Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Sunday, 8th October, 1837

Deeply saddened this week to receive, by post from London, the news that our King, His Majesty, William IV of the House of Hanover, known as "The Sailor King", has died.

Well, to be completely honest, he died back in June and it has taken this long for the news to reach us, which means that the King's Birthday Ball we held back in August appears now to be in the poorest of taste, since the poor old devil was a month cold in his grave while we were all singing "Long live our Gracious King!" and drinking to his health.

I have recorded it in these pages, but I was presented to him before sailing for the Colony. A singularly unimpressive chap I thought, though I was struck by seeing how his wife's nose was startling in its prominence.

I am told that when the Commissioners were planning the Colony they begged permission to name the Capital City after the King - thinking they might call it Williams Town or Williamston or some such. Accordingly they petitioned the King to allow them to call the city after him "as he saw fit." See fit he did, and they received a note from the Palace informing them that "His Majesty would be greatly pleased to have the Capital of the new Colony of South Australia named in honour of Her Majesty the Queen." And so Adelaide it was.

In his youth, when Duke of Clarence, he had a multitude of illegitimate children by a well know actress, but produced no living heir by the Queen. And so his niece, the young Princess Victoria of Kent, is now our sovereign. 

Just 18, a mere chit of a girl, I can't see her lasting. At the moment she'll no doubt be the puppet of Lord Melbourne, who'll be the real power behind the throne and soon they'll probably marry her off to some Prussian or Dane or Swede and we'll all end up in a joint Kingdom or some such.

Her coming to the throne does solve one problem here for us though. When we were naming the streets we gave the large square at the centre of the plan the name "Victoria Square" after Princess Victoria, the heir presumptive. To be honest, the name hasn't really taken. Light himself still refers to it as "The Great Square" and everyone else seems to call it "that big space in the middle". Naming it after a little princess was hardly conducive to having settlers remember what it was called on the map.  But since it is now named after Her Gracious Majesty then I'll wager a turd to a shilling that all will remember to call it by its proper name. Victoria Square. 

Well it is good to know that we need expect no more problems with that space.

If we had more lawyers in the place they'd all, of a certain, be raking in the cash just at present. 

Gouger is still talking loud and long about his ten thousand pounds damages for wrongful imprisonment and is intending to return to London to pursue the case with the Commissioners.

I have put the kibosh on that plan by discovering that two thousand pounds that were in his keeping are missing and unaccounted for from the public funds. I have sought legal opinion (from Mann, so I don't hold out much hope) regarding these funds and if it is within my power to stop Gouger from leaving the Colony until said funds are recovered.

Fisher is still telling all and sundry that he will sue for libel regarding the anonymous letter published in the Gazette and Register.

I am pursuing a charge of seditious libel against Fisher for the handbill he published.

Fisher has a counter claim of libel against Stevenson for publishing my proclamation, claiming that it impugned his professional reputation as Resident Commissioner.

He also threatens to sue Gilles if OG pays Hutchinson a salary as Emigration Agent when, according to Fisher, Brown is still in the position.

Gilles is still threatening to pursue a charge of assault against Gouger, Morphett and Mann over the beating he received at their hands.

Black Alick is still being kept in a barrel by McLaren until Jeffcott returns and sorts out his Murder trial.

It wouldn't surprise me in the least if Black Alick decided to sue McLaren because he wanted a nicer barrel.

Well, when the Judge returns from Hobart Town he'll have his work cut out for him. And the best of luck!

I was greatly pleased and gratified to receive notice of a public meeting held two or three weeks ago in which colonists gathered in Bob Cock's sale room and voted unanimously to say that Brown was an arse, Fisher a cheat and I was the loving father of the colony and held the colonists gently in my loving bosom.

That, at least, was the gist of their meeting.

They also sent me a delightful address in which they expressed their indignation at the manner in which I have been treated at the hands of the villains that surround me and not only made clear their gratitude for my expulsion of Brown, but also urged me to remove Fisher from office as soon as possible.

Of course, there is nothing I would like more than to remove Fisher from office, but sadly the thing is not within my power and I can only refer the matter to the powers in London and see what those particular fatheads might do.

It was pointed out to me the other day that under the Marriage Law, for a marriage to be legal, Banns must be read aloud in the Parish church of both parties for the three Sundays before the wedding. Since we have no Parish churches, to the strict letter of the law any marriage solemnised in the Colony is invalid.

 And so, when, in my darker moments, I talk of "the bastards who fill this colony" and mean it simply as a figure of speech; within a generation this expression might be no more than the simple truth!

Rectifying the situation would require a change to the Marriage Act and I can only imagine the howls of protest if I attempted that piece of quixotery.

No doubt the Howler in Chief would be The Reverend Charles Howard.

Under the act, for a marriage to be valid (unless you're something exotic like a Quaker or a Jew or Scottish) you must be married by a Minister of the Established Church. Since Charlie is the only such we have he has a monopoly on the marriage business sewn up.

And whilst he would no doubt counter a change to the Act with sound theology, one can not help but feel that him charging 5/- a skull for his services might be an influence.

Now, as delightful as a wedding service by Charlie Howard undoubtedly is (his sermon on "The Mysterious Sanctity of the Marriage Bed" drawing on Old Testament examples is said to be ninety minutes of rollicking hilarity) it might well be that a young dissenting couple - Baptists or Weslyans for example - might well prefer their own Minister of Religion to marry them rather than Charlie Howard. But to allow Dissenters to marry as they want would require a change to those Marriage Laws and I just don't have the stomach for it.

Saturday, 15 October 2016

Resolutions and Address to His Excellency Governor Hindmarsh, K. H. agreed upon at a Public Meeting of Emigrants. Held at Mr. Cock's Sale Room on Monday the 18th September last, GEORGE MANTON, Baker, in the Chair.

Cutting from the Gazette and Register
14 October 1837

The following resolutions were unanimously agreed to.

Moved by G. Wills, seconded by J. Hart, -

That the delay in erecting the frame cottages sent out by the honourable Commissioners in the Coromandel, and other vessels, for the emigrants, whereby great suffering and inconvenience were sustained, is mainly to be attributed to the supine inattention of the Emigration Agent, and the Colonial Commissioner.

Moved by T. Wellbourn, seconded by T. Black, -

That it is the opinion of this meeting that the high price of provisions has been chiefly occasioned by the conduct of the Colonial Commissioner in selling the Stores to the Company, and adopting a system of favouritism to his own labourers, while the supplies were refused to other Emigrants.

Moved by R. Black, seconded by J. M. Glashan, -

That this meeting consider the inhuman conduct of the Emigration Agent, in refusing to give orders to have the body of the deceased emigrant, George Trollope, decently buried, is consistent with his neglect and conduct towards the emigrants generally, and they consider him unfit for any superintendence over them.

Moved by G. Emers seconded by R. Flack, -

That the Thanks of this meeting be respectfully offered to His Excellency the Governor for his promptness in suspending the late Emigration Agent, and for his unceasing kindness to Emigrants on all occasions.

Moved by G. Wills, seconded by W. Nash

That a petition be presented to his Excellency the Governor that it is the opinion of this meeting that the Colonial Commissioner is altogether unworthy of the situation he holds, and praying his Excellency to remove him, being not only prejudicial to the welfare and interests of this colony, but also a mover of sedition.

Moved by G. Wills, seconded by R. Black. -

That a petition be drawn up, and a deputation appointed to present the same to His Excellency the Governor, and signed by the Chairman on behalf of the meeting.

Moved by G. Emery, seconded by R. Black -

That the Thanks of this meeting be given to Mr. Robert Cock for the use of his room.

Moved by R. Black, seconded by G. Emery -

That the Thanks of this meeting be given to Mr. Manton for his able conduct in the Chair.

In compliance with the above resolutions, the following address was prepared and presented to his Excellency the Governor, by a Department of Emigrants.

To His Excellency the Governor:
With feelings of the deepest regret, we are compelled to approach your Excellency to solicit that attention which is denied us by those whose bounden duty it is to attend to our interests. We cannot find terms sufficiently strong to express our indignation at the manner in which your Excellency and the most honourable part of your Council have been treated, and by those persons who should have assisted you in your fatherly considerations for the benefit of the inhabitants of South Australia.

We, therefore, being the majority of the Emigrants under your Excellency's Government, cannot rest content with merely expressing our approval of your Excellency's decision in the removal of Mr. John Brown from his office as Agent of Emigration, but respectfully urge the expulsion of James Hurtle Fisher from his seat in your Excellency's Council, and finally from his occupation as Resident Commissioner in this colony, our unanimous opinion being that he is not only unfit for the responsible situation he now holds, but is a sower and cultivator of sedition.

In conclusion your petitioners beg to call your attention to the fifth and sixth resolutions, contained in the fourth column of the sixth page of the accompanying Gazette.
And your Petitioners will ever pray, &c.
Signed on behalf of the Meeting of Emigrants,
Adelaide, September 18th. 1837.

To which Address His Excellency was pleased to transmit the following reply:

It has been, and ever will be my care that the interests of the emigrants be attended to. Upon their good conduct depends the prosperity of the province. To secure their welfare, has been the main object of His Majesty's Government, and of the Colonisation Commissioners, and I feel it to be my duty to see their views carried into effect, by all means in my power.

I trust you will enable me to do so by a continuance of that orderly, peaceable, and industrious behaviour which, I am happy to acknowledge, has been, in so remarkable a degree, the characteristics of your conduct since your arrival in the province.

In suspending Mr. John Brown from his office of Emigration Agent, I believe I have only performed a painful duty.

The proceedings of the Resident Commissioner with regard to that officer will be submitted to the consideration of His Majesty's Government, with whom the power of removal from office rests, as well as to the Colonization Commissioners in England, who, I feel assured, will never sanction disrespect to the constituted authorities of the province by any individual acting under their instructions.


Friday, 14 October 2016

Sunday, 1st October 1837

Word has arrived that Jeffcot is taking ship from Hobart Town very soon and will be arriving shortly here in the Colony. I have no doubt that when he arrives he will have nothing but compliments for me regarding my handling of the recent Brown fiasco.

My proclamation answering Fisher's piece of treachery has been printed and distributed about the town and will appear shortly in the next edition of the Register.
I was rather pleased with it.
Hindmarsh's proclamation as it
 appeared in the Newspaper.

I was even more pleased with my first draft, but Stevenson made some nimminy pimminy objections to some of my expressions, calling them "admirable in their enthusiasm, but possibly ill advised." And so my references throughout to Fisher as "a bastard son-of-a- whore" were deleted as was a passage in which I suggested that Brown was not to be trusted either with money or sheep. This is a pity, as I felt that my joke that "he would fiddle with either" was particularly witty. But no place for humour, it seems, in official documents and we are the poorer for it.

Fisher, who has heard, no doubt, of my intention to take action against him for seditious libel, has been acting with unaccustomed smoothness towards me. "As smooth as a bucket of snot" as I said to Strangways. (And once again he recoiled in a way that suggested to me that he will find it difficult to find a place in the familial bosom.) Fisher has written to me to assure me that he acted "without the least intention of personal disrespect towards your Excellency, but as a matter of imperious duty on my part."

Imperious fiddlestick!

His only intention towards "your Excellency" is to get rid of him so he can run the colony for himself and to his own advantage. I fear that increasingly he sees himself as a Robespierre - or worse, as a Bonaparte - and hopes to have a republic here before too long.

Well, I helped to defeat the real Napoleon and I have no fear of this poor impersonation.

On a lighter note, it appears that Mad Menge, the German Rockhound has disappeared. As recently as three weeks ago he announced the discovery of a huge deposit of coal under Victoria Square, but since his increasingly fantastical discoveries have been greeted with ever greater scepticism, no-one seems to be taking all that much notice of him any more.

I trace this disbelief back to his announcement in July of the world's largest iron ore deposit in Hurtle Square. A group of investors, certain of making their millions, quickly formed a consortium and began digging furiously, but when they discovered not a thing and had nothing to show for their money save a large collection of shovels, they turned on Menge and denounced him for a charlatan.

I was forced to step in and explain that Menge was no charlatan. Rather he was a Lunatic and not to be held responsible. SInce that time people have simply been ignoring him and letting him harmlessly draw his company salary. I understood that he had been dismissed from the company, but it seems that due to Sam Stephens's ineptitude he was dismissed, but not removed from their payroll.

And now he has disappeared entirely. Perhaps he has gone back to whatever world he came from for I cannot believe that he was of our natural order.

And speaking of the unnatural, Widow Harvey's daughter Harriet has taken her first steps. Mrs Hindmarsh was in a transport of excitement at "our baby walking". I have a suspicion that the lazy pudding has been able to walk for some time, but just couldn't be arsed. I have never seen a child who so resembled a blob of bread dough in my life. Soft, white and shapeless. Broad at the base and coming to a point at the top. 
Little Harriet Harvey in a
skin tight smock.

I believe that the only reason I have not yet placed the brat in the oven by mistake is that every time I go near her she screams like a banshee from the deepest pits of Hell. And then Mrs Hindmarsh inevitably appears screeching "What have you done to that child now?" as though I would touch it with a barge pole. And then we get "Don't you like the big silly Navy man? Don't you? Don't you? No, you don't! Do oo! Do oo!"

The woman has taken leave of her senses.

I can assure her that the child's dislike for me is as nothing compared to my distaste for the squealing, puking unholy terror.