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1-091 (Original)

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addressee,female author,male,Harris, George Prideaux,31
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Plaint Text :
Private Written
Private Correspondence
Niall, 1998
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1-091.txt — 10 KB

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About three Months since by the arrival of a sea Whaler from Pt. Jackson I had the inexpressible happiness to hear from my dearest Mother & other friends for the first time, since leaving them, going on now for 3 Years! I need not say the joy I felt at the receipt of the valuable Pacquet, more especially to find that you were all in as good health & happy as when I left you - The anxious hours I had passed daily looking for some tidings, was fully repaid by the pleasing Intelligence I received tho I almost dreaded to open them least I might find in so long a time that I had lost some dear & valued friend - but thank God it was not the case & I hope I shall ever receive such welcome news. [20] 
The last date of your Letters were in Octr. 1804 & some as far back as August & Septr. 1803 - so that I think I must have received all you had written to that time - as there were abt. 24 of them - John & Tom did not write - which I am sorry for as I should wish always to hear from every one of you - I had several Letters from Harry, but from Nancy - what a delightful packet!! I have hardly read all the volumes thro yet - I shall thank her for them - as well as my little dears Dolly & Mary - but I forget; the former by this time is I suppose Mrs R ... R(?)...lly! but of that more by & by - I have also to thank my kind & worthy friend Comyns for his very friendly Letter - I shall write him a very long letter & wish it was in my power to send him some Curiosities by this Conveyance - but I have met with a great Misfortune in having a large Case of Birds (some capital ones) abt. 100 in number totally destroyed by a nest of large ants eating into it unknown to me - Not a feather was left on them - Nancy & Mr. Comyns write me to preserve them in Spirits, but they could not know the scarcity of that Article - but Adieu to this subject, which I wonder how I got into when I have one so much more interesting to talk about - My dearest mother I have to beg pardon of you for doing something without your leave, but for the life of me I could not help it - I followed Harry's example without knowing of it & that very day 12 Months - married? Yes, my dearest Mother & what is more enjoy the most perfect happiness My sweet little Girl is one of the most ameanable Disposition I ever met with - and her affectionate attachment to me is such as must render my life devoted to her happiness in return - You will naturally expect and have a right to know who your new daughter in law is - She was Miss Ann Jane Hobbes; her Father was a brave Officer in the Navy (a Lieut.) who died shortly before she left England & a Brother also a Lt. in the Navy was killed in Egypt. there were then the Mother, 4 Daughters and a younger Son - The Eldest married Mr. Hopley who was appointed one of the Surgeons of this place, and Mrs. Hobbs having only the widows pension, was persuaded to follow her Daughter here with the rest of her family They came passengers with me in the Ocean where I first got acquainted - and here at Hobart Town had the happiness to call Ann Jane the 3rd daughter mine To use Harry's words "I might perhaps have got a richer but I could not have got a better Wife" - for young as she is (not 18) I'll be bound to say there is not many double her age that understand more of Domestic Management - She often reminds me [of] my Dr. Mother when I see her so busily employed about Household affairs - I will give you a sketch of her Person - she is about the middle size, well formed, fine blue eyes & brown hair & is altogether a fine woman - I may consider myself as peculiarly happy in having the fortune to gain the heart of one calculated for my comfort in every point of view & whom with pride I can call by the name of Wife - otherwise I should have perhaps followed the example of most others here, who having only convicts about them for Servants have been induced to take temporary ones but thank God I have escaped that rock & got safe into the Harbour of happiness - And now my dearest Mother my beloved Ann Jane joins me in begging your blessing on us, which I am sure you will not withhold, for I make no doubt you will feel as happy in hearing from me that I am - as I do in assuring you of it - your motherly affection for me has ever been such as to convince me of it. [21] 
But now I suppose you will wish to know a little in what manner we go on here - I can assure with respect to general comforts very badly indeed - I have not yet had a house to live in (except one I have rented) - nothing but Canvas in all weathers - What I am now in is a miserable Hovel a Ground floor of 2 Rooms about the size of a Nutshell - 2 Windows - 1 Door - 1 Chimney - & thatched - & for this I pay at the rate of 50£ pr. ann - without any Garden or Land belong, to it and very little probability of getting into a better for Govr. Collins has not paid the least attention to the wants of his Officers in this respect - Only one Officer has yet had a House built him - all the rest have either been obliged to build for themselves or else to hire houses or live in Marques tho God knows he has had time enough to do it since he had built elegant houses for Convicts, where the Wife was a favorite - Times are very much altered here for the worse - everything is most abominably dear & in some instances we pay 500 pr Cent on the English Goods - particularly Shoes - Broad Cloths - Hats etc etc and some times cannot get them for love or Money - We have lately & are now almost in a state of starvation having been on the allowance of 4 lb bread, 2 lb Pork per man pr week, owing to not having had any supplies from Sydney, but as we have such abundance of Kanguroo here we can never want - from 2 to 3000 [lbs] weight a week having been turned into the Store by the Officers at 1 / - pr lb. which has considerably helped us on. We are in daily expectation of a Ship from Sydney or England with Supplies which will be a delightful occurrence for us - I have however notwithstanding all these difficulties being getting a house under weigh & hope shortly to be in one I can call my own without obligations to any one - I have got about 1 Acre of Wheat in this Year (which considering is doing wonders) - My stock consists of 1 Cow & Calf - 1 Ram 2 Ewes - 2 Ewe Lambs 1 He Goat - 4 females 2 female Kids - 4 Geese - 10 Goslings - [NN] fowls - Besides which I have a pack of Kangaroo Dogs as good as any in the whole Country - namely Lagger, Weasel, Lion, Boatswain, Brindle etc etc - & with those Dogs I scarcely ever go or send out (for I have two Huntsmen) but get 3 4 5 or sometimes 8 Kanguroos in a day or two some of the Kanguroo stand 6 feet high & weigh from 100 to 130 or 150 lbs & fight the dogs most desperately so as sometimes to kill them & very frequently to wound them sadly - Sometimes we get Emus, a large Bird (Species of the Ostrich) which are hunted in the same manner as Kanguroo & make a worse resistance They frequently weigh 80 or 90 lb. & run (for they cannot fly) amazingly swift, so that the swiftest greyhound can scarcely get up with them - They are much coarser food than the Kanguroo, which when young, is nearly as good as Venison - it only wants fat - Kanguroo hunting, fishing & shooting are the only recreations we have at this place - there is no society - I cannot visit with my wife most of my brother Officers because they have female Companions - we seldom therefore visit except to Captn. Sladdens (Marines) who is married - or in her family, who are the only females she can associate with - this with the very great Dearth of every kind of News for there is none (except the daily account of Robberies during the Night) unless on the arrival of a Ship makes the place extremely dull & very unlike Old England - [22] Books are also a very scarce article and the few there are have been read over & over again Therefore every little trifle - newspaper - handbill or anything that comes from England is valuable & interesting - I must beg of you to save all pamphlets - Newspapers - Handbills - Murders, Dying Speeches - Calendars &c &c & send them to Harry for me. I have sent him a list of Books &c I wish to have sent out - I am in great measure deprived of my favorite amusement - Drawing, having used or lost most of my paints, & expended all my drawing & other papers which is a great drawback on me, no such article as either to be got in the Colony - I am very much obliged to you for the Flower Seeds which I shall take care & put in our Garden & hope you will send me some more - If you can send some Gooseberry, Raspberry, Currant Seeds - Plumb & Cherry Stones - Acorns ripe, Thornberrys or any thing of that kind I think they would thrive well - In return I will this year collect flower & tree seeds from this place - it is too early yet being only the commencement of Spring, but there are some beautiful shrubs & flowers here quite new at home - 
Could I have an opportunity of sending by a Ship direct from this place to England, I could make up a Box of little things for you & wd. send a few of the Beautiful Parroquet we have here, was there any one I could trust to take care of them & deliver them alive - but the Ships that have come to this Port are either gone on the Whalefishing for 12 or 18 mos. or else to Port Jackson, and as I know no one there, things might lie & spoil long before an opportunity offered to send them. I expect that Captn. Bristow of the Ocean Whaler will return here from Norfolk Island in about 3 Months & then I shall be able to make up a Package for you and my friend Comyns which I am daily collecting - I was very sorry to hear of poor old Mrs. Bradfords Death, she was a good old lady & I shall always respect her Memory - I have now my Dearest Mother written you a long letter, and as I have several more to write by the same Conveyance, I must beg you will remember me most affectionately to every friend of which I have so many that I shall not particularize one but include them all together - Mrs. Hobbs my Mother in law begs I will say all that is kind for her tho unknown & hopes we may all one day meet together - My Ann Jane joins me in every thing affectionate & dutiful - Believe me ever my dear Mother while I have breath