Page:A colonial autocracy, New South Wales under Governor Macquarie, 1810-1821.djvu/104

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76
A COLONIAL AUTOCRACY.

officers who had acted upon it," and in particular that the system of laying the Book of Proceedings before the Governor immediately after the meeting was a bad survival of those times.[1] Though the Governor was no longer compelled to select as magistrates officers of the military or civil staff, it was not easy to find good men for the duties, such as were capable of carrying out the laws and not mere "agents of the Governor".[2]

Bent suggested that the judicial officers should be consulted in such appointments, but Lord Bathurst disregarded his advice. The deterioration in the character of the magistracy, which took place in the first five years of Macquarie's governorship, Bent thought was due to bad selections and to the Governor's habit of not merely supervising but interfering in their judicial and administrative actions.[3]

There were not more than eight magistrates in the Colony when Macquarie added to their number Andrew Thompson and Simeon Lord.[4] Both had come to the Colony as convicts, and both had been under twenty at the time of their conviction. They were illiterate, ignorant men, and when they were placed on the Commission of the Peace both were living "openly in profligacy".[5] Thompson had for some time been chief constable at Windsor, kept a shop and owned several houses there, and was strongly suspected of illicit distilling. Lord was a retail merchant, afterwards an auctioneer who sold "small articles by the hammer,"[6] and finally a manufacturer. Not content with making them magistrates, Macquarie shortly afterwards named them as Road Trustees with the Rev. Samuel Marsden. The chaplain, however, refused to act with them, basing his refusal not on their convict status but on the notorious immorality of their lives. After angry communications both by letter and by word of mouth, Macquarie accepted this refusal, but he never forgave Marsden for thus opposing his plans.[7] He treated Marsden's action as a deliberate censure on his scheme

  1. Bent, 1st July, 1815. R.O., MS.
  2. Ibid.
  3. See above and also Chapter IV., the Governor's interference with regard to the grant of licences.
  4. Thompson in January, 1810, and Lord in August, 1810.
  5. Marsden to Wilberforce. See above. Neither of them had been transported for very serious crimes.
  6. Riley, C. on G., 1819.
  7. See Marsden's Evidence, Appendix to Bigge's Reports. R.O., MS.