Volume 72: Macarthur family correspondence relating to wine, 1846-1900: No. 521
Feb 7th 1887
My Dear Wyndham,
Many thanks for your pamphlet which I see was published as long ago as October last year. Also for sending me the report of Mr Mackays lectures at [West?] Maitland and Murrumbidgee - Accidently I met Mr Mackay in the train on Saturday last & he was good enough at my request to shew me specimens of the insects he had found in [yr?] vineyards - he also lent me his Coddington lens with which I am quiet familiar - After a very long examination, although I arrived at a conclusion at the first glance, I told Mr Mackay these insects were not French Phylloxera that existed at Geelong and Camden.
He insisted they were Leafscorchers and therefore Phylloxera - to make a long story short I convinced him they were entirely different insect and although they might injure a vine or two (he told me you had 10 affected vines in 85 acres!!) they were not a devastating pest, and for that reason you had them under by careful management tho I do not admit you are exceptional in that respect - I told Mr Mackay not to risk his reputation on the assertion that your insects were Phylloxera Vetis - The American [indecipherable] insect, or that they were Phylloxera at all - I said they differ organically so materially that they could not belong to the same family - that there were essential differences - Mr Mackay asked what differences - I said yr insects have not the characteristic proboscis nor have they the rib marks and [serrated?] side edges - (so far as I can see).
Mr Mackay at once admitted that they had not the proboscis - but neverthe less they were Phylloxera - "leafscorchers - "they were Australian leafscorchers and therefore Australian Phylloxera "- which have come from the indigenous vines to the imported plants" - of course I had to put the argument thus (ad [aborendum?]) a Cow gets into a lucerne & eats the plant destroying it for the time - A Horse also gets in & does equal mischief can the [Bos?] be called an Equus and the Horse a Cow. further light a fire under the Vine and "Scorch" the leaves - would the fire be classified as a Phylloxera! - to maintain this argument he said yes!