Page:Australian aborigines 1838.djvu/9

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Enclosure 2.
in No. 2.

aiding the work of civilization, so urgently needed by the numerous tribes inhabiting that vast continent.

In the various communications I have had the honour to submit to the Government, I have frequently adverted to this topic, and in my letters of the 27th, 28th, and 29th of October 1836, have fully dilated thereupon. Should, however, His Majesty's Government still object to their removal, and continue the settlement where it now is, I have no hesitation in stating that the race in a very short period of time will be extinct; and although it might be urged that the same results would occur were the translation permitted, still it would be found that by the admixture of the Flinders' Island aborigines with the aborigines of the country, the declension would not be observed, consequently the excitement not felt. For a more detailed account, I again respectfully refer to the letters already alluded to, as well as my previous reports on the same subject.

In the adoption of the foregoing measure not the slightest danger need be apprehended of the Flinders' Island natives coming into collision or quarrelling with the aborigines of the country; for from the paucity of their numbers and docility of disposition, I should have no hesitation in recommending their removal to Van Diemen's Land, were it not that I feel assured that the depraved portion of the white inhabitants would again commit aggressions on them, and hence, as a natural consequence, would be renewed those dire atrocities, scenes of bloodshed, and rapine, which it is deeply to be deplored already sully the page of history of the country; and therefore it is that in recommending and urging their removal to New Holland, I feel I am only discharging a faithful duty to the Government, as well also to the Van Diemen's Land aborigines themselves, and which the deep interest I feel for them and others of a similar character will, I trust, sufficiently excuse these episodical remarks, and of my again recurring to this subject.

I have much satisfaction in stating that the wants of the aborigines are amply and abundantly supplied, and that the provisions furnished by the Government are of the best description; and though, notwithstanding, the fatality to which I have heretofore alluded is of painful character, still it must be conceded that the same is quite providential, and might have occurred in their own native districts; for I do not consider the depopulation wholly attributable to their removal, for in my-opinion the same causes did exist in their primeval districts, in proof of which abundant evidence might be adduced; and hence, amid the calamity that has happened, it is a pleasing reflection to know that everything has been done which ingenuity could devise or humanity suggest to alleviate their condition, and of which the aborigines themselves have marked their appreciation, and oft repeated their acknowledgements for the solicitude evinced and the kind intention of the Government towards them.

The advantages to the aborigines by their removal have been manifold, and many of them of the highest order. In their native forests they were without the knowledge of a God, hence but little removed from the brute themselves. Their mode of life was extremely precarious, and to the juveniles distressing in the extreme; and though in their insidious and deadly attacks on the white inhabitants they invariably eluded pursuit, yet they themselves were not without dangers and alarms, and might reasonably be said to exist by excitement alone. The sanguinary tribes had seldom any progeny, and which could only be attributed to their harassed mode of existence.

From those circumstances (alone) it is apparent that the policy of Government in their removal was the most wise, the most humane and philanthropic that could possibly be devised; and when their present and past condition is contrasted, there is no comparison. At this asylum they are protected, every comfort and advantage of civilized life is afforded them, and that abundantly, and of which they themselves have expressed their entire satisfaction. But whilst they have received those advantages, of which thousands and tens of thousands of Europeans are in lack of, they have been receiving others of a far higher character; viz. the knowledge of God, and of which I am sure it will be gratifying to the mind of ever Christian philanthropist to be made acquainted with.

Anterior to their arrival they were without this knowledge; they knew not who it was that made them; they were in a deplorable state of mental degradation. Such is not now the case: they not only possess the knowledge of a Deity, but are acquainted with the principles of Christianity.

From the time I first took charge of the settlement, now near two years since, religious knowledge has been daily imparted to them, and religious principles inculcated. In this laudable object the whole of the officers and my family have unitedly assisted, a duty in which they have evinced the greatest aptitude and delight; and I myself can testify with what avidity and eagerness they have attended to and sought after religious knowledge, and which the subjoined paper (Appendix A, annexed to this report) will amply testify.

But whilst in the foregoing I have chiefly confined my observations to the aborigines, and the advantages incident thereupon, still it will be found that these bear no comparison to the advantages that have accrued to the European inhabitants and colony at large, which are beyond calculation.

On this subject it would be superfluous for me now to dilate, since they are too apparent to those (the least) conversant with the history of the colony to need comment. From the preceding observations, it will be found that a reciprocity of benefit has resulted to both parties, but to the European inhabitants the advantages have been incalculable.

Important as are the benefits alluded to, they are not the only ones that can be adduced, for when considered in an experimental point of aspect, this settlement will be found of universal interest.