July 25, 2007
8 January 1807 by Elizabeth Macarthur
Mrs. Marsden did us the honour of calling today. She had heard that young Elizabeth has been unwell in the oppressive heat and came bringing guavas, Elizabeth's favourite fruit, from the Marsden's trees. It is wonderful, the charity and feelings for others that drive some. Elizabeth Marsden brought news, too, of her husband's plan to return Home later this year, to seek approval and funding for a mission to New Zealand. "Aren't you frightened for him, with those cannibals?", I asked, but she replied, "That God is his shepherd and protects him!"
Mr. Marsden has written a paper on the shocking state of the women brought to this place and hopes to make some action take place by bringing that Home - Mrs. Marsden asked if I'd accompany her after we'd had dinner, to see Mr. Mealmaker, the Superintendent at the Factory, to discuss the women kept there.
I sent Mrs. Marsden's gig back to Town, and we set off - my daughter Elizabeth, Mrs. Elizabeth Marsden and myself - as a trio of Elizabeths, to call upon Mealmaker at his home above the river. He has worked hard to provide useful employment for the women not assigned, but he reported that the equipment he has is too poor to weave more than a fustian cloth, and convincing the women to spin a yarn of sufficient strength is proving wearying to him. Honestly, his house is no more than a hovel - it is a concern that Government will do nothing to help this endeavour. Before she leaves the Colony, I must ask Mrs. King who is to take her place on the Orphan Committee, and whether any funds are available to buy new looms. Mrs. Marsden agreed that her husband may buy such looms in Yorkshire for a song, now-a-days, with so much of the weaving at Home being done using the new water shuttles.
Well, I didn't write twice yesterday, and now the sun is setting on another day, so I shan't write again. But one last thing - Mrs. Marsden mentioned that they were burning tallow candles again in the parsonage, so at least as I write this by my good oil lamp, I can rest comforted that I was able to send 10 gallons of fine seal oil back to the Parsonage, so that they too can see without the smell, smoke and discomfort of a guttering tallow stump. I expect next to hear that some poor family in Town has been blessed with the oil - the Marsden's will take so little, bless them!