Page:Australia an appeal.djvu/43

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"In the present excitement of the public mind, perhaps the following sketch of a scene which has just occurred here, may not be uninteresting. A party of natives, under the conduct and authority of Weeup, have been in the habit for some time of visiting several settlements in this neighbourhood, and having conducted themselves in a peaceable and friendly manner, passing harmlessly among our flocks and herds, and cordially greeting our shepherds, whether man or boy, armed or unarmed, alone or in company, on all occasions, many of us thought it better to endeavour to establish this friendly intercourse, even at the expense of a gratuity which is sometimes burdensome—whether wisely or not is yet a moot question among us, and can only be decided by the event. On seeing a party approach the house, accompanied by my shepherd, I went towards them wholly unarmed as usual, supposing they were only my old familiar acquaintances. To my surprise, the first one I met was Migo, the intimate friend of Munday. On my looking a little round, I discovered Munday himself at my side. Suspicion once awakened, I examined the faces more attentively, and at last saw Yagan standing aloof, as it were, under the safe conduct of Weeup, and watching narrowly my movements and manner of receiving them. I had just been accusing Migo with having been present at the murder of the men on the Canning, when my eye fell upon Yagan. I said immediately, 'What man is that?' They all answered, 'Boolgat.' I said 'No! Yagan.' Seeing that he was known, he stepped forward, avowing himself, as if to challenge discussion. 'Yes, it is Yagan.'[1]—Fremantle white men shot Domjun, Yagan's brother—they shot two black men; and therefore Yagan speared two white men.' I said, 'But Domjun stole; therefore white men shot him.' 'Yes,' said he, as if he laid little stress on the theft, 'Domjun stole—but, if white men shoot black men, black men will spear white men—white men shot Domjun, Yagan's brother—therefore Yagan speared white men, but far away.' I said, 'All white men are brethren.' 'No, no,' from all the natives. 'Yes! All white men are brethren: they are all one people. If black men spear one white man, all white men will be angry—all white men will make war and shoot.' 'If white men shoot,' said he, in a friendly tone' black men will spear.' Appealing to them all, I said, 'If black men will neither spear white men, nor their cattle, nor steal, white men will regard them as brethren. Black men, then, may often hold corroberies, and many white men will shake hands

  1. Condensed from the broken monosyllabic, yet not less energetic English and Derbalese in which it was spoken but which to many would be unintelligible.