2.5 Reverend Watson’s Reply to the Charges of Reverend Günther, 1840
Reverend Watson's `Reply', 1840
[Note] Rec Nov 6/41
Reverend William Watson’s reply to the Charges preferred against him by the Reverend James Gunther dated Sydney Nov 1 -1838 a copy of which by special request was transmitted to Mr Watson April 1840
There appears to be some error in the date of Mr Gunther’s charges, as on the first November 1838, he left Wellington Valley for Sydney; so that if the date be correct, the charges must have been prepared at Wellington Valley, not in Sydney. Every person knows how easy a matter it is to make a general charge - and how difficult it is to reply to such a charge. Had Mr Gunther stated times, places or circumstances - when - where or under which, occurrences transpired which annoyed him, I could have replied in order; but the reverse is the case, and Mr Gunther knew full well, that, he could not adduce one single instance, wherein I refused to co-operate with him. Previously to entering on a reply to Mr Gunther’s charges, it is necessary for me to make some preliminary remarks; and the Committee must bear with, what may appear to them, a lengthy detail, without which it is impossible for them to understand the merits of the case. On Mr Gunther’s arrival at Bathurst he wrote me word - that - they had proceeded thus far, on their journey, and as Rev William Cowper had informed them there was a gig at Wellington, the property of the Mission, he requested that it might be forwarded to them. There was not, either had there ever been, such property belonging to the Mission. I had in 1833 purchased a jig from the late Rev. R. Hill, it had been lent to Mr Handt in March 1836 to take his family to Sydney. He left if for several months at the residence of the late Reverend Samuel Marsden at Paramatta [sic] (although in the interim he proceeded to Wellington Valley to fetch his little girl & food) Mr Marsden sent up the gig by a Stranger, & wrote me word that Mr H had left it & the horse (my own) at his place & made no inquiry after them, that the gig was a complete wreck, tied together with cords to prevent its falling to pieces.
My gig having been thus destroyed by Mr Handt - I had been under the necessity of purchasing a light cart, which I sent down to convey Mr & Mrs Gunther to Wellington Valley. Our Natives & children were dressed and prepared to meet them, for three days previous to their arrival, intending to sing appropriate hymns which they had learnt for the occasion. Previous to their arrival Mrs Watson had used her utmost endeavours. to render comfortable for their reception, the rooms formerly occupied by Mr Handt. Not sooner had Mrs Gunther seen these rooms, than she exclaimed, these rooms! They are stables - barns - they are worse - many barns & stables are much more comfortable. O that I should ever be brought to such a place! What would my poor mother say if she saw these rooms! She sat down and wept They were surprised that Mrs Handt should say there were three comfortable rooms. Mrs Watson remarked that Mrs Handt was always satisfied with them, & if they though proper to prefer our end of the house, we would exchange. They said that Mr Cowper assured them that every thing necessary to make them comfortable should be afford. They were dissatisfied with every thing - “to be rationed like a soldier or a convict” “Paltry salary of sixty pounds a year” “Ten pounds for a child - our child shall never accept of it” I said they would find the salary sufficient taking all things into consideration; and as to the house I consider it a palace, in comparison of what I had anticipated; for when I left home I expected to have no other habitation in the bush that what I should raise with my own hands. “A palace indeed! - a palace for horses & Bullocks, you might expect to find no accommodation; but that was not the case with us” Mr Gunther has had a chaplaincy offerred [sic] - he has been offerred [sic] also a handsome salary as tutor in a gentleman’s family; but as he considers himself under obligation to the Society he does not wish to leave before he has been three years in their service, when he will consider himself free of obligation” Indeed Mr and Mrs Handt & others advised us not to come, as it would be impossible for us to live with Mr Watson” All this & much more to the same purpose was mentioned before they had slept one night in the house. Now I would ask whether we had reason to believe that they came to us with minds unprejudiced, & ready cordially to unite? & what from such a beginning we had reason to expect?
Mr and Mrs Gunther were altogether unacquainted with the scene of their future labours. Under these circumstances was it not natural for him to listen to his German brother; & having been told that Mr Watson was a sheep and cattle holder (or dealer) was it in the least surprising that he should be biassed [sic] in his mind, against the individual whom he was about to join. Add to these the many months that they were in Sydney - the Society with whom they associated, the respect paid, and it will readily be seen that their minds were ill prepared for a Missionary life among the Aborigines of New Holland. But if they felt themselves so disappointed now, what would have been their complaints in 1832? The absence of European female servants was another fruitful source of complaint, and it was charged home upon me “It is all your doing - with your economy your have ruined the Committee - you have made Mrs Watson a slave: but Mrs Gunther shall never be a slave” These and many other equally cutting remarks I bore patiently. Messrs Maughan & Raymond being allowed to remain on the Mission land was another source of disatisfaction [sic]. It is inconceivable the Misery we endured on that account. Mr Handt was well as myself had agreed to it. Up to the time that Mr Gunther arrived - they had lived on the most amicable terms; not an unpleasant word had ever passed between us - they had manifested a deep interest in the Mission - they regularly attended church - their servants did the same, as well as frequently coming to family worship & to the weekly meetings for practicing singing. After Mr Gunther’s arrival, their determined opposition to those gentlemen gave us to see most clearly, that, if we continued our intimacy with them we must be miserable at home, so we yielded in this point also. When we saw Mr Maghan[sic]’s men commencing plowing the Paddock, I proposed that we should immediately inform them that we wanted it for our young men to cultivate. Mr Gunther opposed it saying “No - let them go on, it will be all the better for us - surely they will not have the impudence to sow it” In this point I also yielded When they had plowed half the Paddock, our young men were sent to commence plowing - hence commenced that unpleasantness which has led to a Police Establishment, & nearly to a Township on the Mission. But the worst part of Mr Gunther in this affair, (& which brings home upon himself the charge against me of want of brotherly & straitforward [sic] conduct towards those with whom I ought to go hand in hand) is this,
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that while he was unceasingly complaining against the gentlemen & urging me to get them removed, & even uniting with me in preparing & signing the documents - he was going to them & saying “I have nothing to do with the differences between you & the Mission it is all Mr Watson” Having lost many children from not having a place of security to keep them from communicating with the elderly Natives, I got 500 slabs 8 feet long split, in order to fence in a piece of ground on the front of the house; but not Knowing whether Mr Gunther would approve of being thus enclose, I had only my own side (Including the Middle room) done; leaving it to Mr G on his arrival, to have the remainder fenced in or no, as he should feel disposed. A Hut was built in this enclosure, adjoining the fence on Mr Gunther’s side, & a door opened out of the middle room: so that Mr Gunther & ourselves might have equal access to the play ground & to the children.
On Mr Gunther’s arrival he heard the children read - repeat their catechisms, saw their writing &c I said Mr Gunther this is the plan that I have adopted - if you can adopt a better, or suggest any improvements, I shall be most happy. Mr G replied that he could not - that he had found the Mission in general & the children in particular, far superior to what he had been led to expect. During the first twelve months, after Mr Gunther’s arrival, while I was residing in the house with them, the children were generally neglected - I did not attend to them regularly , lest I should be accused of monopolising their instruction, and Mr Gunther did not attend to them, through want of inclination or disposition: so that at the expiration of that period, Mr G told the children that they had improved very little since he came. On Mr Gunther’s arrival he was told of the difficulties we had experienced in keeping the young men and the young women apart from each other. Mr Gunther remarked that he considered it wrong to keep them apart - this point being conceded, we had to witness the young men & young women sitting together at the same table, carrying on their bad conversation in the native language, not a word of which Mr Gunther could at that time understand. To oblige Mr Gunther (in his inexperienced views)
I agreed that one of our Native youths should take a young woman, who had not been long with us, and as there was no other place for them, they as well as another native couple, lived in the Kitchen where all our victuals were cooked. One Evening one of our girls Jane
had occasion to go into the Kitchen, where the young man (just referred to) was sitting. She threw her arms around his neck & behaved as immodestly as she possibly could; another young man who has a claim on Jane (having brought her to our house) saw her conduct and went into the house in a most violent rage. Mrs Gunther said “O the girls dont want you natives, they want white men. Jane wants to have Garner (one of the Mission’s servants) Nua [sic] is to have Taylor (another servant of the Missions) Nanny is to have such a one &c.” I said to Mrs Gunther dont speak that way, you do not know the natives - that is making bad worse! It was calculated to excite the native youth to do some injury to the Europeans alluded to. This was the fist time that I had ever opposed Mr [and Mrs] Gunther in any way; but it gave great offence. As I had anticipated, the natives remained not long in the Kitchen: one morning we found them (the two couples) decamped: a short time afterwards the young man returned without the girl: having given her to another native in the Bush. This circumstance, one would have thought, might have led Mr Gunther to pause, before he recommended the marriage of the young men young women on the mission, to the Committee. The next circumstance which caused unpleasantness between us, was my giving charge of the articles to Mr Porter. Previously to Mr Gunther’s arrival (that no jealousy might arise) we had a closit [sic] formed in a passage between the middle room & Mr Gunther’s apartments; in this we deposited Tea Sugar - Tobacco - Sugar &c and in the passage - a Box in which were Calico Print Check & belonging to the Mission. In my return I had always entered the quantity of these articles used - & what remained on hand: I naturally expected that Mr Porter would do the same: in giving up charge, I therefore gave up these articles, on this Mrs Gunther was excessively angry, and said it was a pretty thing indeed that she could not be trusted with such trifles. Mr Porter said that he did not wish to make any unpleasantness, Mrs Gunther might keep them: only if he had to give an account, it was right for him to know what he took in charge: Mrs Watson remarked that Mr Porter would have to enter them on this returns, and if any person complained, he might be expected to be the person, not Mrs G.
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Many cruel & bitter remarks were made to Mrs Watson by Mrs Gunther, among the rest she said she had never asked Mr Watson for any rations, and she never would. Mrs Watson replied “We have Mr Handt’s to thank for all that” Mrs Gunther was correct in saying - that she never asked me for any rations, as during the twelvemonth that they had been on the Mission we had had but one table & every thing had been prepared under Mrs Watson’s directions. And as Mr Porter had now taken charge of the stores, it was not very likely that Mrs Gunther would have occasion to ask me for any rations. At tea the same evening Mrs Gunther refused to come in: but she sent something like a note - or something wrapped up like a note on the tray, by the native girl to be given to me. Mr Gunther snatched it up & put it into his pocket, so I never knew, nor ever desired to know what it was. It was my determination to keep my accounts regular & my prevailing disposition to keep down the expenditure of the Mission that has given offence to my respective colleagues. I think - that the average annual expenditure of the Mission, during its first 4 years (when we had not only to provide for the current consumption of the Mission & Military, but also to provide sheep & cattle for the future) compared with the expenses of the last 18 months when Mr Porter had a good herd of cattle & two flocks of sheep to commence with, will justify my remarks on this subject.
The above named two occurrences were the only occasions on which any unpleasantness arose between us: I had borne most cutting and cruel remarks again & again, both from Mr and Mrs Gunther without replying: & indeed it was Mrs Gunther’s own mind respecting my giving up the articles, & not from any remark of mine or Mrs Watson, that could possible give offence. I will just mention a circumstance or two, which will tend to shew the manner in which Mr Gunther was ever ready to judge me, & to condemn me, merely on his own suspicions. A letter from the Reverend Mr Cowper to Mr Gunther was brought by a Policeman (as there was no Post) from Bathurst, he had slipt it inside one of mine, by which means it had been kept cleaner that it would have been, had it been brought in the man’s pocket. Because the letter was clean Mr Gunther said that I had opened it (an act I should abominate) & that he should make a minute of it, and write to Mr Cowper on the subject. Mr Gunther had been but
a very short time with us when that occurred. Previous to my leaving home for Sydney, in April 1838 I enquired if I could do any thing for them respecting a female servant (a subject of constant complaint from the day of their arrival) They replied “O No Mr and Mrs Cowper have promised to procure one for us” I remarked, if you commission me, I will do the best I can for you, but if I have no commission I shall not interfere. On my arrival in Sydney, the Reverend William Cowper said to me, ‘we have sent you a man & his wife as you said you wanted such persons” I asked what have you done relative to a female servant for Mrs Gunther to which Mr Cowper replied - the Committee think it is not necessary they think that Mrs Gunther should endeavour to do with one of the native girls. When I mentioned this, on my return, Mr Gunther, in a temper of mind, very far from the spirit of meekness, said “It is your doings, you have influenced the minds of the Committee, you have persuaded them not to let me have a female servant; I will never believe otherwise; you have made Mrs Watson a slave to the Committee. But Mrs Gunther shall never be a slave.” I replied, you know that I asked if I could do any ting for you & you replied No Mr and Mrs Cowper would procure you the servant: he remarked “Yes but as a Christian brother, you might have acted otherwise than you have. But I will write to Mr Cowper - I’ll know the bottom of it - you would not allow Mrs Watson to have a female servant, & you don’t want us to have one” Mrs Watson replied “No Mr Gunther, it is not that Mr Watson opposed my having a European female servant but from the commencement of the Mission, we have felt it our duty to domesticate & train the Native girls, which we could not so well do if we had a European female servant”
Add to these circumstances that Mr Gunther had (as he stated) instruction s to investigate the state of the Mission, in every particular & report to the Committee: but as he said to me, he should not let me see his report. These circumstances being duly considered, it will be at once perceived, that Mr Gunther’s mind was anything but prepared for union - harmony & co-operation. No unprejudiced person could have remarked, as Mr Gunther did when speaking of my cattle “you can put any brand you thought proper on the cattle” implying that I had branded the Mission’s cattle with my own brand. To this I simply replied - that there were servants on the Mission who had been present at nearly every branding since its commencement & they
could testify what brands had been used. Was it christian meekness & brotherly love that could influence Mr Gunther in making such remarks? I defy any man to prove that for my own personal & private benefit, or advantage I ever took one sixpence worth of the mission’s property beyond what I was allowed to do by the instructions of the Committee. Let Mr Porter prove if he can, let him say if he dare, that Mr Gunther does not. I know more than they imagine & than they desire that I should know.
Before I conclude these preliminary remarks, I will mention another part of my behaviour towards Mr Gunther, which, I think, will tend to prove - that there was not in me such a disposition to have the sole government - and such an unwillingness to co-operate with him, as he has charged home upon me. On Mr Gunther’s arrival I said to him, I have been here a long time preaching &c. You are fresh and the people will be glad of a change you take the whole service, the same with family worship. I therefore gave up the pulpit - the administration of the sacraments - the service at family worship &c for nearly one whole year, that I was living in the house with them. I also said as we are on the same establishment it is no use my keeping a Diary to send home: you see & know all that is going on - your Diary will be sufficient. Not a servant was engaged - not a Bullock was slaughtered nor any transaction attended to, with which Gunther was not as intimately acquainted as myself. What I could have done more than I have done to prove myself willing & ready to cooperate with Mr Gunther I am utterly at a loss to conceive. I gave up my Grammar of the language (which he had in his possessions upwards of two years) I afforded him every facility in my power for becoming acquainted with the language. Not only while I was living in the house with him; but also afterwards, I repeatedly proposed that we should meet at stated times to study the language together. But this was never done. Mr Handt would never study the language with me - but studiously avoided speaking on the subject, until he found that I had acquired more than himself then he gladly accepted my Grammar - copied it and sent it to the Committee. Mr Gunther has equally with Mr Handt studiously avoided speaking to the Natives in their language before me. For the two years that I have been at the prisoners camp, notwithstanding the many times Mr Gunther & I have been together with Natives, I have not heard him utter a Native word three times when speaking to them, although quite the reverse has invariably been the case with me. I am happy to say that I have nothing on my conscience either manifested, or desired, of unwillingness to unite & co-operate with Mr Gunther, or with Mr Handt.
I now proceed to attempt a reply to Mr Gunther’s charges, so far as I shall be able; but his carefully avoiding mentioning any particular circumstance, makes it very difficult for me. There is no tangible point on which to fix one’s hold so as to enable one to give a direct reply. Mr Gunther commences by saying “It is no easy task for me to make the following statements, to which only a sense of duty can lead me” I would ask Mr Gunther who imposed this task upon him? He felt it to be a task - & not an easy task. I suppose that he imposed it upon himself. But why did he so? “Only a sense of duty can lead me” In all the range of motives not one other could be found by which Mr Gunther could possibly led to make the statements. Mr Gunther’s expression implies this. But duty to whom? to himself? to the Corresponding Committee? or to Mr Watson? Perhaps it was a sense of the duty which he felt he owed to those who commission’d him to investigate the Mission & to report, that led him to make statements.- Was it only a sense of duty that led Mr Gunther during his visit to Sydney, to spread abroad his evil opinions of Mr Watson and to endeavour to prejudice the minds of respectable persons against me? Mr Gunther was not aware, that at least, some minds were invulnerable to the poison he endeavoured to instil. I was informed how Mr Gunther was carrying on; but I never upbraided him with it. My cause was, & is in the hands of Him who will do right.
Mr Gunther proceeds to say “There is not that union & harmony so particularly required on any Establishment like a Christian Mission” Here is a statement made, but no instances adduced - no circumstances recorded to prove the statement. “The Committee will guess that I mean to say I am at variance with my colleague Mr Watson” Mr Gunther evidently had encouragement to make his statements (uneasy task as he felt it) for he is persuaded that the Committee will anticipate his statements, and guess (without being told) that he was at variance with Mr Watson. Mr Gunther says one thing & intends another. He meant to say that Mr Watson was at variance against him. But he here produces no instance of what he asserts. How then can I reply? Again Mr Gunther proceeds “I have the satisfaction to know that I an unwillingly so, that I have not been precipitate in judging, & have borne much before I venture to speak” If Mr Gunther had the satisfaction to know that he was unwillingly so, why does he not state what he had done to promote union & harmony - what plans he had proposed &c wherein Mr Watson refused to co-operate & the objectives raised by Mr W?
If Mr Gunther was at variance with me (as he states) he must have known on what subject &c he should have told something of the much he had borne before he ventured to speak. He confessed that he did sit in judgement on me - but that he did not judge (I suppose he means condemn) me precipitately. Mr Gunther must have a most treachourous [sic] memory, or he would have known, that he had been constantly - speaking - complaining & finding fault with & judging and condemning me from the day of his arrival; but a sense of duty did not lead me to run away, like a schoolboy, with tales to the Committee. When I was in Sydney a few months before the date of Mr Gunther’s complaints, I was asked by parties interested in the Mission, “How do Mr Gunther’s get on”? Had I been so sensitive as Mr Gunther, I could have related my tale of woe; but with all my faults at that time, I had no desire to show myself as an “accuser of brethren” Mr Gunther would be thought to be very charitable & forbearing - for he “overlooked much that he did not approve” He according to his own testimony sat in judgement on me, & in his judicial capacity discovered much that he did not approve but he overlooked it. Did he overlook it? why did he tell the Commee that he had overlooked so much in me that he did not approve? Was it not to make his character appear more fair & mine more foul?
But was this much (overlooked) private or public character? was it as a missionary or in the domestic circle? Mr Gunther proceeds “I should be likewise ready to submit in a great measure to his advice & directions, considering he has had so much more experience than myself” this is what other persons would naturally expect Mr G should do. He said himself that he was told to do so by the Parent Committee; but it is what Mr Gunther was never called on by me to do, & I am sure that Mr Gunther is the last man in the world to submit to my advice & directions, for he has invariably acted as if he considered his own views more correct than mine. The next sentence of Mr Gunther’s is opposed to the preceding one. He says “Although I must allow I cannot altogether feel comfortable with one who is so little willing to listen to suggestions not in accordance with his own views. Nor admire him always who will have the sole government” I cannot understand these two sentences; but I apprehend that in the former, Mr Gunther meant to say, that in consideration of my experience, he ought to submit to my advice & directions; he then goes on
to charge me with unwillingness to listen to suggestions not in accordance with my own views, which I think implies - that notwithstanding my Missionary experience, he cannot feel comfortable for me to have an opinion of my own. Here also we want facts to prove the charge. Mr Gunther charges me with a determination (will absolute) to have the sole Government. I am not informed by the relation of what facts & circumstances, the Committee were induced to give credence to any of the preceding charges, or to this of sole government. But I cannot bring myself to believe, that, they could receive his charge without asking Mr Gunther for an explanation. They knew that Mr Porter had had the whole secular affairs of the Mission under his charge for three months - & that I had lived at the prisoner’s camp nearly the whole of that time & therefore had nothing whatever to do with secular affairs. What then could Mr Gunther mean by sole government? This part of Mr Gunther’s charge, as well as others was contrary to what he knew to be the fact. and because I was determined to have the sole government Mr Gunther could not “always admire” me. It was never expected that Mr Gunther should admire em at all, why then does he assign the above reason for not always admiring me? Mr Gunther remarks - Nor is it principally the violent temper of Mr W I would mention” Mr Gunther had not said a word previously respecting violent temper but introduces it is such a manner as to convey the idea that - it was a cause of great suffering to him. O had I been present when Mr Gunther preferred these charges, he would have blushed with shame & confusion. Mr Gunther was determined without cause or provocation, to ruin me, & that was the reason he made so many false statements. But there was none to oppose or contradict him. He knew in his own bosom - that he could not adduce ne single instance of my unwillingness to co-operate with him. So far as I have been able to judge of Mr Gunther’s wishes from his conduct, I am led to believe - that the union he seemed to desire, was the union of death & the harmony he wished for, was the harmony of the race. He would not work himself - nor was he willing to see me work. While we were living at the Mission House when I was in Sydney - Mr Gunther would not teach the children, & he found fault with Mrs Watson for teaching them; he also found fault with her for going to the camp to see a dying Native, who had sent for her. He said Mrs Watson you interfere with things that you have no business with. Surely this was paying little deference to one who had been upwards of six years on the mission & they only a few months.
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Mr Gunther proceeds. “The principal thing, however I lament in Mr Watson is a want of brotherly, open & straitforward [sic] conduct towards those with whom he ought to go hand in hand, & the equivocations & contradictions too frequently occurring on his part” Here again is absence of all proof - here are charges as serious as they are false, and as false as they are serious. This is a description of character which Mr Gunther has the honour of first applying to me, it is the very reverse of my disposition. But as Mr Gunther has introduced no facts to establish his statements, I will mention one on which (perhaps) he thought he could with justice found these charges although it is but one & he says “frequently occurring” A gentleman on going down the country said, Mr Watson I have some Tea Sugar &c coming up, & I do not wish it to be sent to my house I shall be obliged if you will take it in & if you want any, you can take what quantity you think proper. On the arrival of these articles, knowing that there was but very little, I any Tea in the Mission’s Stores, I immediately sent word to Mr Porter that I had got some Tea, & if he thought proper - he might have some. In a very short time afterwards - down comes Mr Gunther, in great haste & with displeasure deeply depicted in his countenance. He said “What you have been purchasing Tea from Mr Raymond “No indeed I have not, was my reply. “Then you have been borrowing ”No I have not. “Then you have been buying some of Mr Piggins” (overseer to Mr Raymond). No I have not I never spoke to Piggins in my life, except when you were with me, respecting the Paddock “Well if you did not speak to him, you most likely sent a note to him for our natives say you got it from them” I replied. No I have not bought nor borrowed either from Mr Raymond or from Piggins. But if I had, I do not see that there would be any harm in it; for what could we do in the interior, if we did not accommodate each other. Mr Gunther remarked “If you had, I am sure I should have been very angry you had no business to do so, you know Mr Raymond is such an enemy to the Mission” Most assuredly this was a private affair of my own, with which Mr Gunther had no right whatever to interfere, and as he came down in such a temper, I did not think that I was bound to tell him how I had procured the articles. But was there anything in my conduct in this affair, to confirm the statements Mr Gunther has made throughout the whole of his charges.
Mr Gunther proceeds. “Much of our present differences also I ascribe to the facts that Mr Watson has had a herd of cattle & horses grazing on the Mission ground, the possession of which has too much nourished his independent Spirit” Every remark of Mr Gunther both in the charges under consideration, & in those dated 20 Decr 1839 shows the spirit by which Mr Gunther is actuated against me. As I shall shortly have to refer to the subject of cattle & horse, I will only remark here, that is appears rather strange - that Mr Watson’s violent temper - his unwillingness to listen to suggestions not in accordance with his own views - his determination to have the sole government - his want of brotherly & straitforward conduct towards those with whom he ought to go hand in hand - his equivocations & contradictions so frequently occurring - & his independent spirit, are all to be ascribed to Mr Watson’s having a herd of cattle grazing on the Missions round. “Jealousy is cruel as the grave.” “Who can stand before envy?” Mr Gunther proceeds “I will just name one of his recent proceedings & the consequences. When Mr W according to Government arrangements left the Mission House where we had hitherto lived together, & took up his abode, at what is termed the prisoner’s camp, he made arrangements to have almost an independent concern by means of his cattle”. Mr Gunther says that we came down to the prisoners camp in accordance with government arrangements. Did not the Corr. Committee know that this was erroneous? Did not Mr Gunther know that is was false? The Buildings at Wellington Valley were indeed divided between the Police & the Mission: but no directions were given as to which of the Missionaries should proceed to occupy the camp nor that it was to be inhabited at all. Mr & Mrs Handt[‘s] two children & a female servant, were content & comfortable in the rooms which Mr Gunther took possession of when they arrived. But Mr G. and Mrs G from the day of their arrival were incessantly complaining of shameful accommodations. To satisfy them the prisoners camp was put in repair, but it was not decided even among ourselves, who should go there. When repairs had so far proceeded as to render it tenantable, it became a matter of consideration, which of us should go down to it: but it was decided that whoever did (on account of its eligibility for them) should take charge of the children. Mrs G said it was not fit for any person to live in. Mrs Watson objected going unless the proposition of Government, that the two adjoining buildings instead of Government house would be accepted. She said Build me a Slab Hut her & I shall be satisfied for Missionaries should be together
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together, if we go down there I know there will be jealousies & unpleasantness Mr Gunther replied I dont know then what is to be done, I a sure. Mrs Gunther will never go there not I either” We were satisfied with our part of the house & had been for six years. What right had we to remove? Had any member of the Committee been at Wellington at the time I am sure he could not have requested us As we had yielded to Mr Gunther in every thing else, so we did in this. To accommodate Mr & Mrs Gunther & not in accordance with Government regulations, we left Government House. We were advised not to go & were very much blamed for going. Yea we have been repeatedly told “You give Gunthers so much of their own way that by & by they will turn around & get you out” & so it has happened. And as Mrs Watson says - After six years residence we left the Government house, to come to the prisoner’s camp to oblige them & now to please them, after eight years service, we must be turned out of the prisoner’s camp & build a Bark Hut for ourselves in the Bush. I am at a loss to understand what Mr Gunther further means by making arrangements to have an independent [sic] concern of my own. He does not state what any of those arrangements were. I must state them myself. Any of my own cows that were on the Mission, had been always milked for the Mission. When I was coming down to the prisoner’s camp, it was agreed between Mr Gunther, Mr Porter and myself - that I should have a small stockyard adjoining our premises and milk some cows, which was considered better than having to send milk to the Missions stockyard every morning for milk, Mr Porter sent two men to put up the stockyard so that could not be said to be an arrangement of my own, for an independant concern. As soon as we got well settled, I & some native youths fenced in & dug up with immense labour, nearly an acre of ground for a garden & playground for the children; and the Lord prospered our labour so that when there was not an vegetables within 50 miles of Wellington we had Pumpkins - cauliflowers &c We made it our study to send up to Mr Gunthers - repeatedly, of the produce of our garden. This garden gave great offence; but I cannot conceive why it should - it was improving our Youths & children. No European has ever had any thing to do with it: all the work is done by myself young men & boys. Without such a garden we could not have lived for we have ever received out of the stores, more than half a Bushel
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of wheat per week for the children although we have 24 of them (3 ounces each per day) & seldom any thing but offal Bones. A short time before Mr Porters arrival, word was sent me, that a Native Youth at some distance had got one of his feet severely crushed. I immediately sent my horse & light cart, by a native youth to bring him in. On his arrival I found that three of his toes were entirely gone & his foot much injured. I was afraid that amputation would have to be resorted to. However the Lord blessed my endeavours, & when we came down to the camp he was recovering & able to walk with one crutch. The youth wanted to be with me that he might have his foot attended to; but Mr Porter refused to give him any rations, unless he remained at the Mission house. So he was forced to return. This was the case with others. Mr Porter on coming down to our house one day said “It grieves me very much to see the elderly women so much neglected - they are never taught” Mrs Watson said we will teach them if you will give them meat - Mr Porter said he would willingly do that. He sent two or three times & then sent no more. Mr Gunther from that day to this I believe has never once taught them. I repeatedly stated to Mr Porter that if it had been my plan, always to give more to those natives who had children with us than to to others because I thought a knowledge that of that would induce others to give their childe; but even this they have refused to do. (After they had reported my cattle, they said to the parents you go down to Mr Watson he has your children, when they knew that I had nothing to give them.) Under these circumstances, having a few head of cattle of my own, is it surprising that (if I had any missionary feeling) I should occasionally slaughter a beast in order to have something to give to those who would come to me for instruction, they being otherwise totally neglected. It was the same with the young men; they were regularly coming to me to be taught to read, saying Mr Gunther would not teach them. I gave the youths nothing - I held out no inducement but I did & I trust I ever shall feel it my duty to teach all that come to see me for that purpose. Nearly 12 months after we had left the Mission House - both Mr Barrow & other neighbours can bear witness that six or seven native youths were daily instructed by me, under our verandah. Mr Gunther might feel annoyed by my doing so; but I was making no complaint; I was not saying to any person, that Mr Gunther would not teach the natives
As so much had been said & written respecting my cattle, and as there was no wheat in the stores but what was purchased, I enquired of a gentleman who was going down the country, whether he knew any person who would take cattle in exchange for wheat? He replied that he died & would make any proposition that I should entrust to him. Mr Gunther & Mr Porter being shortly afterwards at our house & all being right & comfortable as far as I knew: I enquired of Mr Porter if he could lend me a Dray to fetch up some wheat - he replied that he would think of it & let me know Mr Gunther brought me word that Mr Porter could not let me have a Dray, I replied, very well. These are all the arrangements which I made & the Committee are now acquainted with my reasons.
I am sorry that the Committee have not favoured me with a copy of what was reported respecting my cattle by Mr Gunther & Mr Porter which led the Committee to direct their removal. Had I received a copy I might have replied to it; but at present I am totally ignorant as to what they stated, and of the reasons they assigned for feeling it their duty to report them. The letter from the Committee respecting my cattle &c arrived before Mr Gunther’s return from Sydney. I put it into Mr Porter’s hands, and enquired what they had reported. Mr Porter replied, “I have no objection to your cattle being her, it makes no difference to me, but Mr Gunther was continually teasing me about them; he wrote from Sydney to ask how many you had on the run &c I sent word that you had 200.” I remarked it was very unbrotherly in you to proceed in that underhand way, when I was on the place; I enquired who said that I had 200?” He said every body.” Who are everybody? “Well Thomas” I said Thomas could not say so in truth. And indeed Thomas afterwards said that Mr P never asked him, & that having been on the Mission for six years & knowing the cattle better than any other person he could not say so twelvemonths after this I was under the necessity of hiring two men & finding two horses, to gather my cattle in this neighbourhood. Mr Porter having refused to let a man go after them When a few had been collected & put into the Stock yard, one of the broke a rail & got out & Mr Porter said they should not be put in again, & if they were & broke the yard, he would make Mr Watson pay for it. That yard was put up before Mr Porter’s arrival. After two men had been out on horseback for a week, with all that I had disposed of - all they had collected & the increase not more than 80 calves &c as sum total could be known. Where Mr Porter learnt that I had 200 I know no, I never had any thing near the number.
Before I leave the subject of my cattle - there is another circumstance I wish to mention. The Reverend Richard Taylor arrived here on the 3 November 1838 & left on the 7. Mr Porter and myself accompanied him part of the way. He said to me “Mr Watson you know I was commissioned to look into the Mission: something was said in Sydney, respecting your having some cattle of your own: I have spoken with Mr Porter on the subject, and from what he says viz. that your are not making a personal or private benefit of them: but milking & slaughtering them for the Mission I see no reason why you should remove them; but continue as you are doing." That same evening Mr Porter said “Mr Watson I am sorry to say that Mr Gunther is not candid, especially respecting your cattle, he is constantly teasing me about them I have no objections to their being here. But they are neither of them fit to be missionaries &c. They are always quarrelling - there are such continual broils & family feuds betwixt them, that I cannot live in the house with them. I will build myself a hut & live by myself near the river” &c on my relating this conversation to Mrs Watson, she immediately replied, there is something gone to Sydney respecting your cattle you may depend upon it. & so it proved: for this was at the very time Mr Gunther was in Sydney laying his complaints before the Committee. It appears rather strange that so much has been said & written respecting my sheep & cattle - when it is well known that Mr Handt had more sheep than I ever had or am ever likely to have. The herd of horses, that Mr G reported had grazing on the Mission ground, requires a passing remark Before we left Sydney in 1832 Rev T. Hassall said to me “I have a nice little mare that would just suit Mrs Watson, you had better buy her: she has never had a foal & I think she ever will” Had I asked permission from the Commt. I scarcely think they would have refused. The next of this herd was Turk (an excellent Bush horse that often saved my life in crossing rivers, but which is now dead) which I purchased from the late Rev. S. Marsden in 1833, to draw up a jig which I had bought of the (late) Rev. R. Hill. Had they (both being members of he Committee) seen any impropriety in that, would they not have said so. the third and last of “this herd” I purchased from
Mr Maxwell in 1835. As in my long journies [sic] in the Bush, I always took a native youth with me & Mrs Watson’s mare being too light, for long journies, considering the articles it was necessary to take wit us: I was under the necessity of purchasing another. The committee are now made acquainted with the circumstances under which this herd of horses was procured. These three the only ones that I had ever purchased, during my nearly seven years residence in the colony. Perhaps it might be remarked that I ought to have used the Mission’s horses: but at that time there were not horses on the Mission to be used. Mr Handt purchased a breeding mare - Mr Gunther had purchased a breeding mare. I never complained of them. It is quite clear (I think) that it was not my having private property; but my using my property for missionary purposes that gave offence; else why when they had reported my cattle & horses, should they allow different persons to have their respective sheep in the Mission’s flocks? Why should they allow persons to lamb down their flocks on the Mission’s land? Why should they allow other persons’ cattle & horses to graze unmolested on the Missions ground? Why should they let the Mission’s land for cultivation, in parcels of 15 acres to one person - 4 acres to another person &c &c? I complain not of Messrs Gunther & Porter having accommodated their neighbours as above: but when I bear in mind the depth f misery I endured after Mr Gunther’s arrival, respecting Mr Raymond being permitted to reside on the Mission, as well as the complaint now under consideration, respecting my cattle & horses, I am constrained to say with Solomon “The legs of the lame are not equal.”
Mr Gunther goes on to say “various other occurrences having increased our differences, not only between Mr W & myself, but also between him and Mr Porter, so that the latter felt most uncomfortable.” Mr Gunther does not leave Mr Porter to state his own grievances, & to inform the Committee of the circumstances, which had produced any differences between him & myself. Mr Gunther says “various other occurrences” &c why does he not state distinctly some of the other “various occurrences”? From the commencement of Mr Gunther’s charges to the conclusion thereof, we have not a single fact circumstantially detailed, as[?] that the Committee might arrive at the truth of the case. He takes for granted that they will believe his general assertion without proof, & he calculated correctly, they did so.
On the 18 December 1837 it was agreed in committee here “That the Corresponding Committee be requested to procure a pious man & his wife to take charge of the Aboriginal Native with reference to Washing Cooking &c.” In accordance with this request George Hickman & his wife had been engaged & sent off previously to my arrival in Sydney in May 1838. On their arrival Mrs Watson advised that [they] should occupy two Kitchens adjoining Mrs Gunthers end of the house (originally built for Mr Handt) but at the time unused. then the woman would be within hearing of Mrs Gunther’s call. This plan was disapproved: and a strong slabbed Hut, of tow rooms, built by the native youths & occupied by them, was assigned to Hickmans - the native youths had to leave it - they afterwards pulled it down & have never since erected another. It soon became evident that Hickman’s wife could give no satisfaction to Mrs Gunther, in whose service she was employed. Passing over many unpleasant circumstance between them, I will just mention that one morning Mr Porter Mrs W & myself were standing in our kitchen, when Hickman’s wife came in, almost in a state of distraction, from the treatment she had received from Mrs Gunthers. Mr Porter was so affected that he said he could not live in such a continual disturbance between them & the woman - that he would go and tell them they had better leave the Mission at once, for if they did not he would &c Mrs W & myself dissuaded him knowing that it would make matters worse. Hickman’s wife was continually going to him (Hickman) crying & saying that she could not please. George repeatedly said, that if he might be permitted to leave he would willingly forfeit his wages. Mr Porter said he was too useful a man to be allowed to go: ;& so he was at that time. The result was that for a long time Mrs Hickman was not allowed to enter Mrs Gunther’s doors, or to do anything for them. On our coming down to the camp Mr Porter was to live with us; but Mr & Mrs Gunther begged & prayed him for so long a time & with so much earnestness to remain with them that he said unless he had been very obstinate, he could not refuse.
In 1835 it was agreed in Committee between Mr Handt & myself that if we should require the services of a European Servant, we should have Thomas Raine, on the same plan that they had had Griffin since 1833, both of whom had been originally assigned to the Mission. I had never needed his services & so had not availed myself of them; but when we were coming to the Camp, Mr Gunther Mr P & myself agreed at Raine should live down with us - milk, fetch wood & water &c & the remainder of his time be employed for the Mission. Mrs Watson had given up to Mrs Gunther a girl whom she had trained for herself & a very clever girl she was & is
far more useful to Mrs Gunther than any assigned servant would be. We had then two girls of about 14 years of age & one about 10 years. After giving the above girl Mrs Watson began to train Jane for herself. Mr Gunther having refused to allow Mrs Hickman to do any thing for her - they applied for one of our native girls to go up in the morning & return in the evening. Although Mrs Gunther had no native children & only one of her own: and Mrs Watson had eleven beside washing for the young men - without any European assistance whatever. To oblige them we allowed Nanny to go but proposed that she should remain altogether, Mr Gunther replied that they could not do with her at night - they had no convenience for her sleeping. (Now besides the convenience we had for twelve of them sleeping, they had the whole house & we had only had part of it) Mr Porter repeatedly said that he was sure one girl was as much as Mrs Gunther could manage. Nanny did not give satisfaction so they wished to have anther: to oblige them we let Jane go (the girl Mrs Watson was training for herself) We felt very uncomfortable at the girls going up there by day & sleeping at our house by night: Knowing the depravity of both the girls & the European servants, especially as we had seen one of the Mission servants take Jane into the barn, one of the days she was up at their house, & knew that he had said he wished she would go up every day. One evening Mr Porter having escorted the girl home, Mrs Watson told him that she felt very uncomfortable at the girl being there at day & sleeping at our house at night. As here they were always locked up, if any thing happen’d to them what would people say? what would Mr Gunther himself say? that on the present plan we had all the responsibility on ourselves while we had only part of the charge: that if Mrs Gunther thought proper to take either of the girls altogether, she was welcome to do so, but if not we could not let them go up. Mr Porter said he was sure the Gunthers could not do with them at night, that one was as much a Mrs Gunther could manage. Mrs Watson said there was Mrs Hickman, who was sent on purpose, doing nothing, & that she (Hickman’s wife) was willing & ready to oblige Mrs Gunther any way & that it was very hard that we should be made uncomfortable, when we were doing every thing in our power to oblige the Gunthers. Mr Porter moreover said that I could not have the services of Thomas Raine
that I was to have George Hickman’s services. I said that he had changed very much - that before we came down, it was agreed that I should have Raine & now I could not be allowed to have him. Mr Porter replied that he had not changed - that it made no difference whether I had Raine or Hickman - that Mr Gunther said Raine did not belong to m, I had no claim on him - he was assigned to the Mission, but that he would not stop to be made uncomfortable either by me or Mr Gunther. I said that Mr Handt had agreed to it in his time - that it was on the Minutes & that it made considerable difference between my having the services of a man who cost the Mission no more than his slops & Ration, & my having a man at the wages of £35 per annum & rations for himself - wife & child., & that if it made no difference to him what man I had - why could I not have the man I wish’d for & had been agreed on? He said Mr Gunther was not willing. All this unpleasantness with Mr Porter, arose from the apparent impossibility of pleasing or satisfying Mr & Mrs Gunther; it was therefore any thing but fair, in Mr Gunther to adduce that unpleasantness in his charge against me. Well, after Mr G. Had Preferred these serious charges - he requested that we would let them have one of our girls, as it was “impossible” for Mr Gunther to do with only one - that Maria (the girl of 10 or 11 years) would do “well to oblige them we let her go - they had then tried them all - she was there but a fortnight before she ran away, because of the ill treatment she received. She refused to go back, & said that if she was made to go back, she would run away into the bush. I however went up & said that iff they wished fro her - notwithstanding her refusal - I would make her go; but they did not think proper to have her. Now we have other than native evidence to prove, that during the time this girl was at Mr Gunthers, she & the other native girl, were out all hours of the night among the young men. It is only about six weeks ago - the other native girl (that Mrs Watson gave to Mrs Gunther) came down to our house in the evening, with her face arm & head bleeding, saying that she could not stop with Mr Gunthers they would kill her - they were always beating her with a thick stick - she had been washing[?] the little children & while doing so let the yeast boil over for which Mrs Gunther beat her & then Mr Gunther came & beat he. We
immediately sent up to inform Mr Gunther He came down & on asking her to go back, she replied “no never- look at my arm & face & head & back I’ll never go back you’ll kill me” he said come Mrs Gunther is very sorry, she will never do it again; the girl replied “wont she? yes she will directly - you are always beating me - you keep that thick stick always ready on purpose to beat me - I’ll never go back you will kill me” And she never would have gone back, had not Mrs Watson who knew here temper well - told Mr Gunther to leave her in the kitchen with her & she persuaded her to go back. How different a part Mr Gunther acted when Jane, the only girl Mrs Watson had trained to be useful, in one of her sulky moods ran away from us - Mr Gunther did not send down to tell us (although she had a child 3 years old with us & we had 23 natives in the house) but was determined to keep her. Mr G is the same with girls as with children - he had been upwards of three years on the mission & has had a far better change of procuring girls & children than I have, yet has never procured one; he is very anxious to possess himself of girls & children when they are trained & educated to their hands. - Mr Gunther proceeds in his charges I resolved at last on what I for sometime had felt it my duty to do, to express my mind to Mr Watson, I am justified in saying, I performed the heavy task in the Spirit of meekness” Mr Gunther forgot that he had from the beginning treated me with a degree of contempt - his opinion particularly on any subject, he had opportunity to do so - he might have expressed his opinion in writing - received my written reply - furnished the Corrs Comee with a copy of both & thus given them a fair chance of judging between us; but that would not have answered his purpose, & from the commencement of his charges not a single fact is adduced, except on his own very loose statement. A task often repeated become easy - but after all Mr Gunther calls it a heavy task, in the spirit of meekness performed. “In the spirit of meekness & without passion” why should Mr Gunther think it necessary to mention this. Perhaps he thought that as contrasts illustrate each other- his meek & quiet spirit, contrasted with Mr Watson’s violent temper, would show off respectively, both in more striking colours. Could Mr Gunther for a moment imagine, that either the Committee, or any one else, would for a moment doubt his universally manifested meek & lamb like spirit? I had never accused him of being otherwise, nor am I going to do so now - there
People in WellPro Directory: Watson, Mrs
are others equally competent judges of us, as we are of each other. It is generally known that the smooth edged razor, will cut as deeply as the ragged sickle. I simply relate facts, I wish Mr Gunther had done the same. Mr Gunther came down to our house, one morning abut ten O’Clock, when he knew that Mrs Watson had been confined to her bed for three days. After walking several times up & down the room - he began saying Mr Porter had some thoughts of leaving the Mission & it was on my account & most assuredly he should support him. I replied very well - then I suppose I shall have to come up & take charge of the Store again. Mr Gunther remarked I dont know that - I dont know that you always pretended that you wanted very much to get rid of the secular affairs & now with your milking your own cows - slaughtering your own cattle, wanting to procure wheat &c you are going to involve yourself as deeply as ever” I replied that as I had not accounts to keep, I could not involve myself very deeply in secular affairs, by giving little meat - wheat &c to natives who came to me for instruction & that as they refused letting me have any thing out of the stores for them I felt it my duty to give what I had of my own. “O (replied Mr G) but you know the Committee dont require you to kill your own cattle or to procure wheat yourself” I remarked - that I did not suppose that they did; but I should think that they ought to be rather thankful to me, than to find fault with me for spending my own money, as I was saving the Missions by so doing. Mr G replied “if that be your motive” I asked what other motive I could have? I was not selling the articles - I was only using them in furtherance of the Mission. Mr Gunther replied, “but you have other motives - search your heart - look into your breast - examine yourself & you will find other motives: people often deceive themselves for want of examining into their hearts” I remarked it is true, we ought to examine ourselves, it is a christian duty; but Mr Gunther you have been here fourteen months; I ask you whether you ever knew me spend an hour in attending to my cattle &c that I ought to have been devoting to my Missionary duties? Mr G replied “I always said you were an active Missionary” I said tat is an evasive answer, I ask if you ever saw or knew me to neglect my Missionary duty to look after my own property? He replied “I cannot say that I did” I further remarked, you seem to consider, that because I have come down here, I have no right to
People in WellPro Directory: Watson, Mrs
the use of any thing belonging to the Mission: it was only the other day I was up for an Iron pot, of which I saw several lying about unused, & you sent word that “there were no ion pots but what belonged to the Mission & Mr Watson had got plenty of things of his own” Mr Gunther did not deny having said so, but remarked “It was not until I had called all the children separately - & George Hickman & enquired how many iron pots we had & shown Mr Gunther all over the yard, that he would be convinced of the number we had. The price of the iron pot was 3/- Mr Gunther did not refer “to the various subject” nor did he say one word respecting the Committee that, they could not & would not allow me to have an independant concern of my own. Mr Gunther ought in fairness to have related the conversation. If Mr Gunther performed the heavy task in the spirit of meekness & without passion no one who knows the circumstances - will give him the credit of christian sympathy & of abounding in the mild of human kindness as he knew that the conversation was frequently broken off, by my having to go to Mrs Watson, who required my attention, & indeed who was confined to he bed much longer that she otherwise would have been by Mr Gunther’s proceedings that morning.
Mr Gunther goes on to say that his endeavours did not produce the desired effect. Taking his own statements as our guide, we are unable to ascertain what was the desired effect. He does not say that he made any proposition - that he suggested any thing.
“A letter received in consequence, breathed a very different spirit, from what I might have expected from a christian brother & could not but discourage me to make another attempt” Mr Gunther, I presume & hope, shewed that letter to the Committee, as well as the one afterwards alluded to written 2 hours after the former. He has treated us, generally as if our feelings were steel - while he is as tender as the apple of the eye. Mr Gunther remarks “no further concessions were made to satisfy our minds” Mr Gunther acknowledges he had sat in judgement on me it is quite clear that he acted as an inquisitor, & now he complains that I made no concessions to satisfy their minds. He should have stated what concessions & on what subjects would have satisfied their minds “The breach was made wider & wider: whether it can be healed I know not,
it is my desire & prayer that it should” Mr Gunther formed the breach himself - he has used his utmost endeavours (too successfully) to press Mr Porter into his service against me - he has spread (his delineating[?] of) my character through the length & breadth of the land, & then has the effrontery (I can use no milder term) to say it is his desire & prayer that the breach should be healed. Every one knows, that what is earnestly desired, & sincerely prayed for, is usually with diligently sought after - But the Corresponding Committee, as well as many other persons, know full well that Mr Gunther has acted a part quite the opposite. As I have another very long & very serious list of Mr Gunther’s charges against me to reply to, I shall forbear making any further remarks at present, except giving the Cors Committee an account of one of their recent proceedings. In the month of March of this year, Mrs Gunther being absent on a 7 or 8 weeks visit near to Bathurst, Mr Porter hired a man (George Franklin) to be Cook for Mr Gunther: that was what the man was told when he was engaged. I had known the man for nearly seven years before. After Mrs Gunther’s return home - in June, Mr Porter wrote a note requesting me to give George Franklin an order on the Mission, for two points as wages, as servant to the Mission. I knew that almost immediately after Mr Porter had engaged Franklin, he had said “I have engaged him as Cook Mr Gunther will pay one half & the Mission is to pay the other” Knowing also that when t Mr Gunther’s request the salary had been raised from £60 to £90 per annum, the Committee expressly stated, that nothing would be allowed as wages for domestic servants: I replied to Mr Porter’s note that I did not understand it. I immediately received a note from Mr Porter of which the following is a copy.
Mission House June 14 - 1840
In reply to your note just received, wherein you state that you do not understand the note which I sent this morning, I beg to say that some time ago I engaged George Franklin and servant to the Mission: but as he is generally employed in the house for Mr Gunther he (Mr G) agreed to pay half his wages: the other half to be paid by the Mission, Franklin requested me to let him have a little money on acct of his wages. I accordingly sent to you for an order for £2 for this purpose: which if you will send me you will much oblige
(signed) William Porter
Rev. W. Watson
Had I known nothing of the circumstances, my impression on reading Mr Porter’s note would have been, that Franklin had been engaged for the Mission without any reference whatever to Mr Gunther; but that afterwards being sometimes & indeed generally (not altogether) employed in the house for Mr Gunther - he had subsequently, in consideration of Franklins having been so employed consented to pay half his wages.
Copy of the agreement
Aboriginal Mission Wellington Valley
17 March 1840
I herby agree to engage & hire George Benjamin Franklin to serve the Aboriginal Mission as Cook & general servant for which he is to receive 10/- per week & t be supplied with rations from the table of the Missionaries. The said George Franklin also agreed to make himself generally useful.
(signed) William Porter
Franklin was engaged as cook & indoors servant & he never was otherwise employed. If I had not had the drawing of orders then, Franklin might have received his full wages by an order on account of wages and who would have known that he was Mr Gunther’s cook? Now if the Committee do not perceive in this affair, a specimen of what is desired & acted upon & a sufficient reason for their wishing to exclude Mr Watson from all knowledge of the concern. I know not what would convince them. But I have not quite done with this affair. I drew the order & as usual wrote at the foot the purpose for which it was drawn. In this instance I put “wages as Cook” Sometime after this Mr Porter goes to Franklin & says. “I have got a letter from Sydney respecting you from the Committee - Mr Cowper has learnt by some means, I do not know how, the agreement between you & me & how you have been employed - they know all about it & are unwilling to pay so I have to pay this out of my own pocket & consequently I cannot keep you” I know nothing about who communicated the intelligence to Mr Cowper. I leave this with Cors Committee.
[note] Reverend William Cowper refused to bring the above copy before the Corresponding Committee
William Watson Missionary
People in WellPro Directory: Cowper, Reverend William