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Title: Some Early Records of the Macarthurs of Camden.
Author: Edited by Sibella Macarthur Onslow.
* A Project Gutenberg of Australia eBook *
eBook No.: 1302011h.html
Language: English
Date first posted: May 2013.
Date most recently updated: November 2014.

Produced by: Ned Overton.

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Production Notes:

The Index to Letters and General Index have been added to the Table of Contents. A few obvious typographical errors have been corrected. Most of the punctuation remains unchanged, as do the missing apostrophes. Captions of several illustrations have been expanded in the body of the work.











Printed by

W. C. Penfold & Co. Ltd., 183 Pitt Street, Sydney


Angus & Robertson Ltd.

London: The Oxford University Press

Amen Corner, E.C.


In editing the accompanying selections left by my dear father James Macarthur, of Camden Park, I am only carrying out a work which he had intended that we should perform together, when we were prevented by his very sudden death in 1867; and I wish to dedicate the volume to the cherished memory of my dear parents James and Emily Macarthur, and my uncle Sir William Macarthur, whose lives were devoted to the highest interests of Australia and of the beloved Empire to which we have the privilege of belonging.

Elizabeth Macarthur Onslow.

{Page v}


It is not intended that this volume, which was almost finished for publication by my Mother before she died in England in 1911, should be taken as a life of John Macarthur of Camden.

Its object is rather to place finally on record an authentic account of John Macarthur's connection with the introduction of Fine Wool into Australia, and of the keen interest he took in that industry and in all that concerned the welfare of the infant colony which he had adopted as his home.

It has been compiled chiefly from letters and authenticated copies of letters found at Camden Park, and from MS. notes left by James and William, the sons of John Macarthur. All of these papers have been literally reproduced throughout; but other papers have been used and books quoted, when necessary, to link up the original materials into a connected history.

The Dedication was written by my Mother shortly before her last illness. She left the editing of the book to me—a work I should have had difficulty in fulfilling, but for the very great help and encouragement of Dr. Frederick Watson, to whom I am most grateful, and through whom I have been enabled to complete the work my Mother had so nearly finished.

Sibella Macarthur Onslow.


Chapter I.

Macarthur's Early Life and Voyage to Australia

" II.

Arrival and Early Days in the Colony

" III.

The Birth of the Fine Wool Industry

" IV.

The Fine Wool Industry in its Infancy

" V.

Macarthur and the Bligh Insurrection

" VI.

Macarthur and the Bligh-Johnston Proceedings in England

" VII.

Macarthur's Term of Exile


Transactions in New South Wales during Macarthur's Absence

" IX.

Macarthur's Return and Development of the Wool Industry

" X.

Macarthur as the Advocate of Reform

" XI.

The Growth of the Camden Estate

" XII.

The Making of the Market for Australian Wool


Life in the Colonies, 1824-1831

" XIV.

John Macarthur's Last Years

[Index to Letters]
[General Index]


John Macarthur              Frontispiece

Land Grant

Elizabeth Farm


Purchase from Foveaux

Letter of Credit

Sheep in 1914

Ms. Catalogue


Printed Catalogue [1]

Printed Catalogue [2]

Ms. Catalogue

Mrs. John Macarthur

{Page 1}

Chapter I.


John Macarthur, of Camden, New South Wales, who introduced the merino sheep into Australia and founded the Australian wool trade, was born in 1767 near Plymouth, in Devonshire. His father, Alexander Macarthur, a native of Argyleshire, N.B., had in 1745 with his brothers (it is supposed there were seven of them) joined the army of Prince Charles Edward, and of these he alone escaped from the field of Culloden. Being forced to quit Scotland in consequence of the part he had taken, he sought refuge in the West Indies, and after some years returned to England and settled in Plymouth, where he established a business * to which his eldest son ** James succeeded.

[* Believed to be that of Army Agent.]

[** Father of Hannibal Macarthur, Esq., of the Vineyard, N.S.W.]

John, after receiving such education as a private school in the country ordinarily afforded in those days, entered the army as an ensign in 1782, but at the close of the war, in 1783, he was placed on half pay, and being thus left without active employment, he went to live at a farm house near Holsworthy, on the borders of Cornwall and Devonshire.

There he took a lively interest in the rural occupations around him, at the hunt showed himself a bold and accomplished horseman, and spent much time in the perusal of such books as he could obtain, especially works on English and Roman History and the general principles of Law. About this time he married Elizabeth, the daughter of a country gentleman named Veale, who lived near Holsworthy, and contemplated retiring from the Army for the purpose of being called to the Bar; but the pay sheets of the London Record Office show that on April 30th, 1788, he was gazetted to the 68th Foot (the Durham Regiment) and on June 5th, 1789, he was appointed Lieutenant in the N.S.W. Corps which was being formed for service in the newly established convict settlement founded under Governor Phillip in 1788.

Mrs. J. Macarthur's letters to her mother, Mrs. Veale, will show that she was a true helpmate to her husband, and one cannot fail to be impressed by the cheerful and enterprising spirit in which she accepted her life of exile—for such it was at that time—and for which our pioneer women are so justly praised. But her letters will speak for themselves.

In October, 1789, when she was in her twenty-first year, she wrote to her mother, announcing their intended departure for New South Wales.

Letter from Mrs. John Macarthur to Mrs. Veale

Chatham Barracks,

Oct. 8th, 1789.

In my last letter I informed you, my dear Mother, of my husband's exchange into a corps destined for New South Wales, from which we have every reasonable expectation of reaping the most material advantages. You will be surprised that even I who appear timid and irresolute should be a warm advocate for this scheme. So it is, and believe me I shall be greatly disappointed if anything happens to impede it. I foresee how terrific and gloomy this will appear to you. To me at first it had the same appearance, while I suffered myself to be blinded by common and vulgar prejudices. I have not now, nor I trust shall ever have one scruple or regret, but what relates to you.

Do but consider that if we must be distant from each other, it is much the same, whether I am two hundred, or far more than as many thousand miles apart from you. The same Providence will watch over and protect us there as here. The sun that shines on you will also afford me the benefit of his cheery rays, and that too in a country where nature hath been so lavish of her bounties, that flowers luxuriantly abound, in the same manner as with culture fruits will do hereafter.

By the last accounts from Port Jackson—where the new settlement is established—we learn that wheat which has been sown, flourished in a manner nearly incredible, and that the settlers are making rapid progress in buildings, so that by the time our corps arrives everything will be made comfortable for their reception.

The new settlement is an immediate object with Government, and every effort will be made to promote its success.

Your affectionate daughter,

Elizabeth Macarthur.

In the same year Macarthur and his wife embarked for Port Jackson in the second fleet, (the first fleet having brought out Governor Phillip and the first establishment in 1788), taking with them, on what was then deemed an adventurous, if not perilous voyage, an infant son, afterwards General Sir Edward Macarthur.

The passage to Sydney was long, and attended with much discomfort, the ships (two of which, the Neptune and Scarborough, sailed in company) being shamefully and inadequately provided by the contractors with provisions and necessaries for the convicts, which caused sickness and the loss of many lives.

The ships touched at the Cape of Good Hope for supplies, and while there Macarthur contracted a severe attack of rheumatic fever and lumbago from over-exertion in the hot sun, followed by a drenching in the surf in his endeavours to embark and bring oft to the ships a party of soldiers who had been ashore on leave, and who were, many of them, in a state of intoxication.

From this illness he was for some weeks in much danger, and to it he attributed the painful attacks of flying gout and nervous depression from which he suffered much in after life, and which with increasing years became more severe.

A graphic account of the voyage is given in Mrs. John Macarthur's Journal, which was found in a torn condition amongst the papers of her daughter Lady Parker at Sheen, Surrey, in 1888, and in the letters to her mother which follow.

Mrs. John Macarthur's Journal.

Friday, 13th November, 1789: I took leave of my friends in London, and accompanied by Mr. Macarthur, hired a Gravesend boat from Billinsgate which conveyed us to the Neptune at Long-reach.

Saturday, 14th: The ship drop'd down to Gravesend. at which place we lay till the Tuesday following, and then sailed for the Downs where we arrived on the Thursday. We remained in the Downs Friday, and some part of Saturday, and I was much struck with the formidable and romantick appearance of the Cliffs of Deal and of Dover. On this day (Saturday) a disagreeable circumstance occurred. Mr. Gilbert, Master of the Ship, of whom indeed we had heard but an indifferent character, took an opportunity of manifesting himself in such a light to us, as precluded all further communication between him and Mr. Macarthur. In the afternoon of this day we proceeded down the Channel with a fair wind and at different times had in sight several vessels.

On Monday, 23rd, after laying-too all night, supposing the ship to be near Plymouth, our astonishment was very great on discovering that we were so far west as the Lizard Point. I could not help viewing the coast of Cornwall, inhospitable as it appeared, but with sensible regret at the thought that I was about to take a long leave of it. We had here a distant prospect of St. Michael's Mount, but not near enough to form any idea of the grandeur of its appearance when taken in a better view. The wind not being favourable towards our return, it was not till Friday, 27th, in the morning, that we found ourselves safely anchored in Plymouth Sound. Here I must pay a tribute to dear Devon. I have ever heard admired the agreeable variety of objects in general to be discovered throughout this county, but surely the entrance to Plymouth by sea must surpass every other and I think there cannot be a beholder but what must be delighted in contemplating the variety of beautiful scenes that on every side surround him. In the afternoon of the day that we arrived at Plymouth, Mr. Harris, our surgeon, and Mr. Macarthur went ashore; at their return, which was early in the evening, I gathered from some distant hints that a duel had taken place between Mr. Gilbert and Mr. Macarthur. To describe my feelings on the occasion would now be a difficult task, though they were by no means so acute as reflection hath since rendered them, many disagreeable circumstances then pressing on my mind suffered not one principle to actuate me wholly. I therefore did not so seriously consider what I now think of with trembling, the unhappy consequences that might have arisen from so presumptuous a meeting, nor can I be sufficiently thankful to the Almighty disposer of events that a more lasting cause does not oblige me to consider it with horror.

On Sunday 29th November, accompanied by Capt. Moriarty, I took a post chaise, and reached Launceston that night, and the next morning, about 11 o'clock, I arrived at my mother's. My time was so limited by Mr. Gilbert's report of the Ships sailing, that I could only allow myself two nights at Bridgerule. Wednesday morning I was obliged to take leave of it, and returned to Plymouth, where I arrived between 9 and 10 o'clock at night, not much enlivened by the short interview I had with my friends, and considerably depressed with the Idea of parting with my only surviving parent, perhaps for ever. I found Mr. Macarthur at Plymouth, waiting to take me on board, and late as it was, we were under the necessity of going, as an official message had been sent by Mr. Gilbert to inform the officers that the ship would sail at 3 o'clock in the morning. It was afterwards known that he had not the slightest intention of going, and of course could have no view in reporting what he did but that of harrassing us. Captain Nepean went off to the ship in the same boat with us. We had no sooner arrived on board than a compleat scene of uproar and confusion presented itself. Captain Gilbert had insulted a centinal on his post and struck him; the soldier showed a disposition to defend himself and make Mr. Gilbert suffer for his imprudence; this led to a great bustle, and the ship's arms were taken out and loaded and arranged on the stern gallery. Three naval lieutenants in possession of the cabin with blunderbusses lying on the table. In this order we found things on board, and Mr. Gilbert had thought fit to take himself quickly on shore instead of preparing for sea. Captain Nepean dispatched Mr. Harris immediately to London with an account of these riotous proceedings to his brother,* and about 3 o'clock in the morning I retired to rest after the variety of fatigues and alarms of the preceding day. We did not leave Plymouth until Thursday, 10th December, from whence we proceeded to Portsmouth, and anchored in Stokes Bay.

[* Secretary to the Admiralty.]

Sunday, 13th.—We there found the Scarborough and Surprize, two transports that were to accompany us, ready for sea. Soon after our arrival here, we learnt that Mr. Gilbert's conduct had displeased the owners of the ship, and the truth was soon assured by a Mr. Trail being appointed in his room. Heartily glad was I when he made his exit and we congratulated ourselves with the thought that such another troublesome man could not be found and consequently our change must be for the better. Experience, however, soon taught us a very disagreeable truth, Mr. Trail's character was of a much blacker dye than was ever in Mr. Gilbert's nature to exhibit. Everything was now disposed in order for sea and we only waited for a fair wind. Captain Hill, Mr. Prentice, and Mr. Harris, who was the surgeon in the Surprize, Mr. Townsend, and Mr. Abbott in the Scarborough, and in the Neptune Captain Nepean, Mr. Macarthur, and Mrs. Trail was on board with her husband, and Mr. Shapcote, the agent for the fleet, was also in our ship, but as they all lived together, and Captain Nepean with them, we seldom benefited by their society. The wind continuing to blow westerly, an attempt towards sailing was not made until Tuesday, 5th January, we then had a few hours' fair wind which first took us to Spithead, where we were again obliged to anchor.

Friday, 8th, we again loosened "every sail to the breeze", and proceeded to sea. Towards night the wind began to prove faithless, and before the next morning blew directly against us, so as totally to impede our course. The next day (Sunday) and night we continued to beat about, hoping that a favourable change would take place, but on Monday morning appearances were so extremely hazardous that prudence dictated the shortest way back again, and our head was once more turned towards that shore we had so recently quitted with an idea of not seeing it again for some years to come. We passed through the Needles and anchored at the Mother bank on Tuesday about noon. The evening and succeeding day was so dreadfully tempestuous that we had great reason to be thankful at our being safely in harbour. We remained at the Motherbank until Sunday, 17th January, when a fine clear easterly wind springing up we soon got under sail and proceeded down the Channel with very fine weather. On Wednesday, being near the Bay of Biscay, the wind shifted to the south, and it began to be very tempestuous, that night and the succeeding day it blew exceedingly hard, and now, for the first time, I began to be a coward. I could not be persuaded that the ship could possibly long resist the violence of the sea which ran mountains high. On Thursday, towards evening, the wind considerably abated, and the next morning it was a perfect calm, but the sea continued greatly agitated by a swell. On the 25th January, we were again favored with a fair wind, and a small vessel was seen at a distance with French colours. About this time my poor little boy was taken very ill, and continued in the most pitiable weak state during our passage to the Cape. Added to this my servant was attacked by a fever that raged among the women convicts, and I had hourly every reason to expect that the infection would be communicated to us. as our apartments were so immediately connected with those of the women. We were, however, fortunate enough to escape from this evil. I have omitted to observe that when Captain Nepean accepted of accommodation in the upper cabin, he thought himself at liberty to dispose of the part allotted to him in the great cabin as best suited his inclinations, adopting that very generous maxim "every man for himself," in consequence of this idea and a request from the owners of the ship, he gave permission for one half the cabin to be partitioned off for the reception of female convicts, leaving the other half to us. Mr. Macarthur, who saw the inconvenience that would arise from this arrangement, strove by every means to prevent it. He pointed out to Captain Nepean "that Government had contracted for a cabin for the mutual benefit of the officers ordered to sail in that ship, and that there was no particular allotment for any officer," that, therefore, if he had the means of obtaining better accommodations, and had no use for those prepared him by Government, it was highly indelicate, if not unjust, to think of introducing a set of people to the possession of what was prepared for him. and to the participation of what was assigned to us. But in this instance, as in many others, reason unassisted by power proved unavailing. A slight partition was erected, which was thought fully sufficient to separate us from the set of abandoned creatures that were to inhabit the other part, and the only satisfaction or concession that Mr. Macarthur could obtain for this cruel encroachment upon our rights was a promise and assurance that a passage, which from our quarter gallery communicated with the upper cabin, should always be open for our use and even for our servants. This assurance, trifling as it may appear, was to us an inestimable advantage, as the division in the cabin had rendered the common passage to the deck totally dark, and added to this, it was always filled with convicts and their constant attendants, filth and vermin. The altercations and little disputes that the concluding of this business occasioned created a coldness between Captain Nepean, the master of the ship, and Mr. Macarthur, and at last terminated in a cessation of every kind of intercourse, except on duty with the one, or on business with the other. Thus, unhappily situated, we determined patiently to submit to the unpleasantness we could not remedy, and cheered ourselves with hope of a speedy voyage, not doubting but that things were at the worst. In this conclusion, however, experience proved we had vainly flattered ourselves.

Many of the soldiers frequently complained that a part of their ration was purloined, and as often as they did, Mr. Macarthur considered it his duty to report it to Captain Nepean. The first time, Captain Nepean replied "Trail does everything to oblige me, and I must give up some points to him." Subsequent informations on the same subject were answered "I will see into it." It would be an injustice to Captain Nepean to suppose that he did not mention it, as there is every reason to conclude he did, from the monstrous and unprovoked insults that always ensued. I had made it a practice every fine evening to go up through our quarter gallery to the stern gallery to walk or sit with Mr. Macarthur. and I also took the same road whenever my inclinations led me to the deck—the common passage, as I have before observed, being rendered impassable. But of these enjoyments I was suddenly deprived by the door of the gallery being closely nailed up on Saturday, 30th January without their deigning to assign any reason for so doing—we have since been told it was to prevent Mr. Macarthur from listening—a suggestion infamous and unfounded as it was, I shall ever be persuaded originated in the person, who of all others in the ship ought to have been most forward in suppressing it. Mr. Macarthur immediately wrote an official letter to the agent, complaining in the strongest language of the injustice of this transaction; in answer to which he was told verbally (a written answer being refused) "that he should not quarrel with Trail for any man," Captain Nepean also said "that the master of the ship had a right to do as he pleased." Without a hope of relief, T was fain to content myself within the narrow limits of a wretched cabin, for to add to the horrors of the common passage to the deck. Captain Nepean ordered it to be made a hospital for the sick, the consequence of which was that I never left my cabin till I finally quitted the ship. Thus precluded from the general advantages that even the convicts enjoyed—air and exercise—no language can express, no imagination conceive the misery I experienced. Approaching near the equator (where the heat in the best of situations is almost in supportable) assailed with noisome stenches, that even in the cold of an English winter, hourly effusions of oil of tar in my cabin could not dispel, two sides of it surrounded with wretches whose dreadful imprecations and shocking discourses ever rang in my distracted ears. a sickly infant constantly claiming maternal cares, my spirits failing, my health forsaking me, nothing but the speedy change which took place, could have prevented me from falling a helpless victim to the unheard of inhumanity of a set of monsters whose triumph and pleasure seemed to consist in aggravating my distresses. To a person unacquainted with the innumerable insults and cruelties I was necessitated to bear with, this may appear the language of passion, resentment, or of heart, desiring revenge, but it will be admitted to be the conclusions of truth and of justice when it is known in addition the wrongs I have already recited that we were deprived of a part of our little ration, and insultingly told we should have less if they thought proper; that a constant watch was set over our servant when getting our daily allowance of water lest the seamen who had the serving of it (knowing our situation) should be induced by motives of humanity to make some small addition to the scanty pittance, and once (so low were we reduced by the connivance of the only person we could look to for support) that the servant was publicly stopped on the deck, with execrations and abuse, and the water examined, although at this time they were expending 50 gallons a day for their stock, and an unlimited quantity for their own use, and our whole allowance for every purpose was only 5 quarts. But to conclude as ungrateful a subject as ever exercised the patience or wounded the feelings of humanity, I will proceed to the last adventures we were concerned in in this detested ship. Mr. Macarthur, when his duties called him to visit the soldiers, always crept through the only passage now left us, often endangering a limb by tumbling over boxes and other lumber that this place was made the repository of, and frequently contracting heaps of the vermin with which it was infested. The immediate cause of our leaving the Neptune is now to explain.

On the 10th February Mr. Macarthur had just come on deck when the sergeant complained to him of an attempt made to cheat him of several pounds of the men's allowance of meat, which he had scarcely heard when the chief mate of the ship (who was close by) exclaimed he was a d—d rascal. Mr. Macarthur, roused at the insult offered to the man, told the mate with some severity that the sergeant would do well to punish him for his insolence. In return Mr. Macarthur received every kind of abuse that can be supposed to flow from ignorance and brutality. Angered to an extreme degree, but unable to redress himself, Mr. Macarthur sent for Captain Nepean and related the whole affair, when, strange to tell, he was highly censured for interfering in the business, and told by Captain Nepean "that he was sufficient to redress any wrongs offered to the men, without the assistance of any one." This fresh insult, the knowledge of what we were hourly suffering, and the contemplation of what we had to expect in future, determined Mr. Macarthur to apply for a remove on board the Scarborough. The request was gladly complied with by Captain Nepean, happy to get rid of a person he thought a troublesome examiner of the iniquitous practices of the people he considered his Friends.

On 19th February a favourable day presented itself, and we removed with all our little baggage, rejoiced at an escape from tyranny, insult, and every species of oppression. We were in the latitude of 6 degrees N. when our remove took place, and it being quite a calm day Edward and I suffered greatly from the heat, but this was an inconvenience I thought lightly of after what I had been taught to bear. In the Scarborough we shared a small cabin with Mrs. Abbott. Marshall, the master of the ship, was a plain, honest man, and disposed to make things as comfortable for me as was in his power.

On 22nd we passed a French Guineaman bound to Martinico with slaves. We crossed the line on 25th with a light wind, and on 14th April, after experiencing a severe gale of wind, anchored safely in False Bay. False Bay is about 20 miles distant from the Cape Town. At the head of the Bay there is a small town which has a pleasing appearance. The houses are all uniformly whitewashed on the outside, and the doors and windows painted green. The inhabitants are all such as make a practice of preying on the shipping; not excepting the Governor himself, who scruples not to supply the wants of any at the moderate profit of about 500 per cent. The manners of the people, if I may be allowed to judge, from what I saw, are as unfriendly and rude as the appearance of their coast. The country which presents itself to the sea is extremely mountainous and you see nothing but massy rocks and tremendous precipices; within them, however, the soil is fruitful and well repays the labour of the husbandman. I one day took a walk to what is called the Company's Garden, a piece of ground totally appropriated to the use of the Dutch East India Company, and stored with vegetables. It is situated about a mile and a half from the town. The intermediate space is uncultivated and presents Africa in its native dress, every shrub and flower I saw, being new, was interesting. Whether my admiration was excited by novelty or the effect of a long voyage, I cannot determine, but I thought at the time I had never in England seen so charming an assemblage from the most laboured production of art. I forgot to mention that in our voyage from Portsmouth to the Cape, Mr. Prentice was put in arrest by Captain Hill. At False Bay Captain Hill was put in arrest by Captain Nepean. A few days before we quitted False Bay, Mr. Macarthur was attacked with a violent and very alarming fever. It continued to rage till every sense was lost and every faculty but life destroyed, and my little boy at that time was so very ill that I could scarcely expect him to survive a day. Alone, unfriended, and in such a situation, what do I not owe to a merciful God for granting me support and assistance in these severe moments of affliction. I was greatly indebted to the attention and kindness of Captain Reid, who commanded an Imperial East Indiaman that then lay in the Bay with us. He visited Mr. Macarthur frequently and supplied me with a few little comforts that afterwards were of the greatest service.

I was also very much obliged to Captain Marshall for his * . . . behaviour, particularly on this occasion and here . . . add my obligations cease. I do not recollect . . . officers made me the slightest offer of . . . indebted to them ever.. .. .. ..
[blank line]
after we sailed but continued intermittant for a long time, for 5 weeks I was obliged to have one and some times two soldiers sit up every night, and all the rest I took myself was laying my head on a locker, till at length one of the.. .. .. ..
gave me up his cabin.. .. .. ..
Our passage to the South.. .. .. ..
be truly called a tempestuous one.. .. .. ..
we performed it.. .. .. ..
and it was not till this time that Mr. Macarthur.. .. .. ..
recovered to walking without assistance. It.. .. .. ..
feel the heavy hand of sickness.. .. .. ..

[* The manuscript is torn or undecipherable.]

Cape of Good Hope,
20th April, 1790.

My Dear Mother,

I have the happiness to inform you that we arrived safe, and are anchored in the bay, from whence I date this on the 14th of this month, after a fine passage of just twelve weeks and three days, from the time we sailed from Portsmouth. I wish I could also add that we arrived in perfect health, but my poor little boy is a melancholy proof, at this period, of the contrary. He has been very sickly throughout the Passage, and unless a very speedy change take place I am well convinced he will shortly cease to be an inhabitant of this world. I believe I told you in Devonshire that he had nearly cut one of his teeth; I was, however, exceedingly mistaken, for he hath not yet cut any, although they appear very firm in the Gums, and I am in hopes that if once one or two had made their appearance, he might yet recover and get strength. He is not near so large as children generally are at four months old, although he is now upwards of twelve. He is very sensible, very lively, and affords us much pleasure, but the trouble we have had with so delicate a little creature is indescribable, and I wonder my own health hath not suffered more from the attention I have been obliged to pay him. I may justly say with regard to him "that God tempers the wind to the shorn lamb."

Mr. Macarthur has enjoyed a remarkably good share of health ever since we left England, and I trust will continue to do so. I was nearly tired with the length of the passage before we got into port, and stood in need of refreshment very much, but now with the benefit of fresh meat and plenty of fruits and vegetables, I am quite recovered, and assure my beloved Mother that I never was in better health, and am in very good spirits which are only damped by poor Edward's illness.

You will expect some account of my voyage, but I scarcely know where to begin or what to tell you. I mean to write Miss Kingdon those particulars. It will be needless for me to repeat the same in both letters, particularly as I have but little spare time, being busy in seeing all our linen washed and got up, and in laying in stock and refreshments to take with us to Botany Bay. I am also advised by our surgeon to spend as much time as possible on shore, in order to get very strong and prepared for the remainder of the voyage. We are to stay here eight days longer and no more. To-morrow I go on shore to board during that time. I am to pay a dollar and a half a day, and live with a genteel private family. Mr. Macarthur cannot quit the ship entirely, but will visit me on shore every day. You can have no idea of the extravagant charge of the inhabitants for almost all they sell. As an instance of these impositions I must tell you that they charge the ships for a cabbage 1s. 6d. each. Their bread is not good, being fermented with leaven. Fruit is to be had in great abundance. The grapes are fine, beyond what I can describe to you; you have no idea to what a pitch of luxuriance they arrive. It is here the season of autumn, and apples, pears, and such fruits are now just in perfection. We get wine for about 1s. the bottle.

The Dutch live very well at their own tables. I like their houses, they are spacious and airy, and their slaves keep them remarkably clean. A man's riches are here determined by the number of his slaves. If you go to a genteel house you will see a dozen of them attending in the hall. I had the honor to be received by the Governor, when the officers paid their respects to him, and was met by his daughter, who was dressed after our mode, but as she could not speak English, nor I Dutch, we could only exchange dumb civilities.

The face of the country is very romantic. Our prospect is bounded by mountains, the lowest of which is much higher than any I ever saw before. Such walks as I have taken have been very amusing. In every plant I see something new; these works of nature at the foot of the mountains represent a beautiful shrubbery, where innumerable beautiful flowers and plants delight the eye and regale the senses.

I have not yet seen any of the original inhabitants of this coast—the Hottentots—there are some, I am told, who reside about the mountains. They are a harmless set of Beings and hurt no one. I have just given you this short account of the Cape of Good Hope, of which you have heard so much, little thinking that your daughter would ever write to you from thence.

I will now tell you of a few circumstances about our passage. We sailed from England with a fair wind, which carried us to the Bay of Biscay. We were there for the space of two days, and in the night had so heavy a gale of wind that I was most terribly alarmed. They told me, however, there was no danger; after this storm we soon got into fine weather and constant fair winds. I was much pleased with the variety of different fish and seabirds which every day presented themselves; but learnt with regret that we were not to touch at Madeira or at Rio di Janeiro. We had, consequently, no hopes of getting into Port in less than three or four months. I wrote to you from Portsmouth that we had a lady going out with us, the wife of the Captain Trail. She appeared a very agreeable woman, but her husband proved himself a perfect sea-monster; so much so, that I requested Mr. Macarthur to exchange duties with one of the officers in one of the other ships. It was accordingly so arranged, and when about six degrees from the Equator, on a very warm day, when it was quite calm, Mr. Macarthur, myself, Edward, and our servants left the Neptune and embarked on board the Scarborough, commanded by Captain Marshall. Lieut. Townsend was taken in the Neptune in place of Mr. Macarthur, and we found on board the Scarborough an officer of the Troops. Lieut. Abbott, who from this time lived with us. This exchange took place on the 19th February, and hath proved in every respect satisfactory to me. Captain Marshall, one of the Captains who commanded a Transport in the First Fleet that went to New South Wales. and staid in the Colony four months. He, therefore, frequently amuses us with accounts of the place, and in what state he left it, and upon the whole they are flattering. He is a very humane man, and I am under the greatest obligation to him for his more than common attention to me and Edward. He accommodates us with everything in his power of which he thinks we stand in need, preventing my very wishes. He has left a wife and three children in England, of whom he speaks in the tenderest terms.

If it pleases the Almighty that we arrive in safety at Port Jackson, I shall write you a long letter by Captain Marshall, but that letter you must not expect till next June, as the ship is under a charter to bring tea home from China for the East India Company. She therefore will from Port Jackson go on to China, and from thence return to England, which makes the home passage very long. Whether I may meet with a vessel that returns by the nearest way from Port Jackson to England is very uncertain, indeed I believe it very improbable, and therefore you must not expect it. I hope you will receive this letter in four months from the date, by which time and long before, I trust we shall be comfortably settled in our New World. If we have a good passage from hence we hope to be at Port Jackson in seven or eight weeks from this time. You may be sure that I shall write to you by every ship that returns, and I pray that you will punctually write to me. The Guardian, a 44-gun ship, quite new, that was fitted out by Government at an amazing expence for New South Wales, being laden with provisions and a variety of valuable stores for the Colony, is now a wreck at the Cape. The particulars which I have learnt are these—It being summer she had a good passage from England to this place, where she staid the usual time for water and refreshments, and then proceeded on her voyage, but instead of going the usual track from hence to Port Jackson, the Lieutenant who commanded her took her quite a different one, and proceeded round by Cape Horn, where, according to his account, he fell in with islands of ice, which entirely impeded his passage and tore his ship almost to pieces, so that with great difficulty he brought her back to this place. No lives have been lost, and the provisions have been lodged in Store Houses at Cape Town for the use of which the Dutch have the conscience to charge £60 a day, with the cost of unloading her cargoe, and the daily expence of keeping the stores on shore, it is said she is already $60,000 in debt at the Cape, and soon will be as many more. I have now to desire my particular remembrances to all my friends; and first of all, let me notice my Grandfather. I have in some sort a presentiment that impels me to believe I shall yet see him again. Be that as it may, a man arrived at his years, living regularly, and so perfectly weaned from the things of this world, will meet death as a friend when he shall appear. Tell him, with my love, that I have not forgotten his counsel to have ever present to my mind the duty due by us to our Maker.

Believe me,

Your affectionate daughter,

Elizabeth Macarthur.

{Page 20}

Chapter II.


Macarthur and his wife landed at Port Jackson at the end of June, 1790, the first married military officer and the first educated woman to make the infant colony their home.

The young settlement, founded in January, 1788, by Governor Phillip, was in a state bordering on famine, the weekly ration being 2½ lbs. of flour, 2 lbs. of rice, and 2 lbs. of salt pork. The Governor himself received no more than a convict, and the arrival of the Neptune and Scarborough did not bring the looked-for relief.

Mrs. Macarthur held the unenviable distinction of being the only lady invited to Government House, where the entertainments were not very grand. At that time, owing to the famine, it was part of the routine duty of the A.D.C. to put "N.B." upon the invitation card reminding gentlemen to bring their own rolls. But upon Mrs. Macarthur's card there was a note from the Governor himself that there would "always be a roll for Mrs. Macarthur."

From this condition the Settlement was in some degree relieved by the arrival, in 1791, of ten vessels under the convoy of H.M.S. Gorgon. Farming and gardening, too, began to yield some small return of grain and vegetables, but the difficulties and disappointments of the first attempts to subdue an untried soil and climate seem almost incredible.

Under Governor Phillip (1788 to 1792) Macarthur lived happily, devoting himself to his profession and to gardening. During Grose's administration (1792 to 1794) those officers who were disposed to participate in the efforts to raise food from the land, received grants of 100 acres, and as an encouragement to further exertion 100 additional acres were promised to the first who should clear and cultivate 50 acres; but this promise would seem to have been a verbal one, as there is no record of it other than in James Macarthur's notes.

Macarthur's first grant was dated February 12th, 1793. He won the prize in this honourable contest, and on April 1st, 1794, received his second grant of 100 acres, thus acquiring a property of 200 acres adjoining the township of Parramatta, 12 miles to the W.N.W. of Sydney, and this was called after his wife "Elizabeth" Farm.

There for many years he passed a happy and most active life. During Governor Grose's administration, besides military work—a detachment being stationed at Parramatta—he had the superintendence of the farming establishment which was formed by the Government at Toongabbe, a few miles from his residence, where a large number of convicts were employed.

To this novel and difficult duty he devoted himself with his wonted energy, undergoing at times great bodily fatigue in all weathers, which brought on an attack of illness similar to that from which he suffered on the voyage out.

In addition to these duties, he attended to the Improvement of "Elizabeth Farm," his wife also taking an active and intelligent part in the agricultural, horticultural and pastoral pursuits there.

On relinquishing his post at Toongabbe, he acted as Paymaster of the Regiment, continuing, however, to live at "Elizabeth Farm," where a comfortable brick cottage had been built, with garden and orchard, well stocked with vegetables, fruit and flowers. Maize, wheat, barley and millet of good quality were grown on the arable land, which was not of the best, and white clover began to show itself on the lower grounds in place of native grasses, while valuable domestic animals, sheep, cattle, and horses, to say nothing of poultry, were collected and successfully bred.

These letters from Mrs. Macarthur to her mother and her friend Miss Kingdon give an interesting account of her life during the early years of the settlement.

To Miss Kingdon.

Sydney, Port Jackson, N. S. Wales,

March 7th, 1791.

At length we have a prospect of communication once more with our friends by letter. The Gorgon, so long wished for, and so long expected, is not yet arrived, and by her unaccountable delay, has involved us all in the most mysterious uncertainty, and clouded our minds with gloomy apprehensions for her safety. I hope you will have rec'd my letter, dated August, 1790, which I sent by the Scarborough transport, by way of China. I wrote to my mother by the same ship, and a second letter to her, dated a few weeks after the first, I sent by the Neptune, who sailed, I think, some time in August. By those letters I think you will be informed of every material circumstance relative to our voyage and of what happened to us after our arrival till the ship sailed.

I told you of the unfortunate loss of the Syrius, a King's ship, that had been stationed here from the first settling of the Colony. She was wrecked on Norfolk Island. The ship's company, who all escaped with life, but not altogether without hurt, remained on the Island, and the Supply, a small brig, that sailed from this place with the Syrius, returned with the news of her sad fate.

The provisions of the Colony, at that time, being at a very low ebb, it was deemed necessary to take some step lest supply might not arrive from England in time to prevent a threatened famine. Every individual of this Colony was reduced to a very short allowance, and the little brig was dispatched to Batavia under the command of Lieutenant Ball, there to take up a Dutch ship, and purchase a certain quantity of provisions for this place, with which it was to be freighted and dispatched hither with all possible expedition. A few weeks after the Supply sailed, the first ship, Lady Juliana, arrived, and brought an account of the loss of the Guardian, occasioned by falling in with islands of ice. This ship arrived on the 3rd June, and came timely to prevent very great distress.

On the 21st June the Justiana arrived, a store ship, and on the 29th our fleet was safely anchored in the Cove. As all those ships were under contract to return by way of China to take home Tea for the East India Company, and there being at that time no ship stationed here, no way was left to convey a relief to the inhabitants of Norfolk Island, but by ordering some of those ships to touch there in their way to China. The Justiana and Surprize received orders, for that purpose reimbarked a certain proportion of provision for the island. We had every hope that the supplies might arrive in time to prevent any fatal consequences; yet, as we could have no certainty of that, and till some ship should first arrive here that might be dispatched to know the particulars of their fate, our minds were never perfectly easy on their account. At that time there was, with the Syrius's company, the Marines, and convicts, near 700 persons on the Island, and I can truly say that for upwards of six months I never passed a day without reflecting on them with pain and anxiety. Week after week stole away, and month after month with little diversity. Each succeeding sunset produced among us wild and vague conjectures of what could be the cause of the Gorgon's delay, and still we remained unsatisfied—indeed all our surmises have nearly worn themselves out and we are at a loss for new ones—time the great resolver of all events alone can determine this seeming mystery to us.

On the 20th October a general cry prevailed through the Garrison of the Flags being hoisted (which is a signal of a ship appearing off the Harbour). I was preparing myself to receive Mrs. Grose and Mrs. Paterson, being fully persuaded it was the Gorgon, however I was soon undeceived, as it proved to be the Supply from Batavia; she had a very quick passage but had experienced a very sickly one. Mr. Ball very soon called upon us, and complemented me with many little comforts procured at Batavia, which were truly acceptable. He brought us an account of a ship, an English man-of-war, answering very nearly the description of the Gorgon that had been spoken to somewhere about the Equator, and was bound for this port. This intelligence was brought to the Cape of Good Hope, and from thence to Batavia. If this was the Gorgon (which yet I hope not) I tremble to think what may have been her fate. The Dutch ship, laden with the provisions for the Colonies, was not ready to sail when Mr. Ball quited Batavia. She did not arrive till the 17th December. In the dispatches of the Dutch schelander to Govr. Phillips is mentioned something of a Spanish War having been declared against England in May, 1790. The particulars are not well explained, or perhaps I should say, not well understood, as the letter is written in Dutch, and no one here understands enough of the language to transcribe it correctly. This Dutch ship is taken up by the Govr. to go to England to convey home the officers and men of the Syrius, and acquaint the British Government with the present state of the Colony. She is ordered to sail the 20th of this month, but more of this by and bye.

Land Grant

On the 21st of January the Supply was sent to Norfolk Island to bring hither the Syrius ship's company, and learn the state of affairs at that place. She returned on the 25th of February with the officers and men in health, and brought a good account of the health of every individual left behind. This circumstance removed some considerable anxiety from our minds; but it proved our fears had been but too well grounded, as when the Supply arrived they had not more than ten days' provisions in the store, at a full allowance, and from the 14th of last May, till the 18th of July, they were reduced to the scanty pittance of 3 lbs. of flour and 1½ lbs. of beef for a week. At this time a most merciful relief came to their assistance. It had been observed on a high hill in the island (which they have named Mount Pitt) that many seabirds frequented it. An endeavor was made to take some of them, which was successful, and by attending more particularly to the time of their appearance and their favourite haunts they were discovered in the greatest abundance. It was the season in which they laid their eggs, and both birds and eggs were taken in such quantities as occasioned the small allowance of meat they had issued before to be stopped, and, however wonderful it may appear to you, yet true it is, that those birds for many weeks, were the chief subsistence of seven hundred men, and they were so easily taken that after sunset it was impossible to walk on the Mount without treading on them, and sometimes towards evening, they have been observed hovering in the air in such innumerable flocks as considerably to exclude the light from admiring spectators. But now the melancholy truth of their visible decrease became more and more apparent. Their flights were directed to other quarters and at length few remained. But before hope was quite extinguished, a ship appeared and brought them a long expected supply. Believe me, my dear friend, that in writing these faithful traits of the pitiable situation of the inhabitants of Norfolk Island, a chill seems to overpower my faculties; my mind has so truly entered into their distresses that a dread comes over me, which I am unable to describe, but it is succeeded by so firm a reliance on the merciful dispensations of an Almighty, whose hand I think we may here trace without presumption, that I can only admire in silence.

As I have been on the subject of Norfolk Island, I think I may as well finish with it at once. Norfolk Island is about 332 leagues east of Port Jackson, about 6 leagues in circumference; every access to it is dangerous, being environed on one side with a reef of rocks, and on the other with steep perpendicular cliffs. There is no place round the island where a ship can anchor with safety on account of a violent surf, which rises at times so suddenly that a spectator placed on the shore at an elevation of 10 or 12 feet will yet have the horizon frequently excluded from his view in the course of five minutes. In this surf it was that the Syrius was lost. The soil is universally admitted to be capable of producing everything that could be wished; it is rich even to luxuriance. The island has a most charming picturesque appearance from the drawings I have seen, and what I have heard corresponds with it. The Pine Trees (which are designed to furnish the British Navy in the East Indies with masts) are very lofty and majestic, some rising to 200 and others to 220 feet high, upwards of an hundred feet clear of branches and from 28 to 36 in circumference. There are various other trees fitted for domestic purposes, and some which add greatly to the beauty of a landscape, such as the Fern, the Cabbage, and Banana or Plantain, the two latter bearing a very pleasant fruit. The flax plant, of which so much has been said, has not hitherto been of any essential service; a few yards of canvas has been manufactured, a specimen of which will now go to England by the Dutch ship. The Birds of the island are but few, amongst the number are a very fine Pidgeon and a delicate little Dove; they are in general so tame that they may be knocked down with a stick and sometimes caught by the hand. There is not a single quadruped on the island, but a bat, and no venomous reptile whatever. The climate has been found extremely healthy, and I think, in some instances, preferable to this. It lies some degrees nearer the Equator, but being a small island and at a considerable distance from any other touch of land, it is not in the summer subject to such hot winds, but on the contrary, constantly refreshed with a breeze from the sea, and the winter (if indeed it deserves that appellation) is not cold enough to make it necessary to sit by a fire, and a constant succession of vegetation is kept up throughout the year. They have seldom any thunder or lightning; what has been observed was always very distant and of short duration. I have before remarked upon the goodness of the soil, notwithstanding which, there are some evils peculiar to it, which have rendered the labours of the cultivator in general ineffectual. Those evils are a blight, a destructive grub, and a caterpillar more pernicious than the other two. The crops of corn and vegetables that have had the good fortune to escape these pests have ripened and produced an increase equal to the most sanguine wishes of the cultivator. The last season, when in the midst of their distress, they were cheering their hearts by contemplating the flourishing cornfields, that caterpillars made their appearance, they were observed to come from the hills, and in such quantities that every attempt to counteract their baneful influence proved ineffectual; they retreated not, till they had done so much mischief that enough corn did not ripen to sow the land this year. What is somewhat remarkable, the caterpillars from the cornfields directed their course to the sea (in such abundance that the beach was covered with them) and they were seen no more. Those are the accounts of Norfolk Island down to February last, and are what I have learnt from some of the navy officers belonging to the Syrius.

The Supply is to be sent to Norfolk Island again in the course of a few days with three of our officers and a party of soldiers to relieve the same number of Marines at Norfolk, a Captain Hill, Lieutenant Abbott, and a Mr Prentice are fixed on for this purpose.

I shall begin my relation now of things more immediately occurring to myself. It will be unnecessary to go over the chit-chat of my last letter, such as the state of our house, the attentions we meet with, etc., etc.

We passed our time away many weeks cheerfully if not gaily—gaily indeed it could not be said to be. On my first landing everything was new to me, every Bird, every Insect, Flower, etc.; in short, all was novelty around me, and was noticed with a degree of eager curiosity and perturbation, that after a while subsided into that calmness I have already described. In my former letter I gave you the character of Mr. Dawes, and also of Captain Tench. Those Gentlemen and a few others are the chief among whom we visit. Indeed we are in the habit of intimacy with Captain Tench that there are few days pass that we do not spend some part of together. Mr. Dawes we do not see so frequently. He is so much engaged with the stars that to mortal eyes he is not always visible. I had the presumption to become his pupil and meant to learn a little of astronomy. It is true I have had many pleasant walks to his house (something less than half a mile from Sydney), have given him much trouble in making orreries, and explaining to me the general principles of the heavenly bodies, but I soon found I had mistaken my abilities and blush at my error. Still, I wanted something to fill up a certain vacancy in my time which could neither be done by writing, reading or conversation. To the two first I did not feel myself always inclined, and the latter was not in my power, having no female friend to unbend my mind to, nor a single woman with whom I could converse with any satisfaction to myself, the Clergyman's wife being a person in whose society I could reap neither profit or pleasure. These considerations made me still anxious to learn some easy science to fill up the vacuum of many a solitary day, and at length under the auspices of Mr. Dawes I have made a small progress in Botany. No country can exhibit a more copious field for botanical knowledge than this. I am arrived so far as to be able to class and order all common plants. I have found great pleasure in my study; every walk furnished me with subjects to put in practice that Theory I had before gained by reading, but alas, my botanical pursuits were most unwelcomly interrupted by Mr. Macarthur being attacked by a severe illness. In December he got better, and in January we were removed into a more convenient house.

I shall now introduce another acquaintance, Mr. Worgan, to you, a gentleman I have not hitherto named. He was surgeon to the Syrius, and happened to be left at this place when that ship met with her fate at Norfolk. It is not improbable this Gentleman may himself deliver this letter to you. He is well known to Doctor.*. . . . I assure you in losing him a very considerable branch of our society will be lopped off. I shall now tell you of another resource I had to fill up some of my vacant hours. Our new house is ornamented with a pianoforte of Mr. Worgan's, he kindly means to leave it with me, and now, under his direction, I have begun a new study, but I fear without my Master I shall not make any great proficiency. I am told, however, that I have done wonders in being able to play off "God Save the King", and Foot's minuet, besides that of reading the notes with great facility. In spite of musick I have not altogether lost sight on my botanical studies. I have only been precluded from pursuing that study by the intense heat of the weather which has not permitted me to walk much during the summer. The months of December and January have been hotter than I can describe; indeed insufferably so. The thermometer rising from an hundred to an 112 degrees is, I believe, 30 degrees above the hottest day known in England. The general heat is to be borne, but when we are oppressed by the hot winds we have no other resource but to shut up ourselves in our houses and to endeavor to the utmost of our power to exclude every breath of air. This wind blows from the north, and comes as if from an heated oven. These winds are generally succeeded by a thunderstorm so severe and awful that it is impossible for one who has not been a witness to such a violent concussion of the elements to form any notion of it. I am not yet enough used to it to be quite unmoved; it is so different from the thunder we have in England. I cannot help being a little cowardly, yet no injury has ever been suffered from it except a few sheep being killed which were laying under a tree that was struck by the lightning. A thunderstorm has always the effect to bring heavy rain which cools the air very considerably. I have seen very little rain since my arrival, indeed I do not think we have had a week's rain in the whole time, the consequence of which is our garden produces nothing, all is burnt up; indeed, the soil must be allowed to be most wretched and totally unfit for growing European productions, though you would scarcely believe this, as the face of the ground at this moment, when it is in its native state, is flourishing even to luxuriance, producing fine Shrubs, Trees, and Flowers which by their lively tints afford a most agreeable landscape. Beauty, I have heard from some of my unlettered countrymen, is but skin deep. I am sure the remark holds good in New South Wales, where all the beauty is literally on the surface, but I believe I must allow it has symetry of form also to recommend it, as the ground in all the parts that have been discovered is charmingly turned and diversified by agreeable vallies and gently rising hills; but still, these beauties are all exterior. Many Gentlemen have penetrated far into the country, but they find little difference in the appearance of the soil. Some rivers have been discovered, to one of which the Governor has given the name of the Hawkesbury; it is a very noble one, and empties itself into the sea at a harbour which Captain Cook in his voyage named Broken Bay. Another river has been discovered which some call the Nepean, another the Tench, and a third the Wogan; it is supposed by some that these three are one and the same river, only have been lighted upon by explorers at different distances from its source. If the British Government think fit to continue the Colony, these rivers may be of great utility, particularly in dry seasons, as all the fresh water we have near Sydney is very inconsiderable, though we cannot say we have hitherto wanted water.

[* Illegible.]

I have not yet seen the famous settlement of Rose Hill. I wanted much to have paid it a visit before the ship sailed, but have now given up the idea; the weather is yet too warm, and Rose Hill has not the benefit of sea breezes so much as we have at Sydney. All the ground works and farming schemes are carried on at Rose Hill, tho' the headquarters are here. The last harvest was a very **. . . . one, the wheat and barley not yielding thrice the quantity that was sown. The Indian corn returned something more, but it was altogether a poverty-struck harvest. It is very likely my next letter to you may be dated from Rose Hill. Captain Nepean has an idea that the Governor will remove the remainder of his detachment and men thither, as soon as the Barracks are completed, which are already half-finished. After the three officers I have already named for Norfolk are gone there will only remain at Sydney Cove, Captain Nepean, Mr. Townson, Mr. Macarthur, and the surgeon, Mr. Harris. This would indeed be a very small society if it were in danger of losing the Marine officers, but that cannot be the case till the remainder of the Corps arrive. We shall be well pleased to remove anywhere with Captain Nepean; he is truly a good hearted man, and has, I believe, a great friendship for Mr. Macarthur.***

[** Illegible.]

[*** There is no record of how the reconciliation between Nepean and the Macarthurs came about.]

You will observe I have made no excursion of any consequence. Perhaps you will wonder how I should make any in a country like this. I will tell you how. The Harbour of Port Jackson is universally allowed to be the finest in the known world, from the mouth of which to Rose Hill they call 16 miles in a straight direction, then it is so beautifully formed that I can conceive nothing equal to it, branching out into a number of arms and coves, forming little islands and points of land, so agreeable and romantic that the most fanciful imagination must tire, and I think allow himself to be outdone and yield the palm to reality and simple nature. In a Harbour so formed, and of such extent, a number of pleasant little water parties might be made to some of these islands or bays, and a number I yet promise myself, but, hitherto, from Mr. Macarthur's long confinement, and since his recovery, from the heat of the weather, I have been enabled to put but one in execution, and that was to a Bay near the harbour's mouth, about six miles from Sydney. We passed the day in walking among the rocks and upon the sands very agreeably. I looked carefully for some shells for you but could find none better that what you get at Bude or Widemouth. Above this Bay, about half a mile distance, is a very high hill which commands an extensive view of the wide ocean, on it is placed a Flag-staff which can also be seen at Sydney. When a ship appears the Flag is hoisted, by which means we have notice of it much sooner than we otherways could have; it also conducts the vessel into the harbour. There are a few huts near the Flag-staff with people in them appointed to keep a look-out, and from thence the spot has derived the general name of Look-out.

Of my walks round Sydney the longest has not extended beyond three miles, and that distance I have, I believe, only ventured upon twice: once to a farm which Captain Nepean has for his Company, to which we sent our tea equipage and drank tea on the turf, and once to a hill situated between this and Botany Bay where I could command a prospect of that famous spot. Nor do I think there is any probability of my seeing much of the inland country until it is cleared, as beyond a certain distance round the Colony there is nothing but native paths, very narrow and very incommodious. The natives are certainly not a very gallant set of people, who take pleasure in escorting their ladies. No; they suffer them humbly to follow Indian file like. As I am now speaking of the natives. I must give you an account how we stand with them. In order to give you an idea of this part of our political Government it will be necessary to carry the account back to a period some months previous to my arrival. In the winter, 1789 (which you will recollect is summer in England) a dreadful small pox was discovered amongst the natives. How the disorder was introduced cannot be discovered. They were found lying in a miserable state, some dead and others dying, nor is it to be wondered at that this disorder should in general be so fatal to them when we consider they are not in possession of a single palliative, nor have any means of procuring nourishment for themselves when their strength no longer permits them to pursue their usual avocations of fishing, hunting the Kangaroo and other little animals on which they live. Amongst the unhappy objects that were discovered was a Boy and Girl. These were brought in, and from the humanity of the Clergyman, who took the Girl, and of the principal surgeon, Mr. White, who took the Boy, they were both saved. The Girl whom I mentioned to you in my former letters by the name of Abaroo or Baroo (for it is difficult to catch their exact pronunciation, more so to give you an idea of it by letters) appears to be about 11 years old. The Boy (named Nauberry) about 9. After they began to learn English and to make us understand them, it was imagined from their communication that if a man or two could be brought to reside with us, that some valuable information might be obtained respecting the interior parts of the country. With this view the Governor left no means untried to effect an intimacy with them, but every endeavor of that sort, as before, proved ineffectual. They accept of his presents as children do playthings; just to amuse them for a moment and then throw them away disregarded. Despairing to gain their confidence by fair means, the Governor ordered that two men should be taken by force. This was done; the poor fellows, I am told, exhibited the strongest marks of terror and consternation at the proceeding, believing they were certainly meant to be sacrificed. When they were taken to the Governor's House and immediately cleaned and clothed their astonishment at everything they saw was amazing. A new world was unfolded to their view at once. For some days they were much dejected, but it soon gave way to cheerfulness. They were then admitted to the Governor's table, and in a little time ate and drank everything that was given them. They now walked about the settlement as they liked, only with a man who was appointed to attend them that they might not escape into the woods, but, as they showed no apparent inclination to do that the vigilance of their keeper by degrees abated, which the older of the two (named Coleby) soon observed, and in a very artful manner one night made his escape. The one who remained, and called himself Bannylong, till May, 1790, and then took himself off without any known reason, having been treated with the most uniform kindness, and appeared highly pleased with our people and manners, taking it a great compliment to be called White Man. In the time he was here he acquired English enough to make himself understood in common matters, and furnished our people with the native names for animals, birds, fish, etc. From this time till after our arrival nothing was known respecting them, as the natives whenever they met with any of our people were more shy than ever, and could not be brought to a parley. Nauberry and Abaroo still remained easy and happy, expressing no wish to return to the woods. On the 7th Sept., Captain Nepean and several other Gentlemen went down the Harbour in a boat, with an intention of proceeding to Broken Bay to take a view of the Hawkesbury River. In their way they put in at Manly Cove, a place so called from the spirited behaviour of the natives there at the Governor's first landing. At this time about 200 natives were assembled feeding on a whale that had been driven on shore. As they discovered no hostile intentions our party, having arms, went up to them. Nauberry was in the boat and was desired to inquire for Bannylong; and Coleby, when behold both gentlemen appeared, and advancing with the utmost confidence asked in broken English for all their old friends at Sydney. They exchanged several weapons for provisions and clothes, and gave some whalebone as a present for the Governor. Captain Nepean, knowing this news would be very pleasing to the Governor, dispatched a messenger to inform him of it, and proceeded on towards Broken Bay. The Governor lost no time, but as soon as he was acquainted with the above circumstances, ordered a boat, and accompanied by Mr. Collins, the Judge Advocate, and a Lieut. Waterhouse of the Navy, repaired to Manly Cove. He landed by himself, unarmed, in order to show no violence was intended.

Bannylong approached and shook hands with the Governor, but Coleby had before left the spot. No reason was asked why Bannylong had left us. He appeared very happy, and thankful for what was given him, requesting an hatchet and some other things which the Governor promised to bring him the next day. Mr. Collins and Mr. Waterhouse now joined him, and several natives also came forward. They continued to converse with them with much seeming friendship until they had insensibly wandered some distance from the boat, and very imprudently none of the Gentlemen had the precaution to take a gun in their hand. This the Governor percieving deemed it prudent to retreat, and, after assuring Bannylong that he would remember his promise, told him he was going. At that moment an old man advanced whom Bannylong said was his friend, and wished the Governor to take notice of him. At this he approached the old main with his hand extended, when on a sudden the savage started back and snatched up a spear from the ground and poised it to throw, the Governor, seeing the danger, told him in their tongue that it was bad, and still advanced, when, with a mixture of horror and intrepidity, the native discharged the spear with all his force at the Governor. It entered above his collarbone, and came out at his back nine inches from the entrance, taking an oblique direction. The natives from the rocks now poured in their spears in abundance so that it was with the utmost difficulty and the greatest good fortune that no other hurt was received in getting the Governor into the boat. As soon as they returned to this place you may believe an universal solicitude prevailed, as the danger of the wound could by no means be ascertained until the spear was extracted, and this was not done before his Excellency had caused some papers to be arranged lest the consequences might prove fatal which happily it did not, for on drawing out the spear, it was found that no vital part had been touched. The Governor, having a good habit of bodily health, the wound perfectly healed in the course of a few weeks. Since then a convict game keeper has been killed by a spear, but it seems in some measure to have been owing to his own imprudence. Bannylong came many times to see the Governor during his confinement, and expressed great sorrow, but the reason why the mischief was done could not be learnt, since that period the natives visit us every day, more or less. Men, Women, and children, they come with great confidence, without spears or any other offensive weapons. A great many have taken up their abode entirely amongst us, and Bannylong and Coleby, with their wives, come in frequently. Mrs. Coleby, whose name is Daringa, brought in a new born female infant of hers for me to see, about six weeks since. It was wrapped up in the soft bark of a tree, a specimen of which I have preserved; it is a kind of mantle not much known in England I fancy. I ordered something for the poor woman to eat, and had her taken proper care of for some little while. When she first presented herself to me she appeared feeble and faint; she has since been regular in her visits. The child thrives remarkably well, and I discover a softness and gentleness of manner in Daringa truly interesting. We do not in general encourage them to come to our houses. as you may conceive there are some offensive circumstances which makes their company by no means desirable, unless it be those who live wholly with us. A good deal of their language (if it may be so called) is now understood, but we can learn nothing from them respecting the interior part of the country. It seems they are as much unacquainted with it as ourselves. All their knowledge and pursuits are confined to that of procuring for themselves a bare subsistance. They chiefly abide about the sea coast, the women appear to be under very great subjection. They are employed in the most laborious part of their work; they fish and also make the lines and hooks, and indeed seem very little otherway than slaves to their husbands. They weave their lines from the bark of a certain tree, which we call May from the perfume the flower has which strongly resembles the White thorn that blows in that month in England. Their hooks they grind into form from a shell; they perform this with great dexterity upon any rough stone. Their canoes are made of the bark of some of their gum trees, taken off in a particular form for that purpose. These they paddle about the caves and bays very dexterously. The weapons they use are a spear, a wooden sword, a stone adze or axe, and a fish gig; the latter is wholly used in spearing the fish in the water. The spears which they aim and discharge with wonderful ingenuity at a great distance are some of them most dangerous weapons, having many barbs in them and sharpened shells, but they are still under such terror of our firearms that a single armed man would drive an hundred natives with their spears, and we take care not to venture walking to any distance unarmed, a soldier or two always attending when we make any excursion. I have never yet met a single native in the woods.

I told you in my last letter I thought their dialect pleasing; some of their names I think much so. I will give you a few native names, and begin with the men: Arrabason, Volahoa, Iminwanga, Boldarry, Werong, Watteval, Erroniba. Female names: Milbah, Bood, Barangiroo, Cadeniang, Mooningooru, Worigan, Crewboar. Mr. Dawes, who has studied their language or jargon a good deal, has endeavoured to learn what their notions are of the Deity. It is not discovered that they worship the sun or any of the heavenly bodies, and yet they say all who die go up to the clouds. Mr. Dawes thinks they have a tradition of the Flood amongst them They say one man and one woman was saved in a *. .
.. .. .. .. be traced
It is not wonderful.. .. .. ..
flood as all nations.. .. .. ..
have (more or less.. .. .. ..
account of the natives.. .. .. ..
the ship was under.. .. .. ..
.. .. has however been detained a week longer.. ..

[* Manuscript torn.]

My spirits are at this time low, very low, to-morrow we lose some valuable members of our small society and some very good friends. In so small a society we sensibly feel the loss of every member, more particularly those that are endeared to us by acts of kindness and friendship. From this circumstance and my former letters you may be led to question my happiness, but this much I can with truth add for myself, that since I have had the powers of reason and reflection I never was more sincerely happy than at this time. It is true I have some wishes unaccomplished, but when I consider this is not a state of perfection I am abundantly content.


E. Macarthur.

Sydney, Port Jackson, N. S. Wales,

March 18th, 1791.

At length I sit down to assure my dearest Mother that I am in perfect health, and to add to the pleasure of this circumstance both Mr. Macarthur and my little Edward are in the full enjoyment of this blessing, and we only want to complete the measure of it, to hear that you are equally happy and well. I hope you have received all my former letters regularly. The first was written to you from the Cape of Good Hope, the second from this place giving an account of the voyage, of Mr. Macarthur's dangerous illness and surprising recovery, and of my being in consequence of fatigue and anxiety thrown into premature labour and delivered of a little girl who lived but for an hour.. .. .. ..
[blank line]

In the little friendly meetings that we have in Sydney "The banks of the Tamar" is a general toast. Many of the officers having friends and connections in Devon and Cornwall, the remembrance is pleasing to all. In my last letter I mentioned there being a select number of officers here who had been very attentive to us, and I am happy to say that we still experience the same attention from them, and however much I may want female society, Mr. Macarthur can have no reason to complain. The Governor ** has been in the habit of sending us some little thing or other every day.

[** Governor Phillip.]

Since the Supply returned from Batavia I have received from her commander, Mr. Ball, many articles at very moderate prices, besides a number of things which he had the goodness to present to me.

We have not attempted anything in the farming way. Our neighbours *** succeed so badly, that we are not encouraged to follow their example. The Government Farm did not this year in grain return three times the seed that had been sown. This great failure is attributable to a very dry season, but it is a general opinion that this country is not well adapted for corn.

[*** Probably the Military Officers, as at that date Ruse was farming successfully.]

The grape thrives remarkably well. The Governor sent me some bunches this season as fine as any I ever tasted, and there is little doubt but in a very few years there will be plenty. We have also very fine melons They are raised with little or no trouble, the sun being sufficient to ripen them without any forcing whatever, and bringing them to a great size and flavour. One day after the cloth was moved, when I happened to dine at Government House, a melon was produced weighing 30 lbs. We have need of cooling fruit, in the warm season particularly, when the hot scorching winds set in, but which, however, are followed by what is termed the sea-breeze, and this keeps down the temperature of the air, but when they are overpowered by the hot wind the heat is excessive.

The same woman is with me that had charge of Edward when I visited you from Plymouth. He has become very amusing to me. He prattles a little, but is backward with his tongue as he has always been in every other respect.

I hope Mr. Pitt has given Mr. Macarthur promotion, and that by this time he has a Company, in which event our thoughts will be in some measure turned again towards "Old England". I have yet great hopes of seeing my grandfather once more. Tell him so, and that he need be under no apprehension for my religion.****

[**** This letter concludes with the most affectionate remembrances to relations, connections and friends at Bridgerule, Holdsworthy, and Whitstone.]


18th Nov., 1791.

No less than twelve ships the last spring season, and some of them performed the voyage in little more than three months.

In June Mr. Macarthur and myself were removed to Rose Hill with Captain Nepean's Company, at which place we remained until about a fortnight since. Mr. Macarthur was again ordered to Sydney with the command of a detachment of about 60 men.

Rose Hill, now named Parramatta, save only a small piece of rising ground on which the Governor has a house, which still retains the name of Rose Hill, is where every exertion is making to carry on cultivation, and where the principal part of the convicts are placed. But as Sydney has the advantage of the cove, and is nearer to the sea, it will have the convenience of first communicating with such vessels as may arrive, and it will be the most desirable place for an officer's family for years. In other respects Parramatta may have advantages, particularly to such as wish to cultivate the land, but officers have so little encouragement in this respect, that few will in future attempt it, as evident impediments are thrown in the way to check their undertaking it.

The Governor has said that we shall not again be moved until Major Grose arrives. I hope that may soon take place, as until then we have no prospect of being settled. Captain and Mrs. Paterson were with us after their arrival here but a few days, as they were ordered to Norfolk Island.

Lieut.-Governor King, who commands that settlement, brought out his lady with him. She was born in Devonshire. Her name was Coombe, and she resided many years at Bideford. Pier stay here being very short I saw but little of her, and I had reason to believe her possessed of a great share of good nature and frankness; a pleasant consideration should it be my fortune hereafter to visit Norfolk Island. She expects shortly to be confined. Captain Parker, commander of the Gorgon. brought his wife with him, a very amiable, intelligent woman; we have spent many pleasant days together. One of the agents of Transports has also his wife with him, so that our little circle has been of late quite brilliant. We are constantly making little parties in boats up and down the various inlets of the Harbour, taking refreshments with us and dining out under an awning upon some pleasant point of land or in some of the creeks or coves, in which for twenty miles together, these waters abound. There are so many ladies in the Regiment that I am not likely to feel the want of female society as I at first did.


Port Jackson,

New South Wales,

Dec. 7th, 1791.

Edward grows a strong healthy child, and from being a great deal of trouble to me ceases to be almost any at all. He prattles everything, and is quite Papa's darling.

We are at present here rather in an unsettled state, which is not very agreeable in any country, and is particularly unpleasant here. I hope when Major Grose arrives we shall not have this evil to complain of.

A company of Marines is to remain here until the remainder of the New South Wales Corps comes out.

Several of the ships that have arrived with convicts are about to engage in a whale-fishery.

The Spermaceti whale abounds on this coast, and the success of these vessels in this fishery will doubtless be the means of establishing a more frequent communication with England.


Port Jackson,

New South Wales,

21st. Dec., 1793.

My last letter was by the Atlantic, the ship which conveyed Governor Phillip from Port Jackson, when I mentioned that our prospects in this country were considerably brightened up, and that Mr. Macarthur had a handsome addition to his income by having the payment of a Company, and transacting the business of Paymaster to the Regiment. Since that period Major Grose has appointed him to inspect or superintend the public works. What advantage may accrue from this is at present uncertain, but the Major in his despatches to Government has strongly recommended them to confirm the appointment, and to annex to it such a salary as they may conceive equal to the importance of the trust.

The Major has also given us a grant of 100 acres * of land on the banks of the river close to the town of Parramatta. It is some of the best ground that has been discovered, and 10 men are allowed us for the purpose of clearing and cultivating it.

[* Known by the name of Elizabeth Farm.]

I have one more gift to speak of—it is a very fine cow in calf, of which I am very proud, and for this also we are indebted to Major Grose, and to a family in this country in its present situation it is a gift beyond any value that can be placed upon it. As Mr. Macarthur's concerns demand that the greater part of his time should be passed at Parramatta, I think it very probable that in the course of the ensuing winter we may remove our family there. I have the pleasure to inform you that we enjoy our health uninterruptedly. Edward's grown, and improves even beyond our sanguine expectations, and little Elizabeth is able to walk by one hand, though not 10 months old.

We are in expectation of Captain and Mrs. Patterson from Norfolk Island.

E. M.


New South Wales,

23rd August, 1794.

On the 7th May last I was happily brought to bed of a very fine Boy, to whom I have given his Father's name John. He, with the other two, Edward and Elizabeth, are in perfect health, and promise fairly to become everything we could desire.

Elizabeth Farm at Parramatta.

In November last myself and family all removed to Parramatta, where Mr. Macarthur had been the greater part of his time since the departure of Governor Phillip, on account of the employment he holds under Government.

I write to you now from our own house, a very excellent brick building, 68 feet in length and 18 feet in width, independent of kitchen and servants' apartments. I thank God we enjoy all the comfort we could desire. but to give you a clearer idea of our situation I shall make free to transcribe a paragraph out of a letter of Mr. Macarthur's, addressed to his brother, which is now before me.

"The changes that we have undergone since the departure of Governor Phillip are so great and extraordinary that to recite them all might create some suspicion of their truth. From a state of desponding poverty and threatened famine that this settlement should be raised to its present aspect in so short a time is scarcely credible. As to myself, I have a farm containing nearly 250 acres, of which upwards of 100 are under cultivation, and the greater part of the remainder is cleared of the timber which grows upon it. Of this year's produce I have sold £400 worth, and I have now remaining in my Granaries upwards of 1,800 bushels of corn. I have at this moment 20 acres of fine wheat growing, and 80 acres prepared for Indian corn and potatoes, with which it will be planted in less than a month.

"My stock consists of a horse, 2 mares, 2 cows, 130 goats, upwards of 100 hogs. Poultry of all kinds I have in the greatest abundance. I have received no stock from Government, but one cow, the rest I have either purchased or bred. With the assistance of one man and half a dozen greyhounds, which I keep, my table is constantly supplied with wild ducks or kangaroos. Averaging one week with another these dogs do not kill less than 300 lb. weight. In the centre of my farm I have built a most excellent brick house, 68 feet in front and 18 feet in breadth. It has no upper story, but consists of four rooms on the ground floor, a large hall, closets, cellar, etc.; adjoining is a kitchen, with servants' apartments, and other necessary offices. The house is surrounded by a vineyard and garden of about 3 acres, the former full of vines and fruit trees, and the latter abounding with most excellent vegetables.

"This farm being near the Barracks, I can without difficulty attend to the duties of my profession."

E. M.

Mrs. John Macarthur to her friend Miss Kingdon.

Elizabeth Farm,


1st Sept., 1795.

Once again, my much loved friend, it is permitted me to sit down under a conviction that the letter I am about to write will be received by you with pleasure. By the capture of a ship off the coast of Brazil we were left without any direct intelligence from Europe for twelve months. We firmly believed that a Revolution or some national calamity had befallen Great Britain, and we should be left altogether to ourselves, until things at home had resumed some degree of order, and the tempest a little subsided. These fears, however, have by a late arrival proved without foundation.

This country possesses numerous advantages to persons holding appointments under Government. It seems the only part of the Globe where quiet is to be expected. We enjoy here one of the finest climates in the World. The necessaries of life are abundant, and a fruitful soil affords us many luxuries. Nothing induces me to wish for a change but the difficulty of educating our children, and were it otherwise, it would be unjust towards them to confine them to so narrow a society. My desire is that they should see a little more of the world, and better learn to appreciate this retirement. Such as it is the little creatures all speak of going home to England with rapture. My dear Edward almost quitted me without a tear. They have early imbibed an idea that England is the seat of happiness and delight; that it contains all that can be gratifying to their senses, and that of course they are there to possess all they desire. It would be difficult to undeceive young people bred up in so secluded a situation, if they had not an opportunity given them of convincing themselves. But hereafter I shall much wonder if some of them make not this place the object of their choice. By the date of this letter you will see that we still reside on our farm at Parramatta, a native name signifying the head of a river, which it is. The town extends one mile in length from the landing-place, and is terminated by the Government House, which is built on an eminence, named Rose Hill. Our farm, which contains from 400 to 500 acres, is bounded on three sides by water. This is particularly convenient. We have at this time about 120 acres in wheat, all in a promising state. Our gardens, with fruit and vegetables, are extensive and produce abundantly.

It is now spring, and the eye is delighted with the most beautiful variegated landscape. Almonds, apricots, pear and apple trees are in full bloom. The native shrubs are also in flower and the whole country gives a grateful perfume. There is a very good carriage road now made from hence to Sydney, which by land is distant about 14 miles, and another from this to the river Hawkesbury, which is about 20 miles from hence in a direct line across the country. Parramatta is a central position between both. I have once visited the Hawkesbury, and made the journey on horseback. The road is through an uninterrupted wood, with the exception of the village of Toongabie, a farm of Government, and one or two others, which we distinguish by the name of Greenlands, on account of the fine grass, and there being few trees compared with the other parts of the country, which is occasionally brushy, and more or less covered with underwood.

The greater part of the country is like an English park, and the trees give it the appearance of a wilderness or shrubbery, commonly attached to the habitations of people of fortune, filled with a variety of native plants, placed in a wild irregular manner. I was at the Hawkesbury three days. It is a noble fresh water river, taking its rise in a precipitous range of mountains, that it has hitherto been impossible to pass; many attempts have been made, although in vain. I spent an entire day on this river, going in a boat to a beautiful spot, named by the late Governor, "Richmond Hill", high and overlooking a great extent of country. On one side are those stupendous barriers to which I have alluded, rising as it were immediately above your head; below, the river itself, still and unruffled; out of sight is heard a waterfall whose distant murmurs add awfulness to the scene. I could have spent more time here, but we were not without apprehensions of being interrupted by the natives, as about that time they were very troublesome, and had killed many white people on the banks of the river. The soil in the valley of this river is most productive, and greatly superior to any that has been tilled in this country, which has induced numbers to settle there, but having no vessels there is at present much difficulty in transporting the produce to Sydney. Our stock of cattle is large; we have now fifty head, a dozen horses, and about a thousand sheep.

You may conclude from this that we kill mutton, but hitherto we have not been so extravagant. Next year, Mr. Macarthur tells me, we may begin. I have now a very good dairy, and in general, make a sufficiency of butter to supply the family, but it is at present so great an object to rear the calves, that we are careful not to rob them of too much milk. We use our horses both for pleasure and profit; they alternately run in the chaise or cart.

Mr. Macarthur has also set a Plough * at work, the first which has been used in the country, and it is drawn sometimes by oxen and at others by horses. The ground was before tilled with the hoe. These details I am sensible have no other interest than as far as they serve to show the progressive state of this yet infant settlement.

[* The first Plough used in the Colony.]

Mr. Macarthur once superintended the agricultural concerns of the Government, but since the arrival of Governor Hunter he has declined further interference. By the kindness of the commanding officer of the Regiment we are permitted to reside here, and there being a good road, as I have before observed, to Sydney, Mr. M. is enabled to attend to all his duties at headquarters, although at times upon very short notice. Myself, or one or more of the children, occasionally accompany him. As the distance is convenient, our stay is prolonged as business or pleasure require, or we return the same day, but as our family is large we do not choose to be long absent from home together.

Mr. Macarthur has frequently in his employment 30 or 40 people whom we pay weekly for their labour. Eight are employed as stock-keepers, in the garden, stables and house; and five more, besides women servants; these we both feed and clothe, or, at least, we furnish them with the means of providing clothes for themselves. We have but two men fed at the expence of the Crown, altho' there are persons who contrive to get twenty or more, which the Governor does not or will not notice.

You will wonder how a return is made for the daily expence which it must appear to you we incur.

In the first place, some thousands of persons are fed from the public stores, perhaps between three or four thousand, all of whom were formerly supplied with flour from England to meet the demand for bread. But since so many individuals have cleared farms and have thereby been enabled to raise a great quantity of grain in the country, which at the present time is purchased by the Commissary at 10s. a bushel, and issued for what are termed rations, or the proportionate quantity due to each person instead of flour. In payment for which the Commissary issues a receipt, approved of by the Government; and these receipts pass current here as coin, and are taken by Masters of Ships and other adventurers who come to these parts with merchandise for sale. When any number of these have been accumulated in the hands of individuals they are returned to the Commissary, who gives a Bill on the Treasury in England for them. These bills amount to thirty or forty thousand pounds annually. How long Government may continue so expensive a plan it would be difficult to foresee. Pigs are bought upon the same system, as would also sheep and cattle, if their numbers would admit of their being killed. Beef might be sold at 4s., if not 5s. the lb. A good horse is worth £140 to £150. Be it ever so bad it never sells for less than £100. A cow is valued at about £80. An English cow that was the property of Colonel Grose sold for £100. From this statement you will perceive that those persons who took early precautions to raise live stock have at present singular advantages.

We have fattened and killed a great number of hogs in the year, which enables us to feed a large establishment of servants. These labourers are such as have been convicts, and whose time of transportation has expired. They then cease to be fed at the expence of Government, and employ themselves as they please. Some endeavour to procure a passage home to England; some become settlers, and others hire themselves out for labour. They demand an enormous price, seldom less than 4s. or 5s. a day. For such as have many in their employment it becomes necessary to keep on hand large supplies of such articles as are most needed by these people, for shops there are none. The officers in the Colony, with a few others possessed of money or credit in England, unite together and purchase the cargoes of such vessels as repair to this country from various quarters. Two or more are chosen from the number to bargain for the cargo offered for sale, which is then divided amongst them, in proportion to the amount of their subscriptions. This arrangement prevents monopoly, and the impositions that would be otherwise practised by masters of ships. These details which may seem prolix are necessary to show you the mode in which we are in our infant condition compelled to proceed.

I have had the misfortune to lose a sweet Boy of eleven months old, who died very suddenly by an illness occasioned by teething. The other three, Elizabeth, John, and Mary are well. I have lately been made very happy by learning the safe arrival of Edward in England. We often remember and talk over in the evening the hospitalities which we have both received in Bridgerule Vicarage, and happy shall I be if it is ever permitted me to mark my remembrance more strongly than is expressed in these lines.

If you are in the habit of visiting the Whitsline family I pray that you will kindly remember me to them. The benevolence of the Major's heart will dispose him to rejoice at the success which has attended us, and that the activity which was very early discernable in the mind of Mr. Macarthur has had a field for advantageous exertion. How is it, my dearest friend, that you are still single? Are you difficult to please? or has the war left you so few bachelors from amongst whom to choose? But suffer me to offer you a piece of advice: abate a few of your scruples, and marry. I offer in myself an instance that it is not always, with all our wise foreseeings, those marriages which promise most or least happiness prove in their result such as our friends may predict. Few of mine, I am certain, when I married thought that either of us had taken a prudent step. I was considered indolent and inactive; Mr. Macarthur too proud and haughty for our humble fortune or expectations, and yet you see how bountifully Providence has dealt with us. At this time I can truly say no two people on earth can be happier than we are. In Mr. Macarthur's society I experience the tenderest affections of a husband, who is instructive and cheerful as a companion. He is an indulgent Father, beloved as a Master, and universally respected for the integrity of his character. Judge then, my friend, if I ought not to consider myself a happy woman.

I have hither in all my letters to my friends forborn to mention Mr. Macarthur's name, lest it might appear in me too ostentatious. Whenever you marry look out for good sense in a husband. You would never be happy with a person inferior to yourself in point of understanding. So much my early recollection of you and of your character bids me say.

E. M.

The following are a few extracts from Miss Kingdon's letters:—

August 23rd, 1796.

Once more I take my pen to address my dear Mrs. Macarthur, the loved companion of my early hours—and she whose friendship in maturer life I have still set a greater value on, here I expect you to exclaim, why then do I not oftener hear from you? No reason, should you have for this question, were it not for the uncertainty of my letters ever reaching you of the many I have sent, as yet I have heard of but one that ever was received. T'is long since I had the pleasure of hearing from you but the many favourable accounts I have read in the public papers of N.S.W. have afforded me great satisfaction, often do I wish that it were in my power to visit you. I have formed so favourable an opinion of your situation that nothing but the dread and danger of the voyage prevents my wishes from being realized, but as in all probability they never can be, I hope the time is not far distant that will restore you and Mr. McArthur with your family to your native country. Your friends in the neighbourhood make frequent enquiries for you but of late I have not had it in my power to give them any information, but will now endeavour to give you some of them. . . . .

I now give you some account of the fashion, particularly of the ladies dress, but you know my inability to discuss the subject—There is no such thing as a waist-stays are quite an unnecessary part of female dress—The petticoats are up to the shoulders, and below the feet. Hats are still worn small, but indeed dress as you will you are not thought particular unless you have a long waist, and it is very seldom that we see two people whose garments are made the same. Tis quite fashionable to write on coloured paper, but you my dear friend will I hope excuse my using plain white, indeed this place will afford no other. I must also beg you to excuse my writing in haste as it was not till last night Farmer Bond informed me that he could send a letter, and I am engaged every day till he must have it.

I need not speak of your Mother as she intends writing you.

All here join in best respects to yourself and Mr. Macarthur and love to your little ones tho' unknown, and believe me sincerely

Your affectionate friend,

R. Kingdon

Bridgerule, Sept. 15th, 1799.

It is impossible for me to express, my dearest friend, the satisfaction I have received from the perusal of your late letters—a thousand thanks to you for mine. There was but one sentiment in it that I could not approve—and that implies a doubt whether or not I might receive your letters with pleasure, but let me hope, that you could not for a moment be serious on the subject—were we not from childhood brought up together as intimate friends? and whatever attachments may be formed afterwards—it is my opinion they are seldom as lasting or well grounded as those friendships which have continued from early life. Sincerely do I hope that nothing may ever intervene, to lessen a regard—I trust we at present have for each other. Through you I shall hope for Mr. Macarthur's friendship, yet I half fear him, for when we are so happy as to see him in your native country, I doubt not that he will laugh at the old maid, it is an odium we must all bear, though I think undeservedly, at least the ridiculers should first point out what these unfortunate females are to do who have not an offer from a person they can approve. But why, my dear friend, do you tax me with being over nice? Let me assure you you have no reason for it. I honour the marriage state, and had a proper opportunity offered, should not have declined it, what then would you have me do? not surely be so eccentric as to reverse the matter, and make an offer (if you would) I have not courage, nor vanity enough to pursue the scheme, unless indeed I had a vast deal of the ready, now so much looked after, and indeed so absolutely necessary, but having neither youth wealth or beauty to recommend me, I shall endeavour to make myself contented with the state I am in, you have my grateful thanks however for your kind advice, though it is not granted me to follow it. . . .

And now my dear Mrs. M. let me congratulate you on your happier fate, it ever was my opinion that Mr. M. would make an excellent husband, if he met with a woman whose disposition and accomplishments suited him, in that respect how fortunate, and how fortunate for you, that you met with a man possessed of good sense and sensibility. God grant that your present happiness may be continued to you. I saw your little Edward after his arrival in England—he is a charming boy—he was allowed to spend but a week with us, and dear little fellow was so loth to depart, that though we wished for his longer stay we were obliged to join in persuading him to go. He then, though so young, would walk with my father the whole morning, in pursuit of a hare, and come in covered with dirt—yet ask if he could not go again tomorrow. . . . .

Your affectionate friend,

R. Kingdon.

{Page 56}

Chapter III.


On Hunter succeeding to the Governorship in 1795 Macarthur enjoyed his personal confidence, until a coolness arose. Hunter determined to buy wheat from the Hawkesbury settlers to an extent much in excess of the requirements of the Government, hoping that this would act as a bounty on its production. Macarthur strongly advised against this course, arguing in vain that this was a false and dangerous principle which would lead the settlers to look always to the Government for support, to regard it as bound to buy their wheat and maize for the public stores, and thus prevent them from relying on their energies to develop the resources of the country by the production of such other crops as might be suited to the soil and climate.

Macarthur also urged the necessity of introducing free settlers, of fitting character, in sufficient numbers to become masters and superintendents of the convicts. This principle Hunter strongly advocated in his despatches to the Home Government. But at that time the state of affairs in France absorbed all thought and energy at home, so that poor despised Botany Bay met with very little attention, though, later on, a few settlers were in consequence induced to come out. Notwithstanding Macarthur's warning, the Governor continued to buy wheat and to draw large drafts on the Treasury. The grain was nearly all lost by the weevil and fly moth, and from heating in overcharged granaries.

So severely was Governor Hunter censured for this by the Secretary of State that it led to his resignation.

The coolness between the Governor and Macarthur evidently passed away at a subsequent date, because James Macarthur, the third son, writing to Judge Therry, says—"I well remember that from 1810-14, while a boy at school near London, I repeatedly accompanied my father to see Governor Hunter, with whom he parted on perfectly friendly terms, as he did with Governor King and his family, and with General Grose and Colonel Paterson."

Mrs. Macarthur's letter of September 1st, 1795, contains the first reference to the flock of sheep, which was occupying so much of her husband's attention at Elizabeth Farm, where he initiated the interesting experiment of crossing hair-bearing ewes from the Cape of Good Hope and Bengal and sheep of English breed, with a view of producing wool.

For, while the infant Colony was struggling for existence in its fourth year, before it had succeeded in raising for itself food sufficient perhaps for a week's consumption, when the inhabitants from the Governor downwards were reduced to less than half rations of miserable provisions, and when even guests, invited to the Governor's table, were requested to bring their own bread, the idea was first entertained by Macarthur of changing the ill-organized community into a wealthy flourishing colony by the production of fine wool.

Although quite a young man he had the sagacity to comprehend that a petty population, established at so vast a distance from other civilized parts of the globe, could have no prospect of ultimately succeeding unless by raising as an export some raw material, which would be produced with little labour, be in considerable demand, and be capable of bearing the expense of a long sea voyage; that, only by the production of some such commodity, whatever might be the natural fertility of the country, could it hope to escape the alternations of abundance and scarcity even of bread.

He reasoned that the surplus of grain in years of abundance would, for want of an outlet, so reduce the prices to the cultivator, as to dishearten him and throw the land out of cultivation, the very excess thus causing subsequent want; whilst the community would possess no means within itself of purchasing supplies from other countries, and would remain a body of paupers or sink into a state of semi-civilisation—that to procure supplies in regular and sufficient quantity it was necessary to create an export, and that as quickly as possible.

This for a young subaltern was a bold and original view of the circumstances of the infant colony then wholly dependent on the Mother Country even for its dally bread.

He could imagine no article so completely fulfilling the necessary conditions as fine wool, and his setting earnestly to work to produce this made him an object of ridicule to his comrades, who were profiting by raising meat, and subsequently of opposition and oppression from his superiors.

At first he had but a few hair-bearing sheep from Bengal and the Cape, but acquired from the captain of a transport from Ireland some coarse woolled Irish sheep; and later (in 1797) with the aid of Captain Waterhouse and Lieutenant Kent, R.N., the first merino sheep were added to his flock.

It is perhaps well here to quote Macarthur's evidence on the matter before Commissioner Bigge in 1820.*

[* Appointed as Commissioner to enquire into the state of N.S.W. under Gov. Macquarie.]

Q. How many years is it since you first began to pay attention to the Breed of Sheep?

A. More than Twenty-six years. In the year 1794, I purchased from an officer Sixty Bengal Ewes and Lambs, which had been imported from Calcutta and very soon after I procured from the Captain of a Transport from Ireland, two Irish Ewes and a young Ram. The Indian Sheep produced coarse hair and the wool of the Irish Sheep was then valued at no more than 9d. per lb. By crossing the two Breeds I had the satisfaction to see the lambs of the Indian Ewes bear a mingled fleece of hair and wool—this circumstance originated the idea of producing fine wool in New South Wales. In the year 1796 (I believe) the two sloops of war on this station were sent to the Cape of Good Hope, and as their Commanders were friends of mine, I requested them to enquire if there were any wool-bearing sheep at the Cape. At the period of their arrival at the Settlement there was a flock of Merino Sheep for sale, from which about twenty were purchased. Of these I was favoured with Four Ewes and Two Rams, the remainder were distributed amongst different individuals who did not take the necessary precautions to preserve the breed pure and they soon disappeared—Mine were carefully guarded against an impure mixture, and increased in number and improved in the quality of their wool. In a year or two after I had an opportunity of augmenting my flock by the purchase from Colonel Foveaux of 1200 Sheep of the common Cape Breed. In 1801 I took to England specimens of the pure Merino Wool, and of the best of the crossbred, and having submitted them to the inspection of a Committee of Manufacturers, they reported the Merino Wool was equal to any Spanish wool and the Crossbred of considerable value. Thus encouraged I purchased Nine Rams and a Ewe from the Royal Flock at Kew, and returned to this country determined to devote my attention to the improvement of the Wool of my flocks. I only landed here Five Rams and One Ewe of the Sheep purchased from the Royal Flock. It is from these sources alone that my present stock has been raised.

The purchase of Foveaux's flock and his land, near Toongabbe, for the sum of £2000, considerably augmented Macarthur's means of bringing to a successful issue the undertaking of his life, which, even at this early period, he was confident would be of national importance.

As regards immediate pecuniary gain, his plan of crossing with Spanish blood was open to objection in as much as it diminished the weight of the carcase, meat being then very dear, while the merino was also a less prolific race than the Cape sheep. Many, therefore, laughed in their sleeves and said "his wits were a-wool gathering."

But he had determined to adopt New South Wales as his country and therefore persevered in his efforts to produce in it a great article of export, without which he knew it must continue for years obscure and despised—a mere penal settlement.

In 1801, Macarthur, while in temporary command of the New South Wales Corps, during Lieut.-Colonel Paterson's absence, became involved in a bitter quarrel with Governor King, who had succeeded Hunter, the cause of which would appear to have been some legal proceedings, in which a Lieut. Marshall was charged with misappropriation of a deceased officer's property.

The affair culminated in Macarthur receiving a challenge from Colonel Paterson, who was wounded in the ensuing duel; and in consequence Governor King ordered Macarthur to England under arrest, for trial by court-martial.

The Advocate-General of the British Army, however, reported that it was impossible to investigate the case in England, and recommended that Macarthur should be remanded to New South Wales, with orders to join his regiment, and expressed his opinion that, under the circumstances, it was probable Governor King would not be desirous of bringing him to trial.

Many letters and despatches referring to the episode are to be found in the N.S.W. Historical Records, Vol. IV., but amongst the Camden Park papers the only allusion to it is in the following passage in a letter written in 1859 by James Macarthur which contains notes on the life of his father to Judge (afterwards Sir Roger) Therry, for use of the latter in writing his book "Reminiscences of N.S.W. and Victoria." "With Governor King he (Macarthur) was on good terms, and was living quietly at Parramatta when the officers of the regiment became involved in a controversy with the Governor in which, although in the right, they mismanaged their case so that King was getting the best of it. They appealed to my father for aid in their need, which he very reluctantly consented to afford, as the character of the regiment was to some extent involved in the dispute. Taking up the case for them, he re-stated the whole matter and placed it on its true footing. On this a truce was patched up between Governor King and Colonel Paterson, the C.O.; and my father considered that he had been made a sort of scape-goat, and that revelations had been made to Governor King which ought not to have been made. Colonel Paterson challenged my father and was wounded in the arm, on which my father was placed in arrest. After a few days he was ordered to return to his duty, but demanded a court-martial, which was refused. The whole matter was represented to the Horse Guards, my father being sent home under arrest, still insisting on his right to public enquiry. Out of this case arose a general order to the Army, denying what had been looked upon as the right of officers placed under arrest to demand a court-martial."

The voyage to England was made via India, and the ship being dismasted in a typhoon was obliged to seek shelter at Amboyna, where she was delayed for some time. This led to Macarthur forming an acquaintance with Sir Robert Farquhar, who was at the time under the censure of the Indian authorities for having made an unsuccessful attack upon a Dutch settlement in close proximity. He was about to write an apologetic letter to the Governor-General and Council, and mentioned the matter to Macarthur, who said: "If you write such a letter you will be laid on the shelf for life. Tell them they are not fully aware of the position of the Dutch Settlement, or the circumstances which led to your attacking it, that you are convinced of the necessity for taking it, and that you are determined to renew the attack. Having thus written, do so, and mind you take the place."

His advice was followed with success, and Farquhar in consequence was applauded and promoted. This was the foundation of the friendship which subsequently existed between the Farquhar and Macarthur families. Sir Walter Farquhar, Sir Robert's father, was at the time physician to the Prince of Wales (afterwards George IV.), and his near relative Mr. Watson (afterwards Watson Taylor) was Private Secretary to Lord Camden, who was then Colonial Minister.

Sir Walter at once realised the serviceable advice Macarthur had given his son, and received him on the most friendly and confidential footing, making his house and family, as it were, a home for Macarthur and his children, two of whom (Elizabeth, his eldest daughter, and John, his second son) had accompanied him for the purpose of their education. His eldest son, Edward, had been sent to England some years previously for the same reason.

From Amboyna the voyage was accomplished by changing ships, and embarking in a homeward bound East Indiaman, which touched at St. Helena, where the Lord Valentia placed in Macarthur's charge an extensive and very valuable collection of natural history specimens from Africa for Sir Joseph Banks, to whom he also gave him a strong letter of recommendation.

The natural history cases caused much trouble on arrival in London, but were safely delivered at Sir Joseph's residence. A dry note of acknowledgment was the only return.

"Whether this was accidental," writes James Macarthur, "or whether Sir Joseph Banks had been prejudiced against him by Colonel Paterson (who had been a botanical collector for Sir Joseph, as well as Governor King, and kept up a correspondence with him), I cannot say, but my father was indignant at the treatment . . ."

How this resentment was shown, and what followed, will be seen later.

This visit of Captain Macarthur to England enabled him to bring to the notice of the Privy Council and those interested in the woollen industry, his views as to the possibilities of Australia for the production of fine wool, and the results of his own efforts and experience in Its growth. Samples of his wool had previously been sent to England and he had not neglected to bring others with him; and he now exerted himself to place the infant Australian wool industry upon a firm foundation, both by inducing the British Government to grant facilities for establishing it in N.S.W., and by interesting the manufacturers in the new source of supply, thus assuring a market.

At one time he thought of the formation of a public company to undertake the enterprise in N.S.W., but finally carried the matter through with his own resources.

The cloth manufacturers were at that time seeking some changes in the Statute Law for regulating the employment of artisans in that important staple. It was material to their case to show that fine wool, then imported chiefly from Spain, in comparatively small quantities—from 3,000,000 to 4,000,000 lbs. a year—was, like cotton, capable of unlimited production.

Having inspected Macarthur's samples of wool, and heard his explanatory statements, they induced him to place before the Privy Council a statement of the capabilities of Australia for the growth of fine wool.

The Privy Council, impressed with the importance of the subject thus brought before them, recommended it to the attention of the Colonial Minister, Lord Camden.

Macarthur in his evidence at Johnston's Court Martial (page 177) thus related how his views were brought before the Privy Council.

In the beginning of the year 1804 * some of the most eminent manufacturers of woollen cloth in England saw by accident some specimens of the wool I had raised in New South Wales, its quality was so fine that it induced them to find me out, and to make particular enquiries how and in what manner this wool had been raised.

[* Macarthur must have meant 1803.]

On my communicating to them all I knew upon the subject they expressed a decided opinion that the colony of New Holland might with proper encouragement be enabled in time to supply the woollen manufacturers of this country with the whole quantity of fine wool which was then with great difficulty obtained from Spain, and such was the importance which they attached to this that they signified their determination to communicate their opinion to Government by Memorial which was soon afterwards done.

In consequence of these memorials being sent in I was directed to attend a Privy Council before whom I was particularly examined as to the state of my flocks and their probable improvement. The Privy Council were so satisfied of the importance of the undertaking that they recommended to the Secretary of State that it should be encouraged. . . .

Amongst the papers at Camden Park the following correspondence is preserved and is endorsed in King's handwriting "Copies of Papers respecting the Growth of Fine Wool in N.S. Wales, Sept., 1805, Report, etc., by Capt. McArthur," the marginal notes being apparently King's also.

Copy of a Letter from the Deputies appointed to attend the Progress of the Woollen Bill for repealing certain Laws relative to the Woollen Manufacturies.

London, 20th July, 1803.


During our Attendance here on the Subject of the Woollen Bill we have been fortunate enough to learn that there is at this time a Breed of Spanish Sheep in the Colony of New South Wales. Desirous of course to ascertain a fact which if true was so highly important to the Manufacturing interest we procured without delay an interview with Captain McArthur the Proprietor of the Flock in question and who had brought Samples of the Wool over with him. We have the satisfaction to state that the Wool is of very superior Quality equal to most which comes from Spain, and from the Statement of Captain McArthur we are persuaded the Quality is improving, and that the Quantity may with proper attention so materially increase in a few years the Supply of the British Market as greatly to reduce the price of the Article and in time render us perfectly independent of Spain for a Supply. If Government will afford him the necessary encouragement Captain McArthur undertakes to return to the Colony without delay and promote the object to the utmost.

We have on behalf of the Clothing Interest laid the matter before Lord Hobart, and Captain McArthur has also had an interview with Administration on the subject. Government we are happy to say are disposed to give it every encouragement, but in order to impress it firmly on their Notice and give the Application complete Effect it has been suggested to advise the Clothiers to present a Memorial Expressive of their Approbation of the Plan and their conviction of its importance. A step of this sort we have no doubt would carry the point in the most immediate and successful manner. We therefore beg to recommend you directly to call a Meeting of the Clothiers in your district, laying the Subject before them, and if they approve the Measure get their signatures to a Memorial as proposed. We would not by any means dictate to you the Terms in which it should be drawn up, knowing you to be fully competent on the occasion, but having bestowed considerable Attention on the Subject we enclose a Form containing the Heads of the Plan which can be put into any shape you approve. As we shall have left Town before your reply can reach us here Your Memorial should be forwarded in due Form to the Treasury. But as the Season is now far advanced and the Adjournment of Parliament may shortly be expected when the Members of Administration will be leaving Town we would recommend promptitude in your proceedings.

We are, &c.,

Thomas Atkinson.

A. L. Edridge.

Addressed to the Manufacturers in different parts of the Kingdom.

In consequence of the preceding Circular Letter, Memorials were presented to Government in almost every part of the Kingdom, praying that every encouragement might be given to promote the undertaking.

Form of the Memorial proposed in the preceding Circular Letter.

To the Right Honourable
The Lords Commissioners of His Majesty's Treasury

May it please Your Lordships

We the undersigned Woollen Manufacturers of the Town of           in the County of            most respectfully beg to solicit Your Lordships attention to a subject which they flatter themselves will interest you by its importance, and they rely with Confidence on that uniform Zeal which Your Lordships have ever expressed for the benefit of the Country for the encouragement of the same.

The great importance of our Woollen Manufacturers their rapid increase of late years and the propriety of affording every encouragement to a source of so much national Wealth and Consequence are too obvious to need a mention here, but while the Topic causes us so much exaltation both as Britons and Commerical Men, We cannot forbear also stating to your Lordships facts of a Contrary Nature, and which if a timely Remedy be not applied may ultimately cause great injury if not destruction to a very Material Branch of our Woollen Manufacture—that of fine Cloths. These Cloths are made entirely of Spanish Wool (an Article for which this Country annually pays to Spain more than one Million and a half) and so great for some years past has been the increasing scarcity and advanced price of Spanish Wool that not only are large Orders frequently rejected for want of the raw Material to furnish the Supply but the exorbitant price of what is to be had and the contingent expences of the Trade make it almost impossible for us to supply the Continental Markets with any Profit to ourselves. If we add to these Considerations the Apprehensions we entertain that our Watchful and implacable Foes the French (who have already by their influence over Spain monopolized some of the most valuable kinds of Spanish Wool) may eventually try to exclude us totally from that source of Supply, We confess ourselves alarmed for the existence of this Branch of our Manufacturers and our eager anxiety for the adoption of any means of security and relief.

Under these circumstances we learnt with equal surprize and pleasure from the Gentlemen of our Committee who were attending the Progress of the Woollen Bill through Parliament that Spanish Wool of Superior Quality and to a considerable Quantity was produced in our Colony of New South Wales and that it only needed the Patronage and countenance of Government to become an Object of the highest national Importance, so as in Time and that not a very distant Period to render us in a great measure independent of Spain for a Supply.*

[* Not a doubt can be entertained of the fine quality of the wool as far as it has been perfectioned in N. S. Wales, but the quantity is by no means considerable altho' the Sheep are daily increasing.]

To detail to Your Lordships the great and innumerable advantages to be derived from the success of such an Object is unnecessary. We therefore merely presume in the most respectful Manner to state the Facts, satisfied that we may rely with Confidence on your decision.

We have the honour to be &c., &c., &c.

STATEMENT of the Improvement and Progress of the Breed of Fine Woolled Sheep in New South Wales.

The Samples of Wool brought from New South Wales, having excited the particular attention of the Merchants and principal English Manufacturers, Captain McArthur considers it his Duty respectfully to represent to His Majesty's Ministers, that he has found from an experience of many years, the Climate of New South Wales is peculiarly adapted to the increase of fine woolled Sheep; and that from the unlimited extent of luxuriant Pastures with which that Country abounds, Millions of those valuable Animals may be raised in a few years, with but little expence than the Hire of a few Shepherds.

The Specimens of Wool that Captain McArthur has with him, have been inspected by the best Judges of Wool in this Kingdom, and they are of opinion that it possesses a softness superior to any of the Wools of Spain and that it certainly is equal in every valuable property to the very best that is to be obtained from thence.

The Sheep producing this fine wool are of the Spanish kind, sent originally from Holland to the Cape of Good Hope, and taken from thence to Port Jackson.

Captain McArthur being persuaded that the propagation of those Animals would be of the utmost Consequence to this Country procured in 1797 three Rams and Five Ewes;** and he has since had the Satisfaction to see them rapidly increase, their Fleeces augment in Weight, and the Wool very visibly improve in Quality. When Captain McArthur left Port Jackson in 1801, the heaviest that had then been shorn, weighed only Three pounds and a half: but he has received Reports of 1802, from which he learns that the Fleeces of his Sheep were increased to Five pounds each; and that the Wool is finer and softer than the Wool of the preceding year. The Fleece of one of the Sheep originally imported from the Cape of Good Hope, has been valued here at Four shillings and sixpence per pound, and a Fleece of the same kind bred in New South Wales is estimated at six shillings a pound.

[** Very correct.]

Being once in possession of this valuable Breed, and having ascertained that they improved in that Climate he became anxious to extend them as much as possible! he therefore crossed all the mixed bred Ewes of which his Flocks were composed, with Spanish Rams.* The Lambs produced from this Cross were much improved but when they were again crossed, the change far exceeded his most sanguine Expectations. In four Crosses he is of opinion no Distinction will be perceptible between the pure and the mixed Breed. ** As a proof of the extraordinary and rapid Improvement of his Flocks, Captain McArthur has exhibited the Fleece of a Coarse Woolled Ewe that has been valued at Ninepence a pound, and the Fleece of her Lamb begotten by a Spanish Ram, which is allowed to be worth Three shillings a pound.

[* He certainly has bestowed great attention on this object.]

[** Very probable.]

Captain McArthur has now about Four Thousand Sheep *** amongst which there are no Rams but of the Spanish Breed. He calculates that they will with proper care double themselves every Two Years and a half, and that in Twenty Years they will be so increased as to produce as much fine Wool as is now imported from Spain and other Countries at an Annual Expence of One Million eight hundred Thousand pounds Sterling. To make the principle perfectly plain upon which Captain McArthur founds this Expectation he begs to state that half his Flock has been raised from Thirty Ewes purchased in 1793 out of a Ship from India and from about eight or ten Spanish and Irish Sheep purchased since. The other half of his Flock were obtained in 1801 by purchases from an Officer **** who had raised them in the same time, and from about the same Number of Ewes that Captain McArthur commenced with. This Statement proves that the Sheep have hitherto multiplied more rapidly than it is calculated they will do in future: but this is attributed to the first Ewes being of a more prolific kind than the Spanish Sheep are found to be: for since Captain McArthur has directed his attention to that Breed he has observed the Ewes do not so often produce double Lambs.

[*** See Note—Capt. McArthur's Report dated October, 2nd, 1805.]

[**** Col. Foveaux.]

As a further Confirmation of the principle of Increase that Captain McArthur has endeavoured to establish and which he is positive time will prove to be correct, he would refer to the General Returns transmitted from New South Wales. In 1796 (since when not one hundred Sheep have been imported) 1,531 were returned as the Public and Private Stock of the Colony. In 1801, 6,757 * were returned; and although between those periods all the Males have been killed as soon as they became fit, yet there is a surplus over the calculation of 633.

[* No. 7,046 in Statement of Annual Increase.]

Captain McArthur is so convinced of the practicability of supplying this Country with any quantity of fine Wool it may require, that he is earnestly solicitous to prosecute this as it appears to him important Object, and on his Return to New South Wales to devote his whole Attention to accelerate its complete Attainment. All the risk attendant on the Undertaking he will cheerfully bear. He will require no pecuniary Aid—and all the Encouragement he humbly solicits for, is the protection of Government, permission to occupy a sufficient Track of unoccupied Lands to feed his Flocks,** and the Indulgence of selecting from amongst the Convicts such Men for Shepherds as may from their previous occupations know something of the Business.

(Signed) John Macarthur.

London, 26th July, 1803.

[** See Note in Capt. McArthur's Report dated October 2nd, 1805.]

It may be well to notice here that years after, in the twenties, when Macarthur was attacked by the "Australian", a newspaper, for his erroneous calculation on the probable increase of wool in New South Wales, he sent these memoranda to his son John, in England, to enable him to reply to any press notices.

When I returned to England in the year 1803, I was called upon by a Committee of Manufacturers who had heard of my wool and requested to show them the Samples. I immediately gave them an order for its delivery from the India Warehouse, and they obtained the case containing the Fleeces and took it to their Committee Room. The wool being examined was highly approved and the different kinds valued at the amounts I stated in my Memorial. They then informed me that England imported annually from Spain Wool to the value of £1,800,000, and appeared anxious for my opinion how long it might take to produce Wool to that value in N. S. Wales. I replied it was impossible for me to say. I was then asked when I commenced breeding Sheep and with what number I had begun. I stated that I had purchased 30 Bengal Ewes in the year 1793—and that I had added to my flock another bred by General Foveaux from about the same number of Ewes and established about the same period with my flock that I had also added eight or ten Irish and Merino Sheep by purchase, and that from those 70 Sheep my Flock had increased in 10 years to 4,000 Head, altho' all the wethers had been sold for slaughter as soon as they became fit. This led to a calculation and it was seen that if 70 Sheep had increased in 10 years to 4,000 Head—the latter number might with similar care and the same success increase in 20 years to more than 13,000,000, but as thirteen Million of Sheep appeared to be an enormous increase another data was resorted to. In Collin's Hist. of N.S. Wales the Returns of Stock in the Colony was published and from these Returns it appeared that in 1796 the whole of the sheep in the Colony amounted to 1,531. The next Return was dated 1801 five years after, when the return of Sheep was 6,737 head and I know that in the period between the two returns not 100 Sheep had been imported. From these returns then it appeared that the Sheep had more than multiplied fourfold in five years, and it was decided it might safely be assumed that a Flock of Sheep of all ages and sexes in their ordinary proportions, might be expected to double itself in two years and a half—taking that for granted—it appeared that such a flock as mine with sufficient pasturage and proper protection might multiply in 20 years to a number sufficient to procure Wool annually to the value of £1,800,000—estimating the average at 4s. a lb.


It was also assumed on the authority of the late Lord Somerville and Dr. Parry, that four Crosses with Merino Rams would improve the Cross bred Sheep to an equal state of fineness with the true bred Merino. Experience however has since taught me that Ten Crosses would not produce that effect—and I quickly determined after my return to the Colony, that I had made a great mistake in my calculations and that attributable to the change which crossing had made in the Constitutions of the Sheep. The Thorough bred India—Cape Sheep—and Merinos lived to a great age, they had been allowed to breed twice a year—and the Bengal Sheep always bred twice—the Cape Sheep frequently did so but as the cross with the Merino blood advanced the young sheep became delicate and sickly and the Ewes seldom lived to rear more than three Lambs—often not more than one, and the Lambs were as tender as their Mothers and suffered great mortality. This created such a prejudice against the Merino Sheep that few people would use the Rams but continued to breed with the original hair bearing Rams, and it was not till many years after that I discovered the great tenderness of the mixed bred sheep did not proceed from the Merino blood, but from a general law of nature that almost always causes a deterioration of constitution where crossing is persevered in more than two generations. Luckily I was not frightened by this ill success but continued to use Merino Rams—the consequence has been that when my Sheep became deeply mixed with Merino Blood they slowly regained constitution and I have now the satisfaction to find the mixed bred sheep as hardy and long lived as the unmixed Merinos. The Colonists are also becoming daily more sensible of this remarkable fact, and are now turning their attention to the improvement of their Wool. Those Flocks, however, that are but little improved, will have to undergo the same trial that mine have sustained—and the losses of these proprietors will be great.

If I add to these facts the continued persecution of Governors, my absence from the superintendence of my flocks and the want of sufficient pasturage—I shall stand fully acquitted of intended misrepresentation.

To return to Macarthur's efforts in England—From July, 1803, till the following spring the matter appears to have rested, but in September, 1803, Sir Joseph Banks wrote in reply to enquiries from Mr. Fawkener at the Office for Trade, Whitehall:—

That the N.S.W. wool he had seen was not equal to the best of old Spain, that he had no reason to believe that the climate and soil of New South Wales was better fitted for wool growing than those of other temperate climates, and that he was confident the grass of New South Wales was coarse and very different from that of Europe, upon which sheep thrive best. That he feared that Macarthur had been too sanguine and that it would be found that sheep did not prosper well there. That the freight from New South Wales would add much to the price of the wool, and he finally recommended that no special encouragement be given Macarthur's project which as yet was a mere theoretical speculation.

In February, 1804, Macarthur again urged his scheme, this time by proposing the formation of a public company, and he wrote to Nicholas Vansittart, who afterwards became Lord Bexley, one of the Secretaries of the Treasury in Addington's administration.

Great George Street, Westminster,

2nd February, 1804.   


The attention which you did me the honor to pay to my Representation respecting fine Wool, produced in New South Wales on the practicability of producing there an unlimited supply of that valuable commodity has induced me to trouble you with the Copy of a Plan for establishing in this Country a Company, on whose exertions Government may be more disposed to rely, for the management of such an important object, than if it were to remain the undivided property of an Individual.

I presume the respectability of the Evidence, contained in the Memorials * that have been presented from many of the most respectable Merchants, and from almost all the most eminent Manufacturers of Woollen Cloths in the Kingdom, must have entirely satisfied your mind of the superior fineness of the Wool and of the advantage that would be derived from its Importation into this Country. I therefore hope I do not take too great a liberty in respectfully requesting you will be pleased to lay the enclosed Plan before the Lords of the Treasury for their Lordship's Consideration, and as far as it may appear to deserve it, as an object of public utility, that you will have the goodness to favor it with your support.

[* See ante, p. 67.]

Perfectly sensible of the impropriety of tresspassing upon your attention by an attempt to detail the high Expectations of success, which the best informed persons entertain, if the breeding Flocks of fine woolled Sheep be sanctioned by Government, and be vigorously prosecuted in New South Wales, or to enlarge upon the advantages which the Colony will receive, from a profitable employment of its Convicts, and from an increase of animal food, for want of which it has hitherto suffered so much—I will no longer detain you, than to state that several Members of Parliament, and many Merchants of the highest Character are willing and desirous to lend their assistance to establish and become Members of the proposed Company.

I have the honor to be, &c.,

John Macarthur.
Nicholas Vansittart, Esq.
&c., &c., &c.

Proposal for Establishing a Company to Encourage the Increase of fine woolled Sheep in New South Wales.

It having been represented to Captain Macarthur that objections have arisen to conferring Grants of Land upon any Individual to the extent required for feeding his Flocks of Sheep and their increase, it has occurred to him that if he were to dispose of his Right in the Sheep to a Company of respectable persons residing in this Country, all objections to give the encouragement he has solicited from Government might be waved. He therefore proposes that as many persons as may be most approved do form a Company, and that they subscribe a sufficient sum to purchase all his Sheep, at the price they were selling, to be slaughtered, when the last Returns were sent from New South Wales—which was about five pounds per Head. That as the present number cannot be correctly ascertained, they be calculated as Four Thousand and that all which may be delivered over that number be received at half price.

That the sum subscribed be vested in some Public Fund, under the Management of Trustees and not be liable to any Claim from Captain Macarthur, until he shall have remitted to the Company Wool, or money arising from the sale of old Sheep, equivalent to the payment he may require from the Subscription.

That the Subscribers shall not be called upon to make any additions to their original Subscription, on account of Expences or any contingencies, but that the expences unavoidably attendant on the care and increasing of the Sheep be defrayed by occasional sales of old ones.

That Captain Macarthur, as he has obtained permission to retire from the Army shall return to New South Wales, and undertake the management of the Sheep, and be allowed a fair percentage on the clear Returns and the Interest of the Capital subscribed by the Company as his Reward.

That Captain Macarthur do retain in his own Right a sufficient number of Shares to secure to the Company his utmost attention in promoting the intended object.

That the Company do exert themselves to obtain from Government the indulgence of such Grants of Land. as the Sheep may from time to time require, with permission to select Shepherds from amongst the Convicts. And to satisfy Government that no narrow or selfish views of Monopoly influence the Promoters of this Undertaking, but that their principal object is to create an abundant Supply of fine Wool for our Manufacturies at a Moderate Rate, and to relieve the Country from its present dependence, on Foreign Nations for that valuable Commodity, it is proposed that the Company shall engage to distribute amongst the Settlers in New South Wales, in any manner the Government may please to direct, a certain portion of the Animal Increase of their Sheep, at a stipulated price.

That the required indulgence being obtained by the Company the whole risk and responsibility shall be borne by Captain MacArthur.

London, 30th Jan., 1804.

Macarthur then addressed the following Memorial to the Committee of the Privy Council, appointed for the consideration of all matters of Trade and Foreign Plantation. The marginal notes appear to be by Governor King, and were probably written in 1805, when King received the papers from England.

The Memorial of Captain John Macarthur.

To The Right Honourable the Lords of the Committee of His Majesty's most Honourable Privy Council appointed for the Consideration of the Matters of Trade and Foreign Plantations.

Most Respectfully states:

That as some doubts have been expressed of the practicability of increasing the production of Fine Wool in New South Wales to the extent that has been described in the Memorials which have been presented to the Right Honourable the Lords Commissioners of His Majesty's Treasury, Your Lordship's Memorialist feels it incumbent upon him respectfully to endeavour to remove those Doubts by a repetition of the Principle Facts contained in the Representation he has already had the honor to make, and to accompany it with such further Explanations and with a Reference to such Evidence as he humbly hopes may be considered conclusive.

In the year 1797 Your Memorialist procured from the Cape of Good Hope Three Rams and Five Ewes of the Spanish Breed of Sheep, and being persuaded that these Animals might be of great consequence to the Colony in New South Wales he paid particular attention to preserve the Breed pure.* He had soon the satisfaction to see them increase and the Fleeces of their Offspring improve in fineness and augment in weight.

[* Very Correct.]

Having ascertained these Facts and being desirous to extend the growth of Fine Wool as much as possible he caused all the mixed bred Ewes of which his Flocks were composed to be crossed with Rams of the Spanish kind. The Lambs produced from this Cross were clothed with Wool infinitely superior to that of their Mothers, but when the Cross was repeated again the Improvement became greater than his most sanguine expectations had induced him to calculate upon **—in so much that he is of opinion no distinction will be perceptible in four Crosses betwixt the pure and the mixed Breed.***

[** He has paid great attention to this object and I believe this statement to be correct.]

[*** Probable.]

When Your Lordships Memorialist left Port Jackson in 1801 his Flocks consisted of more than Two Thousand Sheep,**** the whole of which had been bred from about Fifty Ewes in a little more than Seven Years—and by the Returns that he has received of 1802 his Flocks are increased to Three Thousand. He has not yet received any Accounts of the Year 1803, but he concludes there must then have been about Four Thousand, beyond which he has no expectation they have much increased as most of the Lands contiguous to his Farms have since his Departure from the Colony been appropriated for Cultivation.

[**** Including those purchased from Major Foveaux and others.]

Your Lordships Memorialist brought with him to England as Samples Fleeces shorn from the Sheep imported from the Cape of Good Hope; Fleeces shorn from their progeny bred in New South Wales; and Fleeces shorn from Sheep of the mixed Breed, whose Dams bore nothing but Hair or coarse Wool. When these Samples were shown to the most eminent Manufacturers and Merchants concerned in the Woollen Trade, they all concurred in Opinion that the worst specimens of the mixed Breed would be valuable here, and the specimens of the finest kind bred in New South Wales were much superior to the Wool of the original Sheep imported from the Cape of Good Hope, and that they were equal to the very best we ever receive from Spain. Indeed some of the Manufacturers declared the Wool to be superior to Spanish Wool in many respects, and that if they could procure a sufficient supply it would enable them to surpass all other Countries in the Manufacture of the best Woollen Cloths. But of these Opinions perhaps it would be superfluous to say more, as the numerous Memorials presented to the Lords of the Treasury from the Manufacturers and Merchants must contain more decisive Evidence than any other Testimony that can be offered on the Subject.

Your Lordships Memorialist is entirely convinced from the Number of Sheep * that have been already bred in New South Wales, and from the Improvement which he has witnessed in the Quality of the Wool, that Millions of Sheep may be raised in that Country, and that in a few years the present Stock by proper attention may be so increased as to produce a greater quantity of fine Wool, than we are now obliged to purchase from Spain—and which he has ascertained by the proposals of some eminent Ship Owners, may be brought hither from New South Wales at no greater Freight than is paid for the Freight of Cotton Wool from the East Indies—namely three pence per pound in time of War and three halfpence in Peace.

[* See Note in Capt. McArthur's Report of October 2nd, 1805.]

It is impossible any one can feel more anxiety than Your Lordships Memorialist not to advance a single assertion that he is not convinced to be correct and his anxiety extends to a desire of removing every doubt and of answering every objection that can be urged by a reference to the best Evidence the nature of the Case will admit. He declares that all the Sheep which have been bred in New South Wales have been raised in the Woods upon the Natural Grasses. These grasses are in all seasons rich and abundant,** and when they become too rank they are burnt off, and are almost immediately succeeded by a young and sweet herbage which the Sheep greedily eat and keep bare. The Tracts of Land adapted for Pasture are so boundless that no assignable limitation can be set to the number of fine woolled Sheep which may be raised in that Country with but little other expence than the Hire and Food of the Shepherds.*** The Native Woods instead of making the Grass sour are generally so open as not to deteriorate its quality, whilst they at the same time afford a salutary Shelter from the Scorching Rays of the Sun in Summer and from the chilling Cold of the Wind in Winter. To this the extraordinary softness that the Wool is found to possess may be attributed, for perhaps nothing can more contribute to preserve and improve the fineness of Wool, than keeping Sheep in a mild and equal temperature, and screening them as much as may be possible against the natural inequalities of Seasons.

[** Correct throughout.]

[*** See Note in Capt. McArthur's Report dated 2nd October, 1805.]

To prove these Facts Your Memorialist would respectfully intreat to refer to Captain Hunter the predecessor of Governor King and to Captain Waterhouse of the Royal Navy who was many years in New South Wales. Indeed your Memorialist solicitous to remove all suspicion of the Correctness of his Statements wrote to the latter Officer some time ago upon the Subject, and he has now the honor to subjoin a Copy of his Letter with a Copy of Captain Waterhouses reply. He has also annexed the Names and Address of several respectable Officers and Gentlemen who have had opportunities to make their own Observations upon the Pasture in New South Wales, and who have seen how well Sheep thrive upon them.

With such a prospect of becoming useful to his Country, as the foregoing facts afford, Your Lordships Memorialist has long entertained an Ardent desire to return to New South Wales and to devote his whole attention to the increase and improvement of his Flocks—And having understood that His Majesty's Ministers were more disposed to approve of the Undertaking being carried on by a Company than by an individual he had the Honor to submit a plan for the formation of the Company to the Right Honourable the Lords Commissioners of the Treasury.

Your Lordships Memorialist respectfully hopes that the Statement he has now given and the Evidence he has referred to in Corroboration of it will remove every doubt and he persuades himself that under no possible circumstance an attempt to supply this Country with Fine Wool, the production of its own Colony can appear to Your Lordships impolitic or in any degree hazardous. For as your Memorialist requires no pecuniary Aid, the hazard would be all his own, and even for a moment supposing him to be mistaken which however he cannot in justice to himself admit to be possible founded as his Opinions have been upon so many years successful experience, yet the infant Settlement of New South Wales could not but derive great advantage and security from such an abundant Supply of animal Food as must indisputably be raised.

Your Memorialist will no longer trespass upon Your Lordships attention than to say That if your Lordships shall be pleased to sanction him in the undertaking on behalf of a Company, he will submit to Your Lordships consideration the names of the many respectable persons who have offered their assistance and declared their willingness to form a Company.

But should Your Lordships more approve making the experiment on a small scale upon the individual account of your Memorialist, he will most cheerfully commence it with an allotment of Ten Thousand Acres of Land * and permission to select thirty Convicts for Shepherds.

[* Has had 5,000 acres in addition to 3 he held before and he selected 36 convicts.]

Your Lordships Memorialist would choose the Land Ten miles from any of the Settlements where there is Cultivation, and he would engage in return for the Indulgence to supply the Public with all the Sheep it might be proper to kill, at a stipulated Price, by which means Your Lordships Memorialist humbly presumes the Expenses of Government in that Colony would be very much diminished in a few years.**

John Macarthur.

London, May 4th, 1804.

[** Capt. McArthur has had 5,000 acres in a situation of his own choice (see Letter to Earl Camden, July 20th, 1805), but no offer has been made of supplying mutton at a stipulated price; on the contrary he has killed great quantities and got from 1s. 3d. to 2s. 6d. a pound from individuals.]

(Enclosure No. 1.)

A Letter from John Macarthur to Captain Waterhouse of the Royal Navy.

London, 4th March, 1804.

My Dear Sir,

Your polite and obliging attention in communicating the very valuable observations you made in New South Wales, on the improvement of the Wool, produced by the Spanish Breed of Sheep that you introduced into that Colony, and your remarks on the extraordinary improvements that you discovered in the Wool of the Sheep produced from Spanish Rams and Ewes bearing nothing but Hair or very coarse Wool, has induced me, once more to take the liberty of troubling you for your opinion on a disputed point, which it is of the utmost importance to me to put out of Doubt, and which I am persuaded Your Testimony will most effectually do.

It has been urged here that the Natural Pasture in New South Wales is so rank and coarse that Sheep cannot eat it, and that unless land be cleared for the purpose, and artificial grasses raised for the support of Sheep they cannot be bred in that Country to any very considerable extent.

Now, as you, my dear Sir, have kept and bred sheep in New South Wales, as you are perfetly well acquainted how your own, and the General Stock of Sheep, in that Colony were always fed, during the time you were there, and as you know as much of the Country as any man, who ever returned from it, you will very much oblige me. and materially serve the great object I have so long been endeavouring to establish, if you will have the goodness to state whether your Sheep were not constantly depastured in the Woods, on the Native grasses, whether such is not the universal mode of feeding Sheep there, and whether from Your observations in the interior parts of the Country you have visited, you have any doubt of the practicability of increasing Sheep in that Colony to almost any extent if due care and attention be paid to them, and the undertaking liberally encouraged by Grants of sufficient Allotments of Land.

On reviewing this letter I feel almost ashamed of having trespassed so much upon your attention, but I hope and am convinced that as the objects it relates to are connected with the Public good, you will not murmur, or be displeased at the troublesome task I have imposed upon you.

I am, &c.,

John Macarthur.

Captain Waterhouse, R.N.

(Enclosure No. 2.)

A Letter from Captain Waterhouse in reply.

Wisbeach, March 12th, 1804.

My Dear Sir,

I have been for some time constantly moving about which will I hope account to You for my not having earlier answered your's of the 4th, and is my only reason. The few Memorandums I made, whilst at New South Wales, are at the Hermitage, therefore I cannot answer so fully, as I could wish.

You observe "it has been urged that the Natural Pasturage of New South Wales is so rank and coarse, that Sheep cannot eat it, and that unless land be cleared for the purpose and artificial grasses be raised for the support of Sheep they cannot be bred in that Country to any considerable extent." In my opinion whoever has advanced that observation has done so without well weighing it.

The Universal mode of feeding Sheep in that Country has been by driving them into the Woods, on the Natural Pasturage, and I think I can affirm it has very fully answered the purpose, even on a limited feeding; as you know that persons having Stock in that Colony were fearful of letting the Keepers drive them off their own premises, as many accidents might follow, by straying, negligence, &c.; this of course much limited their feeding, which I never recollect having heard complained of, as not fully sufficient in this limited way. It is not in my recollection having heard any person, while there, advance that artificial grasses were necessary for feeding sheep. Some (I believe) Yourself, did introduce in small spots clover, or other artificial grasses, that it might be in the Country, but I did not understand it was from any necessity for it, or that it was apprehended there would be a necessity for it, for feeding Stock; had that been the case I suppose it would have been attended to—I will not be certain, but that when I left the Colony there was not artificial grass sufficient to feed a Lamb a week.

I am no Farmer, therefore, ought not to venture an observation, but have understood that grass Lands require to be constantly cut or eat to prevent it being coarse or rank. That from the state of the Colony could not be done, and a substitute was made use of (Fire) to get rid of the coarse and rank, which answered no purpose; the Young grass springing up more luxuriantly for it.

In the great heat during the Summer they were obliged to vary their drives, generally to those places were the Woods were closest, as the Pasturage was better for the shade afforded by the Trees, and the shelter it gave the Sheep, which could not have been so, had the Country been cleared. My opinion is from slight observation, but I think the Pasturage infinitely better the greater part of the year under the shade of the Trees than in the more exposed parts.

With respect to the Pasturage of Sheep to a great extent, I have frequently gone with Governors Philip and Hunter, and other parties into the Interior of the Country, I speak I believe the general idea, when I say that from Rose Hill or Parramatta to Prospect Hill is good Pasturage, as the number of Sheep now fed upon it prove; from thence to the River Nepean is still better. Our Routes were each time different but I think the Pasturage equally good. There were some high hills between Prospect Hill and the River Nepean covered with good Pasturage, and in every respect calculated for grazing, those I saw, both Winter and Summer. The distance from Prospect Hill to Nepean River is about 22 Miles.

After crossing the Nepean River to the foot of what is called the Blue Mountains, I am at a loss how to describe the Country otherwise than as a beautiful Park, totally divested of Underwood, interspersed with Plains, with rich luxuriant Grass, but for want of feeding off rank, except where recently burnt; this is the part where the Cattle that have strayed have constantly fed—of course their own selection. I must observe some of the Meadows bordering on the Banks of the Nepean River are evidently at times overflowed from the River, but it is not very common, and cannot be done, without sufficient time to drive any Stock away, if common attention is paid. The extent of the ground I mention as being so very fine, can easily be ascertained from the Chart attached to the last account (Hunter's) of New South Wales. The Blue Mountains extend from the Southward of Botany Bay, considerably to the Northward of Port Stephens. I have been upon the top of one of them Mount Hunter. It is rocky but clothed with verdure fully fit for the feeding of Sheep, and I think adapted for it. The Mountains run as far back as the eye can see, all apparently of equally good Pasturage, with some Stands of Water. See the Account given.

The extent of Pasturage for Sheep in this part of the Country is too great for me to form any idea of. Of the possibility I have no doubt, of the encouragement necessary, together with the Allotments of Land, I am no Judge, but of the practicability I have no doubt.

My dear Sir, here you have the ideas of a Sailor. Nothing but the wish to serve so important a Business as you have undertaken could have induced me to commit myself on a Subject, of which I profess my ignorance, my whole Life having been employed at Sea.

But you ask me how my Flock was managed. It was a small one; short of a hundred, all the Spanish Breed and their Offspring. I trusted implicitly to the Shepherd (whom you remember) and Your occasional advice. They were driven into the Woods, after the Dew was off the Grass, driven back for the Man to get his dinner, and then taken out again until the close of the Evening; when they remained in the Yard for the Night. During the three years I had them, I do not recollect a complaint of want of Food, from the Shepherd, but on the Contrary when brought home earlier than usual, and finding fault with him for it, he said they were so soon full that they had lain down for hours.

The uncommon success I had with them will prove the Pasturage. My Farm being not 200 Acres, and by no means a specimen of the general Pasturage of that Country. Of the increase of the Small Flock I landed I gave you an account without noticing those I parted with.

If these few observations hastily thrown together are of any use to you it will give pleasure to My dear Sir,

Yours truly,

H. Waterhouse.

(Enclosure No. 3.)

Names and Addresses of Gentlemen who have been in New South Wales, who can give Evidence on the facts Captain Macarthur has represented.

Captain Hunter, R.N.
Captain Waterhouse, R.N., Hermitage, near Rochester
Captain Prentice                       Do.
Captain Townsen, Lydley Hayes, near Shrewsbury
Mr. W. Wilson, Monument Yard, London
Mr. Stewart, No. 147 Leadenhall St.

The second memorial bore fruit.

At the Council Chamber Whitehall

The 6th of July 1804.

Their Lordships took into Consideration a Proposition from Captain Macarthur for encouraging the Breed of Fine Woolled Sheep, in New South Wales together with the several Papers, on the same subject.

Captain Macarthur attended, and stated that he had resided in New South Wales, eleven years, and held Lands there, a very small part only of which Lands were in cultivation, and that he pastured the rest with Sheep and Cattle.

The following questions were then put to Captain Macarthur:—

Q.   What is the nature and quality of Land in New South Wales?

A.   Rich and strong, so much so, that we are obliged to burn off the long grass, and feed the Sheep upon the Young Grass. There are different sorts of grass, some resembling the Couch Grass in this Country, another sort is a short Grass, of a succulent nature fit for feeding Sheep.

Q.   Suppose those Lands on which Sheep are now fed were to be turned to purposes of Cultivation, are there other Lands further on, proper for the feed of Sheep?

A.   I think there are and better calculated for the purpose, and to an unbounded extent.

Q.   Were there others of the Settlers, who kept Sheep besides Yourself?

A.   A considerable number, but I suppose my Flock amounted to one third of the whole.

Q.   Were the Sheep belonging to the other Settlers of the same Quality as yours?

A.   No. I know no other Person in the Colony, who has paid any attention to the Improvement of the Wool.

Q.   Of what kind are your Sheep, and what is the kind of the Sheep in the Country?

A.   The Sheep I first began to Breed from were of the Bengal Race, weighing about 6 lbs. per Quarter. I improved these by Rams, obtained from a Cross between the Cape Ewe and some Rams of the Spanish Breed. I cannot ascertain the particular Breed of the Rams, I afterwards obtained a number of Ewes of the Cape Breed; and these I continued to cross with Rams bearing Wool, by this means I obtained, which I conceived to be a fine Breed of Spanish Sheep—and bred as many of this pure Breed, as possible, and Crossed all the Ewes bearing coarse Wool, or being of the hairy sort, with Rams of this Spanish Breed. The Sheep of the Country is the hairy sort. I conceive—there exists a prejudice in the Colony, in favour of the Sheep bearing inferior Wool, founded on an Opinion that the Carcasses of such Sheep are more profitable.

Q.   What do you conceive to be the best mode of encouragement to be held out to the Settlers with a view to promote the Breed of fine woolled Sheep?

A.   To feed the Inhabitants on Mutton, rather than on Provisions sent from this Country; and to give a small additional price on the Carcasses of Sheep of the pure Spanish Breed, and Grants of Land to those who are inclined to engage in the Breed of fine Woolled Sheep.

Captain Macarthur stated that his Sheep weighed about twelve pounds a Quarter, and that he thought each sheep required about an Acre of Land to keep it. He also stated that no Grants have hitherto been made to any individual of greater extent that 1,200 Acres. These Grants are given in perpetuity. Captain Macarthur possesses about 4,000 Acres, part of which was purchased from a former Proprietor. He is preparing shortly to return to New South Wales, in any event a Civil Settler in the Colony. Being asked, as to the number of Settlers in the Colony—Supposes them to amount to about 1,000.

Q.   Are there any animals in New South Wales destructive to Sheep?

A.   None except the Native Dog, which is an animal somewhat between a Fox and a Wolf. There are not many of them, and they are so timid in their nature that they will not approach the Sheep by day. Captain Macarthur was in the habit of housing his Sheep every night by reason of the wetness of the Climate, at certain periods of the Year.
Each of his Flocks have a yard and a Shed.

Q.   Do the Natives mix with the Settlers?

A.   They come amongst the Settlers familiarly, but have no fixed abode and live upon what they can find for themselves.

Captain Macarthur being asked whether, in case it should be found objectionable to recommend the making a Specific Grant of Land to him, any other measures could be taken, for effectually encouraging the Breed of fine Woolled Sheep? replied he is so convinced of the advantage, which would result to the Country, that he should most cheerfully proceed in the business upon receiving a Conditional Grant of Land until Government shall be satisfied of the importance of the measure.

If the object should not be found to answer the expectations of Government such Grant to be resumable, but, in that event Captain Macarthur expressed a hope that he should be indemnified, for the expenses he must unavoidably incur in fencing &c.—which he calculated would not exceed the sum of £1000.

11th July 1804.

John Prinsep Esq. attending was called in and examined as follows:—

Q.   What would your object be, in carrying on a Trade with New South Wales?

A.   My object would be to fish upon the Coast; and bring home the Wool, or other produce of the Country.

Q.   In what manner and upon what freight did you propose bringing back Wool from New South Wales?

A.   In the Ships sent out from this Country either to fish, or with Merchandize, or upon Contract with Government to carry out Convicts, and I proposed to bring Wool back upon a freight of £16 per ton in time of War and £8 in time of Peace.

Q.   If a large quantity of Wool should be produced, in New South Wales, do you suppose their would be a facility in bringing it over to this Country upon that freight?

A.   Certainly if we had free access to that Settlement, on the terms of an Act which I understood to be in contemplation, which allowed a Free Trade within the limits of Ten degrees North.

Q.   What quantity then could you bring over if the Trade should be continued upon the present footing?

A.   Equal to that proportion of the tonnage of the Vessel, employed to carry out Convicts, if such vessels were not permitted to proceed to India or China.

Q.   Would it answer your Commercial purposes better to bring a Cargo of Wool Home at the freight above mentioned, than to send your Ship on to China, for a Cargo, if permitted to do so?

A.   It would be certainly better to send the ship on to China, if permitted.

Mr. Prinsep then withdrew.

Governor Hunter, attending was called in and examined as follows:—

Q.   You have been Governor of New South Wales?

A.   I have.

Q.   How long is it since you returned?

A.   About three years.

Q. Is there a considerable quantity of grass land in New South Wales in Common and unemployed?

A.   There is a very considerable quantity of Pasture Land both clear of Wood and covered with Wood, fit for Cattle and for Sheep. The Quality of the Grass appears to be excellent as the Hay made of it. is preferred by strange Cattle to that of their Native soil.

Q.   Is the Grass of a coarse or a fine Pile?

A.   Some coarse but a good deal of a fine Pile. It grows very luxuriantly and is sometimes three feet high.

Q.   Is not the Climate favorable to Agriculture and for the Breeding of Cattle?

A.   The Lattitude is 34° and it is a very fine Climate.

Q.   Is it not subject to great Rains?

A.   There are no periodical Rains. The Climate is variable, and the Pasture is good the whole year.

Q.   Did you pay attention to the nature of the Sheep during your residence there, and particularly to the Wool?

A.   The first Stock was from Bengal and from the Cape of Good Hope, with a few English Sheep. This Wool was hairy, but the Fleeces from the Cross Breed soon improved, and became very good. Cloth was made of it, which was very fit for the Clothing of the Convicts.

Q.   Were there any Spanish Sheep?

A.   Two Officers whom I sent to the Cape of Good Hope, had an opportunity of making there a purchase of some Spanish Sheep, which had belonged to Colonel Gordon, an Officer, in the Dutch Service, well known and since the introduction into New South Wales the Wool improved very much. The Convicts have been fed by Government hitherto on Salt Provisions, and the Grain of the Country. But a supply of Provisions from this, or any Foreign Country will not long be necessary, as the Colony will produce enough for its own support.
The price of wheat was 10s. per Bushel as established by Governor Philip, and this price procured a good supply.

Q.   Do you know Captain Macarthur who has been in that Country?

A.   I do, he has the largest Stock of Sheep in that Country, and has been very industrious in improving his Flock, and breed of Cattle; and with care, and attention I am of opinion that a great quantity of fine Wool may be produced, I have no doubt any offer he may make will be worth attending to.

Q.   Do you apprehend that there would be any great objection to the making Grants of Land to Persons disposed to increase the Flocks of Sheep and Cattle?

A.   There is so much Land that I conceive there can be no objection to such Grants. I made some larger than usual upon applications of that nature, and for that purpose.

Q.   Are the Rains so violent as to injure the Sheep?

A.   I have known it rain violently for a week. We always housed our Sheep. Captain Macarthur made an experiment of keeping his Sheep out, but he lost a good many by it.

The 14th July 1804.

The Lords of the Committee having resumed the consideration of the several papers relating to the Breed of Fine Woolled Sheep, &c., in New South Wales, and of the Examination thereon of Captain Macarthur, John Hunter Esq., formerly Governor of that Colony, and John Prinsep Esq., a Merchant of London, from whom a Proposition was some time since received and has undergone some consideration, relative to the opening a regular Trade with Port Jackson.

Their Lordships were pleased to order a Copy of the Memorial presented by Captain Macarthur, and of a proposal submitted by him to the Lords Commissioners of His Majesty's Treasury, for establishing a Company to encourage the increase of fine Woolled Sheep, in New South Wales, he transmitted to Edward Cook Esq. for the information of Lord Camden, with a letter stating that their Lordships are of opinion, from the Evidence in the papers relating to Captain Macarthur's Petition; from the opinion of the Manufacturers of Cloth, stated in their Memorials, and from the Examination of the Gentlemen before mentioned, that it is probable Wool of very fine Quality, suited to the Manufacture of fine Cloth may be produced in New South Wales, and brought to this Country at a price which the Manufacturers of that Article can afford to give for that material. That their Lordships also conceive that without more knowledge than they now possess of the nature and state of the Colony, and without full communication with the Governor of the Settlement, inconvenience might arise from recommending an unconditional Grant of Land to Mr. Macarthur, or to a joint Company, or to any individual, as such Grant might retard, or prevent the other Inhabitants of New South Wales from turning their attention to the growth and improvement of fine wool, or perhaps in other respects counteract the improvement of the Colony.

That the Lords of the Committee however are of opinion that encouragement ought to be held out to the inhabitants of New South Wales to keep a breed of Sheep with fine Wool, and to improve its quality as much as possible.

That the Committee are inclined to recommend that Mr. Macarthur's plan should be referred to the Governor of New South Wales with Instructions to give every encouragement to the growth of fine Wool, and to report his Opinion, on the Petition of Mr. Macarthur and on the Plan of a Joint Stock Company, and that he should be further directed to state, also in what manner he conceives the growth of fine Wool can best be encouraged, together with the hopes he may entertain that a supply of that Article can be afforded from New South Wales, and to what extent such supply is likely to be obtained and within what space of time.

That the Lords of the Committee think it right to observe that a Conditional Grant of Lands of a reasonable extent may be, perhaps, with safety granted to Mr. Macarthur, for the Pasturage of Sheep only, or to other Persons, provided a Power be reserved, in such Grant to resume the same, at any future period, on giving other Land of the Colony (with reasonable indemnification for expenses incurred in fencing &c.) and that such additional Grant would not Cramp the Cultivation of the Colony, or be attended with bad effects in any manner at present apparent to the Lords of the Committee.

That in addition to these encouragements it appears to the Lords of the Committee that the Governor should be instructed to provide Mutton, for the Food of the Convicts rather than to feed them on Salted Provisions, and that it might equally tend to encourage the Breed of Sheep with fine Wool, if it were recommended to the Governor to purchase only that description of Sheep for the purpose, or at least to give a preference to Sheep of that description, over any other kind, and to give an advanced price for the Sheep with fine Wool.

That many other ways may, however, occur to the Governor from his local knowledge, of promoting an object so important to this Country, and that he should be directed to state the same to Lord Camden.

That from the information obtained from the Fleeces brought from the Settlement in question, and from the description given of the Climate of the Colony, the Lords of the Committee are led to imagine, and entertain hopes that wool of a fine quality may be produced in this Colony; and that as Wool of such fine quality is much wanted and desired by the Manufacturers of Cloth in England, it being mostly, drawn, at this time from a Country influenced, if not dependent on France, their Lordships entertain no doubt that it is well deserving the attention of His Majesty's Government to encourage the Produce of fine Wool, in the Colony of New South Wales.

{Page 98}

Chapter IV.


Lord Camden was so impressed with the importance of the project and its prospects of success that he agreed with Macarthur that the latter should be permitted to sell his commission in the Army (in which he then held an advantageous position, being the Senior Captain of his Corps and in the prime of life) and receive a grant of 10,000 acres in the Cowpastures on which to graze his flocks, in consideration of his devoting himself to the production of merino wool in New South Wales.

In selecting the Cowpastures *—now Camden—Macarthur based his judgment upon that of the cattle which had strayed from Sydney soon after the arrival of the first fleet, and which had been found greatly increased in numbers in that district where they had remained and multiplied.

[* On the Nepean River about 40 miles S.W. of Sydney.]

In 1804, in accordance with his Agreement, he purchased at a sale at Kew several Spanish merino sheep from the Royal flocks of George III., and of these he landed in Sydney five rams and one ewe.

An account of the sale is given in the "Agricultural Magazine," August, 1804, from which the following extracts are taken.

Lot 1 was a ram labouring under a temporary privation of sight which Sir Joseph Banks and Richard Stanford, the King's Shepherd stated not to be very uncommon with these sheep at this season, but from which there was no doubt he will perfectly recover. The weight of his fleece was stated to be at the last shearing 3 lbs 4 ozs. He was knocked down to Captain Macarthur at £6 15s. After Sir Joseph had apprized him that an old Act of Parliament stood in the way of exporting sheep from this country, the Captain's object being to take the sheep which he was then purchasing to New South Wales in about three weeks time to add to the flock which he is raising near Botany Bay with a degree of success which promises to be of the greatest National importance. . . . .

Lot 6, a very lively sheep, was bought by Captain Macarthur at £11. . . .

Lot 11, fleece 3 lbs 12 ozs of better wool than the last sold to Captain Macarthur at 15 guineas. . . .

Lot 13, fleece 3 lbs. 4 ozs. was bought by Captain Macarthur at 16 guineas. . . .

Lot 15 a sheep at present blind, fleece 4 lbs 18 ozs was sold to Captain Macarthur at 22 guineas. . . . .

Lot 22, fleece 4 lbs. 4 ozs. to Captain Macarthur at 21 guineas. . . . .

Lot 30, a 4 tooth ram, fleece 7 lbs 2 ozs was sold to Captain Macarthur for 27 guineas. . . . .

Lot 41 was sold to Captain Macarthur at 11 guineas. . . .

At this sale it will be noticed Macarthur met Sir Joseph Banks, who, writes James Macarthur in his notes, "at last, when his aid was needless, evinced a strong desire to promote and patronize the introduction of the merino sheep into Australia."

This overture Macarthur received as coldly as he himself had been received two years before when Sir Joseph's aid and countenance would have been of great importance to him.

Macarthur's cold reception of Sir Joseph Banks' proffered assistance was an indiscreet and impulsive act, and James Macarthur writes that his father in after life felt it to be so, and that he had by it confirmed any ill-feeling towards himself which might previously have been engendered in Sir Joseph's mind, but it certainly should not have provoked the resentment which Macarthur afterwards encountered and which well nigh proved fatal to his enterprise.

Sir Joseph was a naturalist of high repute at the time, and had accompanied Captain Cook on his first voyage to New South Wales, landing with him at Botany Bay, where he had recommended the founding of a settlement, on what was afterwards called in ridicule "Banks' Meadows!" (Botany Swamps) and he also advised the Bread Fruit expedition of the Bounty. He was moreover extremely wealthy, patronised scientific pursuits, gave déjeuners and soirées at which it was the fashion for travellers and men of letters to assemble, and was regarded by many as a Maecenas on a small scale.

A man of Macarthur's skill and ability should have known how to use such a man. To decline his proffered aid was to wound the great man's vanity on the tenderest point, but the great man should not have displayed such littleness as to avenge the slight in such a way as, had he succeeded, might have marred the best interests of N.S.W. For a Captain in the N.S.W. Corps to introduce an industry in that Colony of which Banks was the patron and quasi-founder, and to reject his aid therein was arrogance and presumption unheard of.

The sheep were about to be embarked on the Argo, a ship which Macarthur had bought, and on which he appropriately placed a Golden Fleece as figure head, when there appeared a paragraph in one of the morning papers to the effect that it was illegal to export sheep from England and that such breach of the law rendered the vessel liable to forfeiture, and the offending parties to such penalties as fine and branding on the hand, etc.

"On noticing this," writes James Macarthur, "my father went at 11 a.m. to Lord Camden's office in Downing Street, and met Sir Joseph leaving.

"He was at once admitted and informed that Sir Joseph Banks had been urging upon Lord Camden the impossibility of exporting sheep, and expressing his regrets.

"'But how is it to be got over?' said Lord Camden. 'Very simply, my Lord, by a Treasury Warrant," replied my father. 'To be sure,' said his Lordship, 'I ought to have thought of that without being told.' The Treasury Warrant was accordingly obtained and the sheep were put on board. My father was about to quit England when Lord Camden sent for him, and said that Sir Joseph Banks had been pointing out that 10,000 acres seemed an enormous grant. 'Would you, Mr. Macarthur, object to take 5,000 at first, with the understanding that the other 5,000 shall be given on the completion of your undertaking?' To this my father at once acquiesced."

In June, 1805, Macarthur arrived in Sydney, accompanied by Walter Davidson, a nephew of Sir Walter Farquhar, who received a grant of land in the Cowpastures, and by Edward and Thomas Wood, professional wool sorters, and his nephew Hannibal McArthur. He left his sons Edward and John at school in England: his daughter Elizabeth, whose health had suffered from the English climate, together with her governess. Miss Lucas, returned with him, and he also brought his merino sheep, and plants of the olive and vine.

He lost no time in presenting the following letters from Lord Camden to Governor King, and also a request for more servants.

Downing Street, 31 October 1804.


The Committee of His Majesty's Privy Council for the Matters respecting Trade and Plantations having taken into consideration the advantages that may accrue to this Country from the growth of Fine Wool in New South Wales, have recommended to me to take measures for the Encouragement thereof and they having further represented that from the pains which had been taken by John McArthur Esqr. in increasing and improving the Breed of Sheep in New South Wales it would be expedient to promote his views by such a Grant of Lands as would enable him to extend his Flocks in such a Degree as may promise to supply a sufficiency of Animal Food for the Colony as well as a Lucrative Article of Export for the support of our Manufacturers at home, I am commanded by His Majesty to desire that you will have a proper Grant of Lands fit for the pasture of Sheep conveyed to the said John McArthur Esqr. in perpetuity with the usual reserve of Quit Rents to the Crown containing not less than Five thousand Acres.

Mr. McArthur has represented that the Lands he wishes to be conveyed to him for this purpose are situated near Mount Taurus as being peculiarly adapted for Sheep, and I therefore am to express my wishes that he may be accommodated in this Situation.

It will be impossible for Mr. McArthur to pursue this plan unless he shall be indulged with a reasonable number of Convicts (which he states to be not less than Thirty) for the purpose of attending his Sheep and as Mr. McArthur will take upon himself the charge of Maintaining these Convicts a saving will accrue to Government and I doubt not you will provide him with such as shall appear most suitable to his Object.

His Majesty's Government takes a peculiar Interest in forwarding the Objects of this Letter I am therefore persuaded you will do everything in your Power to promote its success, and I shall be obliged for all such Observations as shall occur to you upon the Subject and may tend to forward an Object so important for the Colony.

I have the honor to be

&c. &c. &c.


Governor King
                &c. &c. &c.

Downing Street.


Mr. Walter Davidson Nephew to Sir Walter Farquhar will deliver to you this Letter. It is his intention to become a Settler in New South Wales, and as it is extremely desirable to encourage Gentlemen of such connections to establish themselves in the Colony—I am to desire you will cause a Grant of Lands of not less than Two thousand Acres to be made to him in perpetuity with the usual reserve of Quit Rents to the Crown and I further recommend that the Lands to be located to him should be contiguous to those to be granted to Mr. McArthur who can be of use to him in the formation of his Establishment.

You will of course see the propriety of alloting to him such a number of Convicts as may be necessary for his undertaking and I request you would assist him with not less than six Head of Horned Cattle from the Government Herd to be paid for out of the returns of the Property.

I have the honor to be

&c. &c. &c.                


Governor King
                &c. &c. &c.

Downing Street, 31 October 1804.


The Persons mentioned in the enclosed List have received permission to accompany Mr. McArthur to New South Wales.

I have already signified to you His Majesty's pleasure with regard to a Grant of Land to be made to Mr. Davidson, and I am also to desire that the usual quantity of Land and every other assistance hitherto granted to Settlers may be given to Alexander Dollis who I have reason to think will be found a valuable acquisition to the Colony.

Mr. John Anderson has been recommended to me in such a manner that I am desirous he should receive every possible encouragement and you will therefore put him in possession of any moderate quantity of land he may require for the purpose of Cultivation.

I have the honor to be

&c. &c. &c.                


Governor King
                &c. &c. &c.


Mr. Walter Davidson.
Mr. John Anderson.
Mr. Hannibal McArthur.
Mr. Thomas Wood. }
Young Men of respectable connections who go out to instruct persons in the Art of assorting Wool and finally to become Settlers.
Mr. Edward Wood. }
Miss Elizth. McArthur.
Miss Lucas (her Governess).
Alexander Dollis & Family, Shipwright.
John Lawrence, Gardener.
Thos. McBean & Family, House Carpenter.
Thos. Edwards & Family, Servants.

Capt. Macarthur's Application for the Men, June 20th, 1805.

Mr. McArthur feels great reluctance to obtrude upon His Excellency the Governor a second request on the subject of an increase of servants; but since his return to Parramatta, he finds from the representations of Mrs. McArthur, that his affairs are in the greatest disorder from the want of working men and Shepherds, and that the safety of his Flocks is highly precarious.

He hopes the Governor will excuse an urgency which under less pressing circumstances, he begs to say he would most studiously avoid.

Mr. Marsden has received a report containing the men's names now in Mr. McArthur's employ, who belong to Government—the number is sixteen.

Increased immediately to thirty all desired by Mr. McArthur—and six to Mr. Davison.**

Parramatta, 20th June 1805.

[** In King's writing.]

Governor King to Lord Camden.

Sydney, New South Wales,            

July 20th 1805.   

My Lord,

By Mr. McArthur who arrived the 9th ulto, I had the honor of receiving Your Lordship's Letters.***

[*** 31st Oct., 1804.]

It will be my Duty and Interest to pay the Strictest Attention to His Majesty's Commands and Your Lordship's Wishes in every point that can advance the Increase and Improvement of the Breed of Sheep; for which a better foundation could not be laid or the success more insured than by the progressive Increase of that Stock throughout the Colony Mr. McArthur possesses at least a third of the numbers, a considerable part of which were reported at the last Muster to bear Wool of the finest kind, and the rest as well as the other Flocks are continually improving from the hairy Coverings of the Original Breed hair bearing sheep of Bengal to Wool of different qualities, principally owing to the introduction of a few Spanish Rams some years ago.

Soon after Mr. McArthur's arrival we conversed together respecting the Objects of this laudable and I hope successful pursuits for the general Benefit of the Colony, as well as for that of his Family, which he now regards as attached to the soil—His having brought a Ship to be employed in the Whale Fishery, I consider an Object worthy, laudable, and beneficial, exclusive of his being able to export his increasing Wool to England once in Eighteen Months or Two Years, and returning with Articles of use and Comfort to sell the Inhabitants, nor ought I to doubt from his Assurances that every expected benefit may be derived from his exertions, as he certainly is very equal to Conduct and promote the object he has so earnestly and I hope successfully embarked in. To attain which he does and will possess every local Advantage that a good Stock to begin with, a good Climate and fine Natural Pasturage can offer.

Taking Your Lordship's Letter No. 1 as a data respecting the Land to be located to Mr. McArthur wherein You do me the honor to signify His Majesty's Commands that "I will have a proper Grant of Lands fit for
"the pasture of Sheep conveyed to the said John
"McArthur Esquire in perpetuity with the usual
"reserve of quit Rents to the Crown containing not less
"than Five thousand Acres." And Your Lordship
having noticed that "It will be impossible for Mr.
"McArthur to pursue this plan unless he shall be
"indulged with a reasonable Number of Convicts (which
"he states to be not less than Thirty) for the purpose
"of attending his Sheep," and that "as Mr. McArthur
"will take upon himself the Charge of maintaining those
"Convicts, a saving will accrue to Government" and that
"You doubt not I will provide him with such as shall
"appear most suitable to his Objects."

I observed to Mr. McArthur that an Obedience to the Royal Commands and Your Lordship's wishes would be my immediate and decided Duty, according to the exact tenor of the above; but I considered it necessary to offer to that Gentleman's Consideration, the possibility that Your Lordship might not be aware at the time of the Situation of Mount Taurus being on the West side of the Nepean River and in the Centre of that part of the Country called the "Cow Pastures", where the herds of Wild Cattle generally resort for water in the long periods of extreme drought so Common in this Country. I also observed that however ready I was to order the 5000 Acres to be measured and granted to him about Mount Taurus if he required it Yet I could wish the final location might be deferred until Your Lordship could be further consulted thereon. And in the meantime I offered to locate by Grant, the same or a greater quantity in such a situation as he might select on this and the East side of the Nepean and to mark out 5000 Acres about Mount Taurus which I have given him the enclosed official promise should not be located to any other person or appropriated to any public or private purpose until Your Lordship Commands are received thereon. This arrangement Mr. McArthur very handsomely consented to—nor have I any other Comment to make on this subject than by respectfully referring Your Lordship to the reasons I had the honor to submit to My Lord Hobart why that part of the Country ought not for the present to be granted away. No part of the Country is equally, or better adapted to facilitate Mr. McArthur's pursuits nor have I a wish to offer any arguments beyond those I have already stated to withhold Your Lordship's beneficent Views for the prosperity of this part of His Majesty's Dominions. In order to expedite Mr. McArthur's object of exporting Fine Wool to England I have directed one hundred of the finest wooled Ewes from Government Stock to be chosen by this Gentleman to add to his own for which he is to pay Grain into the Stores at the rate of Two pounds sterling for each Ewe. As I do not consider it an object for Government to interfere in this pursuit seeing that the greatest exertions will be made by Mr. McArthur and notwithstanding every attention has been paid to improve the Fleeces of Government Sheep Yet that Stock will always be a reserve for supplying present and future Settlers with proportions thereof, which will at once save the necessity of purchasing to supply New Settlers who have Claims, and preserve a residue for those deserving Characters who may be allowed the advantage of Exchanging Grain for Ewes agreeable to My Lord Hobart's acquiescence with my proposal on that Subject.

The Number of Male Convicts assigned to Mr. McArthur for the Care of his Stock &c. previous to his return was Sixteen since then they have been increased to thirty exclusive of those hired and retained in his Service who have served their Terms. Should Mr. McArthur wish for an Increase they shall be assigned him when more arrive from England but Your Lordship will observe by the Number and Employment return that the Public Labour absolutely necessary to be carried on, and in which Agriculture on the part of the Crown is nearly given up will not allow of more being assigned at present until more arrive.

I cannot but consider it a valuable acquisition and advantage to the Interests of this Colony, when Settlers of such Description and uncontaminated mind as Mr. Davidson come to it. Unfortunately those who have already arrived, with the exception of a very few, have generally been of that description, that many of them with their numerous Families, still continue to be a burthen to Government. Your Lordship has prescribed Two thousand Acres of land for Mr. Davidson to which I shall add another, which shall be granted to him adjoining the Ground Mr. McArthur may select on this side of the Nepean and also adjoining that marked for Mr. McArthur near Mount Taurus in case Your Lordship should see fit to allow thereof. Referring to my letter No. I dated 14th August 1804 Your Lordship will observe the Arrangement I made respecting Messrs. Luttrell and Riley, and in what their Allowances as Free Settlers differed from those prescribed to the general description of Free Settlers.

I now have the honor to send a Duplicate of that Statement with the Allowances to Mr. Davidson and beg to suggest the propriety of Instruction being sent with future Free Settlers of either description as Your Lordship may deem them respectively entitled to receiving which will be a decided guide exclusive of such further occasional Accommodation as they may be deserving of hereafter.

Of the different persons who were to embark with Mr. McArthur stated in a List, only those named **** have arrived, the others being left in England or on the passage.

[**** Mr. McArthur. Miss McArthur, Miss Lucas, Governess, Mr. Davidson, Mr. Hannibal McArthur, Mr. J. Wood,—. Wood.]

I have the honor to be,
     with the greatest respect
My Lord,
Your Lordship's Most obedient
humble Servant

Philip Gidley King.

The Right Honble. Earl Camden
           &c. &c. &c.

By the same mail Governor King wrote to Sir Joseph Banks.

Sydney 21st July 1805.

. . . . This naturally leads on to the commercial object and as the Staple is wool, or said to be so it is but fair to begin with the hero of the fleece.* After everything that is passed you may readily conceive that this arrival (although long expected) and the manner he was to be received, caused a little sensation and consideration. However, by the first boat I was informed that he had a letter from My Lord Camden to deliver to me himself. He soon after waited on me, and gave me a polite and highly satisfactory private [letter] from that worthy nobleman, pointing out his wish that as McA. was no longer a Military man, that everything might be settled, and an assurance of his support. Such a communication was not to be disregarded by me, and, whether right or wrong, the noble Advisers motives were of so honorable and public-spirited a nature, that I offered McA. my hand, who very gratefully received it, and he is now farmer, shipowner, etc. So much for our meeting after four years of suspence, and vicisitude, etc.

[* Evidently a reference to John Macarthur.]

King's reason for delaying the grant of 5,000 acres in the Cowpastures was that he thought the land there should be reserved for the wild cattle, and Macarthur wrote to Under-Secretary Cooke, drawing attention to King's "objection to granting me the tract of land at the Cowpastures, which Lord Camden was pleased to order I might have. As this is some of the best land yet discovered it would appear that Governor King is desirous to reserve it for the exclusive use of the wild cattle, but I hope that the peaceful and productive sheep will find in you an advocate that they may be indulged with a part, at least, of this healthy and luxuriant pasture.

"I feel more anxious to obtain this situation for my flocks on account of the high and dry mountains that lay behind it, because in the very wettest seasons sheep may be driven to pasture on them with perfect security, whereas on the contrary for want of such a resource the rot might seize upon the flocks (as it sometimes does) and destroy thousands."

He also wrote on the same date to Under-Secretary Chapman telling him of the friendly reception that was accorded him on his return.

Governor King, wishing to obtain information regarding the possibilities of wool production for transmission to Lord Camden, requested Macarthur and the Rev. Samuel Marsden ** to draft a series of questions to be answered by the various settlers. These with the answers he forwarded to England.

[** The Revd. Samuel Marsden was appointed Chaplain to N.S.W. in 1793, and arrived there in 1794, aged 40 years.]

Parramatta, July 27th 1805.


In compliance with the request Your Excellency has been pleased to make to us, we have the honour to transmit herewith such queries as appear to us calculated to draw forth a true and correct statement of the present condition of the Sheep Flocks in this Colony, and of the improvements that have been, or that may be reasonably expected hereafter.

We have reason to think that no regular system has been adopted by the generality of persons, who keep sheep and that much of the improvement which has been experienced in many Flocks, is solely to be attributed to the fertility of the Soil, and the salubrity of the Climate.

As Your Excellency must naturally be anxious, that the information you do receive, should be as correct as possible we respectfully beg leave to suggest the expediency of having every Flock inspected by Mr. Wood, the Professional Gentleman who came out in the Argo; and that he be accompanied by either two, or three respectable Gentlemen, who should be instructed to propose the Queries, and receive the answer of each person.

This mode of enquiry might stimulate the different Sheep Proprietors to more particular care hereafter in the management of their Flocks, as the opinion of Mr. Wood on the value of the different Wools must necessarily have great weight with many who are nearly altogether misinformed upon the subject and might very powerfully operate to remove prejudices, which if persisted in may long retard the increase of fine Woolled Sheep in this Colony.

We have the honor to be,

Your Excellency's Most Obedient Humble Servants,

John McArthur.

Samuel Marsden.

His Excellency Governor King,
           &c. &c. &c.

Q. 1.   Have you any true bred Spanish Sheep in your Flock?

Q. 2.   Do you endeavour to preserve the Spanish Breed of Sheep pure and unmixed with other Breeds?

Q. 3.   What other Breed of Sheep have you that produce Fine Wool?

Q. 4.   What Rams have you had in your Flocks and from whom and from what Country did you obtain them?

Q. 5.   Do you think breeding the Pure Spanish Sheep will be as profitable to you as if you bred other kinds?

Q. 6.   Do you think the Wool of all kinds of Sheep improves in this Colony?

Q. 7.   How many sheep do you possess at this time?

Q. 8.   How long do you suppose it will be before your Whole Flocks will be Increased to twice their present number?

Q. 9.   What means have you adopted to improve the Carcase and Fleece of your Sheep?

Governor King to Lord Camden.

Sydney, New South Wales,            

October 10th 1805   

My Lord,

In Obedience to Your Lordships desire as communicated by your Despatch dated the 30th October 1804, I have been anxious to obtain every correct information respecting the Increase of Sheep, and improvement of the Wool. The most eligible mode appeared to be that of requiring Answers from the Sheep-holders to a series of Questions, and to examine the different Fleeces on the Sheeps backs, which has been very accurately done by the Revd. Mr. Marsden, and a person who came with Mr. McArthur said to be a professed Wool-sorter.

From those answers, and their consequent reports which I have the honour to enclose, there can be no doubt of our Sheep increasing at least in an equal degree with that Species in any part of the World, which I do not doubt the Return of the Increase during the last Five years may confirm—And that the change from Hair to Wool of different degrees of fineness has been and continues ameliorating beyond belief.

As the observations of the Revd. Mr. Marsden, Mr. McArthur, and the other principal Sheep breeders are more diffuse and explanatory on this subject than the other avocations of my duty can allow me to be from practical experience, I must request Your Lordships reference to those Documents; I shall therefore only remark that being well convinced from the period of my taking this Government, of the great advantage that might be derived by the improvement of the Fleeces, I procured as soon as possible Two Rams of the half Spanish breed from Mr. McArthur, and two from the Revd. Mr. Marsden in 1801, which have produced a total change in Government Flock from Hair to Wool of a tolerable degree of fineness—A number of those Ewes have been distributed to Settlers and others, who have still improved the Fleeces by acquiring Rams nearer to the Real Spanish breed—Except keeping those retained by Government in that improving state, and considering them as the Stock from whence Industrious Individuals and New Settlers are occasionally supplied the wool was not considered an object for Government to attend to beyond supplying the Manufactory established for the employment of Women, the Aged, Cripples, and Infirm part of the Inhabitants. Experience having pointed out the fallacy of appropriating Public Labour and Expence in works of that nature, which thrive so much better when conducted by the Individual who has an interest in its produce, and whose situation unconnected with other duties, enables him to watch and turn the various changes to an improving productive account—To accomplish exporting the finest Wool from hence to England; the advanced state of perfection Mr. McArthur's Flocks have acquired by former Rams he procured, (said to be Spanish) and those Rams and Ewes he purchased from His Majesty's Sale in 1804, will certainly enable him to make an early trial, which must increase in a Compound proportion Yearly; And from the attentive Sollicitude he bestows on the object, I hope he may succeed.

However desirable and beneficial in the end to the Colonist and English Manufacturer, if all those holding Sheep would confine their breed to the Spanish as they can hereafter provide themselves with Rams, Yet I am well convinced that compulsion would among many produce an opposite effect.—That all have, and are aiming to get half or whole bred Spanish Rams—South Down, other English or Irish Rams into their Flocks is sufficiently obvious, and what is now wanting to the general perfection of the finest Spanish Wool, I have little doubt may be accomplished, without the intervention of Authority in a few years, which may be hastened when the advantage of rearing Spanish Sheep in preference to other kinds is more generally known and adopted, and more particularly if Individuals are convinced that weight of Mutton and fineness of Wool are not incompatible with each other, which is not the general opinion here—and another apprehension is that the Spanish are not so hardy, as the other kinds, altho' I have heard of no conclusive reason for that persuasion—which is generally entertained by many of the Sheep Farmers among the Settlers and others, particularly those whose present numbers have originated from perhaps a single Ewe; many of this class cannot afford to keep a large flock, altho' the means of feeding them has been much facilitated by the extensive Common Lands which have been granted in each District; therefore the Settler disposes of his overplus Males to the Butcher who is satisfied with weight of Carcase, which gives the Settler immediate means to provide the necessities of his Family, and the Butcher a profit; not regarding the distant advantage to be derived from having the finest Wool by changing his present breed to the Spanish, which no argument can convince the greater part of the Sheep Farmers, may yield an equal quantity of Mutton with the South Down or other Breed—Fortunately this is an evil that only attaches to the Males, as killing Ewes has ever been expressly forbid—Experience and observation may complete that which has so successfully commenced, and is proceeding as well as can be with the aid of a good Climate and the finest natural Pasturage which abounds in very extensive tracts throughout this Country, and in the situation Mr. McArthur has obtained about Mount Taurus in the Cow Pasture Plains.*

[* Eminently so.]

Respecting the number of Sheep in these Settlements ** and the probable time it will take to double their numbers the following short Statement which includes the Sheep belonging to Government and Individuals, will shew:—

[** Viz., Sydney, Parramatta, Hawkesbury and other districts.]

In July 1804 there were of all ages and Sexes 14501
In August 1805 20617
Living Increase 6116
Killed and sent away 1652
Total Increase in the Year exclusive of 2000 Dead

which is 518 more than the increase of half the number in 1804 may it not therefore be reasonably presumed that the number in 1806 will be increased far beyond half the number of what there was in 1805 exclusive of the increase upon the increase of 1804 and as the greater proportion are and will be Ewes, the increase will therefore be proportionably greater—What the yearly increase, has been since 1800 may be observed in the Annual Returns of the Settlers' General Muster in August last.

From what I have had the honor of stating at different periods, and the above Observations joined to the accompanying Reports, I have reason to think that a very considerable progress will in time be made by the exertions of Mr. McArthur and those who raise Sheep, in attaining the desirable object of Mr. McArthur's views in exporting fine Wool to England, to facilitate which Your Lordship will observe that no accommodation on my part has been or will be wanting.

I have the honor to be with the greatest Respect,

My Lord,

Your Lordships,

       Most obedient Humble Servant,

Philip Gidley King.

This letter is in a clerk's writing, but the date is in Governor King's, as are also the notes and the annexed statement which appear in pencil on the margin, and King endorsed "Rough Copy, etc.," but the signature to the letter is not King's.

Individual Answers which nearly comprise the tenor of the whole respecting the Breed and Produce of Sheep and Wool in New South Wales, August to Septr. 1805.

Your Excellency

In compliance to the General Orders of July 23rd respecting Flocks of Sheep &c. I take the opportunity to answer the Nine Questions in as brief a manner as possible.

Ansr. On the 1st & 2nd Interogations I have only to say that I have no true bred Spanish Sheep in my Flock.

Ansr. To the 3rd Question I find that the Cross Breed Betwixt the Spanish Ram and the Bengal Ewe produces tolerable good Wool.

Ansr. In answer to Question the 4th I have one good Ram of my own of the Cross Breed, and a Spanish Ram that the Revd. Mr. Marsden was so kind as to lend me, and nearly the whole of the Flock was purchased from the Revd. Mr. Marsden and the late Mr. Barringtons Flocks.

Ansr. To the 5th Question it is my opinion that the Cross Breed of the Spanish Ram and Bengal Ewe is most profitable as their Wool is not of the worst Quality, being hardy they will live where others will starve, they are generally good Meat and their Increase is also great. (For Example) The Revd. Mr. Marsden about 26 months ago was good enough to let my daughter Mary have a small Bengal Ewe in Exchange for a Wether Sheep, and at this Date the said Ewe has increased to Eight in Number, and they are some of the best and healthiest Sheep in the Flock.

Ansr. To the 6th Question I cannot give any decided answer, as the certain Cares of a Great Family Prevents General Observations Therefore must leave it to Gentlemen of more Leisure and better judgment.

Ansr. In Answer to the 7th I have under my Care 216 Male and Female Sheep—Part belonging to Mr. Edwd. Lamb Part to myself and 15 of them to Mrs. Kilpack.

Ansr. Question the 8th seems the most Difficult to Answer, as the Wet Seasons—the Dishonesty and Carelessness of the Shepherds—The Destruction that the Native Dogs often make as well as many other Causes that might be Mentioned argues much against their Increase—But as the Question is only put on a Supposition we may say from Two to three Years.

Ansr. To the last Question I just Observe, that to Improve the Fleece and Size I have borrowed Rams from the Revd. Mr. Marsdens Flocks which have had the desired effect.

To Improve their Health and Strength I removed the Sheep from the Low Grounds around the Brickfields Parramatta to Baulkham Hills but having no Shed the Weak Sheep with the Lambs that was Yeaned. In the Wet most of them died. And if I had not removed the Flock when I did from Parramatta I verily believe I should have lost them all—as those Low parts of land seem to abound with some kind of Minerals that causes the Water to be so breakish, that it is neither good for Man nor Beast and has a great tendency to Infect the Sheep with the Rot.

Your Excellency's

Most Obedt. & devoted

Humble Servt.

Rowland Hassall.

Parramta, August 10th 1805.

Agreeable to Your Excellency's Order of the 28th July last I have sent the Answers to the Nine Questions, viz:—

Questn. 1st Have you any true bred Spanish Sheepin your Flocks?
Ansr. I do not know.
Q.——2nd Do you endeavour to preserve the Spanish
Breed of Sheep pure and Unmixed with other Breeds?
Ansr. No.
Q.——3rd What other Breeds of Sheep have you that produce Fine Wool?
Ansr. I am no Judge.
Q.——4th What Rams have you had in your Flocks and from whom and from what Country did you Obtain them?
Ansr. My first Ram was from California, and my second Two Spanish Rams from Capt. Waterhouse.
Q.——5th Do you think Breeding the Pure Spanish Sheep will be as profitable to you as if you bred other kinds?
Ansr. I do not know.
Q.——6th Do you think the Wool of all kinds of Sheep Improved in this Colony?
Ansr. I think it does.
Q.——7th How many Sheep do you possess at this time?
Ansr. Males 219 and Females 300—Total 519 Sheep.
Q.——8th How long do you suppose it will be before your whole Flock will be Increased to twice their present Number?
Ansr. I do not know.
Q.——9th What means have you adopted to Improve the Carcase and Fleece of your Wool?
Ansr. None.
Thomas Rowley.

Sydney 9th August 1805.

Your Excellency requesting Answers to the Questions stated in the Sydney Gazette Dated the 28th July Relative to the Sheep, according to my experience and Judgment are as follows viz:—

Question 1st Have you any true bred Spanish Sheep in your Flocks?
Answer I have not.
Q.——2nd Do you endeavour to preserve the Spanish Breed of Sheep pure and unmixed with other Breeds?
Ansr. I shall endeavour to obtain a few of the pure Spanish Breed and am determined to keep them unmixed, which (I think) is not possible without having Two Folds, and Two Shepherds, and I have got but one Run for Sheep at present.
Q.——3rd What other Breeds of Sheep have you that produce Fine Wool?
Ansr. A few Ewes a removal from the Spanish Breed.
Q.——4th What Rams have you had in your Flocks and from whom and from what Country did you Obtain them?
Ansr. The first Ram I had from Jones of the Seven Hills, Large Carcase but coarse Wool.
Q.——5th Do you think Breeding the Pure Spanish Sheep will be as profitable to you as if you bred other kinds?
Ansr. I do not, I think there may be larger Sheep bred in this Colony, and the Carcase at present is most profitable. But the pure Spanish Breed for fine Wool.
Q.——6th Do you think the Wool of all kinds of Sheep Improved in this Colony?
Ansr. I do by change of Breed.
Q.——7th How many Sheep do you possess at this time?
Ansr. One hundred and two.
Q.——8th How long do you suppose it will be before your whole Flock will be Increased to twice their present Number?
Ansr. About twelve Months by letting the Rams run continually with them.
Q.——9th What means have you adopted to Improve the Carcase and Fleece of your Wool?
Ansr. Three young Rams I have from that Large Ram I had from Jones and Ewes of very Fine Wool which I sufferd to run together, and by changing my Rams when I can procure any, I think to be larger or better Wool.
Edwd. Robinson.

Hawkesbury Augt. 5th 1805.

In compliance with Your Excellency's Order of the 4th August 1805 James Sheppard Settler in the District of Kissing Point doth hereby transmit his Answers to the following Questions viz.:—

Question 1st Have you any true bred Spanish Sheep in your Flocks?
Ansr. No.
Q.——2nd Do you endeavour to preserve the Spanish Breed of Sheep pure and Unmixed with other Breeds?
Ansr. I have none true Bred.
Q.——3rd What other Breeds of Sheep have you that produce Fine Wool?
Ansr. Bengal Crosses by Spanish.
Q.——4th What Rams have you had in your Flocks and from whom and from what Country did you Obtain them?
Ansr. One between Spanish and Cape Obtained from Mr. Marsden.
Q.——5th Do you think Breeding the Pure Spanish Sheep will be as profitable to you as if you bred other kinds?
Ansr. No.
Q.——6th Do you think the Wool of all kinds of Sheep Improved in this Colony?
Ansr. I have not experienced.
Q.——7th How many Sheep do you possess at this time?
Ansr. Thirty three.
Q.——8th How long do you suppose it will be before your whole Flock will be Increased to twice their present Number?
Ansr. Ten months.
Q.——9th What means have you adopted to Improve the Carcase and Fleece of your Wool?
Ansr. Only careful attention for Pasture.


A Ewe of the Bengal Breed will bring Lamb twice a year by Experience and often two at each time, and altho' the Carcase and Fleece Coarse yet if crossed by a Spanish Ram will improve both, and prove beneficial to the Settler.

James Sheppard.

Hawkesbury August 8th 1806.      

Mr. Arndell begs leave to Inform His Excellency on the Questions published in the Gazette of his Breed of Sheep.

    Answers To  
Question 1st    He has some from a real Bred Spanish Ram.
2nd    He has taken care to improve on the Spanish and fine Wool by good Rams.
3rd    The Flock in general is Fine Wool of the Irish and Lansdown kind.
4th    The best Real Spanish Rams from Capt. Waterhouse.
5th    The Real Spanish is not so profitable as the mixed Breed of Sheep the former being of a small and tender kind.
6th    Yes.
7th    In all 276.
8th    About two years.
9th    By the best of Food and Rams.
Thos. Arndell.

May it please Your Excellency

I have answered the Questions in the Sydney Gazette Concerning Sheep to the best of my Judgment.

Answers 1st    I have no true Bred Spanish Sheep.
2nd    I endeavour as much as possible and Increase what I have of the Spanish Breed.
3rd    I have Irish or rather the Ancient Northumberland Breed as of late years Tees Water Sheep is chiefly bred in that Country.
4th    My Ram is from one of the above Ewes purchased from Mr. Cummings and has the appearance of being got by a Spanish Ram.
5th    If I could procure the Tees water Breed I would prefer them before any, Spanish next.
6th    I do not for altho' I have a fine Woold. Ram the Quality of the Wool.
7th    I have Seventy seven.
8th    I suppose my Flock will Increase to twice the Number in 15 months as I have 46 Female Ewes and Ewe Lambs the whole of my Flock in three years has increased eight Ewes heavy in Lamb, 6 of which I purchased from Mr. Cummings.
9th    I have used no means as I wished to Increase my Number. In my opinion the best means to improve the Carcase, to let them Breed only once a year, and to travel as little as possible To Improve the Fleece is to Shear them Regular.

 Your Excellency's

       Most Obedt. Humble Svt.
George Hall.

Hawkesbury River
         Augst. 10th 1805.

Mr. Woods Observations respecting Sheep & Wool
Septr. 3rd

Parramatta Septr. 3rd 1805.


In compliance with Your Excellency's desire I have minutely and carefully examined the Wool of the different Flocks of Sheep in the Colony—The Opinion I have formed from the investigation is, that a very great improvement has been already made in the Wool of every flock that I have seen; and the specimens of Wool, grown in Mr. McArthur's Flock, and from one Ewe belonging to the Revd. Saml. Marsden satisfy me that with due care and attention to propagate from the Pure Race of Spanish Sheep, until sufficient numbers of them can be raised or from the nearest kind to them can be procured, the whole of the wool would in a few years become equal in quality to the very best that is obtained from Spain.

It is with concern however that I observed this great national object may be many years retarded by an unaccountable prejudice which appears to prevail in favour of weight of Carcase instead of Fineness of Fleece; and on this account a decided preference in favour of a Cross that I understand has been obtained from a South Down Ram. Whether this Breed will prove heavier than the Spanish I am incapable of judging, but certain it is that wool of the description produced by these Sheep, will not pay for sending to England; nor if it would, is it wanted,—Whereas on the contrary so great is the scarcity of Spanish Wool, that it sells for almost any price, and serious apprehensions are entertained by the best informed people, that the French will increase their manufacture of fine cloth, and exert their influence over Spain, to prevent Great Britain from participating in the purchase of the fine Wool of the latter Country—I am aware that this national consideration will operate very slightly, or perhaps not at all, on the minds of many of the Sheep Farmers here—Yet I should hope that a little time would convince them, when they see the prodigious success and increase of Mr. McArthur's Flocks, that strength of constitution and weight of Carcase may be combined with fineness of Fleece: and that the pure breed of Spanish Sheep (I speak from Mr. McArthur's information and my own observation on the size and health of his Flocks) possess the two former qualities in as great a degree as the South Down or any other Breed in the Colony except the Tees Water, the strength of whose constitutions in this Climate I understand are not yet ascertained.

If I can at any future period be of the smallest service in collecting further information, I beg your Excellency will freely command my services.

I have the honour to be Sir,

Your respectfull hble. Svt.,

Edw. Wood.
His Excellency Governor King.
&c. &c. &c.

Governor King to Edw. Wood.

Septr. 3rd 1805.


I have received yours of this date containing your very judicious and I have no reason to doubt correct observations on the Sheep of this Colony which with the other Documents on this important subject I shall if possible transmit to His Majesty's Government by the Ferrit about to depart for England—With many acknowledgements of your offers of service.

I remain, Sir,

Your most

Obt. Humble Svt.

P. G. K

Parramatta Septr. 5th 1805.


The Stock belonging to Government in the Year 1800—had a miserable Appearance the Sheep in particular—The method that I adopted, and caused others under me—in the first place was attention and care—and in the next I took care to bring up Rams, from the best Ewes, by which means both the Wool and Carcase were improved—They are of a Mixture Breed of Spanish and Cape—I received two Rams from Capt. McArthur near of the same breed—and three from the Revd. Saml. Marsden similar to them—which were all with drawen (one excepted) to different Settlements—but the young Rams now in Government Flocks are far superior to them.

The real Spanish Breed Government has never had—but in my opinion a well selected mixt breed is much better calculated for this Country as they are more hardy—and the carcase much larger—the wool only an exception—the eighth Question—its impossible to answer—as it depends on circumstances (accidents excepted) as the Flocks may either be doubled in six months or in twelve—as the individual thinks proper.

I am happy to inform your Excellency that I can now show Two hundred Yearlings male and Female equal if not superior to any of that age—bred in the country.

I remain

Your Excellencys

Most Obdt. Humble

Jas. Jamieson.

To His Excellency Governor King &c.

The following is preserved at Camden Park amongst the papers. It is unsigned, but would appear to be a copy of a despatch from Governor King, and the notes and statement at the end are in King's handwriting.

In September 1800 the Number of Sheep in the Colony was 6124, from which period until August 1806, none were purchased or received from abroad. Except the accidental Introduction of Three Rams of the Spanish Breed brought from the Cape in 1799 which with a few South Down and other English Rams had gradually changed the hairy covering of the Cape and Bengal Sheep to Wool—In 1801 the Fleeces had so far improved as to allow of a coarse Blanketting being made which was manufactured by Government Convicts. The Proprietors receiving for the Wool, a fourth of the Quantity made—In 1803 a Dispatch from Lord Hobart dated August 24th 1802 "recommended an attention being
"paid to improve the Growth of Wool, with a View to
"the future Exportation of the finest Quality of that
"Article for the English Market, rather than for the
"Employment of it in the Manufacture of the Colony
"which should be confined to the Coarse Cloths."

About the same period an English Newspaper containing an account of Captain McArthur's prospect of the great benefit that would be derived to the commerical Interests of Great Britain by the Excellence of the Wool his Flocks were covered with, and its improving State. As the Annual Muster took place at that time those who possessed Sheep were directed to Communicate the Quality of their Fleeces, which was added to the Usual Report of the Settlers Muster by which it appears that of the 10,572 Females & 5929 Males then in the Colony, about an Eighth part were Wool of the different gradations, produced by the several crossings—The remainder had little or no Wool—On this occasion and considering it my Duty to possess His Majesty's Government of every Information on this Subject, I consulted with those whose Experience and Observations had pointed them out as proper Persons to give an Opinion thereon.

The General Idea at that time was that if the Flocks were taken care of, they would contrive to treble their numbers in Two Years—That the Wool might increase in the proportion of two thirds of the Number of Sheep, and as the improvement of Quality of that Article and in the Weight of the Carcase was almost incredible, on that account no Opinion could be formed to what degree of perfection they might in time be brought—That the Improvements already made are to be attributed more to the Salubrity of the Climate than to any other cause—At the same time the Drawing and Fleece of a Ram, and those of a Young Ewe and Ram all bred in the Colony, were forwarded to the President of the Royal Society by the Revd. Mr. Marsden—The former Ram being the Produce of one of the Spanish Breed brought from the Cape in 1788, with a Coarse Wooled Ewe, and Weighed One hundred and Sixty four pounds before he was shorn. Sending these Samples could not be deemed a true Criterion of the Quality of the Wool that might be grown in the Colony—they only shewed what have been done, and as they were from the Sheep that were only one Remove from the very coarse haired Ewes, a few Generations might make great alterations in the Flocks, by the distribution of Rams and Ewes from the Spanish, South down Tees Water and Irish Rams among the Flocks which at present have no other than the hairy Rams from the Cape of Good Hope—This information was communicated in detail.

The Flocks continue in the same improving State, which either excelled or otherwise according to the care and attention bestowed on them.

In June 1805 Mr. McArthur returned to New South Wales, by whom a Dispatch was received from His Majesty's Government at the recommendation of the Committee of Privy Council for Trade and Plantations, directing certain advantages of Land and Labour, not less than 5000 Acres and 30 Convicts being made over to that Gentleman for the purpose of supporting his Flocks and Farming Concerns, and to enable him to bring to perfection the growth of Fine Wool from his Flocks of Sheep which at that time amounted to 5920 for the purpose of forming a lucrative Article of Export for the support of the English Manufacturers at home—With a view to facilitate this Object, Mr. McArthur brought a small Ship, which was designed to fish for Spermaceti Oil on the Coast and to take such Wool to England on her return as might be produced—In this Ship he brought Four Spanish Rams and one Ewe of the Merino Breed, which he had purchased at the Kings Sale in 1804.

In consequence of which 5000 Acres of Land situated in the most desirable part of the Colony, and of his own fixing upon in England were granted to him, in addition to the 3500 he before held—The Number of Convicts assigned to him previous to his arrival was 16 which were increased to 36.*

[* His whole number of servants were about 90. King's writing.]

As the Minister required such Observations being communicated to him as might occur, and tending to promote an object of such importance to the Colony, the following documents were sent by the Ferrit South Whaler in October 1805. To which some Marginal explanatory Notes have since been added—

  1st—Acknowledgement of the above letter from Earl Camden dated 20th July 1805.

  2nd—Revd. Mr. Marsden & Mr. McArthur's proposals of questions to Sheep holders 20th July 1805.

  3rd—Reports of Individuals in Answer to the above Querries for August to Sepr. 1805.

  4th—Mr. Woods Report.

  5th—Revd. Mr. Marsdens Do.

  6th—Mr. McArthur's Do.

  7th—Superintendent of Government Sheep.

  8th—Letter to Earl Camden containing the above Reports and some observations thereon.

Statement of Numbers & Increase of Sheep from Augst. 1800 to 1806.

Month. Year.  No. of Sheep Increase,
August 1800 6124 922  
June 1801 7048 922 This shews the living increase at the time of the Muster without including those that died were killed or sent away in the course of the year.
August 1802 8661 1615
July 1803 11275 2614
" 1804 16501 5226
August 1805 20617 4116
" 1806 21457 840  

Meanwhile Macarthur had made excursions into the country in search of land for himself and Mr. Davidson, but was not successful in finding pasturage which he considered suitable for his sheep, and he therefore asked Governor King to allow them to take possession of the land in the Cowpastures that had been pointed out by Lord Camden, at the same time undertaking that he and Davidson would resign the grants should Lord Camden disapprove of their being retained. Governor King listened to Macarthur's argument, and though he would have preferred the matter to wait till he heard Lord Camden's wishes, he allowed the land to be occupied conditionally, and directed that the grants should be made.

It is of interest to notice that Mr. G. W. Rusden wrote **:—"The French were sedulously creating an establishment at Rambouillet whither Spanish merinos had been Imported under the Bourbons, and to Improve which it was reported that Bonaparte had compelled the Spanish Government to allow his agents to select 4,000 of their finest woolled sheep," and he quotes from the Camden MSS as follows:—

[** Rusden's History of Australia, Vol. I., Page 367.]

John Macarthur to Governor King, September, 1805—

"I entirely concur with you in opinion that nothing should be made public that might tend to draw the attention of the French to this place, and nothing is more likely to produce such an effect than letting them know there is a probability of Great Britain being supplied with fine wool from hence. They are so aware of the importance of the pursuit that Bonaparte has compelled the Spanish Government to allow his agents to select 4,000 of their finest wool sheep."

This letter is not now forthcoming at Camden Park.

Macarthur acknowledged the grants at the Cowpastures as follows:—

Parramatta 16th Jan. 1806.

Dear Sir,

I received the Cow Pasture Grants all safe yesterday, with Harper's Emancipation, for which I beg to return you my sincere thanks.

Expecting to see you at Parramatta I delayed sending the return of Convicts in my employment: but I now enclose it, for my wants are become so urgent, that unless you have the goodness to give me some immediate assistance it will be impossible even to take care of my present Flocks of Sheep and consequently all idea of increasing them must be abandoned as impracticable—I hope you will not consider me troublesome upon this subject, for I assure you were it possible to hire free men, or in any way to get forward with my business I would forbear to pester you with applications of such a nature.

We have heard with much concern that Mrs. Kings complaint has returned, but we sincerely hope either that the Report is not correct, or that she will soon be restored to perfect health. Mrs. McArthur writes herself therefore I say nothing of her.

I beg to be very kindly remembered to Mrs. King and remain.

Dear Sir,

Your Obliged &

Faithful Hbl. Servant

John McArthur.

Endorsement on above Letter by Governor King.

I request the Revd. Mr. Marsden will cause seven Labourers to be assigned to Capt. McArthur on Friday next taking care not to include any thrashers.

Dear Sir,

I received yours on my return with the enclosed Statement of the Prisoners you have off the Store which I deem is very inadequate to the care of your Stock and carrying on your other concerns—I have directed Mr. Marsden to select seven Labourers which with the two Carpenters will make your number 34 including the two who are sick—I should be most gratified if I could spare a greater number but the very few at Government Labour and the necessity of giving up a proportion of them to thresh the Settlers Wheat for our daily food and clear their ground of the weed with which it is over run joined to the absolute necessity of preserving the crop of Maize now growing at Castle Hill prevents me from affording that extension of your numbers which I so much wish until an arrival with Prisoners happens—if I understood you right you have one of the Corps at Cabramatta who you wished to send to the Cow Pastures, I have settled with Major Johnston that he and another M. A. with order are to take . . . at your . . . there on Saturday next which I hope will prevent any. . . . from the Natives &c.

I am glad to inform you Mrs. King is much better and will I hope soon regain her strength she desires me to add her kind regards to Mrs. Mc. and yourself.

Mr. McArthur for more assistance & answer.
Jany. 16th 1806.

{Page 135}

Chapter V.


Early in 1806 Macarthur submitted to Governor King some proposals for taming cows and young cattle from the wild herds in the Cowpastures, and for slaughtering and salting the surplus bulls for the use of Government, but Governor King declined entering upon any agreement, as he thought he would shortly be relieved and wished to consult with his successor (Bligh).

With the accession of Governor Bligh followed the well-known disturbance in which Macarthur bore so prominent a part.

The Kew affront, according to James Macarthur, probably Influenced the Governor's disposition towards his father, and induced the rudeness and abrupt opposition shown to him by Bligh, which otherwise seem unaccountable.

It must be borne in mind that Bligh was a protege of Sir Joseph Banks, who had recommended him to command the breadfruit expedition of H.M.S. Bounty to Tahiti—an expedition which Banks had advised and the equipment of which he had personally superintended, and which ended in the notorious mutiny.*

[* Mutiny of the Bounty, Page 41.]

So far was this from shaking Banks' confidence in his favourite, that when the question arose of a successor to Governor King, he persuaded the British Government to double the salary of the office, and write offering it to Bligh, whose appointment followed.

Bligh's voyage to Australia was marked by a violent quarrel with Captain Joseph Short, the commander of the convoy, who was in consequence court-martialled, honourably acquitted, and recommended by the court to the favourable consideration of the Admiralty on account of the treatment he had received from Bligh.

This, considered with the other incidents of Bligh's eventful life, would seem to indicate, as one of his characteristics, an unfortunate capacity for breeding rebellion.

These extracts from Mrs. Macarthur's letters to Miss Kingdon were written during Bligh's administration.


29th Jan., 1807.   

You will be pleased to learn that our dear Edward arrived here in health and safety but apparently not so strong in constitution as I could have wished.

Governor King and his family go to England by this ship the Buffalo and we part very good friends, we have since Mr. Macarthur's return to the Colony lived on terms of great civility, and we part with regret.

Our harvest is now getting in—Wheat is sold at from 25/- to 30/- the bushel. No sort of animal food is to be procured under 2/- the lb. 5/- for a fowl—10/- to 15/- for a goose. But our neighbours at Port Dalrymple, the Derwent are in a worse condition. In these out settlements are some six or seven hundred persons and I really dread to hear the next accounts of them. Our system of Government is very wretched—much as Mr. Macarthur strove when in England to direct the attention of the Administration towards this Colony they seem to think little about us, having no doubt affairs of more consequence on their hands. The expences however that are incurred may rouse them again into a little exertion for our good.

I have great hopes of being again permitted to see "Old England" Mr. Macarthur has promised I shall go in a year or two, whether he can or cannot accompany me. If the latter it will be a great diminution of the pleasure, but so it is some drawbacks always attend our most promised enjoyments. This country has undergone so many changes for the worse that with difficulty I recognise it to be the place it was some six or seven years since.

Our new Governor Bligh, is a Cornishman by birth, Mrs. Putland * who accompanied him is a very accomplished person. The Governor has already shown the inhabitants of Sydney that he is violent, rash, tyrannical. No very pleasing prospect at the beginning of his reign. William is at present my youngest Boy, He and James are very fine children.

[* His daughter.]


21st Oct., 1807.   

Food, clothing and every necessary of life bear a price truly astonishing. All these melancholy changes may be considered the effect of tyranny and an improper administration of the law. Liberty has retired from amongst us into the pathless wilds, amongst the poor native inhabitants, who certainly maintain their independence, and have hitherto resisted any infringement on their rights. Nor will they become servants, for any continuance, whatever temptation may be offered them.

At one of the earliest meetings between the two men, Bligh showed his animus against Macarthur. The latter was making some representations regarding his sheep farming, and was met with, "What have I to do with your sheep, Sir? What have I to do with your cattle? Are you to have such flocks of sheep and such herds of cattle as no man ever heard of before? No, Sir, I have heard of your concerns, Sir, you have got 5,000 acres of land. Sir, in the finest situation in the country, but by G—d you shan't keep it." And on being reminded that the land had been granted at the recommendation of the Privy Council and by order of the Secretary of State, Bligh replied "D—n the Privy Council, and d—n the Secretary of State, too; he commands at home, I command here." **

[** Johnston's Court Martial—McArthur's evidence—Bligh in his evidence denies this.]

From this time on there was constant friction between two stubborn wills, which led to the Governor (who had meantime embroiled himself with many others) ordering Macarthur's arrest. Almost immediately followed the deposition of the Governor himself at the hands of the military under the command of Lieut.-Colonel Johnston.

To go fully into this event and the circumstances leading thereto is beyond the scope of these pages, as there are few original records which would throw any fresh light upon the matter at Camden Park.

But the chief subjects of conflict between Bligh and Macarthur were:—

(1) A suit Macarthur brought against Andrew Thompson, Bligh's bailiff, who had come to New South Wales as a convict, for specific performance of a contract in wheat, which Bligh decided in Thompson's favour.

(2) A dispute concerning a Still, which Macarthur's agents had, without his authority, forwarded him from England.

(3) A breach of the Port Regulations arising from the escape of a convict in the ship Parramatta, of which Macarthur was the owner, the owner maintaining that the escape was without his knowledge, and finally abandoning the ship, rather than liquidate the bonds required under the Port Regulations.

Macarthur gave the following account of the proceedings in his evidence at the Johnston court-martial, pp. 190, et seq.:—

An armed English schooner, of which I was part owner, sailed from Port Jackson in the month of June, I think 1807, with directions to proceed to Otaheite, an island considered as a dependency upon the colony for the purpose of procuring salted pork. Previous to her sailing as the regulations of the colony required, notice was given to the Provost Marshal that search might be made on board her, for any convicts that might have attempted to conceal themselves. People were sent on board by the Provost Marshal, who searched the vessel, as I was informed, and found no one. The vessel in consequence proceeded to sea as soon as the wind would permit, and a few days afterwards I heard that a man by the name of Hore was missing from the colony. This man had not been employed in any kind of public labour, but was allowed to dispose of himself in any manner he thought proper. In the month of December following. the schooner returned to Port Jackson, and anchored in the Cove, where it was usual for vessels to anchor. The master, the mates, and several of the seamen were immediately brought on shore and taken to the Government House, where they were separately examined by the Governor, and, as I have been informed, by Mr. Campbell and Mr. Atkins, whether this man Hore had been found in the schooner. They all stated, that Hore was found concealed among the firewood, and that at one of the islands where they afterwards touched he made his escape, I think it was at Otaheite. They were then ordered to return on board the vessel, and I received information that the naval officer had put two police officers into the vessel, had caused her to be removed from her place of anchorage to a situation immediately opposite his own door. Application was shortly afterward made by the master to the naval officer, for permission to enter the vessel; which was refused. I then applied myself, and was told, I could not be permitted to enter the schooner until I paid into his, the naval officers, hands, £900, which he claimed as being forfeited on a bond that had been given on the vessels first arrival from England, the conditions of which, I conceived, had no relation to the voyage she had been employed on. The naval officer still persisted in refusing to enter the vessel, or to allow the cargo to be landed. I pointed out to him, that whatever claims he conceived he had the right to make, must be authorised by a Court of Justice that I understood he had got possession of all the vessel's papers her registry, her letter of marque, her charter party, and had two persons on board her on the part of Government; that if he persisted in retaining possession of the vessel, I should abandon her to the Government and look to the underwriters. He signified his determination to retain possession of the vessel, to keep her papers, and not to allow her cargo to be landed, until I had paid him the £900 he had first claimed, I therefore acquainted the master and seamen, that I had no further occasion for their services, and that they were not to look to me for pay and provisions from that day, as I conceived myself dispossessed of the vessel, and themselves no longer in my employment. Having done so, I returned to my house at Parramatta, about sixteen or seventeen miles distant from the town of Sydney; and some days after, I received this letter from the Judge Advocate:—

"I have it in command from his Excellency the Governor to acquaint you that the master, mariners, and crew, of the schooner Parramatta, of which you are the owner, has violated the colonial regulations, by coming unauthorised on shore, and that, in their justification they say, you have deprived them of their usual allowance of provisions; and they have no means of procuring them on board the schooner. In consequence of such their representations, I require your attendance at Sydney tomorrow morning, at ten o'clock, to show cause of such your conduct."

Richard Atkins.

"Judge Advocate."

"Decr. 14, 1807.

Knowing that the naval officer had possession of the schooner, and considering myself as having nothing more to do with her, and without control over the officers and seamen, and being desirous to avoid all possible altercation about the schooner in the colony, I thought it, most prudent to write to the Judge Advocate, which I did in the following letter:—


"14th Decr. 1807.   


"I am to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of this date, acquainting me that the master, mates and crew of the schooner Parramatta have violated the Colonial regulations, by coming unauthorized on shore, and that they in their justification say I have deprived them of their usual allowance of provisions etc. for which conduct you require me to come to Sydney tomorrow, and show cause.—I have only in reply to say that you were many days ago informed I had declined any further interference with the schooner, in consequence of the illegal conduct of the naval officer in refusing to enter the vessel, and retaining her papers, notwithstanding I had made repeated applications that they might be restored. So circumstanced, I could no longer think of submitting to the expense of paying and victualling the officers and crew of a vessel over which I had no control; but previously to my declining to do so, my intentions were officially made known to the naval officer. What steps he has since taken respecting the schooner and her people I am yet to learn, but as he has had two police officers on board in charge of her, it is reasonable to suppose they are directed to prevent irregularities, and thereof I beg leave to refer you to the naval officer for what further information you may require on the subject.

I am Sir,

Your humble servant

John Macarthur."

Richard Atkins Esq.
            Judge Advocate.

. . . . I heard no more of the subject until the following night, when, at about 11 o-clock, I was seated with my family, preparing to go to bed, when one of the servants came in, and informed that a person wanted to speak to me in the hall. I went out, and found a man by the name of Oakes there, who acted as chief constable in the town of Parramatta, the place of my residence. He told me that he was very sorry to come to me on such an errand, but that he had a warrant in his pocket to apprehend my person and take me to gaol. I desired him to come into the room where there were candles, and show me his authority. He did, and produced this warrant—

NEW SOUTH WALES.—Whereas complaint hath been made before me upon oath, that John McArthur Esq. the owner of the schooner Parramatta, now lying in this Port, hath illegally stopped the provisions of the master mates and crew of the said schooner whereby the said master mates and crew have violated the Colonial regulations by coming unauthorized on shore, and whereas I did by my official letter bearing date the 14th day of this instant, December, require the said John McArthur to appear before me on the 15th day of this instant December at 10 o'clock of the forenoon of the same day and whereas the said John McArthur hath not appeared at the time aforesaid or since:—these are therefore, in his Majesty's name, to command you to bring the said John McArthur before me, and other His Majesty's Justices on Wednesday next, the 16th inst., December at ten o-clock of the same day, to answer in the premises, and hereof fail not.

Given under my hand and seal at Sydney this 15th day of December 1807.

Richard Atkins, J.A. (L.S.)

Mr. Francis Oakes,
        Chief Constable, Parramatta.

The Witness.—It is impossible I can describe to the Court what I felt upon this occasion, whatever act the master of the vessel or crew might have committed, I conceived I could in no shape be responsible for, as the Government were absolutely in possession of the schooner, and could, in any manner they thought proper, have controlled and regulated the conduct of the master and seamen. I had given what I conceived a full and satisfactory explanation to the Judge Advocate, and without any act committed by me, I found myself nearly at the hour of midnight in danger of being torn from my family and of being confined in a loathsome gaol, amidst all the most abandoned felons which the colony contained. It appeared to me nothing could authorize or justify such a violation of the liberty of a British subject, unless positive oath had been made that he had committed some offence which would subject him to imprisonment. I was only accused.

The President.—The question is, what was the consequence of this arrest?

The Witness.—I resisted the warrant, being accused of discharging my own servants.

A Member.—It appears he disobeyed the summons also from the Judge Advocate, he refused to appear, as he was desired by the letter from the Judge Advocate.

The Witness.—I resisted the warrant, conceiving it to be illegal. What then followed? The constable left the house, and the next morning I went to the town of Sydney. About nine o'clock in the morning I walked out, and soon after two constables with several attendants armed, came into the house in search of me. They searched every open room, although they were assured I was not in the house, and coming to a room with the door locked, they burst it open. Not finding me they made enquiry where it was probable I should be found, they were told, I had walked out in the town and was most probable at the house of Mr. Grimes. To that house they came and finding me there produced a second warrant which they executed and took me to the house of the Judge Advocate, where several friends stepped forward to give bail for my appearance. I was discharged in consequence on my bail. Soon after, I had notice to attend a Bench of Magistrates, before whom I was desirous of pointing out the illegality of the first warrant which had been executed against me, but they preferred to refer the decision of it to a Criminal Court; and I was bound over to appear whenever called upon. In the 25th January 1808 I was brought before a Criminal Court utterly ignorant of the nature of the accusation against which I was to defend myself. Previous to my being brought before the Court I had in a most earnest manner entreated the Governor to appoint a Judge Advocate who should be disinterested in the event of the trial. This he refused.—I therefore when the six members had been sworn in considered it a justice I owed to myself, if possible to avoid being tried before a Court, the Judge of which was my avowed and inveterate enemy, who had also a voice in that Court, and necessarily a great influence in its decisions. When the Court was about to swear in the Judge Advocate, I stated my objections verbally and entreated permission to lay those objections before them in writing. The Judge Advocate objected to it, the Court conceived I ought to be heard, and directed me to produce my objections. I read them to the Court, and this is a copy.—


To the Members of the Criminal Court.


It will, I am convinced, excite your surprise, as I think it must of every impartial man, to hear that I am a prisoner to this bar, utterly unacquainted, except from rumour, of the nature of the accusation against which I am to defend myself. Such, however is a fact, for although I have made three written applications to the Judge Advocate, for a copy of the indictment or information, I have not been able to obtain it.

In this unprecedented situation, and having been informed that the charge against me had been founded on certain events which originated in the illegal and arbitrary conduct of the Judge Advocate, as exemplified in the correspondence and warrants, I did conceive it prudent and a piece of duty I owed to the community, to protest against Richard Atkins Esq., being appointed to sit as a Judge on a trial where he is so much interested, and in which his own security is so materially involved.

To prevent unnecessary delay, and other consequences which I apprehended, I did, in a letter to his Excellency Gov. Bligh protest against the Judge Advocate, and respectfully required that a disinterested person might be appointed to preside at my trial. To this His Excellency was pleased to answer "that the law must take its course, as he does not feel himself justified to use any interference with the executive power by which I suppose it (sic) meant the judicial authority, and I humbly conceive His Excellencys power must be the Executive.

Defeated in this attempt to obtain what I know to be my lawful right, my only alternative is to resort to the Members of this Court, and I do so under an entire confidence that what I can prove to be my right, you as men of honour will grant me.

To you then gentlemen I appeal and solemnly protest against Richard Atkins Esq., being allowed to take his seat as one of my judges on this trial.

To support this protest, my first objection is, because there is a suit pending between us, for the recovery of a sum of money that he unjustly withholds, and, as he is screened from the operation! of the law, is to be submitted to His Majestys Ministers.

My second objection is, because I can prove he has for many years cherished a rancorous inveteracy against me, which has displayed itself in the propagation of malignant falsehoods, and every act of injustice that can be expected to proceed from a person armed with power, against a man whose life and conduct is, I trust, a public satire on his own.

My third objection is, because I have long been the object of his vindictive malice, in consequence of my having been called as an evidence to support an accusation made against him by John Harris Esq., that he was a swindler.

My fourth objection is, because he has associated and combined with that well-known dismembered limb of the law, George Crossley,* and others of as wicked minds, though perhaps not quite so notorious, to accomplish my destruction.

[* Crosley was an Attorney who had been convicted of perjury and transported.]

In proof of this I have evidence to prove that Crosley has prepared the information to be produced at this trial, and has arranged the whole plan of evidence, he being considered eminently qualified to conduct that part of the business from his extensive practice in that particular branch of legal knowledge.

I have also proofs in my hands in the writing of that veteran practitioner Crosley, which will convince the most sceptical mind that other schemes have been agitated to deprive me of my property, liberty, honour and life.**

[** James Macarthur in his notes states that his father was warned of the pending arrest by an Irish settler of the Hawkesbury district, who had been carousing with Crosley, the Attorney, who in his cups boasted of the coup which was preparing against Macarthur and finally pulled out the draft of the indictment. This the Irishman secured and carried forthwith to Macarthur. It was the knowledge derived from the draft of Crosley's indictment which induced Macarthur to adopt the course he took towards Oakes, the head Constable, of refusing to submit when he came to arrest him at Parramatta. His object was to drive the Governor into violent and precipitate measures.]

Here it is gentlemen, read it, and after, read the proceedings of a Bench of Magistrates, and you will see that for presuming to complain of a most unlawful seizure of my property, which the Judge Advocate joined in reprobating, it has been determined to ruin me.

This precious document came into my hands as if by the interposition of Divine Providence, it was dropped from the pocket of Crosley and brought to me.

That you may consider it at your leisure, I annex a copy both of it, and of the proceedings of the Bench of Magistrates.

My fifth objection is because Richard Atkins Esq. is my prosecutor on this trial, and is so deeply interested to procure my conviction, that, should he fail, nothing but the arm of power can save him from a criminal prosecution, at this very Bar, for false imprisonment of me.

My sixth and last objection is on his having already pronounced sentence of condemnation against me, as is presumptively proved, and can be clearly, by his declaring that the Bench of Magistrates had the power to punish me by fine and imprisonment thereby clearly demonstrating an intention to deprive me of the benefit of my present trial.

It will not, I presume, be denied that the Judge Advocate, from the constitution of this Court combines the two characters of judge and juror, and that it follows, as an indisputable consequence, that my objection which applies to either character is strictly applicable to him.

All therefore that remains for me to do, is to lay before you the legal authorities, on which I found my right of challenge.

First Authority.

"The suspicion of prejudice may be reasonably inferred against a juror from his having an interest in the cause, whereby he may be led to the condemnation of the prisoner.

"The prisoner must assign his cause of challenge, of the relevancy of which the members are themselves the judges. The valid causes of challenge are, suspicion of malice, of prejudice, and infamous character," (Tytler.)

Second Authority.

"So jealous is the law of the perfect impartiality of jurors, that it is allowed to be a good cause of challenge that the juror has been heard to give his opinion beforehand, that the party is guilty." (Tytler.)

Third Authority.

"Two causes of challenge, impossible to be overruled, are the charges of corruption or bribery, verified by competent proof, and malice of hostile enmity expressed by word or deed against the prisoner. Infamous character is also a most relevant ground of challenge." (Tytler.)

Fourth Authority.

"It hath been allowed a good ground of challenge on the part of the prisoner, that the juror hath declared his opinion beforehand that the party is guilty." (Burns Justice.)

Fifth Authority.

"The Mayor of Hereford was laid by the heels for sitting in a cause when he himself was Lesser of the plaintiff in ejectment though he by the charter was sole Judge of the Court." (Burn's Justice.)

Sixth Authority.

"The cause of Foxham tithing in the county of Wilts, justice of peace was surveyor of highways, and a matter which concerned his office coming in question at the sessions, he joined in making the order, and his name was put in the caption. Determined by Lord Chief Justice Holt, it ought not to be, as, if an action be brought by my Lord Chief Justice Trevor, in the Court of Common Pleas, it must be before Edward Neville, Knight, and his Associates, and not before Thomas Trevor, and it was quashed." (Burns Justice.)

Seventh Authority.

"And the better to remove all cause of suspicion of partiality, it was wisely provided by the statutes 4th Edw. HI. cap. 2—8th Richard II. cap. 2—and 33rd Henry VIII. cap. 24, that no Judge of Assize shall hold pleas in any county wherein he was born or inhabits." (Blackstones Commentaries.)

Eighth Authority.

"Jurors may be challenged for suspicion of bias or partiality, this may be either a principal challenge, or to the favour. A principal challenge is such, where the cause carries with it evident marks of suspicion, either of favour or malice; as that he hath an interest in the cause, there is an action pending between him and the party, these are principal grounds of challenge, and, if true, cannot be over-ruled." (Blackstones Commentaries.)

Gentlemen, it would be an unpardonable waste of your time, and an insult to your understandings, to press upon you more authorities, for those I have submitted are clear to the point.

You will now decide, gentlemen, whether Law or Justice shall finally prevail over the contrivances of George Crosley, you have the eyes of an anxious public upon you, trembling for the safety of their property, their liberties, and their lives.

To you has fallen the lot of deciding a point which involves perhaps the happiness or misery of millions yet unborn, and I conjure you, in the name of the Almighty God, in whose presence you stand, to consider the inestimable value of the precious deposit with which you are entrusted.

For my own part, knowing you as I do, I have no apprehensions. I feel assured, that neither expectations of reward, and favour, nor dread of persecution, will influence your decision.

It is to the Officers of the New South Wales Corps that the administration of justice is committed, and who that is just has anything to dread.

John Macarthur

Sydney 25th January 1808.

The Witness.—The Judge Advocate immediately rose up and called out "I commit you to gaol sir," the court interfered and declared I had acted under their sanction and was entitled to their protection. A considerable altercation continued for three or four minutes between the Judge Advocate and the court, when the Judge Advocate quitted the Court House. A correspondence then ensued between the court and the Governor; in which I understood the Court maintained the validity of my objections, and respectfully entreated the Governor to appoint an impartial person to preside at the trial. Several letters passed, and the Governor not acceding to the request of the Court, the Court remanded me to the custody of my bail, and adjourned. The next morning I was apprehended on an escape warrant, founded on a deposition of the Provost Marshal, that I was at large contrary to law. I was in consequence taken to the common gaol of the town of Sydney. . . .

Immediately it was known that I was taken to the gaol, a great number of the civil officers of the establishment, many of the people of property in the town, came to the gaol evidently in great consternation and terror; some of them declaring they expected soon to be sent to the gaol to accompany me. In the evening it was rumoured through the town that the officers of the Criminal Court had been accused of treason and it was reported to me that the greatest confusion prevailed throughout the whole town. The gaoler * (a man I had long known) and had had an opportunity of serving, came in and told me, that, from what he saw, he was sure something serious would happen before the night closed; that he should keep a watchful eye for my preservation, for that many of the people employed about the gaol by Mr. Gore the Provost Marshal were men of the most desperate and infamous characters; indeed of that I was myself an evidence; for I was received at the gaol door by a man employed as a constable, whom I had discharged from my own house for stealing; and shortly after my arrival in the gaol, I saw another guarding the gate who had a short time before been a servant of mine, and whom I had brought to punishment for associating with a gang of cattle stealers, and who, it was proved, had been killing and stealing calves from the Government herds.

[* In James Macarthur's notes he states, that when his father was lodged in the gaol at Sydney, Deputy Gaoler Riley told him that a set of ruffians had been sworn in by the Provost Marshall (Gore), that they were armed, and that he was fearful of an attempt being made on Macarthur's life, but in that case "there was a cutlass concealed in the cell for his honour and he had one for himself, and they would sell their lives dearly."]

In Bartrum's account of the court-martial is told how Johnston, coming into Sydney on January 26th, 1808, found the inhabitants in greatest consternation, and many of the respectable citizens urged his placing Bligh under arrest to avoid bloodshed.

Whilst he was considering this step Johnston was told that Macarthur was lodged in the common prison and there was much reason to fear he would be privately made away with. Johnston was thereupon prevailed upon to sign and transmit an order for Macarthur's discharge.

Macarthur, being liberated on the day of Bligh's deposition, was taken by his liberators to the Barracks, where on entering the mess room, he was greeted by Colonel Johnston, who said, "G—d's curse! What am I to do, Macarthur, here are these fellows advising me to arrest the Governor," to which Macarthur replied, "Advising you; then, Sir, the only thing left for you to do is to do it. To advise on such matters is legally as criminal as to do them." And then Macarthur, on a gun, in the barrack square, wrote the petition to Johnston, of which the original is in the National Art Gallery, Sydney.

Johnston, who commanded the forces, then proceeded to carry out the deposition of Governor Bligh.

This short note to his wife appears to have been written after Governor Bligh's arrest.

My Dearest Love,

I have been deeply engaged all this day in contending for the liberties of this unhappy Colony, and I am happy to say I have succeeded beyond what I. expected. I am too much exhausted to attempt giving you the particulars, therefore I must refer you to Edward, who knows enough to give you a general idea of what has been done. The Tyrant is now no doubt gnashing his Teeth with vexation at his overthrow. May he often have cause to do the like!

I have read your two letters they are admirably written—I was in hopes there would have been one to your Mother, as I had set aside a Navy Bill to enclose with it—You will not be too late if you write and send down to-morrow. Take care of yourself and be cheerful, your headache will then go off—Keep Elizabeth out as much as you can, for exercise in this warm weather is more likely than any other thing to bring about her recovery. Remember me to them all and believe me

My dearest Love

Your ever affectionate

John McArthur.

     Saturday 5 o'clock.

After the deposition of Bligh, Johnston became head of the Provisional Government and reported to his superior officer, Colonel Paterson, who was then in charge at Port Dalrymple.

Almost Immediately John Macarthur was tried upon the charges for which Bligh had ordered his arrest. The court consisted of the same six officers summoned by Bligh, but Mr. Charles Grimes, the Surveyor-General, was appointed Judge Advocate in place of Atkins. Macarthur was acquitted, and shortly after appointed Secretary to the Colony, without a salary.

The public expenditure was greatly reduced by Macarthur exchanging surplus cattle from the Government herds for grain, large quantities of which were required for troops and convicts in Van Diemen's Land, as well as in New South Wales.

In former years the bills drawn on the Treasury for grain had been very heavy. Under Johnston only £2,214 9s. 6d. was drawn for the purchase of grain in 1808, and of this £1,880 2s. was for the settlements in Van Diemen's Land.

It is remarkable that not one of the Bills drawn on the Lords of the Treasury by Johnston, Foveaux, or Paterson was dishonored. These copies of the accounts are at Camden.

Account of Cows and Oxen issued for payment from Government Herds—
First Issue 150
Second do. 97
Issued to Raby 2
—— Bushels
249 at 56 Bushels each—13,944

Statement of the payments made and Grain due for the above Cattle—
Bushels. lbs.
Mr. Williamson's Receipt 9,586 25
   Do. do. for 79 Bushels Barley receivedas 56 Bushels Wheat
Mr. Baker's Receipt 300
   Do.  do. 130
Mr. Williamson's Do 16 40
Mr. Wilshire's Do. 74 37
   Do.  do. 18 21
Mr. Baker's Do. 40
Mr. Wilshire's Do. 23
Mr. Sherwin's Do. 43 28
— Wall's Do 15 42
Mr. Wilshire's Do. for 80 Bushels Maize as Wheat 40
Mr. Baker's Do. for 44 Bushels Maize as Wheat 22
Captain Kemp's obligation 164
Mr. Crook's Do. 89
Segt. Maj. Whittel's Do. 112
Seg. Johns's Do. 56
Order for two Cows from Mr. Palmer 112
Bill of Larra's for Public expenses 70
Mr. Lawson's obligation 364 52
Mr. Baker's Receipt 80
   Do.  do. 25 28
Mr. Fitz's Do. 96
Segt. Bradley's obligation 20 42

Cows to be paid for—

Mr. Larra 4
Lieut. Laycock 4
Lieut. Draffen 4
Mr. Alcock 1
Mr. Atkins 2
Mr. Throsby 6
Hugh Byrne 1
Mr. Fitzgerald 10
Mrs. Minchin 6
Edw. Robinson 1
Mr. T. Mecham. 5
44  at 56 Bush. 2,464
14,020 35
Amount of Cattle sold 13,944
Surplus 76 35


Bushels. lbs.
Mr. McArthur paid to Mr. Harris for 24 Bush.
Do. surplus on receipts to Settlers. B. W.
31 42
55 42 —————
Due to Mr. McArthur 55 42
Surplus to Government 20 49
90 Old Cows, and 96 Deseased Sheep sold for Corn, the obligations for payment held by Mr. Fitz.

Received the above recited Obligations & Receipts from John McArthur Esqr. this 18th day of January 1808.

Dr. John McArthur Esqr. in Account Current with Government—

Between the 12th March & 3 Sept. To amount of Fresh Beef
issued from His Majesty's Store pd. weekly return from the Storekeeper 1801½ lbs. @ 1/-
90 1 6
To one set of Bills on the Lords of the Treasury 444 19 6
To one set of Bills on the Lords of the Treasury 125 7 0
1808 £660 8 0
Between the 12th
March & 3 Sept.
By Amount of Mutton Received into His Majesty's Store at Parramatta as Sworn to by William Sherwine the Storekeeper per 13,208 lbs. @ 1/- 660 8 0
       Errors Ex. ——————
  James Williamson £660 8 0
Actg. Comsy.   

Quantity of Grain sent to His Majesty's Settlements at Port Dalrymple and the River Derwent between the 26th January and 31st March; and from the latter date, up to June 8th 1808.

Date Settlement Wheat
Rate Amount
February 2nd Port Dalrymple 550  10/- 275 0 0
April 5th 1808 Do. 1000 79  10/8 8/- 531 12 0
Freight of Speedwell with the 550 Bushels @  3/- 82 10 0
Port Dalrymple £889 2 0
March 26th River Derwent 700  10/- 350 0 0
April 30th Do. 1000  10/- 500 0 0
Freight of Governor Hunter with the 1000 Bushels @  3/- 150 0 0
River Derwent £1,000 0 0
 Total Amount £1,889 2 0

The Right Honorable the Lords Commissioners of His Majesty's Treasury in Account Current with James Williamson Esquire Acting Commissary of Stores and Provisions in His Majesty's Territory of New South Wales.


£   s. d.
Between the 27th January
30th July
  To   Amount of Grain purchased from sundry individuals as per Voucher No. 1 1200 0 0
" Amount of Grain purchased from sundry Individuals as per Voucher No. 2 241 10 0
" Amount of Fresh Mutton purchased from John McArthur Esquire as per Voucher No. 3 444 19 6
" Amount of Freight of Grain from hence to the Derwent as per Voucher No. 4 150 0 0
Amount of Spirits purchased from Garnham Blaxcell Esquire as per Voucher No. 5 178 0 0
£2214 9 6

By Eleven sets of Bills drawn in favor of the following persons as per Voucher Order, and Receipts (Viz.).

July 30th £ s. d.
No. 1   Bill in favor of Garnham Blaxcell Esquire as per Voucher No. 1 Order and Receipt No. 6 100 0 0
" 2 " in favor of John Harris Esquire as per Voucher No. 1, O. & R. No. 6 105 0 0
" 3 " in favor of Messrs. Campbell & Co., as per Voucher No. 1, 0. & R. No. 6 56 15 0
" 4 " in favor of Mr. Simeon Lord as per Voucher No. 1, O. & R. No. 6 492 15 0
" 5 " in favor of Thomas Jamieson Esquire as per Voucher No. 1, O. & R. No. 6 35 15 0
" 6 " in favor of John McArthur Esquire as per Voucher No. 1, O. &. R. No. 6 110 2 6
" 7 " in favor of James Williamson Esquire as per Voucher No. 1, O. & R. No. 6 169 12 6
" 8 " in favor of Thomas Jamieson Esquire as per Voucher No. 2, O. & R. No. 7 & 6 241 10 0
" 9 " in favor of John McArthur Esquire as per Voucher No. 3, O. & R. No. 8 & 6 444 19 6
" 10 " in favor of Mr. Isaac Nichols as per Voucher No. 4, O. & R. No. 9 & 6 150 0 0
" 11 " in favor of Garnham Blaxcell Esquire as per Voucher No. 5, O. & R. No. 10 & 6 178 0 0
£2214 9 6

James Williamson
Acty. Comy.
Sworn before me Sydney   
18th March 1809
 Rd. Atkins, J.A.

No doubt the economical system of the interim Government occasioned much murmuring on the part of greedy and discontented individuals, and the following copies of a letter from Colonel Johnston to the officers of the regiment and their reply show some of the feeling that evidently existed:—

Headquarters April 26th 1808.


I have observed the discontent which has for some time prevailed amongst a few Officers with the greatest concern and as I have unquestionable evidence that this discontent has entirely arisen from the confidence I have reposed in Mr. McArthur Secretary to the Colony I have now assembled all of you together who are doing duty at Head-quarters and have sent a copy of this Letter to the detached Post that those Officers who have anything to alledge against that Gentleman may come forward and distinctly state in writing what it is they have to charge him with. If he has committed any offence, it is not my intention to shut my ears against the proof of it. If anything improper in his conduct can be made appear he shall immediately be dismissed from his Office, and I hope some one of you Gentlemen will have public spirit sufficient to supply his place and to perform the laborious duties Mr. McArthur now discharges without reward or emolument.

To preserve the peace of the Settlement and to promote the prosperity and honor of His Majesty's Government are my only objects and I am confident those objects cannot be secured but by the annihilation of the Party Spirit that has unfortunately too much prevailed almost ever since the day when you all urged me to assume the Government and pledged your words of honor to support me in the measure. How far a desire to deprive me of the services of Mr. McArthur at such a crisis as the present can be considered as an observance of that promise it will rest with those Gentlemen who are adverse to him to explain. For my own part I think no Officer will aver that Mr. McArthur has not fulfilled his share of that solemn Engagement That he has not devoted himself with unremitting assiduity to the public affairs That he has not exposed himself to reproach and obliquy by his Exertions to detect the Frauds and oppressions of the Adherents of the late Governor or that he has not faithfully done everything in his power to carry my wishes into Effect for the reduction of the Expenditure of Public Money and to prevent the improper distribution of the Public Servants and Property.

But perhaps these are his offences, if so let me assure you that he has only obeyed my order and that had he acted differently I should have been as ready to withdraw my confidence from him as I know some of you are desirous that I should.

I am, Gentlemen

Your most obedient Humble Servant

George Johnston.
Captain Edward Abbott
Captain A. Fenn Kemp
John Harris Esq. Surgeon
Lieut. John Brabyn
Ensign Archibald Bell
Lieut. William Moore
Lieut. Thomas Laycock
Lieut. & Adjt. William Minchin
Lieut. William Lawson
New South Wales Corps.
Captain Thomas Moore, Sydney Association **
Thomas Jamieson Esq., Principal Surgeon
James Williamson Esq., Acting Commissary
Nicholas Bayley Esq., Acting Provost Marshall
Mr. Fitz, Deputy Commissary
Mr. D'Arcy Wentworth, Assistant Surgeon
Mr. J. Mileham, Assistant Surgeon
G. Blaxcell Esqr., J.P.

Compared with the original, of which it is a true Copy.

John McArthur, J.P.
Chas. Throsby
, J.P.    

[** The Sydney Association was a Volunteer Corps. There was a Company also at Parramatta commanded by Mr. McArthur.]

Sydney 26th April 1808.

The undersigned Officers having assembled by Order of His Honor the Lt. Governor give their Sentiments on a letter which His Honor laid before them are unanimously of opinion that they do not feel themselves justified nor would they presume to call in question the Right of Propriety of his consulting any person he may think proper either publickly or privately and that they shall at all times feel much pleasure in obeying his Orders which is all they consider they have to do as Officers serving under him.


Ed. Abbott. Capt., N.S.W. Corps.
Anthy. Fenn Kemp, Capt.
Wm. Moore, Lieut.
Thos. Laycock, Lt.
Wm. Lawson, Lieut.
Cadiv Draffen, Lt.
Thos. Moore, C. L. Association.***
James Williamson, Acting Commissary.
R. Fitz, Dy. Commissary.
Nicholas Bayly Actg. P. M.
G. Blaxcell, J.P.
Wm. Minchin, Lieut. & Adjt. N.S.W. Corps

His Honor
Lieut. Governor Johnston
&c., &c., &c.

A true Copy of the original compared by us.

John McArthur, J.P.

Chas. Throsby
, J.P.    

[*** Volunteer Corps.]

After the arrival of Colonel Foveaux, Colonel Johnston proceeded to England, whither Macarthur accompanied him, taking also his two sons, James and William, for their education. His eldest son, who had returned to Sydney to see his parents before embarking upon his military career, had gone home some time previously with the despatches from Johnston relating to Bligh's arrest.

In September, 1808, General Tench wrote the following to Edward Macarthur, who had just arrived in England with the despatches announcing the arrest of Bligh:—

Plymouth, September 2nd 1808.

My Dear Edward,

I have read with much interest the various accounts in the Newspapers relative to the late transactions in New South Wales and to-day your Uncle was so obliging as to put into my hand your letter to him written just previous to your landing in England. I went through it twice with the deepest attention and the most lively feelings on your dear Father's and Mother's account and after having given the best consideration in my power to your statements, I was firmly and decidedly of opinion that Governor Bligh by tyranny, oppression and rapacity has drawn upon himself the just resentment of the inhabitants of the Colony and met with that spirited opposition and final defeat which I trust all unprincipled despots, whether in courts or cottages, always will encounter. I presume from circumstances that a complete reconciliation has taken place between Lt. Col. Johnston and your Father, and I fervently pray that there never may be discord or disunion between them again. The party which has dared to act with such promptitude and vigor in the outset will assuredly not betray their own cause by quarrels amongst themselves, and if, as I fully hope, and believe, Government will give both sides a fair and equitable hearing, I do not fear but that the result will be favourable for those whose welfare I so anxiously desire in all events I am firmly persuaded that the decisive step that was taken was preferable to all half measures, though even the latter would from appearances have been sufficient to overawe the contemptable dastard against whom they would have been directed. The concealment under the feather bed made me smile, but did not surprise me in the least, as I had long possessed the strongest testimony from a friend who had served with Governor Bligh that he was not only a tyrant, but a poltroon. The air of prudence and good sense which marks every part of your communication to your Uncle lessens the uneasiness I should otherwise have felt on your account, but let me, my dear boy, recommend to you a discreet reserve in all your conversations on the occurence at Sydney. In the great Town, where you now reside, there are more people who take a merit of supplying Government with information and betraying the secrets of conversation than you may be aware of. At the distance I am placed I can offer no material assistance to the cause of my friends, but who ever condescends to ask information from me on this, or any other subject connected with New South Wales, which frequently happens at the tables of Generals and Admirals, I shall not fail to offer my undisguised opinion on proceedings which have excited so much public attention, and from my perfect conviction of the worth and integrity of your Father his defence will be an easy task.

Believe me, my dear Edward,

Very sincerely and affectionately yours,

W. Tench.

Then comes the first of a long and regular correspondence between Edward and his family, but only a few of the letters are given referring to the Bligh-Johnston affair.

Edward Macarthur to his Mother.


30th September, 1808.   

My Dear Mother,

At this moment that I am conveying to you the pleasing intelligence of my safe arrival, I feel inspired with a hope that you are restored to your health, and in the enjoyment of every happiness that can be expected from a country in such a perturbed state, and of which the society is so exceptionable. When this reaches you my dear mother it is my prayer that it may add to the other causes of happiness; but if on the contrary, it will I know be no small gratification to learn that your son has not a greater source of uneasiness than spring from the distance which prevents him from flying to your embrace.

You will be rejoiced to learn how fine a youth John has become. He is almost as tall as myself, and at the same time remarkably stout. Much as he grows in stature, yet it does not equal the degree to which his mind daily expands; and such is his manner of reasoning that he is beheld with astonishment, mixt with admiration. John's wishes incline him to embrace the profession of the law, and he is wonderfully delighted at the idea of becoming a councillor. Dr. Lindsay imagines he will make a shining character in that profession. Since my arrival I have lived at Mr. Thompson's, and the manner in which I was received, together with the fresh marks of affection which are every day displayed towards me, can be compared to nothing but that which I experienced when I returned to New South Wales; indeed, my dear mother, it seems as if the two families were disputing to which of them I belonged, and which could regard me with the most affection.

On my arrival I found that Mrs. King was a widow; Govr. King died about a week before. I have scarcely seen Mrs. King. I was unable to call upon her till the other day, when, in going to her house, I met her on the road, and as she was on particular business she could not return. She resides some miles from London. I promised her that if she would have the goodness to tell me when she would be at home, that I would certainly wait upon her.

Mr. Marsden is in town, but I have not seen him, nor do I know how Mrs. Marsden and the children are, who are all in Yorkshire.

General and Mrs. Grose are in town; they have been very particular in their enquiries about yourself and my dear father.

Captain and Mrs. Kent are also in London, but I have not had an opportunity of seeing them.

Govr. and Mrs. King have been rather intimate with Mr. Thompson's family, and Mr. T. has told me that our family was always mentioned in the most affectionate manner. Mrs. King seems to have some idea of returning to New South Wales, for her affairs, poor woman, I understand are rather in a disunited state.

Miss Thompson has promised to write and she will, I have no doubt, give a long account of interesting circumstances.

Edward Macarthur to Walter Davidson.

Castle-street, Leinster-square,

30th September, 1808.

My dear Davidson,

I have the pleasure a second time to thank you for your letter which I received at St. Helena on the 10th of July, from whence you will perhaps receive a letter from me dated on the day of my departure from that island. The Dart and Brothers, together with the China Fleet, arrived in the Downs on the 12th instant; but as I was anxious to get to town lest the duplicates of my letters should be delivered before the originals, I landed in a fishing boat off the Start Point in Devonshire.

*    *    *    *    *    *    *    *

Our late affairs make little impression on the public mind, and excite still less attention at the offices, for Spain and Portugal attract all their attentions—all their thoughts. The Convention has caused a great ferment, and the nation loudly call for the punishment of those who were concerned in that disgraceful business. You will not comprehend me until you have consulted the newspapers, and I have no time to explain myself.

In a few weeks the probability is that I shall be in one of our armies, either that on service in Spain or that in Portugal. A wide field is open for honor and promotion, and I burn to be there. The Spanish expedition resounds from all quarters, and the ladies themselves lament that their sex prevents their joining in so glorious a cause.

*    *    *    *    *    *    *    *

London, 1st October, 1808.

My dear Father,

I embrace the opportunity of the Sydney Cove's return to Port Jackson to inform you of my safe arrival and to acquaint you with the little occurences since, together with the impressions made by the accounts of which I was in part the bearer. I came to town on the 12th, and immediately went to the Horse Guards with my public letters; but it being evening, and as there was no official person to whom I could deliver them, I returned and called again next morning when I saw Colonel Gordon to whom I committed my charge. He received me with a great degree of kindness, asked me a few questions about the colony, but none in the least applicable to the subject of the letters; and having complimented me on the modesty with which he was pleased to say I conducted myself, wished me good morning, asked for my address, and said that he should send for me in a few days.

Mr. Brogden and Mr. McArthur, as well as Mr. Plummer, were out of town, and before I had performed half of what was necessary for me previously to do, the day was too far advanced for me to think of waiting on the Duke of Northumberland till the next morning. As I had not the assistance of Mr. Brogdon's introduction, I found some difficulty from the servants in gaining admission to His Grace's presence; but as I was determined to deliver Colonel Johnston's letters to no other person than the Duke, my card was at length taken up, and the obstructions vanished. His Grace immediately sent for me, and addressing me by name, thanked me for my attention in coming to Sion House, and, instead of interrogating me on the subject of the transactions in N.S. Wales, began to relate even the most particular parts of what has taken place, even to the business of the stills, and was severe in his animadvertions on the conduct of Governor Bligh. This surprised me not a little; but I discovered that he had received the evening before, by the post, the duplicates of the letters by the Brothers. His Grace was greatly pleased at the accounts I gave him of the noble race of horses by Northumberland; * and after I had been with him for two hours—for it was impossible to leave him before—I retired. His Grace told me that he should be obliged by any communications I could make to him about the late events, and that when he came to town he should be happy to see me. He greatly interests himself in Colonel Johnston's welfare, and, from the family connection between His Grace and Colonel Gordon, his influence will be very great. I understand, also, that under the existing state of affairs his opinions have great weight. Mr. Watson was not at home the first day I called; but I saw him the morning of my interview with the Duke of Northumberland, and found him, indeed, a friend. He went to the Secretary of States' office to learn the impressions made on Mr. Cook's mind by the account he had received, and found them favourable to yourself; but Mr. Watson has since informed me that Mr. Cook does not now think you so much unconcerned in the late transactions as he did at first imagine. Mr. Watson superceded the necessity of my waiting on Mr. Cook by asking him if he was desirous to see me, and Mr. Cook requested Mr. Watson to tell me that there was no occasion for my coming to him. Mr. Watson brought Captain Russell off' with flying colours. The public mind is at present so much agitated by the affairs of Portugal that neither they or the Ministry in the least regard the occurrences in New South Wales. So much have they to do at the offices, that I do not imagine they have read one-half the papers necessary to elucidate the business, but they regard the whole of the transaction, with a view to precedent, in a jealous kind of way.

[* A horse presented by the Duke to Colonel Johnston.]

I understand that Bligh's friends, however, who have had leisure to examine the affair, wear gloomy countenances. Mr. Watson desired me not to pay the least attention to the opinions I heard in common conversation. He intends to write to you by this vessel. Your letters to Mr. Brogden, Mr. McArthur, and Mr. Plummer I enclosed to them. To Mr. McArthur I sent a complete copy of the whole of the papers in my possession, and another copy of the trial to Mr. Plummer after Dr. Lindsay had perused it. I have greatly to regret that I could make no more than two copies on the voyage, for everyone calls for your trial, and with the concurrence of Mr. Watson it will be printed in a few days, and I trust that I shall be enabled to send you one of the impressions. I am now writing at Mr. Thompson's house at Clapham. With that good man and his family have I been since my arrival; they are to me another father, mother, brother, and sister. I dine to-day with Mr. Henry Brogden, who has been very warm in his expressions for the handsome way in which you advanced the money to Blackman. I must now conclude and will address you again to-morrow, for I have so much to relate to you, my dear father, that my ideas rush upon me too rapidly for expression.

Most affectionate yours,

E. McArthur.

Castle-street, Leinster Square,

7th October, 1808.

My dear Father,

Since my last of the 1st inst., I have been greatly agitated by the publication of a most virulent paper, prepared, as I am informed, by some of Mrs. Bligh's partizans, of which I transmit a copy, together with a reply which appeared in the same paper as the attack. You will readily perceive, my dear father, that I have been greatly indebted to some persons for this tart rejoinder. Dr. Lindsay wrote the first sketch, which was afterwards mollified by Mr. Watson, who advised, however, that no kind of notice should be taken of this outrageous attack. As soon as the answer was framed I sent it down to Mr. McArthur, who, after having made some additions and amendments, returned it, with an introduction of myself, to the editor of the Morning Chronicle, who inserted the papers as corrected by Mr. McArthur. A rev'd friend of yours,** who has lately come up from York, is said to have had a hand in this vehement production; indeed he does not scruple to say that the business is at issue between himself and you, and that one or the other must desert the country of New South Wales.

[** Revd. S. Marsden.]

A day or two since I received a note from the Duke of Northumberland, acquainting me that His Grace had received intimation that Colonel Johnston and Mr. McArthur and the rest of the officers were sent for Home immediately. I instantly showed it to Mr. Watson, who went down to Mr. Cook, and asked him if any such measure had been taken. Mr. Cook said there had been nothing resolved on with respect to the affairs in New South Wales. Mr. Watson is no professor, but an actor. Mr. Plummer will be in town in a few days, and Mr. McArthur will also be here. Their advice will be of essential service to me. Mr. Henry Brogden greatly interests himself in your behalf, as well as does Mr. James Brogden. The latter can be of very great service to me from his intimacy with the Duke of Northumberland.

Sir Walter's family are as usual very kind, and Sir Walter himself appears to be happy when he hears of things going on favorably to yourself; but he does not at present take an active part, although at first he talked a great deal. Mr. Jacobs is also very attentive. He offered to get a commission for me, but I fear it is out of his power. Mr. Watson and Colonel McDonald both told me that there would be a very great difficulty indeed in obtaining a commission at this time. They think that under the existing state of affairs His Royal Highness would on no consideration give me an ensigncy. They therefore imagine that it would be better for me to purchase, and, if possible, to join some regiment of foot in Spain, for I am told that my age is too great for my admission at Marlow. The next military academy is at Wickham, and before you can be admitted it is necessary that you should have been doing duty with your regiment for two years. Mr. Thompson is looking out for a good regiment, and I trust that by the time the next ships sail I shall be gazetted.

From all I can learn I fear you will find yourself necessitated to return to England, for the Government will, I fear, to the very last, support Bligh; but it is of no use, for up he must be given at length. A gentleman told me to-day that although Governor Bligh's conduct was most flagrant, yet the Government would look with great jealousy on his suspension, on account of precedent; but justice must be done, for Major Johnston has a friend who has the power in a certain degree to enforce it.

The two emues arrived safe, and were presented to Lady Castlereagh, and one swan and a goose lived, which were given to Lady Camden. Mr. Watson desired me to say that their ladyships were desirous of having some bronswing pidgeons; but he would not permit me to give the pair I had, because he thought that so many presents at one time would overdo the business. I was enabled to make Mr. Watson a very handsome present in the bird way. I have made several to different people, and have not parted with all yet.

The Marquis of Buckingham was out of town when I arrived. I therefore left his letters at His Lordship's residence in Pall Mall, from whence, I presume, they have been forwarded. I have heard from none of Mr. Wentworth's friends. General Grose has been very attentive to me; he seems to be rather disappointed at not hearing from you. As he resides at Croydon, I do not see him very often. Mrs. King, poor woman, is greatly distressed at the loss of the Governor, and the contrast of her present situation with that she has lately possessed makes her very unhappy.

It will, I am convinced, my dear father, afford you great pleasure to learn that John is resolved to become a councillor, and Dr. Lindsay says if he only applies himself he will make as clever a fellow as any in England. John is aware that many difficulties will impede his progress; but he says that the Temple of Fame is now within his view, and that the strides he intends to make towards it will be so rapid and firm that every obstacle must give way. John is grown tall, and, at the same time, very stout. The energy of his mind is very great, and this displayed almost on every occasion. He is greatly beloved by Mr. Thompson's family, as well as by Dr. Lindsay and the greater part of his acquaintance. I dined with Mr. Wilson a few days since, but as I am not much in the city I do not see him very often. He endeavours to keep neutral, and hears the tales of all parties; but I think his situation is on that account very unpleasant. Mr. Thompson has neither invited Grimes to know whose right, but that it is quite sufficient for him that they are inimical to you. Mr. Becket is constant in his enquiries after you. Mr. T. intends sending him a copy of your trial, that he may make his remarks upon it. Mr. Cook says that the trial is so much waste paper, for that as Colonel Johnston had no authority to convene a court, a mock trial on the stage would be equally as valid. This is the way in which Mr. C. talks, but altho' he is so warm in support of Bligh, I do not for that reason imagine he thinks him right. Mr. Cook thinks perhaps that it is his duty to support the Governor till all the charges have been proved against him.

I remain,

E. McArthur.

Castle-street, Leinster Square,

12th October, 1808.

My dear Father,

I can learn nothing respecting the intentions of Government about New South Wales; and notwithstanding the despatches that are forwarded to go out in the Sydney Cove, I still think that Ministers have come to no determination. Mr. Watson says they have not, and on the 5th of this month he knew positively that nothing had been done.

*    *    *    *    *    *    *    *

The wool, I am sorry to say, that came in the Dart was almost spoiled, although I had taken the precaution to have it put into a tight cask. It is in the hands of Mr. Swain, who says that it will, however, make very good cloth. He will send your little commission by the next ship.

*    *    *    *    *    *    *    *

Every one of your friends here seems to imagine that you will be necessitated to come Home; indeed, Mr. Watson told me that he sincerely wished you would, For he imagined you would do much better here than where you are, and that he should intimate it to you in his letter. The pleasure, my dear father, such an event would afford me would be very great.

*    *    *    *    *    *    *    *

Mr. Thompson is now about purchasing me a commission in one of the battallions of the 60th Regt. which is now in Spain. If I can possibly obtain permission to go to Marlow, I certainly will, but if not I intend immediately to join my regiment. There is not the least chance of a commission being given to me, and therefore, the sooner I purchase the better.

*    *    *    *    *    *    *    *

Castle-street, Leinster Square,

25th October, 1808.

My dear Father,

Since my last, I have the pleasure to inform you I have seen Mr. Hugh Elliott, who spoke in the highest terms imaginable of you, and who, notwithstanding his appointment of Governor of Barbadoes, is so much enraptures with our colony that he appears greatly inclined to abandon the design of taking command of the one for the hopes of acquiring the government of the other. I have seen him but once, and then for a short time; but it was sufficiently long for me to see how superior a man he is, and how very different from his, I trust, predecessors in the government of New South Wales.

*    *    *    *    *    *    *    *

Nothing has transpired with respect to the determination of Ministers on the subject of Governor Bligh's arrest. The trial is printed, but with no narration prefixed to it; for Mr. Watson strenuously insisted that, as no person was more capable of undertaking his own justification than yourself, it would be imprudent to make a publication in which some facts might be too much urged, while others were not sufficiently preferred. Mr. Plummer is, however, preparing a statement of all the unjust and arbitrary things committed by Governor Bligh.

Colonel Tench is in town; he is greatly interested in all that has passed. I put the trial into his hands, and I feel assured that it will produce on his mind the same effect that it does on all those, and they are many, that have read it—a firm belief in the justness of your cause, a perfect conviction of your honor and integrity, and a lasting impression of the strength of your mind, and of the soundness of your judgment. Such being the case, I shall feel no hesitation in giving Mr. Elliott a perusal of that document.

As Mr. Watson particularly desired that I would keep as much as possible in the background, and as I see no probability of the events in which I feel so much concern being discussed for a long time. I am determined rather than live at a great expense here, to join my regiment in Spain, and where I am inspired with the hopes of gain.

I am &c.,

Edward McArthur.

{Page 177}

Chapter VI.


When the 102nd Regiment returned to England from New South Wales, Colonel Johnston was appointed to the command, and but for his writing to demand an enquiry it is probable that the affair of Bligh's deposition would have been allowed to sleep.

However, the court-martial resulted in Johnston being cashiered. Bligh, though afterwards made an Admiral, was never again employed in any public capacity.

Macarthur deemed it unwise to return to the Colony without an assurance that the Government would not molest him for the part he had taken in Bligh's arrest, but this assurance was denied him for many years.

The story of his exile from his wife, home and three daughters, Elizabeth, Mary, and Emmeline, is best told in his letters to his wife, and it is much to be regretted that Macarthur did not keep the letters she wrote to him during his absence from the Colony, for doubtless her able and graphic pen gave much detailed information that would have been of interest now.

Rio Janerio, 22nd July 1809.

My dearest Elizabeth.

I write this to be forwarded to the Cape of Good Hope by a small Sloop, the Master of which has been good enough to promise that he will either send or cause it to be sent by the first ship bound from that Port to New South Wales.—If it should be fortunate enough to arrive before Letters which may be sent direct from hence it will remove your apprehensions for our health and safety up to this period.—The boys and myself have been perfectly well, and were as comfortable while we were on board the Admiral Gambier as could be expected. We arrived here on the 12th June and expect to sail for England about the last day of the month, but not on Board the Admiral Gambier.—Mr. Harrison has been involved in such perplexity about his Contract, and is withall so uncertain a character, that Colonel Johnston and myself considered it prudent to secure a passage in the first good ship bound for England.—We have therefore embarked on board the Lady Warburton of Liverpool, a fine new ship of 400 tons, well manned and armed.—Dr. Jamieson with his friends have taken theirs in the Duke of Kent a small ship belonging to London.—Harris remains in the Gambier—and Davidson sometimes talks of going to England and sometimes of returning to Port Jackson.—

Your English Letters will I hope have informed you of all Edwards motions.—By the greatest chance I met with young King here a midshipman on board the Dianna Frigate, and learnt from him that Edward was in the 60th Regiment when they sailed from England.—That he had taken his passage in her some months before from Vigo to Corunna, and was afterwards seen at Plymouth safe and in excellent spirits.—Young King informed me that Edward had been visiting your Mother a few days before he saw him, and that he learnt she also was well.—He could not say whether Ned had purchased his Commission or not, nor could he give me the slightest news respecting our political affairs.—Except that he understood that the New South Wales Corps was to be relieved and that a General Nightingale * had been appointed to the Government.—But not one word did he know (or if he did would he speak) of the sentiments entertained by Government respecting the arrest of Mr. Bligh.

[* His health prevented him from accepting the appointment.]

We have since seen Admiral De Courcy, who commands the Squadron on this Station,—but he is equally unacquainted with what opinions are held by the people in Power: altho' he loudly reprobated the conduct of Bligh—as indeed every man does who speaks of him.

I shall look forward with impatience to the time when our doubts will be removed, and we shall know whether we have to bear with persecution in England, as well as in New South Wales.

Since the Dianna sailed English papers have arrived from which we learn that Lieutenant Colonel McQuarry of the 73rd is appointed Governor and Commander in Chief in New South Wales, and that he was on the point of embarking with his regiment on board the Hindostan and Dromedary—it was supposed they would touch here.—The paper was dated the 10th of May, so that we may hope to see them before we sail, if we are so lucky we shall get all the information we want.

I know a little of Colonel McQuarry, and think him a Gentlemanly Man.

What would I give to know how you all do, particularly our poor Elizabeth, but tis vain to wish upon such a subject.

Colonel Johnston is in good health but thinks this opportunity so bad a one that he does not write.

I shall leave letters behind to be taken on by the New Governor in which I shall write more at large.

Remember me to the few friends who may enquire about me, and most affectionately to all under our own roof.

God bless and preserve my Dearest Wife

Prays her ever affectionate

John McArthur.

Rio Janerio 30th July 1809.

My dearest Elizabeth.

I have delayed writing this letter until the last in expectation of the arrival of the ships from England with our new Governor and the 73rd who we learn are intended to relieve our old acquaintance. But unfortunately I am disappointed, and must submit to a state of tormenting suspense until we reach England.—Not however to torment you upon a subject, which judging from my own feelings must be most painful I have the satisfaction to say my health was never better, and thank God both the Boys are quite as well.

What would I not sacrifice to be assured that you and all the dear Girls are as well. I have, forwarded two letters to you by the Cape of Good Hope which probably may arrive before Mr. Davidson to whom I entrust this.—How he is to find his way back to Port Jackson I cannot imagine as it appears Mr. Harrison has no means of fulfilling his Contract.

To repeat the various rumours we have heard since our arrival respecting the sentiments of Government upon our affairs would be idle, for of the many we have heard, not two agree—If it be true that Minchin is gone out again you will be sooner and better informed upon the subject that we can expect to be until we reach England.—And what will perhaps be more pleasing to you and not much less important you will also learn the destination of Edward.—In an Army List for May I observe he stands the third Ensign in the second Battalion of the 60th Regt., It is therefore probable he will soon get a Lieutenancy—Of our dear John ** I know nothing more, than that he was well in March and continuing with Dr. Lindsay.

[** Their second son.]

Uncertain as is the conveyance of letters from hence, it is necessary I should repeat, that I am embarked on board the Lady Warburton a fine new ship of 400 tons bound to Liverpool—Johnston accompanies me—Harris proceeds in the Admiral Gambier, and Jamieson in another ship bound to London. We sail tomorrow—the others I am of opinion will not sail this Month.

As Mr. Davidson has heard all my arrangements here I refer you to him for information of the difficulties I have had to contend with in my Mercantile objects, I have also written fully to Mr. Blaxcell by the Cape of Good Hope.

In two months I hope to be in England, and in three months after on my way back; but however short my stay there may be, or speedy the returning voyage, it will yet be to me a dreary and comfortless time—I trust in God I shall soon receive an assurance of the perfect recovery of our poor sufferer Elizabeth.—Both James and William still continue to profess a strong attachment to the sea, and I do not take any pains to discourage it—William has the activity of a Monkey, and sits on a Yard Arm on a Top gallant Mast Head with as much apparent ease and satisfaction as if he were in an Elbow Chair. Coming on board a few days since I saw him perched aloft like a Bird, but before I could ascend the side the Urchin had descended like lightening down one of the back stays, and was at the Gang way before me—They have both improved in their writing, and I hope have not forgotten anything they had before learnt—James accompanied me yesterday to dine with Lord Strangford (from whom I have received very particular attentions) William was also invited, but he has contrived to ornament his cloaths even too highly for the company of an Ambassador—Every garment he has is covered with Pitch and Tar—he will however make a fine daring fellow.

Colonel Johnston is at my elbow complaining of the rheumatism and the ravages of old age, whilst William is gravely remarking to him that it is the climate, for he feels his bones ache also. I saw Young Phillip King here who informed me your Mother was well, and that Edward after his return from Spain had visited her—No doubt you will receive full and I hope satisfactory information of his adventures and future expectations. I have seen several Officers here who speak of him very flatteringly, may he continue to deserve the good report of the World and enjoy the good fortune to receive it. When you write my beloved Elizabeth omit nothing that relates to yourself—to hear what you are doing will be my chief consolation until we meet again—I most fervently pray that it may be soon, and if it pleases God to restore me to you all, that I may find you in perfect health.

James and William are now asleep in their Cot by my side.—

May God Almighty bless and preserve you all is the unceasing Prayer My Beloved Wife of

Your affectionate Husband

J. McArthur.

London, 28th November 1809.

My Dearest Dearest Elizabeth,

I am most happy and thankful to find a vessel on the point of sailing for Port Jackson—If her voyage be prosperous the receipt of this letter will relieve your mind from those apprehensions for my safety and that of the dear boys, which have I fear too powerfully agitated and afflicted the most faithful of human hearts. My letters from Rio Janerio would acquaint you our voyage to that Port was not an expeditious one, and that Colonel Johnston and myself were determined on prosecuting the remaining part on board a Liverpool Ship. In her we had less reason to think ourselves fortunate than in the Admiral Gambier as we were twelve weeks before we made the Coast of Ireland, and were at last obliged, after buffetting about almost a fortnight, to land at Limerick. From that City we proceeded by land to Cork, and embarked from thence for Bristol, which we reached all in good health on the 9th Ultimo.

As I had apprised Mr. Thompson * of the route we intended to pursue, Edward who is stationed at Hereford with a Recruiting Party, hastened to meet me; and I had the satisfaction within an hour after I had set my feet on English ground to see our dear Boy in good health, and infinitely more robust in appearance than when he left us.

[* A family friend.]

There was also a letter from our dear John expressing the utmost impatience to hear of the safety of his Father and Brothers.

I shall now speak of my own more immediate affairs, and as I greatly fear some of our good friends will increase your apprehension by the idle reports of the hostile disposition of Government towards us, let me entreat you my beloved wife to believe my solemn assurance, that so far from having anything to dread, we have the utmost reason to expect a successful termination of the business we have undertaken; and that when a full disclosure of the iniquity of our adversaries is made, they will all be overwhelmed with the contempt and detestation they so much deserve.

How it might have been had Lord Castlereagh and that Northern Bear Mr. Cook remained in office I cannot say, for certain it is they had both declared themselves adverse to us; and had they retained their authority they would have increased our difficulties, and perhaps, in the end, have crushed us altogether.—We ought, therefore, to think ourselves very fortunate that these men are removed, for from what I hear and know of their characters, it is not trifles that would deter them from executing any plan which they might conceive their interest required them to pursue.

On the day of our arrival at Bristol Johnston waited on the Duke of Northumberland at Clifton (a place contiguous to that City) but found His Grace preparing to set off into Devonshire the following morning—The Duke received him in the kindest manner and intimated his wish that he would follow him into Devonshire. As this was not to be neglected Johnston left town last night: and I hope he will obtain the sanction of His Grace to a Plan which I suggest to hasten an enquiry into our conduct. Perhaps Edward has already informed you how handsomely the Duke exerted his interest to procure him a Lieutenancy in the 39th Regiment, and that the moment His Grace heard of our arrival at Rio, he most obligingly wrote to Edward to congratulate him upon the news. If I should be so fortunate as to obtain the protection and good opinion of this Noble Family, my misfortunes may prove a source of advantage to our Children if not to ourselves.

It remains to be ascertained what part my old acquaintance Sir Walter will take **—he promises largely and may perhaps by a little management be induced to perform. Mr. Watson received me in the same kind and frank manner I had a right to expect from his past friendship—and I have since received repeated proofs of his goodwill—Lord Camden continues President of the Council—of course I cannot expect to be received by him until matters are settled, but I have good reason to think he is well inclined towards me.

[** Sir Walter Farquhar—Physician to the King.]

Mr. Brogden who you already know is one of the Duke of Northumberland's members, is amongst the forwardest and most active of our advocates—this Gentleman paid great attention to Edward after his return and when he left England commenced a correspondence with him, which has continued without interruption, and already produced a Friendship as flattering as it is likely to be beneficial to the Boy—scarcely a week passes but Mr. B. writes to him, with as much warmth of affection as if he were his son, and advises him with as much earnestness as if his own happiness depended upon his advice being adopted.—The Duke of Northumberland also spoke of him in warm terms of praise to Colonel Johnston,—in short he appears to have created friends wherever he has been introduced: who kindly attribute to him the virtues of spirit, temperance, intelligence and a score of other good qualities. Mr. Thompson told me the other day that he asked an officer of the 60th how he liked him and was answered "who can help liking him, wherever he is known he becomes a Favourite."—To this most gratifying account of our eldest born I can add of my own knowledge, that he is industriously qualifying himself for that Rank in his Profession which he has the fairest prospects of attaining if it please God to spare his life.

What would I give to be assured that our poor sufferer Elizabeth is to be a participator with you in the pleasure this relation will give—I fear however too fondly to cherish hope lest if the worst should happen I be found entirely unprepared for the event which I dread—May God mercifully please that your next Letters may remove my sufferings upon this excruciating subject.

December 11th.

When I had concluded the last sentence I felt my spirits too much depressed to proceed and therefore gave up the attempt. Early the following morning I heard the Eolus had arrived, and in the course of the day Mr. Blair called and assured me Captain Addie had letters from you. About a week after I received a large packet from Mr. Oxley and Mr. Thompson another from you (which enclosed the Bills I left you to forward). Happily Oxley's letter contained information that you and all the family were well in which all from the spirits in which he writes I must conclude that my dearest Elizabeth is included. I will not attempt to describe because I feel it is impossible how happy this joyful this almost unhoped for and unexpected news has made me. Poor dear creature I left her under the fullest convictions, that in this world we were never more to meet. Thank God for mercifully determining otherwise.

But what can have become of your letter to me, for I cannot doubt your having written. Perhaps Captain Addie keeps it to deliver himself, if so, a few days will remove my suspense.—

I must now, my dearest Elizabeth, acquaint you with a circumstance, which, as it may be told to you with aggravated particulars it would be improper to attempt to conceal. Let me however first assure you that at this moment I am free from all complaints, and hope soon to recruit my strength. The evening of the day (28th Novr.) I ceased writing I was seized with violent spasms in my side which increased rather than abated in their violence until last Friday (three days ago). On the Saturday I felt entirely relieved from pain and have continued so ever since and I have the satisfaction to add that Sir Walter has assured me I shall be quite myself again in a fortnight provided I am obedient to orders, which you may depend upon it I shall be for many persons sakes. Having now told you the worst that can be told, unless truth be violated, I shall rely upon your not tormenting yourself with needless apprehensions for my safety, and that you will believe me when I declare that I am at this moment in excellent spirits and altogether without pain or disease of any kind.

Colonel Johnston has returned from the Duke of Northumberland, with his Grace's opinion respecting our future operations, and he has gone off to our Solicitor to communicate the Duke's opinion. All I have at present to say on the subject is, that our affairs wear a most promising aspect. It is my intention to keep a daily Journal * which I shall transmit whenever there are opportunities.

[* This Journal has not been found.]

Mr. Jamieson arrived a week ago, and Dr. Harris and Walter Davidson last Friday, they are all well.

Blighs having included W. D.** in the Proclamation appears to have touched Sir W. to the quick.

[** Walter Davidson.]

It will not surprise you that honest Sam Marsden has displayed more than his accustomed activity in propagating the most diabolical falsehoods for the purpose of creating favourable opinions of the virtues of his friend Bligh and his party; whilst on the other hand, he has blackened the character of myself and the opponents of Bligh by the most scandalous reports, either entirely untrue or exaggerated in that peculiar style that he has been so celebrated for in New South Wales. I send you a review containing a faithful drawn character of the immaculate priest, and I hope, by the next Ship, to send you some commentaries upon this most extraordinary text, which will, I think, throw additional light, if not lustre, upon the life and conduct of this pious missionary. I declare to God, I think the people of England the greatest dupes in the universe.

I am informed a Transport with stores will be ready in three weeks, by her expect particular details of all we are doing. The Colonel is in high spirits.—

Edward will most probably come to town with James and William this week, as he daily expects an order to join the first Batallion of his Regiment at Malta. John is now with me in town and I hope soon to be sufficiently disengaged to turn my whole attention to the consideration of a plan for the completion of his education. He is a fine youth, and I trust in God will be fortunate but when I contemplate him and observe the too prominent parts of his character which he derives from a person you well know he makes me shudder for his safety on the voyage of life.

He is now 5 feet 9 inches high, and has indications about him of rising to 6 feet. His person and manners are exceedingly prepossessing, the latter are indeed as soft and winning as can be wished, but under this softness I can discover an indescribable fierceness of independence and an obstinacy to pursue what he has once determined on, which neither reason nor dread of future consequences are likely to operate on him to relax. I wish it were otherwise, for altho' it may lead to much good, it is accompanied with too many and too great dangers. He is apparently possessed with a most excellent constitution. . . . .

I shall expect letters from my dear Elizabeth and Mary by the next Ships—they can require no assurance of my unalterable affection—My dear little Emmeline must now be a sweet engaging prattler, give her a hundred kisses for her father.—

As it is probable that the N.S.W Corps will be gone before this can arrive I do not know to whom to desire remembrances to, but if they are not you will have the goodness to use my name not only to the few friends I have in the Corps but to all out of it to whom it would be proper I should give proofs of respect and regard.—

If Kemp be in the Colony tell him he will receive full information respecting his fathers intentions towards him altho' I have nothing certain to impart at this time.

Colonel Johnston is returned from our Solicitor and on Wednesday we commence our legal operations with the aid of some of the ablest Counsel in the Kingdom. My little friend, Mr. Williams has entered into the business with all the spirit and energy I calculated upon. He is of opinion it will become one of the most popular and interesting causes that have come before the public for many years. Bligh is now universally execrated, before we arrived he was pitied.

May the Almighty preserve and protect my beloved wife and girls is the fervent and unceasing prayer. . . .

P.S.—This moment is put into my hands a most kind letter from General Grose who is in Ireland. He and Mrs. G. desire to be kindly remembered to you.

By Mr Moore I send a trunk of what I know will be most acceptable. I hope in six weeks to see your Mother, she is perfectly well.

London 14th Feby. 1810.

My dear dear Elizabeth,

To be provided against any accident which may befal the packet I propose to send by the Canada I have requested Colonel Johnston to put this short letter into a trunk that he has had interest with the Transport Board to get shipped. I am also exerting myself to get a similar indulgence and hope to succeed, but of this more hereafter. A few days after I had despatched my letter by Mr. Burneys ship I had the inexpressible happiness to receive yours by the Eolus by which I learnt the extraordinary, and by me almost unexpected change that had taken place in our poor dear Elizabeths health. I trust in God your next letters will contain tidings of her perfect recovery, as well as the health of yourself and my dear Mary and Emmeline. Your letters were accompanied by a very long one from Oxley with all the particulars of Blighs proceedings from the period of their departure from Port Jackson. The information Oxley gives will not allow me even to hope that the wretch will quit the colony until forced, consequently many tedious months must elapse before he can arrive in this Country, and until he does not a single step will be taken in our business. But it is useless to repine, and indeed improper, because an event that I now consider so unfortunate may in the end prove quite the reverse.—

In my former letter I acquainted you that I had just recovered from a most violent cold. A few days after that letter was despatched it returned again with renewed violence, and in a very short time had so increased as to confine me to my bed.—The complaint continued with but little dimunition for several weeks, but, thank God, I entirely got the better of it more than a week since, and I am now recruiting my strength very rapidly. Next week I propose going to the hot wells at Bristol, where I shall remain until April. I have been attended to by Sir Walter Farquhar with great care and solicitude, but it is a week since he has seen me, and since I have ceased to take any medicine. Having now, my dearest Love, made you acquainted with the real truth, I entreat you will not suffer yourself to be alarmed with any exaggerated reports that may be circulated in the Colony, for I do in the most solemn manner assure you that I am at this moment free from all complaint, and sufficiently strong to go abroad, were it not that I should consider it imprudent to expose myself to any hazard of a second relapse.

Edward was with me all last week and left me only three days ago he is at present quartered at Winchester with a party of his Regiment, who are under orders to join the 1st Battalion at Malta, but it is extremely uncertain when they will go. He is in high health and spirits. I wrote to him last night to send up his letters for N.S.Wales and no doubt shall get them in time to forward with my own.

John has been at the University at Glasgow for a month. He expresses himself to be pleased with his situation, and I have every reason to hope that he will prosecute his studies diligently. He resides in the house of a clergyman of great respectability. I heard from him last week, he was perfectly well and spoke of sending up a packet for you, but I am fearful it will be too late. William and James, or I should have said James and William are both at Dr. Lindsays. Edward saw them on Friday both well and perfectly content with their situation.

Edward received a letter from your Mother last week, she was then in good health as was your sister. A Madras paper has been received here which speaks of the arrival of the Elizabeth at Canton but I have not heard from Hannibal.

No notice whatever has been taken by Government of our affairs, but I have the satisfaction to know that our friends have not been idle since our arrival, and that Mr. Blighs party are extremely crest fallen. I had a visit three days ago from Mr. Elliott (Lord Minto's brother) and in speaking of the arrest of Bligh he said "I have the pleasure to assure you that only one opinion now prevails on this subject—It is universally acknowledged that the measure was indispensible for the preservation of everything worth saving in the Colony, and altho' you have been much misrepresented, its effects have subsided, and your conduct is a subject of much praise."

Thus you see my beloved Wife that the painful separation to which we have been obliged to submit may produce consequences favourable both to ourselves and our children.

I hope Colonel MacQuarrie has arrived safe amongst you long before this. If he prove on trial at all equal to the universal character he has here, his Government cannot but prove a blessing to the Colony. Circumstanced as you are, and strongly recommended as you have been to the kind notice and favour of the Colonel and Mrs. MacQuarrie, I cannot entertain the slightest apprehension of your not deriving happiness and increased security from the change. What would I not sacrifice to know the exact state of things amongst you, but it is unavailing to indulge such an idea. . . . .

Bath 3rd May 1810.  

My beloved Elizabeth,

I have not words to describe to you the happiness and gratification I felt at the receipt of your letters of the 13th of last October, brought on I understand to Rio in the Mary Ann, and forwarded from thence by the Elizabeth, Man-of-War. They found me here endeavouring to recruit my health and spirits, but though the former is pretty well restored, I found it altogether impracticable to shake off a gloom which had continued to increase upon me ever since the arrival of the letter you sent by way of India, wherein you expressed your apprehensions that our sweet girl would never recover the use of her limbs again. It shocked me more than any other tidings of the dear sufferer possibly could have done, for life under such deplorable circumstances could confer no pleasure, and must, in my opinion, be an unceasing burthen to the afflicted object. Judge then what must have been, and what are still, my feelings at reading the almost unhoped for news of the favourable change which has taken place in the health of my beloved girl.—The day after I received your letters, Mr. Redfern's nephew came over from Trowbridge, kindly sent by his father, with a letter from Mr. Redfern to me, in which your account of the dear girl's progressive recovery is most fully and pleasingly confirmed. I think I need not tell you, that if I had as much power as I have inclination, Mr. Redfern's reward for the service he has rendered Elizabeth should be as great as the skill he has manifested in discovering and applying an efficacious remedy to her extraordinary disease.—I hope he will be informed that no pains were spared on my part to ascertain how far it might be practicable to obtain a confirmation of his appointment, and I beg to assure him that whenever Mr. Bligh's affair is settled, whatever little interest I may have shall be exerted in his favour.—

I sent a packet to town by the coach this morning containing Protested Bills, Letters etc. accompanied by a memorandum, which will, I hope, be sufficient to explain to you the mode I think most advisable to be pursued to collect together the large sums due upon them. Whether I shall be able to recover anything from Blaxland on the draft you enclosed a copy of in your last letter is very doubtful. I must, however, try what can be done. I have received letters from Hannibal, dated 30th September from Canton. He had disposed of the Elizabeth and her Cargo, but at so low a rate as will leave him a vast sum short of our sanguine calculations. He does not say what is the cause of so extraordinary a depreciation in the price of sandal wood. I suppose it must be occasioned by the immense quantities of that commodity lately sent to that market.—In the packet I sent today is a copy of Hannibal's account for Mr. Blaxcell, with an estimate of the amount he will most probably remain debtor to me, even tho' I should safely receive remittances for the sandal-wood sent in the Wellesley and by the American brig from Rio de Janerio. You will of course urge him to pay what he can in liquidation of the heavy balance against him, and, at all events, to give an obligation to pay interest for what he cannot pay, as it cannot be expected that I can afford to suffer for another person to carry on trade with my money, while I am deprived of all benefit from it myself.

I entreat you not to let these adverse circumstances prey upon your spirits, they cannot be helped, and repining may increase, but will not repair, the evil.

If you get my letters by the Canada you will learn that Edward sailed from Portsmouth in March to join his Regiment at Malta—he was in excellent spirits, and highly elated at the flattering reception he has met from many respectable characters,—There can be no fear of his doing well for a better disposed youth does not exist.

John affords a prospect of equal success in the line he has chosen—altho' he has been only three months at the University—he has obtained the Fourth Prize amongst 400 candidates for his Greek exercises—You will find a letter in the packet from a Mr. Young respecting him—He is a Greek professor and is said to be the ablest man at the University of Glasgow—I have heard that John has recommended himself very much to his favour since the letter was written.—I heard James and William were well on Easter Monday and spent two days in Castle Street with Miss Thompson—they are very diligent good boys, and great favourites with Dr. Lindsay—My worthy old friends Mr. and Mrs. Thompson are here with me, and desire their affectionate remembrances to you and Elizabeth; at whose recovery they rejoice as much as if she were their own daughter.—I have been induced to try the air of this City in hopes of shaking off' a terrible nervous affection that has assailed me more or less since I got the better of the severe cold that confined me so long in the Winter—But I do not derive so much benefit from living here as I expected and therefore I shall remove in a day or two to Cheltenham to try the effects of the Mineral Waters, for which that place is celebrated.

. . . . I am sorry Mr. Wentworth has omitted to send positive instructions for the disposal of his son.*—Mr. Cookney is very anxious what he wishes to have done with him, and it is high time something should be determined upon—He is a very pleasing Lad.

[* Wm. Charles Wentworth.]

I cannot give you the slightest information respecting our more important business—Government are perfectly silent upon the subject—and the colony and its affairs appear to be as little thought of as if it had no existence, I unceasingly pray for the arrival of Bligh, but I fear we shall not see him until the time of the return of the Regiment—Many people are of opinion he will never return—-but that is absurd—for where can he hide himself—How thankful should I be if the business were settled; for to live in such a state of suspense is dreadful—Nothing can I arrange, nor form any fixed plan respecting my return to you my dearest Elizabeth, and my darling Girls. You will learn from the Newspapers that the Publick Mind is very far from being tranquil in this country.—Many are of opinion that a Revolution is unavoidable, and cannot be long protracted.—In such a state of things it would be weak indeed to expect that the affairs of our insignificant Colony should create much interest. No man thinks of anothers safety when his own house is burning.—I left Johnston a month ago—he was then well; but I fear the losses at which you hint will affect him severely—He does bear misfortunes of this nature with much equanimity.—I ought to have had a letter from John to forward with this, but I fear it will be too late for the Ship.—Davidson is in Scotland with his Father.

I hope Colonel Macquarrie's arrival will have produced some beneficial changes in the Colony—What his instructions were are kept a profound secret—It is however understood here, that they were not at all favourable to any one concerned in Mr. Bligh's arrest.—The precedent is not liked, for men in power prefer unlimited authority over those they govern.—We may think ourselves fortunate Mr. Cook is out of office, for, had he remained in authority his arbitrary principles would have made him extremely active in support of Bligh—Sir Joseph Banks still continues to advocate his friends cause, and speaks of him as a much injured meritorious character—fortunately no one believes him.—We shall be looking out about the beginning of July for the 102nd, what a bustle their removal must have created. It is a happy event for the Colony for a more improper set of men could not be collected together than they have lately become.

Let not my dear Mary imagine I have forgotten her. because I have omitted her name until now—she and all of you are continually in my thoughts, and my prayers are almost unceasingly addressed to Almighty God for your health and happiness—Kiss my sweet cherub Emmeline and teach her to love me. God Almighty Bless

You my beloved Wife.—

John McArthur.

London 20th July 1810.

My Beloved Wife,

I am sure it will give you great pleasure to hear that Hannibal has arrived safely in this country. He landed at Liverpool the latter end of last month, and proceeded immediately to join me here. My former letters will have prepared your mind to bear the disappointment of our expectations of advantage from that adventure. After settling his accounts with me he left London to visit his father at Plymouth, and he still remains there. It is my intention to hurry him back to you immediately after the arrival of the next ships from Port Jackson, and I hope I shall receive some letters from you by them, with such information as will enable me to form some determinate plan.

I enclose you herewith a bundle of accounts for Mr. Blaxcell, which will give him every necessary information of the results of our unfortunate speculations in sandal-wood.—I have not yet got the Dart's accounts settled, but there will be a considerable loss on his adventure.

Tell Mr. Blaxcell I am much chagrined and disappointed that he does not write to me, as I fully expected he would have been mindful of his promise to do so. I hope he has sold out my share in the Favourite, as I instructed him before I sailed, and accounted with you for it.

Mr. John Blaxland has positively refused to pay me the £630 without I produce the original draft, and I find I cannot compel him while that draft is in existence. I have, however, caused him to be arrested, and he has been obliged to give bail. When the time of trial comes on, I must present an affidavit to the Court stating every particular of the transaction between us, and praying time to be allowed to produce the original bill. My Attorney assures me that will certainly be granted, and that by adopting this plan I shall have two good bondsmen to look to for my money, if he should be incapable of paying, or should the original bill be lost in coming home, attested copies will then be considered good evidence.—I have, therefore, written a letter to you, expressly on this subject, and I have sent you a copy of his letter to my attorney, that you may show the friends of Messrs. Blaxlands how much their testimony is worth in a Court of Justice. You will recollect Gregory swore that his brother told him he had paid the draft, and in the letter to my attorney John says he thinks it probable his brother has made some arrangement to pay it, as he had written to him on the subject.—When you send the attested copies of the draft and protest, send with them a copy of the letter you write with the originals, for should the originals be lost, it will be necessary to prove by what ship they were sent, at what time, and every other particular.

I hope you have received the protested bills I sent you by the Canada etc. etc. safe—Sloans for £150 endorsed by Lord, Kables for £100—, Kables for £672—of which £340—8—3 had been paid, leaving a balance of £331—11—9 with interest and expenses to be received. I now send you the second of Kables £1665—6—0 endorsed by Lord, which there is no chance of getting paid in this country, for they are all over head and ears in debt. The accompanying copies of Letter of advice from Lord to Messrs. Plummer & Co., and of their letter to me, will prove that the draft has been kept back at the request of Lord, by which means, if you have not already, on the receipt of the first bill by the Frederick, taken steps, you will be enabled to prosecute either the Drawer or the Endorser, as may appear to you most prudent. I am sensible, my dearest Elizabeth, how hard a task necessity obliges me to impose upon you, and believe me however painful it may be to you I bear my full share of the evil when I reflect, as indeed I am constantly doing, upon your situation. I do not doubt but Mr. Best will lessen your difficulties all in his power, and whatever may be the result, I shall be satisfied you have acted for the best.—But do not compromise with the unprincipled knaves, for depend upon it their circumstances will become more desperate every day.—

Remember me very kindly to Mr. Wentworth, and tell him that I have urged; everything I could think of as likely to induce Lord Fitzwilliam to get an appointment for his son in the Company's service or into the Academy at Woolwich. His Lordship really has no interest with the present men, or I am sure he would exert it. I have therefore agreed with Mr. Cookney that there is nothing else to be done but to send him out by the first good opportunity. Most probably he will come with Hannibal.

Inform Mr. Redfearn that nothing can be done in his business here, but everything must depend on the report of Colonel Macquarrie. Let him know I saw his brother and nephew at Trowbridge, and that I shall feel the greatest pleasure if it should be in my power to aid their exertions to serve him.

For the present, my dearest, best beloved Elizabeth


3rd August 1810.

My Beloved Elizabeth,

I begin now to console myself with hopes that a very little time will announce the arrival of the ships with the 102nd and Mr. Bligh, and that at the same time I shall get letters from you—God grant that they may contain a confirmation of the almost unexpected recovery of my dear Elizabeth. But for that happy event, I should have spent many a lonely and melancholy hour oppressed by apprehensions for her safety; and anticipating with dread the probable effect which a fatal termination of her complaint might produce on your spirits and health.

The accompanying letters from Edward and John will set your heart at ease respecting them.

Yesterday Mr. Thompson received a letter from Edward dated 12th July advising of his having drawn a small draft, and informing him that he then remained at Gibralta waiting the arrival of the Battalion of the 39th to which he is attached, on their way from Malta to Cadiz. This was altogether an unexpected circumstance to me, as not the slightest hint had transpired here that their removal was intended. He promises to write to me from Cadiz, and it is by no means improbable I may get his letters in time to send with this. He writes to Mr. Thompson in excellent spirits. I must now look about and endeavour to procure introductions for him to some of the General Officers serving there—luckily there is one old friend of mine, a Colonel MacDonald, who has the appointment of Adjutant General, to whom Ned is well known, and who, I am sure, will feel pleasure in bringing him forward if it be in his power.

The most sanguine expectations are entertained here that the French will not succeed in their attack on Cadiz, and it is certain that our Government are determined to give every support and assistance. Perhaps fortune may give our dear boy an opportunity to distinguish himself, and I am confident, if it be in his power, he will not neglect it.—

John is assiduously prosecuting his studies, and had the good fortune to obtain a publick mark of approbation of his good conduct and talents when he had not been more than three months at the College.—I enclose you the newspaper containing the account of it. Your own feelings will enable you to conceive what pleasure I felt upon hearing it.—Dr. Lindsay who has lately been in Scotland and visited John, tells me that he has one Prize Essay finished, and a second in a forward state that will do him great credit at the next Examination. He is, thank God, a well disposed excellent boy. . . . .

. . . . is just starting in the Mercantile Line, and if good sense and prudence can ensure success will do very well, but the times are frightfully hazardous. Scarce a day passes without the failure of some eminent Merchant or Banker, insomuch that men begin to withdraw their confidence from their nearest connexions, and almost universal distrust and alarm prevails. There is, however, no diminution of luxury and expense, altho' every one readily admits that nine out of ten are spending more than they can afford.—But I am suffering my apprehensions for others to make me forget that you will be better pleased I should speak of myself.—

The complaint on my lungs from which I have suffered so much is now entirely gone, and my appearance is so much improved, that no one would imagine I suffered from any disease. I have still however continual slight attacks of the liver accompanied by the old plague obstinate indigestion. For six months I have drank nothing but water, and for the last three weeks I have eaten nothing but Bread and Milk. Fruit and Vegetables, since I have adopted this regimen I have been so much better that I begin to be persuaded I shall regain perfect health by persevering in it. For my breakfast I eat Bread and Milk my dinner consists of Bread Potatoes and sometimes ripe currants or gooseberries. I drink no Tea, but when at home a basin of milk, in company I never deviate from my system, and on no consideration ever touch Beer, Wine or Spirits. I take a great deal of exercise, and do it without feeling fatigue, whereas whilst I eat animal food, and took medicine (as I was obliged to do to promote digestion) a walk of two miles was the utmost I could perform.

Be assured, my dearest Elizabeth, that this is a faithful statement, and believe me when I tell you, that I entertain the most undoubting confidence of returning to you in better health than I have enjoyed for many years.—

If your next letters bring me as good tidings of yourself, my dear Elizabeth, Mary and Emmeline, it will make me most happy—Often in my walks about the pleasant Commons and Roads, of which there are so many in this neighbourhood, do I think of your probable employments, and calculate the difference of time. When I come home at about 10 o'clock I suppose you are seated at your breakfast table, and pray God that you may be enjoying your repast in happiness, and in health. At my own breakfast hour I picture you all seated round a cheerful fire, sipping your tea, and when I think of the immense space that separates us, and the labours I have to perform before I can flee to you, my philosophy is scarcely sufficient to enable me to bear my hard hard fate without desponding. Had I some employment to occupy my time my situation would be less painful, but I have not the slightest occupation, and my spirits are too much oppressed to enable me to find any relief from the amusements that used formerly to give me the greatest pleasure. Yesterday I had an unexpected gratification from the sight of a newspaper. It contained a long list of naval promotions including the names of many junior Officers to Bligh, who are promoted to be Admirals. This seems to confirm the reports of my friends, that Government view his conduct as it deserves, and that when he does arrive, we may expect something like justice, and an impartial hearing. Would to God the time were come, for I am weary of doubt and anticipation. . . . .

I enclose you now an old letter from Mary Anne Thompson that I found in a packet for me that Mr. Wilson had neglected to forward. Poor man, I fear his Botany Bay adventures will terminate most adversely. Do not let this go any further, because by credit he may sustain himself and fortune may cease to frown. . . . .

I have seen nothing of Mrs. King for many months. The last time I called she was absent from town. As she lives on the very opposite side of London close to Portland Road (where we lodged) the distance is too great to repeat my visits often.—Mrs. Thompson saw her about a week ago, and as she expressed an earnest wish to see the boys, I had engaged that they should spend the last three days of their holidays with Mrs. Thompson, and go with her to visit Mrs. King, but this has been prevented from taking place, by one of Mrs. Thompsons servants taking the measles, and as neither of the boys have as yet had that disease, I did not choose to expose them to the risk of catching it at this warm season of the year.—I am told Mrs. King is determined on returning to New South Wales. Poor woman, she must feel most sensibly the change of situations. She often meets Mrs. Thompson at the oculists for she also complains of her eyes. The girls are I hear all well and little Mary was, when I saw her a most beautiful child, and I am told continues so.—

I was exceedingly pleased to learn that you had nearly got the kitchen finished and much gratified, as you may suppose, at your details of your improvements, and your report of the prosperous state of all the stock.

I am perfectly aware, my beloved wife, of the difficulties you have to contend with, and fully convinced that not one woman in a thousand, (no one that I know) would have resolution and perseverance to contend with them at all, much more to surmount them in the manner that you have so happily done. That I am grateful and delighted with your conduct I think it is needless for me to say, because the consciousness you must feel how impossible it is, that such exemplary goodness can have failed to produce that effect, must convince you I am so, more certainly than any assurance that can be given. May God Almighty reward you both in this world and the next, and may the remainder of your life be free from those cruel cares and sorrows that have chequered so many of the last ten years.

If Colonel Macquarrie has arrived safe you are now freed from all further apprehensions of hostile attempts from that unprincipled man Mr. Foveaux, who, if he has not made any direct attempt to disturb you, has I am sure been deterred by nothing but shame and fear. I hope the Colonel will find his Government as agreeable to himself as I am persuaded it will prove beneficial to the Colony. Every person that I have heard speak of him concurs in giving him the highest character, and those who know him best, say, that if it be possible to advance the interests of the Colony and to improve the morals of the Colonists there is no man living more likely to accomplish it than Colonel Macquarrie. I am impatient to see the changes such a man will make amongst the wretches who have so long insulted every honourable and virtuous feeling by the unblushing display and avowal of infamy and vice, and most sincerely do I pray that he may speedily detect that arch-hypocrite Marsden, who certainly has done more mischief in that settlement than anyone of the worthless characters who have had an influence in the direction of publick affairs.

I have lately heard your mother and sister are well, and I shall direct Hannibal to pay your mother a visit before he leaves Devonshire. You know it was my intention to have done so myself, but my health prevented me for a long time, and the accounts Hannibal has brought me, united with other disappointments, deter me from incurring any expense that I can avoid.—

To my dearest girls say everything that can assure them of my unabated affection. God Almighty bless you both and them is the almost incessant prayer.

My beloved Elizabeth of your affectionate

John McArthur.

Newport Isle of Wight.

4th Septr. 1810.

My dear Elizabeth,

Having nothing to do in London and hearing Major Geils of the 73rd was waiting here with Mrs. Geils and his Family to embark on board the Providence, I determined about a week since to visit this Island, and introduce myself to them: well knowing how much satisfied you will feel to receive assurances from persons, who have seen me, that I am in good health. In pursuance of this idea I came hither, and have been very politely received by the Major and Mrs. Geils, who have undertaken to deliver you this Letter. Mrs. Geils has also taken into her care two small Boxes containing Millinery for yourself and the dear Girls. Captain Barclay of the Providence has also a large Packet of letters for you, and a Box of Linens and assorted necessaries.—They were put up in haste but I hope they will prove acceptable.

The little I have seen of Major and Mrs. Geils convinces me they will prove a valuable acquisition to the Society of New South Wales; and should they be stationed in your neighbourhood, you will certainly receive great pleasure from cultivating Mrs. Geil's acquaintance—They have six children who they take with them—I have ventured to promise that you will on their arrival pay them all the attention in your power, and give them every information they may stand in need of respecting the Colony. . . . .

Bligh arrived in England in October, 1810. On the 16th November of the same year Johnston wrote to Lord Liverpool and then applied for permission to remain in London, which was refused him.

London 11th Novr. 1810.

My beloved Wife,

The unexpected detention of the Providence at Cork happily affords me an opportunity of acknowledging the receipt of your several Letters and their enclosures by Colonel Foveaux and Mr. Oxley but I am in too much bustle to write at much length. Is it necessary I should say how happy your and the dear Girls' Letters have made me?—it cannot be, for an affection like mine must have displayed itself in so, many unequivocal substantive acts that professions would be absurd—The moment I heard of the arrival of the Ships I hastened to Portsmouth and had the pleasure to find Oxley and Porteous perfectly well, and to hear from them the interesting event that had taken place in your little Society, before their departure from amongst you. I returned to Town yesterday bringing under my escort Mrs. Paterson, who appears to be grateful for this mark of attention—you know I sometimes like to return disobliging acts this way—she is in good health and excellent spirits—there can be little reason to doubt her recovering from Government an allowance or a sum equivalent to the value of the Old Colonels Commission—You will not be surprised at his Death. God pardon his errors and the ills he suffered himself to be made instrumental in heaping upon my head. I feel confident, my dearest Elizabeth, that you act with your accustomed prudence, and preserve a guarded silence on the measures of your new Governor. Be patient, and all, will be well,—for I have found a powerful body of Friends in this Country, who are not only able but willing to give me their support to my endeavours to obtain satisfaction for the past and security for the future, depend upon it, the Colony will soon undergo a radical reform. I think I shall be obliged to procure a seat in Parliament—the expense will be great—but the prospect of the benefit from it is still greater—We must therefore be very economical in every other expenditure—and you must exert yourself to remit me all you can—Do not sell any Estate nor any part of the breeding stock that it would be desirable to keep—send home by every opportunity what Wool, you can—and let the most watchful attention be paid to improve the Flocks upon the Plan I recommended to you. . . . In a few days I commence my operations against Mr. Bligh—My damages will be laid at Twenty thousand Pounds. Unhappy miscreant his name is never mentioned in this Country but with execration. The Navy as you would naturally expect are very clamorous for his punishment. Johnston is in good health and excellent spirits. When Foveaux arrived I caused him to be told that no explanation could ever alter my opinion of certain transactions in N.S. Wales therefore it would be better not to make the attempt—but that I considered myself embarked in a common cause with him and on that account should subdue all personal resentments—we soon after met, and with great apparent cordiality, and I think with real satisfaction on his part———Foveaux appeared as much pleased as astonished—When shall I be known?

Edward sailed from Gibralter to join his Regt. in Sicily about the 12th of August God Almighty bless and protect my beloved wife Prays her ever affectionate Husband

John McArthur.

Walter Davidson is in Scotland but will most likely go out with Hannibal. Be careful of the Spanish Sheep and let no pains be spared in culling the Flocks. You have never sent me a return of Stock since I left home!!!. . . . Send me what Bird skins and seeds you can collect not Gaudy Common birds but plain Birds from the Mountains.

London December 5th 1810.

I have this moment heard that there is a chance that a letter may reach the Providence before she sails. I therefore send a few lines at all hazards, and as I am uncertain about a Frank I write in this manner to save postage. The printed Letter will explain as much as a volume could do. Colonel Johnston as you will see has been ordered to join and is now (although a proclaimed mutineer) commanding His Majesty's 102nd Regt.: this does not much accord with the opinions which we hear have been circulated but there is a time for all things. I am continually engaged from morning until night with my lawyers in arranging the plan of a formidable attack upon Mr. Bligh. Thank God (and bread and water) I never was in better health and spirits. Three days ago I received a letter from Edward dated the 22nd September, he had landed in Sicily and joined his Regiment the day before. He was quite well and highly gratified at his reception with the Regiment. He has excellent introductions to the different General Officers. In September next he will get a Company. John was well on the 1st of this month. On the same day I received a letter acknowledging the receipt of yours from your old friend Colonel Campbell in which was the following paragraph: "I had the pleasure of seeing your son two days since, he is one of the finest young fellows I ever met with, every one loves and respects him, his abilities are great and his manner most engaging." Are you not proud of your boy? James and William are also well, tomorrow they come home to get measured for some Holiday Clothes, they are both wonderfully grown and what is better are making rapid progress in their education, they are reading Virgil. Ten thousand, thousand blessings on you and the dear Girls is the reiterated prayer of
Your ever affectionate Husband.

(Enclosure 1.)

40 Leicester Square.

Nov. 16th 1810.

My Lord,

Twelve months have elapsed since I had the honor of reporting my arrival in this country to your Lordship; and nearly one month since the arrival of Captain Bligh, the late Governor of New South Wales. I therefore trust it will not appear to your Lordship that I am actuated by impatience; or any improper motive, in now earnestly soliciting the favor of information from your Lordship whether I am still to consider myself so unfortunate as to remain under the displeasure of Government, (as I had the inexpressible mortification to see declared in Governor Macquarie's proclamation) or, whether the evidence transmitted to your Lordship's immediate predecessor, and the subsequent approval of my conduct with the continuance of the arrest of Governor Bligh by Lieut. Colonel Foveaux, and the late Colonel Paterson, (both of them my superior officers) has convinced your Lordship that I had no alternative but the measure I adopted to preserve His Majesty's Government from the dishonour of a popular Insurrection, and the Colony from all the horrors which would have inevitably resulted from the success, or failure, of such an attempt.

From your Lordship's enlightened mind, I feel secure of justice and perfectly confident that in forming your decision, your Lordship will view, and without prejudice appreciate the difficulty and perplexity of the situation in which I was placed, by the extraordinary conduct of Governor Bligh. On the one hand the Governor evincing a total disregard of the sacred functions of his office to administer justice in mercy; and unmindful of the dignity of his gracious master whom he represented, violating private property and forcibly seizing the houses and lands of the colonists, without even a colourable pretext:—arresting their persons without the sanction of law or equity—threatening the Magistrates if they presumed to acknowledge any law but his will;—and either over-aweing, or attempting to over-awe, the supreme court of jurisdiction with an accusation of high treason, for no other cause than that they had declined to become servile instruments of his tyranny. On the other hand an enraged and indignant population urgently, almost clamourously, calling upon me for relief—Civil officers and inhabitants, military officers and soldiers, all uniting with one voice in urging me to rescue them from the common oppressor and the wretched associates under whose advice he was known to act.

It has, I have been told, my Lord, been said it was my duty to have supported the Governor; but I feel assured your Lordship will think differently.—I might have participated in his disgrace, but to have maintained his authority would have been a vain and fruitless attempt.

Not to trespass too much on your Lordship's time, I will only beg leave to say, that I am prepared and certainly feel most anxious to be allowed to exhibit proof of the high crimes and misdemeanours committed by Governor Bligh, whilst he commanded in New South Wales.

I am ready to produce incontestible evidence of his tyranny and oppression of the people he was sent to govern;—of gross frauds and shameful robberies committed upon the public property entrusted to his care; and lastly I will prove, that he has been guilty of heretofore unheard of and disgraceful cowardice.

I have the honour to be,

My Lord,

Your Lordship's most humble servant

George Johnston,

B. Lieut. Colonel 102nd Regiment.

To the Right Honorable the Earl of Liverpool, etc., etc.

(Enclosure No. 2.)

London.   November 21st 1810.


Having every reason to expect an enquiry will immediately take place relative to Captain Bligh, the late Governor of New South Wales, and myself have to request permission to remain in London in order that I may be ready to substantiate the charges, I have desired permission to prefer against him in my letter to the Right Honorable, The Earl of Liverpool.

I have the honour to be,

Yours etc., etc.,

George Johnston,

B. Lt. Col. 102nd Foot.

The Adjutant General of the Forces.

(Enclosure No. 3.)

Horse Guards.

22nd Nov. 1810.


I have had the honour to lay before the Commander-in-Chief your letter of the 21st Instant and am directed to acquaint you that the Commander in Chief is of opinion that the vicinity of the Quarters of the 102nd Regiment to London will enable you to attend to the business stated in your letter without interferring with your performance of Regimental Duty.

I have the honour to be,

Sir, etc., etc.

Hy. Calvert. A.G.

Lt. Col. Johnston.
   102nd Regiment.

London, 6th April 1811.

I have postponed writing my beloved Wife, until I am fearful of doing it any longer lest the Ships should sail, hoping that I should have it in my power to give you some information of the probable result of the arduous and unfortunate business which has torn me from my home.—But altho' I have been led to expect for near a month past that Colonel Johnston would be immediately brought to Trial, it is not yet done.—We have however been told by the Deputy Judge Advocate that a Warrant for the Trial has been before the Prince Regent several days, and that when it is signed a day for the Trial will be fixed; and the Colonel will at the same time be furnished with a copy of the Charges.—I cannot however hope that the Ships will be detained long enough to give me an opportunity to convey to you the long expected and to us important issue of the Trial—That I am anxious—deeply anxious I am sure I need not tell you; and I feel that anxiety increased, by the apprehension, that you my beloved Elizabeth are suffering more keenly from the same cause.—Would to God the affair were terminated, for such a state of suspense is more tormenting than the worst that could happen.—

I shall despatch by the Coach to night a large Packet of Letters many of them from our dear Boys Edward and John, with directions to my Agent at Portsmouth to put them on board the Admiral Gambier with this.—The information they contain of their health and other particulars will I know afford you and the dear Girls much heart felt joy—'I expect Letters every day from Edward, as I have received information from the Officers here that his Regiment was some months ago ordered to leave Sicily and to proceed to Portugal to reinforce Lord Wellington's Army.—But they will come too late to' share in the honor of driving the French from that Country, accounts having been received to day, that they were retreating in the greatest confusion with our Army at their Heels. This news has diffused an almost universal joy over the Town.—I say almost universal for to own the truth my own untoward affairs occupy so much of my attention, that publick events have a small share of my consideration. . . . .

Your, and the dear Girls' welcome Letters by the Porpoise and Concord all arrived safe—the Bills were all right and were all good. I trust in God your next will contain a continuance of the same good accounts of your own health, and of the complete recovery of my beloved Girl.—I need not add that in my Prayers for your and Elizabeth's health, dear Mary and my sweet Emmeline are not forgotten.—Dearly beloved Beings when shall I see and embrace you all again.—My own health with the exception of an excessive nervousness, which all my rigid temperance does not enable me to overcome. I have the pleasure to assure you is very good: and I entertain hopes when I have done with Mr. Bligh, and my mind is a little tranquillised I shall have no exceptions to make.—

Hannibal's Letters will acquaint you he is in London looking out for a small vessel in which I propose to despatch him with an adventure of Wines Porter &c.—I hope I shall be able to despatch him in about a month or six weeks—He is quite well, and left your Mother so about three weeks since but of his visit to them he will give you the particulars himself.—I hope you got the supply of articles safe which I sent you in the Providence in the care of Major Geils—I have everything provided which I think you can want to send by Hannibal—I am anxiously looking out for arrivals, and am as you will suppose anxious to learn what you have been enabled to do towards recovering the money from Lord Kable and Underwood.—I much fear you must have had more trouble than I could wish should perplex you—Hannibal will bring with him accounts and Letters to Mr. Blaxcell that will I hope enable him to settle everything with him to our mutual satisfaction—Poor old Jamieson died last Winter—he had never been in health from the time of his arrival in England. In speaking of his death I am unpleasantly reminded of the necessity I am under to acquaint you of the death of another person,—in whose life as I was most interested I have had the more reason to deplore his sudden removal from this World.—You my beloved Wife and my dear Girl Elizabeth will both feel the sincerest sorrow when you are acquainted that it is my worthy old Friend Thompson to whom I allude—He died on the 11th of last January after an illness of a few days—Poor old Man—'He was a friend whose loss I shall not easily supply. Mrs. Thompson, Mrs. Plummer Mrs. E. Lee Mrs. Thomas Thompson, and Mr. and Mrs. W. Thompson and their children are all well, and much gratified at Elizabeths Letters—they will answer by Hannibal—she ought to write to Mrs. Thomas Thompson whose great attention to her when in England she cannot have forgotten. It is impossible to express the obligations I owe to almost every individual of this family for their attentions to me.—Oxley will no doubt write you what his plans and expectations are; but I am sorry to say that I am not so sanguine as he is inclined to be.—I am apprehensive he has but little chance of procuring a Civil appointment in the Colony; and no intention is at present entertained of sending out New Kings Ships,—Capt. Porteous I have seen but seldom since his return, and of late I have scarcely heard of him—Men feel very differently towards each other in this bustling place to what they do in the solitude of N.S. Wales.

It gave me great pleasure to hear you had returned to Parramatta—All your arrangements have my perfect approbation but how does it happen that you have never once sent me a return of the Stock?

Your accounts of Colonial Affairs have given me great satisfaction in some points and equal pain and surprise in others—if the cause of the latter sensation be not removed long ere this I greatly fear New South Wales will be a comfortless abode for me.—Your next Letters will I hope remove my apprehensions God grant they may, for altho' there are many difficulties to contend with there, there are not fewer here, as some of our unfortunate friends, who have returned home have long since discovered. Every necessary of Life is so advanced and the expenses and Taxes of every kind are so heavy that I do not think it would be possible for you and I and the three Girls to live in this Country in any kind of respectability and yet with the most rigid economy, under £800 a Year.—

The expenses of the Boys must be set down at £500 more and I fear after the unfortunate winding up of my late Mercantile Speculation, we should not find it very easy to realise an annual income of £1300 or 1400.—But on this more in my Letters by Hannibal.—. . . .

Clapham, 21st April 1811.

My dearest best beloved Elizabeth.

Your two welcome Packets forwarded in Mr. Wilson's Box were delivered to me yesterday, and late last night I fortunately heard that the Gambier is still detained at Portsmouth. It is now Sunday consequently no Post goes out, but as I am anxious to acknowledge the receipt of your Letters, I sit down and prepare to forward this by the Coach to night, in hopes my Agent may get it in time to put on board the Gambier.—How shall I reply to what you have written my beloved Elizabeth, or how collect my ideas into any settled form? Every Paragraph increases my amazement, and every Circumstance you relate, adds to the perplexity of my mind.—God alone knows how such a state of things as you describe may terminate, or how operate upon our affairs— Would to God I could withdraw you all from the Colony but it is fruitless to indulge wishes, or even to form plans of future proceeding, whilst we are hurried forward by a course of events, that seem to set human prudence and all ordinary calculation at defiance. I am interrogated on all hands about the affairs of the Colony, and know not in what way to reply—Altho' I cannot but see that the appearance of mystery or concealment gives birth to surmises more pernicious in! their effect than the disclosure of all you write and more mischievous than all that is whispered.—Is it possible, it is said, that Governor Macquarrie can associate with, and bring to his table men who have been Convicts? who have amassed fortunes by the most infamous frauds, and have and continue to set the most shameful examples of dissoluteness and vice?—I entreat people to suspend their judgment until he shall have been a little longer in the Colony! until, it shall be seen whether when he has discovered the characters of these people, he will not give them up.—I read them parts of your different Letters wherein you speak of the Governor and Mrs. Macquarrie's characters—I repeat the praises you bestow on them for their benevolence, their universal kindness—in short all the strong things you' say in their behalf. I urge that the Governor has been misled and involved in a mist through which it is impossible he yet can see, by the artifice and falsehood of some persons, by whose opinions, he would naturally be guided on his first arrival.—But I see nothing I can say convinces and that many leave me, half inclined to think I am an advocate for measures which fill my heart with dismay and grief—I yesterday taxed Colonel Foveaux, and indeed have done so more than once, with being the principal cause of all the mischief that hangs over the Colony. But he steadily denies the fact and with matchless effrontery maintains that he cautioned Governor Macquarrie respecting Thompson ** and particularly against Lord—so contradictory—so strange are the events which have passed in the Colony, that I cannot expect belief when I am questioned about its affairs.—and yet how can I pretend ignorance, or how refuse to answer the questions that are proposed to me by people of consequence, whose support affords me the only little prospect of preservation there is for you, our children, and myself—In truth I know not how to act, or what to say, and the more I think, the more distracted and puzzled do I feel—In the midst of all this gloom it is no slight consolation to me my Beloved Wife to learn that you and my dear Girls are so well.—I pray incessantly that Elizabeth may once more be restored to perfect health—dear Girl what a sufferer has she been.—James and William now sit by my side—they have been with me a week for the Easter Holidays and return to School to morrow—James promises to answer Marys letter by Hannibal—they are both in excellent health, and bid me say every thing for them that is dutiful and affectionate—I think James, is without exception one of the best disposed Boys, I ever knew. William is also a good Boy, but he has not the steadiness of James,—their Characters are quite opposite.—John was well on the 11th I expect him to leave Glasgow to morrow and to be in London about this day week. He will spend a day or two with our Friend Colonel Campbell before he quits Scotland. I received a short Letter from Edward last week from Sicily dated 7th Febr.—he speaks of other Letters that are not yet arrived sent by Private Conveyances. He was in good health and excellent spirits—his Regiment is not to leave Sicily, as was expected, Sir John Stewart having declined, or rather refused it is said to part with any of the force under his Command—The Newspapers say he is to be superseded in consequence—Edward informs me that the greater part of his time was occupied in studying the Italian language, in which he had made great progress—I know not how I shall forward the Letters you have sent for him—-they would ruin him in Postage—You must think of this in future and put no covers on your Letters—The Postage of every Sheet is 3/6 and large Paper is charged no more than small.—Set your heart at ease about the tremendous balance as you justly call it in my late worthy friend Thompson's account—It was all liquidated before his death and I have seen in his sons hands upwards of Three thousand pounds, independent of your remittance by the Atalanta. This is a sum far short of what I sanguinely hoped when I left you, but it is better than being in debt.—Whenever I feel disposed to indulge melancholy I endeavour to cheer my spirits by reflecting that great as our disappointments and losses are they have been unavoidable, and have arisen more out of the state of things in our strange Colony than from neglect or indiscretion.—I say more, for I cannot but admit that part of our difficulties might have been avoided had I been a little less disinterested—But who could ever expect that a man like Mr. Plummer could mislead his own near relative, or take advantage of the incautious generosity of a friend?—We live in extraordinary times.—

[** Bligh's Agent.]

What shall I say to you about the returned Bills, or how at such a distance advise?—In consulting with Mr. Best I am satisfied you have done what is most prudent, and as it is probable you must have determined on some plan of proceeding long ere this I can only hope that your own good sense, aided by what advice Mr. Best gives you, may have led to the recovery of some part of the large amount these worthless men stand indebted—Do not my beloved Wife deceive yourself or make exceptions in favour of any one of them—they are alike unprincipled—I shall as soon as possible draw up a Statement of the Case and bring it before the Attorney General and Sir Samuel Romily for their opinions—if nothing has been settled, the opinion of two such eminent Lawyers may have weight in the Colony. Surely Governor Macquarrie must see, if they appeal against the payment of their own Bills, that Justice requires the security should be complete and satisfactory. If it be not—the person suing for his Money is in a worse situation than before he sought redress from the Law, because when the award comes from the King in Council in his favor (as sure it must) he will to his first loss have to add his expenses. I hope you have forwarded Mr. John Blaxland's Bill to England as I have desired in different Letters without it I cannot recover from him here. Certainly some of my first Letters must have miscarried, for I well recollect acknowledging your Packet by the Eolus, and desiring that the sum awarded against Lord by the Civil Court might be taken—to renew that suit again, even were I in the Colony would be perfectly absurd—the fellow is certainly ruined—and therefore the only wise course is to recover what you can from the Firm—It will not I hope be maintained that he can appeal from an award of Court in which he has acquiesced Need I tell you I write with a mind much disturbed—it speaks for itself, and in addition to, the distraction I feel (I am interrupted by people to whom I cannot deny myself—I know not when Colonel Johnston's Trial will commence—he is in arrest on a charge of Mutiny.—Our Counsel give us hopes of Victory—but I know not what to think—Atkins is no where to be found, and his written evidence will not I fear be admitted—the other party I suspect have been somehow instrumental in smuggling him away, well knowing that his testimony would be most powerful against them:—all the evidence who are to support Bligh receive daily pay from Government, many of them (amongst the number Devine) a Guinea a day—they are all in high spirits, or affect to be so. I say affect for they are well aware of the strong tide of Public prejudice which runs against them, and that they and their Chief Mr. Bligh is universally execrated—Sir Joseph Banks certainly supports their cause with all his interest.

I have this moment received a Letter from Portsmouth acquainting me that a Mr. Lawson is endeavouring to procure a passage in the Gambier describing himself as a Settler—If it be Lt. Lawson as I think it must his plan is to smuggle himself away from the impending Trial—if he succeeds it will be a death blow to our cause—I shall write directly to the Captain of the Gambier—and hope to prevent the flight of the dastard—but if I do not succeed and he get off in her, do not suffer yourself to be needlessly alarmed, all may end well—how he may account for his return to the Colony it is impossible to say certain it is he goes without the knowledge of Government, as I yesterday saw the Judge Advocate's Summons directing him to attend as an Evidence—. . . .

I see I have omitted to notice the death of Thompson—I wonder I did, for I think it an earnest of the interposition of Providence to save the Colony from utter ruin—Never was there a more artful or a greater Knave—How—How could Governor and Mrs. Macquarrie be imposed upon as they have been? I think the last stroke of leaving the Governor part of his property is by far the deepest he ever attempted, whether I view it as an act done in contemplation of Death, or in expectation of raising himself to higher favor should he live—I have a letter from Mr. Blaxcell by the Atalanta.—I hope he will get the accounts I sent him by the Providence. I fear the loss of the Boyd will involve him in serious difficulties, she was not insured for a penny and all Lords Bills endorsed by him are I am told gone back—Hannibal will bring duplicates of any Papers connected with his Accounts. . . . .

I expected Hannibal and Oxley with me this morning—but something has prevented them—they were both well last Evening.

God bless and protect my Elizabeth—

{Page 221}

Chapter VII.


There is now a long interval in the correspondence during which Johnston's court-martial had taken place, and Johnston was cashiered.

Years after, James Macarthur in commenting on the court-martial writes that—

"Johnston had a tribunal knowing little or nothing of Bligh, and it was exceedingly difficult, if not impossible, to adduce evidence, at such a distance both as to time and place, of the state of things which induced him to resort to the extreme measures of deposing the Governor. Corruption, rapacity, violent language and conduct though causes for deposing a Governor, after the trial or enquiry before a competent authority, could not in the eye of the Law, or of ordinary expediency justify such a step. Nothing but extreme necessity could excuse it. There is no doubt in my mind that the necessity had arisen (Crossley's being called in as a Legal Adviser of the Government was sufficient to create the necessity and to lead to an insurrection) and but for the course taken there would have been an insurrection, and probably loss of life, Bligh being the first victim to the furious passions excited by his own monstrous and absurd conduct.

But a staid military Court sitting at Chelsea could not comprehend the extraordinary and exceptional state of things which had existed on the 26th January 1808 at the Antipodes, in the then insignificant Town of Sydney, constituted too of so peculiar and anomalous a population. Could Bligh have been brought to trial the matter would have been very different. Evidence might probably have been brought to criminate him though it was unavailable as a defence for Colonel Johnston.

There were letters for instance from Andrew Thompson, Bligh's manager, who had been a convict suggesting the successive exchange of Cows from the Government herd as soon as their calves were weaned and branded as Bligh's property, for fresh cows newly calved, so that each of His Excellency's cows might bring him several calves a year. These letters were docketed in Bligh's handwriting, and with his initials W.B. (these letters are alluded to by Bligh in his evidence at the Court Martial of Johnston. . . .

The correspondence began again in 1812, and throws light on Macarthur's life in England, his sojourn abroad where he was gaining information which would be useful on his return to the Colony, and his many anxieties with regard to the labor thrown on Mrs. Macarthur who had sole charge of his estates in New South Wales.

Portsmouth, 4th March 1812.

You will rejoice to hear that the value of the Wool is established beyond doubt, and that we may calculate as upon a certain thing that Wool of the quality of our most improved kind will sell for a Guinea a Fleece one with the other.

I hope there will be a large quantity to send by the Isabella and that the Fleeces of the whole Flock are in a state of progressive improvement.

Hannibal will give you most pleasing intelligence of your Mother and rely upon it that John and I will visit her next Summer.

If you have the smallest apprehension or dread of coming home alone only say that it is your wish, and I will sacrifice every other consideration and come out for you. I wish it were possible that Edward could perform this duty for me but it is not—Till tomorrow adieu for I am weary and stupid.

God Almighty bless and protect you all—

Your most affectionate

J. McArthur.

London May 14th 1812.

My beloved Elizabeth.

Your welcome letter by our Friend Captain Campbell arrived most opportunely about a fortnight ago, and was indeed most acceptable, containing as it did assurances of your and my dear Girls health, and a remittance, of which, from the great expense incurred by Hannibal's outfit, I began to stand much in need.—I cannot express how much I am pleased at the account you give of the state of our affairs under your excellent and prudent management—and I trust the return of Hannibal will relieve you from the necessity of attending to the laborious and more disagreeable part of an undertaking that not many men would be capable of conducting so successfully as you have done, so much to your own credit, and to the advantage of your Family. Indeed my beloved Wife, when I reflect on the many adverse circumstances to which you have been exposed, and the extraordinary trials that you have borne, not only without sinking under the accumulated pressure, but with the most active fortitude and good sense it is impossible for me to express the admiration that the reflection excites.—or to repress the pride which I feel in having to boast of such a pattern for Wives and Mothers as my own.—. . . .

I am highly gratified that Mary employs herself in household cares, such employment is I am convinced the more I think of it better calculated to promote the happiness of the female sex than all the refinements of modern education. Now I am upon this subject I must proceed to acquaint you with my sentiments upon one that has for some time been an object of my most serious consideration, and I wish I could say that my reflections had produced any very satisfactory or pleasing conclusions but they unfortunately have had an opposite effect. You will have already learnt from former letters that Mr. . . . . is now on the point of setting off and will deliver you this Letter. From him I have learnt that his proposals to. . . . were favourably received and that a positive engagement has taken place between them.—Altho' you have not explained yourself in any of your Letters on this head, I conclude that. . . . representation is correct.—Were good nature, and susceptibility of heart and temper the only requisite qualifications in a Husband,' I know not where I should find one to surpass this young man in these qualities,—but unluckily constituted as is the frame of human Society many other qualifications are indispensible to enable a man to discharge the duties of a Husband and a Father. Amongst these the most useful are prudence, economy, and if a man be born without an inheritance, an enterprising spirit.—

London October 16th 1812.

My dear Elizabeth.

Such is the peculiarity and untowardness of my fate, that although you and my dear Girls are almost constantly the objects which occupy, my thoughts, yet I feel the utmost difficulty whenever I attempt to arrange them, or to express my hopes and fears respecting the means to be adopted to reunite us once more.

I say hopes and fears, for, grieved as I am to admit the melancholy fact, I really am without any plan that my judgment can approve: and the more I reflect the deeper I find myself involved in perplexity and doubt. A hundred frightful objects present themselves to my harassed mind, whether I think of returning to the Colony or of withdrawing you from it—on the one hand there seems little chance of peace or security—on the other I cannot divest myself of alarming apprehensions, that in bringing you hither I may have to reproach myself for depriving you of plenty and comparative affluence, and substituting for them, circumstances so embarrassed, that the remainder of your lives may be embittered by pinching penury: and the heart rending reflection, that with our own, I have sacrificed the welfare and happiness of our Children. Painfully as I feel our long long protracted separation, yet it is comparatively a state of ease to what I should feel were I to see you oppressed by misfortunes to which thank God you have hitherto been a stranger. Yet something must be determined upon. The information I have collected from your Letters, and from our Friend Piper, has increased the objections I have long entertained against returning to the Colony, and has confirmed me in the belief that many and great changes must take place, and numberless prejudices be overcome before I can allow myself ever to hope that I shall ever be permitted to reside there exempt from danger and persecution. A man of my known principles must be hated and de-cried in self defence in such a Colony and if to these feelings be added that of envy at my prosperous circumstances, what can I expect in a Society so constituted. It next remains to be considered what prospect we have of deriving such an income from the Colony as will defray the expenses of our Family in this Country, and enable us to prosecute our present plans for the education and establishment of our Boys in the world. If you my beloved Elizabeth are of opinion that we can accomplish this I will endeavour to suppress my own fears and cheerfully (I had almost said undoubtingly) submit an event to your decision on which it is probable, the dark or bright hue of our future fortune will very materially depend. That you may have all the evidence before you it is necessary you should be apprised that the expenses of our Boys amount to £800 a year, and as James will soon be of age to be fixed in some profession, they are likely to increase rather than diminish. As my presence will occasionally be required in London, it would not be prudent to settle ourselves at a greater distance than a days journey from hence, and should we form our little Establishment without Carriage, Horses, or Man servant, with the most exact economy, looking at the World but not mixing with it, I am of opinion we could not live in any kind of respectability for less than £800 per year—1600£ a year would therefore it appears be only sufficient to defray our expenses, without laying by a Guinea for our Girls. I have been governed in the estimate I have made by the information of Mr. Lee. He lives in the way I have described—Their Family consists of himself his Wife and two Daughters—Mrs. Lee is a most excellent manager, and he is one of the most systematic men I ever knew—they see no Company—their house is their own, and yet they spend £600 a year.

What our stock will produce clear of all expenses I want evidence to form an opinion, and I fear the uncertainty of markets will perplex you—I however should think that you may safely calculate, the increasing value of the Wool as sufficient to compensate for any diminution of the price of the carcase,—If you are of opinion that we cannot expect £1,600 a year from our Stock the alternative is obvious, I must submit with the best grace I can and return to the Colony. Should you think we are secure of that income, you will have learnt from Hannibal that I propose to admit him into a partnership to a certain extent—and that you should leave him the management of everything. But previous to such an arrangement it will be necessary that I should know the exact state of the Stock the annual expense and returns.—

Whatever may be your sentiments on this subject I earnestly recommend that you speak of leaving the Colony as a decided thing—and entrust no one with your real opinion should you think it impracticable—I have for some time spoken in that way here, and am persuaded it has been beneficial.

The Wool by the Admiral Gambier arrived in excellent condition, and will be sold soon—it is valued at 5/- pr. lb. averaging one quality with another—It measured near two Tons and a half by which means the Freight came to the enormous sum of £38. When Wool is sent in future it should be washed as clean as possible, and the agreement for Freight should be by the lb.—I hope Hannibal will send all this years Wool by the Isabella.

Adieu for the present—God bless and protect you—

Your every affectionate

John McArthur.

London, 18th Novr. 1812.   

My dearest Elizabeth,

I have just received information of the arrival of the Argo Whaler at Portsmouth, said to be from New South Wales. If this be true, I hope she has brought letters, but I must not delay writing any longer lest the Fortune should sail.—It was my intention this should be sent by Colonel Johnston, but he is gone without giving me notice, altho' I particularly requested him to acknowledge the receipt of a Packet of Letters that were forwarded to him by Lieut. Lord, and to acquaint me when he was likely to sail—I hope the Packet reached him safe indeed I cannot doubt it, as Kemp undertook to deliver it to Mr. Lord himself.

Since I wrote last I have had a long conversation with Capt. Piper on the subject of my affairs, but the information I have obtained from him has been very scanty, and has left me as much in doubt as before respecting the probable continuance of the present demand for meat in the Colony. If it should be continued without any very serious reduction of the price, we could doubtless draw an income from our Stock adequate to the comfortable maintenance of our Family in this Country, but should any material change be made, many and various as are the obstacles to my returning to the Colony, they are not so serious, or so alarming, as those we should have to contend with here with a limited and uncertain income.—You my beloved Wife will I am assured well consider the immense importance of the step before you decide.—If it should appear to you that we cannot be perfectly secure of drawing a clear Sixteen Hundred a year from the Colony, I must make up my mind to return and bring James and William back with me—and altho' John is fast advancing to that period of life when he must be left to his own discretion, yet I confess I shall not be able to leave him here without adviser or friend to restrain or assist, but with great uneasiness.—For altho' I think him as free from vice, or even irregularity, as any Young Man I ever knew, he is unfortunately very careless, very good natured, and perhaps a little too proud for one who has but little money, and few connections to advance and promote him in Life. From whom he derives these qualities you will be under no difficulty to discover.

The accompanying long letter from Edward arrived last Evening. Thank God he is perfectly recovered from the disease that had attacked him.—I am of opinion another Campaign will sicken him of a service in which there is nothing to be got but blows and hardships greater than ever were experienced in any other service. When the latter part of his Letter was written the Army appears to have calculated upon remaining in their Winter Quarters undisturbed by the Enemy, with what correctness you will see from the Newspapers. It is now extremely doubtful whether the Allied Army will be able to maintain themselves in any part of Spain.—Fortunately things wear a more promising aspect in the North. There the great disturber of the World has already received a check which has given birth to hopes which have been long since nearly extinct in the breasts of the best informed persons. If he should be cut off or even lose the best part of his Army, Europe might yet shake off the Chains with which almost the whole of it has been bound. Never was there a more important period than the present.—Indeed it is most probable that every thing is already decided, and a very short time will show us whether this fortunate Ruffian is any longer to disturb all the nations of the Earth, For my own part I cherish the most sanguine hopes that he never can escape out of Russia.

If Hannibal has arrived, as I trust he has, you will not be surprised when I tell you that my mercantile adventures have swallowed up all the money I could command, and left me considerably in debt. Your different remittances (of which Capt. Piper brought Duplicates) were all regularly paid, and came very opportunely. Your last were dated in Novr. and were forwarded from Rio Janerio and came to the enormous sum of £9 10s. 0d. even those that were brought by Capt. Campbell and put into the Post Office at Portsmouth came to £4 10s. 0d.* Whenever News Papers are sent a special charge should be given to the person to whom they are entrusted not to send them by Post, and all superfluous covers on Letters should be avoided.

. . . . . If the report of the Committee of the House of Commons on the state of the Colony, reaches you, it will serve to strengthen the New System of advancing such men as Mr. Lord and Mr. Thompson. I was much pressed by my friend Mr. Brogden (now one of the Lords of the Treasury) to give my evidence but many considerations withheld me which I explained to him. Experience has taught me that the most pure integrity will not always secure approval and I am too old to learn the lesson of advancing my interest or making friends by making my opinions always conform to the will of the most powerful. If I had spoken I must have told the truth, and that I am certain would have proved very offensive. . . . .

[* Previously Captains of Ships had carried letters as favours.]

I heard from John last week he was then quite well—James and William are also well, and announced to me yesterday that their holidays commence on the 13th of next month. This is to them a period of joy. James is at the head of the School, and I fear I shall be under the necessity of removing him from Dr. Lindsays soon after Xmas; and yet I am unwilling to place him at a Publick School, for in the whole of these great establishments there is much vice, and many temptations to excess to which the young mind is not exposed in more private establishments—Something however must be determined on, for at Dr. Lindsays he will be stationary as John was for more than a year before I came home.

. . . . If I find the Bath Waters beneficial to me, and I should receive favorable accounts of you and Hannibal, I have some idea of taking a small Farm of about a Hundred a Year. It would be an experiment that would enable me to decide whether I could (should you return) embark on a larger scale with advantage, and at all events it would be productive of amusement to me without my incurring a heavier expense in living than I do at present. At any distance not greater than Sixty miles from London, I should be enabled to transact my Colonial business as well as by constantly being here. If I could make farming here as productive as you do there would be no cause for doubt or apprehension,—but there is here such a competition in every profession, and the unavoidable expenses of the simplest establishments are so great, where it is necessary to maintain the rank of a Gentleman, that I know not what to say.

I am infinitely delighted at the account you give of all our concerns, and altho' I cannot but regret that you should be exposed to so many unpleasant and fatiguing cares, yet it is some consolation when I reflect, that you must also experience many gratifying moments at the success of your exertions to supply my place and to perform those duties that my present fate denies me the power of executing myself. . . . .

London, December 9th 1812.

My dearest Elizabeth,

As I understand the Fortune is still detained at Portsmouth I shall avail myself of the opportunity to send you the News Papers up to yesterday. You will find them contain much most important and interesting intelligence; and 'tho' that, which relates to the Army in Spain, is not such as might be wished, yet it will be consolotary to you, as it shows that our dear Edward is not amongst the number of those gallant defenders of their Country, who have bled in its cause. You will see by his last Letter enclosed in the Packet already on board the Fortune, that he did not expect the reverses which the Army has experienced: but that is not matter of much surprise for, they who are in the Subaltern Ranks, altho' on the immediate scene of action, have but little opportunity of gaining information on subjects that do not come under their own observation.—I hope to hear from him again by the next Lisbon Mail: but I fear it will not be in time to forward to you by the Fortune.—The accounts from Russia and Poland begin to make the most desponding amongst us alter their tone, and for the first time, to expect that the arduous struggle, in which we have been so very long engaged, will terminate in the compleat overthrow of Buonaparte, and the cruel and destructive system with which he has harassed the whole of Europe.—When the last accounts came off from Russia, the French Army had been so often defeated, had suffered such immense losses, and were so much distressed by the severity of the Climate, that it appears altogether impossible, that they should escape from the brave and active Russian armies, that surround them on every side to which they can direct their flight.—A few days will however remove all doubts.—Should Buonaparte fall or be taken the happiest result may be expected—Should he escape it is much to be feared, that he would soon find the means of replacing the immense Host that he has sacrificed to his mad and unprincipled ambition, and his failure, if it should teach him to be more circumspect and less daring in future, may perhaps make him more to be dreaded than ever—but I fervently pray that he may not be permitted to make the experiment.

John, James and William were well last week.—

It is now my beloved Wife almost thirteen months since the date of the last letter I received from you, and you may suppose I am not a little anxious for arrivals.—I hope you wrote by the China and India Ships: as I understand one Letter has arrived in Town for Mr. Riley, dated in March, that has been forwarded from Calcutta: but as Messrs. Buckle Boyer & Co. have received no Letters, I console myself with hopes, that mine have been kept back and will arrive with their ships.

In my letter to Hannibal I have mentioned that I had advanced Col. Johnston near Four hundred pounds to enable him to get out of England, for which I had taken Bills on Mr. Harrison his Agent here.—I was induced to put myself to the greatest inconvenience to raise this money for him (indeed to part with my last Guinea and to depend upon my credit) because he represented that he had no other means of paying for his passage and providing himself with necessaries for the voyage: and that unless I assisted him he must perish in a Jail—I have since learnt, that he did not pay for his Passage but gave a Bill to be paid on his arrival at Port Jackson—and that Mr. Harrison also made him advances to the amount of Twelve Hundred pounds. This is all, however perfectly consistent with the whole of his conduct towards me. If his Bills are not paid when due, I shall protect them and send them out—Hannibal therefore need not give himself the trouble to enquire whether remittances have been made to take them up.

I had yesterday a long conversation with Mr. Brogden about the Colony. It appears that the present expensive system is much disapproved of, and he seems solicitous to learn from me what plan could be adopted to reform it.—I however declined giving any opinion upon the subject, and candidly told him, that it was much to my interest that Government should continue unacquainted with my ideas; for that my plan altho' it might diminish their expenditure would much reduce my own income, a sacrifice that the Government have no right to expect any man to make; more particularly one to whom they have displayed so much ill will.

In speaking of Colonel Macquarrie—I urged every thing in his favor that I had collected from your representations respecting him; but I have reasons for thinking that many stories have been told of him of a very opposite tendency to your reports and that they are believed,—in short it is whispered, that his removal is determined upon.—If it be so, he will most probably get certain information on the subject by the Fortune,—at all events I am sure your good sense will convince you, that silence is best. I have promised Mr. Brogden to write some observations on the Report of the House of Commons, at least, on those parts which relate to the state of the morals of the Colony and its Trade. Mr. Bent has so ably pointed out the imperfections of the Courts and the Law as it now exists in the Colony, and his suggestions for their improvement are so judicious, that he has left nothing to be said on these points: I shall however say everything in my power to facilitate the adoption of his Plan, as I am convinced that it would in a short time improve the general happiness and prosperity of all the Inhabitants. I hope your next letters will be accompanied by some from My dear Girls—; they ought to omit no opportunity of writing to me. . . . .

London 15th January 1813.

My dear Elizabeth,

I am still without any letter from you of a later date than November 1811, but as the India and China Ships are daily expected to arrive, and as information has been received, that the Sydney Cove had reached Rio Grande in August, and was to prosecute her Voyage to England as soon as she could refit, I cherish hopes that I shall not be much longer kept in suspense.

A few days after I had despatched my Packet by the Fortune (15th Decr.) I had the happiness to get a long and most satisfactory Letter from our Dear Edward, dated 21st Novr. in which he gives a detailed account of the hardships the Allied Army had sustained in their retreat from Spain—Their fatigue and sufferings must have been greater than any one can easily conceive who has not witnessed similar scenes, He says he was nearly a month without even changing his clothes, and often obliged after a long march, in most inclement weather, to sleep on the bare ground, half starved with hunger and cold—The sick of the Army it is said exceed 12,000 Men, but thank God he has escaped uninjured in health, altho' a good deal sickened of the business in which he is engaged—Indeed, I am informed, that all our Officers have expressed the same sentiments, that Edward does, at the situation in which they are placed, for in addition to the inevitable hardships of such a state of warfare they have to complain of the greatest irregularity in the receipt of their pay. In consequence of which, however pressing their necessities may be, they are often for want of money, incapable of procuring relief, even when they are in a situation where comfort might be purchased. Edward however has never been exposed to this evil, for I have taken care to establish his credit at Lisbon with one of the first Mercantile Houses who supply him with money whenever he requires it. I do not forward his Letter to you by this opportunity, because I understand there will be a better one in about two Months by the Government Transport. The Isabella is I hope ere this well advanced in her Voyage home, and need not add, with considerable remittances, for Hannibal well knows what urgent demands I shall soon have for money, to pay for that part of the adventure which was obtained upon credit.—Altho' I am as assured that he will exert himself to the utmost as man can be, yet you will easily imagine how anxious I must feel to ascertain the fate of an undertaking ** on which so much depends. If it be crowned with even moderate success it will afford me means and give me courage to promote the Trade with spirit, and I should hope that it may be established on so secure and permanent a footing, that we may be almost certain of drawing from it an annual income that will fully compensate for the risk of advancing so large a sum as I have done. . . . .

[** This refers to a cargo of merchandise sent for speculation.]

The accompanying News Papers will acquaint you with all the particulars of the escape of that pest of the human race, Buonaparte, from Russia. There is good reason to think that the whole of the Army that he set out with is either destroyed or captured.—What results this frightful waste of human life may occasion it is impossible to say, for altho' the nations that have been subjugated, are certainly weary enough of the French Yoke, I am fearful they are too much dispirited to make any powerful struggle to shake it off. But a little time will show. You will see in Yesterday's paper the account of the death of poor Mrs. Grose, she had been ill more than a year.

21st May, 1813.

. . . . I have proceeded thus far in such haste and trepidation that I had almost forgotten to inform you that I have by the greatest accident imaginable heard that the Isabella with Hannibal and his Wife arrived safe with you on the 17th of last August—This was communicated by Mr. Bent in a Letter to his Brother dated on the 19th—but how it was sent from N.S. Wales or how brought to this Country I have not been able to learn, I feel persuaded that Hannibal has lost no time in dispatching her back, and as he will know how many heavy payments I have to make next month, that he would on no acct., detain her beyond November in the Colony. Presuming that must have been the case I think it probable she may be here before the expiration of this month.

God send she may bring good news of you all, and next to that assurance that the adventure I sent by her will turn to a profitable account.

God bless you my beloved Wife prays

Your ever affectionate Husband,

John McArthur.

I received a letter from Edward yesterday dated 8th May. He had not left his Winter Quarters but was expecting to leave every day—He was well but most impatiently expecting accounts of you—I will send the Letter in my next Packet.

Little Hampton 31st August 1813.

My dearest Elizabeth.

I address this to you under a degree of doubt and uncertainty more perplexing and distressing than words can express. By the Clarkson and the Mary I have not received a line; and the unfortunate detention of your letters, in consequence of the unaccountable wreck of the Isabella, adds much to the anxiety and impatience that such a strange series of disappointments could not fail to create. It is now my beloved Wife Twenty two months since the date of the last letter I received from you.—I came down to Portsmouth on Tuesday last accompanied by James intending to take leave of my old Friend Capt. Piper and to have put on board several Letters and News papers—but unfortunately he sailed the evening I arrived—You will say I ought not to have been too late; nor should I but for a very particular circumstance which I shall explain by and by. Capt. Piper will acquaint you of every particular at present known respecting the loss of the Isabella she was wrecked on the Falkland Islands in very fine weather, without any apparent cause, that I can learn but ignorance or neglect—her whole cargo and every article of provisions was saved, and as a Brig of War sailed from Buenos Ayres to bring up the Passengers and Crew more than four months ago it is only reasonable to expect that Capt. Hylen will make his appearance in a few days. Capt. Brooks and the Mate are the only persons who have yet reached this Country—By them I had the inexpressible satisfaction to hear that you were all well when the Isabella sailed from Port Jackson Without this most cheering information I really know not how I should have borne my disappointment: for not a Letter has been forwarded for me. . . . .

John and James are both with me and continue during the vacation John then returns to Cambridge and James either goes to the Charter House or to Winchester—More excellent Lads than they both are is impossible and be assured that if it please God to bless them with the excellent health they now have they will be an honour to us in our old age. Willie still remains with Dr. Lindsay, he is quick but rather idle not however one tittle behind his Brothers in excellence of heart. Of our gallant Boy in Spain what shall I say he is everything that can give pleasure to the breast of a Parent—sober, discreet, sensible, active, intelligent, brave in short everything we could wish a son to be—he has been in the thickest of the fight and thank God has hitherto not only escaped the sword of the enemy but all and every consequence of fatigue and privation—He says I have never known an hours indisposition since the commencement of our glorious campaign—It was my intention to have forwarded you his letters by Capt. Piper but I shall now send them by Capt. Brooks—his last was written in France and dated the 12th. of July—I have not heard from him since the last great Battle but I know he was unhurt and expect every day to hear that he is well and elated with the triumphs of his Country in which he has had so conspicuous a share—He says all that is affectionate about you and his dear sisters and feelingly joins in our gratulations to each other at hearing you were all well in December last.

Chelsea, June 30th 1814.

My beloved Wife.

I have just dispatched a Packet of Letters for you by the Marquis Wellington, and it was my intention to have written you more fully by this conveyance, the Emu to go in charge of our Friend Abbott but it is said she is to sail immediately and therefore I hasten off this lest the report should be true: altho' I am unable to write in that way I intended in consequence of the most important business which has occupied my mind; and, not to conceal the truth, my beloved Elizabeth, so operates upon my spirits that I am unequal to the task at this moment—But our dear John is writing a Letter under my dictation which will make you fully acquainted with the cause of my anxiety—God grant that my endeavours may be attended with the success we hope. If it be not, the long, the cruel separation we have endured, must yet be borne sometime longer. I do not urge you to patience, or entreat you to exercise your fortitude—because I know you will—You have already done so to a degree that excites the admiration of all who have heard of your conduct, and will ensure you the eternal gratitude of me and all your children—I am so wearied in mind and body, for I have been out all day, that I cannot pursue this subject, but I hope to be more quiet tomorrow (Sunday) and to have time to forward what I shall then write him by the Emu. . . .

The Wool came safe and is sold but to great disadvantage owing to the very dirty state it is in, I sent it into Yorkshire to Mr. Thompson; the person who had Marsdens, and he has made an ill use of my confidence. He only gave me Twenty pence a pound and I could have sold it in London for two and sixpence. I suppose the price he gave Marsden for the small quantity he sent by the Anne was intended as a bait to encourage larger consignments—I hope you will have had it in your power to put up last years wool in better condition—Bills of Lading should be taken in triplicate and the duplicates and triplicates be forwarded by the earliest opportunities that if any loss happen the Insurance may be recovered—You may assure yourself my beloved Wife that I shall give the business of one of our dear Boys coming to your assistance the gravest consideration before I decide. But I yet hope there will be no necessity for it and that the obstacle to my own return will be removed—God Almighty grant that it may—I must close this wretched scrawl for my hand is so affected with the employment it has had all day that I can with difficulty guide my pen and the agitation of my mind has set my gout floating through every limb—I shall be better after a little rest—May God protect bless and preserve you all my dearest Children and my beloved Wife—

Ever, Ever Your Affectionate Husband

John McArthur.

Chelsea July 26th 1814.

After repeated resolutions made and as often broken I at last commence my beloved Wife, the difficult task of replying to your several Letters by the Isabella the Indefatigable the Minstrel and the Phœnix, and of endeavouring however painful, to give you a more detailed account of myself and our dear Boys than my disordered mind would permit me to do when my last hasty letters were written. I am convinced my health is the first object of your solicitude, and the next that of your children, before I touch upon any other subject. I will therefore endeavour to remove every doubt upon these. The last Winter I suffered most dreadfully but since the return of the Summer I am certainly become much better. By the aid of the Medicine every day I contrive to obtain relief from the effects of the complaint of indigestion, that I have so long been afflicted with: but it would be deceiving you, were I to attempt to create a belief that it will ever be entirely removed. I am frequently attacked with considerable violence, with an extraordinary irritation of nerves, and a sort of nervous Gout. Previous to the approach of the latter I suffer for many days such dreadful depression of spirits as no one can conceive the extent of unless they were to suffer in the same way. The faculty flatter me with the hopes that this complaint will go off or at all events very much abate when my mind is relieved from the suspense and fearful state of doubt and apprehension under which I have lived so many dismal years and I trust in God that it will for believe me my Elizabeth the period of my separation from you has been an almost uninterrupted scene of indescribable wretchedness. If the Almighty shall be graciously pleased to be[s]tow upon me any future blessings it can only be in your society, I will not however indulge in these reflections because I know they will quickly unfit me for the performance of what is more important. Several of dear Edward's Letters accompany this the last is the sixth of last month at which period he was at Bordeaux preparing to embark for America and I have learnt since that he sailed with his Regiment a few days after. The destination of the Expedition still continues a secret. The general opinion is that an attack will be made upon New York or Boston or perhaps both. Little resistance can be made by the undisciplined Americans against such troops. It is therefore probable that their successes will lead to a speedy cessation of hostilities. When the War ceases Edward will certainly retire on half pay and once more try to be happy in humble retirement in the bosom of his Family. The hardships and privations he has so long suffered will cause him to set a more just value on the blessings of plenty and security than he did before he had made trial of the thorny path into which his youthful ambition led him.

The Wool by the Minstrel was all sent down into Yorkshire to Messrs. Thompsons. The greater part was so execrably dirty, that I could get no offer for it in the market here—and it was only last week that I could obtain from Messrs. Thompson their valuation—I send herewith a copy of their letter—You will see that it does not average more than 20d. a pound—this appears so strange and contradictory when contrasted with the price they are said to have given for Mr. Marsdens Wool that was sent home by the Anne, that I am completely puzzled—Your Letter informed me that they gave 3/9 pr. lb. without the expense of washing. I have caused them to be written to upon the subject and expect their answer in time to forward with the Packet that I intend sending in charge of Major Abbott. I have been enabled to ascertain that the Wool he sent by the Gambier sold for 2/1 per lb. after it had been washed and sorted at a great expense, but upon this I shall write you more at large.

And now my beloved Wife you will expect me to say something upon the subject of my own return, but alas this is a subject, upon which I am as much in doubt as I was the first moment I determined upon returning to that dear home from which I have been so long absent. Several of my friends have made application upon my behalf to Lord Bathurst and Mr. Goldburne the Secretary but all the certain information I have been able to Obtain is that the subject shall be considered—I am however cheered with a promise that a little patience will produce a favourable answer—God alone knows whether it will or not—if it does not I must endeavour to get away in some private Ship in the way Colonel Johnston did—Of this however be assured that I will leave nothing undone that is practicable and I hope very soon to be able to give you my dearest Elizabeth some information that shall enable you to form a certain judgment, of what prospect there is of our meeting once more. I write this in great haste as it is intended to go in the Secretary of States' Bag by the Marquis of Wellington—and it is to be closed tonight—I shall immediately set about writing you more fully by Major Abbott and I shall prepare a duplicate of what I write and request him to put it on board the Marquis of Wellington—In that Packet I shall send Edwards Letters.

For the present I will only say God Almighty bless my beloved Wife and Girls.

Ever, Ever your affect.,


(In continuation).

I suffered myself to be more hurried than was needful by a report that my letter must immediately be sent to Town—I now find that tomorrow morning will be soon enough, and therefore I resume the subject with which I left off. My friend Mr. Brogden who is now Chairman of the Committees in the House of Commons, and consequently has some influence with Government has said everything in his power to induce the Secretary of State to order me a Passage, and he continues to urge it upon him. It must not however be concealed from my dearest Elizabeth, that there are very great difficulties to be surmounted. You are perhaps informed that Colonel Johnston was refused a passage in a very peremptory way and I have been informed from authority that I cannot doubt that their prejudices are still stronger against me than they were against him, God alone knows whether they have subsided, or if not, whether they can be removed. If not, all that is left to be done, as I have said before is to follow the example of Colonel Johnston and to look out for a Passage by a private Ship.

. . . . In the midst of all my difficulties I feel that I have the greatest reason to be thankful to God, that your good sense enabled you to resist the temptation of coming to England, had it not been so—into what an Abyss of misery would you and my beloved Children have been plunged—dearest best beloved Woman, how great are my obligations to you! there are a thousand things that I wish to say, but whenever I sit down to write to you my feelings are so overpowered that my recollection seems to forsake me and I am so oppressed that were I not to hurry on without method I should not be able to write at all. All your Letters and those of the dear Girls to Edward are now in my possession it is impossible to send such Packets abroad without a most enormous expense—a Letter to him should never exceed a single sheet—it does not matter how large it is and surely one sheet written close and crossed would contain all you have to say—

All you have done and all you propose to do in the management of our concerns appears to me most prudent and beneficial; but if your markets continue to fall in price it is obvious enough that the only marketable commodity will be the Wool—it is therefore of the utmost importance that the finest wooled Ewes should be selected to breed from. The accompanying remarks in answer to Mr. Riley's questions, contain all the information I have to give respecting its washing and packing, a great part of what came in the Minstrel was more than half dirt and some of it had been put up wet and was much injured—Mr. Thompson supposes it has been wetted by Salt Water but I think not, so little pains had been taken in sorting the fleeces that the same Bale contained! half a dozen different qualities of Wool, it was therefore impossible to form any estimate of the value of each Bale without opening them all, this would have been attended with a heavy expense here, and after all, would not have answered the same end as if each Bale had contained Fleeces nearly similar in fineness. I give Hannibal all possible credit for right intentions, but I cannot forbear saying that I am and was much disappointed that the Wool should have come home in such a state.—

Chelsea. Septr. 21st 1814.

I have been unceasing in my endeavours to get the obstacle to my return to you and my dear Children removed but hitherto without success—I do not however despair for the difficulties I have met are more to be attributed to the state of bustle in which the Colonial Department is kept by the American Conference than to any other cause—This cannot last long and I hope the information contained in your next letters will give me power to see more clearly what ought to be done.—

London, Decr. 8th 1814.

My dearest Elizabeth,

I have now a safe opportunity to acknowledge the receipt of your Letters, and remittance (£1372/17) by the James Hay. I say safe, because I shall enclose this in a case, that will neither be exposed to be lost nor to be suppressed nor to any danger but the usual dangers of the sea. I will not attempt to describe the mortification I felt when I learnt that my Letters by the Wansted had not been delivered. The Boys wrote and I communicated many things that I should not have hazarded by a common hand for I considered Capt. . . . . as a person upon whom I might safely depend besides the letters he has a small packet of clothes for Hannibal from his Tailors. I have never seen him since his return to England nor do I wish it. The assurances you give me of your renewed health and of the entire recovery of that dear sufferer Elizabeth operated as a balm to my wounded mind, it was indeed a very timely cordial for all the ill success of my labours here had produced a depression of spirits. . . . I allude to my business with Government the nature of which has been explained in my letters by the Emu and Bloxburnbury—I will however now repeat the principal circumstances upon which all hinges—Through the favour of a friend I procured the following extract from Governor Macquarries instructions.* "You are to take immediate measures for putting Major Johnston in close arrest and for sending him home in order that he may be tried and as Governor Bligh has represented that Mr. McArthur has been the leading Promoter and Instigator of the mutinous measures which have been taken against His Majesty's Government you will if examinations be sworn against him charging him with criminal acts against the Governor and his Authority have him arrested thereupon and brought to trial before the Criminal Court of the Colony." With such instructions I think there is much, cause to fear that Governor Macquarrie might even now consider himself obliged to act upon them if I were within the grasp of his authority and he would certainly be fairly borne out if he thought proper to resort to such a method to get rid of a person who I am told he has often been heard to speak of in exceedingly hostile language. This may or may not be true but supposing it to be false it would surely be highly imprudent in me to return to the Colony with such a drawn sword suspended over my head as it were by a single hair—Nothing could in my judgment sanction such an experiment either in regard to my personal security or the peace and welfare of you my beloved Wife and our dear Children—in this opinion I am strengthened by that of several sensible and dispassionate friends who have advised me to endeavour to accomodate with Government—My friend Mr. Brogden cheerfully undertook at my request to use his influence to procure a revocation of the instructions to Governor Macquarrie—He saw Mr. Goulburne the Under Secretary of State frequently but he found a deep rooted prejudice against me—After repeated conversations Mr. Goulburne promised that he would give the business an unprejudiced consideration but unluckily at this very juncture he was sent off to Ghent as a Commissioner to treat with the Americans—When he returns he may be prevailed upon to fulfil his promise but who can say what result that may produce—I must not conceal from you that my apprehensions are stronger than my hopes because I know from good authority that there is a powerful interest still exerted against me—In this melancholy state of things I sometimes indulge a hope that you might succeed better with the Governor. I think you might safely sound him or Mrs. Macquarrie and if you discover anything like a favourable inclination you could candidly state the difficulties that you are informed are opposed to my return to my family—If he could be prevailed upon to recommend to the Secretary of State that the general amnesty should be extended to me it would I know be directly complied with. . . . .

[* These instructions were contained in a letter, Castlereagh to Macquarie, 14th May, 1809.]

What you report of the fall of the price of Live Stock I have long foreseen and I am convinced a much greater fall has been felt before this time—this depreciation must proceed and with increased rapidity until the price is brought down to the lowest point at which stock will pay for rearing. Our Farms will then produce little besides food for the Family and servants and the Wool. That it is true is yearly becoming more valuable but it will be but a scanty provision for us all unless we can do something in the Mercantile way.

I think the fall of Stock must ere this have operated upon the price of land if it have not it will for nothing can give a good value to land but a good market for produce and until the Colony can find some extensive export land and cattle will sink in value together—Taking this view of the state of things I have been induced once more to try my fortune in a small adventure consigned entirely to your management and I feel confident that if prudence and good sense can insure success it will prove successful in your hands. I impose no restrictions upon your judgment except upon the subject of credit upon that my mind is made up and I request that no credit may be given—As I have discovered from Hannibals accounts that the trading people will make no allowance for expenses I have caused Twenty per cent to be added to the price of every article except the Grocery and Straw Bonnets which are charged at prime cost this will about clear the cost of Shipping Insurance &c., and is in truth as much the prime cost as the first purchase. . . . .

Since the Peace Printed Cottons have been dearer here than Hannibal sold those sent him by the Spring Grove—Altho' the quickness of returns is of the greatest consequence do not be uneasy if you cannot sell. Had the money been placed in the Funds it would have made only four and a half per cent admitting that you should be three years in realising the amount of this adventure it will then pay upwards of seventeen per cent a year if you sell it at fifty per cent but if you are compelled to protract your sales many things will very likely sell for more than a hundred per cent.

What you remark upon the fate of former adventures to the Colony is certainly correct but these unfortunate results arise from a state of things that cannot last—Peace will place Commerce upon a more sure footing and men will not go to a market where there is so much uncertainty when the Whole World is open to them—your supply will be regulated by your means of payments and the superabundance that I suspect is now going to you will cause a scarcity to ensue for when the report of an overstocked market arrives here it will deter others from taking goods. Once more be not uneasy be patient and give no credit.

You have never informed me whether you got the Lease of the Sydney Cottage renewed I am much pleased at the Grant of the Swamps they make a desirable whole of the Farm to secure us from interruption.

I am very glad that you proceed so smoothly with the Governor and if you can negotiate an exchange of the Seven Hills Estate for Land at the Cow Pastures do, considering its contiguity you ought to have a larger quantity but I leave the arrangement entirely to you.

Many important things escape your memory at the moment of writing—do adopt the practice of making short memos when anything occurs worth repeating—I much wish for regular sale accounts of Stock—when I am asked the price of Stock which I frequently am I know not what to say—Inform me upon what terms you sold Hannibal the flock of Sheep and include the Horses in your next Returns. . . . .

God protect and bless you, it will be the study of my life to requite you for all that you have suffered on my account. Adieu my beloved Wife.

Purchase [of Stock Farm] from Foveaux

Chelsea 26th December 1814.

My beloved Elizabeth.

The Northampton has been delayed so much longer than was expected, that I am enabled to add this to my little Packet, with some letters from John, and one from William who is now with me for the Holidays.—It also affords me an opportunity of communicating a design, upon which I have been some time deliberating, and have now determined to execute. James, as you have repeatedly been informed has been employed all this year in a Merchants Counting House: and I think he has now acquired a sufficient knowledge of Book Keeping, and Accounts, to answer any purpose to which he may hereafter have occasion to apply that species of knowledge,—William has also made a good progress in his education, and would do little good by a longer continuance with Dr. Lindsay.—I propose therefore to set off in about a month for the South of France, with James and William, and to place them for a short time under the care of some enlightened French Preceptor of established reputation. With him, they will be led into a habit of reading and studying those sciences particularly Mineralogy, that may be useful to them in New South Wales. They will also have an opportunity of seeing and studying the whole practice of the Culture of the Vine and the Olive, and the making the Wine and the Oil,—they will likewise learn those exercises which give ease and gracefulness to the person, and all at a much smaller expense than it would occasion in England. I think six months will be sufficient for James, but his stay will entirely depend upon the success of my endeavours to arrange matters with the Government. If I succeed, he will be then ready to accompany me, but if my stay here should be protracted, I shall allow him to remain in France one year, and then send him out to you—I hope this plan will receive your approbation—In my opinion it promises many advantages.—For in addition to what I have enumerated there may be many useful arts practised in Agriculture in the South of France which might be successfully introduced into New South Wales. The dear Boys are much pleased at the idea themselves, and as the execution will rather diminish than increase my expenses, I feel it is an opportunity of letting them see the world and giving them a chance of acquiring knowledge that ought not to be neglected.

My stay in France will be in some measure governed by your letters and by the progress my friends may make in their negotiations with Government on my behalf. If any Wool should arrive whilst I am absent. John will open your letters and the business part will be executed by my friend Mr. Coles, as well as if I were present. But whatever happen, I shall not protract my stay beyond June. I shall remain in the same Town with the Boys, and shall watch their progress and perhaps facilitate it by my presence. . . . .

London 16th February 1815.

My beloved Wife.

You will learn from a letter written a few days ago that I was at Rochester with James and William on a visit to Mr. Lees and intending to proceed from thence to France. The day after that letter was written I received information of the arrival of the Siringapatam and hastened back to London to get my letters. After a weeks delay I succeeded in getting possession of them without their going through the Post Office as is required by the New Act of Parliament.* You only do me justice in supposing that the assurance you give of your own health and that of our dear Girls was the most valuable news you could communicate. It was truly so and did and does greatly diminish the mental suffering which my own most extraordinary diseased Frame so often occasions. I need not say how much I was disappointed that the Wool did not come in the same vessel. It was in truth a most unlucky apprehension that prevented you from sending it, I shall now be obliged to incur a very heavy expense to insure by I know not what Ship and perhaps not receive the Wool for many months, I hope when it does come that last Years Wool will accompany it and as I learn from Elizabeth's letters to her Brothers that you had made arrangements for shearing all the Flocks at home I entertain sanguine hopes that the quantity will be much greater. You are no doubt aware that the Lambs Wool, is valuable. In future I hope the moment the Wool is shorn arrangements may be made for packing and that no time may be lost in completing the packing whether there be any prospect of a ship to send it by or not. I have said so much in former letters about the care required in culling the finest woolled Ewes that it cannot be needful I should repeat it. Your letter contained no returns of the Stock, no mention of the current prices nothing of the sale of Rams which as I understand the desire of getting fine Woolled Sheep is general among the Settlers I should suppose must be at good prices. You say that our losses of Stock have been comparatively nothing to the losses of the former year but as you never told me what they were I am unable to form any satisfactory opinion. Indeed my dearest Elizabeth I feel as ignorant of the state of my own affairs as any stranger and when I am interrogated upon the subject I can only stammer and look foolish. I must request that you will in future have the goodness never to despatch any letter without a return of Stock, the quantity of each kind sold in the preceding quarter, and the prices. The inference I draw from your making no remittance makes me regret that I have sent any articles for sale by the Hebe but regrets are unavailing. If the Colony should continue in the same State of poverty it will be best perhaps to endeavour to realize prime cost as fast as you can, this however I leave entirely to your own discretion only do not trust. . . . .

[* Prior to 1814 all letters from Australia were carried by ships' Captains and delivered by them to addressees.]

I was very lucky at getting at your Packet before it went to the Post Office it would have cost at least Five Guineas, do not neglect in future to write as close as you can and not multiply your envelopes in a needless manner. Tomorrow I return to Blackheath and in three days time embark for France. I hope the mild climate of that Country will give me relief at all events we shall live at less expense there than here. All the Boys are well. . . . .

Macarthur set out for Paris in March, 1815, with his sons James and William aged 16 and 14. The day after their arrival in Paris the Moniteur announced the escape of Napoleon from Elba, and his landing in the South of France. Macarthur did not think it necessary to leave Paris, but remained quietly there, his sons acted as interpreters, as before leaving Sydney they had been educated by a French émigré tutor, and were able to speak French fluently.

On leaving Paris they travelled through Burgundy to Lyons visiting some of the celebrated wine districts en route. They were constantly thrown into the society of the military and civilians in the public conveyances and hotels, but they met with nothing but courtesy and kindness.

From Lyons they went to Geneva, whence they set out on a walking tour around the Lake examining the vineyards by the way.

At Montreux they "stopped to breakfast and the land-lady informed us that a Swiss gentleman, who had been a long time in England, was now here and that he would be happy to see us. He accordingly called on us after breakfast with his two sons who were born and educated in England. After a little conversation they informed us that several of the inhabitants of Montreux had emigrated to America for the purpose of cultivating the vine, and that Mr. Dufour, the founder of the project, was at present residing here. No information could have been better than this. It seemed as if fate had led us to this beautiful village to meet the very man we most wished to find. The next morning we paid a visit to Mr. Dufour we found him at work in his vineyard. . . . . He said that the vines in America had at first failed in the way they had done in New Holland, but that by dint of perserverance he had at length made them succeed, and he explained the reason of their failure. My father found his information of so much consequence that he resolved to make a long stay in this part of the country. It was determined therefore that Mr. Dufour's son a young man of about 25, should accompany me to Geneva in quest of our baggage."

In August they left the Chateau de Chattellard which they had rented, and moved into the town of Vevey, where they made several acquaintances. Whilst they were there Edward arrived from Paris, where his regiment was quartered, and spent some weeks with them.

Edward had been with his regiment the 37th for some years in the Peninsula, and constantly in action with Wellington's force. He was sent in 1814 to Canada with his regiment and quartered at Quebec, and they were ordered back and arrived just after Waterloo had been fought. His regiment was with the Army of occupation in Paris when he obtained leave to visit his family at Vevey.

Macarthur and his two sons left Vevey in the spring of 1816, accompanied by two vignerons from Montreaux, and travelled through Geneva, Lyons, Montpelier and Nîmes to Marseilles. The journey was accomplished chiefly on foot, in order to give greater facilities for acquiring agricultural information, with a Swiss pony to carry the baggage, cuttings and plants collected on the way. Besides the vine and olive culture they enquired into the method of silk growing and the manufacture of rape and poppy oil, the latter being a substitute for olive oil. Irrigation also claimed their attention. They returned to England early in May, 1816, when Macarthur again pressed the Government to allow him to return to Sydney.

Geneva April 29th 1815.

You will see from the place that I date this that I have executed my intention of visiting the Continent, I and the dear Boys sailed from Portsmouth 28th of February and arrived at Havre on the 2nd of March. We travelled slowly to Paris and reached it the evening before the Moniteur announced the return of that pest of the human race Buonaparte from the Isle of Elba. Our curiosity was gratified by the sight of him the morning after his arrival in Paris. As we found ourselves quite as secure as under the Government of the King and as much undisturbed we continued at Paris until we had seen everything worthy the notice of travellers, but as I found that England and the other great Powers were determined upon War I thought it too hazardous to stay much longer in France; but that the principal object of my journey might not be entirely frustrated I made up my mind to pass through some of the Southern Provinces of France to this little Republic and to stay here until the course of events should enable me to shape my course anew with a fair prospect of being permitted to carry my plans into execution without hindrance or molestation. We have passed three weeks here very pleasantly and not without advantage to the dear Boys as they have prosecuted their studies and exercises under the instruction of the best Masters. The approach of a French Force within a few leagues of Geneva obliges me once more to shift my quarters. In three days we shall commence our journey for Italy and proceed across the Alps to Milan this is represented to be a cheap and delightful abode and the contiguous country abounds with Vineyards and Olive grounds. If the War should prove unprosperous we can easily pass across Italy into Germany and from thence return to England but I entertain no fear of being obliged to that alternative. France is not united as it was after the Revolution, it is now divided into three parties Royalists, Buonapartists and Republicans, and the Powers opposed to them appear to be actuated by one common feeling a conviction that the old legitimate Governments cannot exist or enjoy one hours security unless that of Buonaparte be overthrown and France be strictly confined to its ancient limits. That they will succeed in their endeavours to accomplish this great object I see no cause to doubt indeed I think Buonaparte will not retain his authority three months longer. If my opinion should be realised I shall return to the South of France and there wait in anxious expectation for your answers to the letters I have written to you by different ships within the last six months. John has promised me that he will write to you most fully by the Dowsen. You will be rejoiced to hear that our dear Edward is expected to return from America perhaps he may arrive before the departure of this. I have written to him to day recommending the adoption of some measures which I hope may lead to his procuring an appointment on the Staff. Poor fellow he has little cause as yet to consider himself one of fortune's favorites and yet I believe few young men have juster claims upon her regard. This consideration ought to console us; he is universally respected and praised by all who know him. My health is much recruited by my journey—change of air, amusements and moderate exercise are I believe the best remedies for all disorders of the nerves. My journey has afforded me all these in abundance and as I passed through France I had ample opportunity to acquaint myself with the mode of pruning planting and preparing the soil to receive the Vine so that pleasure and business went hand in hand. James shall give you detailed account of our whole journey when we arrive in Italy. He grows very fast and promises to be a very fine young man. William still continues a little lively fellow and I think will remain so but he is quick and intelligent tho' like his Father a little prone to be idle. James on the contrary is slow and persevering. I shall, enclose this in a few lines to Hannibal principally upon the subject of money which you will of course read before you give it to him. James and William unite in love to the dear Girls and in prayers for the health and happiness of you all. Frederick Thompson desires his love to Elizabeth. God Bless my dearest Best beloved Wife.

Your Brothers unite in affectionate wishes with My dear John

Your affectionate Father

J. McArthur.

London May 22nd 1816.   

My dearest Ever dear Elizabeth,

This will be delivered to you by Mr. Wild the gentleman who is appointed to succeed Mr. Ellis Bent in the Office of Judge Advocate to the Colony, and he will assure you that my ramblings on the Continent have proved most beneficial to my health with the exception of a little Gout, I have now thank God, nothing to complain of on that score.—

James and I returned from France three weeks ago, leaving Willian with Edward at his quarters near St Pol—All our boys are as well as we could desire to have them. . . . .

I have been unusually anxious since I arrived in London for some tidings of the Hebe, and three days since information reached us of her arrival at Batavia, and that she may be expected here next month—If there be no previous arrivals direct from the Colony I calculate upon receiving by her a mass of deeply interesting information, both on money matters and other affairs still more interesting—My letters by that ship contained so full an explanation of what I had encountered and had still to encounter here, that you would I am persuaded exert yourself in every prudent and practicable way to create an interest in my behalf in the Colony—My friends here have also been very active, and they assure me that favorable impressions have at last succeeded to the hostile spirit which has so long obstructed my return to you my beloved wife, and to all the blessings and enjoyments of the society of my dear Girls—I am living in hourly expectation of a summons to the Secretary of States Office to report the results of my tour, and I am assured that what they have been already told respecting my collections of Vines and Olives has produced a strong effect.

There is a ship preparing for the Colony to take out Women, and by this ship I shall give you a detail, of all I have done and, I trust in God, be empowered to inform you when the period of my weary and unhappy wanderings is likely to cease.

James and Willy think of nothing in their hours of relaxation but their home; and when they do return to it I am persuaded you will be happy and proud of your children.

I have neither time nor indeed inclination at present to enter upon any details of business.—John has already acknowledged the safe arrival of the Wool and remittances by the Sydney Packet.—Considering the depressed state of the Markets at the time it arrived I think it sold well at 2/6 pet lb., and it is most satisfactory to find that the Flocks are progressively improving. . . . .

London June 26th 1816.

My dear Elizabeth.

This Letter will be delivered by a Mr. Edward Grey, a young person who is patronised by an intimate friend of our old friend Dr. White. He has obtained the usual credentials from the Secretary of State to the Governor, to entitle him to a Grant of Land &c., but as he is by trade a Gun Smith, he is at present undecided whether on his arrival in the Colony, he shall proceed to cultivation, or employ himself at his Trade, until he shall have acquired a sufficient stock of knowledge and experience in what manner he can most advantageously dispose of his little Capital.

It appears to me that it will be most prudent for him to try his Trade for a short period; but as the state of the Colony is much changed since I left it, I have not ventured to give any positive advice, feeling that a recommendation to you, for an opinion in what manner it will be advisable he should proceed, will be of infinitely more value.

Mr. Grey takes his wife with him, and I beg that you will not only advise, but afford them any little assistance which as strangers in the Colony they may need. . . . .

London 23rd July 1816.

Our dear James wrote to you so very lately that he has now little to communicate, he therefore only writes a few lines by this opportunity to assure you that he continues most anxious to return to his home—Surely it cannot be long before this Emu or some other vessel must arrive to relieve us from the suspense and anxiety that your last Letters have occasioned. I do not suffer myself to doubt more than I can help that the Colony got through the difficulties that threatened it better than the existing state of things seemed to promise; but yet in spite of hope, I find it at times impossible to subdue apprehension—It shall not however, be the conqueror at this moment. We have had a season here as remarkable for its continued wetness as last year was with you for its drought; but the rain ceased a day or two ago and I hope in time to prevent the country from suffering any other evil from it, than the loss of a large quantity of Hay.—Should the Corn Harvest be materially injured the consequences would be dreadful indeed, as it is notorious, that the depressed state of the manufacturies and Trade of the Kingdom, and the weight of the Taxes, have thrown a considerable portion of the arable land out of cultivation, and caused much that is in use to be very imperfectly worked—It has been reported to the House of Commons that upwards of Four Millions of persons have received Parochial relief this year, and it is estimated, that the expense will exceed Twelve Millions—Hundreds are wandering through every District seeking employment without success, and the most robust and able bodied young men have no other support than what they get from the Parish—The Revenues have fallen short of the expenditure more than Seventeen Millions, and it is ascertained, that the taxes are daily becoming, less and less productive—In short the most sanguine tremble for the result and derive what little hope they indulge from the old maxim "that when things are at the worst they mend"—Notwithstanding these ominous and threatening appearances, no apparent change is discernable in the habits and expenses of the upper classes of society—People are more gaily dressed than ever, the streets are thronged with carriages, the Public entertainments crowded to overflowing, delicacies of every description are eagerly sought after, and the principal contention seems to be, who shall be foremost in the race of dissipation and folly in the midst, however, of all this seeming festivity and gladness, it is not difficult at times to peep under the mask, and discover that the whole originates in a dread of reflection, and an anxiety to escape from the torments of care—Never mind, they exclaim, all will be well—we have gone on hitherto with unexampled success, and why should we not continue our career, the little check we are now suffering is only temporary, and at, all events, we cannot mend things, by anticipating evils that may never reach us, and if they do, we shall contrive some method of relief—Not one in a thousand has the courage to look the desperate fortunes of the country in the face.—Thus you see my dearest Elizabeth, that altho' you, God knows, have an abundant share of care, your lot is not a singular one—there are few persons in the world I believe of any rank, that are exempt, and therefore we must endeavour not to murmur that we participate in the general lot.

Take care of your health, maintain your spirits as well as you can, and let hope whisper in your ear, that things are at the worst with us.—

London, 23rd July 1816.

My beloved Wife,

Your letter by the Hebe has been received nearly a month, and the days of that month have passed with more than usual tardiness in expectation of the arrival of the Emu or some other ship with the information you intended to give me when you should have a more favorable channel of conveyance for it than you considered the Hebe to be. Your letter by that Vessel was kindly and considerately forwarded by Captain Paten in the first ship that sailed from Batavia after his arrival. Rut for this precaution I had still been in a worse state of suspense—The Hebe is now expected every day, when she arrives I shall endeavour to procure the information you encourage me to hope from Captain Paten, and I do not allow myself entirely to despair of some day getting from yourself the more circumstantial answer which you promise me to the Letters that the Hebe took to you. . . . .

You assure me, that I have nothing to fear, and every thing to hope from the benevolence and good will of the Governor. Perhaps it may be so, and I hope it is; for, altho' a bitter course of experience has convinced me that fair professions have little claim to confidence, I always feel more disposed to trust than to doubt, and I should certainly be tempted to do so, in an instance that might be productive of so much good, and so many advantages, if it were not for the consideration, that a misplaced confidence might eventually overwhelm you, my children and myself in irretrievable ruin—If the stake were less that I have at hazard—if it were confined solely to myself I should no longer hesitate, because no consequences that can ensue, could cause a larger degree of personal suffering than I now undergo, but every feeling revolts at the idea of endeavouring to relieve myself at the hazard of involving you all—I will therefore my dearest Elizabeth, no longer conceal from you that unless the instructions, of which I sent you a copy, be revoked, the existance of your husband, and the fortunes of your children must depend upon the forbearance of an individual—which numberless incidents over which I could have no control might transform into active persecution—This is a fact that I am persuaded Governor M—has long been acquainted with, and this was my principal inducement for urging you to, attempt measures, which might make him feel an interest to interfere on my behalf.—Could he have been prevailed upon to recommend me to the favorable notice of Government nothing more would have been needed—they would have instantly complied—But this I can no longer hope, for surely you would not have postponed an hour to impart tidings of so much importance, had there been anything pleasing to make known—I shall, however, wait a little longer until I see what your next letters contain, and if they prove what I cannot avoid anticipating—I shall make application to the Secretary of State—I have come to this determination under the advice of some able and dispassionate friends who, are of opinion, that, in times like the present, Govt. will be as desirous to avoid the publick discussion of the merits of Mr. Blighs deposition, as I can be to escape from its consequences—A little time must determine and I trust in God turn all my tormenting doubts and fears into a happy certainty—of one thing be assured that I shall proceed with the most guarded caution, and try to the utmost what concilatory measures will do, before I attempt any others—Let me then entreat you my beloved Wife to bear yourself with patience and fortitude, and remember that we have all the reason to confide in the favor and protection of a just God, which the consciousness of innocence integrity and honour can give—I need not caution you not to confide what I have now written to any human being, and your prudence will suggest to you the propriety of committing this Letter to the Flames.—It will be delivered to you by a Mr. Barron Field, a Gentleman who leaves this Country with the appointment of Judge of the Supreme Court—I have had the pleasure to see but little of him, but I doubt not he will prove an agreeable acquisition to your little Society—I understand he has lately married—but I have not had the pleasure to see his Lady—He goes out I believe with very sanguine expectations. . . . .

Let what may happen I shall endeavour to procure a passage out for James in a ship that has been taken up within these few days, but whose name I do not recollect, I understand she will not sail in less than two months, and perhaps not less than three or four—I will make no reflections upon the alarming account you give of the impoverished state of the Colony, and the consequences which the continuance of drought may have produced—We are all under the Government of a powerful and merciful God, and it is our duty to submit in the best way we are able to His dispensations—At the time your letter was written your Sheep Shearing must have been well advanced if not entirely over, and yet not one word does it contain upon that subject nor any information (so earnestly as I desired) respecting the Wool. . . .

Your remittances have all been accepted and will be paid in a day or two,—They were more than acceptable for I had been put to a great expense—Edward returned from America wanting everything, and placing John in the Temple and providing him with means to pursue his studies has cost me a great deal—I hope your next account of the adventure of the Hebe will be more consolotary—. . . .

I say nothing of publick affairs for they are beyond my comprehension—Some believe and more I suspect, profess to believe, that the difficulties under which the whole nation is groaning, will be surmounted—It may be so, altho' I am unable to see how it is to be accomplished, but my own opinion is, that the Country is ruined, that is to say, that an extraordinary crisis is at hand. In such a melancholy state of things, it is some comfort that you are far removed from all chance of being injuriously affected by them—

London July 28th 1816.

My dearest Elizabeth,

If I were superstitiously inclined I should be half disposed to believe that I wrote to you the other day under a supernatural influence, for altho' so little time has since elapsed I have already reason to encourage a belief that the tide of misfortune has turned. I wrote the letter, I informed you I intended to send to Lord Bathurst the following day, and put it into the hands of my old and steady friend Mr. Watson Taylor, to revise and correct as he might think necessary. Without changing a word, or imparting his intentions to me, he went to the Secretary of States' Office, and read it to the Under Secretary, assuring him at the same time, that he knew I was determined to suffer in silence no longer. This produced the happiest effect, and a wish was expressed, that I might be induced to suppress the letter he had heard, and substitute another, which should contain no allusion to any past transactions; and altho', he said, he could not undertake to engage, that Lord Bathurst would revoke the instructions that were given to Governor Macquarrie on his appointment, yet he could venture to say, that no hostile feeling existed towards me, and he thought there could be no cause to doubt Lord Bathurst's readiness to adopt such a course of conduct, as must be satisfactory: and, that every reasonable facility would be given to enable me and my Sons to return to the Colony.

Mr. Watson Taylor considers this tantamount to a promise of a cessation of hostilities, and that a little patience will remove every obstacle to my return. Your discernment and good sense will explain the policy of Mr. Watson Taylor's conduct—By shewing the Copy of my intended Letter he created a feeling of alarm, and at the same time gave me an opportunity of shewing the moderation of my views, by consenting to adopt any course that might be prescribed, provided that Government in return relieved me from the hardship to which I have been so long exposed. Should the Lord Melville be detained a few days more I hope I shall be able to forward more positive information by her, but at all events, I shall be relieved from every doubt long before the next Ships can be ready to sail and T am not without hopes that they may bring you something better and more acceptable than assurances.—James is almost crazy with joy at the idea of returning to his home to enjoy the society of his dear Mother and Sisters, and I, who do not suffer my emotions to be so unruly, cannot boast that my mind is in the most tranquil state. Practice, my beloved Elizabeth, yet a little longer the admirable fortitude that has enabled you so many years to sustain such a train of afflictions; and cheer your heart with the anticipation that the end of a stormy life may yet be passed in security, happiness, and peace—We have yet not received any tidings of the Emu, and I find it impossible to banish apprehensions of the difficulties you may have suffered from a continuation of the terrible drought which your last letters described—I do not, however, despond—Let me only find you and my dear Girls in health when I return, and all other evils will appear light, and only additional stimulants to exertions.

Will you have the goodness to prepare in the most careful manner you can, a few acres of the Cow Pastures for Seeds, on land out of reach of floods, and likewise eight or ten acres at Parramatta, for the same purpose—We shall find room somewhere for the Vines and Olives I hope to bring out alive.

I have sent in charge of Mr. Grey the first number, of a new Publication "The Colonial Journal," the Editor of which will be glad to receive any communications and insert them in this work. Mr. Grey's relation has just called to say the Lord Melvilles departure is postponed—this gives me hopes that I may yet be able to give you still more pleasing news.

August 3rd.

I sent in the Letter to which I allude in the first part of this on the 1st and it is probable I shall have an answer early in next week, but I fear not in time to inform you of its contents by the Lord Melville—My letter was delayed two or three days by Mr. Watson Taylor to make some alterations.

It will be some relief from the painful suspense I am compelled to keep you in to know that our dear Boys Edward and William are arrived and with me in excellent healths, the accompanying letters will speak for them. . . . . The News Papers will inform you my dearest Elizabeth how melancholy the prospects of this Country are—Something must be soon done, but what, it is impossible to say, whatever it may be it must increase our population, and I earnestly request that you will not dispose of any part of your breeding Stock that you can keep with advantage, hint this to no one.

I hope yet to write to you once more by the Lord Melville altho' I dare not delay this any longer for fear she should sail—This makes the third letter I have written you Two by Mr. Barron Field, and one by Mr. Grey, who has charge of the "Colonial Journal"—I have sent you nothing but that and the Newspapers, well knowing that the little things I have by me that I purchased in France will be more acceptable from my own hands than from any other. May God bless and protect you and soon restore us to each other. Adieu My beloved Wife.

Your affectionate.

John McArthur.

London, 19th August 1816.

My dearest best beloved Wife.

The continued delay of the Lord Melville has given me the means of transmitting to you copies of the correspondence that has passed between Government and me and my invaluable friend Mr. Watson Taylor, I beseech you not to suffer yourself to be dispirited at the apparent difficulties that obstruct my return, they will, they must be overcome, and be assured that they will terminate in the most reputable manner to me to you and to all our dear children. I must not however attempt to conceal from you that some months may elapse and that it is even probable that I shall be compelled to make an appeal to Parliament and to lay open all the iniquities of Mr. Bligh's Government. It will afford you great consolation to discover that Mr. Watson Taylor approves of the course I have already taken, and though no man can be expected to advise in a matter of such importance and nicety it is clear that he thinks that I am correct in deciding as I have done not to submit to any thing which can cast the smallest stain on my honor. It is also evident that Government feel themselves greatly embarrassed and all my friends are of opinion that they must be sorry for having proposed anything which may provoke a publick discussion of the merits of my conduct or an examination into the motives that induced them to raise Bligh to the rank of an Admiral and to give him a pension for the faithful discharge of his duty in New South Wales. Many think they will not venture to persevere in refusing to concede the point in dispute between us whilst others think they will. There is however no ground upon which any correct judgment can be reared, because when men act without regard to fixed principles and make expediency alone the rule of their conduct it is impossible to say what they may or may not do. Your own good sense will point out to you that you ought on no consideration to suffer these papers to go out of your hands for if a copy of the private letters were to get abroad it would ruin me in the opinion of my friends and the World. I think indeed that it would be most prudent to show them to no one, but to Governor Macquarrie whose kindness to you entitles him to the fullest confidence, he will at once see how desirable it is I should procure a revocation of the hostile instructions he received from Lord Castlereagh; as he might if I were to return without that being effected find himself much embarrassed by new instructions in the same spirit altho' not to the same extent. I am convinced a man of his benevolent heart will be gratified to find himself unemcumbered by Official trammels and at perfect liberty to act towards me in the manner that my exertions for the advancement of the real interests of the Colony may appear to him to deserve. I wish to God it may be my fortune to live some years under his auspices, for from all you tell me, he is the man best calculated to promote my undertakings and the only man who has yet governed the Colony with a sufficient elevation of mind and depth of judgment to discover, that his own interest and honor would be improved by my ultimate success.

If I do not come to an immediate settlement with Government James will take his passage in the next Ship. William is yet too young to be removed from under my eye and I shall therefore place him under an intelligent Scotch Farmer to be instructed in Agriculture until I can bring him to you. We are all well and anxiously looking for letters from you. I pray God they may contain assurances of your having got well over the difficulties that threatened the Colony when your letter was written. The Boys all unite in affectionate and dutiful remembrances Assure my dear Girls of my unceasing affection.


Copy of letter to Earl Bathurst.


My Lord,

The circumstance that causes me to address your Lordship is of such a nature as I persuade myself will sufficiently apologize for the intrusion.

Your Lordship is without doubt informed of the extent and nature of my establishment in N.S. Wales: and as one of the principal objects I have struggled to introduce has at last overcome all the obstacles under which it so long languished; and has grown into sufficient importance! to excite some attention from those who view with regard any undertaking which has a tendency to promote the manufactures and Trade of Great Britain, I feel assured that it has not been considered undeserving some portion of your Lordship's notice. I allude, My Lord to the introduction into that distant Colony of a breed of Merino Sheep, specimens of the Wool of which I once had the honour to submit to your Lordship's notice. The approbation your Lordship was pleased to express upon that occasion excite hopes that any additional evidence may not be unacceptable of the progressive advancement of an attempt that is capable of so much extension, and the beneficial consequences of which, both to the Colony and to the Mother Country, no person is more capable of appreciating than your Lordship.

Under this impression I have done myself the honor to enclose herewith a set of samples taken from a quantity of Wool that I have lately received. The gross amount of the importation was upwards of fifteen thousand weight and the quality of the whole of the Wool was so much approved of by those who are interested in the Wool trade, that much earnestness has been expressed by several of those persons for a preference in the offer of the next parcel from the Colony.

The apprehension I feel of being considered troublesome, imposes a limit which admits not of my entering into details respecting other designs, I have spared neither labour nor expense to execute. Your Lordship will have perhaps the goodness to permit me to state, that I have in a tour through France and a part of Switzerland made a collection of Olives and Vines (that are now in a state of preparation to send abroad) and that during my tour I assiduously studied the cultivation of these two great sources of human enjoyment and wealth.

There are many obstacles I admit to impede their successful introduction into an infant Colony, but great as they are, I think they may be surmounted by patience and perseverance: and were they to receive the fostering protection of your Lordship I should feel almost confident of success.

In similar attempts much of my life has been spent with more advantage to the Colony than profit to myself, and notwithstanding I have experienced many strange obstructions, perhaps unavoidable, they have not abated my zeal to perform all the services that are within the compass of my humble means and ability.

Your Lordship is, I believe, aware that it has been my misfortune to be in some measure compelled to abandon the superintendance of my affairs for more than seven years; and to submit to the severe suffering of being separated from my Family. And as I am informed that the same cause which has so long imposed this painful separation still exists with unabated vigor, I am compelled to throw myself on your Lordship's candour, humanity, and justice for relief.

Of what I may be accused I am almost entirely ignorant but the fearlessness of an upright heart prompts me to declare that I am and always have been prepared to submit both my private and my publick life to the severest scrutiny.

My Lord, I am perfectly sensible of the delicacy of this subject, and no human being can be more solicitous not to give offence but I owe it to myself and to my family to submit in silence no longer. I can only conjecture what injurious impressions have been excited against me, perhaps on evidence without the reality, but with too much of the show of truth. Your Lordship has the power to give me an opportunity of stripping these unjust allegations of their borrowed garb; and it is the only favor that I at present presume to ask.

Let me, My Lord, be informed on what evidence the proscription under which I now suffer was issued, and why it was thought right to select me as a solitary victim from an almost entire population, and I have no apprehension but I shall be able to offer such a justification as will convince your Lordship that I am at least entitled to expect from His Majesty's Government the fullest security that the remainder of my life may be passed in the bosom of my Family, free even from the possibility of molestation on account of the part that I found myself compelled to take in the affair from the consequences of which I am now on many accounts so anxious to obtain relief.

Every act of mine in the unhappy transaction to which I am solicitous to draw your Lordship's attention proceeded from the impulse of a fatal necessity and to prevent consequences which no man could be more ready to deplore than your Lordship: and if I might be permitted the indulgence of a short interview I cannot fear but I should produce the most convincing proof of what I affirm.

In the earnest and respectful hope that my request may be complied with,

I have the honor to remain

John McArthur.

This letter was sent to Mr. Watson Taylor for his approbation and shewn confidentially by him to Mr. Goulburn, the Under Secretary to Lord Bathurst who requested that it might not be sent into the Office. In consequence of this Mr. W. T. advised that the following which he thought more likely to succeed should be forwarded to Lord Bathurst.

Ibbotson's Hotel

1st August 1816.

My Lord,

Although circumstances have hitherto prevented my return to my possessions in New South Wales I have had the good fortune through the prudent and able management of Mrs. McArthur to continue my establishment there until the principal obstacles I had to encounter in my breed of Sheep have been overcome, and it has been brought to such a state of perfection that the importation of the Wool I have lately made from thence into this Country has excited the attention of those interested in the Trade to such a degree that several of them have desired to have a preference when the next parcel arrives from the Colony, the gross amount of this last importation being upwards of fifteen thousand weight from my own flocks. I have for the last two years directed my labours further for the benefit of the Colony, having with two of my Sons travelled through France and Switzerland, and assiduously studied the different modes of cultivating those two great sources of human enjoyment and wealth, the Olive and the Vine; a collection of which and other useful plants I have now in a state of preparation to send abroad.

With these interesting and indeed important pursuits before me, and with the most confirmed disposition to devote to them and the care of my domestic concerns, my undivided attention, may I submit it most respectfully to your Lordship's consideration, whether after a lapse of so many years, when all the harsh and violent feelings which formerly distracted the different members of the Community in Port Jackson have been worn out, your Lordship might not think it reconcilable with your strict sense of publick duty to direct an Act of Oblivion to be passed by His Majesty's present Governor in New South Wales, as to all the measures in which I was most reluctantly involved and thereby enable me with my two sons to return to the Colony, to the bosom of my family where my presence is essentially necessary, and to the laudable and beneficial pursuits, in which the publick good is as much concerned as my private advantage, with security to my person and relieved from those molestations to the possibility of which I am at present exposed, and which operate as a banishment from every thing that is most valuable to me in life.

Your Lordship's early consideration of this request will be gratefully acknowledged, and should you be pleased to comply with it, your Lordship will never have any reason to be dissatisfied with so just and so benevolent a decision,

I have the honor to remain with the greatest respect

John McArthur.

To the Earl Bathurst,

Downing Street,

2nd August 1816.


I am directed by Lord Bathurst to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 1st Inst., expressing your desire to rejoin your Family in New South Wales, and requesting that the Governor may be instructed to pass an Act of Oblivion with respect to all those measures in which you were engaged in that Colony.

In reply I have to acquaint you that His Lordship taking into consideration the length of time during which you have been separated from your Family, the exertions which you have made to promote the agriculture and prosperity of New South Wales, and above all the assurances that his Lordship has received from various quarters as well as from yourself that you are fully sensible of the impropriety of conduct which led to your departure from the Colony, no longer objects to authorize your return.

His Lordship will therefore transmit the necessary instructions to the Governor not to offer you any molestation on account of past transactions nor to adopt with respect to you any measures other than your future conduct in the Colony may appear to him to require.

I am, Sir,

Your obedient Humble Servant

Henry Goulburn.

John McArthur, Esq.

The following are the alterations proposed by my Father and Mr. W. Taylor, instead of the words ** "that you are fully sensible of the impropriety of conduct &c" the following were to be substituted "as well as from yourself that you are fully prepared to devote your undivided attention to these important pursuits within the Colony". And the letter was to conclude at the words "past transactions" on account of the ambiguity of the remaining part of the sentence.

[** Probably written by one of the sons.]


Savile Row 5th August 1816

My dear Sir,

I feel much obliged to you for the early attention you have paid to Mr. McArthur's application, at the same time I must confess that I consider a passage in your answer of which he has just transmitted me a copy as rather bearing more strongly on his feelings than the occasion requires, though I am disposed to believe not intentionally on your part. I mean where one of the grounds for Lord Bathurst's favorable and liberal consideration of the circumstances in which he is placed, is stated to be that of Mr. McArthur's being "fully sensible of the impropriety of conduct which led to his departure from the Colony."

He has addressed himself to me by letter upon this point in a very Gentlemanlike manner, putting it to me whether for any consideration whatever he can become a party to his own dishonor, and I really think more highly of him for not being disposed to compromise his honor, and catch at a most important object upon any terms to which a man of relaxed principle is too ready to submit.

I have seen Mr. McArthur's Letter to Lord Bathurst, and the assurances he therein expresses, appear to me sufficient to justify his Lordship's indulgence without a recorded stigma on Mr. McArthur, and I beg leave just to submit to you in confidence whether the pencilled sentence recapitulating his own expressions would not reconcile every difficulty, and secure the dignity and consistency of Government without defeating the object which it was in contemplation to concede.

I am going to Ryde with my Family early to-morrow and it would be an additional act of kindness if you would previously inform me whether you think Lord Bathurst will accept the enclosed original letter of yours to Mr. McArthur and authorize you to address another to him of the purport above suggested, I am aware that I can only write thus to you in private a liberty which I hope you will excuse.

I remain, My dear Sir,

Most truly Yours,

George Watson Taylor.

Henry Goulburn Esq.


Downing Street,

August 14th 1816.

My dear Sir,

As Lord Bathurst only returned to Town yesterday and as I could not without his sanction alter a letter which he had specially approved it was out of my power to answer your letter of the 5th as soon as I should otherwise have done.

I am sorry to say that Lord Bathurst differs from you in opinion as to the propriety of expunging the part of the letter which you consider objectionable. If Mr. McArthur thinks that his conduct in the Colony was not improper it is certainly honorable in him not to accept a present benefit by a sacrifice of principle; but I am sure you will agree with Lord Bathurst in thinking that the circumstances of his entertaining an opinion that his conduct was right is that of all others which should prevent the Govt. from sanctioning his return: as it is hard to say that a man shall not again do what he considers to be right and proper and there is no security against a repetition of what formerly took place.

Whether there might not be circumstances in the Colony to palliate or to a certain degree to justify Mr. McArthur's conduct is another question: but we cannot subscribe to the opinion that the conduct was not improper upon the very ground upon which Mr. McA., thinks it out of his power to subscribe to the contrary.

I have stated freely to you Lord Bathurst's sentiments on this subject.

There is certainly every disposition to comply with Mr. McArthur's wish but he does not feel that he can go farther than he has done. I return the letter not without hopes that Mr. McArthur may upon reconsideration not consider it so objectionable as it might have appeared at first sight. I need hardly add that I shall be happy on this or any other occasion to hear from you and that you need never give yourself the trouble of making apologies.

Believe me,
My dear Sir,
Yours ever faithfully,
Henry Goulburn.

G. Watson Taylor Esqre.

London 1st October 1816.

Still we are kept in the most painful state of suspense. You will find enclosed in the Packet with this the Continuance of my correspondence with Government and a letter from James detailing all that has transpired since the date of my last letter to my good friend Mr. Watson Taylor. At the interview which I have had with the Under Secretary of State a vast variety of explanations took place on both sides and I believe I succeeded in convincing him that I am not to be tempted by any consideration whether promising present ease or threatening future evils to depart from those principles that I have ever endeavoured to regulate my conduct by. Mr. Goulburn paid me many high compliments and even proceeded to the length of saying that if he were in my situation he should not hesitate to conform to the expectations of Government. I in return lamented that it was my misfortune not to be able to think with him, and assured him that I felt a great increase of regret to find myself restrained by the imperious dictates of honor from acknowledging concern for the part I had taken in the arrest of Governor Bligh, an act that I had and ever must consider one of the most meritorious in which I had ever been engaged, still however, I added, if Government entertain different sentiments, let them express them, but do not call upon me to acquiesce in their propriety. If they see fit to censure my conduct let them do so, it will be my duty to bow under the censure with respectful silence. If they censure me wrongfully the publick will judge between us and if they incur publick censure for supporting a tyrant and oppressor it will be brought upon them by their own act and deed.

I concluded by assuring him that I was determined to suffer in silence no longer, and that unless an amicable arrangement could be made I should certainly petition Parliament and lay open in the best way I was able all the iniquities of Mr. Bligh of which I hold in my possession abundant proofs, that I was not to be deterred from producing in the way that the unfortunate and ill-advised Colonel Johnston had been. I then referred him to the enclosures in Colonel Johnston's publick letter which I think it probable have never been read and I could discover that nothing is wanting on my part but a little patience and a great deal of firmness to relieve my self from all my difficulties, the first I shall endeavour for, and the last thank God I can practice without much exertion. . . . .

Dec. 16th 1816.

You will I fear be disappointed that James is not the Bearer of this Letter but I could not make arrangements for his passage as the Captain of the Morley declined taking my draft on you or an acceptance payable in three months here, and the delay of your remittances put it out of my power to comply with his demand of immediate payment unless I absolutely emptied my purse. Many other opportunities will present themselves early in the Spring, and Surely, ere that letters from you must arrive by other Ships even though this tardy Emu should never make her appearance. Of my own affairs I can speak with no kind of certainty or when it may be possible for me to return to you. I hope you will receive my letters by the Fame and Lord Melville. These contain copies of a correspondence between Government and myself and I now enclose you a copy of the last letter that has passed. Unpromising as are its contents you must not be dismayed or dejected because I think I have good reason to encourage hopes of a speedy change in the plans of Government respecting the Colony—and I positively know that they will be strongly pressed to listen to my opinions and at all events to do me justice. I have been induced to postpone my reply to Mr Goulburn's letter partly on this Account and partly from an expectation that your letters may contain some necessary information. Dearest had this been sent by the Hebe as it really ought to have been how much uneasiness might I have escaped; and how greatly might the period of our unfortunate separation from each other have been diminished. In an interview I had some time ago with the Under Secretary of State he told me that the complaint against Governor Macquarrie were as bad as those made against Bligh. To this I replied that I could offer no opinion upon the subject as I possessed not the smallest information of the Publick affairs of the Colony except from rumour to which my own experience taught me never to listen without the strongest suspicion. That all the knowledge I had of Governor Macquarrie's administration of the Government related exclusively to my own private affairs and that I most willingly bore testimony that you had received more attention kindness and favor from him than from the whole of his predecessors. It is however generally understood that his removal has been determined upon as several persons have been named as candidates for the appointment.* The one spoken of with the greatest confidence is Sir Thomas Brisbane a very distinguished Officer of the highest character. It is known that he has been long desirous to obtain the Government of the Colony and that his application has been supported by the interest of the Duke of York. I am of opinion the Emu's despatches will produce a decision; in which case I shall be able to see my own way more distinctly than I do at present, and having as I hope I shall then have something like a knowledge of my own affairs, be better able to determine what I ought to do. Not however to keep you in needless suspense, if I find that pacific measures will not procure the relief to which I think myself entitled and in which opinion I have the satisfaction to say all who know my case concur, it is extremely probable I shall petition the House of Commons, and bring forward the proofs of Mr. Bligh's peculations which have so long slept and which I am persuaded, as indeed I always was, would had they been produced at Colonel Johnston's trial have saved him, and secured to the cause, for which, poor man, he was so unfit a Champion, a triumph, instead of a defeat. Many publick men who have seen these proofs are of opinion the moment Government know they are in my hands we shall speedily terminate our differences. God grant it may be for I am weary of contention. You will learn from the Newspapers the wretched state of this Country and what an alarming riot took place lately in the City It appears very clear from the evidence which has transpired that nothing but the intemperate impatience of a young" man prevented the plans which had been formed from being executed, and the insurrection of a furious mob rendered desperate by wretchedness and hunger from assuming the most formidable attitude. You have just cause to think yourself highly favoured that your lot and that of your Family has been cast where it is, for whether the discontented multitude prevail or the Government preserve its authority I am sure this Country has to pass through a fiery ordeal. It is past doubt that the Agricultural Capital of the Country is more than half destroyed, and that the manufacturing and commercial interests are threatened with as great if not greater calamity, but the most unpromising or I should have said appalling symptom is the universal apathy which pervades the higher classes whose duty it is to take the lead in times of such imminent peril and alarm, they absolutely act as if they considered the state of the Country desperate and incurable, and therefore not entitled to further care, if something effectual be not done to diminish the enormous weight of taxes I am convinced that most afflictive and disastrous results will be felt by all but more particularly by the higher and middle classes of the Nation. Do not let these opinions go beyond your own circle.

[* Macquarie tendered his resignation in 1817.]

I heard from dear Ned about a fortnight since, quietly quartered in the neighbourhood of St. Pol, a small Town about 50 miles from Calais. John is on a visit to a friend in Bedfordshire and will not return to Town for a few days. James and William are with me they are all well and continue to be everything a parent can reasonably desire. The two latter are going to devote their winter months to some philosophical studies that may be both ornamental and useful to them in the Colony and to the learning or rather perfecting themselves in some exercises in which they are yet but novices. Mr. Smith is this moment come in he has consented to spend the day with me and I have engaged in return to escort him to the Play House to see the splendid Theatre of Drury Lane and the celebrated Actor Kean. I am exceedingly pleased with this young man and if there be many like him in the 46th I should think they must be as happy as I am sure they must be respectable. . . . .

God bless and protect you all.


Downing Street 14th October 1816.


I had not until yesterday an opportunity of submitting to Lord Bathurst, your anxiety to learn his decision, with respect to the observations which you made to me, at our late interview, on the subject of receiving his authority, for your return to New South Wales.

His Lordship has directed me to observe, that the communications which he has received from you, since the period, at which his acquiescence in your return, was notified to Mr. Watson Taylor, have produced a material alteration in his opinions as to the propriety of acceding to your wish. So long as Lord Bathurst believed that you felt the impropriety of the part you had taken in the Deposition of Governor Bligh, his Lordship thought himself authorized to accept your regret for the past, as a security for your future conduct; and therefore, saw no objection to release you from the restrictions, with respect to a residence in New South Wales, to which you had been subjected.

But, as you have now distinctly stated, that, so far from considering yourself as having acted with any impropriety, you will not even accept a permission to return to New South Wales, if it can be supposed to imply such an acknowledgment, Lord Bathurst cannot but think, that, after such a declaration of your sentiments, it would not be proper to give his sanction to your return:—calculated under such circumstances to give a dangerous encouragement, to those in the Colony, who might feel a disposition, to direct against the authority of the present Governor, a spirit of resistance, which, under such circumstances, they would readily persuade themselves, was no longer discountenanced at Home.

I am, Sir,

Your most obedient humble Servant,

Henry Goulburn.

London December 9th 1816.

I wrote to you by the Shipley two days ago but suffering so much painful suspense as I at present do by the delay of Letters, I am more strongly impelled to take the precautions needful to secure you from similar feelings, if it should happen that the Morley (by which this is intended to be sent) should arrive first and therefore I shall now repeat such information as that Letter (I mean the one by the Shipley) contained relative to our own immediate affairs.

The Letter of advice which you wrote by the Emu was forwarded from the Cape of Good Hope and has been in my possession a month, Lieut. Smith also arrived in London last Tuesday (3 inst.) and immediately delivered Elizabeth's Letter to John and all the little accompanyments mentioned in it—I had the good fortune to find him out the very same evening and sat with him until a very late hour, listening to as much information as he had time to communicate that night. He left Town yesterday, but with the exception of one day every other day has been spent with me. I have had the satisfaction to find him well informed and most willing to bear the labour of answering my unceasing questions and altho' it was not in his power to tell me all I wanted to know yet I have learnt more from him than I have done since my return to England, from the whole of the persons to whom you have unluckily referred me—I have endeavoured to return his obliging communicativeness by shewing him every attention in my power, and I think I may venture to say that he has left me not dissatisfied with the reception he has received—He appears to be a very gentlemanly and honourable young man.

Now for ourselves—you will most probably have heard that the Emu ran aground on going into Symonds Bay and received so much injury that it was necessary to repair her before she could prosecute her voyage—In consequence of this untoward accident she will perhaps not arrive, in England these three or four weeks to come—and as Lieut. Frash has thought right to detain the despatch Box, in which were your letters, I am constrained to make large Drafts upon patience—and to submit to some inconvenience for want of your remittances and no little vexation by the delay of the information which I trust your Letters contain—The most material and vexatious consequence of the detention of the Emu it that it has prevented me from sending out James in the Morley, as it was my determination to have done—But her Commander refused to take a Draft upon you for the amount of his passage, or to receive a Bill payable in this Country at two or three months date and being short of money myself, I did not choose in such a time of universal distress as the present to attempt borrowing—This will try you I fear and it should not have been mentioned, but that I disapprove of secrets and mystery. . . . .

It is with painful regret that I acquaint you of the total rupture of my negotiations with Government. By different ships I have forwarded to you copies of the correspondence that has been carried on between us, which I hope will reach you safely, from these you will discover that I have been required to sanction a belief that I regret the part which I took in the arrest of that miscreant Bligh, and that I have unequivocably refused to do so—My next step is at present undecided and must remain so until I get your Letters, because in them I expect to find full information upon all those subjects which my letters by the Hebe treated on, and if that be of the nature I am taught to expect from some hints from you and from Elizabeth, perhaps the present obstacles to a complete pacification may be removed without much difficulty—This will I know make you, my beloved Wife, severely lament that the Hebe did not bring as she certainly ought to have done, answers to the letters sent by her—but it is past, and my animadversions will not correct the mischief—I was going to say, and may not prevent its recurrence, if, (which God forbid) I should be much longer detained from your arms and my long forsaken home. . . . .

I must not omit to tell you that no doubt is entertained here that Governor Macquarrie will be recalled, Sir Thomas Brisbane is confidently spoken of as his successor, and if he be, it is extremely probable I shall accompany him to the Colony. William Wentworth came home in the same Frigate with Lt. Smith, but he is not yet arrived in town from Plymouth, at least I have not heard of him—Mr. Smith supposes him to have been detained by some difficulty in passing his baggage through the Custom House. Tell his Father he is well and very highly spoken of by Mr. Smith. Say all that is needful for me both at home and abroad and believe me My beloved Wife,

Your unalterably affectionate Husband

John McArthur.

I fear you will be puzzled to decypher but my varied feelings when I write to you compel me to write as fast as possible were I to ponder not a word could I write.

This will be delivered to you by a Mr. Espie (a Surgeon in the Navy and Agent to the Convicts) You will be indebted to him for the Postage of this Packet to Deal, which I have not paid, because I know Post paid Letters sometimes mis-carry—Mr. Espie has very obligingly exerted himself in my affair with the Captain of the Morley to procure James a passage and I have no doubt will prove deserving any attention you may have it in your power to show him in return.

John Macarthur to Lieut. J.R. Smith.

London, January 16th 1817.

My dear Sir,

I have delayed doing myself the pleasure of replying to your obliging Letter of the 20th of December hoping that it would be in my power to communicate the particulars of an amicable arrangement with the great personage in Downing Street; but altho' I still continue to encourage hopes nothing conclusive has yet been done.—You are exceedingly good to think of the wants of your absent friends so immediately after your return to your own from; whom you have been separated so long, and when every moment must have many pressing claims—The Moss Roses & Sea Kale I have no doubt will go out securely packed in Moss, and the Glass which I find on further inquiry is much cheaper than it can be procured here, will be highly acceptable. I think about 6 dozen Wine Glasses, 3 dozen Rummers 2 Pair of Quart Decanters, 2 Pair Pint, 2 Cut Water jugs and any other little thing you may think useful, will be sufficient. The cost of them I will repay to your Draft and if it will be equally convenient, you can arrange in the way you propose with your friend Colonel Molle, and Mrs. McArthur can pay him. . . . .

Letters are arrived by the Alexander dated up to the middle of June, I have one from my wife in which she acquaints me in a most sorrowful style that the Governor had become highly unpopular but she is silent respecting the cause. I have however learnt from William Wentworth who also has a letter that Macquarrie had flogged a man of good character who came free to the Country for crossing his Domain at Sydney and that notwithstanding the Magistrate had previously refused to sanction the punishment. The Colony is reported to be in an absolute state of fermentation and matters had proceeded to such length that a subscription was opened by staunch Govt. men to raise a fund to prosecute the Governor whenever he may return to England. There is another version to the story in circulation which states that the Acting Judge Advocate had lent himself as a willing instrument to authorise the flogging but time will unfold the truth.

If you have any means of getting at the "Times" News Papers you will find in the one for Wednesday the 1st of January a paragraph casting a kind of imputation on the 46th. I wrote to the Editor and insisted upon his contradicting the part that related to the Regt: and it was arranged that I should write an article which he promised to insert, before however I could send it to the Office the late letters arrived and their contents have induced me to postpone taking the step I had determined upon until I can ascertain whether there be or not any quarrel between your Officers and the Governor. What I had written was as follows. "We have been informed since the publication of our Paper of Wednesday the 1st of January that the determination of Government to remove the 46th Regt: from New South Wales to India has not been caused by any apprehension of the contagious example of the convicts extending itself to the soldiery but from a late regulation that no Regt: is to remain in the Colony for a longer period than three or four years We also feel great pleasure in stating that in March last the date as it is presumed of the most recent advices no disagreement had existed between Civil and Military Authorities, but on the contrary there was every appearance of harmony between the Governor and the Officers of the 46th, who had endeared themselves to all the respectable part of the Community by the correctness of their conduct and the exact discipline which they maintained amongst their men. Unfortunately however the same concord did not extend itself to every department of the Government various disputes having arisen between the Governor the Judicial and some other Civil Officers which we are willing to believe gave rise to the report that reached us of differences in which the Military were erroneously said to bear a part."

I hope you will think I did right in forbearing to insert this until we knew the actual state of things at the time the Alexander sailed when I hear anything further I will lose no time in acquainting you and I shall be happy to receive your opinion and advice. . . . .

London, February 18th 1817.

After such a dreary period of banishment from the Society of my beloved Elizabeth I find it difficult to confide in my own senses when I reflect that I am seated for the purpose of communicating the happy tidings that all the obstacles which have so long obstructed my return to you and my beloved Girls, have this day been removed; such however I thank God is the fact and I lose not a moment to acquaint you that it is settled that I am to embark with our Sons James and William on board one of the Government Transports now preparing in the River and expected to sail in about a month. How this most desirable result of all my contentions and negotiations has been accomplished I trust I shall very soon after this reaches your hands have the unspeakable happiness of relating in person and indulging that fond hope I shall now content myself with stating that it has been agreed that neither concession nor retraction shall be insisted upon on either side and as proof of the present amicable disposition of Government they are to provide me and the boys with a passage, to allow me tonnage for such Implements and Stores as I may find expedient to take, and to fit up a green house for my Vines, Olives, &c. I will not ask you if these are not joyful tidings because a little self examination at once explains to me what will be your feelings when the doubts fears and incertitude to which you have been so long exposed are removed. Three ships are preparing to take prisoners and Stores and I hope I shall be able to name the ship destined for our reception before the departure of the 48th Regiment from Cork. I have before said that the Ships are expected to sail in a month but you who so well know what unexpected causes frequently arise to detain ships, one, two, and even three months, beyond the period originally named will not require to be cautioned if delays should happen not to suffer yourself to be uneasy or alarmed. Your letters and their enclosures by the Emu and Alexander have been all safely received and in every sense of the word most acceptable to us all altho' our enjoyment could not be but greatly diminished by the account you give of the continued ill health and suffering of our beloved Girl Elizabeth. I indulge the pleasing hope that the society of myself and her Brothers and the inducements we shall present to her to take exercise may do more towards perfecting her recovery than all the Medical Men in the World, nor shall we be unmindful of our dear Mary as we propose bringing with us a celebrated cure for Tooth ache which has lately been much spoken of. . . . .

Until the last fortnight I have enjoyed better health than I have done since I have been in England but a violent cold has brought back my old tormenting complaint unsettled gout which has kept me in the house till yesterday. The good news of to day and the consequent bustle of preparation to depart will certainly soon restore my usual health and activity, I say my usual for I must calculate upon requiring a good deal of nursing as long as my tempest shattered bark holds together. This letter will be presented to you by Colonel White of the 48th Regt: I have not the pleasure of being known to the Colonel myself but some near connections of his are friends of John and through them I learn as well as from other unquestionable authority that the Colonel is a man most respectably connected and possesses qualities that have raised his character very high in the Service. He is a married man but leaves his wife at home, their children being of an age which requires the presence and superintendence of at least one parent. I have introduced the Colonel to our friend Piper ** and I need not say to you that I shall be gratified at any attentions he may receive because you will take it for granted that I am desirous you should use what influence you have in the Colony to make it as pleasant to him as possible. The 48th are spoken of as a most excellent Regiment and the Officers a very superior set this will somewhat diminish your regrets at the removal of the 46th.

[** Captain Piper, who was naval officer.]

I hope to be in the Colony to thank Colonel Molle for his friendship and great attentions to you and the girls, but if I should not arrive before his departure do not fail to assure him of my gratitude. I regret to find that Party rage burns so fiercely in the Colony. The Governor has many secret enemies as well as open ones who inundate the Secretary of States Office with complaints. In a conversation with Mr. Goulburn the Under Secretary of State he said to me "Sir, we have as heavy charges against Governor Macquarrie as you have made against his predecessor, I replied, "I know nothing of the publick affairs of the Colony but as far as relates to the present Governor's conduct to my Family I am bound to declare that it has been uniformly benevolent, attentive and friendly, and he has absolutely conferred more favours upon me than all the Governors who have preceded him, and altho' I do not pretend to offer any opinion on publick affairs because I want information; I do not hesitate to say that nothing can be more unjust and indefensible that to compare him with such a wretch as Bligh. The latter was a brutal ruffian governed by no principle of honour or rectitude and restrained by no tie but the wretched and despicable one of fear. Governor Macquarrie is a gentleman in manners, humane and friendly to all, at least to all who will take the trouble to recommend themselves to his favor, a man of umblemished honor and character altho' it may not have been his lot to do that which I think no man ever will do to give satisfaction to all. The Secretary replied "what you say Sir, may be true, and at all events it is proper and correct that you should speak as you do. Since that time they have been more close at the Office and altho' I have endeavoured to discover what their intentions are and I have not been enabled to learn anything I can depend upon. I have heard that a disagreeable letter has been written and that it is calculated that it will provoke the Governor to resign but that he has a powerful friend who they do not like to disoblige by appointing a successor. Do not be impatient I intreat, a little more patience and I trust in God we shall be reunited to pass the remainder of our lives in peace and happiness. I write this alone at night and I see very badly by candle light. Time and care have laid hands heavily upon me altho' every one tells me it is not so visible James and William are gone to a private Ball, John was here this evening and is engaged in passing an Act of Parliament to open the Trade of the Colony and to exempt Wool and several other articles that I hope to introduce from the payment of duties for a limited time. I hope to get the Act passed before I sail God bless and protect you all.

London March 24th 1817.

My beloved Elizabeth.

The letter that I wrote you about a month since and intended to be sent in charge of Colonel White will apprise you that I had then succeeded in removing the obstacles which had so long prevented my return to my long deserted home When I wrote that letter I sanguinely calculated that I should be able in a few days to inform you by what ship I and the dear Boys are to take our passage. I say sanguinely calculated for I found I had still to encounter with a train of the most vexatious though petty obstructions and it was not until yesterday that I could procure the order for our embarkation on board the Lord Eldon a fine ship of 520 tons. I will not tell you or attempt to describe how much I have been harrassed or how happy I now feel to be released from suspense and incertitude but you will easily conceive that the last month must have been an anxious one. Thank God everything is now settled, and settled in such a way, that no enemy can triumph over me, or friend have cause to blush on my account. I have persevered with unshaken firmness in defending every publick transaction in which I have been an actor, and I have now reason to think that those who have been most earnest in their opposition to me, and most desirous to humble me, by insisting upon concessions, view my conduct with approbation, and me with esteem. I will not however dwell upon a subject which I am not yet calm enough to recollect without many painful feelings, nor will I deprive myself of the delight I anticipate from narrating all my labours when you shall be near enough to cheer me with your approving smiles and reward me with those endearments to which I have been so long a stranger. The Lord Eldon tis said will be ready for sea in a fortnight but I do not think she can sail in less than a month and even then causes of detention as you well know, may arise, which is impossible to foresee or to provide against, you will not therefore my beloved Wife suffer yourself to be more anxious than you can help, if you do not see us before November.

Government have ordered a Green house to be fitted up for my plants which in addition to those we brought with us from France and Switzerland will contain everything that we can think of that may be most useful or ornamental to the Colony. We are also provided with Tonnage for all the best and newest Agricultural Implements, and for other matters that I will not particularize, that I please myself with the hope will be acceptable to you and our dear Girls.

John, James, and William, are romping and laughing by the fireside, and help to distract a head not too clear just now, for to speak the truth I am wearied with the task I have completed. They are all well, John will write to you as soon as we can ascertain when the ship with the 48th will sail, but I shall despatch this to Cork today for fear they should leave without our receiving previous notice.

The boys all unite with me in every affectionate wish to yourself and the dear Girls and in kindest remembrances to Mrs. Lucas.

God preserve you my dearest Elizabeth and in His mercy grant that nothing may retard our re-union.


Ever your affectionate Husband.

John McArthur.

Lord Bathurst's promise of good accommodation was well fulfilled and the Macarthurs sailed on their homeward voyage in the Lord Eldon transport. The ship touched at Rio and there Macarthur increased his collection of plants. In September, 1817, the following note was dispatched from the husband to the wife who were to meet that day after 8½ years of weary separation.

Tuesday Morning 7 o'clock Lord Eldon.

My dearest best beloved Elizabeth

We are at last safely at anchor within the Heads and waiting most impatiently for the appearance of Captain Piper. We met the Matilda on Saturday and learnt from Captain Humphreys who came on board us that you are all well. This most welcome news has made us bear with tolerable patience a most annoying adverse wind.

James and William will hasten to you the moment they can procure a conveyance. I must follow them at a slower pace, for to speak the truth fast movements will not suit me—not to keep you, in suspense, I am returned to you with a most severe fit of gout—it has lasted a fortnight and I think will take leave soon—Home will do more for me than the Doctor—How many dear associations does that word Home create! For a short time

Your affectionate


Post script from James.

Captain Piper is just come on board, we shall set off as soon as possible in his boat, and my father will follow as soon as the heat of the day is over, in his carriage—Adieu, we shall soon be with you—

Your affectionate son

Jas. McA.

{Page 295}

Chapter VIII.


In 1812 Macarthur sent his nephew Hannibal to Australia in charge of his trading adventures, and the following extracts from correspondence between them give some insight to the sheep farming at the Cowpastures, and also to the state of affairs in the Colony during Macarthur's absence.

Sydney, Nov. 7th 1812.

In this I enclose you acct. sales of our Investment up to Nov. 1st 1812 by which you will see how unfortunate we have been in entering this market when compleatly glutted with European and Indian goods whilst the Government are pursuing a system of economy which must eventually leave the Colonists to their own resources and you must know those are very inadequate to the purchase of Cargoes from Europe. . . . .

The Spirits, a prohibition to the sale of which (except for Government purposes) has taken place from a contract for building a General Hospital which grants to the Contractors Messrs. Blaxcell Wentworth and Riley a privilege to import spirits for three years to the exclusion of any other individual I have sold to Government for 9/- per gall, free from duty which is 3/- p.g. . . . . The contractors are now selling Bengal Rum at 36/-.

Sydney Nov. 10th 1812.

My dear Uncle.

This morning I closed my Letters for you but I find it is the Governor's intention to detain the Ship for his Despatches in which the minutes of a Court Martial on an officer to commence on the 12th are to be enclosed. . . . .

In this Port the arbitrary measures pursued by the Government are enough to deter one from having a ship here and more particularly bound to England as every person is interested to detain her. . . . .

Indeed the business of a merchant is so incompatible with that of the Farmer that one or the other must be given up, and as the latter is by far the most promising at present and an employment so much more suited to my abilities. . . . . I am convinced it is better to live up the country as there one can pursue profitable employment without observation and at the same time live at half the expense.

12th.—After a great deal of trouble yesterday I managed to ship every thing on our own account stores etc., and this morning Capt. Higton waited on the Secretary to muster his men. For the accommodation of Mr. Campbell every Man or Boy from the Capt. to the Cook is obliged to attend on shore at his office 2/6 is paid for every person so mustered and the Fees at the Secretary's office amount to nearly £10 for which he will neither give Bill or receipt.

A Court Martial is now sitting (Capt. Darcy President) to try an officer (Mr. Wright) for ungentlemanly behaviour in associating with Nichols whilst the Governor brings Michael Robinson to his Table and the Colonel's House is open to Sir H. Hayes, indeed all circumstances combined I cannot but think the present Governor as arbitrary as Bligh only that he has a manner of reconciling people to his measures. An objection was made to Robinson's appearing at the Court Martial as a Counsel for the Prosecutor, the Colonel. He brought with him the Governor's permission and after a long debate he was allowed to act as Clerk. The Governor has always held out to me that whenever the Ship was ready he should not detain her. Yesterday I waited on him to say that with the exception of some stores which Govt. were to ship for the Marines, every thing was on board and that the Ship would be ready for Sea next day! then and not till then he told me he should detain the Ship for the minutes of the Court Martial which is likely to sit these lo days—He told me that I must understand it was no favor he asked but, that from his Public situation he should command the detention of the vessel. I replied then of course he would not be displeased at my taking measures to enable the owners to recover damages as a recompense for her detention—he promised me his Certificate—but now every obstacle is thrown in the way of clearing her out so as to render the delay apparently not worth noticing when in fact she has already been waiting 3 or 4 days. This circumstance convinces me that it is better have nothing to do with concerns that can in any way interest Government. Shipping always must and in spite of everything one can do to act agreeably to their wish, there is so much whispering to the Governor by his Favourites who are a set of them delighting in the annoyance of a respectable character that to live at Sydney and be on terms with the Governor is next to impossible—His spies are in all companies and nothing passes without his knowledge.

I mean to leave this and remain with my Aunt at Parramatta as soon as I possibly can, and then I shall direct my attention to forming some little establishment for myself up the country.

Nov. 19th.—Since I wrote the foregoing I have taken a trip to the Cowpastures I am happy to inform you I found the stock in fine condition, and as to the success of growing fine wool I now send you a few samples as drawn from the sheep promiscuously whilst looking at them in the Folds. You will discover that Baker's are inferior to Russell's, this arises from the former having made over the fine Flock to Russell last year. In the more inferior flocks very fine wool is to be found and I hope to select at least 600 ewes this season equal to any Spanish. The cattle tho' rather confined in their feeding ground are much improved this last month and before any scarcity of feed arises again I hope to have them removed.

Nov. 28th.—A second Court Martial has detained the Isabella up to this day and I am just informed by the Governor that his Dispatches will be ready tomorrow.

Much rain has fallen the last four days—George's River is very much flooded and much damage is probably sustained at the Hawkesbury but no accounts have reached us yet.

Sydney July 3rd 1813.

. . . . I have purchased as a place of Residence Waterhouse's Farm and am repairing the house thoroughly previous to going there which I hope to accomplish in the course of two or three months. I paid £160 for this Farm . . . . The Barouche is entirely worn out and you should not fail to bring a carriage for my Aunt who is much inconvenienced for want of it.

July 3rd 1813.

I herein send you memd. of Wool shipt on board the Minstrel, also Bill of Lading for the same—The Freight is at 4½d. per lb. but I do not altogether approve of this arrangement, as I think it can be closer packed and come cheaper at 12£ measurement. This shipment 36 Bales were pressed in our own Machine.

After writing by the Isabella I found a very fine screw among the Iron-work which came out in the Argo, this was erected and proves to be the best Press in the Country. Should you have shipt Screws in consequence of my last Letter, it will be but prudent to keep a spare one and others will sell if not too high priced. The Nutts should be of entire Bell Metal, as our present two are and two to a Screw in case of Accidents.

Mr. Marsden's were Iron Boxes wormed with Metal and are much injured. The Screw we now use, is about 7 ft. long 16 inches in circumference square Head with holes for a stout Crowbar. The Nutts are abt. 10 inches deep cast with a stout brim thro' which the bolts pass to fix it on the Cross beam of the Press. The Nutt of Metal bolted to the cross Beam thro' a rim 2 Inches thick.

The Spanish Wool you will find in a good clean state. The Wether Wool was also washed, and the Cx was laying by a 12 months after being washed, therefore is not so fresh as might be wished.

The Dx is all the Wool I could collect which has been laying about the Barn and wool of this years shearing which could not be washed.

My Aunt is about getting a store built at Camden for the purpose of securing the Wool and every sheep is to be washed previous to shearing so that I hope by the James Hay we shall make you a very handsome shipment of Wool.

Mr. Marsden on his arrival here collected all his wool which had been saved during his absence (this must have been very inferior) and sent it to a House in Hull, who have allowed him 3/9 per lb. after deducting the expenses of washing etc. The expense of washing Wool would be enormous here—independent of the want of convenience and we think the least expense is to send the wool home in its Dirt, when not washed on the sheep.

You have 1300 Ewes breeding this year 700 Lambs already dropped and the Season is very favourable.

Mr. Riley has sent me 3 Questions which he wishes to have answered by the Purchasers of Wool. . . . The House from whom Mr. Marsden had such good returns for Wool is Messrs. Jeremiah and Wm. Thompson Leeds.

Sydney July 4th 1813.

. . . . The Governor has added six months more to this Infamous Tax * in consequence of the Contractors complaining of his Liberality to his Favorites who have been supplied with large quantities at different times. They have also Permission to import 5,000 galls, in addition to the first stated Quantity, in short there is no apparent end to this oppressive Tax. Had 8/- 10/- or 12/- pr. gall, been levied as a Duty on spirits imported the Hospital would have been built and paid for before this and people less dissatisfied, but in addition to building the Hospital the Public are to fill the pockets of the Contractors and what crowns the concern is that there are no sick to occupy it and it is generally thought sufficiently large for a general Hospital to the W. Indies besides affording Palaces for the Surgeon and Staff . . .

[* On Spirits.]

Augt. 16th 1813.

The season for the Stock is very unfavourable, a colder winter has never been remembered, and as the Frosts have been attended by a most astonishing Drought the grass is cut off and the cattle are starving throughout the Colony in addition to this calamity there is a great scarcity of grain which arises from the destruction of vast Quantities, by feeding Pigs, the result of a determined system in the Govt. not to purchase: on Mr. Allen's arrival, the stores were found empty and on his making arrangements for taking Wheat from the Settlers, a scarcity of that article appeared altho' all were lulled in security previous to this, from its being sedulously given out, that the Govt. were provided for 6 mths. Wheat immediately rose from 6/- to 12/- sterlg. and it is expected by some to be at 20/- before Harvest. The face of the country is so changed within these last 6 weeks as can scarcely be credited, and every quarter of it is in the most deplorable situation for want of rain.

My Aunt will write you fully on this subject. I am happy to say she and my cousins are well tho' not at ease from the present starving state of the cattle.

Feb. 10th 1814.

. . . . By the James Hay we hope to make a large shipment of Wool but are particularly anxious to hear of the Sale of that sent by the Minstrel.

The Season has been very distressing from drought and Frost from this time last year—and the Wool has suffered materially as far as I can judge as we have not been able to wash it with any good effect. The Colony is in a distressing state Wheat is at this time 20s. stg. p. Bushl. and the Corn has been burnt off by the heat and drought. This last week has produced some rain which has given new life to us but I much fear it is too late to be of much benefit towards a relief from famine. . . .

May 16th 1814.

There is a Brig to sail (The Spring) in a few months. . . . . The Wool will also be shipped then about 8000 lbs. I suppose we could not get it ready for the James Hay for want of a Sorter as Dowling is the only man capable of doing it and is now in general requisition. The Sheep are now in fine condition and we look forward to a healthy lambing as the Country abounds in feed at present.

The Natives have become extremely troublesome and amongst others we have become sufferers in the Death of a Shepherd's wife and your old favourite Wm. Baker who were inhumanly murdered at the Upper Camden Yards. This horrid event was represented to the Governor ** but he is so much taken up with a Parade of a garrison that he has "no means of Defence or Protection for those distant Establishments" so that the possession of Stock is rendered very precarious as in addition to the Natives numbers of convicts are roving uncontrolled through the country committing all kinds of depredations, and, I have every reason to believe some of them were concerned with the Natives in the attack of our yards.

[** Governor Macquarie.]

May 28th 1814.

I am just returned from the Cowpastures, where everything is again ajusted and I trust the horrid event (which my letters by this opportunity closed last week relates to you) may never occur again. "We have lost Baker and a shepherd's wife by an attack from the Natives."

The detention of the James Hay is owing to the total destruction of the ship Three Bees by fire which took place on Friday last in the Cove to the great terror of the Inhabitants of Sydney who fled from their houses after the example of the Governor! Some danger was to be apprehended from the shot, the guns being loaded. They however discharged at Intervals without doing much injury. A Ball entered Capt. Piper's Parlor and destroyed a Writing Desk! This is the only loss I have heard of on shore.

The James Hay was in imminent Danger for some time as she could not be removed and had a most fortunate escape as the Bees was cut adrift in the hurry and confusion. It has since been discovered that a Party of Convicts had formed a Plan to take the James Hay that very night and were most probably frustrated by the watchfulness which the other unfortunate vessel created. The fire broke out so near the Powder Room that all on board fled immediately under an impression that she would blow up instantly which did not happen for nearly four hours after, but from the alarm at first no means were adopted to scuttle her or it is generally presumed this fine ship might have been saved from any material injury Instead of making any exertion to save the ship from what I can learn it was who could run fastest. . . . .

Oct. 6th 1814.

. . . . I must now remind you that we want Sheep Shears

We have now 25 Bales of Wool ready for shipping but from the delay and difficulty of getting it sorted have not the opportunity of shipping Per Seringapatam (an American recapture), which the Governor has allowed to take Freight, but as I am much in doubt as to the regularity of her doing so and a seizure might lead to much trouble if not total loss! I do not much regret that we have it in our possession—

We are again labouring under the effects of a very dry season, every thing is burned up, and the cattle are beginning to fall off. The upland wheat will not bring 8 Bushells to the acre, and we have every reason to expect a great scarcity during the next Twelve Months.

Large Herds are becoming numerous and nothing promises a return to the Farmer's Labor but the fine wool which is now taking the attention of most settlers. Since writing the above Capt. Pitcher has agreed to take the 25 Bales of wool. . . . .

Sydney June 26th 1815.

. . . . The Emu Brig is to leave this in Deer, or Jany. next for England. . . . . You will receive by this ship 60 Bales of Wool the Quality of which I trust will meet with your approbation. The present season is dreadful for the Sheep if one half the Lambs are reared it will be fortunate for us. We still continue to suffer from dry weather and the late Autumnal spring has totally failed this season. . . . .

Let us now return to Mrs. Macarthur, whose letters to Miss Kingdon during her husband's enforced abscence in England, give some account of herself and family.

Governor Macquarie had succeeded Colonel Paterson, who had succeeded Foveaux, at the beginning of 1810, and during his administration Mrs. Macarthur was granted about 600 acres of inferior land in the vicinity of Elizabeth Farm as a mark of approbation for the various improvements in agriculture that she h-id introduced, such as taking the stumps out of the ground, and making hay for sale (both of which were new departures) as well as for her excellent management of a large establishment of assigned servants.

Mrs. John Macarthur to Miss Kingdon.


March, 1816.

My dear Eliza,

. . . . I know not what I can say of our mode of life, that will give you a correct idea of it. It is a mixture of town and country life; and yet in many respects unlike anything you can have experienced. Our climate is delightful, and we have in high perfection and in great abundance the fruits of warm and cold climates. In our garden, which is large we have Oranges, Lemons, Olives, Almonds, Grapes, Peaches, Apricots, Nectarines, Meddlars, Pears, Apples, Raspberries, Strawberries, Walnuts, Cherries, Plums. These fruits you know. Then we have the Loquat, a Chinese fruit, the Citron, the Shaddock and the Pomegranate, and perhaps some others that I may have forgotten to enumerate, such as the Cherry and Guava. We have an abundance, even to profusion, in so much that our Pigs are fed on Peaches, Apricots and Melons in the season. Oranges and Lemons we have all the year round, yet there, is a particular season from May to August (our winter) when the trees yield a regular crop. I have I perceive, omitted to mention the Fig, of which we have many varieties and in abundance. The Gooseberry and Currant have not hitherto thriven at this settlement, but at Van Diemen's Land they do well. We grow wheat, barley, oats, we make hay, at least I do, and so does Mrs. Macquarie but the practice is not general. We feed hogs, we have cattle, keep a dairy, fatten beef and mutton and export fine wool. A variety of avocations arising from these pursuits keeps the mind pretty busily employed. Our society as the country has increased in population has become more extended. On particular days, such as the King's or Queen's Birthday there are parties at Government House, numbering occasionally 150 persons. I will not say that these assemblies have been very select. However there is a sufficiency of pleasant, agreeable persons to visit and to be visited by, to satisfy one who is not ambitious to have a very numerous visiting acquaintance. The Regiment now stationed here is the 46th commanded by Colonel Molle, who is also Lieutenant Governor. The Colonel is a most accomplished, charming man, who has seen much of the world. Mrs. Molle—friendly and affectionate, and pretty conversant with the same sort of knowledge, but she appreciates it at its true worth. With this family we visit on easy friendly terms, which is to us a great consolation. Governor Macquarie is one of the most pleasing men, but then he is the Governor, and it is not possible to forget that he is so Mrs. Macquarie is very amiable, very benevolent, in short a very good woman. They have a lovely Boy, now ten years old.

Letter of Credit

I am much indebted to Miss Meyrick for her remembrance of me. Mrs. Macquarie begs her compliments to you. On Thursday I am to dine with her, on the occasion of a farewell party to Lieutenant and Mrs. Forster, and the Officers who return to England in the Emu. This is a sort of mid-station visited by ships from many quarters of the Globe. At this time we have a vessel in the Harbour, from America, two from Bengal, one from Canton, one from the Cape, and one from Ceylon, one also from the Isle of France, several from Europe which are about to depart by way of Java, China or India. With the Islands in the South Seas we also keep up a constant communication. The Church Missionaries there are under the direction of our principal Chaplain, the Reverend Samuel Marsden. Many of the Otaheitians have become converts to Christianity. The New Testament is translated into their language. Attempts have been made to civilise the natives of this country, but they are complete savages, and are as lawless and troublesome as when the Colony was first established. Our out settlements are constantly subjected to their depredations. A great extent of territory has been discovered in the last two years, by three Gentlemen,* who penetrated the chain of Hills, which we call "The Blue Mountains" and which were before thought impassable. The Governor has caused a road to be made which has completely opened the communication. He made an excursion to this new country, and was absent an entire month. The Governor has named the chief place of settlement "Bathurst" which is situated near a large River, and upon an extensive plain. Where the river discharged itself and whether it connects itself with other waters, is a subject for interesting speculation and after search. I am now reminded I must close my letter, I hope my Mother and my Aunt Green may talk comfortably over old times.

[* Gregory Blaxland, William Charles Wentworth, and Lieut. Lawson.]

Many Officers come here from India. They generally return with amended health. My nephew Hannibal and his wife and Miss King, live at a little distance from our house—they have two children, a boy and a girl. Her Brother, Captain King is I understand to marry his cousin Miss Lethbridge.

God bless you my dearest Eliza,

Your affectionate Friend,

Elizabeth Macarthur.


March 1816.


Edward always recollects you with kindness, I think whenever the soldier has leave of absence and can command a little spare cash he will pay a visit to the neighbourhood of Bridgerule. You may fancy how much I wish to see those dear children, from whom I have been so long separated. Edward last quitted me about seven years since. John left this country at the early age of seven years and a half, and has not since returned. He is now 22, James and William went home with their Father, and when I last heard of them were with him in Switzerland. John is my faithful and most affectionate correspondent. My daughters Elizabeth, Mary and Emmeline, are still with me, and a single lady ** about my own age who shares all my cares. It is not wealth, nor large possessions that entail happiness but health, industry, with the blessing of God affect much. I am much oppressed with care on account of our stock establishments at our distant farms, at the Cowpastures, having been disturbed by the incursions of the natives. The savages have burnt and destroyed the shepherds habitations, and I daily hear of some fresh calamity. Yesterday the Governor was pleased to order a non-commissioned Officer and six soldiers out to protect our establishments from further injuries. Two years ago a faithful old servant who had lived with us since we first came to the Colony was barbarously murdered by them and a poor defenceless woman also. Three of my people are now reported to be missing, but I trust they will be found unhurt.

[** Miss Lucas who had accompanied Elizabeth as governess in 1804.]


11th December, 1817.

My dear Eliza,

I was favoured with your letter by the Lord EldonTransport, the very same vessel which restored to me your God-father, and my Husband together with our two youngest sons, after a cruel separation of nine years. I am yet scarcely sensible of the extent of my happiness, and indeed I can hardly persuade myself that so many of the dear members of our family are united again under the same roof. Mr. Macarthur is occasionally afflicted with Gout, otherwise I perceive little change in him during this length of time. James and William from little Boys when they left me, returned fine young men. James six feet high and stout withall, William more slender but evidently giving promise of being stout also. They are delighted to return to their native land, and breathe not a regret for the gay scenes of the English Metropolis. Nothing they saw in France or Switzerland effaced the strong desire they had to return to their native wild woods in New South Wales. So much for the Love of Country.

I have seen Mrs. Philip King, late Miss Harriet Lethbridge several times, she has lately presented her Husband with a fine Boy. Mr. King is about to go to sea to perform the object of his mission here, which is to survey a part of the coast, not effectually done by the late Captain Flinders.

I cannot even now repress the ardent desire which I have once more to see the place of my birth. So many and so great have been the obstacles that I have never dared to cherish the hope. In our Colonial Gazette of the 11th and 18th of August there is an account of a tour or expedition, made by our Surveyor General to the westward of the Blue Mountains—the party was absent nineteen weeks from the new settlement at Bathurst, and passed through a great variety of country. Their purpose was to trace the progress of the River Lachlan as a persuasion existed of its emptying itself into the sea. Such however was not the case as after tracing it in its wanderings for many hundred Miles it appeared to lose itself in stagnant lakes and pools amidst a desert marshy country. Mr. Oxley however had the good fortune to discover a better country to the northward of west, and a river which promised to be one of the first magnitude. Want of provisions prevented Mr. Oxley tracing the course of this river which he named the Macquarie.

Emmeline is not yet sufficiently composed to write to Samuel by this opportunity. She is so much engaged in running about, and showing her brothers everything that she can think will amuse them. Pray pardon this confused letter—I have some difficulty in collecting my own scattered thoughts at a moment like the present.


17th May, 1818.

We are here in deep mourning for the Princess Charlotte. You wish to know how we pass our time? Not very much unlike what you do in the country. We are now a very large family of ourselves. James and William assist their Father in the management of his farm and stock. By way of amusement, they ride, shoot wild fowl, fish and occasionally associate with the Officers of the 48th Regiment which is now here. We have an excellent collection of books—we receive most of the new publications from England. James and William amuse us with an account of their travels in France, and of the manners of the Swiss, amongst whom they resided many months. As we have frequently ships from various parts of India and China, we see many passengers who come here to re-establish their health. This makes a little change in our society. We have also frequent communication with the south Sea Islanders, and inhabitants of New Zealand. The latter are a stout hardy race very different from the natives of New Holland. They avail themselves of the opportunity of visiting this Colony, in a vessel belonging to the Missionary Society, which goes to and fro. These savages, for such, in truth they are, generally pay us a visit, and amuse us much. We frequently visit Sydney, a very agreeable distance to ride or drive. Last week one of my daughters spent a few days there with her Father. They dined at the Governor's and now my son William is on a visit to Mr. Baron Field, one of our Judges. Mr. and Mrs. Field are agreeable and well informed people, with whom we live on terms of intimacy, visiting each other without ceremony and frequently.


Some interesting matter may be gleaned from the correspondence of Elizabeth, their eldest daughter, with Miss Kingdon.

Miss Macarthur to Miss Kingdon.

New South Wales,

8th March 1817.

Altho' I have not the pleasure, dear Miss Kingdon, of being personally known to you, yet my Mother permits me to hope you will not reject my correspondence. Dear as the members of your family have ever been to this beloved parent I cannot feel that I am addressing an utter stranger. Nor does it require any great effort of imagination to persuade myself I am already known to you. At this vast distance, it is only through the medium of letters, that I can ever hope really to become so; and I hope you will not refuse me a gratification so earnestly desired on my part. Should you kindly admit me amongst the number of your correspondents and consent to furnish me with some accounts of persons, whose names, at least are dear and familiar to me, I will in turn send you intelligence from our southern hemisphere, which will however destitute of other qualifications possess at least the recommendation of novelty. My Mother I believe has already given you some account of the discoveries made in the interior of this Colony; and of Governor and Mrs. Macquarie having visited the newly explored country, laid there a town * and returned highly pleased with the excursion. Since that time nearly one hundred miles more of country has been discovered. The result of these researches may I trust benefit us materially by making valuable additions to natural history. All the animals and plants hitherto discovered are entirely new, and differ from the productions of any other known land. The inhabitants resemble the natives of this district. They are a singular race utterly ignorant of the arts, living constantly in the open air, and without any other covering than occasionally, cloaks of the skin of wild animals, but even these are not universally worn, it is not uncommon to see them without any covering at all. They are nevertheless very intelligent and not obtrusive. They have great vivacity and a peculiar turn for mimickry—acquiring our language, tones and expressions with singular facility. Their carriage is very graceful, and perhaps they possess more native politeness than is found amongst any people. They deem a great want of good breeding to contradict. In all the European modes of salutation they make themselves perfect. The benevolent exertions of) Governor Macquarie have induced some of these people to send their children to a School which he has formed for their reception and instruction. The little creatures have been taught to read and write, with a readiness truly astonishing, and in the hands of Providence let us hope they may be instrumental in civilizing their countrymen. Pray pardon the partiality of a native for native subjects.

[* Bathurst.]

Your sincere, altho' unknown,

Elizabeth Macarthur.


July 15th 1818.   

My dear Miss Kingdon

I was much gratified by the receipt of your kind and obliging letter, pray continue to favour us with your correspondence and I in return will endeavour to give you such accounts of our infant community as are likely to interest your curiosity. It is now our winter season, and I am now sitting round a wood fire, with other dear members of the family circle. But to show how we abound in contradictions—the windows are open—and near to them are two large orange trees loaded with ripe fruit, and at the same time bearing flowers, and fruit but newly formed. All our deciduous trees are however leafless, and you would smile at the contrast presented by the English Oaks, and our luxuriant and beautiful orange trees. Yet when in leaf it must be admitted that the beautiful green of the English trees, far surpasses, particularly when the leaves are young, the verdure of our unchanging ever greens. We therefore continue to intermix them as much as possible, and enjoy the beauty of each in their season. I wish it were possible to convey to you some of our flowering plants; their bright and varied colors would please you much; and their form so different from the productions of Europe. At this moment, the middle of our winter, the thermometer is at 60 degrees. Can you believe that we need a fire. Yet so it is, and this morning not four hours since there was ice upon all the standing water—not very thick you may imagine, but still ice. It is at this season we are enabled to take the most exercise in the open air, and indeed we frequently remain out almost the whole day, for altho' we can have a fire in the house; the sun is warm and pleasant. We remain out rambling in our woods, or diverting ourselves in our garden until the evening surprises us. The history of our day, is in truth that of our life, for in a country so remote, where society is necessarily very confined there is not much variety; yet because perhaps there is little to mark its progress time appears to glide away with even more than common rapidity.


E. M.

{Page 314}

Chapter IX.


After Macarthur's return to New South Wales he found much to occupy him in the furtherance of his agricultural schemes, though his health and spirits had suffered greatly from the strife of the years spent away from his home and relations.

In 1818 his sons, James and William, assisted by Andrew Murray, the gardener, who had lived with Sir Walter Scott at Abbotsford, began work at Camden, where but one acre of land was cleared and a small weatherboard cottage built.

Governor Macquarie received Macarthur with marked attention, and quickly increased his staff of workmen, so that clearing, fencing, and building were rapidly proceeded with.

The following is a letter to his friend Walter Davidson, which was copied in 1840 by his son Edward. His impaired health would account for his depressed spirits.


Sept. 3rd, 1818.

My dear Davidson,

The receipt of your most friendly and affectionate letter by the Lynx gave me great pleasure, and your interesting narrative of the disaster you had encountered excited many conflicting feelings. Reflecting on the amount of actual loss you must have sustained concern and regret predominated, but when I considered that a little longer continuance of uninterrupted success, would have induced you to withdraw yourself from a situation which gives you such ample scope to exercise your good sense and display your talents I cannot but think, that the event which compelled you to abandon that plan, ought to be rather accounted an instance of good than of ill fortune. Be assured that many years must elapse and much dear bought experience be accumulated of the fallacy of every human scheme of happiness, before your ardent and active mind will permit you to enjoy even a small portion of content in seclusion and retirement. Do not, I entreat you, indulge the deceptive hope but persevere in the great high road of fortune, until age, infirmity and diminished desires shall give you notice to seek repose. I am perfectly convinced that in less than two years of the enjoyment of what is termed a life of pleasure, you would become the victim of satiety and disgust, and most earnestly wish to be restored to those cares and occupations, you now so ardently desire to escape; or that you would be induced to return to active life, and perhaps, be tempted, or be compelled to plunge once more into the vortex of competition and speculation, on terms far more disadvantageous and insecure, than your hitherto prosperous fortune has compelled you to submit to. Possessing as you do so much better information than any I can pretend to on the subject of trade and of the growing difficulties and frightful risks to which all trade in Great Britain is exposed I will only beg you calmly to contrast your present advantages and future prospects, with anything you could rationally calculate upon in England or Scotland.

An old and worthy friend of mine blest with the cheerfullest temper, with excellent health and fifty thousand pounds acquired in the East Indies, told me a little time before I left London that he would cheerfully and thankfully resign all the fortune which more than thirty years had been spent in amassing, if he could only be placed in the situation he had unwisely resigned to return to England, and enjoy his fortune. "Whilst the novelty of the change continued" said he, "all went well and I thought myself a happy man, but no sooner did I begin to feel that I had no business left except the pursuit of pleasure or amusement, than the scene changed and words cannot convey to you how heavily my time hangs and how thankful I feel when the day is at an end." I have known many whose countenances and conduct bore testimony to the same effect; altho' with too much pride, or too little candour to make a similar avowal. I trust, in God, my dear Davidson I may never hear you have added one to the fatal list, for believe me, I shall always feel the deepest interest not only in your success, but in your happiness, of which but too frequently success is not the harbinger.

You will now expect that I shall say something of myself and my pursuits; and I would fain say something that might give you pleasure but fear I shall not succeed. You will be concerned to learn that my health is not at all improved since my return to my long deserted home. During the summer months I became so much better that I began sanguinely to calculate upon continued cheerful spirits and renewed strength and activity, but the winter mild as it is in this fine climate brought with it a return of my old complaint. I have been confined more than a month to the house. I assure you it is only by great exertions I have been enabled to collect a sufficient stock of spirits to undertake writing this letter. You have witnessed how much I used to suffer from mental depression. It is now so much increased that I often pass weeks, without one cheerful moment, and I am seldom relieved from this dreadful gloom, except by the return of acute pain. As yet I have never had a regular attack of Gout, but from recent symptoms, I think it but too probable my complaints will terminate in a decided rheumatic Gout. This is no very pleasant picture of the past, or agreeable prospect of the future. Of the past I have had so much sad experience—so much adversity, and adverse fortune, that I do not willingly encourage retrospective views; of the future the prospect is not much brighter, but it may change—I discover from your letters that you have received a tolerably accurate information of the state of things here—little therefore, is left for me to say on that head—we have the usual conflict of rival interests, and I think more than the usual portion of rancour, and party spirit; in so much, that he who will be of no party finds himself almost beyond the pale of society. Such is almost our state at this time. We only visit or are visited by one family. The regenerated few are in high court favour. The illiberals are in as fierce opposition and they console themselves with hopes that Governor Macquarie will soon be relieved—but for this I think there is no better foundation that the reports of those, who are supposed to possess the Governor's confidence, and they undisguisedly say, that he wrote to be relieved by Mr. Riley's ship the "Harriet." Governor Macquarie is certainly humane, liberal, and of most courteous and gentlemanly manners, but with what extent endowed with talents to govern this most singularly constructed society, the condition of the Colony will present you with a better criterion to form your own judgment than any opinion of mine. In fact, it is a subject I never speak nor write upon. Our chief, indeed, almost only export, is Bills upon the Treasury and I am not aware that any encouragement is given to create any other. I believe the Bills this year will amount to £150,000, and as convicts are continually arriving the amount must rapidly increase, and continue until ministers take alarm at its magnitude, or the nation become indignant at the enormous weight of the burthen.

My feeble attempt to introduce Merino Sheep still creeps on almost unheeded, and altogether unassisted. Few of the settlers can be induced to take the trouble requisite to improve their flocks, or to subtract a few guineas from their usual expenditure (tea and rum) to purchase Spanish Rams, altho' mine is the only flock from which they can be had pure, I do not sell half a score a year. Many believe that whatever improvement the wool receives is the effect of climate, and not attributable to any particular breed. I am waiting impatiently for accounts of the sale of the wool of 1816. The whole of it was more uniformly fine than any that had been sent before, and that of 1817, the present year is still better. It is yet capable of further improvement. I expect will continue to increase in value for three or four years. With respect to numbers I fear my flocks must remain stationary, unless an unexpected change should be made in the system of managing the prisoners. It is now the most difficult thing to keep a small number in any kind of order and I am of opinion that he who should employ many, would injure instead of improve his fortune. I am endeavouring to break James and William in by degrees to oversee and manage my affairs. They appear to be contented with their lot, but I by no means think them well calculated for it. They have not sufficient hardness of character to manage the people placed under their control, and they set too little value upon money, for the profession of agriculture which as you know requires that not a penny should be expended without good reason. Whatever may be the result there is no alternative for them. Here their lot is cast. Mine is a singular fortune, of seven children, not one is yet provided for, altho' the eldest is nearly thirty years old. A little time will show whether John will be more successful than his elder Brother. Elizabeth and Mary you see remain unmarried, and the prospect is indeed very small of their obtaining any eligible settlement. They are too sensitive and too well principled for this society. The last expression seems odd, but it is true. Before I quit this subject I must not omit to offer you my sincere thanks, for your kind proposal to take James under your protection. Had the thing been practicable, I should have accepted the friendly offer most joyfully; but I find his assistance indispensible and should I be removed his Mother and Sisters would require his aid. He is as you always knew him, grave and thoughtful, and if he should acquire a little more firmness, and energy he may become capable of sustaining the weight, which my death would impose upon him. William still continues a good tempered thoughtless fellow, very like Edward in character although of a more lively temper. I am sure John will be much disappointed at the failure of his last years letter to you. He wrote, a little time before my departure from England and sent you some new publications, and little trifles, that he thought might be acceptable or not easy to procure in China. I am sorry there are no lemons at this season to send you, but what are so very ripe that they would be rotten before they reached half way to China. I have been contriving for some months to get a drawing of our little cottage, executed by an Officer who draws beautifully. I hope still to succeed and to be enabled to send it to you very soon. It may sometimes remind you of those who often think and speak of Walter. I had almost forgotten your request to be informed in what way Mr. Watson Taylor's friendship became serviceable to me. He was in the kindest manner instrumental to my opening and carrying on the correspondence with Government which ended in the removal of the obstacles that existed to prevent my reunion with my family. Perhaps you may have heard this I had the good fortune soon after to be instrumental in extricating George Halliday from a very embarrassing situation for which the whole family considered themselves obliged. It is very pleasing to evince that friendship is not misdirected towards you.

I conclude Hannibal writes to you upon his present mercantile prospects. For my part, I find myself so unfit to embark in any pursuit of the kind, and think the prospects and funds of this Colony so uncertain that not even your kind offer of support and assistance could tempt me to engage in any adventure. Would to God I had always entertained the same sentiments, I should now have been independent, instead of being condemned to struggle for a subsistance, at a period when years and infirmities make repose desirable, nay almost necessary. But the past, bygones, cannot be recalled. This is a dismal miserable letter for the entertainment of an absent friend, but I am ill, and unable to consider what I write, or to write more entertainingly, if I thought however much. Let me hear from you, whenever you have an opportunity and be assured of the sincere and unabated regard of, my dear Davidson,

Your faithful friend,

John McArthur.

P.S.—I regret to have seen so little of Mr. Ritchie. Your female friends will thank you for for your delightful present of teas. They were very acceptable to us all.

In 1820 Macarthur writes to his son John enclosing copies of a correspondence between himself and Lieut.-Governor Sorell, in Van Diemen's Land, who had also grasped the possibilities of the wool industry.

Parramatta, 20th Feb. 1820.

My Dear John,

The accompanying sheets have been written in bed and with great difficulty, and I find myself so much depressed with pain and disorder, that I can write to no one else except a few hurried lines to dear Edward in Elizabeth's Letter—You must therefore perform the task of acquainting him with all the important matters I have told you—All the Regalia's goods came safe, but much disordered from the broken state of the Packages the seeds and Plants entirely spoiled—acquaint Mr. Gibbs that our collection of seeds could not be sufficiently dried (many of them being in cases) to send him by this conveyance, but will be sent by a Whaler which is expected to sail in about two months. Pray what is become of the Iron Plough presented to me by Colonel Campbell, that was relanded from the David Shaw—and why have you made no mention of the machine for flax dressing that I wrote so particularly about—where also is the Horse net that poor Ned procured for me—we have been put to great inconvenience, and we have to suffer it, from your neglecting to send the piece of Blue Cloth for Servants Liveries—Cloth about 20s. a yard—and the gross of large and gross of small yellow Buttons with our Crest. . . . .

The opinion I have formed of the Commissioner ** is in perfect agreement with that which you say is entertained of him in England, he is polite and courteous to every one and active, acute and intelligent in the prosecution of the enquiry in which he is engaged but I suspect he is not making the progress he calculated upon at its commencement, and that he has already discovered that ninety nine hundredths of the information which he has collected will require abundance of sifting, and that in too many instances the labour will be badly requited—As yet I have had very little conversation with him on business except on our own immediate subject the Wool—indeed I do not think I have seen him more than half a dozen times owing to several causes, his fixed residence is at Sydney to which place I seldom go and the prejudices, which he knew existed against me in Downing Street and the jealousy (I fear I must say dislike) which prevails at our Government House has made him (I suspect) consider it necessary to avoid even the appearance of being biassed by my opinion or Counsel. You must not, however, imagine from this, that he has been cold or disregardful when we have met, quite the contrary not only to me but to every individual of the Family, I know that he has on several occasions said, that he considered me a public Benefactor and the example set by the whole of us most praiseworthy. Immediately after his arrival Mr. Scott (the Secretary) who brought a particular introduction to me from Dr. Warren (you will recollect he attended me in South Audley Street) said we are aware Mr. McArthur of the importance of your friendship and the value of the information you possess, but we are very particularly circumstanced. There is so strong a prejudice against you in a certain quarter at home that we are unwilling to ask you any questions but shall nevertheless be thankful and feel always disposed to receive with the greatest attention anything you may be inclined to impart. To this I replied that nothing would give me greater satisfaction than to assist the enquiry of the Commission and that I should at all times be ready to answer in the most unreserved and candid manner any questions they might find it expedient to ask me, but if the prejudices of Government or other considerations imposed upon the Commissioners an obligation not to seek information from me in that way I had nothing to communicate in any other, and I trusted that my reserve and forbearance to obtrude myself would allow them an opportunity to bear evidence how little I was disposed to meddle with the transactions of Government, or to make myself troublesome. This I saw startled and surprised the Secretary who had certainly been cautioned against me as what is termed by honest thorough going men of all work, a dangerous, officious, troublesome man, I added however, that the silence imposed upon me respecting public affairs would not extend to private ones, and that nothing would give me greater pleasure than opportunities of contributing to make the Commissioner's and his stay amongst us agreeable to them. This was of course politely replied to and several little accommodations which I immediately offered were frankly accepted and have been gratefully spoken of since. For instance the Commissioner and the Secretary have constantly rode two beautiful valuable horses that I lent them, two such as could not be equalled in the Colony and which I would not sell, one being a favorite mare from which I proposed to breed and the other a high bred Stallion of Arab Blood from whom I have already had some valuable Stock and propose to breed from again when the Commissioner leaves the Colony. The Commissioner as you must have observed is not inattentive to externals and 'tis evident for he is an accomplished Horseman that he bestrides his prancing Arab with no little satisfaction. I mention these little things to set your mind at ease as to the real feeling which Mr. Bigge entertains for did he not feel respect he is the last man in the World to submit to be obliged. In the course of conversation with the Commissioner he has three or four times touched generally upon the affairs of the Colony and I could easily discover that the opinions I expressed upon these occasions were in conformity to his own altho' he affected to think differently, evidently with the design of drawing me out, in which, however, neither he nor the Secretary have ever succeeded beyond the point I had previously prescribed to myself. They both departed from this Settlement to visit Van Diemen's Land early in this month and are not expected to return before April or May. The last interview I had with them was on the day before they embarked and our conversation was highly satisfactory. After going a considerable length into a proposal I had submitted to him for supplying all the Settlements with Merino Bred Rams (the particulars of which T shall give you directly) he concluded by saying "Mr. McArthur, I have avoided entering into particular details with you respecting my enquiry, because I have been desirous to hear what every one has to say before I apply to you. When I left England I was certainly prepared to encounter great difficulties in the execution of the business I had undertaken but I find them much greater than I had comtemplated, in short, they so thicken upon me that I cannot at present form any opinion of the period when I shall get through them all, we have much to say to you so much indeed that I cannot think myself at liberty to request your attendance at Sydney or to withdraw you so much from your own affairs. Your examination will be a work of many days perhaps of weeks we have therefore determined after our return to come to Parramatta. I want evidence to show that Government may be relieved from the heavy expense which this Colony creates and at present I have received none. If I do not I shall be under the necessity of reporting unfavourably and recommending that no more convicts may be sent here." I replied as before that he would always find me ready to answer any questions and give him my opinions in the most unreserved manner, that I saw no reason to despair of reducing the expenses of the Colony or in fact of adopting a system of management which would ultimately enable the Colonists to provide for themselves and I drew a rapid sketch of my plan. He listened attentively, often when I paused in the midst of a sentence eagerly finished it (to shew that he entered into my views), and concluded by declaring that he concurred in the opinion that the Colony might be made productive instead of continuing an increasing burthen but that the more he waded into the follies and abuses now practised the more he became disgusted. "There is but one excuse to be offered for your Governor which is his total incapacity, but that of course Government have long known." The Governor and the Commissioner I am sorry to say parted on very distant terms owing to a foolish attempt made by the Governor to smuggle from the Magistrates and Clergy a favorable report of the morals, virtue, religion, improving agriculture, flourishing commerce, pure administration of Justice, strict discipline maintained among the Convicts and surprising advances of the Colony in every respect from the commencement of his command. After I had taken leave of Mr. Bigge Mr. Scott followed me to my cottage and after a long and interesting conversation told me "that they looked to my evidence as the Key or Touchstone of the Truth of all they had heard." The same thing was said to Dr. Bowman who is of course on intimate terms and enjoys their confidence, indeed the Dr. has frequently repeated many handsome things which the Commissioner has said though perhaps they were said with an expectation that they would reach me. The Commissioner is a man of the World and knows that a little flattery well applied seldom does mischief.

[** Commissioner Bigge.]

The business of the Merino bred Rams is as follows: About a year ago I took a favorable moment when I thought His Excellency disposed to be a little friendly to recommend that he would adopt some measures to patronise the increase of Fine Woolled Sheep, and I endeavoured to excite him to decided steps by hopes that he might procure the favorable opinion and interest of the Commerical and Manufacturing Gentlemen at Home to oppose to that of his inveterate foes the Saints, I however could no further succeed than to prevail upon him to write to Lt. Governor Sorell to enquire if such an attempt would be acceptable to the Settlers in Van Diemen's Land. The Lt. Governor it would appear caught at the proposal with eagerness and wrote me a very handsome letter of thanks (No. 1) ** for having made it To this letter I replied in polite terms accompanied with some general suggestions calculated to keep alive the feeling that had been raised and stating that the young Rams were ready to be delivered whenever the Governor should be pleased to call for them. This produced another letter from Governor Sorell (No. 2) *** and a few days after a notification from His Excellency that he had received information that the settlers at Van Diemen's Land were desirous to be supplied with my Rams he should therefore be glad to see me as early as possible to fix a price upon them and to arrange some plan for their conveyance to the Derwent. I had heard that the Settlers at Van Diemen's Land were willing to give £20 a head for such as might be delivered in good health, but as I had been obliged to use great caution in my approaches before I could prevail upon the Governor to write about them, and being fully sensible that my advancement has always been, and continues to be, a fearful object at Government House and to the creatures that surround it, I told him that I should be satisfied to receive Five Guineas per head for the Sheep and take land at 5s. per acre in payment. To the price of the Sheep he made no objection (how could he when he knew the Settlers expected to pay 20 Guineas) but said he thought I valued the land too low, I replied that he must know it was the current price at which thousands of acres had been selling for some time past. It availed nothing and I clearly saw that I must consent to take land at 7s. 6d. per acre or give up the plan I had so long and so anxiously been seeking to commence. You will observe this is the first land in New South Wales that Government have ever received anything for. When I had closed the agreement for the purpose of the Rams. I cautiously suggested to him for fear of giving umbrage or increasing jealousy that they might on their arrival at the Derwent be disposed of to great advantage by Public Auction, if Government would give a little Credit (our settlers never have money), and consent to take provisions in payment which might be done without any increase of expense to the Crown as provisions so received would remove the necessity for making purchases to the same extent, and that as Government only gave land for the Sheep the whole of the proceeds (except about four hundred pounds for freight and food on the passage) would be applicable to the creation of a Fund to be distributed in prizes amongst the most enterprising settlers who should endeavour to improve their Flocks. That it would be also very agreeable to Lt. Governor Sorell who much wished for Funds to appropriate in that way. This proposal was well received and I was directed to write to Colonel Sorell and acquaint him with the arrangement. I know not whether Colonel Sorell borrowed the idea of Prizes from me (for it has been long spoken of by me as a method which ought to be adopted to encourage the breeding of fine Woolled Sheep) but whether it originated with him or me it matters not, it cannot fail to prove beneficial. No. 3 **** is a copy of the Letter I wrote to Colonel Sorell next day. The 300 Rams are to embark on board a fine Ship in two days and I sincerely trust that they will safely reach their destination. The Commissioner had always been acquainted with my intentions and as soon as I had completed the bargain with the Governor I waited upon him and told him the particulars. He was so much satisfied with what had been done and with my plan for raising Funds to encourage the Settlers to proceed, that I thought it a good time to enter upon a discussion I had before touched upon—the necessity of adopting some plan for making the breed of Merino Sheep universal throughout the Colony. I signified my willingness to undertake the management and to reserve the whole of the Male Sheep of my Flocks to distribute amongst the Proprietors of Sheep, taking land in exchange at any fair price that might be determined upon. The only condition that I insisted upon was that Government should give me the exclusive use of fifty thousand acres to pasture my Flocks upon, for the following reasons: That mine is the only Flock in the Colony from which pure Merino Rams can be obtained. That to give the Merino Race every advantage of constitution and size it is necessary they should enjoy a large range of pasturage and be secured against all hazard of intermixture with the coarse woolled Flocks which would be sent to graze in the vicinity of mine (with a view of exchanging by bribing the Shepherds or mixing with my Rams and consequently mixing their coarse woolled Rams with my fine woolled Ewes to the certain destruction of the whole undertaking) the moment it should be known that my Sheep were sent to the Common Forest to pasture That it was well known the sole cause of my Flocks having remained pure so long was their having been strictly confined to my own enclosed grounds, which of course I could continue to do upon a limited scale but not to an extent to supply a hundredth part of the growing demands of the Colony for Merino Rams. That such an establishment would secure an abundant supply of fine woolled Rams which the Government might distribute at their pleasure without a shilling of cost or any care or any other equivalent than a grant of a certain proportion of such lands in exchange for the Rams they might require, as they now bestowed gratis, and with no other object than the production of corn and cattle, for which they are obliged to pay by Bills on the English Treasury there being no inducement to the Settler to grow either corn or Cattle beyond what he wanted for his own support unless Government were the purchasers of the surplus. That by storing the Country with Fine Woolled Sheep a most valuable export would be obtained, the returns of which would increase the demand for labor and gradually prepare the Colonists to depend on their own exertions and in time enable them altogether to provide for their own expenditure. That by granting me an exclusive pasturage to the extent I asked compleat security would be had for the Merino Race of Sheep being preserved pure, for their being increased and improved to the greatest degree of which they are capable—and for their offspring being diffused throughout all the present coarse woolled sheep in the Colony—That a compleat check would be given to Fraudulent Speculators who frequently sell coarse bred sheep shewing a little cross of the Merino, the offspring of which is still coarser, and the ignorant Farmer who purchases disheartened from prosecuting a business in which he finds "he has no luck." Such is the almost universal excuse for ignorance or neglect. That if Government took Provisions in exchange for the Rams, they would sell at a high price—and the Provisions be applied to the supply of Government Dependants—That the more wealthy Farmer would pay money with which Government might give premiums, or apply it to discharge the expense of any objects of publick utility—say the expense of a Seminary for the education of Youth.

[** See post, p. 341.]

[*** See post, p. 342.]

[**** See post, p. 343.]

The Commissioner started many objections, which I endeavoured to remove—the principal one seemed to be the quantity of land I should acquire—You only ask, said he, for the exclusive use of 50,000 Acres, but I see that you look to the Perpetual Grant in payment for your Rams—I answered why should I not—Is there any just reason why a respectable Family, consisting of seven children should not possess 7,000 Acres of Land each in a New Colony, which will be enriched by the exertions of their Parent—Look at your present system—How many acres does Mr. D'arcy Wentworth own! Nearly 40,000 it is understood by Grant and Mortgage—How many Mr. Terry, and others of the like description—18 or 20,000 Acres (upwards of a 1000 is by grant from the Governor to himself as a mark of esteem) and is not every clever active scoundrel in the Colony becoming the Proprietor of large Estates—and must not all the small Estates that are bestowed upon the herd of the Prisoners finally centre in such vile characters? The American Government who have never been accused of want of sagacity, make no objection to any man's possessing a Million of acres if he have the money to pay for them, nay they will give credit for a considerable portion of the purchase money—Why then should it be objected that I am likely to obtain 50,000 acres for which I am willing to pay in an article of public benefit, and on the sale of which a large profit will arise?

The Commissioner seemed to be convinced at last, and said he really saw no objections—and he desired me to give him the Heads of our conversation in a written Memorandum—I send you a Copy of what I wrote for him—it was very hastily done (late in the Evening before he embarked) and, I now perceive does not contain all the reasons I urged in conversation. In the fervour of our debate, he dropped "Consider the prejudice Government entertain against you, I own it is not a deserved one, but 'tis an obstacle"—I replied that your late communications encouraged me to hope that the prejudice to which he alluded no longer exists. "Well," he said, "I wish it may be so, but I fear." If they do continue I rejoined and to the extent of rejecting my proposal, it will be for you Sir to consider in what way the object which I have so successfully founded may be made a national one—In that case, I of course am out of the question, I must endeavour to take care of myself—and it will not be expected that holding some Trumps in my hand, I shall resign them to others to play—"Government can import Merino Sheep." I admit they can, but let us calculate the expense and risk—I shall next year have nearly 3,000 breeding Ewes all fine enough to breed Rams from—and even that number will not supply Rams enough for the whole of the Settlements if spirited plans be adopted. Suppose Government were to import 3,000 Merino Ewes and a proportion of Rams what would they cost—First price, freight, food, and Risk, at least £60,000 and when imported, if you contrast the price at which English bred Merino Wool sells with the price mine sold at the last Sales, probably much inferior in the quality of their wool, and certainly not so well calculated to flourish in this Climate, and on our peculiar pasturage as Sheep bred in the Colony. Very true, said the Commissioner, but yet I fear there will be objections, I told him I had spoken to the Governor upon the subject but that he had declined taking any steps himself but promised that if I sent him my plan he would recommend it at home. "Do so then," said the Commissioner. On mature reflection I declined doing so for in the first instance I have no faith in His Excellency and in the second I am of opinion that any project from him would receive little favourable notice unless it had the support of the Commissioner. For my doubts of the Governor I have many reasons but as I have no desire to increase the prejudices against him I will not detail them. I leave it to your own discretion to mention the business in Downing Street or not. To judge of the footing you may be on there is impossible. If you do speak of it the chief points to enforce are that this Colony must continue an increasing burthen until exports are found; for without exports what have we to pay for our supplies but the money expended by Government—That no export has yet been discovered the produce of our soil but Wool, (a few hides excepted and a very little Tallow) that the increasing excellence of its quality makes it of importance to our Manufacturers and affords a fair prospect that it may be still more improved—that the new discoveries of luxuriant pastures to the South West of the Cow Pastures admits of our Flocks being increased to an amazing extent—that by my means Rams may be soon had to improve all the Flocks without any actual cost and Government receive in return for them a considerable price—that from my Flocks they would always be sure of an improved Stock which will advance the general improvement—that Government must take spirited measures to push this object forward as whatever may be said to the contrary the Colonists in general are very supine and will continue so as long as they can find in Government ready purchasers for their Grain and Stock—that as long as this system continue there can be no relief in point of expense—that at present there are not ten sheep breeders pursuing any measure for the improvement of Wool and not more than six of them that pursue judicious ones—The practice is to breed from their own cross bred Rams by which means after their sheep are arrived at a certain point of improvement they degenerate again—This would be obviated if Government took all the Rams I may breed off my hands and distributed them. Many do not like to apply to me because they have always scoffed at the project from its commencement—some are led by their neighbours others have no money to spare (you will understand that every Settler of any character has always a Pig or two, or a Bullock or some grain which he could give Government in exchange for a Ram, tho' he cannot at all times dispose of them for money, with which only he could come to me to purchase) and many will not move unless in a string.

When the Commissioner returns he will have had time to give the subject due consideration and he will have conversed with Lt. Governor Sorell, of whose abilities all speak in praise, and he is a zealous advocate for the Merino Sheep—But I am really apprehensive, the Commissioner will be very reluctant to say much unless he should previously receive some assurances from Downing Street that their hostile feelings are changed—If you speak of this it must be done with the greatest circumspection, for the communication was made to me under an understanding of strict secrecy—I omitted to inform you that the Governor conditioned when he agreed for the Young Rams, that Government were to have the right reserved for them of paying me fifteen hundred Guineas if they preferred it, and of annulling the Grant of Land—but I suppose there can be little danger of their preferring to pay that sum in money to reserve Land in New South Wales. The Grant will be made out in the names of your Brothers, James and William—I have given it to them as the reward of their assiduous attention to their business—They have a promise also of Two thousand acres from the Governor, the whole will make them a pretty Estate to commence the world with—Now I am upon the subject of Grants—I might as well explain what passed between Lord Camden and me about the Cow Pasture Grant—It was at first absolutely settled that I was to receive Ten thousand acres but about a week before I left England I met Lord Camden at Mr. Cook's House by appointment—when His Lordship in his Courtier like way said "Mr. McArthur I sincerely hope you will succeed in the business you have undertaken and you may always depend upon my protection and interest—But it has been suggested to me that as no large Grant has ever been given in N.S. Wales, ten thousand acres sounds a little excessive you will therefore lay me under an obligation if you will consent to my taking off Five thousand of the Ten I have promised you, and rest assured that you shall have that quantity or a greater when your Flocks are increased to require it—I answered that I was entirely in his Lordship's hands and should be satisfied with any arrangement he approved—he thanked me repeated his assurance of Patronage and we parted—how well His Lordship has kept his promise you know, Mr. W. Taylor will probably recollect this, if you repeat it to him. He said when I acquainted him with what had passed between His Lordship and myself, this is Cook's doing at the instance of Sir Joseph Banks. I cannot see any cause for doubt about the propriety of asking for a Grant to the extent promised, if you are quite sure, that there is anything like a friendly feeling towards me, and the supply of Rams I have furnished for the Derwent, and the necessity of continuing it, with the want I suffer of more extended pasturage for the increase of my Flocks, would I should think strengthen the claim. I thought I had been so explicit before respecting my plans for your Brothers that no more need be said on that subject—You will however tell Mr. Campbell that we are properly sensible of his friendly recollection, but that William is a Shepherd from choice, and will not be tempted to wield a sword unless in self defence—We are equally averse to all Mercantile speculation for many reasons, but it is sufficient to assign one—Your Brothers have no time for anything but the care of our Flocks and Herds, and in that they will soon require assistance—I shall really be very glad if young Du Villend come to us, and when I am able I will write to his Sisters, tho' I suppose it will be settled whether he be to come or not long before any letter from hence can reach Geneva. But altho' we decline Mercantile affairs I am quite of opinion with Mr. Barnard that respectable men should be encouraged to settle here and break down monopoly—with a view to this I have introduced to you a Mr. Berry a Gentleman I have known many years—He and a Mr. Woolstencroft (a nephew of the well known Mary Woolstencroft) propose to form an establishment here—Mr. Woolstencroft I believe intends residing here, and Mr. Berry in England—they are both sensible men—and I am of opinion very respectable, and I know of none more likely to forward Mr. Barnard's views if he should be disposed to patronise them—I have in confidence told them what you wrote me, and shall be glad if you can introduce Mr. Berry favorably in Downing Street—or indeed pay him any other attention—He (was I fancy bred a Surgeon) has some philosophical attainments, and proposes I hear, to write an account of the Colony—its present state, and future prospects—But, I am half inclined to think, had been talked into a jealousy of me before I explained myself to him and offered him an introduction to you.

I have been highly pleased even with the distant prospect of your Brother Edward coming here in some respectable situation, and if it should be practicable to procure an appointment in a New Governor's Family it would be more desirable—But I do not revel much in this hope—However the design meets my deepest approbation—I know not whether I shall be able to write to him upon this occasion—I fear not, for I now write in Bed, and in great pain from wandering gout—You talk of the present Governor leaving here. Take my word he will never leave unless ordered—It is a melancholy thing to think of, for the progress of his Convict system—his wasteful expenditure, and absurd management is ruining the Colony and will every day increase the difficulties of his Successor, however able he may be. You will perhaps be startled at my complaining of expenditure—it is hastening to ruin the Colony as much as anything—and its principle effect, in the way it is chiefly directed, is to encourage vice and profligacy, and to confirm the cultivators in a habit of looking altogether to the Government expenditure instead of industriously endeavouring to produce articles for exportation. The accounts you give of the Wool and the price of the last sales are very encouraging—though we are not a little alarmed at the subsequent report of depression in the Market from the disordered state of Trade—we hope however, that a favorable change had happened before the arrival of the Surrey with her valuable consignment—The consignment we send upon the present occasion is in general in still better condition than that by the Surrey—there is much less coarse wool and a much larger proportion of the best and second quality—In another year we shall put it all up in equal condition, and the quantity of coarse wool will be still less and the fine greater—We are sanguine enough to calculate that our improvement exceeds the depression if it should still continue—It had need to do so I assure you for our expenses with the utmost frugality of management are very heavy. I have been constrained to draw upon you a Bill in favor of Jones and Riley for £200, and another to Berry and Woollstencroft—for £90, both at 30 days' sight and dated 25th Feby. and I fear I shall have occasion to draw for £800 or £1000 more in the course of the year—I have only had the courage to glance over your last account up to July, nor shall I say another word upon the subject of your expenses until I get your answer to my Letter by the Surrey. Think well what you are doing for depend upon it our present returns will not admit of your spending beyond the limit I have fixed—and if you will not regard that limit, you will impose upon me a painful task, but one that I must perform.

We are all much pleased with our Coats—the quality of the cloth, I think cannot be exceeded, and I am well satisfied with what you have done in distributing Coats—but let it stop there I see no necessity for more presents, unless it be two or three Coats at the Colonial Office—where, notwithstanding Mr. Watson Taylor's opinion to the contrary, I think it would have been prudent to have sent some at first.

In the Bale No. 32 there are some particular Fleeces labelled and numbered to which I wish to bespeak the particular attention of Mr. Young and Yourself. The Fleeces No. 1 and 4 are from two Rams that I esteem the finest in my Flocks, and by whom I have bred this year with my choicest woolled Ewes—I shall be glad of a particular report on the quality of these two Fleeces contrasted with No. 2 and 3—Nos. 5, 6, 7 and 8 are the Fleeces of three Rams and a Ewe, a remarkable variety that has sprung up in the pure Merino Flock—You will observe these Fleeces are remarkably long and heavy tho' not so fine in the hair as the preceeding numbers—It has struck me that this long wool may be valuable to comb—for worsteds to be used in the Shawl or Norwich Manufactures, and I am desirous that they should be shown to some persons concerned in that Trade and a valuation of them be obtained—If they should prove of greater value to be used in that way than in the Manufacture of Cloth it may be worth attending to—You will not fail to keep in view their superiority of weight over the Finer Fleeces of shorter Wool—We propose to keep the breed distinct until we receive your report, which I beg may be as ample as possible—not only respecting the long wool but all the numbered Fleeces.

I have read Mr. Wentworth's Book, and am quite shocked at the delusive Statements respecting the profits of breeding fine woolled Sheep—I trust you had no hand in it—it will be flatly contradicted by many, and very properly so. Respecting the general merits of the Book, I think with Mr. Barnard and you that its tendency is highly mischievous, his notice of me is very obliging and is I suppose intended in payment for the free use he has thought proper to make of my plans for the reformation and improvement of the Colony—I cannot however say that they have received much benefit by the alterations they have undergone in his hands. The scheme for the education of the Youth and that of a Bounty a premium on the employment of Prisoners is so changed and fancifully arranged that I had some difficulty in recognising them as branches from my tree—You must remember my decided disapprobation of Trial by Jury and anything in the shape of a Legislative Assembly in the present condition of our Society and I hope you have not neglected to say so at the Colonial Office—The establishment of either the one or the other at this time would seal the destruction of every respectable person here. I refused to sign the Petition to the Prince Regent and gave great offence by so doing—Hannibal foolishly signed it, and I really believe did so contrary to his own conviction, from fear of offending.

You will easily imagine how much it must have gratified me that you had succeeded in procuring for the Colony almost all the indulgences that can be useful to it in its present state, and your success in forming a friendly connexion in Downing Street. You cannot cultivate that too assiduously—With respect to the appointment of Colonial Agent it must not be thought of until we are entirely regenerated by the change which we hope from Mr. Bigge's Mission. In our present state Governor Macquarie's distinguished Convict friends are the majority and their voices preponderate in every publick question—They depend altogether upon the continuance of the Government expenditure and when that becomes seriously diminished they will be involved together in a mass of ruin and bankruptcy—Their abuse and clamour against the organs of such a change whenever it do take place, and take place it must (unless it be intended the Colony shall abstract Millions instead of hundreds of thousands of pounds of the public wealth) will be of course outrageous—what then I ask would be the situation of an Agent to such constituents. Do what he might he would be blamed for the miscarriage of all their absurd and impracticable requests, and after all his labor be ignominiously discharged their service without a guinea of recompense. You have no idea of these people my dear John, nor have I any desire that you should—the only place to acquire it out of this Colony are at St. Giles' and the flash houses to which the Gentlemen of the Fancy Clubs resort—Good God! what labors has the new Governor who ever he may be to perform—I maintain it would be easier to found five Colonies than to reform this—He must have unlimited authority and power to cleanse out the Augean Stables.

Dr. Bowman has performed miracles already at the Hospital considering that he is entirely unsupported (except by the countenance he receives from the Commissioner). At Government House he is an object of aversion which they take little pains to conceal—Between ourselves the Law Department is a complete pest—but I am at present in their hands and must preserve a prudent silence—It was not inaptly remarked by a shrewd man "when these people came here they represented themselves as the Pillars of the Colony I think they prove Catterpillars"—It is a most improper thing to allow Judges' fees—Some startling cases have I hear been laid before Mr. Bigge which I hope, altho' he is a Lawyer, make a due impression, if they are permitted to proceed they will swallow up the Colony, for such is the litigious spirit of the Convict gentry you cannot avoid Law, and when you get into the hands of the "sacred Priesthood" you are at sea without compass or rudder.

I transmit you a letter brought to me in the Admiral Cockburn from a House in London and I have replied to them civilly and told; them you would be ready to attend to any proposition they might have to make altho' not to alter the present plan of selling the Wool without consulting me—I adopted this as a civil mode of getting rid of their proposal, tho' there can be no harm in hearing what they have to say.

I shall write to Lt. Governor Sorell to take measures to obtain a Petition in due time from the Settlers at Van Diemen's Land for a continuance of the exemption from Duty on Wool, and I shall take the necessary steps to procure another here signed by the respectable people (not Sir John Jamieson's ragtag and bobtail). The one from the Derwent will have great weight as they have so large a number of Sheep (170,000) and all very coarse woolled—consequently any duty upon them would act as a total prohibition—The Petition shall be forwarded to you if I can manage it—We look to hear of the success of your Oil exemption act—I observe what you say of the probability of Mr. Bigges being offered the Government, I do not know a fitter man, or so fit, when it is considered that he will have the advantage of so much sound information of the real state of things—But I do not think he would accept it unless it were made more lucrative than it is at present, that is to say by all honorable means—Nor am I quite sure that he would not be appalled by the difficulties of the task—difficulties that, as I before said, are increasing every hour—what can Government be thinking of?—do not the increasing expenses alarm them? If that do not the increasing confusion vice and immorality of all the Settlements ought—But they will hear enough of this from Mr Bigge when he makes his report. I find James has told you of the Governor's conduct respecting the Wild Cattle—it was not my intention to speak of it on this occasion—nothing could be more ungentlemanly and faithless—first he cajoled me out of my plan—approved of it and promised to leave its execution to me—then made some absurd alterations of his own and employed another person without saying a word to me—the truth is—he attaches no value to consistency on his word. . . . .

I must beg you to make an apology to Mr. Young for my not writing to him on this occasion, for I am really too unwell to write to anyone, and it is with exceeding great difficulty that I have contrived to scrawl these unconnected sheets to you—Tell him that I have received his accounts and Invoices up to the 30th of last June—all satisfactory and I believe correct. The last letter was dated the 19th of July and contained a most melancholy statement of Trading affairs and the Wool market in particular but I hope times had mended when the consignment by the Surrey arrived, or at least that its improved condition and quality would more than compensate for the fall in prices—We shall expect to hear in June of its arrival.

February 28th 1820.

No. 1—Letter from Lt. Governor Sorell.

Government House 26th Novr. 1819.


His Excellency the Governor in Chief having notified to me that you had proposed to him to take from Your Flocks about 300 Merino Ram Lambs, to be disposed of to the Owners of Sheep at Van Diemen's Land, for the improvement of the Wool, I cannot deny myself the pleasure of offering you my best thanks for a proposal of so much importance to this Settlement.

The urgent necessity of providing from the produce of the Country, one or more articles of Staple Export, has been long evident, and has been inculcated by me on every occasion; and from every circumstance, but particularly from the great increase of Sheep, and the less immediate demand for Capital in the pursuit, the Wool has always appeared the most adviseable.

In reply to His Excellency's communication, I have had the satisfaction to state, that upon as general a reference to the Owners of Flocks, on this side as Time has allowed, I entertain little doubt that the number of Lambs, which you propose to spare will be gladly received; I have committed to Mr. Archer as a Magistrate and Proprietor at Port Dalrymple the communication in that Settlement of the proposal, and I anticipate a similar acceptance there.

The intention being that His Excellency should make the purchase for Government to be repaid by the Settlers; the Lambs will come at a fixed price free of all risk to the Purchasers; and when I shall have received the necessary notification from Mr. Archer, the appropriation to each Settlement can be made.

By the next Vessel proceeding, I hope to be able to write more specifically on the subject to the Governor in Chief so that the arrangement may be finally settled prior to His Excellency's visit to this Country in January. I shall take the same opportunity of again troubling you and in the meantime I beg to remain &c.,

Wm. Sorell.

No. 2—Letter from Governor Sorell.

Government House Jany. 21st 1820.


I beg to acknowledge by the favor of your Nephew with whom I have had the pleasure of becoming acquainted here, your letter of the 8th inst.

You are aware of the difficulty of inducing the Owners of Sheep to enter upon improvements, but I think that a price or premium however low will very much conduce to render it general, particularly in this Settlement, when several people illiterate, and incapable of reflection have realized large Flocks—A person from England lately, made some purchases of Wool, such as could be found here, and the opening which was offered for improvement by the importation of Rams from your Flocks, had been so well received, that I do entertain most sanguine hopes of perseverance in this important pursuit on the part of the Stock Owners. Many of them hold Flocks, larger than they can provide Rams for at once, and with a view to facilitate the separation which in a Country wholly unfenced, and so much overrun with Stock, becomes difficult, I have proposed to allot a certain tract of unoccupied Land, to which the best natural boundaries can be found, for the grazing ground of the Flocks designed for improvement.

Our last Muster in both Settlements bore 170,000 Sheep—Admitting an overmuster of 20,000, we should have 150,000, of which, I fancy a large portion of two-thirds are Ewes. Our Muster of 1817, was in a great degree verified by subsequent Inspection, and as the increase since does not exceed the Natural Estimate I believe we cannot be under the number stated.

Sheep in 1914 [Pure-bred Descendants of Original Flock.]

I have mentioned the subject in my present Letters to the Governor, and doubt not of His Excellency's attention to it, if his health be, as I hope it is, sufficiently recovered, and this Season Ships for India generally coming round to the Southward sufficient opportunities cannot fail for conveying the Rams. I shall therefore hope to be favoured with a communication respecting them by an early arrival. I beg to remain &c.

Wm. Sorell.

No. 3—Letter to Governor Sorell.

Sydney Feby. 4th 1820.


I avail myself of the present opportunity to acknowledge the receipt of your Letter of the 21st ultimo by my Nephew and to offer my best thanks for your polite attention to him at Hobart Town.

It gives me great pleasure to be enabled to inform you, that I have arranged with His Excellency the Governor in Chief for the purchase of the young Rams intended for the supply of the Settlements under Your Command and that it is His Excellency's intention to forward them to you by the first good conveyance he can procure—The terms on which the Rams are purchased are, Five Guineas per head, to be paid in Land at 7s. 6d. an acre.

I am fully sensible of the difficulties you will have to encounter to induce many of the Settlers possessing Flocks of Sheep to adopt a system for their management and improvement as may be best calculated to lead to the accomplishment of the important object you have in view, but I indulge the most sanguine expectation of your ultimate success from the judicious measures you propose to adopt in appropriating a particular District for the exclusive pasturage of the Flocks intended for improvement, and the distribution of prizes or premiums to the most deserving proprietors.

Anxious to do everything in my power to facilitate a plan promising so many advantages both to the Colony and the Government, I took the liberty to suggest to His Excellency Governor Macquarie, that if the Rams were sold by Auction it would probably give rise to an active competition amongst the purchasers, and as they are reported to be willing to pay a liberal price it might not be excessive to average the sale prices of the whole number at Fifteen Guineas per Head. More particularly as it could be no disadvantage to Government to take Grain or Wheat in payment, and to grant the indulgence of six months' credit for one moiety of the purchase money and twelve months for the remainder. This would create a Fund of 4,500 Guineas, for which it would be only requisite to deduct perhaps 500 Guineas for freight and food during the passage (His Excellency being anxious not to subject Government to any expense) and the remaining 4,000 Guineas would be applicable to the Establishment of Prizes. His Excellency was pleased to approve of the idea and to say that he would write to you upon the subject. I may, therefore, I hope Sir, congratulate you upon being relieved from all apprehension of obstruction in the execution of your plan from want of adequate funds; and permit me to assure you, that I shall feel the sincerest pleasure, if I can by any further services promote the progress of an undertaking, that I am convinced will reflect great credit upon your administration, and be productive of the happiest consequences to all, who have the discernment to embark in it, and to merit the liberal encouragement you propose to offer.

I have the honor to be &c.,

John McArthur.

{Page 345}

Chapter X.


In 1821 Mr. Bigge, the Commissioner of Enquiry as to the state of the Colony under Governor Macquarie wrote to Macarthur for his opinion regarding employment of convicts, to which Macarthur sent his reply.

Sydney, 7th January 1821.


Having had under my consideration the various modes of employing Convicts now pursued in New South Wales; and wishing to have the benefit of your observation and experience upon a subject connected with one of the most Important objects of my Enquiry I beg leave to propose to you the following questions to which I earnestly request your attention and answer.

1st. Have you observed and are you of opinion that Agricultural Occupations in their most extended sense afford better means of employing Convicts and have a greater tendency to reform them than any other species of Labour?

2nd. What are the peculiar kinds of Labour that you consider to be most beneficial to the Agricultural interest of this Colony and best adapted to its Soil and Climate?

3rd. What extent of Superintendence or Scheme of management would you recommend or think necessary to enforce a constant and sufficient quantity of Labour from Convicts employed in the ordinary occupations of Agriculture or such other as you may be disposed to recommend in your Answer to the 2nd Question?

4th. What other mode of remunerating Convicts than that which at present exists of giving them £10 per Annum for extra Labour, do you think would be more effectual in stimulating their Industry or would have the effect of more nearly combining their own Interest with that of their Employers?

Your answer to the foregoing questions will greatly oblige Sir,

Your Obdt. Humble Servt.,

John Thomas Bigge.

Commissioner of Enquiry.

Parramatta, 7th February 1821.


I should have done myself the honor to reply to your Circular Letter much sooner had not ill health and other obstructing causes prevented me from considering your questions with that serious attention, which their great importance claim.

I am of opinion, that no occupation except Agriculture is to be found, at this period, in New South Wales for any considerable number of Convicts, which would make a return to defray the cost of their provisions, even taking it for granted, that the most economical mode of feeding them were to be adopted—By agricultural labour, I conceive, it would not be difficult to make every man, who has strength to work, produce more than would be requisite for his own subsistence and such Convicts as have been brought up to that employment, could certainly with the assistance of Cattle, cultivate Land enough to furnish bread for Ten times their own number.

From every observation I have been enabled to make upon the character and conduct of Convicts, both during the time of their servitude and when they are restored to freedom, I am confirmed in my opinion, that the labors which are connected with the tillage of the Earth, and the rearing and care of Sheep and Cattle, are best calculated to lead to the correction of vicious habits—When men are engaged in rural occupations, their days are chiefly spent in solitude—they have more time for reflection and self-examination—and they are less tempted to the perpetration of crimes, than when herded together in Towns amidst a Mass of disorders and vices.

I should certainly recommend the cultivation of Indian Corn as the most beneficial employment for the generality of the Convicts; because every man or woman, however ignorant of labor, may be easily instructed in the whole process of its culture, and preparation for food—It is a grain, much better adapted to our Climate than Wheat—it is exceedingly nutricious—and it is not liable to casualties in unfavourable seasons; and it is, in fact, the only corn the lower class of Settlers use in their families during more than eight months in the year.

After the cultivation of the Soil to a sufficient extent to supply Bread and corn for the consumption of the Colony—articles for exportation have the next claim to attention—There is much speculation entertained here upon this subject—Tobacco, Bark, Hemp, Flax, Oil, and, if a Settlement were established to the Northward, Sugar, Coffee and Cotton are spoken of as articles that might make a profitable return to the Colonists—But these are only speculations, and, I confess, I cannot divest myself of apprehensions, that no cultivation of any article for exportation, requiring skill, attention and assiduous labour, can be carried on with any prospect of success unless the Convicts be first in some measure reformed, and effectually restrained from the indulgence of their present idle habits.

The only thing we have yet produced to export advantageously is Sheep's Wool—that article has been so much improved in a few Flocks, that the best quality is acknowledged to be as fine as the Saxon, and superior to the Spanish Wool—Upon this head. Sir, I presume you are perfectly informed and, I trust satisfied of the excellent quality of the Wool; and that the increase of our most improved sheep, would provide employment and food for a great many convicts, and also afford the Proprietors a sufficient Income to support their families respectably.

I feel much hesitation in offering any suggestions respecting the regulating and rewarding the Convicts for their Services; because no arrangement, however wise, can, in my opinion, effect any material change for the better whilst the practice is persevered in of indiscriminately granting Lands to Convicts—and whilst the most vicious and enterprising are permitted to roam through the Country, tempting our Servants by their ill example to neglect their Master's business—and seducing them to commit depredations upon any property within their reach.

If a large body of respectable persons could be induced to settle in the Colony much good might be accomplished—provided the New Settlers were of a description to entrust with authority to punish disorders—to compel their servants to perform a due quantity of work—to determine the amount of their rewards—and to make the quality and in some measure the quantity of their food depend upon the servants' industry and good behaviour. The Convicts would then discover, that honesty and diligence, vice and idleness, were differently estimated; and that nothing but desert could establish a claim to a Master's indulgence.

I am sensible that such an Authority, as I have described, would sometimes be misused by harsh and selfish men, in defiance of every check that humanity and wisdom could devise; and that such abuses of power might often escape detection—But that portion of evil, or a greater must, I fear, be submitted to—for experience has proved, and I am assured, Sir, that you must have remarked, the pernicious and demoralising operation of general regulations, which place the good and the bad servant, the honest man and the thief, upon the same footing—and authorise him not only to claim, but to insist upon the same indulgence.

If this Colony is to be continued a receptacle for Convicts and if it be required, that they shall be reretained in proper subjection, that they shall be compelled to procure by their labour their own subsistence—and be restrained from vicious practices, I can imagine no means by which these important objects can be attained, than by confiding extensive powers to intelligent and honorable men—Subjected to the inspection and control of a vigilant Government—prompt to correct abuses, and ever ready to distinguish and reward merit.

Under such a system—there would be some rational ground of hope, that a few of the unfortunate men, sent hither for their crimes might in time be completely reformed—and that most of them would be restrained from the Commission of Gross Vices.

I have the honor to be,

&c., &c., &c.,

John McArthur.


If His Majesty's Government propose to retain this Colony, as a dependency of Great Britain, there is no time to be lost, in establishing a body of really respectable Settlers—Men of real Capital—not needy adventurers. They should have Estates of at least 10,000 Acres, with reserves contiguous of equal extent—Such a body of Proprietors would in a few years become wealthy and with the support of Government powerful as an Aristocracy—The democratic multitude would look upon their large possessions with Envy, and upon the Proprietors with hatred—as this democratic feeling has already taken deep root in the Colony, in consequence of the absurd and mischievous policy, pursued by Governor Macquarrie—and as there is already a strong combination amongst that class of persons, it cannot be too soon opposed with vigour—If forty or fifty proprietors, such as I have described, were settled in the Country, they would soon discover that there could be no secure enjoyment of their Estates but from the protection of Government—As the population increases, the aristrocratic body should be augmented; and as fine woolled sheep will increase, in a few years, with surprising rapidity, the New Settlers, with Capital, would find no difficulty to stock their Estates—They would maintain a large body of domestic Servants and labourers; and from their numerous Flocks supply Great Britain, so abundantly with Wool of the finest quality that the price must considerably diminish—This point once attained what nation could export a yard of fine cloth at the price the English Manufacturer could produce it aided as he would be by cheap wool, machinery, capital, and skill—In return for the Wool exported from hence British Manufactures to an immense amount would be consumed in the Colony, and as the carcase of the sheep will be of no value off the estate in which it is produced the Proprietors would be desirous to take as many convicts as possible—These men would produce Bread for themselves and their surplus labour would be directed to clearing, fencing and draining, so that every year the estates would become capable of supporting more sheep and the proprietors in circumstances to provide for more Labourers to carry on his improvements—surely these are points entitled to the most serious attention of Government—they present the double advantage of giving Great Britain the most extensive monopoly that any Nation ever enjoyed and that upon the most unexceptionable principles namely supplying other peoples cheaper than they can be supplied elsewhere, and there is a certainty of an increasing demand for the labour of any number of convicts or paupers Great Britain and Ireland may send forth—Effectual means must be adopted to compel the Grantees of Large Estates to fulfil the conditions, if it be made a job of, it will disappoint Government, and embarrass the Colony—Adventurers without Capital retard all improvement, and as they sink deeper into poverty and distress swell the mass of discontent, become most furious democrats and attribute the misery into which they are plunged not to their own idleness or want of discretion but to the errors of Government and the oppression of the wealthy—At a moment of more leisure I will endeavour to suggest some plan to provide against the progress of this evil.

The following suggestions are respectfully submitted as a basis for the establishment of a system of Regulations for the correction of the evils which arise from idle and disorderly servants being authorised to demand the same allowance of provisions and the same amount of wages that the most industrious and deserving man can claim.

That seven pounds of Beef or Mutton or four pounds of salted Pork and eight pounds of wheaten or twelve pounds of maize meal be considered as the established full weekly ration of every Convict servant—That £7 per annum be the amount of wages to be paid in clothing and other necessaries—That every Settler to whom the services of Convicts may be assigned shall be authorised to stop for neglect, idleness, or disorderly conduct his servants' allowance of animal food and his wages for any number of days not exceeding seven—Let the Master be obliged to suspend a Board in a conspicuous place near to the spot where the weekly rations are issued on which must be written the name of any servant put under such stoppage, the number of days to which the sentence may extend, and the cause of its being inflicted.

That on the first day of every month the Master do make a return to the nearest Magistrate, of the amount of wages and provisions stopped and a copy of the notices that may have been written on the board—That such returns be transmitted every quarter to the Office of the Police Magistrate to whom the Master shall pay the amount of all the stoppages he may have made—That the money arising from such payments shall be applied to the support of a rural Police to be established in every District for the detection of Petty Thefts, the discovery and conviction of receivers of stolen property or for any other publick purpose connected with the prevention of crime—It is presumed that the formation of such an establishment would be productive of great publick utility and in a little time become a powerful engine for the reformation of the Prisoners.

By giving the Master the power that is proposed of inflicting immediate punishment for all minor offences the happiest results might be expected and when it should be felt by the Convicts that their employer has a power to make distinctions between an industrious and an idle servant, an orderly and a disorderly one, it would excite the well disposed Prisoners to merit reward and in a great degree deter the idle and vicious from incurring punishment—It is to be observed that the master would have no temptation to subject his servants to undeserved stoppages, but the contrary, as the amount of all the stoppages must be paid to the Police Magistrate in money. Thus a Fund might be created sufficient to defray the expenses of maintaining the proposed rural Police, the whole amount of which would be levied upon the idle and vicious convict and that in a manner which would be most severely felt and dreaded, for it has been sagaciously remarked "that a thief's most vulnerable part is his belly." The whole of the Settlers in the Colony, with the exception of a few who direct their attention to rearing fine woolled sheep and Horses, produce nothing upon their Estates for sale but provisions. Government are the principal purchasers of these provisions, both grain and meat, and almost all the funds of the individuals who buy and consume the remainder are derived from the pay of the Civil and Military Establishments or from the miscellaneous expenditure of the Crown—The demands of Government have of late so much exceeded the internal supply that they have been constrained to have recourse to the purchase of imported provisions for which unusually high prices have been paid—This extended market has excited many of the Settlers to increase their live stock and others to enlarge their cultivation of grain. By these means the demand for labourers has been so augmented that Government have been urgently solicited to distribute most of the Prisoners whom they at present retain and feed. But that request has only been complied with to a limited extent and the demand for provisions has rather increased than diminished; because the number of Prisoners who have arrived within the present year has been greater than the number distributed into the service of private cultivators—The universal cry now is—"Give us servants"—and in their eagerness to secure as large a share as possible of the advantages of a brisk demand, almost all seem to have forgotten, that an unqualified compliance with what is asked, by increasing the number of productive and reducing that of non-productive labourers would multiply the sources of supply, and at the same moment lessen the demands of Government—There would then be as there repeatedly has been—loud complaints—we have no encouragement—our crops rot—or are destroyed in our Barns—and we are left to encounter every evil without relief. In fact—an opinion generally prevails that it is an incumbent duty upon Government to provide a constant market for the whole produce of the Colony and to ensure the Settlers against all the consequences of their own want of foresight.

Ms. Catalogue

Constituted and regulated as this Society is at the present period, it seems, that unless Government continue to maintain a due proportion of persons to the supply of food produced in the Colony, a clamourous and distressing competition to sell to Government must inevitably ensue, and a great quantity of provisions must be left unsold on the hands of the Settlers, for which there can be no purchasers—From a similar cause, the same result has been felt more than once before to the great injury of the Colony, and to the ruin of many individuals.

There does not appear to be any remedy for these evils, but that of influencing the cultivators to employ a certain proportion of their servants in the production of articles for exportation; and by not giving Grants of Land to any but men of Character, who have some skill and capital, and who are actuated by the laudable desire to create a permanent and respectable provision for themselves and families. It might then be hoped, that the habit of entirely relying upon Government for support may be changed, and the community in time be taught, to depend for the supply of their wants on their own exertions and resources, instead of continuing a pernicious and increasing incumbrances to Great Britain. As yet there is only one Export deserving notice established—which is fine wool—The best quality is certainly equal in fineness of staple, and perhaps superior in elasticity and strength to any in the world—But, altho' much has been said and written on the subject, the undertaking is still in an insignificant and languishing state, and is attended to only by a few proprietors; not many of whom proceed with much spirit, or adopt those means of improvement that are within their reach—Most of the flocks in the Colony bear Wool too coarse to export, and their careless or ignorant owners will not take any trouble, nor incur any expense to produce a favorable change. Should His Majesty's Government consider it advisable, to direct any portion of its fostering care towards this hitherto neglected mine of future wealth and prosperity, it would not be difficult to devise methods by which the most respectable class of Proprietors might be excited to more strenuous exertions to increase their flocks and to improve the Wool, to the utmost degree of fineness; and even some of the most uninformed, and careless, might slowly be led into the adoption of arrangements, calculated to promote their own and the public welfare.

John Macarthur.

     19th December 1821.

Macarthur, later in his evidence before Commissioner Bigge in 1821, stated that he maintained eighty convict servants, who received in rations, 7 lb. of beef or mutton, a peck of wheat, milk, vegetables, fruit, tea and sugar twice a day, clothing, tobacco, and money to the value of £15 a year, unless they were unusually idle or worthless, when they received £10, which was the wage established by Government.

To the best servants he gave gratuities varying from £1 to £5. He also employed some free, and some ticket-of-leave men.

On being examined about the state of his flocks and herds and agriculture, he said his sheep in 1821 numbered 6,800 of which 300 were pure merino, that his breeding flocks averaged 330 ewes, his store sheep from 350 to 400. He considered July the best month for lambing, and during that time fed his merino flock on turnips, rape, and occasionally rank forward wheat, and that had he sufficient labour he would feed all his breeding flocks in a similar manner. That his merino ewes seldom produced more than one lamb annually. That the carcase of the merino sheep of the mixed breed occasionally weighed 70 lbs., that the average fleece weighed 2 lbs. 7 ozs., and that the wool was steadily improving. The sheep were washed before shearing, and then allowed to remain a few days before being shorn to enable the yolk to rise as it was found it preserved the staple of the wool during the long voyage.

Some bales of the finest wool were sold in England in 1809 by auction at 5s. 6d. per lb. He thought it would be unsafe to stock more than one sheep to the acre of land with natural pastures. His flocks suffered much from the depredations of the native dogs. He sold some of his rams as high as £28 a head, and at a late sale 48 rams averaged £14.

He had a herd of 700 cattle founded from stock imported from Bengal and the Cape, and also English breeds from Devon, Suffolk, and Lancaster, and the carcases sometimes weighed 1,000 lbs.

His horses numbered 100 of mixed breed from the Cape, India, England, and a few pure Arabs. He considered the best horses produced in the Colony, very active, capable of bearing great fatigue, good tempered and fast, the largest breeds being excellent for draught purposes.

When asked what observations he had made about the native-born youth, he said, "They are active, intelligent, and I think will be enterprising whenever a proper field is opened to their industry. At present many of them have but little instruction and their future prospects are very confined."

Even after Commissioner Bigge's departure, Macarthur endeavoured to forward his views by submitting the following suggestions to Sir Thomas Brisbane, who had succeeded Macquarie as Governor.

Suggestions relative to the Employment, Discipline and Ultimate Reformation of the Convicts in New South Wales

That a Committee of the following named persons be authorised to assemble at Parramatta, that being a central station and possessing the further advantage of being the present residence of His Excellency the Governor to whom immediate reference could be made if required:

The Revd. S. Marsden.
Mr. Throsby, Mr. Cox.
Mr. Howe.
Mr. H. Macarthur.
Mr. Oxley.
Mr. MacArthur.

That the Committee be instructed to deliberate and consult together upon the following subjects and to make their report to the Governor.

1st. In what kind of Labour it may be most beneficial to employ Prisoners on their arrival in the Colony, and in what manner their labour can be most effectually superintended.

2ndly. In what manner can the Prisoners be maintained at the least expense to the Crown bearing a due regard to their always being supplied with wholesome food.

3rd. What kind of superintendence and discipline may be most easily adopted to restrain the Prisoners from acts of disorder and immorality and to enforce the performance of such a portion of labour as will oblige every healthy man and woman to produce at least their own subsistence.

4th. What degree of authority would be beneficial to entrust to proprietors of Estates over their servants to deter them from disorderly conduct and compel them to work industriously.

5th. What restraints could be imposed upon the Masters to secure in an effectual manner the worst behaved prisoner from being used with improper rigour and to secure to the industrious and inoffensive servant such compensation as might incite them to persevere in a course of honest labour and reformation.

6th. Whether it might be prudent to confide such authority as is contemplated to every class of settler and if not what substitute can be adopted to enforce industry and preserve order and obedience amongst the servants of that class of settlers to whom no compulsory authority may be entrusted.

7th. What inducement can be offered to the female prisoners to restrain them from indulging in the licentiousness of promiscuous intercourse with the men and to prevail upon them to become sober, honest industrious wives and affectionate Mothers.

8th. What would be the most effectual mode of giving moral and religious instruction to such prisoners and children as may reside in situations too remote for attendance upon the established Churches and Schools.

With a view to obtaining the utmost information upon topicks which involve the consideration of the means of subsistence, the discipline, and reformation of the most numerous portion of the community, as well as the security, the prosperity, and the happiness of all, it is recommended to the Committee, to correspond with, and endeavour to elicit the opinions of the Clergy, Magistrates, and every intelligent Proprietor of land in the Colony.

On this manuscript appears the following note evidently written by Macarthur at a later date for the information of his sons in England. The Judge's letter will be seen later.

This Memorandum was presented to Sir Thomas Brisbane and he expressed himself so pleased, that a Committee, composed of the persons named in the margin, was to be ordered forthwith—Immediately Dr. Douglas took alarm—it suited not with his views that the old Proprietors should have any influence in the affairs of the Colony, and it was equally obnoxious to the Secretary, that my opinions should have any weight with the Governor—These considerations undoubtedly caused the celebrated Letter from the Judges, remonstrating against my appointment to the Office of a Magistrate—the stratagem succeeded and the Governor and myself were estranged for several months—The Judge Advocate has since acknowledged, that he never should have thought of such a measure had he not been urged to it by Dr. Douglas—and the poor man fell into the snare, thinking no doubt, he should increase his influence with the Secretary.

I can suggest nothing to stimulate most of the convicts to exertion but coercion or a promise of speedy liberation from servitude, nor do I believe that it is possible by any means to induce them to consider their interests combined with that of their Master. Rewards and indulgent treatment produces no feeling of gratitude amongst the greater part of these unfortunate beings or any desire to secure a continuance of kindness by good behaviour, on the contrary it is notorious that the most rigorous and parsimonious masters are best served. The Regulation which directs the Master to pay every Servant Ten pounds per annum wages is only I believe complied with by a few respectable Settlers and in their families it is destructive of all emulation the good and the bad Servant the industrious and the idle, the honest man and the thief are placed on the same level and are entitled to demand the same reward. I have long been convinced that there is no remedy but by placing the Convicts entirely in the power of their masters to reward or to withhold. This authority would perhaps be often abused and it might not be easy to find a remedy for such abuse. We have only our choice of evils and it remains to be decided whether it be better to place the Servant in the power of the master, or the Master in that of a servant.

The circumstances that led up to the celebrated letter from the Judges are that in 1822 Sir Thomas Brisbane invited Macarthur to become a magistrate, and what ensued will show the feeling that still prevailed over the deposition of Bligh, even after an interval of 14 years. Macarthur forwarded the particulars of the case to his son John in England.

Copies of Message delivered by Frederick Goulburn Esqre., Colonial Secretary to Mr. MacArthur with his reply—

January 31st 1822.

Sir Thomas Brisbane has commanded me to acquaint you that in consequence of your Son having served in the Brigade under his command, in consequence of the high character he heard of you in England from several of his friends, in consequence of the useful pursuits in which he finds you engaged in the Colony, in consequence of your talents and the good opinion he has formed of you since his arrival from a personal knowledge he was induced to request that you would become one of the Magistrates of the Territory.

But having since discovered that great party spirit exists in the Colony which he has endeavoured in vain to conciliate he finds himself under the painful necessity of declining to receive your assistance in the Magistracy.

Sir Thomas Brisbane has further desired me to assure you that in forming this determination no change has taken place in the esteem he entertained for your character, and that he shall be at all times most happy to see you.

And for myself allow me to assure you that I should have no objections to meet you on the Bench and that I shall at all times have pleasure in receiving you.

To which I replied:—

I cannot but consider myself particularly unfortunate in having been invited by His Excellency the Governor to become one of the Magistrates; and I can assure you Sir that there are circumstances which perhaps it would be improper to detail that would have induced me to decline the offered appointment, had not the high respect I entertain for Sir Thomas Brisbane's character, made me feel anxious not to incur the chance of being thought disinclined to contribute my feeble assistance to the support of his Government. But as unfortunately I did consent to accept the appointment of a Magistrate, and that consent is a matter of common notoriety, it is impossible for me not to consider the omission of my name in the New Commission, which is to include those of so many other gentlemen, in any other light than that of a public degradation, a degradation that nothing but the consciousness of rectitude of conduct and honorable intention would enable me to support. Indeed it is doubly painful as proceeding from so highly distinguished a source, and I appeal to Sir Thomas Brisbane as a Soldier and a man of honour, to afford me the only relief which is now possible; that of knowing to whom I am to attribute my disgrace and what are the particulars of the representations which can have made him feel it obligatory to inflict so deep a wound upon a man of whom he is pleased to express such favorable sentiments. I solicit no favour but that of being permitted to defend myself against the masked attacks of my enemies. Indeed I will not conceal that I have heard the most active of these are the Judge Advocate, and the Judge of the Supreme Court; and many collateral circumstances leave not the shadow of a doubt that they are the men. Permit me again to request you will in my behalf respectfully entreat His Excellency Sir Thomas Brisbane not to withhold the information I have asked as it has become indispensable for the relief of my injured feelings and the support of my honour. Accept Sir, my best thanks for the polite and considerate manner in which you have inparted Sir Thomas Brisbane's message, and do me the justice to believe that I am incapable of thinking so illiberally as to suppose you have encouraged the conspiracy by which I am assailed."

The foregoing was immediately dispatched to Major Goulburn with a request that he would correct any error if it did not contain what had passed between him and Mr. MacArthur. He kept the paper from the 31st of January until the 16th of February when it was returned with three words altered; * it was enclosed in the following letter:—

[* These three words occur at the beginning of the second paragraph—"great party spirit," being altered to "divisions unfortunately."]

York St.,

16th February, 1822.

My dear Sir,

The departure of the Surrey leaves me an opportunity of returning you the Statement with the perusal of which you honored me some time since, in the body of which I have taken the liberty of making only one immaterial alteration.

Believe me to remain,

My dear Sir,

Most truly yours,

F. Goulburn.

Repeated messages were sent to Sir Thomas Brisbane requesting the copy of the Judges' Letter. It was as frequently promised but not sent, which occasioned Mr. James MacArthur to write to Capt. Fennell, A.D.C.

Parramatta 28th February 1822.

My dear Sir,

I called this morning in hopes of having the pleasure to see you and of ascertaining whether you had any conversation with Major Goulburn on Tuesday. My Father is becoming more and more impatient for the Letter and as I understand you are going to Sydney so early tomorrow it will prevent the possibility of my seeing you. May I beg of you to write me whether you saw Major Goulburn and whether there is any probability of a copy of the Judge's Letter being obtained. If you had no conversation with Major Goulburn upon the subject on Tuesday perhaps you may be able to learn from him tomorrow what is the cause of his delaying so long to comply with Sir Thomas Brisbane's orders. If the letter does not make its appearance soon my Father will be compelled to write Sir Thomas officially which he is very reluctant to do. He desires me to say that he cannot help feeling he has just cause of complaint, that he who is so deeply interested should be kept in ignorance of the contents of a letter which has been for nearly a month a subject of almost universal animadversion throughout the Colony.

I remain, Dear Sir,
Yours, &c.,
James McArthur.

On the 20th March Mr. William MacArthur being at Sydney called to enquire if the Letter was to be sent, he was desired to ask for it officially and his letter produced the following enclosing the long expected Epistle from the Learned Judges.

Colonial Secretary's Office,

22nd March 1822.


Having submitted your letter of the 16th inst. to His Excellency Sir Thomas Brisbane, the Governor has commanded me to forward you the accompanying document.

I have the honor to be Sir

Your obedient Servant,

F. Goulburn, Col. Sec.
William MacArthur Esq.


Sydney 19th January 1822.


In your Excellency's late appointment of additional Magistrates, we have been induced to consider the measure as highly expedient and useful on the ground that the increased weight of duty, incumbent of late upon the Magistracy might thus be fitly relieved while the unanimity prevailing among the Gentlemen proposed to be inserted in the Commission seemed to secure that Harmony of Proceedure, and cordial co-operation which can best give facility and effect to the Magisterial Jurisdiction.

In due consideration of this Principle we are urged, however in reference to a like appointment, which we understand to be in contemplation with your Excellency, as to John MacArthur Esq. of Parramatta, to declare the opinion, that although we believe that Gentleman to be a man of general ability, and readily acknowledge the Public benefit which his private Pursuits have conferred upon the Colony; yet calling to mind the part, which he took in the Rebellion or rather the Rebellion which he almost alone caused in this Government in the year 1808, and having reason to know, that good terms so little, if at all prevail between him and the Magistrates generally of the Settlement, we cannot but doubt, whether the appointment would be approved by His Majesty's Ministers, and consider it at least our Public Duty respectfully to submit to Your Excellency whether it should at all take place.

We have the honor to be Sir,
with due respect,
Your Excellency's very Obedient
and Faithful Servants,
Jno. Wylde Judge Advo.
Baron Field Judge Sup. Court.
To His Excellency
               Sir Thomas Brisbane K.C.B.
True Copy.
F. Goulburn, Colonial Secretary.

John received this correspondence and replied.

Inner Temple, Sunday, 8th Dec., 1822.

. . . You may be assured my dear Father, that I have not lost sight of the attack made upon you by the worthy Judges of N.S. Wales. I expect that Lord B. or Mr. Wilmot will address a Despatch to Sir Thomas Brisbane, censuring as unbecoming, and foreign to the duties of their stations, the remonstrance of Messrs. Wylde and Field—and stating, that Government having already expressed their desire that the events connected with the arrest of Govr. Bligh should be buried in oblivion, they disapprove of any reference to them, and, in consequence, that Sir Thomas may acquaint you, publicly, that there is no objection to your acting as a Magistrate when you think fit to accept the office. I expect also that it will be accompanied by another letter, mentioning that Mr. Wilmot had learned from me that you had not been solicitous to obtain the office, and were not anxious to act at present, as a Magistrate; and, therefore that Lord Bathurst thought Sir Thomas should pay you the compliment of offering it you for one of your sons. . . .

John's efforts on his father's behalf bore fruit—but James and William refused the Magistracy which was offered and then forbidden to their father.

Colonial Secretary's Office,

7th October 1822.


A Dispatch from Lord Bathurst having desired the Governor to offer the Commission of a Magistrate to your Brother or Yourself, should you feel anxious to undertake the duties of this office, a notification of your appointment will take place on an early occasion.

I have the honor to be, Sir,

     Your obedient Servant,

F. Goulburn.
James MacArthur Esqre.

Recd. 9th at Parramatta.

Parramatta 17th October 1823.


I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 7th inst. wherein you inform me, that My Lord Bathurst having desired the Governor to offer the Commission of a Magistrate to my Brother or myself, a notification of my appointment will take place on an early occasion, should I feel anxious to undertake the duties of this Office.

We are both deeply impressed with gratitude for the highly flattering mark of distinction conferred upon us by My Lord Bathurst but many painful local considerations make us the reverse of anxious at present to undertake the responsibility of any Publick Office—Whenever these may cease, nothing will more gratify my Brother and myself, than zealously to devote our humble services to the support of His Majesty's Government, and the promotion of the peace and happiness of our Native Land.

Having had the honor to explain myself very fully, in a personal interview, with His Excellency the Governor this morning, I feel it unnecessary, on the present occasion to trespass longer on your attention.

I have the honor to be, Sir,

     Your obedient Servant,

James Macarthur.
F. Goulburn Esqre.
    &c., &c., &c.

The episode closes with Macarthur's indignant letter to Baron Field.

Parramatta 29th January 1824.


Now that you are divested of your Judicial Armour I find myself at liberty to make you an equitable return for the part you were induced to take conjointly with the Judge Advocate in the Letter to Sir Thomas Brisbane advising him not to appoint me to the Magistracy.

But before I proceed I must endeavour to repay the obligation I owe to yourself in particular for having without provocation thrice given me the lie, once in your own house, and twice in mine. These are facts which prove that neither respect for yourself when I was your guest, nor respect to me when I was your entertainer could suppress that propensity to insult which I am convinced is inherent in your nature. To attribute outrages like these to ill breeding would be absurd, for the worst bred man alive after having been twice generously forgiven must have been restrained by a sense of gratitude from repeating an insult that none but the lowest vulgar ever inflict When I have indignantly reflected on the last affront I have always been thankful that you had the prudence to make a precipitate flight for when you forgot you were addressing a gentleman I certainly ceased to remember it was a Judge who insulted me. Now Sir, to the act of justice which without doubt you anticipate. In the Letter that I have adverted to I am reproached with having been almost the sole cause of a rebellion in the Colony. Such a reproach proceeding from you did greatly surprise me as I could not but remember how frequently I had heard you boast of your nearness of kin to Oliver Cromwell and how, often I had seen you exultingly point to the most conspicuous ornament of your private Hall of Justice a cast of the Regicide's Head. The Judge Advocate and you not satisfied with accusing me of rebellion were pleased to attempt a further illustration of my demerits, and asserted that "good terms so little, if at all prevail between Mr. MacArthur and the Magistrates generally of the Settlement that we cannot but doubt whether his appointment to be a Magistrate would be approved by His Majesty's Ministers; and we consider it at least our duty respectfully to point out to Your Excellency whether it should at all take place."

To Your learned Coadjuter I have nothing to reply because I take it for granted that the character I have often heard you give of him is correct and I thank you for having advised me to avoid his Society. To you then, I confine what I have further to say, it is this, the Magistrates generally when asked if they had authorised the use that had been made of their names disavowed it and expressed their readiness to contradict your assertions. You will therefore Sir be pleased to understand that I accuse you of having knowingly and deliberately committed an act which the manners of a gentleman forbid me to name even under the sanction of your example.

I remain Sir,

Your Humble Servant,

John Macarthur.
Barron Field Esq.

Mr. MacArthur having understood that Mr. Field has embarked on board the Competitor requests to be favoured with information whether during his further stay in the Colony he purposes to be considered as a Private Gentleman or as a Judge of the Supreme Court.

Barron Field.

       Parramatta 28th January.

Copy of an Open Letter Delivered to Mr. Field February 2nd 1824.

P.S.—The foregoing was intended to have been delivered to you immediately after your embarkation expecting that the Note presented by Mr. Murray on the 29th instant would have been answered agreeably to the usage a Gentleman. On the receipt of that communication you gave Mr. Murray to expect that you would consider its contents and send me a reply but none having been received and as I am solicitous to avoid the imputation of insulting a man who shelters himself under the sacredness of the judicial character utterly regardless of his own honour and the opinions of the exalted profession of which he is a member I have directed this to be presented to you at a time when you can no longer be considered a publick functionary.

Parramatta February 3rd 1824.

Mrs. Macarthur's letters bring us into a more peaceful atmosphere.

Parramatta, Feb., 1821.

My dear Eliza,

In your last letter from "Ham Common" you request our opinion of this being an eligible place for young men of good family and of small capital. To this I answer that at present their emigrating to this country would be a most hazardous experiment. Things are too unsettled. The lands in the vicinity of the townships are granted, so that a new settler would have to go back a long distance into the woods—quite cut off from society, and compelled to dwell in a bark hut, with convict servants, and surrounded by gumtrees, the Emu, and Kangaroo of the Forest. The little capital a new settler might bring with him would melt away in the town like snow before the sun, for Sydney is a most expensive place, and most of the inhabitants are vicious We are hoping for a reform; when that shall have taken place, and some exports have been established, a fairer prospect will be opened. Wool is at present our sole export; and that may be said to be in a languishing state—few pursue their branch of industry with vigour, and the being obliged to depasture the waste lands with flocks, under the care of men as shepherds, who are for the most part worthless and careless is a great drawback upon enterprise. Be assured I have been careful not to let a word escape me, which might tend to mislead you in England. Be assured that when things mend you shall hear from me. Our two youngest men devote themselves entirely to agriculture and the care of stock. They are sometimes absent from us three and four months at a time. To establish our flocks, much money has been expended, and many years have elapsed. Our son James has lately made a tour into the New Country as it is called in "Westmoreland," where we have an establishment of cattle, and thinking it may amuse you I copy a part of his journal. "On Monday 11th January 1821 I set out from Camden on my tour. I left my dear Father, and William cheerful and happy full of business harvesting, shearing and Woolpacking. On the 18th crossed the Western River—a beautiful glassy sheet of water, winding thro' an open meadow, tufted here and there with magnificent Eucalypti, wearing the appearance of venerable moss grown Elms. The scene reminded me much of the Avon. To the westward of this stream, the forest road runs thro' about ten miles of open country, intersected by thickets of Daveysia. The vistas are sometimes fine—in places quite park-like, chains of ponds, connected by running brooks pass thro' every meadow. I never saw a country so admirably adapted for horned cattle, but it is too wet for sheep. Its extent is not great. Dr. Throsby's herd in number about 800 occupy one half of this valley, and our cattle the remainder. I had been here before, but it being then winter, when the grass was brown, now its appearance is wholly changed. The herbage is in full luxuriance and forms a close compact pasture consisting of grass common about Parramatta and the Cowpastures (Camden) mixed with lotus and wild chickory. This tract of land was named by Mr. Bigge 'Sutton Forest'. Kangaroos are here in immense flocks. The distance from Camden is fifty miles. Continuing my journey I came to Bredalbane Downs fifty miles beyond Sutton Forest. The intervening country with little exception consists of bad land, and after a careful examination of the Downs I came to an unfavourable opinion of them. In summer, perhaps, they might prove healthy for sheep; but in winter there would be no pasture upon them. Even at this season it is very cold, and there have been two frosty nights by which the grass is much injured. It is certainly a beautifully watered country and nothing more can be said in its praise. I could not help regretting so great an advantage should thus be thrown away. To me the appearance of these immense treeless plains was dismal in the extreme. Brown as a stubble field, and wearing scarcely a vestige of life—they seemed the abode of desolation. We saw but one Kangaroo and two Emus. The latter whose gaunt meagre forms agreed but too well with the dreary scene around them, were searching almost in despair for a solitary spot of green. They found it at last and so did I; and it is a fair question whose satisfaction was greatest—mine or the Emu's.

"There were no temptations to remain, and I accordingly retraced my steps as speedily as possible to Sutton Forest. In that interesting spot I passed a week very agreeable—inspecting our cattle—superintending the putting up a stock yard and kangarooing. On the 27th returned to Camden, a ride of fifty miles. My opinion of the new country is that at present it can be of little use to the Colony. Hereafter it may prove of use as opening out to other districts.

"On my return to Parramatta I found a letter to tell me that the Commissioners Mr. Bigge and Mr. Scott were to take a farewell dinner next day at Parramatta, I accordingly set out and reached home in good time, and in much better health than when I set out bushranging. This sort of life is to me an efficacious, and at the same time agreeable restorative. Roaming in lonely independence through almost tractless wilds, and contemplating without interruption the vast sublimity of nature we lose the recollection of those unpleasant circumstances, which within the influence of Sydney's pollutions continually occur to harrass the mind."

You are so good as to say that my letters are acceptable to you, and I am sure I cannot do less than write to thank you a thousand times for your kindness to my dear Mother. A visit from you must cheer her so much. It makes my heart dilate when I think of it. How sad a reflection to me that she should prefer to surround herself with the persons whom you describe, and who must render any assistance to her so much less availing. I will write to her soon, and pray that you will communicate to her such parts of my letter, as you think will be of interest to her.

Believe me etc.,
The Governor and Mrs. Macquarie are well.
E. M.

September 4th 1822.

My dear Eliza,

We have received the sad intelligence of the loss of the ship Grace, laden with colonial produce and having besides letters to our friends. Our last letters from my dear Edward are from Ireland. He thinks of soliciting leave of absence from his regiment for the purpose of visiting us. I fondly hope he will obtain it, but I much doubt whether he will like to remain here after he comes. The number of respectable persons who begin to arrive from England is now considerable.

Could we but meet, how interesting to me to listen to all the details of your domestic affairs—whilst I in turn should relate our Australian Wonders—depict our mode of life, our occupations, our wanderings amidst the woods, attentive to the notes of the Bell Bird, and tracing the steps of the Kangaroo and Emu. Our two youngest sons make "Camden" their principal residence.

They are excellent young men, with minds highly cultivated they devote themselves to the management of a very large agricultural establishment with unceasing assiduity. Mr. Macarthur talks of making Camden the residence of all the family; as yet there is not a suitable house, nor do I know when we shall be enabled to build one. It is what we much want. For our poor Parramatta House is tumbling down it is quite a ruin. The Clan Macarthur is not likely to be much enlarged by our family—they all seem prudently to think these are not marrying times. Hannibal Macarthur whom you know has six children—they live near us. We continue to like our present Governor Sir Thomas Brisbane. Lady Brisbane and her sister Miss Macdougall are gentle and amiable—perfectly unaffected in their manners and habits, yet possessing all the acquirements of wellborn and well educated persons.

Mrs. Macquarie will probably not visit Devonshire. She continues, I believe, to correspond with Miss Meyrick. The public measures of Governor Macquarie have been severely reprobated—particularly for making convict Magistrates, and for otherwise bringing forward that description of persons. Even his bounties have been forgotten by many on whom he bestowed them with profusion. Mr. Macarthur I am happy to say has had better health than heretofore. He desires to be most kindly remembered to you. How did I wish "That I had wings like a bird" that I might sit myself down beside you, at the Bridge so often passed and repassed in my younger days, and there fondly embrace you.

I have more than once written on the subject of young Gentlemen migrating here with small capital. It requires, perhaps, more than ordinary fortitude to go back to settle in the interior of the Colony. Several Officers of the 48th Regt. reduced in the Peace Establishment are about to become settlers, but the greater part return to England by the Ship, by which I now write. I have already said that we are much pleased with Sir Thomas Brisbane and His Family. The Governor himself is fond of scientific pursuits, and is devoted to astronomy in particular. He brought with him a number of valuable instruments, which are set up in an observatory which he has had built near the Government House at Parramatta. Mr. Rumker a Gentleman well known in the annals of science, and a German by birth came to this country with Sir Thomas. He is domiciled with the family and has charge of the Observatory. The ladies are fond of and live in great retirement. They mix little in society and give none of those large entertainments, which Mrs. Macquarie used to do. They have a Dinner Party once a week. Their table is handsomely set out, and served in a manner superior to anything we have yet seen in the Colony. Lady Brisbane has a good Piano, on which she occasionally plays, and accompanies the instrument with her voice. Miss Macdougall plays the Harp, and Mr. Rumker the Piano in turn. The Germans are passionately fond of music. Emmeline grows a tall girl, and is fond of Butterflies and Flowers.


Saturday Sept. 21st, 1822.

My dear Eliza,

Since my last letter, written about a fortnight since, we have had the pleasure to see Mr. Boughton who brought us a most welcome letter from you.

Mr. Macarthur and myself were glad to see your brother Roger's handwriting once again. He will consider the subject of his son's coming to this Colony. But at present they are too young. My Husband is decidedly of opinion that no young man should become a settler in this Colony under the age of one or two and twenty. In truth we see no pleasing prospect held out to respectable persons. There are a world of difficulties to be encountered, when they arrive at this far distant place. Still we hope for favourable changes. The report of Mr. Commissioner Bigge has not yet been acted on. Indeed when we last heard from dear John it had not been given in. We flatter ourselves that the report will notice many existing evils; which it depends on Government to correct; and to turn their attention to many beneficial changes. The want of exports keeps us like beggars and depending on the expenditure of Great Britain. Wool, a little Oil, and a few cargoes of Seal Skins collected in these seas are as yet our sole exports. When Mr. Boughton travels into the interior, he will be delighted with its appearance. It is with the country—not with our towns that strangers are pleased. I hope he may form a correct judgement and neither deceive himself or others.

The accounts from England are so gloomy that I wonder not at the desire to emigrate. If we could persuade ourselves to live altogether as shepherds, and be contented with bread, milk, meat, vegetables and the variety of fruits that are raised in perfection in this climate, it would be all very well. But we must have a number of imported luxuries. Even our servants will have tea, sugar and other things, which many of them have never in their former lives been accustomed to indulge in.


{Page 376}

Chapter XI.


About this time the Macarthurs began to think of making their principal home at Camden, but there were many difficulties to be surmounted before Macarthur was given the land that had been promised him by Lord Camden in 1804, who had agreed that he should have 10,000 acres in the Cowpastures provided that he had sold his commission in the Army (where he held an advantageous position, being senior captain of his Corps, and also a high place on the captain's list), and devoted himself to the production of fine woolled sheep in Australia.

Owing to Banks' interference, the amount of land had been reduced to 5,000 acres, with the promise of the remainder should the enterprise prove successful.

In December, 1805, Macarthur had received two grants, one of 2,250 acres on which the homestead now stands, and the other called Upper Camden, consisting of 2,750 acres.

Between these tracts of land lay Belmont, which had been granted to Walter Davidson at the same time, and was purchased from him by the Macarthurs for £4 an acre at a later date.

In 1821, when Commissioner Bigge returned to England, John endeavoured to get Lord Camden's promise fulfilled, and wrote to his father—

John to his father—
Inner Temple,

22nd September, 1821.

. . . On Monday I had a long conversation with him (Mr. Bigge) . . . I entered upon the business of the grants, and related everything contained in James' letter by the Shipley, excepting the Governor's declaration that he, Mr. Bigge, had required and obtained a pledge that no more land should be granted at the Cowpastures and that he had objected to your receiving then the grant of 4,200 acres for the rams. He said with some appearance of surprize, "I thought it was settled before I left the Colony that your father was to have both grants—the 4,200 acres and the land for the Pennant Hills ** Estate adjoining his old boundary at Camden. The Governor mentioned it to me, and altho' I was startled at first at the quantity and made some objections, I subsequently acceded to the propriety of it, and heard nothing more of the affair." We then talked over Lord Camden's promise. Mr. Bigge gave no opinion respecting it, nor did I press for any. He said it would put you in possession of a large tract of the finest land in N.S.W., but certainly when he reflected on the good use you had already made of your grant there, or the number of men in your employ, and the importance of the Wool he should think it well bestowed . . . The next day I sent him a copy of Lord Camden's promise . . . He wrote to me on Wednesday to say that he had talked with Scott upon the subject who was quite positive "that an arrangement was all but concluded before we left N.S.W., by which both the land agreed for the rams as well as that taken in exchange for the Seven Hills Estate was to be provided by an adequate or corresponding quantity in the Cowpastures in that part immediately adjoining your father's present boundary." Of his own recollection he speaks more doubtfully than at first, but adds, "I have had reference to all the maps with which I have been furnished by Mr. Oxley, but I do not find any trace or memorandum there of the positions that Govr. Macquarie intended to have granted to your father." Mr. Scott brought up this from Blackheath and confirmed what Mr. Bigge says that there is no track laid down on his map. The previous statement, therefore mentioned by James in his letter by the Shipley. that he, Mr. Bigge, "particularly pressed upon him the necessity of reserving all the ungranted part of the Cowpastures for Government purposes and that he even went so far as to have the portion to be given in exchange for the Seven Hills land laid down upon his map, and to say that he hoped he might rely upon no alteration being made must be incorrect.

[** It must be borne in mind that Macarthur had purchased in 1801 3,000 acres of land near Toongabbie, from Foveaux.]

Mr. Bigge recommends an early application to Earl Bathurst . . . I find that but little of the Report is yet written. . . .

Scott thinks that I should urge the claim of 4,200 acres and the claim for the 5,000 at the Cowpastures in the same letter . . . Barnard is of opinion that it will be better to confine myself to the promise of Ld. Camden and leave the grant of 4,200 acres for further discussion; such also is my opinion, because the new claim will be embarrassed by any discussion about the latter. If the 5,000 be ordered I can then mention that the 4,200 had not been allotted to you at the date of the last letter and request an order that in the event of its being still unlocated the Govr. may have permission to give it at Camden. I cannot hear whether any part of the land will be sold . . . Another reason for my present opinion that it will be inadvisable to say anything about the 4,200 acres, is the probability that Govr. M. may change his mind on his return from V.D. Land and give it you there or recommend Sir Thomas Brisbane to do so . . . Our only fear is that when Lord Bathurst hears of 5,000 acres and 4,200 his habit of looking at the extent and value of estates here may make him hesitate, and think the favor greater than it really is. There may be some difficulty in bringing him to reflect, as he ought, that the latter is a purchase and already ordered to be granted. The 4,200 must be given somewhere and it is of the greatest importance to secure the 5,000 at Camden. . . .

On October 8th, 1821, John wrote to Earl Bathurst asking that the 5,000 acres promised by Lord Camden, in 1804, should be granted. His application was deferred pending Mr. Bigge's report. After almost a year the answer came—

Downing Street,

12 July 1822.


With reference to your Letter to Lord Bathurst of the 8th October last on the subject of the promise made to your father by the Marquis Camden, when Secretary of State to the Colonies in the year 1804, of an additional grant of Five Thousand Acres of Land, whenever he should have completed the terms of his agreement as recommended by the Lords of the Committee of Privy Council—I am now directed by his Lordship to acquaint you that as he has been enabled to ascertain from the Report of Mr. Bigge, the Agricultural progress which Mr. Macarthur has made in the Colony, the state and extent of his Flocks, the Purity of his Breed of Sheep and the value and fine quality of the Wool, his Lordship cannot but concede that the Terms of the Agreement are satisfactorily complied with, and have therefore directed Sir Thomas Brisbane to grant an additional Five thousand acres adjoining if possible to the original grant in the Cowpastures, or in the event of any of the Land adjoining being already occupied that it should be made as near as possible, in order that if any private arrangement can be effected by Mr. MacArthur for an exchange of the Land so granted, he may be enabled to accomplish the desirable object of having a tract of country for preserving his Flocks in their present state of Purity and of Perfection, without incurring the risk of loss or interruption from the Establishments of neighbouring settlers.

I am Sir,
Your most obedient humble servant,
R. Wilmot.
John MacArthur Esqr. Junr.
           No. 3 Tanfield Court, Inner Temple.

On August 10th, 1822, John wrote to his brother James.

. . . . By the Eliza I forward three copies the first part of Mr. Bigge's report, and you will also receive by her long letters on various subjects. One packet with the Govt. Dispatches contained Mr. Wilmot's letter to me of which the enclosed is a copy . . . I trust my dear James that the order of Govt. will be carried into execution as soon as possible after the arrival of the Eliza. . . .

The grant of land at the Cowpastures, the flattering terms of Lord Bathurst's dispatch to Sir Thomas Brisbane, and the Report of Mr. Bigge, have been productive of pleasure not merely to Edward and to me but to all our friends here. Major Williams, Mr. Brogden, Mr. Coles, Walter Davidson and the Farquhars have all desired me to offer their remembrances and congratulations, the former in particular laughed heartily, and charged me to request my father would compare Lord Bathurst's gracious expressions with those contained in his correspondence in 1817. . . .

Lord Bathurst's despatch did not have the desired effect, and these extracts from memoranda prepared by Macarthur for transmission to his son in England will show the difficulties that still beset his path.

On the 22nd of last November, (1822), the Eliza arrived and brought your letter, enclosing the letter from Mr. Wilmot. I was then at Camden entertaining Sir Thomas Brisbane who had paid us a visit to see the sheep shearing, but as the report of an arrival had reached us we returned to Parramatta the next day. The morning after I saw Sir Thomas Brisbane and learnt that he had a letter to the same effect as the letter to you. Sir Thomas expressed the greatest satisfaction at its contents, and said "now I know Lord Bathurst's opinion I need not hesitate to tell you, that it is more than a month since I determined to make you an offer of the use of the whole of the reserved lands at the Cowpastures for which I would have taken Rams or Bulls for the improvement of the Government Flocks and Herds. By the reserved land Sir Thos. meant a tract of 10,700 acres . . . bounded by the River Nepean and West Camden, Brisbane (that I received in payment for the flock of Rams) and a creek called "Mount Hunter Creek", this tract was named by Governor Macquarie "Cawdor", and it is understood, he applied to Government for a grant of it and had been refused.

. . . The Land now offered to me is the range Land to the Southward of Brisbane * and to the Westward of your brother's grant. It is stony, mountainous, and so full of steep ravines without water that the offer of it is an insult . . . I shall simply acknowledge the receipt of it and (as the land offered is from its situation and barrenness of no value to me) that I beg to decline the offer and shall await the result of a further reference to Lord Bathurst,.. the affair is now entirely thrown upon you . . . I have just heard that a plea is set up that I had agreed with Govr. Macquarie that I should not have Land in the Cowpastures in payment for the Rams . . . The fact is I particularly agreed with Govr. Macquarie that I should have the land for the Rams in the Cowpastures subject however to the approval of Lord Bathurst, if that was withheld I was to be paid Five Guineas per head. Lord Bathurst did approve as you have informed me, but Macquarie suppressed that and wished me to take land distant from Camden, and to secure my not getting my land there he wrote a letter to Sir Thos. Brisbane in which he falsely stated "that I had at first agreed to take the land at a distance. Sir Thos. mentioned this to me after Macquarie had sailed, and I convinced him from circumstances that it was untrue. Amongst those proofs was an order to Oxley to measure the land in the very ranges that Sir Thomas has now offered me and which I then refused as entirely useless. Macquarie answered he was sorry, but had no authority to grant it elsewhere and at the same time gave Douglas and D'Arietta their grants.

[* Mrs. Macarthur wrote by the same Mail—"We lost some 50 or 60 fine Ewes some weeks since by a shepherd feeding them down one of the steep ravines of Brisbane!  !. . . . I remark this to show how liable we are to receive injuries by grazing sheep on such lands entrusted to such shepherds as we have here."]

John immediately took action in London, and on July 21st, 1823, wrote to Bathurst's Under-Secretary, R. Wilmot Horton—

. . . . that unexpected obstacles had been raised in the Colony and that Lord Bathurst's order has not been complied with . . . I am compelled to intrude again upon his Lordship's and your attention, by entreating that his Lordship will be pleased to direct that my Father may receive a grant of 5,000 acres adjoining his present estate and out of the district coloured green in the accompanying map ** . . . or that his Lordship will permit him to take the whole of that district, consisting of 10,700 acres . . . on his either agreeing to pay for the surplus of 5,700 acres at the highest price named by the Commissioner, or to yield, in return, any annual quit rent Earl Bathurst may think it just to impose. . . .

[** The Map is not to be found.]

I must further remark that all the other good Lands in the Cowpastures were granted subsequently to my first application to Earl Bathurst, and after I was assured by Mr. Goulburn, in 1819 that the Governor would not be authorized to dispose of them until my father's claim was settled. There appears therefore no other mode of fulfilling the promise. . . .

The reply came from Downing Street on 19th August, 1823—

Sir—I have laid before Lord Bathurst your letter of the 21st July referring to the delay which had occurred in making the grant of 5,000 acres of Land to your Father in New South Wales and soliciting either that the same might be allotted adjoining to his present estate and extending from the district called Brisbane and extending to the River Nepean as marked green in the map which you enclosed or that his Lordship would permit him to take the whole of that district, consisting of 10,700 acres bounded by the River Nepean, Mount Hunter Creek, Brisbane, and West Camden, on his either agreeing to pay for the surplus of 5,700 acres at the highest price named by the Commissioners or to yield in return any annual Quit Rent his Lordship might think fit to impose.

I am directed in reply to acquaint you that a copy of your letter has been in consequence forwarded by Lord Bathurst to Sir Thomas Brisbane with instructions that the proposal made by you be complied with either by actual purchase on the terms stated * by the Commissioner at page 48 of his third report, or by the payment of a proportionate reasonable Quit Rent by which arrangement your Father will not only receive immediately the grant of 5,000 acres to which he is already entitled on account of the promise made to him by Lord Camden but will secure to himself the possession of an additional contiguous district amounting to Five thousand seven hundred acres.

I am Sir,
Your most obedient humble servant,

R. Wilmot Horton.

[* These terms were 10s. per acre for good lands and 5s. per acre for poor and inaccessible land.]

On May 27th, 1823, Macarthur received a grant of 4,368 acres in the Cowpastures in payment for 300 rams, and also 3,630 acres in exchange for land surrendered at Toongabbie, the land he had purchased from Foveaux.

On October 19th, 1823, Macarthur wrote to his son—

We were lately roused from a comparative state of apathy by a notice published in the "Gazette" from the Secretary's office of an intention to lease the reserved Lands of Cawdor . . . as the execution of this plan would effectually bar the completion of any arrangement in England either for the whole of that Estate or the portion ordered to be granted to me in a former Despatch to Lord Bathurst I considered it prudent to put in my claim for a grant of 5,000 acres.

Macarthur's request dated 1st Oct., 1823, was refused on 7th Oct., and on the 8th Brisbane sent Macarthur a message by Lieutenant Macalister that he would feel much pleasure by Macarthur taking a lease of the 5,000 acres together with all or any other portion of the land advertised to let for 7 years. Macarthur was to write to Major Goulburn which he did on 9th Oct., accepting Brisbane's proposal.

The "Gazette" of the following week repeated the advertisement re leasing from which Macarthur inferred that the Secretary had determined he should have no part of the land.

On 6th Dec., Goulburn wrote to Macarthur that he and his sons could lease the lands, the Government reserving 1,000 acres around Cawdor, and another 1,000 acres near Mr. Hassall's ford. Macarthur objected to this as it cut up his estate, and there were more delays, but on January 17th, 1824, the Sir Godfrey Webster arrived with John's letter enclosing the letter from Wilmot, informing him of Bathurst's orders to Brisbane, dated 19th Aug., 1823. Although Brisbane received his orders on 17th January and desired that Macarthur should be put in possession of the land, it was not until after he had twice written officially that Major Goulburn on 17th February informed him of the receipt of Bathurst's despatch, and on 5th Oct., 1825, he was given the promised grant of 5,000 acres and allowed to purchase the additional 5,700 acres.

Some of the trouble about the grants may have arisen from the friction between Brisbane and Goulburn, of which John wrote to his brother James—

Nov. 14th 1824.

Everyone here is acquainted with the rupture between Sir Thomas and Major Goulburn, and I suppose it must lead to the recall of both but when is very uncertain since every thing is so slowly arranged.

Macarthur's letter to John gives an account of the receipt of Lord Bathurst's second despatch and circumstances connected therewith.

Parramatta, Jany. 24th 1824.

My dear John,

Your welcome letters and your Brothers by the Sir Godfrey Webster reached us here on the 17th—You will easily conceive what pleasure their contents gave to me and the whole family—You have absolutely accomplished a labour not much short of a miracle, and for all your Family, I return you my sincere thanks, and that from me, you know means a great deal—The arrival of these Letters has created no small bustle amongst us—and as you will naturally be anxious to know everything, I will commence the detail—The day after the Letters came I despatched James to Government House with the Copy of your letter to Mr. Hunter, with orders to explain as much as might be needful of what you had written, if it should prove that Lord Bathurst's despatch had not arrived—The Governor on seeing James appeared startled, but James introduced his business by telling him that I had sent him a Copy of the Act of Parliament, with the Royal Assent, not knowing whether he had one—He "was exceedingly obliged by this attention and many others, he had not received the Act, nor should he have had the Commissioner's Report but for my attention—He had no letters—had I heard anything respecting the Cawdor Estate"—Yes replied James, "My Father has most satisfactory Letters—Lord Bathurst has been pleased to order him a Grant of the whole Estate, part in confirmation of His Lordship's first order, and the remainder to be paid for"—I am quite rejoiced—I always wished your Father might have it—I knew he must—Tell him I have always had your and his interest at heart, and the moment I get the Order he shall be put in possession." "My Father, Sir, has always been convinced of your friendly intentions, and has always regretted that an evil influence prevented you from carrying them into effect—To convince Your Excellency of this, and of the moderation with which the appeal to my Lord Bathurst has been conducted, I have brought you a copy of my Brother's Letter—which you will also receive with His Lordship's Despatch"—The Letter was read, "I will go to Sydney to morrow and order Major Goulburn to proceed no further with the Leases (see the detail and correspondence about leasing the Cawdor Estate) Your Father may depend upon my protecting his interest, I will come and see him very soon, I have the greatest regard for him"—

The next day James and I drove to Sydney, and James went to Government House to call on Capt. Fennell—He met the Governor at the door—a violent start—"Oh Mr. MacArthur I have read your Brother's Letter—Major Goulburn has orders to do nothing more in the affair of the Cawdor Estate—the moment I get orders assure Your Father he shall have the possession, it will give me the sincerest pleasure"—"My Father will be exceedingly happy to receive this assurance"—The conversation passed in the presence of Fennell and several other persons—James then called upon Mr. Oxley on some business—they had a long talk together, and Mr. Oxley let slip that Major Goulburn had shown him the Chart, and read the Order from Lord Bathurst, to grant me the District coloured Green—"We are fairly beat Oxley!!" "Ha Ha Ha! well it is nothing to me, I have no interest in the affair and I give Mr. MacArthur credit for his perseverence"; did you ever hear of a prettier scoundrel?—Oxley then said "Your Father will now get the land except a thousand acres that are to be reserved as Common for the accommodation of the Publick who have Cattle in Argyleshire—He had better make no difficulties—if he does there will be a Publick Meeting called, and a Petition to Sir Thomas Brisbane not to act upon Lord Bathurst's order until an answer can be obtained to the Petition"—James answered, Very well Mr. Oxley, you know best what you intend—but take care, you have once been the principal cause of My Lord Bathurst's orders being disobeyed—take care how you offend a second time" this evidently alarmed him—The next morning they met again, and in an altered tone Mr. Oxley said. "I have thought of what you said, and I must admit that your Father ought not to give up a thousand acres—but surely he will not object to one to two hundred"—"My Father will never consent to have a Common established in the Heart of his Estate, to which every vagabond may have access, with all the vilest and most diseased Sheep in the Colony, it will be a nest of thieves and destroy the value of the whole Estate"—"Why upon my life that is very true, I should not like it myself" rejoined he. James, "If Common Land be wanted there is 1700 Acres reserved at Stone Quarry Creek (about five Miles from our South boundary) and there are five or six thousand acres in the ranges, including the beautiful tract that you advised Major Goulburn to offer my Father. Mr. Oxley you had better be quiet—you know my Father—he is now in an excellent humour as you may suppose, and if you could only be induced to act as a man of honour and a good neighbour, I have no doubt I could effect a reconciliation between you, and all would be forgotten that you have done to annoy him—I declare to God nothing would give me more pleasure—I will do nothing inimical to your Father's interest and if I hear anything more about the matter and the Petition I will apprise you."

Having ascertained that the order to grant the Land was in the Colony, I determined to commence a brisk attack, that they might not have leisure to contrive more schemes, but still it was a delicate business to manage, as Sir Thomas had, both on the Sunday, and on that day, denied that he had any orders—I therefore wrote to say, I had received information that the Despatch had been sent by the Sir G. Webster, and that I concluded that it had been overlooked in the Mass of Publick Papers.—I prayed it might be sought for, and that as my flocks were suffering from the long continued severe drought, I might be put in possession of Cawdor—See my Letter (No. 10). This Letter I have reason to believe produced great consternation, and Mr. Secretary contrary to his usual practice answered me the next day, but without admitting directly that orders had been received by the Sir G. Webster (so that I am still to learn whether they came by that Ship, or by the Castle Forbes that sailed from Cork in Sept.)—he acquainted me that the earliest possible attention would be paid to every instruction from Lord Bathurst (see Letter No. 11) pleaded that time must be required to make the necessary arrangements and evaded my complaint of distress by a stale miserable jest, that the Governor would have had the greatest pleasure in relieving me, had not my Flocks been rescued from danger by the rain of the preceding night (it had rained about three hours). To this I have made no direct reply but shall write a private Letter to Fennel, enclosing a copy for Sir Thomas's perusal, with some other remarks, which if they do no other good will keep alive the fears of the enemy—Thus stands the affair of the Land at the present time.

{Page 389}

Chapter XII.


After the departure of Macarthur and his sons James and William from England, the superintendence of the wool sales fell upon John, who was then entering upon his profession as a Barrister.

He was a constant correspondent, and it would appear that he, in common with the rest of his family, took the keenest interest in all that pertained to the welfare of New South Wales.

The letters cover a wide range, and have much to say about the formation of the Australian Agricultural Company, of which John was one of the promoters, and the three Macarthurs in Sydney directors. The two first minute books are still at Camden Park, but to enter into the history of the A. A. Company is beyond the scope of this volume.

6 Stone Buildings, Lincoln's Inn,

5th March 1818

My dearest Mother,

. . . . I have nothing very particular to acquaint my father with on the subject of business. The Lord Melville was to sail from Bengal in September or early in October, and is daily expected, we are very anxious to see the Wool in this Ship. The account you give of the washing, induces us to hope that it was packed in a state very superior to the last, and as the market continues favourable we expect a considerable advance in the price. I mentioned in my letters by the Tottenham, that Mr. Young has made an insurance for £2,500, on wool valued at 2s. 6d. by the Harriet or Ships, as in the last Policy. I requested him to do this on hearing that this ship was taken up by Mr. E. Riley, and was to sail for England in December last. If there should be no interest the policy will be cancelled free of expense. Of course, if I ascertain the Wool in the Lord Melville to be worth more than 3s. an increase in the valuation of the next shall be made in order to cause the interest that may possibly be embarked in the Harriet. It will be a great advantage to the Colony, and to the owners of wool in particular, to obtain the repeal of that clause of the East India Charter, which by its inactments, now prevents the free intercourse of small vessels, but I am fearful that it will be impossible to obtain the interference of Mr. Goulburn, without some representation is forwarded from General Macquarrie, or the respectable Colonists. When the Wool by the Lord Melville arrives, I will do all I can to engage him to interest himself and Lord Bathurst in our behalf, by forwarding to him samples, and specimens of the cloth manufactured from it—but still I shall labour under the disadvantage of not being authorised to address him on the part of any person but my father, altho' others must be suffering from the grievance. James's friend Mr. Smith has promised to exert himself to make the character of the Wool known, and will probably become a purchaser. Mr. Young will send the samples and the orders for sale to Messrs. Marsh & Ebsworth, with whose character in the markets of London my father is already well acquainted. . . . .

My Father's acquaintance Mr. Bakewell called on me a few days since, for the information respecting the wool that my father promised to supply him with, for an article he is preparing on the subject, to be inserted in Rees' Encyclopaedia. I have undertaken to assist him to the best of my power. I have mentioned to my Father in a letter by the Tottenham, that I understand Walter Davidson has entered into a partnership with a Mr. Dent, a very respectable young man who has gone from England, and who is connected with and supported by many wealthy families here. Mr. Kier informed that they will turn their attention to New South Wales, and the possibility of opening some trade with the coast of Chili and Peru. Should this be the case, it may, perhaps, strike my father as affording a favourable opportunity of establishing one of my Brothers as a Merchant in the Colony.

Your affectionate Son,

John Macarthur, Jr.

Inner Temple, Augst. 14th, 1821.

My dear James,

I mean this letter to consist of memoranda and observations upon the subject of wool, and to include answers to your queries and such information as I have obtained from persons of experience and respectability in the trade.

The "curly wool No. 57" is not liked only because it is "curly". The staple is not bad, but the manufacturers generally disapprove of it, because they cannot get the curl out, and consequently, the surface of cloth made from it has an uneven appearance. Some of the finer fleeces in other Bales have a few curly locks, but the same appearance is observed in the fine Saxon fleeces, and one or two persons I have conversed with think, that the same sheep may bear fleeces without this peculiarity, in another season. Should this prove correct, the wool will be much admired, and sell at a high price, on account of the fine fibre, and silky feel, a peculiarity for which the wool of the Electorate of Saxony is very remarkable.

Aug. 16th—With regard to 33, 34, etc., many persons have concurred with Mr. Ebsworth in opinion that they are not sufficiently clean. It is of great importance that they should be oily and "full of nature," as the manufacturers say, but then the dirt should be washed out. I have had the opinions of at least a dozen persons that the sheep should be washed very attentively once or twice, and then allowed to run on clean pasture a week or ten days, until the wool has imbibed the grease or oil again. I am aware that you want a thick carpet of grass to prevent the sheep from becoming dirty in a few days, but as your artificial grasses increase (of which I have to write to you hereafter) I trust you will have the necessary means of giving the sheep a run on clean sward, before they are shorn. The Germans tell me that this is their practise. It does not appear to me that Saxon wool is cleaner, when brought to the English market, than the wool is in No. 43 and 44, but particularly 45, which is generally admired both for condition and quality. Perhaps, however, there is more oil in it, or the appearance of more, for when our Bales are first opened, they do not appear to advantage. When the fleeces are opened out and handled they look much better, and they seem to improve every day they are on show. I am assured by several persons of respectability that when the wool is put up in a very clean state the close pressing is not injurious, but if dirty, the fleeces are matted together, the grease and oil form lumps, and the feel of the wool is harsh and unfavourable.

I observe that the Saxon wool is not packed closely, and looks well when the Bales are first opened. The length of a voyage from New South Wales, and the apprehension of damage make it advisable to pack closely, but perhaps my father may think it worth the experiment to send a Bale or two in a good ship, less tightly packed (pressed). The 60 Bales per Shipley, were free from every appearance of damp, and I could perceive no damage whatever—even of the slightest description. French wool, washed after shearing, as you may have seen it here or on the Continent, is generally disliked, and sells at a low price. I shall endeavour to learn whether the most skilful Saxon farmers wash their fleeces after they are shorn. I have been told they do not, but will endeavour to ascertain the fact from better authority. As 43 and 44 are of very similar quality I am informed that it is unnecessary to alter your arrangement. Had it appeared advantageous I should have availed myself of the discretionary power to do so. The lots seem to be well selected, but perhaps it would be always advisable to have one or two fine Bales near the top to excite competition before the coarser Bales are put up. This is a general rule with the Brokers.

Lot 11, contains Nos. 29, 30. The first is not liked, but No. 30 has some beautiful fleeces—very clean and silky. Mr. Faulkes, a Saxon importer of the first rank, and a native of Dresden, admired it much, and thought the fibre capable of great improvement. Mr. Lovegrove. a manufacturer, told me that if it improved in fineness, and retained the same softness, it would be extremely valuable for the best kerseymere. I do not think the persons I have conversed with thought No. 41 so well assorted as No. 45, but they were of opinion that it was better than the greater part of the other Bales. They thought some of the fleeces very harsh, but the lot is one of the best.

You are quite right in thinking 43, 44 and 45 the best Bales, and they will certainly sell well. The buyers have examined them very attentively. The two first are not so well assorted as 45, and a few inferior fleeces in a Bale make the buyer distrust the general quality. They are all well washed and from these Bales Mr. Ebsworth has selected 6 or 7 fleeces for the Soc. of Arts. They are lying in the warehouse and attract general attention. The greater number are from 45, and some of these fleeces are so soft and fine that they can hardly be distinguished from the best wool of the Electorate of Saxony. I heard an argument between Mr. Faulkes and a manufacturer on this point. The latter said Mr. F. could find no wool superior to one fleece in his best mark from Dresden. This the German stoutly denied, asserting that altho' the wool was excellent, it was not so fine in the fibre as the first quality of Electorate wool.

I have been at the Warehouses every day during the last week, and for several hours at a time. The Bales are placed on one large floor, in 3 or 4 lanes or rows, near 3 windows, and consequently in a good light. The inspectors take out different fleeces and bring them forward to the large front entrance, for particular examination. This is troublesome but unless the fleeces are opened out the finest part is not seen. From the close packing also it is not easy to pull out the fleece in the middle and lower part of the Bales. You must understand that the Bales are placed on their ends, presenting one end in front, with the letters I.M.A. and the number in the proper position to be read. They are all opened at the top, and by my direction to the foreman of the warehouse a few fleeces were spread out in each Bale that the best part might be exhibited for the public inspection. I promised him 2 guineas to do this attentively, and it seems to have been of great service.

You are aware, of course, that the neck, and particularly the part used as a bandage to the fleece contains the best wool. This is twisted of necessity and it is troublesome to spread it out. Pray consider, therefore, whether it may not be expedient to tie up the best fleeces with a coarse woollen bandage, so that when untied, and spread out, the finest parts may be at once presented to the sight. It is also important that no coarse or dirty fleeces, or parts of fleeces, should be put into the ends which are always opened. If you adopt this suggestion with a few fleeces, for trial, you can put them into the end which will be upwards, and which you will know from the position of the letters I.M.A. I will then ascertain whether it affords better opportunities for inspection.

I have already said that the wool is injured if pressed tightly when not perfectly clean. Mr. Ebsworth recommends that the fleeces should be lightly beaten in a hurdle, to shake out all the sand or dirt that may remain in after shearing. Mr. Stanley and Mr. Weaver tell me that the wool would sell better if less tightly packed, as it would be softer to the feel, and more readily examined. But many others say it cannot receive injury by close packing, if perfectly free from dirt, and having sufficient oil in the fleece.

Mr. Foulkes thought the Lambs' wool would have been finer if it had not been so long in the staple. He said Mr. Lovegrove (who stood by and confirmed it) had offered him 4s. 3d. per lb. for some Bales of Saxon Lamb's wool, but that he asked 4s. 6d. per lb, that it was much shorter in the staple and finer in the fibre. He seemed to think the Lambs must have been fat and unusually strong to have thrown out wool of such length, and that the fibre would be better if the lambs were kept in moderate condition, and on fine sweet food. The wool was also too dirty. Mr. Foulkes invited me to call upon him in Finsbury Square, when he promised to accompany me to his warehouses, and shew his best wool, of which he willingly would give me samples. He said he would also beg a few samples from me to send to his German friends, who took much interest in your progress—the quantity being yet too small to excite their jealousy. He is a Saxon by birth, a very young man, and on enquiry, Marsh and Ebsworth tell me he has the finest wool in the market. Some they have on sale, at 9s. 6d. per lb. These Germans do not employ any particular Broker. Four samples are usually drawn from each Bale, and sent to the 4 principal Brokers—Marsh and E., Martin and Co., Jacomb and Brook, and whoever brings a buyer at a satisfactory price, takes the commission. The Brokers do not like them, and I am told that Marsh and E. are about to establish 2 houses upon the Continent to buy of the growers for the manufacturers of this country. I mention this, however, only as a report. Marsh is now on the Continent, at Vienna—purchasing wool on a most extensive scale for different houses. Mr. Ebsworth has taken the whole management, and altho' he is not courteous or communicative, I have had more reason to be satisfied than on any former occasion. He wrote to all the principal manufacturers, and shewed me some of their answers, and has brought up such a number that I expect great competition. Mr. Maclean says he will certainly buy some lots, and manufacture a piece of cloth for the Commissioners to present to the King. His manufactory is in Gloucestershire.

I have softened Mr. Ebsworth by a few compliments, and he promises me to write full answers to your queries which I have submitted to him, and in which he engages to take the advice of Mr. Hurst, and a Mr. Starkie, a young Yorkshireman of considerable reputation as a clothier.

I have engaged to dine with Mr. Ebsworth after the sale to meet a large party of the manufacturers.

From a Mr. Roemer and Mr. Foulkes, both Saxon importers, and the first the representative of Angers and Co., of Leipsic, of whom I shall have to write to my father, I have learned that the Saxon farmers are men of much skill—that many have been at a German University, and have paid considerable attention to Botany, which enables them to cultivate upon their plains such grasses and herbs as seem calculated for their flocks. In winter they are kept in sheds, and fed on hay etc., in fine weather they are driven out over a considerable extent of pasture, by which they have air and exercise, both of great importance in their judgement. At night they are always driven to the sheds.

Mr. Coles called upon Maitland and Bond, and in consequence of a wish expressed by Mr. John Maitland (well known to my father) a fleece was sent over to him from Marsh and Ebsworth. On the following day, I called with Mr. Coles, and saw both Mr. John Maitland and Mr. Bond. The former received me most courteously. He asked after my father, said he took an interest in the progress of the N.S. Wales wool, and had examined the fleece with attention. He approved of the condition of it (one from 45), thought the wool of a very good description, and capable of great improvement in the fineness of the fibre, by the application of the artificial means practised by the Saxons, or, at least, to such extent, as the nature of the climate may seem to render necessary.

He said he had devoted much time to a consideration of the subject, and an enquiry into the causes of the rapid and singular success of the Germans—that he attributed it wholly to artificial means—to the housing of the flocks—the fineness and sweetness of the food—and the careful selection of the rams. I explained to him the difficulty of pursuing similar plans in a new country—the scarcity of the best artificial grasses—the expense of buildings—and the want of intelligent, honest and attentive shepherds.

He said he should, at least, recommend the same attention to the rams as in Germany (Saxony), where they are considered as valuable as racehorses, and tended with as much care as the latter are at Newmarket, housed at night, exercised in the day, and even clothed in winter—allowed certain quantities of the finest food, and not permitted to become fat or gross in the carcase. I told him the winters were hardly cold enough to require such extraordinary protection for the sheep. He replied that the treatment might, naturally be varied according to the climate and soil, but that he should at all events, recommend that the rams be housed on winter nights, and tended with the most scrupulous care, as grooms tend the stallions in the best stables of this country. From every quarter I learn that the quality of the pasture will in one season make an extraordinary difference in the quality of the fleece, and that fine and sweet food, particularly fine grasses and sweet herbs are sought after in Saxony. Mr. Faulkes and Mr. Roemer, at different times told me, that last year corn being very abundant in Saxony, and the farmers unable to find a market for it, they fed their flocks upon it—that the sheep seemed to improve, but that when the wool was brought to market, it was stringy and harsh to the feel, and produced from 2s. to 3s. less per lb. than in former years—consequently they have abandoned this plan as injurious and this year again the same sheep are reported to have borne finer fleeces than before.

I have thus, my dear James, detailed to you, at length, and with no great regularity, the observations I have heard, and the general information given me from the best sources. I have done so because you request me to give answers to your queries, and to consult the most respectable persons upon every point connected with so important an object as the improvement and advantageous sale of the wool.

I could not well make a selection of the opinions I have heard, for I have neither experience nor skill to enable me to do so, and I have thought that you may, after perusing these memoranda two or three times, extract what may be valuable, and throw aside what is not material. I shall also send you Mr. Ebsworth's answers to the queries, and as Mr. Coles intends to write to you, there is a probability of your receiving very full information by this opportunity.

August 18th. I refer you to my letter to my father for the particulars of yesterday's sale. There was a very full attendance, and generally great competition. Mr. Maclean for Gloucestershire and Mr. Starkun and Mr. Hurst, the King's manufacturer, ran up Bales 43, 44, to 5s. 6d., and 45 to the great price of 10s. 4d. Mr. Maclean stopped at 10s. Mr. Starkun at 10s. 3d. Mr. Hurst bid 10s 4d.

Unfortunately the letter to his father to which he refers cannot be found, but an original copy of the catalogue of the sale, of which the reproduction is given, is at Camden Park.

Weedon Barracks, August 25th 1821.

My dear James,

. . . . I was very much annoyed that military business at the Horse Guards prevented my being present at the sale, which I understand was very animated—Mr. Bigge and Mr. Scott were both there—You may suppose I was much gratified to find that the finest bale sold at so unprecedented a price as 10s. 4d., but I could have desired that the general average had been higher, but which was not perhaps to be expected when Spanish Wool at eight months credit brought no more than 4s. My brother dined with the buyers after the sale at Mr. Ebsworths one of whom I understand asked why no pickings had come home this time—that at the last sale, what he bought had turned out so well that he had determined to bid half a crown a lb. for them had any been put up—John has suggested whether it would not secure a good end to give these gentlemen a dinner annually after the sale. He is endeavouring to have a meddle decreed to the manufacturer who shall procure the finest piece of cloth, manufactured from New South Wales Wool.

I dined with Mr. Bigge before I left London, and I was much pleased with him and the reception he gave me. I write as artlessly as I should talk to you, that is with the same indifference as to precision. You will therefore take my letter with all its inaccuracies. . . . .

At the same sale Hannibal McArthur's wool brought from 2s. 5d. to 2s. 11d. a lb. His flock had been derived from Macarthur's cast ewes as late as 1814 and 1815.

Oxley's and Howe's flocks also originated from the same source, and their wool at this sale produced from 1s. 7d. to 2s. 6d. per lb. The remainder of the wool offered, with hardly an exception, was sold at below 1s. 6d. to 1s. 8d. a lb.

These high prices were not maintained, but the market was established and Macarthur's sons, who from this time managed for their father, spared no efforts in furthering his schemes for the export of fine wool.

In 1822 the Society of Arts in London presented Macarthur with two gold medals, one for importing 150,000 lbs. of fine wool from New South Wales, and the second for importing fine wool equal to the best Saxon from New South Wales; and in 1824 a larger medal was awarded for importing the largest quantity of fine wool.

Parramatta, Jany. 31st 1824.

My dear John,

The Competitor will sail to-morrow morning. I enclose in the same Packet with this the Invoice and Bill of Lading of the Wool, Total 78 Bales Gross weight 18,720 lbs.—The freight is the same as last year, nor can we expect to obtain it at a lower rate. The Invoice has been drawn up and the lots fixed upon the same principle as the Shipments by the Wm. Shand which you appear to have approved of. In order to draw forth remark, and to ascertain how far our judgment may agree with that of the buyers, letters are inserted, in the Invoice, against each Bale. The letter A denotes the Bale to be a shade higher, in our estimation, than B. In the first quality, the Italian letters a. b. c. denote the more minute shades of difference; and the best Bales Nos. 1, 41, 42, 43, are distinguished by AF—& A.S.F. In addition to these distinctions, there are two Bales (Nos. 54, 55) of the fourth quality—Thus the fleece Wool is divided into seventeen different sorts, and the price marked against each lot, will be another and still clearer indication of our opinion. It is a subject of regret to us, that we have not received the account sales of the William Shand's Wool as the Auction List only marks the number of Bales in each lot, without giving the Shipping numbers; and we are not certain whether the arrangement of the lots may not have been different, in some instances, from the lot list we sent you—The sale was certainly not a satisfactory one, and we cannot help considering that many of the Bales sold considerably under their fair market value. When the Accounts Sales is before me, I will write more fully on this subject. At present I shall only observe that the best Bale brought exactly the price (7s.) which we had marked it to be worth. In this instance our judgment and that of the Buyers correspond—and agreeing so exactly on this one Bale, by far the most difficult to estimate correctly—how is it that in the immediately succeeding qualities which we valued at 6s., 5s. 6d. and 5s. we should be so completely at variance.

Medals issued to John Macarthur by the Society of Arts

Your letters by the Asia and Guildford may perhaps throw some fresh light upon the subject, but I doubt whether they will explain the cause of so sudden and singular a difference more clearly, than the following information, which was kindly given me by Mr. Brown of Liverpool, now settled at Sydney, as a partner in the firm of Aspinall Brown & Co.—Last year he shipped a quantity of Wool for London by the Win. Shand. It was placed in the hands of Messrs. Simpson & Co., West India Brokers, of high standing in the City, and well known, if I remember right, to our friend Mr. Coles—They put it up to Auction at Garraway's on the same day, and immediately after the sale by Marsh and Ebsworth—Thirty-eight Bales were bought in, and out of these, twenty-six were sold, by Private sale, a fortnight afterwards, at an advance of 20 per cent. on the price offered at Garraway's—as you will see by the following Memorandum—

Lot 2—2  Bales —bought in at  1/11 —sold after for 2/2
3—6 " " 1/7  " 1/8
13—2 " " -/12 " 1/6
14—5 " " 1/10 " 2/5
15—4 " " 1/10 " 2/2
21—2 " " 1/3  " 1/5
27—5 " " 1/6  " 1/8
——— ——
26  Bales 10/10 13/-

This I think pretty conclusive evidence, that the Auction was not a favorable one. May not an opinion prevail, amongst the Buyers, that Botany Bay Wool Growers want money; and must sell immediately? The circumstances, of the Wool having been almost always entirely sold without reserve, would confirm them in an opinion, so natural for them to entertain—The absence also of our former friends from the North must have damped the spirits of the Sale, may not their absence have arisen from the Sale taking place so much earlier than usual, in the Season? Would it be worth while for a Yorkshire Manufacturer to travel up to London, before the arrival in the Market, of the Continental Wools, for the sole purpose (and that a chance too) of obtaining a few Bales of New South Wales Wool? Why should we hurry into the Market? Ought we not rather to court than to shun competition with the Saxons? These are suggestions which you will, from your abundant sources of local information, be enabled fully to estimate. With us they are, of course, but matters of speculation; but I cannot help thinking them of some weight, and well worthy of attention. Be this as it may, my father has determined to try the effect of holding back, if the prices, offered at the first Auction, are not such as he considers sufficient—In the Duplicate Invoice therefore, for your private information, we have marked against each lot, the price which we are of opinion it ought to bring; and any lots, that may not obtain that price, are to be bought in—These prices have been fixed with reference to the depressed state of the market, last year. Should any rise have taken place, you will, of course, make a corresponding alteration in the minimum prices, you name, to Messrs. Marsh and Ebsworth; but my father is determined not to allow of their being knocked down for less; and he desires that you will hold any Bales, that may be bought in, to the extent of six months, if necessary. In writing these instructions I am quite aware that circumstances may occur, which would render a deviation from them unavoidable—Should any such arise, my father desires me to say that he places full confidence in your discretion and good sense; bearing always in your mind that no sale is to be made at lower prices than those marked (within the limit of six months) unless there should be a certainty of loss, by holding back—He does not wish you to confine yourself to the strict letter of his instructions, but to act according to their spirit, the policy and propriety of doing which no person, I am sure, will see more clearly than yourself. Now, do not my dear John, for a moment imagine, that my father or any of us, can entertain the slightest feeling of dissatisfaction with you, on account of the low prices of the last sale. Such a feeling would be impossible, and having said this, I shall not add one word more upon the subject—I hope you will find the present Shipment superior, in every respect, to any former one—Great pains have been taken during all the stages of preparing it for the market; and I should hope we are, every year, increasing our own knowledge and experience as well as improving the quality of our fleeces—You will observe a very great alteration for the better, we think, in the washing—But I shall say no more on this head at present—Have the goodness to send by the first good opportunity a similar supply of Slop Clothing to that ordered by the Shand and now, we hope on its way out. I enclose Mr. Macalister's half pay voucher for the year 1823—He has sent me some letters for his friends—Since they were written the usual written promise of a Grant of 2000 acres has arrived here for him—William's packet has just arrived—it has kept me in anxious expectation all day and altho' I promised some time since to write you very fully by this opportunity I have been prevented—The negotiations respecting the land and the address to My Lord Bathurst have kept me continually on the move. I hope the former will now meet with no impediment—Oxley has pledged himself to me to take no part in the affair unless called upon by an official Letter from the Secretary and in that case he promises to show my father the Secretary's Letter and his reply before he gives any answer to it—Add to this the uncertainty of the Guildford's and dear Edward's arrival or rather the hourly expectation of them and you have my whole excuse for this shabby letter which I however do not regret as you will receive such voluminous correspondence from our dear Father, Elizabeth and William. The circumstance to which William alludes of the lines marked by a Surveyor is not of any moment now—It was done in reference to the leases, before the arrival of the Sir Godfrey Webster—the value of the wool is very little altered from the memorandum William alludes to. He did make a valuation last year which I will send you by an early opportunity after the arrival of the account Sales per Wm. Shand. Motives of delicacy and feeling can alone have occasioned Wm. to speak of such a thing doubtfully as if not in existence—His letter is a most admirable one—I shall only add to his description of the Drought and extreme heat—that not only the fruits are wasted away but even one's self—The Thermometer is even now above 100—I beg my kindest remembrances to Mr. and Mrs. Coles and Family and to all friends.

Believe me my dear John,

Your ever affectionate Brother,

Jas. Macarthur.

Camden, January 16th 1824.

My dear John,

James left this yesterday to get the Bills of Lading signed our Wool having been shipped in the Competitor nearly three weeks since. You will receive it I hope in good condition, that is to say free from injury on the voyage—for I confess I have nearly laid aside my hopes of pleasing the purchasers in London—We have taken great pains in superintending the washing, shearing, &c., which have been performed as well as our present means will permit. The fleeces were washed perfectly clean, whatever dirt, therefore, may be observed in them was taken up after the washing, and notwithstanding anything the buyers may urge to the contrary cannot materially increase the weight of the fleece. It will be easy however if it should be preferred to send home the fleeces for the future in much brighter condition and nearly free from yolk. It will save us from considerable risk and inconvenience, for instead of deferring the shearing of the animals for 6 or 8 days after they are washed, it may then be performed in 2 or 3 days; and the difference in the weight of the fleeces will I am convinced be very inconsiderable. The sorting has been attended to with great care, particularly the finer sorts which have been sorted with the utmost attention. I feel no hesitation in saying that the general quality of the present shipment is very superior to any former one, and that to any impartial person, capable of deciding, the improvement will appear striking.

With the Sales of our last year's Wool I confess I am disappointed, not certainly with the best, I did not imagine it to be worth more; but every other lot brought a price very inferior to what I considered we were entitled to expect.

You do not mention whether the prices of German and Spanish Wools had declined, but I conclude they had, because notwithstanding anything the buyers may have remarked to the contrary, the average quality of ours had much improved. You mention that the condition of the best Bales was good, but that fault was found with the inferior qualities on account of their dirty state. This objection appears to me to have had little or no foundation, because the fine and the coarse Wools received precisely the same treatment, indeed the coarse and the fine fleeces were produced by the same Flocks. To the best of my recollection the only dirty wool came from a Flock of Maiden Ewes and nearly the whole of it was in consequence separately packed in the three bales, that composed the three lots immediately following the best lot. Had I fixed a value on these three Bales it would have been as follows, 5s., 4s., and 3s. or thereabouts, at any rate I am certain the difference in their respective value was fully as great; instead of which they sold at 3s. 1d., 2s. 11d., and 3s. I have selected these three as instances of the want of discrimination displayed by the purchasers, and could point out many others. I think it fair to infer from them, that little attention should be paid to the objections that are made because many buyers do not understand the quality of the article they are purchasing. I am more annoyed with this circumstance than with the reduction of the price. I am sure that you will allow that after one has taken great pains in separating the Wool into so many different sorts, to find many fine Bales, selected from a number of Fleeces, selling at prices little exceeding those of the coarse. There is no help however for these things; time we hope will remedy them. I know not what to say about the tight pressing; I have no doubt that the appearance of the wool is injured by it; but those who purchase must discover that it is only in appearance. It would be inconvenient to materially lessen the quantity contained in the bales besides 7 or 8 lbs. less in the tare upon each bale.

The constitution of our Sheep appears to improve materially, the number of sickly sheep and casualties continue to decrease though we have not been favoured with abundant Summers. At present the whole face of the Country is completely parched up by a drought of long continuance more than five months having elapsed since we have had even three hours of rain. Heavy showers have occasionally fallen it is true, but when the soil is dry to the depth of many feet their beneficial effects are felt only for the moment. This is the third successive dry season with which we have been visited and truly we agriculturalists have good reason to complain of their disastrous effects. Many improvements have scarcely proceeded in consequence of them. I do not know a more unpleasing prospect in nature than the appearance of the Country in one of these dry seasons. Every tree every shrub curling up its leaves, the fruit not a quarter its usual size, withering and dropping from the trees utterly unfit for use at the time when we usually enjoy it in perfection. The grass not displaying a vestage of verdure on the open grounds and scarcely any in the Forests. The Earth cracked in every direction with seams one and a half and two inches wide and several feet deep. The streams, the ponds, all shrunk into insignificance and many completely dried up. Such the prospect now presented to us. The severity of such seasons is now particularly felt by the Plants recently introduced, great pains are requisite to preserve them alive. I shall now proceed to give you an account of some of my hobbies.

Jany 30th.

Since writing the fore going part of the letter we have had the pleasure to receive Packet from you dated 4th August containing the joyful intelligence respecting the Cow pasture Lands. I need not say how happy it has made me and I will venture to add a similar sensation was produced in the circle at Parramatta. We have been long kept in suspense respecting the fate of these reserved Lands. I trust the early arrival of the Guildford with Lord Bathurst's despatch will entirely remove it. I shall not give any details on this head because I know my Father and James have been writing to you and have given full details much more intelligibly than I should.

My Father has directed me to put a valuation upon the different Bales of Wool shipped in the Competitor, that they may be bought in, in case they do not fetch our price. I do this with considerable diffidence, first, because the prices of Wool may have much varied since our last Sales and secondly, having no samples to refer to I have only the marks of the different Bales and my memory to guide me. To remedy the first inconvenience I shall fix the value of the best Bale at 7s. 6d., supposing the prices of Wool to remain as they were in June last, in case therefore of any depreciation or rise in the Market allowance must be made accordingly, a valuation provided it be not very wide of the truth will be of some service because I have learnt that part of the Wool sent to England by Brown & Aspinall was bought in at the first day's sale and sold three days after by Auction 25 per Cent. higher than the sum for which it was bought in. There appears to be no delusion in this because Account Sales of both days' sale have been handed about the Colony, Mr. Aspinall who was present at the Sale, had written to his Partner to say, that though the bidding at the first days' Sale was perfectly fair, and though there appeared to be no want of competition, yet many buyers did not appear to understand the value of the lots they were bidding for. This confirms my former supposition. A scale therefore of the relative values though not quite correct may be of service. For the future I will take care to value every Bale as it is packed. The complaint that little distinction was made between the fine and the coarse Wools appears to be general in the Colony.

I have now my dear John nearly exhausted my paper, and I fear your patience—If anything more should occur to me, worth mentioning before to morrow morning, I will add it in a Postscript. With every affectionate wish for your prosperity and happiness,

Believe me,

Ever yours most affectionately,

Wm. Macarthur.

Lincoln's Inn,

July 28th, 1825

My dear James,

The Sir George Osborne and Rolla bound for Sydney, are about to sail at the same time, and I should not write therefore by the latter, except for the purpose of enclosing you a catalogue and stating shortly the result of the sale, which you are, of course, extremely anxious to hear. The wool was advertized for a month, and on show on the ground floor of a very convenient warehouse, during the whole of last week. Mr. Marsh and Messrs. Webster & Co. had advertized sales of N.S.Wales Wool for Friday last, and our sale was fixed for Saturday, so that it might follow theirs, there not being time for all on the same day—From some casual observations, and particularly from hearing that a considerable number of the Yorkshire buyers were living together at one Inn, I was led to apprehend a combination amongst them to purchase the middling qualities at a low price and then to divide them—a practice which I am assured is very common at public sales. Being resolved to be prepared against this, I saw Mr. Simes on Friday, and settled a limit for each lot, taking a medium price between his valuation and your "estimated value." At the sales, as I had feared, the fine lots sold tolerably well, but there was no competition for the others. The Yorkshire buyers were present, but did not bid—employing Mr. Ebsworth for that purpose. In consequence of this, Mr. Simes was obliged to run up the lots marked (a) and to buy them in, under the name of his partner Mr. Smith. The Yorkshire men had reckoned that neither Mr. Maclean nor any of the West Country manufacturers would compete for the low wool, and appeared much surprised when they found they had an opponent. The lots, not marked, including 38 bales, were sold at prices, which will, I think, prove satisfactory, and which Mr. Simes did not think he could obtain. He had, on the contrary, reckoned upon selling those which he was obliged to buy in, which shews, if any proof were wanting, that there was competition in the one case and not in the other. Mr. Maclean, Mr, Hicks, and Mr. Ebsworth were the purchasers of the lots sold. With respect to the others—we propose to hold them firmly for the present, to show the parties to the combination that we are not at their mercy, and will not allow them to do as they please. Between this and the close of the year, we shall be able to ascertain how far it may be practicable to sell by private Contract, or whether it will be advisable to avail ourselves of some future sale of N.S. Wales Wool. There appears to be a fair prospect of the market improving as there has been a great rise in prices throughout Germany, and the only drawback therefore, is the delay and the warehouse rent. No offer has yet been made for the fifteen Bales of pickings and skin Wool Mr. Maclean does not consider them fit for his manufactory, as he does not manufacture any coarse cloth. Perhaps, therefore, we shall be obliged to sell them with the other 34 Bales—But of this hereafter.—With respect to the Wool I think it was generally allowed that there was a greater quantity of fine and less coarse wool than last year. It was not admitted however, that the finest Bale was better than the finest of last year. The fine qualities were clean—but the Merino Rams' wool and the Lambs' wool were too full of grease. Of the packing Edward will write to you very fully. He was present when the Bales were opened and could hardly believe the change of appearances. It would appear that from the pressure the grease is squeezed into particular parts of the Fleeces which are matted together and discoloured. The outward part of the Fleece, instead of being white, as when first packed is of a yellow colour and extremely harsh. To those who have tried the wool this is of little consequence, because they know that it is not injured, and that it will improve in scouring. But it is fatal with strangers, who compare it with German and Spanish wool, and greatly undervalue it. Thus many Manufacturers examined the Bales this year, and expressed an intention of purchasing, but did not afterwards make any offers. Mr. Spratt assures me that the Yorkshire men highly approve of the packing—because it suits their views and prevents competition—but that he would strongly recommend your trying a different plan for one year at least. He thinks the Bales should not contain more than 2/3rds of the present quantity of wool, and if you pay 3d. instead of 2d. freight it will be more than compensated at the Sale. I send you by the Sir Geo. Osborne an account of the German mode of packing, and I particularly entreat your attention to this subject. In future pray arrange the lots, for I think William can do it better at the time of packing than the Broker can afterwards. As a general rule the finest Bales should be put up singly, and one fine lot, near the commencement, to excite the spirit of competition as early as possible. I should be glad to have two Invoices—one containing the "estimated value" as this year, and the other for my private use. containing the lowest price you think the lots should be sold for. This I will never show to any person, but I shall use it as a check upon the Broker. There is no regular criterion of the value of Wool. Mr. Maclean has admitted to me that he finds a difference of 6d. and 1s. per lb. very frequently in the valuations of different Brokers, and that he was lately offered 7s. per lb. for wool that he bought for 4s. 6d. per lb. I begin also to doubt the expediency of public sales. They afford many opportunities for combination, which it is difficult to counteract. We shall see, however, the effect of what has been done on the present occasion, and whether our firmness will triumph over the Combination of the Yorkshiremen. I have some hope that Mr. Hicks and Mr. Davis who are most powerful in the West Country will step forward to assist us, but they only know of the Wool by the Reports of others and see it in the Bales to great disadvantage. Messrs Webster had a sale on Friday but Mr. Marsh suddenly put off his to Wednesday in this week with a view, no doubt of following, instead of preceding us. Messrs. Webster and Co. sold all their wool, I believe, and at high prices for the qualities. Indeed coarse wool—that is, wool from 1s. 6d. to 2s. 8d. is in greater demand now than any other, and comparatively much dearer. Above 3s. per lb. the German wool operates as a drawback and with little coarse or fine wool, the market is absolutely glutted with middling qualities, at from 2s. 9d. to 4s. per lb. This is certainly a great disadvantage to us, and is the principal cause of my apprehension that we shall find it difficult to sell the 34 Bales at the prices at which they were bought in. On the other hand, Mr. Simes appears confident of being enabled to obtain your "estimated value" for the pickings. General Darling is at the Isle of Wight, preparing to embark—I have: written to my father by him, and sent my letters off the day before yesterday. He takes out a Warrant for the new Legislative Council, consisting of the Lt. Govr., Chief Justice, Archdeacon, Colonial Secretary, my father, Mr. Throsby, and Robt. Campbell Senr, and for an Executive Council consisting of the four first named who are to advise the Governor upon all his proceedings. I have had nothing to do with any of these arrangements, except in desiring my father's nomination upon the Legislative Council, of which I shall write very fully to him. In the meantime it must be kept secret, for I do not think the names are known to anyone in England excepting Edward and myself. I saw the King's Warrant under his sign manual in Mr. Horton's possession. Edward has leave of absence until the 24th of August and will write very fully of his plans, and their partial success.

Lincoln's Inn,

July 31st, 1825.

My dear William,

As Edward informs me that the sorting and packing of the wool are in your particular department, I take it for granted that any information on these subjects may be most appropriately addressed to you, I have already written to our dear Father respecting the sales, and it will not be necessary for me to repeat to you what I have said. The Bales were landed in excellent condition, free from any kind of damage. It was generally allowed that the average quality was improved—that is, that there was a larger quantity of fine and less coarse wool than formerly. It was denied, however, that the finest Bale was superior to the finest Bale last year—The Bale No. 73 was well washed in every respect—but it was said that some of the inferior Bales were not sufficiently washed and were too full of grease. The Lambs' wool was not so clean as last year, and the manufacturers alleged that the waste would amount to nearly one third—All persons admitted that the Bales were fairly packed, and generally well sorted. But now to the mode of pressing the Wool. Edward was with me at the warehouse when the Bales were opened—There were besides present, Mr. Smith (Mr. Simes' partner), Messrs. Cooper, Spratt and two Manufacturers from the West of England, who had never before seen the Wool from New South Wales—It required a man's force to separate one fleece in the Bale from another and produced a noise nearly as marked as the tearing of coarse linen—All parts of the fleece were closely matted together, and some yellow and discoloured. Edward remarked that he could hardly believe that these were the same white fleeces he had seen packed. It has been conjectured that the operation of pressing with a screw, drives the oil from the fine to the coarser parts of the fleece that there is a considerable fermentation during the voyage, and that the discolouration is thus produced. Suppose you unpack a Bale after it has been pressed in the ordinary manner, and endeavour to ascertain from inspection, whether the injury is produced by the operation of pressing, or by the wool remaining in a pressed state during a long voyage. I presume the latter, and if so, there will be no remedy except by adopting the German mode of packing. I enclose the account of it drawn up by Mr. Marsh, after his return from Germany and confirmed by Mr. Simes to whom I recently read the statement. When the wool is not put in fleeces, it is not tied, but still the layers, about one foot thick, and the breadth of the Bale are very observeable. The German wool is often many months on its way to England—Spanish wool the same, and in the Hold of a vessel, during warm weather, but neither arrive matted together or discoloured. I entreat you, therefore, to send home some wool, pressed with feet, and not with a screw. The strangers, I have before mentioned, were accidentally in the warehouse, examining German Wool, and being invited to look at the Bales, I heard them repeatedly say that the fibre appeared fine, but there was a degree of harshness about the wool, which rendered it fitter for Yorkshire than the West of England. Now it is very true that those who try the wool find out that it is, in fact very soft, when scoured, but consider on the other hand, how large a proportion of buyers have never tried it, and that it is the interest of those who have to conceal its good qualities and to buy again. Year after year we have the same purchasers. In the West of England it is comparatively unknown, and with the exception of Mr. Maclean and Mr. Hicks there are no persons to resist the combination of Yorkshire Manufacturers. Should the same system be adopted by these persons in future as in the present year, we shall be exposed to great difficulties, and perhaps compelled to abandon sales by Auction, which, however fair in theory are in fact open to great abuse, what can be more easy than the principal manufacturers from Yorkshire to arrange beforehand all the prices—to agree that they will not bid against each other—and after the sale to divide the lots? I fear that this was their plan this year, for I hear that they had gone home greatly discontented and openly complaining that they were not allowed to purchase the wool at their own prices. The only mode of counteracting this is to exhibit the Wool in the most favourable condition—resembling as nearly as possible Saxon Fleeces which are preferred to any other—so that every person who sees the wool may be enabled to form a just estimate of its value—If this be done, we shall have purchasers from the West of England, and London Speculators to compete for it—and if any be bought in there will not be the same difficulty, as at present, in selling by private contract—Phillip King's wool was packed in imitation of the German mode, and he says he only paid 3d. per lb. freight, being 1d. per lb. more than ours. It was extremely dirty, but not matted together, nor so harsh as our wool. The quality appeared very bad—Under these circumstances, it cannot be considered as a fair experiment of the German method, but from what I saw and heard I cannot doubt that it would have answered to him very well, if the wool had been properly washed. Supposing, therefore, that you are obliged to pay 3d. per lb. instead of 2d. per lb. freight, and that more canvas is required, still it is the opinion of Mr. Simes, Mr. Smith and many others, that this expense would be more than repaid to you by the advance in price. They all think you may safely press it as tightly as it can be pressed by men's feet, but that machinery should not be applied. I entreat your serious consideration of this subject and that you will communicate to me what you think, and determine to do. In a recent conversation, but before the sale, Mr. Maclean told Edward and me, that the Yorkshire Manufacturers considered New South Wales Wool as being worth 10 per cent, more than it appeared to be and that we might state this to our dear Father—I observed that it would be desirable to make it appear as good as it really is to which he answered that the fact he mentioned would spread by degrees, altho' the interest of the buyers, would of course induce them to conceal rather than to circulate it—For the last two or three years the Yorkshire men have always talked against the Wool, but have still bought—This very year Mr. Hirst declared to a large party that he had not bought a pound of our wool, and would not give within 1s. per lb. of our prices. Since then Mr. Simes has traced two lots into his possession—Mr. Ebsworth being the nominal buyer—This will prove to you that we have great difficulties to contend with, and that we should be prepared for another combination next year—Besides what I have stated, I think it would be important that all the good wool of the Colony should be sold at one sale, say for instance, my fathers, Oxley's, P. King's, Hannibal's, Palmer's, &c., &c. If these parties would agree to this and give positive directions to Mr. Wilkinson to employ Mr. Simes, I would insist that no other wool should be included in the sale, and that it should consist solely of New South Wales' Wool, otherwise, I fear the quantity would be insufficient to ensure a numerous attendance—Mr. Marsh was employed again by Mr. Wilkinson, and I refer you to his catalogue for the results. Observe particularly the manner of announcing the sale—Bales of N.S. Wales and V.D. Land Wool, without distinguishing the one from the other. He does all in his power to diminish the good opinion entertained of N.S. Wales Wool. . . . There must be secret motives for this and I wish you would talk to Oxley, and those you are intimate with, and obtain their assent to what I propose. If not, we must trust to the increase of our own wool, and of Buckle's consignments to make up a large annual sale of N.S. Wales wool. I doubt not that Mr. Simes will do whatever I require. He is not clever, but he appears to have the feelings of a gentleman, and to be fair and open in his transactions. I cannot learn that there is a better broker for our purpose in London, and it is honorable to him that he is now employed by Sir John Lubbock & Co., the greatest Importer and Holder of Spanish Wool, and a very considerable Importer of German Wool—The Australian Company are about to engage Mr. Button who has been brought up as a Farmer in Germany and who will, therefore, be able to give you much practical information respecting the German flocks, and mode of packing &c.—I shall make no apology for this long detail, because on important subjects it is desirable to know the opinions of all men—Ever, my dear William.

Your affectionate Brother,

John Macarthur.

Parramatta, 12th Sept., 1826.

To John.

. . . . Altho' the winter has been unprecedentedly severe and cold it has produced no ill effects amongst our flocks, or any other except those of the inexperienced persons, who injudiciously depastured their flocks in a cold wet season on low marshy ground when they became infected with the rot—By the last accounts from Bathurst the deaths in Capt. King's Flocks amounted nearly to 2,000 sheep, and it was greatly feared that 700 which were all that then survived had been infected with the same disease and could not be saved. I have heard of only one flock that have suffered with equal severity to Capt. King's altho' in several other flocks the mortality has been exceedingly great. There is a family by the name of Hassall who are considerable proprietors. In the flocks belonging to one of the sons which were kept on dry pastures—no unusual losses have been sustained—but in the flock belonging to the Mother the rot has nearly destroyed the whole—and these suffering flocks were kept on low wet pastures similar to the Land occupied by Capt. King.

Our losses have been at the usual average rate three and four per cent, per annum. . . . The returns from the sale of Rams and what other stock we shall dispose of this year will be quite sufficient to cover our expenses here and as we shall send you upwards of 26,000 lbs. of wool I hope my account in St. James's Street will once more look respectable. . . . The winter has been cold beyond anything ever felt here before and I have suffered so much from it as to convince me that I ought not to expose myself to the shock of an English winter, much therefore as I wish to see you once more I am constrained to give up all thoughts of so hazardous an experiment and to decide upon deputing your brother James—It is proposed he should accompany this year's wool. . . . We expect our breeding flocks will be extended this summer to 4,500 ewes we have reared 1,500 ewe lambs and calculate upon 7,000 breeding ewes in 1828. . . .

The new regulations respecting the sale and granting of Lands are much complained of and I think deservedly so—Many respectable men have been waiting here all this year for their grants and they have now as little prospect as ever of getting them—in the meantime they are exhausting their resources and lounging miserably about.

John to his Father.

Lincoln's Inn,

March 19th, 1827.

My dear Father,

My former letters to my dear Mother and to James, will have explained my reasons for delaying the sale of your Wool. Finding, however, in the course of last month, that the Spring Trade brought no great improvement in the Wool, or indeed in any other Market and that a settlement with the Underwriters for the loss was becoming necessary, I thought it advisable to appoint the sale for the 9th of March. It was advertized as usual, and there appeared from the letters and enquiries a more than ordinary disposition to attend, which circumstances, together with the knowledge that the damaged Bales must be sold, led me to expect great competition. The prices, however, as you will see by the catalogue were very unsatisfactory, and the only consolation is that lots 1 to 31 inclusive, were damaged, and that all the fine Bales, without exception, were wet and mouldy. I enclose with the Catalogue, a valuation made by Mr. Simes and his partner, previously to the sale (No. 1) and also his Certificate (No. 2) showing the loss by damage on 62 Bales. Of the remainder, 21 Bales were bought in, and 18 sold at prices which, altho' the wool was of the inferior sorts, I think very unsatisfactory. I have so stated to Mr. Simes, and have intimated to him that he should have bought them in with the other Bales, even altho' there is no immediate prospect of an improvement in the market. With regard to the Bales reserved, I know not what to do, not only because the depreciation in the market continues, but because I am confirmed in the opinion expressed before, that we shall find great difficulty in selling by public auction, now that the novelty of Australian Wool has worn off, and the quantity so much encreased. Mr. Hart Davis and others have always said they cannot sell German or Spanish Wool by public Auction, unless damaged, or very badly washed and sorted. The number of damaged Bales made it necessary to arrange the lots differently from William's Invoice, and, as respected them, to try a public sale. Various samples of different qualities, were carefully scoured, and exhibited with the samples from the Bales. The best appeared to great advantage, and several of the most eminent manufacturers, such as Mr. Hicks and Mr. Shepherd, assured me they considered No. 37 as equal to Saxon fleeces of the first quality, altho' not equal to Saxon assorted wool of the first quality not more than l/3rd of the fleece being comprised under the latter description. Mr. Shepherd bought this Bale. It was wet, but had not suffered to the extent of the other fine Bales.—The inclination of my mind is that it will be well to send the Bales bought in to a Wool Stapler in Yorkshire, to assort, and sell by private Contract, but there is some difficulty in finding an honest Agent in that quarter. I shall be very glad to confer with James on this important subject, and endeavour to arrange some plan for the future. I am expecting a Catalogue with the names of the buyers from Mr. Simes, and I will enclose it. The account Sales will not be ready for some time, but I have requested it as soon as possible, in order to make the settlement with the Underwriters. Mr. Brown informs me that the mode of arranging a loss upon a Policy where each Bale is valued is, as follows: Supposing a Bale, valued at 7s. per lb. being damaged, produces only 4s. per pound, but would, otherwise, in the actual state of the market (as certified by the Broker) have produced 5s. per lb.—then as the difference 1s. is 1/4th of 4s. the assured would receive 4s. and 1/4th of 7s. or 5s. 9d. per lb.—According to this arrangement, we shall be protected to a considerable extent from the unprecedented state of the market. To what that is attributable, it is almost sufficient to refer you to the "Times" newspaper of this day (March 19th) in which there is an account of the number of County Bank notes in circulation, and the sudden reduction of the quantity in the last year, when it is considered that B. of England Notes, and all negotiable instruments in Commerce, were encreased, and then suddenly diminished in the same ratio, it is not difficult to account for the fall of prices. I trust the evils which have been experienced will be a guide for the future. The quantity of wool in the Market has greatly diminished, but there is an apprehension of further imports whenever there is an improvement in the market prices. Fine Saxon Wool is in great demand, and the supply very small, the glut is of middling qualities both German and Spanish Wool. The rapid changes the markets have so frequently presented, make me fearful of speculating upon the subject. Time and confidence are wanting to restore the circulating medium to its proper extent. The Establishment of Branches from the Bank of England, and Scotch Banks, in the Manufacturing Districts, may contribute to this end. It was generally admitted that the average quality of the last importation was improved, but there were complaints of the wool being "too full grown."—Since writing the above, I have recd. a proposal to send ten Bales to Leeds to be examined by Mr. Gott, the great clothier there, who has expressed a wish to make a fair trial of the Wool, and I am inclined to accede to this, consigning the ten best of the reserved Bales to Mr. Simes' Son, a Broker at Leeds, the father being answerable for the value. He is to ask the prices, in the first instance, at which William valued them—The Australian Co. sold the fleeces of their French and Saxon Sheep by auction last week. Two packs of the latter assorted brought very high prices—one 8s. 6d.—but the fleeces in the grease sold badly—The Brokers say they never saw finer Saxon Wool—Mr. Simes and his partner admire extremely the samples of Wool, you sent by the last ships, which they think equal to any that can be grown. I find, upon examination of the Catalogue, that the prices of the wool that followed have been omitted. I will send another copy, complete, by the next vessel. . . .

James accompanied the wool to England, and wrote to his father on September 12th, 1828, announcing his safe arrival in London, and also "The wool market is, of course, very dull at this season; at least, so says Mr. Davis, but I very much apprehend it is likely to continue so, at last until the German competition is run down by our superior facilities of production."

From James.

57 Jermyn Street, 10th Novr. 1828.

My dear William,

I propose confining this letter to the subject of the recent sale of Wool. After making every possible enquiry I found that to depart from our accustomed mode of sale would be exceedingly hazardous, and that in the opinion of the best informed persons there was no chance of any rise in the Wool Market for many months to come—I therefore determined to have our Wool advertized for Publick Sale on the day following that of the A. A. Company. My next object was to form as accurate an Estimate as possible of the Market value of each Bale. I accordingly went through a number of Warehouses, and after carefully examining various samples, principally Silesian and Moravian and ascertaining the prices asked for them. I inspected our own and noted down my valuation as marked on the Catalogue—On the day of the sale I showed this valuation to Mr. Swaine and asked him whether he would undertake to buy in such lots as might not reach my expectations, to sort the fleeces afterwards, and dispose of them in that state—Mr. Swaine replied in a manner highly creditable to him, that if I wished it he would—and that he thought it probable we might in many instances realize my valuation: but that if I could obtain within 3d. or 4d. per lb. of my prices by publick Sale he would decidedly advise me to take it in preference to running the risk and delay that would attend its disposal by Private Contract, through him. He further assured me that from his own observation of the number of Buyers in town he was sure there would be much competition; and that he had little doubt of my obtaining my own prices for the better qualities and somewhat more than Simes & Co.'s valuation for the average and inferior sorts—Upon visiting the warehouse soon afterwards I found it absolutely crowded with Manufacturers, Wool staplers &c., and I determined upon following Mr. Swaine's advice, which was most disinterested because he would have been a great gainer by my proposal to him, whatever might have been the consequence to us. I accordingly directed Messrs. Simes & Co. to sell without any reserve as far as lot 98, to buy in lots 114, 116, and 127 to 133 unless they fetched my prices, and to buy in all the others unless they obtained their valuation from the Bidders. The Catalogue shews the result, and the accuracy of Mr. Swaine's judgment—Six lots were bought in which I intended to have placed in Mr. Swaine's hands, but upon going into the City the morning after the sale I received immediate offers for them at the limitation prices I had fixed upon, and which under all the circumstances I thought it best to accept without hesitation—Five Bales (Lots 121 and 125) were purchased for Swaine—He is going to assort them and promises to let me inspect the operation, as well as to, inform me of the results—The Auction was most numerously and respectably attended. and the competition such that it is impossible that there could have been combination even amongst the Yorkshire men to our disadvantage—The prices obtained are considered quite astonishing in the present state of the Market, and have excited quite a sensation amongst the Germans. They can only obtain 4s. 9d. for their best fleeces. It must be borne in mind too that this is with six months credit, and a discount of five per cent, whereas ours are sold for ready money—The character of Australian Wool is decidedly gaining ground. I saw a letter from Mr. Maclean to his Father in Law in which he says that at the late Auctions it fetched 6d. per pound more than any other wool would have done, quality for quality. On the day of the sale, I was at the Warehouse in the Crowd when I suddenly felt a smart tap on the Elbow—On turning round, I beheld a tall, stout, John Bull looking Quaker, opening a Fleece from the Bale No. 24, from which some bits of dung had dropped upon the floor. To these he directed my attention and that of every one present, by exclaiming in a loud tone—"Methinks friend, this would have enriched the soil, from whence it came." I assented and remarked it was a pity it should have travelled so far to so bad a purpose. The quaker replied "True friend, particularly as it might have injured the value of so fine a fleece as this—therefore have I drawn thy attention to it because it should not be." I thanked him and explained it was an accident that might be expected occasionally even under the most careful management—he continued the conversation and said that he perceived a wonderful improvement in the fine Bales and taking up several Fleeces' from Bales 38 and 39 descanted on their various excellencies assuring me that there was no wool in the world to be compared to it; and that we should soon entirely surpass the German.

He also observed that some of the fine fleeces were nearly long enough to comb and that if they could be brought to do so maintaining their fineness it was impossible to say what would be their value perhaps a Guinea a pound—It might be the means of introducing a new manufacture—That it would therefore be well worth while to pay some attention to the families producing the longest staple; but in so doing to remember it was an experiment and not to lose the substance in pursuing the shadow—I found this singular person was Mr. Varley a Yorkshire Manufacturer who is universally looked up to for his judgments and general ability in the trade. He was one of the principal witnesses examined by the late Parliamentary Committee of enquiry into the Wool Trade.

Shortly after this I found another group assembled round the fine Bales and Mr. Stanton a Gloucestershire Manufacturer shewing a sample of the finest wool he could obtain in Germany from whence he had just returned, in comparison with the fleeces of Bales 38 and 39 some of which he said were so fine that he scarcely knew to which to give the preference. Messrs. Stanton and Varley you will observe bought the two finest Bales. They have both promised me a faithful report upon them—You will I have no doubt wonder that 38 should sell as high as 39—I will explain—It had been slightly damaged, and had been almost repacked so that the fleeces from being much pulled about had expanded and lost the harsh feel and peculiar appearance arising from the Press—It was therefore seen to much greater advantage than 39—I think the condition too was really better, the fleeces being whiter in appearance and containing exactly the right proportion of yolk. Last year the washing was overdone, and I am told it gave the wool a harsh and staring appearance, and both Mr. Stanton and several others said it was better to have too much yolk than too little—The whitest fleeces of last year are said to be got up in the very finest style of German washing, but those of the year before (per Australia) were too much washed—I am decidedly of opinion that we ought to discontinue screwing the fleeces so tightly—They are not really injured but we are, because they do not open so readily nor show to so much advantage as they otherwise would—I have mentioned No. 38 as an instance of the advantage of giving them more room—The Company's wools were not pressed at all, and were seen to much greater advantage on that account. I am of opinion that this circumstance considerably raised the average of their Colonial bred fleeces, above the prices that would have been obtained, had they been pressed. Mr. Hall can give every explanation of the mode adopted—I will therefore enter into no detail on that head.

I think the difference in the prices obtained for the average and lower qualities, and that of the fine Bales arises very much from the pressure. The finest qualities excite a great deal more interest and are therefore more pulled about and thus the fleeces expand and recover their natural character—I have instanced Bales 38 and 39 as striking examples of the good effects of opening and pulling about—Those wools which are at all dirty and contain much yolk suffer particularly from the effects of the Press—This was the case with McAlister's—The buyer of one of the lots has since expressed his surprise at finding it improve so much upon handling. Our No. 37—I believe consisted of the fine fleeces of the young sheep pastured in Argyle. These fleeces contained a large portion of yolk and were dark coloured—Mr. Stanton accompanied me the morning after the sale to look at it, and being told our price was 4s. said hastily "it will not suit me at that price." I was indifferent about the sale of it wishing to try some experiments in having it assorted according to the Saxon mode; but I wished also to convince him of his mistake—I therefore ordered the Bale to be cut open, and taking out some of the centre fleeces, which do not appear to suffer nearly so much as those on the exterior of the Bales, I opened and spread them out—He said at once, in a doubting tone "You will ask me 4s. 6d. now"—I replied "no" that "I had said 4s. and would not depart from my word"—Upon which he thanked me and acknowledged his original error in the handsomest manner, saying that it was indeed "a beautiful and highly valuable Bale." I send you three samples from 37, 38, and 39—That from 38 is considered perfect in every respect—It is one of the specimens shown against the fine saxon I before mentioned. It is said to be worth 8s. or 9s. per lb. even now. This however I apprehend to be a somewhat exaggerated value—It is however considered quite unique in the way of fine wool, and to be characteristic of the best qualities of the Australian Fleece—No. 217 approaches it, and is also perfect in condition. No. 39 is thought very fine, but unequal in its growth and not white enough. I am more than ever convinced that there is a great deal of caprice on the part of the buyers. A vast deal depends upon the first impression given by a Bale—If they find the fleeces matted together, they have not time to examine them and some cunning North Country man buys a bargain. They all say the pressing is no real injury, but disfigures the character of the wool and prevents a minute examination unless the party has plenty of time at his disposal. This the great Buyers never have except for the few first rate Bales and thus some petty jobber makes a living out of our loss—I do not imagine the difference in the freight would exceed ½d. or at the most 1d.; and I think we should gain from 3d. to 6d. a pound at the sales.

If our wool could also be less highly grown it would fetch much higher prices.

It was the delicacy of the fibre arising from low condition that ran the Company's best Bale up to 7s. 6d.—That however was in the opinion of the best judges an artificial price arising from competition between two Manufacturers one of whom is a large holder of A.A.C. Shares. These things are well understood in London and the sale of this one lot at 7s. 6d. has not excited half the sensation that has been occasioned by our two Bales at 5s. which rose to their price by biddings from various parts of the room ½d. by ½d. whereas the Company's jumped to 7s. 6d. by sixpences and nine pences at a bid. I send you a sample of it so that you may form your own judgment. When I speak of the advantages to be derived from having our fleeces more delicately grown, I am quite aware of the difficulty of keeping the sheep in sufficiently low condition and of the disadvantages, in some respects, arising from it.

God forbid they should ever be in the miserable state of the Company's flocks at the time these fine locks of theirs were produced. Our Bales No. 24 and 30 were also very much admired, and upon the whole it was considered that the fleeces were in better state generally as to yolk than last year, but not as to colour. The dark colour arising from the burnt timber and the little particles of leaves, seeds, &c. but more particularly sand are very injurious.

I am convinced however that the intrinsic value of the wool is becoming more widely known and that the Saxons have carried their devotion to delicacy of fibre too far. The Manufacturers begin to look for something more—they want strength as well as finish—A medium between our fine fleeces and the Saxon would be preferred. May not this by degrees be obtained. It is also I think of more importance to attend to exact similarity in colour, general character, &c., in assorting the Bales, than to arrange the fleeces with that minute attention to the exact fineness of the hair which costs you so much anxiety and labour—I have been unceasing in my enquiries for a Wool Sorter but cannot find one as yet at all qualified—Mr. MacLean assured me he had been looking for one for himself for the last six; months without success—I think a German will suit us best. Be assured I will not lose sight of this great desideration and I hope to relieve you, before this time next year from the irksome task you have so often and so painfully gone through. . . . .

London, 7th November 1820.

My dear William,

I intend to confine this letter entirely to the subject of wool our main stay and only certainty a subject therefore justly the most interesting to us all; and to you more especially from the devoted, and successful attentions you have bestowed upon the improvement and management of the flocks.

The market for wool in this Country has never recovered the shock it sustained by the excessive importation of the year 1825 when nearly double the ordinary annual weight was forced upon the market. Prices have since that time continued to sink lower and lower until they have reached their present unprecedentedly low level. Beyond this it is imagined they cannot possibly be reduced, and indeed the general opinion is that after next Spring a gradual rise will begin to take place. The price current which I put up with this will show the relative prices of the different kinds of wool. The quantity as well as the value of Spanish wool is greatly diminished I mean its value as compared with German and the fine Australian Wools, and I make use of the word value because I apprehend that it is not the quality of the Spanish fleece that has deteriorated, but the quality of the others that has advanced, in consequence of greater care and a more improved mode of breeding. This I find to be a very generally received opinion and the Spaniards seem at length to be sensible of the fact. Several of their principal Wool growers have lately been in this Country making observations and have expressed a determination to spare no exertion to regain their lost position. Should the Government of Spain resume a more settled form, it is not improbable that they may succeed and in this case from the natural advantages of the Country they will be more dangerous rivals than even the patient and persevering Germans. The annual importation into England from Germany, including the Austrian Dominions and Poland is about 22 millions of lbs. In the year 1800 it was little more than 400,000 lbs. The importation this year from N.S. Wales will it is calculated exceed a million of lbs., and including V.D. land it is supposed will amount to nearly double that quantity. It is not however to be supposed that the increase during the next thirty years can proceed in the same ratio, as it has done in Germany—the Germans already possessed large flocks at the commencement of their career—coarse woolled, it is true; but by the introduction of Merino blood a gradual improvement was effected. Flushed with their success, the Saxons dreaded no rivals and relaxed in their attention. The consequence has been that Silesia now bears the palm. Poland does not produce a sufficient quantity of wool I am told for her own consumption at this day notwithstanding Mr. Jacob's theoretical visions upon the increase of flocks and the establishment of manufactures in that Country—A small quantity nevertheless occasionally finds its way into England the Poles working up in its place, the lower descriptions of German Wool. Russia too is attempting to produce fine wool which comes into this market to a very limited extent under the name of Odessa. It is not at all esteemed by the Manufacturers who say that it works up very unprofitably. I have now, I believe, enumerated the various countries with which we have to contend in the production of fine wool. The Germans are decidedly the only rivals we need to fear at the present time, and it is a matter of no trifling moment to ascertain how the Sheep owners of that Country are affected by the present low rate of prices. This and their treatment of the Ewes in lambing time, so as to rear lambs from animals in low condition will be the principal objects of my proposed journey to Saxony and Silesia. With respect to Australian Wool, I need not inform you how much the great bulk of proprietors there have to accomplish, before their fleeces can be brought to even a tolerable state of improvement. The reduced prices of wool render it much more uphill work for them; but it appears to me that they have no other object to which they can turn their attention with a chance of success. Necessity therefore will urge them forward. We are fortunate in occupying such vantage ground. We have only to persevere steadily keeping in view improvement of quality, as well as increase of quantity, and during the approaching twenty years the wheel of fortune will in all probability revolve so as in some degree to realise the fable of the golden fleece—at all events we are sure of a competency sufficient with prudence for the obtainment of every reasonable object of our ambition. I am indeed surprised at the reduction you have already been enabled to make in our expenses and the probability is that as money becomes scarcer in the Colony our sterling returns will go farther and farther in the obtainment of labor. Taking the reduced prices of the necessaries of life into the calculation it appears to me that we are at least equally as well off now as in the time of Macquarie, and certain I am that comparing our actual situation and profits with those of other Colonists and of the Agricultural, manufacturing, and Commercial Classes in England (I believe I might say Europe) we may consider ourselves most fortunately circumstanced.

With respect to the washing assorting and packing I need say nothing in addition to what I wrote last year—except that I am more and more convinced of the correctness of the opinions I then expressed.

The plan you propose to adopt this season as detailed in your most able and interesting letter by the Vesper appears likely to realize all that can be desired upon that head. I hope I may be enabled to obtain the services of a competent wool sorter before I leave England—Hitherto my enquiries have been unsuccessful, unless at enormous wages, no skilful man can be induced to go out; and knowing the uncertainty of even such a man continuing to conduct himself satisfactorily I have been unwilling to incur the risk—The Bales are considered to be particularly well assorted that came by the Australia. Mr. Swaine assured me that he did not see how it could be improved, but the object is to save you the labor and to occupy less valuable time in so troublesome an occupation. This must in some mode or other be accomplished before my return to the Colony and be assured I shall not lose sight of it in Germany, from whence all agree in opinion it would if practicable be the most desirable to obtain a Sorter. In the box of Clothes now sent from Myer's you will find a sample of Silesian wool which is considered to be a perfect specimen of what is most desirable to the Clothiers, both in growth and condition. This wool of which only about 500 lbs. came into the Market from Flocks of from 30, to 40,000 Sheep was sold at 7s. per lb. The general average I am told of the whole flock did not exceed 2s 3d.—From Mr. McLean I learnt that they (MacLean & Stephens) had bought the finest German fleeces on the spot for 2s. 3d. per lb., and that the expense of transport to Stanley Mills did not exceed 6d. per lb. These are facts which I wish to ascertain by my own observation upon the spot. The weight of the German fleeces is another doubtful point to be cleared up. I have mentioned to several persons your theory relative to the hollowness of the fibre of N.S.W. Wool. They do not think it possible that such can be the case; and if it were so they think it would have an opposite effect to your supposition. As the hollow space is filled with animal matter constituting the heaviest portion of the hair. Admitting what you suppose to be the case the Manufacturers say it would not have the effect of rendering the Cloth lighter, because in the process of manufacture each fibre is flattened until the interior surfaces collapse—But undoubtedly it would have the effect of giving a greater number of hairs to the pound, that is to say supposing the increase of hollowness in the fibre to render the weight less, which as I have before stated they deny.

One fact is undeniable, that a pound of our wool goes farther than a pound of any other wool—or as the manufacturers express it the wool "proves better." than any other of apparently similar quality—This may probably be the effect of the Voyage which certainly gives it a harsher and coarser appearance when opened here than it bears when packed in the Colony. Much of this is in my opinion produced by over pressure. The change of color is also in some degree attributable to the same cause. But length of time and the mere voyage itself would in themselves in some degree produce this effect, as we see in the case of Clean Linen, which however white when put up comes out yellow and discolored even on shore and still more so after a sea voyage more especially I am told if the trunks be in the Hold of the Vessel. Before I quit the subject of color there is one circumstance necessary to impress very strongly upon your attention—I mean the utter objection on the part of Manufacturers to wools in which they discover the smell of soap or any alkaline preparation—The very small quantity used in our present preliminary tub operations does not produce this effect and is therefore of no consequence. But I have no doubt the first cargo sent by the Australia was to a certain extent injured. You may remember that a larger quantity of soap and (upon one or two of the flocks) potash was used—The objection on the part of the Manufacturers is not idle prejudice—they have found by experience that the cleansing of wool with Alkali injures the fibre—and the longer it is kept after the operation, the more prejudicial will be the effect.

The time of arrival in this Country is another very material consideration—every exertion ought to be made to get it here early in the summer—It is one of the natural advantages we possess from our opposite seasons that we are enabled to bring our fleeces to market first notwithstanding our immensely greater distance—This in itself is a consideration of no slight importance—People here do not like to let their money lie idle, and if we are first in the market we stand the best chance on this ground alone—Another consideration is the loss of the interest of money and the fact that wool naturally deteriorates by keeping after shorn. But the most weighty reason perhaps for an early shipment is the difference it makes in the appearance of the Wool whether it be examined in warm weather or in cold.

This year we were particularly unfortunate, the first day of our wools being exposed to show it snowed most violently and during the three subsequent days until the sale the weather was as cold as it usually is at Xmas—frosts at night and harsh piercing winds during the day—You can well appreciate the effect of such weather—It may be said, so can the buyers—but they won't nor is it in human nature that they should. Their interest and therefore their perceptions and impressions on the subject are at direct variance with ours. Another reason is that as money is the most plentiful generally speaking in the Summer months, so is it least so about the end of the year—This operates in all trades and is a generally received rule with men of business—I come next to the relative advantages and disadvantages of Public and Private Sale. There is always a difficulty in disposing of the finer qualities to any extent at auctions—because it is the custom of the great buyers of fine wool to make their purchases by sample and by private contract, at a credit of one month deducting five per cent, discount, or of four or even eight months. These are the terms upon which German and Spanish Wools are generally sold and of late many bad debts have been made—All these circumstances must be borne in mind when a comparison of our prices with theirs is made. We obtain the money before we deliver up our property—But it becomes a question whether as the quantity increases this system can be continued and whether by assorting our fleeces and selling the finer qualities by private Contract, the coarser by auction we may not obtain a higher average. I am inclined to think that we should find it to our advantage to sort the fleeces to a certain extent, that is to say to take off the shoulder locks and finest parts of the fleece in the same way that we now separate the Brush and coarser portions. To do this a Woolsorter would be necessary. But these are considerations for the future rather than for the present. It is certain that the Yorkshire Clothiers who principally attend the sales by auction seldom exceed from 18d. to 20d. (at the present market rates) per lb. in their purchases. At our last sale this was very remarkable—The West Country Buyers could not afford to pay ready money in consequence of their recent heavy losses and the general depression that prevails, whilst the Yorkshire men wanted nothing above 20d.—Had it not been for the accidental competition of two great shawl manufacturers I do not think the fine qualities would have sold at all. The Shawl & Stuff manufacturers were Messrs. Wood & Co. and another house, of Manchester—The lots they purchased are marked in the names of Swaine & Clarke, with the exception of the two best bales which Mr. Swaine bought for a clothier. This naturally leads to the subject of combing wools. It is possible that the demand for our wools for this particular branch of manufactures may continue and that the competition to which it gave rise in the late sale may increase on future occasions. The process of combing has been so much improved of late years that a much shorter staple can now be used for that purpose. Our wool combines strength with firmness in a much greater degree than any other and therefore is more suitable for combing. But the fabric in which it is thus, employed is not a great staple like the cloth trade. On the contrary it is subject to the caprices of fashion; so that one year it may be in great demand and the next almost wholly out of use. It would be folly therefore to give up a certainty for a possibility or even a probability. At present our fleeces appear to combine in a great measure both objects. Whereas were we to encourage length of staple with a view to the Combers, we should inevitably sacrifice the demand on the part of the Clothiers for whose purposes our wool is already more than sufficiently long. At the same time it is certainly most desirable to attend to the individual animals that produce the singularly long staple you speak of and to keep them separate as an experiment. It has also struck me that the shawls, merino stuffs &c., in which this description of wool is used are articles in the manufacture of which the Chinese would be likely to excel, and I have thought it might be desirable to send a few of the longest fleeces to Canton with specimens of the yarn, the shawl stuffs &c. into which it is here converted. If we could but obtain a demand for fine wool in China it might lead to very extraordinary results. These are times in which enterprise and energy as well as patience and perseverance are required, there is certainly a great similitude in the China crape to the articles I speak of. If a similar fabric could be produced from fine wool, what a demand might not there be for it not only amongst the small footed belles of China but amongst our own fashionables. To say nothing of the possibility of bringing wool into general demand for ordinary clothing purposes amongst the Chinese in general. It is well known that the taste for fine woollen cloths is increasing both in China and in the East Indies in general, and why should they not make it up themselves. The Lady Rowena, as you will probably have heard sold some of her wool at Rio where a cloth manufactury has been established, and I am told better prices were obtained than could have been got in London. The best bale of Lambs' wool was exceedingly admired. Its condition was however much against it and this was the case with the lambs' wool in general which would have fetched considerably higher prices had it been cleaner. It would be useless to have a longer staple in the lambs' wool as it cannot be combed. It is generally used for ladies' cloths and fine Kerseymeres and for hat making. It is of importance to keep the fleeces of the 18 months old flocks as much together as possible. Young wool is the favorite with the manufacturers who say that the wool of old sheep however fine never proves nearly so well. There was an evident and marked improvement this year in our wools which was generally noticed and some persons considered our fine Bales quite equal if not superior to those of the Australian Company, which altho' very small haired wanted the generous character of ours—you will observe that I divided the two best Bales and formed a third. This was done to try the effect of opening the fleeces. The improvement in their appearance after undergoing the operation was very great but as you will have perceived from the A/c sales was not successful in obtaining for us such satisfactory prices as last year. I hope my former letters will have prepared you for this. The average of the sale is 2d. a lb. higher than I had ventured to hope for tailing into consideration the depressed state of the market and the inferior condition of the wool. On the Catalogue now forwarded there are three valuations—the first is my own, the second, in red ink, the Broker's final and corrected valuation and the third, with a line drawn through it, their first from the samples, before they had particularly examined the Bales and became aware of their condition. The fractions are occasioned by this valuation being an average of three separate valuations to different individuals. The samples too were drawn, and that valuation made up before the setting in of the cold weather I have before spoken of. The greatest difference is in the Lambs' wool, in which the defect of washing was most observable. Had the wool been equally clean with the former years' importation and the weather at the time of the sale as mild I think I am not mistaken in supposing that the average would have been from 2s. to 2s. 2d.—My valuation of the fine Bales was entirely fanciful—Had it not been for the despondency of the West Country buyers they would probably have been realized, not because their quality as compared with German wools warranted a higher price than 4s. but because there is a disposition to try experiments upon them and when this is the case the purchasers do not consider 6d. or 1s. on a small quantity like this an object of any moment. The Company's wool derived the benefit of the little spirit of this kind that existed—being the greater novelty—one Bale of their's sold for 5s. 3d. and one for 4s. 7d. The prices given for their coarser qualities baffle all calculation. Some of the lots which sold for 1s. 11d. and 2s. were certainly not worth more than 15d. or 17d. They were well washed and lightly pressed, both these circumstances were much in their favour. Mr. Swaine shewed me his valuation after the sale and in the instances I speak of there was a difference of 50 per Cent. He also allowed me to compare his valuations of our wool with my own and I found them very similar. Upon the whole considering the state of the times I think the sale a very satisfactory one. Notwithstanding a depression of from 15 to 20 per Cent. in the market and the failure in the price of the finest qualities our average, which is after all the main point is a halfpenny per lb. higher than last year. The difference in the washing is also to be calculated—The result of the sale under all these circumstances proves an improvement of general quality and an increasing estimation of the wool on the part of the Manufacturers—The more the wool becomes known the more will this be the case. Few of the West Country Manufacturers yet know anything about it except from hearsay. It would be going out of the usual course to try it. The Saxons had precisely the same difficulties to contend with in the infancy of their woolgrowing. Spanish was then the only wool the West Country people would deign to use. Time will effect the same for us as it did for the Saxons. I believe I have now pretty well exhausted the subject interesting as it is. I shall however keep the letter open for a day or two, in case anything new should strike me—ever your affectionate Brother.

Jas. Macarthur.

A small lock of wool has just been given me from a fleece weighing four ounces which was found in a coarse Bale of Dr. Townson's wool. It is probably from a Saxon sheep and evidently from an animal in very low condition. A wager was laid by a Mr. Hughes a Wool Broker with a Saxon Merchant that they could not produce four ounces equal to it from all the German Wool in England and a month, I think, given them for the search—The comparison was made—and the Germans confessed themselves beaten. This is a very singular circumstance, and will probably be much talked about in the Colony I send you the sample.

No. 4. Chapel Street, West May Fair.

London 1st April 1830.

My dear William,

. . . . There are Mercantile letters from Sydney by a vessel from Hobart Town as late as the 7th November. These confirm the good accounts of abundant rains—So you have had another of those fearful droughts worse than all the former surely it is the last. The winter throughout Europe has been unprecedentedly severe—We had the thermr. on one occasion at 30° of cold (Reaumur) 67½° of Fahrenheit below freezing point or 35½° below Zero. I am very glad to have seen Germany, the Germans whom I like exceedingly and above all their Sheep. The very best are of the Escurial race so like our best Argonauts, that once or twice when some frolicsome young Don came nibbling at my buttons or rubbing his nose against my legs or when some coy velvet faced Donna looked up into my face with eyes and countenance expressing patient gentleness, I could scarcely persuade myself I was not in the Sheep Shed at Camden—But if the door opened the cold blast of the North and the dreary prospect of continuous snow instantly dispelled the illusion. This might seem mere nonsense to those who know nothing of the matter, but to you who know so well the importance of a family countenance in Sheep I am sure it will not appear so. Those with feathered legs and woolly faces are considered to be of an inferior race—Judicious breeders do not like to use them as Males. They consider them X bred, and as for the Negrettis with their ample folds of skin and large dewlaps they would as soon breed from a Cape Sheep as from one of them. I saw no sheep superior to our best, altho' I saw two flocks where there were a greater number of the very best quality—The protection from all inclemencies of season certainly gives the wool a greater advantage over ours in appearance; and they are very attentive to preserve evenness of growth by keeping the animals in equal condition. Their system is by no means so expensive or complicated as I had imagined—three men to 1000 sheep is the usual compliment—I think in a modified shape it might be introduced with advantage—But of this more hereafter. As my time is short, I must advert to one oil two other matters. At Brussels we saw a very simple contrivance for raising water, as old as the days of Archimides, but disused in England probably on account of its simplicity. We purchased one of the Instruments and shipped it for London. I expect it will be of very great utility in New South Wales. Perhaps it may be sufficient for all the purposes of irrigation—but on this head I am not quite so sanguine as Edward—There are some difficulties to be obviated, before it can be applied on a large scale—It is however very possible that this may be effected—At all events it will enable us to wash sheep at all times whether the river be high or low by raising the water into a cistern formed for the purpose—Two men can with one of these instruments raise water 9 feet at the rate of 5000 Gallons per hour.

An Insurance has been effected on the Wool (by this time I hope half way) to the amount of £3000—per Sovereign or Ships—British or teak built—the Underwriters insisted on this Clause or a much higher premium—which is now 60s. to return 4s. 9d. if shipped by the Sovereign. I must now close this hurried letter—

Believe me Yours ever,

James Macarthur.

The wool Market is improving as are things in general not only here but throughout Europe. I have not time to read my letter over—There is no intelligence of the Arch Deacon since he left Sydney.

Printed Auction Catalogue [1]

Printed Auction Catalogue [2]

Observations ** upon the various Objections urged in England upon the state in which Australian Wool is usually sent to market, together with some account of an improved mode of washing sheep practised at Camden.

[** By Wm. Macarthur.]

The state in which the wool of this Colony has hitherto been prepared for the British Market has been the source of much objection to the buyers in England and of serious loss to the Growers in Australia.

The object of this paper is to enumerate a portion of these objections and to enquire into the best mode of obviating them.

For convenience sake I shall divide them under two heads, viz:—

Those which arise from the nature of the pastures upon which the sheep are fed, and those which may be attributed to a defective mode of washing, and the absence of proper care in the subsequent operations.

I shall in the first instance advert to the former. A fertile source of objection is derived from the innumerable grass seeds, particles of dead leaves and sticks, but more particularly from the minute portions of charred wood and bark with which the fleeces abound, especially in dry seasons.

In the present circumstances of the Colony, and with our limited command of labour it would be very difficult, if not altogether impossible, to entirely obviate this class of objections. In favourable situations much may doubtless be effected by careful management, that is, by preventing the Sheep as much as possible from depasturing on bare and in brushy places, and by folding them every night upon a fresh spot well clothed with long grass. But so long as our native pastures continue to be encumbered with brambles, and underwood, with dead standing trees, and falling logs and branches, having their surfaces more or less charred by the fires, which unfortunately for several years past have been so universally prevalent and above all, so long as these fires continue occasionally to rage in situations abounding with the native apple tree (frequenting the finest tracks of sheep pasture) it would be idle to assert that the evil may, to a great degree be remedied. It is almost needless to observe that when the Colony shall be blessed with the return of the more genial seasons of former days much of this will cease.

The second ground of objection is one which is perhaps attended with greater loss to the growers, while it is apprehended that in most instances the remedy is more within his reach.

It is complained that Australian Wool when opened in England has usually a rough "staring" appearance with a harsh "gummy" feel, that the fleeces are frequently so matted together in the bales, that the entire force of a man is required to separate them, that the whole heap has a dirty or discoloured appearance, and in addition to these, that the weight of the fleeces is frequently increased in a disgraceful manner by the quantity of sand they contain.

To obviate these evils a mode of washing has been adopted at Camden which as it is believed to be different from any practised in Europe, it may be in the first instance advisable to point out the principles upon which it is founded.

Chemists have ascertained that there are two distinct kinds of yolk contained in the fleeces of sheep, one soluble in cold water without any addition, the other requiring either warm water or the assistance of soap, alkalis, etc. In France and Germany the fleeces are considered to be sufficiently well washed for the purposes of commerce, when the former of these is removed, this they readily effect by careful washing either on or off the sheep's back in cold water, and the wool thus washed, is said to lose only from 22 to 28 per cent, in the subsequent scouring for manufacture, and never to assume the harsh feel and staring discoloured appearance so strikingly observable in the generality of the fine wool of Australia after a few months keeping. In New South Wales after the most careful washing in running water the greater portion of the highly bred fleeces remain either in a dingy unmarketable state or if sufficiently "bright" so much charged with yolk that in the course of a very few days after they are shorn the fibres begin to assume "the harsh staring appearance" and to become so matted together and rough to the touch that much of their beauty is lost. By experiment we were also taught that the injury was in appearance merely, and that the process of scouring, which it undergoes previous to its manufacture into cloth, completely restores its original soft silky qualities. It was concluded therefore either that the species of yolk which required to use the warm water or soap to remove it exists in greater proportion in Australian fleeces, or that there are some causes which prevent the complete removal of the other species of yolk by simple river washing.

After many experiments the assistance of soap and water in washing the sheep was determined on, and the results for three successive seasons have been so entirely satisfactory that the same practise can be warmly recommended to those sheep holders who are anxious to export their fleeces in the most marketable condition.

The increased facilities which it affords more than counterbalance the additional expenditure, and so far from proving in any degree detrimental to the health of the animals, it is on the contrary very obvious that the risk of injury is materially diminished.

A few other improvements have been gradually adopted at Camden which the accompanying rough sketch will considerably assist in comprehending.

A        River Nepean.

BBB  Three pens numbered 1, 2 and 3 each sufficiently large to hold 5 to 600 sheep, and formed upon a moderately inclined plane with the River by cutting down the high steep banks. The sides nearest the water are supported by a breast work of logs 2 or 3 feet high.
No. 1 pen lowest down the stream has nothing in it worthy of remark. No. 2 is entirely slabbed over at bottom to prevent the feet of the sheep from touching sand and provided with a covering of thatch or boughs overhead, raised upon forked pole about 6 or 7 feet from the flooring so as to exclude the suns rays completely. No 3 is kept well littered down with clean straw, a fresh covering being laid on every morning over the old.

C         Two large Boilers or "Tripots" each capable of containing 80 gallons.

DD      Two large strong Tubs of oval shape about 4 ft. 6 in. long 3 feet wide and 2 feet deep each capable of containing 2 wethers or three ewes.

EE     Boarded Platforms (one in each of the Pens Nos. 1 and 2) from which the sheep are thrown into the River.

F        Washing Pen. A portion of the bed of the River enclosed with hurdles, brambles and stakes and preserved at the requisite depth by removing sand when necessary.

G       Dam or weir to force the current through a narrow opening into the washing pen. In situations where a perpendicular fall can be commanded it would cause a material saving of labour.

H        Landing place made of slabs, the lower end of it resting at the bottom of the River, and lying on an inclined plane against the Bank, so as to enable the sheep to walk up it without assistance and without danger of coming into contact with the land. It is contrived to lead either into No. 2 or No. 3 pens as may be required.

The following is the manner in which the different Pens, etc., are put to use:—

The sheep to be washed are on the evening previous to the washing driven into No. 1 Pen, and from thence thrown with their feet downwards from the patform E into the washing pen F and after having their fleeces well saturated with water by repeated plunging are landed by the landing place H into No. 2 Pen where they remain for the night. The men are directed in this operation to confine themselves to dipping the animals so as to wet the staple of the skin, and not on any account by rubbing to remove either dirt or yolk.

The experience of many years has taught us that the washing is much facilitated by having the sheep well soaked several hours previous to the washing. That portion of the yolk which is soluble in cold water is thus enabled to combine with the water taken up into the fleece (which the warmth of the animal's body assists in effecting) and to form a species of natural soap which materially assists in the subsequent operations.

As early as possible the following day the washing commences. The gang of sheep washers consists usually of 16 men, who are disposed of as follows:—

1 man to attend the Boilers and fill the tubs.

4 men at the tubs (2 to each).

2 men to catch the sheep and bring them to the Tubs.

2 men to take the sheep from the tubs to the River.

6 men in pairs in the river each provided with factory frocks and trousers and woolen wrapper round the right arm to enable men to use it with more effect in rubbing.

1 man as Overseer to superintend the whole.

The Tubs being filled with water from the boilers reduced by cold water to a temperature comfortable to the hands two or three sheep according to their size are placed in each their backs downwards. When plunged about one minute to allow the warm water to penetrate, one of them is made to stand up in the tub and soap is applied on the back from the tail to the neck and if requisite on the shoulders flanks and hips. The lower part of the fleece never requires soap. Experience alone can teach the quantity of soap necessary to be applied. It varies infinitely in different animals. Some require scarcely any others as much as would suffice for 8 or 10 of the average of the flock. The same flocks which in the year 1826 were washed even too cleanly with the consumption of about 4 lbs. of soap to each 100 sheep, were not sufficiently well washed in 1827 with more than 10 or 12 per 100, though a greater portion of labour was devoted to them.

While one man at each tub is applying the soap the other should rub it well in, taking care never to dip the sheep in the warm water afterwards, and to preserve as much of the soapy water in the fleece as possible.

When the yolk is supposed to be sufficiently well combined with the soap and water and the hard knots on the surface of the fleece to be pretty well softened, the animals are thrown into the river from the Plaform E and immediately taken by the pair of men stationed lowest down the stream and well rubbed all over commencing always with the back by a forcible action of the arm from the elbow downwards.

The animals are then passed on to the next pair and after another rubbing to the pair stationed opposite the landing place (where the current rushes through a narrow opening) who have it in charge not to land a sheep improperly washed. It must be observed that if the shelter of the covering in No. 2 Pen proves to be insufficient to prevent the fleeces of the sheep from drying on the surface before they are wanted at the tubs they must have water thrown upon them as often as may be requisite.

When the sheep wash well we are enabled in the manner just mentioned to wash from 80 to 100 ewes and from 60 to 80 wethers per hour. If it should happen that the sheep are washed too well, the evil may be easily remedied by allowing them to remain unshorn until a sufficient quantity of yolk has risen into the fleece.

It is however our general practice to shear them as soon as they are sufficiently dry, because it rarely happens that the washing is over done.

Of the subsequent operations it is not the object of the present papers to treat because ample directions may be found in works devoted to the subject. I shall content myself with observing that every precaution should be taken to preserve the sheep from dust and rain until they are shorn, and that the fleeces should be perfectly dry before the shearing.

As fast as they are clipped the coarse stained locks should be removed and as much of the extraneous substances contained in them as possible by shaking or beating them over a wire screen. They should immediately if possible be "thrown" into sorts and put into bags not more than 200 lbs. should be packed into bags of the usual size.

{Page 448}

Chapter XIII.


Camden February 18th 1824.

My dear John,

I wish to God Government could be induced to adopt some plan for supplying Settlers with Merino Rams of undoubted purity of blood at a moderate price, and with a credit of three years taking payment in provisions for the supply of the Troops and Civil Establishments—I would joyfully undertake to supply the Rams and take land in payment—by such a plan the fraudulent speculators would be completely counteracted. Mr. Reid's * sheep are already boasted of as the finest in the Colony—they are diminutive creatures with Wool worth about 20d. a lb.—Mr. Oxley I hear has upwards of 4,000 cross bred sheep—the offspring of these will speedily be transformed into pure Merinos and be sold to strangers who are anxious for the favor of the Surveyor-General—thus will the advancement of the Colony be retarded, the publick expectation in England be in a great measure disappointed and the Colony long linger on in poverty and increasing burden to Government. We have this year nearly 400 Merino Ewes—these will at present produce Rams quite equal to the supply of the Colony and the increase will hereafter certainly keep pace with the demands, most probably outrun it—if cross bred Rams be used the Sheep will fall off in constitution and the Wool be of very trifling value—the wool of our pure merino Rams is worth from 4s. 6d. to 7s. 6d. a lb., at the late depressed Market prices—The best Cross breds from 1s. 9d. to 2s. 3d., but so extensive is the combination that two strangers out of four are imposed upon and impressed with the belief that though my wool be fine the sheep are weakly when the fact is they are the strongest constitutioned sheep in the Colony—I care not what price Government take them at, let them fix it themselves and let me have the honor and satisfaction of seeing the universal spread of what I have so long and so anxiously laboured to establish and I shall be satisfied.

Your affectionate Father,

John Macarthur.

[* Commonly known as old Dr. Reid, Surgeon in the Navy.]

Ms. Catalogue

A few letters from Macarthur to his wife, and from Mrs. Macarthur to her sons John and Edward, and to her friend Miss Kingdon throw sidelights on the daily life at Parramatta and Camden at this time.


My dear Elizabeth,

By the cart you will receive a wild Turkey shot on the meadow yesterday—the first Budbury ** says ever seen in this neighbourhood—I suppose he had heard the fame of our improvements and sallied forth from the Bathurst Plains to ascertain the truth. If he should not eat so well as a civilised one we will send notice that we desire no more of their visits. . . .

[** One of the Camden Tribe of Aboriginals.]

I expect we have this morning more than 2,000 Lambs—220 in the Merino Flocks all in the finest health—and hitherto very few casualties. . . . .

Affectionate remembrances to all,

Ever My dear Elizabeth,


John Macarthur.

We had the grandest Corrobboree here last night I ever saw. There must have been at least a Hundred and Twenty men, with a Multitude of Women and children—they have been collected from all parts of the Coast—and to-day they rise and proceed to Bathurst to slay and eat—our Natives do not join the expedition, and look very suspiciously on this host—I fear they have made sad inroads on the poor Settlers' Corn over the water—ours of course is untouched—they observe a pretty general rule not to touch the resources near home, if supplies can be procured at a distance.

Camden Monday Morning May 24th 1824.

My dear Elizabeth,

Our wheat sowing was finished on Saturday and our Lambing draws slowly to a termination—This morning we commence Corn gathering and carrying—that terminated, the most arduous part of our Labours will be over until the Spring—I never saw such fine Lambs—and the Ewes are in excellent condition—The Herd of fat Oxen also present a very agreeable sight—the MacFarlanes who are excellent Judges of Cattle, say they never saw so good a lot at any Market or fair in Scotland—I think there will still be a demand for all we have to spare this Winter—which will be Eighty—averaging Eight hundred—can you calculate amongst you how many pounds shillings and pence they will amount to at 5d. per lb.?

I remain,

My dear Elizabeth,

Ever affectionately Yours

John Macarthur.


June 7th, 1824.

My dear Eliza,

The return of our beloved son Edward after an absence of sixteen years, was an event so joyful to us, that I hardly yet can think of it calmly. He arrived on the sixth of April, yet it seems to me but as yesterday. Since my last letter to you, our second daughter Mary has broken through the spell of celibacy, which seemed to encompass the house. She was united in marriage to the principal surgeon of this establishment. Mr. Bowman, in November last and I trust with a fair prospect of happiness. I cannot however, quite reconcile myself to the blank it has made in our Home circle.

Mr. Macarthur and our two youngest sons are at present at our estate at Camden. The former I am happy to say enjoying much better health, than he has done for years. Society here is fast changing its character. Numbers of strangers continually arrive, the greater part of whom are compelled to go back into the interior almost immediately. But we have a new Judge, new Law Officers with their families, who from the nature of their appointments must reside at Sydney.

Last week we received some very alarming accounts from the settlement at Bathurst. The natives had barbarously put to death, a number of stockmen in the service of individuals settled in that neighbourhood—plundered the huts—set fire to them—killed numbers of sheep and cattle—spreading terror and devastation around. A young Gentleman a proprietor at Bathurst called here on Saturday last. He had come from thence with several others to solicit the Governor for aid and assistance. He said he had seen the bodies of seven white men brought into the settlement the morning he set off. I know not what measures will be resorted to, in order to check these barbarities, which upon the whole are a far more aggressive nature than any that have before taken place. Heretofore when guilty of these outrages the natives have not been checked by lenient measures, on the contrary emboldened by success they have proceeded to commit further atrocities, until at length it has been found necessary to send a military force to terrify them into submission, and to prevent further acts of barbarity. It is now many years since so alarming a circumstance has taken place. Twice we have had our own stations molested, each time two lives were taken, the huts plundered, and set fire to. This happened when Mr. Macarthur was in England. The military were obliged to interfere, to prevent the further effusion of innocent blood.


June 7th 1824

My beloved Son,

. . . It is of consequence that what we have for our personal use should be appropriate and of superior quality. We wear our things out, and therefore wear them long—We have no opportunity of changing often . . . At this distance from the Mother Country mere articles of show are ridiculous. Our household linen and clothes I contend should be of good quality, both because they are better taken care of—are in the end more useful, certainly more respectable, and in the object of package and freight cost no more than trash—I want a supply of table linen and napkins . . . I should have written decidedly for regular half-yearly supplies before now—but that I have been held back from prudential considerations. The last cambric muslins we were greatly deceived in. Your sister made them up into dresses, they washed to pieces immediately—injured we suppose in bleaching.


6th February 1825.

My dear Eliza,

I write you a hurried letter by my dear Edward who is preparing to leave us the day after to-morrow. He has been with us ten months. When I look back I can scarcely credit it. His Father was very ill when he arrived, and I grieve to add is now confined to his bed, so that it throws an accumulated gloom around me. There is now such a perpetual influx of strangers of various classes in society. They are obliged to go back a great distance, and are subject to a thousand difficulties. But what situation has not its difficulties? This country seems of late to have attracted considerable attention, and such seems the increased desire, or necessity for emigration that every ship brings a host of passengers. An agricultural company * has been established in London in connexion with this Colony. The wealth and connexions of its members should obtain for this country additional interest at home.

[* The Australian Agricultural Company.]

Van Diemen's Land has hitherto been the favourite settlement for emigrants with capital. The climate being colder was an additional recommendation to Scotch settlers, in particular. We have now taken possession of a part of the coast ** in lat. 10 degrees I believe. The climate is said to be healthy. The object of this new settlement was the Trepang Trade with the Chinese. A King's ship from Plymouth named the Tamar (judge if the name did not interest me) commanded by Captain Bremer came to form this settlement. He remained here just sufficiently long to collect the various materials for the expedition, which so far has succeeded. Your account of the Bude Canal amuses me much! The powers of steam have now become such in their application to navigation that I know not whether I may not be tempted to re-visit England—especially now that we are told the voyage will be rendered practicable by way of the Isthmus of Darien or by Panama. This letter which was commenced to be conveyed to you by our beloved Son Edward, I was unable sufficiently to command my feelings to finish. I was pained so much before our parting that I could write to no one. It is now five weeks since we bad him farewell. We hope he is well on his voyage.


[** Port Essington.]


June 28th 1825.

My dear Eliza,

Your letters give me the greatest pleasure and your accounts of my dear aged parent are most satisfactory. My beloved Edward sailed in the Mangles for England in February last.

We have an addition to our society here in Archdeacon Scott. He accompanied Commissioner Bigge to this Colony, some three or four years since, and has now lately returned to it, at the head of the Church. He has fixed his residence at Parramatta, as being a more central spot. He will have much to do to regulate the Clergy, and organize the public Schools. Such as have been established have fallen into deplorable neglect. It will be an arduous task to set them to rights. This Gentleman's previous knowledge of the Country and the Colonial youth, together with his own energetic mind, admirably qualify him for this undertaking, which may the Almighty prosper.

We are now anticipating a change in our Government. Sir Thomas Brisbane is to be succeeded by Major General Darling. These changes are very painful to me, who am too advanced in life, to look forward with any satisfaction to making acquaintances. I shall always particularly regret parting with Lady Brisbane, and her Sister Miss Macdougall, more amiable, more unaffectedly right minded persons we must not expect to succeed them.

Mr. Macarthur has given 10s. an acre for a large tract of land contiguous to the estate granted to him by Lord Camden, for the purpose of establishing and increasing the Breed of Merino Sheep—in which it has pleased Providence he should be so successful. It will be some years before this land will be fully stocked. In Van Diemen's Land the same attention has not been paid to the growth of fine wool. It is fast filling up with settlers. This island is better situated than we are for the fisheries, which are becoming of importance to our rising communities.

I do not know whether you ever read the accounts of our Missions in the South Sea Islands. How much they have advanced the cause of Religion I am not sufficiently informed but I am enabled to speak of what was related here by a Gentleman who has visited Taheite. He was invited to dinner by the King whose table was laid and arranged in the mode of a well ordered English Table. Served by Taheitan servants with propriety and exactness. English was spoken at table and the conversation turned on popular subjects—politics, trade, literature, the advancement of religion, and general knowledge.



February 4th, 1826.

My dear Eliza,

Nothing like the splendour and gaiety you describe as contemplated at the ball at Bude can be exhibited for many years in Australia. But let me give you some account of one of our native dances—a "Corroboree" as they call it, when it is not unusual for two or three hundred to collect, to paint and deck themselves with green boughs, and in sets perform various grotesque figure dances, in most excellent time, which is given by others who sit apart and chant a sort of wild cadence.

These corroborees are always on bright moon light nights, some agreeable spot is always chosen for the exhibition amongst the woods. The number of small fires which are kindled causes just enough brilliancy to give affect to our beautiful woodland scenery; and throw sufficient light on the sable performers. This festivity is generally prolonged until past midnight, and always given to do honour to and entertain strangers, whom they call "Myall."

Some time ago the natives in the vicinity of Hunter's River as well as those beyond Bathurst were in open hostilities with the settlers. They have since been reconciled, but the country is now infested by another and more formidable Banditti, consisting of run away Convicts from the Penal Settlements who have been joined by others from Road Parties, Clearing Gangs, and Government Establishments. These desperadoes have contrived to arm themselves, some are mounted, and embodied in parties of from eight to fourteen. About dusk they take forcible possession of some farm, constrain the servants, place guard over them, and compel the proprietors to bring forth all their stores, which they appropriate at their pleasure, after rioting and destroying and carrying off all they can they leave the distressed family to lament, and seek redress at the peril of their lives, for these ruffians denounce all manner of vengeance in the way of reprisal. Only last week the farm of Captain King was so plundered. It ends with the capture, and ultimate death or banishment of these plunderers. Such are the perils to which settlers are occasionally exposed.

I rejoice to learn that Mrs. Macquarie obtained a pension after the death of General Macquarie. I very often think of her and her young Son Lachlan. She has left many memorials in the Government Grounds which she caused to be laid out, and planted and embellished. The trees thrive and are very ornamental. Sir Thomas Brisbane built an Observatory, but planted no trees. Lady Brisbane gentle and retired concerned herself not about affairs without. Her nursery was her occupation and delight. Two of her children were born here, Eleanor Australia and Thomas Austral, and the eldest Isabella she brought out an Infant. Our next Governor is General Darling. I hope you will continue to write to me as usual. Your letters always give me great pleasure by reminding me of scenes long past. The reflexions which they bring with them, are always useful, and I find they have a salutary effect upon my mind.

My Husband I rejoice to say enjoys better health at present than he has done for years. He unites with me in every affectionate remembrance,


To Miss Kingdon.


New South Wales,

March, 1827.

Thank you my dear friend for your obliging and acceptable letter dated September 1826. It gave me great pleasure to hear that you were well, and that my dear aged parent continues to be a wonder of a woman at her years. A lady here who saw my dear Mother gives me a most delightful account of her good looks and surprising activity. May she continue to possess the same excellent health as long as it pleases God to prolong her days.

Mr. Macarthur avails himself of my absence to make some necessary alterations and additions to our house.* Having been long at Sydney I shall write more immediately of occurences around me. Towards the close of the last year we were visited by the first line of Battle Ship which ever entered the "Heads" of Port Jackson. This was the Warspite commanded by Sir Tames Brisbane. The Volage a Frigate commanded by the Hon. T. Dundas, a son of Lord Melville accompanied the Warspite. A son of Earl Grey was one of the Lieutenants of the Volage, and there were besides the sons or near relatives of several Noblemen in this ship. They were received by the Governor and respectable part of the community with that hospitality which on a nearer acquaintance we found to be their due.

[* Elizabeth Farm.]

Sir James Brisbane who was accompanied by Lady Brisbane arrived in very bad health, the effect of a very severe illness contracted at Rangoon. He became better for a few days, and then relapsed into the same state of debility, which he had long suffered, and which at length terminated in his death. He was the first cousin of our late Governor Sir Thomas Brisbane, and much beloved as a brave and humane Officer and as a pious and good man.

Our present Governor General Darling entertains strangers frequently. There are evening parties once a week at the Governor's House. Mrs. Darling is perfectly accomplished in music and exerts herself to please all. Our present greatest annoyance is from a licentious Press. We have four editors of newspapers, who every week publish so much trash and pour forth such torrents of abuse against every person and everything respectable.

Mr. Macarthur who is a Member of Council suffers much anxiety on account of Colonial Affairs. We know ourselves to be under the superintendence of an Almighty Ruler, whose will it is that the destinies as well of Individuals, as of Nations should undergo, great change. Remember me to all those who hold me in their remembrance, and believe me, my dear friend,

Your ever affectionate,

E. Macarthur.

In 1840 she wrote to her son Edward.


Dec., 18th 1840.

My beloved Son,

I am now more especially induced to write to you to thank you my dear Edward for a letter received the evening before last. It is little more than a copy of one from Mr. Kingdon, so kind, so full of tender recollections that I was overcome by the perusal. Well, indeed do I remember the "East Park" the old Vicarage House, its aspect towards the Sea, from whence rude gusts would frequently shake and assail the apartments above more especially. Those scenes of my childhood and youth cannot be easily forgotten, nor will the memory of dear friends departed, nor of those that still remain once my young playfellows be effaced from my memory whilst it pleases God that I retain that faculty. Mr. Kingdon forgets my age, when he speaks of my return to my still dear native land. The time is too far past.

Thanks dearest Edward for all that you have done for my poor sister Mrs. Hacker. I pray that she and her family may establish themselves in comfort in the land of their adoption (Prince Edward's Island) where I trust there is a field for the exertion of their industry.

I can only say once for all that I am abundantly thankful to you my son for all you have so considerately done to meet my wishes, and at the same time to spare my feelings on this and also on former occasions.

I must conclude my dearest Edward with prayers for your continued health and everlasting happiness.

Your ever affectionate Mother,

Elizabeth Macarthur.


December 27th. 1830.

My beloved Edward,

I know it will give you pleasure, additional I should have said, to receive a letter from me, written from hence. I have been staying with William and Frederick Thompson nearly two months, and I expect it will be two or three weeks more before I shall make up my mind to return to Parramatta so well am I pleased with my sojourn here and so much has my health been benefitted by the change. I cannot tell you how delighted I have been with the wonderful improvement I daily discover—not in a fine House, mind, for the same little cottage is still all the residence—neatly kept—but it is solid improvements I see in every part of the Estate, I have as yet visited—Such as will be infinitely more striking and imposing to the eyes of a stranger, some years hence than now—but to me they are so apparent where so ere I bend my steps, that I cannot but feel astonished at the persevering industry of your Brother William who has so beneficially devoted his time and been so successful in planting and propagating to a very great extent—Trees, plants and flowers from almost every part of the world—It would delight you to observe the care he has taken of every thing introduced by yourself—and such I assure you make no inconsiderable figure in the garden and Plantations and it is with sweet recollections as we pass each tree or flower of yours, that we converse of you— of John—and the other dear Absentee—now we conclude on his voyage of return—We had flattered ourselves, that you dear Edward, would have accompanied your Brother and it is with reluctance, we forego the hope—but I forbear to enlarge on this topic at present—and shall only add that we should have rejoiced to have welcomed you home again. I write this to go by Dr. Cooke who is known to you, he paid us a visit here last week, together with Mr. Bowman and a Dr. Roberts—they staid two nights and seemed very pleased—the weather was warm—and William very busy with Sheep shearing and harvesting—the former operation has been protracted to an unusually late period on account of a succession of rainy weather, by which the River has kept at a height, which prevented the sheep from being washed—the last fortnight has been propitious, and I believe this day finishes the shearing of the grown Sheep—To-morrow the Shearers commence with the Lambs—you will be glad to learn that William is pleased with Mr. Koltz—his abilities as a Wool Sorter will be applied to a good portion of the Wool of the present year—Fifty bales or more were packed before his arrival—these of course will not be meddled with—Mr. Koltz is very unobtrusive and modest—he seems very much pleased with the Wool and very much surprised at its uniform good character—indeed Edward you would not be a little surprised to see the wool house just now—every bin full up to the brims with fleeces, all evenly and neatly piled and covered with cloths to prevent dust from soiling its present purity of appearance—there is a very manifest improvement in the Wool—which you would not fail to discern—this is a source of solid satisfaction to us all—for which and for many other blessings, my heart dilates, with thankfulness to Almighty God—the Giver of all Good.

I am not aware whether any part of the family will write by Dr. Cooke but myself—and your father writes to John by same ship about the ensurance for the Wool, I heard from Parramatta on Friday last all the dear circle there was well excepting that your father is low and complaining—Frederick Thompson is now at Parramatta he went there last Wednesday—by a communication from Mary—I find he was at Sydney on Friday most likely he will return here this evening or to-morrow, he is quite well and but lately returned from Argyle where he was staying with our friend Strathaird and a week or two with Hannibal and Maria at their residence at Arthursleigh—near the Wollondilly—You could not expect that Maria could undertake such a journey—I believe one great inducement was my being here—she staid here a week on her way being partly detained by rain—the party consisted of Hannibal, Maria (James who is becoming a fine young man) Charles, George and the Infant Arthur and nurse—we made it out very well were very merry—the cottage pretty full as you may guess, I expect the return of the party next Tuesday—I have had several letters from Maria—expressing much pleasure in everything around her—Since my stay here we have had several visitors—Of the number Walter Davidson's relative Mr. Walter Mathieson and his Canton friend Mr. Dent both William and myself were glad to show him all the civilities we could and they both promised to come again—We have also had the Brigade Major Colonel Snodgrass—well known in Peninsular History—and Mr. Colter the Collector of Customs, and we expected a visit from your old friend Colonel Lindsay accompanied by Capt. Forbes of the 39th, they had been making a little tour and by some mishap they lost their way got benighted—it poured with rain and the poor Colonel had to sit in the Bush all night under the shelter of his umbrella wet and comfortless—in the morning they made their way to the abode of the young Mr. McLeays where they refreshed themselves and returned to Sydney—apropos, these young McLeays ** are very agreeable neighbours to William—they come here frequently—having been well educated and really are well conducted—lively and conversant with the manners of the times their society tends to enliven the atmosphere around Camden where the topics of the day are brought forward in an agreeable manner—from their Father's situation as Colonial Secretary and the correspondence with their sisters—they hear early of all English intelligence—one of these sisters is lately married to Capt. William Dumaresq—another about 12 months since to Major Innes him you will remember—Mrs. Colonel Dumaresq—has two children—She appears to me to be but little adapted for the wife of a Settler in New South Wales—gentle and good natured I should think her—I believe the Colonel does not take so high a standard in his estimate of fortune to be acquired here—he has thrown away a great deal of money I believe and secured very little of comfort—I have run away from the subject of the MacLeays before I had quite done with it—Mr. George MacLeay the elder of the Brothers in this Country and who is known to your friend Major Williams accompanied Capt. Sturt also an aquaintance of yours—on a long tour into the interior. They were absent I believe six weeks, or more discovered rivers etc. etc. All which you will read in the Gazettes long since—now the younger Brother James is going an interesting voyage—The Comet a King's ship sails from here to Pitcairn Island for the purpose of removing the Islanders to Otaheite—another vessel goes in company to assist in the removal of those, as yet, innocent and happy people—Mr. James MacLeay and Capt. Walpole of the 39th go in the Comet as a little voyage of Curiosity and amusement—I have not heard whether the patriarch old Adam, was alive when the Island was visited last—He certainly must be "Christian." The young man "Friday October Christian" must now have reached middle age—I feel more than common interest in these people—considering Bligh's Tyranny as the cause of their very being—or at least of their being in such a situation.

[** Brownlow Hill.]

We have had hitherto a delightful Summer—seasonable rains and abundance of grass the stock are all in fine condition—but no demand for animal food—the prices so low that it is a marvel that it pays for taking to market—The harvest promises to be an abundant one and the maize crop is equally promising to be productive—I will not attempt to give any description of the Garden which you saw begun—it is now finished, and in the nicest possible order enriched with the finest fruit trees—and adorned with the choicest flowers—the walks are so well raised and gravelled that you may walk in the garden immediately after very heavy rain without soiling your Shoes—something rare in this new Country—Mr. McAlister has not descended from the highland since I have been at Camden—William had a letter from him a few days since in which he promises us a visit soon—Poor fellow he has had a narrow escape in a skirmish with a desperate set of Bushrangers—in which he was wounded but not severely, one of the mounted police under his command was also wounded and a Constable severely so—the desperados were all finally captured—tried at Bathurst and executed—there are a few men out here committing depredations on the most frequented roads in broad and open daylight—our Government is so feeble and inefficient—you would hardly credit that such things could be done with impunity—for any length of time—I have broken off to say that Frederick Thompson arrived from Parramatta about 2 o'clock—left all well there and communicates the pleasing intelligence of the arrival of our friend Dr. Fairfowl whom Frederick has seen and who gives most satisfactory accounts of you all—as soon as the Doctor gets released from his charge in the ship he will come to Camden—We have received two letters from James by two different ships the earliest dated the 12th of August wherein he tells us of his having taken his passage in the Sovereign and of accompanying John to Paris previous to his embarkation to return—another revolution in France!—I can scarce say I am surprised at it—Spain and Portugal next—I think will follow the example—what an eventful life has that of the Duke of Orleans been—him new called to the Throne of France—I have read so many of the works of the late Madame de Genlis that the history of the Orleans family is familiar to me—and now my dear, dear Edward let me thank you for kind communications entrusted to Mr. Koltz—for the valuable Book—and the pens with one of which I am now writing—whilst the paper that enrolled them—lies before me with your caution, that they should be "carefully wiped" so like yourself, all your gifts prove useful, and indeed this is particularly so—I cannot see to round a pen, and this has frequently prevented me from writing—Frederick's account of your father, is that he is still very low "wonders what takes John to Paris at this agitated time"—and more at a loss why James should accompany him—We congratulate you in your appointment—your friend the Marquis has certainly shown you very marked attention, I should think him a kind and good man—in my early days I have heard the beauty of his Mother celebrated—if she was as I believe Lady Charlotte Bertie—Did you ever hear the Marquis or his Mother the Dowager Marchioness mention Lieut. Forster whom his Lordship's Aunt Mrs. Lisle took an interest in?—this Mr. Forster married a sister of Mrs. Abbotts—he commanded a packet at Falmouth and was living in great comfort with his family when I last heard of them. I was very sorry to hear so poor an account of the health of Mrs. Davidson, her Brother looks another person since he came to Port Jackson—Mr. MacQueen retires from Parliament and goes abroad I suppose to nurse his funds—A miserable business he has made of his speculations in New South Wales, I cannot but feel concerned at these failures, they are commenced rashly and unadvisedly, and upon a scale than cannot answer—I shall say nothing of Parramatta—as I find by a note from Emmeline, brought by Frederick that she has written to you—William is too much occupied and too busy to write—you will have a letter from him by the Wool ships—I trust you will have welcomed to England our dear kindhearted friend T. H. Scott—I had fully purposed writing to him fifty times—and as often my intention has been put aside by an unaccountable feeling—if I could once hear he was at home I could write to him with ease—he has caused a great blank in our Society—I am gratified to find you occasionally see Mr. Bigge and pleased with your mention of Genl. Foveaux and in short, am pleased with all your communications—Dear John's letter to his sister by Mr. Koltz was a treasure—your father was gratified—he wrote to tell me so—Your warm hearted friend McAlister will scream with joy at your remembrance of him when he gets the Pocket Book—A number of the old Servants enquire for you amongst the number T. Herbert who has been in our service 28 years—And now beloved Edward I shall conclude with earnest prayers for the health and prosperity of yourself and our beloved John—to whom I do not write because this letter will answer the same purpose of assurance that you are as dear as ever to me though so long separated—William and Frederick are out, walking to the Shearing Sheds or Wool House I may add the kind and affectionate remembrances of both—This goes to Parramatta by a Cart only, in the morning, to be forwarded from thence to Sydney—it is nearly dark and I cannot write by candle light therefore I conclude myself, My dearest Edward,

Your affectionate Mother,

E. Macarthur.

I cannot even read over to correct what I have written make allowances for all errors.

Saturday, May 26th, 1832.

From Woolloomullah.

What a name!

My dearest Edward,

I believe it is just a fortnight since I commenced a letter to you before, it was not concluded until a day or two after—this letter together with one from James to you, and one from him to Mr. Herb. Davis, were sent by the Platina in charge of Dr. Rutherford—this vessel sailed yesterday week—I write now by the Mary reported to sail for London about to-morrow—since my last your letter written from East Stoke Park on Xmas Eve has been received and has given us much pleasure—it is just the place I would have wished you to be at that season—your account of the family is very delightful and highly gratifying to us all—I have had the pleasure of a visit here from your sister Elizabeth since my last—they staid two nights and we walked to the Botanic Gardens together with Mary and Mr. B. I believe we sauntered about three hours or more looked at many things you had contributed to the collection, and amongst the number the Arbutus—it had grown out of my knowledge it is just now breaking into flower, there had been no plants propagated from it, strange to say, it has been disfigured by repeated and injudicious laying the branches—there is a new garden formed contiguous, between the old—and "Farm Cove" which is the boundary of the new—it is laid out after the plan of the "Glasgow Botanical Garden" of Dr. Hooker—and will be very beautiful—the introductions from Moreton Bay promise to be very ornamental—it assumes already a very tropical character—but as I intend this to be a short letter I must not let the Botanical Gardens run away with my pen—you will have heard of poor Turner's death and that Mr. Allan Cunningham who was many years a collector of plants in this country for Kew Gardens is applied for from hence to succeed Turner—I wish he may have the appointment, he is at present unemployed—as I learned from Dr. Cook who called here yesterday and told me he should certainly sail in about a week, he has been to Parramatta—and your two Brothers have been here staid a night and returned—your father also paid us a visit for a day he took home Elizabeth with him he is better dear Edward but still too restless—I think, however, he will gradually become less visionary the sittings of the Council is postponed to the 20th July—the Governor continues to be much afflicted by the loss of Mrs. Bourke he still continues at Parramatta—James told me he had an appointment to see him on some business respecting the magistracy this morning—and here let me stop to tell you that I am keeping house for your sister who with the Doctor and little James have taken flight to Parramatta purposing to return before it is dark they set out at half past eight—the Infant is left at home I have been staying here little more than three weeks and this is the third time I have written to you—I wish you may have patience to decipher my letters—We have intelligence from England as late as the last week in January—I have read Mr. Bowman's paper and observed upon the death of the unfortunate Colonel Burton—what an unhappy act and to what a state of feeling must he have been excited!—We have had no further intelligence from the explorers into the Interior, under the direction of Captain Forbes of the 39th if they should discover a River navigable to the Sea it will be of great importance to the Country. Our last accounts from Argyle are that all there are well, I have seen no late letter from Frederick. Hannibal at present is at his estates on the Wollondilly—he is expected to return in about a week he will see Frederick and MacAlister—If you communicate with T.H.S. soon, tell him I saw Mrs. Charles Cowper this week and old Mr. Cowper they came here to visit me—the Lady looks pretty well, but says her Husband is far otherwise—he had received a short letter from our friend dated in November last from Whitfield—I suppose you correspond frequently particularly as you are so much in the way of getting "franks." I shall look (with some impatience) for letters from you next month, when we may conclude you will have received our letters of last October—I must not revert to the feelings under which those were written—believe my dear Edward that you occupy my thoughts daily, and although I know you have many kind friends and that you need not be more alone than it is your desire to be—yet do I feel that none of those, can be what, he was, whom perhaps we selfishly lament! I hope George continues with you—it is a great comfort to have a domestic to whom we have been accustomed and who is faithful. My letter goes this evening to Mr. George Burn your acquaintance of old—he is the agent for the ship Mary he is a good natured, obliging man—he and Mrs. Burn called here a day or two since the lady is of the Roman Catholic faith—a very inoffensive person, educated in a Convent. You say nothing of the good Marquis and his family in your last letters—pray continue to forward to us any little billets you receive if practicable. I shall now finish for the present—I may add a line in the Cover when the travellers return to give you the latest news from Parramatta—accept my dear Edward of my prayers for your health and comfort.

Your affectionate Mother,

E. Macarthur.

Pray remember us kindly to Walter Davidson and Mrs. Davidson.

Mr. Bowman and Mary are returned quite well James and Emmeline accompanied them on their way, beyond Home Bush the estate of Mr. Wentworth—you will receive a letter from James with this—Mary tells me, he sets out for Camden to-morrow leaving William at home who is complaining of a slight sore throat. And now adieu here all send their love.

{Page 470}

Chapter XIV.


The year 1831 brought sorrow to the Macarthurs in the death of their second son John, who was suddenly cut off just as he had attained a position as an Equity Barrister in the London Courts, which would soon have led to high professional distinction. This was a heavy affliction, not merely to his family and friends, for the young barrister while living in London suffered no fair opportunity to escape him of advancing Australian interests in various important matters, thus practically carrying out the lessons instilled into the minds of all Macarthur's children, that it was their duty to promote the welfare of their native country by every means in their power.

His mother had not seen him since she parted from him in 1800 (with that self-sacrifice that is born of true love) for purposes of education, but their letters show how strong the bond between mother and son remained during the years of separation. He wrote very fully of his life and pursuits, sent books, papers, and letters, which she read and commented upon, and at the same time kept him informed of the daily round of the family at Elizabeth Farm and Camden.

Macarthur's last years were spent between the two homes, and at Camden he watched the building of the present house in which he never lived. He died on April 10th, 1834, at The Cottage (now the Home Farm at Camden Park), and is buried on a site chosen by himself where he had been in the habit of walking to enjoy the cool breeze and beautiful view over the Cowpastures, and whence he could see the flocks of sheep and herds of horses and cattle contentedly grazing, and watch the crops spring up—for many acres were under cultivation.

Their friend, Archdeacon Scott, wrote of him:—

"Possessed of a mind powerful and energetic. . . . my valued and esteemed friend. . . . displayed on all occasions, when called forth a judgment and clear apprehension of events. . . . rarely even united in one mind. . . . Our best consolation is in the high character for honor and intergity he has left behind him, and as he lived beloved by all his family so he has died respected by all who knew him. . . . In all the discussions I had with him I never left him but with improvement and increased esteem and respect."

These notes on his character were written by James.

"My father was a man of quick and generous impulses loth to enter into a quarrel, but bold and uncompromising when assailed and at all times ready to take arms against oppression or injustice, whether in his own case or that of others, and more especially of those who claimed his aid from inability to maintain their own just rights. He was well read in English literature and frequently quoted passages from Shakespeare, Hudibras Spenser and Milton as well as from Addison. Of Walter Scott, and the finer passages of Byron, he was a great admirer. Crabbe too was a favourite author. In politics he was from natural inclination and from admiration of the man, of the school of Pitt. He preferred Pitt's oratory to that of Fox, though a great admirer of the latter. But he was no narrow minded Tory either in his opinions or practice. I should say that he had formed himself almost too much upon the old Roman model, but nevertheless he bore no implacable animosities and was a generous adversary when opposed by men who differed from him in a fair and manly way. He admired the character of Coriolanus; Scipio Africanus still more. The shining characters of Ancient History, as well as of modern times, were frequently subjects of conversation with his family. In his happier moods the power of illustration with which his conversation abounded was most remarkable, and his discourse was imbued with a spirit of truly Christian benevolence and calm philosophy which made him a delightful and most instructive companion."

Elizabeth Macarthur's earnest hope that she might again see her mother, her friends, and the home of her childhood, was not fulfilled.

She died beloved and revered by all who knew her in 1850, and is buried beside her husband at Camden Park.

Through all the difficulties and trials that beset her path, her Christian spirit shines forth, and in all the letters to her children, with whom she corresponded regularly until her death, there is found no complaining or ill-natured word.

There were eight children of the marriage:—

Edward, who became Major-General Sir Edward Macarthur. He married Sarah Neill, a sister of General Neill, of Lucknow fame.

James, who died in infancy,

John, who died in London in 1831.

James, who married Emily Stone, of Stone's Bank, Lombard Street. Their only child, Elizabeth, married Captain Arthur Onslow, R.N.

William, who lived at Camden Park with James, and was Knighted for his work as a Commissioner for Australia at the Paris Exhibition of 1855.

Elizabeth, who died unmarried in 184—.

Mary, who married Dr. Bowman, of the General Hospital, Sydney.

Emmeline, who married Sir Henry Watson Parker, and died at Sheen, Surrey, England, in 1888.

Mrs. John Macarthur

Let us bring the volume to a close with the only letter that can be found from Elizabeth Macarthur to her husband.


Friday,                     1830.

My dearest MacArthur,

We had the pleasure to receive Mr. Koltz on our return from a little ramble, which we had been induced to take after dinner over the Stony range—and to return and take a look at the Vineyard, to observe how the vines looked after so much rain—we did not think Mr. Koltz would have made his way out so soon—however, William was well pleased to see him—and they soon entered into interesting conversation concerning the wool—this morning, as nothing else was to be done they have been examining what wool remains in the wool house unpacked. Mr. Koltz seems to approve of its condition and general character—the rain having again recommenced—there is little or nothing to be done—Mr. Koltz appears all that you say—and I hope he will prove a valuable acquisition to this establishment—and relieve our dear William from some portion of his cares—I have read all the English letters which cost me a great application of Eye-sight—I could not get through them at all last night—Our dear and beloved sons—their images seemed to hover round me, when I retired to rest—God bless them—and strengthen them in those virtuous dispositions and honorable qualities, which you have at an early age impressed upon their minds and imparted to them, by example. I hope dear James is on his way out by this time—John's letter to his sister tho' short is full of information—he seems to think the affairs of England in a very unsettled state, I perceive—I hope you have recovered from the oppression you were suffering from yesterday—I had something of it myself and I expected from my feelings, that a change again in the weather was about to take place—we had a great deal of lightning last night—Many thanks for your offer of sending Macdonald up with the new carriage for my accommodation—if it would please God to let us have fair and somewhat settled weather again—I should indeed be very glad to have it here. William will I dare say write and tell you all that all here is well as can be expected—I have written a gossiping letter to Elizabeth and must write a line or two to Em.

Believe me to be, my dearest MacArthur,

Ever your affectionate wife,

E. Macarthur.

{Page 475}


Account of Stock Sales extracted from Day Books.

£ s. d.
T. C. Harrington Bay Filly, 3 yrs 60 guineas
     Ditto Young Malvinia 50 guineas
James Thompson 25 wethers at 30s. 37 10 0
Tuckwell 20     "                " 30 0 0
Mr. Iceley 10 x-bred rams at 50s. 25 0 0
Capt. Collins,
         of the Regalia  
2 Bulls at 25 guineas 52 10 0
   Ditto 20 x-bred rams at 50s. 50 0 0
   Ditto 10 wethers at 30s. 15 0 0
   Ditto Horse, Old Smiler 50 0 0
   Ditto 3 yr. old filly 45 0 0
Major Ovens Grey Helen and her 2 yr.   
   old gelding
100 0 0
Mr. Iceley 1 2yr. old Bull 26 5 0
Mr. Rankin 3 x-bred rams, 1st quality 15 0 0
Edward Riley 4 merino rams, 1st
70 0 0
Dr. Douglas 6 Rams 7 gns., 1 Bull 30
75 12 0
Mr. Redfern 4 merino rams, 2nd
70 0 0
   Ditto { 2 x-bred, 1st quality.
{ 2        "     2nd    "   
15 0 0
Mr. Oxley 2 2yrs. old and 1 yearling
   merino ram, 2d. quality
52 10 0
Mr. Harrington 4 yr. old mare and foal 90 0 0
Mr. Little Merino ram, 1st quality 20 0 0
   Ditto 3 x-breds, 1st quality 15 0 0
C. Throsby, Esq. Merino ram, 1st quality 20 0 0
Government 9 rams at 15 dollars 75
   cents each
Mr. Scott 2 merino rams, 2nd
35 0 0

Account Sale of Merino Rams.
£ s. d.
Aspinall and Brown      4 at £12 10s. 50 0 0
Edward Riley 12 at £12 10s.           150 0 0
Capt. King 4 at £12 10s. 50 0 0
Wm. Hayes 3 at £11 5s. 33 15 0
R. Scott 2 at £12 10s. 25 0 0
John Oxley 4 at £12 10s. 50 0 0
   Ditto 1 at £10 10 0 0
Messrs. Cox. 7 at £12 10s. 87 10 0
   Ditto 7 at £11 5s. 78 15 0
Geo. Innes 4 at £12 10s. 50 0 0
Mr. Rankin 2 at £12 10s. 25 0 0
Mr. Forbes 2 at £11 5s. 22 10 0
—— ——————
52 rams £632 10 0
Average Price £12 3s. each.
Mr. Dangar 4 x-bred rams 16 0 0
V. Jacobs 4 x-bred rams 16 0 0
W. Cordeaux 4 x-bred rams 16 0 0

Account Sale of Rams sold at Parramatta by Auction,
September 14th, 1825.

Purchaser. Stock. Price.
£ s. d. £ s. d.
Mr. Webber 3 4 yr. old rams  
at £11 10s.
34 10 0 34 10 0
Mr. Boughton 1 4 yr. old ram 11 0 0 11 0 0
Mr. Corry 1     "      " 10 5 0
   Ditto 1     "      " 11 0 0
————— 21 5 0
Mr. Glennie 1     "      " 7 0 0 7 0 0
Mr. Mclntyre 1     "      " 9 10 0
   Ditto 1 3 yr. old 18 10 0
   Ditto 1     "      " 18 10 0
   Ditto 1     "      " 22 5 0
————— 68 5 0
Dr. Throsby 1 4 yr. old 15 15 0
   Ditto 1 3 yr. old 19 5 0
   Ditto 1     "      " 18 0 0
   Ditto 1     "      " 20 5 0
————— 73 5 0
Mr. Oxley 1 4 yr. old 18 0 0
   Ditto 1 3 yr. old 13 5 0
   Ditto 1 yearling 16 10 0
   Ditto 1       " 19 0 0
   Ditto 1 4 yr. old 17 0 0
————— 83 15 0
Mr. R. Scott 1 2 yr. old 15 5 0
   Ditto 1 yearling 14 5 0
   Ditto 1       " 16 5 0
   Ditto 1 3 yr. old 15 15 0
————— 61 10 0
Mr. Chas. Thompson 1 yearling 18 0 0
   Ditto 1 3 yr. old 19 0 0
————— 37 0 0
Orphan School,
     per Mr. Busby
1 yearling ram 15 10 0
   Ditto 1       "          " 16 10 0
   Ditto 1       "          " 14 10 0
   Ditto 1 3 yr. old 19 0 0
   Ditto 1     "      " 24 0 0
   Ditto 1     "      " 17 0 0
————— 106 10 0
Dr. McLeod 1 yearling 17 10 0
   Ditto 1       " 21 10 0
   Ditto 1 3 yr. old 21 0 0
————— 60 0 0
Mr. Lawson
     (Dr. Douglas)
1 yearling 22 0 0
   Ditto 1       " 33 15 0
   Ditto 1       " 29 0 0
   Ditto 1 3 yr. old 21 5 0
————— 106 0 0
Mr. Geo. Forbes 1 yearling 17 10 0
   Ditto 1 3 yr. old 17 15 0
   Ditto 1     "      " 20 10 0
   Ditto 1     "      " 21 5 0
————— 76 10 0
Mr. Howe A 3 yr. old ram 23 0 0 23 0 0
Bought in for
         Dr. Bowman
1 2 yr. old 22 15 0
   Ditto 1 yearling 15 15 0
   Ditto 1       " 27 0 0
   Ditto 1       " 23 0 0
   Ditto 1       " 25 0 0
   Ditto 1       " 21 10 0
————— 135 10 0
Average of sale 50 Rams at  £18 2s. 905 0 0

General Account sales—continued.

Mr. Macalister 5 yearlings at £18 2s. 90 0 0
James Thompson
100 wethers at 32s. 6d. 162 10 0
David Johnston 1 Merino ram, 2½ years
   old, at average of
18 2 0
Mr. Macalister 132 ewes at £3 3s.
A. A. Company 10 Merino rams at £16 160 0 0
   Ditto 7 Bulls at 20 guineas 307 0 0
A.A. Coy. 760 Ewes at £5 5s. 3,990 0 0
   Ditto 15 wethers at £l 10s. 22 10 0
T.C. Harrington Bay mare, 3 yrs 60 0 0
A.A. Coy. 10 mares at £52 10s. 525 0 0
Collins 30 wethers at 28s.
A.A. Coy. Grey gelding, 5½ yrs. 50 0 0
Sold at Parramatta      Bay gelding, 5 yrs. 50 0 0
Thos. Iceley, Esq. 4 2yr. old Bulls at £25 100 0 0
John Lewis Chesnut-Bay Filly 40 0 0
Collins 30 wethers at 27s.
R. Brooks 2 rams. 1st quality at
20 0 0
James Thorn 10 wethers at 23s.
Messrs. O'Brien 1 Merino ram, 1st
10 0 0
Messrs. O'Brien 2 Merino rams, 2nd
15 0 0
   Ditto 2 Merino rams, 3rd
10 0 0
Mr. Futter 8 Merino rams, 1st
80 0 0
   Ditto 1 Bull, 25 guineas 26 5 0
Mr. Busby 1 ram, 1st quality 10 0 0
   Ditto 1 ram, 2nd quality 7 10 0
   Ditto 2 rams, 3rd quality 10 0 0
Capt. Coghill 2 rams, 1st quality 20 0 0
Mr. Gaffin 3 Merino rams, 2nd
   quality, £7 10s.
22 10 0
Alex Warren
      (Hunter River)
3 Merino rams, 2nd
   quality, £7 10s.
22 10 0
Wm. Balcombe 4 Merino rams, 2nd
30 0 0
Mr. Bowen 3 yr. grey gelding 42 0 0
Mr. Andrew Allen 3 Merino rams at £10 30 0 0
Mr. Galbraith 5 yr. old, Brown Duchess 63 0 0
Orphan Institution 2 Bulls at £25 50 0 0

W. C. Penfold & Co., Printers. 183 Pitt Street. Sydney.

{Page 481}


Arndell, Surgeon, to Governor King
Atkins, Judge Advocate, to John Macarthur
from John Macarthur

Banks, Sir Joseph, from Governor King
Bathurst, Lord, from John Macarthur
Brisbane, Governor, from Barron Field
from Judge Advocate Wylde
Bigge, Commissioner, to John Macarthur
from John Macarthur

Calvert, Adjutant, to Lieut. Colonel Johnston
from Lieut. Colonel Johnston
Camden, Lord, to Governor King
from Governor King

Davidson, Walter, from Edward Macarthur
from John Macarthur
Deputies to Woollen Manufacturers

Fennell, Captain, from James Macarthur
Field, Barron, to Governor Brisbane
from John Macarthur

Goulburn, Secretary, to John Macarthur
to Wm. Macarthur
to Watson-Taylor
from John Macarthur
from Watson Taylor

Hall, George, to Governor King
Hassall, Rowland, to Governor King

Jamieson, James, to Governor King
Johnston, Lieut. Col., to Adjutant Calvert
to Lord Liverpool
to Officers
from Adjutant Calvert
from Officers

King, Governor, to Sir Joseph Banks
to Lord Camden
to John Macarthur
to Edw. Wood
from Thos. Arndell
from Lord Camden
from Geo. Hall
from R. Hassall
from J. Jamieson
from John Macarthur
from Ed. Robinson
from T. Rowley
from Jas. Sheppard
from Ed. Wood
Kingdon, Miss, to Mrs. Macarthur
from Miss Macarthur
from Mrs. Macarthur

Liverpool, Lord, from Lt.-Col. Johnston

Macarthur, Edward, to W. Davidson
to James Macarthur
to John Macarthur
to Mrs. Macarthur
from Mrs. Macarthur
from General Tench
Macarthur, Hannibal, to John Macarthur
Macarthur, James, to Captain Fennell
to John Macarthur
to Wm. Macarthur
from Ed. Macarthur
from John Macarthur, Jr.
Macarthur, John, to Judge Advocate Atkins
to Lord Bathurst
to Commissioner Bigge
to Committee of Privy Council
to W. Davidson
to Barron Field
to Barron Field
to Secretary Goulburn
to Governor King
to John Macarthur, Jr.
to Mrs. John Macarthur
to Lieut. Smith
to Lt. Gov. Sorell
to Capt. Waterhouse
from Judge Advocate Atkins
from Commissioner Bigge
from Secretary Goulburn
from Governor King
from Edward Macarthur
from Hannibal Macarthur
from James Macarthur
from John Macarthur, Jr.
from Mrs. John Macarthur
from Wm. Macarthur
from Lt. Gov. Sorell
from Capt. Waterhouse
Macarthur, John, Jr., to James Macarthur
to John Macarthur
to Mrs. Macarthur
to Wm. Macarthur
to Wilmot-Horton
from John Macarthur
from Wilmot-Horton
Macarthur, Mrs. John, to Miss Kingdon (see Kingdon)
to Edward Macarthur
to John Macarthur
to Mrs. Veale
from Miss Kingdon
from Edward Macarthur
from John Macarthur, (see Macarthur John)
from John Macarthur, Jr.
Macarthur, Miss, to Miss Kingdon
Macarthur, Wm., to John Macarthur
from Secretary Goulburn
from James Macarthur
from John Macarthur, Jr.

Officers, to Lieut. Col. Johnston
from Lieut. Col. Johnston

Privy Council, from John Macarthur

Robinson, Ed., to Governor King
Rowley, T., to Governor King

Sheppard, Jas., to Governor King
Smith, Lieut., from John Macarthur
Sorell, Lieut. Governor, to John Macarthur
from John Macarthur

Tench, General, to Edward Macarthur

Vansittart, Nicholas, from John Macarthur
Veale, Mrs., from Mrs. John Macarthur (q.v.)

Waterhouse, Captain, to John Macarthur
from John Macarthur
Watson-Taylor, to Secretary Goulburn
from Secretary Goulburn
Wilmot-Horton, J., to John Macarthur, Jr.
from John Macarthur, Jr.
Wood, Ed., to Governor King
from Governor King
Wylde, Judge Advocate, to Governor Brisbane

{Page 485}


Abbott, Lieutenant
   Attack on Gov. Phillip
   Corroboree of
   Depredations of
   Habits of
   Murder by
   Names of
   Presents to
   Schools for
   Small Pox attacks
   Theories of
Accounts of Insurrectionary Government
"Admiral Gambier", ship—
   Macarthur on board
   Harris on board
   At Camden
   Macarthur's views on
Anderson, John
"Argo", ship—to carry Spanish sheep
Army in Spain—conditions of
Arndell, Thomas—opinions re sheep
Arthursleigh—residence of H. Macarthur
Atkins, Judge Advocate—
   Associate of Crossley
   Altercations with Court
   Charged with swindling
   Issues warrant for Macarthur's arrest
   Protest against, by Macarthur
Australian Agricultural Coy.—
   Engagement of Button
   Formation of
   Minute Books of
   Sale of Wool
Australians, Macarthur's opinion of

Banks, Sir Joseph—
   Attempts to prevent export of sheep from England
   Cautions Macarthur re exporting sheep
   Character and habits of
   Coolness with Macarthur
   Interference of
   Natural History specimens for
   Receives Gov. King's letter re Macarthur's return
   Supports Bligh's cause
   Wool, opinion of N.S.W.
Belmont, grant of, to Davidson
Bent, Judge Advocate—
   Views of
   Succeeded by Wylde
Berry, Alexander—establishment
Bigge, Commissioner—
   Character of
   Departure for Tasmania
   Horses lent by Macarthur
   Interview with Macarthur
   Inquiry by
   Macarthur's proposals to
   Proposed as Governor
   Quarrel with Macquarie
   Residence at Sydney
   Report of
   Secretary of
   Seeks Macarthur's advice
Blaxcell, Garnham—accounts with
Blaxland, John—refusal to pay Bill
Bligh, Governor—
   Arrest of urged
   Arrest, Elliot's opinion of
   Arrival in England
   Conduct of
   Created Admiral
   Deposition of
   Disputes with Macarthur
   Examination of "Parramatta's" crew
   Meeting with Macarthur
   Opposition to Macarthur
   Orders Macarthur's arrest
   Proceedings against
   Protégé of Banks
   Quarrel with Captain Short
   Receives a pension
   Recommended as Governor
   Refusal to intervene against Atkins
   Tench's opinion of
Botanical Gardens
Bowman, Dr.—
   Disliked by Macquarie
   Friend of Bigge's
   Hospital, reforms of
   Married to Mary Macarthur
Brisbane, Sir James—Commander of H.M.S. "Warspite"
Brisbane, Sir Thomas—
   Action over Camden grants
   Appeal to, from Macarthur
   Children of
   Departure of
   Friction with Secretary
   Instructions re Macarthur's grants
   Observatory of
   Offers Macarthur a magistracy
   Proposed Governor
   Visit to Camden
   Withdrawal of offer of magistracy
Brogden, Mr.—
   Advocates Macarthur's return
   Chairman of Committees
   Criticises colonial finance
   Member of Parliament

   Grants at
   Improvements at
   Macarthur's promise of grant at
   Occupation of grant at
   Purchase of land at
   Store building at
Camden Grants—
Camden's promise of
   Exchange of Foveaux's land
   5,000 acres
   4,368 acres for rams
   Negotiations re
   Objections to
   Offer of Mountain grant
   Purchase of 5,700 acres
Camden, Lord—
   Grants Macarthur 10,000 acres
   Orders Macarthur's grant
   Orders Davidson's grant
   Area of
   Lease of
   Offer of to Macarthur
   Reserve at
Coats from N.S.W. wool
Commercial ventures
   Assigned to Macarthur
   Inquiry re proposed
   Master's power over
   Rations of
   Wages of
Cook, Mr. Secretary—
   Opinion of Macarthur's actions
   of his trial
   Supports Governor Bligh
Court Martial—
   On Johnston
   On Wright
Cowpastures (see Camden)
Criminal Court, Macarthur before
Crossley, George—
   Associate of Atkins
   Prepared information against Macarthur
Cunningham, Allan

Dalrymple, Port—condition of settlement at
D'Arietta—receives a grant
Darling, Major General—appointment as Governor
Davidson, Walter—
   Arrival in Sydney
   Assigned servants of
   King's opinion of
   Nephew of Sir W. Farquhar
   Receives grant of land
Dawes, Lieutenant
Dollis, Alexander
Douglas, Dr.—
   Opposition to Macarthur
   Receives land grant
"Duke of Kent", ship—
   Jamieson a passenger

   Directions re wool pressing
   Opinions of wool
   Wool auctioneer and broker
Edwards, Thomas—Macarthur's servant
Elizabeth Farm—
   Acreage of
   Description of
   Grant of
   Grants near
   Laborers at
   Near Parramatta
   Stock at
Emancipists—life of
Emus—presented to Lady Castlereagh
England—condition of

Farquhar. Sir Walter—
   Action of
   Friendship for Macarthur
   Physician to Prince of Wales
   to Macarthur
Fashions in England
Fennel, Captain, Aide-de-camp to Brisbane
Field, Barron—
   Character of
   Challenge from Macarthur
   Judge of Supreme Court
   Objections to Macarthur as a Magistrate
   In England
   Mercantile failures
   Protested Bills
Flax-dressing machine
Foveaux, Colonel—
   Accusations against
   Land of
   Macarthur's opinion of
   Sheep of
France, condition of
Fruit in N.S.W.

Geils, Major—
   Departure for Sydney
   Opinion of
Gilbert, Captain—
   Character of
   Dismissed from charge of "Neptune"
   Disturbance caused by, at Plymouth
   Duel with Macarthur
   Master of transport "Neptune"
Glass for table use
"Gorgon", H.M.S.—arrival at Port Jackson
Goulburn, Major—
   Friction with Brisbane
   Opposition to Camden grants
Government House, Parties at
Government Policy, general account of
Grants at Camden—
   Camden's promise of
   5,000 acres
   4,368 acres for rams
   Exchange of Foveaux's
   Negotiations re
   Objections to
   Offer of Mountain grant
   Purchase of 5,700 acres
Grey, Edward
Grimes, Charles, Judge Advocate at Macarthur's trial
Grose, General
Grose, Mrs.—
   Death of
   In England
   Passenger per H.M.S. "Gorgon"
"Guardian", H.M.S.—
   Cause of wreck
   Loss of
   Wreck at the Cape

Hall, George, opinions re sheep
Harris, Surgeon John—
   Accompanies Macarthur to a duel
   Charges Atkins with swindling
   Living at Sydney Cove
   Surgeon on "Surprize"
Hassall, Rowland, opinions re sheep
Hayes, Sir Henry
Hill, Captain—
   Arrest of
   Passenger per "Surprize"
   Sent to Norfolk Island
Hore, a convict
Hospital Rum
Hunter, Governor—
   Coolness with Macarthur
   Evidence before Privy Council
   Resignation, cause of
   Succeeds to Government

"Isabella", ship, loss of

Jamison, Surgeon—
   Death of
   Passenger per "Duke of Kent"
Jamieson, James, opinions re sheep
Johnston, Lieutenant Colonel—
   Appointment in command of 102nd Regt.
   Arrival in England
   in Sydney
   Assumption of Government
   Consultations with Solicitors
   Court Martial
   Departure for England
   Deposes Governor Bligh
   Despatches of
   Desires to remain in London
   Health of
   Interviews Northumberland
   Invites charges against Macarthur
   Liberates Macarthur
   Loan from Macarthur
   from Harrison
   Loyalty of officers to
   Ordered to England
   Passage to N.S.W. refused
   Proof of Bligh's misconduct
   Statement of his case

King, Captain—
   Fiance of Miss Lethbridge
   Sheep of
   Surveying the Coast
King, Mrs.—
   Confinement of
   Illness of
   Maiden name
King, Philip Gidley—
   Commandant at Norfolk Island
   Criticisms of Macarthur's proposals
   Criticism of Cowpasture grants
   Death of
   Delay in granting land to Macarthur
   Departure for England
   Experiments of, in breeding
   Quarrel with Macarthur
   Receipt of land grant orders
   Reports on wool industry
   Sale of 100 Govt. ewes to Macarthur
   Wild cattle proposals
   Writes Banks re Macarthur's arrival

"Lady Warburton", ship—passengers per
Land Grants—
   Objections to Macarthur's
   Regulations for
   To Anderson
   To Davidson
   To Dollis
   To John Macarthur (see Camden and Elizabeth Farm)
   To James Macarthur
   To Wm. Macarthur
   To Mrs. Macarthur
Law Department, description of
Lawrence, John, gardener
Legislative Council—
   Establishment of
   Members of
Life in N.S.W.—in 1816
   in 1818
   in 1825
   Under Macquarie
Lindsay, Dr.—
   Author of article in press
   Perusal of report of proceedings
Live Stock—
   Decline in value
   Price of
Liveries for servants
"Lord Eldon", transport—Macarthur passenger in
Lucas, Miss—
   Arrival in Sydney
   Governess to Macarthurs

Macarthur, Edward—
   Arrivals in England
   Arrival at Parramatta
   Arrival at Sydney
   Commission to be obtained
   Delivers despatches to Colonel Gordon
   to the Duke of Northumberland
   Departures of
   Ensign 60th Regt.
   Entrusted with Johnston's despatches
   Forecast of public opinion on trial
   Hardships in Spain
   Health of
   In battle
   In Gibraltar
   In Paris
   In Quebec
   In Spain
   In Sicily
   Lieutenant 39th Regt.
   Marriage of
   Northumberland's opinion of
   Residing with Thompson
Macarthur, Emmeline, marriage and death of
Macarthur, Elizabeth—
   Death of
   Departure for England
   Illness of
   Return to N.S.W.
Macarthur, Hannibal—
   Arrival in Sydney
   At Arthursleigh
   Commercial reports of
   Criticism of official methods
   Flock of
   Opinion of Macquarie
   Purchase of Waterhouse's Farm
   Return to England
   to N.S.W.
   Sale of wool
   Visits Cowpastures
Macarthur, James, death of in infancy
Macarthur, James—
   Age of
   Character of
   Departure for England
   Grant of land
   Marriage of
   Negotiations re grants
   Notes on Johnston's Court Martial
   Refusal of magistracy
   Return of
   Study of agriculture
   of commerce
   of viticulture
   Tour in Westmoreland
   Visit to France
   to England
Macarthur, John—
   Accounts of during insurrection
   Acreage of
   "Admiral Gambier", on board of
   Advice sought by Bigge
   Advocate of free settlers
   Agitation for return to N.S.W.
   Agreement for sale of rams
   Anxiety about Johnston's trial
   Application for convicts
   Arrest attempted by Oakes
   Arrested in Sydney
   Arrival at Plymouth
   at Port Jackson
   in England
   Assigned servants of
   Assistance offered to Bigge
   Birth and birthplace
   Bligh's opposition to
   Cattle, of
   Censure by Nepean
   Challenge to Field
   Character of
   Commission in N.S.W. Corps
   Commission in 68th Foot
   Commission sold
   Company, Pastoral, proposed
   Coolness with Govr. Hunter
   Cook's opinion of
   Death of
   Departure for N.S.W.
   Dismissal of crew of "Parramatta"
   Disputes with Bligh
   Duel with Capt. Gilbert
   with Col. Paterson
   Embarkation on "Neptune"
   Enquiries re sheep drafted
   Entertains Governor Brisbane
   Evidence before Bigge
   before Privy Council
   Eulogium of
   Family of
   Farming at Holsworthy
   Finances of
   Forebodings of
   Government opposition to
   Grant of 10,000 acres promised
   Grant delayed by Governor King, no Grant
   Grant, request for
   Grants to
   Grave of
   Health of
   Horses of
   Income of
   Inspector of Public Works
   Interview with Bigge
   with Home Office
   "Lady Warburton", on board of
   Johnston's opinion of
   Land of, in 1794
   in 1805
   Lease of land
   Legal proceedings against Bligh
   Liberation by Johnston
   Life under Governor Phillip
   under Lieut. Gov. Grose
   Loan of horses to Bigge
   Loan to Johnston
   Magistracy proposed
   Manufacturers approached
   Medals granted to
   Meeting with Bligh
   with Sir Robert Farquhar
   Member of Council
   Memorialises Privy Council
   Mentioned in Wentworth's book
   Negotiations for return
   Occupies Camden grant
   Opinion on marriage
   Passage provided to N.S.W.
   Paymaster of Corps
   Petition for Governor's arrest
   Prejudice against
   Presents Camden's letter to Governor
   Prisoner in gaol
   Proposals to Bigge
   Prospects of
   Protest against Atkins as Judge Advocate
   Purchase of land
   of Royal sheep
   of Foveaux's sheep
   Quarrel with Banks
   with King
   with Nepean and Gilbert
   Reception of, by Macquarie
   Reforms suggested by
   Release on bail
   Request for 50,000 acres
   Request for Judge's letter
   Residence at Camden
   Return to N.S.W.
   Return to N.S.W. after the Bligh Insurrection
   Sale of rams
   Secretary of Colony
   Sheep, first of
   Stock of
   Suggestion to Bigge
   to Brisbane
   Summoned before Judge Advocate
   Superintendent at Toongabbie
   Trial by Criminal Court
   Trial by Insurrectionaries
   Visit to France
   to Italy
   to Switzerland
   Views on agriculture
   on wool industry
   Voyage to Australia
   Voyage to England
   Whaling vessel owned by
   Wild cattle, proposals for taming
   Wool industry, ideas of
Macarthur, John, Junior—
   Birth of
   Character of
   Charge of wool sales
   Colonial agency desired
   Death of
   Departure for England
   Dinner with wool buyers
   at school
   at University of Glasgow
   at Cambridge
   Exertions to make wool market
   Negotiations re land
   Oil exemption act
   Opinions on wool reported
   Promoter of A.A. Company
   Prospects of
   Reserve values of wool
   Studies of
Macarthur, Mrs. John—
   Accounts of Colony
   Account of business affairs
   Arrival at Plymouth
   Character of
   Conduct of
   Death of
   Death of infant son
   Departure for N.S.W.
   Discomforts on ship
   Description of the Cape
   Favored by Governor Phillip
   Health of
   Impressions on return of sons
   Invitations to Government House
   Journal of
   Life in Sydney
   Management of business
   Marriage, opinions of
   Opinion of Bligh
   Piano lent by Worgan
   Presents for
   Removal to Rose Hill
   Study of Music and Botany
   Visit to England proposed
Macarthur, Mary—marriage of
Macarthur, William—
   Action re Judge's letter
   Age of
   Character of
   Departure for England
   Fondness for sea
   Grant of land
   Offer and refusal of magistracy
   Return of
   School days
   Sheep farmer by choice
   Studies viticulture
   Visits France, Italy, and Switzerland
   Youngest child
McBean, Thomas Carpenter
Macquarie, Governor—
   Administration of
   Appointment of
   Arbitrariness of
   Character of
   Charges against
   Complaints against
   Criticism of actions
   Death of
   Instructions to re Macarthur
   Kindness of
   Quarrel with Bigge
   Recall rumored
   Reception of Macarthur
   Recommendation from required
   Son of
   Successor to Paterson
   Unpopularity of
   Visit to Bathurst
Macquarie Mrs.—
   Characteristics of
   Health of
   Movements of
   Pension for
   Proposed for Macarthur
   for James and Wm. Macarthur
   Judge's letter reManufacturers, Woollen—
   Opinion of wool
   Advocacy of N.S.W.
   Letter to Lords of the Treasury
   from Deputies
Manufacture of wool
Maoris, visits of
Market prices
Marsden, Reverend Samuel—
   Age of
   Arrival of
   Character of
   Conduct in England
   Draft of inquiries re sheep
   Drawing of ewe and ram sent to Royal Society
   Examination of flocks by
   In England
Marsh and Ebsworth—
   Best wool brokers
   Wool auctioneers
Marshall, Captain—
   Account of N.S.W.
   Character of
   Commander of a First Fleet transport
   Master of "Scarborough"
Murray, Andrew, gardener

Napoleon, Emperor—
   Escape from Elba
   Escape from Russia
   In Paris
   Receives a check
Nepean, Captain—
   Censures Macarthur
   Character of
   Embarks on "Neptune"
   Living at Sydney Cove
   Supporter of Trail against Macarthur
"Neptune", Transport—
   Arrangements on board
   Arrival at Plymouth
   at Portsmouth
   Departure from Motherbank
   Disturbances at Plymouth
   Gilbert, master of
   dismissed from
   Macarthur embarks on
   transferred from
   Passengers on
   Rations on board
   Trail appointed Captain
New South Wales—
   Condition of
   Description of
Nightingale, General—Appointed Governor
Norfolk Island—
   Crew of "Sirius"
   Description of
   Means of subsistence at
   Products of
   Rations at
   Seabirds at
Northumberland, Duke of

Oakes, Chief Constable—Attempted arrest of Macarthur by
Oxley, John—
   Account of Bligh's proceedings
   Expectations of
   Explorations of
   Letters from
   Opposition to Camden grants
   Sheep of

Parker, Captain—Commander of "Gorgon"
Parker, Mrs.—wife of Captain Parker
Parker, Sir Hy. Watson—
   Marriage of
Parramatta—road to from Sydney
"Parramatta", Ship—
   Arrival of
   Crew dismissed by Macarthur
   Detention of by naval officer
   Examination of crew by Bligh
   Hore, a convict found on board
Paterson, Colonel—
   Death of
   Duel with Macarthur
   Widow of
Paterson, Mrs.—
   Passenger per H.M.S. "Gorgon"
   Escorted by Macarthur
Phillip, Governor—
   Wounded by natives
   Departure of
Piano—lent to Mrs. Macarthur by Surgeon [W]organ
Plough—first in use
Plummer, Mr.—adviser to Ed. Macarthur
Port Jackson—description of
Postage on letters
Prentice, Mr.—
   Arrest of
   Passenger per "Surprize"
   Sent to Norfolk Island
Press for wool
Prinsep, John—Evidence before Privy Council
Privy Council—
   Edivence of Macarthur
   of Prinsep
   of Hunter
   Land grant to Macarthur recommended
   Memorialised by Macarthur
   Wool industry to be encouraged
Public Pastoral Company—
   Land grant required for
   Modus operandi
   Proposal for
Putland Mrs.—daughter of Gov. Bligh

Rations at Port Jackson
Redfern, Mr.—
   Appointment of
   Treatment of Eliz. Macarthur
Revolution, French
Robinson, Edward, opinions re sheep
Robinson, Michael, entertained by Macquarie
Rose Hill—
   Comparison with Sydney
   Description of
   Named Parramatta
Rowley, Thomas, opinions re sheep
Rumker, Mr., Astronomer to Brisbane

"Scarborough", Transport—
   Arrival at Cape
   Macarthur transferred to
   Marshall, master of
   Passengers by
Scott, Mr.—
   Cautioned against Macarthur
   Opinion of Macarthur
   Secretary to Bigge
Shapcote, Lieutenant—agent for transports
   Advantages of industry
   Agreement for sale of rams
   Breeding of
   Breeds of
   Carcase, improvements to
   Conditions required for
   Condition of at Camden
   Constitution of
   Crossbreds, opinions of
   Crossing of
   Examination of, by Marsden
   Feeding, mode of
   First, the
   Government ewes sold to Macarthur
   Increase of
   Introduction of
   Introduction of merinos
   Lambing season
   Land required for
   Macarthur's breed of
   Merino, introduction
   Mortality of
   Numbers of
   Pasturage for
   Pests of
   Price of
   Privy Council's opinion on
   Prizes for
   Purchase of from Royal flock
   Rams for Tasmania
   Report on, by Wood
   Sales of
   Shears wanted
   Shearing of
   Shepherding, mode of
   Values of
   Washing of
   Weight of
Seven Hills Estate—exchange of
Short, Capt.—Court Martialled
"Sirius", [also "Syrius"] H.M.S.—
   Crew at Norfok Island
   Loss of
   Smith, Lieutenant—
   In charge of Macarthur's stores
   Reports of N.S.W.
Society of Arts—issues medals to Macarthur
   Society in Sydney—in 1791
   in 1822
Society in London
Sorell, Lieutenant-Governor—
   Approval of Macarthur's schemes
   Proposal for prize fund
   Settlers require rams
Stock sales, accounts of
Stone, Emily
Sturt, Captain, explorations of
"Supply", H.M.S.—
   Ball, Commander of
   Despatched to Batavia
   return from
   Sent to Norfolk Island
"Surprize", transport, passengers per

Tench, General—opinion of Bligh
Terry, Mr.—land of
Thompson, Mr.—
   Edward Macarthur lives with
   Intimate with Governor King
"Three Bees", ship—destruction by fire
Throsby, Dr.—
   Cattle of
   Property of
Townsend, Mr.—
   Passenger per "Scarborough"
   Resident at Sydney Cove
   Transferred to "Neptune"
Trail, Captain—
   Appointed master of "Neptune"
   Character of
   Coolness with Macarthur
   Wife of

Vansittart, Nicholas—letter from Macarthur
Veale, Mrs.—
   Mother of Mrs. Macarthur
   Resident at Bridgerule

"Warspite", H.M.S., arrival at Sydney
Washing gang
Washing plant
Waterhouse, Captain—
   Acreage of farm
   Description of pastures in N.S.W.
   Management of sheep
   Letter to Macarthur
   from Macarthur
Waterhouse's Farm, purchased by Hannibal Macarthur
Watson, Mr.—
   Adviser to Edward Macarthur
   Reception to John Macarthur
   Agitates for Macarthur's return
   Advises Macarthur in negotiations
   Services to Macarthur
Wentworth, Darcey—land of
Wentworth, William Charles—
   Arrival in England
   Book by
   Characteristics of
   Whaling vessel—owned by Macarthur
White, Colonel—departure for N.S.W.
Wild Cattle—proposals for taming
Wood, Edward—
   Arrival in Sydney
   Examination of flocks by
   Report on flocks by
   Wool sorter
Wood, Thomas—
   Arrival in Sydney
   Wool sorter
   Arrival of
   Auction of
   Auctioneers of
   Auction methods
   Criticisms of shipments
   Descriptions of shipments
   Duty on
   Export of
   Freight on
   Grass for
   Insurance of
   Market established
   Market, condition of
   Manufacture of in N.S.W.
   Opinions of Manufacturers' deputies
   Opinions of flock masters
   Pressing of
   Reserve values
   Sale of
   Samples of
   Shipments of
   Treatment of
   Value of
Washing of
Wool Industry—Macarthur's views on
Wool Press
Woolstencroft, Mr.—establishment by
Worgan, Surgeon—
   Of "Sirius"
   Piano of
Wylde, Judge Advocate—
   Appointment of
   Objections to Macarthur as magistrate


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