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,fSIR GEORGE STEPHEN AND THE MEL-
To the Editor of the Sydney Morning Herald.
Sni,-If the matter affected myself alone I should for- bear troubling you on the subject, but as any miscon- ception of my views, so serious as that which appears in a recent copy of your paper, may tend to excite a prejudice against the convention now sitting in Mel- bourne, I intreat you to allow me to correct it. The paragraph to which you refer does not, when taken alone, convey what was the tenor of my speech. In adverting to the property in the waste lands, I spoke of it, and as I considered correctly, as being in the people, because the concession of the lands "to the control and management of the Legislature" amounted to a grant for the benefit of the colonists at large, that is, of the people of the colony. In a court of law it would be necessary, I admit, to spesk with more tech- nical precision ; but in an address to a popular assembly it would bo legal pedantry to draw distinc- tions between legal and equitable title. In my opinion, and, I believe, in the opinion of the Convention, as well as of . five-sixths of the colonists, a trust has been confided to the Legislature for the benefit of the whole community ; the proposed Land Bill, however, proceeds on the principle of acknowledging a preference to bo due to the class called the squatters.
It was in referenco to this erroneous principle of class-legislation that I made the remarks on which you seem to found the serious accusation of " abusing their ignorance and leading them to extravagance of expectation, if not still greater mischief." I am very certain that if you had heard the speeches of the delegates, you would neither suspect them of igno- rance, nor impute to them extravagance of expecta- tion ; and still less a mischievous purpose, either to them or myself, unless it is mischievous to prevent our being defrauded of a benefit which the liberality of the Crown intended for us in common with all other colonists in "Victoria.
I remain. Sir, yours very obediently,
Temple Court, 25th July, 1857.