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H.A.B. Bennett and Alexander Harris
A Possible Connection
Who is H.A.B. Bennett, and what is his connection with Alexander Harris? The first hint of an association between these two arises from comments contained in chapters 11 and 12 of Secrets (143-59). These sections described Harris's adventures at Illawarra on the New South Wales south coast and supplement information provided by chapters III-V of Settlers and Convicts. Furthermore, information contained in Harris's tabular notes of 1858 also point to a connection.
In the aforementioned chapters from Secrets, Harris had described in detail some of his experiences whilst employed as clerk to the Bench of Magistrates at Illawarra. The tabular notes indicated this occurred sometime during the early 1830s. The description of his duties and adventures at Illawarra contained in Secrets were quite precise - somewhat out of character for Harris to reveal so much specific information - and pointed to a possible verification of those events in the surviving official records. If so, this would be the first time that we had been able to link real events involving Harris with those described in his publications. Could it be that we had found a chink in Harris's colonial armour? Perhaps the mask would be raised at last if these leads were followed. What then do we know of Harris's time in Illawarra?
Alexander Harris in Illawarra
The district of Illawarra is located on the east coast of New South Wales, approximately 50 miles to the south of Sydney. It is relatively inaccessible due to the mountainous escarpment and bush forming its western and northern borders. With its temperate climate and lush, semi-tropical vegetation, it was one of the most picturesque regions of New South Wales at the time of Harris's arrival. The domain of the local Aboriginal people for thousands of years, white settlers had not moved cattle into the area until after 1815, and cedargetters worked in its dense forests throughout the 1820s and 1830s. The first military garrison was not established there until 1826. According to the 1828 Census, Illawarra's white population at the end of that year consisted of 294 men, 77 women, and 64 children. The Aboriginal population numbered a couple of hundred. By 1841 there were over 4000 European residents.
Judging by the numerous references within both Settlers and Convicts and Secrets, Harris had obviously resided in Illawarra for a considerable period. He had described in exquisite detail his first arrival in the area via the mountain pass at Bulli at the beginning of Settlers and Convicts, and his lengthy adventures therein as a carpenter and cedar cutter. His descriptions of the area and some of its residents point to an intimate knowledge of the district, obviously gained from a lengthy stay, or a number of short visits.
As Illawarra was a very small community during that period (late 1820s and early 1830s), with a white population in the order of 1000, it should be easy to locate some record of his presence there. Harris's Illawarra adventures therefore offered the best chance yet of pinning down his colonial identity.
Unfortunately, following a detailed search, no references were found to an 'Alexander Harris' living in Illawarra between the period 1826-40. Once again we were at a dead-end. It now became even more obvious that Harris had used an alias whilst at Illawarra and possibly throughout his time in the Colony. Despite this setback, the search continued.
In Settlers and Convicts (14) Harris had stated that his first job in New South Wales was at Illawarra, which he visited shortly after his arrival. The job entailed the construction of a house for a settler and later work as assistant to a cedar cutter in the cedar brush behind Kiama, to the south of Wollongong. This all sounded plausible enough, as cedar was taken from the area right up until the end of the 1830s, and his description of the Kiama district tied in precisely with its known history. However our subsequent knowledge of Harris's physical skills has thrown this whole story into doubt, as he was more of a clerk than a carpenter! Yet this is not to say that he did not work for a time as a labourer in cutting cedar.
Combining Harris's various reminiscences and surviving official records of the time, we discover a number of references regarding to his experiences in Illawarra. According to Settlers and Convicts, he was initially in Illawarra for a period of 12 months, arriving less than a month after his disembarkation at Sydney (this suggests mid 1827 to mid 1828). He was then employed in the building of a hut for a family of settlers, before taking up with a card cutter as his mate. Secondly, the encounter with the Geraghty brothers upon his arrival in Illawarra, which he described at length in Settlers and Convicts, had occurred around 1827-28, for they are known to have left the district after this date. Furthermore, according to the tabular notes, Harris was in Illawarra in 1830 - whether this was a second visit or part of one long visit is not revealed, while according to Chapters 11 and 12 of Secrets, at some stage Harris took on the post of Clerk to the Bench of Magistrates at Wollongong, replacing a convict who had been removed from the position. Finally, according to Secrets (144) upon his arrival at Wollongong, Harris was greeted by the Commandant, or magistrate, 'who was a military man .... He is a Lieutenant of the ____ Regiment.'
It appears from this information that Harris visited Illawarra twice - initially around 1827-28 to do some carpentry and sawyer work, during which period he had his encounter with the Geraghty brothers; and later (early in the 1830s), as clerk to the Bench of Magistrates at Wollongong. As the biographical revelations in Secrets also debunk the suggestion that Harris was a hardworking sawyer-carpenter, and strongly suggest that he was more the clerkly type, this later episode as clerk to the Bench at Wollongong suddenly rings true. It is consistent that one such as Harris - with a comprehensive education in law and the classics - should take on such a position; afterall, he had been a clerk in the Horse Guards prior to coming to Australia. Therefore, based on a comparison of his published account and the official records, there is a strong suggestion that Alexander Harris (Clerk to the Bench at Wollongong in Secrets) and one H.A.B. Bennett (Clerk to the Bench at Wollongong during 1832-4 according to the official New South Wales Government Blue Books) were one in the same person. And so to prove this connection.
Further investigation reveals closer links between Harris and Bennett, and rules out the possibility that Harris was an unnamed clerk who occupied the position from 1830-32, or the convict David Sefton who also performed clerical duties for the Illawarra magistrate around this time. The earlier unnamed clerk was probably a convict, and it is highly unlikely that Harris was a convict - his writings reveal extensive travels and unlimited freedom of movement whilst in New South Wales. No, his experiences are those of a free settler or cashiered soldier. By looking closer at Harris's account of his time in Illawarra, and attempting verification with the official records, this Harris:Bennett connection may be tested.
Clerk at Wollongong
The Blue Books record that the Illawarra Bench of Magistrates initially employed an unnamed clerk from 1830 to November 1832. This clerk was paid £12p.a. The first named clerk to the Bench at Illawarra was H.A.B. Bennett, who was appointed on 11 November 1832 at a rate of £70p.a. Bennett was personally assisted by the convict David Sefton during his time in Illawarra. He was employed until November 1834, when he was replaced with William Nairn Gray.
The Commandant referred to in the above quote was most likely Lieutenant George Sleeman of the 39th Regiment, who was the resident Magistrate at Illawarra from 4 February 1830 to 5 September 1832, and commonly referred to as commandant of the Illawarra garrison, though only bearing the rank of lieutenant.
Harris's account in Secrets goes into some detail regarding many aspects of his time in Illawarra as a clerk, and the fate of the resident Magistrate who replaced Lieutenant Sleeman, namely the 'Old Major' with whom he worked so closely. He states that 'at length our Police magistrate was superseded, his Regiment being about to proceed to India.' This once again points to Lieutenant Sleeman, who left Illawarra on 5 September 1832, as the 39th Regiment was embarking for India. Harris then states that Sleeman's replacement was 'an old major of the same regiment who had just sold out .... He had passed forty years in the regiment...'
Who was this 'old major'? According to the official records, Lieutenant Sleeman was replaced by Captain Francis Allman (1780-1860), a retired (sold out) army captain. Allman had joined the army in 1794 and, at the time of his arrival in Wollongong in 1832 would have been approximately 38 years a military man, and therefore 'forty years in the Regiment' by the time he and Harris went their separate ways in 1834. Francis Allman was never a Major, his highest attained rank being that of Captain. His age and bearing may have given rise to his affectionately being called 'Major' by Harris and others. He is undoubtedly the man Harris refers to in Secrets as the old major.
Captain Allman was resident Police Magistrate at Illawarra from 5 September 1832 until 15 February 1834, when he was transferred to Goulburn and replaced by William Nairn Gray. Harris states in Secrets that the old major received '1500 dollars per annum' (remember he was in America when he wrote Secrets), while the Blue Books record Allman's salary as £150 per annum. This is the first instance where we have been able to definitely identify characters which Harris had tried to mask. With this knowledge of Allman, Sleeman, and Bennett we may now proceed to further test the association with Harris.
Harris seems to have gotten on well with Allman for he notes in Secrets (158) that the Captain was easy-going and adverse to inflicting floggings upon convicts or soldiers. He was proud of the fact that throughout his long military career he had never had one of his men flogged. As already noted, Harris developed an abhorrence to this form of punishment and the first publication of his that we know of was the article entitled 'Reasons for the Entire Abolition of Flogging' in The Peoples Journal of 29 August 1846. This hatred of the lash was not shared by the rest of the free Illawarra community - far from it - and this resulted in trouble for both Harris and Allman. Harris noted in Settlers and Convicts, 'But the fact is, flogging in this country is such a common thing that nobody thinks anything of it. I have seen young children practicing on a tree, as children in England play at horses.'
Illawarra was no exception. According to Secrets, when the local settlers presented their convicts to Captain Allman for punishment they were somewhat alarmed when he balked at dispensing the lash. They did not feel he was severe enough. With the local Magistrate (Captain Allman) and his clerk (Bennett) not anxious to promote floggings, tensions soon developed between them and the locals who relied on strict discipline to keep their convicts in line. The results of this leniency on the part of Allman and Harris were almost inevitable. Harris outlines the consequences as follows:
Unfortunately the major gave the settlers too many chances to retaliate. They got up a memorial to the Governor .... The Governor at that time [Sir Richard Bourke] being a thorough sub-acid Tory, the major was removed. Not choosing that he should feel that I had meanly left him to be the scapegoat of my offences, I resigned.
Allman was subsequently transferred to Goulburn. By 'my offences' Harris is referring to the fact that during his time at Wollongong, Captain Allman:
Neither knew, nor wanted to know, anything about it [i.e. the business of the Court] .... When I had, as clerk, drawn the depositions, I had next to be 'the court', and write down at the foot of them what I thought was a proper judgement .... The papers were handed to him [Allman] to sign, and I then read them aloud, together with the judgement .... As a consequence, the settlers often came off signally ill, whilst the wretched convicts escaped when they were expecting fifty lashes, or a month in the iron-gang.
Harris was therefore performing many of the duties of the Magistrate, and wielding a great deal of power within the small Illawarra community. We should remember that he would have only been about 26 years old at the time. Harris's account in Secrets of events at Illawarra give rise to a number of questions: Was the old major in fact removed from the Illawarra Bench by the Governor of the time? What of the fate of the trusty clerk (Bennett/Harris) - was he also kicked out of Wollongong after upsetting the local residents on account of his leniency towards convicts?
The answer is Yes to both questions, and whilst the official records verify the basic truth of Harris's tale, they also add certain aspects which Harris obviously preferred to gloss over; aspects which reflected badly upon him. What surviving records do we have of events in Wollongong at the time?
Apart from the sparse census and muster data, the government Blue Books, and some private manuscripts, the Illawarra Bench Books (i.e. the official records of the cases brought before the local Magistrates, with details of subsequent punishments inflicted) for that period survive, so that it is possible not only to study the actions of Captain Allman and H.A.B. Bennett in detail, but also in the future to consider handwriting comparisons between Bennett (the official clerk) and Harris. Finally, we have letters in the Archives Office of New South Wales - part of the series Colonial Secretary's Correspondence, Letters Received series - which describe some of the incidents at Wollongong. According to the Bench Books, sentences of 25 and 50 lashes were regularly handed out by Captain Allman during the years 1832-34, however reprimands and admonitions were also common.
With regards to the old major's dismissal, according to the aforementioned official records Captain Allman was transferred to Goulburn early in 1834 after apparently embarrassing Mr Henry Osborne (a prominent local free settler and substantial land owner) in front of a convict servant (actually Bennett's servant David Sefton). Allman had previously criticised Osborne's harsh treatment of his convict servants in front of Sefton, and Osborne, slighted and possibly bearing a grudge, was awaiting an opportunity for revenge. As Osborne was a wealthy and therefore powerful man in the Colony, he successfully petitioned the Governor to reprimand Captain Allman.
We know that Governor Bourke was politically of Whig persuasion, and not a 'sub-acid Tory' as Harris proclaims. He generally supported liberal and humanitarian views, and whilst he would have encouraged Allman's leniency towards the convicts, he could not condone the open embarrassment of a free settler such as Henry Osborne, at a time when immigration was being encouraged and widespread insurrection by the large convict population was a real fear on the part of the local free population. As a result, Governor Bourke acted in Osborne's favour and dismissed Captain Allman from his Illawarra posting, transferring him to Goulburn.
The following Colonial Secretary letters express the views of the parties involved in the dismissal of Captain Allman from his position at Illawarra. They are reproduced here in full so that the reader may compare them with Harris's account in Secrets. Bennett would have been at least an interested observer, and possibly deeply involved in the whole affair. The first letter is addressed to Captain Allman, and gives Henry Osborne's view of the incident:Marshall Mount
On reflecting on the conversation I had with you yesterday which I consider conveyed an insinuation that I either did not give my men what they were entitled to by the Govt. regulations or otherwise I was deficient in the management of assigned Servants on account of the turbulence and discontent which prevails on my establishment more than others in the District - you must be aware how prejudicial an insinuation of this kind must be both to my interest and personal safety under the present excitement of the Colony and from such a source made in the presence of a Prisoner of the Crown.
As I consider I always acted up to the regulations concerning assigned Servants, I court investigation, and then you as the official Person here will be able to Judge whether the turbulence and discontent which you allege exists on my Farm more than others in the district arises from my improper management or from some other cause over which I have no control.I have Sir the honour to be
To Francis Allman
Harris later wrote, with reference to the Illawarra settlers treatment of their convicts, and reinforcing Allman's original criticism of Henry Osborne that 'the [Illawarra] free settlers governed their men with capriciousness and by terror, and so could never trust them beyond their sight.' Was this referring to Osborne specifically?
Apparently Captain Allman transmitted Osborne's letter of complaint to Governor Bourke, who replied on the 18th, requesting an explanation from the magistrate, to which Allman obliged. This letter from Captain Allman to the Governor gives the old major's view of the incident:Police Office
I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of date 18th ultimo and with reference to my communications transmitting Mr Henry Osborne's letter of the 10th January, advising me that His Excellency the Governor considers I was much to blame in making any general observation of the kind alluded to in the presence of an assigned servant, and that any case before me should have been decided on its merits, also informing me that if I felt it necessary to convey advice or admonitions to Mr Osborne it would have been better done in private.
As I think it possible there exists some misunderstanding with respect to the motives that induced my conduct on this occasion, I respectfully beg to trouble His Excellency with the following statement.
On the 10th January Mr Henry Osborn came to the Police Office there was only present that Gentleman, myself and the individual named in the margin (David Sefton, Prince Regent, Life) who is employed by the Clerk with my consent to assist in making up returns for the Court of Requests and Police.
Mr Henry Osborn having remarked on the general conduct of his men, I answered that it seemed to me 'they were more dissatisfied than on many other Establishments in the District and that I was obliged to threaten with punishment one or two of the road Gang before they would consent to go to that Gentleman.'
I beg to assure His Excellency that when I made this observation there was no case before the Court, and that on a recent occasion when reports reached me of Mr Osborns men not having sufficient time to grind allowed them, I made such known to him in a private and confidential note which I trust will show that nothing could be more remote from my intention than saying or doing anything prejudicial to Mr Osborns interest, a Gentleman whose character deserves the highest consideration.I have the honor to be
To the Honourable
The Colonial Secretary
The convicts were forced to grind their own wheat to flour in their spare time. This time was at a premium as they were usually required to work from Monday to Saturday and go to church on Sunday morning, leaving only that afternoon free. If they complained they were taken to the magistrate for punishment. This deprivation of proper nourishment, and over-work, gave rise to much bitterness on the part of the convicts. A case is known, and described in Secrets, where Osborne's men were required to sift coal from wheat prior to grinding, as the two have become mixed during transportation by ship from Sydney.
As a result of above incident, which was obviously the culmination of long simmering tensions between Captain Allman and Henry Osborne, Governor Bourke discreetly sacked (removed) Captain Allman from his position as Police Magistrate at Wollongong.
The initial episode between Allman and Osborne occurred on 9 January 1834, and according to the Blue Book Captain Allman was officially replaced on 15 February. The Paulsgrove diarist notes that on Saturday, 15 March 1834 'Capt Allman J.P. left for Goulburn.' He was officially replaced by William Nairn Gray on 4 March.
Obviously Governor Bourke did not like military or police officials upsetting free settlers or embarrassing them in front of convicts, and went to pains to appease Osborne, the wealthy settler.
These letters therefore verify Harris's account of the events surrounding the dismissal of Captain Allman from the Illawarra magistracy, and also strengthen the view that Harris was in Wollongong at the time and closely involved. If Harris was indeed Bennett, as is suggested, this would explain his intimate knowledge of the fate of Captain Allman. Harris writes in Secrets as though he was Bennett, suggesting that at last we can identify one of his colonial alias's. Some would consider this sufficient evidence for the two being the same individual, however further proof will be offered to strengthen this Illawarra connection.
Our next set of clues regarding Harris's Illawarra identity arise from his own dismissal from the clerical position at Wollongong. With regards to this incident, he states in Secrets (158), that 'The Governor at the time  being a thorough sub-acid Tory, the major [Captain Allman] was removed. Not choosing that he should feel that I had meanly left him [Allman] to be the scapegoat of my offences, I resigned.'
Allman had left Wollongong in March 1834, and Bennett followed eight months later on 3 November. Did Bennett actually resign in support of Captain Allman's ill-treatment at the hands of Governor Bourke and Henry Osborne, as Harris implied above? Well, not exactly!
According to the following letters from the Colonial Secretary's correspondence, H.A.B. Bennett was in fact sacked from his position at Illawarra on 25 November 1834, like Allman before him. Apparently Bennett had been drinking rather heavily and was unable to carry out his clerical duties. He was therefore dismissed for dereliction of duty. If we are proposing that Harris was actually H.A.B. Bennett, then these letters from the Colonial Secretary's correspondence files also throw new light on Harris's supposed resignation and strengthen the suggested link between Harris and Bennett. The first letter describing the incident was sent by Allman's replacement, W.N. Gray, to the Governor, via the Colonial Secretary:
(14th October 1834)Wollongong Police Office
I have the honor to inform you that the conduct of Mr Bennett, Clerk of this Bench has been such today altho' I have passed over a great deal I can no longer keep from reporting for going into Court this morning I found him so drunk that he could not write. I quietly told him to leave the office and I would make another person do his duty. He was so bad that at last I was obliged to make the Constable turn him out. He afterwards broke open the Police Office and gave me a great deal of abuse. I therefore trust His Excellency the Governor will have him removed from the situation. Mr O'Brien and Mr H. Osborne two Magistrates were present and requested me to make this report.I have the honor to be Sir
To the Honourable
The Colonial Secretary
(Request of him to call upon Mr Bennett to account for his conduct in this case) [R. Bourke]
From the above letter we should note that Gray was requested to make this report by none other than Henry Osborne, the local settler involved in Captain Allman's dismissal. It appears that the Colonial Secretary subsequently wrote to Bennett on 25 October, admonishing him, calling for an explanation, and officially dismissing him.
The next extant letter, from W.N. Gray to the Governor, introduces new charges against Bennett, describes his strained financial affairs, notes connections with English relatives, and points to Bennett's 'destitute state':
(31st October 1834)Wollongong Police Office
I have the honor to inform you that on receiving over from Mr Bennett Clerk to this Bench the Public Papers and accounts I find him deficient £26.11.6 or there about in the amount of Public Money he should have had in hand; the deficiency has been owing to his good nature in giving credit for letters, Summons's etc. and being careless in keeping his accounts. In one month I think he will be able to make all correct from the account he has shown me. Should he do it I beg strongly to recommend owing to the destitute state he will be left that the Govt. will pay either his passage to England where he has friends who are well off and support him.I have the honor to be Sir
The Colonial Secretary
(Mr Bennett's salary must be stopped until his accounts are made up Nov 1) Deputy Commissary General)Colonial Treasurer
In the following letter Bennett realises his predicament and presents an apology to Magistrate Gray for his drunken behaviour, whilst denying any impropriety:Illawarra Lake
I beg to state in answer to the last paragraph of the Hon. the Colonial Secretary's letter of the 25th of last Month forwarded by you to me on the 31st ultimo - that nothing could be further from my wish at any time than to have insulted you, or indeed in any way to have met your displeasure. And I feel confident that you will do me justice to say that whenever you have found fault with me that I never made an ungentlemanly reply. And that also in my Official Capacity any order you may have given me, I have always instantly endeavoured to execute with the wish of giving satisfaction to the best of my abilities. Liquor has been the cause of this unhappy Circumstance, forced by an unsettled and distressed mind.
Nothing could have given me a greater shock than the Accusation of breaking open the Police Office, which I must say is an Act I feel more hurt at than I can express to be laid to my Charge. All I did was to return with the Open Office when several were present, also the Chief Constable and took from the Escritor some money I had placed there myself. I slept in the Office that night, and had free admission into the Office until your return from Sydney when you gave to me orders to leave /by the Chief Constable/ which I instantly obeyed.I have the honor to be Sir
Police Magistrate Wollongong
The reference to problems with liquor and 'an unsettled and distressed mind' on the part of Bennett could very easily apply to Alexander Harris at this period. Within Secrets Harris discusses at length his drinking problems, and in Testimony to the Truth he writes of the mental anguish he was also suffering just prior to his religious conversion. The Paulsgrove diarist had confirmed Bennett's drinking habits and enjoyment of rum when he recorded on Sunday, 2 June 1833, that 'Jones and Mr Bennett din'd at Paulsgrove and return'd home to tea - a rum time of visiting.' The following letter from Gray to the Governor was the final nail in Bennett's coffin - no apology would be accepted and his dismissal stood:
(11th November 1834)Wollongong Police Office
I have the honour in reply to your letter of the 25th ultimo 34/723 to forward the enclosed received from Mr Bennett late Clerk of this Bench wherein he denies part of the charge made against him in my letter of the 11th October re. breaking open the Police Office. I really believe that he may not have been sensible that he did so, being at the time so much intoxicated, but the Constable David Mott who was in charge saw him do so and immediately reported it to me. I never would have complained of Mr Bennett had it been his first offence.I have the honor to be Sir
The Colonial Secretary
We can therefore surmise that, officially, Bennett was dismissed from Illawarra on account of his long-running drunken behaviour. Bennett, in a later letter to the Colonial Secretary dated 4 June 1839, refers to these incidents at Wollongong six years previous, and states, ' I was also a considerable time .... at Wollongong, and believe my losing my situation there was by a combination against me by trickery and every way of annoyance to hurt my feelings to replace me by another more particularly desired.'
Here he is suggesting that Henry Osborne and others deliberately conspired to remove him from his position, and this is indeed possible. Also, W.N. Gray, in his letter complaining of Bennett's behaviour, went at lengths to point out, ' Mr O'Brien and Mr H. Osborne, two Magistrates, were present [when Bennett was drunk] and requested me to make this report.'
It seems obvious that Henry Osborne, and others, didn't like Bennett's drunken behaviour and the power he wielded. They conspired successfully, as they had done earlier against Captain Allman, to have him removed from the position of clerk to the Bench at Wollongong. Bennett's behaviour may have warranted his dismissal, though it is doubtful if Allman's did.
This official view of the events at Illawarra is not in total agreement with the way Harris retells it in Secrets, though the basic tenants are the same. It once again reveals the degree to which he has distorted the truth within his writings. This whole incident had been completely omitted from Settlers and Convicts and Bennett's official dismissal for drunkenness and misbehaviour becomes - in Harris's mind - a conspiracy of trickery and annoyance against him, culminating in a noble resignation on his part - not an official dismissal as was the actual fate of Bennett. Once again Harris portrays himself in the best light, as he did in Settlers and Convicts. However despite these distortions and embellishments, the picture of Bennett revealed by these letters is in close agreement with the picture of Harris we have following the revelations of Grant Carr-Harris and Alec Chisholm.
Perhaps the aforementioned letters reveal Harris's darker side to a greater degree, as in his heavy drinking, inability to perform his clerical duties, preferred fraternisation with lowly immigrant settlers and convicts, and destitute state. It is not to be expected that these unsavory aspects of Alexander's personality would be publicised by the family and passed down to his descendants, if indeed Harris ever told them the complete truth of his Australian experiences. However they add a deal of colour to the portrait of the man which is gradually being revealed.
Throughout his writings Harris refers to his problems with drinking and his troubled state of mind, both of which were not eased somewhat until after 1838, when he became an evangelical Christian and ceased drinking. In 1847 he wrote, from first-hand experience, 'Surely of all men living the drunkard is the most unfortunate.' Harris had been a heavy drinker from the time he began associating with students at Oxford at the age of 17, through his period in London as a proof reader and apprentice journalist, up to his religious conversion in New South Wales at the age of 33. His affliction would not have been eased any by his placement in the Sodom of New South Wales at such a young age. This long period of abuse must have taken a heavy physical and mental toll. Of his eventual cessation around 1838 he states, 'If at this period of my life I had not already come to feel a pretty strong aversion to great excess in drinking, I must have sunk ruined forever.'
This end to heavy drinking also coincided with his severe illness and 6 month hospitalisation in Sydney in 1837-38. Obviously his brush with death (of which he had many, and of which he enjoyed relating the circumstances) had made him reconsider his whole way of living. The roaming bush life and diet of rum and mutton would have to be forsaken for care of mind and body. No more sleeping under the stars on damp ground or in draughty humpies in the bush.
As for his drinking during his time at Illawarra, Bennett was found by W.N. Gray one day in Court to be 'so drunk that he could not write.' Later in the same letter Gray comments, 'I really believe that he may not have been sensible .... being at the time so much intoxicated .... I would never have complained of Mr Bennett had it been his first offence.'
Bennett and Harris therefore shared a heavy drinking problem - common for those times you might say? Yes, but they also shared many other traits and personality problems. Bennett, in his own letter of reply to Gray's report admits (in words which could just as easily been Harris's), 'liquor has been the cause of this unhappy circumstance, forced by an unsettled and distressed mind.' That Harris had a 'distressed mind' is amply revealed in books such as Testimony to the Truth and Secrets, and lies at the core of his need to write. Though he may have been a drunk, and mentally on edge, Bennett also had endearing qualities. He was kindly and inoffensive, with even Gray pointing to his 'good nature' and obviously feeling some compassion for him. Bennett was obviously deeply upset by his actions whilst intoxicated and is very apologetic in his letter to Gray. This dual personality is common with heavy drinkers, and had been pointed to in Furlong Harris's later letter.
It is interesting that Gray should suggest that following Bennett's dismissal from his posting at Wollongong, the Government should supply him with passage to England 'where he has friends who are well off and support him.' This request was highly unusual and would only have been made if Gray was certain the Government would be reimbursed the expense. This once again ties in with Alexander Harris, whose family never wanted for money. As Grant Carr-Harris points out:
By the time Alexander returned to England his father, who was the sole heir to the jeweller and goldsmith [William Harris Senior, Alexander's grandfather], had accumulated a considerable amount of money. Presumably, therefore, Alexander was never handicapped by lack of money.
According to the 1952 Harris family history Alexander received money from his family for the duration of his life. Despite his comments in Settlers and Convicts that he had no contact with his family throughout his entire time in Australia, it seems more likely that they would have tried to support their son - support which he obviously needed.
All this information points to the Harris:Bennett character possessing a complex personality. He was basically of a 'good nature' but with 'an unsettled and distressed mind' resulting in a love of the demon drink and a tendency to wander; intelligent, but perhaps immature and somewhat naive (which is no criticism when we consider the rogues and criminals living in the Colony at the time). Furlie Harris, in summing up her brother Alexander's personality in 1847, had called him 'wayward and wilful ... good and gentle.'
From the foregoing information it therefore seems beyond dispute in this author's mind that the Illawarra H.A.B. Bennett was our Alexander Harris. Both the official and published accounts concur, and the behaviour of Bennett is consistent with what we know of Harris from his autobiographies.
Whilst this information shows that Harris used the name H.A.B. Bennett' while in Illawarra between 1832-34, we are still left to ask the question: Did Alexander Harris go by the name H.A.B. Bennett throughout the duration of his stay in New South Wales, i.e. from 1826 to 1840? In order to answer this question we need to know more about H.A.B. Bennett's colonial experiences, for they will supposedly reveal the true circumstances of Alexander Harris's time in the Colony.
H.A.B. Bennett in Australia
A quick search through surviving records reveals that there are no extant shipping records recording the arrival in, or departure from Australia of H.A.B. Bennett; and a 'H.A.B. Bennett' obtained the following letter of introduction from the British Under Secretary R.W. Hay, to Governor Darling, dated Dowling Street, 19th August 1826:
Under Secretary Hay to Governor DarlingDowling Street, 19th August, 1826
My Dear Sir
This letter will be presented to you by Mr H.A.B. Bennett, who has been enabled by his friends to proceed to New South Wales for the purpose of establishing himself there as a settler.
Lord Bathurst is desirous that you should give him a Grant of Land, as he may have the means of cultivating; and that, in case his conduct should be of such as to merit it, you will consider him as one who may hereafter be selected for any small situation which it may prove in your power to appoint him.I have the honor to be Sir
Supposedly Bennett left England shortly after receiving this document in August, arriving in Australia late in 1826 or early in 1827 - the actual ship and date is a mystery. These dates coincide with Alexander Harris's supposed arrival date.
The Sydney Gazette of 16 May 1827 records the signature of Mr H. Bennett upon a letter of thanks sent by the passengers of the vessel Tiger to its Captain in bringing them safely from Van Diemans Land. Whether this is our Mr Bennett is uncertain, but it does suggest his arrival in New South Wales via Hobart about this time. We should also remember that Alexander Harris had a brother who died in Hobart in 1836. Did Harris:Bennett visit him en route to Sydney?
On 14 June 1827 H.A.B. Bennett was given permission to select 640 acres of land in the Colony. This land was never taken up (selected). He was also employed by the New South Wales Government for seven years between 1828-34, initially in the areas of agriculture and stock management, but later as a clerk. A perusal of the New South Wales Government Blue Books and Colonial Secretary correspondence reveals the following employment record for H.A.B. Bennett between 1828-34:
1. 28 May 1828 to March 1829
Superintendent of Agriculture, Norfolk Island
Pay: £91.5.0 pa.
Bennett was dismissed from this position by Governor Darling after proving 'unfit for the situation.'
2. 1 September 1829 to 31 October 1832
Assistant Superintendent of Government Stock, Wellington Valley, New South Wales
Pay: £73 pa.
Bennett spent three years at Wellington Valley, at the time an isolated settlement west of Bathurst. The Government Establishment there was officially broken up in January 1831, but Bennett stayed on until 3 October 1832 when he handed the land and buildings over to the Reverend William Watson of the Church Missionary Society. Watson was establishing an Aboriginal mission in the Valley.
3. 11 November 1832 to 3 November 1834
Clerk the Bench of Magistrates, Wollongong, Illawarra
Associated duties included Registrar to the Court of Requests and Deputy Postmaster.
4. According to a letter from the Colonial Secretary dated 15 February 1839, 'Mr Bennett left the service of the Government about two years since', however he is not mentioned in the Blue Books after 3 November 1834, so we have no details of his whereabouts during 1835-7.
5. In a letter dated 4 June 1839 Bennett states he had been 2 years an assistant at the Sydney Catholic school, with no salary.
Harris's misbehaviour at Wollongong in 1834 may have been enough, considering his previous blemished record, to have him dismissed from the Public Service. We should also note that Bennett's pay decreased with each subsequent job, indicating a troubled, unsuccessful career, or his own dissatisfaction with the situations held.
Whilst Bennett's occupations in Illawarra, Wellington Valley, and Sydney all tie in with what we know of Alexander Harris, it is difficult to reconcile Bennett's Norfolk Island experience with Harris's statements. No direct reference by Harris to his visiting that penal colony is located in his publications, though in 1849 he had somewhat mysteriously dedicated The Emigrant Family to Captain Maconochie, commandant of Norfolk Island between 1840-44 and an advocate of prison reform. Maconochie was dismissed from that position after trying to remove the more barbaric forms of prisoner treatment - such as hanging and floggings. Harris would no doubt have supported this action.
We are left to wonder at the reason for Bennett's removal from the position at Norfolk Island after proving 'unfit for the situation.' Later events suggest that his fondness of alcohol, his youthful immaturity, and 'distressed mind' would not have been suitable traits for such an important position as Superintendent of Agriculture on the notorious penal settlement at Norfolk Island - a settlement which at the time was striving to become self sufficient. Also his obvious lack of farming skills would have been quickly revealed. Bennett may have been dismissed due to this incompetence in agricultural matters, although Harris hints at the moral depravities of the inmates, suggesting some scandalous involvement. Perhaps he simply could not stomach the extreme discipline and harsh conditions of this ultra-penal settlement.
Following his removal from Illawarra in November 1834 we lose the trail of Bennett for approximately 4 years, until we come across a series of very descriptive letters between Bennett, Governor Gipps and the Colonial Secretary with regards to 640 acres of land Bennett had been promised on 14 June 1827, shortly after his arrival in New South Wales.
Apparently Bennett had failed to take up the land when it was initially offered him in 1827, preferring to pursue a career in the Public Service. He wrongly believed that he could take up his land at any time, and had planned to do so when his Public Service career ended. Bennett was in for a rude shock when he reapplied for the land in April 1838.
Letters detailing his request for the land are printed below. The first letter outlines Bennett's circumstances upon arrival in the Colony and introduces his belated request for the land:
(26th December 1838)His Excellency
Please your Excellency
I did myself the honour of forwarding a Memorial to your Excellency for permission to select 640 acres of land granted to me soon after my arrival in this Colony - which Memorial still lays before your Excellency and to which Memorial I have not as yet received an answer. It is a truly hard case that I should be so long kept from my land when I see others that have obtained theirs. Mr Henry Connell was granted permission to select by Colonel Snodgrass when Lieutenant Governor, as also Mr Jackson of the Commissariat to select his land.
The Honorable Edward Monckton, my Uncle, got the permission from Sir Wilmot Horton for my being allowed a grant of land in this Colony - which permission I brought out with me. The land was given to me with permission to Select. The documents enclosed with my Memorial must convince your Excellency that Sir Wilmot Horton's desire was heard and that permission was given to go and select 640 acres of land - the reasons for my not having selected my land is now before your Excellency in my Memorial.
I paid £90 for my passage to this Colony and brought out Agricultural implements to a large amount, which were of great benefit to this Colony at the time I arrived in it, their being in great demand.
I'm now enabled by the kind offer of a friend to go on to my land, and I pray that your Excellency will in your great goodness grant me permission to Select the land given to me and sanctioned by the Home Government.
I served this Government many years - Having been Superintendent of Agriculture at Norfolk Island, three years at Wellington Valley Assistant of Government Stock, also Clerk to the Bench of Magistrates, Illawarra. I pray for that which I conceive my right, and I beg that your Excellency will in your great goodness give it to me.I have the honor to be Sir,
Old Court House
24th December 1838
(Former papers, Why has he not had an answer G.G. Dec 25)
(I have made every search for the former papers but cannot find them, although I have a strong recollection of the last "Memorial" and therefore remember the case.
I find that Mr Bennett received an order to select Six Hundred and Forty acres of land on the 14th June 1827, but no selection or proposals appears to have been made.
After obtaining the above Order, Mr Bennett obtained employment under the Government and in consequence the order was considered in operative for the time. At any rate, Mr Bennett left the Service of the Government about two years since, and appears to have applied for the restoration of the land in April last.
The two cases referred to are not applicable to Mr Bennett, as selection was duly made in the others, but Mr H.B. Connell is I believe quite in point. 15 Feb.)
(Put up with those papers in Mr Whiles case. Feb 15)
(Mr Bennett must be informed that I regret I cannot recognize his right to a grant of land. He might have had one in 1827, but instead of taking it, he then preferred entering the public service. Unless he can prove an express promise made and recorded, that he should have a grant of land, whenever he might choose to quit the Service, it is quite out of my power to entertain his claim. G.G. March 16)
The above letter contains a wealth of information regarding Bennett, and intimates that he was in government employ until 1836, two years after leaving Illawarra. The next letter was written by Bennett in response to Governor Gipps's negative reply to the above letter:
(26th March 1839)
Sir George Gipps K.C.B.
Governor of New South Wales
and its Dependencies
Please your Excellency
I beg to make a reply to the answer your Excellency made to my Memorial of date 24th December 1838, soliciting permission to select my grant of land of 640 acres.
I most humbly beg to state that I was never given to understand that I was to throw up my land if I entered the Public Service, and I do most solemnly avow that such was never entertained by me. The 640 acres of land was given to me and I paid the fee for the document required at the Surveyor Generals Office to select my land, which document with my letter to Mr Surveyor Finch, together with two notes from Mr Lithgow, I forwarded with my Memorial to your Excellency.
On receiving the said permission to select my land, and my letter to Mr Surveyor Finch, I went to the River Hunter /which put me to much expense/ not meeting with Mr Finch, I returned to Sydney without making a selection, and I cannot conceive that the Government intend to deprive me of my land that was given to me. My having left my native country being assured by my uncle, the Honourable Edward Monckton, that he had obtained permission of Sir Wilmot Horton, the Secretary for the Colony, for my having a section of Land.
I should not have gone to the expense I did had I not been certain I possessed my land before I left England. I purchased a Cart, a flour mill complete with everything requisite for cleaning flour, pit saws, cross-cut saws, ploughs, harrows, spades, shovels, brash hooks, carpenters tools, nails of every description for building, Butchers implements, dairy utensils, butter churn, milk pails, and many other requisite articles. I should not have gone to this expense had I not felt certain that I was to hold a section of land for ever in this Colony. I paid £90 for my passage. The freight, together with my outfit, was of no small consideration to me.
Is it not heart rending, is it not cruel that after leaving my native Colony buoyed up with this certainty and the land having been given to me on arrival in the Colony, and permission to select it in which the documents that accompany my memorial to your Excellency stand proof of /that I am now to have my land taken back from me / it is truly cruel, it is truly heart rending that I am to suffer the loss of the land that had been given to me. I should not have entered the Public Service had I supposed that such a step as this would have been taken - and I most solemnly avow that I never entered the Public Service under any such consideration, and never would I have entered the Public Service had such a proposition been made to me.
Others that I feel could never have shown stronger proof of their title to their grants of land have been allowed althou' in the Public Service to receive theirs. Low I can name Mess. Connell and Jackson of the Commissariat Department. My documents accompanied my Memorial to the Excellency.
Cruel and heart rending it is to me to suppose that the Government after having given me my land should now wish to withhold it from me. It is my right and to my grave must I ever consider it so. And I must humbly pray that your Excellency will do me the justice to issue an order that I may receive my land. And I must then ever appreciate your Excellency for doing justice to one who must ever feel most truly grateful.
Henry Anthony Burlton Bennett.
(Inform Mr Bennett that I regret very much I cannot alter the view which my letter of July forced me to take of his situation. Mr Bennett is, I must remark, incorrect in saying that the Government has taken back land that it had given to him. Mr Bennett never had the land, though it is true that he might have had it had he taken proper steps to secure it. It is too late to do so now. G.G. March 25)
Despite Bennett's pleas, Gipps was unmoved, and the decision stood. The following letter from Bennett is brief, but it begins to reveal his frustration with the local authorities:
(9th April 1839)
To Sir George Gipps
Please your Excellency
In reply to my letter concerning my land of 640 acres of date 28th of last month, your Excellency in said reply state urging my claim to 640 acres of land as having been promised to me by Sir Ralph Darling, your Excellency is under a great mistake. Herefore the documents that accompanied my Memorial of date 24th December 1838 must be convincing to your Excellency that the land was given to me - and strong proof also of the land having been given to me is that on leaving Mr McLeay's Office that Gentleman on my speaking to him concerning an appointment, said 'Why Mr Bennett, you have a grant for a Section of Land and I advise you to go on to it.' The land, as your Excellency is under a mistake, was not a promise, but I paid the fee at the Surveyor General's Office for the regular documents and had the land given to me, for which purpose I left my Native Country, and I trust your Excellency will issue an order for me to receive my land and if I had not been promised it before I left England I should never have come out to this Colony.
I have the honor to be
with profound respect
Most Obdt. Humble Servant
Henry Anthony Burlton Bennett
I beg to add that permission to select 640 acres of land, a letter to Mr Surveyor Finch, and two notes from Mr Lithgow accompanied my Memorial of date 24th December 1838.
6th April 1839
Old Court House
(This has reference, I think, to a case already decided. If so, it need not come before me again unless some new feature in it is brought forward. G.G. April 8)
The following letter was Bennett's final plea for the land he thought was due him:
To Sir George Gipps KCB
Governor of New South Wales
and its Dependencies
4th June 1839
Please your Excellency
I do myself the honour to request as your Excellency does not think proper to grant me an order to receive my section of land which was the cause of my leaving my native Country, with all kind of agricultural implements, paying £90 for my passage, freight and other expenses, and having failed in making my selection on my first trip into the interior, not being able to fall in with Mr Surveyor Finch, and still consider the land to have been given me by the Home Government and that for ever. I beg that your Excellency will be pleased to allow of the papers that accompanied Memorial of date 24th December 1838 may be returned to me.
I beg to hand for your Excellency's perusal a character of my deportment when on Norfolk Island as Supt. of Agriculture. I also beg to inform your Excellency that I was Ass. Supt. to Government Stock at Wellington Valley, taking upon me an extra duty of the Commissariat Stores in which I gave satisfaction. I also saved Government by my foresight the expense and trouble of forwarding for nearly twelve months flour for the use of the Establishment from Bathurst a distance of one hundred miles, by including a self sown crop of Wheat and reaping and storing it for the Govt. good.
I handed over Wellington Valley to the Reverend Mr Watson, bringing away with me all and every article belonging to Govt. & had turned them into the Commissariat Store at Bathurst to the satisfaction of Commissariat Howard, then in charge of that store, also having given Mr John Maxwell Principal Superintendent of Government Stock, while under his superintendence every satisfaction. I was also a considerable time Clerk to the Bench, Registrar of the Court of Requests, and Postmaster at Wollongong, and believe my losing my situation there was by a combination against me by trickery and every way of annoyance to hurt my feelings to replace me by another more particularly desired - This is to show your Excellency that it was not thro' inactivity that I did not take up my land, but being in Govt. Employment I of course conceived that my land would never be taken from me but that I should have it in the event of returning for leaving the Govt. Employ. I beg that your Excellency will allow of my papers that accompanied my Memorial 24th December last together with those I now enclose may be returned to me.
I have served the Government some years. I have been 2 years assistant in the Catholic School, although a Protestant, without salary.
Should your Excellency in your goodness look over previous occurrences and give me some appointment your Excellency may depend I never will disgrace it but make it my future study to give your Excellency every satisfaction and must ever feel truly grateful.
I have the honor to be
with profound respect
Most obedient humble servant
Henry Anthony Burlton Bennett.
Old Court House
3rd June 1839
Let his papers be returned to him. I do not know where they are. GG June 3.
Mr Bennett returning 2 papers vis: a note from Capt Wakefield of 29 May 1929, a paper signed Capt Wakefield and Dr Rop and dated the 6th June 1829
14 June 1839
Despite this pathetic plea for his documents and a job, Bennett received no reply to this letter from Gipps. From its tone it was obvious he was quite upset with the authorities rejection of his application for land, and also with the time taken - over 2 years - to inform him of their final decision.
The foregoing letters bring much light to bear upon H.A.B. Bennett's Australian experiences. From them we learn that he arrived in Australia between November 1826 and June 1827 with a letter of introduction, and other relevant papers obtained through his uncle Edward Monckton; along with a cache of agricultural implements, having spent £90 on the voyage and provisions. Shortly after arrival in Sydney (supposedly on 14 June 1827) he had obtained permission to select 640 acres of land and traveled to the Hunter River to do so. Not meeting the Government Surveyor, he returned to Sydney and took up a Public Service appointment in May 1828, letting his land grant lapse and disposing of his implements and supplies. He worked for the Government for approximately 8 years (1828-36) and in 1837 became an assistant at the Catholic School in Sydney. In April 1838 he reapplied for his land, only to be turned down by the Governor. His final letter of June 1839 is a plea for re-employment in the Public Service - a plea which went unanswered. re these the precise details of Alexander Harris's time in New South Wales?
Bennett was obviously extremely upset at the rejection by Governor Gipps, considering the matter to be 'heart rending', and using all his writing skills to plead his case. Unfortunately by the middle of 1839 he was unsuccessful in his protestations to the Governor. His plea for Gipps to 'look over previous occurrences' points to his checkered career in the colonial service. After June 1839 Bennett's movements are unknown. As with Harris, no record has yet been found of his departure from Australia. Perhaps he left the country under an assumed name, leaving unpaid debts behind.
How do these letters, and the information they reveal concerning Henry Bennett, affect our proposition that he and Harris were one in the same? part from developing the Illawarra connection, the letters point to many similar experiences and personnel traits between the two. They also explain Harris's venomous condemnation of the local land regulations in Settlers and Convicts (224-6), and it could be suggested they provide the conclusive link between Harris and Bennett for which we are searching, whilst some may think we are still clutching straws. Fortunately our extra knowledge of Mr Bennett revealed by those 1838-1839 letters points to striking similarities between both the experiences and personalities of these two mysterious men. They also reveal some obvious discrepancies!
On the positive side, Bennett and Harris both appear to have been clerk to the Bench at Illawarra at the same time; and the 1838-9 letters suggest a reason for Harris's decision to leave Australia around 1840, namely, that when his application for his land was refused by the Governor, and with no Public Service position forthcoming, Harris:Bennett would therefore have had no reason to stay. He was obviously financially strained, only being able to reapply for his land due to 'the kind offer of a friend'. Being broke and with no future prospects, apart from those of teaching at the Sydney Catholic school, the future looked bleak.
Why not, therefore, return home to England? His precarious state of health, after suffering a major illness in 1838, would also have affected his decision and perhaps dampened his enthusiasm for colonial life. Perhaps he left the shores of New South Wales a bitter man, at odds with both his own failings and those of the local authorities, though not with the land and its people in general.
With so many more pieces of the puzzle appearing, we can now assess Harris's colonial experiences in a new light.
The Mystery Solved?
The information presented over the previous pages points to a definite connection between Alexander Harris and Henry Anthony Burlton Bennett. The proving of this connection has been greatly complicated by the successful mixing of fact and fiction within Harris's published works (especially evident in Settlers and Convicts and The Emigrant Family), transforming them from mere journal reproductions into cohesive works of apparent fiction. The lack of relevant official documents associated with both Harris and Bennett has also hampered our search. Harris's distortion of events, mixing of places, dates and personalities often creates an impenetrable barrier to our investigations. Despite all this, the uncanny similarities between Harris and Bennett are there to be seen. The following is a brief summary of the more obvious links:
1. Both had arrived in New South Wales (via Tasmania?) between November 1826 and May 1827, with a certain mystery surrounding their entry into the Colony. No shipping records have been found for either a Alexander Harris or H.A.B. Bennett to verify their specific arrival in, and departure from, Australia, suggesting they may have been members of a ship's crew. Bennett possibly arrived in Sydney on the Tiger during May 1827.
2. Both had well-to-do families and relatives back home in England, as revealed in Bennett's letters and Harris's family history.
3. Both had a drinking problem of major proportions - Bennett's becoming public at Illawarra, and Harris merely referring to his throughout his published works.
4. Both were well educated, with obvious literary, legal, and clerical skills. Harris had trained in law at Oxford.
5. Both were employed as Clerk to the Bench of Magistrates at Illawarra during the early 1830s - this is the most concrete connection, suggesting that Harris and Bennett were one in the same person.
6. Harris, despite being brought up in the Protestant faith, became a Christian around 1838 following a major illness, and subsequently spent the rest of his time in Australia (1838-40) at Sydney. Bennett was working as an assistant (and teacher?) at Sydney Catholic school from 1837-8, though he noted in a letter that he was a Protestant. Harris also later worked as a teacher in Ontario, Canada.
7. Harris's mind was in a constant state of turmoil until about 1838, according to his own account in Secrets, only recovering when he was converted to evangelicalism around 1838. Bennett, according to one of his letters, had a 'distressed mind' whilst at Illawarra in 1834.
8. Harris had left England with £130, of which £40 was spent on clothing, books etc., leaving £90 for steerage and the purchase of items upon arrival in New South Wales. Bennett had spent £90 on steerage and farming implements brought to New South Wales.
9. Both Harris and Bennett were critical of the New South Wales land regulations - Governor Gipps had refused to give Bennett his grant of land in 1838-39; and Harris was especially critical of Governor Gipps's land grants policy throughout Settlers and Convicts. The land regulations were the only area of colonial politics which Harris discussed at length within his publications, suggesting that he was writing from bitter personal experience.
10. Harris, while making a journey to Hunter's River region north of Sydney, had been robbed (Secrets, 161-2); Bennett points out that in an 1839, 'I went to the River Hunter, which put me to much expense', suggesting similar misfortune.
11. Both had visited Wellington Valley for a period. Harris states he had taken his own cattle there (see Settlers and Convicts, 200), and Bennett had taken government stock there and worked in the area for up to three years as Superintendent of Government Stock - quite a long period to be stationed in such an isolated settlement. This lengthy stay would have provided Harris with a perfect opportunity to socialize at length with the stockmen, shepherds, and cedar-getters who were the only other white inhabitants, and of whom he wrote so glowingly in Settlers and Convicts. This period would have been invaluable in compiling information and anecdotes for his subsequent writings. His contact with the Aborigines at Wellington may also explain his support for the perpetrators of the Myall Creek massacre, as frontier life may have hardened him towards the original Australians.
12. Both Harris and Bennett were obviously best suited to clerical work - Harris failed at any work which was laborious, and Bennett had been dismissed from Norfolk Island as an unfit Superintendent of Agriculture (though the circumstances of the dismissal remain mysterious), though successful in his work at Wellington Valley. Harris gives only a vague, tantalising reference to Norfolk Island at the end of Settlers and Convicts, referring to 'the horrid iniquities of the ultra-penal settlements.'
13. Harris in Settlers and Convicts (77) criticizes the length of time taken by the Colonial Secretary to answer letters; Bennett's run-in with the Colonial Secretary in 1838-39 and long delays in securing a land grant have already been noted.
The list could go on, and whilst singularly many of these points are not conclusive in proving that Harris and Bennett were one in the same person, taken together they suggest a definite link between the two. As this is the most convincing link that has so far been established in any attempt to solve the mystery of Alexander Harris's Australian identity, it warrants presentation and discussion. If Bennett was not Harris, then they must at least have been intimate associates.
Alexander Harris as H.A.B. Bennett in Australia
Assuming that Harris and Bennett are one in the same person, we can suggest the following rough itinerary for his time in Australia, based on references within Harris's publications, the Bennett letters, and official archives:
Date Location & Occupation
19 August 1826 - Obtains letter of introduction to Governor Darling, and leaves England shortly thereafter
11 May 1827 - Arrives in Sydney aboard the Tiger, from Hobart
14 June 1827 - Applies for land at the Colonial Secretary's Department, Sydney, and is issued with an order to select 640 acres in the Hunter region
July-December 1827 - Fails to select land at the Hunter; returns to Sydney and secures first job at Illawarra
late 1827 - April 1828 - Visits Illawarra, working as a carpenter and cedar cutter; returns to Sydney, seeking job in the public service as a clerk
May 1828 - March 1829 - Employed on Norfolk Island as superintendent of agriculture
April - August 1829 - Returns to Sydney; seeks odd jobs pending new government position
Sept. 1829 - Oct. 1832 - Works at Wellington Valley as assistant superintendent of government stock
Nov. 1832 - Nov. 1834 - Employed at Illawarra as clerk to the Bench of Magistrates
early 1835 - Returns to Sydney. Odd jobs, then takes cattle to Bathurst and south west
1835 - 1837 - Farming and stock-keeping in the Goulburn-Braidwood area, south-west of Sydney
April 1837 - Applies to the Governor for his 1827 land grant
1838 - Illness - travels to the hospital at Sydney
1838 - 1839 - Employed as an assistant at Sydney Catholic School
24 December 1838 - Letter to the Governor requesting land grant
c24 March 1839 - Letter to the Governor re land
6 April 1839 - Letter to the Governor re land
4 June 1839 - Final letter to Governor re land grant and a job in the public service
1839-40 - Farming in Goulburn area
early 1840 - Leaves New South Wales and returns to England
Christmas 1840 - Home in England
27 November 1841 - Marries Elizabeth Atkinson in London
There are still many gaps in this list, especially for the years 1835-37. Perhaps it was during this period that he compiled information for The Emigrant Family, which is set in the Goulburn-Braidwood area south-west of Sydney, though it could also be based on his experiences at Illawarra and Wellington.
Some aspects of H.A.B. Bennett's career are hard to reconcile with what we know of Harris from his writings. For example, Bennett was in Norfolk Island for almost a year, yet Harris makes no direct reference to this locality / episode, though his abhorrence of the convict system and flogging may have been developed during this period. Bennett also, upon arrival in New South Wales, possessed letters of introduction and requests for land from official sources in England - such papers would not have been easily obtained for an army deserter such as Harris, if we are to believe his Horse Guards story, though his family were relatively wealthy and, by inference, influential. Was the Edward Monckton in Bennett's letters actually Harris's uncle?
Many questions still remain unanswered concerning both Alexander Harris and H.A.B. Bennett. With time, and further research, the most important of these may be answered and the mystery surrounding Alexander Harris may be solved once and for all. This author believes that Alexander Harris and H.A.B. Bennett were the same individual, despite being part of a multiple personality. With this information Harris's many publications may be viewed anew, and edged a little further out of the pit of historical fiction into the light of the factual account. Whilst the mystery surrounding Alexander Harris's colonial identity may have been solved, the innate mystery of the man remains.
Section 1: Publications by Alexander Harris (Arranged Chronologically)
'Life in New South Wales', The People's Journal, London, 8 August 1846, volume 2, pp74-8. Attributed to 'A Working Hand' and later incorporated into chapter III of Settlers and Convicts.
'Reasons for the Entire Abolition of Flogging', The People's Journal, London, 29 August 1846, volume 3, pp17-18. Attributed to 'Alexander Harris'.
'Settlers and Convicts, or Recollections of Sixteen Years' Labour in the Australian Backwoods', Knights Monthly Volume, C. Cox, 12 King William Street, The Strand, London, May and June 1847, nos. XII and XIII, pp.xii, 6-435. Issued as two volumes for 1/- each, and later as a single volume for 3/-. Attributed to 'An Emigrant Mechanic'.
Testimony to the Truth: or, The Autobiography of an Atheist, Smith, Elder & Co., London, 1848, pp.xvi, 312. 1st edition, issued anonymously.
The Emigrant Family: or, The Story of an Australian Settler, Smith, Elder and Co., London, 1849. Issued in 3 volumes. Attributed to 'The Author of Settlers and Convicts'.
A Guide to Port Stephens in New South Wales, the Colony of the Australian Agricultural Company, William Orr and Co., London, 1849, pp.iv & 223. Attributed to 'Alexander Harris, author of Convicts and Settlers, The Emigrant Family, etc., etc'.
'Nancy Kennedy (An Australian Legend)', Sidney's Emigrant's Journal, London, 1849, pp184-91. No attribution. Reproduced in Secrets, 1961, pp235-45, along with an alternate version pp136-42.
Testimony to the Truth: or, The Autobiography of an Atheist, Smith, Elder and Co., London, 1850. 2nd edition. No attribution.
Questions, general and particular, about Massachusetts, for the pupils of Hawes School, Boston, G.C. Rand & Co., Boston, 1850.
Testimony to the Truth: or, The Autobiography of an Atheist, Smith, Elder and Co., London, 1851. 3rd edition. No attribution.
A Converted Atheist's Testimony to the Truth of Christianity: Being the Autobiography of Alex. Harris, author of 'Settlers and Convicts', 'The Emigrant Family', etc., Smith, Elder & Co., London, 1852, 393pp. 4th edition.
Settlers and Convicts, G. Cox, 18 King Street, Covent Garden, 1852. Issued in 1 Volume, being a compilation of the original 2 part 1847 issue. Attributed to 'Alexander Harris'.
Martin Beck: or, The Story of an Australian Settler, G. Routledge and Co., 1852, pp.xii & 368. 2nd edition of The Emigrant Family, issued in 1 Volume. Attributed to 'Alexander Harris'.
'Religio Christi', The Saturday Evening Post, Philadelphia, 20 March-23 October, 1858.
'Epilogue to Religio Christi', The Saturday Evening Post, Philadelphia, 30 October 1858. Reproduced in Secrets, pp229-30.
A geographical hand book, or, A description of the different countries, with their several sub-divisions into provinces, cantons or states ... : with a copious index : adapted as an aid to the student of history, Daily Express Office, Lancaster, Pa., 1862, 427p.
The cause of the war shown; or, The inquiries: Who are responsible for the Civil War in America? and, What are the designs of its authors? answered, Philadelphia, 1863, 86p.
A geographical handbook....,, 2nd edition, Pearsol & Geist, Lancaster, 1864, 432p.
A geographical handbook....,, 3rd edition, Pearsol, Lancaster, 1866, 432p.
Rathvon, S.S. and Harris, Alexander (eds.), The Lancaster farmer, a monthly journal: devoted to agriculture, horticulture, practical entomology, domestic economy and general miscellany, Wylie & Geist, Lancaster, Pa., 1869-1873.
A biographical history of Lancaster County : being a history of early settlers and eminent men of the county, as also much other unpublished historical information, chiefly of a local character, E. Barr, Lancaster, Pennsylvania, 1872, 638p. Reprinted Genealogical Publishing Company, Baltimore, 1977.
'The Sacredness of the Name of God', The Morning Star, Limerick, Maine, 1872. Free Will Baptist newspaper. Signed 'Spectator, Hamilton'.
'Profane Swearing', The Morning Star, Limerick, Maine, 1872.
A review of the political conflict in America from the commencement of the anti-slavery agitation to the close of southern reconstruction; comprising also a résumé of the career of Thaddeus Stevens: being a survey of the struggle of parties which destroyed the republic and virtually monarchized its government ..., T.H. Pollock, New York, 1876, 533p.
Settlers and Convicts, Melbourne University Press, Melbourne, May 1953. 1st Australian edition, with a Forward by Manning Clark.
Settlers and Convicts, Melbourne University Press, Melbourne, May 1954. 2nd Australian edition, with a Forward and Postscript by Manning Clark.
The Secrets of Alexander Harris, Angus and Robertson, Sydney, 1961, 245pp. An abridged version of 'Religio Christi', with Introduction by Grant Carr-Harris, and Preface by Alec Chisholm.
Settlers and Convicts, Melbourne University Press, Melbourne, 1964. 3rd Australian edition, with a revised Forward by Manning Clark.
The Emigrant Family, Australian National University Press, Canberra, 1967, ppxiv, 418. Introduction by W.S. Ramson.
Settlers and Convicts, Melbourne University Press, Melbourne, 1969, ppxxv, 245. Reprint of 3rd Australian edition of 1964.
Settlers and Convicts, Melbourne University Press, Melbourne, 1986, ppxxv, 245. Reprint of 3rd Australian edition of 1964.
Section 2: Articles on Alexander Harris and his Works
Unknown, 'Review of Settlers and Convicts', The Atlas, Sydney, 23 October 1847, pp513-5. Reproduced in Secrets, pp230-1.
Unknown, 'Review of Settlers and Convicts', Howitt's Journal of Literature and Popular Progress, London, volume 2, 1847. Reproduced in Secrets, p234.
Unknown, 'Review of Settlers and Convicts', Chambers Edinburgh Journal, New Series, no.185, 17 July 1847, pp44-6.
John Sidney, [Brief comments on Settlers and Convicts], A Voice from the Far Interior of Australia, by a Bushman, London, 1847. Reproduced in Secrets, pp232-3.
Unknown, 'Review of Testimony to the Truth', The Christian Times, London, 1847.
Unknown, 'Review of The Emigrant Family', Sidney's Emigrant's Journal, London, 8 March 1849, volume 1, no.26. Reproduced in Secrets, p233.
S. Sidney, 'Editorial'. Sidney's Emigrant's Journal, London, 5 April 1849, volume 1, no. 27. Reproduced in Secrets, pp233-4.
----, 'Review of Guide to Port Stephens', Sidney's Emigrant's Journal, Second Series, October 1849, pp157-60.
Jessie A. Lewin, We Harris's and where we come from. The story of the family, Montreal, 1 January 1952, 58pp.
Douglas Stewart, 'Another Great History Mystery', The Bulletin, Sydney, 17 June 1953.
----, 'Was Harris a Convict?' The Bulletin, Sydney, 23 December 1953.
Colin Roderick, 'Who Was Alexander Harris?' The Bulletin, Sydney, 20 January 1954.
John Earnshaw, 'John Lang and Alexander Harris', The Bulletin, Sydney, 17 February 1954.
Colin Roderick, 'Review of Settlers and Convicts', Biblionews, Sydney, March 1954.
Manning Clark, 'Alexander Harris', Australian Encyclopedia, Angus & Robertson, 1958.
Alec Chisholm, 'The Odd Case of Alexander Harris', Meanjin, volume 19, 1960, pp411-20.
J.D. Bollen, 'Review of The Secrets of Alexander Harris', Journal of the Royal Australian Historical Society, Sydney, 1961, volume 47, part 6, pp374-76.
H.M. Green, A History of Australian Literature, Angus and Robertson, Sydney, 1961. See Volume 1, pp32-36 and pp116-30 for a discussion of Harris's Australian works.
G. Davidson, 'Alexander Harris & the Australian Legend', Melbourne Historical Journal, no. 2, Melbourne, 1962, pp55-8.
John Wallace Metcalfe, 'Lecture on "Alexander Harris", to the Waverley Historical Society', 9 September 1963. Mitchell Library ML DOC 316.
Alec Chisholm, 'Alexander Harris', Australian Encyclopedia, Grolier Press, 1964.
Russell Ward, The Australian Legend, Oxford University Press, Melbourne, 1964. The book quotes Alexander Harris extensively.
W.S. Ransom, 'Early Australian English: The language of the Emigrant Mechanic', Southerly, volume 25, no. 2, 1965, pp116-30.
J. Cowell, 'The attitudes of Alexander Harris and others and general Australian attitudes to the Aborigines and other races between 1820 and 1840 as revealed in their works', BA Hons thesis, University of New England, 1972.
W.S. Ransom, 'The Emigrant Family - the delineation of actual life', The Australian Experience: Critical Essays on Australian Novels, Australian National University, Canberra, 1974.
B.G. Andrews & W.H. Wilde, 'Alexander Harris (An Emigrant Mechanic)', in Austrlaian Literature to 1900: A Guide to Information Sources, Gale, Michigan, 1980, 237-9.
Ian Duffield, 'Martin Beck and Afro-Blacks in Colonial Australia', Journal of Australian Studies, Number 16, May 1985, pp3-20.
Ian Duffield, 'Alexander Harris's The Emigrant Family and afro-black people in colonial Australia', in The Black Presence in English Literature, David Dabydeen (editor), Manchester University Press, Manchester, 1985, pp68-94.
M. Organ, 'The Search for the Identity of Alexander Harris whilst in New South Wales 1825-41', Bulletin of the Illawarra Historical Society, Wollongong, October & November 1986.
Ian Duffield, 'Billy Blue: A Legend of Early Sydney', History Today, London, February 1987, pp43-8.
Dorothy Green, 'Two clear minds. - Alexander Harris' thoughts on Aboriginal/ white relations', Aboriginal History, 11(1-2), 1987, 12-13.
Dorothy Green, 'The road not taken?. - Paper presented at the Association for the Study of Australian Literature Conference, 1988. Discussion of issues related to Aborigines in Alexander Harris' literature', Southerly, 3, September 1989, 288-99.
D.O. Cull, 'Alexander Harris', Berrima and District Historical Society Newsletter, Berrima, April 1990.
Patricia Miles, 'In search of Alexander Harris', Push, Armidale, 30, 1992, 46-69.
John Barnes, 'Bushmen and bookworms: the status of the book in colonial Australia. - Paper delivered at a seminar 'Books and Reading', 19 April 1994, Margin, 36, July/August 1995, 1-11.
Andrew Moran, 'Alexander Harris: The Man and His Family', Journal of Australian Colonial History, 1(2), August 1999, 30-44.
Section 3: Consolidated Bibliography of Alexander Harris (Arranged alphabetically by Author)
Andrews, B.G., & W.H. Wilde, 'Alexander Harris (An Emigrant Mechanic)', in Austrlaian Literature to 1900: A Guide to Information Sources, Gale, Michigan, 1980, 237-9.
A.W., 'Review of The Secrets of Alexander Harris', Newcastle Morning Herald, 7 October 1961.
Baker, D.W.A., 'Review of The Secrets of Alexander Harris', Nation, 82, 18 November 1961, 22.
Barnes, J., 'Bushmen and bookworms: the status of the book in colonial Australia. - Paper delivered at a seminar 'Books and Reading', 19 April 1994, Margin, 36, July/August 1995, 1-11.
Bollen, J.D., 'Review of The Secrets of Alexander Harris', Journal of the Royal Australian Historical Society, Sydney, 47, 6, 1961, 374-76.
Borrie, W.D., Review of Settlers and Convicts, The Economic Record, 30, May 1954, 127-8.
Carr-Harris, G., 'Introduction', in The Secrets of Alexander Harris, Angus and Robertson, Sydney, 1961, 245pp.
Chisholm, A.C., 'The Odd Case of Alexander Harris', Meanjin Quarterly, 19, 1960, 411-20.
----, 'Preface', in The Secrets of Alexander Harris, Angus and Robertson, Sydney, 1961, 245pp.
----, 'Alexander Harris', Australian Encyclopedia, Angus & Robertson, 1964.
----, 'Alexander Harris', Australian Encyclopedia, Grolier Press, 1976.
Clark, Manning, 'Forward', in Settlers and Convicts, Melbourne University Press, Melbourne, May 1953.
----, Letter to the editor re Alexander Harris, Times Literary Supplement, London, 2 October 1953, 629.
----, Forward and Postscript, in Settlers and Convicts, Melbourne University Press, Melbourne, May 1954.
----, 'Alexander Harris', Australian Encyclopedia, Angus & Robertson, 1958.
----, 'Review of The Secrets of Alexander Harris', Meanjin Quarterly, March 1962.
----, 'Forward', in Settlers and Convicts, Melbourne University Press, Melbourne, 1964.
Cowell, J., 'The attitudes of Alexander Harris and others and general Australian attitudes to the Aborigines and other races between 1820 and 1840 as revealed in their works', BA(Hons) thesis, University of New England, 1972.
Cull, D.O., 'Alexander Harris', Berrima and District Historical Society Newsletter, Berrima, April 1990.
Davidson, G., 'Alexander Harris & the Australian Legend', Melbourne Historical Journal, Melbourne, 2, 1962, 55-8.
Duffield, Ian, 'Martin Beck and Afro-Blacks in Colonial Australia', Journal of Australian Studies, 16, May 1985, 3-20.
----, 'Alexander Harris's The Emigrant Family and Afro-black people in colonial Australia', in D. Dabydeen (ed), The Black Presence in English Literature, Manchester University Press, Manchester, 1985, 68-94.
----, 'Billy Blue: A Legend of Early Sydney', History Today, London, February 1987, 43-8.
Dugan, D., 'Review of The Secrets of Alexander Harris', Age Literary Supplement, Melbourne, 28 October 1961, 17.
Earnshaw, J., 'John Lang and Alexander Harris', The Bulletin, Sydney, 17 February 1954.
Gladstone, W.E., 'Review of Settlers and Convicts', London Quarterly Review, 61, 1847.
Green, Dorothy, 'Two clear minds. - Alexander Harris' thoughts on Aboriginal/ white relations', Aboriginal History, 11(1-2), 1987, 12-13.
----, 'The road not taken?. - Paper presented at the Association for the Study of Australian Literature Conference, 1988. Discussion of issues related to Aborigines in Alexander Harris' literature', Southerly, 3, September 1989, 288-99.
Green, H.M., A History of Australian Literature, Angus and Robertson, Sydney, 1961, volume 1, 32-36, 116-30.
G.W., 'Review of The Secrets of Alexander Harris', Newcastle Sun, 19 October 1961.
Harris, Alexander, 'Life in New South Wales, by a Working Hand - My First Job', The People's Journal, London, 2, 8 August 1846, 74-8. This article was later incorporated into chapter III of Settlers and Convicts (1847).
----, 'Reasons for the Entire Abolition of Flogging, by Alexander Harris', The People's Journal, London, 3, 29 August 1846, 17-18.
----, 'Settlers and Convicts, or Recollections of Sixteen Years' Labour in the Australian Backwoods, by an Emigrant Mechanic', Knight's Monthly Volume, G. Cox, 12 King William Street, The Strand, London, vols. xii and xiii, May and June 1847, xii, 6-435. Issued as two volumes for 1/- each.
----, 'Settlers and Convicts, or Recollections of Sixteen Years' Labour in the Australian Backwoods, by an Emigrant Mechanic', Knight's Monthly Volume, G. Cox, 12 King William Street, The Strand, London, June 1847. Issued as a single volume for 3/-.
----, Testimony to the Truth: or, The Autobiography of an Atheist, Smith, Elder & Co., London, 1848, xvi, 312. Issued anonymously. The first of four editions.
----, The Emigrant Family: or, The Story of an Australian Settler: by the Author of "Settlers and Convicts", Smith, Elder and Co., London, 1849. Issued in 3 volumes.
----, A Guide to Port Stephens in New South Wales, the Colony of the Australian Agricultural Company; by Alexander Harris, author of "Convicts and Settlers", "The Emigrant Family", etc., etc, William Orr and Co., London, 1849, iv, 223.
----, 'Nancy Kennedy (An Australian Legend)', Sidney's Emigrant's Journal, London, 1849, 184-91. No attribution. Reproduced in Secrets (1961, 235-45), and an alternate version found incorporated within the body of the text at pages 136-42.
----, 'Small Farms in Australia', Sidney's Emigrant's Journal, London, 1, 31, 3 May 1849, 245. No attribution.
----, Testimony to the Truth: or, The Autobiography of an Atheist, 2nd edition, Smith, Elder and Co., London, 1850. No attribution.
----, Questions, general and particular, about Massachusetts, for the pupils of Hawes School Boston, G.C. Rand & Co., Boston, 1850.
----, Testimony to the Truth: or, The Autobiography of an Atheist, 3rd edition, Smith, Elder and Co., London, 1851. No attribution.
----, A Converted Atheist's Testimony to the Truth of Christianity: Being the Autobiography of Alex. Harris, author of 'Settlers and Convicts', 'The Emigrant Family', etc. 4th edition, Smith, Elder & Co., London, 1852, 393pp.
----, Settlers and Convicts, or Recollections of Sixteen Years' Labour in the Australian Backwoods, G. Cox, 18 King Street, Covent Garden, 1852. A stereotype reproduction of the original 1847 issue. Attributed to 'Alexander Harris'.
----, Martin Beck: or, The Story of an Australian Settler, by Alexander Harris, G. Routledge and Co., 1852, xii & 368. 2nd edition of The Emigrant Family, issued in a single volume.
----, 'Religio Christi', The Saturday Evening Post, Philadelphia, 20 March - 23 October, 1858. Microfilm copy at Mitchell Library FM3/376.
----, 'Epilogue to Religio Christi', The Saturday Evening Post, Philadelphia, 30 October 1858. Reproduced in Secrets (1961, 229-30).
----, A geographical hand book, or, A description of the different countries, with their several sub-divisions into provinces, cantons or states ... : with a copious index : adapted as an aid to the student of history, Daily Express Office, Lancaster, Pa., 1862, 427p.
----, The cause of the war shown; or, The inquiries: Who are responsible for the Civil War in America? and, What are the designs of its authors? answered, Philadelphia, 1863, 86p.
----, A geographical handbook....,, 2nd edition, Pearsol & Geist, Lancaster, 1864, 432p.
----, A geographical handbook....,, 3rd edition, Pearsol, Lancaster, 1866, 432p.
---- and Rathvon, S.S. (eds.), The Lancaster farmer, a monthly journal: devoted to agriculture, horticulture, practical entomology, domestic economy and general miscellany, Wylie & Geist, Lancaster, Pa., 1869-1873.
----, 'The Sacredness of the Name of God', The Morning Star, Limerick, Maine, 1872. Free Will Baptist newspaper. Signed 'Spectator, Hamilton'.
----, 'Profane Swearing', The Morning Star, Limerick, Maine, 1872.
----, A biographical history of Lancaster County : being a history of early settlers and eminent men of the county, as also much other unpublished historical information, chiefly of a local character, E. Barr, Lancaster, Pennsylvania, 1872, 638p. Reprinted Genealogical Publishing Company, Baltimore, 1977.
----, A review of the political conflict in America from the commencement of the anti-slavery agitation to the close of southern reconstruction; comprising also a résumé of the career of Thaddeus Stevens: being a survey of the struggle of parties which destroyed the republic and virtually monarchized its government ..., T.H. Pollock, New York, 1876, 533p.
----, Settlers and Convicts, Melbourne University Press, Melbourne, May 1953. 1st Australian edition, with a Forward by Manning Clark.
----, Settlers and Convicts, Melbourne University Press, Melbourne, May 1954. 2nd Australian edition, with a Forward and Postscript by Manning Clark.
----, The Secrets of Alexander Harris, Angus and Robertson, Sydney, 1961, 245pp. Abridged version of the series Religio Christi, with an Introduction by Grant Carr-Harris and Preface by Alec Chisholm.
----, Settlers and Convicts, Melbourne University Press, Melbourne, 1964. 3rd Australian edition, with a revised Forward by Manning Clark.
----, The Emigrant Family, Australian National University Press, Canberra, 1967, xiv, 418. Introduction by W.S. Ramson.
----, Settlers and Convicts, Melbourne University Press, Melbourne, 1969, xxv, 245. Reprint of 3rd Australian edition of 1964.
----, Settlers and Convicts, Melbourne University Press, Melbourne, 1986, xxv, 245. Reprint of 3rd Australian edition of 1964.
Joy, William, 'Review of The Secrets of Alexander Harris', Daily Telegraph, Sydney, 14 October 1961.
Kenny, J., 'Review of Settlers and Convicts', Sydney Morning Herald, 19 September 1964, 14.
Kornweibel, A.H., 'Review of The Secrets of Alexander Harris', The West Australian, Perth, 18 November 1961.
Levis, K., 'Australian Adventure', Southerly, Sydney, 2, 1954, 114-16.
Lewin, Jessie A., We Harris's and where we come from. The story of the family, Montreal, 1 January 1952, 58pp.
Mair, I., 'Review of Settlers and Convicts', The Age, Melbourne, 20 June 1964.
----, 'Letter to the editor re Settlers and Convicts', The Age, Melbourne, 27 June 1964.
McCartney, F., 'Letter to the editor re Settlers and Convicts', The Age, Melbourne, 23 June 1964.
McCormick, A., McDonnell, D., & Wantrup, J., Frontiers - Experience on the Australian Frontiers 1788-1950, Hordern House, Sydney, 1991, 59-62.
McNab, K., 'Review of The Secrets of Alexander Harris', Northern Daily Leader, Tamworth, 9 December 1961.
Metcalfe, J.W., 'Review of Settlers and Convicts', The Australian Quarterly, September 1953, 116-8.
----, 'Lecture on Alexander Harris, to the Waverly Historical Society, 9 September 1963', Mitchell Library manuscript (ML DOC 316).
----, 'Alexander Harris', Australian Dictionary of Biography, Melbourne University Press, 1, (1788-1850), 1969, 515-6.
Miles, Patricia, 'In search of Alexander Harris', Push, Armidale, 30, 1992, 46-69.
Moran, Andrew, 'Alexander Harris: The Man and His Family', Journal of Australian Colonial History, 1(2), August 1999, 30-44.
Napier, Hugh, 'New Evidence to Aid of Dickens', Sydney Morning Herald, 10 March 1962, 12.
Organ, M.K., 'The Search for the Identity of Alexander Harris whilst in New South Wales 1825-41', Bulletin of the Illawarra Historical Society, Wollongong, October & November 1986.
Ransom, W.S., 'Early Australian English: The Language of the Emigrant Mechanic', Southerly, 25, 2, 1965, 116-30.
----, 'Introduction', in The Emigrant Family, Australian National University Press, Canberra, 1967, xiv, 418.
----, 'The Emigrant Family - the delineation of actual life', in The Australian Experience: Critical Essays on Australian Novels, Australian National University, Canberra, 1974.
Roderick, Colin, 'Who Was Alexander Harris?', The Bulletin, Sydney, 20 January 1954.
----, 'Review of Settlers and Convicts', Biblionews, Sydney, March 1954.
Roe, M., 'Review of The Secrets of Alexander Harris', Historical Studies of Australia and New Zealand, Melbourne, 10, May 1962, 246-7.
Sidney, J., A Voice from the Far Interior of Australia, by a Bushman, London, 1847. Reproduced in Secrets (1961, 232-3). Contains brief comments on Settlers and Convicts.
Sidney, S. & J., 'Review of The Emigrant Family', Sidney's Emigrant's Journal, London, 1, 26, 8 March 1849, 182. Reproduced in Secrets (1961, 233).
----, 'Convicts and Settlers - A Word for Human Nature', Sidney's Emigrant's Journal, London, 1, 27, 5 April 1849, 209-10. Part reproduced in Secrets (1961, 233-4).
----, 'The New Colony of Port Stephens', Sidney's Emigrant's Journal, London, 1, 28, 12 April 1849, 217-8.
----, 'Port Stephens', Sidney's Emigrant's Journal, London, 1, 28, 19 April 1849, 225.
----, 'Guide to Port Stephens', Sidney's Emigrant's Journal, London, 1, 41, 12 July 1849, 328. In Press notice.
----, 'Review of Guide to Port Stephens', Sidney's Emigrant's Journal, 2nd Series, October 1849, 157-60.
Spate, O.K., 'Review of Settlers and Convicts', Historical Studies of Australia and New Zealand, 6, 22, May 1954.
Stewart, Douglas, 'Another Great History Mystery', The Bulletin, Sydney, 17 June 1953.
----, 'Was Harris a Convict?', The Bulletin, Sydney, 23 December 1953.
----, 'Who was Alexander Harris? - Review of The Secrets of Alexander Harris', Australian Book Review, 1, 1, November 1961, 10.
Unknown, 'Review of Settlers and Convicts', The Atlas, Sydney, 23 October 1847, 513-5. Reproduced in Secrets, (1961, 230-1).
----, 'Review of Settlers and Convicts', Howitt's Journal of Literature and Popular Progress, London, 2, 1847. Reproduced in Secrets (1961, 234).
----, 'Review of Settlers and Convicts', Chamber's Edinburgh Journal, New Series, 185, 17 July 1847, 44-6.
----, 'Review of Testimony to the Truth', The Christian Times, 1848.
----, 'Review of Religio Christi', S.E. Post, 27 March 1858.
----, 'Review of Settlers and Convicts', Australian Monthly, 23 June 1953.
----, 'Review of Settlers and Convicts', 20th Century, Spring (September) 1953, 66-8.
----, 'Review of The Secrets of Alexander Harris', The Age, Melbourne, 14 October 1961.
----, 'Review of The Secrets of Alexander Harris', Canberra Times, 14 October 1961.
----, 'Review of The Secrets of Alexander Harris', Hobart Mercury, 19 October 1961.
----, 'Review of The Secrets of Alexander Harris', Daily Examiner, Grafton, 23 October 1961.
----, 'Review of The Secrets of Alexander Harris', The Post, Cairns, 28 October 1961.
----, 'Review of The Secrets of Alexander Harris', The Advocate, Scone, 28 October 1961.
----, 'Review of The Secrets of Alexander Harris', Pacific Island Monthly, 32, November 1961, 87.
----, 'Review of The Secrets of Alexander Harris', The Press, Christchurch, 18 November 1961.
----, 'Review of The Secrets of Alexander Harris', Northern Star, Lismore, 2 December 1961.
----, 'Alexander Harris and Charles Dickens', Sydney Morning Herald, c12 March 1962.
----, 'Man of Fact and Fiction - Review of The Secrets of Alexander Harris', The Times Literary Supplement, London, 10 August 1962.
----, 'Review of The Emigrant Family', Sydney Morning Herald, 2 March 1968.
Ward, Russell, The Australian Legend, Oxford University Press, Melbourne, 1964. The book quotes Alexander Harris extensively.
----, 'Review of The Secrets of Alexander Harris', Sydney Morning Herald, 21 October 1961.
NB: According to the Angus & Robertson archives there were 79 reviews of The Secrets of Alexander Harris published during 1961-2.
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