September 17, 2007

17 September 2007, by David Povey

Governor King left us this drawing of Benelong.

Continuation of the speech notes for Friday September 21, 2007 at Elizabeth Farm.

The property rights of England were well understood by all settlers in Colonial NS Wales, so they did not rely on Jeremy Bentham to know that they lacked the rights common to Englishmen; it was a sore point in the Colony in 1807.
As students of history it is best that we tread lightly across the Law: the argument put forward Bentham is that the Governor has no authority over emancipated convicts or free settlers, and the property laws in NS Wales do not support capital investment. The free settlers at the Hawkesbury or Green Hills settlements petitioned Governor Bligh for trial by jury, and the rights of English men and women to be granted to them, and these petitioners were Bligh's supporters. Jeremy Bentham, the English parliamentarian and jail reformer, wrote a pamphlet called "The True Bastille" in which he postulates that Magna Carta and habeus corpus are missing from the law in the Colony of New South Wales, in contravention of the principal established in Blackstone, that English laws apply wherever English people are gathered. It is an interesting idea and Samuel Marsden mentions one of Bentham major points, in his 1807 Letter concerning the Colony, in which Marsden suggests that convicts on short sentences are unnecessarily confined here, and when they do leave, cannot afford to take their children and wives with them, and so they leave them here to struggle along as best they can. Bentham's proposition is that convicts out of their sentence should not have to stay in NS Wales, as then a seven year sentence is then transformed into life, and that the concentration of powers in the hands of a despotic Governor is contrary to the laws of England. Of the first proposition, John Macarthur's main concern was willing labour and he opposed any scheme to facilitate expired convictsleaving the Colony. On the second, however, his attitude is quite different, and he too wonders what jurisdiction the Governor has over settlers such as himself. We need to keep in mind that Government then generally did less than we have come to expect today, offering few services. Contention among the military services was also a natural corollary of their isolated existence, for example Major Ross' refusal to allow his marines to guard convicts under Governor Phillip. Governor Phillip was powerless in the face of a direct refusal, because he governed the military under the Articles of War, and the Mutiny Act, and certain forms of duty were forbidden by the regulations. Of the other classes in the early Colony, that of the merchants is the one that concerns our story the most. I number John Macarthur among these men, along with the Commissary John Palmer, Governor King's former secretary Garnnham Blaxcell, Thomas Reiby and others, including the emabcipist traders Lord, Kable and Underwood.
Manning Clarke tells the story of going to Nuremburg and visiting the castle in Worms where the famous meeting between Martin Luther and the Holy Roman Emperor took place. Dressed in finery , King Charles spoke to Luther in Latin, telling him that the Roman Church was the repository of truth for over 1000 years and that he, Charles the fifth, would wipe Martin Luther and his heresy from the face of the earth. Luther is said to have replied, in Saxon German, that "Here I stand. I can do no other. So help me God!" It would not be long before Luther wiped Charles' face from history, after much blood was shed.

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