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1-216 (Original)

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addressee,male author,male,Reibey, James,28
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Private Written
Private Correspondence
Irvine, 1992
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Launceston, Port Dalrymple Van Deimans Land Septr. 17th 1823
My Dear Cousin
I Received your various favours as likewise the Newspapers you was so kind to send which in the distant part of the Globe is always a thankful treat, Mr Macarthur the Scotch Clergyman kept your Letters for 4 or 5 months at Hobart Town after his arrival, nor did he send them over even after I got our agents to apply to him for Letters for me & Mr Thomson, Mr Moodie the Commissary at last enclosed them to me in a frank.
You will wonder to find my Letter dated in this place, but I have now to inform you I have been there 9 months, having joined my Brother Thomas in Copartnership in Cattle Sheep and trade generally I found by staying at Hobart town I was losing considerably. I found it best to come & join Thomas who had been soliciting me to do so for some years but owing to my dislike to Launceston I was a long time in making up my mind to, one thing while at Hobart it was a plan of mine tho probably foolish not to Run in debt having never purchased without Cash in hand, However this Rule was beneficial in my leaving Hobart for I was able to leave in a very short notice packed up my Stock in trade as it was in the Stores, freighted a Brig put that & all my furniture on board, & came across the Country 127 Miles in a Gig. [79] 
Our Cattle here jointly consists of about four hundred Head, about two thirds my Brothers, about two Thousand Sheep, joint equal shares, besides various farms, which are principally my Brothers, Stores & premises in town which the Government offered two thousand Pounds for but my Brother (this was just before I came over) asked four thousand - our Stock in trade amt. about 3,000 Pounds I have made considerable Improvements, outhouses which by contract cost us three Hundred Pounds, this is joint Property equal Shares. My House at Hobart Town which I threw into the concern rents for One Hundred & Thirty Pounds pr. Annum, Eight Horses &c, besides these my Brother is building a beautiful House on his Estate called Entally, which has now cost him about Six Hundred Pounds. you will Rather wonder probably how I have got on so well without any assistance from my Mother, for you are probably aware that my Mother discarded me after my marriage, there was just reasons for her doing so then I was only Seventeen years of age and my wife unknown to her. Tho She has often said since I have made a wise choice, in fact I have, for it is now nearly Eight years since we where first marriage we have lived as Happy as possible & she has been a good helpmate to me, I often think now how saving I was then and how sedate we began a little Shop, with a Stock of £40 which I obtained Credit for in Sydney, and by Return the same vessell I came down in I Remitted the amount. my Wife who was Widow then 21 & was a Widow four year had a House tho in a very unfurnished state & built of Wood we managed to get two Small rooms Habitable & every Shilling that was taken was preserved with a great deal more care than I now do fifty Pounds. My mother found from various reports I was steady and doing well she forgave me, & we have been good friends ever since, but she thought I did not want any assistance, in fact I was as well without it probably, but when she was in England she wrote me word to take possession of Half the Sheep at this place, about 400. Then you see my dear cousin I am not treating you as a stranger, I have endeavoured to think while writing this Letter that you stood as a Brother rather than as a Cousin as you wish to be called in various Letters I have seen to my Sisters. I have given you a History of our property as well as I am able and hope it will be acceptable to you.
I will now give you some account of the family. Rank first my mother she is well and hearty in Sydney I heard from her a few days ago, Thomas & his Lady are quite well they live in the Country about Eight Miles off. he has now three children, a Boy he had about [?] weeks ago, named after me. then comes me and my wife, who are thank God quite well, & now my dear Cousin comes some very sorrowful news, namely my Brother George is so very ill I am very much afraid he will not Recover, the Doctor says he does not think he will. [80] he came down here about 4 or 5 months ago for the good of his Health, he was ordered into the Country by his Physician. he was rapidly Recovering & as exercise was recommended to him, used to amuse himself with cutting trees down, at last, one fell on him, which nearly killed him, he lay about 100 yards from the House for above an hour, nobody having seen him, he at last crawled into the house, my Brother Thomas Immediately dispatched a man on Horseback to town for Medical assistance, but unfortunately the River which is in front of his House was very high over the Banks not fordable, and the Canoe he was used to cross in was washed away the day before. the man had to ride about Ten Miles up the River to a Canoe and being very dark when he got there the people where afraid to cross him that night. he had to wait untill morn & then could not cross his horse he had to walk to town then 15 miles thro mud up to his knees all the way (you cannot conceive the state of the Roads here in Winter times. no made roads every Valley a River,- he got in about 12 O'clock, with a note to me. This was about 22 hours after the accident happened, altho only 8 miles as direct Road, & to complete the Misfortune the Doctor was in the Country in another Direction attending another patient, however he came in about half an hour after, and we immediately set off and tho we had to swim our horses 2 or 3 times in places that now are quite dry. we got out to the River in an hour, and fortunately my Brother had just before found a Smaller Canoe which we passed over one by one at the Imminent danger of our lives, my Brothers House is just on the opposite Bank. The Doctor who is very clever (Priest) took from him 50 ounces of Blood that Evening and stopped two days with him, and used to go out every day the Roads began to mend daily & my Brother had found his big Canoe so he used to go with more facility, he was recovering fast from that calamity but has had a Relapse and we are now very much alarmed for his life, he is now in the country very Ill, too much so that he could not write to his Mother. Poor George the Pride and flower of the flock, to be snatched away at 21 years of age, in the prime of life, it is heartbreaking to think of it, and what adds more to the misery of the family is that my oldest Sister. (Celia) is from what I can learn in a similar state her complaint is I think something like George's, after giving Birth to a Daughter (who is named Alice) she was not able to suckle and has been very Ill since, my sister Jane writes it is a Consumption. I have been writing my Mother to advise her to bring Celia down here & then she can nurse George (altho he is well nursed now), Mrs Thomson & her husband is living a stones throw from us here in Launceston, he is Naval officer here the most respectable in the place next to the Commandants / [81] his Income now not above Three Hundred (£300) a year but will Increase, he was a good deal hurt about your putting in his marriage in the Gazette, as many copies came out here & as he was not on the staff of the Governor nor then in any situation whatever, it certainly made him look foolish it appeared that he had written home so. my other two Sisters are quite well. John Atkinson, a Son of Old Atkinson of London (you know him, I believe) has offered Jane marriage some time, he is a worthy young man & well off but she is too young to think of marriage, just turned fifteen. I have not seen her since my Mother took her to Sydney but they tell me she is Handsomer and more clever than the two Eldest I know she has a most excellent genius and very apt. she is much larger than the others but stout in proportion. He wrote us about it from Sydney desiring our consent & good wishes, our answer was he had our good wishes but must wait a little longer he is rather sickly which is the only objection against him.
In the morning I am going out to my Brother Thomas's to take out all the Medical advice in the place which consists of three Gentlemen all very good, one a Scotchman named Cameron came out first voyage in the Skelton but he is not so Clever as the others, and is rather brutish in his manners. Poor George I am very much alarmed for him, but as I shall not yet close this Letter I will acquaint you how he gets on & the Result of the Medical Survey.
I am very happy to find you are appointed agents in Glasgow to this New shipping company, their Capital is too Large & I am afraid it will not answer very well at all Events, I would strongly advise a ship to be sent to this Port Direct occasionally. it must not be too Large or Else she will not be able to come all the way up the river but a North Country Built Ship which generally are a light Draught of Water about 250 or 300 tons Burden would answer Better than a large one most all the Letters now come here at a very heavy expence of transporting their Goods a Second time the Freight from Hobart to here is £3.10 p / ton and very seldom you can get a chance of a vessell coming round others again Cart some of their things across at double or treble the Expence of the freightage, At all events I should strongly advise a ship coming here every Six months at present Otherwise by & by. the place is Improving wonderfully there has never been a Direct arrival from England here but one about 4 months ago. a Cutter Eighty Tons (she is now lying at my Door) with a Mr Lawrence on board her owner an adventurer or rather an Emigrant to these parts, a Ship of 1,000 Tons has laid at Geo Town about 4 Miles inside the Heads. at present Geo Town is the, Head Quarters but it is to be abandoned & Head Quarters is coming up here again. this is a Large Town, but there is no buildings at Geo Town but Government, only one free man in the place except the Officers, Col Cameron of the Buff; is now Commandant here he is only just come but a very good man what I see of him, George was telling me he had written you a very long Letter about thirty pages. [82] Thomas has promised to write to you, but he is a strange a fellow he cannot bear to write or look over accounts. he has got in Disgrace with all his friends for not writing his wishes for your Health & happiness are the same as ours, Septr. 28th
I have been out spending a week with George. I took out the Medical Men on Monday last they have held a Survey & Consultation. they agree as to the method his Physician has been using towards him to be correct. they give unfavourable hopes, but advise a Sea Voyage which he will undertake as soon as Possible to Sydney
I have enclosed you one Gazette with Mr Thomsons appointment in, but I have written to a friend of mine at Hobart Town to Enclose you Copies of an attack made by the Agricultural Society in Sydney against Van Diemans Land & the two Replies, one of them written in Sydney, the Illiberality of the Attack made by Mr Justice Field is so well known in the Colony that it has brought down Contempt on its author.
I am a sad one at writing a Letter I just put down my thoughts as they flow, & never can bear to look over a Letter after having written it in order to Correct, as I know very well it will not please me so I ever let it take its fate.
The Land this side Van Diemans Land is far better than on the other both for grazing & agricultural purposes, fine plains not a tree standing on them, nothy to do but put the Plough in. but at near distances to the Towns it is pretty well occupied, there has a vast accession, arrived lately of Settlers particularly Scotch the whole with a very few exceptions have Settled in Van Diemans Land particularly along the Banks of the Macquarie River, a Space occupying about Fifty Miles that twelve Months ago was not a Hut on it is now nearly all occupied by the New Emigrants Having Settled along its banks. the General Grants of Land given to the Emigrants is from five Hundred to Two Thousand Acres according to the Amount of the Capital they Invest in the Colony, a person bringing out Three Thousand Pounds is Entitled to a Grant of Two Thousand acres or much less if you bring out good Letters to the Governor or Lt. Governor & stand high in Character or in his good opinion
Do you think you could engage a Good Man, about you that can undertake the Management of a flock of Sheep to Improve the wool &c. If you could do so for me I would give him £40 or £50 pr. Annum or I will leave it to you to make the best arrangement you can for me. you can engage him a Steerage passage in one of the Company's Ships and Draw on me for the Amt. which shall be immediately honoured you must engage him for at least five years by a Written agreement & bind him tight [83] 
I think I have said all I have to say & will now conclude this Letter by assuring you of my unalterable Esteem and sincere gratitude for your Brotherly Kindness to my Mother & Sisters in Scotland. & Remain
My Dear Cousin Yours Sincerely James H. Reibey
PS. Mr P. Broadfoot I have not seen by reason of my being here when he arrived, but your Letter came over safe. Our agents at Hobart Town are Messrs. Welsh & Heylin