Three Convicts Were
Also Wounded, And One Killed By Them, Near Botany Bay:
the vindictive spirit which Mr. Cook found to exist among their countrymen
at Endeavour River, they more than once attempted to set fire to
combustible matter, in order to annoy us.
Early on the morning of the
18th of December, word was brought that they were assembled in force,
near the brick-kilns, which stand but a mile from the town of Sydney.
The terror of those who brought the first intelligence magnified the number
to two thousand; a second messenger diminished it to four hundred.
A detachment, under the command of an officer was ordered to march immediately,
and reconnoitre them. The officer soon returned, and reported,
that about fifty Indians had appeared at the brick-kilns; but upon the
convicts, who were at work there, pointing their spades and shovels at them,
in the manner of guns, they had fled into the woods.
Tired of this state of petty warfare and endless uncertainty, the governor
at length determined to adopt a decisive measure, by capturing some of them,
and retaining them by force; which we supposed would either inflame the rest
to signal vengeance, in which case we should know the worst, and provide
accordingly: or else it would induce an intercourse, by the report
which our prisoners would make of the mildness and indulgence with which
we used them. And farther, it promised to unveil the cause of their
mysterious conduct, by putting us in possession of their reasons for harassing
and destroying our people, in the manner I have related.
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