El Wayno says no.


Following on from his lamentation on the ever decreasing attention span of the modern reader, here is another guest post from my dad that he doesn’t know about.  Top darts, dad.  I’m thinking about giving him a regular column here.  It’ll be like being one of those really popular bloggers who have people queuing up to guest-post for them, except it’ll just be me copy-and-pasting from email exchanges I have with my dad where we try to outdo each other with interpretive plagiarisations of the best of Georgian literature.

El Wayno says…
I bought a book I am enjoying about the settlement of Melbourne. It is called ‘1835’. I submit for your perusal the following excerpt. It is a dispatch (of course it is) sent by the British Secretary of State, Lord Aberdeen, to Governor Bourke of New South Wales.

It was written in response to a request from the Governor that settlement be permitted outside of the current Limits of Location. Imagine Bourke’s disappointment when he read Aberdeen’s dispatch upon its arrival on Christmas Day 1834:

‘Adverting to the general question to which you call my attention…the expediency of extending the location of Settlers beyond the present authorised limits…I have to acquaint you that, notwithstanding the advantages which you have pointed out in your dispatch as likely to result to the grazing and other Agricultural Interests of the Colony, His Majesty’s Government are not prepared to authorise a measure, the consequence of which would be to spread over a still further extent of Territory, a Population which it was the object of the late Land Regulations to concentrate…I am glad however, of the opportunity, which you have afforded me of expressing my sentiments upon this point; and you will not fail to discountenance any plans, which may hereafter be proposed to you for settling the Territory beyond the present limits to which the location of Settlers is restricted…’

To clarify this missive I spent a diligent afternoon with Dr. Samuel Johnson’s splendid Dictionary of the English Language (the amended 1785 edition with pertinent grammar commentaries). I am delighted to apprise you that my labours were blessed with a modicum of success and, with due modesty, I offer you the following translation of Lord Aberdeen’s historic reply to Governor Bourke’s request to extend settlement:


I commend your diligence in this matter, Father, but implore you to be mindful of the dimensions of your intellect as you presume to excise the learned missives of our liege man the Governor.

Yours etc.


3 Comments Add yours

  1. Rhi says:

    And to think that they wrote all that with a pen and ink…
    Your Dad is a brave man for persevering with that book… One paragraph like that would lose me!
    x Rhi

  2. It is now no longer a wonder to me why you love words so much that you chose a profession such as the one you have.

    1. jadeluxe says:

      We do have a strong history of word nerdery in my family…
      My grandad was once a proofreader at the big broadsheet in Melbourne. Even now, at 86 and frankly pretty infirm, he still has two different dictionaries next to his armchair at all times. <3!!

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