Page:Feilberg.djvu/11

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9

But we have no need to depend on theory in this matter; we have the experience of South Australia to rely on. Our neighbours in that colony have kept their hands clean, while ours are foully bestained with blood. They have their reward. In their territory very few white settlers lose their lives or property by attacks from the native blacks; our loss is enormously more heavy than theirs. Yes, but—we shall be told—the South Australians go to great and unnecessary expense in dealing with the aboriginals. That they are unnecessarily punctilious, and go further than we recommend, we are prepared to admit. They employ a white, not a black force, and they transport aboriginal offenders long distances to gaol. But, on turning to the statistics of the two colonies, the one for 1878, the other for 1878-9, the most nearly corresponding periods that we can select, we find that in Queensland the total cost of every description of police was £87,313, and in South Australia only £66,201. And this in spite of the South Australians having a larger white population to regulate, and a larger extent of sparsely occupied bush than ourselves. Evidently, the plan of employing white protectors to deal with the aborigines is not merely more effectual in securing the safety of the settlers, but very much cheaper than our plan. We have shown that the application of the plainest principles of common sense ought to dictate an alteration of our present system; we now adduce the evidence of experience to show how ineffective and costly it is in comparison with a more rational plan. We speak nothing now of humanity. We address this argument mainly to those whose sense of right and wrong has been perverted by familiarity with our diabolical customs.

In conclusion, we shall quote the testimony of the Hon. W. H. Walsh from the "Hansard," to which reference has already been made. It is valuable as that of a thoroughly practical bushman and squatter who has occupied country teeming with the fiercest blacks, and who has had to do it without any police protection at all. What he said then of the southern coast districts will apply now to the country of the north and west. He told the House that he had agitated for the inauguration of the black police system in Queensland, and agitated unceasingly till he got them in his own neighbourhood. And this was his experience as he told Parliament:—"He asserted solemnly that the number of casualties that occurred, and the number of deaths that took place from collisions with the blacks after the native police arrived in the Wide Bay and Burnett districts, exceeded three times what they had been before."—Queenslander, May 29, 1880.




We are glad to find that correspondents from different districts are taking part in the discussion we have invited on the relations between the blacks and whites in the colony. At first, of course, we had the class of writers referred to in the letter signed "Pioneer," which appears in this issue; men who dispose of the whole question by rebuking our presumption for writing on a subject with which they are so thoroughly familiar, and of which we know so little! This plan has been successful on previous occasions when the subject was under discussion, and it has been naturally enough adopted this time. But we were not to be so readily silenced; the discussion is passing into its second stage. Men well qualified by their experience to judge their value are now criticising our proposals. We did not, of course, suppose that they would be accepted without cavil, even by those who