ANTI-DRAY TAX LEAGUE.
Thursday. 13th June.
The delegates from the hundreds forming this body assembled at the usual place, 'The White Horse,' Currie street, tor the purpose of presenting to his Excellency the memorial agreed to at their last meet
ing, and of which the following is a copy : — 'To His Excellency Sir H. E. P. Young, Knight, Lieutenant-Governor of Her Majesty's Province of South Australia. ' The memorial of the undersigned, deputies of hundreds assembled in Adelaide, ' Humbly showeth: 'That in the opinion of your memorialists, the Road Act recently passed into law, and now attempted to be enforced, is not only unjust in its principle, partial and oppressive in its operation, but absolutely unconstitutional, sacrificing the rights and freedom of the colonists, as British subjects, and subjecting them, by its provisions, to a species of oppression unheard of since the concession of Magna Charta. 'That it is unjust in its principle; as shown by asessiiig land completely isolated, of little or no value, at the same rate as land available for agricultural purposes of known fertility, and situated near the capital of the province. ' That it is unjust in its principle, because its im posts fall most heavily on the occupier and cultivator of the soil ; the agricultural interest (second to none in the colony) being thereby fettered and kept down. ' That it is partial in its operation ; by imposing a heavy and direct tax on one portion of the community for the benefit of the colonists at large. *' That it is oppressive in its operation ; by giving to the Commissioners of the District Boards an un limited and despotic power ; as shown by the following clause : ' And be it further enacted, that on the non payment of such assessment as aforesaid, the payment thereof shall and may be enforced bv distraint and
sale of any goods, &c, &c, by any collector, appointed by the 6aid Commissioners, by virtue of his appoint tnent, and without any other warrant than this Ordi nance.' Such a clause, your memorialists submit, is tyrannical in the extreme. ' That it is unconstitutional ; as shown by its being opposed to the spirit of the British constitution, as evinced in the establishment of the people's House of Commons, which house has the sole control of the Exchequer. 'Your memorialists are further of opinion, that the taxation of this colony is excessive and beyond all precedent, and that the introduction of a system of direct taxation, with a surplus revenue, cannot fail to arouse the colonists to a sense of their degraded po sition, in being unrepresented and without the power of controlling their own finances. Your memorialists therefore pray your Excellency either to repeal the Road Act, or to suspend its opera tion until it has been confirmed by the colonists, through their representatives in Legislative Council assembled; and your memorialists as in duty bound will ever pray. ' A. Anderson, the Lodge, Morphett Vale. D Schomburgh, Muniio Para. Wm. Tarker, Finden. Hiram Manfull, Chellaston Grove Farm. John Darby, Noarlunga. Wm. Martin, Adelaide. Jas. Munster, Yatala. John Sandland, Barossa. Charles Watsox, Golden Grove, Yatala. John Gilmore, Chain of Ponds, Para Wirra. James Pitcher, farmer, 360, North Road. Thomas Watson, Wardang, on the Sturt. John Norman, Willunga.' The delegates being informed that his Excellency was ready to receive them at the Colonial Secretary's Office, they proceeded thither, and were received by his Excellency and Captain Sturt. Mr Norman, who acted as spokesman for the dele gates, briefly announced the purport of their busi ness and then read the memorial. His Excellency listened to the reading with much attention, and at its conclusion, in the most bland and courteous manner, made answer that he could not comply with the pre cise prayer of the memorialists, inasmuch as he had not individually any power to suspend or repeal any Act of the Legislative Council. The Road Act was in a fair way of being amended — for it had been submitted to the Central Road Board, together with other docu ments, so as to assist the members of lhat body in making a report upon it to the Legislative Council. His Excellency told the deputation that the memorial then presented to him should also be sent to the Road Board ; but it was impossible to anticipate what their report upon the matter would be. He sincerely hoped that their report would be such as to enable the Council to legislate in the matter to the satisfaction of every one concerned. Mr Norman replied, that although, from the wording of the memorial, his Excellency might imagine that the memorialists were under the impression that the only way in which he could assist them would be by their precise prayer, yet, to make His Excellency fully acquainted with their sentiments, he would tell him that they thought he was fully competent to originate a motion in the Council for the total repeal of the law, which was so objectionable, that nothing short of its total repeal would remedy its evils. His Excellency again repeated that the whole matter had been referred to the Central Road Board ; and if any alteration took place in the law, it must await their report. Mr Norman, for the delegates, thanked his Excel lency for his attention and courtesy, and adjourned to the 'White Horse,' to deliberate upon their future operations. Mr Anderson was unanimously voted into the Chair, and commenced his address by expressing his dissatis faction at the answer which they had just then received from his Excellency. He said, that although his Ex cellency treated them with politeness and all that sort of thing, yet they must have observed that there was a sort of growl upon his features, which convinced him that their visit was not very agreeable. His Excellency had told them that he could not do anything in the matter, and their cause was to be handed over to the sapient Road Board. . .
Mr Norman rose to request the Chairman to make a correct statement. He held that, as the Chairman was commenting upon the recent interview with the Go vernor, it was quite essential that the precise words used by his Excellency should be repeated. Mr Andereon— It could not be thought he wished to give it a different colouring to what it really bore, as there were several members of the press noting what he said | but he maintained that, if ne did not repeat the precise words used, he was giving the substance of the Governor's remarks. Mr Norman (again interrupting the speaker)— All the information we have gained is, that the matter will be referred to the Road Board, the character of whose report it was impossible to anticipate ; but perhaps it might recommend the total abolishment of the law. There was nothing in his Excellency's remarks which countenanced the presumption that he meant to take any step in the matter at all. Mr Anderson— They may alter or not, as they think proper ; but we will have no tax at all. The humbug, ging way in which they have carried on their business was a disgrace to every legislature. His Excellency had said that he had no power to plter Acts of Council, but he takes upon himself the responsibility of an nulling the rate upon the water-carts, and, furthermoie, he allows hia clerk, Mr Edward Stephens, to alter and cut about the enactment just to his taste ; also, in his letter to the Chairman of the Noarlunga Hundred, he told him that if the majority of the district were not in favour of the tax, it seed not be enforced. In answer to to assertion made by the Governor, that the Act had been passed through the representations of him (Mr Anderson), tbe Agricultural Society, and several large Farmers, for himself, he would refer the meeting to the published letters of himself and Mr Davis for the truth. He always held tbe tax in the same detestation as he did pow ; but certain members of the Road Board had said, in private, that they (tbe League) objected to the impost, because it was not accompanied with representation. He denied the truth of that statement, aed would assure those who were talking io that way that, if they went to enforce payment of it from many that he knew, they would have to sell their tesins to pay the money. Dr Schotuberg, a German, fattner, then addressed the meeting io an energetic speech, and proclaimed the prin eipla of no taxation without representation. He was a poor farmer himself, he said, and there were msny in
tun Hius biiubuuu, wuo, ?» ion present price oi wheat, oonld not afford to pay a penny of direct Ui. The farmers in his hundred had all, without one single ex* ceptioo, subscribed to the League, and one of tbe last who subscribed told him that he had given the last half-crown that he had to the cau«e, and with ? good heart. Mr Norman submitted that their work with regard to the memorial was done, as they could not tske another step at present ; hut they could take a step in another direction, and that was, that every one present stieuid pledge themselves to take every means to tbe utmost of their power in resisting any measure the colonial legis lature should pass that would be a tax upou land ami dray-. Even if it only amounted to sixpence it should be resisted. Mr Manfull concurred in the proposition, but di«* couraged resorting to physical force. If they would have their property, let them tike it, said he, and if they take every hoof and stick off my farm, he would not resort to physical force io resitting. Mr Watson said that be bad trusted that Mr Nornnn, when be rose to speak about the Governors answer, Mould have repeated the precise words he had returned. His (Mr Wstson's) impression wa», that the Act was not under consideration at all, but the Governor would have them to conclude that tbe Ordinance might or might out be abrogated j tut by the report that the Road Board chose to send in; and with the view of carrying out Mr Norman's purpose he thought that public meetings ihou'd be held in each hundred. He knew those in the Fatal* hundred were determined to pay no tax either under the present Act or any amended one that could be made. They would not acknowledge the principle. Mr Wells said that the Governor thought that they ?ere a mere minority of tbe fsrminir interest. He
t bought it was i simple agitation among a fear, and that they had not slreagth to carry out their determination. He (Mr Wells) would a»k them to suspend all legisla tion till they got their new constitution. The Governor and officers had got their supplies for the neit year, and let them go o« with that, tie wanted to see the people adopt lame measure to prevent having foisted upon them an amended Aut. Although he was not a fighting man yet he knew sufficiently of bis own mind to assert em phaticslly that no two men should enter his homestead without physical resistance. He would not advocate a display of physical force; but it was evident tbe Governor was preparing to anforee the Aet in some ahape or other. Mr Norman then proposed the following resolution — 11 Th»t tbe delegates assembled pledge themselves, in dividually and collectively, to resist by every legal and constitutional means any Act that may emanate from the present Council which shall add any additional amount of taxation, particularly any amendment of the Road Act.' Seconded by Mr Wilson, and carried unanimously. Mr Anderson hid heard a great deal about moral force from tbe commencement of the present agitation. Phy sical force had never entered into liU mind ; but if any collector came into his place be would pitch him oter the fence, like he would a skittle ball, and kick him after wards. If his Excelleney thought they were in a mi nority, fie should like him to ity to, ind tben they would have such a gathering as would astonish him. The appointment of a Secretary to the Association engaged some discussion ; but it finished in the ap pointment of Mr Darby, who kindly consented to act. The Secretary then read a letter he had received from Dr Montgomery, of Morphett Vale, to kuow what answer he could make to it. The following is a copy :— 'Happy Valley. ' Sir — I am requested by the Road Commissioners of this Hundred to make known to those who so promi nently exerted themselves in our election, that it is not our intention to carry the Road Act into operation, considering the construction put upon it by Govern ment (see South Australian Register, May 23rd) ; and to express the hope that you will feel called upon, through a sense of honesty, to defray the expenses the Commissioners necessarily became liable for in the dis charge of the duties to which you called them, so that the money collected may be returned in full to each rate-payer who, in obedience to our call, has paid the land tax. ' I address this to you, as I understand you hold office among those who are now opposed to the mea sure, requesting that you will make the above known to your Association, the justice of which I trust you will at once acknowledge and act upon. 'R. Montoomert, Chairman. M To Mr John Darby.' The Secretary said he had not written an an answer, as it appeared to be more properly the business of the hundred, but perhaps some member could suggest some advice. Most of those present thought no notice should be taken of the letter, as those who had paid deserved losing their money for their simplicity, but eveutually the Secretary was instructed to write to the effect that it was impracticable for the League to reply to his request ; but that they suggested that the Commis sioners should memorialise tile Governor for the ex penses they have incurred up to the present time. The meeting then adjourned to that day fortnight (Thursday, 27th instant). ?
The following prisoners were escorted on board Punch, yesterday, forremoval to Van Diemen's La under sentence of transportation, for the peril placed after their names :— FEMALES. TEARS. Bliss Burdett ? ?? ? 7 Jane Russel ? 7 M«ry MeEntee....... ?- ? 7 MALES. Francis Masoa ? 15 William Edmonds ? .........'... 10 Robert Knight ? 10 William Wilson ..... ? ? 15 John McDonald ? ., ? js James Daly ? ]5 Wm. E. Beddome ? p### ........ 7 Bodalp DuMeldorff.. ? '!!!'!!*!!!! JO Thomas Gardner ? -j