Page:Dawson - Australian aborigines (1900).djvu/11

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PREFACE

manners, and morals were investigated and commented upon by an intelligent black, what would be his verdict on them? What would he think of the 'sin of great cities,' of baby-farming, of our gambling hells, of our 'marriage market,' of the universal practice of adulteration, of the frightful revelations made by Mr. Plimsoll's committee with respect to rotten ships freighted and insured on purpose to founder, of the white slavery in all great cities, and of the thousand and one evils incidental to our highly artificial civilization? Living, as we do, in a conservatory constructed of such remarkably fragile materials, we should hesitate before picking up the smallest pebble wherewith to lapidate the despised blackfellow.

To several friends who have assisted me in various ways in the publication of this book my thanks are due: to Professor Strong, of the Melbourne University; to James Smith, Esq., Melbourne; to Mr. Goodall, Superintendent of the Aboriginal Station, Framlingham; and especially to the Rev. F. R. M. Wilson, formerly of Camperdown, now of Kew.

To my sable friends who have kindly given us their aid I express my gratitude for their patience and their anxiety to communicate information; especially to the very intelligent chiefess Yaruun Parpur Tarneen, whose knowledge greatly exceeded expectation; as also to Wombeet Tuulawarn, her husband, who assisted her. In return for their friendship and confidence, I trust that this little contribution to the history of an ill-used and interesting people, fast passing away, may lead to a better estimate of their character, and to a more kindly treatment at the hands of their 'Christian brethren' than the aborigines have hitherto received. If so, this volume will attain its chief object, and will confer intense gratification on their sincere friend,

JAMES DAWSON.