Page:Diary of ten years.djvu/51

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Insects are now wonderfully numerous. Ants in great quantities and of many varieties of size and colour, from the lion ant, an inch long, to the small brown ant, which can insinuate itself into the most minute crevice. These seize upon whatever is eatable, and devour it in a short time. The ground seems alive with white ants, and the trees swarm with them inside and out; every thing here teems with life.

The principles of increase and the agents of destruction are so actively employed, that there seems to be a rapid round of production and decay, unknown to your more moderate climate. Of snakes I have seen only two, both very small; but my men have killed five or six, some of them three feet long: we have not heard of any injury being done by them, and in fact they do not seem to be at all dreaded.

The natives are not so despicable a race as was at first supposed. They are active, bold, and shrewd, expert in thieving, as many (and myself among the number) have experienced; they are courageous when attacked; however, they are not very numerous, and we are on good terms with them. I walk occasionally to and from Perth, through the woods, alone and unarmed; so you may perceive, from this circumstance, we are not in much dread of them.[1]

Settlers are so scattered that I cannot form any correct estimate as to their numbers; many more are expected before the expiration of the year, for the purpose of obtaining the promised grants of land; but the good grounds in the vicinity

  1. Governor Stirling states, in his official communications, that many of the settlers had established themselves at once upon their lands, regardless of any danger from the natives, who were found to be so harmless, that single persons who had traversed the country never met with any interruption, or sustained any insult or injury at their hands.

    However, it will subsequently be seen that the governor gave them too much credit for "sweet simplicity."—Editor.