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Title: A Brief Sketch of the Long and Varied Career of Marshall MacDermott, Esq., J.P. of Adelaide, South Australia
Author: MacDermott, Marshall
Language: English
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*** Start of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "A Brief Sketch of the Long and Varied Career of Marshall MacDermott, Esq., J.P. of Adelaide, South Australia" ***

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                             A BRIEF SKETCH
                                 OF THE
                         LONG AND VARIED CAREER
                          Marshall MacDermott
                              ESQ., J.P.,
                       ADELAIDE, SOUTH AUSTRALIA.








                             A BRIEF SKETCH

                                 OF THE

                         LONG AND VARIED CAREER


                    Marshall MacDermott, Esq., J.P.

                     OF ADELAIDE, SOUTH AUSTRALIA.


THE following pages were written very recently, under a degree of
pressure from some members of my family; and as I possessed no memoranda
whatever to aid me in such a work, I have had to rely entirely upon
memory; therefore errors in details may reasonably claim excuse, after
the lapse of so long a period of time. These papers are written _solely_
for private distribution amongst relatives and special friends; and, as
my family is rather numerous and dispersed, the necessity arises of
having them printed.

                  *       *       *       *       *

I obtained a Commission in the Army of His late Majesty King George
III., at a very early age, through the influence of Lord Hutchinson, at
that time British Ambassador at the Court of St. Petersburg, and joined
the 2nd Battalion of the 8th (or King’s) Regiment of Foot, in the year
1808, at Chester. Being anxious to be employed on foreign service, I
obtained leave in the same year to join the 1st Battalion of the
Regiment at Halifax, in Nova Scotia, and towards the close of that year
embarked again with a division of troops under Sir Geo. Prevost, to
attack the French islands of Martinique, Guadaloup, &c., in the West
Indies. The Halifax Division consisted of the 8th, 13th, 7th, and 23rd
Fusileers, with Artillery and Engineers; and we joined the West Indian
Division under the Commander-in-Chief, Sir Geo. Beckwith, at Barbadoes.

During the voyage from Halifax, the convoy, including a large fleet of
transports, encountered a “white squall,” which only lasted about
fifteen minutes. From the fury of the tempest the sea could not rise; it
was smooth as a table, but covered with a dense white foam. The fleet
had been carrying a press of sail, especially the dull sailors; when,
like a clap of thunder, it was suddenly thrown on its beam ends. Sails
were torn into ribbons and small spars and wreck were flying in all
directions. Heavy rains then descended, followed by a dead calm, when an
enormous sea arose—ships on the crest of the waves, finding others in
the gulph below them under no control, and in imminent danger of
crushing each other. Damages were repaired, and without any serious
losses the fleet proceeded on its voyage.

The united force sailed from Barbadoes for Martinique, accompanied by
the West India squadron, commanded by Sir Alexander Cochrane, who took
up a position with the West Indian Division of Troops outside of Port
Royal Harbour, on the west side of the island. The North American
Division landed at Bay Robert, on the east side, and after two days’
sharp fighting drove the French force, consisting of four regiments of
the line and about 11,000 Militia, across the island, when they took
refuge in the strong fortress of Fort Bourbon, disbanding their Militia.
On this occasion I had the honour of carrying the King’s colours of my

The siege of the fortress, armed with over 200 pieces of heavy ordnance,
then commenced. The 8th Regiment was placed in position along a range of
hills facing the fort, being a coffee plantation, forming part of the
estate of the Empress Josephine of France. The ground had been recently
broken up, and there being no tents, the heavy tropical rains severely
tested the constitutions of the soldiers, who left their moulds in the
loose earth on rising each following morning.

The mortar and breaching batteries maintained a heavy fire for about six
weeks, when two breaches being reported practicable, the storming
parties were told off for the assault on the following morning. At the
dawn of day, however, a white flag was discernible; the garrison
surrendered, marched out with the honours of war at 12 o’clock, piled
arms, and were immediately placed on board transports for conveyance to

Four Imperial Eagles, the first Napoleon had ever lost, were among the
trophies; afterwards placed in the Royal Chapel at Whitehall, London.
The 8th Regiment chanced to encounter the French 8th of the line on this
occasion, as it had previously done in Egypt; and was presented by the
Commander-in-Chief with the fine set of brass drums delivered up by the
latter corps.

Just previous to the arrival of the expedition, a French frigate,
heavily laden with gunpowder for the garrison, had arrived at
Martinique; but before it could be landed, preparations for cutting her
out having been observed amongst the English fleet, she was blown up at
night by the French. The whole island was shaken by the explosion; and
the mountain of fire, with floating wreck clearly visible, was
inconceivably grand and awful.

At this time, war with America appearing to be imminent, the North
American Division was immediately embarked, and sailed for the defence
of these provinces, landing at Halifax.

The 8th Regiment was ordered to embark, and sailed for Quebec in 1810,
when it was thought the navigation of the River St. Lawrence would be
open. The transports passed through the Gut of Causo towards evening,
and entered the Gulf of St. Lawrence. About midnight they found
themselves surrounded by broken ice, and four of the ships put back; but
that in which I sailed continued her course. For three days and nights
she was imperilled amongst floes of broken ice; fortunately, however, to
leeward of a field of ice extending about 40 miles in length. The nights
were dark, and men were placed on the bowsprit to watch the floating ice
and give warning for the ship to put about. Very often the time was
insufficient, and the ship’s sides were so frequently felt to be
grinding against the ice, that it was feared the planks might not be
able to resist such frequent abrasions. A few days later she cleared the
Gulf and entered the noble River St. Lawrence, 90 miles wide at its
mouth, and 400 miles distant from Quebec. On approaching the city the
scene was magnificent. On the right, the large Island of Orleans—a
perfect garden. Further on, the Falls of Montmorency, 240 feet high; and
in front, the river here taking a bend, the Citadel, and the City of
Quebec on a very lofty elevation. The latter has a most remarkable
appearance, all the steeples and houses being covered with bright tin,
to facilitate the snow in shooting off from the roofs.

Both banks of the river, so far as it had been settled by the French in
Lower Canada, were laid out on a uniform military plan—a town with a
steeple every nine miles, where the Captain of Militia was stationed,
one of his lieutenants being on the other flank and another in the

The regiment was quartered at Quebec during the summer. At this time,
however, the 2nd Battalion of the 8th had arrived at Halifax from
England, and I was ordered to join it on promotion, which I did, sailing
on board a man-of-war in which I had been offered a passage. Soon
afterwards I was placed with a detachment at Melville Island, in charge
of French prisoners of war amongst whom I observed an intelligent young
midshipman, who I regretted to find herded with the common sailors, and
frequently had him to breakfast at my quarters, after which we used to
practice the small sword exercise with foils, and became tolerably
efficient. After some time I applied to the Admiral, Sir J. B. Warren,
and obtained his parole, which the young scamp subsequently broke, and

In the year 1811, the 2nd Battalion 8th was stationed at St. John’s, in
the Province of New Brunswick, to which place, after marching through
Nova Scotia, they crossed the Bay of Fundy. Here the tides rise forty
feet, and enter a small gulf leading to the town of Windsor in the
latter province, in the form of a bore, that is, suddenly, as a wall of
water, nearly perpendicular, and eight or ten feet high.

During the year 1812 the Americans declared war against England, at
Washington, having previously ordered their army on the frontier to
invade Upper Canada, on the _same_ day, being several days before the
intelligence could be known at that place. They signally failed,
however, in their first attacks. Reinforcements being urgently required,
and the River St. Lawrence being frozen up for the season, the 2nd
Battalion 8th was ordered to attempt the winter march on snow shoes to
Quebec; generally through desert country, and partly through the enemy’s
territory, and where no baggage animals could travel.

The march occupied forty-two days, with a day’s interval between each
division or company. Fortunately, there had been just sufficient time to
form two depôts of provisions on the line of march, thus making three
stages of fourteen days each. On leaving each station officers and men
alike had to carry on their backs fourteen days’ provisions, personal
baggage, arms, &c., and frequently to march on snow shoes, which,
without other encumbrances, is a labour to those unpractised. The
camping at evening presented a novel scene. Huts were formed of poles
covered with branches of spruce-fir, leaving the tops open for the smoke
to escape. Large fires were kept up the whole length of the huts; poles
being staked down at proper distances on each side, against which, the
sleeping soldiers rested their feet—their couches being formed of layers
of spruce boughs on the snow, which made capital elastic beds. The march
was successful, having only lost one man from the fall of a tree, and
fourteen men afterwards discharged disabled from being severely

When the snow was deep it was necessary to march in Indian files, that
is, only one man in front to tread down a path, the leading man falling
in rear after fifteen or twenty paces, the next then leading, and so on
in succession, the fatigue on snow shoes being great. Another rule was,
that the last man of each division should be an officer, to keep up
stragglers. There happened to be a long march of twenty-five miles
across Lake Tamiskwata, next to the grand portage between that lake and
the River St. Lawrence, when it was my turn to be the last man of my
division. A violent snow-storm commenced early in the day, and after
marching about eight miles, a man was seized with convulsions. What was
to be done? The snow was drifting in eddies and circles, obliterating
the path in front. No wood was accessible to light a fire, and the man
must not be left behind. Fortunately, the party had with them an Indian
contrivance, called a “tobaugan,” being a thin board twelve feet long
turned up in front like a skate, used to relieve sick and weakly men of
their loads. This was unpacked and the load distributed amongst those
present; the sick man was covered with many blankets, tied on and
dragged by the party, eight in number, in turns. Happily, they arrived
safely at the end of their stage. My load on that day’s march was,
besides my own luggage and provisions, a soldier’s knapsack and two
muskets, my share of drawing the tobaugan, and marching on snow shoes.
The division in front encountered great dangers in crossing the Grand
Portage over a mountainous country; the snow drifting in circles,
obliterating paths, and filling up deep hollows. Great risks arose from
men lying down from fatigue, which required unwearied exertions on the
part of the officers to prevent, to save them from perishing. After
marching for twenty-two hours until daylight next morning, the division
had only progressed eight miles, having been partially travelling in
circles with the drifting snow.

The divisions struck the St. Lawrence ninety miles below Quebec, and the
spontaneous kindness of the French Canadians could not have been
exceeded. The carrioles, sleighs, and sledges of the whole district were
assembled, and no man was suffered to march. They also fed the whole
regiment during the route. On their arrival at Point Levi, opposite
Quebec, where the river is over a mile wide, it was found that the ice
had broken up and was floating down in great masses with a current of
about six miles an hour. A number of large wooden canoes were collected,
carrying about twenty men each, in the management of which the Canadians
are very expert. After the men were seated the canoe was launched into
open water, and the crew paddled away with all their might. When they
encountered a large piece of ice they jumped out, and hauled up the
canoe upon it, dragged it across, and launched it on the opposite side.
This was rather a nervous operation, as the inclines, both in launching
and hauling up, were very steep, and required holding on hard. This had
to be repeated several times during the passage.

Early in the following spring the regiment embarked in steam-boats for
Montreal. Shortly afterwards, a remarkable and most interesting ceremony
took place there, at which I was present. The chiefs of about forty
Indian nations, or tribes—some from the shores of the Pacific Ocean,
distant about 4,000 miles—assembled at Government House for the purpose
of holding a “talk” or council with the Governor-General, Sir George
Prevost, and concluding a treaty with him—offensive and defensive. Each
chief had been presented with a scarlet robe, and the scene was very

The chiefs, generally, were remarkably fine-looking men, their features
Grecian, their carriage easy and graceful. Each chief, while addressing
the Governor-General, held a “wampum” belt, handsomely embroidered with
porcupine quills, and beads of various colours, which is their record of
the treaty. When the recognised superior chief had concluded his speech
he should have handed the “wampum” belt to the chief next in dignity of
the Sioux tribe. It so happened, however, that he was passed over, and
it was offered to him as the third speaker. He declined the honour in a
most dignified and courteous manner, and would not deliver his address
until after all the others had finished.

Their language was very poetical, figurative, and quite in the Ossian
style, somewhat in the following manner:—

“Father, listen to your Red Children.

“We have come from the setting to the rising sun to help our Father in
his time of need, and to live or die with him.”

“Listen, Father.

“In days long past our Father and his Red Children fought with the Big
Knives (the Americans) and they laid our Father on his back; and he held
out his hand to the Big Knives (made peace) but forgot his Red Children.
We hope he will not do so again.”

“Listen, Father.

“We ask our great Father at the other side of the Big Lake, (the
Atlantic Ocean) to supply his Red Children with arms and ammunition, and
to help us in our time of need.”

Their addresses were long, and very beautiful; and six Canadians were
found sufficient to interpret their numerous dialects.

After a short stay at Montreal, the regiment marched to La Prairie, near
Lake Champlain, on the frontier of the State of New York, where a force
of 10,000 men was assembled, including Militia, for the purpose of
attacking the American fortress of Plattsburgh, on that lake. During the
advance I was severely wounded in a night attack. A ball struck my chain
wing, on the right shoulder, cutting it into three slugs which entered
my neck (together with six links of brass chain, a brass button, and
some cloth and bullion) close to the carotid artery, dividing the
gullet, and lodged near the carotid artery on the other side, whence
they were afterwards cut out, sundry sinews being attached to the brass
chain. I lay all night on the field in a pool of blood, and was carried
into camp the next morning. The copious bleeding—which was repeated
three times afterwards by the surgeon—was probably, humanly speaking,
the means of saving my life, which was spared by the mercy of Almighty
God. From excessive inflammation and swelling nothing passed my lips for
eight days, and then on taking a little milk and water it passed out
through the wound over my shoulder. I recovered in six months; but the
wound broke out again after fifteen years, from a cold, and was nearly

During the years 1813 and 1814 the 1st Battalion, 8th, 41st, and 49th
Regiments, together with some Militia, had to defend a frontier of 1,500
miles, from Montreal to Michilimakina, on Lake Superior. The American
fleets on the several lakes being generally superior, were enabled to
land numerous forces to attack weak points. On such occasions the
English troops had to concentrate by forced marches during summer and
winter. Numerous sanguinary actions were fought, and their losses in
killed and wounded were rarely equalled. But they not only maintained
their ground, but took possession of the Michigan territory—larger than
England—which was not restored to the Americans until after the treaty
of peace.

During these campaigns the 1st Battalion of the 8th Regiment lost more
in killed and wounded than their original number, viz., 45 officers and
over 900 men. Its number, however, was maintained by drafts from the 2nd
Battalion and recruits from England.

During the winter of 1814-15 a king’s messenger arrived at Montreal with
despatches, announcing the conclusion of a treaty of peace with America,
and I was ordered to proceed with this despatch to Upper Canada to put
an end to further hostilities. I travelled by sleigh with a pair of
horses on the ice, driven by a French Canadian along the River St.
Lawrence, avoiding the rapids at the several portages. When crossing
Lake St. Francois—an expansion of the St. Lawrence—it being near the
close of the winter, the ice broke under us. The driver was skilful,
lashed his horses, which sprang with their fore-feet on the firm ice,
giving them a fresh impulse; this also broke and several others in
succession, until at length the firm ice was gained at some distance.
The current underneath was very rapid. I delivered my despatch to the
Commodore, Sir Jas. Yeo, on board his flag ship the “Ontario,” 110 guns,
at Kingston, Lake Ontario. This ship was an extraordinary object to see
on a fresh water lake.

After my return from Upper Canada I rejoined the 1st Battalion of my
regiment, and intelligence having arrived of the escape of Napoleon
Bonaparte from Elba, 10,000 troops, chiefly composed of regiments
recently arrived, and which had belonged to the army of the Duke of
Wellington, were ordered to embark at Quebec, and were to receive
further instructions on reaching the English Channel. Those troops were
formed into three brigades, under Sir Geo. Murray, Sir Thos. Brisbane,
and Sir Fredk. Robinson, with artillery, and equipped in all points
ready to take the field. They sailed in the month of May, and expected
to reach Europe in time to take part in the first battle with the army
of Napoleon. When the fleet of transports reached the banks of
Newfoundland it was enveloped in a dense fog, and the ships’ bells were
constantly ringing to prevent their falling foul of each other. Suddenly
they entered a clear atmosphere, which was caused by the presence of
numerous icebergs of enormous size. The Commodore, Sir Geo. Collyer, in
the “Liffey” frigate, sailed close to one of them, and his royal-masts
only reached two-thirds of its height. It must have been 100 feet high,
and ice is always two-thirds under water; its length was about three
miles, and its enormous bulk may thus be conceived. It must have broken
off from some very high cliff. It appeared clear as crystal, and
numerous rills of water were flowing down its sides forming gullies. The
clear atmosphere extended within a radius of about five miles; after
which the ships re-entered the fog on the opposite side.

On entering the English Channel a frigate was waiting the arrival of the
fleet, and gave the intelligence that the Battle of Waterloo had been
fought only seven days previously. The strong regiments landed in France
and joined the army of occupation at Paris. The 8th landed at Portsmouth
and marched to Windsor, where it was quartered.

The 8th Regiment relieved the Coldstream Guards at Windsor, and in their
campaigning costume their appearance did not satisfy the
Princesses—daughters of King George III. It became necessary, therefore,
to purchase some new articles of clothing at the cost of the soldiers.
Those ladies, especially Princess Elizabeth, were very critical in
matters of dress. Three officers happened to be walking in the Green
Park without their swords, and noticing the approach of the Princesses,
they turned into a side walk to avoid them. The ladies, evidently
intentionally, also turned off into the same walk, and suddenly met the
officers face to face. Neither party could avoid laughing. But the
circumstance of their appearing without swords was afterwards mentioned
to Sir Herbert Taylor, the King’s equerry. His Majesty was at this time
insane, and occupied a padded room in the Castle, just over the terrace,
in care of an attendant. The terrace was closed against the public, but
the officers on guard, when visiting their sentries, frequently saw His
Majesty at the windows. His appearance was most venerable, with a white
flowing beard down upon his breast. Previous to his insanity it was
related of him that he accosted a sentry on the terrace one morning,
asking his name and if he had a family; the man replied, “Yes.” The King
then said, “Come, along with me to the garden, and I will give you some
cabbages.” “Please your Majesty, I must not leave my post.” “O, well,
well, come when you are relieved, and I will fill your sack with

On home service few events occur worth recording. Remaining two years at
Windsor, the regiment embarked at Portsmouth for Malta. After passing
Gibraltar, while becalmed off Cape de Gat, on the Spanish coast, a
number of turtles were observed floating on the water. I, with some
other officers, got into a boat and rowed towards them. They were
apparently sleeping, and eight of them were caught by the fins and
captured. One of them, however, weighing about 200 lbs., caught three of
my fingers in its beak and cut me severely. I was quite willing to let
my antagonist escape, but my opponent would not consent, and he was
hauled on board still holding his prey. Fortunately, there was a
marlinspike on board and the fingers were released, thus affording an
illustration of “catching a Tartar.”

Malta, with its magnificent harbour, is remarkable in many respects.
Valletta, its capital, is built on a rock surrounded on three sides by
the harbour, and is strongly fortified, as well as its three suburbs and
dock-yard situated across the harbour. The parapets of the various
fortifications by which all these places are enclosed are said to
measure forty-two miles. The works are of great magnitude. When the
island was held by the knights of Malta—formerly knights of Rhodes, and
originally knights of St. John of Jerusalem—it is stated that at one
period they had as many as 100,000 Saracens, prisoners of war, on the
island, who were employed on these stupendous works.

The ditch between Valletta and its suburb Floreana is sixty feet wide
and forty feet deep, cut out of solid rock, a sandstone resembling that
at Bath. The catacombs between Valletta and Citta Vecchia, distant seven
and a-half miles, are a perfect labyrinth of excavated galleries, and so
many persons have been lost there that the dangerous passages have been
walled up. Solid oblong masses of human skulls and bones have been piled
in various places, and there are several spacious halls, supposed to
have been used as places of concealment.

At Citta Vecchia an ancient church exists—a re-building of one erected
on the spot stated by tradition to be the place where St. Paul had been
bitten by a viper. And you see before you the channel “where two seas
meet,” between the islands of Malta and Gozo; where they “_cast out four
anchors by the stern_, lightened the ship, and wished for the day.” It
is curious that Lord Nelson is supposed to have gained the Battle of the
Nile by adopting this plan; for, when breaking through the French line
of battle, the latter reserved their fire until his ships should swing
round at their anchors; which, of course, having anchored by the stern,
did not take place, and they lost their opportunity of raking his ships.

The Malta stone when first quarried is soft, but hardens by exposure. It
is commonly worked in lathes in various beautiful forms, such as vases,
balustrades, &c. The Palazzos of the Grand Knights are rich in
architecture, generally quadrangles. The churches and public buildings
are also very fine, and some of the monuments of the knights are
beautiful; altogether the city is very handsome. The ditch, before
referred to, had been converted by the knights into a beautiful garden,
the soil of which had all been conveyed from Sicily in ships; and the
walks had been so skilfully laid out as to convey a strong impression of

While at Malta I was recommended for the appointment of Pay-master of my
regiment, which I accepted, my prospects of promotion during peace being
remote; and I proceeded to England, on leave of absence, on board a post
office packet. This vessel was obliged to put in for repairs at
Gibraltar, where she was detained eight days; affording me a fine
opportunity for examining that celebrated fortress.

The neck of land which connects it with Spain is only 400 yards wide,
over which the rock rises with a perpendicular face to a great height.
Two wide galleries—one over the other—have been excavated along this
north face, through which port-holes have been cut out at intervals for
cannon, commanding the neutral ground. The east side is impregnable from
perpendicular rock. The defences towards the bay on the west and on the
south sides are very strong. The length of the rock from north to south
is about three miles. Toward the centre the high ridge of rock dips
considerably, and here a battery has been placed; on visiting which I
found about 100 wild monkeys chattering. They jumped down the eastern
face of the rock, catching stunted shrubs at intervals with their tails,
until they reached the bottom. They are not allowed to be shot. The
population of Gibraltar—about 16,000—is entirely dependent on rain for
their supply of fresh water; but from flat roofs, and tanks under every
house, besides large public reservoirs, they have sufficient and to
spare for supplying ships of war.

During my visit to England the 8th Regiment was removed from Malta to
Corfù, one of the Ionian Islands, and previous to my rejoining it
overland I made arrangements for a tour extending over several months
through France, Switzerland, and Italy. Passing through Calais,
Boulogne, Abbeville, Montreuil, Beauvois, and St. Denis, I entered
Paris, where I remained, in company with a brother officer, for a
fortnight. Being resolved to see everything remarkable which time would
admit of during this tour, I worked hard, early and late. At this time
(1819) Paris was not the beautiful city it has since become, and its
population has now (1871) been more than doubled. The gutters were made
in the centre of the streets, which were not kept over cleanly; there
were no footpaths—nor was the improved system of road-making by McAdam
then adopted. Oil lamps were attached to ropes suspended across the
streets, and early risers ran the risk of encountering shower baths of
questionable purity, ejected from the windows. Leaving Paris in a
south-east direction, the ascent of Mount Jura commences from Dijon, a
distance of about 380 miles from Paris. Many of the old Roman roads
still remained, paved with large blocks of stone, which were very rough
travelling, and planted on each side with poplars or cypress. On
reaching the summit of the road over the Jura Mountains you come
suddenly upon a most magnificent view—Mount Blanc, the range of Alps,
the lake and city of Geneva, Lausanne, the exit of the river Rhone from
the lake, and many other interesting objects. Days might be occupied in
contemplating such a view. Below Geneva, one and a-half miles, the Rhone
forms a junction with the Arve. At this place was fought one of Julius
Cæsar’s great and decisive battles.

Leaving Geneva the road skirts the northern shore of the beautiful and
extensive lake of that name, passing through the picturesque town of
Lausanne. At the head of the lake lies the village of Vevay. Here I met
with two Irish gentlemen of most agreeable manners, and highly
intelligent; and their plans being very similar to my own, we agreed to
travel together. It may be here remarked, that not until the end of two
months afterwards was it discovered, from a casual observation, that all
three had been school-fellows. Proceeding up the valley of the Rhone the
celebrated Pass of the Simplon across the Alps, between Switzerland and
Italy, is reached. After his great campaign in Italy, Napoleon I.
ordered this fine road to be made. The gradients are so easy that a
carriage may be trotted up nearly to the summit—above 8,000 feet over
the sea level—passing through a few short tunnels, where rocky spurs of
the mountain intervene. Here a monastery is situated, where the noble
dogs are trained to search for lost travellers in the snow. No
description is capable of conveying to the mind the magnificent scenery
of the Alps, which is ever varying. At one point the road passes close
to a perpendicular cleft in the mountain, said to be 1,000 feet deep,
and only forty or fifty yards wide at the top. A rushing torrent can be
heard from the bottom, but in total darkness.

After crossing the Simplon the first Italian town is Duomo Dossola;
after which the road passes along the shore of Lake Maggiore—the scenery
still being beautiful. The small island of Isola Bella is situated in
this lake, and is quite unique. On its summit stands a palazzo, of
Italian architecture, surrounded by three broad terraces, below each
other, down to the water’s edge, and planted in a most tasteful and
ornamental manner. Under the palace there is an extensive natural cave,
in which is a spring of running water. This cave is formed into a
grotto, embellished with coral and shell work, and must be a delightful
retreat during the heat of summer.

On the shore opposite Isola Bella is situated the colossal bronze statue
of Prince Carlo Borromeo, a Bishop or Cardinal. The pedestal is
thirty-six feet high, and the statue seventy-two feet, in all 108 feet.
The figure appears in Roman costume, with a Bible in the left hand. The
interior is ascended by ladders, and it is said that eight persons could
sit within the head. This statue was erected by the inhabitants of Milan
in gratitude for the devoted labours of the Prince during the great
plague which visited that city three or four centuries back.

Travellers enter Milan through a beautiful marble triumphal arch,
erected in honour of Napoleon. The Duomo or Cathedral is a wonderful
building of white marble, the façade of which was not completed until he
had conquered Italy, although the remainder of the building, which has
been very costly, had been commenced in the year 1386. At the top of
each pinnacle, and in various recesses, are placed marble statues, said
to be 3,000 in number. This building should be viewed at night during
the full moon, when it has the appearance of ivory, and is a sight
rarely equalled.

Being desirous of visiting Venice, I left my fellow-travellers at Milan;
having arranged to rejoin them at Florence, I proceeded through the
valley of the Po, by way of Bergamo, Breschia, Peschiera, Verona, and
Padua, from whence I crossed the Lagoon to Venice.

The Province of Lombardy is very beautiful, situated between the Alps
and Apennines, and watered by many rivers. The country generally is
divided into square blocks, and extensively irrigated. These blocks are
surrounded by mulberry trees planted at regular intervals, and grape
vines are festooned from tree to tree. The fruit, being ripe at this
time, presented a rich and lovely scene. The fertility of the soil,
consequent upon irrigation, is very great, producing generally three
crops annually. The culture of silk is very valuable in many respects.
It employs a large number of women and children at their own homes, and
the annual export of silk, raw and manufactured, amounts to about four
millions sterling.

Venice is built on a number of small islets, and partly on piles, and is
situated in the centre of a large lagoon at the head of the Adriatic
Sea, from which the lagoon is separated by two narrow strips of land
stretching from opposite shores, leaving a narrow channel between for
ships to enter, which is strongly fortified. Instead of streets there
are very numerous canals; and horses and carriages being useless, the
inhabitants move about the streets in a picturesque description of boats
called “gondolas.” The Palace of the Doges and the Cathedral of St.
Marco are very fine buildings. The former is connected with the Hall of
Justice by Lord Byron’s “Bridge of Sighs.” The monuments of the Doges,
the paintings, and the Grecian antique statues collected here, are
beautiful. In the Palazzo Manfrini there are many valuable paintings.
The three portraits by Georgione, so greatly extolled by Lord Byron in
his “Beppo,” are here. A curious anecdote respecting that poem has been
related. It is said to have originated in a bet. A literary party,
including Lord Byron, Sir Walter Scott, Tom Moore, and some foreigners
of distinction, were dining together at Venice, when the conversation
turned upon the flexibility or inflexibility of modern languages for the
purposes of “colloquial poetry.” A general opinion was expressed that
the English language was the least adapted. Lord Byron, however,
maintained the contrary, and proposed a bet to produce a short poem in
_that_ style, within twenty-four hours, against any other like poem that
could be found in any language. The bet was accepted, and resulted in
his writing “Beppo.” The umpire declared that Lord Byron had won his

Leaving Venice, the road to Florence passes through Ferrara and Bologna.
Here the Campo Santo, or burial ground, is worth visiting; it contains
many handsome monuments, and the gateway at the entrance is fine—the
pillars of which are surmounted by colossal marble statues of “Time” and
“Death.” Exquisite paintings are also to be seen here.

Crossing the Apennines, you pass a spot called Pietra Mala, where gas
escapes from the earth through small fissures, which were burning at the
time. The flame did not rise above five or six inches, but varies
according to the state of the atmosphere, and it spread over about half
an acre of ground.

I rejoined my fellow-travellers at Florence, where I remained ten days.
This is a most delightful city, containing a variety of interesting
objects. The Palazzo Pitti—the then Archducal residence—contains some of
the most valuable paintings and sculptures to be found anywhere—the
latter including the Venus de Medicis and Apollo Belvedere. Costly works
in Mosaics and Cameos are produced at Florence, where artists in such
works are very skilful. The Duomo, or Cathedral, is a fine building, and
the fountains are ornamental.

Passing through Arezzo, Trasimene (the scene of a great battle),
Perugia, Spoleto, Terni, you enter Rome—the Eternal City. The travellers
here remained a fortnight working hard to examine the objects of highest
interest. The first attraction was the Cathedral of St. Peter, which
took 150 years to build, at a cost of forty-five millions of crowns; and
here you are lost in wonder at the magnitude of its proportions, 569
feet long and 487 feet high. On the right hand, as you enter, you see a
baptismal font, supported by two angels of a miniature size to
appearance, compared with other objects around; but when you approach
them they are colossal. In the nave there are twelve elevated recesses,
in each of which stands a statue of one of the Apostles. A ladder stood
against one of them, to enable a workman to do some repairs. As he stood
in the recess his head reached to the knee of the statue. The size of
each object is so admirably adjusted that nothing seems disproportioned.
There are twelve side-chapels—six on each side of the nave; and over
each altar is placed a copy, in Mosaic, of some celebrated painting.
They measured fifteen feet by twelve feet high. The first examined by
our travellers was a copy of the transfiguration, by Raphael. One of
them, who had long promised himself a feast in viewing that picture, was
in raptures, and it was some time before he discovered that it was a
Mosaic copy—the original being in the Vatican. The High Altar, an
elevation, I think, of 104 feet, is grand. In the Piazza in front, 1,000
feet long, stands an ancient obelisk brought from Egypt, being a single
piece of granite, eighty-three feet high, and two handsome fountains;
the piazza being enclosed on two sides by stately semi-circular
colonnades of four columns abreast, sixty feet high, and 372 in number.

The next object of attraction was the Colosseum. The place which once
echoed the shouts of 100,000 persons was now silent. It should be viewed
by moonlight. It is a very ancient and wonderful structure. The Vatican
is an extensive pile of buildings, situated close to St. Peter’s Church.
When our travellers reached the principal entrance, the hall was
crowded, and they saw Pope Pius VII. descending the staircase, leaning
on Cardinal Gonsalvi. The crowd all knelt except the three strangers,
who stood uncovered, to whom the Pope made a distinct bow.

The treasures of art contained in the Vatican are so numerous as to
baffle description. The studios of Canova and Thorvaldsen were visited,
as also those of the most skilful artists in Mosaics and Cameos. Many of
the antiquities deserve close inspection—the Columns of Antonine and
Trajan; the Triumphal Arches of Septimus Severus, Titus, and
Constantine; the Capitol and Tarpeian Rock; the Temples of Concord,
Jupiter Stater, Anthony and Faustina, and of Peace, the prison in which
St. Peter was confined.

From Rome to Naples you pass through Frascati, Velletri, Frosinone,
Pontecorvo, and Capua, once the winter quarters of Hannibal and his
army. Shortly after leaving Rome you cross the Pontine Marshes,
extending south about thirty or forty miles, which infect the air to
such a degree in summer as to resemble a plague. Although apparently
fertile, it is almost depopulated, and with few habitations. The malaria
arises from stagnant swamps, and their few inhabitants are wretched
objects, emaciated and pot-bellied, generally dying prematurely from
dropsy. Few efforts in modern times had been made to drain them, the
resources of the Pontifical Government being absorbed in unnecessary
churches and processions.

A large body of banditti, generally prisoners, escaped from the galleys,
and then, supposed to number about 400, infested the neighbouring
mountains; and several gibbets were seen at intervals on the road, at
places where murders had been committed by them. A few days previously
they entered the town of Tivoli and carried off two of the principal
inhabitants, for whose ransom they demanded 3,000 crowns, and the
Government seemed quite unable to suppress those disorders.

The situation of Naples, with its magnificent Bay, is much to be
admired. The Royal “Museum Borbonico” contains objects of the highest
interest—a vast number of articles of ancient glass, mostly Egyptian,
Sicilian Vases, &c.; and the collections from Herculaneum and Pompeii,
consisting of ancient instruments, utensils, female ornaments, and
household articles found in those cities, and recently removed here from
the museum at Portici, are quite unique. The Grottos of Posillipo and
del Cane are close to Naples. In the latter, a noxious gas is so
powerful that nothing living can exist within it. Dogs held by cords
entering into it four or five feet become insensible, and are dragged
out. The tomb of Virgil is near this place. The ancient manuscripts
brought from Herculaneum are like pieces of charcoal about a foot long.
I saw a person trying to unroll one of them. He used an apparatus like a
miniature windlass, with a number of fine threads hanging from the
barrel, under which the manuscript was placed. When the end of the roll
was found, those threads were attached to it by means of scraps like
goldbeaters’ leaf, and then most carefully wound up until more scraps
were required. Many gaps were left, and in most cases the task was
hopeless. I was informed that the matter hitherto deciphered from those
papyri was not of much interest.

An early visit was made to Herculaneum and Pompeii, on Mount Vesuvius.
After being buried in lava or ashes for 1,600 years their discovery was
remarkable. A nobleman residing near Portici, a spot of high elevation,
thought that if he could penetrate the various beds of lava by sinking a
shaft he might find water. After sinking about seventy feet, the workmen
came upon a flight of marble steps, which, being followed, led into a
theatre in Herculaneum. There had been a statue near this place, which
had been thrown down, and in the lava which had flown over it was found
a fine cast of the statue. The theatre was excavated, and some other
buildings, but the city having been destroyed by lava, it was too costly
to make very extensive excavations, and everything perishable was
destroyed by the burning lava.

Pompeii had been buried in ashes, and was situated on a plain, at the
foot of Vesuvius. A vineyard had been planted over its site. On
ploughing the land nearly a century back, the workmen were obstructed by
a stone wall; and on excavations being made, houses were discovered
which proved to be part of the ancient city of Pompeii. When visited by
me a large portion had been cleared. Its overthrow had evidently taken
the inhabitants by surprise, for many skeletons were found in the
houses. One of them had been laid prostrate on his face, with a bunch of
keys in one hand and some coins in the other. Many signs and names over
shops remained, and in the streets paved with lava the ruts of cart
wheels were visible. Fresco paintings on the walls still remained; and
also the inscriptions on tombs in the burial-ground. There were some
temples, but of no great magnitude, and the houses generally had but one

The next visit was made to Vesuvius, and I having taken leave with
regret of my fellow-travellers and school-fellows, whose journey
terminated at Naples, proceeded to the Mount, accompanied by three
foreign gentlemen—a Russian, a Pole, and a Dane. At this time (1819) the
eruption of the volcano was very active, and an English naval officer
had his arm broken on the previous day by a falling stone, owing to an
unexpected change of wind; it being necessary during eruptions to
approach the crater on the windward side. The party slept for a few
hours at a hermitage half way up the ascent, in order to obtain a view
of the rising sun over the Bay of Naples, which is certainly a most
glorious sight. From this place the ascent is very rough—over
sharp-pointed, heated lava; a stream of which, about six feet wide and
four miles long, was then flowing, falling over a cliff and filling a
valley beyond. Seen in the dark it was a bright red colour, but by
daylight it was of a dull dark colour. A piece of it was scraped out,
and the impression of a coin was made on it. The crater was nearly half
a mile in diameter, and threw up large stones and ashes to a great
height, accompanied by a fearfully roaring noise. The travellers were
enabled to look down towards the bottom of the crater, but from the
confusion of flames, gases, and smoke, no correct idea could be formed
of its depth. The stream of lava was flowing from a hole at the side of
the cone. The stones thrown up generally fell nearly perpendicularly,
but the ashes are blown to leeward, generally towards the east, where
the descent is extremely steep, and attended with some little danger.
The ascent of the mount occupies several hours, but the descent on this
side is effected with great rapidity. The travellers agreed to attempt
it. You step with one foot on deep fine ashes, which slide down with you
twenty or thirty feet; you then put down the other foot, sliding down in
like manner, and so on alternately until you reach the bottom. The
danger consists in over-balancing yourself, when you must roll down to
the bottom—some 5,000 or 8,000 feet, I think—but by holding your head
and shoulders well back you avoid this.

From Naples I travelled alone through Calabria and Apulia, across the
Southern Apennines to the Adriatic Sea—having passed over the place
where so many bushels of rings were collected from the fingers of the
Roman senators who had fallen in battle. On my arrival at Barletta, I
found a British gun-boat bound for Corfù, in which I embarked for that

This most delightful tour, which can never be forgotten, was thus
accomplished. Travellers seeking pleasure will visit France; those
partial to magnificent scenery and tranquillity, Switzerland; but for
antiquities, and the arts, you must visit Italy.

I rejoined my regiment at Corfù, one of the Ionian Islands, situated
opposite the coast of Albania, where the celebrated Ali Pasha, of
Janina, nominally, ruled as Viceroy under the Sultan of Constantinople.
He was said to possess in his treasury £8,000,000 sterling, and at that
time contemplated shaking off the yoke of Turkey. He requested an
interview with Colonel (subsequently Sir) Charles Napier, then on the
staff at Corfù, and afterwards Commander-in-Chief in India; and it was
believed that the Pasha proposed to him to raise and command a military
force to accomplish his object. It was further said that Colonel Napier
agreed to the proposal, provided the sum of £1,000,000 sterling was
placed at his disposal for the purpose. This, however, the Pasha
declined, being very parsimonious. He shortly afterwards rebelled, and
lost his treasure and his life.

The citadel of Corfù was strong, but its value as a military post was
doubtful, as fleets could easily pass into the Adriatic unperceived
during the night. The chief products of the island were olive oil and
wine. At this time a violent earthquake took place in the middle of the
night. I was awakened from a sound sleep by the shaking of my bed; the
church bells were ringing from the concussions; and the inhabitants were
screaming and rushing into the streets. Many walls were fractured, but
no houses were overthrown at Corfù. This shock, however, was very
powerful throughout the Ionian Islands, and nearly 800 houses were
overthrown or seriously damaged by it at Zante. Shortly afterwards,
Colonel Sir Patrick Ross was desirous of making an extensive tour, to
occupy a year, through Egypt, Nubia, Palestine, Asia Minor,
Constantinople, Thessaly, Macedonia, and Peloponnesus, and invited
Colonel Duffy, Dr. Cartan, and myself to join him. We all agreed to do
so, and our plans being arranged, we applied to the Lord High
Commissioner for leave of absence. He declined to grant it, to our great
regret, on the ground that, as the proposed tour would be through
countries subject to Turkey and Greece, and the latter country being
then in a state of insurrection, we should be subject to insults, which
might embarrass the English Government.

The Greek insurrection having now become very general, the inhabitants
of Zante manifested a strong disposition to join in the revolt. The 8th
Regiment was suddenly ordered to embark for that island, having only
four hours’ notice. The officers had only time to pack up their
portmanteaus, leaving the remainder of their luggage behind, and some
officers who had been out shooting were obliged to embark in their

The regiment arrived at Zante after a passage of eight days in a ship
densely crowded, which had to put back to renew its supply of water. It
rained nearly the whole time, and the heat below being intolerable, the
greater number remained on deck night and day. At this time the
insurrection was in full activity, and the Zantiates in a state of great
excitement. Shortly afterwards a cannonading was heard at sea, and a
Turkish ship of war came in sight, chased by sixteen Greek armed
merchant ships. The Turk, having been crippled in his rigging, found
that he could not weather a certain headland, and observing the red
coats of a few soldiers, who had been sent there to maintain the
quarantine laws, he ran his ship ashore to obtain their protection. He
had fought a most gallant action. For nearly two hours those sixteen
ships had in succession been pouring in broadsides, raking in crossing
his bows, firing again on the opposite side, and again raking in
crossing his stern, and yet he never struck his colours. When the
cannonading had ceased, the peasantry commenced firing on the Turk with
their long muskets. And when the soldiers were pushing them back—forming
a cordon—they began firing on the troops. I happened to be there mounted
as a spectator, and recommended the young officer to collect his men on
a neighbouring hill, and defend himself as well as he could, while I
galloped into town, four miles distant, for reinforcements. These soon
arrived, and quickly dispersed the mob. Three soldiers, however, had
been killed and their bodies barbarously mutilated.

When the report reached Corfù, Sir Frederick Adam came down, declared
martial law, and held a Court of High Commission under the Venetian
laws, which had been guaranteed to the Islanders; and after a very
patient investigation, selected four of the principal ringleaders, who
were hung two hours after sentence was passed.

The Ionian Greeks had always been in the habit of carrying long muskets
and pistols, even when pursuing their daily labour. Sir Frederick Adam
immediately issued a proclamation for disarming the population. In every
district, town, and village the inhabitants were ordered, under severe
penalties, to bring in their arms, which were piled in heaps and burned
in the presence of English officers appointed for that purpose. A few
years previously, the French, with a garrison of three regiments, had
attempted the same thing and failed.

Some time afterwards I was seated at a window overlooking the bay, and
heard a distant heavy cannonading; presently a perfect cloud of ships
came in sight with all sail crowded, which proved to be Greek armed
merchantmen, numbering ninety sail. They were pursued by the Turkish
fleet, consisting of sixty men of war, including four sail of the line
and twelve heavy frigates. Just as the two fleets were abreast of the
bay, a violent squall of wind came on, and the Turkish fleet entered the
bay, allowing the Greeks to escape. This they should not have done, as,
in such weather, heavy ships possess very decided advantages.

About this time, Major-General Sir John Malcolm, K.C.B., arrived at
Zante from Persia, at which Court he had been British Minister. He
accepted an invitation to become an honorary member of the mess of the
8th Regiment, and remained about a fortnight. He related many
interesting particulars respecting his journey across the Syrian Desert
to Cairo in his own curricle, he being the first person who had ever
travelled this route by such a conveyance. He said he had encountered no
difficulties, and had found it a most convenient and comfortable mode of

The Zante currant is a most valuable product, and is there extensively
cultivated. There are two parallel ranges of limestone hills in that
island, and the valley between is a rich black loam, varying from three
to four miles wide, and twenty-five miles long, or from seventy-five to
100 square miles. This valley is wholly cultivated for that plant. When
the fruit is ripe, oblong patches of ground, about twenty feet by
thirty, are carefully levelled, wetted, plastered over, and when dry,
swept clean from dust; the fruit is spread to dry on these in single
layers, and awnings are drawn over them at night to protect them from
the dews. The black surface attracts the heat; the fruit is generally
dry and fit to pack for market in about ten days, in hogsheads weighing
1,000 lbs. (a milliardo), and is usually repacked in England in small

After passing a year at Zante, the military authorities were desirous of
removing the 8th Regiment to Cephalonia, but the necessary shipping not
being available, Captain Hamilton of the “Cambrian” Frigate, volunteered
to take them there, inviting half the officers into his own cabin, the
remainder being guests in the wardroom.

The regiment landed at Argostoli, the capital of the island, situated on
a fine harbour—Colonel Charles Napier being then Commandant. It is the
largest of the Ionian group, and produces the Zante currant, wine, and
olives. An elevated range of hills divides the island from north-east to
south-west, cutting off the two sides from intercourse with each other,
there being neither roads across the range or wheel carriages. Colonel
Napier, with his usual energy, caused a fine road of easy gradients to
be made over the range, and induced some of the inhabitants to introduce
wheel carriages, greatly to their own benefit. There is a remarkable
_Cyclopian_ wall, with twelve projecting towers, across the neck of a
peninsula, about a quarter of a mile in length, in the northern part of
the island. One stone measured nineteen feet long, four feet deep, and
four feet high. Three courses of the wall and towers, twelve feet high,
remained perfect. It was probably about 3,000 years old.

A party, including myself, proceeded to visit Ithaca, a narrow channel
of about seven miles separating it from Cephalonia. This visit was full
of interest.

Ithaca is a small island in shape like an hour-glass. The far-famed
castle of Ulysses is situated on this elevated narrow neck, and commands
a most magnificent view, second to none in the eyes of persons of
classical tastes. From that spot you behold Sappho’s Leap (Cape
Leucadia); the River Meander, on the Coast of Epirus; Cape Lepanto; the
snow-capped mountains of Albania—Mounts Parnassus, Pindas, and Olympus;
the Suitors’ Island, Ulysses’ Cave, and the spot where the Fountain of
Arethusa is situated in Ithaca. Of the ruins of Ulysses Castle there are
still considerable remains. The walls are Cyclopian, the stones of which
weigh generally eight or ten tons each, and form all sorts of angles so
admirably joined together as to present a level outer surface, with very
small openings at the joints, and without any cement, somewhat like a
tesselated pavement. This is the most antique description of Cyclopian
wall. Those of more recent periods are cut square or oblong with smooth
faces, and in the most recent the edges are levelled.

It was an ancient custom of the Greeks to bury their dead wearing their
trinkets, and coins were placed in their mouths to pay their ferry
across the Styx to Charon. These were of gold, silver, or copper,
according to the position in life of deceased. A place of interment was
discovered not far from the castle; it was a bare, smooth, sandstone
rock of considerable extent. The graves were excavated about three feet
deep, and the stone slabs covering them were so accurately fitted, the
joints also being covered with grass, that it required the most skilful
and practised eye to detect them. An English officer stationed on the
island had made a most valuable collection of these articles. He
separated from his most choice assortment the coins of the period of
Alexander the Great, as being “modernissimo”—too recent to deserve a
place in it.

Shortly after returning to Argostoli, a severe shock of an earthquake
took place. The regiment was standing in a line on parade, and the line
had a serrated appearance. The tiles on the roofs of houses were moving,
and a mounted officer had to dismount his horse which was trembling in
every limb. The damages occasioned, however, were not very serious.

About this time, Lord Byron arrived at Argostoli in his yacht from
Italy, accompanied by Mr. Hamilton, Mr. Trelawney, Count Gamba, and an
Italian medical gentleman. He retained his yacht for about three weeks,
and frequently entertained the officers of the regiment on board,
sometimes until late hours. He was very temperate on such occasions;
drinking claret and water, or soda water. His conversation was usually
full of interest. Trelawney used to relate many of his wild stories
during his residence for some years in Arabia, amongst the Wahabee
tribes. One evening some one referred to Lord Byron having swam across
the Hellespont, from Sestos to Abydos; but Trelawney made light of it,
and challenged Lord Byron to swim with him across the channel from
Cephalonia to Ithaca. The challenge was accepted, but afterwards
Trelawney drew back. At the end of three weeks, Lord Byron discharged
his yacht, and took a villa about four miles from the town. He usually
rode in in the afternoon, and took his wine at the mess, after which he
frequently joined small parties of officers in their rooms to smoke
cigars. Lord Byron received a letter from Lady Byron at his villa, when
two of the officers were with him, informing him of the illness of his
daughter Ada. He shed tears on that occasion, and appeared to be deeply

At the mess the conversation usually turned upon the Greek insurrection
then raging, and the character of their leaders. These were generally
unprincipled men, who had numerous followers while they obtained
abundance of plunder; but when that attraction failed they were deserted
for more fortunate commanders. Numerous bodies, in the field one day,
were scattered the next; and the central Government had no organized
force on which they could rely.

Lord Byron was fully satisfied as to the correctness of this
description. He said, however, that he felt so deeply interested in
their cause from admiration of the ancient glories of their race, that
he had determined to place himself and all his means at their disposal.
As to the manner, however, in which he could best accomplish his object,
he was desirous of receiving advice. The general opinion was that he
should raise a permanent force, to be regularly paid and trained, to be
always held at the disposal of the central Government.

Some time previous to this, the Suliotes, an Albanian tribe of Greeks,
obtained information that Ali Pasha of Yanina was preparing to burn
their villages as a punishment for some outrage they had committed; the
whole population, therefore, abandoned their homes, and took refuge in
Cephalonia. The small Peninsula of Asso was assigned for their temporary
residence, and there they encamped. Their number, including women and
children, was about 2,000, and they could muster above 400 fighting men.
These readily entered into Lord Byron’s service, and formed the nucleus
of the force he afterwards placed at the disposal of the Greek
Government. They were remarkably fine men, and their costume was quite

Dr. Kennedy, the staff surgeon at Cephalonia, was very desirous of
delivering a course of lectures on the “Evidences of Christianity” in
the presence of Lord Byron, who accepted his invitation for that
purpose; and Colonel Napier offered one of his rooms for the occasion.
There were only eight persons invited to be present—namely, Colonel
Napier, Lord Byron, Dr. Kennedy, Colonel Duffy, Lieutenant Kennedy of
the Royal Engineers, Dr. Cartan, a Commissariat Officer, and myself. The
Doctor’s lectures were most interesting and valuable, and Lord Byron
occasionally argued on various points. He did not believe, however, in
prophecy, in miracles, or in the inspiration of the Holy Scriptures; and
at the conclusion of the third lecture he excused himself from further
attendance, complimenting Dr. Kennedy by saying that _he was the most
gentleman-like Christian with whom he had ever held a discussion upon
the subject_. The other persons named continued their attendance to the
end of the course of eight lectures.

At this time I obtained leave of absence to England, and Lord Byron
entrusted me with the manuscript of the last portion of any poem he ever
wrote, namely, the three last cantos of “Don Juan,” to be delivered to
Sir John Cam. Hobhouse. I had a handsome portable brass bedstead which
Lord Byron was desirous of having, and on that bedstead he died, in the
fortress of Missalonghi, opposite the coast of Cephalonia, which
withstood a long siege by the Turks.

It may here be mentioned the very general opinion held as to the
character of the belligerents. The Greeks were considered a lawless
race, in whose veracity or integrity no reliance could be placed. The
Turks, on the contrary, although sometimes fanatical, were held to be a
people of integrity, on whose word you might rely. Neither, however,
were wanting in bravery.

The 8th Regiment was ordered home, and was stationed in the Citadel of
Plymouth in the year 1826, where I rejoined it. While there, the great
storm took place, by which twenty-seven ships were wrecked in Plymouth
harbour, and the military barrack partially unroofed. At one spot eight
ships were so jammed together that it was difficult to distinguish the
wreck of one from the other. The storm commenced towards evening with
great fury, and while I was on my way to the mess-room I met an old
brother officer hurrying to get on board his ship before dark, as it was
to sail next morning for Demerara. I persuaded him to dine with me at
the mess, and that night his ship parted in two at the water-line, the
upper works being new.

During the next year the regiment proceeded to Glasgow. At a previous
period it had been employed there in suppressing some riots, and had
fallen into bad odour. This had not then been forgotten. Great distress,
however, prevailed at this time, and the officers and men subscribed a
day’s pay towards their relief, which created a most amicable feeling
towards them.

After passing a very agreeable year in Glasgow, the regiment proceeded
to Londonderry, in the north of Ireland. While there, the great Ordnance
Survey of Ireland, under Colonel Colby, R.E., was in progress; and a
_base line_ eight miles long—said to be the longest ever previously
accomplished—was then completed. As a great scientific work it is very
remarkable. It was necessarily on a dead level, bearing east and west,
and was constructed by a combination of different metals, sliding in
grooves, so that their expansion or contraction, caused by changes of
temperature, indicated the true medium.

The great length of this line enabled the surveyors to take very distant
bearings with perfect accuracy. At the same time, Mr. Drummond, of the
Royal Engineers, discovered the celebrated light named after him, by
means of which, exhibited from the summit of a high mountain in the
County Tipperary, its accurate bearing was taken from the base line—a
distance of 150 English miles. By this means, also, a bearing in
Scotland was obtained for the first time, thus tying in the surveys of
Scotland and Ireland. The survey of Ireland was constructed on a very
large scale, and included the acreage of arable, pasture, mountain, and
bog lands, besides being a geological survey. And it is a curious fact,
that when the periodical work of twenty or thirty parties were sent in,
the chief engineer sitting in his office could detect the slightest
error in any one of them, and send it back for correction, so that the
whole should tie in with the most perfect accuracy.

Leaving Londonderry, the regiment was next quartered at Enniskillen,
situated on Loch Erne. The scenery in this neighbourhood is beautiful,
and the hospitality of its numerous gentry could not be surpassed. Sir
Henry Brooke, Bart., had a splendid mansion, including forty bedrooms.
There were fox-hounds and harriers, and the hunting parties generally
included three or four ladies. There was excellent shooting, and any
number of guns with gamekeepers; good salmon and trout fishing, with
plenty of tackle; and billiard tables. There was a succession of company
during the season, each party being invited for three or four days, with
horses and carriages for their use. The tenantry had been living on the
estate for three or four generations, many of them wealthy, and to crown
all the host and hostess were most amiable and accomplished persons.

A general order to the troops serving in Ireland was issued at this
time, directing an officer and two sergeants from each regiment to
proceed to Dublin to be instructed in the broadsword exercise, which
they were afterwards to teach to the officers and men of their
respective regiments. I volunteered to proceed on this duty, and became
an honorary member of the mess of the Rifle Brigade. A very eminent
swordsman, Mr. Michael Angelo, was the instructor at the Riding School
of the Royal Barracks. The instruction lasted for four months, and was a
very fine exercise, bringing every muscle into action. But the
regimental drills afterwards were very troublesome, and occupied much

From Enniskillen the regiment proceeded to Newry, and not long
afterwards from thence to Dublin. This station was very popular with the
officers, from its very extensive circle of good society. At this time I
had turned my thoughts towards the Australian Colonies, and sought
advice from Sir Thos. Brisbane, in whose brigade I had formerly served.
He strongly recommended New South Wales, of which colony he had recently
been Governor. It may here be mentioned that when an honorary member of
the 8th mess in Lower Canada, when encamped on the frontier of the
United States, his conversation frequently turned upon the subject of
astronomy, and he expressed a wish, when his military services were not
required, to proceed to New South Wales, for the purpose of observing
the transit of the planet Venus. This wish was gratified; and he caused
the observatory at Parramatta, near Sydney, to be erected for that

During the year 1829, I came to the decision of retiring from the army,
after a military service of upwards of twenty-two years. I was permitted
to sell a company, but was delayed for four months, during the last
illness of His Majesty George IV., as no commissions could be issued
until the following reign. It is hardly necessary to say that parting
from many old and valued friends was very painful to me, and previous to
my departure the Colonel of my regiment, the late Hon. Sir George
Cathcart, accompanied by the two Majors, waited on me and presented me
with a handsome silver breakfast service in the name of the regiment.

The colony of Western Australia was being formed at this time; and the
large concessions of land offered to the settlers by the Government on
easy terms induced me to select that colony for my future residence. Two
officers of the Rifle Brigade, Captains Molloy and Byrne, proposed to
accompany me. And it was agreed that they should join me in purchasing a
ship, to be loaded with wooden houses and boats, and to convey the three
parties and their establishments to the new settlement.

I proceeded to Gothenburgh, in Sweden, for that purpose, where a fine
ship of 500 tons was purchased, and during her repairs a cargo of wooden
houses was framed and loaded. I then proceeded with a fine Swedish crew
to Christiansand in Norway, where a large number of boats were shipped.
The character and scenery both of Sweden and Norway reminded me of Nova
Scotia, from their extensive pine forests, numerous lakes, and granite
rocks. Intemperance was prevalent from the use of ardent spirits, the
climate being cold; and the observation occurred to me that in warmer,
wine-producing countries intoxication is much less frequent.

The ship proceeded to Cowes, in the Isle of Wight, and I by Post-Office
Packet to Harwich, on the coast of England. I travelled from thence into
Derbyshire, where the family of my affianced wife resided at Holme Hall,
and was there happily married. I had been desirous of avoiding the
frequent inconvenience of moving about with a family while in the army,
and my wife was willing to share my fortunes in Australia.

From the delay referred to, arising from the King’s illness, I did not
arrive in Western Australia until June, 1830. The passage from England
was favourable, although tedious, only touching at the Cape de Verde
Islands. And on arrival at the anchorage at Fremantle, I and my wife
were hospitably received at the house of Mr. George Leake, the leading
merchant at that time.

An entirely new career now lay before me, but I had health and strength
for the undertaking. I was fortunate in finding shelter in a colony only
founded the previous year. My less fortunate predecessors at an earlier
period, finding neither houses or sheds, had to resort to tents; and
their handsome furniture, including satin and gilt chairs, harps, grand
pianos (some of them afterwards gutted to make cupboards, &c.), lay
exposed to all weathers on the beach. My first object was to find land
for a homestead within a moderate distance from Perth, the capital. But
such lands had all been already selected; and although I was entitled
according to regulations to select 27,000 acres, in virtue of property
and servants introduced, I found it necessary to purchase 5,000 acres on
the Swan River, about nine miles from Perth. The Governor, Sir James
Stirling, had a summer residence adjoining this land, the use of which
he offered to me until I could erect some temporary accommodation, and
the offer was thankfully accepted.

The purchased land was on the navigable part of the River Swan for
boats, and my luggage and stores were conveyed to it by contract.

I had brought out as servants nineteen souls, including one family; and
now hard work was to be done, in which I took my full share. In a short
time, temporary accommodation, including a small cottage, store, and
huts for the men, were erected; the luggage and stores under shelter,
and a commencement made in clearing land for tillage.

Troubles had to be surmounted at an early period. Not many months had
elapsed when an alarm of fire was given at a late hour one evening,
during my absence at Perth, and the store, containing from twenty to
thirty tons of provisions, luggage, furniture, &c., was in a blaze. As
the roof was of thatch and the building contained some gunpowder, it was
dangerous to attempt saving anything—all was destroyed. The dwelling was
within thirty feet of it, but the wind blew from it, and a providential
shower of rain then falling saved that building. The origin of the fire
was not discovered, but a discontented servant was suspected. His
passage from England had been provided, and he was under a written
engagement, at moderate wages, to serve for three years; this he
endeavoured to break without repaying his passage-money. However, he was
discharged, but was afterwards convicted, in another service, on a
felonious charge and transported.

There were some very fine alluvial flats, on the banks of the Swan, on
which no live stock had been depastured. In conjunction with another
gentleman I arranged, during the following season, to mow the land for
hay, at that time worth £14 per ton. Three stacks, of fifty tons each,
were made; but the aborigines, not having seen anything of the sort
before, were desirous of witnessing the effect of a large fire, and
stuck firebrands into them—which made short work. They were all

The Governor, Sir James Stirling, undertook to lead an exploring party
to examine the country between Perth and King George’s Sound, which was
then unknown. I and some other gentlemen entitled to select land
accompanied him, also some surveyors. A couple of drays drawn by oxen,
and loaded with provisions and some surveying instruments, accompanied
the party. The character of the country was very variable. After a few
days’ travelling, the cattle fed on some poisonous plants and several of
them died, at our camping place, during the night. One of the drays,
some provisions and instruments, were necessarily abandoned there.
Shortly afterwards, we struck on a river, then named the Williams,
situated in a fine and apparently extensive district. Some of the party
proceeded up the valley about twenty miles the following day, and camped
for the night. I and another gentleman, however, strolled a couple of
miles from the camp, in a southerly direction, and returning northerly,
we felt satisfied that the river would bring us up and that we could not
miss the camp, even at night. The bed of the river at that time,
however, was a succession of pools, and the long intervals between them
were thickly grassed. We thus crossed the river without knowing it,
after dusk, over one of those intervals, and lost ourselves. Thinking
there might be some extraordinary bend of the river, we walked on until
midnight, and then lay down to rest. There was no water and nothing
eatable except a morsel of cheese the size of a walnut, which we
divided. After consultation, we started at daylight on a due west
course, hoping to cut the track made by Sir James Stirling’s party
travelling south. This we happily discovered towards evening, and rested
for the night. On the evening of the third day we rejoined the main
party, which had been searching for us, and had almost given us up as

It was arranged that on the following day those entitled to select land
should again proceed up the Williams River for that purpose, accompanied
by a surveyor, Sir James Stirling and the remainder of the party
proceeding in a south direction to accomplish the chief object of the
expedition. On reaching a selected point on the river, the measurement
was to commence. The surveying instruments, chains, &c., had been
abandoned where the bullocks died. The surveyor had a compass, but
distances had to be paced. Long frontages to the river were desirable,
and long legs possessed an advantage—subject, however, to a final
survey, when any surplus would be struck off from the back land. The
general course of the river was from S.W. to N.E., but very winding. A
tree was marked on the river’s bank, from whence the surveyor started
due east, the paces being counted; but after pacing a mile, the river
still receding, a due north course was taken to strike the river again,
and so on alternately east and north, until the required due east
direction was attained. This process gave me about ten miles of river
frontage, although the due east measurement was scarcely half that

The Williams district was undulating, well grassed, and the soil in the
vicinity of the river excellent, producing abundance of sandal wood. A
mob of about 200 kangaroos was started during the day, and some of the
party had a good gallop after them. About three days were occupied in
making the selections, after which the surveyor was instructed on his
return to Perth to explore a new country westward of that already

The party started accordingly on a west course, and crossed Sir James
Stirling’s track. On the third day we passed over the Darling range—an
elevation under 2,000 feet—a rough, stony country, heavily timbered, but
with little arable land. The following day we reached the coast, at the
mouth of the River Murray. This was the third day the party had been
without water, and the men made a rush to the river to drink, but found
the water to be salt. No efforts could avail to dissuade two of the
party from drinking immoderately, and one of them shortly afterwards
became insane. Fresh water was soon found, and after two more days the
party reached Perth. The character of the land traversed on this
occasion was very variable, but the proportion of bad country was in

In the early stage of the colony the deficiency of a circulating medium
was severely felt, and consequently few transactions could take place,
except by means of barter. The Government regulations entitled settlers
to claim land in consideration of the importation of servants,
provisions, agricultural implements, live stock, &c.; but no claim could
be made on account of capital in the shape of money. The settlers
therefore invested almost the whole of their resources in such articles
as would entitle them to claim land. If you required a team of horses,
the person desirous of selling one did not want what you could offer in
exchange, but wished for sheep. You then applied to an owner of sheep,
who desired something you did not possess; and frequently two or three
exchanges were necessary before you could procure the articles you
wanted—generally losing something on each exchange.

Under such circumstances, I proposed a scheme for the formation of a
local bank, and was ably assisted by Mr. George Leake and a few other
friends possessing influence and property—but no cash.

We depended on the Commissariat issues for the Government expenditure
for supplies of coin. The necessary nominal capital was subscribed, and
the shareholders assembled to make the arrangements required for opening
the bank. At their request, I undertook the management of it, with a
Board of Directors. They issued their notes, and the benefits derived by
the public became manifest immediately. The bank was very successful. A
sufficient supply of coin was gradually obtained from the Government
expenditure, and the shareholders for some time divided profits of forty
per cent. on their _nominal_ capital, which was simply the credit of
their names.

The system which enabled settlers to obtain enormous grants of land was
found in practice to be neither advantageous to those persons or to the
colony. They could not make a profitable use of them; they became a drag
upon their resources to meet necessary expenditure, and the lands were
locked up from those who might have turned them to better account. One
settler, Mr. Peel, obtained 250,000 acres, with a right under certain
conditions to claim a like additional quantity of land. The early
settlers introduced a large number of servants at their own expense,
generally articled to serve for three years at moderate wages. Their
employers were inexperienced, not knowing how to apply their labour to
the best advantage. For a short time provisions reached famine prices,
flour selling at two shillings and sixpence per pound. Servants would
not then accept their discharges, but when prices fell they broke their
engagements, and instances have occurred of masters having become the
servants of their former ploughmen.

The local Bank had been in existence about five years, to the great
benefit of the colony, when the Bank of Australasia proposed an
amalgamation; and, after due consideration, it was thought advisable for
the interests of the colony to secure the co-operation of that important
corporation. The Manager sent from London died before the Bank was
opened, and the management of the new Bank was conferred on me.

An opinion prevailed in the colony that the interests of religion would
be greatly promoted were Western Australia erected into the See of a
Bishop, and I proposed a scheme to create an endowment for that object
by means of subscriptions of land, to which I contributed 500 acres.
After an interval of several years the object was happily accomplished
by the appointment of an excellent man, Dr. Matthew Hale, formerly
Archdeacon of Flinders, in South Australia, to be the first Bishop of
Western Australia.

After an experience of another five years the Bank of Australasia came
to the conclusion that their business in Western Australia was too
limited to justify their maintaining an isolated branch at Perth. It was
therefore ordered to be closed, and I was offered the management of
their branch at Adelaide, in South Australia, which I accepted. Thus it
fell to my lot to open and also to close two Banks.

It was with feelings of much pain that I made up my mind to leave a
colony in which I had resided for sixteen years. The interest felt in
the formation and progress of a new settlement became a tie binding
society together. Being situated on a western coast, where the sea
breezes prevailed for nine months in the year, the climate was
excellent; and, although the average of the land was of an inferior
quality, yet there was abundance of rich land for purposes of tillage.

Previous to my departure, I was gratified by receiving a flattering
address, signed by all the members of the Executive Council, the
magistrates, clergy, and many others, testifying to my zeal in promoting
objects of public utility.

In April, 1846, I and my family arrived in Adelaide, and assumed charge
of the Bank of Australasia at that place, at that time temporarily
situated in Hindley Street. A new and excellent site was obtained in
King William Street shortly afterwards, on which handsome premises were
erected. This ground, about ninety feet square, was purchased in
exchange for 640 acres of excellent country land. To avoid the
difficulty of proving the signatures of a corporate body frequently
changing, the mode of conveyance chosen, being remarkable, is here
mentioned. It was the old feudal system of “livery of seizin.” I went
upon the land, pulled a twig off a tree, which I presented to the
purchaser in the presence of witnesses, using a few formal words. The
transaction was recorded and registered, and thus conferred an
indefeasible title in law.

At the period referred to, Adelaide was in a very primitive state and I
actually lost myself for a short time within its boundaries. The streets
and pathways were generally in their natural state, and from the traffic
in wet weather foot passengers were up to their ankles in mud. St.
John’s Church was like a barn; and, on my appointment as warden, I
collected a considerable sum to build a vestry, plaster the walls, and
make other improvements.

No superior school had been established for the education of boys at
that time, and I devoted all my spare time towards the attainment of
that object. I assembled a meeting of gentlemen, representing various
religious bodies, to consider the question, which met on two or three
occasions. Several of them, however, strongly urged as a principle, that
there should be no religious teaching whatever. This principle was
rejected by a large majority. I then secured the co-operation of a
committee of twelve gentlemen, of which I was elected chairman, who
agreed to form a proprietary grammar school on Church of England
principles, but open to all denominations. I collected £2,000 from
eighty subscribers of £25 each, and after a delay of four or five months
the school was at length opened in the school-room of Trinity Church.
The Revs. W. J. Woodcock and James Farrell and Mr. G. W. Hawkes were
most energetic coadjutors.

Shortly afterwards I suggested to Captain Allen—a munificent friend to
education—that as the school had made a fair start, I hoped some of our
wealthy friends would push it on, as I wished to secure a good site and
erect buildings. In this he concurred, saying he would give £1,000 and
thought Mr. Graham would do the same. I pointed out that Mr. Graham was
in England and not accessible, but hinted that the £1,000 might be
increased to £2,000, which Captain Allen at once agreed to. He
afterwards increased his donations to upwards of £7,000.

The Lord Bishop of Adelaide arrived about this time from England. He had
obtained a grant of £2,000, from the Society for Promoting Christian
Knowledge, which he agreed to place at the disposal of the School
Committee—provided accommodation in their new buildings was set apart
for four theological students. This arrangement was concluded
accordingly, and the school was afterwards, by Act of Parliament,
incorporated as the “Church of England Collegiate School of St. Peter.”

A very valuable site of about thirty-seven acres of land close to
Adelaide was secured, on which extensive and handsome buildings have
been erected. The late Mr. DaCosta bequeathed a reversionary property to
the Institution, valued at £23,000; and the late Dean Farrell bequeathed
his estate, valued at £15,000, to the College, subject to a few
annuities. The school has attained to a high reputation, many of its
pupils having attained first-class honours at the English Universities,
including the degrees of Wrangler at Cambridge, and its staff of masters
is believed to be unsurpassed in the Southern Hemisphere.

Through the munificent liberality of Captain Allen a school for the
education of the middle classes was also established, and suitable
building erected in Pulteney-street, the property being vested in the
then Governors of the Collegiate School, and on similar principles, the
object being to cheapen the cost of education to suit the circumstances
of that class. Mr. Masters endowed this school with three country
sections of land; the Government of that day also contributing £500. The
property of this Institution is worth about £3,000, and it has been
eminently successful.

Having been formerly stationed in the Island of Zante, one of the Ionian
Islands, I became aware of the great mercantile value of the Zante
currant, and while in Western Australia succeeded in introducing the
plant into that province. Its history was remarkable. After a long
correspondence in establishing agency, the Curator of the Government
Garden of St. Antonio, in Malta, received an application from London for
a supply of cuttings, which reached him a month after the pruning
season, but the request being urgent he pruned a second time. The
cuttings were then rolled in damp flannel, packed, and soldered in a tin
case, and forwarded to Dr. Hooker, Curator of Kew Gardens, near London.
That gentleman planted them in a glazed case, but many months elapsed
before an opportunity occurred to forward them to their destination.
They at length reached Western Australia, but at the wrong season.
However, Mr. Mackay, the Judge of the Supreme Court, had a conservatory
in which they were planted and most carefully attended. In the following
spring they were removed and planted out, the roots being like fine
white Cambric threads; but in the second year a few tolerably strong
shoots were obtained. To save time, the double system of budding and
grafting was adopted on old grape vines, and in the following year about
400 rooted plants of the Zante currant were established. None other
existed in Australia. Mr. McArthur, of New South Wales, wrote to request
a few plants, which I had the pleasure of forwarding, and distributed
others to several gentlemen in South Australia.

As kindred to the above it may be here noticed that, during my residence
in Western Australia, in conjunction with Mr. Richard Nash, we formed a
Vineyard Society, the object being to prepare and trench a nursery for
vines, to procure a collection of the choicest varieties, to preserve
their names and identity, and to distribute them _gratis_ to all who
engaged to plant them in trenched ground. Some gentlemen reduced the
rents of their lands to their tenants in proportion to the extent of
their vineyards. The Society procured a collection of 400 varieties from
Mr. Busby’s vineyard, in New South Wales, but the progress in
distributing plants was rather slow, until a few of the settlers
produced wine, which gave a rapid impulse to the operations of the
society, and within a few years some of them were enabled to distribute
a pint of wine daily to the men in their employ. The society also
published a pamphlet containing instructions for the formation and
cultivation of vineyards and for making wine.

Some time after the Lord Bishop (Dr. Short) arrived in Adelaide, a
Conference of the several Australian bishops was summoned to meet the
Metropolitan at Sydney. A new dogma was declared at that conference to
be an _article of faith_, after some opposition, namely, baptismal
regeneration. The Bishop returned, and on the day previous to the annual
meeting of the “Church Society” (the then governing body of the affairs
of the Church of England in South Australia), the proceedings of the
Sydney Conference became known. The Governor, Sir Henry Young, presided,
and after routine business being disposed of, I strongly protested
against the Sydney Conference assuming authority to impose _a new
article of faith_ in addition to the Thirty-nine Articles.
Unfortunately, I had not had time to give notice of my intention or
secure a seconder of my motion, and a pause ensued. Sir Henry Young then
said that as it was not seconded he would not put it to the meeting,
when Mr. G. S. Walters stood up and said he would not only second, but
support it. Sir Henry immediately left the chair in anger, and
retired—the Bishop then presiding. The meeting was greatly excited; but
after some discussion, His Lordship promised to call a general meeting
of the members of the church in a fortnight, to consider the subject, on
which the business of the day terminated.

The meeting referred to was held in the Pulteney-street schoolroom,
which was crowded, and the subject of the new dogma was fully discussed.
The resolutions opposed to it were carried almost unanimously, there
being only two or three persons who voted against them. These
proceedings were afterwards commented upon with approval by the
Archbishop of Canterbury in the House of Lords, and were similarly
noticed in the House of Commons.

An address of thanks on this occasion, most respectably signed, was
afterwards presented to myself and Mr. G. S. Walters.

At this time the position of the Church of England in the colonies was
very unsatisfactory. The Ecclesiastical Laws of England were declared to
have no force, and the Church appeared to be cast adrift. A meeting of
the “Church Society” took place, at which a committee was
appointed—consisting of Major Campbell, Messrs. G. W. Hawkes, R. B.
Lucas, and myself, of which I was named chairman—to consider and report
upon “the best means they could devise for drawing the clergy and laity
into closer union.” The constitution of a Diocesan Synod appeared to me
to meet the requirements of the case, and I drew up a full scheme to
accomplish that object, which I submitted to the Committee, and
afterwards laid before the “Church Society.” This scheme was considered
to be extremely bold, as there was no precedent of such plan having been
adopted previously by any branch of the Church of England, except some
approach to it in the diocese of Toronto in Upper Canada; and the only
guide for such a system was that of the Episcopal Church of America. The
subject was discussed at great length, and for several months. It was
adjourned, however, as the Bishop proposed proceeding to England, where
he could consult the highest legal authorities, including the
Attorney-General. The scheme was declared to be perfectly legal, and on
His Lordship’s return to the colony it was inaugurated by a _consensual
compact_, and has now, in the year 1871, been in operation during
seventeen annual sessions with the happiest results, and has been also
adopted in all the other Australian colonies and New Zealand.
Subsequently, another subject affecting the Church of England attracted
much notice. The colony was visited by a very eminent and much respected
Non-conformist minister, the Rev. Thos. Binney. He was cordially
received by all classes of society, and was for a short time a guest at
Bishop’s Court. The Governor, Sir Richard MacDonnell, was desirous that
he should be invited to preach in the Church of England pulpits, and
procured his own election as a member of Synod, for the purpose of
proposing it, of which he gave due notice. A preliminary meeting of the
Standing Committee of Synod was held to consider the subject, and I was
requested to oppose the Governor’s motion by an amendment, moving the
“previous question,” and thus defeating it. At the subsequent meeting of
Synod, Sir Richard MacDonnell delivered a long address strongly urging
the adoption of his motion, which was discussed at great length; and I
moved the amendment agreed upon, which was carried by a majority of
about two-thirds. The consideration that the Synod had only recently
bound itself by its _consensual compact_ to abide by the laws and usages
of the Church of England, had a powerful influence with the majority. An
address of thanks from the “Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire Church
Union,” dated 18th August, 1859, was afterwards received by me as the
mover of the amendment on this occasion.

About the year 1848 a monetary pressure occurred, and the merchants were
calling in their advances made to the sheepowners. I felt that if this
course was continued it would probably lead to a commercial crisis,
which would depreciate the securities held by the Bank. I therefore paid
off the liabilities of those whom I considered safe to the extent of
about £70,000, taking up their accounts, which prevented the expected
crisis, greatly increasing the business of the Bank, and nothing was
ever lost on those accounts. The London Directors became alarmed,
however, at those large transactions, and remonstrated with me. It is
difficult, however, for gentlemen residing at so great a distance to
form an accurate judgment on such transactions.

In the year 1849, I received a letter from Lord Fitzroy Somerset,
afterwards Lord Raglan, Military Secretary to the Commander-in Chief the
Duke of York, forwarding to me a war medal and clasp. The Duke of
Richmond had called the attention of the House of Lords to the fact that
no medals had been granted to the army for certain distinguished battles
and sieges, and moved an address to the Crown upon the subject, which
was carried. A Board of General officers was appointed to consider and
report upon the matter, and their recommendation was adopted.

The discoveries of gold in the Province of Victoria were so rich that a
perfect exodus of all classes of the male population of South Australia,
except the old and young, took place. It was a time of great anxiety, on
account of the numerous helpless families which were left slenderly
provided for. The Adelaide men were generally successful, and having
collected large quantities of gold, began returning to their families in
about six months, when the scenes occurring in Adelaide were quite
marvellous. A dozen weddings almost daily taking place; the bridal
parties driving in carriages about town and country, and clearing the
drapers’ shops of silks and satins.

At the time of the exodus the notes of Banks were presented in large
quantities for payment in specie, of which the Bank of South Australia,
although wealthy, was nearly drained; but the demand was so sudden that
there was no time to procure supplies from abroad. The Bank of
Australasia held at that time about £90,000 in gold, and was prepared to
aid the other Bank for mutual protection, when fortunately the scheme of
the “Bullion Act” was brought into operation, and effected an immediate
and wonderful change.

This Act was devised by Mr. G. S. Walters, a gentleman of great
experience in monetary affairs. It provided that the gold dust already
deposited in the Treasury, amounting to a large sum, should be smelted
into ingots of various sizes, stamped with the Queen’s head, and the
accurate assay, and declared to be legal tenders at the rate of £3 14s.
per ounce—gold dust then selling in Melbourne at £3 7s. This immediately
stopped the demand for sovereigns, caused large additional quantities of
gold dust to be introduced from Melbourne, and quieted the public mind.
Some of the gold was so pure that it afterwards realized over £4 per
ounce in London.

There is no doubt that the Bullion Act was a direct infringement of the
Royal prerogative as to coinage, and demanded anxious consideration. Sir
Henry Young was then Governor, and the Bank Managers were requested on
different occasions to meet him in Executive Council to consider the
subject. Mr. Tinline (Bank of South Australia) and myself (Bank of
Australasia) urgently supported the adoption of the Bill; the Manager of
the Union Bank opposed it. The responsibility was very great, but the
Executive Government submitted it to the Legislature, and the Bill was
passed into an Act for two years. The Home Government approved of it,
considering that it was warranted by the great emergency.

Another very useful measure was adopted about this time. A strong,
well-armed body of mounted police was sent periodically to the gold
diggings at Bendigo, in Victoria, to escort the gold found by South
Australian diggers to Adelaide. The service was continued for a
considerable time, and the gold thus introduced exceeded two millions

The successful gold diggers would, in all probability, have remained in
Victoria and removed their families from hence had it not been that many
of them were owners of land, which tied them to the province; and they
ultimately returned with their unexpected wealth and purchased
additional lands.

There can be no doubt that the land system of South Australia, which
provided that the country should be surveyed and sold in sections of
eighty acres, was the means of saving the province from temporary ruin.
The facilities for acquiring land by the labouring classes were very
considerable. The discovery of the Burra Copper Mine gave the first
great impulse to the progress of the colony; the produce of that mine
alone having exceeded £4,000,000 sterling up to a recent period.

It is curious to follow the career of an immigrant after that discovery.
He became a labourer for one or two years, when his saving of wages
enabled him to purchase a team of oxen and a dray. He then commenced
carrying copper ore from the Burra Mine to Port Adelaide, taking back
stores and provisions, and in one or two years more was in a position to
purchase an eighty-acre section of land and become a farmer. While his
crops were growing, and at other spare times, he again carried ore from
the mine and was soon able to purchase more land, and became a man of
some consequence in his district. This man was the type of a
considerable class of yeomen, who, having property to protect became
Conservatives, and exercised a material influence on the peace and
prosperity of the country.

The transactions of the Burra Mine were on a great scale at that time,
employing upwards of 1,100 men, who, with their families, numbered over
4,000 souls supported by that mine. At one period the shareholders
divided annually 800 per cent. on their £5 shares. Their Bank account,
however, absorbed a large amount of capital; at one period it was
overdrawn about £72,000, as they calculated on the value of the ore as
soon as it was raised to the surface at the mine, but before it could be
shipped to England and bills drawn against it. The Bank Directors in
London objected strongly to this, and even suggested more than once that
the accounts had better be closed. I, however, feeling how very
prejudicial to the interests of the Bank such a course would be, and
having visited the mine and satisfied myself as to its great value, took
the responsibility of continuing the account—the Burra Directors having
engaged on my representation gradually to diminish the overdraft to a
moderate amount. I felt quite convinced of the correctness of the views
entertained by the London Board, as no single establishment should
absorb so large a proportion of the capital allotted to each branch.

There were also a few mercantile accounts the advances to which the
London Board objected as being too large, and they appeared to think
that I was not sufficiently cautious in conducting their business,
although they had sustained no losses, and their business had been
quadrupled. Some irregularity had also occurred in the office, and I was
offered the option of removing to some other branch or receiving
compensation on resigning, but was requested to remain at the Bank for
some time in order to aid my successor until he became acquainted with
the customers and the nature of their transactions. I remained for some
time, but no other branch becoming vacant, and being also unwilling to
leave South Australia, I accepted compensation and retired.

Some time afterwards, having sold a property in Western Australia for
£3,000, I agreed to join in a mercantile business with a gentleman
connected with my family. On this becoming known to Mr. John Ellis, he
very handsomely and spontaneously presented me with a letter of credit
for £5,000 on the wealthy firm of Morrisson & Co., of London; and Mr. G.
S. Walters, in a similar manner, introduced me to his father-in-law, Mr.
Frederick Huth, of the great firm of Frederick Huth & Co., of London,
who opened credits for the new firm with their several correspondents at
Mauritius, Calcutta, Bombay, Ceylon, Singapore, and China, for £2,000
each. The business was thus commenced with a fair prospect, but not
proving very successful after a trial of a few years, I retired from the

In the year 1855 the second mixed Legislative Council, of nominated and
elected members, assembled. I had offered myself as a candidate to
represent the District of Willunga, in this Council, but after a close
contest was defeated. The Governor, Sir Richard MacDonnell, however,
immediately offered to nominate me to a seat, at the same time stating
that I was not to consider myself bound in the slightest degree to
support any Government measure which I did not approve. I accepted this
offer and took my seat in that Council, which elected me in the
following November to the honourable position of Chairman of Committees.

At this time the citizens of Adelaide obtained their supplies of water
from the River Torrens, which was subject to pollution, and the cartage
was inconvenient and expensive. Complaints were numerous, and the
Government introduced a Bill for constructing water-works at a cost of
£280,000. This amount was so large that the Council did not believe the
Government was serious, and at the second reading the Chairman of
Committees read some eighty clauses _seriatim_, with scarcely a remark
from any members. The Bill was finally passed, and has proved a most
beneficial measure.

On the dissolution of this mixed Council (elective and nominated) on
which had devolved the passing of the Constitution Act in 1857, I was
elected to represent the District of Flinders, and took my seat in the
Legislative Assembly, under the new responsible Government, consisting
of five members,—namely, Chief Secretary, Attorney-General, Treasurer,
Commissioner of Crown Lands, and Commissioner of Public Works.

I offered myself as a candidate for the office of Speaker of the House
of Assembly in the year 1857, but was unsuccessful. In the following
month of September I was invited to join the Ministry of Mr. (now Sir)
R. R. Torrens, and became Commissioner of Crown Lands. This Ministry
lasted, however, but a short time, and was succeeded by that formed by
the present Sir R. D. Hanson. The “Constitution Act” was passed during
this session of Parliament. Some of its clauses were objected to by me,
chiefly that relating to universal suffrage, on the ground that
intelligent votes could not be given by those who could neither read or
write. I succeeded, however, in introducing a clause requiring a fixed
residence of six months (twelve months were proposed) to qualify for

In the year 1859 I was appointed as a Special Magistrate under the
“Local Courts Act”—first, to preside in the Local Courts at Willunga and
Morphett Vale, and afterwards at those in the Northern Districts,
namely, at Redruth, Clare, Auburn, and Riverton. I continued to perform
those duties for upwards of ten years, and on the amalgamation of two
districts I retired, receiving the usual retiring allowance.

On this occasion I was much gratified by receiving two flattering
addresses, one from the members of the bar practising in the Northern
Courts, the other signed by all the Magistrates of the District and
numerous other residents. This last was beautifully illuminated and
engrossed on vellum.

Having served over twenty-two years in His Majesty’s army; six years
farming in a new settlement (Western Australia); seventeen years as a
Bank manager; three years as a merchant; four years in Parliament,
during which I held office in the Ministry for a short time; and lastly,
over ten years administering the laws in Local Courts—my career may be
fairly considered as long and varied. Having arrived at an old age, I
may now rest from my labours, trusting to the atoning merits of a
merciful Redeemer, the Lord Jesus Christ, for an eternal rest hereafter.

                                                    MARSHALL MACDERMOTT.


       William Kyffin Thomas, Printer, Grenfell-street, Adelaide.


 ● Transcriber’s Notes:
    ○ Missing or obscured punctuation was silently corrected.
    ○ Typographical errors were silently corrected.
    ○ Two errata were applied to the text.
       ▪ PAGE 5, line 28.–For “Gulf of Causo” read “Gut of Causo.”
       ▪ PAGE 16, line 2.–For “Montreal” read “Montreuil.”

    ○ Inconsistent spelling and hyphenation were made consistent only
      when a predominant form was found in this book.
    ○ Text that was in italics is enclosed by underscores (_italics_).

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