From a sign in the Sydney Botanical Garden put up close to the place where Joseph Gerrald’s (one of the “Scottish Martyrs”) grave once was:
For myself, my friend, whatever destiny awaits me, I am content. The cause which I have embraced has taken deep root, and must, I feel, ultimately triumph. I have my reward. I see through the cheering vista of future events the overthrow of tyranny, and the permanent establishment of benevolence and peace. It is as silent as the lapse of time, but as certain and inevitable.
Joseph Gerrald, 17 May 1795
One dedication on the sign reads like this:
Joseph Gerrald was born in the West Indies, educated in England and practiced as a lawyer in Philadelphia, USA. In London he became a leading member of the British Reform Movement advocating equality, free speech, regularly elected parliaments and universal suffrage. He was one of the “Scottish Political Martyrs’ tried for sedition at Edinburgh in 1794 and sentenced to 14 years transportation to New South Wales. He died at Sydney on 16 March 1796 aged about 35, and was buried in his garden on the site of the First Farm, near this spot.
Michael Flynn 1996
“…In 1793 he published a pamphlet “A Convention the Only Means of Saving Us from Ruin”. In this he stated that the influence of 162 men returned 306 of the 573 members of the house of commons. He advocated that a convention should be elected that would really represent the people of Great Britain, and that there should be universal suffrage in the election of delegates. There was no machinery for carrying out his plans even if they met with general approval, but in November 1793 the “British Convention of the Delegates of the People associated to obtain Universal Suffrage and Annual Parliaments” met at Edinburgh. The delegates represented various political societies of the day in Scotland and England.
The aims of the convention were most moderate, but Gerrald and others were arrested, and in March 1794 he was tried for sedition. It was felt that the case was prejudiced, and while out on bail Gerrald had been urged to escape, but he considered that his honor was pledged. At his trial at Edinburgh he made an admirable speech in defense of his actions, but was condemned to 14 years transportation. The apparent courtesy and consideration with which the trial was conducted could not conceal the real prejudice which ruled the proceedings. Gerrald was imprisoned in London until May 1795, when he was hurried on board the store ship Sovereign about to sail for Sydney. He arrived there on 5 November 1795. He was then in a poor state of health and was allowed to buy a small house and garden in which he lived. He died of a rapid consumption on 16 March 1796…”
Gerrald’s tombstone (missing since 1807) recorded: He died as a martyr to the liberties of his country.
(click on the image for a larger version)
- RIP: Joseph Barbera
- Happy Birthday Harry Belafonte
- Time: The Ides of March
- Quote of the day: Learning from History
Thanks for Tom and Jerry, the Flintstones, the Jetsons, Yogi Bear and all your other work that made us laugh so many times.
Yabba dabba doo!
You won’t believe it but it’s the great man’s 80th Birthday today. So we wish you all the best and a great thank you for all what you have done in your life so far. And – as you can expect we are not talking necessarily about Calypso here….Harry Belafonte is to most people probably best known as the handsome singer who popularized calypso music in the US in the 1950s. But Harry Belafonte has done so many more things – a lengthy career as an actor, producer and music composer but more importantly is his longstanding work as an activist in the fights against racism, violence and world hunger. Being the first black performer to win an Emmy and…
Tomorrow is the 15th of March that in the old Roman calendar like in May, July and October were called the Ides, the days which were sacred to Jupiter. Caesar: Who is it in the press that calls on me? I hear a tongue, shriller than all the music Cry “Caesar!” Speak. Caesar is turn’d [...]
Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. George Santayana (1863–1952), U.S. philosopher “…Studying history is necessary to avoid repeating past mistakes. This saying comes from the writings of George Santayana, a Spanish-born American author of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries…“