FREDERICK DUKE OF YORK - Letter Signed 1809 regarding problems in New South Wales
FREDERICK, Duke of York (1763-1827)Letter Signed (“Frederick”) to Charles Cockerill, regarding the character of an officer serving in New South Wales.
1¼ pages 4to with integral blank leaf, Stable Yard, 14 June 1809.
“I have to acknowledge your letter of the 1st Instant with an enclosure from Mr. Campbell of New South Wales, relative to Lieut. Henderson of the 102nd Regiment, and, desirous as I am to give every attention in my power to your wishes, I referred the case to the Commander in Chief – it remains for me only to transmit to you Copy of an Official Letter which has been sent to the Officer Commaning [sic] in New South Wales upon the subject of Lt. Henderson, on the perusal of which you will at once see the Character of that Officer.”
It is not entirely clear from the letter whether Lieutenant Henderson’s character was to be commended or deplored, although the tone suggests the latter. However, it is safe to say that the conditions of service in New South Wales were far from ideal.
William Bligh was appointed Governor of New South Wales in 1805. His time in the colony was to end as disastrously as his command of the Bounty nearly twenty years earlier.
Bligh attempted to suppress the practice of distributing rum to the troops in lieu of payment. His efforts were met with rebellion, and in January 1808 several hundred soldiers from the New South Wales Corps marched on Government House and deposed Bligh, who immediately sailed for Tasmania.
It is uncertain whether Henderson was personally involved in the rebellion, but the incident illustrates the difficult conditions he would have faced in New South Wales.
The letter is slightly crumpled, browned at the top, and has a slight tear at the central fold, but it remains in clear and legible condition.
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