Letter by William Paterson, 1807

Transcript of letter

Sydney 16th March, 1807.


Being now on the eve of my departure for Port Dalrymple, I conceive it my duty, as Commanding Officer of the New South Wales Corps, to mention to Your Excellency the insufficiency of our military forces in this Colony as well as its Dependencies, as stated in my letter dated the 14th of last February.

From the very recent alarming circumstances that have occurred here, I am confident you will see the propriety of this representation and Your Excellency's recommending to His Majesty's Minister for the Colonies that an augmentation may be taken into his consideration and state the urgent necessity to His Royal Highness the Commander-in-Chief.

With respect to our numbers, I need only refer you to the monthly returns and to observe that in the event of being obliged to detach any part of the military now doing duty at Head-Quarters, how unprotected not only the government stores but also the lives and property of the inhabitants would be, and in a constant state of danger and alarm.

I must also request Your Excellency's attention with respect to the shattered state of the gun-carriages (in consequence of the white ants), which will always be the case unless you recommend iron ones to be sent out; in case an insurrection ever be attempted there ought to be two light field pieces (called Curricle Guns) at Sydney and the same at Parramatta.

Having, therefore, offered my opinion for Your Excellency's consideration, I beg leave further to observe that the military force, adequate for the safety of this colony and its dependencies, ought to be as follows, viz.:- At Head-Quarters, 400; at Parramatta, 200; at the Hawkesbury, 100; at Port Dalrymple, 200; and if any troops are continued at Norfolk Island, that port, including Newcastle, the guards at the Flagstaff and George's Head, 100. From this statement the number required in addition to our present force will be five hundred effective men.

I have the honor to be Your Excellency's most obedient humble servant.

'Signed' W. Paterson.