Page:Australia an appeal.djvu/47

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continuing their journey for about sixteen miles, the reports were found to he perfectly accurate, several head of cattle being found feeding upon a pasturage abundantly luxuriant. The number, we are informed, was about eight or ten;—but a district was pointed out by the guides at a distance not far removed from the spot at which they had arrived, where a vast number had collected. The description we have from Captain Byrne of the country in which the cattle were seen, is highly flattering,—and the anxiety evinced by the natives that we should settle down with them on this desirable tract of country, may relieve the qualms of conscience which Mr———, evinces upon the subject of our taking possession of their lands. They have not confined their invitation to the settlers on the Murray, but have solicited that it may be extended to our more populous neighbours of Perth and Fremantle."

Does ancient or modern history furnish a single instance of such kindness, confidence, and generous feeling on the part of one nation towards another, as that exhibited on this occasion by these savages towards a people to whom they were utter strangers? Dreadfully was their liberality requited by the white savages with whom they had to deal. Can it be believed, that a few months after this spontaneous and friendly invitation, to share with them their patrimonial inheritance and all they possessed in the world, Sir J——— S———, accompanied by a strong detachment of soldiers and police, went for the express purpose of taking possession of the country; and, falling, without any provocation whatever, upon its peaceable and unoffending owners, while apparently employed in fishing, nearly exterminated the whole tribe. The interesting picture of the kindly disposition of these people just before given in The Gazette, now stared the perpetrators of this revolting massacre full in the face. In giving to the public the official details of the affair, it consequently became necessary that the organ of government should change its tone; and, in order to justify the foul deed, blacken their character as much as possible by enumerating the acts of retaliation to which some of them had formerly been driven, but carefully passing over the numerous provocations they had received in the wanton cruelties practised upon them.

Such was the fate of a people who, influenced by feelings of kindness and humanity, had often saved the lives of Mr. H—'s children in a lonely unprotected spot, fifty miles from the capital of the colony, by furnishing them with food in his absence, when they chanted to discover that they were famishing with hunger.[1]

  1. The difficulties of both land and water carriage in a new colony, will often prevent an anxious parent from returning with a supply of provisions to his family for days—sometimes weeks—together.