|| “The men arrived in first-rate order, and there was not the slightest expression of feeling during our progress through the centre of the Diggings. Everything here appears quiet.
“The Major General has, of course, had no time to form any opinions.
“He acknowledges receipt, on his route this morning, of His Excellency’s Despatch enclosing the Proclamation.
“Captain Thomas reports an exchange of shots with some of the sentries last night, but nothing of importance.
“I have the honor to be,
“Your obedient servant,
(Signed) “WILLIAM F.A WALLACE,
“The Honorable the Colonial Secretary.”
I was anxious to have those Despatches read, to shew that whilst on the one hand we have endeavoured to the utmost of our power to uphold law and order, yet the very moment it was feasible we revert to the original state of things; and Martial Law, which is repugnant to every Englishman and especially so to every Colonist, will cease as soon as possible, and I most anxiously hope that there may not again occasion to revert to it. I see no probability at the present moment of there being any necessity for the employment of military force on any of the other Gold Fields. On the contrary, a very peaceable and orderly feeling, according to the accounts which we are receiving, appears to exist at Bendigo, Castlemaine, and elsewhere. I have received a petition from theDiggers at Forest Creek, which I am anxious to shew, and which I will also read an extract from:-
“Your Excellency will be pleased to observe, that this is the only place where there has been no kind of disturbance, and has at all times been orderly kept by the Diggers, although the population has been great at different times, and the Diggers also have been and are obedient to the authorities placed over them.”
That petition has been signed by 1300 Diggers.
My constant endeavour whilst at the head of this Government will be, assisted by the Speaker and gentlemen of the Legislative Council who now come forward so handsomely, to conduct the administration of this country with the utmost possible temperance. I am satisfied that the time for military law and rule by violence has gone, never to be recovered, and it ought not to be recovered. But Gentlemen, the moment there is an outbreak, and that caused not by Englishmen, but caused by foreigners-men who are not suffered to remain in their own countries in consequence of the violence of their characters, and the deeds they have done-for one say that whenever that happens the Englishmen of Victoria must rally round the Government, and must to a man sink their minor differences and forget the causes of difference which to Englishmen are inherent, and which to a certain extent are the blessings of our Consitution, and must rally round the authorities, liking or disliking them, and put that outbreak down. As long as I am at the head of the Government here I will endeavour to prevent these Foreigners agitating to disturb the good order which generally exists in Victoria, and preventing the honest and industrious portion of the population from continuing at their work.
Mr Speaker and Gentlemen, the resolution passed yesterday, and particularly the remarkably able tone of the debate upon the question last night, will be heard throughout Australia, and will shew that the Colonists will not suffer anarchy and confusion to reign here; that we will maintain law and order; and be the men that endeavour to create disturbance who they may, and from whatever, countries they may come, down they shall be put. But, at the same time, we will to the utmost of our power endeavour to redress any grievances that may exist, and by appointing a Commission, as I have done, I shew that I fully believe there is some cause of grievance, or I should not have appointed it. We will redress all grievances if possible, maintain order, and keep prominantly before us the fact that our endeavours will meet with their reward in the way that the Legislative Council and the Speaker at their head have shewn.
Mr. Speaker and Gentlemen, I must cordially thank you for your expression of feeling, and I hope from the bottom of my heart that whatever circumstances may arise I may not be found wanting.
3. PAPERS – The Surveyor General, by command of His Excellency the Lieutenant Governor, laid upon the Table of the Council the undermentioned Papers:-
Crown Land in Settled District between Glenelg River and Fitz Roy River-
Return to Address, adopted 5th December 1854, on the motion of Mr. Henty. Ordered to be printed.
4. PUBLIC HEALTH PROMOTION BILL- The Order of the Day for the further re-consideration of this Bill in Committee of the whole Council having been read-The Speaker left the Chair, and the Council resolved itself inot a Committee of the whole for the further re-consideration thereof.
The Chairman reported progress, and obtained leave to sit again tomorrow.