Page:Last of the tasmanians.djvu/70

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45
THE OFFICER AND THE NATIVE GIRL.

warrant the institution of criminal prosecution, it was enough so to convince any unprejudiced man that the first personal attacks were made on the part of settlers and their servants. Several years having elapsed since anything like a principle of hostility has been acted upon, or even in the slightest degree exhibited in the conduct of the Natives, it must be evident that no deep-rooted prejudice exists in their minds against British subjects or white men."

An amusing story is told of an affront given the tribes one time when Governor Sorell had invited a number to Hobart Town. They were gathered in the Government Paddock, a large reserve outside of the town, and were exercising themselves before the Whites. One young girl, however, in the very mischief of a spoiled beauty, took up one of the men's spears, and threw it at the reigning beau of the day—one Captain Hamilton. Although the weapon never struck, nor had it been intended to strike, the son of Mars, being indignant at the liberty taken with his loftiness, complained to the Governor, and insisted upon the rout of the Natives. Colonel Sorell, to appease the excited soldier, requested his visitors to withdraw from the camp. These were so indignant at the treatment they received for so trifling an accident, that they would never accept of another gubernatorial invitation.

In 1816 the interior was unwontedly disturbed. The first notice of the fact is indicated in the peculiar style of the Gazette of the period:—

"The Black Natives of this Colony have for the last few weeks manifested a strange Hostility towards the Up-country Settlers, and in killing and driving away their Cattle than has been witnessed since the Settling of the Colony; And since their visit at New Norfolk, they have been at the herd of Mr. Thomas McNeelance near Jerico and killed two beautiful Cows." The New Norfolk affair arose from a quarrel between three stock-keepers and a score of Natives, when weapons were freely employed. Forty spears were thrown; but evidently at a discreet distance, for no Bushman was hurt. The shot told better, as three Blacks were killed, and one poor fellow was wounded and taken.

On July 27th, 1816, we have the following notice:—"A party of Natives has lately driven 17 head of horned cattle from