— No. 2. —
Copy of a DESPATCH from Lord Glenelg to Governor Sir George Gipps.
Lord Glenelg to Sir George Gipps, 3 January 1838.Sir, Downing-street, 31 January 1838.
In transmitting to you a duplicate copy of the last Report of the Select Committee of the House of Commons on Aborigines, I have the honour to communicate to you, that Her Majesty's Government have directed their anxious attention to the adoption of some plan for the better protection and civilization of the native tribes within the limits of your government.
With that view, it has been resolved to appoint at once a small number of persons qualified to fill the office of protectors of aborigines. I have confined that number, in the first instance, to one chief protector, aided by four assistant protectors. I would propose that the chief protector should fix his principal station at Port Phillip, as the most convenient point from whence he could traverse the surrounding country, and be in personal communication with his assistants; two of whom should occupy the country to the northward and eastward, and the other two be stationed to the northward, and as far westward as the boundaries of the colony of South Australia.
I propose to confer the office of chief protector on Mr. Robinson, who, you are no doubt aware, has for some time past been in charge of the aboriginal establishment at Flinders' Island, and who has shown himself to be eminently qualified for such an office. I shall direct the Lieutenant-governor of Van Diemen's Land to communicate my intentions to Mr. Robinson, and to take the necessary measures for sending him to Sydney, if he should be prepared to undertake the office. It appears to be a question whether Mr. Robinson would be willing to quit the establishment at Flinders' Island, unless he were accompanied by the natives from Van Diemen's Land, in whose superintendence he is at present engaged.3 August 1837
————— I enclose, for your general information, a copy of a despatch from Lieutenant-governor Sir J. Franklin, with a report from Mr. Robinson, on the state of the native settlement in that island. It contains much interesting information as to the condition of the natives under his charge, and also as to his mode of treating them. You will perceive that in this report he strongly recommends the removal of these natives to New Holland. The late Lieutenant-governor of Van Diemen's Land has expressed his conviction that no evil consequences are to be apprehended from allowing them to accompany Mr. Robinson. In the despatch which is now enclosed, Sir John Franklin states that many objections present themselves to such a measure; and I should not feel myself justified in directing the adoption of it, in opposition to such a statement. If, however, the result of the personal observations of Sir John Franklin, in the visit which he stated himself to be about to make to Flinders' Island, should be such as entirely to satisfy him that the natives might be so removed, without personal risk or danger to themselves, and with their own free consent, important advantages might be anticipated from the formation in New Holland of an aboriginal settlement comparatively so far advanced in civilization. On this point, however, I should wish you to communicate with Sir John Franklin, and it will be necessary to act in it with the utmost caution and circumspection. In the meantime, I trust that Mr. Robinson may, under any circumstances, be induced to undertake the office. The gentlemen whose names are stated in the margin have been chosen to fill the office of assistant protectors. Mr. Sievwright,
With regard to the expenses attending the establishment, it is proposed to assign to the chief protector.a salary of 500l. per annum, and to each of the assistants 250l.
The four officers proceeding from this country will also have an allowance of 100l. each, on account of their outfit and passage; and according to the general rule of this department, they have been informed that they will receive half salary from the date of embarkation.
It will also be necessary to make some provision to enable the protectors to supply the natives occasionally with moderate quantities of food and clothing.
In fixing this expenditure, Her Majesty's Government have anticipated the concurrence of the legislative council of your government, in voting the necessary sum for meeting the charge. The object contemplated is so important, and the obligation which rests on the colonists to do their utmost for the pro-