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Reformed Churches, and I am satisfied there would be no difficulty in finding in Wirtemberg, Baden, Switzerland, and Alsatia alone, large numbers of emigrants, not only Protestants but truly 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 hiring 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.,
CHRISTOPHER EIPPER, Presbyterian Minister, Braidwood, St. Vincent. CHAPTER IX,
THE SQUATTING SYSTEM.- ITS
AND PROSPECTS IN
“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 old.”—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 industrious 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, peculiarly 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 natural state, for the rearing of flocks and herds; but the Squatting System is of too much importance to the future colony of Cooksland, not to demand a separate and distinct notice.
It was a favourite theory with the infidel philosophers of the last century, that man originally existed às a wild hunter, eating the fruits and roots which the earth produced spontaneously, and traversing its vast forests, without any 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 failed, 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 occupation, 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 modern 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 primitive and universal 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 probability for the allegation that the savage state was the primitive and universal state of man. The voice of history, both sacred and profane, proclaims the contrary. Nay, there is not even the shadow of evidence to prove that in any one instance in the history of man, a people in such a state as the eloquent historian describes, has raised itself, by its own inherent energies, to a state of civilization.
contradict them—peace and harmony reigned everywhere, and uninterrupted felicity. It is somewhat unfortunate, 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 became very GREAT, for he had possession of flocks, and possession 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 Squatters about their wells, or water-holes,” whether the latter were natural or artificial, as still occur occasionally 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 unfortunate 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 conversion 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 twentyone 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
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
a-year, and which sccures him, for the time being, in the occupation 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 born upon the spot, and can have no idea either of the nature of the license, or of the paramount authority 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, elevated, 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 cattle somehow do not like black men, and start off in a fright at the sight of them! In short, it is scarcely possible to contemplate the natural condition of the Aborigines of Australia, and their universal and determined adherence to their savage mode of life, even after being half a century in close contact with European civilization, 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.