Page:Australia an appeal.djvu/72

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of the high-born destinies, assured to the sons of God—would be attended with results gratifying to angels. On the other hand, we must recollect that the neglect of the language, the cultivation of which is essential to their civilization, is sure to effect the oppression and gradual extinction of the Aboriginal inhabitants—dreadful price, not to give, but to exact in order to obtain a country for our criminals, room for colonization, and an outlet to our manufactures. Legislators may pun and lawyers may quibble; but neither puns nor quibbles can extricate us from the dilemma, or justify our conduct. We are committed in a fearful career. And unless we change the wanton and wicked policy hitherto pursued, awful will be our meeting in another world with a people we have so deeply wronged.

Whether the language of Australia has any affinity to the modern languages of the East, cannot at present be determined. Be the source, however, whence it springs what it may, it is original, euphonious, and significant, combining great power with inimitable simplicity. It would be difficult to find in an language a word more elegant or expressive, than the term for a cloud, gabby maar, the well of the sky, or the fountain of the firmament. Terms corresponding to those in the modern tongues of the northern hemisphere, in the language of a people who have had no communication with the rest of the world for thousands of years, are remarkable. Moorangween to weep, is the same in import, and differs very little in pronunciation from the word mourning. Bibee, the term for breast, is evidently cognate to the word babe. Kai, dropping the guttral, is precisely the same in sound and signification with the old affirmative aye. The word bed is simply a contraction of the first syllable of beed-jar, the term for sleep. The first syllable in goo-nyan, the term for palate, is pronounced like the French word goût, signifying taste. Dāk, the generic term for flowers, evidences, both in sound and sense, its relationship to the word deck, to adorn. Little did our lexicographers imagine, when they fancied its derivation from the Dutch, decken, that the word itself was in Derbalese, the language of a people whose abode and existence were alike unknown to men of letters and to fame. But one of the most extraordinary coincidencies of this kind, is to be found in the name given to the ocean, which they call gabby-Wodin—the well of Wodin—a term which, both in meaning and pronunciation, exactly corresponds to that by which the Scandinavian deity is designated. Striking as the similarity of names is, the import of the term is still more remarkable. If we reflect that the Creator, through the combined influence of the sun's rays and the atmospheric air, has constructed an apparatus by which he is continually