« AnteriorContinuar »
is borne in mind that this population will, in all likelihood, eventually render Great Britain independent of the slave-labour of America, by raising for the homemarket the productions of indispensable necessity for her rapidly-extending manufactures, the prospect is animating in the highest degree, not only for the Colony, but for Britain herself, and for philanthropy. 6. The fact," observes the Editor of the Sydney Morning Herald, of the 1st January 1847, “is now established beyond doubt, that in point of extent, of natural fertility, and variety of resources, the Northern Territory of Australia excels all that is known of the South
What with the agricultural and mineral wealth of South Australia--the magnificent pasturage of Australia Felix, the advanced wealth and civilization of New South Wales Proper, and the boundless tropical and semi-tropical resources thrown open by Leichhardt and Mitchell—the national importance of this part of Her Majesty's dominions cannot be too highly estimated.”
THE ABORIGINES OF AUSTRALIA, AND ESPECIALLY OF COOKSLAND.
Nulli certa domus ; lucis habitamus opacis,
Incolimus.—VIRG. ÆN., vi. 675.
The existence and distribution of the Papuan Negro or Black Race of the South-eastern Hemisphere, is one of the most mysterious facts in the history of man. Most people are aware that the Aborigines of the vast continental island of New Holland are of a black colour, and bear some resemblance to the African negro; but
very few comparatively are aware of the vast extent of that portion of the surface of the habitable globe which this ancient and singular race have roamed over from time immemorial, and of which they have unquestionably been the Aboriginal inhabitants. Long before European navigators had discovered New Holland and Van Dieman's Land, in the early part of the 17th century, they had occupied, and parcelled out among their wandering tribes, the whole extent of these vast regions, which are nearly as large as all Europe.* They are still the only inhabitants of the large islands of New Guinea, New Britain, New Ireland
* M. Freycinet, in his “ Voyage aux Terres Australes,” page 107, estimates the superficial extent of New Holland at 384. 375, and that of Europe at 501. 875 French leagues.
and New Caledonia ; of the Mallicollo Islands, or New Hebrides, as well as of many of the other islands of the Western Pacific, both northward and southward of the Equator, and of the Indian Archipelago. In many of these islands indeed they have been subdued and extirpated by the fairer race from the westward; but in some, of larger size, as in Sumatra, Borneo, Timor, and Java, they have merely been driven to the mountains, while in others, as in the Feejee and Navigators' Islands, they have gradually mingled with the intruders, and given rise to an intermediate race. They still inhabit exclusively the Andaman Islands in the Bay of Bengal, and small remnants of their widely scattered race are to be found even in the Island of Formosa on the coast of China, and in the mountains of Continental India. Surely then the origin and history of a race that has thus occupied, at one time exclusively, a far larger extent of the earth's surface than that of the ancient Roman Empire in its greatest glory, well deserve the attentive consideration of the philosopher and the divine.
“I am convinced,” says the unfortunate M. de la Perouse, “that the race of woolly-haired men,* still found in the interior parts of the islands of Luconia and Formosa, were the Aborigines of the Philippine Islands, Formosa, New Guinea, New Britain, the New Hebrides, Friendly Islands, &c., in the Southern Hemisphere, and of the Carolines, Ladrones, and Sandwich Islands, in the Northern. In New Guinea, New Britain, and the New Hebrides, they were not to be subdued; but being vanquished in the islands further east, which were too
* It is scarcely correct to characterise the Papuan negro, or black race of the Eastern Hemisphere, as woolly-haired. The hair, at least among the Aborigines of New Holland, is generally lank and black, although the grease and other substances with which it is mixed and done up, agreeably to the taste of the native perruquier, often give it the appearance of the woolly hair of the negro. The hair is very different, however, in different tribes.
The following very judicious remarks on this subject are from small to afford them a retreat in their centres, they intermingled with their conquerors; and hence originated that race of very black people, whose complexion still remains a few shades deeper than that of certain families in the country, who probably made it a point of honour not to contaminate their blood. These two very distinct races appeared striking to our eyes at the Navigators’ Islands, and I can ascribe them to no other origin."*
The following testimony, which is somewhat more in detail, is to the same effect. It is is given by a very able observer, whom I have already had occasion to quote, Dr. Reinold Forster, the companion of Captain Cook in his last voyage round the world :
We chiefly observed, two great varieties of people in the South Seas ; the one more fair, well-limbed, athletic, of a fine
the pen of Sir Thomas Mitchell :-“ The natives of Van Dieman's Land, the only inhabited region south of Australia, are said to have been as dark as the negro race, with woolly hair like them. But these characteristics are very much at variance with the descriptions of the savages seen by the earliest European visitors, and especially by Captain Cook, who thus describes those he saw at Adventure Bay in 1777.—' Their colour is a dull black, and not quite so deep as that of the African negroes. It should seem also that they sometimes heighten their black colour by smoking their bodies, as a mark was left behind on any clean substance, such as white paper, when they handled it.' Captain Cook then proceeds to describe the hair as being woolly, but all the other particulars of that description are identical with the peculiarities of Australian natives; and Captain King stated, according to the editor of the Northern Voyage of Cook, that “Captain Cook was very unwilling to allow that the hair of the natives seen in Adventure Bay was woolly.' The hair of the natives we saw in the interior, and especially of the females, had a very frizzled appearance, and never grew long ; and I should rather consider the hair of the natives of Tasmania as differing in degree only from the frizzled hair of those of Australia.”+
* La Perouse's Voyage, chap. xxv.
+ Three Expeditions into the Interior of Australia, by Sir T. Mitchell, &c., vol. ii. p. 336.
size, and a kind benevolent temper; the other blacker, the hair just beginning to become woolly and crisp, the body more slender and low, and their temper, if possible, more brisk, though somewhat mistrustful. The first race inhabits Otaheite and the Society Isles, the Marquesas, the Friendly Isles, Easter Island, and New Zealand. The second race peoples New Caledonia, Tanna, and the New Hebrides, especially Mallicollo.
Each of the above two races of men is again divided into several varieties, which form the gradations towards the other race ; so that we find some of the first race almost as black and slender as some of the second, and in this second race are some strong, athletic figures, which may almost vie with the first.
The varieties of men belonging to the second tribe, or race of people in the South Seas, are all confined within the Tropics to its most western parts.
First. The extensive country of New Caledonia, though near the continent of New Holland, is inhabited by a set of men who are totally different from the slender, diminutive natives of that country, and in many respects distinct from all the nations of the first tribe, living in the Eastern Isles of the South Seas. Many of these New Caledonians are tall and stout, and the rest are not below the common size ; but their women, who appear here again under the humiliating and disgracing predicament of drudges, are commonly small. They are all of a swarthy colour; their hair is crisped, but not very woolly ; their chins are surrounded with respectable beards, which they now and then tie up in a knot ; their features are strong and masculine ; the earlaps are cut and enlarged in the same manner as in Easter Island. Their limbs are strong and active, marked by strong outlines. Their females having generally coarse features, few having anything agreeable or pleasing in their round faces, with thick lips and wide mouths. Their teeth are fine, their eyes lively ; the hair finely curled ; the body, in such as have not yet borne children, is well proportioned, with a flowing outline and fine extremities. The generality are of a mild and good-natured temper, ready to please their guests in everything in which they can be serviceable.
Second. The inhabitants of Tanna, one of the New Hebrides, are almost of the same swarthy colour as the former ; only a few had a clearer complexion, and in these the tips of their hair were of a yellowish brown : the hair and beards of the rest are all black and crisp, nay, in some woolly. The generality of them are tall, stout, and well made ; none of them are corpulent or fat. The features of the greater part are manly and bold, and but few are disagreeable. Both sexes have large holes in the lap of their ear, and wear several large rings of tortoise-shell in them; the septum narium is likewise perforated, and they wear a stick or