Eureka Stockade:Letter to Hotham from William Robinson

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Eureka Stockade:Letter to Hotham from William Robinson is associated with Ballarat, Victoria located at these coordinates -37.5621071, 143.8561493

This emotive letter from William Robinson to Lieutenant Governor Charles Hotham, dated 5 December 1854, expresses great disappointment over the events at the Stockade, and lays the blame for these events on misgovernment by officials. Robinson pleads with the Lieutenant Governor to act rigorously in cleaning up the government to alleviate unrest on the goldfields.

Record Citation: VPRS 4066/P Unit 1, December 1854 no. 29
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Agency: VA 466 Governor (including Lieutenant Governor 1851-1855 and Governor's Office)
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Date: 5/12/1854
Record Type: Letter
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Language: en
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04066-p0000-000001-0070-290-001.jpg League Office Commercial Chambers

December 5th 1854 May it please Your Excellency,

About a week or ten days ago I commented to Your Excellency that in order to allay excitement at the Gold Fields, Your Excellency’s clemency should be shewn by causing free pardon to be granted to the diggers convicted at the late sittings of the Supreme Court. The Counsel which I then gave to Your Excellency had it been attended to would have preserved the lives of several loyal hearted colonists of Victoria and many of Her Majesty’s force from being sacrificed in a civil strife brought about by mislegislation – on the part of the officers administering the Government and by tyranny on the part of subordinates. Your Excellency is aware that causes for disaffection have been given not only at the diggings but in Melbourne and Geelong by a want of attention to the will of the people publicly expressed against officials who misconduct themselves at Supreme courts or who misdirect the affairs of the colony in the Legislative Council Your Excellency,

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04066-p0000-000001-0070-290-001v.jpg I am given to understand has appointed a Commission to make inquiry into the state of the Gold Fields. If Your Excellency before sending the Commissioners to the diggings were to dismiss or suspend the present

Colonial and appoint a new Colonial Secretary – some gentleman who was accustomed to act from principle and was less thrifty in suggesting expedients with power to proceed to the scene of action for the purpose of nominating from amongst the diggers a number legal to that appointed by Your Excellency to settle pending disputes the same degree of confidence would be restored and in the interval same measures might be adopted for the weal of the digging population. Be assured if some such course is not immediately adopted the war whoop wile travel at electric speed from diggings to diggings –until the diggers throughout the colony as a map, demand redress for grievances too long unadressed. You have drawn a sword they who take it shall perish by it. Two parties can play at sword exercises I ask you as a lover of liberty do you think it right to deprive men of life because they have risen against injustice. Officials set the people an example – by acting the part of autocrats instead of acting by constitutional means. And you call the people insurgents for following official examples – Screen no officials - and government wile be respected - Dismiss everyman in the public service who misconducts himself - be he the holder of the reins in the Legislation Council or the occupier of a more humble position at the Supreme Court. When men drunken over night and dry in the morning are retained in an public/service and poor men for drunkenness are daily fined at a police court such law does not savour much of justice. If good laws are laid down if the men who administer them - carry them out justly without reference to caste or class then law and order will prevail – the people at the diggings tried remonstrance and petitions both with your Predecessor and the Acting Governor but the latter gentleman - treated their petition with XXX and disrespect wrongs have been endured. Are these wrongs to remain

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04066-p0000-000001-0070-290-002v.jpg unrighted. On you be the blood of thousands if you allow - this sanguine conflict to go on. You can conciliate now by disrupting the “leader” and by appointing a man in his stead in whom the colony can place confidence. You have made matters worse than ever by martial law. You have forbidden provisions from reaching many whose hands have not been raised against the powers that be. Men seeing their wives and children starving by the misdeeeds of government and the acts of unlucky men – will join the National army who will seek fair sustenance – By allowing them to be without food the innocent will suffer as well as the guilty. Give justice to all – and you will be honoured – favour devious officials and you will be dishonoured. Nothing but alone for the prosperity of your excellency and the colony of my adoption- would lead me to address you at this eventful XXX.

May it please your excellency

I remain

Your Excellency’s obd. Servant

Wm. Robinson

Sir. C. Hotham XXX

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