Page:The aborigines of Australia.djvu/150

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137
DIMINUTION OF THE NATIVES.

Another letter in the same collection speaks of a plan recently proposed for attaching the aboriginals to the several stations throughout the country, as a means of bringing them within the influences of civilization. The writer deprecates the proposal, as certain, if carried out, of being the source of incalculable evil to the entire people, and as likely, in a comparatively short period, to lead to their annihilation, grounding his repugnance to the suggestion on the fact that it was not alone the shepherds and hutkeepers who were the destroyers of the unhappy race, but many of those in a much higher grade of society.

Thus, whatever truth may be in the charges made against the Protectorate and the authorities, it is evident from the facts adduced in the State documents just quoted, that the aborigines had, for a series of years, received sufficient provocation to explain the causes of the attitude of simultaneous hostility which they so suddenly assumed. All the early writers in reference to the colony represent the aboriginal natives as a peaceably-disposed, tractable, and unobtrusive people, seeking in general rather to preserve their old haunts inviolate, and to follow their old pursuits, than to trespass upon the possessions or property of the new-comers. There is no reason whatever for believing that they had subsequently, at the period now in question, so far changed their nature as to assume all at once a sanguinary and implacable disposition towards the colonists, had they not been goaded by the injustice and violence