Sir George Gipps
to Lord Glenelg,
25 April 1838.
27 March 1838. dition of the aborigines in British possessions; and I have now the honour to enclose, for your Lordship's information, a copy of the minutes' that were made by the Council on that occasion.
I had previously consulted the Attorney-General on the same subject, and as the advice of the Council was entirely in concurrence with the opinion expressed by him, I have since given orders for an investigation into all the circumstances of the case, to take place before the police magistrate and bench of justices, which hold their sittings at Invermein, in the county of Brisbane, that bench being the nearest to the scene of action, though distant from it perhaps not less than 150 miles.
As your Lordship expressed an opinion in the despatch above alluded to that an investigation in cases of this nature might be held before such of the magistrates as have commissions for the whole colony, it is essential for me to state, that the commissions of all magistrates, without exception, are for the whole colony, and that therefore I could not have made a selection of any particular magistrates, without exposing myself to the charge of partiality,and of deviating, without sufficient reason, from the course of proceeding adopted in the colony in cases of a similar nature where the lives of white men are concerned.
As the affair took place far beyond the boundaries of location, and in a country which has rarely, if ever, been visited by Europeans, it is impossible to ascertain with any great degree of correctness the exact scene of it, or the particular tribe which Major Nunn fell in with. From the distance, however, that Major Nunn supposes his party to have travelled during an absence of 53 days, it is probable that the distance of the place was not less than that which I have mentioned from the extreme northern point of the county of Brisbane. The limits of location do not extend to the northward beyond that county; but your Lordship is well aware that very numerous licences are annually granted to settlers to graze their flocks and herds to an unlimited distance beyond; I should not perhaps very much err, if I were to say that nearly half the cattle and sheep of the colony are thus depastured beyond what are called the limits of location; and any attempt to reduce the number of these licences would be considered fatal to the prosperity of the colony.
The Surveyor-general is inclined to suppose that the affair happened in about latitude 29° south and longitude 150° east, which would place the scene of it about 300 miles to the north, and 70 to the west of Sydney.
I have, &c.
Enclosure 1, in No. 3.
Major Nunn's Report.
Sir, Sydney, 5 March 1838.
in No. 3.In pursuance of your letter dated the 19th December last, enclosing a communication from Mr. Paterson, of the 6th of that month, addressed to you, requiring me to proceed to Jerry's Plains, to inquire into the circumstances stated in that letter, I have the honour to inform you, for the information of his Excellency the Governor, that on the 31st December last I quitted Jerry's Plains with a party of the mounted police, consisting of Ensign Colban, two serjeants, and 18 troopers, and a black boy named Jacky, and marched direct for the Namoi. On reaching that river I heard some very distressing accounts of the ravages committed by the Guyder blacks on their way up. I accordingly proceeded in search of them on the day of my arrival, and after marching the whole of the night, we came in sight of a party of them about two hours after daylight. After disposing of my men so as to prevent the escape of the natives, and giving positive orders not to fire unless in self-defence, it being my object to take as many prisoners as possible, I rode down upon them, and succeeded in capturing two tribes of the. Namoi and the Guyder. I then, with the aid of the black boy, told them that they were charged with spearing cattle, and with murder, and required them to point out the guilty persons. Fifteen men were then brought forward as the perpetrators; these I handcuffed together, and after destroying their spears and other weapons of warfare, I allowed the others to depart. About two hours before sunset (the horses being then refreshed) I returned to my former station for the night, placing the prisoners under the charge of a serjeant and two men. Two of these prisoners were pointed out to me as the murderers of one of Mr. Hall's men about a year and a half since; and I determined upon leaving them in security until Mr. Hall, who, I believe, could identify them on his arrival up the country; but shortly after my return these two men suc-