Page:The Aborigines of Australia (1988).djvu/182

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167
A MISSION FIELD.

population at half a million will not be to overrate its numerical amount.

It is not necessary to consider whether the aboriginal population of the entire country has decreased or increased since the landing of the first colonists, or to what extent such increase or decrease may have taken place. No good purpose could be served by such speculations. It is sufficient if, by fixing with any degree of accuracy the numbers of the aboriginal race, we have indicated for the benefit of such statesmen, legislators, philanthropists, missionaries, and others as may, either from a sense of duty or from feelings of humanity and religious obligation, be disposed to turn their attention to the reclamation of that race, the extent of the field on which they purpose to expend all or a portion of their labours.