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Transcript: Dispatch ending Martial Law

Bells Falls Gorge - an interactive investigation

Transcript: Dispatch ending Martial Law

(Despatch No.18 per ship Mangles.)
Government House, N.S. Wales

31st December, 1824

My Lord,

In my Despatch No 13, I had the Honour to acquaint Your Lordship with feeling of deep regret, the necessity with which I felt myself called upon to place that part of the Country, West of Mount York, under Martial Law. A copy of which Proclamation was transmitted. This necessity arose more from the want of legal intermediate powers to repress the aggressions of the Aborigines, than that of having recourse to the powers conveyed by so strong a message which was sanctioned by the Attorney General and strongly recommended by the Proprietors in that District's country.

It now becomes a very pleasing part of my Duty to lay before Your Lordship the copy of my Proclamation repealing that of Martial Law, and I am persuaded it will be equally satisfying to the feelings of Your Lordship, as it is for me, to become the medium of communication that during the four Months that Martial Law has prevailed, not one outrage was committed under it, neither was a life forfeited or even Blood Spilt.

This happy termination to the state of warfare may be mainly ascribed to the judgement, prudence and moderation of Major Morriset, Commandant at Bathurst together with the other Magistrates of that District, who themselves accompanied the Troops in the pursuit of the Aborigines.

I felt it necessary to augment the Detachment at Bathurst to 75 men who were divided into various small parties, each headed by a Magistrate who proceeded in different directions in towards the interior of the Country, and by previous arrangement were to form junctions at certain given points. This system of keeping these unfortunate People in a constant state of alarm soon brought them to a sense of their Duty, and I am most happy to have it in my power to report to Your Lordship that Saturday their great and most warlike Chieftain has been with me to receive his pardon and that He, with most of His Tribe, attended the annual conference held here on the 28th Novr., which was more numerous than upon any former occasion.

I hope on a future occasion to be able to give Your Lordship a pretty accurate return of individuals, who lost their lives during these disturbances, hitherto we have not been able to ascertain it.

I am disgesting some plan for the betterment of the conditions of the Aborigines, which I shall have the honor to submit for your sanction and approbation.