To the Editor of the Argus.
SIR,—As your valuable journal has ever been open for the advocacy of just and even handed justice, alike for the poor us well as the rich, I feel much pleasure in forwarding you a report of the proceedings of a meeting, held at Bendigo Creek, by the gold miners.
When it was understood that His Excellency had issued a proclamation to double the licensing fee in January next, the people exhibited so much dissatisfaction that it was thought advisa- ble to call a public meeting on the subject. Ac- cordingly Captain Harrison undertook the trou-
ble of having notices posted on the trees along the creek, announcing a meeting to be held on Monday evening the 8th instant, to take into consideration the proper steps to resist the heavy tax with which they were about being visited. The appointed place of meeting was in front of Captain Harrison's tent, over which floated a red flag with a white star, —the signal for the meeting to commence was the firing of three guns. A severe shower pre- vented the people from assembling for sometime, but as soon as the night cleared up, and the moon shone out from the dark clouds, the
miners assembled to the amount of about two hundred, being all the men on the diggings with the exception of tent keepers. A large fire was kindled to give light to read the resolutions. lt was a most solemn light to witness a number of determined resolute men assembled in the wilds of the forest around a fire—the moon shedding her pale light occasionally, giving effect to the scene, deliberating in sober seriousness upon the proper method of resisting the injustice and oppression of the Government.
Captain Harrison was called upon to pre- side, and commenced the proceedings by reading the proclamation in question. He spoke to a considerable length on the subject, setting forth
the duty incumbent on every gold digger to resist the horrid imposition of a 3l. license ; he was heard patiently throughout a long address, and loud and long were the tokens of approba- tion with which the miners responded to his appeals. Never before did this part of the Australian Territory resound with the hearty cheers of British subjects, banded together to
Mr. Henry Frencham was called upon by the President to address the meeting, and was vociferously cheered by the assembly. He ad- dressed them in his usual happy and energetic style, setting forth the danger of yielding to the unjust imposition of the Governor and Executive
Council, in attempting to fetter the energies of the public for developing the resources of the
The meeting being only a preparatory one, there were three men appointed to prepare resolutions for a meeting to be held the next evening at eight o'clock.
At the appointed hour the resolute gold dig- gers assembled to a man, except those engaged in looking after the tents. For miles they came, and assembled to the amount of about 250, the reason of so few being at the creek, is because it is a new diggings, and the people are not more than fourteen days at work on them, but they are of so much importance, that Capt. Horne, the Commissioner, and a staff, have been sent up to them from Forest Creek, a distance of thirty miles.
The proceedings of the meeting commenced by Captain Harrison being called upon to preside, and the business of the evening was opened by him in a very neat and elegant, speech, express- ing the objects which had brought them together. He then called upon Mr H. Frencham to propose the first resolution.
Mr Frencham came forward in digging cos- tume, amidst the prolonged cheers of the as- sembled people, and after a few prefatory re- marks, read the resolution which was entrusted to him.
That we, the gold miners assembled on Bendigo
Creek, having learned that the Lieutenant Governor and Executive Council of Victoria, by proclamation, have intimated their inten- tion of doubling our license fee from and after the 1st of January next ; and considering that it is unjust and extremely oppressive, are, to a man, determined not to submit to the wholesale robbery which is contemplated by such proclamation, and to the uttermost will withstand its imposition. We, therefore, solemnly pledge ourselves to resist it in every shape and form, and will aid by all the means in our power those who will do the same else- where. We wish to be understood as not objecting to the present heavy tax of thirty shillings per month, although we consider it
too much. As a proof of which, there is a large surplus fund arising therefrom, amount to £.3,000.
Which formed the ground work of his speech. Want of time prevents the full report of what was said on the occasion, suffice it to mention, that it was argumentative, eloquent, and to the point. He withdrew amidst tremen- dous cheering.
The resolution was seconded by Count Lan- doski, a Polish nobleman, who was at work on the Creek, his speech was very appro- priate, and strongly advocated supporting the Government, so long as it was consistent with their interests, and while they acted justly. Passed unanimously.
The second resolution was proposed by Mr. Ross, and was as follows: —
That we hereby take this opportunity of testify-
ing our unshaken loyalty to our Most Gracious Sovereign Queen Victoria, and deeply regret being forced to resist the unrighteous tax with which her Majesty's Representative and Executive Council of Victoria are about im- posing upon us.
This gentleman made only a few concise re- marks, and his firm and unflinching attach- ment to her Majesty called forth the unanimous appromation of the audience.
The resolution was ably seconded by Mr. McDonald, and was carried with acclamation.
The third resolution was moved by Mr Russell in a neat and appropriate address, which well deserved the attention which the meeting gave
Moved by Mr. Russell—
That if any person be brought into trouble and
expense by the persecution of the Govern- ment authorities in his or their persons or effects in consequence of withstanding pay- ment of the heavy tax about being imposed on us, we hereby unanimously agree to assist all such with pecuniary aid if required, and that no man shall sustain loss or injury in his efforts to promote our rights without being recompensed by us.
It was seconded by Mr. M'Grath, who de- picted the state of serfdom to which they would be subjected if they yielded to this unjust tax.
The fourth resolution was proposed by Mr. Sandbach, who declared his firm determination
of adhering to the cause of the people ; it was to the Press, he said, they mainly looked for support, for more good could be effected by one issue of its broad sheet, than there was formerly by ten thousand guns, he had, therefore, great pleasure in proposing the fourth resolution, which was seconded by Mr. Regan—
That the thanks of this meeting be given to the
Editors of the Geelong Advertiser, and the Melbourne Argus and Daily News, for the noble manner in which they have advocated our cause, and earnestly request the further aid of their mighty engine in the struggle in
which we are about to engage, in resisting the Government in their present unjust and arbi- trary proceedings.
The meeting then broke up, after giving three cheers for the Queen, three cheers for the Editors of the Argus, Daily News, and Geelong Ad- vertiser, and a groan for the Herald.
The above resolution will clearly show what the gold diggers mean, and collectively their struggle is not to be despised. They have it in contemplation to raise a large fund, by each man contributing an ounce of gold, and I be- lieve it will be so throughout the diggings at Forest Creek and Ballarat. If the Govern-
ment would not wisely, let them, in time, desist from carrying into effect a measure fraught with danger to the consti- tuted authorities and the welfare of the Colony at large. The people are willing to pay the one pound ten per month, but more they will not pay, for ever that is too much. It ought to be so regulated that a man would only have to pay from the time which the license is taken out. If that were the case, the revenue derivable from licensing fees would be double what it now is, for many evade it who would pay were it al-
tered. As regards the success of the diggers, it is tolerably certain the majority are doing well, and few making less than half an ounce per man per day. Amongst the most successful are the parties of Frencham, Regan, and
McGrath. On this creek there is an abundant
supply of water, which is likely to last the sum-
Hoping you will excuse the length of this epistle,
I remain, yours, &c.