In 1796 Meredith was commissioned second lieutenant in the marines and later served in the West Indies, at the blockade of Ferrol in Spain and on the Mediterranean Station. At Alexandria in 1803 he made a daring ascent of Pompey's Pillar, a granite column 180 feet (55 m) high, to fasten the Union Jack in place of a French cap-of-liberty placed there by Napoleon's forces. In 1805 when recruiting in Berkshire he met and married Sarah, the daughter of H. W. Hicks.
Next year he retired on half-pay and commenced farming at Newbury; later the family move to Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire, and farmed there until 1819 when the post-war rural depression stimulated his interest in emigration. He then had two boys and three girls, the eldest being 13.
Meredith resolved to settle in Van Diemen's Land and applied to the Colonial Office for letters of introduction. In company with several partners he chartered a ship, but early in 1820 his wife died suddenly, thus jeopardizing the whole venture. By good fortune their former governess and companion, Mary Evans, consented to take care of the young family on the voyage. In July official permission was granted and in October the ship was loaded with personal possessions, extensive farm equipment and a small flock of merino sheep. An agreement had already been made to obtain additional stock from Edward Lord's flocks already on the island. The original partners, Meredith, Joseph Archer and Thomas Gregson, were joined by a number of passengers, including the Amos family, John Kerr, Francis Desailly and John Meredith, a cousin of the family. Before embarkation George Meredith and Mary Evans were quietly married and on 8 November the expedition sailed in the Emerald and reached Hobart Town on 13 March 1821.
After settling the family in temporary lodgings Meredith presented his letters of introduction to Lieutenant-Governor William Sorell and began to look for suitable land. He had already experienced the limited market outlets for inland farms in England and Wales, and was determined to secure coastal grants if possible. According to government surveys the most promising land lay at Oyster Bay, about 140 miles (225 km) distant on the eastern coast, and a small party set out in a whale-boat to visit the district. Close examination proved the land to be greatly inferior to the official descriptions, but certain parts capable of development were selected and the party returned to Hobart on 24 April to lodge the formal applications.
Official permission was duly given to the whole scheme, which included the individual grants, and late in September, after the first livestock were dispatched overland, a small schooner was chartered to take the settlers to Oyster Bay.
There they found part of the granted land occupied by William Talbot, an emigrant Irishman who had already unsuccessfully sought inclusion in the group and now claimed that the land had been granted to him. Vigorously protesting he withdrew from the district but the dispute was finally decided in Meredith's favour in 1826.
Meanwhile the grants were developed and improved, both for seasonal crops and grazing stock; a tannery and flour-mill were established at the Meredith River, and bay whaling stations set up on near-by islands to try out whale oil for export. In a shipyard at Waterloo Point were built several trading vessels and also small craft for the use of sealing gangs on their visits to the Bass Strait islands. These enterprises required both skilled labour and special equipment and necessitated repeated visits to Hobart, so Meredith was able to maintain a close interest and participation in the public affairs of the free colonists.
In 1824, after the declaration of a new Charter of Justice for Van Diemen's Land, Meredith and many other colonists met publicly to express their appreciation and to seek more benefits from the British government. In March 1827, after news that property owners in New South Wales were petitioning for an elective legislature, Meredith and other landowners arranged a public meeting to encourage similar efforts in Van Diemen's Land.
A petition and addresses were prepared for submission to London by Lieutenant-Governor (Sir) George Arthur. Through misunderstanding the documents were delayed; copies were later sent privately to England but the whole matter lapsed because the Colonial Office disapproved the colonists' attitude toward Arthur. Later that year Meredith and others again came into conflict with the lieutenant-governor over legislation to license the press, with which Meredith had strong connexions. Bitter official opposition toward Meredith continued throughout Arthur's term and constituted a severe restriction to his personal life and public spirit.
In the early 1820s many isolated settlements were under repeated attack from escaped convicts. In October 1825 the homestead at Oyster Bay was raided in Meredith's absence by the bushranger Matthew Brady. None of the family was injured but the house was ransacked and a servant taken hostage was later killed; fortunately the plate and other valuables were found buried near Hobart and returned.
The family had first lived at Redbanks, a turf hut strengthened with timber, on the south bank of the Meredith River. About 1827 they moved into Belmont, a more spacious home lying about one mile (1.6 km) further inland. About 1836 they moved into Cambria, a large dwelling designed by Meredith near the original home and surrounded by gardens which had been steadily developed since their arrival. From that time the management of the property devolved more upon the eldest sons, and they took the entire care of the estate when his wife Mary died unexpectedly in 1842. By his second marriage he had three sons and four daughters, of whom the second son John remained in charge at Oyster Bay until George Meredith died in 1856.
Several of Meredith's children became prominent in later years; his second son, Charles, was appointed colonial treasurer of Van Diemen's Land in 1857 and continued in high public offices for twenty years; the fourth son, John, was appointed a magistrate at Swansea in 1855 and contributed greatly to the welfare of the district; the fifth son, Edwin, migrated to New Zealand as a pioneer colonist in 1851, and the fifth, daughter Clara, married Richard Dry.
George Meredith possessed qualities of endurance and strength which, coupled with his early experience at sea in command of men and subsequent farming life in England, resulted in a character eminently suitable for pioneer colonial life. The enthusiasm and encouragement of his wife Mary also contributed greatly to his successful career in public and private life.
Meredith was one of the few Tasmanians whose name has been publicly commemorated; a mountain range in north-east Tasmania is named for him and a fountain in his memory was erected in the Queen's domain, Hobart, in 1885.
John Meredith was born at Great Swanport, Tasmania on 31 October 1822 and he died at Swansea, Tasmania on 13 February 1909. He was elected to the House of Assembly for the first time on 8 June 1861 for Glamorgan, in November 1862 for Deloraine, in June 1865 for Ringwood and in October 1866 for Glamorgan again. His departure from the House of Assembly was March 1871, after nearly 10 years as a M.H.A..
Another aspect of his Public service is recorded in The Courier (Hobart) on 2 November 1855 for he was elected as the President of the Glamorgan Agricultural Association at its inception. He promoted the interests of the district of Greater Swanport respecting the erection of wharves for transport of agricultural products to market (The Courier in 1855). In an advert for tenders for rough-casting the Church at Swansea and replacing the coping stones, the tenders had to be sent to John Meredith (The Courier in 1856). John Meredith’s continuance of the family’s involvement with sheep is seen in an advertisement (The Courier in 1857). The family home at Swansea is shown in a drawing of Cambria
A paper about John Meredith’s brother Charles Meredith is also found at this website in the category ‘Political’. I acknowledge that some of the information on the Meredith family is derived from the Australian Dictionary of Australia.
Swansea was originally known as Great Swanport and grew during the 1820s and 1830s. At that time there was a large convict station at Rocky Hills where, at the peak period, 406 prisoners were kept. There was a small regiment of soldiers in barracks at Waterloo Point.
Children of Thomas and Mary Ann Large drowned when sloop 'Resolution' was wrecked off Waterloo Point (Swansea)
Elizabeth aged 12 Edmund J. aged 10
William aged 8 Hannah aged 6
George aged 4 Frances M. aged 2
The Glamorgan/Spring Bay Historical Society
On 18 April 1839, she married her cousin, Charles Meredith at Old Edgbaston Church, Birmingham. Charles had emigrated to Van Diemen's Land (now Tasmania) in 1821 with his father George and family. They had been pioneers of grazing, whaling and other activities around Swansea on Tasmania's East Coast. Charles had become a squatter in the Canberra district of New South Wales.
Meredith and her husband sailed for New South Wales in June 1839, and arrived at Sydney on 27 September 1839.
After travelling into the interior as far as Bathurst, Mrs Meredith returned to the coast and lived at Homebush for around a year. By the time of his return to New South Wales, severe economic depression caused by excessive land speculation had destroyed the value of Charles' property, and towards the end of 1840 they relocated to Tasmania. An interesting account of her first 11 years in Australia is given in her two books, Notes and Sketches of New South Wales (1844), reprinted at least twice, and My Home in Tasmania (1852), which was soon republished in the United States under the title Nine Years in Australia.
For most of her life Louisa Meredith lived on properties around Swansea. In 1860 she published Some of My Bush Friends in Tasmania which contained elaborate full-colour plates printed by the new chromolithography process. The illustrations were drawn by herself, and simple descriptions of characteristic native flowers were given. In 1861 an account of a visit to Victoria in 1856, Over the Straits, was published, and in 1880 Tasmanian Friends and Foes, Feathered, Furred and Finned. This went into a second edition in 1881. In 1891, Meredith went to London to supervise the publication of Last Series, Bush Friends in Tasmania.
Published at the beginning of a severe financial depression in the Australian colonies, this project and the collapse of the bank where most of her savings were held ruined her financially. In her final years Meredith suffered from chronic sciatica and became blind in one eye. She died in Collingwood, Victoria (a suburb of Melbourne) on 21 October 1895 and was survived by sons Owen and George.
Meredith was the author of two novels, Phoebe's Mother (1869), which had appeared in the Melbourne weekly The Australasian in 1866 under the title of Ebba, and Nellie, or Seeking Goodly Pearls (1882).
Meredith took great interest in politics, her husband Charles being a Member of the Tasmanian Legislative Council for several terms between the mid-1850s until just before his death in 1881.
She was an early member of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and influenced her husband to legislate for preservation of native wildlife and scenery.
Meredith often wrote unsigned articles for the Tasmanian press. This was no new thing for her as in her youth she had written articles in support of the Chartists. When she visited Sydney in 1882, Sir Henry Parkes told her that he had read and appreciated her articles when a youth. After her husband's death she was granted a pension of £100 a year by the Tasmanian government. Many of her books were illustrated by herself. Her volumes on New South Wales, Tasmania, and Victoria in the 1840s and 1850s, will always retain their historical significance
|Eldergrove York Plains (Remodelled)|
Mercury (Hobart, Tas. : 1860 - 1954), Wednesday 22 September 1886, page 3
In the Matter of Messrs. Gill and Ball.
Mr. J. A Jackson appeared in the matter of Messrs. James William Gill and Charles John Ball, barristers, etc., of the Supreme Court, and moved that a rule nisi granted on the 14th inst., calling upon them to show cause why they should not be compelled to pay tho sum of £280 12s. Id. into the Commercial Bank to the credit of Messrs. Elliston and Featherstone and Gill and Ball instead of into Court, pursuant to a personal undertaking of the said Gill and Ball, dated the 11th of June, 1876, arising out of the case Meredith and others v. Bradshaw and others should be made absolute, ,.
Mr. Alfred Dobson (instructed by Messrs. Gill and Ball) appeared to show cause against the rule, and stated that there was ,a good deal of irrelevant matter in the affidavit of James Johnstone Henry, submitted in support of the application. The application arose out of a claim for £312 8s. 10d., made by Thomas Jillett against the trustees of the late John Jillett, but which had been barred by the Statute of Limitations, though it had been agreed to pay all claims. Under those circumstances it was arranged to pay the sum into court.
In England such monies were paid into court under the Trustees Relief Act, merely at the peril of the trustees as to costs ; but here it was necessary to have an affidavit approved by a Judge. This not having been done, the money was repaid by the registrar, to Messrs. Gill and Ball on the 11th June, 1886, and in consideration of this being agreed to by Messrs. Elliston and Featherstone, Messrs. GilI and Ball undertook to pay £280 12s. Id., being tho original sum leas the costs, to pay that sum into court if a Judge so decided, and if a Judge did not so decide within 14 days, to pay it into the Commercial Bank to.tho joint credit of the two firms.
But owing to the opposition of Messrs. Butler and Mclntyre on the part of persons interested in the suit, the money was not paid till 17th July, and it was neither paid into court or into tho bank. On the 3rd August a summons was served against Messrs. Gill and Ball, which was heard before tho Acting-Chief Justice, in Chambers, on the 10th August, but His Honour refused to give costs against Messrs. Gill and Ball, as they were, perhaps, not altogether responsible for the delay. The delay had been caused, by several matters not under the control of the firm, in support of which he produced affidavits by Charles John Ball, and Vincent Ellis, a clerk to the firm. '
But action was taken to pay the money into court before the rule nisi was grunted, though it was not paid till the day the rule was granted. He contended that the application was not in form, as it ought to have been made to the Court in which the action arose, and quoted Chitty pg 104 and 105 also that the other side had waived the undertaking. '
Mr. J, A. Jackson contended that the rule should be made absolute, for the money had not been paid into court until after the rule nisi had been granted, long after the expiration of the time stipulated in tho undertaking. 'These personal undertakings between solicitors were usually looked upon as sacred in character and greatly assisted business.
.Notwithstanding many applications, and the long period of time allowed, Messrs. Gill and Ball had done nothing to fulfil their personal undertaking till those extreme steps had been taken to compel them.
The Chief Justice said he did not see how the rule could possibly be made absolute, believing that although this under-taking in letter-and, perhaps, to some extent in spirit-had been broken, yet the object for which the undertaking, had been given was secured by the money having been paid into court,,
He did not wish to cast any- doubt as to the responsibility of the solicitors making these undertakings, which certainly ought at all times to be rigidly fulfilled. It was not because there was any 'doubt as to the proper course that ought to be pursued in matters of personal under-taking between one solicitor and another that the Court would not make the rule absolute, but because the purpose for which the undertaking had been given was at last accomplished.
It was under those circumstances, and in regard to the surrounding causes as they came before tho Court that the rule would be discharged upon tho payment of all costs by Messrs. Gill and Ball.
SITTINGS IN BANCO. FRIDAY, DECEMBER 10.
Before Sir LAMBERT DOBSON, C.J., and Sir HENRY WRENFORDSLEY, P.J.
Mr. C. H. ELLISTON said he had a personal explanation to make, and with the consent of the Attorney-General would ask their Honours to hear him. In doing so, he thought he was taking a course which their Honours would approve, so as to clear away any misapprehension which might exist in the matter. In the hearing of the cause re Gill and Ball it had been reported:-- Mr. Mugliston explained that all these debts were barred by the Statute of Limitation, and Elliston and Featherstone had refused to allow the money to be paid without the creditors declaration that the money was due to them.
The CHIEF JUSTICE: l do not consider that Elliston and Featherstone had any right to do that. It was not necessary, except for the purpose of making costs. Professional men make work that is not necessary.
It was with regard to that part of the report he wished to make an explanation. The facts were shortly these. Under the terms of the compromise entered in the suit re Jillett's estate it was ordered that the simple contract debts should be paid. They had a knowledge of the amount of these debts; it was therefore necessary before any of them could be paid that they should be proved in order to protect the interests of the beneficiaries. They accordingly followed the usual practice, not only with regard to creditors in a suit, but also in intestacy claims, and any creditor who proved his claim was allowed to obtain payment of the simple contract debts, though they were barred by the statute upon proof, but the estate was not to be saddled with the cost of these applications. The only means known to the Court of proving a debt was by affidavit or declaration, and it was their duty to require one or the other. By this means they had saved something to the estate; but he hoped it could be defended on higher grounds, and that they were only doing their duty by requiring proof. They had endeavoured to save costs and not to make them. He felt sure their Honours would see that nothing in this tended to injure anyone under the circumstances, and that when His Honour the Chief Justice made that remark, he was not in full possession of the facts of the case. He trusted that this explanation would satisfy their Honours that the course adopted was not only the correct one, but the one that duty had dictated, and one that was followed by benefit to the estate they had to protect.
His Honour Sir HENRY WRENFORDSLEY said there was one matter he could not understand, though he himself willingly lent himself to any explanation that could be given. ln one part of the evidence given by Mr. Ball he had stated that it was arranged that the simple contract creditors should he paid. He could not understand how it came to pass that the two firms of creditors -- Mr. Elliston's and the firm having the carriage of the proceedings -- could come to take upon themselves to agree to admit the simple contract debts and pay them to the prejudice of the beneficiaries. It was a matter that called for explanation.
Mr. ELLISTON said although the debts were barred they felt it a duty not to set up the Statute of Limitations, but to do justice to the creditors who had failed in consequence of a delay, not of their own causing. It was thought as a matter of justice the solicitors should acknowledge them, and pay the simple contract creditors coming in to prove their debts.
His HONOUR Sir HENRY WRENFORDSLEY said he quite admitted there was evidence of intention on Mr. Ellston's part that the debts should be paid immediately.
Mr. ELLISTON said that was after the claims had been adjudicated upon. His Honour (Sir Henry Wrenfordsley) said he recollected £3 3s. being charged for proof by declaration.
Mr. ELLISTON pointed out that was another matter, and that the beneficiaries had consented to this compromise. The beneficiaries all knew what had been arranged to be done.
The CHIEF JUSTICE felt it was a case of too abundant caution. A Court of Chancery required such proof, but between man and man a less expensive way might have been adopted than a Court of Chancery would demand.
Mr. ELLISTON said he was sitting qua Court in this matter, and really had no guide except the practice of the Court.
The CHIEF JUSTICE did not know what authority they had to make these declarations. It was not a judicial matter, and he thought they could be prosecuted.
Mr. ELLISTON thought it was competent to make declarations in such matters -- they were extra judicial declarations. He thought they were bound to take that course, and it certainly would not lead in any whatever to make costs, but simply protected the estate.
The CHIEF JUSTICE: I think the whole thing is extra judicial and there have been great delays, grievous heart burnings, and loss to all parties. I understand the estate is now practically wound up.
Mr. ELLISTON: That is so.
His Honour Sir HENRY WRENFORDSLEY said he understood from the assurance he got the other day that the case was at an end. He could only say, speaking for himself, if any person beneficially interested in this case made application through any of the solicitors then sitting in Court, he would certainly advise taking away the carriage of the proceedings, and transferring it to the solicitor, making the application ordering the usual accounts and complete statement. He was perfectly prepared to make an order of that kind, following out the English proceedings.
The plaintiff prayed that a deed of assignment made on the 10th day of December, 1885, whereby the plaintiff assigned her interest in the estate of John Jillett be set aside, and that the defendants be directed to deliver to the plaintiff the said assignment.
Mr. Byron Miller and Mr. A. M. Ritchie (instructed by Messrs. Powell, Lethbridge, and Chambers) appeared for the plaintiff.
Mr. Henry appeared in person, and Mr. Alfred Dobson (instructed by Messrs. Dobson, Mitchell, and Allport) appeared for Mr, Watchorn.
Mr. Alfred Dobson said certain evidence taken before the Chief Justice in Chambers had not been filed within the required time, and he would therefore treat it as if it never existed.
The Chief Justice said all evidence had been duly filed except a portion which had been delayed in consequence of Mr. Ball not supplying certain documents. The whole evidence, however, could be seen by defendants on their making proper application. He would therefore make an order admitting the evidence referred to.
The following is a summary of the evidence taken in Chambers : —
Charles Henry Elliston deposed he was solicitor for plaintiffs in the suit of Jillett and Bradshaw. 'Four of the plaintiffs were infants. All the beneficiaries were before the court. That suit was compromised in accordance with written terms, and that writing he believed to be now in the office of Gill and Ball. The object of the compromise was to get rid of a long lease and to get the property sold. The Eddystone estate was sold in pursuance of the compromise and the mortgages paid off. The residue of the proceeds of the estate was paid into the bank from time to time.
There was an account at the Commercial Bank under the compromise, under the ' style of Gill and Ball and Elliston and Featherstone. Mr. Ball and he took proof of all the simple contract debts to protect -the' interest of the beneficiaries. Such. debts as were passed were paid by cheque,. which was handed , to Gill and Ball to pay the respective creditors. He did not know if the estate had yet been distributed, ' but l knew that a release had been prepared by Mr. Ball and perused by his (deponent's) ; managing clerk;:and signed .by some of the beneficiaries and handed to ' Gill and Ball held the deed' of-release. It was settled' on behalf of deponent's firm. Latter paid to defendant Watchorn the sums of £100, £284 4s and £58 13s 2d, making in all .£442 17s 8d.
Deponent's firm received the money, as plaintiffs' solicitors were solicitors for Mr. Watchorn. Originally they were solicitors for Mrs. George Meredith and Mr. George Meredith. They also were solicitors for Mr. Charles Meredith, and after his death they acted for Mrs. Meredith in winding up the estate. Henry was managing equity clerk in deponent's office. He was engaged to wind up Jillett's suit amongst other matters. It was his (Henry's) duty to make himself acquainted with the moneys received, and the debts paid and the shares of the beneficiaries. He had Mr. Featherstone's authority to answer letters written to him by. Newbury direct. Henry knew what debts were passed for payment, and that Mather had not been paid. He knew deponent's firm had passed his claim and signed the cheque.
Witness believed he (Henry) knew Gill and Ball had not paid the debt. Witness's firm brought an action against Gill and Ball for that very money.
Henry introduced the case to witness's office. Watchorn had been in witness's office for more than six years. His special duty was conveyancing. He had the same opportunities as the other clerks to obtain information or look at the books.
The evidence of Charles J. Ball, John Thomas Morriss, Thomas B. Mather, Vernon Midwood. J. L. Newbury, and Mrs. Meredith was also produced. That of Mrs Meredith was to' the effect that Elliston and 'Featherstone had been her husband's solicitors, and continued to be her solicitors and her trustees' solicitors, and solicitors to her, executors. The Bank of Australasia held two shares in 'Meredith v- Bradshaw, as .security for £300. The interest on them. passed to her under her husband's will. . Elliston, and Featherstone were employed in- that matter and under their- advice paid through them .£870 and .took an ? assignment, of those shares, then paid off the bank with her. moneys. She paid Elliston & Featherstone all she owed them on a large bill up to 1885; No other claim had since been made 'against her by them.
In Jillett's Estate, Elliston and Featherstone continued to be her solicitors till after the sale on. December 10, and were so as to keep two shares. These she sold. She had again and again applied to Gill and Ball and Elliston and Featherstone, for information as. to when the suit would be concluded but could get no satisfactory reply, each firm blaming the . other for. delay. Mr. Morriss called and told her he .doubted if anything would be recovered; or at most some £40 or .£50. He since told her he got the information from Elliston 'and Featherstone Her agent (Newbury ) ascertained from Henry, and told' her that he had an offer from Watchorn to purchase, and that not more than £60 would be recovered, and that amount would be reduced by law costs ; also that Watchorn, being in the profession, could manage the matter with less cost, and on that account would give her £50: for the shares.
This was the only offer. Gill and Ball wrote before then, asking. the price of the shares, but in consequence of Mr. Henry's letter ; to Mr. Newbury, dated October 26, 1885,she did not treat with them.
She had believed Henry was .acting with perfect honesty and friendship. He volunteered his services. She agreed to take .£50: in consequence of the representations made to her. ' She first heard from Mr. Newbury that the sale was at a gross under value in consequence of the communications of Gill and Ball. She was not informed that there was, a probability of two-sevenths of £301 coming to her. She knew :nothing of any claim against Gill and Ball for interests or compensation for delay. She had no legal adviser on the sale of those shares,' and, would not have sold. them had she known they were worth more than she got; for; them.
'Mr., Henry, made. an application for, adjournment on the ground of surprise'The court' overruled the application and the case proceeded. '
Mr Ritchie .then 'opened the case, quoting from the Bill of Complaint and next read portions of answers to the bill,' and the' affidavits of Mrs. 'Meredith; Mr.Newbury, etc., etc.
This concluded the opening case for the plaintiff, and the: court adjourned'' till tomorrow.
Before the Full Court 'MEREDITH V. HENRY AND WATCHORN.
The plaintiff prayed that a deed of assignment made on the 10th day of December,1885, whereby the plaintiff assigned her interest in the estate of John Jillett be set aside, and that the defendants be directed to deliver to the plaintiff the said -assignment. Mr. Byron Miller and Mr. A. M. Ritchie (instructed by Messrs. Powell, Lethbridge, and Chambers) appeared for the plaintiff.
Mr;-Henry appeared in person, and Mr. Alfred Dobson (instructed by Messrs. Dobson, Mitchell, and Allport) appeared for Mr. Watchorn.
'Tho cross-examination of witnesses by the defendants was opened.
John Leslie Newbury, solicitor's clerk, cross-examined by Mr. Dobson, said he had had ten years' experience in law in Sydney, Queensland, New Zealand, and Tasmania; he afterwards went into mining, but within the last month had returned to law ; he had known the late Charles Meredith, and after his death acted as friendly adviser to the plaintiff he acted as Mrs. Meredith's agent in trying to get Jillet's estate wound up; he went to Messrs. Elliston and Featherstone and other lawyers to ascertain the true state of affairs; ho carried out the sale of shares as her agent through Mr. Henry ; he applied to Messrs.' Gill and Ball, but got no satisfactory reply ; they told him to go to Messrs. Elliston and Featherstone and Messrs. Dobson and Mitchell as the principal men .
Mrs. Meredith applied to Messrs. Gill and Ball to ascertain the value of those shares ; they replied asking what she would take ; Mr. Henry advised the plaintiff to have nothing to do with Messrs. Gill and Ball ; she accepted that advice ; he knew of the dispute about Messrs. Elliston and Featherstone's bill of costs, but hs had not seen the bill until tho sale of the plaintiff's share ; he did not know Thomas Jillett had refused £100 for his claim ; Messrs. Elliston and Featherstone informed him that they did not take an active part in winding up Jillet's estate, but he did not believe them, as ho considered they failed in their duty if they did not do so ; he did not know if the plaintiff had refused to be liable for costs in endeavouring to get Messrs. Gill and Ball to wind up Jillet's estate ; he was shown the letter written by Mr. Henry to witness, in which he said that there was a claim of £550 against Messrs. Gill and Ball, and advising the plaintiff not to sell to Messrs. Gill and Ball or any nominee of that firm ; witness remembered this statement, and said he believed the reason why Mr. Henry advised not to sell ' to Messrs. Gill, and Ball was. because the plaintiff would be got at; he was aware that Mr. Henry as clerk of Messrs. Elliston and Featherstone took great trouble in settling, his estate, and Messrs. Elliston and Featherstone had got paid for that no professional man perused the plaintiff's assignment of her interest to ' Mr. Watchorn, but tho defendant had done so ; he repeated to Mr. Henry the conversation he had with Mr. Vernon Midwood ; Mr. Henry said to witness that he had gone into the matter and the outside value of the plaintiff's share was £60; witness urgently desired to have the transaction concluded by the 10th December, as the plaintiff was desirous of leaving town ; he never told Mr. Henry after the sale of shares that he was a ' mug' and could have got the shares for less; since this case was brought into court he had been threatened with personal violence by the defendants, and exposure of his private affairs.
The Chief Justice said witness would be protected against any such conduct.
Examined by Mr. Miller— He had received no money for his services to the plaintiff, and had no interest in the present, suit except as her friend.
Chas. Ball was called as witness.
Mr. Dobson asked that the evidence of. this witness be postponed, owing ;, to the absence of Mr. Henry, as that gentleman had arranged to lead in cross-examination.
Mr. Miller said if an adjournment were granted Mr. Henry should be mulcted in costs. .
After consulting, their Honours decided to adjourn the case till Friday.
The court then adjourned. '
OUR MOST GRACIOUS AND BELOVED QUEEN,
This simple chronicle of nine years, passed in one of Her Majesty's most remote Colonies, and devoted to the description of scenes and objects familiar to thousands of her faithful subjects is, in the humble hope of Her Royal approval, and with the most respectful and loyal attachment, inscribed by
Obedient humble Servant,
LOUISA ANNE MEREDITH.
My gossiping "Notes and Sketches of New South Wales" met with a reception so cordial and flattering, and so far beyond my own expectations, that a grateful acknowledgment, in the shape of a second series, became the natural and inevitable result. The delay in its appearance has been reluctantly prolonged from year to year, as our erratic life, and the exacting duties of the present, precluded attention to a task which, however congenial, had only reference to the future (for, after the completion of a work here, fully a year must elapse ere any intelligence of its further advancement reaches the writer); and this circumstance, so unfavourable to any literary work, may perhaps excuse the desultory character of the present one. Could any of my readers have marked the fitful and uncertain progress of my notes—sometimes amidst a Babel of busy tongues, loud on the relative merits of humming or peg-tops—or, more often, in brief intervals between lessons in history, geography, or arithmetic—when, turning from the mighty records of Rome and Greece, of Caesar and Lycurgus, I have essayed to continue the memoir of a pet opossum; or, after setting an "ugly" sum in multiplication, have laid down slate and pencil to finish the descriptive portrait of some delicate bush flower—they would less marvel at omissions and discrepancies committed, than that many more probable blunders had been avoided; and would kindly lay aside the severity of criticism in judging so unpretending a work.
The risk of typographical errors in a work which must of necessity go through the press without its author's correction or revision, is unavoidably great; but the comparative rarity of such mistakes in my former volume, published under the same adverse circumstances, encourages me to hope that the present may be as fortunate.
Lest the minute, perhaps trifling, detail, entered into in some parts, may seem inclining towards the egotistical, I should perhaps remark that I have been induced to adopt a more personal narrative, and to identify ourselves with the simple realities around us, just as events truly occurred, instead of generalizing my observations, because I have found, from my own feelings in the perusal of works of somewhat similar character, that the interest of such unvarnished histories is proportionally enhanced, according to the degree of identity preserved by the narrator; and, acting upon this hint from experience, I have unscrupulously practised the plain matter-of-fact candour and "individuality" which we ourselves like to find in the narratives of other dwellers in new countries.
The great amount of misconception and the positive misrepresentations relative to the present social condition of this colony, now prevalent, not in England only, but wherever the name of Van Diemen's Land is known, also determined me to enter more into domestic details than otherwise I might have thought it pleasant or desirable to do. No general descriptions would so well tend to show the truth, as the veritable chronicle of everyday life, in our solitary yet cheerful country homes, that stand all day with open doors, and all night without a shutter or bar or bolt to the windows; as innocent of lawless intrusion as dwellings of a like isolated and lonely character would be in any part of Britain—indeed, much more so; and why our really peaceful lives should be represented at home as invested with such terrors by day and perils by night, as might beseem the heroes of old romance in their most doughty days, I am wholly at a loss to conjecture, and can only hope that my humble efforts in the cause of truth may avail in dispelling at least some portion of the evil clouds that at present sully and overshadow our good name.
I cannot refuse myself the pleasure of here repeating my grateful and sincere thanks to our highly-esteemed friend, the Bishop of Tasmania*, whose kind voluntary offer of his valuable aid, as my illustrator, has enabled me to present some of our lovely scenes to my readers in a form so well worthy of their own beauty, and so immeasurably enhancing the interest of my written descriptions. It is likewise right to remark, that beyond a knowledge of the localities mentioned, his Lordship has no acquaintance whatever with the contents of my MSS.; for my errors, be they few or many, I am alone responsible.
I beseech the august body of British critics to receive my unfeigned thanks for the unmixed meed of approval and praise vouchsafed to my last appearance in print (and many former ones). Not one dissentient voice mingled in the pleasant sounds of kindly welcome which so delightfully echoed even into our far-away solitude here and, like a singing summer breeze, spread over the peaceful current of my tranquil happy life a bright sunny ripple of surprise and joy; for from the generous reviewer of the mighty "Quarterly," to the passing notices of provincial papers, every pen seemed dipped in honey to greet my unpretending little tome of womanly gossip.
Some of the Sydney papers, I have been told, kindly took considerable pains to prove the correctness with which I had formerly estimated their elegance and ability; but as I have never myself met with any of their characteristic effusions, I still remain in blissful unconsciousness of the amount of my obligation to them.
Riversdale, Great Swan Port,
Van Diemen's Land, July 18th, 1850.