Saturday, 5 October 2013

Sunday, 5th February 1837

Dear me, the Reverend Charles Howard has been in a tizzy this week.

Now I believe I made it clear enough at the time as to my opinion regarding a state sponsored religion in the new colony. To have an official Colonial Chaplain appointed as a part of the Governing Council of the Colony seems to strike at the idea Gibbon Wakefield (the old ravisher) had of Church and State being separate.

Although I am not a dissenter myself,  I have little time for the God bothering enthusiasm of the pious and good. Go to church of a Sunday to keep in touch, both with your fellows and with Heaven, then put your head down and shift for your self for the next six days would be my creed in a nutshell.

Charlie Howard, of course, is a different kettle of fish all together.  He oozes piety and expects others to ooze with him. He seems genuinely excited by that which might bore rigid the less pious. So naturally he has been frothing to the point of ecstasy this week at the unloading of his church building from the ship.

As a gesture of godliness, a group of London worthies dedicated to the triumph of the Gospel spent a small fortune in delivering to the Colony a wooden church building that has been knocked down into its component parts, the idea being that it be re-assembled on a town acre quickly in order to allow the godly of the colony to continue their worship with as little interruption as possible.

The problem with London worthies, of course is that while they might have their eyes and hearts on heaven their eyes and hearts are most certainly not on practical matters. Hence they spent all their money on getting a disassembled church to the colony, but did not put aside funds to get the thing reassembled when it got here. Which leaves Charlie with the task of going cap in hand around the traps cadging money from anyone he can touch for a few shekels.

I gave him five pounds and sent him on his way. Five pounds might seem a lot, but when you are Governor you need to keep up form.

London worthies have also bollocksed us all in regard to food. It seems the Commissioners (God rot them) were of the view that within a few weeks of landing in Holdfast Bay we would all be cheerfully gardening and growing our own fresh fruit and vegetables and living off the fat of the land.

Of course the pratical result ("practical" - a word the commissioners are clearly unacquainted with) is that we are running out of food.

I have given an order for the Rapid to set sail for Sydney to purchase our much needed supplies. Such supplies need to be paid for, naturally, and in order to do so I have issued a letter of credit drawing on bills of 5000 pounds from the British Treasury.

Strictly speaking I am not entitled to do so without the Authority of the Commissioners being granted, but by the time I send back to England asking permission and get a reply it will be eight months - longer if they decide to discuss it - and we'll all be starved to death!

 I am certain the decision will come back to haunt me, if not bite me on the arse, but what other choice do I have?

Mrs Hindmarsh and her coven have been at work once again. The question of the site  for the capital, which I thought quite settled, has raised its ugly head again. I thought it had been agreed by all that the site on the River Torrens was the best available and we would proceed on that plan. Certainly Light, who has been surveying like the devil himself, is working as if the thing is done and dusted.

But I am hearing talk of Boston Bay and the Murray Mouth, both of them being Mrs Hindmarsh's preferred options and I fear she is using her influence to stir up trouble,

Certainly she is attempting to influence me, quite improperly, over a matter in Council. Before the Council this week has been a Licencing Bill to regulate the selling of Spirits, Beer and Wines in the Colony.

My wife is firmly of the opinion that intoxicating beverages are a work of purest evil. She has a speech I have heard many, many times; so many that I can quote it from memory.

"Intoxicating liquor is injurious to health, deleterious to industry and incompatible with morality.It weakens the will and destroys the flesh. It hastens death and ensures an afterlife in hell. Those who indulge in incontinence lower themselves to the level of the beasts, corrupting God's image that is the birthright of men."

Where she got all this I do not know. Probably from some tract or other. I believe that she just dislikes seeing people enjoy themselves. "Dost thou think, because thou art virtuous, there shall be no more cakes and ale?"

She has been known to declare that "Lips that touch wine shall ne'er touch mine!" a declaration that has caused much relief to wine drinkers everywhere. Indeed, some have asked for it in writing.

I did point out that part of the purpose of the bill is to control drunkenness. For Mrs Hindmarsh the only way to control it is to not allow it to happen in the first place.

The result is that she wants me to cause the bill to be rewritten so that the Colony becomes entirely a temperance community.

Well of course it is nonsense - imagine the Marines sober for one thing - but I have promised to do something about it.

Of course I shall do nothing, bur she is not to know that. Besides, I like a tipple.

What I do not like is Widow Harvey's cooking.

She continues to weave her culinary magic, rather like a kitchen based weird sister.

The low point this week was something she called "Devonshire Hot Pot with a twist". The twist, it seems, was that she had been unable to procure a suitable cut of beef and so she had made it with possum. I was pulling fur from between my teeth for three days after.

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