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TREATMIENT OF NATIVES CHARGES AGAINST THE CAN NING EXPEDITION. INQUIRY BY A ROYAL COMlM!IS SION. MR. OANNING'S EVIDENCE. BLAKE'S ATfEGATIONS DENIED. The Royal Commission, comprising Warden Finnerty and Messrs. G. Tay lor, M.L.A., and C. F. Gale, to in quire into the charges of ill-treatment of natives made by E. J. Blake against the Canning exploration party sat again at the Supreme Court buildings yesterday. Mr,. F. S. Harney appeared on behalf of Blake, and Sir Walter James, K.C., for the menmbers of the exploration party. Mr. A. W. Canning, leader of the ex pedition, continued his evidence, and stated that after leaving Weld Springs the party entered unknown country. The wells and soaks referred to after that time had never before to his knowledge been visited by white men. Before commencing his cross-exami nation of the witness. Mr. ?cErney stated that he desired to recall Blake, who wanted to correct a statement made in his evidence. Blake stated that he had given the Commission to understand that at, Goodwin Soak Mr. Canning was absent from the camp for about 40 hours, and when he returned a gin who had been tied up to a water barrel was gone As a matter of fact, Mr. Canning was absent from the camp on June 21 from morning till evening, but he went away next day, and did not return until the 24th. Sir Walter James: I asked you par ticularly about these dates, and told .you what Mr.. Canning was going to say, and you said positively that .he was away two days. Witness: I was speaking without notes, and had nothing to assist me. You can't expect me to remember every little detail. Sir Walter James: I expect you to speak the truth. Mr. Harney: The best of us make mistakes. However (to witness), you now say that your first statement was inaccurate and you want to correct it. A. W. Canning, in reply to Sir Wal. ter James, said that when lie returned on the evening of the 21st the coorie was gone. Hie did not go out again until the 23rd. Cross-examined by Mr. Harney, the leader of the party stated it would not have been safe to rely upon the boring plant for the water supplies. He de cided before he started that he would not rely upon the plant, but would de pend upon the natives. That was in his mind when he telegraphed to the Mines Department for authority to get a chain and handcuffs. The handcuffs were wanted for securing the chain to trees. Trotman was instructed to look after the natives, because he regarded him as the most competent man to whom the principal management of the natives was left. Trotman gene rally acted uinder witness's instructions and knowledge, but he did niot always refer to him (witness) because he was not always there. They had discussed the question of the natives at Day Dawn, but it was not at Trotman's suggestion that he telegraphed for a chain and handcuffs. They had decid ed that they would have to make use of the natives, and that it would be highly probable that they would re quire a chain. From what witness had read of other people's experiences he concluded that there were no other means of securing the services of na tives except by capturing them and chaining them. Mr. Harney quoted from Wells's re cord, and asked whether witness had not noticed by that that the natives when treated kindly would follow the camp, and would be very friendly. Witness stated that the services of the natives were not utilised by the Calvert expedition. He knew that they could be expected to follow a camp for a little way. but not for any distance. Continuing witness stated tha t the equipmenr did not contain any goods to be used for bartering with the natives, but he and the other members of the party privately took a supply of articles, such as handkerchiefs and knives. Why did you take them privately ? Ac cording to your ~theory, they were quite ms necessary to the expedition as the lioring plant ?--They were not neces sary, but I thought it would he a good thing to barter with the natives. Warbtrton, who was there before Wells, wrongly fixed the site of Johan na Springs ?--I believe he did. In the Wells expedition, Wells jun ior and Jones left the party for the purp.::e of picking up Johanna Springs?- No; they were to meet again in that vici nity. EHad they used the serviss of the natives thei would Drobhably have
reached Johanna Springs all right, or other waters in tihe locality that would have seaved them. Do you admit that it is wrong to take the natives' property without bar. tering for it ?-Yes; certainly. Would it be liable to create ill-feel ing ?-Yes. Continuing. witness thought that the native who killed Tobin was not armed as a result of injustice done. He be lieved that the black had stolen a young gin. He could not have known that witness and his party were com ing. It was not a fact that whenever the party went into camp in the day time the natives were put on the chain, but it was done fairly often. They were usually changed at night. Natives were never taken knowingly beyond the boundaries of their own country. They usually let him know when they were approaching the limits of their coun try. No immorality occurred amongst the members of the party either during the up or the down trips P-I did not see any. Then every member of the party weeas a model of virtue P-- never suggested that they were or wese notj but so far as I know they were. Did black women offer themselves on any occasion during the trip?-Yes; at Weld Springs. IAt Flora Valley also it was customary Did the members of your party al ways resist the overtures of these a omen ?-I cannot tell you. I was not continually with them. At Flora Valley I was away three-parts of the time. Will you swear that no immorality occurred ?-So far as I know it did not. I, could not have happened in the new country, but in the settled districts 1 was absent from them a good deal. What do you mean by new country? -Country that was not civilised. Were not your men absent at native camps for considerable periods, during which you did not know what occurred P -Not for considerable periods, and not in the new country. Continuing, witness affirmed that it was necessary to rely upon the assist ance of the natives to find the water holes, and it was not, as had been stated by Mr. Blake and Mr. Carr Boyd, that there were numerous indica tions pointing to the locality of the wells. Many of the soaks pointed out by the natives had not been used for a considerable time, and no tracks could be seen leading to them. Is all that we have heard about flights of birds and tracks of kangaroos and other animals about the waterholes untrue ?--I don't say it is untrue, but I can say that on the up journey we saw extremely few birds and no kan garoes or emus. Then you say that there were no in dications that would have enabled you to find the waterholes without the aid of the blacks?-As a rule that was so, but there were some instances where we did see indications. Was it not your policy to save your self as much trouble as possible at the expense of the niggers?-No;: our po licy was to find as much water as pos sible, but not at the expense of the niggers. Did you at any time use your bor ing plant to find water for your own requirements?-Yes: I would say that No. 1 bore was put down for that pur pose. But otherwise right through the trip you looked upon the boring plant as something that was not necessary so long as you could get the niggersa-I regarded the ulant as something that might be useful. But so long as you could get a black you would not use it?P-I do not say that, but the native wells were in the good country. In further answer to Mr. Harney, wit ness stated that when the party started and the native Harry came in, he did not appear to be under the influence of liquor. He did not raise any objec tion about going to Kimberley, and when he was chained up witness did not hear Thomson say, "This is the crookest thing I've ever done." if the native had been given liqunor and had been brought to them with undue in fluence it would have been a "very crook thing." Witness heard Thomson advise Trotman to keep the native on the chain at night time for a little while. He would not swear that Thom son used the word ''virht." It was not necessary to keep him on the chain during the day time. He did not know how far Harry was behind the last camel when the expedition started. The black was carrying his chain, and wit ness knew that he was not tied to the camel. During the afternoon Harry was tied to the camel, and he supposed that Trotman had tied him to the ..animal, but he did not give any in stnructions to Trotman to that effect. A native chained to a camel would have about 8ft. of chain clear, and could not possibly be kicked. A meeting of the party was held at Day Dawn, and he had warned the members against having anything to do with the nativeo women. Blake might not have been at the meeting. The young gin at Good win Soak was handcuffed after he ani Trotman had had a consultation. They did this to secure the buck. He was positive that the woman was provide3l with a blanket. She was released by Joe Tobin. Trotman had given the key to Tobin with instructions to let the gin go if the buck did not turn un with in a reasonable time. There was no coorie in the camp on the night of June 21.. Witness did not hear Trotman admonish Tobin for having let the gia go. The two Tobina hbad told witPes
a very different tale to that unfolded by Blake about this gin. Do you think that your anxiety to get the nigger justified the retenition of the gin like this?-In the circum stances, I do. Don't you think that your conduct on this occasion showed great callous ness on your part towards the natives? -No. The cross-examination had not been concluded when The Commission ad journed till Monday at 10.30 a.m.