Obrazy na stronie

colony. The promoters of the undertaking, however, indulged the hope that if they should be fortunate enough to establish the proposed College, which was then altogether problematical, the Government would grant the Scots Church an allotment of equal value in some other part of the town of Sydney, especially as that institution had been burdened, through Sir Thomas Brisbane's reply to the Presbyterian Memorial of 1823, with a load of debt which the allotment in question afforded the only prospect of eventually paying off. And if the founders of the Australian College did not expressly stipulate for an equivalent allotment in the first instance, but trusted to the liberality of His Majesty's Government and to their sense of justice, they did so partly from a feeling of delicacy; because the Government had already given a large and valuable allotment for a similar purpose to certain other parties in the colony, who had allowed it to lie waste and unimproved for upwards of five years. In such circumstances the founders of the Australian College were unwilling to ask an allotment from the Government, till they had evinced both their willingness and ability to turn it to proper account.

When the establishment of the Australian College, however, had been successfully effected, the trustees of the Scots Church memorialized. His Excellency MajorGeneral Bourke for a Government allotment in lieu of the one they had thus surrendered for so important a public purpose ; their memorial being unanimously and cordially recommended by the Council of the Australian College. But His Excellency declined acceding

to the prayer of the memorial, on the ground that there had been no stipulation relative to the allotment in the original agreement with His Majesty's Government.

I could not help regarding this refusal on the part of His Excellency, the present Governor, as a very ungracious act; and on leaving the colony for England, I requested His Excellency to transmit the documents to the Right Honourable the Secretary of State for the Colonies, to whom I addressed a letter explanatory of the circumstances out of which the memorial had arisen, on my arrival in London. James Ewing, Esq., M. P. for Glasgow, subsequently did me the honour to call at the Colonial Office along with me to explain these circumstances more fully in a personal interview with Mr. Hay and Mr. Lefevre, the Under-Secretaries of State. In answer, however, to these communications I bave just received a letter from Mr. Lefevre, intimating that Mr. Secretary Stanley also refuses to grant the trustees of the Scots Church a Government allotment, in lieu of the one they had appropriated for the establishment of the Australian College ; " towards the construction of which,” Mr. Lefevre observes, “ His Majesty's Government so liberally contributed.”

I should be extremely sorry to undervalue the liberality of His Majesty's Government to the Australian College ; but I cannot help thinking that the Right Honourable Secretary appreciates it somewhat too highly. For taking into consideration the important public benefits which have already been conferred, through the grant of £3500 to the Australian College, on the colony of New South Wales—the importation of the Scotch mechanics, and the consequent elevation of the standard of morals among that class of the colonial community; the marked improvement in colonial architecture, which is also directly traceable to the same source, and the greatly diminished cost of public buildings in the colony; the establishment of an institution for the education of youth on the comparatively extensive plan of the Australian College, and the stimulus that has thereby been communicated to the colony in a great variety of respects—taking all these particulars into consideration, I am confident that if the Secretary of State for the Colonies will cause the records of the colonial department to be searched, from the period when Great Britain acquired her first acre of land beyond seas to the present hour, he will not find a single other instance in which a similar amount of public money granted for public purposes in the colonies, has been productive of a similar amount of real and palpable good to any colonial community. His Majesty's Government have therefore been no losers by their bargain with the founders of the Australian College, however costly that institution may have proved to the writer. They have at all events got a quid pro quo, as representatives of the community at large. Nay, when I see grant after grant, both of public money and of allotments of land, voted by the Legislative Council of the colony for the Archdeacon's school at Parramatta, I cannot help thinking that, in being denied this inoderate request after all their exertions, the trustees of the Scots Church, the founders of the Australian College, have been breathed upon with the cold breath of a


stepmother by the Right Honourable the Secretary of State for the Colonies.

It has occurred to me that there may perhaps be gentlemen in London, or elsewhere in the mother country, who might possibly be induced from the preceding details to patronize and to encourage an institution which promises to be so permanently and so beneficially influential to the southern hemisphere as the Australian College, by pecuniary donations or by donations of books on literature, philosophy, science, or theology. Should this be the case, I beg to add that donations of either kind will be received by Alexander Birnie, Esq. 12, Great St. Helen's, London—a gentleman to whom, on behalf of the Australian College, I am already under the highest obligations. The Rev. Robert Wylde, A. M. of the University of Glasgow, and Mr. David M.Kenzie, A. M. of the University of Edinburgh, have been engaged to conduct the classical and the English departments of the institution, and will in all likelihood have embarked for the colony before these pages shall have come under the eye of the reader. But the grand desideratum still is to have an efficient provision secured in the institution for the training up of missionaries to the South Sea Islands, and of ministers of religion for the Australian colonies ; and this can only be effected by generous hearts and open hands. Of these, however, there is happily no scarcity in Great Britain—the land of genuine and enlightened philanthropy.


London, April, 1834.





“The wealth and strength of a country are its population, and the best part of that population are the cultivators of the soil.”


Is any apology be deemed necessary from the minister of religion who steps forward to address a promiscuous

* The following lecture was delivered under the idea that during the short period of my stay in England I might possibly be instrumental in directing the attention of influential persons in the mother country to the plan of which I bad merely given a general outline in my letter to Lord Goderich, of date 30th Dec. 1830. The audience on the occasion was both numerous and respectable, and the lecture was subsequently published to ascertain the sentiments of gentlemen of influence and intelligence throughout the territory in regard to the principles it developed and the plans it proposed. It will probably not be uninteresting to the reader to ascertain the opinion of some respectable member of the Australian community on a subject of such vital importance to the welfare of the colony; I shall therefore take the liberty to subjoin a very iq. teresting letter I received, in acknowledgment of a copy of the Lecture, from Major Mitchell, Surveyor-General of New South Wales.

« PoprzedniaDalej »