Page:Australia an appeal.djvu/56

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obliged to become an unwilling wife of one of the blacks. It is but too well known in what degradation the female sex are held among savage nations, so different from the deference and respect justly given to that portion of the creation in civilized life.

"This unfortunate female was ordered by her husband, whose word is law, to follow him, at a time when she was rendered incapable by illness:—on her hesitating he struck her with savage barbarity with his tomahawk so severely over the head and legs that she fainted from the loss of blood. She was found lying on the ground and taken to the house of a settler residing on the banks of the Murrumbidgee, and every kindness and attention shown her; but after lingering and suffering severe mental and bodily anguish, she expired."

Read this narrative again; and say, Is there to be found in the annals of Rome or Greece a character so transcendently excellent?

Away with dissimilation. If ye pretend to doubt the sunburnt skin of the Australians, apply the lance to their veins. Even this is needless. Ye have already gone to the fountain head and thrust the pointed steel into their hearts. Examine the crimson fluid, as it pours out—there can be no mistake here—and say, Is it not blood of your own? Yes. The bleeding victims of your avarice are your brethren! To slander an innocent race, in order to justify their extermination, is as cruel as it is cowardly and base. Glory in your apparent security; only flatter not yourselves that vengeance will allow the guilty to escape both in this world and the next. Even in life's short span, ye will have some cause to repent. Ye may disregard the sleeping tribunals of our country; but ye shall not escape the infamy which your deeds justly merit.

Farther evidence in favour of the disposition and conduct manifested by the Aboriginal inhabitants, under circumstances the most trying to human nature, I conceive to be unnecessary. A thousand instances might be added; but ten thousand could not be more decisive of the question. I have seen them in almost all the common walks of life—I have met them accidentally in the lonely desert—I may have met them by appointment—I have walked and conversed with them—I have eaten, I have drunk, I have slept with them.—I have performed the meanest offices for them when sick—I have taken the spear from them when quivering with rage—they have bathed my neck with tears of gratitude—and after all this, am I to be told that I have no premises on which to ground my conclusions and form an estimate of their character?

The enumeration of their vices I leave to their enemies. The reader may rest assured they will be duly announced from time to time, with all the misrepresentation that calumny dares to invent, by those who wish to possess their inheritance, even if