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2-199 (Text)

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addressee,male author,male,La Trobe, Charles Joseph,38
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Plaint Text :
Private Written
Private Correspondence
Niall, 1998
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2-199-plain.txt — 4 KB

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The first scene of the first act of the drama is over. The welcome which the good people of this portion of your territories gave me, was as the papers would say enthusiastic: that is to say, the grave amongst them got up grave addresses & received grave answers - the gay made bonfires, put lights in their casements & fired off fowling pieces: - & the lower class got jovially drunk & were fined - all in my honor.
The second scene has now commenced. The newspapers (I understand for I have not had time to read them) begin to give me a great deal of very excellent advice - every man in the street thinks (as I must now have rested sufficiently from the fatigues of the voyage) that it would be both improper & impolitic to pass the door of my temporary office without stopping to do business with 'His Honor'. One steps in to ask after my health & how I like Australia Felix - another to request I would give him a government appointment: a third to inoculate me with his opinion on some subject of public interest. Official men have all some arrears of one kind or another to fetch up: having modestly kept them in the back ground till 'His Honor' should arrive: so that I am led to suppose that every body within the District (the Hentys' from Portland Bay even have been at me) thinks that he does the state good service in assailing me: & all this at a time when I have neither a roof over my head, nor a single shelf upon which I may arrange my papers. However, I do not complain, on the contrary I take it as a matter of course that I must pass through this ordeal in common with other honorable men. They will soon find that the lemon has been squeezed so often that there is no longer any juice in it, & then I hope to have a quiet life. A quiet life it may be, but I have no idea that it will be an idle one. I am sure you will give me time to recollect myself & to get to understand my business, & then I will send you a full report of what is doing & what is to be done in this part of the Colony. I have found Capt. Lonsdale a truly excellent, worthy, intelligent man & one to whose opinion I am bound to listen with respect & deference. From no other official here, were I so necessitated, dare I seek for perfectly unbiassed opinions as to many matters connected with this District; for all, as might be expected, have entered more or less into the speculations of the time, with the exception of Lonsdale, whose self denial, & regard to the moral ascendency which one, filling his station in the community ought to be possessed of, rather than to his worldly advantage I consider worthy of the highest respect & praise: I am sure you will appreciate it. 
As to my own private arrangts. - they are soon stated. Upon my arrival here, I fixed upon a suitable spot in the Government paddock, next to that in which Capn L resides & took measures to put up my portable cottage & whatever offices were indispensably necessary. I know that I am there on sufferance & not of right, & that whenever circumstances may oblige you to tell me to remove I must do so at all risks. Nevertheless I have been obliged to spend so much even in putting up these temporary erections (for such they must be called) from the exorbitant price of labour (10/- to 14/- per diem) & materials, that this alone would make me unwilling to move for some time unless it were necessary. But, other considerations impel me to ask you to sanction my remaining where I am proposing to live, till the public good or other circumstances require my removal, & that is my utter inability to cope with the speculators of this town in buying land within any reasonable distance, and my determination to seek from you no advantage or indulgence in selecting & purchasing what might suit me, beyond what you might accord to any other. Were there no land fever in the District, & were land selling in a natural way: plentiful as it is, there might have been no impropriety in my asking you to sanction my purchasing a given plot of ground conveniently situated at an evaluation: or to allow it to be put up to auction at one of the land sales that I might become the purchaser - & none in your yielding