Page:Australian aborigines 1838.djvu/8
PAPERS RELATIVE TO THE
Enclosure 1, in No. 2.
Van Diemen's Land, Government House,
My Lord, 3 August 1837.
in No. 2.
——————I have the honour to enclose a report, which I have received from Mr. Robinson, superintendent of the aboriginal establishment at Flinders' Island, detailing at great length the progress and actual state of the natives under his charge.
From this your Lordship will regret to observe that there has been again a great mortality among them, no fewer than 17 deaths having taken place in the six months between January and June last; in consequence of which, Mr. Robinson renews his representations of the expediency of transporting them across to the opposite coast of Australia.
So many objections present themselves to this; however, that I feel unable to entertain the idea; and as I propose visiting the settlement myself in the course of the ensuing season, after which I shall report fully on its condition and prospects, I do not desire to bring it at present under your Lordship particular consideration.
In the meantime, however, it is impossible for me not to approve highly of the zeal and judgment which Mr. Robinson seems to evince in the general management of his interesting charge. As regards their moral training, he seems eminently successful; and even if, from uncontrollable circumstances, this particular black family is doomed to become extinct (which there is much reason to fear, their women, as I understand, being now mostly past the usual age for childbearing in savage life), still the experience which will have been thus acquired in civilizing and instructing them will be most valuable.
Of the several methods pursued by Mr. Robinson for these purposes, there is one, indeed, of which I particularly approve, and which may possibly be found to exemplify even an important principle in tile future management of native tribes; I mean his native police. This will, in any case, naturally be composed in the first instance of the most active, intelligent, and influential members of the community, and must give these an interest and pride in enforcing whatever regulations may be imposed on the others; it must give the whole, also, a feeling of self-importance and equality with white men; it must thus stimulate them to endeavour to imitate their habits and demeanour; it must make them sensible of the value of obedience and concert in action; and the occupation being at once active, and in a slight degree dangerous, it must furnish those engaged in it with some portion of that mental excitement in which they have been trained, and the want of which, when they are suddenly brought within the pale of civilization, has always been found injurious both to their bodily health and mental energy.
The interest of the subject has led me thus in some measure to generalize one portion of Mr. Robinson's plans.
I have, &c.
Lord Glenelg &c. &c. &c. (signed) John Franklin.
Enclosure 2, in No. 2.
REPORT on the Aboriginal Establishments at Flinders' Island.
Commandant's Office, Aboriginal Settlement,
Sir, Flinders' Island, 24th June 1837.
in No. 2.I have the honour to submit, for the information of his Excellency the Lieutenant-governor, the subjoined particulars relative to this experimental and interesting institution, since the transmission of my previous report of the 8th of September 1836; and I have much satisfaction in stating that this settlement continues as heretofore in a very quiet and tranquil state, and that the same order and regularity is maintained as mentioned on former occasions.
The only thing to be deplored is the mortality that has taken place among them, and which induces me ardently to desire that His Majesty's Government may accede to the removal of the present establishment to the adjacent coast of New Holland, and where the Flinders' Island aborigines would not only be found efficient, but willing auxiliaries in