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THE POWDER BOY THAT FOUGHT WITH NELSON,
Out of this prosaic list of questions some wonderful touches of poetry were cited from time to time :
WILLIAM FAULKNER THE SAILOR.
“I am one of the seventeen smugglers taken at ; two of our party were hung at Flushing (Brock and Powell), on the Dutch coast; we were taken by the Dutch on suspicion, and given up to the English consul ; we dealt in gin all over England, but we did nothing worse; my father and brothers were in the navy; my father was carpenter in a 32-gun frigate (Blanch). I was in the same ship with Nelson, on board the Victory, and when he fell I was near him, about twelve feet from him; I was a powder-boy, and I heard Nelson tell Captain Thomas Hardy, 'Bring the ship to an anchor ;' and he said he would not, Collingwood being his senior. You may say when we lost him we lost the whole of our pride. I may say, and there was great sorrow there. I was also on board the frigate at the taking of Flushing, Captain J. Keen commander; also at the taking of Copenhagan ; also at two islands up the Straightsthat's where the 3rd Buffs got their facings turned. Captain Hardy will recollect me. And I also sailed with his brother Temple in the Swift ; there I received a pension of £12 a year from the Swift share. I received three wounds. This pension I lost when convicted, but I hope by the charitable intercession of Captain Thomas Hardy to recover it. Have never been in any trouble in this country. On arriving in this colony I was assigned to a man named Painterremained there until my cousin, Lieutenant William Edmonston, pilot of Sydney harbour, made friends for me; he got me a berth in the government brig; there I received 32s. per month; remained four years in her; then engaged as fisherman to Sir Thomas Brisbane; after then went as master of a vessel on the coastremained fifteen months; then came up this river as trader ; took a farm from Mr. Smith, bushman, for twenty years ; rent 150 bushels of wheat per year. I now rent 12 acres of land, and work it myself ; the rent is £5 a year ; I make a comfortable living ; have plenty to eat and drink; we use about half a pound of tea a week, but buy it by the chest. I have been married 21 years last May; I married Hester Clarke, per Brothers. She was schoolmistress in Newgate.
The Wife.—“Mrs. Fry will remember me; I used to do needlework for Mrs. Fisher, little caps; she was an English lady. I wish to be remembered to Mrs. Fry; she is a nice lady, I have not forgotten her, and send her a calabash* grown on my own ground. My relations live at Limehouse, about two miles from the Tower ; my brother's name is John Pusit; he is a cabinetmaker; my father was a weaver, and was for forty years employed by Madam Turner, Duke's-shore, Limehouse ; all my relations live there; I have three cousins there, watermen, all ply at Duke's-shore, London, near the Tower; I have seventeen brothers and sisters there ; my mother is 104 years of age when I heard from her ; tomorrow is my birthday ; I am 53 years of age. My brothers live near St. Catherine Dock ; my mother kept a public-house, sign 'Cleopatra ;' have never heard from my friends for fourteen years; I lived in St. Catherine's parish; was born 5th Oct 1792. Mrs. Fry made me a present when I left of one pound of lump sugar, half a pound of tea each ; she gave me some patchwork.
* This present of a calabash will be found mentioned in the life of Mrs. Fry, but the editors forgot to state that it came through the inquiries and by the hands of Mrs. Chisholm.
William F._“I think it's one of the finest countries in the world for a poor man. I have been right round the world ; this is the best for a poor man. A man can feed his pork, rear his poultry, and it is his own fault if he don't do well. I ought to have been the richest man in the colony.
“I have gathered plenty, danced and sung it away; then began again. Soon got plenty. I have ten acres of wheat in, have two cows, one pig, twenty laying hens. When I sell my wheat I buy tea, sugar, clothes for the year. No matter what happens here, a man has only to begin again--that the fact I assure. If I had not a farthing I would not lay down.
“The wife states she has never wanted for food since in the country." A TICKET-OF-LEAVE MAN, WISEMAN'S FERRY, HAWKESBURY RIVER.
“ By trade I am a shoemaker; was assigned to Mr. M- MC-, Toongabbie; he sent me to Bathurst and the Mudgee River, in the district of Mudgee; when there, at Bendigong, some armed bushrangers were about; there was a woman in my master's house in charge of the store, and I was in my hut working at my trade, when she came to me; her name was A— W—; she said, “There are three armed men demand the key.' • What am I to do,' said I, 'A-? I am a lifer in the colony; it will be death or freedom with me.' So when I goes up I sees three men, and before I got up one man fired, whether at me I know not; I had no arms; I got up close to him, and felled him with my fist, and seized his firearms (this was not the man that had fired, but the nearest to me); it was raining very hard, and I presented the piece I had seized, and said, 'Ground your arms, or I will shoot you!' This they did, for they knew me in earnest. I marched them in the kitchen, and, just as I got them inside, two policemen came up; the policemen taken them into Mudgee, and I accompanied them with a black fellow; their names (this was in 1842, 18th March) were Dolly Busky, a Frenchman, and William Rowlings; one of these was a new chum, and got a mitigation of four years. I got nothing but my ticket about three years sooner than I should, but I did expect my conditional pardon. The men I taken were two brothers of the name of Dolan, and a man named Brian ; they were tried at Bathurst, and got fifteen years each.
“When a government man before this, I was the instigation of getting three captured; the soldiers of the 28th promised me to get my liberty, but they got the reward, and never spoke for me. One of these was a notorious character, John Macquire, Joe Basley, and William Harding, Major Messington, and Serjeant Harries ; one of these men were killed, another wounded ; they were shot asleep with thirteen stands of arms. Besides this, in Captain S_'s son's establishment I captured one man, I am in the police, a strong man; could once lift 800 weight with my hands."
A WIFE'S STATEMENT. “We have one team of bullocks, and a dray; my husband is gone to Windsor to purchase a plough; we live on the banks of the Lower Hawkesbury, and keep a boat. We send our crops to Sydney by water; we are charged 4d. per bushel.
"Ten acres, rent £9 per year; landlord Dr. Nicholson, M.C.; the soil is very good (the land is not stumped); cannot speak to the quantity of wheat per acre; the crops look well, as this is our first year on this farm; we formerly rented one from his Grace the Archbishop of Sydney. There was about twelve acres, and for which we paid £15.
HOW SMALL FARMERS LIVE IN AUSTRALIA.
“ The girl that is old enough helps me; one daughter is married to a stockkeeper. Wages £20.
“We employ one man, wages 6s. per week; he boards and lodges with the family.
“In harvest time, I have twelve pigs and three up fattening; this year I have killed for my family use two bullocks; four pigs; they weighed about 150lbs. each; twenty-two ducks, four dozen of fowls, not counting young things; eggs we use as we want for the family, and I sell about ten or twelve dozen a week. Fowls thirteen-pence per pair; eggs pay well; the neighbours are civil and obliging; when one man's short of rent or four we help each other. There is good fish in the river, and it does not take much trouble to catch them. “I sold my wheat at 4s. per
bushel. “I paid in August last £2 2s. 6d, for half a chest of tea and £1 2s. 6d. the cwt. for sugar. I usually buy half a chest of tea and one bag of sugar at a time; quarter cwt. of soap. I buy tea twice a year, and sugar three times."
After taking down the statements, Mrs. Chisholm often added her own notes, as in the following on three old prisoners at Webb's Creek :
“This poor man is a widower, his wife has not been long dead, and never did I see grief so stamped upon a poor man's countenance ; he was very kind to his partner during a long illness, had a doctor twice to see her; he has a dread of bachelorism; he has visited his solitary neighbours over the river, and knows what a bachelor's life is. May my sons escape the calamity that prevails at Webb's Creek. All fastidious bachelors in search of imaginary beings should visit Webb's Creek, and see the comforts of single blessedness. I could not sleep all night for the sound of their miserable voices, their black chins, their brown shirts. A man would be happier with a very shrew than left to mate with his own shadow.”
A BACHELOR SETTLEMENT. “A very snug hut, ascent to it steep ; the house sheltered by a rock; we were scarce in the house before the frying-pan was put on the fire ; here we had fried eggs and bacon, cold boiled pork, tea, and damper : the bacon here was the best cured of any I have tasted in the colony. There is a good pigyard; here are the pigs, bachelor Hale's sole care (p. 52); he gets up at night to feed, then goes out by day to gather thistles for them. When we left here, Whitaker brought a dozen of eggs to the boat as a present for me. How comfortable old people can live on a bit of land; what ingenious contrivances poor homes are to keep human beings poor and miserable!
“ Four farge sacks of flour, three casks of meat, a great abundance of provisions, and a very considerable number of pigs; but my attention was so taken up in examining the government monastery that I forgot to enter the numbers. At this desolate spot there were evident signs that men seldom voluntarily live alone. There was the tomb of Henry Hale's bush wife, “a gin’s grave;' it was Deatly paled in and painted ; never did I witness such misery in the midst of plenty. What frightful evils are the results of checking population !"
SIR CHARLES FITZROY.
RETROSPECT OF SIR GEORGE GIPPS'S GOVERNMENT - CONTEST ON DISTRICT
COUNCILS_SIR CHARLES FITZROY'S ADMINISTRATION—THE SQUATTERS OBTAIN
FIXITY OF TENURE-FUTILE ATTEMPT TO REINTRODUCE CONVICTS. TN July, 1846, Sir George Gipps retired from the government of 1 New South Wales, and departed for England, worn out in body and mind by the excitement of perpetual contests with colonists as unscrupulous in their attacks as he was obstinate and haughty in maintaining his opinions and position. It was a war to the knife on both sides. The last measure he presented to the Legislative Council (a bill to renew the border police) was rejected, and an address voted, by a large majority, after two nights' debate, which was virtually a vote of censure on his government.
A few examples will illustrate the peculiarities of his government :
He disallowed the cost of curing a black aborigine of an infectious disorder, on the ground “that there were no funds legitimately applicable for that purpose;" but he spared no expense to discover, try, and hang, if possible, those gentlemen who had slain blacks in self-defence, after he had withdrawn the police, for which they paid a special tax.
In the same spirit he threatened to withdraw the pasturing licence of any man whose shepherd lived with a black concubine, blacks being the only females within hundreds of miles; but he towered with indignation when it was suggested that it was his duty to provide the shepherds with wives.
Having found officials, who had been elected members of the council, voting against him, he issued an order that, “On questions deemed of importance by the representative of her Majesty, persons who hold office during her Majesty's pleasure, and who may at the same time be members of the Legislative Council, are not at liberty to oppose, in their latter capacity, the government which it is their duty in the former capacity to serve."
A return made to the Legislative Council affords a series of examples of the arbitrary manner in which he exercised the power vested in him, as governor, of raising and reducing the price of land. In many instances he acted in defiance of the recommendation of the surveyors and local authorities. He believed in no one but himself.
CONTEST ON DISTRICT COUNCILS BILL.
“Land at Ilawarra was sold at 12s. and £1, raised to £10, not sold, then offered at auction at £1, and being the refuse still remained unsold.
“In a second district land raised to £10 was reduced to £2. In a third, after an increase to £10 and £100, the lots were reduced to £2 an acre. In a third £100 upset was obliged to be reduced to £10 an acre. A fourth and fifth district present equally striking instances of the governor's ill success as a land valuer.”
Perhaps, next to the contest with the squatters, the hardest struggle took place upon the District Council Bill.
District councils, as we have already stated, were created at the suggestion of Sir George Gipps, before he became Governor of New South Wales, by the 47th section of the 5th and 6th Victoria, c. 79, with the view of raising local taxes, to be expended, under local control, for local objects, such as roads, bridges, schools, &c.
Under this clause the inhabitants of each district were empowered to elect a council, and, if they neglected to elect, the governor had power to appoint a council, which should decide on the sum required for a year for the district. Half such sum was to be contributed from the colonial treasury, and the other half to be levied on the property in the district. If no local treasurer was elected the colonial treasurer had to issue his warrant, and sell up as much of the property of the district as would raise the requisite sum.
It was a very pretty paper scheme, which met the high approval of English statesmen of the first order. In England it would even now be a great improvement on the present mode of levying county rates, but in pastoral colonies, like those of Australia, it was hopelessly impracticable.
In the first place, there is no population sufficiently dense to work such a system; and, in the second place, there is no ready money to pay the taxes.
Wages are high, consumption is large, and by taxes on consumption, levied at the ports, a considerable revenue may be raised, but by direct taxation very little. The colonists have, or rather had—for it is impossible to say what changes a gold currency may effect-sheep and cattle, which they exchanged, in meat, wool, and tallow, for what they needed in tea, sugar, tobacco, and clothing, but very little money.
When Sir George Gipps attempted to introduce his district councils he found the colonists unprepared to pay five or ten pounds per annum for roads over which they never travelled, and bridges a hundred miles from their farms, and, indignant at finding their property at the mercy