A Complete Account of the Settlement at Port Jackson eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 199 pages of information about A Complete Account of the Settlement at Port Jackson.

On examining the corpse, it was found to be warm.  Through the shoulder had passed a musquet ball, which had divided the subclavian artery and caused death by loss of blood.  No mark of any remedy having been applied could be discovered.  Possibly the nature of the wound, which even among us would baffle cure without amputation of the arm at the shoulder, was deemed so fatal, that they despaired of success, and therefore left it to itself.  Had Mr. White found the man alive, there is little room to think that he could have been of any use to him; for that an Indian would submit to so formidable and alarming an operation seems hardly probable.

None of the natives who had come in the boat would touch the body, or even go near it, saying, the mawn would come; that is literally, ’the spirit of the deceased would seize them’.  Of the people who died among us, they had expressed no such apprehension.  But how far the difference of a natural death, and one effected by violence, may operate on their fears to induce superstition; and why those who had performed the rites of sepulture should not experience similar fears and reluctance, I leave to be determined.  Certain it is (as I shall insist upon more hereafter), that they believe the spirit of the dead not to be extinct with the body.

Baneelon took an odd method of revenging the death of his countryman.  At the head of several of his tribe, he robbed one of the private boats of fish, threatening the people, who were unarmed, that in case they resisted he would spear them.  On being taxed by the governor with this outrage, he at first stoutly denied it; but on being confronted with the people who were in the boat, he changed his language, and, without deigning even to palliate his offence, burst into fury and demanded who had killed Bangai.

CHAPTER XIII.

The Transactions of the Colony continued to the End of May, 1791.

December, 1790.  The Dutch snow from Batavia arrived on the 17th of the month, after a passage of twelve weeks, in which she had lost sixteen of her people.  But death, to a man who has resided at Batavia, is too familiar an object to excite either terror or regret.  All the people of the ‘Supply’ who were left there sick, except one midshipman, had also perished in that fatal climate.

The cargo of the snow consisted chiefly of rice, with a small quantity of beef, pork, and flour.

A letter was received by this vessel, written by the Shebander at Batavia, to governor Phillip, acquainting him that war had commenced between England and Spain.  As this letter was written in the Dutch language we did not find it easy of translation.  It filled us, however, with anxious perturbation, and with wishes as impotent, as they were eager, in the cause of our country.  Though far beyond the din of arms, we longed to contribute to her glory, and to share in her triumphs.

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