Page:An account of the English colony in New South Wales.djvu/50

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[1788.
ACCOUNT OF THE ENGLISH COLONY

was soon perceived they were accustomed to leave under the rocks, or loose and scattered about upon the beaches.

There was, however, great reason to believe, that these precautions were first rendered fruitless by the ill conduct of a boat's crew belonging to one of the transports, who had attempted to land in one of the coves at the lower part of the harbour, but were prevented, and driven off with stones by the natives. A party of them, consisting of sixteen or eighteen persons, some time after landed on the island, where the people of the Sirius were preparing a garden, and, with much artifice watching their opportunity, carried off a shovel, a spade, and a pick-axe. On their being fired at, and hit on the legs by one of the people with small shot, the pick-axe was dropped, but they carried off the other tools.

To such circumstances as these must be attributed the termination of that good understanding which had hitherto subsisted, and which Governor Phillip laboured to improve whenever he had an opportunity. But it might have been foreseen that this would unavoidably happen: the convicts were every where straggling about, collecting animals and gum to sell to the people of the transports, who at the same time were procuring spears, shields, swords, fishing-lines, and other articles from the natives, to carry to Europe; the loss of which must have been attended with many inconveniences to the owners, as it was soon evident that they were the only means whereby they obtained or could procure their daily subsistence; and although some of these people had been punished for purchasing articles of the convicts, the practice was carried on secretly, and attended with all the bad effects that were to be expected from it. The Governor had also the mortification to learn, that M. de la Perouse had been compelled to fire upon the natives at Botany Bay, where they frequently annoyed his people who were employed on shore. This circumstance materially affected the new inhabitants, as those who had rendered this violence necessary could not discriminate between the two nations. The English were, however,

perfectly
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