Page:Australia an appeal.djvu/76

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fore be interesting to know whether the Muse found in Australia, among a people so primitive in their manners and so entirely unconnected with the rest of mankind from the earliest ages, be free from the puerilities, falsehoods, and obscenities with which, both in their lyric and epic effusions, her prostituted sisters of Greece and Rome abound—the pride of our universities and the models of taste, even in a refined and an enlightened age!

It is perhaps important to state, that, when meeting them in the bush, alone or in company, to hold up the hands, is a' token of peaceable intentions; and should therefore never be omitted.

The custom of exchanging names with a stranger, so indicative of ancient manners, and so illustrative of some remarkable expressions in our Lord's address to the churches in Pergamos and Philadelphia,[1] is a pledge of protection and a token of inviolable friendship.

The manner in which they answer questions, relative to the botany and zoology of their country, giving first the name of the genus and then that of the particular species which forms the subject of inquiry, discovers great intelligence. No clown —none but a person of education—could reply with so much propriety.

The invention of the Koilee—a piece of wood, shaped like the segment of a circle, for killing birds on the wing—and the precision with which it is thrown, at any angle from ten to ninety degrees, causing it to return from a given point in the atmosphere to the feet of the thrower, forms an exhibition of mechanical and mathematical science that would excite the wonder and command the admiration of the most skilled in Europe; and proves how greatly they err who imagine them to be deficient in mental power.

They are far from being insensible to the attractions of a civilized state of society. But, not knowing that our fathers were rude as they are, and that we attained our superiority gradually, they can see nothing between our condition an theirs but an impassable gulf. They also labour under the extraordinary impression that the advantages of civil life are the result, not of mental improvement and Christianizing influence, but a resurrection from the dead. This is the grand secret of that apparent indifference they so frequently manifest on subjects which, otherwise, would be to them deeply interesting. Considering the attainment of any thing beyond savage life at resent utterly hopeless, they cling to its fascinations and reconcile themselves to its ills under the firm persuasion

  1. Rev. ii. 17, and iii. 12.