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cult a subject as the origin and migrations of the Papuan race. Our means of information are as yet too limited to enable us to arrive at satisfactory conclusions on several of the most important of the points discussed in this essay: it is to be hoped, however, that some further light may shortly be thrown upon these points, chiefly in regard to the general condition, and the manners, customs, languages, and traditions of the Aborigines of the northern coasts of New Holland, and of the inhabitants of New Guinea, through the proposed establishment of another Penal Colony towards Cape York. The northern coast, towards its eastern extremity, was, in all probability, the first part of that vast Continental Island that was occupied by the Aborigines of Australia, and New Guinea was, in all likelihood, their mother-country. But the latter of these islands, although twelve hundred miles long, and of proportionate breadth, and inhabited by a comparatively dense population, by no means in a state of absolute barbarism-if we can place any reliance on the occasional reports of the South Sea Whalers—is still a terra incognita to Europeans. It is earnestly to be de sired that this reproach to civilization may speedily be wiped away ; for if there is any part of that vast portion of the earth's surface which the Papuan race has at one time traversed and occupied exclusively, in which it is likely to have preserved any remains of its ancient civilization, or in which any rational and Christian effort for its intellectual and moral improvement is likely to be successful, it is unquestionably in that large and comparatively fertile isle.
THE GERMAN MISSION TO THE ABORIGINES AT MORETON BAY.
How shall we tame thee, man of blood ?
How shall thy wild Antarctic isle,
With British arts and science smile ?
Such is the learned sage's creed;
Along the Richmond and the Tweed;
The savage laughs thy plans to scorn.
He sates his hunger with the fern,
And when he spake the sov’reign word,
Lay all outstretch'd before their Lord ;
“ To every soul, the world around;
Still let the Gospel trumpet sound,
In Eden's primal beauty smile.” The only important question that remains for consideration, in regard to the Papuan race, particularly in the great continental island of Australia, is how to elevate that ancient and truly singular portion of the family of man in the scale of humanity-how to arrest its dark and dismal progress to utter extinction ?
We have already seen that the inhabitants of Tierra del Fuego, a branch of the fairer or Polynesian race of the Indian Archipelago and the South Sea Islands, or, at all events, of the Indo-American race, are at least as low in the scale of humanity as any of the Aborigines of Australia ; and yet Forster, to whose intelligent observations we are indebted for the interesting and important information, is so little of a philosopher as to suppose it probable that that abject people may nevertheless elevate themselves in the scale of being by some effort of their own, independently of any external impulse.
inhabitants of Tierra del Fuego,” says that intelligent writer, "act only by instinct, by necessity and want, and in consequence of the accidental occurrences which chance, or the natural changes of the elements and seasons, throw in their way; but a more frequent intercourse with Europeans, or some other unforeseen accident, for instance the fortuitous invention of iron, or some other useful metal ; a discovery of the utility of some vegetable or tree in their climates ; a new desire for catching fish, birds, and quadrupeds, in a more easy and expeditious manner than they have hitherto been accustomed to, must doubtless sooner or later bring on a revolution in their condition ; new manners, new customs, a change of diet, of dress, weapons and utensils, must gradually produce a total change of their way of thinking and acting, introduce an alteration in their temper, facilitate the better regulation and security of their societies, and deliver them from that stupid torpor or indolence with which they are now oppressed ; for when once the mind is enlightened with new ideas, and new combinations, and a field opened to fancy and imagination in the recital of their actions in their songs, dances, and various other representations, the passions, the great source of
action in human life, will kindle in their breasts that Promethean fire, which will infuse strength and vigour into all the transactions of the community.”
Now, it is quite sufficient to reply to this fancy, that there is no instance in the history of mankind of any nation having ever raised itself, by its own individual efforts, from anything like so low a condition in the scale of humanity as that of the wretched inhabitants of Tierra del Fuego ; and intercourse with Europeans, even for half a century and upwards, we have seen from the case of the Aborigines of Australia, is of little avail in changing the deep-rooted customs and habits of many generations. Indeed, the only hope that can reasonably be entertained either of the gradual elevation of such abject portions of the human family in the scale of humanity, or even of their continued existence in contact with European civilization, depends on their being brought under the powerful influence of Christianity through the efforts of Christian Missionaries.
My attention was strongly directed to the subject of establishing a mission to the Aborigines of Australia so early as the year 1831, and during that year and in the year 1834, I made three successive attempts to establish such a mission by means of Scotch Missionaries, but without success.
I was again in Europe in the year 1837, and as Lord Glenelg, a highly philanthropic and christian man, was then at the head of the Colonial Department, I memorialized the Government on the subject of the establishment of a mission to the Aborigines at Moreton Bay, which I had previously ascertained that a body of missionaries could be obtained to form from Berlin in Prussia. The time was peculiarly favourable for such an effort, and the result was the establishment of the German Mission at Moreton Bay in the year 1838.
The missionaries consisted of two regularly educated
* Forster's Observations, &c., p. 334.
and ordained ministers, both married, with ten lay missionaries, most of whom were also married, and all of whom had been for some time in training for the work of missionaries to the heathen under that eminent. and devoted minister, the Rev. Johannes Gossner, pastor of the Bohemian Church in Berlin, who, originally a Romish priest in Austria, and a disciple of the famous Martin Boos, had renounced the errors of Popery, and had afterwards for some time exercised his ministry as a Protestant pastor in the city of Petersburg in Russia, with such zeal and success as to excite the jealousy and fears of the Russian clergy, at whose instance he was at length driven into exile from that empire.
The whole amount contributed by the Government, and available for the conveyance of this large body of missionaries from Berlin to Scotland, and from thence to New South Wales, together with their expenses for some time in Greenock, was only £450 ; but as my brother* had obtained authority from the Colonial Government to introduce into the Colony, under the Bounty System, (which at that time appropriated £30 for the introduction of each married pair,) a certain number of vine-dressers and other labourers from the continent of Europe—an arrangement of which he allowed me to take advantage for the establishment of the mission to the Aborigines~£150 additional was obtained in the Colony through this arrangement. And although there was still a considerable deficiency, the prospect, shortly after the arrival of the missionaries in New South Wales, was so favourable, and the interest taken in the mission by the colonial public generally so strong, that if I had only been enabled to remain in the Colony, not only would this deficiency have been speedily covered, but the mission itself would have been placed and maintained, with comparatively little diffi
* Andrew Lang, Esq., J.P., of Dunmore, Hunter's River, New South Wales.