Page:The aborigines of Australia.djvu/145

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THE ABORIGINES OF AUSTRALIA.

entered on the performance of their functions biassed in some degree in favour of the aborigines, with whose sufferings they had previously been made familiar. The settlers alleged, moreover, that the conduct of the Protectors was such as to impress the blacks with the belief that they were to be saved from violence under all and every circumstance, and that a feeling had sprung up among them that from some mysterious cause they were thenceforward especial objects of care with the King of Great Britain, whose name, it is said, they became accustomed to mention with familiarity as their patron and friend. The Protectors among their other functions, were empowered to act as magistrates in all cases in which the aborigines were concerned, and it is alleged that in their decisions a strong leaning towards the aborigines was always evinced. This partiality became the subject of conversation in every hut, and on every station. The civilized blacks soon gleaned from the discourses of the shepherds and hutkeepers the facts of the matter, and with that shrewdness in which they are by no means deficient, they perceived that the tide had turned in their favour. The blacks resident on the stations transmitted the welcome intelligence to their wilder brethren; these communicated it to their neighbours, and those again despatched the news to the remotest tribes. Then followed the general onslaught on the Europeans along the entire border of the colony. These were the views of the colonists whose interests were involved in the matter, and that