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twenty-four hours he received the following spirited and characteristic sketch.*
“Mr. Samuel Marsden, pastor of the town of Paramatta, owns six hundred and fifty-one acres, of which one hundred and three are devoted to different kinds of cultivation; while he grazes on his farm, besides his pocks of sheep (amounting to about eight hundred,) ten horses or mares, twenty-six horned cattle, thirty pigs, and ten goats. This farm is at some distance, in the interior of the country, on the left of the river Paramatta; from the brow of the hill on which it is situated, we behold a part of the stream: its buildings are spacious and well constructed; the garden is already enriched with the greater number of fruit-trees of Europe. And yet, no longer ago than 1794, the whole of this spot was covered with immense and useless forests of Eucalyptus.t With what interest have I trodden over these new meadows, through the midst of which this respectable pastor conducted me himself, with the most affectionate kindness! Who could have believed it! This residence is seven or eight miles from Paramatta, isolated, in a manner, in the midst of woods; and it was over a very excellent road, in a very elegant chaise, that Mr. Marsden drove me to it. What pains, what exertions must have been taken, to open such communications; and these communications, these pastures, these fields, these harvests, these orchards, these flocks, are the work of eight years !”—Péron.
This compliment is due to one of the most excellent and extraordinary characters of the day-a character, that seems expressly formed by Providence to produce an entire and most beneficial change throughout not only the limited tract of New South Wales, but the vast extent of Australasia; to christianize and civilize the barbarians that constitute its original inhabitants, and to re-christianize and re-civilize the hordes of wretched culprits that are vomited by our prison-ships upon its shores. Our readers, we trust, will be pleased to become a little more acquainted with a man, who promises to flourish so fairly in future history; and if the feelings of friendship should give somewhat too high a colouring to the sketch, they will at least admit, when they have perused it, that there is some apology for the excess : as for the subject of it, he is now at too great a distance to be affected by any eulogy we can offer, or we should be compelled to silence. * Eclectic Review, vol. v. part ii.
pp. 988–995. Red-Gum-tree: a genus indigenous to New Holland, of the icosandrian monogynian class and order, comprising fifteen species.
It is about fifteen years ago, that the Rev. Samuel Marsden, then an under-graduate at St. John's College, Cambridge, was applied to indirectly by Government, to undertake the office of chaplain to his majesty's territory in New South Wales. The application was admirably directed: young as he was, there was well known to be in him, by those who made the application, a firmness of principle, an intrepidity of spirit, a cheerfulness of heart, a suavity of manner, in conjunction with a judgment peculiarly strong, and a mind richly stored with knowledge, and, above all, with religious knowledge, that promised the happiest effects from his acceptance of the offer. In the first instance, however, he refused; but, upon a second application, he replied, that he was sensible of the importance of the office, so sensible, indeed, that he hardly dared to accept it upon any terms; but that, if no proper person could be found, he would consent to undertake it. He was appointed accordingly; and, while the ship in which he was to take his passage was preparing, he resided chiefly at Hull in Yorkshire, (from which port the vessel was to proceed) and was indefatigable in rendering assistance to his clerical brethren, who gladly availed themselves of his talents and popularity. It was not many Sundays afterwards, that, as he was on the point of ascending the pulpit, he heard the signalgun fire unexpectedly: it was an impressive scene; he was then just married; the congregation were acquainted with the meaning of the signal as well as himself; it was impossible for him to preach; he took his bride under his arm, and, followed by the whole congregation, who accompanied him to the beach, entered into the boat that was waiting for him, giving and receiving benedictions.
Mr. Marsden's voyage proved not unprosperous; and on his arrival at Port Jackson, he immediately devoted himself to every pursuit in which he entertained a hope of being serviceable, either by example or instruction. His clerical labours alone were heavy; having, on the departure of the Rev. Mr. Johnstone, whom he succeeded, to officiate at the three settlements of Sydney, Paramatta, and Hawkesbury, without any assistance whatever. He by no means confined himself, however, to the stated duties of his office, laborious as they were. To the poor and idle freesettlers he gave an example of indefatigable industry, by skilfully and successfully cultivating the land that had been granted him by government: he generously interfered in their distresses, established schools for their children, and often relieved their necessities. To the unhappy culprits, whom the justice of an offended country had banished from their native soil, he administered alternately exhortation and comfort; in many hundreds of
instances, as Mr. Péron justly observes, he reclaimed them; for it was by his incessant watchfulness, that under the blessing of a superintending Providence, this most inconceivable metamorphosis' was chiefly produced, and that a great multitude of these wretches, formerly the scum and shame of their country, became industrious cultivators, happy and peaceable citizens; to which the author might have added, sincere and practical Christians, evincing a piety as exemplary as their former guilt. On taking his place on the magisterial bench, his sphere of general usefulness was considerably extendled, and in the discharge of this very important function (important more especially in such a colony, and in its infant state, he was altogether as unremitting as in his clerical duties. The native barbarians themselves highly esteemed him; for he had frequently travelled up the interior to the distance of eight or ten days' journey, in conjunction with governor King or governor Bligh, and he had acquired so much of their language as to be able to hold conversation with them upon general subjects. In a few years he became the common father of the country. In times of hostility with the natives, he was deputed as the minister of conciliation; ventured among them unaccompanied by guards or other attendants, and always procured the restoration of peace through the mildness of his manners, and the respect that was universally entertained for him; while in every domestic complaint from different villages, he was uniformly appointed arbitrator by the governor, and generally succeeded in removing, or at least in mitigating, their respective evils.
Yet though he prevailed in much, he by no means prevailed in every thing. There were mischiefs that lay far above his reach, and utterly contemned his control. On the first establishment of the colony, all military officers were peremptorily forbidden to take their wives with them; and there is one instance of a lady, who, having resolved, out of love to her husband, to steal over to New South Wales in the guise of a sailor, was sent back by governor Phillip, on his being apprised of it, after having completed nearly half her long and harassing voyage. What then was to be expected from the licentious manners of a large body of military officers thus situated, themselves exposed to the daily temptation of women of abandoned lives, but often of beautiful persons, and at the same time as ready to become the tempters as the tempted. Of what avail, under such circumstances, would be the voice of an angel, or of one rising from the dead? Moses and the Prophets, and Christ himself, were actually set before them by their established and zealous chaplain, but to as little purpose as of old. Yet from them, chiefly, was it necessary for
the bench of magistrates to be chosen ; and with them, as a magistrate, was this excellent chaplain obliged to associate. Our readers must anticipate the natural result: the most hardened and abandoned women too often appeared fearlessly before the court, when arraigned for the grossest crimes, well knowing that they had secured a majority of votes among their judges. It was altogether as impossible, in many instances, to obtain a sentence against male offenders, for these, being promiscuously connected with the women, made instruments of them to obtain in like manner a judgment in their favour. So that, instead of the perfect security' in regard to person and property, asserted by M. Péron, which cannot be felt where there is not the utmost facility of obtaining redress-of all existing spots in New South Wales, the court of judicature at Sydney became at length the most iniquitous and abandoned: the authority of the governor grew as little respected as that of the clergyman; and the former, even in his military capacity, had at length no control over his inferior officers.
It was impossible that such a state of things could last long. Supplication, exhortation, expostulation, on the part of Mr. Marsden, were equally in vain : his efforts were poisoned at the very fountain ; his life was not unfrequently in jeopardy; and anticipating the fearful result that must sooner or later succeed to such a state of anarchy, he applied to the governor
permission, which was cheerfully granted him, to take a voyage to England, in order to represent in person to his majesty's ministers the perilous state of the colony, and point out the best means of its rescue.
He arrived rather more than two years ago, and immediately obtained an audience of Lord Castlereagh, who, while in the act of forming, upon the suggestions and written report of Mr. Marsden, a plan for suppressing this iniquitous system, received a terrible proof of the truth of that gentleman's assertions, by despatches announcing that the predicted result had actually taken place, that several of the wealthier traders had leagued themselves with the officers of the regiment against the governor, whom they had actually arrested and imprisoned, and had thus produced a complete revolution, and put some of the most daring of their own conspiracy at its head. We shall pursue this subject, however, no farther : the conspiracy has since been suppressed; order is by this time completely restored; another regiment has been sent out to take the place of that whose officers had conducted themselves so unworthily; its commanding officer, Lieutenant-Colonel Macquarrie, a gentleman of most exemplary character, has been appointed governor, and the
ringleaders of the plot are at this moment on their way
home for trial.
The departure of Mr. Marsden for England, at the period we have just alluded to, was as providential to himself, as it was beneficial to the public cause : for there can be no doubt that in the height and exacerbation of the tumult, he would have been seized, had he been in New South Wales, and condemned abruptly to the most ignominious punishment, if his life had not fallen a sacrifice to its violence.' From the nice accuracy of his information, moreover, and the comprehensive judgment evinced in his plans, he soon acquired so much of the confidence of the minister for the colonial department, and other members of the cabinet, that there were few of his suggestions to which they did not readily assent.
Among the more important of his propositions, we shall enumerate the following; that officers and soldiers, instead of being forbidden, should be encouraged, to take out with them their wives and families; that no person should be allowed to act as a magistrate who is not or has not been married; and that such of the convicts' wives as choose it, should be permitted to accompany their husbands at the public expense. The expediency of all these must be obvious, not only from what has been already observed, but from our remarking, in addition, that there are not at present more than the proportion of one woman to eight or nine men throughout the entire colony; that general marriage is hence impracticable; promiscuous intercourse is a crime impossible to prevent, and illegitimate children a growing and enormous burden to the state; while on the other hand, it has been satisfactorily ascertained, that by far the greatest number of reformed criminals have consisted of those who have intermarried, or whose wives have been able to purchase their passage over. The encouragements to honesty and industry in the colony are indeed very great; and none who shew a disposition of this kind continue long without having their sentence remitted, and like other settlers, being allowed a grant of land to a certain extent. Government has not yet acceded to the proposal respecting the convicts' wives, though it is at this time under consideration: to the two former it yielded most readily, in consequence of which, the wives of the officers and soldiers that have accompanied the regiment which is now on its passage, amount to not less than three hundred.
In connection with these regulations, it was farther proposed, that three additional clergymen should be provided, and three schoolmasters, with small salaries from government, one for each of the settlements of Sydney, Paramatta, and Hawkesbury. From