John Dunmore Lang.

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missionary labours were in some measure suspended,
from the manual labour in Which they were compelled
to engage for the supply of the necessaries of life. Im-
mediately, however, after my return fix)m Europe, a
new and successful effort was made on behalf of the
German Mission, and the serious privations to which it
had previously been subjected were forthwith brought
to an end.

I have already stated, in a previous chapter of this
work, that His Excellency Sir George Gipps, visited
the Settlement of Moreton Bay in the year 1842. In
the course of that visit he also visited the German Mis-
sion Station J which, he afterwards alleged, was too near
Brisbane Town for the purposes of the mission, andoc-



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GERMAN MISSION TO THE ABORIGINES. 467

cupied ground which might turn something consider-
able into Government, if sold for suburban allotments:
and it was agreeably to his Excellency's own suggestion
that the Bev. Mr. Schmidt's journey, to which I have
already referred, was undertaken to the Bunya-Bunya
country, with a view to the formation of a new Mission
Station in that locality, on the understanding that, if
found suitable for the purpose, the Government should
be at the whole expense of the removal of the mis-
sionaries, and continue to support the mission from
the same fund, to the same extent and on the same
principle as before. The locality was found by no
means unfavourable, and the missionaries were willing
to remove to the new Station, on this understanding ;
but the next announcement from the Government, com-
municated without previous warning of any kind, was,
that no further support would be granted for missions to
the Aborigines from the Land Revenue of the colony. In
short, the impolitic procedure of the Local Government
in regard to the sale of land, and the measures adopted
by that Government in the matter of immigration, had
in fact nearly annihilated this revenue, and spread dis-
aster and rain all over the colony ; and the withdrawal of
the support previously afforded for the German Mission,
was therefore merely a measure of retrenchment, sug-
gested by the necessities of the times, and much easier,
of course, than the curtailment of exorbitant salaries,
or the abolition of usele^ appointments.

The opening up of the Settlement of Moreton Bay to
free immigration, in the years 1841 and 1842, had a
most unfortunate effect on the relations previously sub-
sisting between the missionaries and the Aborigines,
and materially interfered with the prospects of the Mis-
sion, which were then rather favourable. For the
Squatting System, by virtually dividing the country
into a series of extensive domains, and establishing a
lord of the manor in each, introduced a class of persons
who, if they did not look upon the natives with an evil
eye, certainly regarded them as standing very much in
their way. On one occasion the Rev. Mr. Schmidt, when



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468 COOK8LAND.

traversing the bush on foot with a few natives, was met
by two gentlemen Squatters, mounted and armed, one
of whom requested Mr. S., as he spoke their lan-
guage, to inform the natives that they were not to tres-
pass on his run. Now, such an intimation will doubtless
appear quite natural and proper io an Englishman, and
quite consistent with the rights ofpi*operty, whether held
in fee-simple or on lease from the Crown. But what, I
would ask, is the import of such an intimation in the pe-
culiar circumstances supposed ? And with what face, I
would ask also, could a missionary make such an intima-
tion to " the barbarous people " of his charge, who pro-
bablyhad "shewn him much kindness "in theirown way?
Translated into English it would imply some such ad-»
dress to the black natives on the part of the missionary
as the following :

" Dearly beloved brethren, I have hitherto been tell-
ing you that the great God who made the sun, the
moon, and the stars, the land, and the salt water, ^ hath
made of one blood all the nations of men for to dwell
upon all the face of the earth ;' that his white and his
black children are all alike in his sight, and that he hath
sent his Son from heaven to die for you, to bless and
to save you. But I have now to tell you that the great
white Jin* beyond the salt water requires your country
for the cattle and sheep of her tribe, and has given the
whole of it from the river back to the mountains to her

brotherl" Mr. -. , here, and^ou are not to * sit doMm *

or ' walk all about' over it, to hunt the kangaroo and
opossum, or to gather hangwall, any more. No doubt
it is your own country, the place where you were born,
and you have no place else to ' sit down and walk all
about,' to hunt and to ^ihQV bangwall ; but remember
the great white Jin is very strong, and there are many
soldiers in her tribe,*'



* Jin is the native word for woman.

f Brother is a word of Very extensiye meaning with the na-
tives, like the word cou^n with us, in certain legal documents.



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GERMAN MISSION TO THE ABORIGINES. 469

Such are the " glad tidings '* which the missionary
was actually requested, in the instance under consider-
ation, to proclaim to the heathen people of his charge
— such is the Squatters' gospel to the Aborigines of
Australia ! I have no hesitation in expressing my be-
lief and conviction that in many, very many instances,
it has been literally tantamount to a sentence of confis-
cation, banishment and death to the unfortunate Abo^-
rigines.

Am I therefore to be understood as being opposed to
the Squatting System, or anxious for its discontinu-
ance 1 By no means. The prevalence of that system
is the natural and necessary course of events in Aus-
tralia, and it is not in the power of Great Britain, even
if she could be so insane as to cherish the wish, to en-
force its discontinuance. All we can do is to amelio-
rate that system in its bearings upon the Aborigines,
that the white and black races may coexist in harmony
and peace till the purposes of Divine Providence are
accomplished in regard to the latter, or, in other words,
during the very short period they will in all likelihood
continue to exist at all. And I repeat it, there is nothing
which in my opinion would tend so directly to amelio-
rate the Squatting System, in all its bearings on the un-
fortunate Aborigines, as the speedy influx of a nume-
rous agricultural population from the mother country,
to occupy the vast extent of superior available land to
the northward, in the wfiy I have described. Such a
population would infallibly originate a healthy state of
public opinion on this most important subject, which
certainly does not exist in the colony at present, and
before which the unprincipled wretch who would utterly
disgrace his country, and humanity itself, by introdu-
cing amongst us the infernal Italian practice of poison-
ing, either in regard to blacks or whites, would quail
and disappear.*

* If this practice is not effectually put down in the colony by
public opinion, (enlightened, of course, and stimulated by a high-
toned Christianity,) as far as the blacks are concerned, there is



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470 COOKSLAND.

The discontinuance of the pecuniary support granted
for a time to the Grerman Mission to the Aborigines
from the Land Revenue of the Colony, and the difficulty
of obtaining anything like adequate support from the
colonists during the period of general disaster that en-
sued, produced a great change in the circumstances of
the Mission, independently of the change in its pros-
pects arising from the opening up of the Settlement to
the Squatters, and rendered its future condition exceed?-
ingly precarious. In these circumstances, the Eev. Mr.
Eipper, one of the clerical missionaries, abandoned the
undertaking, and accepted a clerical appointment in the
colony. The Rev. Mr. Schmidt, however, remained
at the Mission Station till the commencement of the
year 1845, when he came to Sydney, where he resided
in my family till he returned to Europe in the month
of May, 1846.

In the meantime, the lay-missionaries resolved to re^*
main at the Station^ having been reinforced by three
additional missionaries of the same class from Berlin,
in the year 1844, and having received a promise of pe-^
cuniary assistance from a missionary society which had
been formed in that city, to a small extent annually4
They have now a herd of cattle and a few horses, the
produce of which, together with the labour of their
hands in the cultivation of a small extent of land, sup"
plies them with the necessaries of life ; and they regu*-
larly continue to improve such opportunities as offer of
communicating religious instruction to the Aborigines,



reason to fear that it will not stop with them, but be extended in
due time to the whites also. There is no form of criminality more
extensively prevalent, more epidemical, so to speak, than this,
wherever it has gained a footing, and there is none more difficult
to root out of any country. " The brightest period of the Roman
history," observes Mr. Hume, " is that between the beginning of
the first and end of the second Punic war. Yet, at this very time,
the horrid practice of poisoning, (so prevalent at present in the
same country,) was so common, that, during part of a season, a
praetor punished capitally, for this crime alone^ about 3000 per-
sons in a part of Italy, and found informations of this kind still
multiplying upon him."



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GERMAN MISSION TO THE ABORIGINES. 471

and of exercising a moral and religious influence among
the white population of the humbler classes in and around
Brisbane Town.

Dr. Leichhardt spent some time at the German Mis-
sion Station, as a guest of the Rev. Mr. Schmidt's,
during his stay at Moreton Bay, in the year 1 843, and
it will doubtless not be uninteresting to the reader to
peruse the following opinion of that distinguished tra-
veller, contained in one of his interesting letters to Mr,
Lynd, respecting the Mission generally. Dr. L., I may
add, was rather sceptical as to any beneficial results
being likely to follow from the direct iiifluence of the
Missionaries upon the Aborigines, in the way of their
conversion to Christianity ; but he was fully alive to
the beneficial influence which such a community was
likely to exert on the surrounding white populaLtion in
iBuch a Colony : —

The philanthropist could never find a purer and better nucleus
for the commencement of a colony than these seven families of
the Missionaries are : they themselves excellent, tolerably well
educated men, industrious, with industrious wives. They have
twenty-two children, though very young, yet educated with the
greatest care — the most obedient, the least troublesome children
I have seen in this Colony or elsewhere. If the Governor was
in any way a man of more comprehensive views, and if he con-
sidered the moral influence of such a little colony on the sur-
rounding Settlers, he would not grudge them the few acres of
land which they are at present in possession of — ^he would grant
it to them for the five years of suffering they had to pass. The
Missionaries have converted no black-fellows to Christianity ;
but they have commenced a friendly intercourse with these sa-
vage children of the bush, and have shewn to them the white-
fellow in his best colour. They did not take their wives ; they
did not take bloody revenge when the black-fellow came to rob
their garden. They were always kind, and perliaps too kind ;
for they threatened without executing their threatenings, and the
black-fellows knew well that it was only gammon,

I visited the German Mission Station twice during
my stay at Moreton Bay, on one of which occasions I
spent a night at the Station, and heard the children
read a portion of Scripture. They form one of the
most singular, as well as interesting little groups in Her
Majesty's dominions. The parents, who are all Ger^



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472 COOKSLAND.

mans, knew no other than their mother-tongue when
they arrived in the Colony ; but they deemed it incum-
bent upon them, for the purposes of their Mission, to
learn and to speak English only, and they have ac-
cordingly taught their children that foreign tongue ex-
clusively. Of course they could not teach them the
English accent; and the little Anglo-German colonists,
entirely secluded as they are from the world, speak
English with as strong a foreign accent as a German
who learns our language after he has come to manhood.
I had recommended the parents, several years before,
to teach their children both . languages, telling them
they would learn both as easily as one : but they were
afraid that if they taught them to speak German, they
would not learn English, and with amazing self-denial,
they have continued to converse with one another in
their families in English, and thereby to teach their
children a foreign tongue.

I can also testify with much pleasure to the benefi-
cial infiuence which the Lay-Missionaries are exercis-
ing on the scattered white population of the humbler
classes in and around Brisbane Town. They have al-
ready proved a blessing to several in that vicinity, in
the highest sense of the word — bringing both indivi-
duals and families back to a sense of the duties of reli-
gion, and inducing a corresponding practice. They
itinerate by turns in different parts of the district every
Sabbath — reading the Scriptures, distributing Scriptu-
ral tracts, and expounding the word of God to all who
will suffer the word of e:diortation. As a specimen of
the influence they are exerting in this way, I shall re-
late the following circumstance which was incidentally
mentioned to me, from his own experience, by Mr.
Gottfried Wagner, the only unmarried Missionary now
at the Station, who accompanied me on horseback
from the Mission Station on my return to Brisbane.
On a Sabbath afternoon, in the course of his accus-
tomed tour of itineracy, a woman in the humbler walks
of life earnestly requested Mr. Wagner to go to a par-
ticular public-house in the neighbourhood^ and speak



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GERMAN MISSION TO THE ABORIGINES. 473

to her husband, who was not only profaning the Sab-
bath, but spending his time and his means away from
his family, and reducing himself to a state of brutal
intoxication. Mr. W. accordingly went, but was told
by the publican that the man he asked for was not in
his house. Mr. W. returned to the woman, and re-
ported the issue of his visit, but she entreated him to
go back again, as she was certain her husband was in
the house, although the publican, for obvious reasons,
had denied him. Mr. W, accordingly went back to
the public-house, and requested to be admitted to see
the man, as he said he was assured by his wife he was
in the house. The publican, as might be anticipated,
was offended at this importunity, and asked IS^. W.
how he pretended to search his house, asking him in-
sultingly, if he was a constable, or had a warrant to do
80 ? " Yes," Mr. W. fearlessly replied, " I have a
warrant." " Where is it?" said the publican sneer-
ingly. " Here," replied Mr. W., pulling out his
English Pocket Bible, " for it is written in the Word
of God, Thou shall love thy neighbour as thyself J^ The
publican stood abashed at this instance of Christian
zeal and intrepidity on the part of the humble foreigner,
— for there is a majesty and a power in the bold asser-
tion of Christian principle, before which iniquity will
often hide her head and be ashamed ; and he allowed
Mr. W. to enter his house, where he found the man
he was in quest of. For these, and various other rea-
sons, I confess I feel a deep interest in the German
Mission to the Aborigines ; and as it was entirely wifh
my concurrence and approval that my friend and bro-
ther, Mr. Schmidt, returned to Europe, I cherish the
hope that it will ere long be revived under happier
auspices, and be prosecuted with increased vigour, and
crowned with ultimate success.



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CHAPTER Xn.



PR06PBCT8 OF 0OOK8LAND, IN RBOABD TO CIVIL AND RBLIOIOUfl
LIBBRTT, MOBALSy AND RELIGION.



Caetera turba $uotfine$ plerumque seqinuitur.

RuDDiMAN*8 Latin Grammar.

Certain of the Colonial Clergy are exceedingly 'selfish and sordid.



The population of Cooksland, which, by the census
of 1846, amounts to 3750 souls,* is composed of per-
sons who style themselves respectively English Epis-
copalians, Scotch and North of Ireland Presbyterians,
and Irish Boman Catholics ; the number of persons of
any other denomination being as yet very small. A
large proportion, if not a decided majority of the gentle-
men Squatters, and other respectable inhabitants of
the District, are Scotsmen and Presbyterians ; the re-
mainder of this class being almost exclusively of the
Church of England. There is also a considerable
number of Scotsmen and Presbyterians among the
humbler or working-classes — the free immigrant me-
chanics, farm-servants, and shepherds ; but the hulk

* County of Stanley, including Brisbane, . 1599

Commissioner's District, . . . . 268

Darling Downs, 658

Clarence River District, .... 1225

Total, 3750

Digitized by VjOOQ IC



MORAL AND RELIGIOUS PROSPECTS. 475

of this class of the population, embracing, as it does, a
considerable proportion of old hands, or expiree con^
victs, are, nominally at least, Episcopalians and Ro-
man Catholics.

For the religious instruction of this population, there
are at present two Episcopalian ministers stationed in
ihe district— ^the one at Brisbane, and the other on the
Clarence River — and at least one Romish priest also
stationed at Brisbane. There is no other minister of
religion of any communion in this part of the terrir
tory.

The Episcopalian minister at Brisbane is the Rev*
John Gregor, A.M., a regularly educated and ordained
minister of the Established Church of Scotland, who
was sent out to New South Wales as a Presbyterian
minister, on the recommendation of the General Assem-
bly's Colonial Committee, in the year 1837. In con^
sequence, however, of certain difficulties in his posi-
tion, the result of his own heartless cupidity, Mr. Gre-
gor gave out that a new light had broken in upon his
mental vision, and declared publicly, " in the Church
of St. James, the Apostle, in Sydney," that he was
moved by the Holy Ghost to renounce the Westminster
Confession of Faith and the Presbyterian Communion,
and to take an oath of implicit obedience to a Puseyite
Bishop.

Mr. Gregor is, without exception, the most worldly-
minded person I have ever known in a clerical habit,
and he is so ignorant withal of the world, as even to
be utterly destitute of that thin veil of hypocrisy which,
in such cases, is indispensably necessary to shield the
hireling from general disgust. Through the frequent
exhibition of this quality, combined with others equally
unclerical, Mr. Gregor had contrived, within a very
short period from the time of his arrival at Moreton
Bay, (to which locality he was ordered to proceed by
his Bishop,) to alienate the affections of the entire
Episcopalian community in the district from his per-
son and ministry, and to forfeit all title to their confi-
dence and respect. Public meetings had been held



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476 COOKSLAND.

both before the period of my visit and since, to repre-
sent his utter unfitness for the office he held, and to
petition the Bishop for his removal. But obsequious-
ness and servility are the never-failing attributes of
the Episcopalianized Scotch Presbyterian, whether in
Church or in State, and by " the diligent use of these
outward and ordinary neans" of success in such quar-
ters, Mr. Gregor has managed to retain his position in
spite of the petitions and remonstrances of an outraged
and indignant people. He is a thorough Intrusionist.

I have been induced to mention these particulars,
partly to exhibit the religious prospects of the district,
and partly because there was a wonderful flourish of
trumpets, both in the colony and at home, on the acces-
sion of this individual to the Colonial Episcopal Church.
For my own part, I make that Church heartily welcome
to all such Presbyterian ministers, even although they
should prove as numerous as the " leaves in Vallom-
brosa ;" for the only real service they can ever render
to the Presbyterian communion is to leave it for ever.
Lest I should be supposed, however, to be actuated by
unworthy feelings towards this unhappy individual, I
shall insert the following extract of a letter, in which
reference is made to him, of date '^ Brisbane, 28th
March 1846," and which I had the honour of receiving
from a gentleman at Moreton Bay — ^an Englishman,
an Episcopalian, and an officer of Government, holding
a highly respectable appointment in the district, who,
I beg to add, has not yet been mentioned in any way
in this work : —

^^ We are labouring to be rid of our Incumbent — I bad almost
written Incubus, which, at all events, can appear in the errata.
I do not go into particulars, as I do not doubt that the obduracy
of his master and the obstinacy of himself will be the cause of all
the business appearing in the Atlas (a Sydney weekly journal)
if they will publish it. We find but one opinion of him here, but
meet with much difficulty in getting people to co-operate. One
has a yoke of oxen to prove — another has married a wife — a
third luks bought a farm — a fourth is a Government officer, and
80 cannot 1 Nevertheless, there be some of us who are deter-
mined to be rid of him, oouU qu^U coute. My impression of a
minister, who having really at heart ^e glory of God and the



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MORAL AND RELIGIOUS PROSPECTS. 477

diffusion of the Gospel, is that he would not remain in a parish
wherein he was made apparent as a hindrance of that Gospel,
which he ought to practise as well as preach. But you know the
man, perhaps, better than I do ; at all events, 1 know that he is
not the good shepherd, but that he careth not for the sheep, be-
cause he is a hireling.'*

In such circumstances, it will readily be believed
that there is comparatively little even of the outward
semblance of Protestant Christianity at all visible in the
Moreton Bay District beyond the influence of that
purer moral atmosphere which the German Mission to
the Aborigines has certainly succeeded in creating
within its limited sphere. Accordingly, I was told
that when Mr. Gregor occasionally visits the surround-
ing Squatting Stations, " to do duty," as it is termed,
and the hired servants on the station at which he is to
officiate are invited to attend, they frequently excuse
themselves by alleging that " they are all Roman
Catholics," but when Mr. Hanley, the Romish priest
at Brisbane, visits the same stations, the very same
men excuse their non-attendance at his rural mass by
alleging that " they are all Protestants."

The Episcopalian incumbent at the Clarence River
is a Mr. M'Connell, a very young man, and evidently
knowing as little of mankind, to say nothing of Chris-
tianity, as Mr. Gregor. On its being announced that
the Bishop would send a clergyman to the Clarence
District, on the understanding that the people should
contribute for his support, (as the Colonial Government
allowance does not extend to these out-stations), and
that, up to a certain amount, he would receive a salary
from the Bishop equal to what should be contributed
by the District, Mr. Commissioner Fry, whose able
and interesting Report of the capabilities of the Clarence
District I have had the pleasure of submitting to the
reader, exerted himself in traversing the District in
person to procure subscriptions for the clergyman ; and
although a large proportion of the respectable inhabit-
ants were Scotsmen and Presbyterians, they had wil-
lingly responded to the Commissioner's appeal, from
their earnest desire to see a Protestant minister of any



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478 COOKSLAND.

communion settled in the District. The clergyman at
length arrived, and when Mr. Fry handed him the list
of subscriptions he had procured, guaranteeing him a
salary of £150 a-year from the people, the raw, un-
fledged youth — whose qualifications for the ministerial
office, I was told by a pious Scotch Presbyterian lady
from the district, who was well qualified to offer an
opinion on the subject, were of the meanest description
she had ever witnessed in any person pretending to be
a teacher of others — ^had the modest assurance to ask
indignantly, if " that was all they were going to sub-
scribe for dieir clergyman?" Mr. Fry was exceedingly



Online LibraryJohn Dunmore LangCooksland in north-eastern Australia: the future cottonfield of Great ... → online text (page 45 of 47)