To the Editor of the Argus.
Sir,-I believe there is no river in the colo- nies where the system of "duffing," as it is termed, is so boldly carried on as on this, and I am afraid that so long as the wealthy squat- ters lend their countenance to it, there will be some difficultyin putting a stop to that evil system. A stockman has been known to sell his mastei's bullock, and on the owner being made acquainted with the transaction, he has only deducted the value of the bullock from the man's wages, not even discharging him.
There are stockmen on the river who in the last few years have made a small fortune by "duffing." One method they have of duffing is, when a buyer purchases a mob of fat cattle from a station, the stockman, knowing the buyer is not well acquainted with the various brands of the different herds, can without any difficulty sell two or three head of fat cattle, their brands being illegible, disfigured, or they may belong to some person who will not prosecute him if detected. Another method they have is, when
there is a muster on any of the stations there are sure to be some of the fraternity to attend it, and when the cattle are being brought into the yard they allow as many of the cows to escape as they can, so depriving the calves of their mothers. They take particular notice of the calf before cutting the cow off, so that the next day when tho calves are being mo- thered, prior to drafting, they claim these calves that are motherless, and if questioned as to which is the mother of a calf, they in- variably say, "Oh, she broke away ; " which explanatlon is sufficient for tho owner, or the "sanguinary super," as the case may be, and so on until they have a little herd, and are able to duff with impunity. Supposing a person wished to prosecute one of these men, he would have to travel to Goulburn, a dis- tance of nearly 850 miles, and, unless he was a practical swimmer, the journey is positively dangerous at this season of the year, in con- sequence of the creeks being flooded.
Murray River, 20th July, 1856,