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31

Tenterfield Jan 30th 1887

Dear Mr Howitt

I have received yours of the 11th inst. Re [underlined] your
question. The custom of the Dalebura tribe was, before our civilizing
effects? [was - crossed out] that upon the death of a husband, his widow
was by custom and the rules of the tribe handed over to the
deceased's eldest brother,not necessarily as a wife, but to
place in his care the family, so that the power of managing
the tribal customs of the tribe; for instance, any nieces
were under his care and his duty was to see that, if
affianced by his late Brother to others, he was as it were
empowered to act as Executor. If the girls were not affianced
then he was empowered to arrange matrimonial alliances
for them. Also on the male side Nephews, (if any)
would be protected by him. The primary cause of such
an arrangement, looking at it impartially, is no doubt
manifold. The brother becomes more consequential, and
he becomes possessed of another hand to provide the
daily necessary food. And altho the survivor may
not desire an additional wife, she and her family
join his family circle and obtain his advice and protection.
He acts as his brother's Executor, and doubtless the deceased,
while living enjoys the same satisfaction, as you or I would,
knowing that the will which we executed would be
carried out by those we had appointed. This information
is obtained from our intelligent woman here, when I
get back to the tribe, if I find there are reasons to

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Christine

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