Page:Australia an appeal.djvu/88

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strove for the ascendant at Olynthus, and the glowing eloquence of Demosthenes, poured upon the ear of listening assemblies, kindled the beacon fire at Athens; while Alexander pushed his conquests towards the rising, and Cæsar towards the setting sun; while Macedonia trampled on the gorgeous East, and the legions of Italy contended with the phalanxes of Greece for the empire of the globe; while Scythia, Sarmatic, and Scandinavia, rising in the pride of their strength, sprang on the Latin Eagle, and the dominion of Rome yielded to the fury of the North; while thrones were erected and overthrown in Asia, in Europe, in Africa, and America, the tribes of Australia, unconscious of the existence of any other continent, were chasing the kangaroo, chanting their poetical compositions by their fires in the forest, and moving as distinctly in a world of their own, as if they had been the inhabitants of another planet Up to this moment, they imagine you to be a swarm of emigrants from the Moon.

If therefore ye act upon the maxims and customs which guided you in your intercourse with civilized nations, ye will miss your aim at every step, in your policy towards this people. Their government is patriarchal, and their manners are antediluvian. Of conquest they know nothing; because they are strangers to riches and luxury, the great incitements to conquest and empire. But the law of retaliation, blood for blood, is established by the sanction of ages, is familiar to them from infancy, and prevails from one extremity of New Holland to another. It is their mode of punishing offences, whether personal or national; and if it be criminal in them to practise this law, it must be equally criminal in you to follow their example.

But this is not all. By retaliating ye yourselves become savages; ye perpetuate the law of retaliation, and entail upon your offspring all the evils consequent upon a system of endless bloodshed. Who, in this case, is to set the example of a nobler conduct? These untutored savages, or a people who consider themselves the most humane and polished of the nations of Europe? Strangers as ye are become, gentlemen, to the sound of the church-going bell by your residence in these woods, I am not afraid to trust the appeal to your consciences. If the religion of the land of your fathers yet retains any influence over you, it will require but little reflection in the presence of Him "who divided to the nations their inheritance," to decide you in favour of a better policy, and induce you to set the example of peace and of good will to a people to whom ye are indebted for your adopted country—a country which ye intend to make your domicile and the inheritance of your children.

Are ye aware that the whole country is divided into districts; and that no tribe can occupy that of another? Consider for a