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8 January 1818

Sydney 8. Jany. 1818.,

Thursday Noon!

Mr. Marsden!

To prevent the possibility of any misrepresentation, I have thought it necessary to have those * three Gentlemen present at this interview, in order that they may hear and bear witness, eventually, of what I am now about to say to you.

1st. I have long known, Mr Marsden, that you are a secret Enemy of mine - and as long as you continue only a secret one, I despised too much your malicious attempts to injure my character to take any notice of your treacherous conduct; - but now that you have thrown off the mask, and have openly and Publickly manifested your hostile and factious disposition towards me, I can no longer consistently with what I owe to my own high station, and the tranquility of the Country I have the honor to Govern, pass over unnoticed, a recent most daring act of insolence and insubordination, of which you have been guilty. —

2d. I therefore demand of you to inform me by whose order, and by what authority, you have dared to investigate, and take Depositions, respecting my Public measures and administration, as Governor in Chief of this Colony. — I allude, Sir, to your late examination of the Public Executioner, Thomas Hughes, at the House of Robert Campbell Esqr., relative to my ordering three men to be Punished some time ago for breaking into the Government Domain Contrary to repeated Government Orders.

"That he did not consider that he had done anything wrong." —

3d. I consider, Sir, that act of yours, not only as most insolent and impertinent as it respects myself Personally; - but also, as highly insubordinate and seditious; in as much as such conduct, on your part, tends to inflame the mind of the Inhabitants, excite a Clamour against my Government, bring my administration into disrepute, and disturb the General Tranquility of the Colony. — Such conduct, Sir, would be highly Criminal in any man; but still much more so in you - as being both a Magistrate and a Clergyman - who ought to be the first to set an example of loyalty, obedience, and proper subordination! —

4th. As I was myself Personally the object of your seditious, malicious, and officious investigation, on the occasion adverted to, I did not wish - tho' I knew what was going forward at the time - to interrupt your treacherous and insidious endeavours to injure my Character - and thereby gratify your own spirit of revenge! —

But now, that I conclude that you have fully completed your investigation on the Subject in question - and transmitted Home the result thereof; I must thus Publickly warn you, that if ever you dare or presume again to interfere with, or investigate any part of my conduct, as Governor of this Colony, I shall consider it my indispensible duty - as a measure of necessary precaution - alike due to my own high station, the support of my authority, and the tranquility of the Country - immediately to suspend you from the exercise of your Functions in your present offices, as a Clergyman and a Magistrate, until I report your conduct to H. R. Highness The Prince Regent. —

5th. Viewing you now, Sir, as the Head of a Seditious low Cabal - and consequently unworthy of mixing in Private Society or intercourse with me, I beg to inform you that I never wish to see you excepting on Public Duty; — and I cannot help deeply lamenting, that, any man of your Sacred Profession should be so much lost to every good feeling of Justice, generosity and gratitude, as to manifest such deep rooted malice, rancour, hostility and vindictive opposition towards one who has never injured you — but has, on the contrary, conferred several acts of kindness on both yourself and Family!


* Revd. Wm. Cowper - Chaplain
J.T. Campbell - Secry.
Lt. Jno. Watts 46th. A.D.C.

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'Lachlan Macquarie to Samuel Marsden' 8 January 1818.
MACQUARIE, Lachlan. Letter Book 1809-1822.
Original held in Mitchell Library, Sydney.
ML Ref: A797 pp.141-144. [Microfilm copy: CY Reel 306].

The purpose of this document appears to be more as a quasi-legal document than as a letterbook entry. It is also a briefing note that summarises Macquarie's intended speech to Rev. Samuel Marsden, at a time when their personal relationship was becoming increasingy acrimonious and bitter. In addition to providing an insight into Macquarie's thoughts and feelings, the names of three witnesses are included in the margin, as well as initialled signatures for 'J.T.C.' and 'J.W.' in five places, coinciding with the five points that Macquarie raises with Marsden. [ie. John Thomas Campbell and John Watts]. The fact that their initials appear in Macquarie's personal Letterbook are an indication of how seriously he took this confrontation with Marsden. However the absence of any initials or signature for Reverend Cowper in the Letterbook creates to the impression that Macquarie used Campbell and Watts as his 'inner cabinet'.

It seems doubtful that Macquarie would have ever supplied Marsden with an original copy of this note (as a letter), in case it was used against him or forwarded to critics overseas. The function of the text was as a script for managing the confrontation with Marsden on 8 January 1818.

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