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  • peter-macinnis 7 Sep 2010 at 20:45
    This must be an early use of "damper", as it is seen as warranting an explanatory footnote.

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The Black Natives.

[From a correspondent.]  

On Friday evening last, the 8th instant,

Mr. Laing, the Chief District Constable at So- rell, received information that Black Tom, the native Aborigine, commonly called Birch's Tom, was encamped within about one hundred yards of a hut on Mr. Laing's farm, occupied by a man named Robert Grimes, near the Brown Mountain. Mr. Laing left Sorell at 11 o'clock, p. m. with a party of four soldiers of His Majesty's 40th Regiment, and arrived at Grimes's hut, a little before day-break, on Saturday morning ; and at day- light, they proceeded to the spot where Tom and his party lay, and got upon them unper- ceived. They secured Tom and his com- panions, consisting of four other black men, four women, and one male child ; who made no resistance ; neither had they any weapons or dogs with them. On being asked where his dogs were, he replied he had lost them. The natives were then conducted to Sorell Gaol, where they now remain, until orders are sent from His Excellency respecting them. It appears, that they came to Grimes's hut on Friday morning, and remained nearly all the day. Grimes gave them all the bread he had baked ; they eat it, and remained quiet about two hours, when Black Tom accosted Grimes, and said, "you white b--r, give me some more bread, and fry some mutton for us."   Grimes being afraid of them, commenced, and (baked a peck or more of flour into bread for them, and cooked three-fourths of a sheep ; they devoured the whole, and, in the afternoon, went out to catch opposums.-On their return from the hunt, Tom came to   the hut by himself, and ordered Grimes to get some more bread and mutton ready for them by next morning (Saturday). Grimes had another damper* ready ; but Mr. Black Tom was deprived of partaking of it, as Mr. Laing and the Military happened to call upon him before breakfast, and his next meal was eaten in the cell of Sorell Gaol.

* A Colonial term- for an unleavened cake,

baked under the wood ashes.