Page:Diary of ten years.djvu/268

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be placed in some of their tales, but he says now that Calynte, the leader of the Murray river tribe, has collected all his forces, and the assistance of other distant tribes, and is coming to make regular battle with us, and do whatever mischief he can. This will satisfy the term "systematic attack" which some of the despatches use as the only thing to justify any military aid.

December 16.—Mr. Peel has now got the fee simple of his 250,000 acres, and is in treaty with some company for 100,000 acres at 2s. 6d. an acre. The company wants 1,000,000 acres. It strikes me as a great omission hitherto on our part that we have not have made it generally known that land may be had here from settlers at a low rate perhaps from 4d. an acre upwards, taking a large quantity. At Southern Australia, I see they charge 12s. as a minimum price. How can they expect to get that sum in a new colony, when land may be had so much cheaper in one partly established? Depend on it, the place will not succeed.

December 25th.—I wish you all a merry Christmas and a happy new year. The gap from the 16th to this day has occurred by my being much in Perth since on business. I hardly know how to fill it up, except with a report of meetings of the Executive Council, examination of roads, bridges, canals, &c., as commissioner of roads, and drawing up reports thereon. In examining the "flats" one very warm day, we (Mr. Roe and I) walked about through the water with our trousers tucked up and legs exposed to the sun for some time, so that the skin was greatly burned and all but peeled off. We saw a fight among the natives there. When I was walking along with them, expecting to see the hostile party advancing from an opposite quarter, and just as I was endeavouring to make one of them explain, I heard a sudden "thwack," and, turning round, beheld a great spear sticking out of a certain very fleshy part of a man who was near me. It seems the quarrel was among themselves, and this was the