August 21, 2007

2 February 1807, by Elizabeth Macarthur

A romantic, fanciful view of our house.

It is the Governor's contention that my Lord Camden merely intended the cow pastures to be one of the sites on which our grant might be based, a decision made by a man no longer in power, from a distance of thousands of miles, without local knowledge, and subject to review. Just as the decision to grant poor Captain Short his few acres was made, and then subsequently overturned. Our government here is a strange beast, comprised of capricious undertakings, and Captain Bligh seems the worst person for the position. We understand that the Governor is now solely a civil appointment, not naval at all, and so one cannot but help wondering if some more appropriate man might be found to take on this arduous task. All governing are worn to the ground, for service in a military outpost is hard work as John knows. The rations are poor - no one can survive on tack and salt meat, washed down with liberal grog, and we put Governor King's infirmity down to the hardships - why, even the word itself seems just: hard ships, for hard it is to govern 2000 prisoners in a strange land surrounded by enemies, a year from relief, with a substantial military presence to manage as well, plus the exploration and the incessant writing, and justifying of every decision. I am glad that John is now plain Mr. Macarthur. I was opposed to even his command of the Volunteers and am glad that Edward is here now to shoulder that responsibility.
I must finish my letters for the Buffalo - we hear she will sail on the next tide.

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