Page:Diary of ten years.djvu/14

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preface.

Such is one chief object of the present attempt; may it have the desired effect. The Aborigines, when we first came in contact with them, had no knowledge of a God, no worship, no object of worship, no ideas on the subject. Many efforts were made to civilize and to Christianize them. The Wesleyans made some tolerable progress with them, but sedentary habits did not suit either their health or dispositions—a violent disorder of the mesenteric glands suddenly carried off thirteen of their most promising pupils, and the school was broken up at that time. Some 40 years ago a Mission of Spanish Benedictine Monks was established in the Colony for the avowed purpose of the conversion of the Aboriginal natives. They gathered the children, both boys and girls, into the schools together, and when they came to marriageable age, such children were joined in pairs according to their choice, by a form of matrimony.

All these young people, at suitable ages, were brought forward for confirmation. About ten years ago, a grand ceremony was that of an unusual number of these young natives, collected on such an occasion, a photograph of which, taken at the time, has been shown to me in London.

It is right to explain the singular concatenation of circumstances by which I found myself compelled to act for a time as Colonial Secretary. His Excellency the Governor Colonel Clarke) and the Honourable the Colonial Secretary (Peter Brown, Esq.), were simultaneously so prostrated