Rev. Richard Johnson, B.A. Chaplain to the Settlement in New South Wales…. Rev'd. Richard JOHNSON, G. TERRY.

Revd Richard Johnson, B.A. Chaplain to the Settlement in New South Wales…
Rev. Richard Johnson, B.A. Chaplain to the Settlement in New South Wales…

Paternoster Row, London: Goff & Co., February 8th. 1787.

Engraving, 17 x 11 cms. title inscribed around oval half length portrait; vignette below depicting a redemption scene by a harbour with sailing ships, captioned with a biblical inscription.

Rev. Richard Johnson; Chaplain of the first Christian service in Australia on February 3rd. 1788.

A rare portrait engraving of Rev. Johnson chaplain to the new colony; an appointment which had occurred in 1786 largely through the influence of William Wilberforce and John Newton. Johnson held the first Christian service in Australia on February 3rd. 1788.

A rare portrait engraving of Rev. Johnson chaplain to the new colony; an appointment which had occurred in 1786 largely through the influence of William Wilberforce and John Newton. Johnson held the first Christian service in Australia on February 3rd. 1788.
Johnson was Australia's first clergyman, (until Marsden's arrival in 1794), as well as a pioneer farmer on his 350 acres in present-day Canterbury; his two successful wheat crops by mid-1790 mean that he preceded Ruse, traditionally regarded as Australia's first private wheat grower, by some time. Tench in fact described him as "the best farmer in the colony", and his general interest in natural history was wide: as early as July 1788 he was sending seeds to Joseph Banks and others, and the "Laura Keat" that he sent to England was probably the first living bird sent back from the colony.
Johnson's generosity and true compassion for his ordinary parishioners - the convicts and the marine privates - was one of the more significant elements in the character of early Australian society and its development. Yet both Phillip and Grose were largely antagonistic to him; only from 1795 did he begin to receive co-operation from the administration, when Hunter, who considered him "a very good, pious, inoffensive man", came to power. His care and concern for the convicts was legendary: he brought with him a library of 4200 books, so that each of the 700 convicts could borrow six at a time. Our first church, (a memorial tablet stands today on the corner of Hunter and Castlereagh Streets) was built from his own funds in 1793, but was destroyed by fire only 5 years later.
The administration was often hostile to him and the conflict between church and state is evident in his strictures in his printed text against fornication. Johnson clearly criticises military concubinage and Phillip's indulgence of the "wickedness"; Johnson's published work of 1794, An Address to the Inhabitants of the Colonies, Established in New South Wales and Norfolk Island… is directed specifically to the conditions of society at Port Jackson, whether convict or military.
His awareness of the special and increasing needs of the settlement is apparent from the start when he signs off his introduction to his Address... : 'Port Jackson, Oct. 30. 1792. At this date, exclusive of those who died or were born on the voyage from England: Baptisms 226; Marriages 220; Burials 854." His care is directed also towards the native as well as the newcomer inhabitants; 'I would farther plead with you, for the sake of the poor unenlightened savages, who daily visit us, or who reside amongst us. If these ignorant natives, as they become more and more acquainted with our language and manners, hear you, many of you, curse, swear, lie, abound in every kind of obscene and profane conversation; and if they observe, that it is common with you to steal, to break the Sabbath, to be guilty of uncleanness, drunkenness, and other abominations; how must their minds become prejudiced and their hearts hardened against that pure and holy religion which we profess?…'.

Nan Kivell, Portraits of the Famous and Infamous (page 158).

Price (AUD): $750.00  other currencies     Ref: #4504878

Condition Report