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3-107 (Raw)

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addressee,male author,male,Hotham,un
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Government English
Imperial Correspondence
Clark, 1975
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3-107-raw.txt — 2 KB

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It is with sincere pleasure that I can now state that my most sanguine expectations have been fully realised, and in some instances surpassed. [64] Good order and quiet have generally prevailed, and there are appearances which indicate that a spirit of contentment exists amongst the mining population. In masses of men herded together with one all-absorbing object, collected from all quarters of the globe, composed of the most enterprising and restless spirits, it is only reasonable to suppose that disturbances would occasionally occur; the merest accident produces a brawl, swells into a tumult, and requires the interference of the authorities. Such a case occurs in every country and under every government; but so long as it is without a political object little importance is attached to it, and such has been the case on the gold fields of Victoria. On two late occasions "brawls," arising out of feuds of races, have occurred, and the police has been strengthened in the neighbourhood; but during the last eleven months this has been the extent of the disturbance, and government now enjoys as large a share of respect as I could possibly desire.
Of all the changes which have taken place, the nomination of the honorary magistrates is that which has been attended with least success. It has been easy to find gentlemen with sufficient education for the duty, but difficult to meet with persons possessing a competent knowledge of the law. Hence they have come into conflict with the constituted and professional authorities, and have failed in obtaining the necessary respect from the miners, even when their decisions have been legal.
Instead of a restless discontented body, the miners have lately shown themselves attached to the local authorities, and indisposed to violate the law. Since the Act has come into force public meetings have become less frequent; and on one or two occasions, when a temporary excitement has required that the police should be increased in a particular locality, a large body of the population have offered its service to the government.
I cannot better illustrate the present condition of this portion of the population than by relating two events which have recently occurred, similar in their character, and to which I made reference in the early part of my despatch.
In both instances a rich quartz vein led from a part of the diggings on which the miners were at work into purchased land. On both occasions a "rush," as it is called here, was made by the miners on the private property, to work the vein, and on each occasion they retired as soon as the warden informed them of the nature of the law, and of the resolution of government to enforce it. Finally they resolved to bring the matter into the Supreme Court, and obtain a judicial opinion on the question.