Page:Last of the tasmanians.djvu/293

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.
260
THE LAST OF THE TASMANIANS.

improvement of the Natives." He added a word, also, for Mrs. Clark: "She has been instrumental in initiating the female Aborigines in the first principles of the Christian religion. The marked results attendant thereupon have been mainly attributed to her personal exertions." Captain Stokes, the explorer, when visiting Flinders in 1842, refers to the lasting effects produced by Mr. Clark upon the Aborigines, "for whom," he says, "they all continue to feel great veneration, and to exhibit that respect which is due to a parent." Elsewhere he remarks: "We heard all the Natives of both sexes, old and young, sing several hymns taught them by this excellent person."

Mr. Dove, though without the susceptible and genial nature of my Irish friend, was an earnest, faithful man. The restraint of his ecclesiastical habits, perhaps, prevented him fraternizing, so to speak, with the people; and not even the orthodoxy and sincerity of his discourses could save them from a certain amount of dryness and doctrinal rigidity, which, however agreeable to a Scotch congregation, was scarcely to be appreciated by his ignorant, fickle, and child-like audience in the Straits. He was better fitted for the charge at Swanport, to which he retired, and where he has resided for so many years. A pleasing story is told of the good man attending the death-bed of King George, alias Old Tom, and taking such real interest in the poor fellow, that the last effort of the dying man was affectionately to smile at the pastor, and squeeze his hand.

I have now before me a manuscript book, presented to me by the widow of the venerated Rev. Frederick Miller, of Hobart Town, which had been prepared by my old friend Mr. Robert Clark, giving full particulars of an examination held in February 1838, when the Rev. T. Dove, chaplain, presided, and Mr. George Augustus Robinson, Mr. Dickenson, storekeeper, and Dr. Walsh, were spectators.

Young Mr. William Robinson's class first came forward, under the monitorship of Thomas Thompson, and consisting of the following remarkable characters:—Isaac, Edward, Washington, Albert, and Leonidas. Edward is pronounced imperfect in the alphabet, and goes down. Washington attempts to spell; but brave Leonidas, more ambitious, makes a trial of reading from the spelling-book. Leonidas, the hero of the class, repeats the Lord's Prayer, the Collect, the names of the months and days of