Page:Australia an appeal.djvu/16

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On committing this appeal to the press, I learn that a beginning has been made in the work of mercy to Australia; and that about £4000 is now set apart for the protection of the Aboriginal inhabitants. It is gratifying to witness the manifestation of a disposition so humane on the part of His Excellency and the Bishop of the Diocese, with whom I believe an attempt to ameliorate their condition was made prior to His Excellency's arrival. Far be it from me to undervalue a boon originating in the best of motives, and granted with the best intentions. But, knowing that little efforts in the cause of humanity, whether made by ourselves or others, often lull the conscience to sleep, and gender a self complacency which, clogging the wheels of benevolence, relaxes our commisseration for the objects of our charity, at the very time when their condition calls for our most strenuous exertions, I venture one or two remarks.

At length, then, after the lapse of half a century, when one generation, despised, neglected, and trampled upon, has passed away, and part of another been slain, a crumb is allowed to fall from the richly-furnished table of the colonists to the Aboriginal inhabitants. The colonists, did I say? I am in error. It falls, not from their board, but from that of Her Majesty's Treasury—a table annually spread, not to feast the poor, ousted, famishing owners of the soil whence its dainties spring, but the colonists themselves, rolling in wealth and affluence at their expense, through the nursing indulgence of the parent state.

Four thousand pounds, a crumb! Yes. Out of a fund amounting to nearly half a million annually, it is but a crumb, and a very little crumb. If levied by cessment, it would not amount to sixpence each person, in a community most of whom are worth thousands, tens, and hundreds of thousands. The registered transactions in mercantile affairs alone, at only four of the Banks of the capital, amount, according to the official quarterly returns, to upwards of ten millions per annum; independently of nearly half a million of specie lying dormant. Here I cannot be in error; but the remarkable—to some perhaps incredible—fact is confirmed by additional evidence. If the revenue of a country, especially when lightly taxed, be any criterion of its prosperity, the British, since their arrival in Australia, have amassed riches to the amount of hundreds of millions. The sum total of their possessions in houses, lands,