As soon as the ship was secured, I went on shore to wait on the governor, whom I found in good health; he was sitting by the fire, drinking tea with a few friends; among whom I observed a native man of this country, who was decently cloathed, and seemed to be as much at his ease at the tea-table as any person there; he managed his cup and saucer as well, as though he had been long accustomed to such entertainment.
This man was taken from his friends, by force, by Lieutenant Ball, of the Supply, and Lieutenant George Johnston, of the marines, who were sent down the harbour with two boats for that purpose; the governor having found that no encouragement he could give the natives, would dispose them to visit the settlement of their own accord: this method he had therefore determined upon, to get one man into his possession, who, by kind treatment, might hereafter be the means of disposing his countrymen to place more confidence in us. This man, whose name was Ara-ba-noo, was taken, as I have already said, by force, and in the following manner.
After having been a short time in conversation with some of the gentlemen, one of the seamen, who had been previously directed, threw a rope round his neck, and dragged him in a moment down to the boat; his cries brought a number of his friends into the skirts of the wood, from whence they threw many lances, but without effect. The terror this poor wretch suffered, can better be conceived than expressed; he believed he was to be immediately murdered; but, upon the officers coming into the boat, they removed the rope from his neck to his leg, and treated him with so much kindness, that he became a little more chearful.
He was for some time after his arrival at the governor’s house, ornamented with an iron shackle about his leg, to prevent his being able to effect his escape with ease; this he was taught to consider as bang-ally, which is the name given in their language to every decoration; and he might well believe it a compliment paid to him, because it was no uncommon thing for him to see several (of the most worthless of the convicts, who had merited punishment) every day shackled like him; the cause of which he could not of course understand. However, he was very soon reconciled to his situation, by the very kind treatment he received from every person about him, and the iron growing uneasy, it was taken off, and he was allowed to go where he pleased.
He very soon learnt the names of the different gentlemen who took notice of him, and when I was made acquainted with him, he learnt mine, which he never forgot, but expressed great desire to come on board my nowee; which is their expression for a boat or other vessel upon the water.
The day after I came in, the governor and his family did me the honour to dine on board, when I was also favoured with the company of Ara-ba-noo, whom I found to be a very good natured talkative fellow; he was about thirty years of age, and tolerably well looked.
I expressed, when at the governor’s, much surprize, at not having seen a single native on the shore, or a canoe as we came up in the ship; the reason of which I could not comprehend, until I was informed that the small-pox had made its appearance, a few months ago, amongst these unfortunate creatures…