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2-208 (Raw)

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author,female,Blomfield, Christiana Jane,37 addressee,family
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Private Written
Private Correspondence
Clarke, 1992
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2-208-raw.txt — 6 KB

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They are so young as not to feel her loss, and they are in every respect treated like our own. We have in consequence to this addition to our family, been obliged to add to our house. We have built a back wing, containing a large nursery and sleeping room, with an enclosed verandah all around. They have just got into it, and it looks so comfortable and nice. I do not know how many children we had when we last wrote to you. We have now nine of our own, and it is God's will in January I shall add another to our already numerous party. Our four youngest are boys, nice little fellows, some fair, some dark, some quiet, other pickles, but all good dispositions. We have only two girls out of all our number. The eldest, 13 last June, is a pretty, fair little girl, genteel and gentle in manner. Louisa, as I have always described her, is a merry little romp, and her brothers think her very pretty. They both go to school at the Hunter, but now we are settled here we find it inconvenient their being so far away, and as there is now a very excellent school in Sydney, kept by two young ladies lately come out, and who have been accustomed to the education of young ladies, we are thinking of sending them there, at any rate Christiana, as their terms are high, £42 each a year, and we cannot at present afford both. Our eldest boy, Tom, is at present studying with a Mr. Clarke, lately come out as headmaster of the King's School. He is a clever man, and we wish Tom to have the advantage of his instruction for some months. He is unsettled in his disposition, having a strong inclination to a military life. His papa always tells him it is of no use thinking of such things in these times, as he has no interest to get him a commission. He sometimes asks me if his uncle Edwin has none, and declares if war breaks out he will volunteer. We wish him to turn his attention to a settler's life and assist his father in managing his flock and herds. He is not ill-disposed, but giddy and thoughtless, much liked by his companions, of a generous and courageous disposition, and a great lover of horses, while he is a famous rider.
Richard and John are both steady boys and will, we hope, soon take an active part in the management of our up-country establishments. Our sheep and cattle stations are nearly 300 miles from here. We have an overseer and convicts and free men. There is great expense attending these distant stations, in clothing and feeding the men, the shearing, and forming stockyards, men's huts, and in the payment of free labor, which takes away considerably from our profits. [104] Our income arises principally from the sale of our wool, which we send to England, the sale of sheep for the butchers, and cattle also. We ought also to receive £200 a year from the rent of Dagworth farm at the Hunter, but we have not been fortunate in our servants, and our rent is considerably in arrears at present. The colony has been visited by a severe drought the last year. The crops were a total failure. Out of 70 acres we only reaped about 40 bushels, and we were not singular, so that we have been obliged to purchase flour for the establishment, as well as our up country stations
The shearing time has commenced in most parts of the country; some places they have finished but at Maneroo, where our stations are, it is colder, and we do not commence so soon. Tom will go up to superintend the shearing; as I do not like your brother to leave me during my confinement, which happens at rather an inconvenient time, when all our young folks will be at home for the holidays, but he will go up after I am about again, to muster our cattle, and as our herd is now about 1500 in number he will select some for sale, as it is difficult to get pasture for so many. We are obliged to rent land from the Government both for our sheep, cattle and horses; that is to say, we pay for a squatting license.
They now tax our sheep, cattle and horses at so much a head; it is but a small sum on each annually, but I think we pay about £50 a year; and they talk of other taxes, so that we may expect in a year or two that the English Government will make the colony pay its own expenses. There is at present a great debate in our little council about these matters, and the colonials are becoming dissatisfied at the whole expenses of the police and gaol establishments being thrown upon the colony, which, composed as the colony is of the outcasts of England, must of necessity be very expensive, and we think all the expense ought not to be put upon us, particularly as convict labor has ceased. They will not now assign any more, and the emigrants do not come out in sufficient numbers to supply their place. Those that do come are a lazy, useless set, expecting very high wages, a large ration of meat, flour, tea, sugar, tobacco, and many of them having large families of young children, which they expect also to be fed. We prefer hiring the convicts who have become free or have obtained ticket of leave for good conduct. They are used to the ways of the colony and, rogues as they are, are more useful than the lazy set sent out. There are some exceptions certainly, but we suppose they are generally the sweepings from the parishes at home. They should send us unmarried men and women from the agricultural counties. They would easily obtain work and we should be glad to employ them. [105] We give our farming men ten shillings a week and a ration of 10lbs. flour, 10lb. meat, 1 1/2lb. sugar, 3oz. tea; and our female servants from £12 to £15 a year; £12, I should say, was the average wage for females.
Sydney is becoming a large mercantile town. It is well supplied with English goods of every description. The shops are numerous and full of goods, and the people in Sydney - that is, the merchants, Government officers - all live in good style. Everyone keeps a carriage, as do many of the shopkeepers, and some of the handsomest equipages belong to persons who have once been convicts, but who have become rich men in a few years, not being overscrupulous in their dealings...
We have not much confidence in our new Governor. He is a Whig, and he is considered a time-server and has not the interest of the colony at heart.