July 21, 2007

4 January 1807 by Elizabeth Macarthur

Every Sunday we go to the newly building Church in Parramatta, to hear God's Word. It seems so little to do, and making our way there today I was revolted by the spectacle of already-drunken cloddies, laying in the shade. I know that Portsmouth streets are shocking too, but this is my home and I'd rather that we took steps to prevent this useless waste. I suppose, as John says, they have finished their working week, and without them buying our rum, we'd have less, but there is a law against serving rum on the Sabbath that somebody must have broke. John says to turn away, but the memory stays.

I'm driven in the cart because Elizabeth is distressed by the omnipresent heat; John has ridden. He cuts such a figure on his horse. Captain Abbot waited for us next to the barracks, with the brigade, and my horse shied dreadfully when the band started - it's a blessing to have good people to help, I think, and thankfully the groom is very proficient. Poor Elizabeth is even more restless however.

Mr. Marsden was in good form today: "Rum is the scourge of the colony", said he, "and the Barter of Spirits has long been a very general & serious Evil in the Settlement – it has been productive of jealousies, misunderstandings, and many unhappy differences amongst the Officers", looking directly at the Regiment's officers. He has no decorum, although we all appreciate he has the best interests of his flock at heart. I am glad to get Elizabeth home, where the shade of the vines keeps her room cooler. I prayed to God for her deliverance.

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