciously with the cane on my hand, told me to mind my work and not care about things I should never see, unless I went to Botany Bay to see them. With the perverseness, however, common to human nature, what I was ordered to disregard I paid considerable attention to, whenever I observed the master's eye engaged. Little did he think of the part I was to play in Australian Politics!
"July 6th.—Again becalmed! although it is usual for the westerly wind to blow here a gale almost, we are, as it seems to us, unfortunate enough to make very slow progress. I say, as it seems to us, for unless we knew all the contingencies upon our stoppage, and all to which a quicker passage might lead, we cannot decide that our detention is unfortunate... This kind of reasoning, and more to which it leads, makes me bear any disappointment with comparative ease, but not without an occasional twinge in the head.
"July 9th.—During the last two days we have had nearly a gale of wind from the westward, thus driving us on homeward at a great rate. If it lasts, we shall (without accident) soon be in the Channel.
"The weather is very thick and hazy, very like that we experienced near Cape Horn. It is also very cold.
"July 11th.—The fog has continued until to-day; it is now tolerably fine, and there is still every probability of my voyage terminating with the end of this week or the beginning of next. I can now hardly go off the deck to the retirement of my cabin, so attractive has it become.
"We have to-day seen four large ships (two are now visible from my window), and it is yet but noon! What a change is this to the desolateness of one part of our voyage, where we passed more than eight weeks consecutively, without seeing a human being besides our fellow-passengers! By means of great abstemiousness, exercise, and some degree of mental control, I am in better health than at any time during the voyage. I have not tasted for a long time any stimulating liquor; I eat meat very slenderly, if at all, at breakfast, take an ordinary dinner, and, instead of tea or coffee, a glass of water and some dry toast is my repast at night.
"July 14th.—We are now in the Channel, and learn from a ship we have just spoken, that we are opposite the Eddystone.
"It is rather nervous work sailing in the Channel in a dense fog and a gale of wind.
"July 15th.—To-day we saw land."
The memoranda of his return voyage to England is the last of the papers of Robert Gouger, and what remains to be told of his life-story must be told with great brevity.
On his arrival in England, he found, to his intense satisfaction, that not only had his suspension not been acknowledged, but that he had at once been reinstated and Governor Hindmarsh recalled, Colonel Gawler having been appointed to succeed him. He found, too, that his father and mother and all his home circle, by whom he was tenderly loved, were alive and well, and that everywhere the old friendships, contracted, in the busy years of early colonisation work, were as fresh and green as ever.
It was with no little satisfaction that he received, soon after his arrival, a parchment, which ran thus:—
"Proprietors of Land, and Persons interested in
"the Colony of South Australia,
"cannot refrain from expressing to
"Robert Gouger, Esquire,
during his temporary stay in England, the high
sense they entertain of his exertions on behalf of the infant
colony, and their sympathy at the unjust and arbitrary conduct
displayed towards him by the late Governor, in suspending him
from the office of Colonial Secretary.
"Prior to Mr. Gouger's return to the colony, the undersigned have resolved to present him with a piece of plate as a slight testimonial of their esteem and confidence."
Attached to this was a long list of signatures, including those of George Morphett, Abraham Borradaile, Rowland Hill, Peter Peachey, John Wright, the Directors of the South Australian Company, and a host of other names familiar to US in the earlier chapters of this work.
Towards the end of the year the handsome "piece of plate" duly arrived, with a letter from Mr. Morphett, whose signature stood first on the parchment:—
"A few of the early and steadfast friends of the new colony of South Australia, have availed themselves of your visit to England to present to you the accompanying tribute as a testimonial of their sense of your exertions in the establishment of the colony, and in the support of its principles in many periods of difficulty and trial.
"The result of these exertions is now a matter of history, and all who are interested in the welfare of the colony must, and do, feel grateful to you, and the other labourers in the cause, for the pain and anxiety you have endured on its behalf. The piece of plate which accompanies this letter, and of which I have to request your acceptance, has been purchased by the subscription of the friends of the colony to whom I have referred, and I can assure you I feel great satisfaction in being made their organ to convey to you the expression of their sentiments. It is the earnest wish of the subscribers that you may long live to enjoy the pleasure and comfort resulting from your exertions on behalf of South Australia, and, although many could better express their wishes and feelings towards you, no one can more sincerely entertain them than,
"To Robert Gouger, Esq., Colonial
"of South Australia."
The peace and rest of home, the company of old friends, the birth of a new hope with regard to his future domestic life, and, above all, the relief that came with the public acknowledgment that his treatment in the colony had been unjustifiable, brought back much of his former health and spirits, and the visit to England, which at one time he had so much dreaded, turned into a pleasant, as it was a much-needed, holiday.
In February, 1839, he started on his return voyage to the colony, taking with him his second wife, to whom he had been married in the previous October—a lady who, as Miss Sarah Whittem, of Kenilworth, he had long known as cousin. Never was a woman more suited for a colonist's wife; practical, energetic, untiring, and withal sympathetic and affectionate. Soon after her marriage she acted as her husband's devoted secretary, thus materially lightening his work, and cheering him in the many difficulties which made so great a demand upon his strength.
Robert Gouger arrived at Adelaide on the 26th of June, 1839, and was warmly welcomed by his old colleagues on resuming the office of Colonial Secretary. Captain Hindmarsh had left the colony, and Colonel Gawler—a man of a totally different type of character, ruled in his stead. But there was a crisis at hand—one of the severest the colony ever had to pass through.
Governor Gawler, when he arrived in the colony, found many settlers really destitute, and to relieve these he commenced a number of Government works. He constructed a good road between Adelaide and Port Adelaide, formed wharves, built a Custom House, warehouses, and a handsome Government House, the latter at a cost of £20,000. "To benefit the colony. Colonel Gawler spent his own private fortune in paying the wages of those employed, and tried to persuade English merchants to send out provisions and clothing for the famished people. The only means he had of payment for these expenses was by drafts on the British Treasury, amounting to about £300,000, which were dishonoured by the Government, and the colony thus became insolvent, with a national debt of £400,000. His summary dismissal from office was anything but creditable to the British Government.*
[* Loyau'a "Representative Men of South Australia."]
During the whole of this trying period, Mr. Gouger worked incessantly; but the old cheerfulness and high spirits, that had formerly characterised his labours, began to fail—he was not the man he had been, and what once was a pleasure became a burden. The tasks he had once imposed upon himself became at length impossible, and when Sir George Grey assumed the reins of government, in succession to Colonel Gawler, Mr. Gouger appealed to him to be released from the arduous and responsible office of Colonial Secretary. This was readily acceded to by Sir George Grey, who at once appointed him to the lighter and less exacting duties of Colonial Treasurer.
In this office he continued until 1844, when his health so entirely failed as to make it necessary for him to resign his appointment and all other duties connected with the colony.
Before he left South Australia on his last voyage, he was presented with a memorial, petitioning Her Majesty's Government to grant him a pension. The memorial ran thus:—
"To The Right Honourable Lord Stanley, Her Majesty's Secretary of State for the Colonies.
The Memorial of the undersigned Colonists of South Australia.
"May it please your Lordship,
"Your memorialists beg most respectfully to lay before your Lordship their united testimony in favour of the late Colonial Treasurer, and former Colonial Secretary of the Colony—Robert Gouger, Esq.—whose painful and continued indisposition has led to the necessity for his relinquishment of office, and to commend his services to your Lordship's consideration, with the earnest hope that it may please Her Majesty to confer on him—out of such means as are placed at Her Majesty's disposal for such purposes—a retiring pension.
Your memorialists would not venture to prefer this request to your Lordship, were they not deeply sensible that to the services of Mr. Gouger the Colony is mainly indebted for its formation.
"When others had almost abandoned the hope of its establishment, Mr. Gouger's untiring energy and perseverance, through years of effort from 1829 to 1836—37, were eventually successful, and his ardent wishes realised in the foundation of the Colony. That these services were appreciated, Mr. Gouger's appointment as Colonial Secretary fully attests, and his re-appointment by Her Majesty's Government, after his suspension by Governor Hindmarsh, even before his arrival in England, proves, that his talents and official ability were recognised at home. The excitement and anxiety incident to this event, coupled with his assiduous and unremitting attention to the interests of the Colony, seem to have made too great a demand upon his mental powers.
"They are aware that in the prosecution of his early exertions Mr. Gouger made considerable pecuniary sacrifices, and that the expenses of colonial life have precluded the possibility of a provision for his declining days.
"Attached as your memorialists are to this Colony, of which many of them are among the earliest settlers, and therefore better acquainted with Mr. Gouger's merits, and believing that this Province—even now an important appendage to the British Crown—will, at no distant period, become one of its most valuable possessions, they trust, that one who has so eminently conduced to its existence and prosperity, will not be deemed unworthy of the Royal favour and bounty.
"And your memorialists beg to subscribe themselves
1st August, 1844."
Although this petition was signed by ninety-six of the earliest colonists—now risen to be amongst the most influential—it was not granted on the ground of the limited period of service.
Broken in health, impoverished in fortune, he came home to die. His mind, consequent upon the too heavy strain placed upon it, gradually gave way, and in August, 1846, he was laid to rest in the family vault at Norwood, near London.
The estimate given of Mr. Gouger's character in the opening chapter of this work has, we think, been fully borne out by the story of his life. He did a great work, and he did it wisely and well. Countless thousands have been indebted to him, and South Australia, flourishing and prosperous, is his chief debtor. But there to-day—
"Young children gather as their own
The harvest which the dead have sown—
The dead, forgotten or unknown."
No monument is erected to his memory in this country, where he did so much to alleviate distress at a time of over-population and great commercial depression, and where he opened up a sphere for successful enterprise through all future time;—a simple tombstone alone marks his resting-place at Norwood.
In Adelaide, a humble street, almost unknown among the new and handsome ones that now grace the Queen of Colonial Cities, bears his name, but for the rest, his record is mainly in the dusty archives of the colony.
A modern poet says:—
"And oftentimes we chafe, and think it hard
That we should lay our great and costly stones
For other men to build on, and get praised,
While our names are forgotten or passed o'er."
"Would it not be well, therefore, that some day a handsome memorial should adorn the choicest spot in Adelaide, and find a conspicuous place in the Imperial Institute in London, with a group representing the Fathers and Founders of South Australia, including Edward Gibbon Wakefield, who set forth the principles on which it was to be colonised; Robert Gouger, who created and sustained a permanent interest in the colony, and without whose strenuous labours the scheme would have collapsed; Colonel Torrens, who worked vigorously in Parliament to obtain the Act of Parliament to erect it into a British Province; and George Fife Angas, who made the working of the Act of Parliament possible.
[* See page 137.]
The important part played by Mr. Gouger in the passage of the South Australian Colony Bill through the House of Lords, by personally interviewing the Duke of Wellington, and arousing his profoundest sympathy with the new experiment in colonisation, is set forth in the following paper which is in sorted here in order that the sequence of events may not be broken. Moreover, in this place, it forms a fitting sequel to the story of "The Founding of South Australia":—
The Duke of Wellington and South Australia.
"The British public are deeply indebted to the
late Duke of Wellington, and also to the original South
Australian Commissioners, for the foundation of the Colony of
South Australia, and more especially for the trial and
establishment of the self-supporting system of
Colonisation—the experiment being tried and carried out in
South Australia, in 1836, entirely by the energy, character, and
credit of the original South Australian Commissioners, without
costing the British Public one sixpence; whereas all the other
Colonies have cost, and are costing to this day, very large sums
"The Revenue of South Australia up to the quarter ending 30th September, 1852, was equal to £125,450 7s. 4d. per annum, and the expenditure to £72,130 5s. 8d., leaving a surplus of £53,320 1s. 8d. (vide the Governor, Sir Henry Young's address on the opening of his council).
"The original devisers of the self-supporting scheme belonged to what is termed now, the "Liberal Party," but the Whig or Liberal Government of 1834 refused to support them, when at the eleventh hour (in July, 1834), Mr. Gouger, the Honorary Secretary of the Provisional Committee of the South Australian Association, in despair, applied to the Duke of Wellington for an interview, which was granted. He then laid the whole scheme before his Grace, and entreated his support and countenance for it. The Duke of Wellington entered very fully into the plans of the South Australian Association, and Mr. Gouger's reasons, and said that he should like to see the experiment tried, concluding by telling Mr. Gouger to let him have the Bill then before Parliament, with all the particulars, and he would use his endeavours to pass it through the House of Lords, which he did on the 16th of August, 1834; and afterwards, when the Duke and Lord Aberdeen held the Seals of Office for a short time in February, 1835, they took the requisite steps for putting this Act of Parliament in operation.
"The Commissioners, whom the Duke and Lord Aberdeen approved of in February, 1835, were afterwards sanctioned by Lord Glenelg, in April, 1835, on his succeeding to office, and appointed by His Majesty William the Fourth, under the provisions of the Act of Parliament.
"These Commissioners succeeded, by their energy, character and credit, in the City of London and elsewhere, not only to raise the £35,000 by the sale of orders for land in South Australia, as stipulated for by the Act of Parliament, but also £80,000 by way of a loan, secured only on the future revenues of the Colony of South Australia about to be established; of which sum, they deposited £20,000 in the hands of Trustees, named by the Lords of the Treasury, as a security against the Colony ever becoming chargeable to the Mother Country, and gave their gratuitous services to the country, from April, 1835, to 23rd of December, 1839; having, during that time planted a flourishing Colony at Adelaide, of about 17,000 persons, and established a Government with a Revenue of about £17,000 per annum, independent of the land sales, which were realising at that time in England about £50,000 per annum, and which sum was applied strictly for emigration, agreeably to the provisions of the Act of Parliament; when they were suddenly dismissed by the Colonial Minister of that day, who prevailed upon her Majesty to appoint three political supporters of his own as paid Commissioners, with salaries of £1,000 per annum each, in their places, and then stated to the Lords of the Treasury, by a minute, dated 23rd of December, 1839, that he had recommended Her Majesty to dismiss all the original South Australian Commissioners (excepting one) because they had applied for salaries, which application the majority of the original South Australian Commissioners proved, before a Committee of the House of Commons on the 12th of March, 1841 (vide Evidence before the Select Committee on South Australia, pp. 102 to 124 of the Minutes of Evidence), not to have been the case with their knowledge or concurrence.
"And notwithstanding these original South Australian Commissioners were appointed in the first place under the sanction of the House of Commons for ten years, they were displaced in about five, as above related, after giving their gratuitous services to the Country without having received any thanks or acknowledgments whatever from the House of Commons or the Country, that being the only reward they ever desired."
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