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SECTION VII.

ON THE ABORIGINES OF NEW SOUTH WALES AND VAN DIEMEN'S LAND.

In that part of Australasia referred to in the preceding pages, there once existed, and, in a few instances, there still exists, an indigenous race, which, like the rest of the animal creation belonging to and characteristic of the zone, lived long unknown, and is now rapidly passing away.

Their history has no records, no monuments; but consists mostly of traditions, which, in common with their language, customs, moral, social, and political condition, seem, ever since their discovery, to have been regarded as a subject unworthy of European study. Hence, all the observations contained in the narratives, whether of the early navigators, or of modern travellers, bear more upon what this race is in relation to the colonist than to mankind.

Their origin, like that of most things in creation, is involved in impenetrable obscurity; and such authors as have attempted to trace their migrations, or to detect the links which connect them with any of the predominant and primitive races of mankind, have not succeeded more satisfactorily than a naturalist would, who might attempt to account for the existence of the Marsupials and the Omithorhynchus in Terra Australis; thus affording another argument, that, on such subjects as the origin of a human race, we must be satisfied with the simple declaration of Scripture.

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