Page:Last of the tasmanians.djvu/159

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THE LAST OF THE TASMANIANS.

Government, that the measures which are indispensable for the defence and protection of the settlers should be tempered with humanity, and that no measure of conciliation should be spared; but it was not intended to relax the most strenuous exertions to repel and to drive from the settled country those Natives who seize every occasion to perpetrate murders, and to plunder and destroy the property of the inhabitants."

The closing paragraph runs thus:—

"Any wanton attack against the inoffensive tribes in the west and south-west districts of the colony, or against the tribe inhabiting the adjacent islands, or against any Aborigines who manifest a disposition to conciliate and to surrender themselves, will undoubtedly be rigorously prosecuted; but it is not expected, much less required, that the settlers are calmly to wait in their dwellings to sustain the repeated and continued attacks of the tribes who are manifesting such a rancorous and barbarous disposition as has characterised their late proceedings;—they are by every possible means to be captured or driven beyond the settled district."

No one can fail to be convinced of the genuine benevolence of the Governor's character. With all his strength of will, or the assumed despotism of disposition, there was the power of kindness. Toward the feeble and distressed he ever exhibited gentleness, and even affection. Sensible of the hostility of the Natives, he sought sincerely and persistently to avert their destruction. He could not have been indifferent to that "resistless fate" which seemed overhanging the future of the tribes, nor regardless of European opinion and the judgment of posterity upon his own part in the final catastrophe. When, however, the trumpet-tongued appeals of the colony called for more decided action, he came forth to do all that a Governor could do for the relief of his subjects.

After much discussion, it was determined to depend no longer upon the feeble operations of the Roving Parties,—the Five Pounds' Catchers, as they were called,—but to make a more decided impression upon the enemy in extensive and simultaneous action, by which they might achieve wholesale captures; for, of course, no allusion could be made to the possible destruction of many. The plan proposed was, to station the military in certain centres of the settled districts, and to call upon the people to