John Dunmore Lang.

Cooksland in north-eastern Australia: the future cottonfield of Great ... online

. (page 25 of 47)
Online LibraryJohn Dunmore LangCooksland in north-eastern Australia: the future cottonfield of Great ... → online text (page 25 of 47)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

general advantages and eligibility were properly known, and
some such encouragement were offered to the emigrants, as en-
suring to them the remission of the purchase-money of whatever
land they might buy on their arrival, at the present minimum
price up to the actual cost of their passage out. Thus, if a family
of a husband and wife, and one or two children, had paid fifty
pounds for their passage out, they should be allowed to purchase
fifty acres of land at the minimum price, and receive the same,
free of cost, with six months' rations. There are, however, num-
bers of the labouring agriculturists and vine-dressers of Grer-
many who, after selling all they are possessed of, would not have
sufficient means to defray the cost of their passage out, especially
if they have large families, but who would, nevertheless, from
their practical knowledge of various new branches of culture, be
a great acquisition to the Colony. The majority, indeed, of the
emigrants from Germany to the United States land in New York
without any funds in their possession ; and, having neither the
means of proceeding to the back settlements in the west, nor, if
able to proceed through the assistance of some friends or rela-
tives, of purchasing land at the low price of that country, drag on,
either in the towns or in the interior, a miserable life, and are
scarcely able to subsist. It would therefore be sufficient induce-
ment if, to such as have no means to defray their own passage,
a conditionally-free passage to this country were offered, that is,
with the understanding, that on their landing in the Col6ny they
were to hire with the settlers as farm-servants or vine-dressers for
a period of three years ; of their first yearns wages their employers
should be required to pay in advance the one-half, which should
go towards refunding the expenses of their passage out Con-
sidering the benefits which the country would derive, the sacri-
fice would not be ereat, if the other half of the cost of passage
were remitted to the foreign immigrant, while the granting an
unconditionally-free passage to the British subject would still
show that, as such, he was considered as entitled to greater ad-
vantages than a foreigner, who might be equally if not more use-
ful to the Colony, but who was bound to servitude for a period of
three years, and after the lapse of that period might, with the
savings from his wages, purchase a small farm of twenty or
thirty acres.

It is chiefly from the smaller and Protestant German States
that the stream of emigration has hitherto flowed ; the hurger
States, Prussia and Austria, which are not bound by constitu-
tions, having till very lately successfully, because tyrannically,
shut up their subjects in their dominions. The majority of
emigrants have been, I believe, Protestants of the Lutheran and

y Google


Reformed Churches, and I am satisfied there would be no diffi-
culty in finding in Wirtemberg, Baden, Switzerland, and Alsatia
alone, large numbers of emigrants, not only Protestants but triply
pious men, which, in a religious point of view, would be a great
acquisition to this country. They would consist partly of such
as are possessed of funds adequate to defraying the cost of their
passage out, on the understanding that such outlay would be
made good to them, by the remission of the purchase-money of
such land as they may acquire, and that they were to form one
or two separate settlements ; and partly of such as would embrace
the offer of a conditionally-free passage, half the cost of which
was to be refunded from their first year's wages, by settlers hir-
ing them on their arrival in the Colony ; this latter class would,
by their dispersion through the Colony generally, benefit it at
once, and perhaps even more than the former by the formation
of separate settlements.

I have the honour to be, &c.,

Chbistophrr Eipper,
Presbyterian Minister, Braidwood, St. Vincent.

y Google



"And they went to the entrance of Gedor, even unto the east
side of the valley, to seek pasture for their flocks. And they
found fat pasture and good, and the land was wide, and quiet,
and peaceable \for they of Ham had dwelt there of oW* — 1 Chron.
iv. 39, 40.

Although it is the principal object of this work to
point out the capabilities of the territory of Cooksland
as a field for the emigration of a numerous and indus-
trious population of the agricultural classes, from the
mother-country, it would be inexcusable not to devote
some portion of it to the description and development
of its superior capabilities and prospects as a Squatting
district, or, in other words, as a pastoral country, pecu-
liarly adapted for the grazing of sheep and cattle.
This has doubtless been done to some extent already,
in pointing out the adaptation of the country, in its na-
tural state, for the rearing of flocks and herds; but the
Squatting System is of too much importance to the fu-
ture colony of Cooksland, not to demand a separate
and distinct notice.

It was a favourite theory with the infidel philoso-
phers of the last century, that man originally existed
as a wild hunter, eating the fruits and roots which the

y Google


earth produced spontaneouslj, and traversing its vast
forests, without anj settled habitation, in search of
game.* Some benefactor of his species, however, whose
name, unfortunately, has not descended to posterity, hit
upon the happy expedient of taming the wild sheep,
the wild cow, and the wild horse, and subjecting these
animals, in a domesticated state, to the uses of man*
The painted savage then made himself a movable tent
to live in, covered with the skins of his sheep and
goats; removing it, successively, from one Squatting
Station to another, according as the grass or the water
£uled, and traversing the open country with his flocks
and herds, like those ancient Squatters, Abraham and
Isaac and Jacob, of happy memory. The earth was
then a vast common, to which no man pretended to
have any other right than the right of temporary oc-
cupation, which was supposed to cease and determine
the moment he struck his tent and removed his flocks
and herds to a different run. There were no cities or
towns at this period, and no such division of labour as
we have now; every Squatter being shoemaker and
tailor, house-carpenter and weaver, butcher and baker,
in short, a perfect jack-of-all-trades, for himself. This,
moreover, was the golden age of the world — at least
the poets have told us so, and the philosophers do not

* ** The discoveries of ancient and modem navigation, and the
domestic history or traditions of the most enlightened nations,
represent the human savage naked both in mind and body, and
destitute of laws, of arts, of ideas, and almost of language.
From this abject condition, perhaps the primiti'ce and unitersal
state of man, he has gradually risen to command the animals, to
fertilize the earth, to traverse the ocean, and to measure the
heavens." — Gibbon.

There is not even the shadow either of evidence or of probabilitjr
for the allegation that the savage state was the primitive and unt-
versal state of man. The voice of history, both sacred and pro-
fane, proclaims the contrary. Nay, there is not even the sha-
dow of evidence to prove that in any one instance in the history
of man, a people in such a state as the eloquent historian de-
scribes, has raised itself, by its own inherent energies, to a state
of civilization.

y Google


contradict them — peace and harmony reigned every-
where, and uninterrupted felicity. It is somewhat un-
fortunate, indeed, for this theory, that so early in the
history of Squatting as the era of the patriarch Isaac
—of whom we are divinely told that "the man
waxed great, and went forward, and grew until he be-
came very great, for he had possession of flocks^ and
possessto7i of herds, and great store of servants ;" the items
constituting his greatness being thus precisely those that
constitute the greatness of an Australian Squatter — it
is peculiarly unfortunate for the theory in question,
that so early as the era of Isaac there were exactly
the same quarrels and contentions between rival Squat-
ters about their wells, or " water-holes," whether the
latter were natural or artificial, as still occur occasion-
ally in New South Wales : and the case of the sons of
Jacob kidnapping their own brother, and selling him
for a slave, not to mention that of Simeon and Levi and
their stockmen sacking a whole town, is rather unfor-
tunate for the character of this golden age ; for we have
no reason to suppose that the shepherds of Arcadia
were a whit better than those of Syria and Palestine.

The next step in human progression was the con-
version of the Squatter into an agriculturist, or tiller
of the ground ; on which occasion, we are told, he
converted his tent into a permanent dwelling-house,
and his right of occupancy into a fee-simple, just as
the Squatters of New South Wales have been anxious
to do for years past, by means of leases for twenty-
one years ; for it is evident and unquestionable to any
person at all acquainted with the physical character
and circumstances of that country, that if these leases
were once granted by Act of Parliament, all the power
of Britain would be utterly insufficient to prevent the
numerous and powerful corps of Squatters — extending
as they will very speedily, from Cape Howe to Cape
York, along a tract of country 2000 miles in length,
and 500 or 600 in breadth — from converting them into
absolute free-holds, long before the twenty-one years

y Google


were expired, if they were so inclined^ and chose to make
common cause against the Imperial authorities.*

Now it would doubtless have been very interesting
to the philosophers of last century to have seen their
theory so beautifully illustrated as it is unquestionably,
to a certain extent, in Australia. In that country, in
its natural state, man is exactly in the condition in
which he is represented to have been universally in the
primitive earth of the philosopher,

** When wild in woods the naked savage ran."
The period of transition, however, arrives with the
European Squatter, who takes possession of a large
tract of the waste unoccupied country, with his flocks
and herds, and calls it his run ; getting a license from
the Local Government, for which he pays £10 a-year,
and which secures him, for the time being, in the oc-
cupation of an extent of perhaps 120 square miles of
good natural pasture, and perhaps ordering or hunting
off the unfortunate Aborigines — who, in all likelihood,
were bom upon the spot, and can have no idea either
of the nature of the license, or of the paramount au-
thority from which it emanates — from the said run. For
it is here that the philosopher's theory altogether fails;
the Squatter is not the wild hunter or savage man, ele-
vated, so to speak, by his own native energies, above
himself but a totally different man altogether, who takes
possession of the native country of the latter, without
permission and without compensation, and calling it
his run, orders the native off, because, forsooth, his cat-
tle somehow do not like black men, and start off in a
fright at the sight of them ! In short, it is scarcely pos-
sible to contemplate the natural condition of the Abo-
rigines of Austndia, and their universal and determined
adherence to their savage mode of life, even after being
half a century in close contact with European civiliza-
tion, without being driven, perforce, to the conclusion,

* Leases of fourteen years have been granted under an Act
of Parliament recently passed. The shorter term of the lease
will not greatly affect the ultimate issue.

y Google


that if the wild hunter or savage state had been the pri-
mitive and original state of man, he would have conti-
nued a savage to all eternity. Not only is there no in-
stance in any country of the savage ever raising hina-
self, by his own native energies, above his natural con-
dition ; he actually resists every effort to effect his ele-
vation in the scale of humanity, when such efforts are
made by others. This is doubtless a most important
fact in the natural history of man ; especially as it de-
monstrates the utter vanity of that " philosophy falsely
so called," which sets itself in opposition to the testi-
mony of God.

From the hints I have just given, two things mast
be obvious to the reader. — First, that, considering the
amazing rapidity with which sheep and cattle increase
in all parts of Australia, and the large extent of land
occupied by each Squatting Station, the occupation of
all the available portion of the vast continental island
of New Holland with the flocks and herds of Euro-
peans, will be effected in a comparatively short period
of time, under the present Squatting system ; and, se-
condly, that the extension of that system will almost
necessarily involve the speedy extinction of the Abo- ,
riginal race. Even where actual collision does not take
place between the white and black races, the latter, like
the leaves in autumn, uniformly disappear before the
progress of European colonization, at a lamentably ra-
pid rate, which even European vice and European dis-
ease are insufficient to account for ;* but when hostile
aggression on either side, followed by something like
a war of extermination, comes in aid of this natural

* This rapid disappearance of the Aboriginal races of all the
British Colonies, even in circumstances much more favourable
for their preservation than those in which the Squatting System
has unfortunately placed the Aborigines of Australia, is a pheno-
menon in the science of Ethnology equally lamentable and un-
accoimtable. The following is a case remarkably in point, from
the Journal of a distinguished traveller, with whose acquaintance
I have been honoured : —

y Google


decay of the feebler race, the process of extinction is
fearfully accelerated. It cannot be denied that such
aggression is sometimes commenced by the black na-

ExTRACT of the Journal of an Expedition from Pirara to the

Upper Corentyne, and from thence to Demerara, vmder the

command of Sir Robert H. Schomburgk.

<* Reluctant as I am to despair, the conviction is forced upon
me, that the Indian race is doomed to extermination. Six years
have scarcely passed away since I wandered to this spot, on vi-
siting the sources of the Essequibo. We left the settlement
[jgisclialli Tuna, and passed on our route to the Taruma Indians
three villages of Atorais or Atorajas, and one of Taurais, the lat-
ter containing the remnant of that sister-tribe of the Atorai na-
tion. The villages have vanished ; death has all but extirpated
the former inhabitants, and I am informed that of the true Ato-
rais only seven individuals are alive. From the accounts I re-
ceived in 1837, 1 estimated the number of Atorais and Taurais
at 200, including the descendants of mixed marriages^ and of
that number about sixty are now left.

<* The measles, so fatal to the Indians, has twice decimated the
Atorais ; and at the commencement of the present year, the
small-pox, brought from the colony to Pirara, ravaged from
thence to the southward, so far as these poor people. Their be-
lief in the secret influences of the Kanaima, who has only to
breathe upon his victim in anger to send him to an untimely
grave, Q{)erates as banefully as that species of witchcraft called
Obiah, practised among negroes, which, acting „iipon their super-
stitious fears, is frequently attended with disease and death. Nor
is it the Atorais and Taurais alone whose rapid extinction is thus
going forward ; similar causes are operating over the whole Indian
population of the colony. The village of Wapisiana Indians
called Eischalli Tuna, from which I started in 1837, is no longer
in existence, and of its then inhabitants only one.female and three
children are now alive. Many of my former acquaintances
among the Taruma Indians are now buried, and I have already
alluded to the rapid decrease of the Macusis. But the most af-
fecting picture that now presented itself among the many Indians
assembled around us, was Miaha, the last remnant of the once
powerful tribe of Amaripas. Singled out by destiny to be the
sole survivor of a nation, she wanders among the living. Pa-
rents, brothers, sisters, husband, children, friends, and acquain-
tances are all gone down to the silent gi'ave ; she alone still lin-
gering, as the last memorial of her tribe, soon to be numbered,
judging by her faltering voice and tottering steps, with those
of whom tradition alone will record that such a tribe existed.
Alas ! a similar fate awaits other tribes ; they will disappear from
those parts of the earth on which Makunaima, the Good Spirit,

y Google


tives and without any apparent provocation ; but in by
for the greater number of instances it originates with
the Europeans. The very prohibition of the Abo-
rigines to " walk all about," as they express it them-
selves in their broken English, in the land and on
the spot of their birth — ^a prohibition, perhaps, en-
forced with threats, and sometimes even with the dogs
and guns of the Squatters and their stockmen — ^is
itself an aggression of the most serious description
to the hapless Aborigines ; for as the country is all
parcelled out among the different tribes of the latter,
each having its own well-known boundaries, a tribe
which has been driven from its own hunting-grounds

placed them, and which, since the arrival of the European, has
become the vast cemetery of the original races.

<< The Amaripas inhabited the regions about the Tuarutu moun-
tains, near the river Wampuna ; and as Miaha well recollects
when the late Dr. Hancock was at the Upper Rupununi in 181 1,
I had a fixed point from which to date my inquiries, as to whe-
ther the extinction of the Amaripas had been slow or rapid.
She told me that at that time their number was not quite so
nxany as two men had fingers and toes, (I concluded she meant
about 35 individuals,) and of that number Miaha alone remained
in 1843. , •

** The grass of 'the extensive savannahs which surrounded
the dwellings of the Amaripas will no more be trodden by one
of the descendants of this tribe, and ere long the deer alone will
range over those thousands of square miles of herbage plains,
once the bed of a vast inland lake, now the grand burial-place of
the Amaripas, the Atorais, the Wapisianas, and Macusis. Let
us hope, however, that the poor remnant of these people may be
preserved from destruction, and that, instructed in the Christian
religion, and relinquishing their unsettled mode of life and su-
perstitious customs, they may become happy and useful members

of a Christian community.


« We passed soon after noon the ute of the Daurai settlement,
where, on my journey to and from the sources of the Essequibo
in 1837-38, we had rested. It was now perfectly overgrown with
bushes, and the' spots where the huts formerly stood could not
be reached without using the axe and cutlass. Scarcely six
years had elapsed, since I found here a settlement of nearly forty
persons ; two grown-up individuals of the number are now ail
that are known to be alive." — Geogr. Society's Journal for 1845.

y Google


by European intrusion has no place to retreat to,
as the fact of its entrance without permission into
the territories of other tribes, is held tantamount by
the natives to a declaration of war.

Of the good-feeling and kindly dispositions of a large
proportion of the more respectable Squatters towards
the Aborigines, there can be no doubt ; but very many
of their servants, being "old hands," or Expiree convicts
from New South Wales and Van Dieman's Land, are
thoroughly unprincipled men, and are often guilty of the
most unprovoked, wanton, and reckless outrages upon
them — ^robbing them of their ^tVw or wives, setting their
dogs upon them, and inflicting blows with little or with
no provocation at all. This naturally leads to retaliation,
and that retaliation, agreeably to the principles of Abo-
riginal justice, is unfortunately not visited upon the
actual aggressor, but upon the first white man or men
the infuriated natives happen to fall in with, and are
able to overpower. For a considerable time after the
discovery and occupation of the country called Gipps-
land, at the south-eastern angle of Australia, the na-
tives of that part of the territory lived upon the most
fiiendly terms with the Squatters and their stockmen ;
accompanying them on their journeys, and occasionally
giving them important information and assistance.
Sometimes, indeed, their friendship was rather trouble-
some, as they would enter the huts without invitation,
just as the white men had entered their country, and
help themselves to any thing they took a fancy to. On
one occasion two of these natives happened to enter
the hut of a Stockman in the service of Lachlan Mac-
alister, Esq., one of the first Squatters in the district,
and were making themselves quite at home, in their
usual way, when the stockman, annoyed at their fami-
liarity, and at the likelihood of their taking something
that did not belong to them, gave one of the natives a
violent blow with the butt-end of the musket he hap-
pened to have in his hand at the time, which knocked
him down. The other native, naturally indignant at
the barbarous treatment which his comrade had re-

y Google


ceived from the white man, instantly seized his spear,
and was in the act of hurling it at the stockman, when
the latter, firing his piece at him, shot him dead upon
the spot. The first native, who had only been stunned
by the blow, immediately made off, and reported the
whole affair to his tribe. It was a considerable time
before an opportunity for retaliation presented itself to
the natives, and it was hoped by the Europeans who
were cognizant of the affair, that the bad impression it
must have produced on their untutored minds had
worn off. One day, however, when Mr. Macalister,
junr., a young gentleman from the Highlands of Scot-
land who had charge of his uncle's establishment, was
riding out alone with a double-barrelled gun on his
shoulder, he happened to fall in with two natives, and
as they were mutually known to each other, they en-
tered into conversation apparently in the most friendly
manner. In the course of this conversation, however,
the natives pretended to be wonderfully taken with the
gun, and expressed their desire to see and examine it
more closely. With this desire Mr. Macalister imfor-
tunately complied, handing them the gun without the
least suspicion of their design ; but no sooner had the
natives got possession of this object of their fears, than
one of them launched his spear at the unfortunate
young man, and wounding him fatally, they dragged
him from his horse, and speedily despatched him with
repeated blows of their clubs. From that period up to
the time of my departure from the Colony, there had
been no intercourse of any kind between these black
natives and the European Squatters of Gippsland ; and
the probability is, that a war of extermination would

Collisions of a somewhat similar character had taken
place between the Europeans and the black natives in
the western district of Port Phillip, shortly after the
original occupation of that country by the flocks and
herds of numerous Squatters, chiefly from Van Die-
man s Land, in the year 1836 ; and the consequence
has been, that from this and the other causes combined

y Google


to which I have adverted, the number of the natives
has been diminished exactly one-half, or from 2000
to 1000 during the last ten years. I question whetlier
there will be anything like 500 remaining at the end
of the next ten years.

There was a great sacrifice of human life on the
part of the Aborigines, although to what extent I
could not exactly ascertain, and a great destruction of
European property in sheep and cattle, in the attempt
to form an extensive Squatting Station, undertaken on
account of a large proprietor of stock in New South
Wales, at Wide Bay, in latitude 26"* S., a few years

Online LibraryJohn Dunmore LangCooksland in north-eastern Australia: the future cottonfield of Great ... → online text (page 25 of 47)