|About LEMA | Find | Projects | Documents | Research | Gallery|
Regimental Duty, Parenthood & Grief
There is no surviving journal by Lachlan Macquarie for the year 1808, though there are some fragmentary notes in December that form part of a book of Memoranda notes. This is unfortunate, though perhaps it is not too surprising given the emotional turmoil, tragedy, and significant changes that were taking place in the lives of the Macquaries at this time.
For after his marriage to Elizabeth Campbell of Airds in November 1807, Macquarie had returned to Scotland with his new bride and took up command of the 73rd Regiment of Foot at their barracks in Perth. He worked energetically as the new Lieutenant-Colonel of the regiment, soliciting new officers and recruits, as well as seeking backpay for officers (some of whom had not been paid since 1805) and two rank and file soldiers who had served in India and were owed twenty-three months pay (since 1800).
In August Lachlan (and probably Elizabeth) visited friends and relations at Airds and on the Isle of Mull. At this time new arrangements were made for the management of their 'Jarvisfield' estate and the confirmation of Dugald McTavish as their factor and estate manager. However much more significant events were pending: Elizabeth had fallen pregnant soon after their marriage, and a daughter, Jane Jarvis, was born in Perth on 15 September 1808. Unfortunately, the infant died, aged 3 months, on 5 December 1808 and was buried soon afterwards in Perth. Almost immediately thereafter (on 22 December) Macquarie received secret orders to prepare the 73rd Regiment for marching to Edinburgh Castle prior to embarkation from Leith for Portsmouth, and subsequent overseas service in the penal settlements of New South Wales and Van Diemen's Land.
The news of this new posting did not please Macquarie, nor the men of his undermanned regiment. In particular, it was perceived as unfair that the 73rd Regiment should have been selected for this duty after twenty-four years service in India (1781-1805). His corps had served only three years in Britain and Elizabeth's health remained extremely fragile after the death of their daughter.
Letter of instructions to