The appointment was indeed one which a navy captain would covet. Promotion continued, a pension was a practical certainty, the salary sufficient, and a good field offered to advance a son or marry an unportioned daughter. The qualifications required were such as every man and every man's friends would readily believe that he possessed—"Integrity unimpeached, a mind capable of providing its own resources in difficulties without leaning on others for advice, firm in discipline, civil in deportment, and not subject to whimper or whine when severity of discipline is wanted to meet emergencies." But when Lord Castlereagh decided to look higher, he found the offer did not appeal strongly to a general officer of ability in time of war. This makes it all the more remarkable that, when Nightingall relinquished his appointment, the choice fell on a man whose whole heart exulted in the work, and who for twelve years bent the whole energy of mind and body with eager zest to what he felt to be the public good. It is true that Lachlan Macquarie was often wrong, was often vain, was often obstinate, but not infrequently he was right and he was never indifferent. Fitted by his training for the work of a military governor, hereditary instincts doubtless accounted for his leaning towards the patriarchal system, for he was the heir of the sixteenth chief of a clan of Ulva. But he had entered the army at a very early age, and by the time of his appointment had served thirty years in that "school of subordination." He was a staunch Tory and Episcopalian, and appears to have had the manners of an Englishman rather than a Scotchman. He had seen much active service, chiefly in India, had been in America, at Alexandria, and for three years Assistant Adjutant-General in London, a post which had made him known in official circles and increased his good repute. In 1805 he had gone back to India, returning to take command of the 73rd in 1807. On the 15th May, 1809, he sailed with his regiment to New South Wales.
- See, e.g. Banks to Bligh, 15th March, 1805. H.R., VI., Introduction, xxxv.
- Banks to Bligh. Ibid.
- A favourite phrase of Macquarie's constantly recurring in his letters.
- For these details of Macquarie's career see Dictionary of National Biography.