August 15, 2007

28 January 1807, by Elizabeth Macarthur

A letter from Governor Bligh to Capt. Short of the Porpoise

I believe I have mentioned that we may have walked near to the corpse of a poor Sydney woman, murdered and left in the forest near Mr. Wentworth's, and today Mr. Macarthur tells me they have found the scoundrel who has done this - and I'm sorry to write that he is an Irishman - who is one of the brothers' Kenny, who ran a school in Sydney. Kenny has been hung in Sydney and his body is being brought here today to hang also, as recompense for the beastliness of his murder. We have heard of Kenny before - he set fire to his neighbour's field and burned an entire crop of wheat and untold damage, from which he somehow escaped due punishment. Anyway I shall certainly avoid Town for the next few days, not wishing for I nor the family to see such a sight.
My work takes me to Seven Hills, where the Spanish rams are to be run. It is time for that now, and the rams were taken there by cart the day before yesterday, held in a paddock but not for long, I don't doubt, so I'm off there today to ensure the men know just how to fence off the ewes and limit the expenditure of the poor beasts. Too much harm has come to good beast in this colony, for want of adequate supervision. I do not speak of Mr. Marsden there, who has done an estimable job of breeding a heavy carcase with good wool covering, and from not so fine sheep to start with. But our sheep, and especially the rams Mr. Macarthur brought recently from England, will add considerably to the wool's fineness, which is the character the English mills seek most. Rough hair suitable for a poor man's blanket may be grown anywhere, but fine wool is what we want, to cover the shipping cost and poke Spain in the eye. And the people demand that we release several thousand head for mutton! Are they mad - the future of the Colony rides on the back of our sheep, for fine wool needs shepherds, shearers, classers and the ships to take it to England, all of which toil will provide work for many years to come.
But in will confide to you, dear diary, that I have risen from bed with the cricked neck and sorest back, so off to the Hills, then back before its too late.

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