David Carley to Secretary of State, 11 January 1886, C128/91

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Carley, David








Western Australia

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MSS. Brit. Emp. S. 18 / C128-91


Perth, West Australia
January 11 1886

To the Rt Honourable
The Secretary of State for Col. Depart

May it please Your Lordship,

To read this letter from the individual who was an eye-witness to the statements herein made:

The writer of this letter arrive at Cossack and Roebourne in the year 1872.

He was continually opposing and reporting to the magistrate of Cossack and Roebourne, and also to the magistrate in Perth, and also reported murder to the then Governor Robinson, and no notice taken.

The writer also reported to Capt Smith, chief of the Police Constabulary, and to the late Chief Justice …, the present Attorney General, Mr …, of the cruelties inflicted on the natives, the continual acts of kidnapping and slavery, which is the common practice of the country, and the writer has stated such to the authorities time after time. They really uphold it, till the North West Coast of Western Australia is steeped to its neck with rapine, slavery, and murder, and though it be commonly remarked that where the British Flag be unfurled, slavery cannot exist, the writer of this letter can and will prove differently, for in no country in the known world have such … deeds been committed, and natives made greater slaves.

These natives are engaged as pearl-divers, and all they get for their work is a little flour twice a day. Yet these poor wretched are kidnapped, bought and sold, and this all done under the eyes of the magistrates: R. Sholl, F. Pearce, and the late F. Lawrence, and also the Police, who are bribed for conniving with the same.

The writer on the 2nd of Jan 1884 was sworn on oath in Perth, that Mr F. Pearce, a Justice of the Peace, did sell with the ‘cutter’ ‘Louisa’ ten natives for the sum of £620, the said cutter not being worth £300.

The writer could not obtain any law or justice form the magistrates of Cossack or Roebourne on behalf of the natives or himself for protecting them.

It is a common thing here to sell a ship for three times its value, through its having natives on board, who are sold also.

The writer had remained in Perth for more than two years, at a great expense and the total loss of his business, to prove what he then swore to, and if the case had been tried in an open court of justice, the whole system of slavery would have been brought to light, and F. Pearce ‘Justice of the Peace’ would have been severely punished.

The writer had previously reported F. Pearce to Chief Justice …, that the said F. Pearce was making use of his commission of ‘Justice of the Peace’ for on unlawful purpose, viz, by signing large quantities of kidnapped natives, on condition, that the person he signed them for, bought goods at his store, his being a storekeeper.

On account of the writer making these reports he has been swindled out of large sums of money, his life and liberty in danger, through the magistrates and police, naming R. Stoll and F. Pearce, and denied any remedy at law in Perth, for such, for many years.

In fact, there is no protection for the natives in the North West Coast of Western Australia. The law for the punishment of slavery is a dead letter in Western Australia.

As the writer can get neither law nor justice for himself in the city of Perth, on account of protecting the natives, he desires a full investigation of the charges he has made, and to allow some person to pry into all, who really will see justice done, and a compensation made to the writer, for the losses he has sustained unlawfully, doing justice, or rather trying to have justice done to his fellow man, where in this oppressive land the revolver and stick-whip reigns supreme.

The Governt has for many years employed men on the Police Force, who have been committed in the Supreme Court, Perth, for killing white as well as black men, and still kept on the Force for years afterwards…

In 1866 William Vincent was convicted in the Supreme Court Perth for beating in the brain of a man 70 years of age at Rottnest, he rcd three months imprisonment, shortly after, the Governt made him ‘Sergeant of Police’ and then sent him to Roebourne, where the writer has many times seen his fearful cruelties inflicted on the natives at Roebourne and Cossack. He is still on the Police Force, such is only begged of by the writer to be pryed into.

Only begging to remain
Your Lordship’s most humble servant
David Carly
Goderich Street
Perth W. Australia