18 June, 2017

June 18

 1857  PUBLIC OPINION IN DUNOLLY
[FROM OUR OWN CORRESPONDENT.]
Dunolly, June 18th.
An intense feeling of alarm and indignation has been aroused in this district in consequence of the unblushing attempt of the squatters and squatting government to rob the people of their patrimony in the shape of the lands of the colony, as likewise by the Goldfields and Mining on Private Lands Bills,intended as they are to hoodwink a humbugged digging community, and as presented by our sapient rulers. Even that remarkably quiet neighborhood, Maryborough, has been galvanised to souse of imminent peril consequent on the daring efforts of the Haines-Michie-Ebden ministry to throw the colony into the insatiate maw of the squatters, and a public meeting was held last evening at the Maclvor Hotel in order to denounce the grasping and roguish schemes of an unprincipled coalition. The result has not transpired here, but the people about Maryborough are unanimous in condemnation of the audacious devices of the Government aided by their allies the squattocracy.I cannot convey adequately an idea of the disgust and determined opposition in Dunolly and the surrounding diggings, but a special meeting of the progress committee was called and held at the Bendigo Hotel last evening, and it was resolved to convene a public meeting to be held at the Golden Age Hotel on Saturday, 20 th inst., in order that the opinions of the people around us may be made known to the country at large. During the assemblage of the committee, a requisition was presented to J.M'Lean, Esq., chairman, signed by 53 householders,soliciting him to call a public meeting for a similar purpose. A draft of the resolutions was agreed to embracing the three Bills : 1st, The Crown Lands ;2nd, Gold Fields ; 3rd, Mining on Private Lands,,and in repudiation of the bunch, and although,the gentlemen who concocted them include men of various shades of politics, and some of whom are or were staunch friends of the present ministry, yet they have not hesitated strenuously to oppose the bills attempted to be smuggled through a willing Assembly, that is as it applies to a majority of the members.The scales have dropped from the eyes of large numbers of those who possess no foresight, and who fondly imagine that our present rulers are the incarnation of honesty and ability ; and even their thick and thin supporters are compelled to fall in with the people in this instance. Mr Duffy gave expression to an almost universal sentiment when he represented the second reading of the Crown Lands (confiscation) Bill to be a swindle, and inferentially, that its concoctors were putting money into their own pockets, and thus swindling the public; and he was prophetic when he declared that such a bill could never be enforced, seeing that the people would oppose it inch by inch vi etarmis.I have studied the views of the population on the gold-fields, and it is with fear and pain I state what their convictions are : they have not a particle of confidence or hope in the Legislature as it is now constituted, and that such laws as have been or may be passed will be injurious to the people's vital interests ;that it is useless to petition or to remonstrate, and that the friendly and faithful representatives of the people are treated with contempt ; and they declare that nothing less than a bloody tragedy can clear the political atmosphere of its corrupt miasma, a pent-up desire to be revenged; a slumbering volcano is kept under by the excitement of new rushes, but their safety-valves will soon be stopped and the explosion will burst: forth,first overwhelming the Chinese, and then clashing  with Government, till the blood that may be shed will raise the diggers en masse to vindicate their strength and their manhood, the authorities will be driven to the wall, and the squatters swept away like chaff. A deep feeling of resentment of the most dangerous character has, as I have hinted, long been brooding, and as our Administrators are thoroughly reckless and regardless of the peace and welfare of the inhabitants of this country, it behoves the voice of patriotism to help us whilst an opportunity is available. The diggers are quiet, too quiet — but they are none the less resolved as to the steps necessary to adopt to bring an unprincipled combination to their senses. The squatters have exhibited the cloven foot, and we must exhibit our power.

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