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Autograph Letter Signed to Hankey Esq., Banker
Lake Macquarie: 29 May, 1828. Single sheet of laid paper, 29.5 x 36.5 cm, watermarked "Gilling & Allford 1821", folded to letter size; an excellent letter written in neat holograph manuscript and signed "L.E. Threlkeld", stamped "Ship-Letter Plymouth", traces of red wax seal. Six months allowance for the Aboriginal Mission. Attractive hand-written letter by the important missionary and linguist Lancelot Edward Threlkeld, regarding the outfitting of his Aboriginal Mission at Lake Macquarie. Threlkeld, one of the best regarded of the early missionaries, had spent his early life in the London theatre, before becoming an itinerant preacher. He joined the London Missionary Society and in 1816 sailed with his family to the South Seas, working with John Williams at Raiatea. He arrived in Sydney in 1824, where his proposal to establish an Aboriginal mission was supported by Governor Brisbane. The mission was established the following year at "Reid's Mistake" on Lake Macquarie with a 10,000-acre parcel of land. The excessive expenditure of the mission incurred the wrath of the Reverend Samuel Marsden who successfully sought Threlkeld's dismissal and the abandonment of the mission in 1828, the same year that this letter was written. In the letter, sent to Banker for the London Mission Society Hankey, Threlkeld details his having drawn a very large bill on the important Sydney trader Charles Appleton. Appleton was a Hobart businessman who opened his Sydney store in 1825: one of his early partners was David Jones, although their partnership was dissolved by mutual consent in 1838. Here, Threlkeld writes: 'I beg to advise you of having drawn a set of bills of this date in favour of Mr Charles Appleton or his Order for 125£ Sterling for Value received being one six months advance for the Aboriginal Mission from the 21st of August 1828 to Oct. 21st 1828 which bills you will please to honor and place to the accounts of the Mission on the new arrangement.' This was a large sum, and the letter was written at the height of Threlkeld's conflict with the Reverend Samuel Marsden over expenditure. Although he couldn't have known, Threlkeld had already been dismissed by his superiors in London, who abandoned the mission and revoked his position in April 1828, one month before this was written. A docket-note to the letter comments that it was 'Read to Western Com[mittee] 6 April 1829'. Threlkeld nonetheless, was able to secure a grant of land from Governor Darling, returning to Lake Macquarie in 1829, where he continued his ground-breaking studies of the aboriginal languages of the region. This is a particularly intriguing document from the turning point of Threlkeld's career.
      [Bookseller: Hordern House Rare Books]
Last Found On: 2014-08-13           Check availability:      Biblio    

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