Lachlan Macquarie

Lachlan Macquarie governed N.S.W from January 1810 until november 1821.

During this period of eleven years, many changes were observed, with the character of the colony changing considerably. It became ‘less of a gaol,’ the population increased the settlement was extended, a great deal of building took place, and trade and commerce developed further. Despite all of these positive aspects of his administration, he faced much opposition. This was mainly due to the fact that he was ‘an idealist, whose vision for N.S.W had no real chance of success.’ These ideals left ‘an unfortunate legacy of bitterness and division,’ and can be seen be seen unquestionably in his egalitarian views. Primary examples of this can be seen in his policy to emancipists and aboriginals, and also in his land policies. The reason why these ideals ‘had no real chance of success’ was that he lacked support from the british government and there was a succession of quarrels between him and the exclusives of N.S.W.

Macquarie strived for a state of equality in his colony. His emancipist policy was a prime example of this. In April 1810, Macquarie wrote to Lord Castlereagh at the colonial office expressing his intention of doing all he could to help ex-convicts who had been emancipated or wjho had worked off their sentences, and had ‘turned over a new leaf and become genuinely reformed.’ He wrote: “Emancipation, when united with Rectitude and long-tried good Conduct, should lead a man back to that rank in society which he had forfeited…” he also wrote to Earl Bathurst of the British government in July 1822. “Even my work of charity, and, as it appeared to me, sound policy, in endeavoring to restore emancipated and reformed convicts to a level with their fellow subjects, a work which, considered either in a religious or political point of view, I shall ever value as the most meritorious part of my administration, has not escaped their animadversion…” Both the courage and the humanity of the governor can be seen by these actions. He continued to treat the emancipists well socially (often inviting the to dine with him) and appointed some to various high positions in society. D’arcy Wentworth, William Redfern, Andrew Thompson and Simeon Lord are all examples of emancipists who were treated well by governor Macquarie.

Egalitarian concepts can be seen in Macquaries land policy.he believed that crown land should be divided up evenly between the free settlers and the ex-convicts, whilst the free settlers believed that they had a right to larger land grants. Macarthur, Mcquaries main opposition wrote to J.T Bigge expressing his concern, “Men of real capital – not needy adventurers, should have estates of at least 10,000 acres, with reserves contiguous of equal extent…” Macquarie continued to follow his egalitarian and divided up the land fairly, despite the class of the citizen.