Lengthy autograph letter from Ann McDonald to her brother and sister in Scotland…

Lengthy autograph letter from Ann McDonald to her brother and sister in Scotland…
Lengthy autograph letter from Ann McDonald to her brother and sister in Scotland…

Sydney: 1835.

ALS, single-sheet 224 x 370 mm, folded to letter-size 4pp (one in cross hatch), wove paper, stamped with rare oval postal handstamp in black only in use for six months.

Prosperous Port Macquarie

From Ann McDonald, sister of prominent printer and Colonial publisher of the Sydney Herald William McGarvie, to her sister and brother-in-law in Scotland.

From Ann McDonald, sister of prominent printer and Colonial publisher of the Sydney Herald William McGarvie, to her sister and brother-in-law in Scotland.

Ann's unaffected style makes much of her prosperous life in Sydney. Along with 'four new muslane frocks', she has 'eleven pounds ten in the Savings Bank' but 'you need not tell this to every one'. Her affluence may well be due to the return-to-prosperity of her brother, William McGarvie. Following his brother John to Sydney 1828 McGarvie ran the stationery warehouse owned by the famous printer, Robert Howe. Then, in 1831, along with two others, McGarvie purchased a printing press and set up the Sydney Herald. After six issues he sold his shares to his partners and briefly returned to Scotland. By 1832 he was back in Sydney employed by Robert Howe's widow, Ann. He did so well that by the date of this letter he had virtually retired, devoting most of his time to building his estate, Mount Pleasant, at Port Macquarie. From 1830 the penal settlement of Port Macquarie had opened to free settlers who took advantage of area's abundant natural resources.

Ann's husband James McDonald is also in Port Macquarie assisting in building a house for 'Captain Robinson' and even though the land had 'become very Deare as a greate manay is turning farmeres...'

Ann refers to the ship the Forth that was bound for Manilla then disappeared: she had dined aboard before the ship left Sydney, and it carried a box sent from Mrs McDonald to her family. The Forth had left Sydney in February, 1835 and had made two previous voyages to Port Jackson from Ireland, carrying convicts and returning each time with cargos of merchandise.

In this letter, with its charming misspellings, Ann may have hoped to entice her distant sister to join the family and be 'happy in this land of exile' : a lively invitation to an emergent free society.

Price (AUD): $840.00  other currencies     Ref: #4205947

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