Transcript of the Letter from the Port Phillip Association to Lord Glenelg
27th June 1835
We have the honor of enclosing a copy of a report made by Mr Batman to His Excellency Lieutenant Governor Arthur, detailing the result of an expedition conducted at our joint expence to Port Philip on the South western extremity of New Holland for the purpose of effecting a concilliatory intercourse with the native Tribes in that part of the country and afterwards of purchasing from the chiefs upon equitable principles a portion of the Territory for pastoral and agricultural purposes.
We are fully persuaded that the perusal of the report will clearly demonstrate that our intercourse has been established by our means which permitted the most happy and philanthropic results, and that the portion of the country granted to Mr Batman as our representative has been obtained upon terms more equitable and just to the aboriginal possessors of the soil that any which the history of British plantations can produce.
We have not contented ourselves with merely purchasing the land in the first instance, but we have reserved to the Chiefs an annual Tribute payable for ever of the value of at least £200. By means of this annual Tribute the friendly intercourse with the natives must of necessity be kept up, and will lead to gradual civilization.
This tract of country is some hundred miles beyond the jurisdiction of New South Wales, but within the imaginary line leading from the Australian Bight to the Gulph of Carpentaria, and which defines the limits of Australia, - we might therefore have contented ourselves with this treaty with the Aboriginal Tribes and quietly have taken a possession of the land without any official notice either to the British or Colonial Governments, but in the first instance we were desirous of communicating the happy results which has attended the intercourse with the natives, and in the next place of at once apprizing His Majesty's Government of the nature of Grants which have been obtained, and the terms under which the land had been granted because we feel confident that having obtained from the Chiefs of the Tribe, who are in fact the owners of the soil, a Title based upon equitable principles, the Crown will under your Lordships advice relinquish any legal or constructive right to the land in question, Expecially as the very destruction of our Title would be taking away from the natives the Tribute which is thus secured to them for ever.
We therefore with confidence appeal to your Lordship to advise the Crown to grant to us such rights as the Crown may be advised that it possesses to the tract of Land in question upon such equitble principles as your Lordship may consider the justice of the case requires.
We have the honor to be
Your Lordship's most obedient humble servants.
J & W Robertson