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Sydney Gazette: Farewell Speech

Fellow Citizens of Australia !

Previous to the Commission of my Successor being read, I wish to address a few words to you by way of taking leave.

On the occasion of my own Commission, as Governor in Chief of this Territory, being read, now nearly twelve years ago, I pledged myself to administer the Affairs of this Government with strict justice and impartiality; and I trust, that every liberal and unprejudiced Person will admit that I have redeemed that pledge: — My constant maxim and principle being, to reward merit and punish vice, wherever I found them, without regard to rank, class or description of persons.

When I took Charge of this Government, on the 1st. of January 1810, I found the Colony in a state of rapid deterioration; — threatened with a famine; — discord and party spirit prevailing to a great degree; — all the public buildings in a state of dilapidation and decay; very few roads and bridges, and those few very bad; — the inhabitants, generally very poor; and commerce and public credit at the lowest ebb.

I now have the happiness to reflect, that I leave it in a very different condition:

— the face of the Country generally, and agriculture in particular, greatly improved; — stock, of all kinds, greatly increased; some useful manufactories established;

— commerce revived, and public credit restored; — a great number of substantial and useful public edifices erected; — good roads and bridges of communication constructed throughout the Colony; — and the Inhabitants, comparatively, opulent and happy.

To have been instrumental in bringing about so favorable a change, will ever be TO ME, a source of sincere delight; and it is not arrogating to myself any questionable merit to say, that I have used every exertion of body and mind, I was capable of, to attain this desirable and important object; and I think all persons will allow, that I have not consulted my own personal ease, or convenience, in the execution of the various and arduous duties attached to my Office; on the contrary, I feel that my health is greatly impaired by the constant and unremitting attention I have bestowed on the faithful, zealous, and conscientious discharge of my public duties.

I am well aware that every man in public life must have enemies, and perhaps it would be unreasonable, IN ME, to expect to be totally exempted from the virulent attacks of party and disaffection;

But, buoyed above the fear of base calumny, vindictive slander, and malicious reproach, by the consciousness of a long life of upwards of forty years' service spent in honorable pursuits, and stained with no action which can give me remorse, I confidently anticipate not only the approbation of my Sovereign, but also the applause of Posterity, for the purity of my motives and the rectitude of my actions, during my long, arduous, and laborious Administration of this Colony; — in the future welfare and prosperity of which, I shall ever feel a deep interest, and lively solicitude.

The length of time I have governed this Colony, the progress it has made in improvement during my Administration and more especially the fond recollection of my only surviving Child being born in it — all combine in attaching me most strongly to it, I shall not fail to cherish the same sentiments of attachment in my Son — who, although yet so young, feels, and already expresses, the strongest affection for his Native Australian Land.

My most fervent prayers will accordingly be offered for the welfare and prosperity of this Country, and for the happiness of its Inhabitants; fondly, and confidently anticipating, that, in less than half a century hence, it will be one of the most valuable appendages to the British Empire. — I shall not fail, on my return to England, to recommend, in the strongest manner I am able, to my Sovereign, and to His Majesty's Government, their early attention to the amelioration of this valuable rising Colony, and to extend to it their paternal support and fostering protection.

I cannot conclude this Address, better than by offering to the Inhabitants of this Colony, my sincere congratulations on their good fortune, in having an Officer, of such distinguished Reputation and highly established Character, as SIR THOMAS BRISBANE, appointed to be their Governor; and although I will not allow that He can surpass his Predecessor, in zeal and inclination, I trust and hope, He will, in ability and talents, in promoting the prosperity and improvement of the Country, and the happiness and unanimity of its Inhabitants. In these sentiments and wishes, deeply engraved on my heart, I now bid you all — Farewell !


Sydney, New South Wales,
Saturday, 1st. Dec. 1821.

Sydney Gazette 1 December 1821 p.2a-b.

A special ceremony took place in Hyde Park on the morning of Saturday 1 December 1821. At this time Lachlan Macquarie read out this speech [transcribed above] to the inhabitants of Sydney. It was followed immediately afterwards by the recital of Governor Brisbane's Commission of Office by the Provost Marshall, and then by his formal installation as the new Governor of New South Wales. Next, the various detachments of the 48th. Regiment, under the command of Colonel Erskine, paraded through Hyde Park and fired three volleys, followed by a Royal Salute from the Battery at Dawe's Point.

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