Page:Last of the tasmanians.djvu/163

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THE LAST OF THE TASMANIANS.
humanity may be manifested towards whatever Natives may be captured, and, when in custody, that they may be dealt with as beings who have been deprived of the blessings of civilization, and have been actuated in their hostile attacks by a distressing misconception of the amicable disposition entertained towards them by the white population.

"12. On an occasion of this general nature, no individual is to expect any specific reward; but His Excellency hopes it is now well understood in the colony, that a service rendered to the public is never overlooked or forgotten by the Colonial Government.

"By His Excellency's command,
"J. Burnett."

The Colonists were pleased with the decision of the Government. The Hobart Town Courier, of September 11, already saw, "by anticipation, crowds of these poor, benighted creatures marched into town." The editor sagely recommends the volunteers and military to seize upon the women and children, and then the men would surrender themselves. Perhaps he half fancied that the native males would place the tender ones in front, as the Persians did with the cats against the Egyptians. It was, however, admitted that at least thirty, that had been previously caught and well initiated in all our excellent English customs, were then with their Bush countrymen, and taking the lead by reason of their superior enlightenment.

But before the invitations of Colonel Arthur could be issued, a change in the arrangements occurred. The press and others had contended that it would be comparatively useless to have the war made at so many points, affording opportunities for the Natives, and by their superior Bush craft, to pass between the forces hither and thither, and so keep the colony in constant terror. Still, the inhabitants were anxious to co-operate with their rulers in any project offering relief.

A public meeting took place on September 22d, in the Court of Requests Room, ostensibly to make arrangements for the formation of a town-guard. The chairman of that court, J. Horne, Esq., brother of the celebrated English writer of that name, was requested to preside. The old gentleman has more than once told me his tale of the past. Anthony Fenn Kemp, Esq., one of the earliest officers in the colony, gave the audience