Index head

  

 

Volume I Chapter Part I

 

1. FAITH OF THE FOUNDERS

Extracts with page references/Torn Volumes 1 and 2 "A History of Australia " C.M.H. Clark, Copyright Melbourne University Press. Used with permission. Compilation, Headings and Emphasis in bold type — Graham McLennan.  


THE SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD IN DELAYING THE SETTLING OF AUSTRALIA

 

1. The Hindu-Buddhists (pages 5 & 6)

The Hindu-Buddhists, partly from population pressure, partly to obtain spices, fragrant woods and gold, and partly to win converts for their religious faith, began to colonize Sumatra , Java, and the islands of the archipelago in the first century of the Christian era. This was colonization by infiltration rather than conquest. Yet the Hindu-Buddhist, de­spite his lust for wealth and his religious zeal, did not advance the limits of the known world. The Hindu religion (though not the Buddhist) prohib­ited sea voyages, as well as contact with foreigners, and a queer 'geography' supplemented the teaching of religion. For the Hindu believed the world was flat and triangular; that it was composed of seven distinct habitations, each surrounded by its own peculiar sea; that one sea was of milk, another of sugar, another of butter, another of wine, and so on; that the whole of this world was supported on the heads of elephants, whose occasional motion was the cause of earthquakes. But it was the advent of Islam both in the mother country and in the archipelago which ended Hindu-Buddhist coloniza­tion and evangelization by the middle of the fif­teenth century.

2. The Chinese (page 8)

Like those of the Hindus, the Chinese descrip­tions of the area lapsed from fact to fantasy as soon as they reached that invisible frontier on the map beyond Timor . East of Sho-P'o, ran one of their de­scriptions in the thirteenth century, lies the ocean sea where the waters flow downward: there is the kingdom of women.

So the absence of an incentive to explore the world beyond its known limits cheated the Asian both of the discovery and the colonization of Aust­ralia , for by the time any incentive to search beyond those seas was felt, the Asian colonizing powers were impotent. In 1433 the voyages of Cheng Ho were abruptly ended by a palace revolution at the Chinese court when a rival group, which despised trade and luxury and frowned on all contact with foreign barbarians, took over from the party sponsoring Cheng Ho. The Chinese domination in the Indonesian archipelago withered away on the very eve of the period in which the Portuguese in Europe were making the advances in ship-building, nautical instruments and cartography which would enable their ships to leave the coast and sail out on to the mighty ocean. So the Chinese lost their first chance to colonize the lands in the unknown seas.

3. The Muslims (pages 8 & 9)

The spread of Islam in the Indies occurred in a piecemeal fashion. Muslim merchants and mission­aries had arrived in west Java by the end of the elev­enth century. From that time until 1600 the history of the Indies was in part the story of conversion, sometimes by persuasion and sometimes by force, to the religion of Islam. Political power followed in the wake of trade and religion, beginning with the cre­ation of the Mohammedan kingdoms in Malacca and Java in the fifteenth century, and in the Moluccas early in the sixteenth century, with a long bloody war of attrition during that century to establish a Mohammedan kingdom at Macassar. This brought them to the frontiers of civilization, from which, if they had pushed further in search of gold or spices or fragrant woods, or souls for Islam, they would have moved on into New Guinea and from there across to the north coasts of Australia . They had be­gun to do this just when the coming of the Euro­pean ended the spread of Islam, for when Torres first sailed through the strait which still bears his name, he met Moors in west New Guinea . That was in 1607. This marked the limits of the Muslim expan­sion and knowledge of the area.

Like his predecessors, the Hindu and the Chi­nese, the Muslim lapsed into fantasy when he des­cribed the world south and east of the line between civilization and barbarism. Before 1400 their sailors referred to it as Dedjdal or the kingdom of Antichrist .

The material weakness of the Asian states, their lack of sea power, together with the long and bloody struggle between Hindu and Muslim, created the conditions for the success of the Euro­pean in the archipelago. One of the by-products of this was the coming of European civilization to Australia . So the internal history of the Asian states explains why Hindu, Chinese and Muslim did not cross that line between civilization and barbarism, just as it explains in part why not only the discovery, but also the first permanent occupation of Australia since the ice age was begun by Europeans.

THE EARLY INHABITANTS OF AUSTRALIA (pages 3, 4, 5)

The early inhabitants of the continent created cultures but not civilizations... Neither the Negritos nor the Murrayians, nor indeed the Carpentarians, made the advance from barbarism to civilization... the failure of the aborigines to emerge from a state of barbarism deprived them of the material re­sources with which to resist an invader, and left them without the physical Strength to protect their culture.

Other peoples have recovered from the destruc­tion of their culture, but that of the aborigines was to wither when in contact with other races; for the aborigine was also endowed with a tenacious, if not unique inability to detect meaning in any way of life other than his own; and by one of those ironies in human affairs it was this very inability to live outside the framework of his own culture that prevented any subsequent invaders from using the aborigine for their own purposes. This, in turn, relieved the European from the evil consequences of reducing an indigenous population to slavery or semi-slavery.

THE COMING OF THE EUROPEAN AND CATHOLIC CHRISTENDOM (page 12)

MAGELLAN

This contribution of the Portuguese did not end the association of Catholic Christendom with the coming of European civilization to Australia . In 1519 a Portuguese, Magellan, in the service of the king of Spain , sailed from Seville to find a route to the wealth of China and the Indies round the south of America , as well as to contribute to the glory of Almighty God and His church by converting bar­barous nations to the Christian faith. To the single-mindedness of Magellan, and to the faith which sus­tained him against mutiny and terrible privations till he found a strait into the Pacific, only the poets can testify. In that moment of victory when the flagship the Vittoria swept out on to that 'very vast sea', the captain-general began to cry, and he gave the name of Cape of Desire to this cape as a thing which had been much desired for a long time. After they en­tered the Pacific, they remained for three months and twenty days without taking in provisions, and believed that if our Lord and His Mother had not aided them with good weather they would all have died of hunger, for, in the words of the priest who wrote down their experiences in words befitting the majesty of their achievement, - (page 13)

'I think that never man will undertake to perform such a voyage.' For they were men of faith. They had opened up a new route to the wealth of Asia ;

they had opened a route from which to search for new lands, and later for a 'terra australis', as Drake, Cavendish, Schouten, Le Maire, Roggeveen, Byron, Anson, Wallis, Carteret and Cook followed in their train. For just as the discovery of the north and west coasts of Australia was a by-product of European interest in the Indies, the discovery of the east coast was a long-term by-product of Magellan's voyage. Yet neither of these discoveries was made by Cath­olic Christendom, for in the year that Magellan's blood was staining the sands in an island of the Philippines , the unity of Christendom was sundered. Just as the Portuguese had wasted their substance attempting to destroy the horrid sect of Mohammed, so much of the wealth, the energy and the talent of Christendom in Spain was drained by the decision of Charles V to stake his lands, his friends, his body, his blood, his life and his soul so that he and the 'noble German nation' would not be for ever disgraced by the survival of heresy. Yet in the resurgence of vigour and the missionary enthusi­asm stimulated by that challenge, the Catholic Chris­tendom came close to the discovery of Australia .

Between 1559 and 1607 the Spaniards based on Lima in Peru made a series of voyages in the west and south Pacific in which the hopes of finding wealthy lands close to the Indies were tangled up with the quest for a 'terra australis', a desire to win souls for Christ, and a terror lest the poison of her­esy should arrive in those seas before them. As early as 1526 one of their seamen, Saavedra, had dis­covered the north coast of New Guinea on a return journey from Tidore in the Moluccas, and he had reported the country to abound in gold. This fitted in with the Inca legend which the Spaniards picked up in Peru of two rich islands due west of Lima vis­ited by their legendary folk-hero. It also fitted in with the ideas their seamen and officials were absorbing from their geographers, who had pro­duced their reasons for postulating a south land, which it was assumed must be wealthy. The men of God testified also that both sacred writ and philo­sophical reasoning pointed to there being as great a surface of land uncovered in the southern hemi­sphere as in the northern. Their religious expecta­tions were to enlighten and convert to Christianity all infidels, and to lead them as labourers into the vine­yard of their Lord.

 

DE QUIROS AND AUSTRIALIA DEL ESPIRITU SANTO - A LAND DEDICATED TO THE HOLY SPIRIT (pages 14,15,16)

 

The last of the searchers from Callao was Pedro Ferdandez de Quiros. He was one of the flowers of the Catholic reformation, part of that movement of religious idealism and of missionary fervour which strengthened the church after the disasters of Luther and Calvin. It was a movement which in­spired Francis Xavier as a most loving brother wholly in Christ to spread the holy faith in India, in Malacca, in Macao, even as far as Japan, which in­spired the Jesuit missionaries to endure the most un­speakable tortures at the hands of the Indians in North America, and inspired too the Francisca missionaries in Central and South America. Quiros was a Portuguese, bom in the territory of Evoral about the year 1565, but he spent most of his life in the service of Spain . He had sailed with Mendana as pilot major on the voyage of 1595. From his youth he seems to have been caught up in the missionary en­thusiasm of the age. He began to believe that he had been singled out by God as the vessel through whom the inhabitants of 'terra australis' would be received into the true church, and that 'terra australis' would be Austrialia del Espiritu Santo — a land dedicated to the Holy Spirit. In 1600 he had made his pilgrimage to Rome for inspiration; he had knelt on each step of the Santa Scala, not tormented as Luther had been in 1510, to know 'whether it is so'. He had knelt in joy and hope in St Peter's where he ac­cepted the pomp and display as appropriate to the greater glory of God and his church. He had been received reverently by Clement VIII who blessed him, and conceded many graces and indulgences to all who sailed with him, and presented him with some rosaries which had received the papal blessing as well as a piece of the true cross, (page 15)

After his return to Callao he decorated the prows of his ships to symbolize the missionary pur­pose, placing on each a carved statue of St. Peter with his feet resting on a globe. Just as Christ had named Peter the rock on which He would build His church, against which the gates of hell'should not prevail, so Peter's successor, in the mind of Quiros, would be the head of all that immense number of idolaters who, in those vast and remote provinces, were buried in the darkness of blind ignorance. For the greater glory of the same Lord he was anxious to win the race against the Protestants to the Indies and the south seas, to confound those powers of false doctrine. He was essentially a gentle spirit, one of God's chosen vessels bringing the gift of his holy faith. For Quiros, all men were the adopted children of God. Yet despite the faith, despite the knowledge and the experience, he lacked the quality to excite awe and reverence from his crew, for they never saw him as their mirror, light and true guide. He was no more successful than Mendana in selecting a crew to understand, let alone share, his aspirations. As his second-in-command he appointed Luis Viez de Torres, a Portuguese, about whose life nothing is known except his part in this voyage.

On the eve of their departure Quiros went as a pil­grim to the virgin of Loreto to pray that she would take so important a voyage under her protection. On 21 December 1605 , after all had taken the sacra­ment and gained the jubilee promised by the Pope to those who undertook the voyage, they sailed out on to the high seas from Callao . With that abun­dance of good will conferred by their desire to serve God and spread the holy Catholic faith, and ag­grandize the royal crown of the king their lord, all seemed easy to them — as they believed that for them the mountains would be moved, the seas made Calm, and the winds hushed. They sailed west till they reached a harbour in the New Hebrides, which Quiros in the first flush of the excitement named Austrialia del Espiritu Santo — a name which, together with the errors in measuring longitude, created confusion for posterity when it plotted his voyage, and even seduced men of scholarship and learning to argue that he had landed on the east coast of Australia, (page 16)

The site of Austrialia del Espiritu Santo was cleared up by Cook on his second voyage. He also named the group of islands the New Hebrides . The idea that Quiros had landed on the east coast lingered in Catholic circles, and was revived by Car­dinal Moran, the Catholic Archbishop of Sydney . Four times, between 1895 and 1907, he asserted that Quiros had discovered Australia . He gave his auth­ority a wider currency by an ambiguous sentence in his History of the Catholic Church in Australasia ( Sydney , 1895), p.2, which could be construed as making Quiros the discoverer. Until the refutation of Dr Moran's views by E. O'Brien, children in Catholic schools were taught that Quiros dis­covered Australia, while in the Protestant and state schools the honour was given to the Dutch — to Jansz or Hartog — O'Brien thus followed Cook not only in his opinion of the site of Austrialia del Espiritu Santo but also in his estimate of the signifi­cance of the Dutch. So Quiros lost that sort of pre­eminence, though in recent decades the poets have rightly conferred on him another distinction. See D. Stewait: 'Terra Australis' in Sun Orchids and other Poems ( Sydney , 1952), andJ. McAuley: 'Belmonte's prologue to the 1606 Voyage of Quiros to Terra Australis' in N. Keesing (ed.): Australian Poetry, 1959 (Sydney, 1959).

ABEL TASMAN - THE FIRST EUROPEAN TO SIGHT TASMANIA , NEW ZEALAND AND A DEVOUT CHRISTIAN

"The man who had made the greatest voyage since Magellan", (pages 31, 32, 35, 38)

 

They sailed from Batavia on 14 August 1642 with Tasman's mind for a moment on higher things:

'May God Almighty, he wrote in his journal, 'vouchsafe His blessing on this work.' They sighted (p.29) Mauritius on 5 September and dropped anchor the following day to repair their ships, to gather stores.... where they arrived on 14 June 1643, after a voyage of ten months, whereupon Tasman, in a rare comment, wrote in his diary: 'God be praised and thanked for this happy voyage.' (P.34)

By the middle of the seventeenth century the Dutch had written the very first page in the history (p.38) of European civilization in Australia by stating that there was no good to be done there. William Dampier popularized this idea amongst the English reading public half a century later.

 

COOK'S VOYAGE - SIR JOSEPH BANKS (page 46)

 

With him, on the Endeavour, he took Joseph Banks. Banks was born in London on 2 February 1743, and educated at Harrow and Eton where his tutor described him as being well disposed and good tempered but so immoderately fond of play that his attention could not be fixed to study. At fourteen, however, he discovered the passion of his life when walking along a lane the sides of which were enam­elled with flowers. It was more natural, he believed, to be taught to know all those productions of nature in preference to Greek and Latin. It remained the ruling passion of his life, and lingered long after the fires of love and ambition had died in his breast. In 1766 he became a member of the Royal Society on the eve of departing on an expedition to Newfound­land , during which he became so sick that he tied himself to a gun on the deck to defeat the weakness. On his return he offered to sail with Cook and so Banks, who believed that every consideration a man made of the works of the Almighty increased a man's admiration of his Creator, joined a man who found the mysteries of all religions very dark.

The Endeavour sailed from Plymouth on 26 Au­gust 1768, for which day the entry Cook wrote in his diary sharpens the contrast between him and his pre­decessors, whether from Catholic or Protestant Christendom. For where Magellan's and Quiros' men had taken the sacrament, and Tasman had beseeched God Almighty to vouchsafe His blessing on his work, Cook recorded the facts: 'At 2 p.m. got under sail and put to sea.'

 

THE SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD "IN THE AFFAIRS OF MEN" -AMERICAN INDEPENDENCE (page 60)

The first two voyages of Cook put New Hol­land or New South Wales as names in the pamphlet literature on the possible uses of lands in the south seas, in which the authors explored the possibilities of beneficial commerce and tossed off the idea that such lands might be used as bases from which to tap the wealth of the Indies, or to plunder Spanish trade in the south seas, or to begin trade with Chile.

So the idea of using New Holland was can­vassed at the unofficial level, in coffee houses, press and pamphlet, till 1776, when the enthusiasm of its supporters, which had been tempered by the counter drift of opinion against colonization, languished into silence in response to the revolt of the thirteen colonies in North America . For a season it looked as though the revolt had strengthened the hand of those who advanced moral scruples against colon­ization and trade, who were uneasy to accumulate profits by stealth, by the violence of rapine, or dex­terity of fraud. It looked too as though the wisdom of the political economist would be heeded, that wisdom which prompted Adam Smith to remind people that the same passion of human avidity which had suggested to so many people the absurd idea of the philosophers' stone had suggested to others the equally absurd one of immense riches of gold and silver in the new world. These words were written in 1776. In the same year other human passions played their part in transferring the dis­cussions about New Holland and New South Wales from the wits in the coffee house and the scribblers in Grub Street to the men who advised His Majes­ty's government. For in July of that year, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence , the Americans revolted, proclaiming to the world that all men were endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, and that among these were life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. They pro­claimed too, their decision that their soil should no longer be polluted by British criminals, (page 60)

In 1717 a system of transporting convicts from the British Isles to the North American colonies had been begun to deter wicked and evil disposed per­sons from committing crimes, and to provide labour for the colonies. Convicts sentenced to transporta­tion were sold by their gaolers to shipping contrac­tors who shipped them to the West Indies or the southern American colonies, where they were sold again to plantation owners who acquired a property in their labour for the term of their sentence. All told, between 1717 and 1776, approximately thirty thousand convicts from England and Scotland , and ten thousand from Ireland , were transported to the colonies in America . By the end of 1775, when the opposition to convicts in America became con­founded with the opposition to political oppression, demand slackened, and in that wave of righteous anger which possesses people resisting an oppressor, the convicts were not permitted to land. This forced the British government to look for alternative desti­nations. (page 61)

It was, however, neither unsavoury conditions nor talk of Sodom and Gomorrah which persuaded the British government to think again about the use of convicts sentenced to transportation, but rather the failure of the hulks to accommodate the number under sentence. A committee of the House of Com­mons was appointed in 1779 to examine this pressure on accommodation, and to consider whether transportation was practicable to other parts of the world, (page 61)

As Chaplain, the Home Office appointed the Rever­end Richard Johnson, who had been recommended by the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel. He was born, probably in 1753, in Norfolk and educated at the grammar school at Kingston-upon-Hull , from where he won a sizarship to Magdalene College where he absorbed the principles of the evangelicals. He graduated in 1784 and, with the help of influence from Wilberforce and the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, was offered the chaplaincy of New South Wales in October 1786. His sponsors entertained great hopes for the success of his work, that he would prove a blessing to lost creatures, and hasten the coming of that day when the wilderness became a fruitful field, when the hea­then would put off their savageness, and put on the graces of the spirit. To assist him the Society pro­vided a library of tracts and books, the very titles of which uncover that gap between intention and per­formance in the men whose principles condemned them to a dependence on the Word. In addition to Bibles, Books of Common Prayer, and Psalters, Johnson took with him copies of Osterwald on the necessity for reading the scriptures, Kettlewell's of­fices for the penitent, copies of exercises against lying, of cautions to profane swearers, of exhorta­tions to chastity, of dissuasions from stealing together with the most fervent wishes from the board of the Society that the divine blessing might go with him. For Johnson was a most worthy man, but trapped by the pitiful equipment with which he was endowed for the execution of his noble pur­pose, as so many men have been. He was trapped too by the conflict between his own and the Governor's conception of the utility of religion. Where he saw religion as the divine medium for eternal salvation, the Governor treasured it as a me­dium of subordination, and esteemed a chaplain ac­cording of the efficacy of his work as a moral police­man. So Johnson, like all the evangelicals, spent his days torn between the temptation to hold the de­pravity of his charges responsible for the failure of his work, and that other temptation to lacerate him­self for his own unworthiness to serve the Lord. (page 75)

AUSTRALIANS' CHRISTIAN ORIGINS AND CONCERNS FOR THE SPIRITUAL WELFARE OF BOTH CATHOLIC AND PROTESTANT (page 78)

A Catholic priest, the Reverend Thomas Walsh, told Lord Sydney that if the ignorance of the Cath­olic convicts were removed, and their obligations as men and Christians forcibly inculcated, this might be a means of their becoming useful to themselves and perhaps afterwards to their country, and the prac­tice of their religion might bring them out of the wretched state of depravity into which they had fall­en. For where the evangelical trusted in the Word to work an amendment of life, the Catholic trusted in the efficacy of the sacraments. But on all questions touching the Protestant ascendancy Sydney , like Tom Jones, behaved as a man of heroic ingredients. So the Catholic convicts were deprived of their means of grace and their hope of glory, simply be­cause Lord Sydney believed sincerely that their means of grace could only be ministered to them at the risk of weakening the Protestant ascendancy. (page 78)

CAPTAIN ARTHUR PHILLIP'S CONCERN FOR THE COLONY'S SPIRITUAL WELFARE

He was to enforce a due observance of religion and good order among the inhabitants, and take such steps for the due celebration of public worship as circumstances would permit. In the first draft of these instructions he was to grant full liberty of con­science, and the free exercise of all modes of religious worship not prohibited by law, provided his charges were content with a quiet and peaceable enjoyment of the same, not giving offence or scandal to govern­ment; he was to cause the laws against blasphemy, profaneness, adultery, fornication, polygamy, incest, profanation of the Lord's Day, swearing and drunk­enness to be rigorously executed. He was not to ad­mit to the office of justice of the peace any person whose ill-fame or conversation might occasion scan­dal; he was to take care that the Book of Common Prayer as by law established be read each Sunday and Holy Day, and that the Blessed Sacrament be admin­istered according to the rites of the Church of England. Because of the great disproportion of female to male convicts, he was to take on board at any of the islands any women who might be dis­posed to come, taking care not to make use of any compulsive measures or fallacious pretences. He was to emancipate from their servitude any of the convicts who should, from their good conduct and a disposition to industry, be deserving of favour, and to grant them land, victual them for twelve months and equip them with tools, grain, and such cattle, sheep and hogs as might be proper, and could be spared. As the military officers and others might be disposed to cultivate the land, he was to afford them every encouragement.

REV. RICHARD JOHNSON'S SERVICE ON THE FIRST FLEET
(page 83)

The Reverend Richard Johnson was troubled too. He found the captain of his ship close, un­sociable and ill-natured; and the ship's company very profane. On the second Sunday, after he preached to the convicts on the heinous evil of com­mon swearing, he was pleased to note for days afterwards that no coarsenesses passed their lips. So he knelt down in his cabin and beseeched his God to convince them of the folly and wickedness of such conduct.

AUSTRALIA 'S FIRST CHRISTIAN SERVICE 3 FEB. 1788 (page 87)

 

On Sunday, 3 February, Johnson preached his first sermon under a great tree to a congregation of troops and convicts whose behaviour, according to one eye witness, was equally regular and attentive. He took for his text verse 12 of psalm 116: 'What shall I render unto the Lord for all his benefits toward me?'

 

From the beginning of the voyage Johnson had laboured for their salvation, and to reclaim them from vice and depravity. He had furnished them with those books which tended to promote instruc­tion and piety. Yet from the day of the landing, if not earlier, a hopelessness and despair, a sense of failure, informed his language whenever he dis­cussed the progress of his sacred mission — a sense of the hopelessness of his task, and an even livelier one of the depravity of his charges.

FIRST CHRISTIAN MARRIAGES 10 FEB. 1788

AND FIRST COMMUNION SERVICE 17 FEB. 1788 (page 89)

On Sunday, 10 February, Johnson joined four­teen couples together in holy matrimony. Then, on 13 February, in the presence of the Judge Advocate, Phillip swore on the Bible: 'I, Arthur Phillip, do de­clare That I do believe that there is not any Transubstantiation in the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper or in the Elements of Bread and Wine at or after the Consecration thereof by any Person what­soever.' After which he acknowledged and declared George III to be the only lawful and undoubted sovereign of this realm, and that he abjured al­legiance to the descendants of the person who pre­tended to be the Prince of Wales during the reign of James II. He could not have known then that that descendant, Charles Edward Stuart, had died of al­coholic poisoning in Rome on 31 January 1788 . With minds fortified by such a reminder of the Protestant ascendancy, they gathered again in the marquee of Lieutenant Ralph dark on Sunday, 17 February, where Johnson celebrated the sacrament of the Lord's Supper, and dark was so carried away by the solemn occasion that he vowed to keep the table as long as he lived, as it was the first table that ever the Lord's Supper was taken from in this country.

THE CHRISTIAN DENOMINATIONS OF THE FIRST FLEET CONVICTS (page 94)

On the first fleet, approximately two-thirds classi­fied themselves at Church of England and one-third as Catholic. Over the whole period, Protestants out­numbered Catholics from England and Scotland by approximately twenty to one. Representatives of other faiths on the convict ships were few: there were a few Jews on the first fleet, and a few on most of the ships down to the end of the convict period; there was one Ukranian; there were negroes; and there were Indians and Anglo-Indians from the British possessions in India .

MRS PRYOR'S CHRISTIAN COMPASSION (page 98)

There were women such as Mrs Pryor who vis­ited the convict women ships to distribute haber­dashery and to read to them the from the Word, to be greeted by drunken women shrieking their inten­tion to murder one another.

FIRST CHURCH OPENS 25 AUG. 1793 AND OPPOSITION TO THE GOSPEL BYGROSE (page 138)

The Reverend Richard Johnson continued his efforts to persuade the convicts, the ex-convicts and the soldiers to restrain the evil passions of their hearts, telling them of the manifestation of the glory of God's mercy in the eternal salvation of the elect, and of his justice in the damnation of the wicked and disobedient. He reminded them of the day when the righteous would go into everlasting life and the wicked, who knew not God and obeyed not the gospel of Jesus Christ, would be cast into ever­lasting burnings, and be punished with eternal de­struction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of His power. Such a message fell on de­bauched ears. Besides, to his mortification and chagrin Grose displayed openly his contempt for Johnson and all his works, ordering him to conduct the service at six in the morning, and to cut the ser­vice down to three-quarters of an hour, including the sermon. The opening of the first church on 25 August 1793 passed almost without official notice, while on Christmas Day only thirty to forty at­tended divine service in a church built to accommo­date five hundred.

REV. RICHARD JOHNSON RETURNS TO ENGLAND (page 159)

With him, on the Buffalo , the Reverend Richard Johnson and family returned to England , where Johnson took up parish work in London and later at Ingham in Norfolk . In September of 1826 he wrote his last will and testament in which he solemnly and devoutly committed his precious and mortal soul into the hands of a merciful and covenant-keeping God, humbly trusting in the atonement made by his dear and only begotten son the Lord Jesus Christ as his sole right and title to eternal life. His frail and mortal body he cheerfully committed to the dust of the earth. He died the next year.

REV. SAMUEL MARSDEN -ASSISTANT CHAPLAIN (pages 139, ho)

In the meantime, in England , the press was hap­py to report they had heard from respectable quar­ters in the colony that it was in a very flourishing state. It also continued to publish the bizarre and the sensational, writing of how the celebrated Barrington was likely to become a man of some consequence at last, and adding the hope that he had tasted enough of the bad effects of vicious courses to abandon them entirely. They wrote of how the aborigines stole cabbages, or how a convict had built a comfortable house, cultivated his ground, and refused to return to England . English interest, both public and official, continued to centre on the bizarre, on the expense, or the influence on crime, or the effect on morals. In June 1793 Dundas, who in his private life had scorned the Biblical in­junctions neither to look into the wine cup when it was red nor to covet his neighbour's wife, informed Grose of the appointment of the Reverend Samuel Marsden as assistant chaplain to the colony, and urged Grose to attend to his comfort and well-being as whatever tended to increase the respect for the clerical station and character was highly important and necessary on all occasions.

By education and persuasion, Marsden belonged to the same evangelical wing in the Church of England as the Reverend Richard Johnson. Born at Parsley in Yorkshire in 1764, he was educated at Hull Grammar School with help from the Elland Missionary Society, then proceeded to Magdalene College , Cambridge , to study theology as a sizar — an undergraduate who received his education in re­turn for waiting at table and cleaning rooms. In that nest of Methodists his evangelical tendencies were strengthened. Before completing his degree. God ap­peared to be opening the way for Marsden to carry the gospel of His Son to distant lands. At the same time he had offered his heart, as far as it was proper to give it to any creature, and all he had, to Eliza­beth Frisian, the only daughter of Thomas Frisian of Hull , a grand-niece of Admiral Sir Clowdesley Shovell. In his letter of proposal he told her he believed it to be for his good and God's glory that he should be provided with a helpmate, and added that if she declined he was confident God would give him a mind resigned to His will. She did not de­cline, and the two were married on 21 April. A month later Marsden was ordained a priest by the Bishop of Exeter, and on 1 July the two left England on the William for New South Wales .

On the voyage Marsden was so much tried by the wicked conduct of those around him that he lent his ear to hear the testimony of the respectable against the vices of the master of the ship. When the master upbraided him, Marsden, with that fecklessness which he displayed to the end of his days whenever the principles of his religion clashed with the interests or passions of men in high places, decided to come to more amicable terms with the master. Characteristically, he added in his private diary the fervent wish that the Lord would help him always to be faithful, that at the last he might be able to say with St Paul: 'I am clear from the Blood of all men.' On 22 November they landed at Rio de Janeiro , where Marsden saw slaves for the first time. 'My bowels yearned over them,' he wrote in his diary. 'The Lord send them deliverance.' On Sun­day, 2 March 1794 , while the ship was being buf­feted by high seas off the east coast of Van Diemen's Land , Mrs Marsden began to be unwell. As Marsden put it, he had hoped and prayed the ship would arrive at their desired port in time, but now he saw that it could not be. He therefore en­deavoured to prepare his mind for the trial as well as he could, writing later in gratitude how the Lord had given him strength equal to his day. For on that ship he could expect no assistance from man; the wind blew; the rain poured down. Marsden was not cast down, however; he knew God would be with them and bless them. Besides, as he added, Mrs M. was also in better spirits than could be expected. About half past ten Mrs Marsden was brought to bed of a fine girl; she had, Marsden thought, an exceeding good time, and suffered as little as if she had had all the assistance in the world. The child was no sooner born than a great wave washed over the quarter deck, forced its way into their little cabin through the port hole, fell upon the little child, and wet their linen, which Marsden then dried by placing it between his shirt and his skin. Having got the child dressed and their little place put to rights, he knelt down to return God thanks for the great deliverance He had brought to them, and hoped that this was done in spirit and truth. Then he began his entry in his diary for the day: 'This,' he wrote, 'hath been a day much to be re­membered by me and mine.'

They arrived at Sydney Cove in March 1794, where Marsden quickly took up his duties as assist­ant chaplain, assuming responsibility for the parish of Parramatta , where his duties were to preach to the military on the morning of his first Sunday on shore, and to the convicts in the afternoon. Like the Reverend Richard Johnson he was appalled by the vice and depravity. He was shocked to find that the convicts condemned to death were greatly alarmed, and had no idea of a God of grace and mercy. He suffered acutely the pangs of exile; he missed that happiness and conversation he had enjoyed in England in the company of God's people. His faith strengthened him to endure all these privations, for he believed in that day when the saints of every clime and nation would meet to part no more, a joyful hope that made present inconveniences and separations easy and tolerable.

MARSDEN BECOMES A FARMER AND HELPS SPARE THE SETTLEMENT FROM STARVATION (page 141)

He also decided to become a farmer, to till the soil and breed sheep. Again he felt called on to jus­tify his conduct; he had entered the country when it was in a state of nature, and was obliged to plant and sow or starve. Besides, he added, just as St. Paul 's own hands had ministered to his wants in a cultivated nation, so his hands had ministered to his wants in an uncultivated one. It was more than want, however, which drove him to accumulate 1720 acres of land, 1200 sheep, as well as unspeci­fied numbers of cattle, pigs and horses, within ten years of his arrival. This laying up of treasures on earth could only arouse the suspicion that he was, to say the least, putting a very literal interpretation on Christ's injunction to feed his sheep, or encouraging the uncharitable to dismiss him as a contemptible hypocrite. It was not calculated to win him that re­spect for the mission which touched him most deep­ly — the salvation of the souls committed to his charge.

In September 1795 circumstances in the colony became more propitious for the high-minded. Grose had resigned in May 1794 because he could no longer endure the pains from his wounds, and sailed for England on the Daedalus on 17 December fol­lowing, leaving Captain Paterson to direct the settlements of New South Wales with the title of Administrator. Even those most shocked and re­pelled by the moral quagmire, by which they claimed that Grose himself was untouched, had the grace to acknowledge that if he had not adopted the wise, hu­mane and effective measure of encouraging private enterprise, and if the officers had not supported his liberal views with their best exertions, the inhabitants must have perished from want.

MARSDEN UNWISELY ACCEPTS THE POSITION OF CIVIL MAGISTRATE (pages 143,144)

At the same time the Reverend Samuel Marsden was lost in wonder and astonishment at the various changes through which a kind Providence had led him. He was not of noble birth, nor heir to any great inheritance, and had in the beginning only the pros­pect of hard labour and toil before him. Yet, to his surprise, God had exalted him from his low station and rank to minister before Him in holy things. He had accepted a grant of land for the support of his family and himself to help render the colony inde­pendent as well as to prevent the convicts and prob­ably the government also saying that the clergyman was an idle, lazy fellow. Now Hunter offered him the position of magistrate, and Marsden went down on his knees again to seek divine guidance to answer the question: how far was the duty of a clergyman incom­patible with the duty of a civil magistrate? Hunter had presented the reasons for accepting — the want of general officers in the colony, the general dis­tracted state of the settlement, the opportunity to report crimes and abuses as a magistrate which he could not do as a clergyman. Marsden, for his part, did not wish to offend the governor; he was rather willing to cultivate his good opinion, as well as to convince the people under his charge that he wished to promote their temporal as well as their spiritual interests. In the meantime he would continue to preach repentance towards God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, believing it would redound to his eternal honour to plant the gospel in this distant part of the known world, for this afforded him the most exalted idea of the dignity of his own situa­tion, and made it lawful for him to glory in the gos­pel of Christ. So Marsden justified to himself, to his God, and to his superiors in London , those de­cisions which were to cause him an infinity of an­guish, and deprive him of the very respect he so des­perately craved, the respect of his fellow-men.

MARSDEN PROSPERS (page 253)

By contrast the house and way of life of the Chaplain General and civil magistrate, the Reverend Samuel Marsden, was as spotless as his moral repu­tation. In 1802 Marsden drove the French explorer Peron in a very elegant cabriolet seven or eight miles from Parramatta where he showed Peron with the most attentive kindness his farm with its spa­cious and well-built buildings, its flocks of sheep, its horses, pigs and goats, and its garden in which most of the European fruit trees were growing. No won­der Marsden could write later: 'In the midst of all difficulties, God has always blessed my basket and my store, and prospered me in all that I have set my hands unto... We may trust God with all we have. I wish to be thankful to Him who has poured out His benefits upon me and mine.

MARSDEN PREACHES ON THE SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD (page 256)

The serious-minded spent even more of their time propagating the ideas of the evangelicals on morality and social order. For them such a religion was, as the Sydney Gazette put it, the bond of so­ciety, and the ground of all civil order amongst men. As they believed that a good example was universal­ly acknowledged to have a powerful and salutary ef­fect upon the minds and conduct of all, it was, in their view, much to be wished, especially for the rising generation and the general prosperity of the colony, that all ranks of the community should unite in the highly meritorious service of suppress­ing vice in all its forms, and in pointing out to their offspring and servants the paths of virtue by them­selves uniformly regarding the sabbath day and regularly attending church. But church attendances remained so pitifully low as to present a perpetual challenge to the missionary zeal of the evangelicals. In the meantime, the clergy and the Sydney Gazette taught their listeners and readers to detect the divine plan in all human events. Marsden, for example, re­minded them in a sermon that while in the sight of the unwise the decision to found a settlement at Botany Bay was motivated by the need to find a receptacle for the criminal population of Britain, He who governed the universe had had another object in view: God had provoked the Americans against the English in 1776 because the time had drawn near for the poor heathen nations of the south seas to be favoured with the knowledge of divine revelation.


 

JOHN HUNTER -

THE COLONY'S THIRD GOVERNOR

 following Phillip and Grose. ( Paterson served as Administrator for a year between Grose and Hunter.)

A Governor's Faith (pages 142, 143, 144, 145)

The hopes of those who believed that a new Governor would make the good of the community at large his particular care ran high in September 1795. For in that month a man of incorruptible in­tegrity, unceasing zeal, and a sound and impartial judgment assumed the office of Captain-General and Governor-in-Chief of the colony of New South Wales . He was John Hunter, a captain in His Majes­ty's navy. Age and experience were on his side. Born at Leith , Scotland , in 1737, he was 58 when he took up the Governorship. In his early years he knew the two loves of the sea and music. At the age of sixteen he took to the sea, and served in North America be­fore being appointed second captain on the Sirius with the rank of post captain for the voyage to Botany Bay in 1787. It was Hunter who had first sailed with Phillip into Port Jackson in January

1788. who first charted Sydney Harbour, who sailed in the Sirius for supplies to the Cape of Good Hope, by way of Cape Horn, in October 1788, so that when the vessel returned to Port Jackson in May

1789. it had circumnavigated the globe. It was Hunter who sailed the Sirius to Norfolk Island in February 1790, was wrecked on one of its reefs, and lay stranded there for eleven months, returned to Sydney Cove in December 1790, and sailed for England by way of Batavia in March 1791. After calling at Batavia , though the mate, the captain and some sailors died. Hunter arrived in England in April 1792 quite unaffected, for nature had en­dowed him with a toughness which strengthened his power to endure hardships and pain. Years before, on the West Indies station, when his ship ran ashore, Hunter's leg had been caught in a cable, his right hand severely wounded, and a blood vessel in the lung burst from his extreme physical exertions. These injuries were sufficient to kill most men, but Hunter survived them all. By a strange paradox he was endowed too with some of the gifts of the artist. He drew with competence, though not with distinc­tion; he was familiar with music, and had had some training in it; He looked to Providence as a prop and support; he wrote and spoke of Christ as his saviour, by which again he meant a protection against the cruelties and injustices of other men; and he was as unaware of women as they were of him. (pages 142, 143)

Like Phillip, he had been instructed to conciliate the affections of the aborigine, to live in amity and kindness with them, and to prepare them for civi­lization. But the closer his contact with civilization, the more the aborigine was degraded. Bennilong be­came so fond of drinking that whenever he was in­vited to an officer's house he was eager to be in­toxicated, and in that state was so savage and violent as to be capable of any mischief. At the same time, he began to lose the respect of his own people. (pages 144,145)