# 42861

[WESTERN AUSTRALIAN MISSIONARY SOCIETY]

Western Australian Mission (Swan River Settlement).

[London : s.n., 1840]. 1 page, octavo (195 x 125 mm), lithographically printed, with two fully contemporary ms. corrections in ink; verso with Webster Collection stamp with number 2628 in ms.; original vertical and horizontal folds; very well preserved.

An apparently unrecorded circular – presumably disseminated among the members of the Western Australian Missionary Society – advertising an appeal ‘to the friends of Religion, on behalf of the Colony of Western Australia […] to collect funds, & send out additional labourers to this extensive field; & to assist the local funds to complete the building of Churches recently commenced in the principal Towns.’

This appears to be a corrected draft copy, as it contains two key revisions in manuscript. The printed text states that ‘nearly 3000 Protestant settlers are scattered over an extent of several hundred square miles’; hundred has been corrected to thousand in ms. – an error that well illustrates the difficulty most would have had in grasping the vastness of the physical area covered by the colony.

It is then remarked that ‘the most recent letters received from the Colony’ were ‘written in September 1839’; this date has been corrected to January 1840 in ms. At the time those letters were written, it is reported, there were only two clergymen in the Swan River Colony – one in Perth (i.e. the Colonial Chaplain, Wittenoom), and one at Guildford (i.e. the missionary, Mitchell).

Extremely rare: no other example traced.

Provenance: Private collection, Australia; ex Maggs Bros., London, c.1978; ex Webster Collection.

Kenneth Athol Webster (1906-1967) was a New Zealand-born dealer and collector in manuscripts, books, paintings and ethnographic artefacts relating to the Pacific. In the two decades after World War Two he built one of the largest and most important collections of this type of material ever assembled.