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Enclosure 22 in No. 14.
THE Strength of the POLICE stationed on or in connexion with the Gold Fields on the 31st August 1853.
COPY of a DESPATCH from Lieutenant-Governor LATROBE to the
Melbourne, September 17, 1853.
Encl. 22 in No. 14.
MY LORD DUKE,
I HAVE the honour to enclose for your Grace's information the correspondence adverted to in my Despatch, No. 150,* relative to the sudden call * Page 158. which I have held it my duty to make upon Lieutenant-Governor Sir William Denison, in Van Dieman's Land, and the Major-General commanding, for a reinforcement of troops, to enable me to maintain public order in this Colony under the circumstances which my despatch by this mail will have brought under your Grace's notice.
Enclosure No. 3.
Encl. 1 in No. 15.
2. Whatever may be the result of present difficulties, or the success of the measures taken by the Executive Government or the Legislature to obviate them, I am assured that the steps taken to add to the military force in the Colony in aid of the civil power, have been both timely and judicious.
3. The Colony of Victoria occupies at this time, as your Grace will allow, no ordinary position, and is exposed from the very circumstances which give her so large a share of material prosperity to no ordinary perils; and I believe I shall be most fully borne out by the Legislative Council, now sitting, in the steps I have taken, and in the view that no sacrifice is to be considered too great which may conduce to the maintenance of public security, and be calculated to strengthen the hands of the Executive Government in seeking to repress disorder.
4. Your Grace will perceive from the communication which I have already received from Lieutenant-Governor Sir W. Denison, how promptly my request has been attended to.
I have to report that Colonel Despard, C B., with the head-quarters of the 99th Regiment, arrived here on the 15th instant, and have at once entered upon duties connected with the city, performed previously by the detachment of the 40th, before its departure for Bendigo, as I have elsewhere reported.
Colonel Despard has assumed the general military command in the province as senior officer.
5. I have to state that in the interval the duty of watching over the security of Her Majesty's gaol in this city, which I had to impose upon Commander Morris, of Her Majesty's brig Electra, on this station, has been most efficiently and satisfactorily performed by the officers and men entrusted with it.
I have the honour to enclose returns which will show the strength and present distribution of the military force in this Colony at this date.
It is satisfactory for me to add, that from the precautions taken, and the prompt adoption of the steps which I have reported in the despatch above adverted to, general order is still observable throughout the Gold Fields, and that no violent collision or resistance of authority is at this time anticipated. I have, &c. (Signed)
C. J. LATROBE.
His Grace the Duke of Newcastle,
Enclosure 1 in No. 15.
Government Offices, Melbourne,
I MAY but briefly advert to the circumstances under which I am constrained to apply to your Excellency for assistance to enable me to enforce the laws and maintain public order in this Colony.
2. A growing feeling of discontent, on the part of a certain class of the population of the Gold Fields, at the imposition and enforcement of the license fee, has, within the last few weeks, gained additional force from the fact of the question of its abandonment being mooted in the New South Wales Legislative Council.
3. It has not been difficult for the friends of political agitation, to whatever end their real wishes may point, to persuade the mass, that the imposition is an unjust and oppressive tax, levied upon a portion of the community which has no voice in the enactment of the law under which it is levied. This impression once fairly imbibed, it follows that all steps taken to compel compliance have been considered acts of tyranny and the authorities tyrants.
4. You may have observed from the public prints, that the agitation, mainly hinged upon this grievance, has assumed latterly a more earnest character; I have met it, as I considered it my duty, by showing my readiness promptly to redress any real grievance, by the adoption of proper and constitutional means; but that until this were done, and the more important changes effected under the authority of the Legislature, I had no power, and must expect the law to be observed.
5. While taking every precaution in my power, and strengthening the hands of the authorities on the Gold Fields which have been the primary scene of this agitation, I have had no reason, up to the last few days, to doubt but that the good sense and loyalty of the population would recognize the willingness of Government to listen to peaceful remonstrances, and apply to the proper remedies.
6. The intelligence, however, which I received on the 29th ultimo, when the time approached for the payment of the license fee for the current month from the largest Gold Field-Bendigo-which had been the main seat of the recent agitation, was such as
to show that, whatever might be the causes, a voluntary submission to the law was
7. The gravest fact is, that it is now admitted that the apparently sudden change in
8. That the law must be enforced is conceded on all hands. But the question of revenue now becomes secondary to that of the preservation of life and property, and the maintenance of public order. The police of the Colony is now both strong and effective, and might by gradual reinforcement keep pace with ordinary requirements of the country. But, even if entirely to be depended upon, it is quite disproportionate to the exigencies of the times. The same may be said of the military force, consisting of a detachment of the 11th Regiment, 46 rank and file, and four companies of the 40th Regiment, under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Valiant, now weakened by deaths, desertions, and other casualties, to about 400 men of all ranks. The former are on duty at Geelong. and the greater part of the latter are on service at Bendigo and Castlemaine, and in a few days the whole of their effective strength will be on the same ground. The city of Melbourne, and the safeguard of the great public and private interests which it includes, must be provided for as best I can. Commander Morris, Royal Navy, of Her Majesty's ship Electra, has placed all his available force at my disposal for service on shore.
9. I have no doubt as to the hearty support of the Legislature, in devising measures to
I would add, that I have considered that I should best facilitate any measures
I have, &c.
His Excellency Sir W. Denison,
Enclosure 2 in No. 15.
C. J. LATROBE.
Melbourne, September 3, 1853.
2. What I require is, a prompt reinforcement of military. You will allow me to refer to the statement of the reasons which exist for this measure, and of the circumstances which have led to it; and I would ask you to have the goodness to sanction whatever steps he may find himself justified in taking with the concurrence of Colonel Despard, to comply with my wishes, whether in regard to the detaching of one or two companies of the 99th Regiment, or by securing again for the present service in this Colony a considerable body of enrolled pensioners, which I have suggested.
3. I may mention that I have at once decided to send over a capable and active agent, well known to, and appreciated by, the Lieutenant-Governor and military authorities in Van Dieman's Land, with a steamer expressly to bring over the reinforcement, which I cannot think will be denied me, and I have invested him with full authority from this Government to make such preliminary stipulations and arrangements as may be held necessary.
4. I would point out, that the urgency of the case consists in the necessity for giving assurance to the Colony, that the Government has both the will and the power to maintain social order, and to repress with firmness and promtitude the spirit of intimidation
Encl. 2 in No. 15.
Encl. S in No. 15.
Encl. 4 in No. 15.
on the part of a class of the mining population, under which even the loyal are debarred from evincing their sense of what is due to themselves and the Government.
5. Beyond that general sanction which I have requested for any steps which Lieutenant-Governor Sir William Denison may take, I have to seek to induce you to give effect to any measure or arrangement which may be in your power, and in consonance, if requisite, with the views of the Governor-General, to strengthen my hands at this crisis.
6. I need not say, that if the two companies of the 40th Regiment now on service in New South Wales could be spared in this emergency, I should feel that in many points of view the public interests would be furthered.
7. Lieutenant-Colonel Valiant will, doubtless, inform you through the usual channel, that I have considered it requisite, that the whole of the effective strength of the 40th Regiment should for the present be stationed in the Bendigo and Mount Alexander districts; the former being the main seat of the present popular agitation.
Major-General Sir Robert Nickle, K. H.,
Van Diemen's Land, Government House,
This letter was handed to me by Lieutenant Clarke on Tuesday evening, and no delay has taken place in making the necessary arrangements for the embarkation of as large a force as can safely be detached from this Colony.
His Excellency C. J. LaTrobe, Esq.,
Within twenty-four hours after the arrival of the steamer which is engaged to convey the troops to Melbourne, I hope that Colonel Despard, with the head-quarters of the 99th Regiment, and two hundred bayonets, will have embarked, taking with him all the arms, ammunition, guns, and camp equipage, which may be required.
An additional force of forty-five men will embark from Launceston, so as to arrive at Melbourne a few days after the head-quarters have landed there, and in the course of a fortnight I hope to be able to embark as many pensioners as can be induced to enrol themselves for service in Victoria for a given period (say between 200 and 300 men), under the command of Captain Russell, the staff officer in charge.
I trust that this reinforcement will enable your Excellency to put down at once an agitation most mischievous in its character, and most detrimental to the interests of the Colony. I have &c.
(Signed) W. DENISON.
Enclosure 3 in No. 15.
Enclosure 4 in No. 15.
MONTHLY RETURN and Distribution of the Troops employed in Victoria.
I have, &c. (Signed)
C. J. LATROBE.
2 4 10 4
Rank and file.
N. D'ARCY, Captain 40th.
COPY of a DESPATCH from Lieutenant-Governor LATROBE to the
Rank and file.
Colonel Commanding 99th Regiment.
Melbourne, September 24, 1853.
Encl. 5 in No. 15.
3. I have no reason to anticipate at this time any great difficulty in carrying out the temporary measure prescribed by the recent Act of Council, pending the consideration of definitive regulations for the management of the Gold Fields of the Colony now before the Legislative Council. At Bendigo, which will be seen to have been the great centre of opposition, I am informed that the twopounds license fee for the three months is now being freely taken out. At the same time I would repeat, as I have elsewhere intimated, that while the anxiety of the Government to act justly and rightly towards the large mining population will be admitted by the great majority, I am aware that no concession and no practicable arrangement will meet the views of the class, who aim at nothing short of Californian freedom from all control, and that there are those included in it who are prepared to take advantage of every opportunity, and who will hesitate at no means of attaining their end.
(No. 158.) MY LORD DUKE,
REFERRING to my Despatches, No. 150, of September 12, and 151,* of Pages 158 & 187. September 17, Military, relative to the opposition which had recently sprung up amongst the large population on the Gold Fields to the payment of the license fee of thirty shillings per month, till now levied under the provisions of the Act of Council, 15th Victoria, No. 15, and its consequences, it may be satisfactory to your Grace to know that from the information received up to this date, I have every reason to conclude that the measures which have been adopted to allay agitation, and maintain good order, have had the expected results.
2. It will be seen that whatever may have been the menacing aspect of affairs at one time, no collision of any kind between the authorities and the people has taken place, and no opposition to the law, further than that which I have reported.
17 Vict. No. 1. Encl. No. 1.