TO E. H. HARGRAVES. ESQ.
Per favour of the Sydney Morning Herald.
SIR,-I observed in the fifth article of your official report on the northern districts, an as- sertion, which I beg leave, with all due defe- rence to you, most flatly to contradict. You state that the " Canning Downs" gold excite- ment was got up by means of a leaden bullet, covered with gold leaf, having previously been beaten into a nugget-like shape-that the per- pertrator of this hoax (a Mr. Thomson, an artist) told you so himself, in the presence of other gentlemen. That I was the per- petrator of this hoax (if hoax it could be called), I don't deny ; but you must be labouring under some mistake in supposing that I told you the bullet was the cause of the Canning Downs gold excitement. I was not aware of having made such a state- ment to you, or to any one else. On the con- trary, when you were at Warwick I told you that I had found gold in small quantities, at Lord John's Swamp, the Severn, and in gullies leading into M'Intyre's Brook ; and that I had every reason to believe it would be found to pay if properly worked. The fact of gold having been found at Lord John's Swamp may be proved by the testimony of Messrs. Patrick Leslie, W. Leith Hay, E. Moriarty, surveyor, and many others, who were present when I washed out gold from the soil at Lord John's Swamp. Messrs. Samuel Burgoyne and R. Wright were present when got at the Severn, and Messrs. Burgoyne and M'Lachlan when
got in a gully leading into M'Intyre's
To return to the great northern leaden bullet hoax. It was perpetrated long after I had given up digging at Lord John's Swamp, where I had swamped more time and money than I could well afford (artists in this colony are not proverbial for being overburdened with heavy purses) ; so that the bullet could not have been the cause of the Canning Downs gold excite- ment, as you are pleased to term it. I, more willingly than I otherwise would have done, gave up (for the time) the search for gold, having heard that the great Hargraves was about to visit the district. But, alas ! when he came what did he do? He jogged quietly along the road on the old chesnut, and saw some black mud rocks, and porphyritic schist. (What are these ?) When at Warwick, not- withstanding the entreaties of many that he would visit M'Intyre's Brook, the great Har- graves could not be prevailed upon to exchange the comforts of Darling Downs for a camp, with beef and damper, at the Brook.
You have been blamed, and I think not un- justly, for not making an attempt in this neigh- bourhood ; but, with the tools you had, I was at a loss to know how you could give any place a fair trial. When I saw them previous to their sale by auction at Ipswich, they ap- peared to be most inadequate, at the same time flimsy articles. The pick did not seem to have much to do for some considerable time, being thick with rust down to the very point (but the black mud rock might have caused that). The prospecting pan bore most suspicious traces of
beef or some other viands.
Some ill-natured people have asserted that I was supplied with gold dust by Mr. George Leslie, and that when visitors came to the Canning Downs diggings, I what they call " peppered " the hole, and then washed out the provided gold dust in their presence, so as to inveigle them into the belief that it was there in quantity, Now, on behalf of Mr. George Leslie, as well as for my own credit, I declare this to be a gross and malicious false- hood. Some of said charitable individuals are of opinion that I was a paid agent of the squatters of these districts, to deceive and humbug the multitude by the above means. This, also, I now beg leave publicly to contra- dict. My digging exertions at Lord John's Swamp, and elsewhere, were as much for my own amusement as any thing else. Digging is good for the health, and, judging from appear- ances, seems to have agreed with you in an eminent degree, seeing that your condition is certainly improved within the last year or two.
In conclusion, I beg to inform you that I intend to try the digging in this district again,
and heartily hope may be successful, if it is only to prove that the great E. H. Hargraves knows just about as much of geology as I do, and that is precious little. At the same time I regret that E. H. Hargraves would not find something better and more satisfactory for his official reports concerning the auriferous qualities of the northern districts than the trivial piece of tomfoolery he has deemed fit to
make mention of.
I beg to remain, Sir, &c,
EDWARD THOMSON, An Artist. Warwick, Darling Downs, August 9.