Page:Last of the tasmanians.djvu/90

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63
NATIVE WOMEN NOT FAULTLESS.

sooner were the females on their way to join their tribe, than the servants sallied out, and deprived them of their ill-gotten store. The Aborigines, nearly one hundred in number, now exceedingly exasperated, surrounded the hut, and had certainly effected their revenge, either by burning down the hut, or otherwise killing the aggressors, had not the Bushranger Dunn came to their timely assistance. Being so disappointed, the Blacks, in the heat of resentment, fell in with poor aged Scott, and murdered him in a most barbarous manner." This Scott had heretofore been on the most friendly terms with the Natives, and his dreadful end will furnish the key to many apparently inexplicable murders of innocent people, even women and children, by the Aborigines, when the two races were afterwards in frequent collision.

Cruelties to Native women, though never defended, have been in some way stripped of their hideousness, through not receiving apology, by a writer in the Hobart Town Press, in April 1831. Mr. Gilbert Robertson has been credited with the article.

"It would be unfair and unjust on our part, were we to withhold our knowledge of the atrocities which have certainly been perpetrated by several Whites toward the Aborigines. However, we know that the pollutions so committed, to the disgrace of the name of Englishmen, have not solely been confined to the black women, but have reached to such unfortunate white females as may have fallen into their hands; and we earnestly hope and trust, that the strong hand of the Government will be exercised, in order to bring speedy and signal vengeance down on those who may in truth be called monsters, and not men. But on due reflection, it will be observed, that the aboriginal men can have far less to complain of than would appear at first sight. Did the black women of this island possess, in the slightest degree, any portion of that delicacy of sentiment which ought to be the distinguishing ornament of the sex—did they know how to set a true value on chastity—and had the aboriginal men not shared in the wages of iniquity earned by their women, then indeed would they be entitled to our highest compassion, and our indignation would be roused at the bare relation of the atrocities which we know to have been committed against them; but the women have yielded willingly to the lawless desires of white men, the males have encouraged the nefarious traffic, and if, in