Page:Last of the tasmanians.djvu/72

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47
MICHAEL HOWE'S BLACK MARY.

Bushranger, the terror of the colony for years, the partner of a treaty with the Governor, had formed a connexion with this young creature, and dwelt with her for some months in a retreat not far from Oatlands, though afterwards removing for safety to a charming woodland home among the mountains of the Shannon country. There, chased closely by some who sought the great reward for his capture, and annoyed by the inability of his black companion to keep pace with him through the scrub, he drew a pistol and fired at her, severely wounding her. The ruffian escaped, but the girl was caught. Indignant at his cruelty, she promised to take the constables to his hut. This led eventually to his discovery and death. Poor Mary died in the Hobart Town Hospital. The paper mentions Michael Howe's increased cruelties to the poor Natives who fell in his way, on his retreat westward to the far interior.

In New South Wales I found a copy of a letter sent by Governor Macquarie to his Lieutenant-Governor at Hobart Town, in which there is this interesting reference to Mary:

"In co-operation with your humane feelings in regard to Mary, the native girl whom you sent hither some time since as a witness respecting the Bushrangers, I had a private decent lodging provided for her here, where she has ever since remained out of the way of bad connexions or improper intercourse, and she is now about to get some decent apparel. His Excellency the Governor has deemed it expedient to detain her here for some little time further, lest she should renew her intercourse with Howe, and be the means of protracting the term of his submission, or more desirable apprehension."

Governor Sorell issued a proclamation on May 19th, 1817, against the perpetrators of base outrages upon the persons of some inoffensive Aborigines. After mentioning the sportive firing upon the poor creatures, the official paper proceeds: "The Lieutenant-Governor thus publicly declares his determination that if, after the promulgation of this publication, any person or persons shall be charged with killing, firing at, or committing any act of outrage or aggression on the native people, the offender or offenders shall be sent to Port Jackson to take their trial before the Criminal Court."

At this time it was still the rule for the Lieutenant-governors, whether in Hobart Town or elsewhere in the south, to have no