Page:Banking Under Difficulties- Or Life On The Goldfields Of Victoria, New South Wales And New Zealand (1888).pdf/47

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BANKING UNDER DIFFICULTIES;

Nevertheless, the well-known dusky faces peered forth in the thousands over each of the goldfields, and, as the angry and impatient miners alleged, were perpetually in their way, gleaning up everything in their wake upon the diggings. An outbreak somewhere seemed inevitable, and it took place at last, upon the Buckland River, on the 4th July, 1857. The occasion was an anti-Chinese demonstration, got up by a public meeting of the colonists of the district, with the view of protesting against the ‘Chinese inroad’ amongst the Europeans. Many prominent residents took part in the business, and resolutions were passed to the effect that this swarming of the Chinese amongst the colonists was an intolerable nuisance that must result in the one or the other race quitting the locality. Debasing practices were alluded to as prevailing among the Chinamen, as well as the prospect of their ‘using up’ all the goldfields. The Government were condemned for having allowed so many of them to come into the country; and the resolutions concluded with an intimation that if the Government would not rid them of the Chinamen, the Bucklanders might do that for themselves. These resolutions were no sooner passed, and the meeting thereupon dissolved, than a cry was made for immediate action. A party of miners (at first small, but gradually expanding as it moved along), started at once for the Chinese quarter of the diggings. Here all was speedily confusion, dismay, and rout. Bedding and other baggages were hastily strapped up and mounted on the backs of the flying Chinamen. Twice they faced about upon the comparative handful of their enemy. One small but active fellow was observed to be conspicuously energetic in his efforts to rally his countrymen. He was a hero, and deserved a crown even at the hands of his cowardly assailants; all to no purpose. A vanguard of a dozen or so of white barbarians, once and again, set the whole mass on the move; and the line of flight, strewn with all sorts of castaway effects, resembled the route of a defeated army. It is only just to the general body of the Buckland miners to state that a number of them strove most creditably to protect the Chinamen from this disgraceful attack, more especially, as they saw that many of the poor timid creatures were shamefully handled, while scandalous robberies were being committed upon their property. A great deal of bedding was thrown into the river, which was then running in a full stream, and all the Chinese tents as well as a recently erected “Joss house,” were committed to the flames. The Government took prompt measures to protect the Chinamen, and to recompense them for their losses. There has been no further outbreak of this kind in Victoria, but New South Wales was subsequently the scene of one.

“Let us now turn to the consideration of the goldfields, where about this time an incident of a rather alarming appearance occurred. This was the civil outbreak that happened at the