A Toast to the Governor

On the night of the 8th of September 1816, John Peachey, the overseer of Lieutenant-Governor Davey’s farm at Coal River , was in bed when a heavy knock resounded from the front door of the house. Upon answering it, Peachey was greeted by Michael Howe, George Jones, Peter Septon, John Chapman and James Parker, with each man wearing a brace of revolvers and clutching a musket. Understanding they have come for food, Peachey beckons them inside and orders Manchester, a servant, to begin frying some of the ham that hangs up. Meanwhile, Michael feels like a drink and begins to search for the eggs. Once he has them, he asks Peachey for some rum and cream, which he then pours into a tankard, along with a cracked egg. Beating the mixture until frothy, he offers a toast to the hospitality of Lieutenant-Governor Davey and heartily downs the concoction.

The outlaws then search the house for necessities they require, such as sugar, wine, green tea, flour, ammunition, bread and meat. After these items have been placed in their knapsacks, Michael asks Peachey to wake up his wife, as he does not wish to alarm her while searching the bedroom. Once she is up, Michael, Peter and George enter and search for “what they stand in need of”, adding they had not touched his wearing apparel. They then collect a candle and go to the servants quarters, with Peter returning to make up a drink of milk and wine to take to a servant named Lucas who is unwell. Dinner is finally served and once the outlaws have eaten, preparations are begun for their departure, with Michael requesting Peachey’s dictionary, which he promises to return. Wishing the occupants a good night, Michael and the gang disappear back into the night, heading into the direction of Stynes and Troy’s farm, where Michael hopes he may find Lieutenant-Governor Davey.

John Peachey’s statement is obtained from Historical Records of Australia, Volume 2, Series 3.

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