Lachlan Macquarie 2010 – October highlight

Lachlan Macquarie 2010 – October highlight
Engagement Party Favors
Image by State Records NSW
This month’s highlight relates to the moral behaviour of citizens. Written on the 24th February 1810 and signed by Macquarie, the following is titled "Illicit Intercourse, evils arising therefrom." While some may see this as a moral sermon on the perceived evils of immorality and cohabiting without marriage, Macquarie also points out to women the practical difficulties which will be encountered legally on the death of their partner. If their partner dies Intestate without a legal marriage they will not be entitled to the man’s possessions.

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Illicit Intercourse, evils arising therefrom
By His Excellency
Lachlan Macquarie Esq.
Captain General etc etc etc

Whereas, His excellency the Governor,
has seen with great Regret, the Immorality and Vice, so pre-
valent among the lower classes of this Colony, and whereas, he
feels himself called upon in particular to reprobate & check
as far as lies in his Power, the scandalous and promiscuous
custom so generally and shamelessly adopted, throughout
this Colony of Persons of different sexes cohabiting and
living together unsantioned by the legal ties of matrimony
And whereas the Consequences of this Immoral and illicit
intercourse has been found (as might have been Expected)
not only highly injurious to the interests of the Society
at large, but often times attended with grievous calamity
to the Parties themselves, and the innocent offspring of
this Misconduct, And whereas such Practices are a
scandal to Religion, to Decency and to all good Go-
vernment, and whereas, also, frequent applications have
been made on the part of Divers women to the
Court of Civil Jurisdiction for the grant of Letters
of Administration of the Goods and Effects of Persons
dying intestate, on the sole ground of having lived
for a number of years with the Deceased in a State
of illegal and criminal Intercourse. His Excellency
the Governor anxious to promote the Interests of
Virtue, upon which those of Society must ever
rest by the Encouragement of lawful Marriage
to preserve Morality and Decorum, and to protect
the innocent sufferers from the consequences of such
practices, and hoping that the frequency of such con
nexions may be in a great measure, owing to an
Ignorance of the Calamity which will probably result
from them, and that a more Extended Knowledge of this

circumstance may be the means of checking the formation of
such Engagement in future, feels it is his duty hereby
publicly to make known to the Inhabitants of this
Colony that the mere circumstance of illegal cohabita-
tion (for whatever length of time) with any Man
confers no valid Title upon the Women to the Goods
and Effects of such persons, in case he should Die
Intestate, and that letters of Administration of the
Goods and Effects of Persons dying intestate, cannot
be legally granted to any applicants upon such
grounds and under such circumstances as aforesaid
and that the distressful consequences which must be
felt in particular instances from the refusal of such
Applications, can alone be awarded by the formation
of honourable and legal Engagements.

His Excellency the Governor, aware
of the frequency of such illicit connections, and see-
ing the shameful and open manner in which they
are avowed, to the utter subversion of all decency
and Decorum, is compeled to express in this public
manner, his high disapprobation of such Immorality,
and his firm resolution to suppress by every means
in his power all such disgraceful connexions, and
publicly declares that neither favour, nor patronage
will ever be extended to those who Contract or
Encourage them.

On the other hand, his Excellency
the Governor is anxious to hold forth every induce-
ment to the formation of lasting and virtuous connexions
and to Encourage Lawful marriage by every possible
Means, as he is convinced, that from such connexions
also, can be Expected to arise, either habits of
Industry or Decency of Conduct those therefore,
who from such connexions, and whose lives and conduct
are sober, Decent and Industrious, may ever look up to
His Excellency for all reasonable Encouragement.

As a further means of effecting
that improvement which he so earnestly wishes, His
Excellency cannot forbear to make known his indignation

towards those persons, who in Defiance of all Law and De-
cency, scandalously Keep open during the night the
most licentious and Disorderly Houses for the reception
of the abandoned of both sexes and to the great En-
couragement of dissolute and disorderly habits, and
he publicly avows his resolution to give street orders
to the officers of the Police, to report to him, the
Proprietors of all such Houses, and to punish such
offenders to the utmost Extent allowed by law.

His Excellency the Governor,
sanguinely hopes that the measures he is now a-
dopting will not be ineffectual in producing that
Decorum and Morality, that want of which, is at
once so Disgraceful and so Detrimental to Society
and he trusts, that when the inhabitants of this Colony
shall that favour and Encouragement are to be ob-
tained only by a strict observance of the Rules of
Morality and Decorum, they will become sensible
of the Error and Folly of a longer indulgence of habits
of Profligacy and Irregularity.

Given under my hand etc
This 24 Day of February 1810
God Save the King
Signed L Macquarie
J T Campbell Secretary

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