Page:Last of the tasmanians.djvu/131

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104
THE LAST OF THE TASMANIANS.

returned to the Bush with bitterer feelings against the dominant race. As Mr. Gilbert Robertson wrote in 1831:—"Although Mosquito has been removed, yet the lessons he afforded the Aborigines of this island have not been forgotten; experience has taught them craft, cunning, activity, and watchfulness, and at this moment they have found means to spread terror amongst the Colonists residing in the interior." The "Black War" is, indeed, dated by some persons from the death of Mosquito.

The captor, Tegg, or Teague, as it has been written, did not get the price of blood; and he, therefore, in sullen anger, betook himself to the Bush, saying, "They promised me a boat, but they no give it; me go with Wild Mob, and kill all white men come near me." Many murders were attributed to him. He was concerned in the murder of two stockmen belonging to Messrs. Cox and Barclay. It is also recorded of him, that a native woman, brought up from infancy by Whites, was, when far advanced in pregnancy, speared to death by the revengeful fellow. Strange to say, he subsequently returned to Hobart Town, and received his boat, which was, said the newspaper, "to conciliate the youth's unfortunately aggravated feelings" (!)

 

The "Black War" may be said to have drifted onward, like a neglected wound, which often terminates in an incurable and painful disorder. Not expected to be so serious, many were as surprised as they were shocked at its formidable and rapid growth. The English traveller, in 1823, could write of the native inhabitants:—"They are so very few in number, and so timorous, that they need hardly be mentioned. Two Englishmen with muskets might traverse the whole country in perfect safety, as they are unacquainted with fire-arms." And yet many residents at that very time trembled with apprehension, and the numbers were not so few, by several hundreds at least, as they were when putting the whole island in terror, and calling forth the colonists en masse into the field against them. Another writer, Mr. Wentworth, of Sydney, gives quite a different picture of the same year, in 1823, and refers to the "rencontres that have subsequently taken place between them and the settlers. These, whenever occasion offers, destroy as many of the Natives as possible, and they, in their turn, never let slip an opportunity of retaliating on their bloodthirsty neighbours." But he sees little