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1-111 (Raw)

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addressee,male author,male,Broadside,un
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Official Correspondence
Ingleton, 1988
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An Open Letter to MAJOR JOHNSTON, of the New South Wales Corps.
"I shall not make any apology for writing to you through the medium of a newspaper, thinking the compliment would be of very little use; but before I enter upon the chief design of my letter I shall explain the reason why I have not addressed you with the rank of Lieut - Governor, else you might imagine I was void of civility, and paid no respect to men in office. The manner in which you have obtained this rank fully convinces me it is fictitious, and consequently what you are not entitled to.
"When His Excellency the Governor sent for you, instead of waiting on him instantly at so critical a juncture, you delayed the time, and when you made your appearance it was not in the manner he expected to see you. It is evident you lurked behind the curtain while every preparation was making necessary for your appearance upon the stage. On the person on trial being committed to prison on a charge of having escaped from justice, the soldiers became the more outrageous, and now both the gaol and Government House are threatened with destruction.
"The business now being ripe, to gratify your mistaken zeal, you are sent for post haste. On your arrival, as an officer and commander of the troops, you ought to have used every exertion in restoring public tranquility; but, instead of making the least effort, you became the ringleader of the faction, headed the mutinous soldiers, marched them up to Government House with flying colours and a band of music, took possession of it, confined the Governor, seized his papers, and proclaimed martial law. This was the manner in which you waited upon His Excellency. You are pleased to call it an ARREST; but I am very much mistaken if the Attorney-General does not make use of a different term.
"I have another important question to ask about this ARREST. How came Captain John Macarthur, who was committed to prison to be so soon at large and accompany you in this hazardous enterprise ? It must be by a gross violation of the law. But what must occur in the minds of a candid and disinterested public when I say the very man who the Governor was prosecuting for a breach of order is appointed Secretary to the colony, and entrusted with His Excellency's papers? Common-sense would have told you this was wrong.
"Now the phrensy of party bigotry blazed forth in illuminations, bonfires, burning effigies, roasting sheep, and in all manner of riotous dissipation. The minds of the vulgar were now poisoned with prejudices artfully circulated, and the tongue under no restraint but that of its own faction. Some of His Majesty's subjects were exposed to the grossest insults, with the danger of their lives. This scene of wild extravagance, sanctioned by such usurpation, is a sure forerunner of oppression, decay of public credit, the unprotection of individuals and their property. It also betrays an imbecile mind, and leaves a remarkable and odious stigma upon your conduct.
"When the licentious and extravagant mirth began to abate, the mind of course was more at liberty to inquire into the cause, and it was soon whispered that the Government bills given during your administration were not likely to be duly honored. This was a blow upon public credit, and a scarcity of money was soon a general complaint. At length it was plainly seen to every one that the Colonial Secretary was in possession of the command, and that you had been made a tool of in the business to answer his ambitious views. This so incensed some of the settlers as to make the attempt of getting Captain John Macarthur dismissed; but finding it would be at the hazard of a prosecution, they gave up their hopes as fruitless.
"The motley crowd which were encouraged, instead of being instantly suppressed, and the numbers you have let loose upon the public, would evidently open a source for the greatest evils; and from this I may attribute the numerous thefts and robberies which have of late been committed. Nothing can show a specimen of worse management than a number of convicts seizing the Brig HARRINGTON in the harbour, and escaping from the colony. It is neglect of so foul a nature as not only to violate the laws of nations, but to insult both justice and commerce. By the office of Judge-Advocate being vacant owing to your having set aside the legal one, and the one you had appointed being dismissed and quitted the colony, the rabble of the vulgar had imbibed a notion, let them commit almost any crime there would be no capital punishment, which greatly lessened your authority.
"If you have no other charges against the Governor, and better founded than those which have been circulated, though numerous, your cause is very weak. They are rather the frailties of human nature than crimes cognizable by the law. But why was not his conduct represented to that power to which he is amenable? Did you think the country would be totally ruined by the length of time that would elapse before an answer could be received, and that it was a duty incumbent upon you to interfere, or were you not urged from motives foreign to the general interest of the colony? Can you say with a clear conscience that you have taken no advantage of His Excellency's former misfortunes ?
"You have not been content in dispossessing the Governor, but have dismissed other officers and subverted the Government in some instances apparently on purpose for your partisans to accumulate wealth. Before this unfortunate circumstance took place, I always understood you to be a well - disposed, good - natured man - a cheerful companion, and an idol of the soldiers and the lower order of society. The manner in which you besieged Government House will be a sarcasm upon the New South Wales Corps to an unknown generation."