Mr E. L. Grundy wrote to the South Australian REGISTER (published October 3rd, 1849) requesting a fair hearing for Mr Carr, hoping that the publication of the following letter might provide sufficient publicity to encourage justice "to a most meritorious constable who, amid numerous active duties on board the ELIZA, experienced a bereavement which must have added greatly to the sorrow that must naturally attend separation from a fatherland and the settling in a strange country" alone, Mrs Carr having died on the voyage.
Letter addressed to Mr E. L. Grundy,
Chairman of the "Emigrants Friend Society", City of Adelaide.
Respected Sir, from the position you occupy in society, I apprehend you are the best medium through which to obtain redress from an act of injustice of which I am the subject. In accordance with this view, I take the liberty of laying before you the following statement for your friendly consideration and kind assistance.
I left England in May last, by the emigrant ship ELIZA, and was the first person appointed by Dr. Carr, the Surgeon Superintendent, as one of the constables on board thereof, at the same time receiving, in connection with other officials, the promise of a gratuity, should my services be satisfactory. How those services have been performed by me I appeal to Dr. Carr to decide; and yet upon applying at the Emigration Agent's office, I was informed that my name was not mentioned in the "list", consequently I had no claim upon the authorities. Before communicating this fact to the Surgeon-Superintendent, I received a letter from him to Captain Brewer confirming my appointment and recommended me to his attention. The letter I delivered in person, and was told by the Emigration Agent that the sum allowed by Government was already exceeded, and the I stood no chance in suceeding in my application. This information I acquainted Dr Carr, who positively affirmed that all the sum granted for his disposal had not been appropriated; and between these discordant and conflicting assertions, after having been referred several times from one to the other, I find there is a fair chance of losing what is my due.
Now, Sir, I need not tell you that if principles like these were to obtain to any extent, there must be an entire disruption of the fabric of society. If fraud or deception is allowed to triumph over public faith, where is the incentive to honourable exertion, or where confidence or security?
I have thought of laying my case before His Excellency the Governor, but knowing that his valuable time must be occupied with much more important matters, and understanding that you possessed the power and the disposition to avert this injustice, so discreditable to the colony, I am induced, Sir, to press this matter upon your kind attention,
that through your influence justice may be accorded to, Sir,
your obedient servant, William Carr.
Mr E. L. Grundy added a footnote: "The Matron of the ELIZA was, I find, allowed £10, and a very imbecile schoolmaster £5, which may account for the 'sum allowed' having become expended."
Another letter about happenings on the ELIZA, was also published |
in the South Australian REGISTER on October 3rd, 1849.
Mr E. L. Grundy wrote that it is quite possible for cabin passengers to know
(fortunately for them) as little of the discomforts and trials experienced between deck,
and that whilst Captain Pain conducts himself well when amongst his equals, he behaves otherwise when amongst his inferiors. Mr Grundy implied that many
of the passengers must have been grateful that
the Colonial Secretary (Mr Charles Sturt) was a fellow passenger.
DEPOSITION OF EPHRAIM RYLES, free passenger
per the ELIZA, now lying at Port Adelaide,
taken before E.L.Grundy, Chairman of the "Emigrants Friend Society", City of Adelaide, Wednesday September 26th, 1849.
"Sheweth, That deponent, whose age is 38, is a married man and father of eight children, seven of whom are dependent upon his manual labour for their support. That his youngest child was born on June 12th on board the ELIZA. That the surgeon-superintendent (Mr Carr) on his wife's delivery, congratulated her on her infant being born with a perfect caul, which he (Mr C.) said "was considered lucky". That the caul was exhibited to the cabin passengers by Mr C., and that fully expecting it would in due course be returned to the deponent or his wife, he (deponent) allowed three weeks to elapse; when a Sunday being appointed for the baptising several infants born on board, he (Ryles) determined to speak to the surgeon on the preceding Saturday, intending to have his infant baptised by the name of Eliza, that being the name of the ship - but being desirous that the caul in question should previously be returned to him. He accordingly addressed the surgeon inn most respectful terms, his anxiety to get back the caul making him very careful not to give any offence by his mode of putting the request. The surgeon's reply on the occasion was "Oh, it's the caul, is it ? (he, the surgeon, being an Irishman) and what did you want with it ?" Deponent answered "Why, doctor, it's a strange question. I might as well be asked what I wanted with the child." Whereupon the surgeon turned short from him, leaving him, deponent, greatly disappointed and dejected.
That, after evolving in his mind the most prudent and proper course for him to adopt, he decided upon addressing the captain, which he did in most respectful terms, complaining of the doctor's singular behaviour in reference to his (Ryles's) reasonable request, and expressing his determination to have the child's caul returned to him." To which the captain replied that he would speak to the doctor. The deponent thanked the captain and withdrew. The following day Sunday Mr and Mrs Ryles again approached the Captain who was with the other parents assembled for the baptisms. The Captain stated that he had no control in the matter, or authority over the doctor.
Mr and Mrs Ryles wrote the following letter to Dr Carr.
"To the Surgeon-Superintendent of the ship ELIZA.
Sir, In consequence of your refusing to deliver to me my child's caul, or yet assign any reason why you choose to retain it, I feel it my duty to request a further explanation. I cannot, Sir, conceive what right you have to it, unless you wish to have compensation for your services to my wife in her confinement. If so, I desire you will make your charge and I will pay you to the last penny that I possess." The letter, which makes interesting reading, went on to describe Mr Ryles' hope that God would guide the doctor's conscience.
Understandably Mr and Mrs Ryles were utterly confounded when Dr Carr refused to accept the letter. Later that day the Doctor agreed to accept the letter, but only if it was delivered via the constable Maclin. The following day the Captain and surgeon sent for Ryles and threatened to report him to His Excellency the Governor when they finally arrived in Adelaide. When they did arrive, Mr Ryles approached the Colonial Emigration Agent. Instead of defending him, Captain Brewer indicated this whole matter was petty and obsurd, and refused to help.
Mr Grundy went on to say that Mr Ryles had only two pounds and sixpense on landing in the colony, and having a large family dependent upon his daily labour, had to occupy one of the Government emigrant cottages for a short while after his arrival. He has neither the money or the time to enforce his claim by legal means, and that without the friendly help of some benevolent colonist, there is every prospect now that he shall be defrauded of his property in a land boasting of protection to the humblest of its people.
Mr E. L. Grundy concluded that an article worth several pounds in value will be fraudulently carried away from the colony, with the cognizance of a ship's captain who has been complimented as to his character; a surgeon-superintendent who has received gratuities for duties 'satisfactorily' discharged (Surgeons of emigrant ships are only entitled to gratuities if they give proper treatment to their emigrant passengers); and with the knowledge of the Colonial Agent, specially appointed (in the emphatic language of his Excellency) as "the guardian of the emigrants."
"I have only to add, as an explanation of this extraordinary proceedings, that I have seen a child's caul (or lucky cap) advertised in the London Times for £40. "I leave it to the reader to ask himself whether Ryle's case would have been the case, had he not been a poor man".