A History of Australia: From the Earliest Times to the Age of Macquarie

By C. M. H. Clark | Go to book overview

8
GROSE, PATERSON AND HUNTER

THE BATTLE for survival was followed by the traditional battles of societies with a European civilization. In the battle for economic and social power, the ownership of wealth was gradually concentrated in the hands of the few. In the collision of opinion, there was a never-ending debate between conflicting views of the nature of man and his destiny. There was all that hubbub and uproar of human intercourse, which some have taken as evidence of the follies and passions of the human heart, some of its evil imagination, and others of its madness. By another of the ironies of history, the man who took these momentous steps was a man singularly lacking in distinction or any power to perceive the significance of his actions.

Major Francis Grose assumed the office of Acting Governor when Phillip sailed for England on the Atlantic in December 1792. He was born in 1754, entered the army, received a commission as an ensign in 1775, fought in the War of Independence and remained in America sick of his wounds, till he was repatriated and promoted to the rank of major, retired on half pay in 1783, and rejoined the army in 1789 when he was appointed to command the New South Wales Corps. He arrived in Sydney on 14 February 1792.1 Those whom he met noted the lack of distinction, the amiability, the joviality, but the lack of the talents of a leader. Bligh, who met him at Cape Town on his way out to assume command of the New South Wales Corps, wrote of him as a man not blessed with any moderate share of good knowledge to give much stability to the new settlement.2 For Grose was a man of little cultivation, a man who on his own confession spoke French indifferently and was not acquainted with any other foreign language, a man to whom the obscurity of second-in-command ministered both to his distaste for the burdens of command as well as to the complete absence of that power to command.3 Chance, however, presented him with a situation he had not coveted.

He decided to increase the quantity of foods and goods available. To achieve this he allotted one hundred acres of land to every officer who asked for it, because work on government farms proceeded slowly and never with that spirit and energy which were created by private interest.4 This policy

____________________
1
"Statement of the service of Major General Grose" ( Bonwick Transcripts, Biography, vol. 2, pp. 452-4, Mitchell Library, Sydney).
2
"Bligh to Banks, Cape of Good Hope, 17 December 1791" ( Banks Papers, Brabourne Collection, vol. 5, pp. 166-9, Mitchell Library, Sydney).
3
"Statement of the service of Major General Grose" ( Bonwick Transcripts, Biography, vol. 2, pp. 452-4, Mitchell Library, Sydney).
4
"Grose to Dundas, 16 February 1793", H.R.A., I, 1, p. 416; D. Collins: An Account of the English Colony in New South Wales ( London, 1798 and 1802), vol. 1, p. 368.

-132-

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A History of Australia: From the Earliest Times to the Age of Macquarie
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page v
  • Preface ix
  • Contents xi
  • Errata xiii
  • Contents xiii
  • Abbreviations xv
  • Part I - The Forerunners 1
  • I - The Earliest Times to Catholic Christendom 3
  • 2 - The Contribution of The Protestants 21
  • 3 - The Sons of Enlightenment 42
  • Part II - The Foundation 57
  • 4 - The Choice of Botany Bay 59
  • 5 - The Beginning of Sydney Cove 73
  • 6 - Convicts and the Faith Of The Founders 90
  • Part III - Phillip to Bligh 111
  • 7 - Phillip 113
  • 8 - Grose, Paterson and Hunter 132
  • 9 - King, Flinders, and Port Phillip 160
  • 10 - Van Diemen's Land and The Civilization of New South Wales 186
  • II - Bligh 210
  • 12 - The Society of New South Wales In 1810 235
  • Part IV - The Age of Macquarie 261
  • 13 - Macquarie, 1810-1815 263
  • 14 - Macquarie, 1816-1819 296
  • 15 - Macquarie, 1820-1821 337
  • 16 - Macquarie and Mr Commissioner Bigge In England 367
  • Appendices 381
  • A Select Bibliography 389
  • Index 411
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