Port Phillip adventurers
25 October 1836
We direct our readers to the letter of "A Friend to Colonization," which appears in another column.
We quite agree with the writer on this subject, and come readily to the same conclusion with himself - namely, that the Port Phillip adventurers have encountered considerable risk and some actual loss in carrying into effect their new scheme of colonization, and that they may fairly look for a reward of their enterprise that is in some degree commensurate with their outlay in these points.
We have all along expressed the same opinion, and can only hope that the eyes of those in authority may recognise, the same features in the case.
As for the letter of "A Grazier," to which our Correspondent refers, nothing can be more preposterous and absurd than the supposition that this Colony has a right to dispose of and parcel out the remainder of this continent for her own advantage.
If the Grazier and his brethren, whether at Moneroo, the Murrumbidgee, or anywhere else, think that they have the least claim to the acres of Port Phillip - one whit better title to them than the Vandemonian speculators, or than anyone else, we should be happy to hear upon what they found their pretensions? Is it upon the fact of their having illegally (that is without the sanction of the law) squatted for years without let or hindrance, and without payment, on those distant plains?
Is it that they have embarked their property in that quarter?
So have the Port Phillip adventurers, and at much greater cost. There is no other consideration in the shape of a right that our ingenuity can discover for the Grazier and his co-claimants.
Whether Port Phillip will be attached to this Government or to that of Van Diemen's Land, as our Corresponnent seems to believe, matters very little - for neither Government will have the modesty to fall in with "A Grazier's" views, and turn the universal soil of Australia, and the labors of the universal race of adventurers, to its individual benefit.
There will be indirect advantage enough to both, accruing from, the formation of a prosperous settlement so near at hand - and if we were to repeat for a thousand times more that it is the plain policy of the powers that be to encourage, by every possible means, the present and all future cases of new occupation, we should only appear to attach a sufficient degree of importance to the fact - and should find that our reiteration was not impertinent, nor our labor thrown away, if we found that our views of the subject were taken up by those who could carry them into effect.
The general opinion of the well-informed of the community is that the free, grant system applied for a season to the new colony would be in the greatest degree politic.
There are hundreds who would shift their flocks and herds to that locality at once, upon the announcement that this was conceded; and few months would elapse before a high road was marked out and traversed, with our flocks daily making their way to those green pastures.
The result would be in one respect, and in one alone, disadvantageous to this Colony - and this evil would be, before twelve months were over, overcome by consequent advantages; the receipts from crown land sales and the shipment of wool from hence, would be diminished, and a portion of our population would travel away to the new port; these evils are scarcely more than imaginary, though we have heard greater stress laid upon them; the rapid growth of Port Phillip into importance would afford us a market infinitely more valuable than the paltry gains arising from the above sources.
But the encouragement of Free Grants must be conceded with moderation; nothing in the shape of the demands of the Port Phillip Deputations - of Messrs. Gellibrand and Swanston, or of Mr. Dobson, we have every objection to their success, from a conviction of its bad effect upon the growth and prosperity of the new Colony.