Page:The aborigines of Australia.djvu/144

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AGGRESSION OF THE NATIVES.

had hitherto lived on the most peaceful or friendly terms with the whites became all at once transformed into their most bloodthirsty enemies, while other tribes, hitherto unknown or unheard of within the limits of the colony, came in from the wilderness to join in the war which their brethren were waging.

Many and various were the opinions entertained and expressed at the time in reference to the cause of the outbreak of the aboriginal race, and the violent warfare carried on on the frontiers of the colony with spear and musket was followed by no less violent war of words among those in Sydney and elsewhere whose interests, duties, or sympathies led them to take an interest in the contest. The settlers and their friends openly attributed the blame to the "Protectorate of the Aborigines," established in 1838, the object of which was to rescue the aboriginal tribes from the misery in which their association with the colonists had plunged them, and to save them from that extermination which threatened the entire race. The residents in the interior attributed the outbreak of the blacks to a misconception on their part of the functions of the Protectors, many of whom they also alleged were unfit for the offices to which they had been appointed. They received their appointments in England, whence they directly came, and coming into the colony unimpressed with those feelings of dread and resentment which the occasional depredations of the blacks had excited in the minds of the great bulk of the colonists, it is more than probable that they