I have thus impartially stated the situation of matters, as they stand, while I write, between the natives and us; that greater progress in attaching them to us has not been made, I have only to regret; but that all ranks of men have tried to effect it, by every reasonable effort from which success might have been expected, I can testify; nor can I omit saying, that in the higher stations this has been eminently conspicuous. The public orders of Governor Phillip have invariably tended to promote such a behaviour on our side, as was most likely to produce this much wished-for event. To what cause then are we to attribute the distance which the accomplishment of it appears at? I answer, to the fickle, jealous, wavering disposition of the people we have to deal with, who, like all other savages, are either too indolent, too indifferent, or too fearful to form an attachment on easy terms, with those who differ in habits and manners so widely from themselves. Before I close the subject, I cannot, however, omit to relate the following ludicrous adventure, which possibly may be of greater use in effecting what we have so much at heart, than all our endeavours.
Some young gentlemen belonging to the Sirius one day met a native, an old man, in the woods; he had a beard of considerable length, which his new acquaintance gave him to understand, by signals, they would rid him of, if he pleased; stroaking their chins, and shewing him the smoothness of them at the same time; at length the old Indian consented, and one of the youngsters taking a penknife from his pocket, and making use of the best substitute for lather he could find, performed the operation with great success, and, as it proved, much to the liking of the old man, who in a few days after reposed a confidence in us, of which we had hitherto known no example, by paddling along-side the Sirius in his canoe, and pointing to his beard. Various arts were ineffectually tried to induce him to enter the ship; but as he continued to decline the invitation, a barber was sent down into the boat along-side the canoe, from whence, leaning over the gunnel, he complied with the wish of the old beau, to his infinite satisfaction. In addition to the consequences which our sanguine hopes led us to expect from this dawning of cordiality, it affords proof, that the beard is considered by this people more as an incumbrance than a mark of dignity.
The Departure of the French from Botany Bay; and the Return of the ‘Supply’ from Norfolk Island; with a Discovery made by Lieutenant Ball on his Passage to it.