Page:Last of the tasmanians.djvu/99

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It was in June 23, 1824, that Colonel Arthur, the new Governor, felt it necessary to issue the following Proclamation, on behalf of the outraged ones:—

Whereas it has been represented to His Honor the Lieut.-Governor that several Settlers and others are in the habit of maliciously and wantonly firing at, firing, and destroying the defenceless Natives and Aborigines of this island; and whereas it has been commanded by His Majesty's Government, and strictly enjoined by His Excellency the Governor-in-Chief that the Natives of this Colony and its dependencies shall be considered as under British Government and protection:—

"These Instructions render it no less the duty than it is the Disposition of His Honor the Lieut.-Governor to support and encourage all Measures which may tend to conciliate and civilize the Natives of this Island; and to forbid and prevent, and when perpetrated to punish, any Ill-treatment towards them.

"The Natives of this Island being under the protection of the same Laws which protect the Settlers, any Violation of those Laws, on the Persons or Property of Natives, shall be visited with the same Punishment as though committed on the Person and Property of any other.

"His Honor the Lieut.-Governor declares thus Publicly his Determination that if after the Promulgation of this Proclamation any Person or Persons shall be charged with firing at, killing, or committing any Act of Outrage, or Aggression, on the Native People, they shall be prosecuted for the same before the Supreme Court.

"All Magistrates and Peace Officers, and others His Majesty's Subjects in this Colony, are hereby strictly required to observe and enforce the Provisions of this Proclamation, and to make them known more especially to Stock-keepers in their several districts, enjoining them, not only to avoid all Aggression, but to exercise the utmost forbearance towards the Aborigines, treating them on all occasions with the utmost kindness and compassion.

"By Command, &c,
"J. Montague, Secretary.

As an historical document this is valuable; as it re-affirms the declaration of previous Governors that the State was interested in the welfare of its dark people, and it reasserts their equality with Whites in the eyes of the law, and the equal penalties to be paid by both races for injuries to either. It reads full of