been adopted into bush slang as a convenient euphuism for wholesale massacre. Of this force we have already said that it is impossible to write about it with patience. It is enough to say of it that this body, organised and paid by us, is sent to do work which its officers are forbidden to report in detail, and that a true record of its proceedings would shame us before our fellow-countrymen in every part of the British Empire. When the police have entered on the scene, the race conflict goes on apace. It is a fitful war of extermination waged upon the blacks, something after the fashion in which other settlers wage war upon noxious wild beasts, the process differing only in so far as the victims, being human, are capable of a wider variety of suffering than brutes. The savages, hunted from the places where they had been accustomed to find food, driven into barren ranges, shot like wild dogs at sight, retaliate when and how they can. They spear the white man's cattle and horses, and if by chance they succeed in overpowering an unhappy European they exhaust their savage ingenuity in wreaking their vengeance upon him, even mutilating the senseless body out of which they have pounded the last breath of life. Murder and counter murder, outrage repaid by violence, theft by robbery, so the dreary tale continues, till at last the blacks, starved, cowed, and broken-hearted, their numbers thinned, their courage overcome, submit to their fate, and disease and liquor finish the work which we pay our native police to begin.
This is the ordinary course of events, but occasionally a variation occurs, and the process of quieting the blacks is unusually prolonged. This is particularly the case in the North, where the blacks are more determined, better armed, and have more mountain and scrub retreats than in other parts of the colony. In the Cape York Peninsula the race conflict has hardly diminished in intensity since the whites began it by robbing and shooting the blacks on the occasion of the first rush to the Palmer. The struggle has been obstinate and fierce, and although an unusually large and costly body of police has been for years engaged in exterminating the aborigines, and few whites miss a chance of shooting any they may encounter, the strength of the tribes has not been broken. No doubt their numbers have been greatly thinned, but they have not been cowed. Consequently there is no part of Queensland in which more European lives have been lost, or where the bush is so thoroughly unsafe for the single traveller. it is difficult to estimate the extent of the loss that has been directly incurred, and still more difficult to calculate the indirect injury suffered by the district. Prospecting for minerals could only be carried on by well armed and equipped parties—and this in itself has been a serious drawback to the European miners. But the heaviest loss is being experienced now that the mining excitement has subsided. For, as the writer to the Cooktown paper says, there is plenty of good soil inviting settlement; but how many men dare fix their home in the bush when they know that neither their property nor their lives will be safe from the attacks of desperate savages, whose natural cunning has been intensified by their long struggle for life with the whites. Evidently settlement must be delayed until the work of extermination is complete—a consummation of which there is no present prospect—or until some more rational and humane method of dealing with the blacks is adopted. It is surely advisable, even at this the eleventh hour, to try the more creditable alternative, and to see whether we cannot efface some portion at least