August 19, 2007

31 January 1807, by Elizabeth Macarthur

The Church in Sydney
Our lives are sometimes hardly lived at home and I can feel that time coming upon now. Losing the Kings is not only sad, but busy too. Mr. King had hoped to return to the colony but Governor Bligh's commission is without limit, so Mr. King may only return in some other capacity - just as John has done. That would not be easy for any man who hasn't worked as hard as John has building a future, and no one here has worked so hard as my husband. The heat is oppressive, and we had a huge summer storm yesterday afternoon, hail like stones and rain that filled Clay Cliff Creek overflowing, and no way could we take to the boat to sail to Sydney. This morn the sun rose shining without a cloud, so if we intend leaving then we should look to that before midday. Mr. Marsden is preaching tomorrow, probably at the Orphans' School, but possibly at the new Church building in Town. The state of our Churches leaves much to be desired - here we lack any pews, the windows do not open and bats have already occupied the roof timbers. In Town, the walls went up and then tumbled down, so this is the second attempt at this site, and very little ethereal beauty can be glimpsed in its drab walls. The governor has issued a proclamation stating that the leasehold on Town lands may not stand and no construction may take place, a material concern as we have three Town leases, one with our house upon it. Serjeant-majors Row will be pulled down, we have heard. Oh, why can't the Governor get along with governing and leave aside the petty quarrels he insists upon, as if only in the personal prerogative is the authority of the Governor proven. John has pointed out to Mr. King and Mr. Bligh that their commissions apply to the military and civil establishment, and the unfree, but so far as our legal opinion is concerned, has no authority over the free settlers who are flooding here to take advantage of the fine climate, cheap land and abundant labour, and without which this place will never amount to more than, say, Martinique. I have no wish to see our land, our house, our possessions ripped from our hands by illegal acts, and the Governor should beware of passion for our home.

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