Page:The aborigines of Australia.djvu/113

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.
100
THE ABORIGINES OF AUSTRALIA.

distribution to the aborigines being discontinued in consequence of the nefarious appropriation just mentioned, ill-will towards the Europeans on the part of the former was the result. Another principal cause which led to mutual distrust between the two races was an unfortunate affray which took place about this time, at Botany, between the seamen of the French expedition, under La Perouse, and the aborigines. The two vessels composing this great navigator's fleet anchored in Botany Bay on the day succeeding the arrival of Governor Phillip's squadron, and, remaining there after the departure of the latter fleet for Port Jackson, a misunderstanding arose between the French and the Botany tribe, which resulted in the former using their firearms and shooting down a few of the latter. The New Hollanders being unable to distinguish between the two nations, and looking on all white people as the same, considered the punishment they had received as the act of all, and believed themselves justified in retaliating on English and French indiscriminately. Some efforts were made by the authorities, shortly after their arrival in the colony, to ascertain the numbers of the aboriginal population in the vicinity of the settlement. For this purpose the first measure adopted was to despatch a party to visit the several bays of the harbour, to ascertain the number of canoes which the blacks possessed. These were found to amount to the large number of 67, each capable of carrying from two to five or six individuals; from which it may be inferred that the