Inter colonial Expe
5th March 1866
I do myself the honour to forward to you a Circular Letter, accompanied by a Vocabulary and some suggestions which it is proposed to circulate extensively throughout Australasia.
The object as explained, is to procure by simultaneous and independent experts governed by systematic and uniform rules, as large a body of evidence as is possible respecting the history, traditions, customs and language of the Aboriginal Natives of the Continent. Respecting the language, it is especially desirable that the amplest and most authentic testimony should be collected, and that every available means should be employed to arrive at satisfactory conclusions.
It is possible that material assistance would be afforded to those ultimately charged with the duty of compiling the results, and evolving from them the general laws which regulate the construction and grammar of the different languages or dialects spoken in Australasia if translations into various European tongues, of the vocabulary rent herewith were made, and if a few persons of intelligence, selected by the consule, were requested to obtain from the natives their equivalents for the words.
The multiplication of such tests, obtained with exact adherence in all respects to the instructions given, may facilitate efforts to trace derivations, and to ascertain with probable certainty the relations and affinities which the forms of speech of the aborigines may have with those used in other parts of the globe; and the presence of so many persons from different countries of Europe, who have fixed their abode in various localities in the interior of Victoria, as well as in other parts of Australia, will give facilities for carrying out this project on an extensive scale, if those invited to act be animated by the desire to enter heartily on the work.
With this in view, I do myself the honour to beg the favor of your considerate co-operation. The undertaking is one interesting in itself; moreover, it is one which cannot fail to interest the enlightened philologists of all nations, as well as those who pursue with learned industry the study of ethnography, or labor in the wider field of anthropology.
I have the honor to be,
Your obedient Servant,