Skip to main content

Autograph signed letter from Charles Hotham to Sir Roderick Murchison

 Fonds
Identifier: Coll-1731

Scope and Contents

Addressed from Port Philip Heads, Melbourne, 10 July 1855, the autograph letter signed by Sir Charles Hotham (then lieutenant governor of the Australian colony of Victoria) is to the geologist Sir Roderick Murchison (1792-1871).
The letter begins with Hotham assuring Murchison that with regard to the 'pretensions' of 'Mr. Clarke' (meaning the geologist William Branwhite Clarke, 1798-1878), in claiming to have made the first discovery of gold in Australia, he is 'delighted' that Murchison has 'not allowed his assertions to remain uncontradicted'. Hotham continues by stating, 'I have always considered that your deductions on the probability of gold being procurable in Australia from what you knew to exist in the Ural mountains is one of the most singular occurences on record ...'.
Hotham then offers some comments on the progress of gold mining in Australia: 'gold continues to spread ... four new gold fields have been discovered this year, besides gold quartz veins innumerable, the last one supposed to be the richest in the known world, and extensive investments are being made in them. Machinery – crushing and puddling are largely at play in our gold districts, art & skill, instead of more rude manual labours are being employed. Neither you or I will see a decrease in the exportation of gold from this colony, but we shall see what is worse ... a decrease in our own fortunes from its superabundance ...'.
Clarke’s discovery of gold in 1841 west of Sydney in the Blue Mountains was considered to have primacy over the then competing claims of Murchison, Lhotsky and others.

Dates

  • 10 July 1855

Creator

Extent

1 letter

Physical Location

CLX-A-1532

Processing Information

Catalogued by Graeme D. Eddie, 11 April 2016.
Title
Autograph signed letter from Charles Hotham to Sir Roderick Murchison

Repository Details

Part of the Edinburgh University Library Special Collections Repository

Contact:
Centre for Research Collections
University of Edinburgh Main Library
George Square
Edinburgh EH8 9LJ Scotland
+44(0)131 650 8379