Proclamation of Assimilation May 1816

Source: The Sydney Gazette, and the New South Wales Advertiser Vol 14, Number 50 - Saturday 4 May, 1816 Page 1

By His EXCELLENCY LACHLAN MACQUARIE, ESQUIRE, Captain General and Governor in Chief in and over His Majesty's Territory of New South Wales and its Dependencies, &c. &c. &c.

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TROVE Newspapers
(National Library of Australia)

Whereas the ABORIGINES, or Black NATIVES of this Colony, have for the last three Years manifested a strong and sanguinary Spirit of ANIMOSITY and HOSTILITY towards the BRITISH INHABITANTS residing in the Interior and remote Parts of the Territory, and been recently guilty of most atrocious and wanton Barbarities, in indiscriminately murdering Men, Women, and Children, from whom they had received no Offence or Provocation; and also in killing the Cattle, and plundering and destroying the Grain and Property of every Description, belonging to the Settlers and Persons residing on and near the Banks of the rivers Nepean, Grose and Hawkesbury, and South Creek, to the great Terror, Loss, and Distress of the suffering inhabitants.

And whereas, notwithstanding that the Government has heretofore acted with the utmost Lenity and Humanity towards these Natives, in forbearing to punish such wanton Cruelties and Depredations with their merited Severity, thereby hoping to reclaim them from their barbarous Practices, and to conciliate them to the British Government, by affording them Protection, Assistance, and Indulgence, instead of subjecting them to the Retaliation of Injury, which their own wanton Cruelties would have fully justified; yet they have persevered to the present Day in committing every species of sanguinary Outrage and Depredation on the Lives and Properties of the British Inhabitants, after having been repeatedly, cautioned to beware of the Consequences that would result to themselves by the Continuance of such destructive and barbarous Courses, And whereas His EXCELLENCY the GOVERNOR was lately reluctantly compelled to resort to coercive and strong Measures to prevent the Recurrence of such Crimes and Barbarities, and to bring to condign Punishment such of the Perpetrators of them as could be found and apprehended; and with this View sent out a Military Force to drive away these~ hostile Tribes from the British Settlements in the remote Parts of the Country, and to take as many of them Prisoners as possible; in executing which Service several Natives have been unavoidably killed and wounded, in Consequence of their not having surrendered themselves on being called on so to do; amongst whom, it may be considered fortunate, that some of the most guilty and atrocious of the Natives concerned in the late Murders and Robberies are numbered. And although it is to be apprehended that some few innocent Men, Women, and Children may have fallen in these Conflicts, yet it is earnestly to be hoped that this unavoidable Result, and the Severity which has attended it, will eventually strike Terror amongst the surviving Tribes, and deter them from the further Commission of such sanguinary Outrages and Barbarities.

And whereas the more effectually to prevent a Recurrence of Murders, Robberies, and Depredations by the Natives, as well as to protect the Lives and Properties of His Majesty's British Subjects residing in the several Settlements of this Territory, HIS EXCELLENCY the GOVERNOR deems it his indispensible Duty to prescribe certain Rules, Orders, and Regulations to be observed by the Natives, and rigidly enforced and carried into Effect by all Magistrates and Peace Officers in the Colony of New South Wales ; and which are as follow :—

First, —That from and after the Fourth Day of June next ensuing, that being the Birth-Day of His MOST GRACIOUS MAJESTY KING GEORGE the THIRD, no Black Native, or Body of Black Natives shall ever appear at or within one Mile of any Town, Village, or Farm , occupied by, or belonging to any British Subject, armed with any warlike or offensive Weapon or Weapons of any Description, such as Spears, Clubs, or Waddies, on Pain of being deemed and considered in a State of Aggression and Hostility, and treated accordingly.

Second, — That no Number of Natives, exceeding in the Whole Six Persons, being entirely unarmed, shall ever come to lurk or loiter about any Farm in the Interior, on Pain of being considered Enemies, and treated accordingly.

Third, —That the Practice hitherto observed amongst the Native Tribes, of assembling in large Bodies or Parties armed, and of fighting and attacking each other on the Plea of inflicting Punishments on Transgressors of their own Customs and Manners, at or near Sydney, and other principal Towns and Settlements in the Colony, shall be henceforth wholly abolished, as a barbarous Custom, repugnant to the British Laws, and strongly militating against the Civilization of the Natives, which is an Object of the highest Importance to effect, if possible. Any armed Body of Natives, therefore, who shall assemble for the foregoing Purposes, either at Sydney or any of the other Settlements of this Colony after the said Fourth Day of June next, shall be considered as Disturbers of the Public Peace, and shall be apprehended and punished in a summary Manner accordingly. The Black Natives are therefore hereby enjoined and commanded to discontinue this barbarous Custom, not only at and near the British Settlements, but also in their own wild and remote Places of Resort.

Fourth, —That such of the Natives as may wish to be considered under the Protection of the British Government, and disposed to conduct themselves in a peaceable, inoffensive, and honest Manner, shall be furnished with Passports or Certificates to that Effect, signed by the GOVERNOR, on their making Application for the same at the Secretary's Office, at Sydney, on the Firsts Monday of every succeeding Month ; which Certificates they will find will protect them from being injured or molested by any Person, so long as they conduct themselves peaceably, inoffensively, and honestly, and do not carry or use offensive Weapons, contrary to the Tenor of this Proclamation.

The GOVERNOR, however, having thus fulfilled an imperious & necessary Public Duty, in prohibiting the Black Natives from carrying or using offensive Weapons, at least in as far as relates to their usual Intercourse with the British Inhabitants of these Settlements, considers it equally a Part of his Public Duty, as a Counter-balance for the Restriction of not allowing them to go about the Country armed, to afford the Black Natives such Means as are within his Power to enable them to obtain an honest and comfortable Subsistence by their own Labour and Industry. His EXCELLENCY therefore hereby proclaims and makes known to them, that He shall always be willing and ready to grant small Portions of Land in suitable and convenient Parts of the Colony, to such of them as are inclined to become regular Settlers, and such occasional Assistance from Government as may enable them to cultivate their Farms: — Namely:
First, That they and their Families shall be victualled from the King's Stores for Six Months, from the Time of their going to reside actually on their Farms.

Secondly, — That they shall be furnished with the necessary Agricultural Tools; and also, with Wheat, Maize, and Potatoes for Seed ; and Thirdly, —To each Person of a Family, one Suitof Slops, and one Colonial Blanket from the King's Stores shall be given. But these Indulgences will not be granted to any Native, unless it shall appear that he is really inclined, and fully resolved to become a Settler, and permanently to reside on such Farm as may be assigned to him for the Purpose of cultivating the same for the Support of himself and his Family.

His EXCELLENCY the GOVERNOR therefore earnestly exhorts, and thus publicly invites the Natives to relinquish their wandering, idle, and predatory Habits of Life, and to become industrious and useful Members of a Community where they will find Protection and Encouragement. To such as do not like to cultivate Farms of their own, but would prefer working as Labourers for those Persons who may be disposed to employ them, there will always be found Masters among the Settlers who will hire them as Servants of this Description. And the GOVERNOR strongly recommends to the Settlers and other Persons, to accept such Services as may be offered by the industrious Natives, desirous of engaging in their Employ. And the GOVERNOR desires it to be understood, that he will be happy to grant Lands to the Natives in such Situations as may be agreeable to themselves, and according to their own particular Choice, provided such Lands are disposable, and belong to the Crown.

And whereas His EXCELLENCY the GOVERNOR, from an anxious Wish to civilize the Aborigines of this Country, so as to make them useful to themselves and the Community, has established a Seminary or Institution at Parramatta, for the Purpose of educating the Male and Female Children of those Natives who might be willing to place them in that Seminary :— HIS EXCELLENCY therefore now earnestly calls upon such Natives as have Children, to embrace so desirable and good an Opportunity of providing for their helpless Offspring, and of having them brought up, clothed, fed, and educated in a Seminary established for such humane and desirable Purposes. And in Furtherance of this Measure, His EXCELLENCY deems it expedient to invite a general Friendly Meeting of all the Natives residing in the Colony, to take Place at the Town of Parramatta, on Saturday the 28th of December next, at Twelve o'Clock at Noon, at the Public Market Place there, for the Purpose of more fully explaining and pointing out to them the Objects of the Institution referred to, as well as for Consulting with them on the best Means of improving their present Condition.

On this Occasion, and at this public general Meeting of the Natives, the GOVERNOR will feel happy to reward such of them as have given Proofs of Industry, and an Inclination to be civilized.

And the GOVERNOR, wishing that this General Meeting, or Congress of the friendly Natives should in future be held annually, directs that the 28th Day of December, in every succeeding Year, shall be considered as fixed for this Purpose, excepting when that Day happens to fall on a Sunday ; when the following Day is to be considered as fixed for holding the said Congress.

And finally. His EXCELLENCY the GOVERNOR hereby orders and directs, that, on Occasions of any Natives coming armed, or in a hostile Manner without Arms, or in unarmed Parties exceeding Six in Number, to any Farm belonging to, or occupied by British Subjects in the Interior, such Natives are first to be desired in a civil Manner to depart from the said Farm, and if they persist in remaining thereon, or attempt to plunder, rob, or commit any kind of Depredation, they are then to be driven away by Force of Arms by the Settlers themselves ; and in Case they are not able to do so, they are to apply to a Magistrate for Aid from the nearest Military Station ; and the Troops stationed there are hereby commanded to render their Assistance when so required. The Troops are also to Fix this textafford Aid at the Towns of Sydney, Parramatta, and Windsor respectively, when called on by the Magistrates or Police Officers at those Stations.

Given under my Hand, at Government House, Sydney, this 4th Day of May, in the Year of Our Lord 1816. GOD SAVE THE KING !
By Command of His Excellency,
J. T. CAMPBELL, Secretary.