The Last of the Tasmanians/Chapter 2

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CHAPTER II.

THE BLACK WAR.

The Tasmanians have been presented to the reader. Voyagers have spoken of them in their wild condition, while roaming free over their own undisputed territory. The strangers departed, and left them at liberty. The Natives pursued their old habits, as they had done for thousands of years. The monotony of their lives was only disturbed by the hunt, the laughing corrobory, or the tribal conflict. But a change was at hand. Their peace was but the calm before the storm. Their pleasant days were to be clouded by sorrow and terror. The Whites came again. They came not as curious visitors, but to make a home in the land. They came not to share the soil with the dark men, but to appropriate it.

The wild men had two courses before them. They could prostrate themselves beneath the feet of the usurpers, and quietly submit to slavery; or they could refuse to sell their birthright of freedom, and take the consequences. They preferred to continue as they had been. As this involved collision with a people who assumed possession of their hunting grounds, they had to endure the consequences of their retiring or defiant policy. Thus arose the celebrated "Black War of Van Diemen's Land."

The formalities of a herald, or the very last ultimatum, would let slip the dogs of war, according to approved civilized ways. As no such courtesies were shown, or expected, in the relations between the naked Tasmanians and the British settlers, the precise line of actual hostility cannot be determined. All that can be done is to trace the history of the race, as resulting from contact with the Europeans in their own beautiful isle.

A reference to the preceding chapter will indicate the consequences of this juxtaposition of two opposing natures. Almost as soon as acquaintance was made conflict commenced. The cause of collision was not equally apparent to the parties in question. Captain Marion evidently regarded himself as an injured party, and his assault on the Natives as a justifiable and gentlemanly act. His countrymen in 1802 acted with more sense, forbearance, and kindness. When the draughtsman was defending his property from the rude clutch of a savage, he narrowly escaped a broken head; and when his comrades rescued him they were roughly stoned, and even Captain Hamelin received a severe contusion. But to the honour of his nation, the historian was able to write at the close of the day, "not a single charge of musketry was drawn against them." But the French writer's words have such sound philosophy and right feeling to commend them, that they bear reciting:—

"Those last hostilities were committed on the part of the Aborigines, without our having given occasion for them in any manner; on the contrary we had laden them with presents and good deeds, and nothing in our conduct could have offended them. I confess I am surprised, after so many examples of treachery and cruelty reported in all voyages of discovery, to hear it repeated by sensible persons that men in a state of nature are not wicked, that one may trust in them, and that they would not be the aggressors, if they were not excited by vengeance, &c. Unfortunately, many travellers have been the victims of these vain sophisms. For myself, after all that we saw, I think that one cannot sufficiently know how to mistrust men whose character has not yet been softened by civilization, and that one ought to land with prudence upon shores inhabited by such persons."

It is not easy for the cultivated man to appreciate the impulses of the boor, nor for the latter to sympathise with the more refined ideas of the educated. How much more difficult for the civilized and barbarian to meet on equal terms, and understand each other's motives and principles! Certain it is that the Blacks resented the occupancy of their country when they found themselves put to some inconvenience from the supposed trespass, and made most unmistakeably to feel their sense of inferiority. But it is probable that their notions of patriotism would not otherwise have developed themselves, nor would they have perceived in the camp of the strangers any necessary antagonism to their rights and interests. They might have thought the white man's bread worth the trouble of stealing, but we should doubt the chivalrous notion of honour to assert a national independence.

The misfortune of the Natives of both New South Wales and Van Diemen's Land was, that the men who came to settle among them were chiefly of a class expatriated for their non-observance of rules of propriety; and who, having been indifferent about the virtues when with their countrymen at home, were not likely to be more courteous and conscientious in dealing with savages abroad.

But while the history of the two colonies is so far similar, it is right to observe that the first actual conflict between the two races occurred under different circumstances in each. Before narrating that of the island, the continental rupture may be noted.

It was not two months after the fleet of convicts took up quarters on the shore of the delightful Port Jackson, that is, only in March 1788, that some men came into the infant settlement with a tale of aboriginal outrage. The Natives, said they, had set upon them without any cause, and had roughly beaten some, and badly speared others. But these are the remarks of Captain Collins, our first colonial historian:—

"There was, however, too much reason to conclude that the convicts had been the aggressors, as the governor on his return from Broken Bay, on landing at Camp Cove (Sydney), found the Natives there, who had before frequently come up to him with confidence, unusually shy, and seemingly afraid of him and his party; and one who, after much invitation, did venture to approach, pointed to some marks upon his shoulders, making signs that they were caused by blows given with a stick. This with their running away were strong indications that they had been ill-treated by the stragglers."

In all probability the experience of the infant days of New South Wales had prompted the then Secretary for the Colonies, Lord Hobart, to give specific instructions to Captain Collins in 1803, when proceeding to form a new penal settlement in the south. This statesmanlike and humane despatch runs thus:—

"You are to endeavour, by every means in your power, to open an intercourse with the Natives, and to conciliate their good-will, enjoining all parties under your government to live in amity and kindness with them; and if any person shall exercise any acts of violence against them, or shall wantonly give them any interruption in the exercise of their several occupations, you are to cause such offender to be brought to punishment, according to the degree of the offence."

This despatch, at least, exonerates the home authorities from the charge of indifference to the welfare of the Aborigines, while utterly oblivious of their rights to the land, as the humane nobleman was then instructing Captain Collins to appropriate it without consideration. "The order of Lord Hobart stands alone," observes the Rev. John West; "it was the record of intention, not a development of government." Again he writes: "The success of humane suggestions depended on the doubtful concurrence of ignorant cotters and wandering shepherds."

But before the first Governor of Van Diemen's Land established his quarters, the unhappy collision between the Whites and the Blacks had taken place by the river Derwent.

The Calcutta and Ocean had been sent to organize a colony on the shores of Port Phillip. Arriving there in October 1803, the commanding officer saw fit in three months, with the approval of the Governor-in-Chief at Sydney, to remove his establishment to the south of Van Diemen's Land. But before such an event was contemplated, the glowing accounts brought by Messrs. Bass and Flinders to Port Jackson, about the fine climate and country near the river Derwent, had induced the Governor of New South Wales to send a small military party, with some prisoner- workmen, to arrange there for the formation of a new penal settlement. These proceeded a little way up this noble stream, then landed on the sterile and ill-watered left bank, and encamped at Bestdown, now corrupted to Risdon, some five miles from Hobart Town, and on the opposite side of the river.

Van Diemen's Land had also been taken possession of on the northern side, at Port Dalrymple, before the Derwent post was occupied. I copied the following from the Sydney Muster Roll, dated March 29th, 1803: "It being expedient to establish His Magesty's right to Van Diemen's Land, his Excellency has been pleased to direct Lieutenant John Bowen of H.M. ship Glatton to form a settlement on that island," &c.

It was at Risdon, early in 1804, that the unfortunate event took place that ushers in the sad story of the "Black War." A little tide creek flows into the Derwent, not far from the Bisdon farm. The sandstone ranges rapidly ascend from the water's edge, while vast masses of palaeozoic limestone in the neighbourhood rest as heavy buttresses by the river. This was the site of the massacre.

The composition of history makes us acquainted with the difficulties of learning the truth of a story. It is not merely the confusion of myth and fact. We are gradually arriving at the belief that all, or nearly all, the early history of nations has no reference at all to actual events or persons, but to statements of a foreign nature, mythological or astronomical. A Niebuhr first robs us of our faith in Romulus, a Max Müller strips the Vedas of their romance and theology, and even our own Saxon heroes, Hengist and Horsa, have dissolved into thin air. But when we leave, as we fancy, the region of myth, and come to very modern times—our own living era—other difficulties arise.

Such are the conflicting accounts, such the various ways of regarding the same object or circumstance, such the influences of personal character and interests involved in the narrative, that we are often puzzled with what might have been supposed the plainest facts of modern history. Archbishop Whately's myth of Napoleon, Mr. Kinglake's "Crimea," and the floating ideas upon the first settlement of Victoria, will serve to illustrate the remark.

The story of the first conflict of races in Tasmania is similarly involved in misty obscurity. To exhibit this difficulty of writing history, we need only to refer to the diary of the first colonial chaplain, the Rev. Robert Knopwood, who was only a few miles from the scene of war, who inquired into it of the very parties concerned in it, and who was accustomed to enter each day's occurrences in his journal. And yet all he could get to enter was the following: "Had heard different opinions—that they wanted to encamp on the site of Burke's hut, half a mile from the camp, and ill-used his wife—that the hut was not burnt or plundered—that the Natives did not attack the camp—that our people went from the camp to attack the Natives, who remained at Burke's house."

All we positively know is that one day there appeared on the heights a large body of the Aborigines, and not very far from the spot where Bass and Flinders held friendly parley with one of the tribe; so that there was no reason to suspect hostile intentions. Women and children were there. The officer in command ordered the soldiers with him to fire upon the advancing hunters, and numbers were slain.

One person states that the event took place while the Lieutenant-Governor Bowen was on a tour, and that the Natives came down the hill shouting and singing, in full pursuit of some kangaroos. Another eye-witness mentions the fact of the man Burke, living just outside of the camp, running in great alarm with his wife to the soldiers, at the sight of the five hundred Blacks, whose women and children were with them. It is well known that when a savage people contemplate mischief they invariably send their women to the woods. Thus, then, we have a guarantee of their peaceable intentions. The same evidence records the death of, at least, fifty of various ages and of both sexes. There is, also, the assertion that the people came on in a semicircle down the hill, with loud cries, driving the kangaroos into a bottom, where they could be easier caught and destroyed.

The Aborigines' Committee, a body of gentlemen appointed by the benevolent Governor Arthur to watch over the interests of that unhappy people at the time of the Black War, when engaged in an investigation as to the causes producing the hostility of the dark race, took certain evidence which bore upon this historical question. One Edward White, who had been servant to W. Clark, and who had erected the rude hut or house inhabited by the commanding officer, Lieutenant Bowen, stated before the Committee that, on the 3d of May, 1804, he was engaged hoeing some ground near the creek at Risdon, when looking up at the shouting, he saw about three hundred Natives coming down the Tiers in a circle, men, women, and children, with a flock of kangaroos between them. He then declared:—

"They looked at me with all their eyes. I went down to the creek, and reported them to some soldiers, and then went back to my work. The Natives did not threaten me. I was not afraid of them. Clark's house was near where I was at work, and Burke's house near Clark's house. The Natives did not attack the soldiers. They could not have molested them. The firing commenced about eleven o'clock. There were many of the Natives slaughtered and wounded. I don't know how many. Some of their bones were sent in two casks to Port Jackson by Dr. Mountgarrett. They went in the Ocean. A boy was taken from them. This was three or four months after we landed. They never came so close again afterwards. They had no spears with them—only waddies. They were hunting, and came down into a bottom."

Another witness, Robert Evans, belonging to the Risdon party, was examined by the Committee. He was not present at the time, though on the ground immediately afterwards, and learned the news. He was told then that when they came on in a large body they did not make any attack, but they brought a great number of kangaroos with them for a corrobory. He never heard that they interrupted any one, but that they were fired upon. He did not know who ordered them to be fired upon, or how many were said to have been killed, though he had heard that there were men, women, and children, and that some were killed, and that some children were taken away.

In 1823, the well-known colonial barrister and statesman, W. C. Wentworth, Esq., published some notice of the affair in his work on New South Wales and Van Diemen's Land. In it he writes concerning the Tasmanians:—

"Their deep-rooted animosity, however, did not arise so much from the ferocious nature of these savages, as from the inconsiderate and unpardonable conduct of our countrymen, shortly after the foundation of the settlement on the river Derwent. At first the Natives evinced the most friendly disposition toward the new-comers; and would, probably, have been actuated by the same amicable feeling to this day, had not the military officer entrusted with the command directed a discharge of grape and canister-shot to be made among a large body, who were approaching, as he imagined, with hostile designs; but, as it has since been believed with much greater probability, merely from motives of curiosity and friendship. The havoc occasioned among them by this murderous discharge was dreadful, and since then all communication with them has ceased; and the spirit of animosity and revenge which this unmerited and atrocious act of barbarity engendered, has been fostered and aggravated to the highest pitch by the incessant encounters that have subsequently taken place between them and the whites."

One of my informants, a settler of 1804, said that the officer, Lieutenant Moore, saw double that morning from an over-dose of rations' rum. Several have assured me of the good feeling between the two races before that event. The reputation which the soldiers of the New South Wales corps, afterwards the 102d Regiment, earned for drinking propensities, and their officers for spirit-dealing, in the primitive times, led some to think that the whole was the effect of a half-drunken spree, and that the firing arose from a brutal desire to see the Niggers run.

That excellent storyteller. Captain Holman, the Blind Traveller round the world, who made such capital use of the eyes of other people, has left us a statement he learned in 1831, when on a visit to Mr. Gregson, the veteran Tasmanian Reformer. The Blind Traveller heard the story on the identical spot of the massacre (for Mr. Gregson's house was at Risdon), and thus narrates it:—

"It is said to have originated in the following manner. A small stone house had been erected for a gardener, and he was commencing the cultivation of the ground immediately around it. In the midst of his work one day, he was surprised at the appearance of some Natives advancing towards him, and ran off much frightened to the camp to give the alarm. Lieutenant Moore, who commanded a party of the 102d, drew up his men to resist the expected attack; and, on the approach of the Natives, the soldiers were ordered to fire upon them. The execution this volley did among them, and their ignorance of the nature of fire-arms, terrified them to such a degree that they fled, without attempting the slightest defence. From this moment a deep-rooted hatred for the strangers sprang up among them, and all endeavours to subdue it had hitherto proved ineffectual."

When I was in Sydney last year, exploring dusty receptacles of officialdom, and examining the early literature of New South Wales, for facts connected with colonial history, I met with some remarkable paragraphs in the Sydney Gazette, the parent of the Australian Press, which commenced its being in 1803. The first, occurring in the paper of March 18, 1804, is particularly interesting, as giving us the first notice of the state and feeling of the Tasmanians at the landing of the Derwent party from Sydney, and before the terrible day of slaughter. The Lady Nelson had conveyed Lieutenant Bowen and his company to Risdon, and brought the earliest intelligence of their progress upon its return to Sydney. The little craft did much colonial service; having been the first to enter the Heads of Port Phillip, the first to colonize Southern Tasmania, and subsequently the convoy of some of Captain Collins' Port Phillip party to the shores of the Derwent. This is the report it brought:—

"The Natives are very numerous, and undaunted even at the explosion of a musket; but were very friendly to small parties they meet accidentally, though they cannot be prevailed on to visit the encampment. During the Lady Nelson's stay a large kangaroo was taken in the woods by Henry Hacking, attended by a Sydney native; but being interrupted by a tribe of the sooty inhabitants of the neighbourhood, the kangaroo, being fifty or sixty pounds' weight, was, for a moment, considered as lost. The Blacks made use of every policy to wheedle Hacking out of his booty; but as they did not offer or threaten violence, he, with counteracting policy, preserved it. Although they treated him with much affability and politeness, yet they regarded his companion with jealousy and indignation; and the poor fellow, sensible of his critical and precarious situation, appeared very thankful when safely delivered from their unwelcome presence."

Such a story as this leaves the military without excuse for their barbarous onslaught upon the Natives at Risdon. They must have known by all experience that, though too shy to approach the camp,—or rather too fearful to place themselves and wives within reach of an armed soldiery,—they were gentle in their manners, under circumstances where numbers and forest freedom give confidence, if not audacity. The Sydney printer may well put the word "politeness" in small capitals. No wonder the Tasmanians were jealous of the stranger from New Holland, and indignant that a Black should appear in their presence with two front teeth knocked out, with an improper escutcheon of cicatrices, and with flowing hair, instead of the approved crisp and corkscrew ringlets.

There are two interesting communications from Van Diemen's Land settlers, correspondents of the Sydney Gazette, directed from Port Dalrymple, on the northern side of the island, nearly opposite the present site of George Town, the Port of Launceston, which had been colonized from Sydney about the same time as the Derwent Camp. One records an interview with armed soldiery, the other with civil colonists. The first is associated with haste and blood, the second with discretion and kindness. It must be apparent that the tale of slaughter in May, at Risdon, was, from the want of intercourse between tribes unknown at Port Dalrymple several months after.

The letter, written in October, was inserted in the Sydney Gazette on December 16, 1804. "An interview," says the writer, "took place with the Natives, which began very amicably; but, unfortunately, their natural impetuosity has caused a temporary suspension of civilities,—having attempted to throw a sergeant from a rock into the sea, and attacked his guard of two men, which compelled them to fire in their own defence."

Is it not strange that they should have attacked soldiers with formidable weapons? Is there not something to be told to explain the offence? Have we the whole story? Had the Natives no cause of complaint? May not the liquor-loving soldiers have been rude to the women of the tribe? The second letter was of a little later date only, but appeared in the Gazette on the 23d of December:—

"On the 14th (November), one of our small parties in the brash was surprised at the appearance of the first body of Natives seen; and they, with a hideous shout, expressed an astonishment scarcely to be conceived at the sight of visitants so opposite to themselves in habit and complexion. About two hundred approaching our small party with impetuous fury, they prudently retired, and were pursued into camp, near which the Natives were prevailed upon to enter into a parley. Signs were made of a friendly disposition toward them, and, appearing to gather confidence, they accepted trifling presents, expressing extreme surprise at every object that occasionally attracted their attention: but their apparent reciprocal inclination to a friendly understanding was now and then interrupted by an indignant clamour, which, beginning with a single individual, ran rapidly through the lines, accompanied with gesticulations menacing and ferocious, at the same time biting their arms as a token either of vengeance or defiance. They afterwards peaceably withdrew, having from us experienced no other than a courteous and conciliatory treatment; but were positive in forbidding us to follow them."

All honour to the settlers of Port Dalrymple! Unlike the soldiers of Risdon, they, a small party in the brush, were not alarmed at the presence of two hundred real "wild men of the woods," but, while retiring, enticed the savages to a conference, and trembled not to hear their war-shout, or see their spear rasping. They gave presents and kind words, instead of oaths and musketry. This was a real victory, and gave the little northern settlement repose, when other places witnessed fire and blood. Twenty years after this, the women walked to the Basin, above the Falls of Launceston, and carried on in peace their laundry operations, while the naked spearmen of the forest looked down curiously upon them from the basaltic wood-crowned heights.

There is another quotation from the Sydney Press of August 26th, 1804, giving news from the Derwent; for at that time there was no name for the colony, although, as perceived from the Sydney Gazette of October 13th and 21st of 1803, the first settlement had been named after Lord Hobart, then Secretary for the Colonies. Even after the name of Hobart Town had been transferred by Colonel Collins from Risdon to Sullivan's Cove, the people most commonly spoke of it as the Derwent, and a Derwenter to this day is the appellation for a Hobart Towner specifically, and Tasmanian generically. This letter from the South gives a slight sketch of our Natives, after a glowing eulogy of the superior climate and soil in the new colony to that of the old Botany Bay region:—

"To its human inhabitants, however, does Nature appear to have vouchsafed her powers with a sparing hand; in point of ingenuity they excel not those of our own acquaintance (at Sydney), with whom in savage ferocity they nearly or exactly correspond. The only discernible disagreement in their barbarous customs is that these go naked, and that those throw the skin of an animal over their shoulders during the winter season."

A venerable lady, who came to Hobart Town in 1804, with her parents, the first free settlers of the first fleet, gave me much interesting information of her early days. Some of her stories may appear in another work. She had heard people express their fears of the wild Blacks, and her mother gave her a caution about venturing far into the Bush, because she might be killed and eaten by the cannibals. At that time the family lived on their farm about three miles from town. A bold and enterprising child, she had long wished to have a nearer gaze at the magnificent Mount Wellington, whose snowy cap had often won her admiration. Prevailing on her little brother to accompany her, she set off one day while her parents were absent, and trudged through the Bush till she was lost amidst the dense foliage of the mountain gullies. There she fell in with some Aborigines. The spirited lassie exhibited no alarm, and found herself kindly treated by the sable throng. She furthermore told me that when a girl she had often met them in the Camp, as Hobart Town was then called, and that they were always quiet and well conducted.

I regret to say that, though I have been much favoured in my researches among the old records of Tasmania, especially by the late Mr. Bicheno, Colonial Secretary under Governor Franklin, and by the present Premier there, Sir Richard Dry, I was so unfortunate as to discover no papers relative to the first six years of the settlement. The story goes, that upon the sudden decease of the first governor, Captain Collins, found dead in his chair, two of the leading officers of the Government placed a marine outside the door, so that they might be undisturbed, and then proceeded to burn every document in the office!!! Although I subsequently knew one of these gentlemen, it was not likely I should learn from himself the correctness of the report, any more than the motive for such vandalism. A similar mysterious disappearance of papers I observed at Sydney; the lapse taking place about the time of the celebrated rebellion against Governor Bligh.

But I take this opportunity of acknowledging my gratitude to Mr. Hull, Clerk of the Tasmanian Council, and son of my old and esteemed neighbour, Mr. Commissary Hull, through whose kindness I got access to the only remaining early document, and for the disentombment of which record he is to be credited. This was the Muster Book of 1810, &c., kept at the barracks, in which the commanding officer entered the countersign of the day, and in which, also, occasional notices of the day's proceedings were written. The previous Muster Books, doubtless conveyed for safety to the Governor's office, have all disappeared; they probably added to the conflagration on that one dark night of destruction.

In this interesting memorandum-book is an entry, on January 29th, 1810, of a Government Order bearing upon our subject. It exhibits the commencement of the "Black War," and marks the sentiments of the authorities as to its origin, and their resolution to protect the poor creatures who were the objects of civilized cruelty. The Order is the following:—

"There being great reason to fear that William Russell and George Gelley will be added to the number of unfortunate men who have been put to death by the Natives, in revenge for the murders and abominable cruelties which have been practised upon them by the white people, the Lieutenant-Governor, aware of the evil consequences that must result to the settlement, if such cruelties are continued, and abhorring the conduct of those miscreants who perpetrate them, hereby declares that any person whomsoever who shall offer violence to a native, or who shall in cool blood murder, or cause any of them to be murdered, shall, on proof being made of the same, be dealt with and proceeded against as if such violence had been offered, or murder committed on, a civilized person."

This was worthily carrying out the instructions of his chief, Lord Hobart, so far as declarations went; but history gives us no instance of the execution of the decree! The man who penned the Order shortly after departed this life, a disorderly interregnum followed, and, when a new Lieutenant-Governor from England appeared, we find the island in so chaotic a state, that there was some excuse for the neglect. When we see the Governor of a British Colony so reduced in resources, or so bereft of energy, as to hold correspondence with an outlaw, a ferocious man of blood, and afterwards consent to the terms of a Bushranger longing for a visit to the capital, when tired of his chase for victims, we cannot expect the enforcement of the command of January 29th, 1810. But we can fully appreciate the truthfulness of the Sydney Gazette of April 10th, 1813, when describing the society of Van Diemen's Land, at that period, and the real progress of the "Black War."

"The Natives of Van Diemen's Land," quoth the Gazette, "continue to be very inimical, which is mostly attributed to their frequent ill-treatment from the Bushrangers, who, to avoid punishment for their offences, have betaken themselves to the woods, there miserably to exist on the adventitious succours which those wilds afford. Acts of cruelty are reported of these desperadoes against the Natives; and the latter seldom suffer an opportunity to escape of wreaking their vengeance upon all persons of the same colour with the lawless wanderers, without discrimination."

Here we are introduced to a new chapter of colonial history, into which the author proposes to go more fully in a subsequent work, treating especially upon the early times and social aspects of the two older colonies of New South Wales and Van Diemen's Land. Under the heading of "Cruelties to the Blacks," there will, however, be found some reference to the acts of these Dick Turpin heroes. It was on the 26th of June, 1813, that the Government issued a Proclamation against those disturbers of the peace of both Whites and Blacks. It came upon the occasion of an attack upon a herd of cattle at the Coal River. The Governor proceeded to point out the cause: "The resentment of these poor uncultivated beings has been justly provoked by a most barbarous and inhuman mode of proceeding acted toward them, viz. the robbing of their children." The Governor then expresses his horror at such shameful behaviour, and exclaims in quite unofficial language, "Let any man put his hand to his heart and ask which is the savage—the white man who robs the parent of his children, or the black man who boldly steps forward to resent the injury, and recover his stolen offspring; the conclusion, alas! is too obvious." The end of the proclamation pledges the Government to punish all so offending to the utmost rigour of the law.

To pass on in the order of time, quotations can now be given from the newly-born Hobart Town Gazette, which—though established by a private individual, the son of the founder of the Australian Press, at once the editor, printer, pressman, and proprietor of the Sydney Gazette—was an official organ of Government.

An interesting account is given in the paper of August 20, 1814, of a visit of some Natives to Hobart Town, and the valuable service of a courageous and benevolent convict, the forerunner of George Augustus Robinson, the Conciliator. The circumstance exemplifies the feet that our Natives were different from the continental ones, in their indisposition to approach the Whites. Here we have a record of an important tribe living on the North Arm—a peninsula at the junction of the Derwent and the Storm Bay, and only a few miles from the capital—having had no acquaintance with our civilization after our ten years' occupancy of the island. As these people were either the same as, or the neighbours to, the kangaroo hunters so wantonly fired at in 1804, there was some reason for their retirement, as well as some apology for an intended outrage. The newspaper paragraph is given with its literal peculiarities:—

"We mentioned some time ago of several Natives being brought to town from the woods at South Arm, after receiving certain articles of clothing from His Honor the Lieut.-Governor and other humane gentlemen of this Settlement, they were conducted through the streets by A. Campbell (a prisoner.) Their curiosity, which had never been gratified before with such a sight, prompted them to examine everything with wonder and amazement, without bestowing their attention longer than a moment on any single object.

"The Lieut.-Governor having expressed a desire to see the remainder of the Natives left at the South Arm, Campbell accompanied with 2 other persons again returned to that place, the party spent 3 days in fruitless search after them, when they discovered two Natives who informed them that the rest were on Betsy's Island.

"Next morning Campbell and party went in a boat to that island, accompanied by a native woman of one of the neighbouring islands, and who has lived with Campbell for some years; this woman has been of considerable service to the party, by representing the humane treatment she received from the White People. On landing they saw a number of Natives sitting round the fire, and on their perceiving the children cloathed they were greatly astonished, and felt their dresses; when the Natives informed them of their reception in town, they all expressed a wish by Campbell's woman to see Hobart, and it was with difficulty the party prevented the Boat from sinking, so eager were they to get in. Campbell brought 13 to town, who received every kindness and humanity from the Lieut.-Governor, who likewise cloathed them. They were afterwards landed on the Island of Le Bruni (Bruni) at their own request.

"We trust that the exertions of Campbell and his party will be a prelude to more intercourse with the native tribes, and by the means of such humane treatment endeavour to reclaim them from a savage life."

The kindness of the Hobart Town people to a few visitors from the Wilds told favourably afterwards; for, from another extract, we learn that Campbell was indirectly the means of saving the life of one of his countrymen.

"A few days ago," says the Hobart Town Gazette, "upwards of 100 Natives surrounded a house at South Arm, and knocked at the door; on the person within opening it, and perceiving the Natives, he was in great terror, and after shutting the door endeavoured to escape by a back window, but seeing it in vain, he again opened the door, when several Natives came in, to whom he offered victuals, but they refused to eat. After they had surveyed the premises, an elderly man led the person by the arm, who lived in the house, nearly half a mile into the woods, and placed him in the middle of them, and at the moment the Natives were about to throw their spears at the unfortunate victim, a native man, whom A. Campbell had brought to Hobart Town some time ago, addressed them, when they all walked away, leaving the person to return to his own residence. Thus by the humanity already shown to these Natives the life of a fellow-creature has been preserved."

A gentleman whose station was in the centre of the island, spoke of the Natives occasionally coming down to his hut, as early as 1814, and bartering a kangaroo's tail for a bit of English mutton. Others have told me that they were able to travel about the Bush in perfect security between that period and 1822. Mr. John Gardiner, after whom the Gardiner's Creek, near Melbourne, is named, when detailing to me some singular stories of the Australian Blacks, remarked, among other peculiarities, their friendly disposition toward the Europeans, and the contrast he noticed in their habits to those of the Tasmanians, who would hardly ever venture near his station in the island. Several elderly ladies have narrated circumstances showing more geniality and friendly intercourse; as, the playing of their children with the Aborigines, and their boys going to hunt with the dark skins. These ladies had the conviction that such a happy state of things would have continued but for the conduct of the Bush prisoner servants toward the native females. An old man, who had been assigned servant to Mr. Wedge, gave me the story of falling in with a company of two hundred, in 1819, quietly camping on Mr. Archer's run, and of seeing that same year a score of Blacks assisting at Mr. Bonner's farm in harvest time, receiving potatoes and damper for payment. Even the Hobart Town Gazette, so late as 1824, contemplating the quiet times, writes: "Perhaps, taken collectively, the sable Natives of this colony are the most peaceful creatures in the world."

But from even early days occasional outbreaks took place. The difference, however, between these and the outrages of later times, lay in the fact that, while most of the former were confined to petty thieving, the latter were more frequently from motives of hatred and revenge, and parts of a combined movement of aggression.

The arrest of amicable relations was owing, as has been stated, to interference with the gins, and the stealing of children. We have been so accustomed to associate kidnapping with roving gipsies, wild Indians, and savage Tartars, as to doubt the charge when attached to our own countrymen. Yet the very proclamations of Government attest to the veracity of the indictment. The first chaplain took some interest in the people; he often had a festive gathering at his house, and described them as being always well behaved. He has had visits of twenty at a time at his cottage. But, after 1814, the numbers dropped off, until his visitors deserted him and his larder altogether. Investigating the cause of the change, he was told by the Natives that they would not go to town again because bad men stole their picaninnies.

When Governor Macquarie returned to Sydney after his memorable tour through the island of his dependency, he issued a Public Notice, June 18th, 1814, thanking the settlers of Van Diemen's Land for their loyal attention, and praising them for their enterprise and progress; but the condition of the Aborigines of the little colony touched his humane heart, and stirred his generous impulses to action. Nobly did he, as Governor-General of the various settlements in those southern parts, labour for the good of the dark race. It was the constant exhibition of brutality toward them that aroused his anger, and called forth the following strong language in this Proclamation, when alluding to some case:—

"Although it was not sufficiently clear and satisfactory to warrant the institution of criminal prosecution, it was enough so to convince any unprejudiced man that the first personal attacks were made on the part of settlers and their servants. Several years having elapsed since anything like a principle of hostility has been acted upon, or even in the slightest degree exhibited in the conduct of the Natives, it must be evident that no deep-rooted prejudice exists in their minds against British subjects or white men."

An amusing story is told of an affront given the tribes one time when Governor Sorell had invited a number to Hobart Town. They were gathered in the Government Paddock, a large reserve outside of the town, and were exercising themselves before the Whites. One young girl, however, in the very mischief of a spoiled beauty, took up one of the men's spears, and threw it at the reigning beau of the day—one Captain Hamilton. Although the weapon never struck, nor had it been intended to strike, the son of Mars, being indignant at the liberty taken with his loftiness, complained to the Governor, and insisted upon the rout of the Natives. Colonel Sorell, to appease the excited soldier, requested his visitors to withdraw from the camp. These were so indignant at the treatment they received for so trifling an accident, that they would never accept of another gubernatorial invitation.

In 1816 the interior was unwontedly disturbed. The first notice of the fact is indicated in the peculiar style of the Gazette of the period:—

"The Black Natives of this Colony have for the last few weeks manifested a strange Hostility towards the Up-country Settlers, and in killing and driving away their Cattle than has been witnessed since the Settling of the Colony; And since their visit at New Norfolk, they have been at the herd of Mr. Thomas McNeelance near Jerico and killed two beautiful Cows." The New Norfolk affair arose from a quarrel between three stock-keepers and a score of Natives, when weapons were freely employed. Forty spears were thrown; but evidently at a discreet distance, for no Bushman was hurt. The shot told better, as three Blacks were killed, and one poor fellow was wounded and taken.

On July 27th, 1816, we have the following notice:—"A party of Natives has lately driven 17 head of horned cattle from the herd of Mr. J. Beaumont, at the Tea Tree Brush, and have not been since heard of." On the dreary Salt Pan Plains—so called from salt being found at the bottom of dried-up lagoons there—a bullock-dray party were that year stopped by fifty dark marauders. A shot from a pistol frightened off the wild men to their scrub. This led the editor sagely to observe: "This makes good an old adage, 'That no man ought to go in the woods without his gun.'" A little later, October 19th, that gentleman volunteers his counsel: "We would caution persons travelling between the Settlement (Hobart Town) and Port Dalrymple (Launceston) not to proceed without fire-arms, as from the late hostile manner evinced by the Natives much danger may be apprehended."

The next year is no great improvement upon the last, for the paper has two misdemeanours to record. That in March was an attack upon a cart by three civilized Blacks. These tutored individuals profited by their residence among convicts, in going upon their expedition with suitable arms, like white Bushrangers. They stuck up the travellers, and robbed them, at the Green Water Holes, afterwards known as the pretty township of Greenponds, about thirty miles north of the capital. The other attack is characteristically narrated by the Press of May 25th, 1817:—

"On Saturday last, whilst Robert Rosne, overseer to Captain Jeffreys, was searching for sheep strayed from his flock, he promiscuously came upon fifteen native women and children assembled around a fire on the Sweet-water Hills. Considering them to be an inoffensive tribe, and his mind dwelling on his pursuit, he carelessly approached them to light his pipe, pleased with his reception. But upon leaving this peaceable group he met with a number of savage men, whose ferocity had been nearly his death. One of these untutored beings hove a stone at him, which struck him violently on the mouth, and staggered him. But little time was given him to recover from this blow, when an ill-fated volley of stones dislocated his shoulder, and by repeated hostility severely bruised him. Fortunately, however, he was suffered to leave them alive.' I found this paragraph copied into the Sydney Gazette of June 7th.

The year 1817 was signalized by the romance of Michael Howe and the native girl Mary Cockerell. The desperate Bushranger, the terror of the colony for years, the partner of a treaty with the Governor, had formed a connexion with this young creature, and dwelt with her for some months in a retreat not far from Oatlands, though afterwards removing for safety to a charming woodland home among the mountains of the Shannon country. There, chased closely by some who sought the great reward for his capture, and annoyed by the inability of his black companion to keep pace with him through the scrub, he drew a pistol and fired at her, severely wounding her. The ruffian escaped, but the girl was caught. Indignant at his cruelty, she promised to take the constables to his hut. This led eventually to his discovery and death. Poor Mary died in the Hobart Town Hospital. The paper mentions Michael Howe's increased cruelties to the poor Natives who fell in his way, on his retreat westward to the far interior.

In New South Wales I found a copy of a letter sent by Governor Macquarie to his Lieutenant-Governor at Hobart Town, in which there is this interesting reference to Mary:

"In co-operation with your humane feelings in regard to Mary, the native girl whom you sent hither some time since as a witness respecting the Bushrangers, I had a private decent lodging provided for her here, where she has ever since remained out of the way of bad connexions or improper intercourse, and she is now about to get some decent apparel. His Excellency the Governor has deemed it expedient to detain her here for some little time further, lest she should renew her intercourse with Howe, and be the means of protracting the term of his submission, or more desirable apprehension."

Governor Sorell issued a proclamation on May 19th, 1817, against the perpetrators of base outrages upon the persons of some inoffensive Aborigines. After mentioning the sportive firing upon the poor creatures, the official paper proceeds: "The Lieutenant-Governor thus publicly declares his determination that if, after the promulgation of this publication, any person or persons shall be charged with killing, firing at, or committing any act of outrage or aggression on the native people, the offender or offenders shall be sent to Port Jackson to take their trial before the Criminal Court."

At this time it was still the rule for the Lieutenant-governors, whether in Hobart Town or elsewhere in the south, to have no jurisdiction over the lives of their subjects. Consequently, when any case of plunder or felony occurred, the prisoner was forwarded to Port Jackson or Sydney, where the judge held his criminal court. No jury of citizens then existed. There was no trial of a man by his peers. Four military officers of the regiment formed the council to try the prisoners. The announcement, therefore, of being sent to Port Jackson, was to give force to the proclamation, as notifying the Governor's estimate of the crime. But the Gazette is quite reticent about the passage of any one, although it was notorious that similar offences continued.

A brighter page meets our eye in 1818. The Temple of Janus might have had its gates closed. A serene air is breathed by the colony. A burst of philanthropic feeling prevailed. The moral sentiments of the editor of the solitary newspaper were strangely brought into action. A real sermon is delivered on April 25th, 1818, and an affecting appeal is made on behalf of the oppressed and gentle ones of the forest. Let us read it:

"Notwithstanding the hostility which has so long prevailed in the breast of the Natives of this island toward Europeans, we now perceive with heartfelt satisfaction that hatred in some measure gradually subsiding. Several of them are to be seen about this town and its environs, who obtain subsistence from the charitable and well-disposed. The more we contemplate the peculiar situation of this people, the more are we impressed with the great arrearage of justice which is due to them. Are not the Aborigines of this colony the children of our Government? Are we not all happy but they? And are they not miserable? Can they raise themselves from this sad condition? Or do they not claim our assistance? And shall that assistance be denied? Those who fancy that "God did not make of one blood all the nations upon the earth," must be convinced that the Natives of whatever matter formed can be civilized, nay, can be christianised. The moral Governor of the world will hold us accountable. The Aborigines demand our protection. They are the most helpless members, and being such have a peculiar claim upon us all, to extend every aid in our power, as well in relation to their necessities as to those enlightening means which shall at last introduce them from the chilling rigours of the forest into the same delightful temperature which we enjoy."

Captain Philip King, R.N., to whom Australia owes so much for the discovery or survey of the northern coast, has left us a short record of his experience of our islanders in 1819. Although after the settlement of Hobart Town, the visit was to a people who were strangers to men of our colour, and who lived on the stormy west coast.

"Our party," said he, "were amicably received by a tribe of Natives, consisting of six men and four old women; they came forward unarmed, but, as we afterwards found, their spears were concealed close at hand. Some presents were distributed amongst them, of which the most valuable, in their estimation, were empty wine bottles, which they called moke. This word was, however, used by them for water only, so that it was doubtful whether the word meant the article itself, or the vessel that contained it. Our familiarity increased so rapidly, that by the time we had dug two wells to receive the water which was flowing over the beach they had become very inquisitive, and made no hesitation in searching our pockets and asking for everything they saw. One of the men, upon being detected in the act of pilfering a piece of white paper from Mr. Cunningham's specimen box, immediately dropped it and drew back, much alarmed for fear of punishment, and also ashamed of having been discovered; but after a few angry looks from us the paper was given to him, and peace was soon restored. Our dog, being an object of much alarm, was fastened to the stem of our boat; a circumstance which prevented their curiosity from extending itself in that direction, and thus our arms were kept in convenient readiness without their knowledge. As soon as our boats were loaded and we had embarked, the Natives retired to the Bush, behind which we observed the heads of several children and young women. As many as sixteen were counted; so that this tribe, or family, might be composed of from twenty-five to thirty persons, of which we only saw six who were grown men. They were stouter and better proportioned than the Natives of New South Wales, and unlike them the hair was woolly; the only covering in use among them was a kangaroo skin, which they wore as a cloak over their shoulders."

The calmness and serenity of that year were changed into storm and disquietude in 1819.

It is the ever told tale of provocation and revenge. Early in the month of March the Oyster Bay tribe speared John Kemp and another man. But the journal of the day gives the provoking cause in these words: "It is well known that some time before Kemp was killed a native man was shot in the woods by some of the stockmen to the eastward, and that the women have been also deprived of their children in that quarter."

Where the Whites had no settlement the Blacks were found without the hostility of other places. Mr. Kelly, the pilot, on discovering the spacious Macquarie Harbour, on the west coast, was pleased with the frank and manly attitude of the Natives. A letter addressed by a Hobart Town gentleman, in 1819, was published in the Asiatic Journal of Calcutta the following year, and expresses the same opinion. "Several interviews," says the writer, "have lately taken place between the people of the settlement and the Natives of the west coast; who, as appears very probable, are debarred from all intercourse and interchange of sentiment with their countrymen on the eastern side, by that lofty range of mountains which intersects the island from the northern to the southern extremity. From the fearless and unsuspicious deportment of the former in these interviews, it would seem that the hostile disposition of the latter towards the people of the settlement was rather provoked by bad treatment than the spontaneous effect of their native ferocity."

There is a detailed account of a skirmish in March 1819, given soon after the event by Robert Jones. Upon the occasion of an inquest, held seven years after, Mr. Jones (then residing at a romantic spot, known as the "Four Square Gallows") repeats the story of 1819 in some evidence he was called upon to declare. From the two versions a narrative can be prepared.

The man Jones occupied the position of stock-keeper on the station of Messrs. Morris and Stocker, near Relief River, subsequently known as the Macquarie. His fellow-servant, M'Candless, had gone to look after the sheep on the plains, and a neighbour's man, James Forrest, had called in at the hut. On a sudden, M'Candless burst in, nearly out of breath, declaring that he had run for his life from the Blacks, who were spearing the sheep. A chase was resolved upon, and two infirm muskets were taken for the battle. The light of day was departing when the men came in sight of about two hundred Aborigines. They sought to frighten them from the hill, and presented their pieces at them. The men of the forest, with a wholesome dread of
Last of the Tasmanians Plate 2 - Attack on a Settlers Hut.jpg

ATTACK ON A SETTLER'S HUT

fire-arms did not come down from their citadel to attack the Europeans, but were content with making a hideous noise, while some bolder spirits came forward, quivering their spears, and threatening destruction. But the stock-keepers suddenly ascertained, to their horror, that but one charge was in their possession, because the powder-flask had been dropped in the hurry of pursuit. They had but one way open—a retreat; and this they accomplished in the deepening gloom of evening, with the best show of courage they could maintain.

At daybreak, Jones set off for the sheepfold, leaving his mates in bed. He had gone but a few hundred yards, when, hearing some talk, he looked backward, and saw a crowd of Blacks descending the hill towards the hut, with the evident intention of firing the bark roof, and murdering the men. Jones ran hastily back, aroused the men, and prepared for defence. Standing outside the door, and facing their dark foes, the Europeans again presented their guns, and ordered the party off. But some endeavoured to get round another way with their lighted torches, while others stood on the hill-side and answered the challenge with shouts of derisive laughter. Spears, waddies, and stones were thrown at the trio, but with harmless effect, from the distance of the combatants. One, evidently the leader, was of gigantic size, and was armed with a huge spear unlike the rest He stood erect, with his weapon in repose, calmly giving orders to the tribe.

Again and again did the Englishmen pull the trigger without procuring fire. The Natives perceived their helpless condition, and motioned them to leave the hut, evidently seeking the good rations of the Bushmen. Hours passed in this bloodless warfare. The Whites saw that further stay was hopeless, as the patience of the warriors would soon be tired out, and a rush would destroy them and their hut. So they rapidly fled towards a gully. The others followed, and threw their spears. A wild cow and several kangaroo dogs were pierced, but, for a time, one wound only was received by the pursued. At last the two hundred, red-ochred all over their naked bodies, hemmed in their victims, and brought them to bay. The vexatious guns would not go off at the pull of the trigger, to the boisterous amusement of their opponents.

Jones now received three spears at once. One passed through his right cheek, another through the muscle of his right arm, and a third fastened in his right side. A mate came to pull out the weapons, and had a spear sent into his back. The third man was yet untouched. For seven hours had the terrible struggle continued. The stockmen were exhausted, and stood like sheep prepared for the slaughter. The Natives saw that their finishing hour had come. The chief gave the word for them to charge in with the waddy, and brain the three. "At this moment," says Jones, "a most fortunate accident occurred, which I have ever considered an act of Providence." This was the sudden discharge of one of the awkward pieces. The shot struck the portly chief, who fell dead on the spot. His countrymen could not understand the operation, and lifted him upon his feet to see if he could stand; while all the others shouted and beat their breasts with extreme emotion. Finding their efforts to recover him vain, they were seized with sudden fright, and fled.

The poor fellows took advantage of the moment of consternation, and dragged their limbs as quickly as they could, so as to get on to the plains, where they might be seen by a countryman. For a time, forty of their enemies made a demonstration of pursuit, but afterwards retired to the forest. Limping along, the stock-keepers met with a man who conducted them to a home, where every attention was paid to them. Their own hut was consumed in the flames from native firebrands, but not before the flour, sugar, and clothes had been taken.

It may be almost excusable for Jones to cherish ever after no good feeling towards the race; but he must have felt conscious of some mental reserve, when he was asked at the inquest of 1826 if he had known of faults on the other side, and said, "I have never known of any wanton act of hostility committed by the Whites against the Blacks."

A very interesting and remarkable Government order appeared from the pen of Colonel Sorell, dated from Hobart Town, March 13th, 1819, which may most appropriately end this first chapter of the "Black War." It is so humane and judicious, and so particularly enters into the whole question relative to the conduct of the two races, as to be considered one of the best State papers ever drawn up in the colony. It is given in full.

"From information received by his Honor the Lieutenant-Governor, there seems reason to apprehend that outrages have been recently perpetrated against some of the Native People in the remote country adjoining the River Plenty, though the result of the enquiries instituted upon these reports has not established the Facts alleged, further than that two Native children have remained in the Hands of a Person resident above the Falls:—Upon this subject, which the Lieutenant-Governor considers of the highest Importance, as well to Humanity as to the Peace and Security of the Settlement, His Honor cannot omit addressing the Settlers.

"The Lieutenant-Governor is aware that many of the Settlers and Stock-keepers consider the Natives as a Hostile People, seeking, without Provocation, Opportunities to destroy them and their Stock: and towards whom any attempts at Forbearance or Conciliation would be useless. It is, however, most certain that if the Natives were intent upon Destruction of this kind, and if they were incessantly to watch for opportunities of effecting it, the Mischief done by them to the Owners of Sheep or Cattle, which are now dispersed for grazing over so great a part of the Interior Country, would be increased one hundredfold. But so far from any systematic Plan for Destroying the Stock or People being pursued by the Native Tribes, their Meetings with the Herdsmen appear generally to be accidental; and it is the Opinion of the best informed Persons who have been longest in the Settlement, that the former are seldom the Assailants, and that when they are they act under the Impression of recent Injuries done to some of them by White People. It is undeniable that in many former Instances, Cruelties have been perpetrated repugnant to Humanity and disgraceful to the British Character, while few attempts can be traced on the Part of the Colonists to Conciliate the Native People, or to make them sensible that Peace and Forbearance are the Objects desired. The Impressions received from earlier Injuries are kept up by the occasional Outrages of Miscreants whose Scene of Crime is so remote as to render detection difficult, and who sometimes wantonly set fire to and kill the Men, and at others pursue the Women for the purpose of compelling them to abandon their children. This last Outrage is perhaps the most certain of all to excite in the Sufferers a strong Thirst for revenge against all White Men, and to incite the Natives to take Vengeance indiscriminately, according to the General Practice of an uncivilized People, wherever in their Migrations they fall in with the Herds and Stockmen.

"It is not only those who perpetrated such Enormities against a People comparatively Defenceless, that suffer; all the Owners of Stock and the Stock-keepers are involved in the Consequences brought on by the wanton and criminal Acts of a few.

{{smaller block/s|"From the conduct of the Native People, when free from any feeling of Injury, toward those who have sought intercourse with them, there is strong reason to hope that they might be conciliated. On the North-east coast, where Boats occasionally touch, and at Macquarie Harhour, where the Natives have been lately seen, they have been found Unsuspicious and Peaceable, manifesting no disposition to Injure; and they are known to be equally Inoffensive in other Places where the Stock-keepers treat them with Mildness and Forbearance.

"A careful Avoidance, on the part of the Settlers and Stockmen, of conduct tending to excite Suspicion of intended Injury, and a strict Forbearance from all Acts or Appearances of Hostility, except when rendered indispensable for positive Self-defence, or the Preservation of the Stock, may yet remove from the Minds of the Native People the Impressions left by past Cruelties: so that the Meetings between them and the Colonists, which the Extension of the Grazing Grounds and Progressive Occupation of the Country must render yearly more frequent, may be injurious to neither; and that these Mischiefs, which a Perseverance in Cruelty and Aggression must lead to, and which must involve the Stock in perpetual Danger, and the Stockmen in Responsibility for the Lives that may be lost, may be prevented.

"To effect this Object, is no less the Interest than the Duty of the Settlers and Stockmen; to bring to condign Punishment any one who shall be open to proof of having destroyed or maltreated any of the Native People (not strictly in Self-defence), will be the Duty and is the Determination of the Lieutenant-Governor, supported by the Magistracy, and by the Assistance of all the just and well-disposed Settlers.

"With a view to prevent the Continuance of the Cruelty before-mentioned, of depriving the Natives of their Children; it is hereby Ordered that the Resident Magistrates at the District of Pittwater and Coal River, and the District Constables in all the other Districts, do forthwith take an account of all the Native Youths and Children which are Resident with any of the Settlers or Stock-keepers, stating from whom, and in what manner, they were obtained.

"The same Magistrates and the District Constables are in future to take an Account of any Native Person or Child which shall come or be brought into their District, or Country adjoining, together with the circumstances attending it. These Reports are to be transmitted to the Secretary's Office, Hobart Town.

"No Person whatever will be allowed to retain Possession of a Native Youth or Child, unless it shall be clearly proved that the Consent of the Parents had been given; or that the Child had been found in a state to demand Shelter and Protection, in which Case the Person into whose Hands it may fall, is immediately to report the circumstance to the nearest Magistrate or Constable.

"All Native Youths and Children who shall be known to be with any of the Settlers or Stock-keepers, unless so accounted for, will be removed to Hobart Town, where they will be supported and instructed at the Charge and under the Direction of Government.

"By command of His Honor
"The Lieutenant-Governor,
"H. E. Robinson, Secretary.