Tuesday, 13 March 2018

Sunday, 11th February, 1838

After last week's hi-jinks, what with burglaries, harassed Germans and everyone treating everyone else as a suspect in the crime of the century, it was clear that something needed to be done. We can't go on together with suspicious minds.

In Council this week Gilles made the surprisingly sensible suggestion of organising a police troop. Of course the last time we tried something of this sort, about a year ago, it ended badly; seeing themselves as slighted, the Marines turned on the police in fury and beat them to a pulp. [See diary entry for Sunday, 2nd April, 1837 - editor's note]

But since then many, if not most of the Marines have left the Colony and if we can find a dozen or so strong and fit young lads to volunteer they would certainly prove a match for the Marines that remain. More than a match if we can find a dozen who are sober.

I have written to London asking permission to form a Police Force and shall proceed forthwith. Gilbert has produced from his Aladdin's Cave of a store a dozen blue shirts, so we can at least have uniforms. And Robert Cock tells me "he knows a man who knows someone in Sydney" who can procure a selection of sabres at only double the price of what we might pay in London. Still, a sabre would not only afford an air of military authority, but would provide some protection against inebriated Marines.

There was some suggestion of forming a troop of Mounted Police, but with the shortage of horses available in the place this seems to be something for the future. In the meantime I shall prepare (or, which amounts to the same thing, get Strangways to prepare) a flyer, advertising the need for some volunteers.

I heard Fisher mumbling about the need to pay for all this and where was the money coming from? I can see trouble ahead if the foul excrescence sees a chance to twit me over this matter.

In the meantime Sam Smart has received what we believe to be a threat upon his life. I was surprised that he had only received one, given the manner in which he has been carrying on. If he keeps it up he might yet receive one from me. He had been following the trail of the Vandemonian thieves and told me that he believed them to be hiding in a hut down by the river, but "was getting too close".

I asked him why the inhabitants of the area had said nothing.

Smart snorted derisively.

"It is a low neighborhood, full of rumpots, your Excellency," he said. "They are used to curious sights, which they attribute to alcoholic delusions."  

I have no truck with drinking to excess and I have made it a rule in life to avoid it. I said as much now: "Drink is certainly a filthy thing, isn't it? I'd rather be dead than unable to trust my own eyes!"  

Smart was rather more forgiving, it seemed. "They may be drinkers, your Excellency but they're still human beings."

I reminded him that several firearms had been stolen from the Government Store and that drink and armed thieves were an explosive combination.

Once again he showed his derision. "I trust you do not believe that I shall allow myself to be influenced by the guns these desperadoes may be waving around. I have taken guns from boys before; so we'll have no trouble there."

I wish I shared his confidence.

Charlie Howard is doing the rounds cap in hand. He decided to build his church in stone and not wood but possibly did so before he had sat down with the ledger and worked out how much it would cost. Having finally done so he has sunk into a blind panic, realising with a shock that he needs to raise yet more money so that he can pay for the thing. What with raising money for the building and raising money for the hymn book he might yet be reduced to the status of Mendicant Priest.

Wyatt has also taken it into his head to start building, having decided to build a school for the Native Children. What the Native Children think of this idea is yet to be determined.

Since we seem to have more settler's children than school places, the idea of diverting money to building a school for the Natives will be a hard sell to those colonists who want to get their brats off their hands for a few hours a day.

I made the mistake of suggesting to Wyatt that as well as teaching the native Children about our ways we could also ask them to teach us some of theirs. They are, after all, expert at living in the land we hope to prosper in and it struck me that they might offer us a few pointers on how to succeed.

Wyatt looked at me as though I was a madman and assured me that "the sole purpose of the school would be to teach the Natives about Salvation through Christ Jesus and loyalty to the Queen." I replied that I was unaware that we did gain Salvation through Christ Jesus and loyalty to the Queen and he went away shocked at my irreligious levity.

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