Page:Australia an appeal.djvu/64

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Their love of the desert and their unwillingness to adopt the habits of civil society, surprise many, and are sometimes urged as proofs of inferiority of species. Those who thus reason forget that the upper classes in civilized life are involved in the stigma. Whence that universal and ardent pursuit after riches which characterizes all nations? Does it not originate in a desire of freedom, independence, and idleness? The charms of travelling, sporting, fox hunting, and gambling, are so irresistible as to become objects of the highest ambition to men, even under the blaze of Revelation; and yet we affect to wonder at the attachment of the unenlightened savage to a hunting mode of life, which, by a less circuitous and more certain route, puts him at once in possession of that exemption from servitude and control which is so eagerly coveted by all mankind. The amusements, pleasures, and advantages of the chase, immediately supplying his indispensable wants, renders it to the savage, a gentleman's life, and induces him to despise the ignoble crowd in civilized society who aim at the same things through the drudgery of fatiguing occupations. Tell the world that the doom which obliged man to earn his bread by manual toil, is not, as many suppose, a curse but a blessing; that the sweat of his brow, expelling, without the pernicious aid of medicine, the peccant humors generated in the human body by the sentence of death, is a preservative of health; that such a dispensation is a merciful though only a temporary remedy for the evils consequent on exclusion from the tree of life; that constant and rational employment, is a rampart against temptation to vice and folly with their train of soul-destroying influences; and that all this, devised by infinite wisdom, is sanctioned by the mandates of Revelation; and yet, how few will be reconciled to working pursuits, or persuaded voluntarily to relinquish the fond desire for a state of independence, freedom, and idleness—a convincing proof that aversion to labor is as prevalent in civilized as in savage life. In the pauper, having no other means of support, it is criminal. In the gentleman, because he is independent of laborious occupations, it is honorable. Why should it be counted dishonorable in the savage who is equally independent; and who moreover has the merit of being neither unwilling nor ashamed to work when his personal wants, and the calamities or even the necessities of his enemies, demand exertion.

When Mrs. Birket's house was enveloped in flames, the most active extinguishers of the fire were the Aboriginal inhabitants. Mr. Hall's child, who had Wandered many miles into the bush, was, by their persevering exertions, rescued from an untimely grave, after Mr. Norcott, tired even upon horseback, was on the point of giving up the search in despair. The whole of the timber, about 8000 feet, for the erection of the Bush Inn, was carried by them from the forest to the site at Fresh Water Bay.