Page:Last of the tasmanians.djvu/95

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THE LAST OF THE TASMANIANS.

bathing, in the heat of a summer's day, in the deep pool of a river, in a sequestered and romantic glen, when they were suddenly surprised by a party of armed colonists who had secured the passes, and I believe not one of them was left to tell the tale. Nay, a convict Bushranger in Van Diemen's Land, who was hanged a few years ago for crimes committed against the European inhabitants of the colony, confessed, when under sentence of death, that he had actually been in the habit of shooting the black Natives to feed his dogs."

Cruelties to the poor females have already been mentioned. Mrs. Guy, of New Norfolk, gave me a proof of attempted ruffianism in her day. Once when standing by her door she saw a native woman, pursued by three Englishmen, run to the high bank, leap into the Derwent, and swim across the broad stream. The benevolent lady hastened down to the poor creature, and found her much agitated with fear, and trembling violently. Taking her home, she gave her some warm tea, and bound a blanket around her. The husband came afterwards to thank the lady, and voluntarily cut up a lot of firewood in her yard as a return of gratitude. Capt. Stokes informs the readers of his valuable work of Australian Discovery, that a convict servant confessed this cruelty to a captured gin: "He kept the poor creature chained up like a wild beast, and, whenever he wanted her to do anything, applied a burning stick, a firebrand snatched from the hearth, to her skin."

It is a small satisfaction to be told that other nations have been as bad as ourselves: that a million of Caribs in Hispaniola were reduced by the Spaniards to sixty thousand in fifteen years; that, according to Las Casas, fifteen millions of Indians perished at their hands; or that, as Cotton Mather reports of the English American Colonies: "Among the early settlers, it was considered a religious act to kill Indians." Some Spaniards made a vow to God to burn or hang every morning, for a certain time, thirteen Indians; one was to be in compliment to the Saviour, and the others to the twelve Apostles. A Spanish priest, as Vega relates, seeing some Peruvians destroy themselves rather than work in the mines, thus addressed the others: "You wish to hang yourselves, my friends, rather than labour; seeing this, I shall hang myself first; but I must warn you of one thing, which is this, that there are mines in the