Page:The aborigines of Australia.djvu/47

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32 THE ABORIGINES OF AUSTRALIA.

Intuition, or the power of anticipating thought, and accomplishing feats to the mind of civilized man impossible without the aid of science, appears to be a gift of the blacks of Australia in common with other savage tribes. The Indians of North America are said to be capable, by the assistance of some unexplained agency, of navigating the vast lakes of that continent with a precision not to be surpassed where the compass and all the other scientific apparatus of modern navigation are rendered available — reaching in their canoes a destined point on the opposite shores, although for days out of sight of any land. Instances of the display of this extraordinary sagacity fully as striking are recorded by those who have had experience of the powers of the aborigines of New Holland. A native of the Swan River district, who accompanied Captain Stokes on one of his voyages of discovery, was at all times capable of indicating the direction of certain ports when no land was visible, and when neither the sun nor the stars were to be seen to afford him any assistance. The same aboriginal could, at the termination of a voyage, delineate the course the ship had pursued during a cruise of weeks, with a precision which astonished the ablest seaman It is, however, highly probable that the solution of the problem would be found within the sphere of natural causes; but that the process of observation by which the savage is enabled to display this power is so intricate and so minute as to render the term "intuition" not altogether inapplicable, would doubtless be the