Page:Australia an appeal.djvu/52

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any thing they may chance to see in the house of a friend. But are civilized nations free from this vice? If so, what are we to understand by locks and keys, bolts and bars, watches and watch-dogs—so common in Christian countries—and the multitudes of police maintained at a vast expense throughout Europe? To look nearer home, what are we to understand by the jails of Perth and Fremantle? Were these erected for black or for white thieves?

Colonel Collins, in his account of the first settlement near Botany Bay, when describing the natives, says:—" Their spears, fiz–gigs, gum, and other articles, they were accustomed to leave under the rocks, or loose and scattered about the beach." A recent writer adds: "It would be well for the world, if a little of this savage honesty could be imported into even the most civilized society; and they who are accustomed to moralize on such matters, will regret that a people so perfectly unsuspicious, should, at their very first intercourse with civilized men, have "fallen among thieves?"[1] And as deeply is it to be regretted that the natives of Swan River, equally undeserving of such a fate, should have fared no better.

A moment's reflection may satisfy the most prejudiced that covetousness, the root of this vice, thrives in civilized society, wherever the heart is not under the power of divine influence, even more than among the savages of the desert. But I trust the day is not far distant when Christianity will bear the same testimony to her converts in Australia that she once did to her converts from among the thieves of classical Greece: "And such were some of you; but ye are washed; but ye are sanctified."[2]

Your correspondent is far from being happy in the choice of his figures for illustration on the subject of martial courage. Did he never see a coat-of-arms? If not, let him go to the Herald's office, and he will find that most of the representations of military virtue, there displayed by the great and the noble, are taken from the various orders of the brute creation—such as lions, tigers, bears, wolves, foxes, and dogs, to whom he likens the Aboriginal inhabitants. He could not, therefore, pay a higher compliment to the warriors of Derbal,[3] than thus unwittingly to rank them with the nobility of his mother country.

Nor is he more fortunate in the selection of his facts. If a native had the boldness single-handed to make a stand against a whole party of British officers, it was no very contemptible exhibition of martial courage: and if, as is supposed, his family were in the valley behind him, the act displayed a concentration

  1. Picture of Australia.
  2. 1. Cor. vi. 9—11.
  3. The native name of the country.