Howitt to Fison 20/9/1878

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Transcription - Page 1

[written at top of page]
Previously I use these terms [Tribe - crossed out] Division = aggregate of families having common descent
clan, = aggregate of divisions; tribe = aggregate of classes. The tribe recognizes a common descent,
a common language and common territory. You may be able to suggest better terms.

Sale Sep 20 1878

My dear Mr Fison
I feel quite ashamed when I received
your letter of 10th inst at not having before replied
to your former letter but the fact is that under the
present arrangements by which I am the only
PM and Warden in Gippsland my time has been
more than occupied and all I have been able
to do has been to say to myself "I must in and write
to Mr Fison". I hope you will excuse me when I tell
that last month I rode 565 miles besides holding numbers
of Courts here and there. Your last letter electrified me!
I feel ashamed and I put everything aside that I
could put aside. I read all my notes about blacks
I thought over all I could say, in fact I filled my
mind aboriginally. I tried to project myself into a sort
of pseudo blackfellow condition. My mind may be said
to have been a sort of a magma in which all kinds of
elements were in relation, the molecules gradually combined
under the crystallizing forces; they began to shape out ideas,
the ideas arranged themselves. As I rode along the
country roads - "the automaton" guided the horse
the "ego" was at work avail found at last to my infinite
relief that I could see what my share of the work could be
If I might chance to be only able to do it. I propose in
fact to endeavour to give a complete portion of the
domestic and social life of the Gippsland blackfellow.
I propose to take the individual from the cradle to the
grave - and beyond it as they think. To [?mention?]
the family - the aggregate if families (the division)
The Revd Lorimer Fison

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Document Details

Date 20 September 1878
Letter From Howitt, Alfred William
Letter To Fison, Reverend Lorimer
Country Australia
Holding Institution St Mark's National Theological Centre
Collection Name Alan Tippett/Lorimer Fison Collection
Registration Number tip70-10-33-18
Medium Letter
Region Gippsland
Locality Sale
Summary Lengthy discussion regarding their theories, customs and practices mainly of the Gippsland groups, and their forthcoming joint publication, Kamilaroi and Kurnai. Howitt has completed his first draft of about 50 foolscap pages.
Physical Description Handwritten in ink, signed and dated.