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2-182 (Raw)

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addressee author,male,Broadside,un
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Newspapers & Broadsides
Ingleton, 1988
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Our hero was transported to New South Wales when very young, and as far as we know, for neither an atrocious nor consequential crime, some say for stealing geese. We do not know either when he got married, and only remark that his wife was the widow of a man who had undergone the utmost penalty of the law, on the gallows.
Under such circumstances, it was easy to perceive, to what kind of exertions Samuel Terry would probably resort as soon as he should have obtained some indulgence, so profusely granted in those times, - he established a small slye grog and pawnbroker's shop. Spirits were then a guinea a bottle, and tobacco retailed for the weight of silver.
To him resorted convict servants with some worn or questionable clothes, or other such property, which were again circulated amongst associates and friends, - higgling with convicts for their dirty clothes.
It is easy to be conceived, how, in a sprouting-up colony, enlivened by the liberal grants of the British Treasury, such a business was capable of being increased, and how it was really increased. But even with all this, we must look deeper into S.T.'s character, to be able to explain, how, even under the very favourable circumstances of those colonial times, he could have laid the foundation of his subsequent large fortune.
Our hero possessed qualities (a few of them useful ones), which, under adequate circumstances will always produce a similar effect. He was of the most perfectly sober and frugal habits, he was active and industrious; and his whole philosophy consisted in having made up his mind, to never give value without obtaining value for it, and, moreover, as much, as only to keep his neck out of the halter, or his legs out of chains.
However, Samuel Terry was cunning enough, and not at all nice, to refuse any bargain, where no legal danger was to be apprehended. He left several valuable grounds, which he had purchased for a bottle of spirits; or he had advanced spirits and tobacco, sued or caused to sue for the debt, and bought the ground at the sale of the sheriff.
Whether our friend ever forsaw to what value land would rise in the colony, or whether it was accidental that he endeavoured to amass the only sort of property, which was to be had in his way i.e, government grants belonging to soldiers and emancipists who patronised his slye grog shop Suffice to say, that as soon as this rise took place Samuel Terry was even on that score a rich man, and he must have found to his great surprise, and at the same time satisfaction, that those acres of his, in and near Sydney, hitherto covered with filth and rubbish, were now worth as much as if they were pasted all over with bank notes.
Our hero entered subsequently into some shipping speculations, but his cunning and caution were so great, his economical habits so unalterable, that we did not hear that he ever sustained any considerable loss. It was at this time, about 1818, that being asked in some law suit on his oath, how much he believed he was worth, he answered - ninety thousand pounds sterling.
Whether, or at what time, S.T. received his emancipation or free pardon, is a matter of indifference; because, with such a mass of wealth, he could in the present age, always either obtain it, or disdain its possession.
In the extensive business he was now engaged in, he was obliged to have a large amount of cash about him, and one Sunday morning, his "iron chest" (proverbial in Sydney), was robbed of some thousand sovereigns. The deed was traced to a young convict in Terry's service, and who, on account of his engaging figure and good behaviour, had hitherto been a favourite of the family, - some gold coin having been found concealed in his shoes. He was capitally convicted.
It is asserted that Samuel Terry obtained leave to visit him in his cell, when he, under the explicit promise of obtaining his pardon, induced the boy to disclose the spot in the garden where the money had been planted. We should believe, that in these times, a man of S. Terry's affluence might have been able to obtain any thing in New South Wales. At any rate, it is said, that he had given his word; still the boy was hung.
The story runs, that after that, Terry was ever haunted by the sight of the executed, and in moments of acrimony within his family circle, his relations often reproached him with the murder of the lad. [197]
A similar tragical event is related, in which Mr. Attorney-General Saxe Bannister was concerned. This gentleman somehow or other got on intimate terms with Samuel Terry and the latter lent him on one occasion, eight hundred pounds. Mr. B. became afterwards embarrassed, when T. sold his valuable farm, and got himself possessed of it, which it is said, contributed at least to the subsequent mental aberration of that gentleman.
And now we may ask any of our readers, even of that class we are more immediately addressing, whether there is any of them who would covet Samuel Terry's riches, - riches, as is already seen, tainted by the death of a favourite servant and the madness of a friend? We are sure, none! none!
We will take up the period of about six years back, when T. was in possession of about fifty thousand pounds sterling per annum, and in the very prime of life. He lived then in the same place he died in, viz, a not small, but unroomy, tasteless house in Pitt Street, Sydney. He rode at times a clumsy old charger, and passed many hours of the day in salting beef, in his shirt sleeves. When he had a friend with him, and was obliged to send for a bottle of spirits to the pantry, he always smelled the breath of the servant, for fear he might have drunk some. Mrs Terry never kept a female servant; she dressed in the most simple, nay, coarse manner, and was seen every Saturday on her knees, scrubbing out the whole premises.
Although S.T. in the latter years of his life, discounted yearly £300,000 bills at 10 per cent.; and, as it is known, that the rental of his houses in Sydney (of which he possessed entire streets), the produce of his farms, etc, amounted to at least £60,000 or £70,000 per annum, he yet lived upon £500, or £600 a year, taken at the outset; and thus it will be seen that his immense wealth was but a dead incumbrance upon him.
But we will now mention facts, which will not only exempt him from being an object of envy, but reduce him to a state truly to be pitied; and if the proverb, saying, "end good, all good", is correct, it certainly can, in its most pointed contrast, be applied to him.
About four years ago, this hitherto strong and healthy man was seized with a paralytic stroke, which at once deprived him of the use of his right limbs. What a misfortune for a man without mental resources, without inward consolation, without loving and sympathetic friends!
As this man could not now exercise any active influence upon the members of his family, he became with some of them an object of contempt and disgust, whilst in the meantime all their vicious propensities became apparent. His son had married a handsome and well-bred young emigrant, but being a drunken and brutal man, he lived then with her on the worst terms possible, and in one of his mad moments opened her head with an iron poker.
The relations appeared against him, and the magistrates committed him to take his trial. However, strange to say, he was (in a case which nearly threatened his life), allowed to bail, and the whole affair was subsequently made up by money. Even S.T. himself was not exempted from the brutal frenzy of this imbecile son, and he was abused and threatened on many occasions.
Our hero, for the remainder of his life, was unable to move without the aid of two men, and thus extended, in his open carriage, pale and bloated, he drove about the domain of Sydney, a silent but impressive example for any one, showing how illusive and worthless, at times, wealth is, especially with a man like him, and if obtained in a low, and even questionable way.
His illness became more dangerous, and more irksome from day to day, and he died on 22nd of February, 1838, only sixty-two years of age, and therefore just at a period of life, when riches, well and honourably obtained, may be most quietly and beneficially enjoyed and employed.
His will was that of all vulgar misers, to wit, property in New South Wales amounting to more than half a million pounds sterling, consisting of about £250,000 personal estate, £150,000 landed property as well as other interests, which he left to such as consanguinity and chance had placed round him. He bequeathed an annuity of ten thousand pounds to his wife, and after her demise, the annuity to continue with the son and his heirs. There is not one word about charity or a house of refuge, or anything of a public bearing; the only provision approaching to such generosity is that all his benevolent subscriptions (perhaps a £100 a year), should be continued for ten years to come.
Such was Samuel Terry ! - the richest outlaw whom the Australian colonies yet possessed, and ever will possess, because times, and (very properly) circumstances also, have now wonderfully changed. In a very few years Terry, the man will be entirely forgotten save in his substantial, monetary capacity and cognomen,