Page:The Aborigines of Australia (1988).djvu/20

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5
THEIR ORIGIN.

some indubitable traces of the double origin must have remained. If it be argued, as no doubt it may, that the natives of New Holland, in the best light in which they can be viewed, present an aspect altogether inferior to those other nations of undoubted Malayan origin who inhabit the numerous islands of the southern ocean, it must be borne in mind that races, like individuals, in the course of time lose their peculiarities; and where more likely to change for the worse than in a country like Australia, ever extending, ever presenting new inducements or pressing necessities to roam, neither in its natural productions nor in its territorial features presenting those attractions which alone could induce a barbarous or semi-barbarous people to congregate, to settle, and to improve? Hence, from the moment the first voyager arrived in his galley or canoe on the shores of Australia he became a new being; and hence the present aboriginal inhabitant of New Holland is to be regarded as an order of man peculiar to the country and the clime in which he has been found. It is not intended to show that the Australian aboriginal of the present day is equal in appearance, in physical development, or even in mental endowments, to the inhabitants of the Spice Islands, of New Zealand, or Tahiti; sufficient will have been effected if it can be shown that, if inferior to the inhabitants of those islands, circumstances alone, and the more unfavourable position and features of the country to which fate originally guided him, are to be blamed for that result.