Page:Last of the tasmanians.djvu/68

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43
KINDNESS SAVES A LIFE.

the means of such humane treatment endeavour to reclaim them from a savage life."

The kindness of the Hobart Town people to a few visitors from the Wilds told favourably afterwards; for, from another extract, we learn that Campbell was indirectly the means of saving the life of one of his countrymen.

"A few days ago," says the Hobart Town Gazette, "upwards of 100 Natives surrounded a house at South Arm, and knocked at the door; on the person within opening it, and perceiving the Natives, he was in great terror, and after shutting the door endeavoured to escape by a back window, but seeing it in vain, he again opened the door, when several Natives came in, to whom he offered victuals, but they refused to eat. After they had surveyed the premises, an elderly man led the person by the arm, who lived in the house, nearly half a mile into the woods, and placed him in the middle of them, and at the moment the Natives were about to throw their spears at the unfortunate victim, a native man, whom A. Campbell had brought to Hobart Town some time ago, addressed them, when they all walked away, leaving the person to return to his own residence. Thus by the humanity already shown to these Natives the life of a fellow-creature has been preserved."

A gentleman whose station was in the centre of the island, spoke of the Natives occasionally coming down to his hut, as early as 1814, and bartering a kangaroo's tail for a bit of English mutton. Others have told me that they were able to travel about the Bush in perfect security between that period and 1822. Mr. John Gardiner, after whom the Gardiner's Creek, near Melbourne, is named, when detailing to me some singular stories of the Australian Blacks, remarked, among other peculiarities, their friendly disposition toward the Europeans, and the contrast he noticed in their habits to those of the Tasmanians, who would hardly ever venture near his station in the island. Several elderly ladies have narrated circumstances showing more geniality and friendly intercourse; as, the playing of their children with the Aborigines, and their boys going to hunt with the dark skins. These ladies had the conviction that such a happy state of things would have continued but for the conduct of the Bush prisoner servants toward the native females. An old man, who bad been assigned servant to Mr. Wedge, gave me the story of