Page:Last of the tasmanians.djvu/241

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212
THE LAST OF THE TASMANIANS.

the unfortunates could be more extensively employed, he promptly availed himself of it.

The following advertisement appeared in the Gazette of March 1829:—

"In furtherance of the Lieutenant-Governor's anxious desire to ameliorate the condition of the aboriginal inhabitants of this territory, His Excellency will allow a salary of 50l. per annum, together with rations, to a steady man of good character, that can be well recommended, who will take an interest in effecting an intercourse with this unfortunate race, to reside on Bruni Island, taking charge of the provisions supplied for the use of the Natives at that place."

Here is the opportunity:—to be with the Blacks, to help them, to work for their good. But the prospect was not very favourable. It was no liberal offer. A pound a week, and a ration of food! He could make more than that at his trade. He did not seek great returns for his usefulness, but it was necessary that he should live decently. Besides, he was a married man. He had a wife to consider; his children must not be sacrificed to his public spirit. The man, in a subsequent review of this period, said: "There were many powerful reasons against my entering upon such an enterprise. I had a wife and several children dependent on me. But my mind was under an impression which I could not resist I reasoned the matter over with Mrs. Robinson, and with difficulty obtained her consent."

On the 16th of March, 1829, he penned the following application:—

"Feeling a strong desire to devote myself to the above cause, and believing the plan which your Excellency has devised to be the only one whereby this unfortunate race can be ameliorated; that as the Hottentot has been raised in the scale of Being, and the inhabitants of the Society Islands are made an industrious and intelligent race, so likewise, by the same exertions, may the inhabitants of this territory be instructed. With these impressions, I beg to offer myself for the situation. I would beg leave to submit to your Excellency that a salary of fifty pounds per annum is not sufficient for the support of my family—would therefore request that you would be pleased to make such additions to the salary as you may think meet. Should my offer be accepted, I do not wish the superfluities, I