Page:The Aborigines of Australia (1988).djvu/16

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THE ABORIGINES OF AUSTRALIA.




CHAPTER I


THEIR ORIGIN—PROBABLE PERIOD OF THEIR ARRIVAL.


No branch of that large section of the human race which, whether by the colour of their skin or by some other natural or fortuitous circumstance, has received from nature, or the hand of Providence, the impress of inferiority, seems to have occupied less of the attention or research of civilization and philosophy than the portion of the sable sons of earth inhabiting the Australian continent. This, no doubt, is in a great measure owing to that physical inferiority which this people certainly exhibit in as great a degree as almost any other race of men known. Their isolated and scattered position, their roving mode of life, their unwarlike character, their rude and all but harmless weapons, the utter absence of anything like concert in their habits and operations, have ever rendered them unimportant neighbours and feeble and insignificant enemies. Incapable of creating any considerable mischief, they have never, by war or by their opposition to the progress of the white man,