Church in the Colonies.
London: The Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, June, 1850.
THE Diocese of Melbourne occupies the most Southern portion of the Continent of Australia; comprising a part of the province of New South Wales, hitherto generally known by the name of Port Phillip, but which, according to a Bill now before Parliament, is to be erected into a separate Province, to be called, in honour of Her most Gracious Majesty, by the name of "Victoria." [This designation [Port Philip] properly belongs to the large bay, or rather Sea Loch, which forms the approach to the town of Melbourne, and round or near the shores of which the bulk of the existing population of the Province is spread.]
"Fourteen years ago," the Bishop of Melbourne writes, "this District was inhabited only by the original natives." Its first European residents consisted of immigrants from the neighbouring Colony of Van Diemen's Land, and from the settled parts of New South Wales, who were attracted by its agricultural capabilities, and its advantageous commercial position. Its numbers have been rapidly augmented by settlers from this country, and it is now computed to contain from 50,000 to 60,000 persons of British extraction. Of this number the population of Melbourne, the capital of the intended Province, is estimated at from 16,000 to 20,000; that of Geelong, the only other place of any considerable size, at from 6,000 to 7,000. The towns or villages of Portland, Belfast, and Kilmore contain, each, about 700 inhabitants; Williamstown, the port of Melbourne, and Brighton, a village partaking of the double character of a watering-place and an agricultural settlement, something under that number. The rest of the population is scattered through the country, and consists principally of agricultural settlers, and the labourers and stock-keepers in their employment. The rapid increase of the inhabitants may be judged of by the fact, that the addition caused by free or assisted Government emigration alone during eleven months of 1849, amounted to upwards of 7,000.
Unfortunately the growth of the population has not been accompanied by any commensurate provision for their religious instruction. In the beginning of 1848, when the first and present Bishop arrived at his See, there were only three Clergymen of the Church of England in the whole Province. The number is now increased to about fifteen, and some Lay Readers have been also added; but it will be seen from the following Letter, that not only do the growing necessities of the Colony demand further ministerial aid, but that considerable additional assistance is required to enable the Bishop to provide for the continued maintenance of his existins staff.
In a Letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury, dated the 28th July, 1848, which was published in the "Colonial Church Chronicle" for the following May, the Bishop gave an account of his proceedings during the first six months after his arrival. Most of that time was occupied upon the affairs of Melbourne and Geelong; but the Bishop found means to pay a visit to the settlement of Belfast, as well as to several places in the interior of the country. The present Letter brings the narrative down to November, 1849.
MELBOURNE, PORT PHILLIP,
MY DEAR FRIEND,
IN the position which I occupy, I feel it to be an important part of my duty, to communicate from time to time, to all those Christian friends in England, who have shown an interest in the spiritual welfare of this Diocese, intelligence of our proceedings, and of the measure of encouragement which the Lord has been pleased to bestow upon us. We appear likely to remain for some years, mainly dependent upon their missionary zeal, and liberality; and it is not only right that I should give an account of the manner in which their bounty has been applied; but also requisite that I should satisfy them of the necessity which exists for the continuance of that bounty, in order to preserve this people from becoming irrecoverably alienated, as a large proportion of the inhabitants of our other colonies have already been, from the communion of our pure, scriptural Church. This feeling has made me desirous to draw up a simple statement of what we have been doing since my letter to His Grace the Archbishop of Canterbury, (published in the Colonial Church Chronicle, for March, 1849,) was written.
The form of communication which I have preferred to adopt on this occasion, is a letter to yourself, for it might appear presumptuous in me to write again to His Grace; and next to him, you, my dear friend, as the Honorary Secretary of my Diocesan Fund, are the person to whom I may most properly address myself' for there is no one, to whose zealous and persevering exertions, the Church over which the Lord has appointed me to preside, is more indebted for the means of maintaining her ordinances, and extending her blessed influence, than to yourself. I will not however enlarge upon this subject, for I am assured that you look for your reward, not in the praises or gratitude of men, but in the approbation and favour of God.
To proceed then to the object of this letter. In my communication to the Archbishop of Canterbury, after noticing the Divine goodness towards us during our voyage, our safe arrival in port, and our kind reception by the people, I described the state and prospects of the Church, as they then appeared to me, in the two chief towns of the province, Melbourne and Geelong; in the rising town of Belfast, Port Fairy; and in such portions of the interior as I had visited. I mentioned also, the disposition which I had made of the few clergy and lay-readers who constituted my little band of fellow-labourers; and the applications which had been made to me from various districts, for the ordinances of the Gospel. I shall endeavour now to carry on my narrative in such a manner as to make it intelligible to any who have not seen that letter, and at the same time to avoid too much repetition, which might be wearisome to those who have read it. When I wrote it, we were settled at Melbourne for the winter; the roads, as I noticed, being at that season so bad as to render travelling exceedingly tedious, and, except on horseback, frequently impossible. We were therefore compelled to remain stationary, and I was riot sorry for it, as there was plenty to occupy my time and attention in this city.
Melbourne, as the capital of Port Phillip, occupies, in respect to the whole province, a position even more important than London does, in respect to England; for the number of its inhabitants bears a far larger proportion than that of London, to the entire population of the country; and there is no other port or mart, except Geelong, which can be at all compared with it. In the one or other of these two, almost all the emigrants are landed; to the one or other of these, almost the whole of our two great staple productions, wool and tallow, are sent for exportation; and from the one or other of these, almost all the supplies for the inhabitants of the interior are procured. Hence there are few of the settlers, who do not for some purpose or other, visit one of these, and generally Melbourne, in the course of the year, and many spend a considerable part of their time there. A large number also of the labouring classes, bullock drivers and others, are continually coming in, either upon their masters' business, or their own. For these reasons, the character of the whole people is likely to be influenced by the example which is set before them in this city; and it seemed, therefore, to be my first duty to endeavour, by every means in my power, to bring all classes of its inhabitants within the reach of a faithful ministry. To accomplish this, there were needed, as my former letter showed, both churches and daily school buildings, and efficient masters and mistresses.
When I wrote that letter, the only place available for conducting Divine Service, was the unconsecrated and unfinished Cathedral of St. James; but on Sunday the 6th of August, T had the pleasure of preaching (at its re-opening, after completion) in the new Church of St. Peter's. It is situated in the east part of the city called Collingwood, and contains sittings for 400 persons. The want of accommodation may be judged of by the fact, that within a very short period, the whole of the pews in this church were let at an annual rental of 11. per sitting.
The amount of the fund at my disposal, did not justify me in expending any large sum upon buildings; and the commercial depression in the colony made it impossible to raise much from the people. I was therefore compelled, most unwillingly, to postpone the design of erecting a third church, which I had previously contemplated, and to direct my attention to other objects. Those were, the establishment of efficient schools, and the arrangement of a system of pastoral visitation. I was also very desirous to set on foot a general and religious lending library, and to institute a public grammar school. Another object which I had at heart, was the formation of a Diocesan Society, for the purpose of exciting among the members of our communion a more zealous and liberal cooperation, in the maintenance and extension of the Church. I will not weary you with a detailed account of our proceedings, but content myself with stating what we have been enabled, by the blessing of God, to do in respect to these several particulars.
With regard to schools, I am thankful to say, we are now in a much better position than when I wrote before. Our great difficulty then, was to find suitable teachers, but we have now succeeded in obtaining four masters for boys, four mistresses for girls, and three mistresses for infants; all, I trust, well principled persons, and tolerably efficient. In number of scholars, and in discipline, their schools are not unworthy of our Church. This however has not been accomplished without considerable cost: for in the want of school buildings, we have been obliged to hire rooms at a high rent; and I have also found it necessary to subject almost all the teachers whom I have appointed, to a preparatory trial and training, which, although very satisfactory in its results, has occasioned serious expense. Moreover, no school here can be entirely self-supporting; and therefore, every new one, until assisted by the Government, requires aid from us. Thus my expenditure upon this object in Melbourne since my arrival, has not been less than 500l. I consider however this money to have been well laid out. What we now want for maintaining an efficient system of education, is additional school buildings, and these, I am thankful to say, there is a good prospect of obtaining. We have already schoolrooms for boys and girls, at Collingwood, which were erected at a cost of 360l., without any assistance from my fund, chiefly by the exertions of the Rev. D. Newham, and a few of his people: and we shall shortly have also, a complete set of school buildings in connexion with St. James' Church, which have been long in contemplation, and are to be immediately commenced. Besides these, I hope soon to be able, through the liberal grant of 6002. by the Christian Knowledge Society, to erect a suitable building for the accommodation of a girls' school, and an infants' school, (which it is very desirable should be removed from the rooms in which they are at present held;) and likewise to establish a school which is greatly needed, in the north-west portion of the city, where there is a crowded population of from 4,000 to 5,000 persons, or upwards, without any provision whatever for the instruction of the children of Protestants. In consequence, a large number attend the Roman Catholic School, and many more are growing up in total ignorance. A lady whom I have employed in visiting among the people, tells me that if a girls' school were opened, she could at once procure 100 scholars for it. The grant by the Christian Knowledge Society, was therefore most seasonable: for without it my hands would have been tied.
Next to the establishment of schools, the arrangement of a system of pastoral visitation was of the utmost importance; for there was no other way of reaching the hundreds of families in Melbourne and the suburbs, who never attended any place of worship, nor had hitherto been brought under any kind of ministerial influence. I was anxious therefore to apply all the strength I could, to this work; and accordingly I appointed the Rev. F. Hales, upon his return from Gippsland, together with a lay-reader, Mr. Tanner, to cooperate therein with the Clergymen of St. James' and St. Peter's Churches, the Rev. A. C. Thomson, and the Rev. D. Newham. In the beginning of November, Mr. Hales went to Heidelberg, to succeed Dr. Macartney, upon the removal of the latter to his new sphere of duty as Archdeacon of Geelong; but I was enabled to supply the loss by the addition of three other lay-readers, Messrs. Merry, Somerville, and Baker. The first, an M.A. of Oxford, had followed me from England, with a view to receive ordination on his arrival; and was ordained by me in January. I have kept him up to the present time, in Melbourne, and he has approved himself a faithful and zealous labourer in the service of his Divine Master. His wife also, is a very valuable assistant to him. Mr. Somerville had been for some time a resident in New South Wales, and was very desirous to be employed as a lay-reader, with the hope of being afterwards received as a candidate for Holy Orders. Having good reason to think that he would prove an efficient fellow-helper in the ministry, I engaged him upon trial for three years, when if he should appear deserving, as I trust he will, I purpose to ordain him. Mr. Somerville is unmarried. Mr. Baker arrived in the month of January, 1849, from England, and was so strongly recommended to me, that I engaged him upon the same understanding with Mr. Somerville. These two have been employed, partly in Melbourne, and partly in the adjacent district.
There have also joined me from England during the last twelve months, Mr. and Mrs. Clowes, the Rev. Mr. and Mrs. Hall, and the Rev. Mr. And Mrs. Strong. Mr. Clowes was sent out as a schoolmaster and lay-reader, by the Colonial Church Society, and arrived in September. After keeping him for a short time in Melbourne, that I might become personally acquainted with him, I placed him in charge of the school and district of the Barrabool Hills, near Geelong. The Rev. Mr. Hall, with whom I had made an arrangement before leaving England, arrived in November. He also remained for a short time in Melbourne, assisting Messrs. Thomson and Newham in their duties, during a visit which I paid to Portland. Upon my return in January, he proceeded to the district of Ballan. mentioned in my former letter as lying at the head of the Moorabool and upper Weirabie rivers, where he has been since located. The Rev. A. Strong was formerly a settler, and has still property in this province. He arrived in April, 1849. As he came out about his own private affairs, he will not continue here permanently; but so long as he remains, he is anxious not to be idle. I have appointed him to act as Chaplain to the immigrants, who are continually arriving; of the soldiers in the barracks; and of the prisoners in the gaol. He has also the charge of a district in the city; and upon Sundays when there are no immigrants in the bay, he either assists in one of the city churches, or goes out to take the place of a lay-reader, and to administer the Sacraments of Baptism and the Lord's Supper, in some of our village stations. I ought also to notice, that in June, I admitted Mr. S. E. Blomefleld, a son of Sir Thomas Blomefield, who was a fellow-passenger with us to the Colony, to Deacon's Orders, and appointed him temporarily to the charge of Collingwood or East Melbourne.
By the united exertions of these clergymen and lay-assistants, almost the whole of Melbourne, with the suburban village of Richmond, the villages of Brunswick and Pentridge, the one two, and the other five miles distant, and the district of the Springs, and the Moonee ponds, nine miles distant, have been visited from house to house.
The information which has thus been obtained of the character and habits of the people, while it has shown the lamentable consequences of the destitution of religious ordinances and of pastoral superintendence, has also afforded no small encouragement for the prosecution of our labours among them. The visitors were almost invariably kindly received, and there seemed to be in many of the people, a degree of compunction for the state of total irreligion in which they were living, and a disposition to attend upon the ordinances of the Gospel. Moreover the visits of the clergy and lay-readers prepared the way for the establishment of the Ladies' District Visiting Societies; and I am happy to say that the greater part of the city is now regularly visited every fortnight by Christian females, who are furnished with a supply of Loan Tracts, according to the plan adopted in many populous parts of England. The people have been thus brought much more under the knowledge and influence of their respective ministers.
While thus employed in carrying the private ministration of the word to the houses of the people, the deficiency of the public means of grace was more and more strongly forced upon my mind. On a fine Sunday--for our congregations here, depend, I regret to say, greatly upon the weather---both our churches were quite full, and not only were many, as we knew, prevented from attending because they could not obtain sittings; but many actually came to the doors and were compelled to go away again for want of room. A labouring man told one of our visitors that he had been several times to St. Peter's, but was unable to get in. I determined therefore to commence a service in the Hall of the Total Abstinence Society, Russell Street, which we already occupied in the week as a schoolroom; and I appointed Mr. Merry to assist me in carrying it on. This was in March; and in June, at the request of the Rev. D. Newnham, the Collingwood schoolroom was also opened for Divine Service, to be conducted by himself, and the Rev. S. E. Blomefield. At each of these we have now a good congregation. At the former, the room is frequently completely filled. We have also in each a Sunday School. Indeed nothing shows more forcibly the good effected by the pastoral labours of my dear brethren, than the prodigious increase which has taken place in our Sunday scholars. When I arrived, the whole number of boys and girls present upon any one Sunday, was certainly below 150; whereas there are now, when the weather is favourable, in all our schools taken together, as many as 700.
You see, then, that there is some cause for encouragement, though we have much matter for grief, in respect to the mass of the people in this city. I am thankful also to say, that there is much to encourage us in the general tone of feeling and reverence for religion manifested by the higher classes. In my former letter I expressed an unfavourable opinion of the state of morals among them. That opinion was formed chiefly on the report of others. I have since had the opportunity of judging for myself; and whatever may have been the case, I am now disposed to think, that although from circumstances peculiar to the country, there is much less regularity in attendance upon the services of the Church, yet there is as strong a sense of moral and religious obligation, as great propriety of conduct, and I trust, as much sound Christian principle, as is commonly found in the same class of society in England. Last year I gave a course of lectures upon Wednesday afternoons, preparatory to my approaching Confirmation. These lectures were especially intended for such as were candidates for that ordinance; but any others who were disposed to do so, might attend; and it was very encouraging to observe the number and apparent interest of those who were usually present. The same remark will apply to our monthly meeting of communicants. A large number of the gentry, including his Honour Mr. Latrobe and his lady, attend whenever the weather will permit. I am also happy to testify to the readiness of the people to assist, at least in an equal proportion as at home, both by their contributions and by their personal exertions in every good work. Many are now engaged in district visiting, and in Sunday-school teaching;--and many are active upon committees, or as trustees in promoting the various religious and charitable undertakings which are in progress.
As an instance of this, I would refer to the establishment of our Diocesan Society, and to the satisfactory working of it during the first year of its existence. I noticed above my desire to form such a Society; and, after consulting with several friends on whose judgment I placed confidence, I determined to make the experiment. A meeting was accordingly called in September of last year, at which his Honour Mr. Latrobe, with his usual kindness, consented to be present There was a very numerous attendance, and apparently an unanimous and earnest wish to promote the object for which they had been summoned. The Society was formed; and although no very large sum (only 418Z. 16s.) was contributed to it,--yet first, the interest taken in it by the members of the Committee and others, has been extremely satisfactory; and secondly, very beneficial effects have, I think I may confidently say, been produced by it. The Report which was read at our first anniversary, will be found exceedingly interesting; and as being drawn up by a layman, will show that there are among us some zealous and devoted Christians. I strongly recommend it to the attention of our friends in England.
You will see from this Report that the various sums expended by me during the first eighteen months after my arrival, in the maintenance of Clergy, the establishment and management of schools, &c., amounted altogether to 4,711l. 8s. 2d. This is indeed a large sum; but, as I stated to the Meeting, I do not think, upon a retrospect of my conduct, that I can be justly charged with extravagance. By far the larger portion has been expended upon Melbourne and Geelong and the adjoining districts; and from what I have already stated concerning the former, my friends in England will, I trust, concur with me in the opinion, that there was a necessity for making an immediate effort, commensurate, so far as was possible, with the greatness of the emergency. They will understand also how the present infant state of the Colony presents opportunities of establishing our Church in the affections of the people, which, if lost, can never be recovered; so that I am persuaded every 100 l. which has been laid out by me up to the present time, may be regarded as equivalent in its effects, under the Divine blessing, to more than double the same sum two or three years hence. I felt too that the most effectual way to stir up in the Colonists a spirit of self-denying liberality, was to show them how much had been done for them by others, who had no interest in their welfare except that which a genuine Christian charity engenders. The good result of this is already perceptible.
Another cause of my large expenditure within so short a time has been the disappointment which I have experienced in not receiving any aid from the Colonial Church Fund. Not only did I find on my arrival, the whole amount set apart for stipends of Clergymen of the Church of England, and also the amount applicable to the building of churches and parsonages for that year, (1848,) already appropriated; but what has most surprised and disappointed me, I am now, at the end of a second year, privately informed that there are still no funds: and that our various applications which have been waiting for months in the hands of the Government at Sydney, are likely to be all utterly fruitless. I would not be understood as mentioning these particulars by way of complaint, but only to show how I have been led to draw so largely upon my English fund, and to impress upon my dear brethren at home, the urgent need in which we stand of their continued and increased benevolence. I do fully believe that the Lord has overruled, and will overrule, all the circumstances of his Church in this land for his own glory, and for the accomplishment of his purposes of mercy towards the people; and my prayer has been, and is, that I may neither by an undue timidity and excess of caution, retard the progress of the Gospel, nor by a want of prudence and due economy, bring reproach upon myself and the Church to which I belong. In the position in which I am placed, I am compelled, if I would be faithful to my trust, to pledge myself to an extent beyond what either my small private means (which are, with my official income, only just sufficient to meet my current expenses), or the amount hitherto raised by our friends in England, would strictly warrant; but my confident hope is that I may have grace in all I do, to seek His glory, and to put my trust in Him, and so I shall never be ashamed.
To return to my statement concerning Melbourne. I have mentioned my wish to establish a lending library, which should be of a generally useful and instructive, as well as of a religious character. With this object I had brought out with me a considerable number of books; some purchased from the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, with a portion of the grant of 500 l. which they so kindly placed at my disposal, and others from the Religious Tract Society, the Committee of which had very liberally granted to me, besides a large number of Tracts, 20 l. to be laid out in books, at half the usual price. I was therefore very glad to find, that Mr. Clowes was well fitted by his previous experience in the business of a bookseller, to assist in the necessary arrangements, and I immediately set him at work upon them. In order to promote an interest in its success, I invited laymen to unite with the Clergy, as a Committee of management, and in the month of December, 1848, it was opened. The experiment, however, cannot be said to have succeeded hitherto, the number of subscribers being at present very small; but I am not discouraged, for the situation which circumstances led us to select, in the first instance, was very inconvenient for the public generally. We have now removed the library into the centre of the town, and I hope it will gradually become better appreciated. We have also opened at the same place a Church of England Book Depot from which, under the blessing of God, I look for very beneficial results.
Another object I mentioned, was the institution of a public Grammar School. After much consideration, I determined to make the experiment, (for this I felt it to be,) upon such scale, and in such a manner as would require the least possible outlay, and enable us to introduce without difficulty any modifications which might hereafter appear expedient. The Colony was evidently not sufficiently advanced to justify me in claiming the promised grant of 2,000 l. from the Christian Knowledge Society, or in applying to the inhabitants themselves for the establishment of a College. A good Free School, conducted under such superintendence as would secure its efficiency, and upon such terms as should make it available for all the respectable classes of the community, was what seemed to be required: and for this, nothing more was necessary than suitable schoolrooms, and the guarantee of such an income as would enable us to procure proper-masters. To obtain the first, I agreed with the Trustees of St. Peter's Church, to erect a building upon the ground granted by the Government for a school in connexion with that church, giving them the power of purchasing it at its original cost, whenever the increase of the population in that part should render it desirable for them to establish a parochial school. I also arranged with Mr. Budd, a son of the Rev.--Budd, of---------, in Essex, who had conducted a private school here for several years with great credit, that he should be appointed Head Master, and should receive for his salary the whole of the boys' annual payments, until they reached 300 l., and beyond that sum the half of them, until his income should amount to 500 l., which it was never to exceed. The entrance fees, and the excess of the annual payments, if any, were to be paid over to me for the general expenses of the school, and for the payment of such assistant masters as might be required. It had been my intention to place the school under certain governors, retaining myself the office of Visitor; but upon consideration, I preferred to keep it for a time entirely in my own hands, until I should see how it worked, and be better able to judge by what arrangements its permanent success might be most effectually secured. This I could properly do, as I did not intend to apply to any one here for pecuniary assistance, but to take the cost of the building and of the maintenance of the institution entirely upon myself, in the hope that the Christian Knowledge Society, to whom I wrote upon the subject, would consent to defray the former, and that my English Fund would enable me to meet the latter, which was not likely to be very great. I am happy to say that the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge has most kindly complied with my application, and granted to me the sum of 700 l. for the proposed object. The School was opened in April, and the number of scholars for the first quarter was thirty-two; the number for the second, ending the 30th of September, thirty-four; and that for the current quarter thirty-seven. This I consider to be a very favourable beginning, and I have a good hope of seeing it in another year or two, if the Lord give us His blessing, numerously attended, and thoroughly well conducted. At present, as might be expected, the boys are backward, and the knowledge which they have acquired is superficial. Mr. Budd is however an able and pains-taking master, and the improvement during the last half-year is very discernible. The want of suitable books is a great disadvantage to us, but I trust that you will, agreeably to my request, in a former letter, kindly procure and forward a supply for me.
Such, my dear friend, are the principal objects which have occupied my attention during the last fifteen months, besides my more peculiar official and ministerial duties in Melbourne. These latter have comprised the administration of the rites of Confirmation and Ordination, of which I shall speak presently;--preaching, which I have been enabled, through the goodness of God, to do when at home, always twice, and since the opening of the schoolroom in Russell-street for service, usually three times on the Sunday;--taking counsel with my fellow-labourers in the city and neighbourhood, to which I devote every Monday morning; and lastly, corresponding with the Clergy at a distance, as well as with the Government, and with such gentlemen as are interested in the furtherance of religion, in the various parts of the Diocese. There are also other matters, upon which, although not strictly coming within my province, I have been obliged, on account of their importance, and bearing upon the moral and religious well-being of the community, to bestow a good deal of time. I allude particularly to the supervision of the orphan female immigrants from the workhouses in Ireland, which the Government has committed to a Board of Guardians, with a particular request that I would consent to become one of its members. I did not think it right to refuse, nor, having accepted the appointment, to neglect the duty connected with it. We' have also found it necessary to form a Ladies' Society for the protection and assistance of other young female immigrants, and this has been placed under my superintendence. At present, the Committee, having only just entered upon their office, scarcely know what they are to do; but when the mode of carrying out the objects of their Society has been more formally arranged, and the ladies have had a little more experience, I propose to leave them as much as possible to themselves.
In the enumeration of my duties and employments at Melbourne, there is yet one other which I must not omit. I refer to the cultivation, upon Christian principles, of such intercourse with the upper class of residents in the city, and with the settlers who are in the habit of visiting it, as may, with God's blessing, render them kindly disposed towards myself and my brethren, promote mutual friendliness and good feeling among themselves, and tend to give a more intellectual and refined, as well as a more moral tone, to general society. I may seem perhaps to some, to assume too much in supposing that I can thus produce any sensible effect upon the character and manners of the people; but it must be remembered that a Bishop in a young community like this, although destitute of all worldly rank, and living in a perfectly simple and unostentatious manner, is, even more than his brethren at home, as a "city set on an hill;" and may, I am persuaded, with God's help, exercise a very powerful influence in moulding the minds and tastes of those around him. It must be recollected also that the office of a Bishop requires him to exercise hospitality; and, besides the direct ministry of the word, and the example of a holy life, there is scarcely any means more conducive than this, to the spiritual well-being of the people over whom he is placed. My conviction of the truth of this has made me often regret the smallness of our present cottage, which allows us to see only a very few friends at a time, and prevents us from accommodating any one for the night; but the Government have now appropriated from the proceeds of the Church Reserves in the middle district, the sum of 2,000 l. for an episcopal residence, and have also granted me for a site, two acres of land, in a very convenient and beautiful situation within the boundaries of the city. They would have given me five acres beyond the boundaries, but I did not think that I could discharge my duties efficiently, if I lived at such a distance as to be beyond an easy walk from all parts of Melbourne. I would gladly have applied the money to general Church purposes, if I could have done so; but as I cannot, I console myself with the reflection, that if we be permitted to see the completion of the proposed residence, and to take possession of it, we may hope to be able to exercise the duty of hospitality, of which. I have been speaking, more extensively than it is possible for us to do at present.
The matters on which I have been writing, are all so full of interest to myself, that I fear I have dwelt upon them at a length, which will seem tedious to my brethren in England, whose minds are naturally occupied by many subjects of importance at home, and whose attention has been comparatively little directed to these distant parts of the earth. I would, however, beg of them to bear with me, if I am too prolix; and to consider that they are bound to regard us with something of a parental feeling, and to acquaint themselves, so far as they are able, with our peculiar position and circumstances, in order that they may sympathise in and relieve our wants. Hence my desire is to put our case as distinctly as possible before you; and with this view, I will now give you a brief sketch of my own personal proceedings during the past year, which will show you something more of the duties and manner of life of a Colonial Bishop, and at the same time afford me an opportunity of describing the state and prospects of the Church, in the towns and most populous districts of the Diocese, of which the course of my narrative will lead me to speak.
On the 31st of October, last year, I held my first Confirmation in Melbourne. Eighty-five persons received the ordinance; a small number; but as none were admitted under sixteen years of age, nor without particular catechetical instruction, and earnest exhortation from their respective ministers, I do trust that the large proportion of them did thereby solemnly seal their covenant with God in Christ, and consecrate themselves with their whole hearts to the service of their Divine Master. With the view of promoting their continued progress in the knowledge of the word of God, and in holiness of life, I invited those young women of the upper class of society, who resided within a convenient distance, and had leisure for the purpose, to form themselves, after their confirmation, into a Bible-class, which my sister-in-law, who accompanied us hither, undertook to conduct. Almost all who were able, gladly availed themselves of the privilege, and excepting a few who have removed from the town, or been otherwise prevented, they have continued to attend ever since. I mention the institution of this class, because I attach great importance, under the Divine blessing, to such a means of grace for young people.
It was my intention, immediately after the Confirmation, to proceed with Mrs. Perry by land to Portland, so as to become acquainted with the intermediate districts which I had not previously visited in my way. This we were told that we might accomplish without difficulty, as the roads would be very good in November. It turned out, however, a very wet spring; and on the day before we were to set off, when we had made all our arrangements, the gentleman who had kindly undertaken to be our guide, came to tell us that the rivers were up, and that travelling was absolutely impossible. We therefore determined to defer our journey for a fortnight, and I wrote to the settlers upon our route to inform them of our disappointment, and to make new arrangements with them. But at the end of the fortnight, matters were the same as before; the roads were still impassable. This induced us to abandon the idea of going by land, and to take our passage by a steamer, which was then plying between Melbourne and Adelaide, touching at Portland by the way. I was obliged therefore to write again, and tell the gentlemen" who were expecting us, that we found it quite impossible to keep our engagements with them. This change of plan, and the inconvenience arising from it, was no small mortification to me; but it taught me to remember that we were not in England, and must not hope to be able to move from one place to another, at any time that we might wish, with the same independence of weather and other circumstances as in that favoured country.
We went on board on Friday evening, November 24, and sailed at daylight the following morning. Our voyage was rough, and somewhat tedious, and we did not reach our destination until Sunday evening. If I could have avoided arriving on the Sunday I would have done so; but the question was, whether we should go by the steamer, or postpone our visit altogether until after Christmas; and there were several reasons which made me feel it was my duty to go. I hope never to spend another Sabbath in such a manner; I was myself too unwell to hold Divine Service, and felt that it was not to any on board, what it is appointed to be for all the Lord's people, a day of holy rest. We arrived also too late in the evening to attend any public service at Portland. It seemed therefore to be a lost day to us. The first Sabbath, however, blessed be God, which we had lost since we left England. On landing we were conducted to the house of Mr. S. G. Henty, the principal merchant in the town. His wife had been informed of our intended visit only a few hours before we appeared, and we were perfect strangers to her; her husband, too, was absent, and she had not what could be called a servant in the house. She welcomed us, notwithstanding, with that genuine hospitality and kindness, which it is so delightful to meet with in this strange, and still almost desert country. Portland is a small town, or perhaps, more properly, a large village, (large at least for this country,) containing about 700 inhabitants. It is situated on rising ground, about the centre of a very pretty bay, whose shores can boast of a kind of low cliff, the lower part of which greatly resembles the white cliffs of Old England, (in miniature,) while the upper part is well clothed with Boobiana, and other native shrubs, which, as they here grow luxuriantly, are far from ugly. These cliffs gradually sink away to the eastward, till they are lost in low, but tolerably well-wooded land; but to the westward they terminate in some fine rocks, which rise perpendicularly out of the sea, and form a very striking feature in the scene. Altogether it is a charming little spot in fine weather, and the small vessels constantly dropping in find out of the bay, added much to the interest. It is however, I believe, a very indifferent anchorage, and during violent gales of wind from the south, vessels have been driven on shore, and totally wrecked. We remained here three weeks, except that I made an excursion on horseback with the Rev. J. Y. Wilson, to the river Wannon, about sixty miles distant, in the neighbourhood of which there is a Series of downs, admirably fitted for the grazing of. sheep; and in the early part of the summer, when I visited it, covered with the most beautifully fine grass, diversified with flowers, that I ever saw. It had been originally arranged by the Bishop of Sidney, then Bishop of Australia, that Mr. Wilson should visit this district periodically from Portland; but I found that, partly from the state of the roads during a great portion of the year, and partly from the rising town of Belfast having required his attention, his ministrations there had been very irregular; and in consequence, the settlers, who are a most respectable class, and many of them married men, were extremely anxious to obtain a resident minister. My object in going up was to meet them, and if possible make some arrangements for the purpose. They appeared very earnest, and willing to contribute towards the maintenance of a Clergyman's stipend, but the times then happened to be exceedingly bad; the value of wool had fallen, labour was dear, and there was a fear of almost universal insolvency. Hence they could not undertake to guarantee a sufficient sum; and as I had not any one whom I could send to them at that time, it was agreed that a few of them should act as a Committee to collect subscriptions, and correspond with me upon the subject. The gentleman who undertook the office of Secretary has since written to tell me that they have received promises to the amount of 1001. 15s. and I have little doubt that, if I could place a suitable person there, almost his whole stipend would, in a year or two, be provided amongst themseh'es. I have not, however, such a person at present, but I hope to be able, if not to place one there permanently, at least to send one on a missionary tour thither next month. I must not omit to mention a good trait of the innkeepers upon this journey. At all the three houses where we stopped in going and returning, they seemed quite thankful to me for reading the Scriptures, and praying with them; and at two out of the three, they begged that we would not require them to make any charge.
To return to Portland.--I have already mentioned that we remained there three weeks; it was inconvenient for me to do so, but I felt that if my visit was to produce any good effect, it must not be shortened. The state of the Church there was indeed most unsatisfactory. Although there had been for several years a resident Clergyman, and was then no minister of any other denomination, yet the attendance at the service in the schoolroom, which was used for that purpose, was reported to me to be exceedingly small. There were scarcely any regular communicants; there were no candidates for confirmation; the day-school had been broken up for want of a teacher, and the Sunday-school had also for some time been discontinued. There appeared likewise to be a great deal of variance and petty jealousy, and very little of spiritual religion among the people. Those whom Mr. Wilson named to me as the most devout among the shopkeepers and labouring classes, were almost all connected with the Wesleyans. I must, however, mention in Mr. Wilson's excuse, that he has had great difficulties to contend with, from the necessity of being absent, at least one-Sunday, and a portion of two weeks, every month; and from other circumstances. On this account I was desirous to make such an arrangement as might enable him to give his whole attention to the town, and to its immediate neighbourhood; and this I was happily enabled to accomplish. We also succeeded in re-establishing the Sunday-school, and in obtaining a master for the day-school; and I left the place with the hope that on my next visit, the following year, I might find a marked change for the better. This visit to Portland impressed very strongly upon my mind, as indeed have also my visits to other places, the great benefit which the periodical inspection by a Bishop, of every particular parish of his Diocese, is likely, with God's blessing, to produce. May the Great Head of the Church grant unto me, and to my brethren in the Episcopacy, grace to be diligent, faithful, and wise, in the fulfilment of this duty, so far as our respective circumstances permit! It is only just to mention, that we received the greatest kindness and attention from nil classes at Portland.
In this part of my narrative, I cannot pass over without notice, the great encouragement and comfort which we received from the arrival of a large collection of English letters, among which were some, not only from members of our own families, but also from several dear brethren in the ministry, the expression of whose sympathy, and the assurance of whose remembrance of us in their prayers, was very refreshing. No one can tell, until he has actually experienced the sensation, how cheering to the heart of a sojourner in another hemisphere, is the language of Christian friendship addressed to him from his native land. May our dear friends at home remember this, and be willing to spare a little time from their own more particular duties to mini* ster strength and consolation to us for our work! They must however bear with us, if we appear on our part remiss in rendering unto them again, for their kindness unto ua; for our employments, at least my own, make it almost impossible to carry on any private correspondence, except with my nearest relatives. I must ask several therefore, who have most kindly written to me, to accept this public letter, as my answer to those I have received from them.
On Thursday, December 21, we left Portland for Belfast, accompanied during the former part of the journey by the Rev. J. Y. Wilson, and several gentlemen from the former town. Our route was along the coast, and for a considerable part of the distance along the sands. We had to cross the mouths of three rivers, the sand which accumulates in them forming fords, which, when we crossed, were providentially perfectly safe; but are at times not a little dangerous. The whole distance was fifty miles, which I performed on horseback, and Mrs. Perry in a gig. At the second river, about half-way, we were met by a party of gentlemen from Belfast, who had arrived there the previous night. We were thus supplied with fresh horses, and proceeded very comfortably under the care of our escort. In our way an incident occurred which affords a characteristic specimen of the travelling in this country. In order to avoid a rough inland road we kept as long as possible upon the sands, but at length our progress was stopped, and it was necessary to get upon the upper land. This however was no easy matter, for the shore consisted of high sand-hills, or hummocks, as they are here called, and the four gentlemen who accompanied us were obliged to take off their coats, and to apply all their strength, with the aid of an excellent horse, to heave up the gig. It was very interesting to look down from above, and see the horse struggling and plunging in the deep sand. In England the feat would have been pronounced impossible, but in a few minutes, horse and gig, and gentlemen, stood triumphantly on the top.
That evening we arrived safely at Belfast, and took up our old quarters at the hospitable dwelling of Mr. W. Kutledge. On the following day we proceeded to visit Warnambool, a new government township, about seventeen miles distant. The people had complained of my not going there in the early part of the year, and had expressed their great wish to be occasionally visited by a Clergyman. They had also built a good substantial schoolroom, which was to be used on the Sunday, by ministers of different denominations in turn; I determined, therefore, to go and inspect the place, and learn the actual disposition of the people. The access to it was at times by no means easy. The first twelve miles we performed in a manner not unusual with us, Mrs. Perry in a spring-cart, and I on horseback. We were then obliged to get into a small leaky boat, out of which, for a long part of the way, I bailed the water, while the gentlemen who accompanied us helped in turn to row. They were not so well skilled as our Cantabs in the science, and I longed to take part in it myself, but the distance was not great, only three miles, and we at length landed at about two miles from the township: this distance we walked, and entered the place on foot, a black boy carrying our bag behind us. You would have been greatly amused if you could have seen our party. We went to one of the two inns, which are, as usual in this country, the largest, and in appearance the most respectable buildings in the place. In the evening, and again the following morning, I held service in the schoolroom; the congregation on the former occasion consisted of twenty-five, and on the latter of twelve. At this I also baptized two children. I may here mention, that my rule when, travelling is, to hold a service, at least every morning and evening, wherever I may be. To this service I give the character of domestic or public worship, according to circumstances; and if there are any children to be baptized, I always take this opportunity of administering that sacrament.
The population of Warnambool is very small, and there appeared to be no prospect of making any arrangement by which more than the occasional visits of a clergyman could be secured. I therefore proposed to a gentleman, who is a settler in the neighbourhood, and who kindly met me there, that he and one or two others should undertake to conduct the service, and read a sermon upon Sundays. This he agreed to do, and I have been happy to learn since that they have erected a small building, which is appropriated solely to the use of members of our Church, and that there is usually a good attendance at it. We returned to Belfast on Saturday, and on Sunday, the 24th of December, I confirmed, in tl*e course of the morning service, nineteen men and women (for most of them were considerably above the usual age), whom the Rev. Dr. Braim had been for some time carefully preparing for that ordinance. I selected Sunday for the purpose, in order that they might be able to receive the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper on the Monday, which was Christmas Day; and I was glad to see that almost the whole number availed themselves of the opportunity. The state of Belfast is remarkably contrasted with that of Portland. The population is nearly the same, and of it a large proportion are Presbyterians and Wesleyans; but all appear to be well disposed towards our communion, and very many, of the former in particular, have contributed to the church and school buildings, and also towards the stipend of the Clergyman. Since my visit at Easter, they had added transepts to the little weather-board church, whereby the accommodation on the Sunday was nearly doubled, and two good rooms obtained for boys' and girls' schools during the week. They were also about to build a house for the schoolmaster and mistress, which they have since completed. All this has been accomplished without any assistance from our English Fund. They are now raising money for a parsonage, and they further propose to erect additional school-buildings, in order to form a Boarding School for the children of shepherds, &c., in the bush. Such zeal and liberality in good works afford a favourable indication of their religious character; and this is confirmed by the numerous attendants at public worship, and at the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper; and also by their flourishing Sunday and daily schools. One cause of this striking difference between Belfast and all other towns in Port Phillip, is perhaps to be found in the circumstance of its being a private township, and in the exertions of the owner for its improvement; another is the energy and liberality of Mr. W. Rutledge, the principal merchant there, who has been most active in promoting every undertaking for the benefit of the people. But that to which I should principally inscribe it, under God's blessing, is the zeal, untiring activity, good temper, and discretion of the Rev. Dr. Braim, whom you may remember I ordained deacon in June of last year. He is universally esteemed and beloved, and although he unites the office of schoolmaster with that of parochial clergyman, he appears to neglect the duties of neither. I am only afraid that his health will give way under his exertions, and on this account I am extremely anxious to procure for him some assistance.
Before I pass from Belfast, I must mention that Mr. Atkinson, the owner of the township, has offered me five acres of land, in a very eligible spot, for a Collegiate School. The situation of the town is very convenient for the western district, which promises to be one of the most populous and wealthy in the province; and I am, therefore, desirous to avail myself of the offer. My idea is, to establish a Grammar School with a Master's residence, and Boarding House, attached to it, similar to our public schools in England, if the Christian Knowledge Society should approve of the design, and feel themselves justified in affording me the requisite assistance for carrying it into effect.
On Wednesday, Dec. 27, we set off on our return to Melbourne, under the escort of Mr. Black, who, although a Presbyterian, showed us, on this as on a former occasion, every attention. He came down from his station, above forty miles distant, on purpose to conduct us on our way, and he did not leave us until he had delivered us into the charge of another most kind friend, also a Presbyterian, Mr. Mackinnon; who, after entertaining us for two days at his own house, conveyed us to within fifty miles of Melbourne. Poor fellow! he has since been subjected to a very heavy affliction in the loss of his wife, to whom he was most affectionately attached, but I trust that the Lord has strengthened him under the trial. It is remarkable how often we have been indebted to Presbyterians for hospitality during our journeys through the country. In this we met with no members of our own Church among the station holders, until we came to Ballan, where the Rev. W. Hall was to be located. There was one indeed, at whose house we had arranged to spend Sunday; Mr. Goldsmith's, near the Pyrenees; and I had written to inform him of our intended visit; but he happened, unfortunately, to be absent from home, so that we did not see him. We slept, however, at his station on Saturday night, and had service the following morning in his dairy, which made an excellent temporary church, and was filled with a goodly company. It was very pleasing to see the good order, and appearance of comfort, under the management of a most respectable housekeeper, in this bachelor establishment, and we have been agreeably surprised by finding several other instances of the same kind in the bush. One occurred at the next station, to which we proceeded to hold a service the same afternoon. This belonged to a Mr. Russell, another Presbyterian, who received us most kindly, and gladly joined with all his household in our worship. We were delighted here with the pretty English-looking cottage, overgrown with a cluster rose, and with the garden laid out in good taste, and kept in the neatest order; but we were yet more pleased with the simple, frank hospitality, and the interest about spiritual things, manifested by our host.
From Mr. Russell's we proceeded to Bunninyong, which deserves particular notice, as the station of the Messrs. T. and S. Learmouth, brothers of Dr. Learmouth, one of our fellow-passengers, and now our intimate friend. These two young men are an example to all settlers; they are two of the largest sheep-holders in the country, and excellent managers, being very diligent, enterprising, and personally attentive to their business. But they are especially distinguished by their zealous and well-directed exertions to promote the moral and religious well-being of the people. Through their energy and liberality, a Clergyman of the Free Church, to which they belong, has been appointed to the charge of the village; a building for public worship has been erected; a Boarding School, the first of the kind in the country, established; and a Total Abstinence Society, whereby many have been reclaimed from drunkenness, instituted. Nor do they interest themselves only for the inhabitants of their own locality, or confine their liberality to objects connected with their own Church. They have contributed largely to the maintenance of an Episcopalian Clergyman at Ballan; and not long since, I received a sum of money from them, to be applied in any manner I might think proper, for the spiritual welfare of the population of the bush. On our arrival at their station, Jan. 1, we found the work of shearing still unfinished; but Mr. T. Learmouth, who was the only one at home, immediately made arrangements with the men that they should leave off a little before the usual time in the evening, and prepare a part of the wool-shed for service. A large number attended, and very interesting it was to proclaim the Gospel in such a place, to such a company, arid to unite with them in the worship of our covenant God; who is equally ready and willing to hear and answer the prayers of His people in a wool-shed, as in a cathedral; and equally able to make His Word effectual to the conversion and salvation of sinners, when preached to a number of rough shearers after their work upon a week-day evening in Australia, as when addressed to a well-educated and refined congregation on a Sabbath-day in England.
The prosecution of our journey the following day was delayed by one of those accidents to which travellers here are continually liable. Some careless person had taken down and neglected to replace the "slip rails" of the paddock into which our horses had been turned the previous evening; and when we were all ready to set out, to avoid the midday heat by an early start, we were told that they were not to be found. It was at last discovered that they had got out, and turned their faces homewards; nor could they be overtaken until they had retraced their way almost to the station where we had spent Sunday evening, about 22 miles distant, so that when they were at last brought back, they were unfit for any more work that day. However, one of the Messrs. Steiglitz, of Ballan, to whom I had written, kindly sent a pair of horses for us, and I borrowed another for my own riding, so that we were at length able to proceed, and reached our intended destination, Ballan, that evening. You will perhaps remember that this is the district mentioned in my letter to the Archbishop, as occupied almost entirely by English (this is a mistake, they are principally Irish) Episcopalian families; from whom I had received an urgent application for a Clergyman. In compliance with that application I had settled that the Rev. W. Hall should, as I have mentioned above, be located there, and within a few weeks after our visit, he entered upon his residence. He is the first of my clergy who has tried the life of an itinerating minister, and he has already had abundant experience of its trials and hardships. Various circumstances had conduced to delay the building of the proposed Parsonage, and he and Mrs. Hall were, in consequence, obliged to continue for several months dependent upon the hospitality of the different settlers, chiefly on that of Mr. J. Von Steiglitz, who had taken the most active part in endeavouring to procure a resident Clergyman for the District. May the Lord grant unto him to see the fruit of his labours in the beneficial results to his own family, and to his neighbours!
Some account of Mr. Hall's labours will be interesting to you. Upon his arrival, he immediately commenced a course of Sunday services at the several appointed stations, and they seem to have been most acceptable to the settlers; but his congregations, as appears from the journals he has sent me, vary exceedingly; the largest has consisted of about thirty persons, but on one occasion there were only three present; the cause of this is explained in the following extract, which shows very forcibly the strange character of our population, and the difficulties which we have to encounter in ministering to them. "In consequence of the weather; the absence of Mr. B., the owner of the station, and two of the servants, at Melbourne; the recent changes among-the shepherds; and the curious mixture of the people employed--three English, five Scotch, including two Highlanders, (one of whom was almost wholly ignorant of English,) one Irishman, and two recently arrived Germans; only three were present in the morning, and six in the evening." To hold this service, Mr. Hall, whom the heavy rain had prevented from travelling the day before, was obliged to ride a considerable distance on Sunday morning.
You may imagine how discouraging such a congregation must have been felt; but if we would not see the people sink into heathenism, we must visit the several stations individually, and must be content to preach, even literally, to two or three at a time. Besides his Sunday services, Mr. Hall has diligently endeavoured to become acquainted during the week with the shepherds and hut-keepers; this is an important part of his duty, but it occupies a great deal of time, and is often very unsatisfactory. Thus Mr. Hall writes:--" Thursday, April 19.--Rode with Mr. A. to an out-station, seven miles off; all at it were Romanists." One of the principal means, under the Divine blessing, of exciting and maintaining a devotional feeling among this class, appears to be the lending of tracts, and small books, for their use; and Mr. Hall has adopted this plan already, and proposes to carry it out in a more systematic manner hereafter. That the people are not at present wholly destitute of this means of grace, appears from another minute. "Monday, April 9.--Passing on through the forest, fell in with an out-station of Cowie and Steads; found that they had some religious, and other instructive books, the property of a shepherd who is brother of the owner." The necessity of attending to the progress of the Parsonage, occasioned Mr. Hall to lose a great deal of time until the work was completed; and although he and Mrs. Hall experienced the greatest possible attention and kind consideration from all the settlers, they were, as you may suppose, exceedingly anxious to be once more in a house of their own. Accordingly in the beginning of June, as soon as it was possible, they took possession of it. At this time, the middle of our winter, the roof was open in some parts to the sky, and they were provided with no more than their cabiu furniture. "From the season of the year, and the difficulty of bringing furniture up the country," Mr. Hall remarks, "we shall be so, I fear, for two or three months longer, but we get on very tolerably. Indeed in one respect we are oddly circumstanced, for we have many comforts, and some few, what in the bush may be considered luxuries; but in the necessaries of domestic life, such as tables, beds, chairs, &c. we are lacking; and to our English notions, open roofs, brick and mortar walls, shrinking boards for floors, and ventilation from all quarters, present anything but an inviting aspect. A few months will however make a great difference, and the mercies we have experienced from a gracious God, fill our hearts with gratitude to Him, and then to those kind friends influenced by Him to show us kindness and sympathy, and who have tried in every possible way to make us feel at home amongst them." Three months afterwards, Sept, 15, Mr. Hall writes:--"You must not however suppose that we are settled in a house, more than that we have a home to ourselves, with more than the usual annoyances of housekeeping, &c. I have had to dismiss one man; and the other is so unwell, that he is unfit for work. Consequently I have had to take care of my own horse, and should probably have had to milk the cows, and fetch water from the river, had not a youth come up to see his parents, who are servants at the inn, whom I hired for a fortnight, when I Lope to have some one from Melbourne. These, with other trials, arising out of a location on such a place as an intended village reserve, added to the unfinished state of our house, and the want of furniture, make us feel any thing but settled." In another letter of a later date, in reply to a question from me, he writes:--"As your Lordship asked for my experience, I may state that I should certainly never have come into the bush, till a house, garden, offices, and paddock were provided, had I known the annoyance and expense connected with the whole, and the distraction occasioned by being placed as I am, on a so-called village reserve; and what I would recommend to your Lordship is, never to place another in a similar sphere of duty, till the settlers have provided a finished house (with proper accommodations), garden, offices, and a paddock large enough to feed two or three horses, and as many cows throughout the year." The following extract furnishes a specimen of Mr. Hall's journeys. "On Sunday last, I had service at Mr. C.A. Von Steiglitz's which obliged me to ride about fifty miles on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday, before I reached home again. Although it was dry above, the ground was so wet that I could make little more than four miles an hour, and that with much exertion on the part of my horse, which was frequently nearly knee-deep in water and mud, and this probably (adding all such wet places together) for five or six miles out of the fifty." On another occasion he writes:--"How to reach the shepherds and others I am very much at a loss; as however I am now becoming acquainted with the situations of the out-stations in the bush, I hope in summer, when travelling is easier and safer, to come across them as they attend the flocks, which is the only plan I can see. At present the ground is so wet, that I cannot make more than three or four miles an hour progress, and even then I am frequently afraid of laming my horse." The District under Mr. Hall's pastoral charge extends thirty miles from north to south, and twenty miles from east to west. The population, according to a statement recently received from him, is as follows:--
Church of England Presbyterians Roman Catholics Others Total Adults 218 55 49 21 343 Children 60 24 25 1 110 453
It must be remembered, however, that within a few months, or even weeks, after this was taken, the numbers and relative proportions might be very different.
The large number of children in the above statement, will naturally excite in the mind of every Christian philanthropist, a desire to make some provision for their education. But alas! in addition to other difficulties, the extent of country over which they are scattered, makes it impossible to gather them into any one place. With reference to this subject, Mr. Hall observes,--"Owing to there being so few children, perhaps not more than ten to go to school in the whole of the district around Ballan, there is no prospect of a school being maintained there at present. At Bacchus' Marsh," he adds, "one might be commenced with a fair prospect, through the Divine blessing, of its being supported." My own impression is, that the only way of providing education for families in the bush, will be by Boarding Schools, similar to that established by the Messrs. Learmouth, at Bunninyong. I have already mentioned that there is a prospect of the experiment being tried at Belfast; and I am also in hopes that a gentleman who takes a great interest in the subject, will succeed in establishing one in a populous district to the westward of Geelong.
Mr. Hall's opinion upon the subject, is expressed in the following extract from a letter just received from him:--"I have thought a good deal about the best means for providing for the education of the young, and I still think that the best, and almost only method, is by the establishment of a kind of industrial school, as such are termed, where the children can be boarded and educated, at the same time that a portion (say one or two days weekly, not a whole day at a time, but part of one) of their time, is devoted to garden and field labour; so as to raise some of the vegetables, &c. required for their own use, and thereby diminishing the expense of their board.
This kind of school we cannot establish here, till land can be permanently secured; when I see little difficulty beyond the expense of building, and that of obtaining really good teachers."
Bacchus' Marsh, alluded to by Mr. Hall, is a large tract of flat country, almost surrounded by hills, upon the road from Ballan to Melbourne, at about thirty-five miles from the latter place. Its name is likely to convey an erroneous notion to an English reader, for the land is not at all marshy, but well suited for agricultural purposes, and is, in fact, all sold, and under cultivation. The term "marsh" is, like many others, altogether misapplied in these Colonies, being employed to designate any low lands, whether used for pasturage or for tillage. In the same manner the term "water-hole" is applied to any deep pool in the course of a river, which remains filled after the river has ceased to flow. I much regret this corruption of our native language, but I fear that it cannot now be remedied. To return to Bacchus' Marsh. The largest proprietor is, or rather was, for he has died since, a Captain Bacchus, from whom the district takes its name; and on Thursday morning, January 4, we set off from Mr. B. Von. Steiglitz's, for his house, accompanied by the former gentleman, who drove Mrs. Perry in a tandem, and lent me a riding horse. We did not take the direct road, but made a circuit of a few miles in order to call on Mr. and Mrs. Griffith, who have a station in a beautiful valley, superior in point of scenery to any place which we had yet visited, unless perhaps I should except Heidelberg. In the morning when we started, there was a thick cold mist upon the ground, such as is often seen in November in England; but as the day wore on, the mist cleared off, and after traversing some miles of the thin forest-land which abounds in this country, we came to the edge of a deep ravine, the sides of which were so steep, that we doubted the possibility of driving down it any vehicle, and particularly a tandem. Mr. Von Steiglitz however was confident in himself and his horses, and as we were also confident in him, and the grass was exceedingly wet, it was determined that Mrs. Perry should continue in the gig. In accomplishing the descent, the appearance of the shaft-horse, standing sometimes almost under the gig, made me not a little nervous; but it was beautiful to see his perfect steadiness, and the skilful management of the driver; and I am thankful to say that we all arrived at the bottom of the first, and largest, and most dangerous hill, in safety. We spent two hours with Mr. and Mrs. Griffith, and after holding a short service with them and their household, proceeded to Captain Bacchus', which we reached in the afternoon. Here, although we were wholly unexpected guests, (for a letter which I had written to him some days before, did not come to hand till the next morning,) we were received by the old gentleman with the greatest hospitality and kindness, There is, as Mr. Hall intimates in his letter, a considerable population here, and at that time, with the exception of the Rev. A. C. Thomson, who had once or twice held service there, no Minister of the Gospel had ever visited them; Mr. Hall has since gone over from Ballan occasionally, although they are not included within his District. Much anxiety has been expressed by the people to obtain the ministrations of a Clergyman, and still more to get a school for the children; and several communications have been made to me upon the subject. But I did not dare to incur the additional expenditure; and now I almost fear that the opportunity is lost. The only way in which I could hope to provide for them, would be by erecting with their assistance a schoolroom which might serve as a place of worship on Sundays, and the Master of which might be licensed by me to read the Service and a sermon, in the absence of an ordained Minister, to the people; a Clergyman being appointed to visit them periodically, and administer the sacraments of Baptism and the Lord's Supper. Within the last few days, however, arrangements have been made for establishing there a National School, upon the same principles with those in Ireland, which will entirely defeat my purpose. I have since written to make my proposal, and if they are not actually pledged to the National Commissioners, I still hope they may accept it; but there is too much reason to fear that, as I just now said, the opportunity has been lost. If this should be the case, I deeply lament my previous hesitation and want of confidence in the Lord; and yet I fear sometimes, lest I should err upon the other side, by overmuch precipitancy, and incur obligations which I may be unable to fulfil. Indeed, if our Christian friends in England do not exert themselves on our behalf, I do not know how I shall raise the amount for which I have already made myself liable. I do however trust that their attention will be directed to the condition of the Church here, and that they will not fail us in our emergency.
A poor sick woman in one of the cottages hearing of my arrival, sent her husband to beg me to go and see her. Of course I went, and I was much pleased to find that here, as it were in the wilderness, there were some sheep of the Lord's flock. The woman, who had been suffering for a long time, and was in a state of great weakness, told me that she had been a regular attendant upon the ordinances of the Gospel at home, and she hoped, a true believer in Christ; but that since her arrival in this country, through the want of the means of grace, she had become a backslider. Now however, in her illness, she had been led by divine grace to humble herself before God, and she had providentially found in the woman, in whose cottage she was then living, not only a kind nurse, but also a Christian friend. When I visited her, they were in the habit of reading the Sacred Scriptures together, and uniting in prayer at the Throne of Grace; and her husband, when at home, joined them in these exercises. It was a pleasant duty to minister unto her under such circumstances, and I trust that the Lord made my visit the means of imparting strength and consolation to her soul.
The following day, Friday, January 5, we pursued our route over a long extent of open country (which, although more like our downs, is called a plain) to Melbourne, where we found our dear sister, and all our household, well. After an absence of six weeks, we were not a little glad to see each other again. Our drive, too, this day was very hot and fatiguing, and it was delightful to rest in our pretty little cottage, and to find ourselves once more at home. Oh, that we were more sensible of all the goodness of the Lord our God-towards us, and more earnest and self-denying in rendering to Him again, for the manifold blessings which we have received from Him!
On our arrival, we found a letter from the Archdeacon of Geelong, expressing an earnest wish that I would go there to preside at a public meeting, which it was proposed to hold on the following Tuesday, January 9, for the purpose of establishing a Branch Association of the Diocesan Society. Accordingly, on the Tuesday morning, we put ourselves into the steamer, and after a six hours' agreeable passage, reached our destination in safety. The meeting was well attended, and passed off very satisfactorily; and I was thankful to find that the appointment of Dr. Macartney to be Archdeacon, had fully answered all my expectations, and through the Divine blessing, had already wrought a complete change in the position and prospects of our Church, in that important and rapidly increasing town. It was evident that although he had been there only two months, his Christian simplicity and affectionate disposition, and his zeal and untiring energy, together with his abilities, which are of a high order, and his age, which may be regarded as an additional qualification for his office, had already gained him the general affection and confidence of the members of our communion. They felt that they had now a head to whom they could look up, and under whom they could act; and the beneficial results have been every month more clearly manifested since his arrival. The little church has been filled to overflowing, and there has been quite a clamour for additional accommodation. Two plans have been proposed; one, for the enlargement of the present church, and the other for the erection of a new one, adjoining the Archdeacon's residence, which was completed, and taken possession of by him and his family in June, 1849. The only difficulty has been to determine which undertaking shall be commenced first; for it was agreed that both, with the Lord's permission, be accomplished. The disappointment of our expectation of a grant from the Government, has however compelled the postponement, for the present, of the latter design: and, in consequence, the parties interested in the enlargement of Christ Church (I allude particularly to Mr. Sladen and Mr. Eoadnight, two of the trustees, whose exertions and liberality in this and all other Christian works I feel bound distinctly to acknowledge), are pushing that undertaking forward, with the hope of completing it before the winter. The proposed design will add 500 sittings to the present number, all of which it is intended should be free. These are gratifying signs of the revival of spiritual life among our people in Geelong. The condition of the daily and Sunday schools is also greatly improved. Those for boys and girls, in connexion with Christ Church, are now under an efficient Master and Mistress, and the number of scholars is increasing. An additional room has also been built, in which an Infant School is carried on. Through the energetic exertions of the Archdeacon, schools have also been opened at Ashby, a suburb of the town; at Point Henry, on the Bay, about five miles, and at the Wawn Ponds, about seven miles distant. A building has also been erected by the people at a place upon the Bar-won river, about twenty-five miles distant, in the hope of establishing a school there; but there is a difficulty about obtaining a sufficient salary for a teacher.
I have found in the case of Geelong--and I believe this to be only a particular instance of a general law of human nature--that the commencement of a real pastoral work among the people has caused the extent of the field to be more distinctly perceived, and the need of additional labourers to be far more urgently felt, than before that commencement was made. Thus, within a little while after the Archdeacon entered upon his labours, I received from him an earnest appeal for another assistant, on the ground that it was utterly impossible for himself and Mr. Collins, without some further help, to fulfil their duties in a satisfactory manner. Accordingly I placed with them for three months, as a lay visitor and reader, Mr. Blomefield, already mentioned, who had just then applied to me for ordination. At the end of that time I substituted Mr. Cheyne, the son of a late eminent physician and excellent Christian, in Dublin, who was educated in the University of that city, and afterwards emigrated to Sydney. He had been for some time desirous of entering the Ministry, and having satisfied himself of his fitness to be received as a candidate, I had complied with his request, to act under me, as a lay reader, until I should think it right to ordain him. He is a married man, and as his family, and the circumstances of his past life, were previously known to the Archdeacon, I was glad of the opportunity of associating them with each other. The character which I have since received of him is exceedingly satisfactory. The Archdeacon describes him as faithful, judicious, affectionate, indefatigable, decided, yet tolerant; and adds:--"I cannot conceive a person better fitted to labour in the field to which it has pleased God, through your instrumentality, to call him." It was my intention, after admitting him to Deacon's orders in December, to send him upon a missionary journey into the interior, but the Archdeacon has so urgently represented the evils that would probably follow upon his removal from Geelong, that my resolution is shaken, and I am at present at a loss how I ought to act. The reasoning of the Archdeacon is very just. He says that Mr. Cheyne is singularly qualified for the post which he occupies, and is become acquainted with the people, by whom he is highly regarded, and that nothing would more play into the hands of those who oppose us, than a change of ministers, or of subordinate agents, so long as they fill their posts well. On the other hand, the claims of the settlers are most pressing, and I have promised, if God should enable me, to make some immediate provision for them. Under these circumstances, my reliance is, under God, upon my brethren in England. There are, I am informed, several Clergy and Lay readers willing to come, if our English Fund justified you in sending them. Oh, then, may the Lord incline the hearts of His people to help us in our necessity! I will pledge myself, in dependence upon His guidance, to lay out whatever money shall be entrusted to me, faithfully and economically in His name, and to render a full account of my stewardship.
Besides the three services at the church, and a morning service at his own house every Sunday until a schoolroom is built, the Archdeacon and his fellow-labourers have service every alternate Sunday at Point Henry; at the station above alluded to on the Barwon, and at a place near it, called Warmbete, once a month each; at Colac, fifty miles from Geelong, a very populous district, where the labouring class almost all belong to our Church, once a month, in a chapel belonging to the Church of Scotland; and at two other stations, about eight miles distant, occasionally, nearly once a month. The Archdeacon also attends once a month at the Barrabool Hills, and at the Wawn Ponds. There are also three evening services during the week at Geelong and its suburbs.
Respecting the various services in the country, the Archdeacon writes:--"At all the congregations the utmost attention arid decorum prevail; no matter how rude the hut in which we meet, or how hasty the manner in which they are called together--there is the same sense of decency, and willingness to hear; and a desire, as soon as possible, to attain something of the appearance of a church, shows that the religious feelings of the people, though they have long slumbered, are not dead. Indeed, good nature, hospitality, willingness to hear, and respect for the ministerial office, pervade all classes. Among the multitude of all classes and denominations I have conversed with, I have scarcely ever received an uncourteous answer." He adds,--"Since this time twelvemonth there have been built an infant schoolroom (capable of containing one hundred) and a committee-room at Christ Church. This house, the school-houses at the Wawn Ponds and Point Henry, and the school-house and residence at the Barrabool Hills (which had been far advanced before), have been completed; the school-houses at Ashby, and that at the station of Beale and Trebeck, have been begun, and will, I hope, please God, be finished before Christmas; and the foundations for the enlargement of Christ Church have been laid. Still, compared with the wants of the Colony, nothing has been done, and we only find ourselves in a position to see our wants."
"I am fully aware that spiritual death may be present in the midst of church building, and preaching and teaching; but all we can see--at least all we can see so as to record--is the outward work, which certainly calls us on the one hand to raise our Ebenezer, and on the other calls on us to obey the command, 'The harvest is plenteous, but the labourers are few; pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that He would send forth labourers into His harvest.' Truly, the fields are white unto the harvest. I am obliged to pass over the almost daily cries that reach me for ministerial help, in one form or other."
I will now describe the result of the appointment of Mr. and Mrs. Clowes to the Barrabool Hills School, seven miles from Geelong. In my letter to the Archbishop I mentioned the District in which this school is situated, as belonging to one of the most zealous supporters of our Church at Geelong; and as having been let out by him in small farms, upon which are resident a thriving and respectable tenantry. I mentioned also that the proprietor had been very desirous to obtain an efficient Schoolmaster of the Church of England, and to have the services of the Church performed there; but that, being unable to succeed in his object, he had been compelled to lend his schoolroom for the temporary use of a Minister of the Free Church of Scotland. The peculiar circumstances of the case made me regard it as one of my first duties to assist him in carrying out his original intention; and I could not but recognise, and I trust, thankfully acknowledge, the special providence of God in supplying me, just at the critical moment when there seemed to be a danger of altogether losing our hold upon the people, with two persons so exactly qualified for the situation as Mr. and Mrs. Clowes. I have already mentioned that they arrived in September, 1848, and within three weeks afterwards they entered upon their work. Together with the management of the school, in which he is assisted by his wife, Mr. Clowes is entrusted with the pastoral charge of the District, and is authorized by me to read the Service, and a sermon upon Sundays. Once in the month, as mentioned above, the Archdeacon officiates, and administers the sacrament of the Lord's Supper. Upon the appointment of Mr. Clowes, the proprietor, Mr. Willis, most liberally undertook to divide the expense of erecting additional rooms for his accommodation, and the people have cheerfully contributed to fit up the schoolroom for a place of worship; so that it is now quite a pattern country village, only that it is under the spiritual care of a lay-schoolmaster, instead of a Clergyman. I purpose however, hereafter, when he has, by his labours, purchased to himself a good degree, to admit Mr. Clowes to Deacon's orders. He is very acceptable to the people, and the Archdeacon, under whose superintendence he is placed, reports of him as a truly valuable and excellent fellow-labourer. The school now contains upwards of sixty children, who are described to me as being very nicely trained; and the Sunday service is attended by a congregation varying from fifty to ninety, according to the season and the weather. How I long to see other districts brought in a similar manner under spiritual cultivation! That this one, however, has been so brought, ought to be a subject of devout thankfulness to Him by whose blessing it has been accomplished.
In appointing Mr. Clowes to the charge of the Barrabool Hills, it was my purpose that he should limit his attention to that District only; but circumstances have in a manner forced upon him the charge of another adjoining it, and known as "the Wawn Ponds." This is also occupied by small farmers, who are almost all members of our communion, and were most anxious for a Church of England school and services. In order to obtain for themselves the former, they have erected, at their own expense, a large and co(mmodious slab-hut, containing a residence for the schoolmaster, and a large schoolroom, in which they have placed a nice pulpit. The Archdeacon has appointed a respectable young married man to the charge of the school; and Mr. Clowes conducts the service there, every Sunday morning, except when the Archdeacon visits it. The congregation varies from thirty to fifty. Besides this, Mr. Clowes attends once a month, in compliance with the Archdeacon's wish, at the house of a gentleman who resides about four miles from the Barrabool Hills, and who holds a service for his servants and tenants every Sunday evening. At this, there are usually about thirty persons present. It is very gratifying to find a settler (and there are several) who thus officiates as a minister to his own people; and it is important to afford such a one all the help and encouragement that we are able. I am therefore very glad that Mr. Clowes has undertaken this additional duty, although I should scarcely have ventured to ask it of him.
To return to my own personal narrative.--On the 25th of January, during the festival of the Conversion of St. Paul, I held my second ordination, at which I admitted Messrs. Merry and Brickwood to Deacon's orders. The former, as I have already mentioned, had joined me from England. The latter had, for several years, conducted a school in Melbourne, and was very highly esteemed here. He was resident for several terms at Cambridge, and afterwards went to Oxford, but circumstances led him to come out to Australia without taking his degree. I had received a strong testimonial in his favour, from the Vice-President of his College at Oxford, which was confirmed by all I heard and saw of him, after my arrival in the Colony. I was therefore very thankful to enrol him in the small company of my fellow-labourers. The situation for which I designed him was Brighton, and my arrangement with him was the same that I had previously made with Dr. Braim, viz. that he should continue to carry on his school, and should therefore receive only 100l. per annum as his clerical stipend. Of this sum, the inhabitants agreed to raise among themselves 70l.
In pursuance of the plan which I have followed in this letter, I will here give an account of the apparent results of Mr. Brickwood's appointment. These are, I am thankful to say, exceedingly encouraging. Mr. Brickwood has turned out as I expected, a truly faithful, diligent, discreet, and affectionate minister of the Lord. The little schoolroom, which is used for Divine Service, has been enlarged to double its former size, and has been floored, and supplied with benches. Upon a certain number of the sittings there has been put a rent of five shillings per annum. These are all engaged. The remainder, which are free, are also filled, often crowded. A few weeks ago, I spent a Sunday there, and administered the Lord's Supper to about twenty communicants; a small number, you may think, but three times as many as used to partake of it, before Mr. B. began his ministry among them. There are great difficulties to contend with in Brighton, in consequence of the variety of religious denominations amongst the people. A large proportion of the labouring classes who were baptized and brought up in our communion, have, through the long want of any pastoral oversight, joined the Wesley an body; and of the few resident gentlemen, although there are several willing to attend our services, and even to contribute to carrying on those services, there are not more than one or two who are professedly members of our Church. Still, the work of the Lord seems to be prospering, and I trust will continue to prosper in the hands of His servant. In my former letter I mentioned a subscription which had been entered into for building a Church. That subscription now amounts to 279l. 17s., and if we had not been disappointed of the expected aid from Government, the building would have been long since commenced. But in consequence of that disappointment, nothing has yet been done. In England you can hardly understand how much a delay of this kind throws us back. The progress of the Colony in all other respects is so rapid, that people are peculiarly impatient to see every work in which they are interested, begun at once; and when month after month passes, and no progress is made, they are not only discouraged, but indignant, and disposed to complain that they have been deceived. Thus they become unwilling to contribute to any other similar object; and the cause of the Gospel suffers, perhaps even more by this indirect consequence of delay, than by the delay itself. On this account I am very anxious to avoid disappointing any expectations which I have encouraged them to form; and yet, unless I were to crush their hopes at once, and so to paralyse all their exertions, I cannot help sometimes doing so. If I would see any good work accomplished, I must often myself hope, and I must persuade others to hope, even against hope. It is pleasing to mention that while the building of the church has been thus delayed, Mr. Brickwood has succeeded in obtaining subscriptions to erect another schoolroom in a hamlet of his parish, called Little Brighton. This is already in progress, and when completed will be used for afternoon service on Sundays.
It was my wish, after holding my Ordination, to proceed to Gipps' land, which you will remember is a considerable tract of country at the south-east corner of Australia. It is peculiarly difficult of access, for it is separated from the rest of the Port Phillip district by a high range of mountains, across which there is only a bridle path, and this impassable in the wet season. The passage by sea is also frequently very tedious, and not without danger. I regret that I have not been able to obtain an extract from a letter of one of my Clergy, the Rev. P. Hales, whom shortly after my arrival in the Colony I sent upon a mission thither. It gave a very graphic account of a storm in the forest, and showed the difficulties and perils to which the traveller by land is sometimes exposed.
The account which I received from Mr. Hales, as well as from other parties, led me to think that the state of the people was such as to render the country an unfit residence for a young married Clergyman; particularly as he would be obliged to spend a large portion of his time in itinerating, and leave his wife and family unprotected. I determined therefore upon Mr. Hales' return, to send thither upon a second mission the Rev. W. Bean, who is an older man, and, having been formerly a settler himself, would be more likely to understand the disposition and habits of the people. The overland route being then impassable (it was the middle of May), he took his passage by sea; and from the following description which he gives of his voyage, it will be seen that this also has its peculiar dangers and discomforts:--
"It pleased God that we should experience many dangers and difficulties on our voyage. When opposite Western Port, on the 15th, the glass fell fearfully, and, as we anticipated, a dreadful gale from the south-west came on in the night, and drove us to the eastward. We narrowly escaped striking on Rodondo Island at daylight, and anchored under Wilson's Promontory, near Rabbit Island, not daring to enter the Albert, in consequence of the thickness of the rain. The sea broke over us at our anchorage, and in a few minutes both cables parted, and we were drifting anchorless before the gale, with an awful sea running. On Sunday the 19th, at noon, the gale moderated, and I held a short service in the cabin. We discovered that we had drifted some hundred miles to the eastward, and were considerably beyond the meridian of Cape Howe; consequently, as soon as the sea fell sufficiently, we stood up for Twofold Bay, as the safest harbour near, to enter in our condition, and as likely to procure an anchor there. After sighting the coast on Tuesday with a fair wind for that port or Sydney, we were becalmed, and at length got a fair wind for our destined port. On Wednesday evening and Thursday morning, after very considerable danger, we made three attempts to get in, and succeeded almost miraculously in doing so with a terrific gale directly against us. More than once we were in imminent peril amongst the breakers off the entrance of this dangerous harbour. We struck repeatedly, and the distress of the women and children was painful in the extreme. But it pleased God that we should all be safely landed at last. In the cabin were ten grown persons and twelve children; consequently, such was the crowded uncomfortable state of all, that it was impossible to have regular morning and evening reading and prayer; besides, I suffered then, and am still suffering severely, from the constant exposure to wet and cold, which I underwent during twelve days, until I reached this (Taraville) on Saturday the 25th. I am however happy in the belief, that every one in the vessel will bear in mind the providential escape they experienced, and their obligation of gratitude to the Almighty for their safe deliverance from the perils of the sea."
Mr. Bean continued in Gipps' land until my arrival there, dividing his time between the squatting district of the interior and the townships near the port, of which there are four, Taraville, Alberton, Victoria, and the port itself (all within a circuit of five miles); the first a large village, and the other three, small hamlets. This division of the population adds very much to the difficulty of providing either a church or a school for them; for the distance is too great for young children to go from one place to another, and the state of the roads is, during a large proportion of the year, such as to render communication almost impossible even for adults.
The report of Mr. Bean was more favourable than that of Mr. Hales; he was, as indeed the other had been, most kindly received, and a strong wish was expressed that he might settle among them. According to his statement, although the character of the inhabitants of Taraville and its neighbourhood was before exceedingly bad, a great improvement had taken place, from the appointment of an excellent man, Mr. Stewart, as police magistrate. Mr. Bean thus describes the success of his exertions:--" He is working quite a change. Many of the bad and desperate characters who have given a name to the district have disappeared since he came here. Fearful things have occurred here formerly, but everything now appears to go on quietly and orderly." How forcibly does this show what the authority of one man can effect. I would not appear to complain of the Government, but I cannot forbear expressing my regret that their reluctance to incur additional expense has occasioned them, in more than one instance, to defer the establishment of an efficient police in a rising township, until the prevalence of crime has excited an universal outcry against them. Respecting the interior, Mr. Bean writes thus:--"My tour up the country was highly gratifying to me, from the beauty of the scenery, the salubrity of the climate, and the kindness and hospitality of the inhabitants; and especially from the great desire of all to meet my views in a religious point of view; although being a busy period of the year, I could not expect a good attendance, morning and evening, at prayer. My congregations on the Mitchell River, at Messrs. Jones', McLeod's, and Taylor's stations especially, were very satisfactory, both in numbers and in other respects. They averaged from 40 to 50 morning and evening. My congregation at Flooding Creek was about 40, and very respectable and apparently devout. My other Sundays, being spent on small establishments, were less in apparent consequence, though equally interesting; the congregation consisting almost entirely of the family and servants, and perhaps a neighbour or two. I have married three couple, and baptized nearly thirty children, and I have yet on my list fourteen children to baptize." Again, in another part of the same letter, he says,--"I cannot express to you the heartiness with which I have been everywhere received, by rich and poor, high and low." Concerning the prospect for obtaining a stipend for a resident Clergyman, he writes:--"The circumstances of the district are just now unfavourable to matters involving expense; for the market for their surplus live stock (Van Diemen's Land) having completely failed, and wool being low in value, I fear that few, if any, have anything to spare beyond their present engagements and absolute necessities. All however express the greatest anxiety to see your Lordship, and to do their utmost: those above the La Trobe desiring to build a parsonage there, while those at and near the Tara are desirous of having the clergyman amongst them."
The difference of opinion upon the expediency of erecting a church, and respecting the plan of residence for a Clergyman, which is here alluded to, together with my desire to make acquaintance with the people, and to form my judgment from my own observation, had made me long anxious to proceed thither; and accordingly, upon the 13th of February, I set off with Mrs. Perry, under the guidance of a corporal of the native police force, to the commandant of which Mr. Latrobe had kindly given directions to escort us over the "Ranges." We slept the first night at his house, adjoining the police barracks, on Dandenong Hills, about twenty miles from Melbourne, and we were [not a little interested and amused at the appearance of the black troopers. They are however a most valuable corps, and have proved very efficient in repressing any disposition to outrage on the part of the tribes in the newly settled districts. Their discipline and general good behaviour are exceedingly creditable to the commandant, Mr. Dana, who has gained their entire confidence, and who on his part places the most perfect confidence in them. How do I long that some soldiers of the Lord Jesus may be commissioned to go among the native tribes and enrol them under the banner of the Cross. If merely human discipline be able to effect so great a change, what may we not expect from the power of the Gospel, if it could be through the providence and grace of God brought fairly to bear upon them! but the Lord must himself prepare a fit agent, and send him forth to the work. On the morrow we set off again in our spring-cart, accompanied by Mr. Dana, the corporal (a lively obliging Irishman), and four of the native policemen, all on horseback. After proceeding about twenty-one miles, we were obliged to leave the spring-cart at a small inn upon the road, and Mrs. Perry then mounted a pony, which had been kindly lent her by a friend, and I a horse which I had been driving as an outrigger. Our luggage was at the same time transferred to a pair of saddle-bags, and a pack saddle. I must not enter into the details of our journey; although, if I could describe them with the graphic pen of the Bishop of New Zealand, they would, I think, be found very interesting. We slept two nights in the wild forest; not however as Mr. Hales had been obliged to do, on the ground in the open air; but in two huts recently erected for the accommodation of travellers. They were built of rough slabs, without any flooring but the natural earth, and with such interstices between the slabs as would have afforded sufficient air and light if both doors and windows had been closed up. Along one of these openings I passed three fingers abreast, and there were many others of nearly equal width. Our first day's journey after leaving Mr. Dana's, consisted of twenty miles in our spring-cart, and twenty-two miles on horseback; the second of about forty-five miles; and the third, on which we entered Gipps' land, of twenty-five miles. These two latter we performed entirely on horseback; and from the character of the path, which was very hilly, and in many places very rough, our progress was slow, and consequently the more fatiguing. There was however much to interest us. The wildness of the mountain forest, with its vast trees, many from forty to fifty feet in girth; (one which we did not see, was described to us upon good authority as measuring more than sixty feet; the occasional views of the distant ranges covered with wood to the very summits; the variety of beautiful ferns; and above all, the fern-tree gullies, presenting a tropical character of vegetation altogether different from anything that we had before seen, all helped to beguile the way, and to prevent us from experiencing the weariness which we had anticipated. I was indeed amazed at the little fatigue which my dear wife, who had never ridden so much as twelve miles at a time before, exhibited. We were most graciously favoured in the weather, which was fine, but not oppressively hot; and we encountered no other risk than that to which we were exposed from the probability of our horses putting their feet into some of the numerous "crab holes," as they are called, which abound in the path. These holes are very dangerous, being frequently small at the top, so as not to be easily seen, but growing larger below the surface, and running down to a considerable depth. It is supposed that they are first made by a kind of land crab, and are afterwards enlarged and deepened by the rain; and it is a curious fact, that water is often found at the bottom of them, and thus a refreshing draught is procured by the thirsty traveller in the midst of the dry season. On one occasion, on account of some difficulty about the luggage, Mr. Dana remained for a little behind, while we rode on, accompanied by only two of the native police, "black fellows," as they are commonly called. It was not altogether with a comfortable feeling that I looked upon the wide trackless forest, and then upon our sable guides; but we were perfectly safe; for these men, as we afterwards found, are thoroughly trustworthy. During our long ride of forty-five miles, we twice halted to refresh ourselves in the shade of the fern-tree gullies, and greatly enjoyed the provision which Mr. Dana had made for us, eating with wooden forks, cut for the purpose from one of the surrounding trees. At these resting places, the grouping of the men and horses, the rich foliage of the living fern-trees, and the dead trunks, which, as is common in all Australian forests, are lying about in every direction, formed altogether a most picturesque scene. Owing to our not having started sufficiently early, we narrowly escaped being benighted before we reached our destination. The evening was closing in, and we were obliged to push on as rapidly as possible, although our path was full of crab holes, which the dim light scarcely enabled us to see. Happily, however, we got safely through them, and came to the last river which we had to cross just before the darkness set in. In the bridge were several holes, which would have rendered it by no means safe to cross in the dark; but when we were over, there was no more any difficulty. The road was cut through a thick and high scrub, so that we could not miss it, and there were no crab holes. The darkness therefore was of no consequence; but we were not sorry when we saw in the distance the lights of the little hut where we were to sleep, and where we found the Rev. Mr. Bean, and the Secretary of the Gipps' Land Church Committee, waiting to receive us.
We arrived in Gipps' Land on the Friday afternoon, and remained there till the following Tuesday fortnight; during which period we visited the whole of the inhabited portion of the district, and saw almost all the resident settlers. A large proportion of them are, as in other parts of the province, Scotchmen, and therefore Presbyterians; but they not only showed us, personally, the greatest hospitality and attention, but unanimously expressed their readiness to assist in maintaining a Clergyman of the Church of England, until they could obtain one of their own denomination. So far as I had an opportunity of observing them, the people, both of the higher and lower ranks, were in no respect below the corresponding classes in the other districts which we had visited; and I was pleased to find a considerable number, who seemed to be really under the influence of Christian principles. The dwellings of the settlers are perhaps generally of a ruder character than those towards the west; but many of them are exceedingly neat and comfortable. The custom of roofing them with enormous pieces of bark, which are secured by a frame-work of heavy poles, literally trees, laid upon the top, gives them a singularly rustic and picturesque appearance.
Of our three Sundays, we spent the first at Flooding Creek, the only place in the interior where there is the beginning of a village, and it is only just a beginning. I conducted the morning and afternoon services in a room at the inn, and we had very good congregations foom the neighbourhood. If I can possibly obtain any other place for public worship, I always choose it in preference to an inn; but on this occasion there was no other to be had, and I felt the less reluctance to yielding to the necessity, because the room which we occupied was also used by the magistrates as a temporary court-house, and the landlord bore a highly respectable character, and had shown a readiness in every way to promote our objects. Our second Sunday was spent on the banks of the M'Arthur river, as it is named on the map, but usually known in the district as the Mitchell. This river may be almost said to bound the settled portion of Gipps' Land, on the north-east; there being only one large station, Mr. Jones', upon its east bank, and one or two small ones beyond. I held service in the morning, in the wool-shed of Mr. Taylor, a Presbyterian, of whom I was disposed to form a very favourable opinion; and in the afternoon in that of Mr. Jones, who is a very zealous member of our Church, but who, I regretted to learn, was absent at the port. In the evening we returned to the house of Mr. Tyers, the Commissioner of Crown Lands for the district, where we had been staying during the greater part of the preceding week. Mr. Tyers' residence, marked in the map as the police-station, is beautifully situated upon a projecting point of high land, near to Lake King, with the river just beneath it, and commanding a fine view of the mountains, called the Dividing Range, because they divide Gipps' Land from the Mandoo Plains, &c., on the Sydney side. The next day, Monday, we set off on our way to Taraville, where we arrived on Thursday, having visited several stations in our way, and having held a service of which I had given notice the Sunday week previously at Flooding Creek. Here also I met the members of the Church Committee, and made arrangements with them respecting the appointment of the Rev. W. Bean to the charge of the district, and the erection of a suitable residence for him. I must not omit to mention the pleasure which we experienced in finding at one place where we stopped to take luncheon, a truly Christian family, consisting of two sisters and two brothers. They had lost their father since they had come to the Colony, and were all living together in a simple, quiet manner, reminding us of one of the most favourable specimens of an English yeoman's family. They were well pleased with our visit, and thankfully joined with us in a mid-day service.
At Taraville we took up our abode in the house of a respectable storekeeper, whose apartments had been hired for us. There we found Mr. Jones, whom I mentioned above, and who manifested his zeal by setting most earnestly to work, to fit up a large empty wool-shed for Divine Service on Sunday. In the meanwhile we had our reading and prayer every morning and evening in our own room, which the people were invited to attend, and many availed themselves of the invitation, particularly in an evening. Such occasional services, which I have the opportunity of holding in my journeys, possess a peculiar interest, from being, as I believe, in many instances, the first which the people have been able to attend since they went into the bush. Sometimes I fear they are the subject of scoffing, but they are often very thankfully received, and I have reason to hope that the Lord has made them the means of quickening some, and reviving, strengthening, and comforting others. They afford me also the opportunity of enforcing upon heads of families, the duty and privilege of reading the Sacred Scripture, and praying every day with their household, and of remembering the Sabbath day to keep it holy, even when dwelling in a spiritual wilderness.
We had been obliged to leave Mr. Bean behind us at the station, (Mr. McMillan's,) where we spent Monday night, in consequence of an injury which he had received by a fall from his horse; but we were very glad to see him again on Saturday, Mr. M. having most kindly driven him over. He was not however sufficiently recovered to accompany us back overland, as he had proposed, and it was therefore arranged that he should return by sea.
Our Sunday services in the wool-shed, which had been conveniently fitted up for the purpose, were numerously attended, although the day was far from favourable. In the morning the building was quite full, and I administered the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper to about twelve persons. In the afternoon the congregation was smaller.
While we were at Taraville, we visited all the four townships, among which, as I have noticed, the population is at present divided. There were two questions upon which I had to decide. The one was, whether we should immediately attempt to erect a church, or wait, and watch the course of events. The second was, whether the clergyman should reside at Taraville, or in the interior. With regard to the first, many were extremely anxious to have a church, and one gentleman, Mr. Jones, had promised 100l. towards it. But its erection would have required more money than we could easily raise, and injuriously interfered with our design of building a Parsonage, and collecting a stipend for the Clergyman. Besides, it is impossible to tell where the bulk of the people will eventually settle. Taraville is at present by far the most populous of the four townships; but circumstances may hereafter favour the growth of one of the others, and it may become altogether secondary. I determined, therefore, not to attempt to erect a church, until we could see our way more clearly. Again, as to the place where the Clergyman should reside; there was no doubt that the neighbourhood of Flooding Creek would be most central and convenient for those settlers from whom the stipend would be principally raised. It would also be far the most pleasant for himself; for the country around Taraville is low, and in great part under water during the winter. The character also of the people of this place, although not so bad as had been represented, was not such as to make a residence among them agreeable. But it was only here that there would be any possibility of carrying out an efficient system of pastoral duty. Here only could the Clergyman visit daily among his flock. Here also would be the largest week-day, and here only, as appeared to me, could there be any Sunday school. With regard likewise to the settlers, if the Minister made a regular, periodical circuit of the district, it would not much matter whether he started from one point, or from another. I considered therefore that he ought to reside near Taraville, but I arranged that every alternate month, when the weather permitted, he should make a circuit through the whole country, holding services at fixed places, both upon Sundays and week-days. I trust that the plan will answer, though I am well aware that in carrying it out, Mr. Bean must endure much fatigue and discomfort.
We left Taraville on Monday, proceeding in a north-westerly direction, to the La Trobe river, with the intention of spending that night at the station of Mr. and Mrs. Turnbull, Presbyterians, who had kindly pressed us to visit them on our return. The distance was about fifty-five or sixty miles, and the road was sandy and hilly; but by starting early in the morning and obtaining a change of horses by the way, we were able to accomplish our journey without fatigue. The following day we pursued our way. Mrs. Perry mounted her pony, and I my horse, which we had left at the first station where we arrived in Gipps' Land. We dined with a very worthy family, comprehending what is rarely seen in this country--three generations; and exhibiting in all its members, what is yet more delightful to meet with, the virtues of godliness, righteousness and sobriety. One of the gentlemen had kindly undertaken to accompany us on our journey through the forest; and we proceeded in the afternoon to our first resting-place, at the Mowie. I ought to have mentioned that our Irish corporal, and one of the native police, attended us through the greater part of our route in Gipps' Land; the other three policemen were left at the same station with our horses, to await our return; but of these, we were sorry to find, that one had deserted, and joined a tribe of wild blacks, for the purpose, as he said, of civilizing them. Our next day's journey was the forty-five miles of rough and very hilly road, through the fern-tree gullies; but by setting off early in the morning, and pushing on quickly over the first part, we were able to accomplish it some time before sunset, and we had reason to be thankful that we did, for when we were about two miles from our resting-place, the howling of the wind in the tops of the trees betokened a storm at hand; and just as we carne in sight of the little inn, large drops began to fall, and rapidly settled into a heavy rain, which would have wetted us through in a few minutes. But under the good providence of God, we were safely housed before it came on. It rained during the greater part of the night, and the appearance of the morning was not very favourable; but we had passed the worst part of our journey, and were anxious to get forward. Accordingly, after an early breakfast and prayers, we mounted, and set forth, and again we were most graciously favoured, for we had only one short shower, and then the day cleared, and we reached the inn where we had left our spring-cart and one of our horses, by one o'clock. Here, however, we were not a little discouraged by the intelligence that our horse, which had been turned into a neighbouring paddock, got out two days before, and had not yet been found. We were now in a great dilemma, for the horse which I was riding could not take us on alone, and there was no other to be obtained. Our Irish corporal put his horse into harness by way of trial, but he looked sulky and bent on mischief, and it was pronounced not to be safe to drive him. We could not make up our minds what to do, for we were very unwilling to remain where we were during the night, and there appeared no means of getting away. We therefore sat down to luncheon in rather a disconsolate mood; however, the Lord was pleased to deliver us from our difficulty, for before we had finished our meal, Mr. W. Dana, the younger brother of our friend the Commandant, and himself an officer of the native police force, rode up, having most kindly in his brother's absence come to meet us. He reported that he had seen our stray horse with several others at a great distance, and had sent a policeman after it, and within a few minutes we had the pleasure of seeing the wanderer brought back. This little incident reminded us of our continual dependence upon the good providence of God; showing how our plans might be severally frustrated just when we thought that they were happily accomplished. We now resumed our journey, and reached Mr. Dana's without any further incident. Here we found Mrs. Dana kindly prepared to welcome us, and in the evening were unexpectedly joined by her husband. In the morning, Friday, we started for Melbourne, Mr. Dana driving Mrs. Perry in his gig, which was much easier than our spring-cart, and about one o'clock we alighted safely at our own door, where we found our dear sister, and all our household, safe and well.
We had been absent only three weeks and three days, and in that period we had performed the formidable journey across the Ranges and back, and had visited almost every accessible part of Gipps' Land, without meeting with any accident, or experiencing any inconvenience, beyond that of now and then an uncomfortable lodging for the night. We would ascribe our having thus gone out, and come in again in safety, to the good providence of our God, who had continually watched over us, and so graciously ordered the weather, and all other circumstances for our comfort. May we always recognise Him in the daily events of life, and remember that without Him not a sparrow falls to the ground. But at the same time we would not omit to record our gratitude to those, to whom, under Him, the ease and comfort with which we had accomplished our journey are to be attributed--viz. our kind friend, Mr. La Trobe, who provided an escort for us, and Mr. Dana, who took care that we should suffer no sort of annoyance, from which his assiduous attention could preserve us. It would be ungrateful, too, not to acknowledge the hospitality of all the settlers in Gipps' Land, and their readiness to receive us into their houses, or to forward us upon our journey, as we might require. So far indeed from the tour having been at all disagreeable, it had proved quite the reverse. We had been in general greatly pleased, both with the country and with the people. The distant mountains, the rivers, and the lakes, are features which distinguish the scenery of this district from that of any other which we have visited; and as to the people, I have already said, that I saw no reason to form a more unfavourable opinion of them than of the correspondent classes in any other part of the country. On the contrary, if the ministry of the Gospel be provided for them, I have a good hope that the word will be at least as gladly received, and made as effectual for conversion and edification among them, as among any others. I was much pleased to find there, as we had before found in the west, so many more both married and unmarried women, than we had been led to expect. Before I quit the subject of Gipps' Land, I will mention, that after his ordination to the office of a Priest, on Trinity Sunday, Mr. Bean returned with his wife and family to Taraville, and he has been since that time employed according to the plan which I had previously laid out for him. I am sorry to say that no permanent residence has yet been provided for him, and that he and his family have been in consequence subjected to great inconvenience, and some suffering. I am afraid also that he will find it almost impossible to live there upon the stipend which I had guaranteed to him. In my opinion, every Clergyman who is required to itinerate, should have a horse provided and maintained for him, so that he should be subject to no anxiety or expense about it. But my present means do not warrant me in incurring any additional responsibility.
The week after our return home was marked by the arrival of His Excellency, Sir Charles Fitzroy, the Governor of New South Wales. His visit, which lasted only a few days, occasioned a good deal of excitement in the city, but produced no results which I need record in this letter. I ought however to mention, that he showed towards me and my Clergy much attention and kindness.
The next journey which I was desirous of undertaking was to Mount Macedon, thence eastward into the Sydney road, and along it to Seymour on the Goulburn river, the Broken river, and the Ovens. But it had happened from circumstances, that I was absent both at Easter and at Christmas of the preceding year, and I therefore felt it right to spend this Easter at Melbourne, although I could not help regretting that I was thus prevented from availing myself of the most favourable season for travelling. Hence it was not until the 17th of April that, having made all the necessary arrangements, Mrs. Perry, our sister, and myself set off for the house of a widow lady (Mrs. G.) whom we visited last year. Thence we proceeded under the escort of Mr. Powlett, the Commissioner of Crown Lands for that district, to his little bachelor's cottage, which exhibited all the neatness, and contained almost all the comforts, which one could expect to meet with in an English gentleman's house. It is very delightful to see such evidence of the progress of civilization through the bush. Mr. Powlett is universally and most deservedly beloved; he has taken a great interest in the general well-being of the Colony; and has particularly exerted himself to obtain a Church and Clergyman for the Mount Macedon district, although his residence is just beyond the range of such a Clergyman's ministrations.
At his house several of the neighbouring settlers met us, and among them, Mr. Jeffreys, one of three brothers, who with their mother, a very fine old lady, occupy a station eighteen miles further on. This was to be our next resting-place, and we proceeded to it the next day, on which I had engaged to attend a meeting of the gentlemen of the neighbourhood, to consider what steps should be taken for procuring for them the ordinances of the Gospel. As you will perhaps recollect, I mentioned in my letter to the Archbishop, that this district was occupied by a number of highly respectable English settlers, who had made an effort, several years ago, to obtain a resident Clergyman. At that time it was proposed to build a church, and this I believe was the reason that the whole undertaking failed. My own opinion is, that the squatting districts are not yet sufficiently peopled, to render the erection of churches desirable. The first cost of them is so great, as always to cause great delay and difficulty; and the actual benefit of them is very doubtful. When the population begins to be concentrated in inland villages, then will be the time for building churches. But this is at present the case in very few places, and chiefly where there is a quantity of purchased land, and agriculture has taken the place of pasturage. Besides these agricultural districts, which are confined to the neighbourhood of Melbourne, Geelong, and Belfast, and the inland township of Kilmore (of which I shall speak presently), I know of no place at all deserving the name of a village, except at the crossing of the Goulburn, and the Broken and Ovens rivers, on the Sydney road. At the first of these there are a few huts; at the second there is a little settlement, which seems likely to increase; and at the last there are already more than one hundred inhabitants.
It may appear to some, that I do not sufficiently value the importance of having a "House of Prayer," specially set apart, and solemnly consecrated to the worship of Almighty God. But our brethren in England must remember, that the value of such a sacred edifice really depends upon its being accessible to those for whose use it is intended; and that in the interior of these pastoral countries, where the residences of the settlers are ten, fifteen, and frequently twenty miles apart, you cannot place one within the reach of more than a very small proportion of the people. Unless services are performed at the different stations in turn, according to the plan which I have adopted at Ballan, a large number, even of the masters themselves, not to mention the shepherds and hutkeepers, will be excluded from them. The arrangement therefore which I propose, with God's blessing, to make wherever I can, is, that a certain district, not too large, say a circuit of fifteen miles radius, should be marked out; and a residence for a Clergyman built in some central situation; and that then, the Clergyman should itinerate through that district, holding Divine Service in the settlers' houses, or in wool-sheds, or in any other building which may be most convenient for the purpose. On the occasion of which I am now speaking, I mentioned my views to the meeting, and stated that if they would subscribe to build a suitable residence, I would, with God's help, provide a Clergyman for them by the beginning of nest year; and would support him, free of all expense to them, for one twelvemonth. To this proposal they readily assented; and although the last season was a very unfavourable one to all stockholders, the subscriptions promised were such, that the Committee which had been formed felt themselves justified in immediately taking steps for the commencement of the building. It is now in progress; and in the month of February, if no impediment occur, the Rev. A. Strong will go up with his wife to take possession, and to enter upon his ministerial duties there.
The life of a Clergyman who is required to itinerate continually, in the manner which I have described, will undoubtedly be one of much trial and self-denial. To those who are married, the discomfort of being so constantly absent from home, will be very great; and to an unmarried man, there will be a danger of his acquiring a restlessness of mind, which may be seriously injurious to his own spiritual well-being. I shall endeavour to watch the effect as carefully as I can, and perhaps I may be able to provide, by an occasional interchange of duties, that each should obtain a few weeks' rest in the course of the year. If this cannot be managed, I am almost disposed to authorize the intermission of their journeys during a month or six weeks in the winter; when the state of the roads, as the extracts from Mr. Hall's journal show, makes travelling exceedingly tedious and fatiguing, and when the congregations also are exceedingly small.
We remained at the Messrs. Jeffreys' during the following day; in the forenoon of which I held a service that was attended by most of the people about the station. In the afternoon we paid a visit to an adjoining settler, a Yorkshire yeoman, who has, by his diligence, acquired a good property, and by his integrity and propriety of conduct secured the esteem of all his neighbours. Hitherto the weather had been favourable, but there were signs of its breaking up. That morning there was a frost, which would have been considered severe even in England. I never expected to experience such a one In the habitable parts of Australia. The thermometer was said to have been as low as 13° in the night. It must be mentioned however, in explanation, that this tract of country is greatly elevated above the sea. In the evening the sky was lowering, and the next day, after another morning frost, the rain set in. Our plan was, to spend Sunday at the house of Mr. Mitchell, (a son of the late Rev.--Mitchell of Leicester,) a married man, and one of the principal sheepholders in the district. The weather was so bad that our sister, and Mrs. Jeffreys, who was also to have accompanied us, were obliged to remain behind; but owing to our good defences against the rain, Mrs. Perry and I accomplished the drive without any inconvenience.
On Sunday the weather continued cold and wet, and in consequence there were only a few gentlemen besides Mr. Mitchell's own household present at our services. In the afternoon I baptized Mr. M.'s infant child. The next day we went by appointment to the station of Mr. Beauchamp, about three miles off, where I held a service and baptized two children of Mr. Beauchamp's overseer. In the afternoon the violence of the rain obliged us to return at once to Mr. Mitchell's; and the next day, according to our previous arrangement, we left the district and pursued our route towards Seymour, on the Goulburn. Our sister remained for a few days with Mrs. Jeffreys, and returned from thence to Melbourne. In consequence of the bad weather, we were disappointed of seeing so much of the country and resident families about Mount Macedon, as we had hoped to do; but I was enabled to accomplish my principal object, and I felt therefore that on this, as on all former occasions, we had abundant cause for thankfulness. There were heavy showers at intervals, during the next two days, but they did not interrupt our progress; and under the good care of Mr. Powlett, who drove Mrs. Perry in his tandem, and lent me a riding horse, we reached Seymour on the morning of Thursday the 26th. There we found our spring-cart and pair of horses, which we had directed to be brought thither to meet us, and proceeded in the afternoon to the station of the Messrs. Jones. This family consisted of two brothers, and a sister, who had been induced to come out solely by her affection for them. The eldest brother was not at home, but we were greatly pleased with the younger brother and sister; and here I must again bear testimony, not only to the kindness and hospitality, but to the worth, and in many cases, the gentlemanly manners and educated minds of those whom we visited. The contrast between the houses (usually weather-board huts, and often of the rudest description) and the inmates, was indeed frequently very strange; yet in respect to the former, wherever there was a lady, the effects of her superintending eye, and I may add, the labours also of her hand, were generally to be seen, in a variety of little expedients for making a comfortable home. At the Messrs. Jones's we were joined by Mr. Smythe, another Commissioner of Crown Lands, who is residing at the Broken river. He had kindly undertaken to escort us to the Ovens, and was to have met us at Seymour; but the rain had been so heavy in his neighbourhood the preceding day, as to have prevented him from leaving home; and he was quite surprised to find that we had been able to keep our appointment. The next day we resumed our journey, and arrived on Saturday morning at Mr. Smythe's house, where we spent the Sunday very comfortably, holding services morning and evening at the court-house of the little village. I took the opportunity also of communicating with some of the neighbouring settlers, about the propriety of making a provision for a Clergyman among them. They were willing to contribute, but doubted whether a sufficient sum could be raised. It is very desirable to occupy the ground as speedily as possible, for as I have before noticed, a village is rapidly forming at the crossing place; but I am unable to take any active steps in the matter at present. The only drawback to our enjoyment of these two quiet days at Mr. Smythe's, was the absence of Mrs. S, who was staying in Melbourne. She had been anxious to return home, on purpose to receive us, but we most earnestly begged that she would not do so. On Monday we proceeded to the Ovens, which we crossed, and spent the night at the station of Dr. Murphy, a gentleman who has, like many more in this country, exchanged the practice of medicine for the solitary life of a squatter. This day's journey, which was rather a long one, about fifty-five or sixty miles, we performed very comfortably, in the manner which we both prefer in this country--viz. Mrs. Perry in a tandem and I on horseback.
The country about Mount Macedon is diversified with hills and downs, covered, in the season, with beautiful grass; and presents many views which, if the foliage of the trees were English instead of Australian, would be most beautiful; and even with this great disadvantage, cannot but be admired. The park-like character of many parts of Australia has been frequently noticed, and is certainly remarkable. It consists, as I think, in the undulating nature of the ground, the fine, and beautifully green grass, and in the manner in which the trees, many of them exceedingly picturesque in form, not unlike those of our own old oaks, are thinly scattered about. We have frequently admired these features of the landscape in passing through the Western District; but besides them, this side of Mount Macedon possesses others of a more striking character. The hills are much higher, and some of them covered with large masses of granite, rocks of which are likewise scattered about the low country. There are also views of the distant ranges, which add to the effect. The banks of the Goulburn too, at Seymour, are pretty. But passing this river, or, at least, after leaving its neighbourhood, the country assumes the dreary, monotonous character, so common here; woods not very thick, not in general containing any fine trees, but consisting almost entirely of varieties of the gum, which differ from one another, not in the foliage, and often very little in the mode of growth, but only, or chiefly, in the bark. It is, indeed, a remarkable peculiarity of this country, that the chief distinctions amongst the large forest trees are either the different character of the bark, or the different colour of the wood, or in the smell of the leaves. Thus we have the Iron Bark, the Stringy Bark, the Peppermint, the White Gum, and the Red Gum, of all which the foliage is so nearly alike that an ordinary observer would scarcely notice any difference. Another feature of the woods, which gives them a singularly desolate and ruinous appearance, is that the ground is strewn with fallen and half-burnt trunks and branches, while the greater number of the living trees are blackened by the fires which have raged among them. I mention these particularly, because they may interest you, and my other readers, as descriptive of the country, although they do not bear upon the main subject of this letter. You will gather from them, that our route from the Messrs. Jones's station to the Ovens, was not in general very interesting. There was however one exception. Some time after leaving the Broken river, we began to ascend gradually until we came to the top of a range of hills, and, upon walking up one which was a little way off the road, and considerably higher than the rest, a complete panoramic view of the whole country opened upon us, and we saw, for the first time, lifting up their heads in the far distance, the snowy mountains of Australia, or, as they are sometimes called, the Australian Alps. It was a deeply interesting sight, reminding us of other and far distant lands, to which our thoughts love to revert. When the first enterprising travellers who explored these parts returned to Sydney, the fact which they related, of having seen mountains covered with snow in the middle of summer, was generally disbelieved; but we had now an ocular confirmation of its truth.
I had arranged to meet the settlers in the neighbourhood of the township of Wangarata, on the Ovens, upon the next day, Tuesday, May 1, and also to hold a service there in the afternoon. The meeting was attended only by two or three gentlemen. The absence of others was, I believed, occasioned by accidental circumstances; but I regret to say, that the indifference of the station-holders in this district is very unfavourably contrasted with the earnestness displayed in those which we had previously visited. The circumstance has occasioned me the greatest disappointment, because the labouring population in the township have evinced an unusually strong desire to obtain the public means of grace for themselves, and instruction for their children. With this object they have, by their own exertions, got a little schoolroom erected, which is used as a place of worship on Sundays. They have also engaged a master, who officiates as a minister among them. But, although I hope that he is a good man, he is certainly by no means qualified for either office, being quite illiterate. You must not suppose, from the fact of their accepting the services of such a person, that they would not be likely to appreciate the ministry of a faithful Clergyman. The fact is, that here those who have been long and anxiously waiting, until hope has almost failed them, for the ordinances of the Gospel, are glad to catch at any opportunity which may be offered them of once more hearing the word of God, and assembling themselves together for prayer, and praise, and thanksgiving. I believe that if a good Clergyman, or lay-reader, were appointed to this place, he would, with the Divine blessing, gather them all into the Church, and preserve them from being carried away by any strange doctrine. I held one evening service, in a very large room in the inn, and it was crowded by an attentive, and apparently devout audience; this was gratifying; but I was still more pleased to see, at our early reading and prayers the next morning, to which I had invited any who were disposed to attend, so many present that we were obliged to occupy again the same large room, instead of our own private sitting room, as I had intended. This favourable disposition on the part of these poor people, made me extremely desirous to appoint some one to the pastoral charge over them; and I undertook, as I had previously done at Mount Macedon, to maintain a Clergyman for a twelvemonth, who should divide his time between the township and the neighbouring stations, if the settlers and other inhabitants would erect a suitable dwelling for him. At the time, they gave me good hopes of being able to accomplish their part; but Dr. Murphy has since written to tell me that he fears the promised subscriptions will not be paid in. I am, however, unwilling to abandon my design, and have therefore authorized him to purchase a small weatherboard cottage, the cost of which is only 20l., and to make such additions as may be necessary; and I have undertaken to be responsible for any sum which he shall lay out beyond the amount subscribed. My intention is, to place a lay-reader there for a time; I shall thus incur less expense, and shall also save a Clergyman, whom I could ill spare for the purpose, at present.
We returned home by the Sydney-road, only turning aside to spend two days with a Scotch gentleman, a Presbyterian, who was most kindly anxious that we should visit him, and whom, as he had shown a great interest in promoting my plans, I was desirous not to disappoint.
Sunday, May 6, we spent at Kilmore. I have incidentally mentioned this place before, but have not yet given you any description of it. Kilmore is the largest inland town, or rather village, in the province of Port Phillip. It is built upon a special survey, in a tract of 5,000 square acres, especially surveyed on the application of certain private individuals, and purchased by them. It is therefore private property. The adjoining land is let out in small farms, which are tenanted almost entirely by Irish Roman Catholics, and are said to exhibit, in their slovenly cultivation, and the miserable huts erected on them, too much resemblance to Ireland itself. The population of the village, with that of the surrounding farms, is estimated at about 700; and the former is continually increasing. Until very lately, there was no minister of religion of any denomination, and no magistrate within a distance of several miles. Hence the people, who bear, upon the whole, a very indifferent character, were wholly unrestrained; and drunkenness and outrage prevailed amongst them to a fearful extent.
I had long been desirous to make some effort for their moral and spiritual improvement; and, soon after my arrival, sent the Rev. Mr. Thomson to visit the village, and to hold a service there; but, in addition to other difficulties in my way, the great body of the neighbouring station-holders were Presbyterians, and there were scarcely any members of our own Church, either in, or near the village, who could render me any efficient help. However, upon an urgent representation being made to me of the condition of the place, I determined to visit it myself; and, on the 5th of February, a few days before we set off for our excursion into Gipps' Land, I went thither with the Rev. Mr. Newham. We were most kindly received by Mr. Armstrong, the agent of the survey; Mr. Lumsden, a surgeon, who had recently settled there, a Presbyterian; and two or three gentlemen from the neighbourhood; not one of whom belonged to our communion. We held two services there; one that afternoon, in a small store, which had been formerly used for a school; and the other the next morning, in the store-room of a flower-mill in the village; both were numerously attended, and it was the urgent request of all with whom we spoke, that something might be done immediately. Accordingly, at a meeting of the gentlemen above mentioned, after some discussion, it was agreed by them all to form a Committee for the purpose of raising subscriptions for the building of a schoolroom, and the maintenance of a Clergyman in connexion with the Church of England. You will judge, from this circumstance, of the disposition which prevails among the people to merge all subordinate differences in order to obtain, in any way, the ministry and ordinances of the Gospel. Before leaving the village, I wrote to apply to the proprietors, through their agent, for a grant of two acres of land, the usual amount allotted by government for church, parsonage, and schools; and as I knew that this would be readily made, I was in hopes that the building might soon be commenced, and a school at last established. Month after month, however, passed by, and I was informed that they remained as I had left them; not, I believe, from any disposition in the Committee to draw back from their engagement, but from the extreme difficulty, in this country, of getting any number of persons to act together with energy and perseverance. They live at a distance from one another, and every one is engaged upon his own affairs; and thus it often happens, that with the best intentions in all, nothing is effected.
On this account I had planned, upon our return from the Ovens, to revisit the village, and endeavour to make arrangements for really carrying on the work. In the interval, since my first visit, a Romish priest had been placed there, and this made me the more anxious not to lose any more time. Our morning service on the Sunday was attended by a congregation larger than the room, (which, much to my regret, had been engaged for the purpose at one of the inns,) would contain. There was also a good congregation in the afternoon. On the following Wednesday I met the Committee, and on this occasion, had the pleasure of seeing one gentleman present who is a member of our own Church, and had kindly ridden in with us from his station for the purpose of attending. I was now enabled to put matters in train, as I thought, for immediately proceeding with the school building; and it is only just to our kind friends there to say, that the subsequent delay has not been owing to any remissness on their part; but the difficulty of procuring bricks, and the unfavourable season of the year, have proved so great an hindrance, that it was only a few weeks ago that I received intelligence of the work being actually begun. You may suppose that these delays have caused me much disappointment; but I must thankfully acknowledge the good providence of God in them; for if the people, in this case, had been more punctual in the fulfilment of their engagements, I should have found it very inconvenient, if not impossible, to fulfil my promise of sending them a Clergyman when the building was completed. During several months, I had been expecting the arrival of three additional fellow-labourers from England. It was not until Sunday, October 28, that the Tasman, with the Rev. Mr. Singleton and family, anchored off Geelong. Thus the Lord has graciously made the one disappointment to balance the other, and I trust will overrule both for His own glory in the end. The Rev. Mr. Singleton appears to be in every way fitted for his post; and I lost no time in sending him, under the guidance of the Rev. Mr. Newbam, to ascertain, by personal observation, the existing state of affairs, and to see whether he could procure any temporary accommodation in the village or neighbourhood. Mr. Singleton has a wife and ten children, and knowing the extreme difficulty of getting a house of any kind, I was very doubtful of his success; but he is one of those men, who considers all things that are desirable to be possible, and seems, through God's blessing, always to find them so. On his return, he told me that he had engaged two cottages, each containing two rooms, and that with these, and with the tent he had brought with him, he should be able to do very well for a time. Accordingly the next week he set off with all his company and their effects, to take possession. It is very delightful, and a great encouragement to me, to see such a spirit in a soldier of the Cross. May the Lord abundantly bless him!
To return to my narrative.--We left Kilmore on Thursday, and having slept that night at the station of Mr. Purvis, a married settler, residing a little way off the Melbourne road, where we were as usual, most hospitably received, we returned home the next day, thankful for all the goodness of the Lord our God towards us. On our route homeward, Mrs. Perry had met with an accident, which might have been attended with very serious consequences; providentially however, although it caused her much pain, and entirely incapacitated her for walking during several days, it did not disable her from continuing her journey; so that we were able to keep all our appointments, and did not, by a protracted absence, cause our sister any anxiety. In this, and indeed in all His dealings with us, I desire to acknowledge the peculiar mercy of our Heavenly Father. May He continue to watch over and to protect us! I have now given you an account, so long that I almost fear you will consider it tedious, of our several journeys, previous to the setting in of our second winter; and I have taken the opportunity, when, my narrative has led me to mention any place, of relating all that has since occurred, deserving notice, in connexion with that place, up to the present time. I have not however noticed what has been doing during the past year at Heidelberg, Pentridge, the Moonee Ponds, and Williatnstown, of all which, I am thankful to say, I can give a very satisfactory account.
At Heidelberg, which you will remember is a rich agricultural country, about eight miles from Melbourne, Dr. Macartney, now Archdeacon of Geelong, was originally placed. Upon his removal, I appointed the Rev. F. Hales to succeed him, and I am happy to say that Mr. H. has fulfilled his duties most efficiently. He is a simple-minded, faithful, and laborious minister, and is much esteemed and loved by the people. His wife also is a very valuable assistant to him. Our service there continues to he held in the Presbyterian Church, and, therefore, only on alternate Sundays; but they have just begun to dig the foundations of our own church; and when it is completed, I trust that we shall be able to hold service there every Lord's day. I should he sorry however to disturb the harmony which at present prevails to a great degree among the members of the two communions; and hence, I am inclined to have service alternately in the morning and afternoon, so as not to appear to interfere with that of the Presbyterians. It is well to hold only one service on the Sunday at the same place, while the population continues so scattered. A second can thus be held at a few miles' distance, and some persons who could not come to the first, might be able to attend the other. I feel a peculiar interest in Heidelberg,--it is a most beautiful spot, and there are several very pleasing families, both English and Scotch, who reside there. Mr. Hales' health, I regret to say, is not strong, and he is scarcely equal to the long ride of nearly twenty miles, (and if he returns home the same day, more than thirty miles,) which he has to take every other Sunday, when he does not hold service at Heidelberg.
Pentridge has continued under the charge of Mr. Tanner, a lay-reader; a Clergyman from Melbourne attending from time to time, to administer the sacraments of Baptism and the Lord's Supper. Mr. Tanner has hitherto resided in Melbourne; but as Pentridge is every month becoming more populous, and the people have shown that they appreciate his labours among them, by building a portion of a small church, (which is also to serve as a schoolroom,) I have arranged that he should obtain a lodging in one of the cottages, and remain there altogether. The congregations are reported to me as being generally good; and a school which we have established there, contains nearly seventy scholars. The Wesleyans are building a small chapel close to our church, and are endeavouring to establish a rival school. I do not think that they will succeed in this, and it will be a great pity if they do, for the population is not sufficient to support two schools.
The district of the Moonee Ponds, which is about eight miles from Melbourne, has been under the care of Mr. Baker, another lay-reader, who has held Divine Service there on Sundays, and also regularly visited among the people. The gentlemen in the neighbourhood have raised a subscription for erecting a church, which I hoped would have been almost completed by this time; but, as in the case of the schoolroom at Kilmore, various causes have occasioned delay, and it is only now just about to be commenced. Mr. Baker has until lately been employed in visiting in Melbourne, besides his duties in the country; but I have thought it desirable that he should give up his time entirely to the latter. And he and his wife have gone, therefore, to reside in a little cottage, in appearance just like that of an English labourer, in the centre of his district.
The only place of all I have been enabled to occupy, which remains for me to mention, is Williamstown; and there is none where the result of our exertions has been more gratifying. It is situated, as mentioned in my letter to the Archbishop, on the bay of Port Phillip, about eight miles from Melbourne, and contains about 500 inhabitants; almost all of the labouring class, or of that just above it; most of the people being connected with the shipping, the anchorage for which is just opposite the town. Soon after I arrived, I placed it under the charge of Mr. Bean, who continued there until he went to Gripps' land. I then appointed Mr. Somerville, a lay-reader, to the charge of it, and he is still there. One of the Melbourne Clergy visits the place periodically, to administer the sacraments of Bap'tism and the Lord's Supper. The service is held in a large store, which from legal difficulties about the tenure, had remained for a considerable time unoccupied and unclaimed. This the people have fitted up very commodiously for the purpose; having subscribed together for a pulpit, and a number of free benches. Several of the families have also put up private seats for their own use. From the commencement of the service, it has always been well attended, and the congregation has continued to increase, so that the building is now often inconveniently crowded. It is an evidence also of the Word not having been preached in vain, that the inhabitants have promised no less than 76Z. 9s. towards the stipend of their minister; and they have actually paid the first quarter's instalment. Captain Bunbury, the port officer, who is resident there, tells me, that as a magistrate, he sees a marked change in the character and habits of the population; and that cases of disturbance and outrage, such as were formerly of constant occurrence, are now very seldom brought before him. Such a change is a cause for much thankfulness; and the fact at the same time shows the value of religious ordinances in a political point of view; as tending more effectually than any other means, to diminish crime, and to promote peace and good order, among all classes of society.
Having traced the dealings of God with us up to this time, and described, as well as I could, the present condition of this Diocese, I must briefly notice our future prospects. I am disposed, in humble hope, to say of these, that they are exceedingly encouraging; but I am also compelled to add, that our position is an extremely critical one. To accomplish what has been already effected, I have been obliged to expend a much larger sum than worldly prudence warranted; and I do not know how I shall maintain my present staff of Clergy and Lay-readers; far less be able to avail myself of the various openings which are continually presenting themselves, unless our brethren in England will afford us enlarged support. We have just received intelligence, that the Bill for constituting this Province an independent Colony has been withdrawn; and thus our separation from Sydney, and consequently all chance of obtaining any aid from the Colonial Revenue, towards the stipends of the Clergy, is postponed for another twelvemonth. Hence, the whole burden of their maintenance is thrown upon my English Fund, aided by the voluntary contributions of the people; and the people, whatever may be the case hereafter, are not at present prepared, I may say they are not able, (I speak of the inhabitants of the towns particularly,) to render the requisite assistance. One cause of this is the want of additional churches and school-buildings, which is so greatly felt, that all who are able and willing to give are continually called upon for subscriptions for one or other of these objects. Within the last year, in Melbourne and the neighbourhood, there have been subscription lists circulating for five churches, four schoolrooms, and one clergyman's residence; and the number in Geelong and its suburbs, has been at least as great in proportion to its population and wealth. Now when it is remembered that the people have been disappointed of the help which they expected from the Government, and have to depend only upon themselves for carrying out any of their undertakings, you will not think it surprising that they should be unable to contribute much towards the support of their clergy. Again I would remind you, that the population of Melbourne, (which is estimated upon the lowest calculation at 15,000, or 16,000, and by some at 20,000,) consists, like our great towns in England, for the most part, of the families of labouring men, artizans, small shopkeepers, and professional persons of limited incomes; for all of whom it is most necessary to provide the opportunities for attending the services of the Church, together with pastoral visitation, and education for their children; whilst little, if any aid towards these objects, can be procured from them. Moreover, there have been added to our population, during the last ten months, more than 600 free Government emigrants upon an average every month; and we may expect that this rate of increase will continue for some time longer. Of the recent immigrants, the great majority have come to seek a maintenance for themselves by their own labour. A very small proportion possess any capital, and of these scarcely any have more than a few hundred pounds. They all, therefore, require the ministry of the Gospel to be provided for them, for some time at least, free of expense to themselves. You see then, my dear friend, that we are, and must be for the present, chiefly dependent upon the charity and liberality of Christian friends in England, for the maintenance of an efficient body of Clergymen and Lay-readers in our towns; and besides this, we greatly need their help for the building of churches, and the first establishment of schools. With respect to the latter, the timely grant of 600Z. from the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, for two parochial schools in Melbourne, has greatly cheered and encouraged me. I do not know what I should have done without it; I trust too that the Society will be able to afford me help towards our churches, both in this city and in Geelong.
With respect to the bush, I believe that I could at this time obtain stipends of 150Z. or 200Z., for two or even three Clergymen to itinerate over circuits of fifteen or twenty miles' radius; but in these cases also, there must be some expense incurred in building residences, and providing all the necessaries for their first establishment in their respective posts. Provision likewise must be made for meeting any occasional deficiency in the local subscriptions; for I do not wish that the income of any of my Clergy should be dependent upon such subscriptions. My plan is, to pay to each a certain sum, varying in different cases according to circumstances, and to make myself responsible for any falling short in the promised contributions of the people. Hence, every additional Clergyman occasions an additional present expenditure, (independent of his passage money and outfit,) of not less than 250l. or 300l., and also increases my responsibility for the future. Yet I cannot bear the thought of disappointing those, who have shown such a fervent desire to become once more members of a Christian communion, and to whom I have held out the hope of being able, with God's blessing, shortly to constitute them one, by the appointment of a Minister over them. I would therefore most earnestly appeal to those who have the means of helping us; and entreat them, while they are very properly anxious to relieve the large amount of spiritual and temporal destitution which exists in England itself, not to forget that we too are their fellow-countrymen, Englishmen by birth, and although now separated from them by half the globe, still more closely connected with them, and having the strongest claims upon their sympathy and assistance. I feel that if I could only transport myself to our favoured native land for a few weeks, and tell my simple tale by word of mouth, instead of with pen and ink, I should have no difficulty in obtaining from those who value their own religious privileges, and remember the responsibility which the possession of those privileges imposes upon them, such help as would relieve me from all my present anxiety, and enable me to return to my post with a good hope, under the Divine blessing, of seeing the Church over which I am placed, become more and more a blessing to the land. One great difficulty is that we are such a distance from you. Many months elapse before we can make known our circumstances to you, and so many again, before we can tell how our appeal has been received. In the meanwhile, our faith and patience are often tried in a manner which you, who have not experienced it, can scarcely understand. This long space too between the dates of our letters, which ought to make our Christian brethren to sympathise the more in our difficulties, naturally makes them feel the less interested about us; I say naturally, for I know many do feel a very deep interest in our behalf; but I am sure that feeling needs to be carefully cherished, or else it will gradually diminish, and we shall be at length almost if not entirely forgotten. I would ask therefore all our friends to cherish it; in the first place, by endeavouring to realize as much as possible our actual position--our wants and difficulties on the one hand, and our measure of means and encouragement on the other; and in the second place, by helping us with their prayers, and with their annual contributions, of the expenditure of which, as I have said above, I will on my part, with God's help, render them a faithful account.
Although this letter has extended to a length far beyond what I intended, yet I am unwilling to lose the opportunity which it affords me of making some remarks, which my observation during the last two-and-twenty months has suggested, upon several points relating to the important subject of emigration.
First, in respect to free Emigrants generally. From the incorrect notions prevailing in England concerning the condition and wants of this province, many have been induced to come out, who are, from their character and habits, quite unfit to become Colonists; and also many belonging to chases which are either not at all needed, or are already disproportionately numerous here. As very much disappointment and misery have thus been occasioned to the individuals themselves, as well as much anxiety and pain to myself and others, to whom these unfortunate persons are continually applying for counsel and assistance, I would briefly state what descriptions of persons are, and what are not, in my opinion, fitted to emigrate to Port Phillip.
In the first place, those who have failed of success at home from the want of practical good sense, and energy of character, have no good ground to hope that they will succeed better here. An Australian Colonist, whether male or female, ought to possess at least an average share of intelligence, activity, patience, and enduring perseverance. The want of these qualities has caused, and is causing, much suffering among the newly arrived immigrants.
Again, those who have ruined themselves by intemperance and profligacy are not likely to retrieve either their characters, or their fortunes, in this Colony; and the sending out of such persons, which has been too common a practice with parents and other relatives, cannot be too strongly deprecated. There may be some few exceptions; but in general, although the distress of a father may be relieved by the removal of a profligate son out of his sight, the son will be rather injured than benefited by the change. The natural tendency of a colonial life, is not reformatory. A young man is as much exposed to temptation here, as in England; in some respects he is more so; and he is altogether free from any restraint which may have been exercised upon him there. Hence the fate, I fear, of many has been, that they have sunk down to the very lowest class of society, and perhaps died, at last, the drunkard's death of delirium tremens.
The expediency of sending out young women who have been living in sin, but evince a desire to forsake their evil way, is likewise extremely doubtful. If they be true penitents, and possess sufficient resolution and energy, they may turn out well; but the danger to which they are exposed during the voyage is frequently very great; and there is too much probability of their falling into bad hands here, and relapsing into their former habits. I should say, that, in general, their best prospect is marriage; but this, entered into as it usually is, without the parties having any knowledge of each other, cannot but be most uncertain in its issue.
These remarks relate to the personal character and previous life of those intending to emigrate; I proceed to speak of the kinds of employment which they may hope to obtain here. Upon this head, I would observe first, that as we have not, I believe, among us a single specimen of what is called a gentleman of fortune, there is no opening here for any of those, whose business it is to provide the luxuries and elegancies, for which the superfluous wealth, and refined tastes, of the higher classes in England create a constant demand. In this country, the richest of the people have, with few exceptions, raised themselves from a comparatively low position in society; the gentlemen by birth and education have, for the most part, only very limited means. Hence the persons most wanted here,--I do not now allude to such as bring capital with them,'--are those whose employment is, to supply the necessaries and ordinary comforts of life; and they must\be such also, as are able and willing to work themselves, and not merely fitted to superintend others. A few-examples will best illustrate my meaning. Gardeners are much wanted, but not those who, like one that applied to me the other day, have been accustomed to manage hot-houses, and green-houses, and to have two or three men under them. Those whom we require, are such as can themselves do a good day's work with the spade or hoe. In like manner domestic servants of either sex are still greatly needed, but not the higher kinds, viz., butlers, housekeepers, coachmen (as distinguished from grooms), and ladies' maids. These, even if they could obtain places at all, would not receive higher wages than in England; and they would be expected to do many kinds of work to which they were unaccustomed, and which they would probably dislike. Thus an in-door manservant is expected to saw firewood for the family. A few good footmen, and an almost unlimited number of grooms, cooks, and housemaids, would be an invaluable treasure to us. In the class of those who are already disproportionately numerous, I would particularly mention respectable, well-educated young men, and I am disposed to add, young women also. Melbourne is at present full of the former, who are vainly endeavouring to obtain employment as clerks in merchants' offices, or inferior situations under the Government; and I fear that many of them are suffering great privations, and will be compelled at last to hire themselves out as common shepherds. The case of those who are married, arid have families dependent upon them, is very pitiable. Several ladies also, in reduced circumstances, who were recommended by injudicious, or ill-informed friends, to come out without possessing any means whatever for their support, have found themselves utterly destitute, and literally dependent upon the charity of strangers. They had been led to think that they could easily maintain themselves by taking pupils, or by needlework; and were altogether unprepared for the hardships and distress, which they have had to endure. It is true, that these may at any time marry, and thus become at once independent, and very valuable members of society; but the position in which they are at present placed is a very painful and humiliating one.
During the last few months, I have also known several instances of distress for want of employment among particular kinds of journeymen, such as tailors and shoemakers; but I think that this is only temporary, and that all good workmen in these and other useful trades, are sure of getting on eventually. The fact however shows, that they may find the labour market overstocked on their arrival; and that they ought to bring with them the means of support, for a few weeks at least, while they are looking out for work. I would particularly request those who give such persons letters of recommendation to their friends here, to attend to this remark, otherwise their letters of recommendation become, in fact, letters of credit, which place us in great difficulties.
Of the prospect of success for merchants and tradesmen, or for persons bringing with them a small capital for investment in stock, or in land, I do not feel that I am capable of forming a correct judgment, and therefore I will say nothing. But I would mention, that persons who intend to engage in farming, ought to be not only accustomed to the management of arable land, (for are there no grass farms here,) but also able and willing to put their own hand to the plough, and to take an active part themselves in all kinds of field work. There is no class here corresponding to the English tenant farmer, whose only business is to attend the markets, keep his accounts, and ride about his fields to give general directions, and see that his men do their work properly. Here every farmer must be himself a labourer.
The description of persons whom I can most confidently recommend to seek a home in this distant land, are sober, honest, intelligent, hard-working English or Scotch labourers and mechanics, particularly such as are employed about house building, &c. as brickmakers, bricklayers, stonemasons, carpenters, plasterers, and such like. Of these, it would seem, there is little cause to suspect that for many years to come, the supply will exceed the demand. Persons who have not families, and are willing to go into the bush, are sure to obtain situations as shepherds or hutkeepers.
I would here suggest to my brethren at home, that they address their letters of recommendation, in general, to "The Rev. the Chaplain of Immigrants in communion with the Church of England, Port Phillip." They do not seem to be aware of the variety of important duties which a Colonial Bishop has to fulfil, and of the great interruption caused to him by the frequent calls of immigrants, who, having brought an introduction to him, very naturally expect that he will exert himself in procuring situations for them. I would not be understood as wishing to deter Clergymen and others, and particularly my own personal friends, from recommending to my care any, in whom they may be specially interested; but only to impress upon them, that such recommendations ought not to be given except in very particular cases, and that all which I can, for the most part, do for the persons recommended, is to speak a few kind words to them, and give them some general good advice. It would interfere far too much with my own proper duties, if I were to attempt to assist them in settling here.
Upon the subject of Clergymen, and of teachers in schools of a public character, whether for the upper or the labouring class, I will speak presently; but with regard to the establishment of private schools, and tuition in private families, I am afraid to give any decided opinion. I am inclined to think, that there is not, at present, any opening for persons of high literary attainments, or of great accomplishments. At the same time it is to be remembered, that every year shows a most prodigious growth and progress, both in the amount of population, and in the condition of society; and such teachers may arrive most opportunely both for the Colony and for themselves. I dare not, however, encourage any to venture without some definite prospect of employment.
Besides the general body of free emigrants, there is the particular class of orphan girls, several hundreds of whom have been sent out already from the workhouses, and other charitable institutions of Ireland; and more are expected both from that country and from England. As a member of the Board of Guardians appointed by the Government to take charge, and superintend the hiring, of these young females, I have had the best opportunity for observing the effects of the system. The introduction of so great a proportion of Roman Catholics was necessarily most painful to me, and cannot but be injurious, as I think, to the community; but, apart from this, the young women themselves were found to be, in general, very inefficient servants; and, since a large number of a far superior description of emigrants has arrived, the demand for them has been continually diminishing. Hence the Board of Guardians have unanimously recommended the discontinuance of the system, until there should appear to be a necessity for resuming it. At the time when it was established, the disproportion between the number of males and females in the Province was so great, as very naturally to suggest it, as an experiment; and I must in justice allow, that so many of them have married within a few months, or even weeks, after their arrival, as to show the necessity of some measure of the kind. I trust, however, that by maintaining in future a due proportion between the sexes in the system of free emigration, there will be no further occasion for adopting this particular kind, at least, not to any great extent. On a limited scale it might not be objectionable. The dangerous preponderance which is given by it to Popery is illustrated by the fact mentioned in the following extract from a letter of Dr. Braim, the justice of whose complaint will be generally acknowledged: "I cannot but express a hope," says he, "that the Government will act differently in future, with respect to the immigrants they send us. Of eighty souls added to our population in one day, upwards of seventy were Romanists. And not only so, but of fifty unmarried females, forty-eight were of this communion. I do not object to a fair proportion, but this wholesale introduction of such persons, is calculated to be very injurious. A great number of young men, belonging in some cases really, but very generally, nominally, to a Protestant Church, are scattered about this district. The result will be many intermarriages between Protestants and Romanists. I am anxious on this point, because we have unfortunately a great number of such cases in the town and neighbourhood at present. The Priest who is now stationed here, is a man of great energy, a man of education and address, in fact, a Jesuit. Of hard-working men I have seldom seen his equal. He is to be found in every house, where he has a chance of effecting an entrance; and is very active in trying to persuade parents to prefer his school to ours for the education of their children. It becomes occasionally a point of difficulty to be settled, whether they are to be brought up as Protestants or Romanists; and sometimes the day is carried against me, by the great hold which the Priests have over the minds of their deluded people. Hence it is, that I would not see such marriages as those I have referred to above, multiplied; and if you could induce the Government to be more equal in their allotments to us, (and to others I may say,) it would be a very great advantage to us. Father Stattery has a large school in the town; is building his Church; has occasionally a second Priest with him; has another new school built about seven miles from Belfast, at Cronins; has stated services at Woodford and Warnambool; (at the latter place he has also a Church;) and when not engaged in town work, is always in the saddle. 'Fas est ab hoste doceri.' He keeps the strictest watch over our movements. Occasionally a case arises, where a nominal Romanist, being a liberal man, sends a child to our school; but he seldom stays above a day; for the Priest knows of it, and causes his removal. He has now, I think, about forty children, very many of whom were in our schools until very lately."
There is another branch of emigration which has, on account of its great practical importance both to the mother country and to this Colony, occupied a large share of my attention, and on which I would now venture, although with some diffidence, to state the result of my observation. I allude to that of the exiles; convicts, either juvenile or of full age, who, after punishment by solitary confinement or other prison discipline for a certain period in England, have been transported to this province and landed here with a full pardon, subject only to the condition that they shall not return to Europe. It was an object of the greatest interest to me when I arrived, to ascertain whether or not this system had produced the desired effect; whether those who were thus set free in a new world availed themselves of the opportunity for beginning to lead a new life, or returned again to their former evil courses, and became the bane of the community into which they had been introduced. My hopes were sanguine as to a favourable issue; and I was not at first disposed to credit the aspersions cast upon them by the townspeople and the colonial press. I hoped that when I went into the country, I should find the testimony of the settlers upon the other side. I lament, however, to say that this has not been the case. In all my journeys I have taken every opportunity of inquiring about them, and I have conversed with all sorts of persons upon the subject, those who have employed them, and others; and the opinion of all is the same, that they are the worst class, as a class, of the whole community. In this opinion I have been most reluctantly constrained to concur. The evidence against the system is, I am obliged to acknowledge, so strong that it has quite overthrown all my prepossessions in its favour. The province of Port Phillip, from its proximity to Van Diemen's Land, and to the middle district of New South Wales, has received and still continues to receive, large importations of expirees, i, e. convicts whose term of transportation has expired. Such a class, it might be supposed, would prove most prejudicial to a young community; and undoubtedly it has proved so. But the evils resulting from the immigration of the expirees appear to have been far less than those which have been caused by the introduction of the exiles. By far the greater number of the notorious thieves and bad characters about the towns consist of the latter. The gaol is full of them; and they are supposed to be the actors in almost all the robberies which are so frequently perpetrated. My feeling now is so completely changed, that I should regard the arrival of a ship with convicts as even less mischievous than that of one with pardoned exiles. It is a matter of great practical interest to ascertain the cause of the total failure of the scheme, which was regarded with so much interest by every philanthropist, and which seemed in theory to be so plausible. I have often reflected upon the subject, and will briefly state the conclusion at which I have arrived, leaving my readers to form their own opinion of its correctness. It is to be remembered, that all the grown up exiles who have been sent from Pentonville,--I not do know exactly the system of the Institution for Juvenile Offenders at Parkhurst,--were subjected for a certain length of time to a peculiar prison discipline; the special characteristic of which was, that they should not have any communication with any one except the Chaplain, nor read any book except the Bible; and that they were taken at once from prison and put on shipboard, where they were also kept under a strict discipline, until they were landed, perfectly free, in this province. Now the question is, whether the preparatory discipline which they had gone through was likely to produce in them a reformation of life; strengthen them to resist the temptations to which they would be exposed here; and make them to become good citizens. The more I have thought upon the subject, the more convinced I have become that, in respect to the great majority of cases, it must prove utterly inefficient for such a purpose. That it was a severe punishment I allow, and I have known a man to say that he would rather endure death than undergo it again; but that it has in general a reformatory influence I very much doubt; at least, that its influence is such as to justify the letting of a multitude of such men loose, without any further trial, in a country like this. In the solitude of their cells, they were exposed to no temptations; the strength of the good resolutions which they might form was not in any way tested; they must perform their appointed work, whatever it might be; they were separated from the influence of evil companions, and, above all, they were not liable to be stimulated to crime by any intoxicating drink. But so soon as they were landed here, they were exposed again to all their former temptations at once. The love of idleness, the appetite for ardent spirits, all were likely to return upon them in their full force; and what was there to restrain them from the indulgence of all these? Nothing, unless indeed the Spirit of God had made His written word, and the ministry of His servants, effectual for their real conversion unto holiness. That this has been the case in some instances we may reasonably hope, but that it has been so in many, the experience, I believe, of all my brethren will compel them to doubt. Wherever it has not been, there is, I repeat, no effectual restraint upon the liberated prisoner. All, who know any thing of human nature, know that a compulsory abstinence from any sinful indulgence, however long, so far from enabling a man to abstain when the temptation is again thrown in his way, usually increases his longing for it, and makes him give himself up to it more greedily than ever. And the argument, that there is no temptation to crime here, because there is abundance of labour and high wages, shows an entire ignorance of the prevailing causes of crime. Those causes are very seldom, if ever, the inability to obtain employment, and the low price of labour. They are, almost invariably, habits of idleness, which make a man unwilling to work; and the use of intoxicating drink, which is always connected with those habits. Now, these are likely to prevail here, as much as in England; and they will produce the same effects. Moreover, if an exile resist the first temptation, and hire himself to one of the settlers in the bush, as several to my knowledge, and probably many, have done, what is his condition then? Instead of being constantly visited by a Clergyman, he too probably never sees one. Instead of being obliged to attend Divine Service every Lord's-day, he has seldom, if ever, the opportunity of doing so. He is usually destitute of all religious counsel and exhortation; and if he have any sense of religious obligation, he is left to cherish it by himself alone. What, I would ask, is more natural than that such a man, under such circumstances, if he be not fully established in the faith and really spiritually minded, should fall back into ungodliness, and so into intemperance, and thus return to his former criminal practices? This I believe to have been the case with a large proportion of these unhappy persons. I am truly sorry to give such an account of them; but I feel myself bound to state what I am assured is the truth.
There are many particulars concerning the position of the Church of England in these Colonies, the appointment and incomes of the Clergy, the exercise of episcopal authority, &c. which demand the attentive consideration of those who desire to secure, through the blessing of our Great Head, a faithful and efficient ministry of the word to the members of our communion, and to preserve within that communion the great body of the Colonists. The description of these would occupy more time than I can now spare, and does not come within the scope of my present letter. I will therefore only make a few observations upon the state and prospects (so far as one may venture to form a conjecture upon the latter) of the visible Church of Christ generally in this land, with reference to the hope which you once expressed, that the members of some of the other denominations might be led to reunite with us. From what I have already said, you will have inferred that there is among all denominations, and especially among the Presbyterians, a general willingness, when they cannot obtain a minister of their own, to assist their episcopal brethren in maintaining a Clergyman of our Church; but you must not therefore conclude that there is any general abatement of sectarian feeling among us. In a letter lately received from the Archdeacon of Geelong, he writes: "I have invariably met with the utmost kindness from the members of the Church of Scotland. Their ministers I have found kind, straightforward, and sincere, and the laity have in many instances welcomed us with a cordiality fully equal to what I could expect from those of the Church of England. Individuals of other denominations have met me in a Christian spirit, but with the Scottish Church there have been as yet no exceptions." This also has been my own experience. On the part of the members of the Church of Scotland there seems to be an almost universal feeling of perfect brotherhood; but yet there is among them a strong attachment to their own form of worship and of Church government; so that they will always, where they are able, maintain themselves as a distinct communion. I am sorry I cannot speak in the same terms of the disposition of the Free Church, and other sects (for there are several) among the Scotch Presbyterians. In many of them, and especially in several of their ministers, there is, I fear, a rooted aversion toward the Church of England, and a great jealousy of her progress. At the same time I believe that most, if not all of them, do justice to the faithfulness and zeal of our Clergy, and are disposed to maintain a friendly intercourse with us individually. When I arrived, the Branch Association of the British and Foreign Bible Society was wholly managed by members of other communions, and the proposal at the annual meeting last year, to elect me President, elicited some rather violent opposition. The resolution was however carried by a large majority; and the intercourse which my office has occasioned me to hold with them has, I think, tended, if not to remove their objections to our doctrines and discipline, at least to soften their asperity. The above remarks upon the ministers and members of the Free, and other dissenting Presbyterian Churches, will apply to the English Independents, and I am rather inclined to think, to the Baptists; but these sects are neither of them numerous. Among the Wesleyans there is I hope, a kindly feeling towards us, but not the least disposition to a reunion. On the contrary, as their conduct in the case of Pentridge shows, they are on the watch to seize upon every opportunity for extending the ramifications of their wonderful association. I do not write this in condemnation of them: for although we may suppose that a carnal spirit of rivalry may sometimes influence them, as it may also influence ourselves, yet I would give them credit in general for a real zeal for the glory of God, and a desire to bring sinners to a saving knowledge of the truth. I am disposed however, much more than, formerly, to think that their errors of doctrine, combined with the peculiar means which they use, for producing and maintaining religious impressions on the minds of the people, exercise an injurious practical influence, and lead many to deceive themselves with the show of godliness, while they are altogether ignorant of the power thereof. If my future observation confirm me in this opinion, I shall feel compelled to change my conduct towards them. Hitherto I have offered no opposition to them, or to any who hold the fundamental truths of the Gospel, but have contented myself with endeavouring to preoccupy the ground, so as to leave them no room to enter. But if I find that their doctrine and system lead to the subversion of the souls of the people, I must testify plainly against them.
Besides the above there are various other sects, or perhaps I should rather say, there are various other congregations, formed by individuals, calling themselves either Methodists, or Baptists, or Independents, who have never received any form of ordination, and are not recognised by any of these communions. Thus, the schoolmaster mentioned above, who has established himself at the Ovens, calls himself a Baptist minister. My inference, therefore, from the observations which I have made, is, that so far from there being a probability of the schisms of the Church being healed in this Colony, they are likely, on the contrary, to increase. There are, and it seems likely that there always will be, a number of persons setting themselves up as preachers, and endeavouring by all the means in their power to flatter and to please the people.
Some of them, I trust, preach Christ; and if Christ be preached, "I do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice:" but at the same time I cannot but deeply lament the great hindrance to the progress of the pure Gospel, which these divisions in the Church, and the envy and strife always consequent upon these divisions, necessarily occasion. Hence it is that I am peculiarly anxious that our Clergy should not only be faithful men, themselves taught of the Spirit, and thus able to teach others, but should also be duly qualified, both in body and in mind, for the efficient discharge of their duties. I have always spoken of activity and energy of character as essential requisites for a successful colonist; but if they are needful for a layman, much more are they necessary for a clergyman. No mistake can be greater than to suppose that those, who are not efficient in the ministry at home, may be useful here. It is just the contrary. There are many who may do much good in a quiet country village at home, but would be worse than useless here. We must have men of more than ordinary zeal, and of patient, persevering diligence. We do not indeed so much want men of highly cultivated minds and deep learning, as men of practical good sense and warm affections; men well versed in the English Bible, and able, as a man expressed himself to me the other day, to read a chapter in a family, and speak to them upon it. It is only by obtaining Clergyman who shall be both earnest and effective preachers, and also diligent pastors of the flock, visiting continually among their people, and knowing how to speak a word in season to all, that we may hope, by God's blessing, to preserve and extend the influence of our Church. Its power for good depends, humanly speaking, upon the character of its individual ministers. Hence my purpose is, with God's help, to employ none but such as I have described above; and in order to prevent any others from coming out in the hope of obtaining employment here, I have requested my two friends, the Rev. Professor Scholefield, of Cambridge, and the Rev. H. Venn, Prebendary of St. Paul's, and Secretary of the Church Missionary Society, with my brother-in-law, the Rev. J. Cooper, Fellow and Tutor of Trinity College, Cambridge, to undertake the office of my Commissaries, for the purpose of inquiring into, and judging of the qualifications of all applicants. I mention this in order to apprise my friends and brethren in England that I cannot receive any Clergyman, or candidate for Holy Orders, who has not been previously approved by these three gentlemen. The arrival of parties who were not aware of my rule, has already placed me, more than once, in a very difficult and painful position; and I am on that account desirous that it should be generally known. I may add, also, that my experience has already shown me its absolute necessity.
With regard to teachers for our schools; although I have not laid down any such strict rule in respect to them, yet I am strongly impressed with the importance of having satisfactory testimony to their genuine Christian character, and their fitness for the office of instructors of youth. And I would urge upon all who give such testimonials, the solemn duty, as before God, of stating no more than what they really know in favour of any one, and of concealing nothing which they know, or suspect, to his disadvantage. I have had reason to complain, that some in whom I thought I could trust, have, from motives of kindness or compassion, recommended persons who have proved altogether undeserving of the character given them. Such mistaken kindness to an individual is often the greatest cruelty and injustice to a community. We are just now very much in want of good teachers, male and female, for schools corresponding to an English National School. I could provide employment for at least three masters and three mistresses, with stipends varying from 60 l. to 100 l. for the former, and from 40 l. to 60 l. for the latter. It must however be borne in mind, that the emigrant ships which are now on their way may bring me a supply, and thus the situations for which I require them may be filled up before this letter reaches home. A good assistant-master for our Grammar School would be a valuable acquisition. We cannot afford to offer more than 100l. as a salary at present, and we may very probably obtain a suitable person either from Sydney or Van Diemen's Land. I should not therefore advise any young man to come out with a view to applying for it.
I must not conclude without expressing my great regret in having most unaccountably omitted in my letter to the Archbishop, to notice the kind fraternal welcome which I received from the Bishop of Sydney, as soon as he heard of our arrival; and likewise the kind attention and true hospitality which was shown to us by his Honour Mr. La Trobe, the Superintendent of Port Phillip. I have since found the former always ready, so far as our distance from one another allowed, to assist me with his counsel; and from the latter we have not only personally experienced the most unvarying kindness, but I have received also, directly and indirectly, the most important help in the fulfilment of my duties. In the position which I occupy, I feel it to be a ground for peculiar thankfulness that the highest civil functionary in this Province is one who by his unblemished character, his regular attendance upon all the ordinances of the Church, and his liberal aid in every good work, exhibits an example to the whole community. I pray that the Divine blessing may rest abundantly upon him and upon his family. There is another debt of gratitude owing both by me and by all the members of the Church of England in this Diocese,--a debt which I desire never to forget--to yourself, and to those other Christian brethren who have truly laboured with us in the Spirit, and have contributed in various ways, by their prayers, by their contributions, and otherwise, to the furtherance of the Gospel in this land. It will be an encouragement to them to learn from this letter that "hitherto hath the Lord helped us," beyond our most sanguine expectations. He has granted unto us health, and every domestic comfort; He has raised up many in this land to cooperate with us; He has granted unto us to find favour with those among whom we dwell; and He has made His work, as I humbly trust, in some measure to prosper in our hands. Even while this letter has been in progress, two additional fellow-labourers, the Rev. W. Singleton and the Rev. S. L. Chase, have joined us; both of them appear to be admirably fitted, under God's blessing, for the work for which they are required. The arrival of the former has enabled me to provide for Kilmore, and the latter has just come in time to relieve me from my difficulty about removing Mr. Cheyne from Geelong, as he seems just the sort of man to send upon a Missionary journey through the interior. Oh that we may be duly thankful for all the Lord's goodness towards us, and serve Him with a singleness of purpose and with a simple faith! and oh may He glorify His own great name in us! I would beg of you, my dear friend, and of all who may read this letter, to continue to pray for us, and so far as the Lord gives you the opportunity, to help us. I have perhaps erred in writing at so great length, but I could not well compress what I wished to say into a smaller space; and I trust that those for whom this Letter is particularly written will not grudge the hour or two which its perusal may occupy. It has indeed taken up more of my time than I could well spare, but I console myself with the reflection that I have written, not for the present alone, but for the future, and that if the Lord shall preserve my life, and retain me in my present office, a brief notice of the progress which we are enabled to make in each successive year will henceforth be all that I shall be required to send you. I will only add that our prayers are continually offered up at the Throne of Grace for our brethren in our beloved native land, and especially for those to whom we are bound by the fondly-cherished associations of former years; and that our desire is, to realize the fact of our present communion with them in the Spirit, and the prospect of our future reunion with them in the kingdom of our Lord. May our Heavenly Father bestow His choicest gifts upon you all, through Christ Jesus.
Ever your affectionate friend.