Page:The aborigines of Australia.djvu/146

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.

they were not altogether groundless is shown by a passage which occurs in a despatch of Sir George Gipps, dated in May, 1842, to Earl Grey, then Secretary for the Colonies. It is as follows:—"It would be difficult, I think, to find men less equal to the arduous duty of acting as Protectors of the aborigines than those who were selected for the purpose in England in 1838. Their course has been, from the beginning, one of feeble action and puling complaint. Possessing the power to command the respect of the settlers, they have failed to make themselves respected, and I greatly fear that their measures have tended rather to increase than to allay the irritation which has long existed between the two races."

The Protectors, on the other hand, and the friends of the aborigines in general, maintained that the outbreak of the blacks was nothing more than the explosion of long-pent feelings of revenge and hatred towards the whites, resulting from a long course of violence and injustice on the part of the latter towards them. A large amount of evidence in support of this view of the matter is found in some official papers in reference to the aborigines printed and laid on the table of the Legislative Council in October, 1843, on the motion of one of the members. The papers consist in a great degree of letters and reports to the officers of the Government from the Protectors and the missionaries then engaged throughout the country in endeavouring to Christianize the blacks. Several