January 10, 2013

Equal justice under the law — a proclamation in pictures.



Issued in 1816 in Van Diemen's Land, which is to say, Tasmania, in Australia, today's "History of" country.

58 comments:

Alex said...

Looks racist to me.

Ann Althouse said...

Click to enlarge. It's designed to communicate to people who can't read. Is it really that hard to understand?

Alex said...

RACIST!!!!

Alex said...

I'm going to launch a protest.

ricpic said...

That's a perfect flash card for whenever the superior shits start braying about social justice. Just shove it in their smug mugs.

Lem said...

Is Australia still the only continent comprised of one nation?

I remember something along those lines from my Geography class... way back.

joe said...

Lt. Harry 'Breaker' Morant


George Wittow: [after Handcock has admitted to murdering the missionary] Major Thomas has been pleading justifying circumstances and now we're just lying.
Peter Handcock: We're lying? What about THEM? It's no bloody secret. Our graves were dug the day they arrested us at Fort Edwards.
George Wittow: Yeah, but killing a missionary, Peter?









Harry Morant: It's a new kind of war, George. A new war for a new century. I suppose this is the first time the enemy hasn't been in uniform. They're farmers. They come from small villages, and they shoot at from behind walls and from farmhouses. Some of them are women, some of them are children, and some of them... are missionaries, George

Sentry: Do you want the padre?
Harry Morant: No, thank you. I'm a pagan.
Sentry: And you?
Peter Handcock: What's a pagan?
Harry Morant: Well... it's somebody who doesn't believe there's a divine being dispensing justice to mankind.
Peter Handcock: I'm a pagan, too.
Harry Morant: There is an epitaph I'd like: Matthew 10:36. Well, Peter... this is what comes of 'empire building.'
Major Thomas: Matthew 10:36?
Minister: "And a man's foes shall be they of his own household."

Harry Morant: We shot them under Rule 303

Harry Morant: It really ain't the place nor time to reel off rhyming diction, but yet we'll write a final rhyme while waiting crucifixion. For we bequeath a parting tip of sound advice for such men who come in transport ships to polish off the Dutchman. If you encounter any Boers, you really must not loot 'em, and if you wish to leave these shores, for pity's sake, don't shoot 'em. Let's toss a bumper down our throat before we pass to Heaven, and toast a trim-set petticoat we leave behind in Devon.

George Wittow: [Saying his goodbyes to Morant and Handcock] Harry! Peter!
Peter Handcock: See you in hell, mate!
Harry Morant: [Gripping George's hand] Goodbye, George.
George Wittow: [Sobbing] Why did they do this to us, Harry? Why?
Harry Morant: They have to apologize for their damned war. They're trying to end it now, so they need scapegoats.
George Wittow: [Being dragged away by prison guards] HARRY! PETER!
Harry Morant: George! We're scapegoats to the bloody empire!
George Wittow: [Being led past the soldiers preparing their rifles for Morant and Handcock's firing squad] Jesus...

Harry Morant: [Thomas is visiting Morant on the morning of his execution] Cheer up. You look as if you were going to a funeral.
Major Thomas: Harry...
Harry Morant: It's all right, Major. I've had a good run. There's nothing for me in England anymore. And back in Australia, well they say if you need a couple of stiff drinks before you climb up on a wild horse, you're finished

Thorley Winston said...

Reminded me of this.

whswhs said...

A shame the Australian colonial governments didn't live up to that promise. There might still be native Tasmanians.

Petunia said...

Lem, yes it is.

Interesting proclamation. Too bad it wasn't that way in real life. The last full-blooded Tasmanian, Truganini, died in the late 19th century, after the rest of her people had been wiped out by violence and disease.

DaveO said...

Looks like you forgot to include the "the History of" tag on your January 7 entry (Antigua and Barbuda).

oleh said...

Not much in the way of process though. String 'em up before the bodies rot.

ironrailsironweights said...

The native Tasmanians were perhaps the most primitive people on earth at the time of European contact. They had only a minimal number of tools, did not know how to make fire, and despite living on an island did not know how to catch fish. They were basically an early Stone Age level of development.

Peter

traditionalguy said...

The Aussies are a strong people worth saving.

And they are not Japanese slaves today because of 120 days of continuous desperate fighting done to save them by our virtually abandoned First Marine Division at a strategic airfield on Guadalcanal Island in 1942.

Christian said...

Clearly it's racist. As if the colonizers had never seen a clothed black man.

And that black men are so barbaric they use spears and shields since they're either uncivilized or too stupid to figure out how a firearm works.

And notice how they have the black man being hung first. Insinuating that all the problems start with the black man.

The white man has more distinguishable facial features, while the black man's face is drawn like a empty void monster.

I find this entire piece patronizing.

chickelit said...

Peter relates: They were basically an early Stone Age level of development.

What did they look like and how did they dress? Were they long-haired and unshaven?

bagoh20 said...

It's not equal justice if public nudity is a crime. The brown dude was naked, so he deserved what he got.

bagoh20 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
bagoh20 said...

James Cook's crew had some freaky encounters with first contacts in the area, especially on New Zealand. Them people was wack, and with very bad manners. I suspect there would be no English left either if the natives had the gunpowder and steel.

Rob said...

Great graphic. Today's version would have to show the murderer in prison watching cable TV and using the workout machines.

Petunia said...

Reread Walter Lord's Lonely Vigil this week, about coastwatchers in the Solomons during WWII. Their intelligence helped to save Guadalcanal, which in turn helped lead to winning the war in the Pacific.

Now on to "Fire Over the Islands" by Dick Horton, which I bought several years ago in England. And just discovered it was signed by the author! Cool!

The Drill SGT said...

And I am reminded of General Napier:

A story for which Napier is often noted involved Hindu priests complaining to him about the prohibition of Sati by British authorities. This was the custom of burning a widow alive on the funeral pyre of her husband. As first recounted by his brother William, he replied:


"Be it so. This burning of widows is your custom; prepare the funeral pile. But my nation has also a custom. When men burn women alive we hang them, and confiscate all their property. My carpenters shall therefore erect gibbets on which to hang all concerned when the widow is consumed. Let us all act according to national customs."


Though it's more about cultures than law....

sydney said...

From another Wikipedia page:

The Australian Aboriginal people the Guugu Yimithirr have no words denoting the egocentric directions in their language; instead, they exclusively refer to cardinal directions, even when describing small-scale spaces. For instance, if they wanted someone to move over on the car seat to make room, they might say "move a bit to the east". To tell someone where exactly they left something in their house, they might say, "I left it on the southern edge of the western table." Or they might warn a person to "look out for that big ant just north of your foot".

ironrailsironweights said...

Australian trivia: in some remote communities the Abos get high from sniffing gasoline, quite often taking dirt naps in the process. As a result, in the affected areas the government requires use of a special, extra-cost gasoline blend with low levels of aromatic hydrocarbons. It's not a completely foolproof solution because dissolving a Styrofoam coffee cup in the special gasoline increases the hydrocarbons and makes it just as addictive as the regular stuff.

Peter

Revenant said...

I rather doubt Australia would have been conquered by the Japanese. Too much territory, and people too used to freedom.

edutcher said...

They didn't do, "The only good one is a dead one"?

I thought the diggers were just like us (and the Kiwis like the Canucks).

traditionalguy said...

The Aussies are a strong people worth saving.

And they are not Japanese slaves today because of 120 days of continuous desperate fighting done to save them by our virtually abandoned First Marine Division at a strategic airfield on Guadalcanal Island in 1942.


You forget the 25th and Americal Infantry Divisions, which relieved the Marines when they were very much at the end of their tether, but the Diggers owe their existence to no one but themselves and maybe Douglas MacArthur.

Australia was saved on the Kokoda Trail, not Henderson Field.

edutcher said...

PS The Australian military was ready to repeat the fiasco of Singapore.

That's why MacArthur was pulled off Corregidor.

Alex said...

pp - notice how no Democrats in Illinois get indicted for political solicitation? It's just proof that Wisconsin is not corrupt like other blue states.

purplepenquin said...

pp - notice how no Democrats in Illinois get indicted for political solicitation?

???

You really never heard about Rod Blagojevich or are you just trying to be "clever"?

purplepenquin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chip Ahoy said...

Oh yes, that little equal justice painting is incomplete. I have the other half.

There's another 'nuter half but I don't have that part.

Paul Zrimsek said...

Worth a thousand words? Hah: sometimes a picture is worth a National Conversation.

purplepenquin said...

Alex - notice how you (we?) responded on the wrong thread. :D

purplepenquin said...

Or at least I think you are on the wrong thread. Hard to tell where you're coming from sometimes...

Lem said...

The native Tasmanians were perhaps the most primitive people on earth at the time of European contact.

At the time of contact with Walker... Union thugs were, bar none, the most primitive people left on earth.

Michael McNeil said...

despite living on an island did not know how to catch fish.

The Tasmanian aborigines did not boat over to the island but rather walked. They arrived long, long before the end of the Ice Age, at a time when New Guinea, Australia, and Tasmania were all one great Island, having simply walked all the rest of the way to Tasmania — forgetting boating along the way (and fishing too, since it was mostly desert) — then were isolated when what's now the strait to the mainland was drowned at the end of the Ice Age.

purplepenquin said...

Union thugs were, bar none, the most primitive people left on earth

While the Walker supporters who spit on people, threw rocks through store windows, and called in bomb threats were all high-class and civilized, eh?

ironrailsironweights said...

Archeological evidence shows that the Tasmanians once were slightly more advanced than they were at the time of European contact. Still extremely primitive, about on par with the Aborigines in the rest of Australia, but better that the early Paleolithic level that they had fallen to at the time of first contact. This descent from very primitive to ultra-primitive seems to have occurred quite suddenly about 3,500 years ago.

What is known as the Lord of the Flies theory posits that a catastrophe of some sort wiped out all or almost all of the adult population, leaving only children behind. A possible suspect is food poisoning caused by eating dead fish that washed ashore following one of the "red tide" algae blooms which still occur in the surrounding ocean; perhaps the adults partook in the fish (to their ultimate doom) while leaving the children to eat other things. If only orphaned children survived this mass catastrophe, it would not be surprising that the Tasmanians' level of technology (such as it was) would deteriorate even further.

Peter

Michael McNeil said...

The Australian Aboriginal people the Guugu Yimithirr have no words denoting the egocentric directions in their language; instead, they exclusively refer to cardinal directions, even when describing small-scale spaces. For instance, if they wanted someone to move over on the car seat to make room, they might say “move a bit to the east.” To tell someone where exactly they left something in their house, they might say, “I left it on the southern edge of the western table.” Or they might warn a person to “look out for that big ant just north of your foot.”

Very interesting! But compare that with the Indians of California's far northwest, as anthropologist A. L. Kroeber writes:

The Yurok, and with them their neighbors, know no cardinal directions, but think in terms of the flow of water. Thus pul is the radical meaning downstream; pets, upstream; hiko, across the stream; won, up hill, that is, away from the stream on one's own side; wohpe, across the ocean, and so on. Such terms are also combined with one another. If a Yurok says “east” he regards this as an English word for upstream, or whatever may be the run of the water where he is. The name Yurok itself — which in origin is anything but an ethnic designation — means “downstream” in the adjacent Karok language.

The degree to which native speech is affected by this manner of thought is remarkable. A house has its door not at its “western” but its “downstream” corner. A man is told to pick up a thing that lies “upstream” from him, not on his “left.” The basis of this reckoning is so intensely local, like everything Yurok, that it may become ambiguous or contradictory in the usage of our broader outlook. A Yurok coming from O'men to Rekwoi has two “upstreams” before him: south along the coast, and south-southeast, though with many turns, along the Klamath. When he arrives at Weitspus, the Trinity stretches ahead in the same direction in the same system of valley and ridges; but being a tributary, its direction is “up a side stream,” and the direction “upstream” along the Klamath suddenly turns north, or a little east of north, for many miles.

Beyond their Karok neighbors the Yurok seem to have a sense that the stream comes from the east. At least they point in that direction when they refer to the end of the world at the head of the Klamath.

(end quote)

Source: A. L. Kroeber, Handbook of the Indians of California, 1925.

traditionalguy said...

Edutcher...Remember that Kokoda Trail campaign over the Owen Stanley range was put on hold, and then it was abandoned by the Japanese as it slowly dawned upon them that re-taking Guadalcanal or not was going to decide whether they took Australia and got to keep the rest of their Empire.

BarryD said...

The white thugs and the savage abos kill each other with aplomb, and the Brits hang them both, with pomp, circumstance, and gin.

Is that it?

Dante said...

One thing is for certain. The entire population of whites in Australia must prostate themselves forever for the evils committed hundreds of years ago. After all, those murderers had the same white skin.

Laura said...

Justice means stepping in before the altercation leaves two people/perpetrators/victims dead of unnatural causes.

Write that law on human hearts...

Terry said...

Michael McNeil wrote:
Very interesting! But compare that with the Indians of California's far northwest . . .
In Hawaiian, directions are commonly given ma'kai and ma'uka. Ma'kai means
'towards the sea' (e.g. 'lower') and ma'uka means 'away from the sea'.
Just kidding! 'kai' is the word for sea, and ma'kai means towards the sea, but ma'uka describes the place between your reference point and the highest point of land. 'Ma'una' describes the actual highest place (Ma'una Loa, Ma'una Kea, etc).
This is cross-Polynesian, it's not just a Hawaiian thing. On Polynesian islands where the highest point is just a few feet above sea level, it's still called 'ma'una'.
People don't choose a direction system because they want to entertain anthropolgists, they choose a direction system because it works in their context.

Nini said...

Thank you for your history of countries project, prof. Althouse.

I am an Asian immigrant in Australia and I have to admit that I do not know much about its history.

The history of Australia entry in wikipaedia seems to miss the episode about the White Australia Policy. Did I skipped it accidentally?

Immigration Restriction Act 1901
The new Federal Parliament, as one of its first pieces of legislation, passed the Immigration Restriction Act 1901 to "place certain restrictions on immigration and... for the removal... of prohibited immigrants". The Act drew on similar legislation in South Africa. Edmund Barton, the prime minister, argued in support of the Bill with the following statement: "The doctrine of the equality of man was never intended to apply to the equality of the Englishman and the Chinaman."

Anyway a separate wiki entry is here.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_Australia_Policy


I love Australia and my children, although Asian-Australian, know of no other cultures other than of their country and they love their country. However, what I don't like in this country is that there are not many different faces in positions where they can have a great say in the direction of the country.

And I am not alone in this observation. An American who once was the CEO of a major Australian bank in the 90's observed that in the board rooms you only see similar faces. An american of Mexican descent who served as a CEO of a giant telecommunications company here after he left the company a few years ago, as soon as he arrived in the U.S. remarked that Australians are racists. I don’t know what triggered his remark but I remember that the then Prime Minister Kevin Rudd upon learning that he left because I think his contract was not renewed (not sure of this but I think there was some animosity in some quarters within the the company regarding his management style) bid him farewell by saying “Hasta la vista”.

Of course, compared to the U.S., Australia is 100 years younger and maybe that explains that kind of observations.

Don't you all get me wrong, I am not a fan of affirmative action and I believe the best man or woman should win.

Paul Zrimsek said...

In what respect is "Australians are racists" less bigoted than "Negroes are shiftless"?

Rusty said...

Revenant said...
I rather doubt Australia would have been conquered by the Japanese. Too much territory, and people too used to freedom.

The Japanese were defeated by their arrogance. They wasted men and material by the boatload trying to take Port Moresby by land and air.

LarsPorsena said...

Blogger joe said...

Lt. Harry 'Breaker' Morant
Harry Morant: We shot them under Rule 303...

The American version is Rule 223 subparagraph 556.

AllenS said...

Looking at the positioning of the man holding the rope, I'd say that the white guy weighs more.

Freder Frederson said...

Actually, it is simple propaganda that had no relation to the situation on the ground. In actuality, while publishing this nice poster the colonists were involved in a successful war of genocide against the Tasmanian natives. The few that survived were deported.

It's designed to communicate to people who can't read. Is it really that hard to understand?

Apparently Althouse can't read either. The accompanying text makes it clear that the poster is meaningless propaganda that contradicts the actual situation.

AllenS said...

Freder Frederson said...
Apparently Althouse can't read either. The accompanying text makes it clear that the poster is meaningless propaganda that contradicts the actual situation.

Here's what it says about the poster:

Proclamation issued in Van Diemen's Land in 1816 by Lieutenant-Governor Arthur, which explains the precepts of British Justice in pictorial form for the Tasmanian Aboriginals. Tasmania suffered a higher level of conflict than the other British colonies.[39] [bold added]

Once again, you're full of shit.

Calypso Facto said...

Obviously there was no Australian Eric Holder at the time to invalidate the top half of the tile.

Freder Frederson said...

The accompanying text makes it clear that the poster is meaningless propaganda that contradicts the actual situation.

I didn't say the caption, I said the accompanying text. The choice was deliberate.

Freder Frederson said...

Once again you are full of shit.

AllenS said...

Althouse was talking about people who cannot read. That's why there was a pictorial form for the Tasmanian Aboriginals, which she showed the class. Unfortunately, you sit in the very back of the class and were picking your nose instead of paying attention. The poster also said that Tasmania suffered a higher level of conflict than the other British colonies. No one is hiding this fact or disputing it.

joe said...

Looking back at my childhood knowledge of Tasmania, I now realize that Taz, the cartoon character, was racist. But, it did make me want to go to Tasmania, and search for the last Tasmanian devil.

Taz, the "whirling dervish" from the land down under. Where women glow and men plunder.

Can't wait to get to Somoa, while eating a Girl Scout Somoa cookie, and wondering where they got the idea to name a cookie, that is brown, round, with a hole in the middle, after some island natives.

AJ Lynch said...

Thanks Peter and Michael McNeil for some great history and background- very informative.

Thanks AllenS for explaining somewhat civily to dopey kneejerk Freder why a pictorial was used.

LordSomber said...

Quite informative, but this post would be more entertaining with a "map of Tassie."