Page:Australia an appeal.djvu/85

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law of private property prevails, and be initiated into the art of stealing by your own thieves, I am not prepared to say. But at present, the vice of thieving is certainly unknown among them; though, like the Christian tribes of another hemisphere, they considered it lawful to spoil an enemy.

I am aware of the objection that when they quipple or pillage they use a great deal of cunning. So does the sportsman in pursuit of his game; and so does a general at the head of an army; but in neither instance is their any sense of guilt, or of moral delinquency. Just so with these people. They may fear the defeat of their purpose, or the consequences of being surprised in the act, but they have no apprehension that they are doing wrong. How can they, till ye instruct them in your manners, laws, and customs? They have actually pointed out to you where their kangaroos are to be found, when ye wish to kill. Is it to be wondered at, if, with equal simplicity, they should help themselves to one of yours, when they find them grazing on their own domains?[1]

It is not my intention, nor can it be necessary in an assembly who have been not only eye witnesses but more or less actors in the tragic scene from its commencement, to enter into a history of all the evils which our invasion of the country has inflicted upon them; but I will mention a circumstance which is not generally known. Soon after the formation of the settlement, some of the servants in a farming establishment on the Swan, finding that they were fond of anointing themselves with oil, poured on the back of one of these unfortunate beings a whole potful of boiling slush. This was more than a personal injury. It was a national insult. And the cruel deed, independently of all the other wrongs, many and grievous which they have suffered at our hands, was enough to rouse any people and render them implacable.

But what shall we say to the barbarous practice of firing upon them wherever they are seen—a practice, unconfined to the lower orders, and common to some from whom better things might be expected! Apart from the fiend-like wickedness of thus wantonly destroying human life, what will such a course of proceeding profit you in the end? They have tendered their services to you as hewers of wood and drawers of water; could the most despotic conqueror—the most iron-hearted tyrant require more? The very powder and ball ye expend in shooting them would purchase their lands.

It was the policy of the late ruler of France to make every war in which he engaged maintain itself; which, laying the

  1. European stock of all descriptions, they call kangaroos, having never before seen sheep, cattle, or horses.