[Editor: A report on a celebratory dinner (held on Wednesday 26 January 1825) to commemorate the founding of the colony of New South Wales. Includes the list of toasts, and a song by Michael Massey Robinson. Published in The Australian, 3 February 1825. The song was also published in the Sydney Gazette, and New South Wales Advertiser, 3 February 1825, under the title of “Song, for the Commemoration Dinner, 1825”.]
On Wednesday last a numerous and respectable party assembled at Mrs. Hill’s Hotel, for the purpose of celebrating the 37th Anniversary of the Colony. Mr. William Charles Wentworth acted as President; and Mr. William Redfern, as Vice President. The party, in number about eighty, sat down to table at six o’clock. After dinner the following toasts were given, the President prefacing each of them with such observations as they naturally elicited, and dwelling on some few of them at great length:—
The Duke of York and the Army.
The Duke of Clarence and the Navy.
The memory of Governor Philip, the founder of the Colony.
The memory of Major General Macquarie, our late revered and lamented Governor.
Sir Thomas Brisbane.
Sir James Macintosh, and the other Advocates of Australia in the British Senate — three times three.
Trial by Jury — three times three.
A House of Assembly — three times three.
The freedom of the Press — three times three.
The Agriculture & Commerce of the Colony — three times three.
The Currency Lasses — three times three.
Prosperity and independence to the rising Generation — three times three.
Mrs. Macquarie and our fellow-countryman, Lachlan — three times three.
The health of the President,
was then drank, who returned thanks; and, after some complimentary remarks on the manner in which the dinner had been got up, proposed
The health of the Stewards.
There was a band of music in attendance and each of the above toasts was followed with an appropriate air. A variety of songs were given in the course of the evening, two of which were composed expressly for the occasion the one by “Avec Franchase,” the other by Mr. Robinson. The song of “Avec Franchase” was in his best style, and the company besides being gratified with this fresh specimen of his poetry, were indebted to him for a sample also of his vocal powers; which, we are bound in justice to admit, fully equal his poetic. Mr. Robinson’s song was delivered with much humour, to the tune of “derry down,” and excited a good deal of merriment. As it relates to an occurrence of the day, we give it insertion.
The annals of London’s emporium have told,
That a fire broke out in that city, of old,
And raging around with insatiate fury,
Swept her Corn-hill, her Poultry, and smote her “Old Jury.”
Now, a blaze, not perhaps so extensively plann’d,
Has lately burst forth on Australia’s land;
From whose mischiefs no policy-schemes could insure ye,
For the flame was intended to brand her “New Jury.”
The daemons of discord assisted as members,
And the arch-fiends of prejudice puff’d up the embers;
Whence a paradox started, as strange as could be,
That Britons, enfranchis’d, could never be free!
Emancipists caught the alarm, and assembled,
And the agents of anarchy listen’d and trembled;
When reason and common sense made it quite clear,
That a birth-right at home was inheritance here.
MERCY heard their appeal, from her dignify’d throne,
And confirm’d every fiat she knew was her own;
Declar’d that her boons were, unqualify’d, giv’n,
And pure as the glistening dew-drops from heav’n.
JUSTICE paus’d on the case — but impartial and mild,
Gave her suffrage to mercy — who hail’d it, and smil’d;
And both with one feeling abjur’d every plan,
That, by sordid distinctions, set man against man.
Hence, as hope leaves the fav’ring perspective in view,
Her fruits, in due season, shall ripen for you;
And your names shall, unstain’d, to your children go forth,
Distinguished for virtue — remember’d for worth.
Then here, let the metaphor drop, as a joke,
And the fire goes out — smother’d in its own smoke;
Whilst the shafts that incendiaries deal in the dark,
Shall recoil on themselves; and thus hit the true mark.
In cities, where mercantile exports are many,
The trade of a packer’s as useful as any;
For, as hay will catch fire, if it is not well stack’d,
So will Juries be smok’d — if improperly pack’d!
Your bard now retires from the theme that he hit on,
Disclaiming all party — he feels as a Briton;
And, to-night if you vote one fresh wreath in his favor,
Let it ’twine round your bowls, and ’twill bloom there for ever!
Australia! whilst met on this festive occasion,
To yield thee our tribute of commemoration;
We see with fond pride thy advancement to fame,
And the pages of history honor thy name.
From those arts and that science thy bosom has nourish’d,
Agriculture has prosper’d, and commerce has flourish’d:
Then to thee shall our hearts purest homage be giv’n,
And the toast that succeeds, be — “The land, boys, we live in.”
The President and Vice President retired about 12 o’clock and the party broke up shortly afterwards.
The Australian (Sydney, NSW), 3 February 1825, p. 3
The song was also published in:
Sydney Gazette, and New South Wales Advertiser (Sydney, NSW), 3 February 1825, p. 3
abjure = renounce, repudiate, retract, recant, especially under oath or in a formal manner; abstain, avoid, shun
air = melody, short melodious song, tune
currency lass = a female born in Australia; native-born European Australians were known as “currency lads” and “currency lasses”
daemon = a supernatural being; the attendant spirit or inner spirit of a person or place; (archaic) demon
three times three = the three-part cheer, “Hip, hip, hooray!”, which is traditionally given three times in a row