Page:Australia an appeal.djvu/71

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Such is the state of the language from Derbal to Monkbeelven, a space of 300 miles to the south of Swan River; and it probably presents no greater variety in dialect and pronunciation for 300 miles to the north. A translation of the Scriptures therefore into Derbalese, with parallel columns for words in the neighboring districts that present a dialectical variety, would be perfectly intelligible from the North West Cape to Cape Leuwen, a distance of perhaps not less than 1000 miles.

There is reason to believe, however, that much more is practicable. The generic term for river is every where the same, even in districts the most remote from one another. Meeal the eye, is called mil in Eastern Australia, exhibiting, at a distance of nearly 2000 miles, merely a difference in pronunciation. These discoveries I made by chance. A regular investigation would probably bring to light a multitude of coincidences. I am strongly inclined to think that one third of the language is the same all over the continent, that one third differs merely in pronunciation, and that one third only will be found to present a dialectical variety. To combine the dialects of Australia into one tongue, cannot be more difficult than it was to unite those of ancient Greece. True, the literature, the commerce, and the politics of Greece, bringing the different states into contact with each other, aided the combination; and their absence in the case under consideration, present obstacles to its accomplishment. These however are not insurmountable. Greece, in her infancy, before the arrival of Cecrops and Cadmus, had neither literature, commerce, nor politics. Greece—a country that, on receiving letters from a foreign nation, burst the chain of ignorance, soared to a height of perfection in the sciences that excited the admiration of the world, and left a name, the glory of which became the envy of almost all nations—was once as rude, wild, and savage as the sable, wandering children of the forests around us. Let the dormant intellect of Australia be only awakened—let her energies be combined in the prosecution of industrious pursuits; let her mental powers be concentrated on objects of art and science; and, above all, let her views be directed to the contemplation of things beyond the skies—the heart-stirring and interesting scenes of a life to come—and, with a living original evidently common to all within the extent of her shores, there will be no occasion to despair of the assimilation of her different dialects. The very preservation of a language so ancient and primitive, would be worth any expense. But to communicate to her innumerable tribes a knowledge of Revelation—to raise them in the scale of being, to rescue them from endless woe, to impart to them immortal hopes and prospects, and to make them partakers