|Chapter Number||IV Continued|
|Newspaper Title||Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Qld. : 1878 - 1954)|
|Trove Title||Under the Great Seal|
CuAiTJiit IV (Continual.) I
Ristack brought iu tho name of thc king as oftenas'he could, to shield his own conduct. Kings and Governments when they delegate power to their instruments and ollicers would do well to remember that if the Great Seal covers a dcHputioaction thev alouc arc held up as the instigators und authors of thc wrong thal is being done ; while on thc other hunt) their good deeds arc often claimed by thc otficials or others, who are thc mere agents who carry them out.
" And moreover, " said Ruddock, " you you bave defied tho Government, inasmuch os ye have permitted' Roman Catholic priests to settle among you, and perform thc obnoxious riles of mass. Did ye not know that ut a Court hold at Harbour Main, .September thc twenty-fifth, seventeen hundred and fifty-five, that an order was . given to thc magistrales commanding, that a-certain individual who had permitted that thing to bo done in one of his tish- rooms, he being present himself contrary to law, end against our Sovereign lord thc\ King, was fined in thc sum of lit ty pounds, the .tish rooms demolished, aud thc owner, thereof compelled lo quit thc harbour
of St. John's!"
" I have heard of outrages doun by what ye call. the magistrates commanding," replied Keith, ".thc particular one ye linnie is news to me. i But let:rae.tell ye,. Muster-Bistack, tint- we stand-ou nur.own ground:at-Heart's Delight; and. Iithtnk'oiy neebors will agree .wi'-uie Uiat His Majesty.has jost enough on his-hands in auither colony without vexing thc honest settlers of this."
"Uh, that's your answer, is it?" said
" Master Plympton, it will be well for you to restraiu your friend," remarked Ruddock.
.Keith turned upon Ruddock with a seou l, and'by this time nearly all thc people of Heart's Delight were on the beach. Several boats from the Fishing Fleet were landing men. The scene became animated. It was a glorious June day ; the sea perfectly calm, a pleasant breeze blowing over thc land.
" Keith,'- said Plympton, " wc will seo the Admiral's authority."
" Here it is," said the Admiral, producing a formidable-looking parohmciit with a great seal dangling from it on a broad ribbon ; "perhaps the Vice-Admiral wiU read it?"
"I would prefer to read it myself," said Plympton.
"Kay, then read it yourself, und much good may thc exercise do you," said Ristack, handing Master Plympton thc parchment.
The poople .talked among -themselves while Plympton was glancing over the document ; its purport WM already kuown and was repeated from one to the other. Lester Bentz kept close to Ruddock. Many of the settlers were talking loudly and gesticulating. Some of them were already in altercation with the b'aliernieii of "The Pioneer".and the " Anne of Dartmouth."
"Friends und neighbours,"said Plympton. His well-known voice was sufficient to beget immediate silence. He had let fall his Cromwellian hat, and standiug there bare- headed, his white locks falling about his fine forehead, he looked the character of father of the settlement still, however, so physically strong und lithe that he might have giveu many a younger man a tussle in a wrestling match or a bout at single stick. "Friends and neighbours," he said, "this document under. thc Great Seal of England-how obtained it is not for me to say, for who kuows what interests and - influences . arc
brought to bear upon our rights and privileges
" Master Plympton, I must request-" began the Admiral, interrupting the speaker.
" Sir, do not interrupt me,"- said Plympton, impatiently.
" By God, if he does I'll choke him were he fifty times uu Admiral !" exclaimed Keith, no longer able to control himself in face of the haughty airs cf Ruddock more particularly.
In a moment twenty sailors of the fleet rushed to thc support of the Admiral, and double tho numl<er -of tho men of Hearts's Delight were simultaneously by tho side of
" Nay, Alan, give me leave," said Plympton, "and you, my friends, be patient until 1 (ell you thc commands of His Majesty to these" -with a somewhat contemptuous gesture " his servants and representatives,"
" Stand by," said the Admiral, addressing his men, "stand by and obey orders, stand by and wait for thc word of command."
" Wo arc charged with having built and cultivated contrary to thc law ; wc arc commanded to remove such buildings and to cease such cultivation ; and this gentlemen, who by virtue of his first arrival in our harbour is styled Admiral of the Fleet, is thc magistrate who has authority , to sec these orders carried out. Nay, bo patient a moment ! And he is good enough to give us twenty-four hours to remove our household goods, prior to the destruction of our dwell- ings."
There was a pause of a few moments, as if thc people were mastering the full purport of tile tyrannical decree ; and then there was a groan and shout of anger as thc result of their
realisation of tho altercation between Master
Plympton mid thc Fishing Admirals.
" Men," exclaimed Alan Keith, striding among his neighbours. " To your homes ! Everyone of you to your homes ! Ask God lo help ye, nnd if He docsua, then wc mun help ourscls ! Eh, my fine Admiral o' thc Fleet, d'ye think we're dumb animals that we're
going to stand this thing?
" To your bouts," said tho Admiral, catch- \ ing tho spiritand actiou of Keith.
"Ay, such on ye as bao hearts for such service as these creatures gie ye ; but if ye ure men, tell your nigger drivers that ye will nae stand by and see a wrang done that would melt u pirate blush !"
For a moment the sailors seemed to waver. *' Rebellion !" shouted Ristack. " Mutiny ! Arrest mc this Alon Keith !
Keith drew his knife and waited. No one stirred. Ruddock ventured a remark. No one heard il.
"Gentlemen," 6aid Plympton, addressing Ristack and Ruddock, " don't be rash, you have given us twenty-four hours ; withdraw your men, and leave ns to obey your warrant."
. Plympton was thc only calm man on cither
"I name Alan Keith ns a rebel," said Ristack, irritated rather than soothed by i'lympton's judicial manner.
" And I name yo as a liar !" said Alan, his face paling with anger, "and by tho honour
of Scotlaud, if ye don't take ycr pirate face away, I'll nick it uglier than it ia !
" Hebel, I denounce ye !" Bbouted Kistack ; "men, I command ye in the King's narnu
arrest mu that traitor !"
" Ay, come on !" cried Keith, a compact knot of strong, firm men by his Bide.
Plympton once more intervened, standing between the contending factious. " Men of Heart's Deliglit," ho said, "friends, neigh- bours, brothels, withdraw to your homes. I appeal to you in the interests of your wives and children. Alan Keith, son and comrade, I claim this ouco to command you."
Thc settlers, Alan at their head, walked away without another word, but with sullen- ness and angor.
"Very well," said Ristack, moved by a sudden inspiration of 'villainy, " I accept your mediation thus far, Master Plympton : you and your rebel neighbour shall have thc twenty-four hours' gruce I've given my «ord for. Ruddock, pass tho word for tho men to get back to their ships."
Ruddock obeyed. Thc men returned to the boats. Ristnck, turning his back on Plympton, followed thou, muttering as be went, " Hilt I'll have Master Alan Keith on board before thc night's over-and in irons -hy-, I swear it !"