The Naval Pioneers of Australia eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 250 pages of information about The Naval Pioneers of Australia.
and retailed by them at the most exorbitant prices to the lowest order of the settlers and convicts; that the profit on such articles is often at the rate of one hundred shillings for one; that this sort of traffic is not confined to the officers, but is carried on in the Government House, although it is not affirmed that you have any participation in such proceedings; that the officers and favoured individuals are allowed to send large quantities of grain into the Government stores, whilst those who have only the ability to raise small crops are refused, and consequently are obliged to sell their produce to hucksters at the low rate above mentioned.”

Now many of these allegations were true, for Hunter himself had written repeatedly complaining of the existence of such abuses, and had been answered, “Well, put a stop to them.”  Then he would publish a “Public Order” or some similar document telling the hucksters they were not to do these things; the offenders would go on offending, and Hunter would go on publishing more “Public Orders.”

Hunter received the above letter from Portland in November, 1799.  Before he could write a reply to it, the Duke wrote him another letter.  There were several pages relating to details of administration; but it might have been written by a woman, for the last paragraph contained the all-important part in these words:—­

“Having now made all the observations which appear to me to be necessary on the points contained in your several despatches which are now before me, it is with my very sincere concern that I find myself obliged to add that I feel myself called upon by the sense of the duty which I owe to the situation in [Sidenote:  1800] which I have the honour to be placed to express my disapprobation of the manner in which the government of the settlement has been administered by you in so many respects; that I am commanded to signify you the King’s pleasure to return to this kingdom by the first safe conveyance which offers itself after the arrival of Lieutenant-Governor King, who is authorized by His Majesty to take upon him the government of that settlement immediately on your departure from it.”

The poor old governor was very indignant.  He denounced in strong language the “anonymous assassin” who he thinks accused him to His Grace of conniving at the trading he was endeavouring to suppress.

“Can it be suppos’d, my lord, that a man at my time of life, holding the rank I have the honour to be arriv’d at in the profession I have been bred in, and to which I have risen by virtue of a character never yet stain’d by one mean, base, or dishonourable action—­can it be conceived that after having by a life truly and sincerely devoted to the service of my sovereign, after having spent forty-six years of that life in constant and active employment in all the quarters of the world, during which I have risen thro’ all the ranks and gradations of my
Project Gutenberg
The Naval Pioneers of Australia from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
Follow Us on Facebook