J. It. M. Abbott
428 George St., Sydney.
E MANOR LISRAR
THE GOVERNOR'S MAN
I accompanied the Governor wherever he went.
[See page 81
J. H. M. ABBOTT
Illustrationi by JIM HANNAN
THE BOOKSTALL COMPANY PTY. LTD.
7a ELIZABETH STREET
My Sincere Friend,
I. At the Cock Tavern 11
II. A Hanging Matter 19
III. The Shadow of the Gallows 26
IV. Surgeon Collingwood, R.N 34
V. H.M. Transport Olga 41
VI. The Beast and the Beauty 48
VII. Fortune's Plaything 56
VIII. The Rescue 63
IX. Sydney Town 69
X. The Governor's Man 78
XL The Road to the Green Hills 86
XII. Andrew Thompson 94
XIIL Vaucluse 102
XIV. Sir Henry Browne Hayes 109
XV. The Brink of Revolt 115
XVL The Rebellion 122
XVII. The Bad Night 129
XVIIL At the Coal River 136
XIX. Adelaide 145
XX. In 'Fifty-Eight 152
"I accompanied the Governor wherever he
went" : Frontispiece
"Oh, Doctor," she cried, "I have been a sad sailor" 53
"The most splendid-looking personage in the ship's
company was Mr. Nutting" ^73
"It was a beautiful, clear evening in May" 149
This little sketch of a remarkable event in early Aus-
tralian history does not pretend to be anything more.
The Bligh Rebellion was only an interlude in the be-
ginnings of the development of Australia; in some
respects rather a sordid interlude. But it was a pic-
turesque and interesting happening, and was the first
manifestation of the keen sense of politics which has
since possessed Australia. We do not now, when we
feel that we have had enough of them, make prisoners of
the members of a Government though frequently they
deserve such treatment but we still display the party
bitterness and rancour which distinguished the actions
of either side in 1808. Of the characters of the his-
torical personages such as Bligh, Macarthur, Johnston,
and the others it may be said that they are mostly guess-
work. The records are fairly complete, but at this dis-
tance, it is not altogether easy to understand the motives
of dead men, and the author does not sit in judgment
on them. He only claims that he has tried to be fair
in his reading of Australian history.
His thanks are due to the Editor and Proprietors of
"The World's News," of Sydney, in whose journal it
first appeared serially, for permission to publish in book
form this tale. It was written, for the most part, in
that admirable institution, the Mitchell Library.
J. H. M. A.
At the Cock Tavern.
I am getting to be an old, old man in these days, hav-
ing well attained the Psalmist's span of human exist-
ence with a year or two to boot and because life is to
me now only to be enjoyed in the memory of the past, I
am setting myself to the task of living some of it over
again, so that my children and my grandchildren, and
those who come after them, may know what manner of
man their first ancestor was. For so do I regard myself
in this new and wonderful land, where Britain has been
born again. Already I can see that, here in Australia,
we have begun to breed another race from the old stock
(just as they did in the Americas), and as they may do
again at the Pole, for aught that I can prophesy to the
contrary. The year one, to us Australians, commenced
on the 26th of January, 1788; and my own beginning, as
a living man, I date from that sunny morning in the
winter of 1806, when I stepped ashore, a prisoner, from
a ship's boat in Sydney Cove.
It may seem contrary to the due sense of shame which
should hold possession of any man in the recollection of
his own disgrace and ignominy, when I recall the fact,
and seem to emphasise it, that I came to this country in
a state of bondage. Who should know better than I,
who have lived through the period of Australia's develop-
ment from a prison camp into the commencement and
realisation of free nationhood ; how shudderingly we look
back to the gloomy and horrible birth-pangs which accom-
panied our entry into being? Who should know better
what the term "Emancipist" means all the scorn, the
12 THE GOVERNOR'S MAN
bitterness that can be conveyed in its application? Who
should more readily realise the desirability of
obliterating the felon taint, of forgetting it, repudiat-
ing it, and denying it unhesitatingly with the whitest of
white lies? There are many whom I see about me
prosperous, honoured, happy, and worthy of the respect
of all good men who would almost do murder, in their
resentment of a suspicion of having had a penal career
in New South Wales, despite the fact that their origin
was truly such. And their children are even more
studiously forgetful of it. It never does, in this year of
grace, one thousand eight hundred and fifty-eight, to
remind any young man that you shared some of his
father's early vicissitudes however manfully the parent
may have made good, and however valuable and blessed
his life, as a whole, may have been to the country of
his enforced adoption. A man of my years would
seldom earn popularity amongst his juniors by claiming
early acquaintance with their parents. We do not now
speak of those days.
But I am going to dare greatly, and to set down, in
black and white, the principal events of my early career.
That is because I am not ashamed, but am justly proud
of it proud that I came through it, that I survived
where so many succumbed, and that my name will be
remembered here as that of a just man, rather than of a
felon. I have no fear that any of my children will
reproach me for what I am about to do. They have
been taught differently. They could not have had such
a mother as they have had, and remained snobs. I
could not have lived with such a woman for all these
years and remained a bad man. Mind, I do not admit
that I ever was one. A little smug self-satisfaction
about that, if you like, but there it is. It is quite true.
As I have said, I regard my life as having begun on
the day when I came on shore in Sydney in August, 1806.
But as every life is more or less affected by prenatal
influences, I must give some little account of those which
had to do with mine. That is to say, of the immediate
THE GOVERNOR'S MAN 13
events which led up to my being transported to Botany
Bay, as all Australia used to be vaguely known in the
early days, whether it was Van Diemen's Land or Car-
pentaria, or the vast province in between the two.
To begin with, I was born on Harrow Weald, in the
year 1786, and, on an evening nineteen years later, I was
in the Cock Tavern in Fleet Street, very foolishly,
riotously, and boyishly drunk. I have not time or in-
clination to write of my father's house near Stanmore,
or of my school days at Harrow-on-the-Hill, but will
make a beginning with that disastrous evening in Lon-
don. It was the immediate occasioning of my coming
to Australia, and so it is fitting that this Australian
narrative should start then.
It was a foggy evening in November one of those
London evenings which are no different in appearance
or sensation to any other part of the twenty-four hours.
The shades of night are not any more sombre than the
shades of day have been. Lamps and candlelights,
twinkling into cheerful being, do not signal the chang-
ing of daylight into darkness, for there has been no day
to change. A thin drizzle damps the atmosphere. Thick
brown fog, that causes the eyes to smart, hangs in the
streets, and penetrates within doors. The noises of the
town are hushed, because the rush of traffic has ceased,
and all that there is of movement is slow and groping,
and cautiously silent. There is nothing to be seen,
save a vast brown opaqueness, through which only such
illumination as is close at hand is dimly apparent. There
is nothing to do, save remain indoors, in the pursuit of
such occupation as may be at hand, congenial or other-
Now the occupation which young Mr. John
Hawkins Carnford found to his hand was not,
in any sense, congenial. I know that, for I
am old Mr. Carnford, and that night has never
lost its memories for me in all these years.
Every minute of it though there was some time whose
happenings had to be pieced together afterwards is ac-
14 THE GOVERNOR'S MAN
countable to me. I have never in my life been able to
put that momentous evening out of my mind. It has
been with me always, and in my last hour of conscious-
ness it will still be with me. It is indelibly imprinted
upon my mind, as it may well be, for in those hours of
that foggy November night all my life and destiny was
shaped. I am not one of those who are forever dwelling
upon the contingencies of "It Might Have Been," with
a sort of comforting, gloomy dissatisfaction, but, even
if I could do so, I should never be able to put out of my
mind that strange turning point of my whole career.
I lived in Chambers, in Paper Buildings in the
Temple; two small rooms, which I occupied alone. My
father was a wealthy city merchant, an alderman, who
had long since amassed a comfortable fortune, and re-
tired to the rural delights of the peaceful countryside,
near the village of Stanmore. Twice a week, on Wed-
nesday and on Saturday, he visited his business establish-
ment in St. Paul's Churchyard, so as to keep in touch
with his affairs, but their general direction he left to his
manager, Mr. Isaac Palfrey, whose situation I was
destined one day to fill, when I should have acquired a
thorough knowledge of the business.
The process of acquiring this knowledge was, as my
father conceived it, a very thorough one. It was also
sound and sensible, although I did not find it an agree-
able one. I had to start at the very bottom almost
indeed as a doorkeeper. The only difference in my
case from the position of the humblest underling in the
firm's service was one of pay. But my pay was not
shown on the books of the business. I was given an
allowance that was amply sufficient for my needs, even
generous to a degree, and was provided with comfortable
quarters. Each week-end I spent at home. It was
only in a strict insistence upon my hours of attendance
at the counting-house that my father disciplined me. I
had to be upon my stool at eight o'clock, summer and
winter, and it was seven in the evening before I was my
THE GOVERNOR'S MAN 15
own master. There were three-quarters of an hour for
a mid-day meal.
This evening, in a somewhat dissatisfied frame of mind,
I had groped my way down Ludgate Hill, and up
Fleet Street. The last hours of the long, bleak day
had seemed an eternity that would never end. Indoors,
on desks and tables about the big clerks' room, there was
gloom but faintly dispelled by the guttering tallow
candles, that gleamed dully through a brown haze. Out-
side, the fog was so thick and dense that even the great
cathedral was obliterated by it. I came out into a
black void that shrouded all the lights of streets and
shops. It was only by groping slowly along the walls
of the houses that I was able to make my way homewards
to my lodging. At Ludgate Circus I spent easily a good
half-hour in finding my way across, before I succeeded
in reaching Fleet Street. I had made two false turn-
ings into the Blackfriars Road, and into Farringdon
Street, and it was only when I walked into Temple Bar
itself that I knew I was close to my destination. It
was the thickest fog I had even seen in London, and its
melancholy atmosphere had tinged my thoughts sadly.
It was only then, having lighted my candles, and
being about to turn into my bedroom to wash my hands,
that I remembered my appointment for the evening.
Hastily making my toilet, I again put on my overcoat,
and having extinguished the light, closed the outer door
of my chambers behind me, and rapped with my stick
on the lintel of the door across the narrow landing, oppo-
site to my room.
A cheerful voice within bade me enter.
"Come in, Jack, me bold blood. 'Tis late ye are, ye
scaramouch ! Can ye not tear yourself away from ye're
money grubbin' pershuits in toime t' kape a gintleman
from wearin' out his vocabulary a-cursin'? Yes? What
have ye to say for yourself, ye dawdler?"
I found Brian McMahon all ready to go out.
"Now, give an account of y'silf, Jack Carnford. What
philanderin' little game have ye bin up to now, me bould
16 THE GOVERNOR'S MAN
boy kapin' me waiting like this, an' our dinner gettin'
cowld this very minute?"
"What is it this evening, Mac?" I asked him. "The
fog bothered me. I thought I'd never find Temple Bar."
"A f oine excuse ! Never moind stir your stumps now,
an' we'll get round to the Cock. 'Tis a great honor I'm
doin' ye this evening. 'Tis a proud lad ye'll be when
ye come rowlin' home."
As he stooped to blow out the candle, he grinned all
over his jolly red face. Brian McMahon's appearance
was all redness. He had flaming hair, a red, sun-
tanned face, and great red-looking hands, and he was
the strongest man I have ever met, though, like myself,
he was then only a boy.
"Why who's the celebrity this time?" I asked him,
as we felt our way down the dark and narrow stairs.
" 'Tis royalty, no less, Johnny boy. Royalty wan of
an ancient line. 'Tis the O'Toole."
"Yes. O'Toole of Ballyhinchy the only O'Toole.
But wait till ye mate him. He's unaque. 'Tis th'
great man he is. I can promise ye entertainment such
as ye've niver had before. But hurry now he'll be
waitin', an' 'tis not good for the O'Toole to wait."
We groped our way out of the Temple, guided our-
selves across the street by Temple Bar, and presently, in
the snug and cosy coffee-room of the Cock, I was intro-
duced to the O'Toole. Would that I had never met
him! But I don't know about that. Certainly the
worst that has bef alien -me would not have happened
but then neither would the best. I'd never have met my
Addie if it hadn't been for the O'Toole.
He was a great, shabby Irishman. If he was an inch
in height, he was six feet three, and I'll swear he must
have measured a good four feet about the shoulders. A
shock head of black hair, and a shaggy beard, gave him
the appearance of a savage giant. In the low-ceiled
rooms of the old Cock, he appeared almost to crouch,
and, from the looks of the servitors and pot-boys, he
THE GOVERNOR'S MAN 17
seemed to have been impressing himself upon the estab-
lishment one would say forcibly, rather than favour-
ably. We heard his roaring voice whilst we were still
outside the doorway of the coffee-room.
With his great legs apart, and his hands behind him,
he stood before the old carved fire-place, and denounced
the tavern, the head-waiter, England, the weather, and
Brian McMahon for keeping him from his dinner. On
the mantelpiece beside him stood a half-empty bottle of
rum and a glass, and he smoked a short black pipe of the
sort that coal-heavers and bargees affect. As soon as we
came in he bellowed at us.
"Och, Brian ye son of th' divil 'tis th' poor host
ye are, ye blaggard. Shure I've bin a-hangin' round
this God-forsaken shebeen awaiting ye for hours. 'Tis
wake wid stharvation I am this minute an' this little
leprechaun here (pointing contemptuously to the plump
and alarmed head-waiter Henry), this little somehow of
a mahn, wouldn't give me bite or sup until ye should
put in an appearance. Bedad, I'm thinkin' he'd have
thrun me out into th' fog, if he'd bin big enough. But
what have ye to say for y'silf , ye onmannerly dog, ye !"
"A thousand pardons, O'Toole," laughed Brian.
" 'Twas th' fog kep' me friend Carnford here or, at
laste, he says 'twas th' fog, an' knowin' no different, I
suppose we'll have to take his word for it. Jack, me
boyo, let me presint ye to Mr. Shamus O'Toole the
greatest man out of Oireland. O'Toole, this is one of
our merchant princes, or he will be one day whin he
comes into his own."
"Glad to meet ye, Mr. Carnford," boomed the giant.
"Brian, me lad, for th' love of Hiven let us be atin'.
Sure I'm faint wid th' hunger."
We seated ourselves in one of the curtained boxes, Mr.
O'Toole expressing his disapproval of the narrow bench.
Brain and I sat opposite to him, his great bulk seeming
to fill his side of the table. Henry stood meekly by,
awaiting our orders.
"Bring me a porterhouse steak, ye little sniwlin' divil,
18 THE GOVERNOR'S MAN
and some praties, an' pass down that bottle of rum over
there. There's just an appaytiser left in it, Brain me
boy, we'll drink good luck to Mr. Carnford, even if he is
one of th' foes of Oireland, an Englishman. Och, 'tis
a cursed country it is, wid its fogs, and th' dampness av
it. Shure, a mahn does be nadin' all the spirits he can
hould for to kape the cowld out av his bones."
We emptied the bottle, and presently fell to upon
our dinners. Brain and I drank wine, but the huge
Irishman would have none of it, and called loudly for
another bottle of rum.
A Hanging Matter.
The room, since it was past the usual dining hour that
then obtained in London, was but sparsely filled ; never-
theless a few parties sat over their wine in the little
wooden compartments, smoking long church-warden
pipes. A roaring fire blazed in the big curved grate,
and it was a comforting thing to gaze upon, when one
remembered the fog outside.
The O'Toole's bellowing tones attracted an attention
of which he was quite sensible. His wild appearance
alone would have done that, even without the roar of
his great voice. It is doubtful whether so strange look-
ing a guest had dined at the Cock for many years. I
felt a little ashamed of the attention we were attracting,
but Brian McMahon obviously enjoyed the uncouth de-
portment of his hero.
"Sure, a grand man," he whispered to me, whilst the
giant had turned round to stare insolently about him at
the other guests. "Wan of the Kings of Ireland ! He's
indade that, if he had his rights. 'Tis not every day
such a man comes to London. He'll astonish the natives,
before he goes home or I don't know him."
I thought he was doing so now, but said nothing. To
my friend Brian, who hung upon and applauded his loud
words, he was obviously a person of notability. He
drank glass for glass with him, toasting all manner of
Irish fancies though, like myself, he drank port, whilst
the wild man literally poured raw spirits down his
brawny throat and laughed loudly at his own sallies of
coarse wit, which were mainly directed against England
and the English.
20 THE GOVERNOR'S MAN
"Luk at thim!" he shouted. "Here's a roomful of
men for ye! Whoi! Oi'd take ivry mahn Jack av thim,
altogether or singly, an" bate the lot av thim."
The other diners did not seem to take such outbursts
particularly amiss, and had, indeed, a collective air of
regarding our brawny companion rather in the light of a
diversion, or entertainment, than as one who was to be
taken seriously. As for me, I was at first disgusted,
but after the consumption of sundry glasses of wine, the
humour of the situation appealed to me. No one could
possibly hold me responsible for this savage, however
much Brian might take pride in his existence.
" 'Tis a heart of gold!" he said to me, in an aside,
whilst the O'Toole was intent upon swallowing a great
draught of rum. "Whin ye know the mahn, Jack, ye'll
love him as I do. This is the soort of mahn we ought
to have ruling over us in Ireland."
"Oh, he's vastly amusing," I answered, and indeed the
unexpectedness of the fellow's manifestations were divert-
He called for some toasted cheese, and Henry, the
waiter, brought him the usual little flat tinful of the
delicacy. Immediately on its being set before him,
he sprang to his feet, so that his shaggy head almost
touched the beams above, and, stretching out a great
arm, grasped the astonished Henry by the coat collar, lift-
ing him off his feet, until the little man's startled face
was on a level with his own. He held him ridiculously
suspended there, shaking the forefinger of his other hand
at him, whilst he admonished him.
"Ye little fat cock sparrow, ye! Do Oi look loike a
mahn that wud be satisfied wid such a tootful as that.
Maybe 'twould be a wake's provision for ye, me little
crumb peckin' birdie. Go, bring me half a cheese, or
Oi'll put ye t'rough th' flure above, so I will."
The gasping Henry staggered away, and presently
the proprietor of the Tavern, fat John Haileybury, tip-
toed cautiously up the room, took a swift glance at the
monster from behind 1 , and tip-toed noiselessly away,
THE GOVERNOR'S MAN 21
evidently presuming that discretion was the better part
of valour. But a great dishful of toasted cheese was
presently brought up by the white-aproned cook himself,
who apparently was desirous of beholding such an appre-
"Good for ye, ould barrel-belly," roared O'Toole at
him. "Shure, ye can cook chase, so ye can. Tell th'
little fellie to bring me a point of porter for to wash it
down. Skip along now, ould lad or Oi'll be compelled
for to hurry ye up a bit."
The cheese and the porter being finished, he called for
pipes, tobacco, and a bowl of punch, and announced his
intention of favouring the company with a little music.
In a terrific voice he did so, roaring out drunken hunting
songs, and ribald low ballads.
The fearful hullabaloo gradually emptied the room.
All save a group of four, two of whom were naval officers
in uniform, who sat at the end of the apartment over-
looking the street, one by one took down hats and cloaks
from the pegs, and went out.
The wines, which I had drunk of freely, had brought
me successively through the stages of distaste, toleration,
appreciation, and enthusiasm for this descendant of
kings. By the time that the first bowl of punch was
consumed, his roughness and uncouthness had become to
me only the manifestation of a hearty good fellowship,
his roarings and bellowings were really jovial songs,
and his blackguardly observations and insolent behaviour
were the soul of wit. I felt grateful to Brian McMahon
for having shared his unique fellow countryman with me.
As for Brian, he was fast becoming roaring drunk, and
endeavoured to emulate all the wild man's extravagances.
He howled the choruses of his savage songs, applauded
his coarse jests, and backed up his insulting remarks
about the English, and particularly those who were in
the Cock that evening.
Some time before the arrival of the punch, I had noted
the entry of a later guest than ourselves. He was a
tall man, clean shaven, except for closely cropped side
22 THE GOVERNOR'S MAN
whiskers, and having an air of strength and determina-
tion about him that it is hard to define. He was booted
and mud-bespattered, and looked as if he had just
arrived from a journey. He stood for a moment in the
doorway, quietly surveying the room, and when his
eyes rested upon the O'Toole it almost seemed to me
that they flashed a little. The barbarian, sitting with
his back to the door, did not see him. The stranger
quietly seated himself in the box next to ours, and ordered
From that time onward, until the terrible event took
place which was to affect all three of us so tremendously,
I have but a confused and dreamy recollection. It is
one of having been in a condition in which the strangest
and most extraordinary things seemed to be accountable
enough, in which the extravagant rioting of the huge
Irishman, and on the part of my friend Brian, the en-
thusiastic seconding of his efforts at diversion, seemed
to be quite right and proper. I felt foolishly pleased
with myself, pleased with Brian's red face, and pleased
with the damnable performances of O'Toole. That he
should march up the room with the punch-bowl and
ladle, and solemnly fill the wine glasses of the four at
the far table the which impertinence they good-
humouredly tolerated at the same time inviting them to
drink their own healths, seemed to be the merriest of
jests. Brian yelled with delight, and I thumped my
joy upon the table top. Coming back, the madman let
out a whoop, lifted the bowl above his head, and drenched
himself with the remainder of the punch. By way of
drawing attention to the fact that we required a fresh
jorum, he sent the bowl, and the ladle after it, crashing
down the room.
"Whiroo-o-o !" he howled. "O'Toole f oriver, an*
good luck to his uncle, the Divil !" Fetch another bowl
av it, Hinry, me beauty another bowl."
How long this sort of thing went on I do not know
but it must have been for a couple of hours. O'Toole
became noisier and more outrageous than ever. I have
THE GOVERNOR'S MAN 23
a dim remembrance that two other strange men came
into the room powerful, rough looking fellows, with
closely buttoned coats, and great sticks or bludgeons in
their hands, and sat down in the same box with the travel-
ler. The four gentlemen at the end of the room, evidently
anxious as to how the whole business was to end, sat on
and on. Perhaps they hoped to be favoured spectators
of the Irishman's dealings with the watch, when it should
be necessary to call in the questionable assistance of those
inefficient guardians of the peace.
After a period in which I think I must have been
asleep, I suddenly became conscious of a sense of silence.
I looked up.
Beside me, Brian McMahon was sprawled out over
the table, his head resting on his folded arms. Opposite,
the O'Toole, a huge grin on his face, and his eyes staring
over my head, leant back against the partition. I looked
up, and looked round.
The tall traveller, with the two rough men behind
him, stood at my shoulder. They were in their shirt
sleeves, and each of them grasped his great stick firmly
in his right hand. By their crimson waistcoats I knew
them for Bow Street runners, but what they had to do
with us, I was too fuddled even to wonder. The one
thing that did impress its meaning upon me was that the
side-whiskered stranger was presenting a pistol at the
O'Toole, who continued to sit still, grinning up into the
round hole in the end of its barrel. In his left hand he
held a folded document.
"Shamus O'Toole!" he said in a rich brogue, "I want
ye. Ye'd best come wid me quiet. I've a warrant here
for ye're arrist, an' I'm to take ye back to Dublin to
stand yer thrial. Will ye come quiet?"
Slowly, the sprawling giant lifted his great hands from
the table. I saw the stranger's forefinger tighten on the
trigger, and I think O'Toole saw it too, for he merely put
his hands behind his head and clasped them together. I
was more sober now, and could note these things. Brian
still slumbered, snoring loudly.
24 THE GOVERNOR'S MAN
"An" phwat is it, Patsy Hanrahan, me bould sheriff's
officer, that ye want wid me?" asked the O'Toole, almost
"The man ye bate so badly in Con Regan's place is
dead, O'Toole," said the other in an even tone. "He
doied free days since, an' I set out afther ye to Liver-
pool post haste, wid this paper here. D'ye want that I
should read it to ye?"
"Ye may spare y'r breath, Patsy. I'll take y'r worrud
fer it. But how did ye come to trace me to this place?
I thought I was afther lavin' no worrud behind me av
where I was goin' in the' woide worruld."
The faintest smile loosened the other's tight lips. "Sure,
'tis no har-rd task to trace you, O'Toole. There's not
so many like ye that thim that's seen ye wance would be
afther forgetting ye. Ivery shtep av th' road, ivery inn
where ye had bite or sup aven in this Fleet Shtrate here
ye've been remarked an' noticed. 'Tis an uncommon
man ye are, O'Toole. Ye're not aisy dishguised, so y'r
"An' what wud ye do wi me this noight, Patsy Han-
The great savage was extraordinarily cool and sober,
considering the depth of his potations, and the wild
uproar of but a short time before. But there was a
glint in his dark eyes.
"To-night ye must lodge in th' Bridewell, O'Toole.
To-morrow we'll shtart back for Dublin Town. Are
ye comin' quiet?"
Just at this moment Brian must wake up. He raised
his head from his arms, dropped it down again, and
slowly lifted it once more. Then he stared dazedly at the
pistol, then at the man who presented it, and at the two
Bow Street men beside him. Then he sprang to his
feet with a yell, reached over my head, and smote the
sheriff's officer in the jaw.
Instantly the pistol exploded, and the bullet must
have missed O'Toole by a hair's breadth. Then the
fight began. I heard the stranger call loudly to the
THE GOVERNOR'S MAN 25
four who had jumped to their feet at the other end of
"In the King's name, I call on you, gentlemen, to help
me secure this man."
I saw them come running down the room. Without
knowing why, I plunged into the fray, and grappled with
one of the Bow Street runners. The giant was roaring
like a lion, and dealing mighty blows and kicks all round.
I caught a glimpse of Brian's red face, distorted with
rage, and was conscious that we waged war with the
I saw O'Toole's great hands close about the throat of
the man Hanrahan, saw him lift him struggling from
the ground, felt a great blazing light flash and roar in my
skull, and then opened my eyes it must have been many
minutes after to realise a strange quietness, and to hear
a voice that said, loudly and distinctly
"He's dead quite dead. His neck's broken. 'Tis a
The Shadow of the Gallows.
Of the hideous nightmare of the days and weeks that
followed, I can only now write with an effort. It was
a terrible time, so terrible, in its abiding horror, that I
doubt whether any of the things I went through after-
wards could compare with it. It was the suddenness
of it all, the amazing and incredible fact that it could ever
possibly have happened, that dazed and overwhelmed me.
That two boys of scarce twenty years, instead of spend-
ing an hour or two in the stocks as a punishment for
drunkenness, should stand in the dock of the Old Bailey
to answer to a charge of murder, seemed such a prepos-
terous thing as to be unbelievable. That I, who would
not harm a night-screeching cat, and Brian McMahon,
the kindest soul on earth, should be deemed to have
assisted in the slaying of a fellow creature with whom
we had no quarrel, whose very existence had been known
to us for only a few minutes, was ridiculous. And yet
it was fearfully true, and fearfully true also that we
might have to answer with our lives for our evening's
As for the barbarous O'Toole, he but stood in his
proper place. He was a double murderer truly, not by
deliberate intention, but as the outcome of his uncon-
trolled and uncontrollable savagery. In any civilised
community, such a fate as was about to overtake him,
would have inevitably done so sooner or later. Twice
he had slain, and although, in a sense, he had slain by
THE GOVERNOR'S MAN 27
accident, that was no excuse in the eyes of the law. There
was no doubt, from the moment when he had been over-
powered in the Cock Tavern, as to O'Toole's final destina-
tion to the gallows. It was as sure as that the sun would
rise on the morrow.
We learned from the officers of the Bridewell in
Whitefriars, whither we were taken from the Cock, of
the reason why poor Hanrahan, the Sheriff's officer from
Dublin, had sought to effect the arrest of the giant. It
seemed that, in a similar outburst of wild drunkenness
as he, to our sorrow, had indulged in in London, he had
broken the back of a man who, in some Dublin coffee-
house, had not appreciated his pleasantries. The man
had shown signs of dying, and, in fear of arrest, O'Toole
had fled to England. He had scarcely been in London
a fortnight when Hanrahan, with the warrant for his
arrest, which he had shown him at the Cock, had arrived
on his trail. It was our misfortune, and his own, that
he should have traced him to the place on that night,
and should have planned his arrest while he was mad
with drink. Far better to have fallen upon him when
he was sleeping off his potations, than in the height of
They told us of the desperate struggle that had taken
place. One of the Bow Street runners had stunned me
by a blow from his bludgeon. Brian had been separated
from O'Toole, and finally borne down by numbers, but
the Irish giant had maintained the battle fiercely for
nearly an hour. When it was over, the coffee room
of the Cock was a wreck. Tables and chairs were smashed,
the compartments splintered and broken down, and the
sawdust was as blood-soaked as the sawdust of a prize-
ring. One of the naval officers had a broken leg, the
other was damaged in the ribs. A Bow Street man
had his collarbone fractured, and there was not one of
them but was hurt and mauled in some more or less
serious fashion. The unfortunate Mr. Hanrahan had
sustained a broken neck. One of the witnesses at the
trial said that O'Toole had taken the man's head between
28 THE GOVERNOR'S MAN
his great hands, and simply wrung his neck, as he might
have done a fowl's.
For three weeks we lay in Newgate awaiting trial.
There was some little doubt as to whether Brian and I
would be brought forward, but the Grand Jury decided
against us, and we were duly presented at the Bar of the
Old Bailey, on a charge of having aided and abetted in
the murder of Patrick Hanrahan.
To me, who had never before been even a spectator at
a trial, it was a solemn and awe inspiring scene. The
great room with its tall, arched windows ; the square dock
in which we sat, and whence we looked down on to the
well of the Court with its wigged counsel the grey hair
of my poor father seemed too large for us. It was like a
pen for the herding of animals. The densely packed
body of the court, and the galleries, where tiers of white
faces, that seemed to gloat over us, rose one above the
other, gave me a sense of being beset by a mob which
clamoured for our death. And there was something
stern and unbending about the crimson-robed Judge
with Sheriff and chaplain upon either hand, and a nose-
gay, resting on the bench before him to counteract the
stench of the crowd. He was seated under his heavy
canopy, as the unflinching arbiter of our fate.
They had loaded the O'Toole with chains, so that he
could hardly move, and there were two turnkeys in
attendance upon him. They seemed to fear him as a
wild beast as which indeed the Judge, when he was pass-
ing sentence, described him, and he looked to be one.
His hair and beard had grown longer and shaggier in
prison, and his great frame had become gaunt. His
own clothing had been torn off him in the struggle of his
captors, and the clothes that they had given him in New-
gate were too small. Neither coat nor shirt would meet
about his neck, and his great hairy torso was bare and
exposed. Brian and I must have contrasted curiously
with him, for we were well and carefully dressed in sober
and decorous costumes, with some idea on the part of
THE GOVERNOR'S MAN 29
our counsel of impressing the jury with our extreme
The fate of the O'Toole was, of course, a foregone con-
clusion, but it was not so certain as to Brian and myself.
Our counsel pleaded our youth and inexperience, the
fact that we had been accidentally involved in a drunken
brawl, and that our participation in it had nothing to do
with the death of Patrick Hanrahan. However, his
eloquence was wasted.
Little fat Henry, the head- waiter at the Cock, was the
means of our conviction. He related how he had seen
me assail one of the Bow Street men with great violence,
and how the blow upon the head which the man's com-
rade had dealt me had been the sole means of rescuing the
unfortunate man from my fury. As to Brian, who had
had a much longer career in the battle than I, he was
And so the verdict of the jury, without any very long
deliberation, was "Guilty."
Thereupon, the Judge sentenced us to death in the
usual fashion perhaps in a fashion that is happily un-
usual, for he went far out of his way to abuse us for
drunken and dissolute young blackguards. The O'Toole
was "a savage wild beast, unfit to live, whose death would
be a benefit to humanity."
It was Thursday afternoon. I asked a turnkey, as we
were conducted back into Newgate through the dim cor-
ridor, how long a period usually elapsed between sentence
and execution. His pleasant and humorous reply
"Eight o'clock Monday marnin', young gentleman, an'
ye'll be a couple of inches longer nor wot ye are now.
It stretches the neck, does gettin' hanged."
It was not a long career to look forward to. Three
days and a few hours, that was all and then there would
be no more Counting House, no more London, no more
of the pleasant Weald of Harrow, no more of anything
at all. Heigh-ho! And there had been so little.
30 THE GOVERNOR'S MAN
In the prison I found waiting me my poor father. He
was stunned by the sentence, and the situation I was in,
and seemed half-dazed with misery.
"Jack, Jack my poor boy !" was all he could murmur,
over and over again. He stayed with me until late into
the night praying, and weeping, and lamenting. I
asked him of my mother, once, and with that he broke
down hopelessly, and I also. We clung to one another
in an abandonment of miserable grief. When it was
time for him to go, I begged him to say farewell to me
then, and not to come again. He could not speak, and
wringing my hand in a mute agony he suffered them to
lead him from the prison. As he stumbled away from
the door of my cell I could hear his deep sobs. A kindly
turnkey kept saying,
"Now doan't 'ee take on zo, zur doant 'ee take on
On the Saturday afternoon my cell door opened, and
poor Brian was ushered in. I had begged that we might
be allowed an interview.
When he came to me, the poor fellow, his brick red
face blanched to an unhealthy pinkness, and his flaming
hair all tossed and dishevelled, fell upon his knees, and
seized my hands in both of his.
"Oh, Jack," he cried, " 'tis all my fault, all my fault
entoirely. 'Tis Oi who've brought ye to this, so it is.
Can ye forgive me, Jack?"
I tried my best to cheer him, and he to do the same
for me. But it was little use. The shadow of the
gallows was upon us, and we could not comfort one
All his people were in Kerry, and he would be dead
before they could come to him. He had not communi-
cated with them since that fatal evening.
" 'Tis better not, he said. "Oi'll lave a letter and
'twill be over thin. Annyway, me father's a har'rd
mahn, an' me mother's in heaven, so it's best lave it as it
is. Faith, they would put me to the law, an' now th'
THE GOVERNOR'S MAN 31
law's goin' to have me for kapes." He smiled faintly as
he said this.
Sunday came, and they took us to the prison chapel,
where we sat in a square pen together with a coffin,
and listened to the sermon of the Ordinary the prison
chaplain which was all about hell and damnation. There
were actually curious visitors to the place, who, as we
cowered there in our terrible situation, sat and watched
us. They seemed to me to have come for no other pur-
pose than to gloat over us morbidly. Under his breath,
Brian cursed them indignantly.
" 'Tis a fine show they're havin', the bastes !" he whis-
All through that last night, we were disturbed and
tortured by one who, at every hour, rang a hand-bell in
the street without, and cried out, in a loud voice, what
o'clock it was, and how many hours we had yet to live,
and how we should prepare to meet our Maker. I asked
the turnkey who sat in the cell with me what might be
the reason of this strange litany? He told me that
many years before, some city man who lay buried in St.
Sepulchre's Church opposite, had left a sum of money
for the purpose of feeing a crier, who was to commit this
outrage all through the night before any were to suffer
death. He walked up and down beneath the quarter of
the prison, where the doomed men lay, and chanted his
dreadful psalm each time that St. Sepulchre's bell boomed
out the hour.
And so at last the hour arrived, and the Governor of
Newgate, with the sheriff and other officials, came for us,
to lead us to the place of execution. I was in mortal
terror, but sought not to show it, and to bear myself as
bravely as I might be able. But it was hard to face
that shameful, miserable death. Brian and I were in
cells adjacent to one another, and I found him in the
corridor when my door was opened. I remarked that
we were not bound in any way. One of the turnkeys,
32 THE GOVERNOR'S MAN
who had kept watch over me, had seemed to delight in
rehearsing, for my instruction, each act of the dreadful
drama in which I was to play such a leading part, and
he had given me to understand that we would be
pinioned before we left our cells. However, I paid no
attention to the circumstance, and only sought to listen,
with as much grace as might be in me, to the exhortations
of the clergyman, who walked at my right hand.
They marched us, with our irons clanking dully, across
the prison, to a large room where a bright fire burned,
and a number of people were assembled. And here we
met for the first time the wild creature who was the
cause of our unhappy plight. He was bound hand and
foot, and stood scowling at the assemblage, now and again
breaking forth into loud curses and profanities. He
would bare his teeth, and snarl like a savage dog, when-
ever the priest who attended him endeavoured to minister
to his spiritual needs.
"To hell wid ye all !" he roared as we came in. "To
hell wid ye. An' if me hands was free Oi'd sind some
of ye there, so Oi wud!"
Close to the fire, beside an iron block, a smith stood
ready, with hammer and chisel, to cut loose our irons.
Brian was attended to first, and then my turn came. I
took it that this was a preliminary to being bound hand
and foot in readiness for the hangman, who stood by
waiting for us. But it was not so. When my limbs
had been freed from the shackles, a gentleman stepped
forward with papers in his hand, and uttered our names.
"John Hawkins Carnford?"
I turned my head.
My friend nodded nervously. It was one of the
sheriffs who was speaking.
"I have to inform you that His Majesty has been
graciously pleased, in consideration of the youth of both
of you, to extend his pardon to you. You are not to
suffer death. His Majesty has been pleased to order
THE GOVERNOR'S MAN 33
that you both be transported to New South Wales for
the period of fourteen years. Shamus O'Toole, you must
suffer your sentence."
I looked up in a dazed fashion, and saw Brian gaping
with his mouth open. And then I swooned, and when
I came to, I was in another part of Newgate. But it
was not in the condemned cell, and a faint gleam of
wintry sunlight was shining through the bars of the
little window, high up in the wall.
Surgeon Collingwood, R.N.
It may be supposed that my having swooned on hearing
the announcement of our reprieve would betoken an
element of weakness in my character, but, if you would
put yourself in my place, I almost think you would come
to a conclusion that you might easily have done likewise.
I had hardly tasted food since sentence of death had
been passed upon us four days before, and was in as
miserably nervous and feeble a condition as I well could
be. It was simply the revulsion of feeling that had
caused my momentary weakness, and nothing more.
From Newgate, in the course of a week or so, we were
conveyed to the Hulks. Those floating prisons were
moored in the lower reaches of the Thames, and at this
time were largely used as depots for the accommodation
of convicted prisoners who had been sentenced to trans-
portation. They remained aboard them, until the ships
which were to convey them to New South Wales, were
ready for sea.
I will pass over the weary two months which we spent
in one of these sombre hells, with the single observation
that, barring the terrible three days under sentence of
death, it was my worst period of the whole of my penal
experience. Convict transports are not usually regarded
as luxuriously appointed yachts, but, in comparison with
the Prince Frederick hulk, His Majesty's transport Olga
seemed indeed, to us, to be something of the sort.
THE GOVERNOR'S MAN 35
Brian McMahon and I were not separated, for which
I was more than thankful. The cheery optimism which
was natural to him was an antidote to my more melan-
choly temperament, and he kept me from falling into
a state of brooding despondency that could have hardly
had any other end but suicide or madness.
In the hulks we were confined in narrow cells, scarcely
seven feet long, by three wide. Stout oaken partitions
separated us from one another, and we lay outwards from
each side of the ship. It was always dark down there,
and cold and damp. Fortunately for us, our good con-
duct obtained us lodging above the water line, and we
had the advantage of tiny scuttles in the side, which
might remain open if the weather was favourable. What
must have been the condition of the unhappy wretches on
the deck below, I shudder to think. They would lie in
almost total darkness; the only light that pierced their
gloomy prison coming from a horn lantern that hung
from a beam 'tween decks. Once in the twenty-four
hours we were taken on to the upper deck for a breathing
space of an hour only. We then followed one another
in a weary procession, round and round, between poop
and foc'sle. The high bulwarks prevented us from
seeing anything of the shores of the river. These out-
ings, from the section of cells in which we were con-
fined, always took place about midday.
One morning, after our meagre breakfast of skilly had
been served and consumed, amidst a great unbolting of
doors all over the ship, we were suddenly told to turn
out. In a few moments we were formed into a miser-
able parade along both sides of the upper deck our divi-
sion on the port, and the blinking crew from below us
on the starboard side.
With the Superintendent of the hulk was a stranger,
to whom the former seemed to pay considerable respect.
He was a man of about thirty-five years of age, of medium
height, well built and active, with a shrewd yet kindly
face, and twinkling grey eyes that seemed to see quickly
and completely all that he wanted to know about a man.
36 THE GOVERNOR'S MAN
"I will speak to them, Mr. Hales," he said to the
Superintendent. "Will you be so good as to get your
books and papers ready? I want to complete the busi-
ness this morning, if possible, and to move the men down
to the Olga before dinner time."
Before he addressed us, he carefully walked along each
division, examining every one of us minutely. He stopped
before Brian and me, and stared at us interestedly.
"Now, where have I seen you two?" he said to Brain.
"I seem to remember your faces, and yet I don't think
you've ever sailed with me, have you?"
"No, sorr," said Brian, raising his hand to his flaming
locks. "Maybe 'twas at the Quid Bailey?"
"Ah, by Jove, so it was. And at the Cock Tavern,
also. I was there, but had gone before your worst out-
break. I remember you both now, and that fierce Irish-
man. So they didn't hang you! Well, I'm glad of
that. You would have been wasted on Jack Ketch."
Then he examined the lower deck's prisoners evi-
dently with disapproval, for, as he walked along their
pallid and feeble ranks, he shook his head and frowned.
We were bad enough, but some of them looked like
nothing but exhumed corpses. At length he turned,
under the poop, and addressed us all.
"Now, my lads," he spoke sharply and cheerfully.
"I'm here to clear some of you out of this good ship
and I don't suspect that those whom I choose will grumble
very much at leaving her. Some of you look as though
you were badly in need of a change, and the worst of it
is that those are the men that I'm not going to take. I'll
introduce myself to you. I'm Peter Collingwood, Sur-
geon of the transport Olga, and because, in several voy-
ages to Australia, out of some hundreds of prisoners
whom I have conducted thither, I have had the good for-
tune to lose no one by death, the Government is kind
enough to allow me first pick of the hulks, when it comes
to selection of passengers for the voyage. So you'll
understand that I am not going to chance losing my
record by taking any of you who look as if you might
THE GOVERNOR'S MAN 37
be likely to give me the slip on the way out. You will
all be going, sooner or later, but those whom I select
this morning will be somewhat sooner. I want you all
to go to the port side of the deck, and as I call out each
man's name I wish him to step up to me, and let me have
a look at him."
The lower deck shuffled across to our side of the ship,
and, with a list in his hand, the Doctor began his choice.
Those whom, after a careful scrutiny, and some ques-
tioning as to health matters, he selected for his ship, he
sent across to starboard, and when he shook his head at
a man, the latter fell back into the mob.
As soon as he had called our names and had identified
us, he chose Brian and me at once, motioning with his
hand for us to cross the deck.
The Surgeon was very businesslike, and he had soon
picked out some forty of us, whilst our less fortunate
shipmates were driven below to their cells. We
were told to wait where we were. They went
down the hatchway sullenly muttering curses, and cast-
ing envious glances at us who were chosen. It was
something of itself to be envied the remaining on deck
in the open air, whilst they were crowded back into their
foetid and insanitary dungeons.
"We're in luck," an old hand whispered to me. "I've
heered tell of this covey, this here Peter Collingwood.
They say he treats his pris'ners well tho' he aint to be
put upon, so they say."
In a little while, some bales of clothing were brought
up from the storeroom, and we were required to doff the
garments which we had been wearing, and were served
out with complete outfits of jacket, trousers, shirt, and
cap. Each of us was given two pairs of trousers, three
shirts, and a couple of pairs of socks, besides new shoes,
and a cloth cap. The clothing was rough and unsightly,
and plentifully ornamented with broad arrows, but it was
warm and serviceable, and there were not a few of our
motley company who had never been so well tailored
before. We made bundles of what we did not wear.
38 THE GOVERNOR'S MAN
After various formalities, having to do with the hand-
ing over of our precious persons, four soldiers, with
muskets loaded and bayonets fixed, came up the gang-
way, and formed up on deck facing us.
"Now, my lads," the Doctor cried cheerily. "We're
all ready. Down the ladder, and into the boats with
ye in single file. And mind now if any of you are so
foolish as to jump into the river, either in the hope of
escaping or of destroying himself, the guards have orders
to fire. And I assure you they are all picked shots.
Come now march!"
We went through the gangway, and down the ladder
into a barge, in which there were eight more soldiers
under a sergeant. Another boat, rowed by sailors, came
and took us in tow, and we went off down the stream.
After we had proceeded for about a mile, "There's
your future home for some months, my lads," said the
He pointed with outstretched arm, and I turned to
look. The Olga was a barque of some 500 tons or so,
and, by her depth in the water, had evidently taken in
all her stores and cargo, and was ready to go to sea
at an early date.
"Now, I want you to understand this," went on Mr.
Collingwood. "For the next four or five, or maybe six,
months I am going to be your father and mother, and
your judge and your doctor, all in one. I may tell
you that I take a pride in landing my men in good con-
dition, and fit for a new life in the new country. If
you treat me well, you'll be well treated. But if there
is any nonsense, you'll find I can be as bad as the next
man. I know prisoners' ways, and though some of you
may get to windward of me for a time, be quite sure
that the 'vantage will be with me in the long run, and
the sorry feeling with you. Play fair, and you'll get
fair treatment. Be insubordinate, or mutinous, or dis-
honest and you will find that you have what ahem
some of you term a 'leery cove' to deal with. Now,
you'll all get a good chance. You're going to a new
THE GOVERNOR'S MAN 39
country, and it's a good one one of the best I have seen,
and I've been about the world. Do your best with it.
That's all I've got to say to you unofficially."
Somehow this manly little speech put me in good heart.
We had, at anyrate, a man to wield authority over us
and, unless I was mistaken, a gentleman, too. So much
could not be said of every naval surgeon of the period.
"Sure, he talks fair, so he does," whispered Brian to
me, as we drew near the Olga.
But before we reached the ship we were to learn that
Dr. Collingwood could act, as well as talk.
She was lying close into the shore, not being more
than some hundred and fifty yards, or thereabouts, from
the Kentish bank of the river. As we drew near to her,
a sudden commotion in the forepart of the barge arrested
"Let me go," cried a shrill yoke, and I turned my
head just in time to catch sight of a slim boyish figure
that sprang with one foot on to the gunwale, paused a
moment, and then took a header into the yellow stream.
The splash of his dive drenched us where we sat.
"Sit still, men!" sharply and peremptorily cried out
the Surgeon. I turned my face to him, and saw him
rise to his feet in the stern sheets. "Stop rowing," he
shouted to the crew of the boat that towed us, and they
lay upon their oars. As he called to them, the surgeon
grasped a musket from the hands of the nearest soldier.
He stood waiting the reappearance of the prisoner.
"Come back!" he called sharply, as the head and
shoulders of the man appeared above the tide. "Come
back instantly or I'll fire!"
The man gasped in a hasty breath, and dived below the
surface again. We waited anxiously. Dr. Colling-
wood slowly raised the musket to his shoulder and waited,
with its barrel pointed towards where the rash fellow had
gone under. In a few seconds that seemed an age
to me the man's head broke through the surface of
the stream, five or six yards further away towards the
40 THE GOVERNOR'S MAN
Instantly, there was the crack of the piece, and the
white smoke floated away across the waters.
The fellow threw his arms above his head, uttered a
scream that was smothered by the waters closing over
him, and sank with a choking, gurgling noise.
"Give way!" called the Doctor, handing the musket
back to the soldier from whom he had snatched it.
"Alongside the ship !" he commanded.
So we drew beside the Olga, having no doubt in our
hearts as to the manner of man to whose keeping our
souls and our bodies were committed.
H.M. Transport Olga.
The boat that had towed us was sent away to try and
recover the body of the unfortunate youth who had so
foolishly disregarded the Doctor's warning. In the
course of the afternoon it was recovered, and it was
found that the bullet had gone clean through his head.
The incident made a deep impression on us, but I heard
no one blame Mr. Collingwood for the prompt way in
which he had carried out his duty.
"The young fool was told, fair enough. He
got what he was seeking," was the verdict of his com-
panions in misfortune.
It was customary, we learned, to iron all convicts prior
to removing them from the hulks, and to keep them
ironed throughout the long voyage to New South Wales.
Dr. Collingwood, however, had long protested against
this procedure, and, on account of his success in the diffi-
cult business of the transport service, being in high favour
with the authorities, had at length prevailed upon them
to discontinue it in the case of the ship of which he had
charge. What a mercy it was to us in our confined cir-
cumstances, you may easily imagine.
Such dark tales have been told of the horrors and
miseries of convict ships and often with truth enough
that I am tempted here to write at some length concern-
ing the arrangements and routine on the Olga during our
voyage. They will go to show that it was possible, when
42 THE GOVERNOR'S MAN
the ship was in charge of such a man as we had over us,
to conduct the service decently.
Down in the 'tween decks were the prison quarters.
Two rows of sleeping berths, one above the other, ex-
tended on each side of the ship, each berth being six
feet square, and designed to contain four sleepers. That
meant eighteen inches of space per man and it was cer-
tainly not too bountiful an allowance, when some of the
bed-fellows were sea-sick but, after all, it was not much
closer crowding than soldiers sleeping in tents have to
put up with though, to be sure, they have a more liberal
supply of air than we enjoyed.
In the forepart of the ship the hospital was situated.
A bulkhead separated it from the prison. The boys
were accommodated apart from the men an arrangement
which saved them from contamination for as long as pos-
sible, and operated against their education in more
advanced criminality. Strong wooden stanchions, thickly
studded with nails, were fixed round the fore and main
hatchings, on the 'tween decks, in each of which was a
door with three padlocks, to allow of ingress and egress,
and to secure the prisoners at night. A ladder, which
was pulled up at dark each night, being placed in each
hatchway to go up and down by. The prisoners had no
access to the hold through the prison.
Scuttles, or port-holes, were cut along the ship's sides.
A large stove, with a funnel leading through the deck
above, provided for warmth and ventilation 'tween decks.
There were small portable stoves also, to carry into damp
corners. Everything that was possible to provide health
and proper comfort for us during the voyage, was done.
We had a bed, pillow, and thick rug given to each of us.
Bibles and prayer-books were issued to each man.
The rations were as good as we could expect in fact,
a good deal better than we had been led to expect from
their quality and quantity on the Prince Frederick. Three-
quarters of a pound of biscuits were allowed to each
man per diem, and for dinner, meat, pork and plum pud-
ding, with pea soup four times a week, and a pot of gruel,
THE GOVERNOR'S MAN 43
with sugar or butter in it, every morning. Vinegar
was issued to us weekly, and, after we had been three
weeks at sea, as a preventive of scurvy, we were served
daily with an ounce of lime-juice and an ounce of sugar.
There were also three or four issues of a gill of wine each
week, and our daily allowance of water was three quarts.
We were divided into messes, which corresponded to
our sleeping arrangements, and two delegates, chosen
in rotation from each, superintended daily the weighing
out of the provisions.
Our berths were numbered, and any article of bedding
and clothing allotted to us bore a corresponding number.
In such a collection of thieves and super-thieves as we
were, this was a very necessary precaution.
Mr. Collingwood had a way of his own of policing his
kingdom. So as to see to the due carrying out of orders,
and to enforce discipline, the most trustworthy of the
prisoners were appointed a species of petty officers. These
were called "captains of the deck" and were six in num-
ber. Two officiated on deck, and four in the prison.
They were afforded little privileges, such as an extra
allotment of wine, and an issue of rum every day, besides
two pounds of tobacco for the voyage. To our delight,
Brian and I were selected for duty on deck in this capa-
city by far the best job on the ship.
Each mess had a "captain" also, who was responsible
for its cleanliness and good order. Various individuals
were told off for small domestic duties, for attendance
upon the hospital, and for sanitary arrangements.
Every day the upper and lower decks were cleaned
very thoroughly under the superintendence of the captains
of the deck. They were scrubbed, swabbed, scraped, or
dry holystoned, according to the state of the weather,
and, until the prison was thoroughly dry, all hands were
kept on deck.
Three sets of rules, having been read out and explained
to the convicts on the commencement of the voyage, were
displayed in 'tween decks, one contained the duties of the
"captains of the deck," "captains" of messes, and dele-
44 THE GOVERNOR'S MAN
gates for attending the ration issues. The second dealt
with rules and regulations regarding Divine service, the
cleaning of the deck, the cutting up and cooking of the
meat ration, the washing days, musters, schools, and so
on. The third set out a sort of criminal code, in which
almost every possible offence against the ship's laws
were laid down, and the punishments detailed.
We were allowed a change of clothing weekly, and
were shaved twice a week. One shirt and a pair of
trousers were marked with the letter A above the numeral,
and the others with a B, and a man wore A shirt and
trousers one week, and B shirt and trousers the next.
Every evening we were mustered in the prison, with
shoes and stockings off, and trousers rolled up, to see
that we washed adequately. Every second day, in the
warm weather, we bathed upon deck.
Oujr guard was composed of thirty-three soldiers,
under the command of a commissioned officer. They
did duty in three watches, and provided sentries for the
prison and gangways. When we were on deck the guard
was always under arms.
Such were the general arrangements in H.M. Trans-
port Olga. I understand that they differed materially
from those in vogue on other ships, and that our con-
dition under Dr. Collingwood was very much easier than
it would have been under many others of the Surgeon-
Superintendents. But there was no slackness in disci-
pline. He ruled us with an iron hand. The slightest
shortcoming met with its allotted punishment, and it was
very seldom that punishment did not inevitably follow
crime. The Doctor was quite conversant with the ways
of convicts, and they found him to be indeed as he
had put it in the boat when we were coming to the Olga
from the Prince Frederick, a "leery cove."
And now I may get on with my narrative.
On the second day after our joining the ship, she was
warped out into the stream, and anchored in readiness for
our final departure, as soon as the last orders and the
mails should have come on board. That afternoon we
THE GOVERNOR'S MAN 45
were all mustered on deck, and for the purpose of bidding
farewell to friends and relatives, a few favoured visitors
to certain of the prisoners were admitted to the vessel.
My poor father was amongst those who made the dis-
mal pilgrimage to Sheerness to see the last of us. I
was called out to speak to him, and we were permitted
to converse within the hearing of an armed sentry on the
"Jack, my boy," he said, as he gripped my hand and
it seemed to me that he had grown younger again since
I had seen him in Newgate "keep up your courage.
You are not a criminal, and have only had a misfortune.
The blood of that unfortunate man, Hanrahan, is no
more upon your head than upon mine. You are very
young, and I do not despair of seeing you back again
long before your sentence has expired. Now listen to
me, in this particularly. We have an agent in Sydney,
a Mr. George Blundell, through whom we do a fair
amount of business. I have written to him a full account
of your trouble, and have asked him to try and have you
assigned to his service. It is very likely that you will
be able to secure his interest for your friend McMahon
also. I have mentioned him to Blundell in my letter.
So you will never be in want, I have also in-
structed him to advance you money up to a certain
amount. They have told me at the Colonial Office that
if your conduct is good you will, in all probability, be
granted a conditional pardon in a few years, and it is
my idea, when that happens, and provided I have a good
account of you from Mr. Blundell, that Hawkins and
Camford may establish a branch of the business in Syd-
ney, with yourself as manager. I don't know that I
may not make the voyage out myself, one of these days,
to see what the prospects of a business such as mine
might be in the colony. So there you are. Three
months ago you were to be hanged to-day you are the
advance agent of the firm's extension. Do your best,
my dear Jack, and you will make your mother and my-
46 THE GOVERNOR'S MAN
self happier than we are now. Good-bye, my boy, and
God bless you!"
I watched his boat, as it made for the shore, with a
full heart you may well believe with a full heart, and
an honest determination to endeavour, by any means in
my power, to counter the cruel blow that Fortune had
dealt me, and to turn it to good account.
I was still gazing after him when I heard my name
called, and, turning, saw the Surgeon coming towards me.
I saluted, as was laid down in the rules, and stood at
"Carnford was that your father whom I just saw
speaking with you?" he asked me, in a kindly fashion.
"Yes, sir. He had come to wish me farewell."
"Ah I wish I had spoken to him. I have heard my
father speak of his firm Hawkins and Carnford, isn't
it? But I'll do myself the honor of writing him a line
before we sail, and will tell him that I will keep an
eye on you. You ought not to be here, any more than
McMahon should, to my thinking but, since you are,
you must needs play your part. Now I'm going to
give you and the red fellow some sort of official status
only on good behaviour, mark you! But I hope you
are sensible fellows, who will see how the land lies, and
where your own interests lie in it, and do as well as I
expect you to. If you treat me honestly, I'll do the
same thing by you. Keep that in mind and don't be
despondent. Your life is before you."
I thanked him for the kindly words, and begged him
to take care of a few guineas which my father had left
"Willingly!" he said, and laughed. "You're very
wise, Carnford. If you had retained it on your person,
I doubt if some of those experts in your company below
deck would not soon have relieved you of all anxiety as
to its safe keeping. I will give you a receipt for it
He told the sergeant of the guard that Brian and I,
and a dozen others from whom he meant to select his
THE GOVERNOR'S MAN 47
"Captains" were to remain on deck, and that the other
prisoners should be sent below, since the passengers were
coming off directly.
I found Brian a little down in the dumps.
"Sure, Jack," he said, "I do think some on thim moight
have come across to see the last of me. Bad luck to
thim! Ye'd suppose they thought I'd killed Patsy
Hanrahan and the O'Toole both, the way they treat me.
Damme if me brother haven't the impudence to write to
me about th' disgrace I've brought on thim an' him th'
drunkenest, tearing'est rapscallion of a squireen in all
County Kerry ! Ye'd think, t'see his letter, that he was
the rale immaculate potato, so ye wud !"
I cheered him a little by telling him what my father
had done, and made it plain to him that he would share
equally in any better fortune that might come my way. It
had a good effect upon him, and he brightened up con-
"Begorra," he said. "Whom have we here? Be th'
houly piper, Johnyboy, cast y'er eye to th' gangway.
Did ye iver in y'r life see such a beauty! 'Tis a sin to
trust such a jool aboord amongst this collection of
divilry, so it is."
I turned to look. A very stately gentleman, dressed
in the height of fashion, was handing to the deck the
loveliest creature I have ever set eyes upon. The Captain
of the ship came forward to meet them, and a lady's
maid, I took her to be, followed after. They were
evidently our passengers.
From the moment I saw that divine creature I knew
that I knew myself. Can you guess who she was, my
The Beast and the Beauty.
The last of England that I saw was five days later,
when we lay at anchor in the Downs, awaiting our convoy
of men-o'-war. It was customary in those days of the
Napoleonic struggle for all ships proceeding to India, or
the Cape, or to New South Wales, to sail in company
down the Channel, under a strong escort of warships.
These saw them far out into the Atlantic, as a protection
against enemy cruisers and privateers though since the
immortal victory of the great Lord Nelson at Trafalgar,
when the command of the sea had definitely fallen to the
lot of Britain, the danger of attack had been greatly les-
On that day, for the first time since the Olga had
dropped down the river, we had been allowed upon
deck. And a merciful relief it was, for though we had
grown accustomed to confinement in 'tween decks of the
hulk Prince Frederick, we had not, however wretched our
situation may otherwise have been, in that unsavoury
floating prison, been subjected to the miseries of sea-
sickness. On the short run round to the Downs and
while we lay at anchor there, most of us had experienced
all the terrors of the brief but horrible malady which
affects landsmen on making their first acquaintance with
Father Neptune. Nor did the jeers and ribald pleasan-
tries of those of the prisoners who had been seamen add to
our enjoyment of the process of acquiring our sea-legs.
THE GOVERNOR'S MAN 49
We were allowed on deck in three batches, and the one
to which Brian and I belonged was the first to be ac-
corded the privilege of a breath of fresh air. It was
a pale-faced and sickly collection of humanity that
crawled painfully up the companionway in the main-
hatch, and stood shivering on the deck behind the stout
barricade that divided the prison portion of the ship from
the quarter-deck and poop.
A sentry with a drawn cutlass marched up
and down upon the other side of the timber wall,
and below the poop the guard was drawn up under arms,
with muskets loaded and bayonets fixed. The escort
of soldiers who accompanied us to Sydney consisted of
thirty-three rank and file, with a commissioned officer in
charge. They divided their duties into three watches,
and one of the most rigorous rules which Dr. Colling-
wood insisted upon was that there should be no com-
munication between soldiers and prisoners. Like all
prison rules, however, this one was frequently evaded.
Ensign Keating, the officer in charge of our little
garrison, was as choice a young blackguard as might
exist anywhere. As an alternative to leaving the army,
he had exchanged from his own regiment into the New
South Wales Corps. A red-faced, bull-necked, cursing,
gambling, drinking, cockfighting young blood. In Syd-
ney, after our arrival, he soon made a name for himself.
I shall have more to say of him later on. But my first
acquaintance with him did not do much to prepossess me
in his favour.
When we came up, in company with the master of the
ship, Captain John Colman a bluff old sea-dog, and a
good man, he was walking up and down across the
quarterdeck. He grinned, as he caught sight of us
standing uncertainly about the deck, behind the barricade.
"Aha, Mr. Colman," he exclaimed loudly. "Here
they are ! A d d pretty lot of fellows, too. Come
let us have a closer look at them."
He advanced to the barricade, the Captain following
him, a little unwillingly, so it seemed to me.
50 THE GOVERNOR'S MAN
"Well, my beauties," he jeered at us across the rails.
"You're a nice lot of gallows-birds, aren't ye! Mr.
Colman," turning to the Captain, "how do you like your
cargo? Was you ever in the slave trade? I'll engage,
if ye was, that you never carried so many ugly mugs as
this lot, even if they were black ones."
"I was never in the slave trade, Mr. Keating," replied
the Captain "nor do I wish to be. But the looks of
these poor fellows is not my affair. The navigation of
the ship to Sydney is my only concern."
There was a note of disapproval in the old sailor's
tone, but it was lost on the gallant officer, who stood
scowling and grinning alternately at us. I could see
Brian flush to the roots of his close cropped hair, but,
fearing an outbreak of his hasty Irish temper, I trod on
his foot to check him. At that moment, Dr. Colling-
wood come out of the cabin, with some papers in his
hand. He was frowning slightly. He could not but
hear the blatant voice of his military colleague. The
latter went on.
"See here, ye Houndsditch scum I'm here to look
after ye. D'ye understand that? So no hanky-panky,
or you'll find Jack Keating a d d tough nut to crack,
d'ye see! I'll look after ye well enough trust me for
that, and I've some good men behind me, who can easily
deal with such a crew of hangdog ruffians as you are.
I'll look after ye."
It was the Doctor who had spoken, quietly and a
little coldly. He had taken a few steps up the deck,
whilst the officer was roaring his overbearing gibes. The
"At your service, Doctor," said he, saluting.
"Mr. Keating, I have just overheard your remarks to
my prisoners. I think that there may be a little mis-
apprehension on your part as to the situation of affairs
upon the Olga. If you will favour me by stepping to
my cabin, I will read you my commission as Surgeon-
Superintendent of this ship. I beg that you will do so,
THE GOVERNOR'S MAN 51
when it is convenient, and I shall be most happy to show
you my instructions. I think that you will then agree
with me that it is I, rather than yourself, who will look
after these prisoners. I may have to call upon you for
assistance, but until I have to do so I flatter myself that
I am quite capable of discharging my duties. Would
you wish to see the document now?"
As he heard a slight titter amongst the convicts, the
Ensign's face became almost purple. He spluttered as
"Oh, damme, not at all, Dr. Collingwood. I know
that my detachment is here to enforce the authority of
the civil power. I have my own orders. Not at all.
I know how we stand. I was but just letting these
fellows know it. That was all."
We could see that he was furiously angry.
"That is very well then, Mr. Keating. We under-
stand the matter."
The officer turned away, and walked aft. The Cap-
tain had taken his telescope from under his arm and was
busily engaged in examining the . shipping that lay all
about. Dr. Collingwood studied his papers once more.
Presently he looked up, and scanned our faces across the
"John Carnford," he called. "I want you out here.
Sentry, permit this man to pass through the gate."
The soldier took a big key from his pocket, and un-
locked the padlock that secured the single narrow gate
in the barricade. Wonderingly, I stepped forward and
passed through. The sentry secured the gate behind me.
I stood and waited in front of the Surgeon. Before he
spoke he eyed me keenly for a moment or two.
"Prisoner," he said and I winced at the name "You
have forgotten something."
He spoke quietly. I continued to gaze at him, not
knowing what he meant.
"You have forgotten to salute," said he. "You must
remember that we have discipline here." He did not
52 THE GOVERNOR'S MAN
"I beg your pardon, sir," I stammered in confusion,
touching my cloth cap. There was something so like-
able about the man, something so just and honest in
his face, that I felt ashamed in a personal way, rather
than because I had committed a breach of discipline
and I have seen men flogged for less. I mumbled some-
thing about being unused to it.
"That's all right," he said. "I want you in my cabin.
Follow me, please."
He was always like that kind, and firm, and just,
and intently insistent upon duty. Long afterwards, I
learned the heart of the man. The shooting of that boy
who had tried to escape was a tragedy that he never
forgot all his life. And yet, when they seemed to
him to be his duty, he never hesitated to do such things.
If any man ever deserved the much abused title of
"gentleman," it was Peter Collingwood.
With me following, he turned towards the cabin en-
trance. As we came to the door, he stepped aside, and,
taking off his hat, bowed to someone whom I could not
see from where I was.
"Welcome to the deck, Miss Nutting. I had begun
to fear that you had gone overboard. This is your first
appearance, is it not?"
There was a musical laugh within the alleyway, and
then she, smiling at the Doctor, and casting a sweet, shy,
pitying glance upon the poor prisoner behind him,
stepped out upon the deck. Somehow, the poor prisoner
thrilled with a sort of hope that life was not altogether
an evil thing. There was that in those brave, tender
eyes that always so moved him.
She was very beautiful, and very young, and carried
herself with a sort of grace, and a quiet, calm dignity that
seemed to me what the carriage of a young queen would
be. So soon as she came on deck she seemed to cast
the spell of her presence over all who were there sol-
diers, sailors, and convicts.
"Oh, Doctor," she cried, "I have been a sad sailor.
THE GOVERNOR'S MAN
"Oh, Doctor," she cried, "I have been a sad sailor.'
54 THE GOVERNOR'S MAN
But not so bad as poor Anne, my maid. And I think
not as bad as poor papa. Have you seen him this
morning? He is still very unhappy."
"No, I have not had time to visit your father as yet
this morning, Miss Nutting. But I'll do so presently.
Have no fears for him he'll soon be himself. Once
out of the Downs, with a fair wind behind us, he'll
pick up amazingly. This preliminary run to the Downs,
and our rolling at anchor here for a day or so, is just the
thing to introduce us all to our long voyage. I'll stake
my reputation he'll be well to-morrow."
"Oh, I hope so," she laughed. "When papa is ill he
is under no illusion as to how very ill he is. He be-
lieves that he has never been so ill in his life before,
and never will be well again. That is a bit of Deal
over there, isn't it? And so this is our last look at
England, is it?"
"Yes for a while. But here is the Captain come to
say good-morning. Will you excuse me, Miss Nutting?
I have business to attend to."
As she turned towards Mr. Colman, who offered her his
arm, in a gallant old sea-dog fashion, to assist her up the
poop-ladder, she smiled and nodded. Again her eyes
rested on me for a moment, and I felt the gentle pity of
Beckoning me, the Surgeon led the way in to the
main cabin, where the steward was busily clearing away
the breakfast things. Upon the port side of the ship
we went into a smaller one, which was evidently an office,
sleeping place, and surgery. The walls had shelves
fitted round them, some of which held books, but for the
most part they were filled with bottles containing drugs
"Carnford," he said, seating himself. "How old are
"But just turned twenty, sir," I answered him, wonder-
ing why he had brought me here, and what he might want
of me. I stood fumbling with my cap, whilst he eyed
me meditatively. For a little while he said nothing.
THE GOVERNOR'S MAN 55
Then he stood up, and taking a step towards me placed
his right hand upon my shoulder. There was great
kindness in his eyes as he spoke.
"My poor boy," he said, "I have bad news for you. You
must brace yourself well to bear it. It is from your
I felt my heart check for a moment.
"No your poor father. He had but just returned to
London, it seems, after seeing you in the Thames the
other day, when he dropped dead in his counting house
in St. Paul's Churchyard. There, there my lad bear
up. Sit ye down here. I will leave you for awhile.
I have your word you will not leave the cabin?"
"Yes, sir," I muttered too stunned to say more, as
I sat heavily down upon the edge of his cot.
"There is more to tell you, but it will keep awhile.
It is good news of a sort, and affects your future strongly.
But stay here, and I will return in an hour."
He went out and closed the door, leaving me to my
But I was not too unhappy to appreciate the goodness
of the Surgeon-Superintendent of His Majesty's trans-
That evening, with a fair wind behind us, we sailed
from the Downs, and in less than a week were well clear
of the Channel and the Bay of Biscay, which, as we
crossed its usually stormy bosom, smiled for us. By
the end of the week, the monotonous routine of our five
month's voyage had been well established, and all in
the ship passengers, crew, sailors, and prisoners had
settled down into the regular and unvarying life which
was to be endured, with but brief intermission at the
three ports we touched, until we should anchor in Port
Nothing that is worth recording in any detail hap-
pened on that long sailing round the world, except one
thing, that had a great influence upon my whole life.
We carried out our daily tasks and duties in a regular
and well ordered fashion cleaned the prison, decks, and
hospital, aired our bedding, drew our rations and ate
them, took our daily two hours of fresh air behind the
barricade on the upper deck, counted the time by the
ship's bells and the changing of the guard. And so
day after day and week after week the routine went on,
until it seemed to me that I had always lived this sort of
life, and was destined never to live any other.
We called at Teneriffe, at Rio de Janiero, and the
Cape of Good Hope none of which places we saw any-
thing of, for we were kept below deck the whole time
THE GOVERNOR'S MAN 57
we remained in port. These intervals were unspeakably
miserable, but as our longest stay was only for a day or
so over a fortnight, at the Cape, they did not seriously
affect the health of the prisoners as a whole. But we
were none of us sorry when the pitching and rolling of
the ship indicated to us that we were once more upon our
A few days after our final departure from England,
Mr. Collingwood again summoned me to his cabin.
"Sit down, Carnford," he said, as I saluted. "Wait
a few minutes until I have finished these returns. I
have something further to tell you."
I seated myself wonderingly, and presently, having
signed the last of his papers, he turned round in his
chair and spoke to me.
"The other day," he began, "when I acquainted you
with the melancholy tidings of your father's death, I men-
tioned that there was something else to tell you, Carn-
ford. I did not inform you of your good fortune then,
because it hardly seemed decent to do so in the same
breath that had uttered such unhappy news to you. But
there is no reason why you should not know it now."
"Good fortune, sir!"
Could it be that I was to receive a free pardon on
our arrival at Sydney? I could think of nothing better
or more desirable than that I might be permitted to
return at once from exile. He smiled a little at my
look of astonishment.
"Yes the best of good fortune. The only pity of it
is that your present situation discounts it a little. What
would you say were I to inform you that you were the
richest man in the ship that, in fact, you could quite
easily afford to buy the ship?"
"You're joking, sir!"
"No, indeed I'm not. To be brief, your father left
over one hundred thousand pounds sterling. Forty thou-
sand go to your mother, and the balance of the fortune
is left to you in trust with Mr. Isaac Palfrey, your late
father's manager. Besides that, there is the business,
58 THE GOVERNOR'S MAN
which is to be carried on until you have reached the age
of twenty-five. So there you are. You might buy the
Olga, cargo and all though I think you'd have a pretty
bad bargain with the bulk of the cargo," he laughed.
The news stunned me. I knew that my father was
well off, for the firm of Hawkins & Carnford had been
a prosperous one for many years. But I had no notion
that he was such a rich man as his death had discovered
him to be. Why, I had little doubt that I would be one
of the wealthiest men in New South Wales when I should
reach there. But a convict!
My face must have expressed my thoughts. Mr. Col-
lingwood laid a hand upon my arm.
"I know what troubles you, Carnford. It would
trouble any man. I don't think I have ever heard of
such an ironical stroke of ill-fortune as has fallen upon
you. You are, indeed, Fortune's plaything. To have
become involved in the death of that unfortunate Sheriff's
officer, through no fault but a little too much wine; and
then to have escaped the gallows by a very narrow mar-
gin, and to find yourself a convict transported for four-
teen years; and to be overwhelmed with grief at the
moment of sailing by the loss of a good parent; and
now to learn that you are a rich man, and at the same
time to be a prisoner of the Crown, condemned to penal
servitude for so long a period ! Well, it is rough it
is a little rough, to be sure."
"What use is it to me, sir? Better if it had all gone
to my mother or to some charity. It can do me no
good," I said, gloomily.
"Don't be so sure. A man would need to be in a
very bad situation to whom sixty thousand pounds could
not be of some advantage. Let me tell you what I see in
it for you. I'm not at all sure that, getting this in-
heritance in the way you are, it is not likely to be of
much more benefit to you, in the long run, than if you
had come into it in all your youth and inexperience, as a
free man in London."
"How so, sir?" I asked doubtfully.
THE GOVERNOR'S MAN 59
"Well, let us suppose that everything goes for you,
from now on, as it may reasonably be expected to go.
You land in Sydney with a good character from the Olga.
I think I can safely predict as much as that," he
laughed. "In Sydney you will be paraded for inspec-
tion by the Governor, and, as a good conduct prisoner,
will probably be selected immediately by some colonist
in want of labour. In your case that is a certainty.
Your father's agent, Mr. George Blundell, whom I know
slightly, will apply for your services, and I've no doubt
he will get them without question. Then you are as
good as free. In a few years, if you conduct yourself
well, I am certain that a conditional emancipation may
be had for the asking. The very fact of your fortune
will tell in your favour with the authorities. But even
if you had to serve your whole sentence, fourteen years
do not constitute an eternity. And in that time you will
have become a man. You will not have been spared
from temptations of even a worse sort than you would
meet with at home but you won't have your fortune to
waste on them. You will be going through a mill that
will find you out as either of one of two things a good
colonist and a man, or a hopeless wastrel. I have no
fear of the latter result. You haven't got the makings
of a good criminal in you even if you were going to the
chain-gangs. And then you can go home again, or
what I sincerely hope can take up a share in the develop-
ment of this new country, which is, I am sure of it, de-
stined to be one of the best in the world. We do not
know it yet we are only perched upon its doorstep. I
would like to see it a century hence. Now, go below
again, and think over your situation. You'll find it is
a brighter one, in its future, than most of your shipmates,
myself included, may congratulate themselves upon. You
are the luckiest transport I've ever known."
It may be well supposed that this interview gave me
a good deal to think over in the months that followed.
It was a good thing for me that Mr. Collingwood had
spoken to me as he did, for, if it did nothing else, it con-
60 THE GOVERNOR'S MAN
vinced me that there was, after all, something in my
situation that might well excite the envy of others. It
certainly did that, as I was destined to realise in a bitter
enough fashion before many years were gone by.
The incident to which I referred, a few pages back, as
being the only thing noteworthy of record during our un-
eventful voyage was this.
One afternoon, some ten days after we had sailed out
of Table Bay at the Cape of Good Hope, I was on deck
with the rest of the division of prisoners to which I be-
longed for "air and exercise" parades. It was a splen-
did day, and the ship, with all her canvas straining and
bellying overhead was plunging her bluff bows, in a
kind of joyous frolic with the waves, through the white-
crested, deeply blue waters at least, so it seemed to me.
You may imagine how beautiful the brilliant sunlight
and the dancing waters, and the flying sheets of spray,
that hissed and splashed to port and starboard as we
rushed on our heaving, rolling course, were, after twenty-
four hours in the dimly lighted 'tween decks. It was
like a draught of wine to me to come up from the reek-
ing bowels of the ship, where there was an atmosphere
of tar, bilge-water, and the odour of sweating human
bodies, into the fresh wholesomeness of the winds of the
sea and the light of the sun. Down below, in the ribald
companionship of London thieves, and the dullness of
poor yokels, one might well brood on the blackness of
the present and the future, or dwell miserably on the
mistakes and foolishness of the past. But, to any
unhappy soul amongst us, the first glimpse of the sunlit
sails, and the clear blue of the sky and the wide sweep
of the encircling horizon, was a never failing tonic. Every
second of the two hours was precious to me, and when
the weather was bad, as it often was whilst we made our
southing the two or three days confinement below the
battened hatches was nearly as terrible as those dreadful
weeks in the hulk Prince Frederick had been.
Forward of the quarterdeck, behind our well guarded
THE GOVERNOR'S MAN 61
barrier, some fifty of us walked or sat in our yellow
liveries. Fifteen or twenty of us Brian and myself
included "followed our leader" round and round out-
side of the deck, between barricade and f oc'sle, in a sharp
run. Dr. Collingwood himself had instituted this diver-
sion, and the exercise was indeed a blessing. Towards
the stern, the white deck stretched to the poop, under
the break of which the red-coated guard stood at ease,
with bayonets fixed and muskets loaded. Just forward
of the main mast, a small brass howitzer was cleated to
the deck. It was loaded with grapeshot, and was
pointed so as to cover the entrance to our playground.
Further aft, on the poop, existed a little world that
was miles away from ours. Here, under a canvas awn-
ing, was Freedom located. To look across the inter-
vening space of quarterdeck, and over the heads and
gleaming bayonets of the soldiers, was like peering into
another world. We could see the upper circumference
of the wheel, and the head and shoulders of the steers-
man. With regular stride, the officer of the watch, his
dark blue figure seeming almost to be moved by clock-
work, save when he paused for a moment to look at the
binnacle, or to address a remark to the man at the wheel,
paced up and down the weather side of the poop. Some-
times the Captain, the passengers, the surgeon, and En-
sign Keating formed a little group in chairs, drinking
tea and gossiping, about the cabin skylight.
I had dropped out of the leadership of the runners,
and was getting my breath, just forward of the barricade,
when something suddenly happened that was so quick
in its happening I had not time to think of it, until I
found myself battling with the water in the wake of the
The breeze that came in over the stern wafted a merry
peal of laughter down to us, and I saw the beautiful
girl, Miss Nutting, suddenly run to the lee rail and seat
herself upon it. I saw the crimson jacket of Ensign
Keating flash into the sunlight towards her and then
62 THE GOVERNOR'S MAN
the ship gave a lurch. There was the quick gleam of
her muslin dress as she lost her hold and fell into the
sea. I was upon the top of the barricade, in a jump,
and over into the seething waters. They told me after-
wards that the sentry fired his musket at me as I jumped.
But I did not hear it. I did not even know that I had
jumped, until the cold shock of the sea sent the swift
thoughts racing through my head.
The dark chill of the hissing waters closed over me,
and as they bore me away, their roar and rush seemed like
a mill race. When I came to the surface, the heaving
stern of the ship with its cabin windows gleaming and
sparkling in the afternoon sun, and the water cascading
and dripping from her wet counter was many yards
from me. But already I could see, in one swift glance
that I took from the crest of a surge, that the officer of
the watch was taking steps to heave her to. T turned
and struck out along her wake, away from her, straining
my eyes for a glimpse of Miss Nutting.
There was not much sea, but each time that I sank
down into a trough of it I seemed to be hidden in a
wide valley between towering hills of dark blue and
green. It was not until I had been swung up to a crest
some three or four times that I caught a momentary
glimpse of her face and head, and a white, bare arm that
waved appealingly, some thirty or forty yards away.
Falling from the poop she had had a start of me, but
my actions had been quick, and I had reached the water
riot many seconds after she had done so.
It was fortunate that she was a good swimmer, and that
her courage and endurance equalled her skill. When
I reached her, I found her actually swimming towards
me, and she greeted me with the greatest coolness, even
laughing, as she grasped one of my hands.
"Thank you so much !" she spluttered, and because of
a curling crest that slapped me in the face, my polite
depreciation of her praise was lost. I put my arm
64 THE GOVERNOR'S MAN
about her, and we paddled gently towards the ship, which
by this time had been brought to, but was a long distance
from us. However, as we were heaved up on to the
crests, we could see the boat that had left her side, and
was making slowly towards us. A man at the mast-
head of the Olga kept us in view, and made signals to
the officer in charge of the boat.
It was strange how small and desolate an object our
floating world looked from our point of view, out there
in the vast wilderness of the seas. Aboard, we seemed to
be a large and densely populated community it was
about three hundred souls, in all but from the tops of
the waves the ship looked like a toy. Not, however,
when we drew close alongside her. Then her vast hulk
seemed to dominate the ocean. Even the boat, as it
drew closer to us, took on an unnatural appearance of
As I had swum towards her I had been making up
my mind as to what I should do when I should reach
her, should she lose her head and struggle. I had re-
solved on the heroic course of stunning her with a blow
from my fist. But her courage and coolness made me
feel like a fool, for having so misjudged her. Positively,
she seemed to be enjoying the adventure.
"Isn't it jolly!" she laughed, her long hair streaming
darkly out in the water, and her face rosy and glowing
with excitement. Her splendid eyes shone with the
sheer joy of it. Such a creature was worth saving. But
I could hardly call myself her saviour. She had done
as much for herself as I had.
Each time we were lifted up we could see that the
boat was making steady progress towards us, though
pulling against the wind rendered it a slow business.
"What is your name?" she cried to me, as we sank
into a hollow.
"John Carnford," I called back, as we lifted over the
"You are one of the soldiers, I suppose?"
I had taken my yellow jacket off before joining in the
THE GOVERNOR'S MAN 65
running game on deck, and she could not see my convict
uniform. I was silent for a little while. But I re-
flected that she'd know soon enough, and might as well
hear it from me now as find out for herself, when we
should be pulled into the boat.
"No," I called shamefacedly, "one of the convicts."
"A prisoner!" she gasped. "Oh, I am sorry for you.
I'll never forget your bravery in jumping in after me.
Papa will do something for you. I know he will."
I was about to say something of a bitter sort, to the
effect that it was out of the power of anyone to do any-
thing for me when we were swung up again to a watery
summit and saw the boat only a few yards from us. In
the short vision which I had of her, I could see that they
had lost sight of us, and did not realise that in the next
few moments they would be upon us. I yelled loudly
as we sank into the trough again and the next instant had
a hasty sight of the white prow of the boat poised above
us for a quiet second or so. Then down it came, plung-
ing upon us, with a hissing curl of foam breaking under
the stem. With all my might I shoved the girl away,
out of the track of the deadly keel, and tried to dive, but
I was too late. I knew of a crash, and the taste of salt
water on my tongue, and of a vague sense of being driven
down and down, into black darkness. And the next
that I knew was that the pink sails of the ship, as they
caught the last rays of the setting sun, looked very
dazzling against the clear blue of the sky. After that, I
had a faint view of Dr. Collingwood's face, as he bent
>ver me, and heard him saying, as if it were from a dis-
"He'll do now. Here, pick him up, a couple of you,
and help him down to the hospital. But drink this
first, Carnford. You'll be all right in the morning.
Only a bit of a crack on the nut. You're not done yet."
The Doctor held a glass of brandy to my lips.
"He'll live to be hung yet," remarked a disagreeable
voice behind me. I recognised it for the military
66 THE GOVERNOR'S MAN
As two of the guard assisted me to my feet, I saw her,
with her wet hair hanging about her shoulders, over the
seaman's pea jacket in which they had wrapped her in
the boat. Her beautiful face was flushed with anger,
and she stamped her foot upon the deck in vexation.
"He is a good man," she said. "Men like that don't
get hung. I'm ashamed of you, sir, for saying such a
"Now, Miss Adelaide," said hex maid soothingly.
"Do come down to your cabin, and change your wet
things. You said you would, as soon as he had re-
She suffered herself to be led away not, however,
before she had thanked me in front of them all.
"You are a brave man," she said, taking my hand for
a moment. "I thank you with all my heart, Mr. Carn-
ford. When the boat came down upon us, you saved
my life, almost at the expense of your own. I do thank
you indeed I do."
Ensign Keating scowled, but said nothing, and walked
away. They took me below, and put me into a berth
in the prison hospital, between warm blankets. One of
the convict attendants was feeding me with gruel, when
we heard voices outside the door. One was Dr. Colling-
wood's, but the other I did not recognise.
"Damme! My dear Doctor," it was saying. "Posi-
tively luxurious ! Splendid ! I had no ideah. Most
interesting. Really excellent."
A subdued titter came from the prison, as the hospital
door was opened, and the Surgeon, with the passenger
whom I only knew as Miss Nutting's father came in.
"Well, Carnford, and how are you now?" the Doctor
asked me cheerily, as he felt my pulse. "Here's Mr.
Nutting, the young lady's father, come to see you. He
wants to thank you, too. Indeed, we all must do that.
I don't know what we would have done if we'd lost our
little angel. Here he is, Mr. Nutting nothing much
the worse for it."
I looked up, and in the dim light of the lantern hang-
THE GOVERNOR'S MAN 67
ing from the beam in the middle of the hospital, in-
spected at close quarters the figure of the exquisitely
attired gentleman whom we beheld daily on the poop
from behind our prison barricade.
He was, indeed, in notable contrast with his surround-
ings. Picture one of the bucks of the Regency in the
dark 'tween decks of a convict vessel, and you will realise
how much so. He was dressed as he might have been
in Pall Mall on a spring afternoon beaver top hat,
silken stock, ruffled shirt, blue cloth coat with gold but-
tons, white buckskin breeches, and tasselled patent leather
boots reaching half way up his shins. He peered at me
through a single eyeglass, which was mounted upon a
little ebony stick.
"Haw, my good man," he addressed me in a high
pitched, rather effeminate voice, with a somewhat affected
drawl. "I am glad to see you are not much the worse
for your bath. A brave action, damme, quite a brave
action. I am immensely obliged to you, my good fellow.
I will make it my business to speak to the Governor in
your favour when we reach Sydney. Damme, so I will."
"That will do you no harm, Carnford," said Dr. Col-
lingwood. "Mr. Nutting goes out with very strong
letters of recommendation to Governor Bligh, who is on
his way out to the Settlement, and should reach Port
Jackson a little before we do. We were to have sailed
in his company had we not been delayed. I daresay
Mr. Nutting won't be unwilling to do what he can fol
"Damme, no, Doctor. I'm vastly indebted to the good
fellow vastly indebted. Do anything I can to be
He fumbled in his pocket and pulled out a guinea,
which he held out towards me.
"Haw a little something for you my man a little sum
for refreshment, or tobacco. Take it, I beg of you."
I shook my head. The Doctor roared with laughter.
"My dear Nutting," he said. "It's a case of 'coals
to Newcastle.' Do you know, this young man could
68 THE GOVERNOR'S MAN
buy and sell us all. This is the man I was speaking of
the other evening at dinner the man whom I had to
acquaint with the fact that he'd come into a fortune."
"Damme, is that so? Most interesting, very curious
indeed," said Mr. Nutting, regarding me with increased
respect, I thought. "Damme, the fellow might tip me,
by George that he might. Oh, well, you have my
thanks my good man, my earnest thanks."
To do Mr. George Mainwaring Nutting justice, he
never forgot that I had gone into the water after his
daughter. He was a strange character, but in all the
years I knew him he was never anything but good and
friendly to me.
But I never spoke to either him or his daughter again,
until we had arrived at the end of our voyage.
It was sometime in the night when we made the Heads
of Port Jackson, and Captain Colman stood off and on
until daylight, before attempting the entrance to the
harbour. In order to assist the men in various duties
incidental to our making port, a half-dozen or so of us
were summoned upon deck by Dr. Collingwood. The
sun was well up when we came up the hatchway, and
we were beating against a westerly breeze, into what
seemed to be a fairly large bay, but nothing very won-
derful, considering all that we had heard concerning the
extent and beauty of Port Jackson. The Heads looked
like the pillars of a narrow gateway in a great wall of
yellow sandstone, and opposite to them was another high
bluff of rock Middle Head that seemed to me, at
first, to limit the navigation of the harbour. I was a
little surprised to see no shipping, and no town upon
the heights of the South Head, nor any indication of a
settlement save the flagstaff and a white hut at its foot.
But what a revelation when we were once inside the
Heads, and began to open up the glorious beauties of
that magnificent sheet of water really a land-locked lake
of almost indescribable splendour!
Many a hundred times since that morning, half a cen-
tury ago, have I sailed into Port Jackson, in fair wea-
ther and in foul, and I have never tired of contemplating
its marvellous beauties. Coming from my station on
the Hunter River Ludgate Hill both in the old trad-
70 THE GOVERNOR'S MAN
ing schooners that used to ply between Sydney and New-
castle, and latterly in the splendid steam vessels that can
do the voyage from Morpeth, easily, in the twelve hours,
I have never missed, in daytime or at night, being upon
deck as we came through the Heads. The charm of
Port Jackson never fails. But on that first morning,
in August, 1806, its aspect almost bewildered me. Never
had I imagined that there could be anything so beauti-
ful in the way of natural scenery. Some of the sailors
said that the harbour of Rio de Janiero was finer, but as
we had been confined below deck all the time we were
there, we had no means of comparing the two ports.
If it is finer than Sydney, it must be something very
We were all the morning working up the harbour
against the westerly, which, as you know, is the prevail-
ing wind of winter upon the coast of New South Wales.
There was little sign of the town in those days, until you
came right up to Sydney Cove. Its furthest outposts
were about Woolloomooloo, and the heights which were
afterwards called Darlinghurst. There were one or
two country houses between them and the coast, belonging
to officers of the garrison and well-to-do merchants, but
they lay in a wild inhospitable desert of scrub and
forest, and were as far removed from Sydney as are
farms upon the Nepean and George's Rivers to-day.
With every half mile we opened up some new vista.
All the points and promontories were thickly wooded
down to the water's edge, and here and there, in curving
bays, white beaches gleamed between the dark foliage of
the primeval forest and the blue water that lapped them
gently. It was a brilliant forenoon, and we could
hardly credit the fact that it was a winter's day. The
islands were covered with scrub and timber also. One
of the prettiest of them all the little one opposite Farm
Cove, on which the hideous Port Denison has lately been
erected, and which bore the elegant name of Pinchgut
the natives called it Matte wai was ornamented with a
THE GOVERNOR'S MAN 71
gibbet, on which hung in chains the remains of some
unfortunate wretch, who I afterwards learned, had been
detected in robbing the Commissariat Stores. It was a
grim sign post pointing the way to Sydney, and remind-
ing us that, although we were coming to a new land, yet,
after all, we were but entering the gates of a prison,
New South Wales was nothing else until, in good
Governor Macquarie's time, the barrier of the mountains
to the westward had been scaled, and Australia began to
be regarded as being intended as much for the freeman
as for the felon.
Just before noon, we dropped our anchor within the
mouth of the little bay round which the town of Sydney
clustered a primitive, quaint little place it was then,
straggling up the valley of the Tank Stream, and upon
the low hills to east and west of it, for about a mile in-
land. There were a few public buildings, a fairly large
military barrack, a gaol, and Government House. Some
of the officers of the New South Wales Corps had fine
residences, and up on the "Rocks," to the west of the
Cove, there were one or two really pretentious dwellings,
but for the most part the houses were small two- or
three-roomed cottages, with tiny vegetable gardens in
front of them, and with little claim to architectural
adornment of any sort. They were very often the primi-
tive wattle-and-daub structures which had been built in
the opening years of the Settlement. And yet, con-
sidering that the place had only been occupied by the
English for eighteen years, Sydney in 1806 was no dis-
credit to the British genius for colonisation.
So soon as we had brought up to our moorings, boats
put off to the ship, but the sentries warned them off, and
nobody was allowed to come aboard before the Naval
Officer the Harbour Master had visited us. He came
off within the hour of our arrival, and Dr. Collingwood
received him at the gangway, and conducted him aft to
the cabin. I heard him remark to the surgeon, as they
passed into the poop
72 THE GOVERNOR'S MAN
"The Governor is coming off to you this afternoon,
Dr. Collingwood. Be prepared for him. He never
lets us forget that he's a post-captain in the Royal Navy.
Be sure and see to it that your military officer has the
guard under arms, and all ready to accord him his salute.
He's rather a stickler for that sort of thing, is His Ex-
It was a little after two o'clock when the Governor's
boat was observed to be putting off from the little jetty
below Government House. We were immediately
ordered to form up in a double rank in the waist of the
ship, and along the port side, and the whole of the de-
tachment, with Mr. Keating in command, of soldiers,
fell in upon the quarterdeck. They were more spick
and span than we had even seen them, and every button
shone, while their belts were pipe-clayed to a snowy
whiteness. Everybody in the ship wore the best clothes
that they had. Captain Colman's blue cloth coat had
never been used before, and was in imminent danger of
splitting at the seams, since our good commander had put
on flesh during the voyage. The most splendid looking
personage in the ship's company, however, was Mr.
Nutting. He might almost have been going to call on
the Prince of Wales, or Mr. Brummell he was so gor-
The boat came alongside the ship in man-o'-war
fashion, the crew tossing their oars, as the bow man
hooked on to the side ladder. Dr. Collingwood and
Captain Colman stood at the gangway to receive him,
and, with the soldiers presenting arms, and us prisoners
taking off our caps, His Excellency, Captain William
Bligh, R.N., Captain- General and Governor-in-Chief in
and over His Majesty's Territory of New South Wales,
stepped aboard the Olga, and immediately said,
"Damme, sir, your decks are not very clean."
Now the decks had been washed down before the mid-
day meal, and, indeed, were in very good order, but they
were not snow white as a man-o'war's would have been.
THE GOVERNOR'S MAN
The most splendid looking personage in the ship's company
was Mr. Nutting.
74 THE GOVERNOR'S MAN
However, it was characteristic of His Excellency to
judge anything and everybody by the standards of the
service to which he belonged.
He inspected the guard, and Mr. Keating was intro-
duced to him. To our great delight, he found fault
with that gentleman, because a flint was missing from
one of the soldier's muskets.
"See to it that the man is punished, sir," he said point-
ing at the unluckly private with his cane. "Give the
a dozen, sir. 'Twill teach him better."
Incredible as it may seem, the man was actually
flogged in the barracks on the following day, and the
mean-souled and vindictive Ensign Keating saw to it
that he got two dozen.
And then our turn came.
The Governor, eyeing us keenly, walked along our
ranks. Every now and again he would mutter, half to
"A damned ill-looking crew," or "What scoun-
It was little wonder that William Bligh could get him-
self hated more bitterly than most men can. And yet
he had a power of winning the respect and admiration of
many of his fellow men, that can only be ascribed to his
real possession of the most sterling qualities. To this
day though I have never been blind to his faults I am
glad to testify to the love and respect I bore Governor
Bligh. He was a brave and an honest man but he
had the temper of a devil, and the perversity of a mule.
His Excellency addressed us in a short and characteris-
tic quarter-deck oration, remarkable for the forcibleness
of its diction rather than for the uplifting moral senti-
ments it might have been expected to convey.
"And let me tell ye this," it concluded. "Ye have
to look to yourselves for whatever is coming to ye in the
future. Be patient, submit to discipline, be industrious,
sober, and well behaved and ye'll have good chances.
But if ye are mutinous, idle, or drunken ye'll have h 1
THE GOVERNOR'S MAN 75
knocked out of ye. Mind yourselves, d n ye, mind
yourselves. That's all I want to say to ye."
Before we were dismissed to complete our prepara-
tions for disembarkation, the Governor and Dr. Colling-
wood conversed together in low tones that were inaudible
to me. They seemed to be considering something that
had to do with us, for they eyed us constantly, and once
or twice Captain Bligh pointed to men in our ranks, and
appeared to be questioning the Surgeon about them. At
last Dr. Collingwood caught my eye, and beckoned to me.
"Come forward, Carnford," he said. "His Excel-
lency desires to speak to you."
Wondering how I had attracted such august attention,
I stepped out of the ranks, and, saluting, halted before
the Surgeon and the Governor. The latter looked me
up and down, searchingly, before he spoke. He turned
to Dr. Collingwood.
"Seems to be a likely fellow, Doctor. Strong, active,
young and not so infernally ugly as some of these other
villians. What's he here for! For what was he trans-
"Well, your Excellency I am very sorry to say that
he was sentenced to death for murder, and the death
penalty was commuted to transportation for fourteen
years. But I would say this "
"Murder!" interrupted the Governor. "So ye're a
d d assassin, are ye, my lad? We'll cure you of
that, I promise ye."
"He was an unfortunate accessory, your Excellency,"
said Dr. Collingwood. "He has a most exemplary
character. I have trusted him fully during the voyage,
and found him entirely worthy of such confidence. In-
deed, your Excellency could not do better than choose, out
of those we have aboard, this young man. I will answer
for it that you will have little fault to find with him. I
think he would answer your purpose admirably."
"Oh, won't I !" grunted Bligh. "Let me tell you, Dr.
Collingwood, there are d d few people I can't find
76 THE GOVERNOR'S MAN
fault with. I have not been a naval officer all these
years for nothing, I can tell you. However, if you vouch
for him, I'll take him. My experience leads me to
believe that a murderer is generally more useful and
desirable, as a servant, than a thief or a forger. You
get your traps together, and come ashore in my boat.
I'm going to take you into my service, so mind your
d d p's and q's. I'll flog the guts out of ye, if ye
disappoint me or make a liar of the Doctor."
Dr. Collingwood signed me to be off, and I saluted and
went below, to get my few possessions together. I was
stooping over my berth when I experienced a slap on the
back. I looked round, and saw Brian McMahon, his
red face full of concern.
"What's this, Jack! Are ye going off wid that little
pepper-box of a Governor, an' lavin' me be me lone-
some? Sure I thought better of ye than that, so I did."
"I've no choice, Brian, old boy," I replied. "Captain
Bligh has given me my orders, and you can see he's not
the sort of man to question with. But I know Dr.
Collingwood intends to look after us both, and I'm sure
he'll see to it that you get something better than falls
to the lot of the rest of this mob."
"I suppose so, Johnnyboy," sighed my friend re-
signedly. "Well, good-bye for the present. We'll
stick to one another, Jack, won't we?"
"Of course we will, old boy. I'll "
But our farewell was cut short by the insistent bellow-
ing of the sentry down the hatchway for "John Carn-
ford." Hastily making a bundle of my belongings, I
ran up the ladder, and saw the Governor talking to Dr.
Collingwood at the gangway.
"Come along, d n ye!" he roared at me. "Ye'll
need to step more lively, blast ye, if you come into my
service, my man."
He ran down the ladder, and I followed him into his
boat. As I passed Dr. Collingwood, he whispered
THE GOVERNOR'S MAN 77
"It's all right, Carnford you're in luck. I'll attend
to your affairs, and look after Mr. Blundell, your agent.
I'll see you in a day or two."
As we rowed from the ship to the shore, I caught a
glimpse of Miss Nutting, standing on the poop with her
father. It may have been fancy, but I thought she
nodded and smiled to me as we passed under the Olga's
The Governor's Man.
I propose to carry my story on, with only the briefest
reference to the time that elapsed between my landing
at Sydney, in August, 1806, and the beginning of the
year 1808. After all, its main interest lies in the events
which I witnessed and took part in during this stormy
period of the Colony's history. That is to say the period
preceding and subsequent to the deposition of Governor
Bligh, and the usurpation of Government by the officers
and friends of the New South Wales Corps. It is the
one historic event of Australian life with which I am
thoroughly familiar, and is, indeed, the event which had
most to do with the shaping of my destiny.
The position for which, at the recommendation of
Dr. Collingwood, I was selected by Governor Bligh, was
a curious one. I hardly know whether he regarded me
as a valet, a bodyguard, a sort of assistant-secretary, a
groom, a policeman, or a confidental agent. At some
time or another I was one or more of these not infre-
quently several of them simultaneously. What I under-
stood from him in the beginning, was that he needed the
services of someone whom he could trust implicitly, and
who would be ready for any work that was required of
him at any time.
"I want you to 'stand by,' Carnford," he said to me.
"D n your soul, I want ye to be always standing by."
So I "stood by," and a queer variety of experiences fell
to my lot. I almost lost my identity, because of my
THE GOVERNOR'S MAN 79
association with his Excellency. I was far better known
as "The Governor's Man," than I was as John Carn-
I knew afterwards that Dr. Collingwood had made it
his business to inform the Governor concerning me as
wholly as he was able. He had told him of the pecu-
liar ill fortune which had involved Brian McMahon and
myself in the death of Patrick Hanrahan, of the death of
my father, and of my inheritance of a large fortune.
He related to me, years afterwards, the fashion in which
His Excellency had received the latter information. The
Doctor, being entitled to put the magic letters "R.N."
after his name, was in high favour at Government House,
and it was when he was dining here, a few nights after
our arrival in Sydney, that he told Captain Bligh all
The Governor looked at him curiously after he had
finished the story, and said nothing for a little time.
Then he banged his fist on the table, and said there
were no ladies present, fortunately
"D n his soul, Dr. Collingwood, does he suppose
his sixty thousand pounds is going to buy him my favour?
Do you suppose it is? Then let me tell you it will do
nothing of the kind. He must serve his sentence. What-
ever amelioration of circumstances may come his way,
will depend altogether upon himself. I am a just man
though some say I am a hard one and I will not
favour this fellow because he is wealthy. In our service,
Dr. Collingwood you know it as well as I know it
there are many young gentlemen who are highly con-
nected, and who have considerable private means of
their own. Does that ever save them from dirty work,
from dangerous work, from hard work, or from the
masthead when they deserve it? No, sir. D n my
soul, no. A midshipman, to me, is a midshipman
and a convict is a convict. In both cases it is only dili-
gence and good conduct that weighs favourably. If
this young man is diligent and well conducted, I shall
80 THE GOVERNOR'S MAN
take notice of it. If he is idle, dissolute, or lazy, he
will suffer. It rests with himself, d n him, it rests
I know, however, that the Governor always took an in-
terest in me, and I know that he came to think well of
me, and to trust me. But his manner to me was often
as rough and tyrannical as it might have been to any
soldier, or any soldier's officer. He had a peculiar pre-
judice against and antipathy to soldiers, which he never
hesitated to make evident. Nor did they fail to re-
ciprocate such sentiments.
My father's agent, Mr. George Blundell, had come
aboard the Olga the day after I left her to enter the
Governor's establishment. Dr. Collingwood had seen
him, and, in reply to his request that I should be as-
signed to him, had informed him of the Governor's hav-
ing selected me for his own service. Mr. Blundell had
agreed that it would be as well not to attempt to inter-
fere with that arrangement. But Dr. Collingwood had
strongly recommended Brian, and Mr. Blundell had
agreed to apply for him. His application was success-
ful, and it was a great consolation to me that my friend
had come into such good hands.
Mr. Blundell was one of the first of the merchant
traders of the new colony. He had been a stock-broker
in London with a good connection, but, having married a
lady who proved to be not only no better, but a great
deal worse than she ought to have been, had come to ruin
over her, through killing in a duel another man whom
he had found with her in circumstances that admitted
of no compromise. Like myself, he had been
sentenced to death, and his sentence had been com-
muted to transportation. He had come to the colony
in Governor Hunter's time, and had almost immediately
received a conditional pardon, which permitted him
entire freedom in Australia, but did not allow him to
return to England. So he had made the best of a bad
business, had invested his capital in a trading venture in
THE GOVERNOR'S MAN 81
Sydney, had been eminently successful in it, and at this
time was one of the leading business men of the place.
He was an old friend of my father's, and to his good-
ness and kindness I owe more than I say say. It is ten
years since he died at Parramatta, and when I visit the
place I always walk into St. John's Cemetery to stand for
a few minutes beside the grave of my old friend and
Of Mr. Nutting and his daughter, I saw very little in
those two years. That exquisite gentleman, having a
considerable sum of money to invest in its improvement
and development, had received an extensive grant of
land from the Government, at Emu Plains, and, after six
months in Sydney, had gone to reside on his estate, tak-
ing Miss Adelaide with him. It was a rough and un-
usual life for a young girl fresh from home, but she was
a girl of rare spirit and courage, and adapted herself to
her new conditions after the brave and resolute fashion
which so many of our pioneer women of Australia dis-
played. I think, with the exception of one occasion, I
only caught sight of her some two or three times during
this period, but it was not long before our lives came to
be so strongly interwoven as you will see they were in
the story which I am writing for you. And, you C'arn-
fords who read it may bless your good fortune that they
were so interwoven. If there is any good in any of
you, you got it from her.
I accompanied the Governor wherever he went. He
had fitted me out in a semi-military uniform somewhat
against his liking, I think, but it was the only sort of rig
which was available in the stores. He would have pre-
ferred a naval dress, and, indeed, from force of habit,
I suppose, he often addressed me as "coxswain." I dis-
charged many of the duties which fell to the lot of a
captain's coxswain in the Royal Navy. Sometimes we
journeyed to the Green Hills, as the main settlement on
the Hawkesbury was called it was afterwards named
Windsor by Governor Macquarie. Sometimes we went
and resided at Parramatta for several weeks. We made
82 THE GOVERNOR'S MAN
several expeditions by sea to Broken Bay, and once we
sailed to the Coal River, now called Newcastle, of which
I was before very long to have so bitter an experience.
I have a vivid remembrance of one occasion when I
was in attendance upon His Excellency. Since it was
an incident that well may serve to illustrate Bligh's char-
acter and bearing, I will relate it here. I could easily
understand from it why the men of H.M.S. Bounty had
found him so intolerable in his behaviour towards them.
He summoned me one morning to accompany him on
a walk into the town. I found him awaiting me, in a
very bad temper, on the grand drive before the verandah
of Government House.
"Damn ye, Carnford, where have ye been! Am I to
await ye all day, ye blasted lubber?"
"I was copying those returns you gave me last night,
your Excellency," I excused myself though I had come
instantly, only waiting to buckle on the belt containing
the brace of pistols which I always had to carry, as well
as a cutlass or hanger.
"Damn the returns !" he roared. "Follow me !" and
he strode down to the gate, grudgingly acknowledging,
by a wave of his stick that was almost minatory, the
presented arms of the sentry.
We went down the hill, and across the bridge that
spanned the Tank Stream where Pitt and Bridge Streets
intersect to-day. Up the other slope of the valley, ho
led the way into George Street. Everybody we passed
officers, soldiers, convicts, and civilians, manifested by
their bearing the wholesome awe which His Excellency
inspired. He returned their salutes in a manner that
might almost have been regarded as a curse in panto-
mime. Outside the gaol, the sight of a gang of pri-
soners in chains, lazily carrying out a road mending task,
excited his ire. He halted, and called the overseer to
him. The poor man approached, in fear and trembling.
"Hello, you! Come here, I say, ye! What do
THE GOVERNOR'S MAN 83
ye call this, hey? What do ye call this? Are these
's amusing themselves, or what, pray?"
"If ye please y'r Honour they be a'mending the
roa-ad," answered their taskmaster, touching his cap.
"Mending the road ! Damme, they're only playing
with the work." The prisoners had become energeti-
cally industrious when they saw who their critic was. He
shook his fist at them. "Ye idle vagabonds, ye!
D n my eyes, but I'll make ye work, instead of play.
See here, you ," to the overseer, "how many of these
gallows-birds have ye here?"
" 'Tis ten in th' gang, y'r Honour."
"Ten men ! Ten useless 's, ye mean ! Now
see here, you , you select three of them, and report
them for idleness, and tell the Superintendent I said they
were to have two dozen apiece. And send the names of
them up to Government House. I'll teach 'em they're
not sent here to amuse themselves. I'll teach 'em
and you too, ye useless wastrel. I've a mind to send ye
back to the gang yourself. Come along, Carnford,
d n ye. Don't stand staring there, like a stuffed
monkey!" And His Excellency resumed his genial pro-
gress through the capital of his dominions.
We came at last to the end of the ridge upon which
the western side of the little town lay, to Dawe's Point
and Dawe's Battery, where there was a sergeant's guard
over the little fortification which was the principal artil-
lery defence of Sydney in 1806. The sentry recognised
his august visitor at a distance, and had the guard turned
out in good time. As we came abreast of the guard-
room they presented arms in proper style, the sergeant,
with his long halberd at the shoulder, standing stiff as a
poker. His Excellency stopped opposite the little par-
ade, and critically inspected it. The guard remained
at the "present."
Suddenly he took two quick steps to the right flank, and
held out his stick behind him to me.
"Hold that, Carnford, d n ye hold that stick."
84 THE GOVERNOR'S MAN
I took it, and the Governor immediately grasped the
musket of the man before him.
"Let me have it," he bellowed. The man, gaping
with astonishment, yielded it up to His Excellency. Bligh
turned it over in his hands, and examined it minutely, an
angry frown on his face.
"Dirty, dirty, filthy" he exclaimed. He tore the
flint from the lock, and dashed it on the ground, thrust-
ing the piece back rudely into the man's hands.
"A pretty fellow, by G d, to call himself a soldier.
Pretty fellow a useless , not fit to carry
He repeated this performance with the whole six men
of the front rank, using frightful language as he did so,
and freely damning the eyes, limbs, and souls of each in-
dividual soldier. I could not help noticing the face of
the sergeant. It was white with rage and anger. One
could see that he would have given his chance of eter-
nal happiness to bring his halberd down to the charge,
and transfix the Governor upon its shining spear head.
If ever there was potential murder in a man, it was in
the sergeant of the guard at Dawe's Battery that morning.
The Governor took his stick from me, and called the
"Come here, you! Come out here damme, move
yourself." The sergeant stepped out to the front and
"What do you call this, hey?" pointing to the flints
lying in the dust before the line. "D d disgraceful.
'Tis your fault, ye pasty faced , ye! Why do ye
not see that your men keep their arms in proper condi-
tion? I'll report this to your commanding officer, by
H 1 I will. I'll have ye disrated, ye , crawling
lubber. Dismiss the guard, and pick up those flints,
and see that they are properly secured. Soldiers, by
G d ! I'd not have one of them as a gift, if I
was taking a press gang through Wapping. Ye're a
disgrace to His Majesty's service, by G d ye are !"
He turned about, and went back the way he had come,
THE GOVERNOR'S MAN 85
causing terror and apprehension along the whole course of
his morning's walk. It would have been interesting
and instructive to listen to the comments of the Dawes'
Battery guard as they returned to the guard-room. I
could swear, at least, that the sergeant's were forcible
and bitter enough.
The Road to the Green Hills.
It was about Christmas week, 1806, that the Governor
sent me on a message to the Hawkesbury, this being the
first occasion when he had seen fit to entrust me with
any responsible task that took me far out of his sight. I
was to deliver a letter to Mr. Andrew Thompson, his
agent at the Green Hills, who looked after his newly
acquired farm, and attended to the breeding and pastur-
ing of his stock there.
It was about midday when I set out on my journey,
which is one of close on forty miles. It was my pur-
pose to stay in Parramatta for the night, and complete my
ride in the early hours of the following morning. This
would permit of my passing the next night, on my
return journey, also in Parramatta, and of reaching Syd-
ney about noon on the third day. I was to put up at
the Governor's country residence in Parramatta, where
I had often accompanied him, and was well known.
When I turned my back on the blue waters of the har-
bour it was a roasting hot day, and, crossing the bridge,
rode into George Street, which was, as it is to-day, the
road to Parramatta. I was riding the Governor's roan
mare, Jessie, which was kept principally for use as a
hackney by Mrs Putland, Captain Bligh's daughter. She
was the wife of Captain John Putland, of H.M.S. Por-
poise. The poor lady found little time for riding in
these days, owing to the serious ill health of her husband,
who was fast sinking into a decline, and who died in the
THE GOVERNOR'S MAN 87
following year. I was always a favourite of hers, and
she did me many little kindnesses. She herself it was
who suggested that I should exercise Jessie by using her
for this journey.
"See whether you can bring me back some little deli-
cacy or other from the farm for Captain Putland, Carn-
ford, if you please," she said, patting the mare's neck, as I
awaited the Governor's letter before the house. I pro-
mised to do my best. Just then the Governor came to
the door, gave me the letter, and told me to get along
and be d d to me, and not to dawdle.
You had not to ride very far to leave Sydney behind
you in those days. Once past the burial ground on Brick-
field Hill, where St. Andrew's Cathedral stands now,
and you were in the suburbs, so to speak. Half a mile
past the further foot of the hill, the road turned to the
westward, round the end of Cockle Bay which was sub-
sequently called Darling Harbour, after the worst
Governor the colony has had and you were in the coun-
try. Beyond one or two isolated and rude little cottages,
there was nothing but scrub and forest until, four miles
out, you passed by Major Johnston's estate and house
of Annandale. From that point onward it behoved
the traveller to ride warily, and with his eyes open, on
the look-out for bushrangers, who occasionally stuck up
and robbed wayfarers using the Western Road. I had
my brace of horse-pistols in my holsters, however, and
being young enough to think I really was, felt myself
a match for any desperado who might dare to molest me.
But nothing at all happened to me, save the annoyance
caused by the heat and the flies, and a little before sun-
set I rode into Parramatta, and alighted in the stable-
yard of Government House. Here I received a hearty
welcome from Red Murphy, the Governor's groom at
the place, who put me up in his own quarters, and at-
tended to Jessie's wants most handsomely.
"An 1 how is Billy Bligh?" he enquired solicitously.
"Is th' timper of him afther showin* anny sign of an
88 THE GOVERNOR'S MAN
improvemint or is he jist th' same ragin' bellowin' divil
as iver?" His Excellency's health was good, I informed
Mr. Murphy, and his temper was normal which was
only a polite way of intimating that he was still the same
raging and bellowing devil as usual.
We had a good supper, and afterwards sat out on the
hillside, smoking, and gazing across the river and the
beautiful valley through which it winds, to the distant
heights about Castle Hill. Red Murphy entertained
me with reminiscence and anecdote of the early days,
some true, and some highly enough coloured. He had
come out as a marine with the First Fleet, and had many
tales of the privations and struggles of the first years of
the settlement at Port Jackson and Norfolk Island.
Later on was produced a rum bottle, of which I partook
very sparingly, and Mr. Murphy very copiously. By
bed time he was singing Irish songs lustily, and finally
went to sleep in his chair, where he still snored fear-
somely, when I rose at the first sign of dawn, to feed and
water Jessie. But he was all right when he awoke, and
we breakfasted heartily together at six o'clock.
Wonderful hard heads had those old timers ! He had
finished the bottle of very bad Bengal rum overnight,
and seemed none the worse for it in the morning, barring
what he called "a bit of a twisht to th' tongue." He
untwisted it with a pannikin full, neat, out of a fresh
Except for the first mile or two, through Castle Hill,
the Windsor Road in those days was little better than
a rude track that had been cleared of scrub and timber,
and left to form itself. In wet weather it was almost
impassable in places, for wheeled traffic. To-day, how-
ever, it was a fair enough highway, and I passed several
carts coming in with garden stuff for the market at
I had ridden on my way for some two hours, or there-
abouts, and reckoned that I had almost broken the back
of my journey, when, as I was ambling through a forest
THE GOVERNOR'S MAN 89
of tall gum trees, I was startled by the sudden appearance
in the roadway of four uncouth figures. They had
sprung out of the undergrowth on either side, and, ex-
tending across the road, barred my way with uplifted
hands? I immediately reined the mare in, and snatched
a pistol from my holster.
A tall, thin man with a straggling black beard, bare-
footed and barelegged, came towards me, crying out :
"For th' love of th' Vargin, don't shoot, misther soger.
If ye fire off y'r pistol, ye're a dead carpse entirely.
'Tis thim that has ye covered from behind th' trees.
We wish ye no harrum."
I lowered the pistol. The tall man walked up and
laid a gnarled hand on my reins, and the others, as ill
clad and ragged as himself, crowded round.
"What is it you want of me?" I demanded, as bravely
as I could. As a matter of fact, I was in a sad funk.
II 'Tis but a very little thing, masther wan that 'tis
not in th' face of ye to rayfuse to half a dozen poor min
in a bit of throuble for the want of it."
"Is it money you want?" I asked.
The man shook his head. " 'Tis not, thin. Sure,
money's not much use to us. We've run away from over
yander," pointing towards Castle Hill, "from th'
shtockade, an we've a long, long way to go. But will
ye not be ridin' in to th' bush for no more than a minute
or two? 'Tis dangerous for us to be in th' road. They
might be comin' afther us anny minit, so they might."
I felt sure that they meant me no harm, so I suffered
the tall man to lead Jessie into the timber. Some thirty
yards in, we were hidden from the road, and, under a
big tree, I found two more men seated, one of whom
was washing, gently and carefully, the lacerated back of
the other. There was no mistaking the flagellator's
Of any men with firearms, who might have been cover-
ing me from the bush, I saw no signs, and I asked the
spokesman of the party where they were. He laughed.
90 THE GOVERNOR'S MAN
"Och, sure, y'r Honor, 'twas but a pretince, so it was.
'Twas th' mortial drid I did be havin' y'd bang off y'r
pistol at us, so I invinted thim for the occasion."
The others joined in the laughter good-naturedly and
gleefully, like children and from their conversation I
gathered that they were all Irish. Some of the unfor-
tunate peasantry who had been exiled in hundreds after
the abortive rebellion of '98, no doubt. I could see
that they meant me no harm, so I dismounted, and asked
blackbeard what they were in such need of.
"Sit ye down, Misther Soger-man. 'Twas mesilf that
knew ye th' minnit I set eyes on ye. Ye're not wan of
th' redcoats, so ye're not. 'Tis th' Governor's mahn
himself ye are, I'll be thinkin'? I t'ought so much.
Well, Misther Governor's Mahn, 'tis good talk I hear of
ye, an' I know ye'll not be hard on us. We've cleared
out last night, an' 'tis bate we are for th' bit of a fire to
do some cookin' wid. Mabbe 'tis y'silf'd be afther havin'
a flint an' steel, wud ye now? We'd buy it off of ye, if
t'would be ye'd sell. But we must have fire, for we've
far to go."
"Where are you making for?" I asked him.
"To Chiny," he said. "Arrah now- don't be tellin'
TIS we can't get there, for we know better."
"To China!" I exclaimed in astonishment. I had
heard of the wild dream that many of the simpler and
more illiterate of the convicts sometimes indulged in as
to the possibility of finding an overland route into Asia
but I had never believed that such ignorance was so
possible, as to induce men to run away with the notion
that it could actually be accomplished. And yet, here
was the strange adventure in the making. "But, man,"
I said, "Australia's an island. You would have to cross
the seas to get out of it to China, or to anywhere else."
"Och, be jabers, we know better. 'Tis Michael Mul-
doon himself has the map in his pocket, an' paid ten
shillin' for it to ould Granny Dacey in Parramatta.
Show the gintleman th' map, Mike; show him th' map."
THE GOVERNOR'S MAN 91
One of the men came forward, and exhibited the
strange chart. It was a rude outline of Australia, and
a convenient isthmus joined it in the North to a vast,
vague, continent, which was labelled "China." A red
line was traced over it, that went roughly westward, and
then north, and blackbeard explained that this was the
course they were to follow.
"See here," he expounded eagerly, "we've to cross thim
mountains over yonder, an' we're over th' worst of th'
journey, for there is towns and villages beyant thim,
where Granny Dacey's made thim marks th' mark of
th' Houly Cross an' 'tis help we'll be gettin' there, for
they're th' good people that's livin' in thim, so they are,
says Granny. A wise woman she is, Misther Governor's
Mahn, an' she do be knowin' many a thing, so she does.
If she says 'tis to be done, thin so 'tis an' all th' talk
in the wide worruld wouldn't prove her wrong. Anny-
way, we can't be worse off than we are at Castle Hill an'
Toongabbee. 'Tis h 1 we do be sufferin', so it is.
I'd walk to h 1 to get away from it."
For an hour or more, I sat and argued with the un-
fortunate creatures but to no purpose. They would
have it that their lunatic enterprise was possible of
achievement, and nothing I could say would convince
them otherwise. So I gave them my flint and steel, and
tinder-box, and bade them farewell. I promised to say
nothing of having met them when I should come to Green
Poor devils! They learned their bitter lesson. Four
of them perished in the wild fastnesses of the inaccessible
Blue Mountains, and one was killed by the blacks, and
blackbeard himself came into the Cow Pastures six weeks
afterwards, the sole survivor of the little band of intrepid
explorers. He was insane, and dying of starvation. But
they nursed him up, and brought him back to such reason
as was possible to him and then they flogged him, and
sent him to Norfolk Island! It was a cruel world, the
Australias, fifty years ago. It was more cruel to those
92 THE GOVERNOR'S MAN
simple Irishmen of '98, I believe, than it was to any
others who had come there in bondage. None of them
were criminals, but the dreadful system turned them,
often, into wild beasts.
As I came into the settlement at Green Hills I began
to wonder how I would find out Andrew Thompson.
This was my first duty. A group of soldiers, who seemed
to be listening to someone who orated loudly in the road-
way, attracted my attention, and I rode up to them.
They were in various stages of undress, and one or two
of them seemed to be the worse for drink. Judge of my
astonishment, and my disgust, when I found that the loud
voiced person who was making a speech was that same
Ensign Keating who had commanded the guard on the
transport Olga. He was very drunk indeed, very maud-
lin, and discursive, and hospitable. He had a bottle
in his hand, and was serving out rum to the soldiers, in
turn, in a little tin pannikin.
" 'S what I shay, boys 's what I'm shayin' to ye.
Thish d n placesh no goo', no goo' tall. T' h 1
with th' Green Hills s' what I shay. T' h 1
with th' Green Hills. No s'ciety, no 'musements, no
hon' an' glory 'tall. Rotten plashe. No goo'. No
dam' goo'. Worsh'n Par'matta an' that's shayin' a
lot. Hello old Cock where you come from? Gov'nor
Bligh's man, by so it is. H 1 with 's Ex'lenshy,
h 1 with him, I shay! 'M goin' 'bandon shettlement,
'lease prish'ners, give up whole dam' 'stablishment. Have
drink, old Gov'nor's man take drop rum. Won't hurt
you 'pon word, honour, wouldn't hurt a babby."
He fell over on the road, rolled on to his face, and
fell fast asleep. I asked one of the soldiers, a corporal,
who seemed more sober than the others, what was the
"Matter!" he said, with a snort. "Oh, nothing's the
matter. On'y our commandin' orf'cer a bit sprung before
'is usual time. 'Ere, pick 'im up a couple of yous, an'
carry th' swine to 'is quarters. 'E'll be floggin' some
THE GOVERNOR'S MAN 93
of ye in th' mornin'. This 'ere is our newly promoted
Lootenant Keating a King's hard bargain, if ever there
was one. Who d'ye want? Thompson Andrew Thomp-
son? Yes, I'll show ye 'is 'ouse. Up th' road a bit
'ere. Well an' 'ow's Sydney Town? Wish t' Gawd
I was there, 'stead of this 'ole."
It is a beautiful place, that hill by the side of the
noble river that winds down through green fields at the
foot of the purple mountains. I have always regretted
that Governor Macquarie thought fit to change its ori-
ginal name to the one it bears to-day. It is not in the
least like Windsor, really, and the old name of the Green
Hills seemed to fit it better by far than this borrowed
one. Only in one respect do the old and the new Wind-
sor resemble one another at all. And that is in the charm
of their loveliness, and quiet, peaceful beauty.
There is another thing about the place, too, that
always seems to me to lend it an interest beyond any other
locality in the Colony. It was the real cradle of the
Australian race the place to which someday, when Aus-
tralia, as she inevitably must, has taken rank amongst
the nations of the world, all her sons and daughters
should turn as to the hearthstone of their ancestral home.
For it was on the Hawkesbury that the first Australians
were bred and wherever was there a finer breed than
those Hawkesbury natives of the first generation? The
strong men and fruitful women who were the fathers
and the mothers of the people who are the backbone of
the country to-day. The last ten years the years of
the gold discovery have brought an influx of new blood
into the country from all the races of the world a far
stranger medley than came here in Arthur Phillips' little
fleet in '88 but there has come no type that was a
THE GOVERNOR'S MAN 95
better one than was given birth to here. I should say,
myself, that the true aristocracy using the word in its
best sense of this splendid country is made up of the
descendants of the people who were born, in the first
quarter of the nineteenth century, on the Hawkesbury.
I may be wrong, but so it seems to me.
The Corporal walked along beside me till we came to
Andrew Thompson's house not the fine two-storied one
that he built during the government of General Mac-
quarie, but the little cottage above the river which was
the first dwelling place of this remarkable man, after he
had begun to carve out his future.
Already, Andrew Thompson was one of the leading
men amongst the Hawkesbury settlers. He lived for
little more than four years after this time, and was only
in the early thirties when he died. But he died a
wealthy man, this young Scot, who had been transported
when he was only seventeen years of age for setting fire
to a hayrick. Had another thirty years of existence
been vouchsafed to him, there is no knowing how far
he might have gone, or what he might not have done
in the development of the country he had been forced
to adopt. He had the pioneering spirit as few men have
it a fact which his shrewd fellow countryman, Lachlan
Macquarie, was not slow to recognise, nor backward in
He received me with the grave courtesy which was
characteristic of him, took the Governor's letter from
me, read it as he stood in the sunlight on the threshold of
his dwelling place, considered it for a few moments,
and then stepped out and took Jessie's bridle reins from
"Ye'll be John Carnford, I'm thinkin'? I've heard
of ye, my mon, an' I bid ye welcome. We'll juist give
the mare a likely animal she is a drink of water an
a bite of hay, an' then ye'll tak a bite wi' me y'sel. I
misdoubt ye'll have a fine appetite after y'r ride from
Parramatta, where no doubt ye slept last nicht."
His accent was north-country, but not very broad,
96 THE GOVERNOR'S MAN
and I found something likeable in his honest, shrewd
face. I was always on good terms with Andrew Thomp-
son, and count it an honour to have known him. And, as
I have hinted above, I am always wondering what the
man might not have done had he had more years to do
it in than were allotted him.
While we were at dinner, he questioned me closely
as to the state of affairs in Sydney, more particularly with
regard to the attitude of the officers of the garrison to-
wards His Excellency. I told him that it seemed to
me that there was little love lost upon either side. He
shook his head and laughed.
"Ye're richt, laddie I ken weel that ye're richt.
There's no love at all. And I'll tell ye the why of it.
Governor Bligh, for all that he's a rude mon, an' a
harsh mon, an' a mon that it's ill to cross he's an honest
mon, and has the welfare of the colony to heart. But
the officers of the Corps ah, well, they're no quite so
honest as they might be, an' some of them have better
heads than His Excellency. And there's this difference,
too. He's for the good of us all bond, emancipists,
and free settlers but they are only for the good of them-
selves. They're a poor lot, takin' them a' round, an'
not one of them has ever had such chances as they've
got here. They mean to make the most out of them that
they can. He's for seeing that they dinna make it at
the colony's expense an' loss. They won't be thwarted.
No more will Captain Bligh. There'll be trouble will
come out of it, laddie, there'll be trouble. I can see it
coming. I can see big trouble an' not so far awa',
He told me that the Governor had summoned him to
Sydney, and that he would ride with me later in the
afternoon, when it should grow cooler. If I would
rest there for a few hours, he would go out and attend
to some of his affairs, and we would make a start about
five o'clock, carrying our supper with us, and eating it
on the road. It would be a moonlight night, and we
THE GOVERNOR'S MAN 97
might make Parramatta between 9 and 10 o'clock, and
go on to Sydney in the morning.
He went about his business, and I snoozed in his
living room throughout the warm afternoon. I was not
sorry at the prospect of having company for the return
journey. I had hopes that I might learn a good deal
from him about the state of the Colony and its prospects.
I was anxious to know all that it might be possible to
find out, in view of the ultimate hope I had of investing
my fortune in the new country. The more I saw of it
the better I liked it, and although, just now, it was
little more than a penal establishment, I was sufficiently
wise, even at twenty years of age, to realise that it would
not always remain such, and must inevitably have some-
thing infinitely better in store for itself.
We rode away from the Green Hills at the hour
named by Mr. Thompson, and as we passed by the soldiers'
barracks, I related to him my encounter with Mr. Keat-
ing in the morning. An expression of disgust crossed
"Yes," he said, "the mon's a wastrel. He's naething
at all but a drunken profligate a gambler, a rake, and
a liar. I ken that weel. When he's in his cups he will
brag an" boast about what he has been, an' what a great
mon he is. When he's sober, so far as the performance
of his duties goes, he's just an incompetent ass. If
it were not for Seageant Allen the ordinary routine of
the establishment would not be carried out at all. As
it is, 'tis the hardest thing in the world to get him to do
anything of the work for which he has been sent here. A
little while back, the blacks became troublesome, and we
sought the assistance of the military to punish them, and
to drive them awa' frae th' pasture lands. D'ye think
we could get him tae dae anything? Not a move would
he make. 'Twas only when a couple of us conspired with
the sergeant that we were able to use the soldiers. We
plied him with wine all one night, and the whole of next
day, and on the following night, at our suggestion, mind
ye, he gave a drunken order simply that we might let
98 THE GOVERNOR'S MAN
him go to sleep that the so-and-so black somethings
were to be dealt with, an' not tae bother him aboot it.
I heard him tell Sergeant Allen so, cursing and threaten-
ing to break him, if he did not leave him alone."
"And did you deal with them?"
"Aye that we did," he replied grimly. "We shot
three of them, an' we hangit one to a tree in their camp,
an' the rest fled across th' river to th' mountains. We've
nae had ony trouble wi' yon black gentry syne. But
'twas no thanks to Mr. Keating."
Just as the sun set over the purple ranges behind us,
in a glory of orange and crimson, we halted to make tea.
Mr. Thompson carried a quart pot tied to his saddle,
which we filled at a little creek in the bush. We soon
had a fire going, and presently were enjoying a good meal
which his housekeeper had prepared for us a cold fowl,
and some delicious scones, with fresh butter, and, for
dessert, some splended peaches, grown on his farm.
We had taken the saddles from the horses, and they
grazed quietly close beside our fire. After our repast
we lay and smoked, until the moon was well above the
dark tree tops. I told Mr. Thompson of my encounter, the
day before, with the expedition to China. He laughed
"Th' puir feckless loons !" he sighed. "Th' puir daft
creatures ! Mon, it is a sin to treat those unhappy men
in the fashion they do. Ever since the rebellion at
Castle Hill two years ago, they have been driven like
cattle, and worked like galley slaves. The authorities
are in mortal fear of another outbreak, and they deal
with them mercilessly. Why, I have seen a man flogged
for turning his back on an overseer. No croppy escapes
the gallows, if he's once committed a capital offence if
'tis only stealing a half-a-dozen pumpkins from a gar-
den. They are eager for any excuse to hang the un-
fortunate Irish, an' they harry them an' torment them
until they break out. And then, those they don't shoot
or hang, or flog to death, they ship off in batches to the
Coal River, or to Norfolk Island. And they say that
THE GOVERNOR'S MAN 99
Norfolk Island is worse than death itself. Ah, me
man's a cruel deevil tae his fellow man. Look at me!
They sent me round the world for what was on'y a boy's
mischievousness, at the worst."
Whilst the dancing flames lit up his sun-ti.nned, keen,
clever face, he gazed into the fire for a little while with-
out speaking. He laughed again.
"But they puir fellies, an' their travels tae Chiny!
Well, 'tis but a feast for th' dingoes they're providing.
Maybe some stockman, mony years tae come, will find
their bones, or some of them, in some wild glen of yon
Blue Mountains. Maybe they'll eat one another as has
been done before. But more like they'll stagger into
some settlement in a few weeks' time, prayin' tae be
flogged an' fed. 'Tis pitiful, the ignorance of them.
If ever Government committed a crime, the English Go-
vernment did when it shipped these simple, honest, harm-
less lads to this sink of iniquity. But we'd better be gettin'
on, I'm thinkin', if we wish tae sleep in Parramatta
We caught the horses, saddled them, and rode on, the
moonlight glinting on the polished brass barrel of the
blunderbuss which Mr. Thompson carried across his
" 'Tis a guid weepon in a mix up, laddie if 'tis nae
to be relied on for any long distance shootin'," he said,
when I pretended to admire the clumsy weapon, with its
gaping bell mouth.
As we rode down from Castle Hill, the lights of
Parramatta twinkling in the valley below us looked
pleasant and cheerful. A thin white haze floated in
the moonlight above the river, and the hills to the south
were flooded with pale radiance. The moon was full,
and it was a perfect night.
We came into the straggling street that led past the
gaol it stood not far from the northern bank of the
river and crossed over the wooden bridge that spanned
those topmost waters of Sydney Harbour. Hardly had
100 THE GOVERNOR'S MAN
we gained the further shore when we were accosted by
two women, who, with shawls over their heads walked
along the uneven roadway of Church Street.
"Good night to ye, boys," cried one of them, "an'
where are ye a-ridin' this fine night? Do ye need a
sweetheart, me pretty laddie," she said to me, as we
involuntarily drew rein. "Will I do! Will ye not
take me up ahint ye, an' ride away with me to Sydney
Town? Do now, sweetheart."
"Aw, t' h 1 with them, Mary !" hiccupped the other
one, who swayed where she stood, and clasped a black
bottle to her bosom. "T' h 1 with them. We don'
want 'em. Let's get along home, an' finish th' bottle.
'Tis good stuff. Mister Sinclair, th' sup'rintendent, give
it me. Come along. Let 'em go to !"
The girl who had first spoken came close to us, and
peered up at us, and the moon lit her white face, and
showed it singularly beautiful, with a wealth of black
hair straying from under the folds of the shawl. It was
a sweet face with something a little hard and sad in it.
Mr. Thompson started, as he recognised it.
"Good God Mary McBain!" he said. "What do
ye with walkin' the streets at this time o' th' nicht? 'Tis
ten o'clock, an' ye were best at home. Are ye not in
service at Mr. Marden's? Get ye hame, like a good
lass, or th' parson'll be sendin' ye back tae th' Fac-
tory. Be a sensible girl, and leave this woman."
"Home!" the girl laughed harshly. "Home! What
home have I? Come, Mr. Thompson, you're from the
Green Hills. Ask Mr. Keating about my home, an' why
I left Parson Marsden's."
She laughed bitterly, and then covered her face with
her hands and wept.
"Damn all you men!" she said, and fled down the
bridge. "Yesh! To h 1 with ye, to h 1 with ye,"
screamed her drunken companion. "Th' whole d n
biling of ye. Give me a bottle of rum before any man
THE GOVERNOR'S MAN 101
She howled out filthy blasphemies after us, as Andrew
Thompson touched my arm, and we rode on.
"The pity of it, th' pity of it," he muttered. "Poor
Mary McBain. I knew her as a bairn, at home in Ayr-
shire. The pity, th' pity of it."
We rode to James Larra's Inn. stabled our horses,
and sought our beds intending an early start for Sydney
in the morning.
The next year, for me, was passed for the most part,
in such service upon His Excellency as I have detailed in
the last chapters, combined with a good deal of secre-
tarial work, and in a close attendance upon him whenever
he went abroad.
During the twelve months the breach between the
Governor and the military caste gradually widened, until
such an atmosphere of hostility prevailed between Go-
vernment House and the Officer's Mess of the 102nd
Regiment that must, it seemed inevitable, before very long
result in an open rupture, and some kind of serious out-
burst, provoked by one side or the other. The situa-
tion had become too tense to last. And it was not to be
very long before the storm should break.
When Governor Bligh came to Sydney he found the
New South Wales Corps in very questionable condition.
It was perhaps the most singular regiment that had ever
existed in the British Army. Specially raised to relieve
the Royal Marines of the garrison duty that was no
part of their function, it had been recruited almost from
the gaols, and certainly from the dregs of society, and
the leavings of other battalions. It was officered
although it would not be fair to assume wholly so by
gentlemen who had found it expedient to exchange from
their former regiments, and by some whose only hope of
escaping the debtor's prison, and even worse misfortune,
lay in leaving England. It would have been impossible
THE GOVERNOR'S MAN 103
to expect, at a time when the Napoleonic wars were rag-
ing in Europe, to find the flower of the British com-
missioned ranks in it. No officei of real military ambi-
tion and worth would have thrown away his chances of
advancement by exiling himself, as a sort of glorified
turnkey, to the other side of the globe, when such great
things were doing in the profession of arms in the Old
World. The best of the Corps' officers were those who,
being possessed of limited private means and growing
families, saw, in serving with its colours, an alternative
to leaving the army altogether, and seeking a necessary
competence in trade, or some civil employment. This
class of officer, both from the army and the navy, is fre-
quently to be found filling such positions as prison gover-
nors, deputy governors, and small colonial appointments
since it has found it impossible to exist upon its pay
in either of the combatant services of the Crown.
But the officers of the New South Wales Corps had
come to regard their military duties as being very much
subordinate to the advancement of their private interests.
Many of them had seized eagerly at the chances they
saw of becoming rich men, and they were not above
making use of their necessarily exalted and privileged
position in the community to further their interests very
often with an entire disregard to any scruples as to
whether their conduct was becoming in "an officer and a
gentleman." They traded and trafficked, they specu-
lated in land, and they dealt in spirits. Some of them
actually owned in Sydney public houses and inns, that
were no better than brothels. Some of them found
profit in usury. So long as they derived a monetary
advantage from doing it, some of them did not care a JOT
what they did.
Allied with them were many of the free settlers who
bad brought money into the country, and were determined
that it should breed and multiply itself, in a fashion that
it would never have had an opportunity of doing had
they remained in Great Britain. They introduced
abuses into the commercial world of the colony for the
104 THE GOVERNOR'S MAN
furtherance of their own ends, and they found in the
community ready aiders and abettors in the ruling mili-
Captain Bligh was determined to thwart the schemes
of these powerful factions. In his own way he was a
just man, and had high ideals as to the proper discharge
of his duties. He was appointed to rule over this vast
and rich territory, he considered, not for the sake of
amassing wealth himself, or of permitting other in-
dividuals to do so but, before all else, for the good of
the Territory, and the majority of its inhabitants. Being
a determined man, of choleric habit and despotic in-
clination, his attitude towards those whom he saw trying
tc benefit themselves unfairly at the cost of the public
welfare was, to put it in his own way, "He'd be d d if
they should." So, before the storm burst, he had an
anxious and troublesome term of office and, in the end,
his enemies were too strong for him.
One morning, he summoned me to him before break-
fast, and told me to have his dingy made ready for him,
as he intended to sail down the harbour, and would re-
quire me to go with him.
"Snail I warn the escort, your Excellency?" I asked
"Damn the escort!" he said. "No, I'm going pri-
vately. I shall only take you with me, Jack. So be
ready after breakfast. We are going down to the South
Head. I mean to have a day to myself, free from those
d n fellows, and their eternal plotting and scheming.
See about it, now. Nine o'clock sharp, I want the boat
a.( the jetty."
I departed gladly, looking forward to a day on the
water with Bligh. He was in a good humour, too. He
always was when he called me "Jack." I sent one of
the orderlies down to the Government boat yard with
the necessary instructions, and set about seeing to the
commissariat side of our expedition.
It was always a pleasure to me to make these boat
expeditions with the Governor. He was a consummate
THE GOVERNOR'S MAN 105
seaman, and it was fine to see the way he could handle
a boat. I always thought, when I was out with him, of
the wonderful thing he had done, years before, when he
navigated the Bounty's boat three thousand miles to
Timor, after the mutineers had cast him adrift. I think
he was more at home as a seaman than as an adminis-
trator. At any rate, he was happier.
It was a glorious morning, and the loveliness of the
harbour seemed better than ever to me. The blue
waters sparkled in the sunlight, as we rounded Bene-
longs' Point, coming out of Sydney Cove, and every
wooded point looked green and fresh, and the leaves
of the gum trees sparkled in the sunlight, too. A gentle
westerly filled our sail. Since it was early September,
there was a smell of spring in the air. When we ran across
the harbour, and coasted along the North shore, past
Sirius Cove to Bradley's Head, we could see the golden
wattle blooming in the dark green of the forests.
When we came to Bradley's, the Governor altered his
course, and we ran across the harbour by Shark Island,
rounded those curious rocks which have been so curiously
named "Bottle and Glass," and ran into the beautiful
little bay, with a curving white beach, known as Vau-
cluse. Our approach had evidently been observed, for,
standing on the sands, with a telescope under his arm,
was the owner of the beautiful estate himself that re-
markable Irish gentleman, Sir Henry Browne Hayes.
ex-Sheriff of Cork, and now in New South Wales under
a sentence of transportation for life.
The queer story of the offence for which Sir Henry
was now paying the penalty of exile is a curious one.
He had abducted a wealthy young Quakeress, against
her will, the daughter of an Irish banker, had been out-
lawed for the crime, evaded arrest for two years, with a
reward offering for him of one thousand pounds, and had
finally surrendered himself to stand his trial. The man-
ner of his doing the last named was eminently charac-
teristic. He had one morning walked into the estab-
lishment of a hairdresser in Cork, of whom he and his
106 THE GOVERNOR'S MAN
family had long been clients, and suggested to the barber
that, as he intended giving himself up, he, the barber,
might as well have the thousand pounds as anybody else.
Accordingly the barber filed an information and collected
the reward. Sir Henry was tried, found guilty, sen-
tenced to death, and finally transported for life. He was
a wealthy man, and his means did much to soften his
exile, but he was born for trouble, and was always in hot
water during his residence in the colony. He had had a
particularly bad time of it under Governor King, but
was on good terms with Captain Bligh. They had
common enemies in the officers of the Corps, some of
whom had treated the unfortunate Knight rather badly
and, as you shall hear, indeed, did so again after
Running the boat on to the beach, the Governor, bid-
ding me furl the sail and make her fast, jumped out. Sir
Henry advanced to meet him, bowing politely, and with
"Your Excellency honours me!" he said.
"Pooh, pooh ! Not a bit of it, Hayes. Not a d d
bit of it. Wanted a blow. Sick of those fellows up
in Sydney, with their eternal complaints, and infernal
rogueries. D d sick of John Macarthur. A villian,
if ever there was one!"
"Will you come up to the house, and take some refresh-
ment? I am delighted to welcome your Excellency to
Vaucluse. 'Tis a nate little place, I'm sure you'll agree,
when you see it."
"Delighed, delighted. D d pretty spot, my
eyes, if it isn't!" responded the Governor, in high good
humour. They walked up to the house, and I followed
a few yards in the rear.
Sir Henry and Bligh were somewhere about the same
age, in the neighbourhood of fifty, and about the same
stature. The former was a straightly built man, with
a fresh complexion and brown hair. His skin was a
little marked by the small-pox, and he grew rather re-
markable side whiskers. He always dressed very neatly,
THE GOVERNOR'S MAN 107
and this morning was clad in spotless white duck, with
a broad brimmed cabbage tree hat on his head. A bunch
of seals depended from his fob, and he carried a yellow
silk handkerchief in his hand, with which to flick away
As we came up to the house, I caught sight of a white
skirt, and a pink sunshade. A lady and a gentleman
were strolling amongst the flower beds Sir Henry had
a fine garden and, in the distance, something familiar
in the bearing of the latter struck me at once.
"You have company?" said the Governor.
"Oh, yes, yes," replied our host. " 'Tis an old friend.
Knew him in London, and he's stayed with me in the
ould country. Maybe your Excellency will be knowing
him. I think ye granted him some of his estate at Emu
Plains. 'Tis George Nutting, of Mulgoa. He'll be
honoured to meet your Excellency. Ah here they
come to meet us."
It was, indeed, my beautiful fellow voyager of the
Olga, with her exquisite father. The latter was as
scrupulously attired as ever, and as full of graces, and
the pretty airs of Pall Mall. He bowed to Bligh, and
Miss Nutting dropped a curtsey, which the Governor re-
turned by bowing and raising his hat.
"Glad to see you, Mr. Nutting and how is Mulgoa?"
I saw that she recognised me. A quick light of re-
collection shone in her dear eyes, and her face dimpled
in a sweet smile. You can have no idea how elated the
Governor's Man felt. But he remembered that he was
the Governor's Man, and kept respectfully in the back-
"Oh, vastly prosperous, your Excellency vastly pros-
perous," replied Mr. Nutting to the Governor's polite
enquiry as to his estate. "A charming spot a fairy-
land. A little in the wilds, perhaps but quite charm-
ing. Oh, very. Adelaide, will you join us in a glass
"Oh, no thank you, Sir Henry," laughed Miss Nutting.
"I seldom touch wine. Papa may have my share. Pray
108 THE GOVERNOR'S MAN
do not trouble about me. I beg of you. I will wait
your return in the garden. It is delightful, Sir Henry
"As you please, Miss Adelaide. My man," he said
to me, "if you go round to the back, they will give you a
glass of beer. Come, your Excellency, ye must have a
thirst after your voyage. Come, Nutting. Get your
beer, my man get a quart of beer, if you like."
"Thank you, sir," I said, touching my cap.
But I had no notion of leaving the garden while she
was there. They went inside. I was left alone with
her, amongst the flowers, with the blue bay behind us,
and the far off shores of Manly in the distant background.
Was there ever any joy like mine at that moment?
Sir Henry Browne Hayes.
She came to me at once, with outstretched hands.
There was a look of gladness in her lovely face, and her
eyes sparkled with animation. My heart was pound-
ing against my ribs, and I felt that I was red, and knew
that I was shy.
"Oh, I am so glad to see you, Mr. Carnford. I have
thought so often of my brave rescuer, and of those ter-
rible moments we shared out in the ocean. I am glad.
She took both my hands in her dear little ones, laugh-
ing joyously, and I know that I looked like a silly fool,
and I murmured something foolish.
"It was nothing, Adel I beg your pardon," I stam-
mered, "Miss Nutting."
"Oh, yes it was," she said. "I wouldn't be here, en-
joying Sir Henry's garden if it hadn't been for you. And
my poor father would have been lost, for he never could
have done without me. Now tell me about yourself,
if you please. Why are you wearing that pretty uni-
form, and why are you with Governor Bligh. Are
you an aide-de-camp?"
The idea of that made me laugh, and I lost my shy-
ness. "No I'm scarcely an aide-de-camp, Miss Nut-
ting. You see, I'm a prisoner, and they don't make
aides out of prisoners. I hardly know how to
describe myself, except as one of His Excellency's ser-
vants. Everybody speaks of me as 'The Governor's
Man." They don't use my own name. They call me
110 THE GOVERNOR'S MAN
that. I doubt if a good many of the people I come in
contact with know that I've got a name."
"How absurd," she laughed. Then she grew serious.
"I do hope you'll remember one thing, Mr. Carnford.
I hope you'll remember that I'm very, very grateful to
you, and that I always want to be your friend. Will
you promise me something?"
"I would promise you anything, Miss Nutting and
try and do it, too."
"Well, I want you to promise to write to me now and
then to tell me how you are getting on, and what
you are doing. And I will write to you, too. I'm
afraid I'm a little selfish in this, though. You see, you
are at headquarters, and can tell me lots of interesting
news, and I've nothing much to write about. Would you
care to have an occasional letter from the bush?"
"Care!" I stammered. "Oh, Ad Miss Nutting, it
would make a heaven of this place to me, if you would
deign to think enough of me to send me letters."
I fear I was almost about to say, or do, something
sentimental. I knew I could have kissed her and
might have been fool enough to incur her resentment by
attempting to do so. But we heard the voices of the
gentlemen coming back, and she looked up in a startled
fashion, hastily giving me her hand for a brief moment.
"Don't forget!" she whispered and there were tears
in those deep, tender grey eyes. But the next moment
she was all smiles to the Governor.
"So ye've been bewitching my man, have ye, Miss
Nutting? I warn ye, he's incorruptible. Quite famous
for it. One of the few I can trust, d ," the Governor
remembered himself in time "bless my soul, so he is."
"I am glad to hear your Excellency say so," she
laughed, "for we are old friends. He saved my life
on the voyage out, when I fell overboard from the ship
"He did, did he ! Well, he's a lucky fellow, Miss Ade-
laide to have earned your goodwill. Well, Hayes, let
THE GOVERNOR'S MAN 111
us have a look at your snake ditch. 'Tis the strangest
whim I've heard of. And it really acts, you say?"
"Not a doubt of it, your Excellency, not a doubt of it.
The varmints won't come nigh the ould sod. I'm a
good Protestant, and St. Patrick was a Roman but I'll
say this for him. He knew how to put a good curse
upon the serpent, so he did. And the virtue of it's
lasted, too as I've proved. Step this way, if your
Waving her hand, and smiling, Miss Nutting ran in-
doors, and I followed the Governor and the other gentle-
"Here we are, gentlemen," said Sir Henry, striking his
toe into the soil, and kicking up a little fragment of it,
which he stooped and picked up in his hand. "Here we
are 'tis th' soil of Ireland itself, so it is. And divil a
snake will cross it. Th' smell of it is enough for them.
Sure it must have been a good curse, to last so long as
it's done. See for yourself, your Excellency. Look at
it, Nutting. Smell it man, smell it smell the howly
Saint's curse in it !"
"I vow I smell something strange in it," politely mur-
mured Mr. Nutting, sniffing at a little pinch of the
brown loam as he might have taken snuff. " 'Tis the
snakebane, no doubt."
His Excellency looked sceptical, but the eager knight
would permit of no doubt upon the subject.
" 'Tis the solemn truth, y'r Excellency and may I
never spake another worrud if 'tis not so. The place used
to be infested with snakes. Ye never saw anything like
it in ye're born days. Black snakes, an' brown snakes,
and yellow snakes, an' green snakes every sort of snake
that's in Australia used to live round about this bay.
An' the bouldness of them ! They'd come right into the
house itself, so they would. I don't know how I stood
them, indade I don't! And, by St. Patrick himself,
wasn't I after finding one of them in me own bed ! What
d'ye think of that?"
"Oh, distressing!" murmured Mr. Nutting. The
112 THE GOVERNOR'S MAN
" 'Twas too much for me. A bright thought came
to me one night, when I was sitting up drinking rum
with me friend Sam Breakwell. 'Sure, I'll spoil their
game,' says I to Sam. 'How?' he asks me. But I'd
not tell him. I wrote home to me agent in Cork, and
instructed him to fill 500 barrels with good Irish soil, and
ship them out to me here, as soon as maybe. And
when they'd come by different ships, I tould Sam, and
he agreed 'twas a great schame, entoirely. So last
Patrick's day, on the seventeenth of March, I set me men
digging. They were special men I'd hired for the day
Irish, every mother's son of them. Not a Sassenach
among them. We dug a trench six feet broad, and
two feet deep, right round the house, and filled it up
with the ould sod. An' there's not been a snake across
it since. I give ye my worrud."
"Well, well," said the Governor. "Indeed, there may
be something in it. But 'tis a charm very few of us
could afford. I'll wager it cost ye a d n fine sum
to ship all this from Ireland to Sydney Harbour. Not
many could stand for it. Eh! Mr. Nutting?" Mr.
Nutting bowed respectful assent.
"Faith, then, that's true enough, y'r Excellency. It
made a big hole in me bank balance, so it did. But
'twas worth it. Ye've no notion what a comfort it is
to a man to go to his bed, an' find it free from serpents.
'Tis that, indeed. But will ye not take a walk round the
far-rum? Mr. Nutting, if ye've had enough exercise,
don't trouble to come with us. Take your aise in the
house. Ye know where to find the decanter, and there
are cigars in the sideboard."
"Thank you if your Excellency will excuse me,"
gratefully assented Mr. Nutting. "I feel the sun a
little, to be sure," and the excellent gentleman who,
whatever may have been his peculiarities, had the shining
virtue, in my eyes, of being Adelaide's father went in-
Sir Henry and the Governor proceeded to walk round
the boundaries of the place, the formerly eagerly pointing
THE GOVERNOR'S MAN 113
out the improvements he had made since the farm had
come into his hands. There was a sheepfold building,
and Sir Henry mentioned that he intended to purchase a
few head from Mr. Macarthur, as he had an idea of
depasturing a small flock at Vaucluse.
The Governor had been in a singularly gracious mood
all the morning, but at the mention of Mr. Macarthur's
name his strange temper burst out in one of its sudden
and fiery eruptions. He halted, and stamped his foot
on the ground.
"John Macarthur ! Damme, yes our great sheep
breeder. A pestilent fellow, Sir Henry a damnable
fellow. "We'll have trouble with that fellow, very bad
trouble. D n him, I say d n him!"
"To be sure, your Excellency. But he is a success-
ful sheep breeder," remarked the knight.
"Oh, yes indeed, I admit that. But an artful villian,
sir a d d artful villian. I know him. He'll not
get to windward of me, sir. He'll not hoodwink William
Bligh. Not that he hasn't tried. But, God bless
my soul, I put him in his place when I first met him
or I tried to. 'Tis hard to keep such pertinacious fellows
"Now, thin, did you, your Excellency? I'm plazed
to hear it. 'Tis small affection I have for John
Macarthur and his friend, George Johnston, ayther.
Will ye not be telling me how ye did it, y'r Excellency?"
"Well, the d d fellow came to call on me at
Government House, soon after my arrival in the colony.
He was full of airs, and self-importance, of which I
did not take a great deal of notice, and I affected to know
very little of him. This wounded his self esteem. He
bsgan to tell me all about himself how much land he
had, and how many cattle and sheep, and what a great
he was altogether. But I cut him short. 'What
have I to do with your sheep, sir?' I asked him. 'What
have I to do with your cattle? Are you to have such
flocks of sheep and such herds of cattle as no man ever
had before? No, sir,' I said, 'I have heard of your con-
114 THE GOVERNOR'S MAN
cerns, sir. You have got five thousand acres of land,
sir, in the finest situation in the country, but by G d
you shan't keep it." And then he had the impudence to
flaunt it in my face that the land had been granted him
at the recommendation of the Privy Council, and by order
of the Secretary of State. 'D n the Privy Council,'
I told him, 'and d n the Secretary of State, too. He
commands at home I command here?' "
"Ha, ha very good, y'r Excellency. And what did
he say to that?"
"He said nothing, sir nothing! But he went away
somewhat crestfallen, I promise ye."
"Look ve, Sir Henry," said the Governor, very
earnestly, some time after, breaking in upon his host's
eulogy of certain beds of potatoes which he had planted
himself. "I came here to-day for a very express pur-
pose. I know that your situation here is a difficult one
but I know ye to be a gentleman, sir, and that your
word is good."
Sir Henry drew himself up, and bowed stiffly. The
Governor went on. "We're going to have trouble here.
I would not be in the least surprised if these fellows
of the Corps, and the Macarthur faction, did not seek
to upset my government in some fashion. I have cer-
tain information. If it should be so, I want to know
who are my friends, and the friends of the Government.
I can count on many particularly at the Hawkesbury,
and, indeed, in the country districts generally. Can I
count on you?"
Sir Henry seemed almost to inflate himself with loyalty.
He tore open his waistcoat, and his shirt, and displayed
a hairy chest. He slapped it vigorously with his open
palm, and struck an attitude. There was fire in his
eyes, and his whiskers almost seemed to bristle. He
roared his response, as he seized the Governor's hand, and
wrung it fervently.
"To the death, your Excellency. To the last drop of
me blood !"
The Brink of Revolt.
September passed away, and spring ripened into sum-
mer, and Christmas drew near again. I continued, as
I boyishly fancied, to assist Captain Bligh in his task
of governing New South Wales.- More than a year of
my sentence had passed away. It was, in fact, two
years, for the term would date from the day when they
had spared the lives of Brian and myself, and had
avenged the murder of Patrick Hanrahan by the hanging
of the O'Toole.
And the governance of New South Wales was no light
task in the year of our Lord, 1807. Each day it grew
more difficult, and each day the vice-regal temper de-
teriorated. The glass was falling very low indeed, and
the political barometer was fast moving its hand round
from "rainy" to "stormy." The bad time that the
Governor was having reflected itself disagreeably on the
Governor's Man very disagreeably indeed.
A queer thing happened one Sunday, towards the end
of the year, that always seems to me to have been very
ominous of what was to happen at the beginning of the
As was his invariable custom, the Governor attended
Divine Service in the morning. The service on Sun-
day was a sort of obligatory parade of the whole com-
munity. Everyone was expected to be there, and the
head of the State was punctilious in setting an example
to his subjects. Those of the soldiers who were not on
116 THE GOVERNOR'S MAN
duty were marched up from the barracks to the church,
and the convicts were marched also. The Rev. Mr.
Fulton never had to complain of a poor congregation.
The sacred edifice, being a very small temple indeed,
was always well filled and brimming over. Whether
there was room for them or not, the military and the
felonry were most strictly required to put in an appear-
ance. I cannot say that these two elements constituted
a very devotional gathering. They gathered there be-
cause they had to not because they particularly liked it.
Poor Mrs. Putland, but lately widowed, accompanied
His Excellency, and occupied the front pew with her
father. I sat immediately behind them, armed, as usual,
with my two pistols, and becomingly arrayed in my best
uniform. Behind, on our side of the church, the free
inhabitants had seating accommodation, and across the
aisle sat the soldiers. The back part of the church, on
both sides, was filled up with prisoners, their superinten-
dents and overseers interspersed among them. It was a
horrible mockery, it seemed to me. to hear the chains
clank and clatter, as we stood up and sat down, and knelt
in prayer. A kind of sacrilege so it seemed.
During the course of the service, something that had
nothing to do with it seemed to be claiming the attention
of part of the military congregation. Their officer, Lieu-
tenant Cadwallader Draffyn the only officer present
sat alone in front of them, and could not see what was
going on, but I saw most of it. They were fooling in
some way that I could not at first make out, and every
now and again something very like a subdued snigger,
instantly suppressed by nose sniffing and coughing, dis-
turbed the decorum of the proceedings. More than once
the parson glanced down at the troops, and paused for a
moment in his conduct of the ritual. Every now and
again the Governor, with a face as black as thunder,
would glare across the church. Whenever he did so,
there was an instantaneous hush.
Something seemed to be troubling Mrs. Putland. She
fidgeted in her seat continuously, and was nervous and
THE GOVERNOR'S MAN 117
ill at ease. All the time the current of irreverent dis-
traction rippled amongst the scarlet figures of the mili-
ary. I could not quite see what it was, but once I
caught a glimpse of a fellow who held a piece of paper
near the flaming red head of a man seated in front of
him, drew it hastily away as if it had caught fire, and
blew upon his fingers as though to cool them. Very
likely this was the childish cause of the disturbance.
Suddenly His Excellency rose to his feet, gave his
arm to Mrs. Putland, and escorted her across the front of
the altar she having her handkerchief to her face, and
evidently being in great distress. He conducted her into
the vestry, signing with his hand to Mr. Fulton to pro-
ceed with the service. In five or ten minutes he came
back to his place, his face white with passion, and an
expression upon it which boded ill to somebody. He
leaned over the back of the pew, and whispered to me,
"Leave the Church, go round to the vestry, and take
Mrs. Putland home in the carriage."
So I tiptoed down the aisle, and did as I was ordered,
finding the poor lady a little tearful, and a little hysteri-
cal. As I passed through the congregation, I noted a
look of consternation on every face. The soldiers be-
came as demure as schoolgirls. I cursed my luck for
not permitting me to see the finish of the thing. It
might be comedy but the Governor's face held all the
indications of tragedy. However, I heard what hap-
pened. A private of the 102nd, a humorous individual,
related it as follows :
"As soon as Mr. Fulton finished up, an' gives us his
blessin', an' all that, we stands up, waitin' for th' free
people to go out before we does, as we always do, ahead
o' th' prisoners. They goes out. Then up jumps Bread-
" 'Hold !' he sez an' we held. He comes ragin' into
th' middle of th' church, an' sez to Draffyn, 'th' swine,'
he sez. 'I say, sir listen to me, I say!'
"An' that sez, like a lady, 'Yes, your Excel-
lency, if you please?'
118 THE GOVERNOR'S MAN
" 'What's th" meanin' of this outrageous behaviour,
sir?' says Billy.
" 'What, sir? I beg your pardon, sir, sez Draffyn.
'I've not noticed anything.'
" 'What !' yells his Nobs. 'Not noticed anything.
Good G d, sir, you must be blind, or mad, sir!'
an' he's right there. The lootenant ain't called Daffy
Draffyn for nothing.
" 'But what is it, your Ex'lency,' he sez again. An'
then Billy lets go. Right out in church an' all, an'
parson ain't game to check him.
" 'These scoudrels !' he sez. 'These
gaol birds you call soldiers they've been makin' faces
at my daughter. D n 'em; you, sir! I'll
say nothing here. Take your scourings of h 1 away,
sir!' he sez, 'an' send the Adjutant to me instantly!'
An' Billy bolts out of church, an' off home, leaving that
fool Draffyn near crying. An' all it was over was one
of the drummers, young Micky Flower, pretendin' Tim
Cayler's nob was afire. Th' boys couldn't but laugh,
an' when they bursts into a giggle, they nat'rally looks
across to see if th' Gov'nor twigs 'em. That's why
she must ha' got it they was makin' faces. But I puts
it to you, Mister Carnford them fellies can't help havin'
such ugly mugs. Th' mere look of some of our chaps
is a hideous grimace!"
I saw the rest myself, when Mr. Minchin, the Adju-
tant, came hurrying up the hill to Government House.
He was full of apologies, but they were no use to His
Excellency, who insisted that the soldiers had gone out
of their way to insult his daughter. He simply raved.
I had never heard him break out so strongly before. Mr.
Minchin had to flee before his wrath.
The truth of it was, the Governor's nerves were in
such a state of tension that he was hardly responsible for
himself. But this little incident did not add to the
good relations that did not exist between Government
House and the Corps. All ranks hated the Governor,
and the Governor returned their hatred with bitter in-
THE GOVERNOR'S MAN 119
terest. Neither side did anything at all to bridge the
gulf that lay between them, and circumstances seemed to
combine to dig it deeper and wider.
The Governor had, however, a strong backing. The
settlers about the Hawkesbury remembered with grati-
tude all he had done in attempting to relieve the dis-
tress occasioned by the disastrous floods of 1806. They
realised better than anyone else how anxious he was to
encourage honest endeavour. Some of them even saw
through his roughness and rudeness, and passionate ill
temper, to the sound heart of the man. They knew
that if they could pierce his prejudices, and bring a
true realisation of their troubles home to him, they would
get justice. They knew that they could trust him.
The small men took him to be their friend, in resisting
the oppression that was often put upon them by their
wealthier and more powerful neighbours. If he were
despotic, he was a benevolent despot.
It was to the interest of the opposing faction to make
out that the whole colony was tyrannised over unjustly
and wrongfully by Bligh for the satisfaction of his male-
volent impulses, and for his own personal gain. They
lost no opportunity of slander. There was no public
press whose influence they could use to their own ends
the Sydney Gazette was little more than a vehicle for
Government orders but they found other means.
The fire smouldered for many months, gradually accu-
mulating pent up heat, until it was ready to whirl into
flame at a breath of wind. Finally, it burst out into
raging violence, and the hand that fanned the embers of
discontent and disloyalty into leaping flames of rebellion
was John Macarthur's.
Even to-day, half a century after it all happened, I
do not feel sure that I know John Macarthur. I cannot,
as I write of him, altogether feel that I am competent
to judge him fairly. I can say this of him that he
was a great m^n, a good man, a most able man, and a
man who has been as useful to Australia as any man who
ever came to the country, or was born in it. But he was
120 THE GOVERNOR'S MAN
a selfish man in the sense that he and his were more to
him than anything else in the world. Let him alone,
interfere not with his plans and arrangements for the
advancement of the interests of his clan, and he was
kindly, generous, considerate and public-spirited. Oppose
him in his arrangements, venture to doubt that the good
of John Macarthur was the same thing as the public
good and he was obstinate, narrow and ruthless. You
may add to this that he was a confirmed dyspeptic. I
think that a good deal in him, that does not recommend
him, was due to this last fact.
Those last days were busy days for me. The Gover-
nor worked me from morning to night, and from night
to morning. I snatched sleep when I could, and took
my food whenever I was able to make time to sit and
eat it. I rode the horses in the stable to death, in ex-
peditions to Parramatta and the Green Hills. Whenever
I send a message by the electric telegraph to-day I always
think of what it would have saved the Governor's Man
in the beginning of 1808. His Excellency worked me
mercilessly. He would trust no one else even if it was
only to carry a letter down into the town.
On the twenty-fifth of January, as I was riding back
from Annandale, whither I had been sent with an urgent
letter to Major Johnston, and just as I crested Brickfield
Hill, I met with Andrew Thompson, riding out to Parra-
matta on his way homeward to the Green Hills. I had
not known that he was in Sydney and reined in my horse,
gladly, to greet him, for I always had a feeling of affec-
tion for the shrewd, kindly young Scotsman and I think
he felt the same way towards myself.
"Well, well, Jock Carnford, an' how d'ye find y'sel'?'
He gripped my hand warmly, and looked at me with
anxious eyes. Without waiting for my response he wenf
"Mon I'm sore distressed an' worrit. Everything's
amiss down here everything's wrong wi' th' Governor.
Something's going tae happen, John something bad.
mark my words. We're on the eve of an upset. I misdoubt
THE GOVERNOR'S MAN 121
but we're on th' brink o' revolt, here in Sydney. I wish
tae G d His Excellency had but ta'en my advice.
For twa solid hours, Jock, I've been beseechin' an' prayin'
him to ride awa wi' me this nicht tae yon Green Hills.
At anyrate, his pairson would be safe there. He has
friends there guid friends. Here, he's surrounded wi'
enemies, bitter enemies. But no he won't budge an
inch. Asked me if I thocht him a d d coward that
would strike his colours to any man, or any set of men.
He's determined to face the trouble here. An' in twenty-
four hours he'll have trouble enough to face. Mon,"
he whispered, "I fear for his life."
"Good God, Mr. Thompson," I exclaimed, startled.
"Is it so bad as that?"
"Aye, laddie 'tis verra bad. As bad as it can be.
I would stay mysel', but he has given me work to do
out yonder," he pointed to the golden sunset in the
west. "Guid nicht to ye, Jock, an' guid luck. I must
He gripped my hand, and rode down the hill. Sick
with apprehension for I knew Andrew Thompson was
no alarmist I rode through Sydney to Government
It may have been fancy, but I thought I could see
signs of the coming storm in the faces of the people.
Outside O'Shaughnessy's "Square and Compass" Inn in
George Street a drunken soldier called after me.
"Hoo, hoo look at th' ! Look at Billy's pet
boy. Ye'll be out of a job soon, ye flunkey."
And a trollop that was with him threw a handful of
mud that hit my horse on the rump, and accompanied it
with a mouthful of cursings.
"Go home to y'r daddy, ye ," she howled.
Early in the afternoon of the twenty-sixth of January
the day after I had met with Andrew Thompson on
Brickfield Hill as I snatched a brief rest on my bed
I was awakened by a violent pounding upon the door of
the outbuilding of Government House in which I slept.
I was worn out from the fatigues of the previous day
and night, and did not at first realise what the noise
meant. But when I recognised that it was the voice
of the Governor that broke in upon my dreams I was off
my bed in an instant, and opened the door in my shirt
and breeches, without waiting to put on my uniform
the summons seemed so imperative.
It was. I found His Excellency raging.
"D n your eyes, Carnford," he shouted, "I thought
ye was dead. Here, saddle Jessie, and ride with this
letter to Annandale. I want it to go to Major Johnston
immediately. Now, shake a leg, d n ye, shake a
The letter was, of course, sealed, and was addressed
to Major Johnston, an Officer Commanding His Majesty's
102nd Regiment of Foot. Some years afterwards, when
the proceedings of the trials in England of John
Macarthur and Major Johnston were made available, I
took a copy of it. Here it is. It will explain the
THE GOVERNOR'S MAN 123
"Government House, Sydney,
"Sydney, 26th January, 1808.
"Sir, In answer to my letter of yesterday, I received
a verbal message by my Orderly from you that you were
rendered by illness totally incapable of being at Sydney.
I apprehend the same illness will deprive me of your
assistance at this time, and the Judge-Advocate having
laid a memorial before me against six of your officers
for practices, which he conceives treasonable, I am under
the necessity of summoning them before me, and all the
Magistrates have directions to attend at nine o'clock to-
"I leave it for you to judge whether Captain Abbott
should be directed to attend at Sydney to command the
troops in your absence.
"I am, &c.,
This is what had happened. I will put it as briefly
as possible. On the previous day John Macarthur had
appeared before the Criminal Court, charged with two
separate offences. The court was composed of six
officers of the Corps, and was presided over by the Judge-
Advocate, Mr. Richard Atkins a drunken humbug of a
man, who should never have been in such a position.
Still, there he was, as he was legally entitled to be ; and it
is certain that without him the court would have had no
jurisdiction. Macarthur immediately protested against
being tried by Mr. Atkins, saying, amongst other things,
that Atkins owed him payment for a bill drawn in 1793.
Atkins refused to hear the protest read, but the six
officers heard it in his absence. When he came back,
the Judge-Advocate proposed to commit Mr. Macarthur
to gaol. The officers interposed on his behalf, and,
after a long dispute, the Judge-Advocate retired from
the Court House, leaving his papers behind him. With-
out ceremony, the officers took possession of the papers
and investigated them. Then they discovered how the
whole plan of the trial had been arranged and prepared.
124 THE GOVERNOR'S MAN
Then ensued a running to and fro between the Court
and Government House. The members of it with, of
course, the exception of Mr. Atkins maintained the pro-
priety of Mr. Macarthur's objection to the Judge- Advo-
cate, and the Governor insisted that the Judge-Advocate
must preside at the trial. At three o'clock, as the' Governor
had taken no notice of their protest, the members of the
court adjourned, and, shortly afterwards, each one of
them received a summons to appear before the Governor
at nine o'clock on the following morning, to answer
charges of treason, and usurpation of the Government.
Then the letter which I have quoted above was written
by His Excellency, and given to me for conveyance to
I was not long in equipping myself for the road, and
in saddling the mare. As I rode through the town, I
was once or twice vigorously hooted by little groups of
soldiers. It was easy to see that the whole place was
seething with excitement. Nobody seemed to be at work,
except the gangs of prisoners, and^ everybody was dis-
cussing the doings between the Court, the Governor, and
I reached Major Johnston's country house a little
after four o'clock, and gave the letter into his hands.
He was very much agitated, and was suffering from a fall
from his gig, which had injured his arm, and bruised and
cut his face. He carried his arm in a sling, and could
not therefore give me a written reply to take back to
The reading of Bligh's letter added still further to
Major Johnston's agitation. He said nothing to me,
however, beyond offering me some refreshment, and tell-
ing me to inform His Excellency that "he was so ill as
to be unable to write, but that he would get somebody to
write an answer in the evening." So I turned Jessie's
head towards Sydney, and rode back to Government
House to deliver my message. Immediately, Major
Johnston hastened into town to the Barracks.
Now followed two actions of Major Johnston's which,
THE GOVERNOR'S MAN 125
to my thinking, put it beyond all doubt that the Rebellion
was deliberately planned and organised, and that Mr.
Macarthur's trial was only the peg on which the cloak
was hung. Of course, one did not know these things
until after the business was all over.
As soon as Major Johnston arrived at the Barracks, he
assumed the title of Lieutenant-Governor, and signed a
warrant for the release of John Macarthur from goal.
Concerning this period of that eventful Anniversary
Day, some of the finest lying was put up by the Gover-
So this was the situation, about six o'clock in the
evening of the 26th.
Without unsaddling her, I had put the mare in the
stable, and was lounging about smoking, and enjoying
the freshness of the evening. It had been :i hot day,
but the cool nor'-easter was blowing in from the sea,
and, at the back of the house, on the eminence on which
it stood, as it swept up from the harbour, you got the
full benefit of it. I strolled round to the end of the build-
ing, and watched the sun setting behind the "Rocks" in
a glory of purple and gold. I shall never forget that
sunset. It painted itself on my brain.
Down in the town there was an unusual hum of noise
as of many people talking and arguing an extra-
ordinary sound at this hour of the evening meal, when
the place was wont to be so quiet. The blue smoke
curled up into the clear air from many chimneys, and,
except for the beehive hum of the distant voices, every-
thing was very quiet and still.
Suddenly, and very clearly, I heard a bugle peal and
echo in the Barrack Square, and, a moment later came
the rattle of drums, beating the "Assembly." The rat-
tat-tat of them clattered across the valley, and seemed
to shiver the evening with its harsh vibration. Heavens !
I thought, what on earth is this ? I stood still and watched.
The Barrack Square, being on a slope, was almost
wholly visible from where I stood, and I had a. fine view
of anything that might happen in it.
126 THE GOVERNOR'S MAN
Presently I could see the soldiers pouring out of their
barracks, and rapidly forming up on the parade ground
in their companies. Soon they were in well ordered
ranks, standing still and immovable. It was too far to
see whether they carried their arms or not but I was not
left long in doubt on that score.
I saw a small body move out of a building on one side
of the square and march across the parade, coming to
a halt on the right of the leading company. It was the
Then another and more scattered group came from
the doorway of the officers' mess. I saw the com-
manding officer's horse led up to the verandah, and saw
him mount and ride out in front of the leading com-
pany, where he seemed to be making a speech. The
other officers took post with their respective companies.
The colours, unfurled, were at the front of the regiment.
There was no doubt that this extraordinary parade was
being carried out with every proper attention to detail
Suddenly the double lines of the companies thickened
they had formed fours. The colours were carried
rapidly to the right of the leading company they had
turned to the right. The commanding officer placed
himself at the head of the leading company. A faint
burst of cheering came from neai the Barrack gates.
Then boom, boom the big drum struck up, the fifes
squealed out "The British Grenadiers" ; the side drums
banged and rattled in the stirring uproar of that brave
old air, and the regiment moved off, wheeling to the left,
in succession of companies. Presently the head of the
column reached the gates, passed through them, and was
lost to me in the houses of the town. A great roar rose
up from the valley yells, and women's screams, with
the barking of dogs and, above it all, the squeal of
the fifes, and the boom, bang, and rattle of "The British
Mrs. Putland had come out on to the verandah when
THE GOVERNOR'S MAN 127
the "Assembly" had sounded, and stood for a minute or
more, shading her eyes with her hand, and gazing, pale-
faced and disquieted, in the same direction as myself.
Then she retreated hastily indoors again. I did not see
the Governor, until long after the regiment had effected
I heard a noise down at the gate of Government House,
and, turning my eyes in that direction, saw the guard
tumbling hurriedly out of the guardroom, and forming
up in front of it. Hardly were they in line before I
heard the order given to them "With ball cartridge
load!" Followed the rattle of the ram-rods, as they
drove their charges home.
Every moment the noise and uproar, and the shrill
music, drew closer, and at last I saw the head of the
column reach the bridge across the Tank Stream. The
sun was behind the opposite range of hills by this time,
but it was still quite bright and daylight. A yellow
afterglow lit up the western heavens, and the waters of
Sydney Cove reflected it. I remember noticing a black
line of ibis winging their way in solemn procession across
the brilliant hues of the evening. Strange, how a trifling,
irrelevant thing like that remains in one's head after
such an experience !
I stood rooted to the spot neglecting my duty, with-
out a doubt, for I should have been at His Excellency's
side. I wish that I had been, for then I could have
refuted the cruel, lying gibes that were afterwards set
afloat about Bligh's personal courage which I, for one,
never have believed, and have never hesitated to give the
lie direct to, whenever I have heard them spoken. But
I was so dumbfounded by the amazing things that were
taking place under my very eyes, that I forgot all that I
should have remembered until it was too late.
And now the regiment was very close indeed, marching
up the hillside, with colours flying at their head and
bayonets fixed, and Major Johnston sitting upon his
horse at its head. The noise of the drums was deafen-
ing now, and the fifes were ear-splitting. Out of the
128 THE GOVERNOR'S MAN
town, behind the troops came a mob that howled con-
tinuously and without ceasing.
At the gate, the column halted for a few moments.
Then the guard broke ranks, and joined their companies.
The next moment the head of the column passed through
the gateway. Some orders were shouted, and the sol-
diers came running along the drive, yelling and cursing,
and hurrying to take up positions that would put them
in the way of surrounding the house. In less time than
I take to write it, they had drawn a cordon round Govern-
ment House, and the last light of the fading day gleamed
on the bare steel >f a ring of bayonets.
As I saw the soldiers break into the double when they
came running, my senses returned to me, and I jumped
quickly behind a shrub. It came to me in a flash, what
my duty was. At all events I must endeavour to escape,
so that I could ride to the Hawkesbury, and warn the
Governor's friends of the plight the danger that he
was in. There was no knowing what this armed body
of ruffians might take into their heads to do. At all
costs, His Excellency must be rescued.
I remembered the mare ready saddled in the stables.
If I could only reach her, and find a way out through
the Domain, and round the outskirts of Sydney into the
I dodged from bush to bush, from tree to tree, and
passed unnoticed behind the soldiers. They were all
intent upon the house, and had no eyes for a flitting:
shadow in the fast darkening garden. At last I got
into the stables, and found the roan mare as I had left
"Steady, Jess, old girl," I whispered in her ear, as I
led her out into the twilight. "Steady! We must do
At last I got her through the fence, mounted her, and
rode away into the night.
The Bad Night.
Macquarie Street in those days- was only the crest of
the hill that I rode along towards what was then known
as the Exercising Ground, and afterwards was the Race-
course, and is now Hyde Park. There were one or two
cottages bordering on the Government Domain, but these
were now deserted and dark. I did not pass a single
person between Government House and the eastern side
of the Brickfields. All the inhabitants, even the chil-
dren, had flocked into the town. Life in Sydney was
too uniformly monotonous to permit of anyone missing
such a rare and fascinating excitement as presented itself
to-night. They were all down in the valley, or on the
hillside below Government House, assisting in the howl-
ing and yelling, and shouting that marked the disestab-
lishment of the Government of Captain Bligh.
In order to gain the Parramatta Road, I struck across
the rough and broken area of claypits and kilns. As I
approached it, I could see the glare of a fire glowing
redly from behind a great pile of baked bricks. I did
not pause to think what I was doing, but rode round the
pile, and almost into the midst of a group of soldiers
who were standing and sitting about the fire. The mare
shied a little at the sudden glare, and, instantly, I found
myself looking down the barrels of at least three muskets.
One of the red coats sprang forward and seized my reins.
"By G d, boys!" he yelled. "Here's a go'l 'Tis
Billy's man himself."
13X) THE GOVERNOR'S MAN
Before I could draw a pistol which, perhaps, was
just as well, half a dozen hands dragged me from the
saddle, and had me on the ground. The mare snorted
and pulled back, tearing the reins from the man who
had first laid hold of them, and, lashing out vigorously,
galloped off in the darkness.
I had been captured by one of the guards which the
rebel officers had quickly posted all about the town. This
had been done with the object of preventing the Gover-
nor's messages for assistance getting out, and possible
sympathisers from getting it.
"Search th' for papers," cried the sergeant who
was in charge. "He may have something from the old
devil in his pocket. Go through him properly, now."
And they did. My jacket was torn asunder, every
pocket turned inside out, and the lining slit open. But
they found nothing, except a letter, written from Mul-
goa, which I had received only a day or two before, from
Adelaide. I cursed and struggled, when a fellow found
this and held it to the fire light to examine. But it was
no use they were too strong for me, and pressed me
down on the ground, whilst the blackguard who had
the letter proceeded to make merry over it."
"Oh, th' sly dog," he howled in delight. " 'Tis a
letter from his gur-r-1, so it is, no less. 'Me dear Mr.
Carnford' and he proceeded to read out to them what
was, after all, only a very ordinary and polite letter
from my dear lady, but was to me a sacred thing, un-
utterably profaned by the half -drunken wretch who jested
Suddenly he was stopped by the Sergeant, whose face,
indeed, seemed familiar to me, and whom, when he spoke,
I remembered to have been one of the two Corporals
of the guard of the transport Olga.
"That'll do, Mike. Give it him back. I remember
this young fellow. We came out in th' same ship.
Give him back th' letter, ye croppy. 'Tis a better
man than you, this Carnford is. That's the lady he
jumped overboard an' saved in mid-ocean so sweet a
THE GOVERNOR'S MAN 131
lady as ye'd ever see. Give it back, ye , or I'll
crack y'r skull for ye, an' have ye to the orderly room in
th' marnin'. Here, let him up, boys. He's not a bad
lad, even if he is that old Bligh's orderly man."
They released their hold upon me, and I stood up.
The Irish soldier handed me back the letter with a grin.
"Och sure, Sergeant dear, I've no wish for to thres-
pass on our brave boy's presarves. He's welcome to
his colleen's letters. Good luck to him!"
I could have smashed him in the face with my fist for
the impudent leer with which he said this. But there
was no sense in those tactics, and I was lucky to remem-
"I'll have to send ye down to the Barracks, Carn-
ford," said the Sergeant. "Take my advice, an' go
quiet. 'Tis orders. All Bligh's people is being made
S'o I was marched off, a soldier on either side of me.
As we went through Sydney, the town presented an
extraordinary spectacle. In the main thoroughfare, at
the intersection of cross streets, large bonfires had been
lit, and a great show of public rejoicing was being made.
Drunken soldiers and convicts shouted ribald songs, and
danced about the fires. Women of the town screeched
obscenities to them. Beer was on tap in barrels, and
nearly everyone had a bottle or a flask of rum. There
seemed to have been a little looting of the inns, or else
the inn-keepers were terrified into making good fellows
of themselves by providing the rowdy element with
But the rejoicing seemed to me to lack spontaneity.
I think that they had been mainly organised by the rebel
leaders to lend the appearance of a universally popular
movement to their mad deed. They were at the great-
est pains, subsequently, to give it this aspect. But I am
as sure as that I now sit writing, that it was not a
genuine one. The people, as a whole, I am convinced,
cared little about the business. It was the military
officers and their friends who only really rejoiced. And
13*2 _ THE GOVERNOR'S MAN
in all their rejoicing was an element of fear, for the
consequence of the outrageous thing they had done. The
shadow of High Treason hung over them. And, when
no one was looking, they shivered in it.
We came down George Street to the Barracks, and I
was marched straight across to the orderly room.
The room was full of people who were in the custody
of soldiers, and three officers sat at a table holding a sort
of court of inquiry into the political views of the cap-
tives. To mv astonishment, I saw Mr. Nutting, and
my agent, Mr. Blundell, and many others whom I knew.
I contrived to edge my way to where Adelaide's father
stood dejectedly against the wall, awaiting his turn to go
before the tribunal. I was anxious as to what might be
happening to his daughter, rather than deeply moved
on behalf of the unfortunate gentleman himself. When
I spoke his name he looked up.
"Ah, Carnford," he said mournfully. "This is very
distressing very humiliating, is it not? Dear me! A
sort of reign of terror a French Revolution, by George.
Oh, Adelaide? She is quite well, I thank you. At
Mulgoa. I wonder where Sir Henry is? These fel-
lows will surely have him before long. And what of
His Excellency, Mr. Carnford? Has he escaped?"
I told him I did not think so, though I had seen
nothing of him since he gave me the letter for Major
Johnston early in the afternoon. I told him also how
I had endeavoured to ride away to procure assistance,
and how I had blundered into the soldiers' fire at the
Brickfields, and been captured. He sympathised with
me in his gentle way, and while he was speaking Mr.
Blundell came away from the table, and spying me, edged
his way over.
"Jack," he whispered, "I fear you're in a bad way
with these fellows. D'ye know what they're doing!
Why, discussing what they'll do with each individual tha<-
they arrest. They are sending those whom they think
they can't trust to the Coal River. They had a very
long debate over me, but have left the matter open
THE GOVERNOR'S MAN 133
telling me to go to my house, and stay there, for the
present. But I fear they will deal harshly with you
since you were so well known as being in His Excel-
lency's confidence. I should not be surprised if they
sent you away. But I think I'll get through with them.
One or two are in my debt pretty deeply, and will, I
think, be a little careful of giving me too much cause to
remember them unpleasantly. If I stay in Sydney, I
will see to all your affairs, and will take every oppor-
tunity of serving your interests, and getting you back.
Brian is well out of this. I sent him on a voyage to
New Zealand last month. But, good-bye I must get
away, or they may alter their mind. Keep your heart
up. These fellows daren't go too far, and they can't
last for ever. England is still England even though
it is so far away."
The good fellow wrung my hand, and slipped away
out of the room unostentatiously
Presently my name was called, and I was marched
up to the table. Three officers sat there, and, to my
sorrow, I recognised one of them as Mr. Keating. He
was not quite drunk, but neither was he quite sober. He
immediately recognised me. The other men were Cap-
tain Kemp and Mr. Laycock.
"Ho, by G d," said Mr. Keating. "Look, Kemp,
look whom we have here ! Bligh's own man, by hea-
vens ! I know the fellow, I know him. Came out in
the Olga with me. A d d insolent fellow, a dan-
gerous ruffian. Oh, by G d, we can't let him remain
in Sydney. He was that Bligh's right hand man.
Coal River for him, I say without question."
Captain Kemp looked me up and down.
"What d'ye say, Laycock?" he asked.
That giant of a man, the Quartermaster of the Corps,
shook his head. "Better send him away, sir. He'll
be out of mischief up there. A little discipline will do
him good. He's had a fat time of it with Bligh. Coal
River, I vote."
"You will go to the Coal River then, my man," said
13'4 THE GOVERNOR'S MAN
Captain Kemp, writing something against my name on a
list he had before him. "See that you behave yourself.
There are even worse places than Newcastle, you know.
Take him away."
So I was marched out of the Orderly Room, and out
of the Barracks, and down George Street to the gaol.
"And I'll see ye at the Coal River, my man," called
that brute Keating after me, as I left the room.
I shall never forget that night in Sydney Gaol. It
was a night of the most unmitigated horror.
Picture to yourselves that it was the middle of January,
and that, even for January the day had been a warm one.
Then picture that fearful prison, and its condition that
The old gaol was a very primitive affair. There were
only a few cells that were used for special prisoners. The
bulk of the inmates were confined in a large building,
that consisted of two rooms, each thirty-two feet long
by twenty-two feet wide. I have heard that the average
number of prisoners shut up in these apartments any
evening was between eighty and ninety. Even then
they were intolerably overcrowded. On the night of
that famous Anniversary Day of 1808, the room in which
I found myself had no less than one hundred and fifteen
people in it. It was a veritable Black Hole of Calcutta!
My fellows in misfortune were drawn from every class
in the community the majority cf them, of course, being
convicts. But there were also a large proportion of
drunken sailors, a few soldiers, and very many of the
civilian inhabitants had been committed there by the tri-
bunal which had sat in judgment upon myself. We
were terribly crowded. The windows were small, and
high up in the wall, and we almost suffocated for lack of
air. Add to this that it was impossible for the whole
number of the inmates of the room to lie down at once.
Even if they lay with their heads between the legs of
their fellows, some twenty-five or thirty must still stand
up. The room seemed to me to be quite sufficiently full
when I came in about half-past nine. Right up till
THE GOVERNOR'S MAN 135
midnight further additions to our miserable company
continued to be made by the gaoler. The count to
which I referred above was made about two o'clock in
the morning, by the light of one dim oil-lamp fixed to the
wall near the door. Two of the unfortunates who had
to stand up all night made it, and as I was one of them,
and we went over it five or six times, I can vouch for its
Never did I welcome the rays of dawn more gladly
than when they came creeping into that stifling cess-
pool, about four o'clock in the morning. By that time
the atmosphere was almost unbearable. But it was
not until six o'clock that they opened the door, and
allowed us out into the yard. When they did so, I was
We heard from late comers of most that had taken
place on the night of the rebellion and a good deal
that never took place at all. And afterwards I heard
how His Excellency had sought to have me sent to him,
but without avail. He himself was a close prisoner at
Government House, with his daughter, Mrs. Putland.
It is a strange thing to think of, that I never again in
this life saw Captain Bligh though I was in correspon-
dence with him up to the time of his death as a Vice-
Admiral in 1817. When I came back to Sydney from
the Coal River he had sailed in H.M.S. Porpoise to the
Derwent, in Van Diemen's Land. When he returned,
on the arrival of Major-General Macquarie, I was away
from Sydney. So this strange day and night actually
brought an end to my occupation of the office of Gover-
At the Coal River.
They fed us meagrely about seven o'clock dry bread
and several great kitcheners of boiled maize meal
hominy that did not go nearly round. However, those
who had been drinking heavily the night before, and they
were not a few, had no particular fancy for such a break-
fast, and the scanty rations went further than they might
have done, had it not been for the large number of aching
heads and sick stomachs there were in the gaol that
Soon after we had finished this elegant repast, the gate
of the yard was opened, and some thirty soldiers were
marched into it. Behind them came that damnable fel-
low, Lieutenant Keating, accompanied by Mr. Nicholas
Bayly, whom the rebel leaders had appointed Acting-
Provost Marshal, in place of Mr. Gore, whom they had
summarily imprisoned also. He had been considered of
sufficient importance to be accorded the "luxury" of a
cell, and was not one of our number.
"Stand over there," shouted Mr. Keating, pointing to
the wall opposite to the entrance of the yard. "Shove
the 's back, men," he cried to the soldiers.
With the butts of their muskets they drove us back
in a dense mob there were, out of the two rooms, a
good deal more than 200 of us and pressed us against
the walls. They stood in line, threatening us with their
muskets, and cursing us zealously.
"Fix bayonets !" commanded Mr. Keating, and we
cowered there, menaced by these truculent ruffians, whose
THE GOVERNOR'S MAN 137
inflamed faces and bloodshot eyed were good evidence as
to how they had passed the night.
"Merciful heavens!" exclaimed a weak voice behind
me. "Do the dreadful creatures mean to butcher us !"
I tried to reassure the speaker, and for the first time
became aware that Mr. Nutting was a partner in my
captivity. He was pale and tired looking, but, never-
theless, in his dress and elegant appearance, was in sharp
contrast with his surroundings. I was about to speak
to him comfortingly, when the unlovely voice of Mr.
Keating, who had been in conference with the Provost-
Marshal, again afflicted us.
"Now then, ye do^s, give attention. Listen to
this list which Mr. Bayly is going to read to ye, and
answer to your names."
The Provost-Marshal stepped forward, with a paper in
his hand, looking at us malevolently a moment, and then
began to shout it at us.
"John Carnford," he called.
"Here," I replied.
"Say 'Sir,' ye insolent swine!" roared Mr. Keat-
"Here, sir," I answered, meekly enough to make the
"Get over there, d n, ye against the other wall,
and stand still," he bellowed at me, and then added, for
the benefit of the company in general.
"Oho the Governor's Man! Billy wont get his boots
cleaned this morning!"
There was a roar of laughter from the soldiers, as I
walked across, angrily, to the further side of the gaol
yard. The Provost-Marshal went on calling names,
and before long there were some forty of us, all selected
as being adherents, or possible adherents, to the cause
of Governor Bligh. Poor Mr. Nutting was one of the
"It is Paris over again," he murmured dolefully. He
fully believed, he told me, that we were chosen for execu-
tion. His mind was possessed with recollections of the
138 THE GOVERNOR'S MAN
Terror. He had been in France during that fearful
When the selection had been made, the soldiers drove
those who had been left out of this interesting roll-call
out of the way, formed us up in a little column of two
abreast, surrounded us, and marched us out of the gaol
into George Street. It was, of course, called High
Street in those days. The names of Sydney's two prin-
cipal thoroughfares, "Pitt" and "George," were bestowed
by Governor Macquarie a few years later.
As we went through the town towards Sydney Cove, I
noticed a strange difference in the aspect of the place
from what had obtained yesterday and last night. All
the wild excitement had died away like the smouldering
bonfires, at the intersection of the streets and the
people's faces wore an anxious, half -terrified look. The
seriousness of the business had begun to impress them,
and the danger of it to make itself apparent. They
were bewildered. They knew that the Governor was in
prison in a big cottage upon the hillside, but they knew
also that he was nevertheless the Governor, and that any
act against him was High Treason against His Majesty
and the realm. But in the Officer's Mess at the Bar-
racks was established the government de facto, and it was
a government to be feared, since its self-endorsed powers
were without limit for the time being, at any rate. I
think that the sight of us unfortunate victims of the
rebels' distrust being sent away, no one knew whither, did
much to augment this feeling.
They took us down to the Government wharf, where
one of the colonial schooners was alongside, marched us
aboard, forced us into the hold, and clapped the hatches
on. They did not take them off for three days, and
when they did so after a miserable, dark period of sea-
sickness and suffocation we were at anchor in the Coal
River. A black nor'-easter had been blowing, and we
had taken all that time to beat up the coast, sixty-two
miles, against it. Mr. Keating accompanied us as the
new Commandant of the settlement.
THE GOVERNOR'S MAN 139
Newcastle is a great port, and a fine town, to-day, in
1858, but it was a queer place fifty years ago. When I
came on deck that morning, after the first sensation of
the glorious fresh air and sunlight in contrast to the hor-
rible hold of the schooner, my heart sank, as I looked at
the primitive, wretched little settlement that was to be
our place of exile for heaven alone knew how long. Its
appearance, even on such a bright and sunny morning,
was sufficiently depressing to fill me with gloomy appre-
hension as to our future.
Poor Mr. Nutting, whom I had to assist upon deck
he was so weak and ill was almost overcome by the
"Good Lord, Carnford !" he whispered, "can they mean
to keep us in this horrid place?"
"I fear so, sir," I answered. "But there's one comfort
they can't keep us here forever. Help will come from
England, when they learn what has taken place, and
these usurpers will find themselves in Queer Street. I
would not like to be in Major Johnston's shoes, or Mr.
Macarthur's. I think, on the whole, we are better off
than they are."
"Yes, yes but it will be months, it will be a year at
least, before any help can come from London. And my
poor little girl ! She does not even know yet what has
become of me! The news of the rebellion must have
travelled to Emu Plains by this time, and she will have
heard it at Mulgoa. She will be a prey to the most
dreadful apprehension. She is quite alone with me in
this country and now I am snatched away from her in
this fashion, and she does not even know where I am gone.
It is too awful."
"Cheer up, sir. I believe she knows by this time, and
you will hear from her by the next vessel from Sydney.
While we were in the gaol during the night I gave
several written messages to a prisoner who stood near me
all night. He is a man I know a good fellow, except
that he drinks too much at times. He will see, somehow,
that they reach their destination. I sent one to the
140 THE GOVERNOR'S MAN
Governor, one to Mr. Thompson at the Green Hills, one
to Mr. Blundell, my agent and I took the liberty of
sending one to your daughter. It seemed to me that
you might be in the gaol too, and, if that were so, you
would probably know nobody who was likely to get out,
and would have no opportunity of communicating with
Miss Nutting. I hope I did right, sir?"
The poor gentleman grasped my hand and shook it
"God bless you, my boy," he said, with tears in his
eyes. "You have lifted a load from me. I feel better
already. I cannot repay you."
He cheered up wonderfully from that moment. I
thought to myself that perhaps a time might come when
he would be able to repay me though I scarcely dared
to think that sweet thought.
Newcastle, or, as it was called at that time, King's
Town, was by far the most primitive outpost of British
settlement in Australia. It had only been established a
few years primarily for obtaining the coals which are
so abundant there, and so easily to be worked. After-
wards, very valuable timber was cut along the river and
exported to Sydney principally the red cedar. And it
was a convenient place to which to send prisoners who
had incurred extra punishment. Norfolk Island, of
course, was the ultimate destination of the worst of the
convict populace and, unfortunately, of some who never
deserved to go there but the Coal River was not re-
garded by them as being at all desirable. Some of the
worst and most abandoned of the iron-gangs were sta-
tioned at Port Hunter.
The settlement straggled from the riverside up the
slope of the hills to the southward. Off the harbour, the
Coal Island now known as "Nobby's," and joined to
the mainland by a convict-built breakwater, marked the
entrance to the noble river that found outlet to the sea
at this part of the coast. Away to the north-east, on
the southern side, a long white beach curved for nearly
twenty miles to Port Stephens. The houses of the
THE GOVERNOR'S MAN 141
town, with the exception of the cottages of the military
and civil officers, a storehouse and a primitive goal, were
nothing better than miserable huts. You would scarcely
recognise it for the same place to-day. At the most
there were never more than three vessels lying at anchor
in the stream. Generally there were none at all. Look
at the shipping you may see there now both steam and
sail and imagine, if you can, what it looked like at the
end of January, 1808.
In the afternoon we were taken ashore, a few tents
were pitched, and in these we huddled for
shelter at night, until we had made for ourselves more
permanent dwellings. A good many of the prisoners
were set to hard labour, but Mr. Nutting and I were
spared this additional penalty.
I should have referred, earlier in my narrative, to an
event of much importance to me, which had occurred
some four or five months previously the fact of which
stood me in good stead now. Governor Bligh partly
on the representations of Dr. Collingwood, on his next
visit in the Olga to New South Wales, after my arrival,
and, I believe, because he himself regarded my services
as being worthy of such reward had granted me a con-
ditional pardon. This meant that I was free within the
Colony, but not at liberty to return to England until the
term of my original sentence had expired. It meant
here, in this horrible outpost, that I need not join in the
forced labour of the convicts. Mr. Nutting, of course,
was a free man. Fortunately for ourselves, our lack of
private means did not necessitate our living "on the
store," as it was termed when people were provided with
Government rations by the Commissariat. Had we been
forced to apply for such maintenance, I know well that
the amiable Mr. Keating would have seen to it that we
worked hard for our keep.
We were able, after a couple of weeks, to obtain pos-
session of a little house on the hillside, not far from
the top of what is nowadays known as Watt Street. Its
owner, a political prisoner of the Crown, had received
142 THE GOVERNOR'S MAN
his free pardon from the Home Government, and was so
delighted with his good fortune that he generously pre-
sented the title of it to Mr. Nutting and myself.
He was a remarkable man, this Doctor Martin Boyle,
a very remarkable man indeed and I could have wished
for the opportunity of cultivating his acquaintance. On
our first arrival at King's Town, he had been very kind
to us, inviting us to his cottage, and helping us in every
way he could. He was one of those good souls who is
continually helping his fellow creatures, and always seek-
ing to keep the fact that he has done so from public
knowledge. I had suffered somewhat from that dis-
tressing complaint known as varicose veins, and, on my
mentioning it to Dr. Boyle, he offered to examine me.
He did so, and was good enough to advise an operation
which indeed, he offered to carry out himself, and only
the uncertainty of my position prevented me from accept-
ing his generous offer. I had it done, with entire suc-
cess, twelve months afterwards in Sydney.
He was a graduate of Trinity College, Dublin, had
travelled much, and was a man of wide reading and
catholic literary taste. But all his life, from his student
days, he had had a deep sympathy with the dog that was
down, and the active expression of this had led him
into trouble on more than one occasion. He was here
now owing to an arbitrary action of the Governor's, in
ordering the pulling down of some cottages in Sydney,
which Captain Bligh maintained were built on Crown
lands. The Doctor had valiantly espoused the cause
of the unfortunate owners of the buildings, and had so
fallen foul of His Excellency. The latter had peremp-
torily ordered his deportation to the Coal River. He
had been sent to New South Wales for the part that he
had taken in the Irish Rebellion of 1798, when he had
acted as a, strictly honorary, surgeon to the forces of
"General" Joseph Holt, of Vinegar Hill fame.
I always remember him with pleasure, and picture the
three of us sitting outside his cottage in the summer even-
ings, smoking and talking, as we gazed up the coast
THE GOVERNOR'S MAN 143
towards the blue mountains behind Port Stephens. He
entertained us greatly with anecdote and reminiscence.
Whenever I think of the Doctor, I always recall with
amusement his discourse on the famous Mannequin of
the City of Brussels in Belgium. He was said to be a
very skilful surgeon, and I could well believe it but
what I liked him most for was his genial red face, his
prematurely silver hair, and his shrewd wit. I have
met many worse than the Doctor, and Mr. Nutting, who
hated Irishmen on principle, was pleased to make an
exception in favour of Dr. Martin Boyle.
One evening as we sat there, Mr. Keating walked, on
his way down into the town, past the front of the cot-
tage. He was obviously very drunk. The collar of
his jacket was unbuttoned, and his stock was unhooked.
He presented a pretty figure to point out to a stranger
as the Commandant of the Settlement at the Coal River.
The Doctor chuckled as he passed us, and Mr. Keating,
with a drunken man's acuteness of hearing, turned in-
stantly. He regarded the three of us with alcoholic
fury for a few moments, and then laughed scornfully.
"Ho!" he said, " 'tish th' croppy doctor, an' Billy
Bligh's lickspittle man, an' th' d d old fool from St.
James' an' all drunk. By G d, ye'd snigger as I
go by, would ye?" He became angry again. "I'll teach
ye, ye 's I'll teach ye! Watch I don't send ye to
work at th' lime kiln, ye scum. I can do it, and by
G d, I will, if I have any of y'r in-insholensh."
He stumbled down the road. The Doctor laughed
quietly. "Ha!" he said, "our noble Commandant is a
little sprung. A pleasant fellow, isn't he? But I'd
go carefully, if I were Mr. Keating. I would be careful
of dark nights, and keep away from the cliffs, if I were
him. There are several here who don't love him, but if
Mary McBain get a chance, well ." The Doctor
shrugged his shoulders.
"Mary McBain?" I said vaguely, recollecting hayine
heard the name somewhere before.
"Yes a convict woman here. Living with a soldier.
144 THE GOVERNOR'S MAN
She was in service at Parson Marsden's at Parramatta
when this bright and beautiful young man was in the
garrison there. A pretty tale, gentlemen, a pretty tale."
Then I remembered the girl whom Andrew Thomp-
son and I had encountered that night in Church Street,
as we rode into Parramatta from Green Hills. As
I recalled the bitterness and loathing with which she
had cursed the name of Mr. Keating, I, too, felt that
she was no safe neighbour for that dashing officer. But
I am not hypocritical enough to pretend that I was con-
cerned for Mr. Keating' s safety.
Dreary weeks that were to expand into dreary months,
followed, and Mr. Nutting and I endured as patiently as
we might our enforced residence on the banks of the
Little news reached us from Sydney, but plenty of
rumour was manufactured in King's Town, and some of
it was so absurd as to be almost worthy of record. French
troops had landed at Botany Bay and were besieging
Sjdney. Sydney had been surrendered to the Napoleonic
invasion by Major Johnston and the officers of the 102nd.
Major Johnston had proclaimed John Macarthur King
of Australia. The settlement had become a Republic,
and Major Johnston had been elected its first Presi-
dent. Governor Bligh had escaped, raised an army on
the Hawkesbury, and was marching upon Sydney. Gover-
nor Bligh had been hanged on Gallows Hill. These,
and a hundred others of a similar sort, were the most
frequent tidings we heard of the metropolis. It was
extraordinary how such idle gossip was accepted as gospel
by the convicts and private soldiers. I told Dr. Boyle
that I half suspected him of devising many of them. I
am not at all sure that he did not find diversion in invent-
ing some. At any rate, he only winked at me when
I challenged him about it.
But, of course, we had letters. They were opened
and read both by the authorities in Sydney, and by the
valiant Commandant at the Coal River, and it was gall
146 THE GOVERNOR'S MAN
and wormwood to me to think of that drunken brute
gloating over my dear girl's pretty handwriting, perhaps
lifting the delicately scented note-paper up to his ugly
countenance to smell. The filthy beast made a point of
addressing me as "My dear Mr. Carnford," when he met
me about the settlement. But I was careful to refrain
from giving him the slightest pretext for exerting his
authority, knowing that he would have been only too
glad to do his best to make life a h 1, both for myself
and Mr. Nutting.
I had letters from Mr. Blundell, too, and from their
guarded phrases learned something of the political situa-
tion in the capital. The Governor was a close prisoner,
and, later, was confined with his daughter in the Bar-
racks. Though he could not say so, it was easy to infer
from the worthy merchant's communications that the
rebel leaders were making hay while the sun shone.
They were granting each other tracts of land, issuing
parabns to their sycophants among the convicts, and
generally abusing the authority which they had so out-
rageously assumed. It was most gratifying to hear all
these transactions declared null and void by Governor
Macquarie, when, in 1810, he arrived from England to
assume the governorship.
And then, one blessed morning, we saw the schooner
from Sydney coming in round Coal Island, and, hasten-
ing down to the River, were just in time to welcome
whom do you think?
Why Adelaide Nutting, and Sir Henry Browne
The former had, thanks to Mr. Blundell's ceaseless
efforts, been allowed to join her father at King's Town.
What a joy it was to the latter to see her, you may
imagine. And I don't mind confessing that it was a
joy to me but perhaps you will have guessed that.
As for the Knight of Vaucluse, he had, in his usual
fashion, brushed the temporary authorities the wrong
way, and was now doubly exiled. He was there for
eight months, and departed when we did. But it was
THE GOVERNOR'S MAN 147
not so long before he was back again. I have a copy
of a memorial he sent to Governor Macquarie. It
refers to the latter occasion, and it is so amusingly char-
acteristic of our good friend that I am going to insert
part of it here. He states :
"That in the month of May ( 1809) last your memorial-
ist had occasion to come to Sydney to consult a physician
on the state of his health, which was much impaired,
and was walking peaceably in the town when he was sud-
denly set upon by a party of armed men, who said they
were constables. They proceeded to drag your memorial-
ist to the common jail ; in committing which outrage on
the person of your memorialist they tore your memorial-
ist's clothes, wounded and bruised him, and at length,
without any warrant or pretended authority bore off to
prison your memorialist, whom they had thus over-
powered. There your memorialist was that night con-
fined, and early next morning, in like forcible illegal
manner was sent off again to the Coal River (Newcastle),
where, unfortunately for your memorialist, Lieutenant
Lawson, 102nd Regiment, had got into the command.
That on the fourteenth day of July, 1809, your memorial-
ist was sent for by Lieutenant Lawson, and while your
memorialist unconscious of having done any wrong
or offended Lieutenant Lawson was proceeding to
Government House there he was suddenly interrupted by
Lieutenant Lawson, who vociferously called out to some
of his people, and made use of the following words:
'Seize the villian by the scruff of the neck and drag him
to the guard house.' That your memorialist endeavoured
by remonstrance to learn the cause of this fresh outrage,
but was prevented by the constant vociferation of
Lieutenant Lawson, who loudly called out that he would
flay your memorialist and put him to work on the shell-
On the present occasion, possibly because of some
little influence which Mr. Nutting and myself may have
had with him, the fiery Irishman managed to contain
himself fairly well though I always dreaded an outburst
148 THE GOVERNOR'S MAN
whenever he met Mr. Keating, or even when he caught a
glimpse of him. The sight of the dissolute Com-
mandant's red coat was to Sir Henry what it might have
been to a mad bull.
Adelaide was prettier and sweeter in my eyes than
ever. She was delighted to be with her father again,
and brightened our lives by her happy presence. I felt,
somehow, that she was a little happier for seeing me,
though I hardly dared flatter myself to so great an ex-
tent. Perhaps, reader, you have been through what I
was going through then, and will remember how. at some
moments, you were the happiest mortal on earth, and at
others, the most wretched and miserable and, on the
whole, what a fool you were. Perhaps you will recol-
lect your own case. At anyrate, I do not apologise for
mine. I was twenty-two, and she was nineteen and
she was also Adelaide Nutting. That is all I have to
And, one night, she and I saw the tragedy of the cliff.
It was a beautiful, clear evening in May, the moon at
the full, the sky cloudless, and the air still. We had
left Sir Henry and Mr. Nutting over their pipes and
arguments, and we had walked over towards the sea,
coming to the edge of the cliffs just at the back of our
cottage, and above the part of the beach that is almost
a third of its whole length from the southern end.
We stood there for a long time, gazing out over the
glorious silver sheen that reflected itself from the surface
of the placid ocean. Then, since it was such a fine
night, and was yet very early, she proposed that we
should walk a little further in the direction of Sydney.
It was hardly eight o'clock. You may be sure that I
was nothing loath to fall in with such a suggestion.
By the jagged edge of the uplands we had rambled
along slowly, talking those things that do get talked by
people who are in the situation we both, I think, tacitly
recognised which are to me yet too sacred to set down
here and had gone about half a mile, when we came
suddenly upon two people, a man and a woman.
THE GOVERNOR'S MAN 149
It was a beautiful clear evening in May.
150 THE GOVERNOR'S MAN
We were in a little hollow the undulation that held
a tiny watercourse that only ran in rainy weather and
they were on the crest of the next undulation. I don't
know why we had not seen them before, unless it was
because we were so absorbed in our own agreeable affairs.
It was only because of the dreadful words that he made
use of, that they attracted our attention. It was be-
cause of them, too, that I seized Adelaide's arm, and
drew her down on the grass out of sight. With that
fierce threat, I could not leave the woman alone with the
man. I had recognised his voice, and his figure was plain
enough in the moonlight. It was the Commandant.
"D n you, you trollop! I'll kill you for that!"
The woman answered him.
"Kill me then, John. Kill me. You've killed my
soul. You made me kill my helpless bairn may God
forgive you! You've killed a' that was guid in me, an'
I wasna' a bad lass in that way until you made me
bad. What am I now? A drunken . A common,
drunken, sojer's mistress. An' 'tis you that made me
That was all we heard. I never know what she had
threatened to do. The whole thing was so mercilessly
swift that I had no chance to interfere.
He stood right at the edge of the cliff, and behind
him was a sheer drop of at least one hundred feet.
She stood opposite him, a yard away.
I saw him raise his clenched first in the moonlight,
as if to strike the cowering woman down. In a sort of
paralysis of rage and hate, he seemed to hesitate. In
that instant, she suddenly took one step forward, stretched
out her open hand, and pushed him in the chest. He
staggered back, trod on empty air, swayed with frantic
arms clutching at the moonbeams and was gone in a
second. One hoarse scream and then the rattle of
stones and earth pouring down the face of the cliff, a
dull thud and the woman screamed, and jumped as I
darted towards her.
I threw myself down on the edge of the cliff and tried
to see them, but, ten feet down, it bulged a little, and I
could not do so. I ran down into the dip, and Ade-
laide clung to me, sobbing, and hiding her face in my
I know I kissed her and that was our strange be-
trothal. That was our mutual declaration of a love
that has never waned, and that even the grave has not
lessened for me. It was made above the bodies of that
sinful man and that unhappy woman that lay on the
rocks a hundred feet below us. Strange, that when our
troth was plighted in such circumstances, so much hap-
piness should have been our portion.
We stayed there, clinging to one another for a few
moments, until my wits came back, and I hurried my dear
girl home, so that I might give the alarm, and seek help.
Sir Henry and Mr. Nutting came, and we found some
soldiers, and tore two shutters down from the windows
of our little house, and went to seek what we knew we
should find. We went along the beach, and over the
flat rocks, until we came to them.
He was quite dead. His neck was broken. She
moaned a little when we lifted her, but before we had
reached the top of the rough track that led from the
beach to the cliff, she was dead, too.
One of the soldiers and I heard after that it was the
man she had lived with mumbled, as we put her body
down for a brief rest on the top.
"Poor Mary. 'Tis sorry I am for her. She was not
so bad. But as for that , why he got what was
coming to him !"
And he spat on the ground, as he waved his hand con-
temptuously towards the group that walked on with Mr.
And that, as I have said above, was the strange manner
of our betrothal.
I do not think that there is very much in omens.
And now, when I am coming to the beginning of my
story, I must stop writing. I am essentially a person
of respectable inclinations, and it seems a little hard
that I should have to cut short my biography just when
I have finished dealing with the disreputable period of
my career. But a simple calculation will serve to
show how impossible it would be for me to continue
at the rate which I have been going.
The foregoing veracious and spasmodic narrative
covers a period of two years and five months, and some
two hundred and odd pages of MSS. And this is the
twentieth chapter Supposing I went on, and related
to you all the adventures and vicissitudes of John and
Adelaide Carnford, between May, 1808, and December,
1858 do you think you would tackle the job of wading
through those many volumes of small beer? It is a
simple rule of three propositions. This unpretentious
work runs into twenty chapters, over, say, two years.
Therefore, fifty years would run into five hundred chap-
ters, or twenty-five volumes. Do you suppose, my dear
children and grandchildren, that all your unquestionable
respect for the aged compiler of this magnum opus would
induce you to read it all? Or, do you think that when
he should have disappeared into the ground at Campbell's
Hill, near West Maitland. your good wives and excellent
husbands who, after all, are not so interested in your
garrulous ancestor as you are yourselves would wish to
T11K GOVERNOR'S MAN 153
continue to afford that bulky library house-room ? Well,
So here endeth the lesson of John Carnford, and Ade-
laide, his wife. And there is no particular moral to it.
If I were inclined to point one, I should draw your atten-
tion to the misfortunes of the late Admiral Bligh, and
say "Don't swear at your subordinates."
I asked Adelaide one day what she would have done
since she insisted in demeaning her high estate, as
daughter of George Mainwaring Nutting, Esquire, of the
County of Bucks, and of Paddy's Flat, by marrying an
Emancipist if Governor Bligh had not been so kind
as to have granted him a conditional pardon.
"My dear Jack," she replied, with her sweet smile and
pretty little catch of a laugh "I should have used my in-
fluence, and had you assigned to me. You know, Mrs.
Macquarie and I are very good friends. She's a darling.
That would have been simple."
"Oh, would you," I said. "But you might have had
occasion to flog me?"
"You dear," she laughed merrily, "and it would have
been so delightful to have handed you a little note to
Mr. Mudie, requesting him, as a Justice of the Peace, to
see that you received fifty lashes. Delightful !" Scream-
ingly funny. Our neighbour Mudie, of Castle Forbes,
was a great flogger.
"Oh, don't, Jack," was the next thing she said. "You
have rumpled all my hair. You great bear !"
But in truth, Adelaide was a poor flogger. I was not
much good myself, but I would occasionally bring an
incorrigible criminal before the bench of magistrates, to
be dealt with as they thought fit. She never would
dreading the possible penalty even more than they did.
When I was away from Ludgate Hill, superintending
my other property on the Macintyre River, the discipline
amongst the convict servants would go to pieces. But I
always noticed, when I came back, some indefinable
atmosphere of happiness about the place. They wor-
shipped her, and I know of more than one life that was
154 THE GOVERNOR'S MAN
reclaimed by the sheer capacity she had of invoking the
love of all with whom she came in contact. Not always,
On one of my returns, I remember asking her how a
certain Paddy-the-Goat had conducted himself. She
"Oh, Jack, dear, I am sure that poor man has been
maligned. He has been an angel a positive angel.
You know the poor fellow was transported for nothing"
(they all were) "and has always been most terribly
misunderstood. I am sure we are going to make a good
man out of the poor fellow."
A little investigation resulted in a discovery that Mr.
Paddy-the-Goat had disposed of ten new scythes, a grind-
stone, an anvil, and half a dozen picks. His tangible
assets were two kegs of rum, and one empty one. But,
even then, Adelaide was in tears when the infernal rogue
departed for Maitland Gaol. I regret to say that he
was eventually hanged for bushranging ; because I always
had an idea that my dear wife held me partly responsible
But I cannot bear yet to write very much of that dear
woman. If for some of you who are to come, and
who did not know that saint of God I copy this short
paragraph from The Maitland Mercury, of July the 3rd,
1855. I know that you will forgive an old man with
an aching heart, whose comfort is that he believes that he
will be with her again ere many years are gone :
"We regret to announce the death on Sunday last of
Mrs. Adelaide Carnford, wife of John Carnford, Esq.,
M.L.A., of Ludgate Hill Station, near Singleton. The
deceased lady was universally respected. She was the
only daughter of the late George Mainwaring Nutting,
Esq., of Mulgoa, and with her respected husband, who
now represents it in Parliament, was one of the pioneers
of the district in which she lived for so
many years. Of a kindly, charitable and gener-
ous disposition, Mrs. Carnford endeared herself
to all with whom she came in contact, and the large
THE GOVERNOR'S MAN 155
gathering of mourners at Campbell's Hill Cemetery,
where she was buried on Wednesday, was eloquent testi-
mony to the esteem in which she was held. Mrs. Carn-
ford leaves a family of two sons and three daughters to
mourn her loss. The name of her eldest son, Colonel
John Carnford, of the 2nd Dragoons (Royal Scots
Greys), who so distinguished himself in the Crimea as
to be awarded Her Majesty's new military decoration
of the Victoria Cross, is fresh in the public memory.
Her second son, Mr. George Nutting Carnford, is well
known in this district, and in that of the Liverpool Plains,
where he manages his father's properties. Lady Elstern-
wick, wife of Rear-Admiral Sir Thomas Elsternwick,
R.N., who formerly held a command on the Australian
station as Captain of H.M.S. Argonaut, is her eldest
daughter. Another is Mrs. Brian MacMahon, widow of
the late Mr. MacMahon, of Messrs. Blundell & Mac-
Mahon, the well known wool-brokers and shipping agents
of Sydney and Newcastle. The youngest daughter,
Miss Hester Carnford, is unmarried, and resides with her
father at Ludgate Hill. The deceased lady left eleven
grandchildren, who may well be considered fortunate in
having so virtuous, so benevolent, and so universally
beloved a grandparent upon whom to model the pattern
of their future careers. The district has sustained a
severe loss in the person of Mrs. Carnford, who, with
her husband, was one of the earliest settlers. Our sin-
cere sympathies are extended to the bereaved family of
this estimable lady."
After all, that is the whole story of my dear one a
good woman, a good wife, and a good mother.
The first time I revisited my native country to see the
last of my dear mother, whom I never could persuade to
leave Harrow Weald was in the year 1827. One day,
in the autumn of that year, whilst wandering about Lon-
don, I found myself at the south side of the river, and
close to Lambeth Palace. I was just outside Lambeth
Parish Church. So, as I was not pressed for time,
and only exploring the big city for my own amusement
156 THE GOVERNOR'S MAN
and instruction, I walked into the churchyard with an
idea of taking a look over the church. Just inside the
iron gates I encountered a great square tomb, of impos-
ing dimensions. Walking round it, to inform myself as
to the importance of the personage who was buried there,
The Memory of
Vice-Admiral William Bligh,
Admiral of the Blue.
&c., &c., &c.
and a lengthy eulogy, of such a character that it could
not possibly have been composed by my late friend, Mr.
So here was where my old master lay! How I went
back over the years! How I remembered everything
about that choleric man his favorite oaths, above all
else. He had died in 1817, yet it only seemed yesterday
since he gave me the letter for Colonel Johnston, at three
o'clock on that memorable Anniversary Day in Sydney.
And I had never seen him since !
Well, I liked Bligh. I liked him, and respected him.
With all his faults, he was a Man and you cannot say
more of any male human being than that. And he was
a great seaman. Lord Nelson and Captain Cook have
testified to that. As for his qualities as a Governor
well, perhaps I had better refer you to the private jour-
nals of Colonel George Johnston. Do you think so?
His monument reminds me of another churchyard, far
away from dingy Lambeth, where there is also a tomb-
stone of great size, that reposes above the bones of
Andrew Thompson. It is in St. Matthew's at Windsor.
on the Hawkesbury. The young Scot died in 1810, and
the memorial stone that marks his resting: place is fear-
some with his virtues. They are recorded in the Mac-
quarie manner, and it is also recorded that the good
THE GOVERNOR'S MAN 157
Governor paid for the stone, and, very naively, that
Andrew Thompson left him a fourth of his fortune.
During that visit to England, I journeyed to Cork,
and did myself the honour of calling upon my friend.
Sir Henry Browne Hayes. I found him an old man,
and very glad to see me. He had received a pardon in
1812, and had gone home at once. He was very keen
on talking of the colony, and especially of Vaucluse. He
never tired of railing against the "villains" who had
persecuted him in Sydney. Of all of them, I think, he
most disliked my friend, Mr. William Lawson.
So I come to an end. I am writing this in the house
of my old and well beloved friend, Dr. Peter Colling-
wood, who is still alive and well, and says he is only
fifty. But he is fifteen years older than I, and I blush-
ingly confess to seventy-two. He has long retired from
the fine practice he built up in Sydney after he left the
Through the open window I look out from the North
Shore, across that beautiful harbour, and dream many
things. Where is the little town that I knew first of
all? W T here is Governor Bligh's house? Where is
old Sydney? Gone, gone, gone and yet it is the same
beautiful place that could never be anything but lovely,
even in its days of misery and sorrow. If you love
Sydney as I have always loved it, and this splendid Aus-
<ralia of ours well, neither city nor continent can com-
nlain of the lack of a fervent and whole-hearted love.
It is a great country, and someday the people will be
Well, good-bye good-bye.
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