The Governor resolved to try the scheme, and directed the magistrate to make a selection as a trial. By the end of November four had been chosen. Three were ticket-of-leave men seeking emancipation—John Hopkins, Samuel May, and William Wakeman, all well acquainted with the native life in the Bush. The fourth was still in the primary class of bondage, John Danvers, a man of great ability and energy. One Reynolds, who had but six months to serve, and in order to obtain his liberty by efflux of time, volunteered to go, being fond of a life in the woods, and considered a capital shot. He stayed his six months, and then retired to freedom, demanding nothing for his labour.
Other persons were engaged elsewhere; as Messrs. Gilbert Robertson, John Batman, Jorgen Jorgenson, Nicholas Tortosa, James Hopkins, Mayhew Tattersall, John Eldon, W. Grant, R. Tyrrell, Peter Scott, W. Wilson, George James, W. Holmes, Alexander McKay, Surridge, Parish, Emmett, Brodribb, Gorringe, &c. Mr. Roberts took four Bruni Blacks after a Port Davey tribe. Mr. Tortosa was to receive one thousand acres, in addition to the five pounds bounty, if he caught twenty in twelve months. Mr. Fisher undertook to round some of them up in an angle of the roaring Shannon River. To some of these, perhaps, the remarks of Mr. Wedge may justly apply: "But they in vain laboured to capture the unfortunate Blacks. They, however, did succeed, I believe, in shooting a few of them, which could have no other effect than to increase the hostility of the survivors."
But little was really done until the energies and experience of Mr. Anstey were brought into requisition. In May, 1829, all leaders of parties were directed to make their monthly reports to him. It was at his suggestion that twelve men were placed under the authority of Mr. John Batman, six with Mr. Nicholas of Campbell Town, five with Mr. Sherwin of the Clyde, and five with Mr. Doran of New Norfolk. A man, named John Small, was promised a free pardon should he succeed in bringing in ten captives during the year of his engagement.
It was to enlist the utmost diligence in this service that the celebrated proclamation was made, guaranteeing five pounds for the capture of each adult, and two pounds for a child, belonging to the Natives. The more respectable of the leaders were baited with the prospect of grants of land.