Page:Last of the tasmanians.djvu/105

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.
78
THE LAST OF THE TASMANIANS.

the wild fowl from the creeks, and the unhappy Aborigine is driven to despair. He has no country on which to fall back. The next tribe will not permit him to occupy their territory."

But yet, with a knowledge of its impracticability, the scheme must be attempted by the Governor. The Demarkation Order is to be proclaimed. The Natives are to be prevented coming into the settled districts—the central and eastern portions—by keeping them back among the swamps, scrubs, and tiers of the West. In that cheerless clime of everlasting rain or frost; that region of vast mountains, dreary morasses, and almost lifeless solitudes; a locality undesired by the colonists, and nearly deserted by fowl and quadruped;—there were the tribes to dwell, banished from their sunnier homes, their richer hunting lands, their recognised borders, the graves of their fathers.

The Proclamation of Demarkation, dated April 15th, 1828, is too important to be passed over lightly. Men cannot forbear a smile at the Despatches and Government Orders of this period of colonial history, and the care and trouble of officialdom with a very few hundreds of Aborigines, having miserable weapons, while controlling a colony of many thousands of Europeans, and possessed of a large executive power in British soldiers and well-armed constables. But the facts remain, that both the supreme authority and the country settlers were at their wits' end. But, to the Proclamation:—

"Whereas, and since the primary settlement of the colony, various acts of aggression, violence, and cruelty have been, from different causes, committed on the Aboriginal Inhabitants of the Island, by subjects of His Majesty.

[Then follow notices of the Proclamations of Governor Collins in 1810, and of Colonel Arthur in 1824, 1826, and 1827.]

"And whereas, these several measures have proved ineffectual to their objects; and the Persons employed in the Interior of the Island as Shepherds and Stock-keepers, or on the coast as Sailors, do still, as is represented, occasionally attack and injure the Aboriginal Natives without any authority:—and the Aborigines have, during a considerable period of time, evinced, and are daily evincing, a growing spirit of hatred, outrage, and enmity against the subjects of His Majesty resident in this colony, and are putting into practice modes of hostility, indicating gradual though slow advances in art, system, and method, and utterly inconsistent with the peaceable pursuits of Civilized