Australian Access Federation

You are here: Home Corpora Corpus of Oz Early English 2-036 (Original)

2-036 (Original)

Item metadata
Speaker:
addressee author,male,Savery, Henry,38
ns1:discourse_type
Narrative Discourse
Word Count :
8256
Plaint Text :
ns1:register
Public Written
ns1:texttype
Narratives
ns1:localityName
http://dbpedia.org/resource/Van_Diemen%27s_Land
Created:
1829
Identifier
2-036
Source
Savery, 1829
pages
47-69
Document metadata
Extent:
57287
Identifier
2-036.txt
Title
2-036#Original
Type
Original

2-036.txt — 55 KB

File contents



<source><g=m><o=b><age=38><status=3><abode=00><p=vdl><r=pcw><tt=nv><2-036>
Notwithstanding all modest men naturally feel a certain degree of diffidence when speaking of themselves, a courtesy which is due to the world, requires that a person who makes his first appearance in a given character, should say something of the pretences whereon he claims attention. Know then, most courteous reader, that he who this day addresses you, is derived from the ancient stock of the Stukeleys, of the West Riding of Yorkshire, a race "whose men were always brave, and women ever fair." Early disappointments of a tender nature led to a seclusion from the noise and discord of a busy world, at the very morning of my existence, and induced a retirement, from whence I could learn much, but said nothing. The fame of this distant Island having, however, reached my abode of privacy, and rumour having represented it as a place which was well adapted to my acquired habits and inclinations, I determined to judge of it for myself; and, changing the disguise which I had long worn, for a fashionable suit by Stultze, boots by Hoby, and hat by Bicknell, I took my passage by one of the vessels which were advertised to sail positively on the tenth of the coming month, being the seventh positively already announced, and destined to be succeeded by three others ere we departed. At length setting sail, and patiently enduring the usual ills of a long voyage, I put my foot upon Terra Firma a few weeks ago, and immediately re-exchanging my west-end fashionables, for the Hermit's gown, slippers, and cap, I set about making my observations - but how have I been altogether deceived! [48]
It was not necessary for me to wait the approach to this hemisphere, before I found that a ship load of passengers was another term for quarrelling, contention, and strife - that those who would be peaceable, had scarcely an opportunity afforded them of following the bent of their inclinations - those who were viciously disposed, had abundant aiders, encouragers, and supporters - those who were virtuous, could scarcely escape calumny and detraction. Ah! thought I, as I witnessed scenes, to which I had long been unaccustomed, as I heard language, calculated to stir up anger, or to inflame the passions and corrupt the mind, when I shall reach my destined shore all this will be over; I shall see only, primitive habits and manners - I shall mix with a population, who either not having found Old England good enough for them, must themselves be the purest of the pure, or who having been purified of their sins by punishment, must now have repented, and upon. the principle, that a reformed rake makes the best husband, have become the most virtuous of the virtuous! But let no man who may chance to peruse the record of my disappointment, ever more presume to indulge in fairy hopes and dreams. It is for the good of all, who, like myself, are of a sanguine and yet a charitable temperament, that I have determined to commit my thoughts and observations to paper; but as the routine of certain official forms has placed me already, though so recently arrived, in all stages of public business, from the audience room of His Excellency, to the Prisoners' Barracks, as either under my real character or in my disguise, I have mixed in all societies, from the drawing-room at Government-house to the tap-room of the Macquarie Hotel; and, as I have been present in the Courts of Law, and incog. have witnessed the alternate petulance, firmness, sparring, and cutting between the lawyers, who, scissars-like ne'er hurt themselves, but only what's between - have therein also greatly admired the sudden transition between grotesque gravity and "inimitable humour" - have noticed the mode of conducting commercial affairs, so unlike what is practised at home, and have in a word, been grievously disappointed in the Utopian picture I had formed, I think myself qualified to impart my thoughts to the world; and having said thus much for the present, may perhaps make my second appearance this day week. In the interim, I say to ill those who have honoured me, by having perused what I have now written, that I am their most obedient servant,
SIMON STUKELEY. [49]

It was a remarkably fine clear day when I landed from the ship on the Wharf. What was my surprise, to observe the large handsome stone buildings, into which, porters were busily engaged rolling casks and other packages, and at several civil looking well dressed young men, who were standing with pens behind their cars, and memorandum books in their hands, paying the most diligent attention to what was going on. A number of other persons formed little knots or circles; and the hallooing of ferrymen, the cracking of whips, and the vociferation of carters, struck me as creating altogether, a scene of bustle and activity, which indeed I had little expected. For the moment it occurred to me, that our Captain, in the hurry and confusion which the quarrels on board had occasioned, has missed his reckoning, and had made a wrong port; and accordingly seeing a fat, portly, sleek-looking, apparently good-humoured Gentleman' approaching, I enquired of him, with an apology, in what place I was? Judging from my manner and appearance that I must be a stranger, he very civilly replied, that I was in Hobart Town, the capital of Van Diemen's Land, adding, "Perhaps, Sir, you would like to walk into our Commercial Room, to which I can introduce you." I then accompanied my new acquaintance up a flight of stone steps into a rather elegantly fitted-up room, in which were three or four plainly dressed Gentlemen reading Newspapers. One of them, who appeared bordering upon sixty, wore spectacles, and had a considerable degree of eagerness in his manner, rose upon my entrance, and addressed me, "Just from England, eh, Sir? What news, Sir, when you left? The Colony is much talked of at home, Sir. Suppose you heard of our Association, but things are not now as they used to be." Before I could make a reply, he offered me a Newspaper, farther acquainting me, that the town maintained three such publications; one of which, said lie, is so dull - and prosy, that nobody reads it, another has lately been at death's door, owing to some Government regulations, but has now, Phoenix-like, risen with redoubled splendour; and the other is made up of short paragraphs and country letters written in town, but commands an extensive circulation. I expressed my thanks for the information, and for my courteous reception, and mentally wondering at a commodious Wharf, fine Stone. buildings, a Chamber of Commerce, and three Newspapers, felt that so many other things, to be in character, must still await my attention, that I made my bow to the company, and proceeded on my tour through the town. The fat portly Gentleman was my companion to the end of the Wharf, and then, with a true John Bull air and manner, left me, and turned into one of the stone warehouses. [50]
How great was my astonishment, at the magnificent straight line of street, extending apparently for more than a mile, by which my sight was greeted upon leaving the Quay. I could scarcely credit my senses, that I was in a town, which is only as it were of yesterday. As I proceeded along, my surprise was increased by seeing other fine streets, meeting at right angles, the one by which I was walking towards a handsome brick church, with a steeple like the extinguisher upon a flat candlestick, my left being flanked by well laid out gardens and shrubberies, in the centre of which stood the Governor's residence; and every here and there, the right being ornamented by large two story brick or stone houses. The church door happening to be open, I took the opportunity of judging of its interior, and I could almost have fancied myself in one of the modern churches of the metropolis of the world. Such regular well-arranged pews, so beautifully a finished pulpit and reading desk, made of wood, which I at first thought was Spanish mahogany quite astonished me; upon a nearer examination, however, and upon enquiry of a man who was dusting the aisles, I learnt that it was the produce of a tree, indigenous to the Colony, known by the name of Myrtle. While I was thus employing myself, a Gentleman wearing a Clerical hat, approached, and with much affability of manner, addressed me as a stranger, and gave me some general information respecting the religious institutions of the place. He had a lisp in his speech, which was by no means disagreeable, and his well cased ribs bore evident marks that, whatever other doctrines he might preach, that of fasting was not one upon which he laid much stress, at least in its practice. He acquainted me, that independent of the congregations belonging to this large Church, a Presbyterian Chapel, a Roman Catholic Chapel, and a Wesleyan Meeting House, were each well attended every Sunday, and it gave me great pleasure afterwards to be told of this Gentleman, as he himself had beautifully expressed of his brother labourers in the vineyard, that in their lives and conduct the religion they all professed received its brightest ornament - that they each made a well formed cornerstone of the superstructure they supported. Oh! thought I, this must be the effect of a virtuous and industrious population. Arts, architecture, literature, religion, and commerce must here thrive so well, because so many excellent people, for whom Old England was not good enough, have congregated, and because so many others have been cleansed of their sins, and are now restored to innocence. [51] Happy people, and thrice happy Simon Stukeley, to have left your retirement, to come among them! Everything seemed indeed greatly superior to my expectations. Well dressed and elegant Ladies were promenading one street, well mounted Equestrians were galloping along another, respectably attired Pedestrians helped to add to the scene, which was still more enlivened by the relief-guard of the Military as it approached the Main-guard House from the Barracks, and by the rapid passing and re-passing of gigs, carts, and other wheel vehicles. I was completely in a reverie, scarcely knowing through which street I would perambulate, or which object best claimed my attention. The entire absence of all beggars, or indigent persons, added to my wonder, but after a little reflection, I accounted for it in my own mind, by considering that as all the inhabitants were either pure or purified, it was quite of a piece with their religion and virtue to be charitable, this being the brightest of the cardinal gems. I continued my walk for a long time, each moment more astonished than before at the progress which had been made in laying out and building the town - at the excellent shops in the different streets - at the wide well macadamised thoroughfares, and their convenient causeways, and at a hundred other matters which excited my admiration, until I found myself in a quarter of the town situated on an eminence at some distance from the Church, and where the houses and inhabitants seemed rather of an inferior description to those I had before seen. In their manners and style of conversation, upon the different subjects, respecting which I interrogated them, they exhibited however all the easy confidence of virtue. The calls of my appetite now warned me that the day was fast waning, and I applied my hand to my fob to ascertain the hour, when to my utter dismay I found that one of Hawley's best gold watches, with which I had provided myself previous to my departure from England, was missing. To have lost it in any other manner than by accident, did not cross my mind for an instant, and I pictured to myself what delight would be the portion of him who had found it, when he should know to whom it was to be restored, and therefore pursued my journey to the Macquarie Hotel, with the view of taking up my quarters there, and obtaining some refreshment.
Having knocked at the door, it was opened by a smart dapper waiter, who ushered me into a large and well-furnished room, which I had scarcely entered before the Landlord, an obliging well-behaved man, paid his respects and enquired what I pleased to order. Upon my telling him that I was exceedingly hungry, he said that if I should not object to dine in a public room, dinner was now serving up, and that the company who were there, were all very respectable. [52] I used to like table d'hote dinners before my seclusion from the world, and the idea now pleased me. Accordingly, I followed my host into the opposite room, in which were the Landlady, whose appearance and manners were greatly in her favour, and four visitors. They were all men well informed, and of lively conversation, and as I am ever a good listener, I brought this quality into full play on the occasion, carefully noting all that passed. It would be tedious to repeat what I then learned; one thing, however, I discovered to my sorrow, that my ideas of purity and virtue were like snow before the sun beautiful, but easily dispelled, and that most probably my chronometer and I had parted company for ever. I determined however to make my loss the subject of a visit next morning to the Police-office. Ruminating upon the events of the day, and full of reflections at what I had heard and seen, I retired to my pillow, and being weary both in body and mind, was soon in the arms of Morpheus.
Amongst my plans for the succeeding day, I had purposed paying my respects it Government-house. Perhaps the result of my visit, as well there as at the Police-office, and the manner in which I spent the remainder of the day, may be communicated to my readers, when they next hear from me, till when, I am their obedient servant,
SIMON STUKELEY.

The intelligence I had collected from the turn, the conversation at the dinner table had taken, having determined me, as I before said, to make the loss of my watch the occasion of a visit to the Police-office, I proceeded thither early the following morning, and was shewn into the justice Room, which is large and well adapted for its intended purposes.
The exterior of the building appeared neat and well finished, the tout ensemble being quite in character with the apartment which I first entered. Upon my beginning to mention my business to a smart priggish clerk, who was writing at a table, he interrupted me by saying, "Mr. Siftall will be here directly, Sir, and will attend to you." Within a few minutes, a short plainly dressed man entered, apparently between thirty and forty years of age, of pale features, high forehead, and light thin hair, but possessing no particular expression of countenance, which would induce a bye-stander to look at him a second time. [53] He was closely followed by a person of about the same age, fair complexioned, dressed in a blue coat and fawn-coloured trowsers, with much spic and span neatness, and holding in his hand a small gold-headed cane or walking stick. There was a certain consequential air and manner about this personage, which rendered it paradoxical to me what could be his calling. A third individual accompanied them and completed the group - aman shabbily dressed,' bearing all the marks of dissipation in his squalid features, and exhibiting the oddest shaped head I had ever beheld. It was an oblong, nearly flat on the top, of great length from the crown to the forehead, and projecting over towards the eyes, forming a broad front and narrowing off like the bow of a vessel towards the occiput. The smart priggish clerk whom I had first seen, then said to me, "Mr. Siftall, Sir, will now take your deposition." I immediately began to detail my loss, but which of the three was Mr. Siftall, nothing that then occurred could lead me to comprehend. - They all seemed of equal power and authority, but the short Gentleman, who had preceded the others upon entering, asked me the most pertinent questions, and appeared, if any thing, to take the lead. During this time, the whole party stood close together. After the affair had been fully explained, he of the gold-headed cane remarked, with a most complacent simper, "I see how it is, Sir, the Gentleman is a new chum, and has been up in St. Giles's, and I suppose being sharp set after a long voyage, he has eaten a slice of a cut-loaf, without using his eye-teeth! Ha! ha! ha!" "I cannot allow such observations, Mr. Fowler," gravely replied the short Gentleman, whom I now found was Mr. Siftall, and who immediately turned towards the Bench, and taking his seat, said, "Mr. Scribewell, take Mr. Stukeley's deposition." With wonderful rapidity did he perform his task. I never saw a pen so handled, and the constant interruption I received from Fowler, who still to my great annoyance persevered in acting the Magistrate, by perpetually questioning me, really made it difficult to keep up with him. My business at length being completed, I made my bow and retired. Although the anticipation I had formed of the dignified appearance of a Police Magistrate, judging by my recollection of the Barristers who preside as such, in the English Metropolis, was not realised by Mr. Siftall's manner and deportment, he seemed to conduct himself with tolerable tact and acuteness, and if he were to keep his myrmidons at a greater distance, were to make them confine themselves to the duties of their own situations, instead of travelling out of them, to lower the dignity of the Magistracy, he might pass muster very respectably. [54] I could not, however, help admiring the perfection of a machinery, which could be so admirably kept in motion by such instruments as form the Police Establishment of the town, for in no place that I ever visited, or have become acquainted with by report, is it superior, if equal, to what I have seen in Hobart Town. I should observe before I take my leave of describing the interview with Mr. Siftall, that he gave his head man, Fowler, directions so to lay his nets and snares, as would be likely to lead to the recovery of my watch, adding a very significant caution to myself, not in future to visit St. Giles's, when I might be in search of virtue and innocence.
Some considerable time had been occupied with this affair before it was completed, and it was not too early therefore to proceed straight to Government-house. Approaching it, through a newly-made road, which leads from the main street, to the court or yard in which it is situated, a sort of half dragoon, that is, a man dressed in a non-descript light horse uniform, received my card, and forwarded it by a servant. I was immediately requested to walk into an ante-room, communicating with the vestibule or entrance. I had scarcely taken a seat, when a door opened, and a pleasant looking young Gentleman accosted me, forthwith acting as Usher, by leading the way into a commodious well-furnished room, in which stood a table, covered with papers, neatly tied in bundles, and beyond it, towards the fire-place, was a handsome escrutoire, at which had been sitting, till I entered, a Gentleman wearing an undress military uniform, whom I at once perceived was the Lieutenant Governor. If I had any doubts, however, they were removed, by a few introductory words modestly spoken by my young Gentleman Usher.
I had brought with me from England some letters, written by parties of high distinction, and addressed to His Excellency, which I had previously caused to be delivered, and my name and pretensions were not therefore unknown to him. - His style of addressing me was well-bred and gentlemanly, his features and general countenance were rather hard favoured than otherwise, but expressive; and his eyes denoted quick perception or sagacity, which was a quality soon developed by the general tenor of his conversation. "In what manner, Sir, can I promote your views or wishes in the Colony?" he said to me, after a few passing remarks had been made on various subjects. "I fear that your coming here in search of virtue and innocence, as you tell me, will prove a visionary idea at the best - there is only one way by which your object might by possibility be even hoped to be attained - and that is by the rule of extremes or contraries. If an extreme of vice, as some suppose, may beget virtue, I am sorry to say that vice has so much sway here that its opposite extreme cannot be very remote, and according to this reasoning, the first step to virtue may be nearer than I fear it is." I immediately felt that His Excellency was ridiculing my Quixotic search for that which I now fear this world does not contain - apure and innocent race of beings - and I was ashamed that I had so exposed myself before him. Perceiving my confusion, he very good naturedly changed the subject, conversed freely upon the state of the Colony, respecting which he seemed astonishingly well informed, even to minutiae - entertained me with some well told anecdotes, explanatory of the characters over whom he has to rule -exhibiting throughout an interview, which lasted upwards of an hour, a shrewdness and clearness of intellect, with which I was much delighted. I could willingly have staid longer, but thought it quite time to take my departure, and therefore rose for that purpose, feeling really grateful for my very courteous reception. As I was turning round the corner which leads into the street, I saw a Gentleman coming quickly across, as if to speak to me, and I presently recognized my acquaintance of the Commercial Rooms, who had spoken to me of the newspapers. "What, Sir, been to Government-house, eh Sir?" "I have, Sir, and am much pleased with the manner in which His Excellency has received me." "Yes, Sir, yes, Sir, all very good to new comers; when you have been here as long as I have, you'll find 'twont do, Sir. We are too heavily taxed, Sir, and until we have a House of Assembly and Trial by jury, we shall do no good, Sir." "Really, Sir, these are subjects which I do not understand, and at present if you will excuse me I cannot enter upon them, as I have a pressing engagement, but probably at some other time I may thank you for information which doubtless your experience must render valuable." With this I took my leave, although he would fain have prolonged the conversation, and marched on to the Macquarie Hotel, where the same company I had before met, and an excellent dinner rendered the remainder of the day equally agreeable as its forenoon. Late in the evening, a card from Government-house invited me to dine there the next day, with an apology for the shortness of the notice. I determined to accept it, but as I have no desire to tire my readers, I must defer an account of my visit, and of the large party to whom I was then introduced, to another opportunity, remaining in the mean time their most obedient, [55]
SIMON STUKELEY. [56]

Six having been named as the dinner hour in the invitation card I had received from Government House, a few minutes before the clock struck I proceeded thither, dressed in my very best attire. Upon entering the hall by the front door leading to the shrubbery, through which I had approached the house, a servant in a plain blue livery received me, and led my way to the drawing-room. Already several Gentlemen were assembled, all of whom were strangers to me, and amongst them were some Military Officers. His Excellency himself appeared in the full dress uniform of a Colonel on the Staff, which was not, however, in my idea so becoming to his shape and figure as the blue frock and trowsers in which I had before seen him. His reception of all his guests Was easy and polite, and to myself he paid particular attention.
The room in which we were assembled was well proportioned and neatly furnished. Nothing at all resembling the splendid drawing-rooms which are met with, even in private life, in England; the furniture being rather good and substantial, than fashionable or elegant, and certain almost indispensables, such as brilliant chandeliers and magnificent mirrors, being absent.
The young Gentleman, with whom I had become acquainted the preceding day, met me with much obliging frankness, and introduced me to several of the company - amongst others, to a sallow-complexioned Gentleman, of a very sad and woful countenance, upon which a smile seldom even for a moment banished a certain measured demure look, which might have served for an original whereby to have drawn the portrait of some of the Members of' Cromwell's Long Parliament. He spoke but little - indeed he seemed as if he had been transplanted into society to which he had formerly been unaccustomed - but I understood that he was much esteemed by the Lieutenant Governor, and that he held an important and confidential place in His Excellency's household. While I was conversing with my young friend upon general chit chat subjects, dinner was announced, and we proceeded to a large room, apparently of recent construction, in which was a well covered table laid for fourteen persons. [57] It was my chance to be placed between two Gentlemen, about half-way down the right-hand side of the table, one of whom was an elderly person, habited in a straight cut single breasted coat, with upright collar, and whom I soon discovered to be a Clergyman of the old school; and the other" appeared to be turned of forty, wore spectacles close to his eyes, had a single breasted dress coat, and an appearance altogether somewhat resembling the celebrated Bob Logic, in Tom and Jerry, and reminding me of what was said of Sir Joshua Reynold's picture of Garrick, when personating one of Shakespeare's finest drawn characters. My Clerical neighbour possessed a remarkably mild placid countenance, and his manners were easy and gentlemanly in the extreme; his conversation was lively and agreeable, and we soon appeared perfectly to understand each other. Exactly opposite us sat a tall thin Gentleman, of solemn melancholy visage, apparently a valetudinarian, who took snuff largely, and seemed as little pleased with himself as with all around him. He was engaged in conversation with another tall thin Gentleman, apparently his junior, who sat upon his right, and with a young man of engaging Countenance, dark expressive eyes, and wearing his hair, which was also dark, very thick and bushy; but it became him, and helped to set off tolerable features, into which, when he pleased, he knew how to impart much grace and sweetness, by a most agreeable smile. He was dressed in the Court-suit of a King's Serjeant, exhibiting an unusual display of shirt frill. I gathered from the conversation of those three Gentlemen, that they were discussing some point connected with public affairs, for I caught from the one whom I first mentioned, "I am clearly of opinion that nothing but the most rigorous discipline can do any good; I say that in all cases the very letter of the law should be fulfilled." The youngest of the party replied, "I cannot agree with you at all, Sir; on the contrary, I am much more the advocate of sun than wind, and I would always much rather reward than punish." The other tall Gentleman, who was, like his left hand companion, a most immoderate snuff taker, then said, "I doubt very much as to the abstract question, I wish I could find precedents whereon it might be well argued, but I confess my doubts have increased the more I have considered it, and the cases which I am constantly called upon to decide, rather still further add to my doubts than otherwise."
The conversation now became too general for me to understand any more that was said. Had not the last speaker been gaily dressed in a blue coat, with corresponding et ceteras, I should have taken him for some high authority, learned in the law; [58] but as it is as much out of the question to see a Barrister in a party coloured suit, as a Clergyman, or, as a soldier in a sailor's blue jacket and trowsers, my doubts as to who he could be, were fully equal to his own upon the question which had been before them, and as my good manners forbad my making any enquiry, I cannot even at present solve the point. I now settled into a quiet cozy chat with my friend the Clergyman, whom I soon found to be what is known by the term a choice spirit. With the true scent and knowledge of a kindred soul, he speedily discovered that I had been accustomed to follow Lord Fitzwilliam's fox hounds, and like an old broken down hunter, who will snuff the gale and snort and toss his head at the exhilarating tones of a pack in full cry, when lame and spawned he cannot move three paces, so did my worthy neighbour's face wear a more than usually expressive smile, his voice became more than usually animated, as he recounted some of the exploits of his early days, and told "each thrice told field of battle once again." The good old Gentleman at length so warmed with the subject, that he shook me by the arm, and said in an under tone, "you must come and see Bob at the cottage - yeoix, yeoix! tantivy, tantivy!" - to which friendly invitation I immediately assented. My spectacle companion now addressed me. "I fancy, Sir, you are of Oxford - may I have the honor of enquiring of what College?" "Of Brazen-nose, Sir," was my reply. "I also am an Oxonian, and have to thank my luck more than my merit, perhaps, that I hold an honorary degree, by which I am able to write A. B."
"Indeed, Sir," said I, "you are fortunate" "Rather so," he replied, "for I was never very fond of learned palaver, but I have my degree as well as others." There was a young delicate looking Gentleman sitting next below the last speaker - he had a very consumptive appearance, but an agreeable countenance, and very sprightly manners. Taking up the conversation, he added, "not only as well as others, but better than most, for if you can say B. A. in virtue of your Oxford degree, so can you write me down A. S. S. in virtue of your antiquarian honors." A very hearty laugh followed this sally, but nothing more was said.
It would be tedious to dilate further upon the conversation of the evening. His Excellency was very attentive to his guests, and exerted himself to do the honors of the table. The dinner was good of the kind, but "though Heaven sends meat, the Devil sends cooks." The wine and dessert were excellent, the attendance of the servants might perhaps have been better, but in other respects the entertainment passed off extremely well. [59]
Just before we left the dinner table, my fox-hunting friend said to me, "mind Bob at the cottage," which I assured him I would, pledging him my honor. "A fox-hunter's honor is good security," replied he, "but there is nothing like a collateral," filling at the same moment two bumpers of Burgundy, "come, Sir, your word's the bond, and this is the collateral," drinking at the same moment the wine, and handing me the other glass, "and now," said he, "tis signed, sealed, and delivered."
We retired to the drawing-room soon after nine, when the pleasure of the day was increased by meeting several elegantly dressed ladies, and who with my late companions formed a lively conversazione, till the Church clock sounding eleven warned us to make our bows and depart.
If I had not already spun out my account of the dinner so unconscionably, I might enter into a description of the charming addition thus made to our party. However desirous I might be of employing my pen upon so interesting subject discretion whispers me to beware of fatiguing my readers. My motto is "Agam quam brevissime potero," I wish to be as brief as possible. I therefore, for the present, subscribe myself their most obedient, 
SIMON STUKELEY.

Previously to leaving England, I deposited in the hands of the Colonial Agent, a certain sum of money, taking from him a letter addressed to the Local Authorities, and which he said would enable me to receive the same amount upon my arrival here. I had been several times advised to claim the grant of land, to which my property would entitle me, and having no particular occupation one day last week, I determined to devote the morning to these objects. Having so arranged my plans, I felt inclined to deliver in person the letter which I had received in England, as I always like to acquire information, and to see how business is conducted. For this purpose, I went to a brick two-story building, nearly opposite the Government-house, and, having been received at the door by a man in tolerable attire, was conducted by him to a large room up stairs, which was approached through a small ante-chamber. At the further end, at a table covered with papers, apparently in sad confusion, sat a man perhaps fifty years of age, but of an appearance not gentlemanly or prepossessing. [60] He wore spectacles, appearing to be near-sighted, as he had a particular manner, when be looked at a distant object, of screwing his eyes, which were of a hazel grey. His clothes had a good deal of the Monmouth-street cut about them, but did not seem unsuitable to his tout ensemble. In his tone and gestures, he exhibited a wonderful degree of authority, for just as I entered the door-way, he was severely censuring one of the Clerks for some neglect of duty, and it might have been supposed that he was the Minister of War himself, pouring forth his phials of wrath , from the style of his language, and the expression of his countenance.
The poor fellow who was being drilled, was the exact prototype of the Knight of Mancha, a tall lank figure, without shape or substance, dressed in a long sombre coat, hanging like a garment oil a clothes horse, which, contrasted with his pallid features and staring eyes, gave him altogether a most woful appearance. He held the door in one hand, as I passed him, and I heard him say, "Pardon me, Sir, I was up till 3 o'clock this morning, and I have prepared several plans to be submitted to Mr. Consumet, one of which particularly relates to a suppression of these German dollars, which are now" - "Hold your tongue, Sir, this instant, and don't talk to me of your plans, and your interferences - go to your room, Sir, and attend to your business, and leave Mr. Consumet alone till he wants you, I have had quite enough of your intolerable assurance." "Pardon me, Sir," again was heard, but he could proceed no further, for the peremptory orders he received, compelled him to retire, taking with him under his arm a large bundle of papers. As soon as I could command Sufficient attention to have the nature of my errand understood, I was requested to take a chair for a few minutes, when a Messenger presently entered, and announced that the head of the department wished to see me. I followed him into a handsomely furnished room on the ground floor, where a Gentleman was sitting, whom I instantly recognized, and who received me with much stiff formality. After a short space occupied in desultory conversation, in the course of which I gave him to understand that I should be obliged by his allowing me to be the bearer at once of whatever credentials I was to be furnished with, he rung his bell, and ordered the attendant to send one of the Clerks to him. Immediately the same gaunt figure I had before seen entered the room, bearing in his countenance the utmost obsequiousness, almost to fawning, and having received his orders withdrew, but shortly returned with a paper in his hand, which he presented to the Gentleman for signature, and which was then given to me, accompanied by the information that by presenting it as directed, my wishes would be attended to. [61] I then took my leave and departed. The letter being an open one, I had the curiosity to see what was the form adopted on these occasions, and I found that it was merely to transmit a copy of the document I had brought from England, and to say that a warrant from the Governor for paying me the money would be prepared. I proceeded at once to my further destination, according to the address of the letter. Upon entering a low narrow building, which I understood was the Treasury, I was shewn into a small apparently inconvenient room oil the left-hand side of a dark passage, and which was divided off by a sort of a stop gate and counter, such as I have seen in England at the entrance of a country Theatre, which had been fitted tip for the evening by an itinerant corps dramatique having given full employment all the forenoon to the industrious exertions of some sturdy thrasher.
Behind this make-shift money changing board, stood a young Gentleman of pleasant open countenance, and a person apparently his senior by a few years, bearing all the appearance of "un homme d'affaires," and whose deportment seemed marked by obligingness and civility. The young Gentleman having been made acquainted with my business, left the room for an instant, when he returned and motioned me to follow him. Upon his leading the way into another apartment at the end of the passage, a Gentleman who was there seated rose to return my bow, and immediately entered into conversation. - There was a hurried quickness in his manner - a sort of absentism, if the expression may be allowed - achange from one subject to mother, which makes it difficult to relate what passed, but upon one or two points, the information he bestowed, made some impression on me. He had a little of the brogue in his style of language, but only such as is met with in the best bred Hibernians -just enough to swear by; but it was not difficult to see that his birth and breeding had been good. "In what part of the Colony do you propose to settle, Sir," he asked; "the property you possess, will, I believe entitle you to a maximum grant, but upon this point the Land Board will instruct you." "I really do not know, Sir," I replied, "I have been here so short a time, that I am very little acquainted with the country-indeed, I have scarcely made up my mind about taking land, for I have been informed by several, that, paradoxical as it may seem, I can buy cheaper than I can have it given to me; but there's a certain pleasure in owning thirty acres, and I've not yet determined." [62] "You say quite true, Sir," said he, "as to the pleasure of owning dirty acres, perhaps no man places a higher value upon them than I do. It is to the failure of a large embankment scheme at home, whereby I sought to reclaim a few hundred thousands of acres from the sea, that I may owe the honor of now addressing you, but the unruly element paid no more regard to me than to Canute of old, and in one hour the work of years was destroyed. The same love of these same dirty acres has accompanied me hither, and I am almost constantly either buying, selling, or bartering them. If you should determine to buy land, I may perhaps have the honor of being allowed to name a farm or two of mine which are in particularly eligible situations." Our conversation was here interrupted by the abrupt entrance of a tall stout person, who, judging by the easy familiar style in which he addressed the last speaker, I suppose is a Gentleman. He appeared to have a defect in his eye sight, much resembling in its appearance, an infirmity under which some of the Royal Dukes labour. His mien was stately and commanding, but its impression was but momentary, for no sooner was his mouth opened, than my uncertainty as to what rank of life he was filling was two-fold increased. Seeing that the Gentleman with whom I had been conversing was engaged, he said in a tone which would have suited Lady Morgan, "I'll just be with ye again by and bye, I did but just bring ye some money," and not allowing time for a reply, retired.
I now made some enquiry as to what was my best course to pursue towards obtaining the land to which my property entitled me, as I seemed in such good quarters for information, and which the Gentleman gave me with much readiness. - Ithen prepared to depart, when the door-keeper announced that somebody, whose name I could not collect, was waiting to be admitted, upon which my companion quickly said, "Oh, he's the very man himself," and leaving the room, re-entered in a minute or two, accompanied by a Gentleman of perhaps between forty and fifty, rather above the middle height, and proportionably stout, and who was introduced to me as a person extremely well qualified to impart information respecting the interior of the Colony. I soon discovered that he was a man of sense and talents, and a long and interesting conversation ensued. In the course of it, several points were made known to me connected with the capabilities of this Island, of which I was before ignorant; these however, although they may open the door to future observations, will not be further pursued at present. Before we parted, I made an engagement to accompany him upon a tour of inspection as soon as the state of the roads and bridges rendered travelling practicable, for he told me that at this season of the year, many of them are nearly impassable; a wide field will therefore be opened to my readers. [63] - I now subscribe myself, their most obedient servant,
SIMON STUKELEY.

Passing down Macquarie-street a few mornings ago, my attention was attracted by seeing a number of persons entering a large unfinished stone building, opposite the Church, and which upon enquiry, I found was the Court House, where the Criminal Sessions are held, and Civil Causes tried. - Among those who were pressing towards the door-way, apparently in great haste, was a tall thin Gentleman dressed in black, tripping along on his toes in a pace somewhat between a walk and a run. He leant his body forward, the projection of his back, which was unusually long, forming a very considerable angle. In his hand, which I noticed as he passed, was larger than ordinary, he held a bundle of papers. just as he entered the broken enclosure in front of the Court House, he stopped for a minute or two to converse with another Gentleman, who was travelling the same road, but who, so far from having any hurry in his look, seemed wonderfully quiet and composed. Ever and anon during their short conference, the tall Gentleman had recourse to a snuff box of extraordinary dimensions; the box indeed appeared to have been made for the hand, and the capacious power of the nose for both. The Gentleman, who helped to form the tète a tète, was also dressed in black. He was much the shortest of the two - wore his hat a little on one side, inclining the head a little further still; - had rather a pleasant smile on his countenance, which was likewise full of meaning or expression, and I observed that his mode of talking was remarkably quiet. Upon my enquiring of a Gentleman, whom I had met at the Macquarie Hotel, what all this was about, he told me there were some civil causes for trial, and I determined therefore to make one of the lookers-on, and to see in what form justice was administered. Before I had time to cross the street for this purpose, my attention was attracted by the approach of a curricle, at a very rapid rate, drawn by two ponies, who were scampering at full speed, the one in a canter with the left leg foremost, and the other in a run, such as is known in England by the name of the butcher's shuffle. [64] The vehicle turned the corner with such velocity, that I was nearly run over, and only saved myself by a hasty retreat. It stopped at the entrance of the building, and the persona who had been driving, alighted and bustled towards the door, as if all the affairs of the universe were upon his back. He was short and fat, of a very merry countenance, somewhat resembling such as a painter would select for the original of the laughter loving God, and there was a certain something in his air and manner, as much as to say "Ecce magnus sed parvus homo." I followed these personages and several others into the building, and passing through a small sort of entrance hall, presently found myself in a capacious room or chamber, with. a number of windows opposite each other, which producing cross light, and admitting the full force of the sun's rays from the north side, must not unfrequently annoy the persons most requiring a steady and not glaring light. Across the middle of the room, about half way from the door, was a bar or railing, within which stood a large table, in size and arrangement not very convenient for the profession, two pews or seats, resembling those of a Church, being on the left, close to the wall, and one of the same sort on the right, and immediately in front was an elevated scat across the room, in the centre of which was a sort of desk, as if intended for a Chairman or other person holding pre-eminence, and over which was an unsightly sounding-board, so unsoundly fixed as to threaten a sudden descent, and the natural consequence of putting out the light occasionally below it. Upon a chair at the left-hand corner of this desk, sat one of the Gentlemen, whom I had seen enter from the street; exactly opposite to him, in another chair, was a young man, in the costume of a Barrister and whose countenance seemed familiar to me. -Round the table, upon forms, were several other Gentlemen, amongst whom I recognized the tall snuff-taker, and the short curricle-driver, whom I had before seen, together with many others. Presently a door in one corner of the room opened, and a tall Gentleman, wearing the gown and wig of an English Barrister, entered and immediately proceeded to the desk in the centre of the long seat under the front wall. His countenance did not seem unknown to me, although I could riot immediately recollect where I had been introduced to him, but afterwards a friend brought to my recollection that it was at the Governor's dinner party. Some little preliminary business having been disposed of, and two more Gentlemen in plain clothes having joined him who last entered, one of those who were sitting on the form rose and said, "if His Honor pleased, the cause, Fitwell v. Testy, was ready for trial." The Court having nodded assent, the pleading began. From the opening speech of the Lawyer, I found that Fitwell was a tailor, and had been employed by Testy to make sundry articles of clothes, which he had done, and had sent them, accompanied by a bill or account, amounting to £11 3s. 10d. -Among other articles was a blue coat, charged at £5 15s. with the additional demand of fourteen shillings and sixpence for a velvet collar, which was the sole ground of action, Mr. Fitwell having stated in his bill
"A blue coat and trimmings complete ... £5 15 0
"Velvet collar to ditto ... £ 14 6 
Whereas Testy contended, that it could not be complete without a collar, that it only had one, whether velvet or cloth was no matter, and that he was not therefore liable to pay as if the coat had been furnished with two collars. His Honor enquired if it could not be settled out of Court, but neither party chusing [sic] to accede to this proposal, the case proceeded. After witnesses for the plaintiff had been examined, the Gentleman who occupied the chair on the floor, on the judge's left, rose, and putting his left hand into his breeches pocket, and giving his head the exact proper inclination to the right, cross-examined one of them as follows:
What are you? - What am I, Sir? a man.
I did not ask you whether you were a man or woman, I wish to know what is your trade.
Witness: - A tailor.
Lawyer. - Well now Mr. Mantailor, do you know a coat when you see it?
Witness: - I should think so.
Lawyer: - I did not ask you what you thought - answer my question, Sir.
Witness.-What sort of a coat do you mean, Sir?
Lawyer: - I ask you once more if you know a coat when you see it?
Witness. - Yes, Sir.
Lawyer.-Pray how many collars are there to a coat?
Witness: - How many collars are there to a coat, Sir, why every body knows that.
Lawyer. - Well then, if every body knows, you can have no difficulty in telling me how many collars are there to a coat, I again ask?
Witness. - Why, sure Sir, you know as well as I how many collars there are to a coat.
Lawyer. - Perhaps I do, but still I wish you to tell me; come, Sir I'll ask you another question, and perhaps we shall come round at last. [66] How many tailors do you reckon there are to a man?
Witness. - One tailor to a coat, Sir.
Lawyer. - One what?
Witness. - Collar to a coat.
Lawyer. - (repeating) one collar to a coat.
Witness.-Yes, Sir.
Lawyer. - I thought we should come to the point in time; now, if there is only one collar to a coat, do you consider that a coat is complete without a collar?
Witness. - No, Sir.
The cross-examination was pursued much in this way for some time, when the case for the plaintiff being ended, the Lawyer, who had cross-examined the witness, rose and addressed the jury on behalf of the defendant, commenting very happily on the admission of the plaintiff's witness, that a coat had but one collar, and that it was not complete without it. - The Gentleman neither wore a gown or wig. After he had ended, the young Barrister immediately opposite to him, addressed the Court in support of the plaintiff's claim. He had a good clear voice and a wonderful degree of self-possession, and his consumptive and delicate appearance would scarcely have warranted the expectation that his physical powers were equal to the deep sonorous tones which proceeded from him, or to the exertion which he displayed. The points upon which he chiefly laid stress were, that, although a coat might not be complete without a collar, it did not require a velvet collar, that the velvet collar was an extra, for which, it having been for the defendant's own pleasure and fancy, he was as much bound to pay as in a case where a contract might be made to complete a house or other work, and if the party afterwards chose to make alterations or additions not included in the contract, they were at his own cost and expence - that is £5 15s. had been the price named by Fitwell for the coat, to which Testy had agreed, and that he afterwards said, "let me have a velvet collar." He went on farther to argue, that it was by no means incontrovertible that coats might not have more than one collar - that he had seen coats with seven or eight collars, and had found the comfort of them when travelling in cold weather. Here he was interrupted by the opposite Lawyer, who said "capes not collars," - that even one collar was not necessary to complete a coat, for it was within the daily observation of every one that there were some coats of that peculiar make as to shew no collar, unless the straight neck-piece might be called a collar, and which might with equal propriety be termed a cape, as the other pieces of cloth, the mention of which had drawn upon him the interruption of the learned Counsel. [67] Under these circumstances he confidently trusted to receive a verdict for the plaintiff.
The Judge then recapitulated the evidence in a husky tone of voice, frequently altogether inaudible, making constant breaks, or hesitations, and taking large quantities of snuff as he proceeded. He doubted very much upon which side the evidence preponderated - it was entirely a question of fact rather than law. He explained, however, what the law was with respect to contracts, and left the case wholly in the hands of the Assessors, who presently returned a verdict for the defendant. During my attention to the arguments and decision of this cause, I discovered how extremely difficult the construction of this building had rendered it to hear what passed - that in fact, at a very short distance from the elevated seat before mentioned, nothing could be distinctly made out, when the voice of the speaker was not raised, and when perfect silence was not maintained. As I left the Court, I fell into conversation with a Gentleman with whom I was slightly acquainted, and who, like myself, had been a bye-stander, observing to him, that from what I had that morning witnessed, I presumed law was very cheap in this Colony. "Cheap, Sir," he replied, with the utmost astonishment, "you were never more mistaken in your life - Law, Sir, is not only very scarce here, but it is very dear - there is a certain bastard commodity called law, which is very current, but even this is so much clogged by expenses, that it is perfectly ruinous, and yet the most surprising thing is, almost every person encourages it. "That's very strange, Sir," said I, "the Gentleman who cross-examined the witness seemed clever and ingenious, and I thought the judge explained the law clearly." "Pretty well as to that," my friend replied, "the defendant's Counsel is about one of the best of them, but many of his geese are swans, and the judge would do well enough, if he had not so much of the Ex-Chancellor's doubts about him, but you must come and dine with me, and I will then explain the subject more fully to you. You have only to-day heard or seen two or three of our Law-expounders. I will introduce you to the acquaintance of some more of them, and I will also let you into a knowledge of some of the sweets of the profession, and of the terrible consequences which attend such infatuation, as we have this morning witnessed, but which I am sorry to say is very common. The Law Establishment of this Colony is a grievous tax upon the Public, and a dreadful scourge to individuals, but we will talk more about it over a bottle of wine. Mind my dinner hour is five, and I shall expect you." [68]
The information I acquired by my visit will be communicated some other time. In the interim, I subscribe myself, gentle readers, your faithful and obedient,
SIMON STUKELEY.

I scarcely know whether or not I ought to enter into a description, either of my informant as to the several Law Expounders, and other matters connected therewith, which I now propose to submit to my readers, or of his residence; and of the excellent entertainment with which he regaled me, but upon mature consideration, I think he has done the State good service, and that he will, through me, be rather honoured than otherwise by my endeavouring to pourtray him. He is of about the middle height, rather close set, about thirty years of age, perhaps a little more, dark eyes and hair, of a swarthy complexion, wears large whiskers in the cut of 1825 or 6, and is unmarried; generally dresses without much regard to appearance, oft wearing a coat of a muddy-coloured green, the flaps of which are unusually full, and the waist longer than Mr. Fitwell would have tolerated. He resides in a house built on the ground floor only, and somewhat in the shape of the letter L.
As I was walking leisurely to his residence, a little before the appointed dinner hour, who should I see, coming slowly along just at the crossing by the Church, but my clerical friend of the old school, mounted on a small cream-coloured pony! Looking at me very pointedly, as if full of meaning, I thought some words escaped him, which I did not distinctly hear, and will not therefore venture to repeat, but whatever they were, those which followed were less equivocal. "So you must be bobbing and bobbing with Bob at the Cottage, must ye?" Is that your modern fox-hunting, to turn out a "kindred soul," a "choice spirit," to be game for a pack of puppies? With your yeoix, and your yeoix, and your "collateral security?" I thought the good old Gentleman rather scolded me in laughter than in anger, and therefore merely replied to him, by enquiring if the pony he was riding, was part of his hunting stud, adding, "he is of a very convenient size, for if you happen to come to a gate or fence beyond his leaping powers, you would have little trouble in dismounting and in carrying him across on your shoulders." At these words, my friend raised himself in his stirrups, and making a caracole towards me, I felt my safety would best be consulted by flight, and bidding him adieu with my hand, it was not long ere I reached the Gentleman's house at which I was to dine. [69]
Our meeting was strictly tète a tète, and during the repast, which was excellent of the sort, and the zest of which was heightened by a variety of superior wines, a general conversation only took place. When the cloth was removed, and the dessert put upon the table, drawing our chairs to the fire, he filled his glass, and passing the bottle to me, said "Come, Sir, one toast - à l'occasion - the glorious uncertainty of the Law." He then proceeded, "I have promised, you know, to explain some particulars respecting law proceedings in this Colony, and to make you as wise as myself upon the characters and pretensions of its limbs or pillars. Now you will scarcely believe it, but so the case is, that a Law process is saddled with heavier charges here, than in England, and what is worse, a system is tolerated by which, supposing a Bill of Exchange should be unpaid, bearing one doubtful and two or three good names, the latter are instantly pounced upon by the Lawyers equally with the other, and it is not unusual to see two or three Law suits upon one and the same transaction, by which means the original debt is sometimes tripled before it is discharged.
<\2-036><\g=m><\o=b><\age=38><\status=3><\abode=00><\p=vdl><\r=pcw><\tt=nv>

http://ns.ausnc.org.au/corpora/cooee/source/2-036#Original