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THE NEW ZEALAND QUESTION.
INTRODUCTORY, AND COMPRISING A BRIEF HISTORY OF NEW ZEALAND, FROM THE PERIOD OF ITS DISCOVERY TO THAT OF ITS BECOMING A BRITISH COLONY.
AT the present day, when Emigration is regarded by successive Legislatures, by Political Economists, and by Society at large, as the most immediate and the wisest remedy for the evils attendant upon a super-abundant population, clamouring for labour and rapidly pauperizing; as the only available mode of providing for its permanent subsistence, and assuring its future welfare: when, in their inability to overcome the difficulties that beset their social condition at home, or to ameliorate their actual position, numerous bodies appertaining to all descriptions of Operatives, as well as large numbers of Agriculturists, turn their eyes towards newly-settled countries, where there exists a fair prospect that the honest in-
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dustry of their hands will, in due season, yield back to them its legitimate produce, in sufficiency for their necessities, if not in excess for store against the day of age or of misfortune: under these circumstances, Emigration assumes an all-important aspect; and it becomes a vital question to determine what clime holds out to our emigrating fellow-countrymen the greatest inducements to sever themselves from old and dear associations, with the view that they may enjoy their just share of those advantages from which they are shut out in the land of their birth and kindred.
Australia, the Canadas, the Cape of Good Hope, each in turn have had attractions for the Emigrant, and even yet the tide sets freely in the same direction; but it has never been disputed by competent persons, whose judgment was matured by experience, that in respect of climate, and of situation, New Zealand offers far greater advantages to the class above mentioned, than does any other Settlement of the British Empire; and notwithstanding that its natural resources are but limited, (how greatly soever land-jobbing interests may attempt to magnify them) it is doubtless destined to become
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one of the most populous and flourishing of Colonies, if the Legislature should not impede the development of its prosperity, by unwise, though perhaps well-intentioned enactments.
The relations of Great Britain with the Islands of New Zealand, are unprecedented in the annals of Colonization, inasmuch as her acquisition of the country was peculiar and specific; and this fact renders the position of Settlers there and of Emigrants proceeding thither, both complicated and singular, they being brought into contact with an intelligent, enlightened, and ambitious native Race, who standing dispossessed of the Sovereignty of their own country, claim extensive and exclusive proprietary rights of which they are extremely jealous, and which they are in a situation to enforce; whilst, on the other hand, the local Government asserts, on behalf of the Crown, another kind of right, by virtue of which all free exercise of the Natives' natural proprietary rights is averred to be extinguished, and the Emigrant becomes dependent, not alone upon the disposition of the Native owner to sell his land, but on that of the local Government to permit the purchase of the same by any third party, save through its medium, and contingent upon its
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own inclination to acquire such land so offered for sale, at a price regulated by circumstances, and virtually irrespective of native valuation.
In the origin, that is, before New Zealand was annexed to the British Empire, large, and in some instances, nominal purchases of land, extending over many thousands of acres, were effected by various individuals, many of which purchases have since been declared invalid by the local Government, being repudiated by the Native owners, on the plea of inadequate compensation, ambiguous contract, ill and undefined boundary, wilful double-dealing, or actual fraud. 1 The settlement of these claims has proved a fruitful source of contention, producing sanguinary collisions between the Aborigines and the Settlers, engendering extreme disaffection towards the local Government, on the part of both, and effectually embarrassing it, by placing it in the difficult and delicate position of arbitrator between the Crown and so many and such various contending interests; nevertheless, the whole of these
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difficulties might have been avoided at the outset, or resolved long ago, had the Government only acted with consistency, and Speculators and Settlers with the ordinary degree of mercantile justice which usually characterizes every transaction in which Capitalists engage, save--as it would seem--the mania for land-jobbing.
The foregoing facts, taken collectedly, have invested the New Zealand Question with peculiar interest; an interest which is daily increasing; as, however, a perfect comprehension of it cannot be attained to without some knowledge of the history of the Colony, we will commence by a brief re-capitulation of the principal circumstances connected therewith, beginning at the earliest period at which it figures in the annals of the countries of the world.
It is generally admitted that the Dutch Navigator, Captain Abel Jansen Tasman, was the first European who visited New Zealand, and came into contact with the Natives; nevertheless, this honour has been claimed for Juan Fernandez, who, "having set out from one of the ports of the West coast of South America in the year 1576, sailed for about a
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month in a South-westerly direction, and then reached a land fertile and pleasant, inhabited by a race of white people, well-made, and dressed in a kind of woven cloth." It would seem that New Zealand is the only country yet known, which at all answers to the account given of Fernandez's discovery, "but," adds the authority from which we quote, "it is not impossible that the land at which he arrived, may have been some other island or continent, not so far to the West, which has yet eluded the search of succeeding Navigators." 2
It is to be regretted that the misfortune which befel another enterprising Navigator, the Sieur Binot Paulnier de Gonneville, has placed it out of the power of Geographers to state positively to what extent his discoveries in the South Seas may give him a claim to contest with Magellan the glory of having discovered Australia, and with Tasman, that of having found New Zealand. He sailed from France in June 1503, and pursuing a South-westerly course as far as the 60 deg. S. Lat. veered then towards the W.N.W., and N.W. falling in
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with many strange lands, until, finally, he reached a large Continent, peopled by a numerous race of amiable Savages, amongst whom he remained above a year, and whom he quitted with regret, on the 3rd of July, 1504. The son of one of the Chiefs voluntarily accompanied him on his homeward voyage, which he pursued in the opposite direction, and in the spring of the year 1505, he again made the French coast. Off Jersey, however, an English smuggling-vessel attacked him, took his ship, and robbed it of everything it contained, destroying his papers and his journal. He finally got back to France, and introduced the Australian--for such was the son of the Chief--to his circle of acquaintance. The stranger ultimately married into De Gonneville's family.
The fame of De Gonneville's discoveries soon spread abroad, and he subsequently made an official statement of all that had befallen him; but it seems that the archives of the town in which he abode, amongst which the account of his adventures was deposited, were pillaged during the troubles that distracted France; and when Maupertius--anxious to examine these interesting documents--sought
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to verify the tradition of their existence, not a vestige of them could be found. 3
From the foregoing facts, some Geographers have assumed that De Gonneville possibly visited or saw New Zealand. We do not purpose entering upon the question, though we believed the narrative sufficiently singular and interesting to afford it a place in a chapter that treats exclusively of the discovery of these Islands, the more especially as De Gonneville's voyage preceded that of Fernando de Magalhaens or Magellan, by sixteen years, and he may therefore be admitted to have a prior claim to the palm awarded to the latter and to Tasman, with reference to the discovery of the great Southern Island of Australia, and of the Islands of the Pacific.
Whether Juan Fernandez really visited New Zealand, Geographers are not in a position to determine, nor is the fact of any great importance; though that he may have seen them is probable. The next navigator--whose name will ever occupy so honourable a place in the annals of nautical discovery--Abel Tasman,
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seems to be the person whose intercourse with the New Zealanders is beyond the pale of doubt; nor can we do better than furnish his own account of the event, as contained in the Journal kept by him during the voyage he undertook for the discovery of Southern Countries, by the direction of the Dutch East India Company.
"Aug. 14, 1642.--Sailed from Batavia with two vessels, the one called the 'Heemshirk,' and the other the 'Zeehaen.'
"On Sept. 9, I was in the latitude of 42 deg. 37' S., and in the longitude of 176 deg. 29'; the variation being there 3 deg. to the East. On the 12th of the same month, finding a great rolling sea coming in from the S.W., I judged there was no land to be hoped for on that point. On the 13th, being in the latitude of 42 deg. 10' S., and in the longitude of 188 deg. 28', I found the variation 7 deg. 30' eastward. In this situation I discovered an high mountainous country, which is at present marked in the charts under the name of New Zealand. I coasted along the shore of this country to the N.N.E. till the 18th; and being then in the latitude of 40 deg. 50' S., and in longitude 191 deg. 41', I anchored in a fine bay, where I observed the variation to be 9 deg. towards the West.
"We found here abundance of the inhabitants;
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they had very hoarse voices, and were very large made people. They durst not approach the ship nearer than a stone's throw; and we often observed them playing on a kind of trumpet, to which we answered with the instruments that were on board our vessel. These people were of a colour between brown and yellow, their hair long, and almost as thick as that of the Japanese, combed up, and fixed on the top of their heads with a quill, or some such thing, that was thickest in the middle, in the very same manner that the Japanese fastened their hair behind their heads. These people cover the middle of their bodies; some with a kind of mat, others with a sort of woollen cloth; but as for their upper and lower parts, they leave them altogether naked.
"On the 19th Dec, these savages began to grow a little bolder, and more familiar, inasmuch that at last they ventured on board the 'Heemshirk,' in order to trade with those in the vessel. As soon as I perceived it, being apprehensive that they might attempt to surprise that ship, I sent my shallop, with seven men, to put the people in the 'Heemshirk' upon their guard, and to direct them not to place any confidence in these people. My seven men, being without arms, were attacked by these savages, who killed three of the seven, and forced the other four to swim for their lives, which occasioned my giving that place the name of the Bay of
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Murderers. Our ship's company would undoubtedly have taken severe revenge if the rough weather had not hindered them. From this Bay we bore away east, having the land in a manner all round us. This country appeared to us rich and fertile, and well situated; but as the weather was very foul, and we had at this time a very strong west wind, we found it very difficult to get clear of the land.
"On the 24th of Dec, as the wind would not permit us to continue our way to the north, as we knew not whether we should be able to find a passage on that side, and as the flood came in from the south-east, we concluded that it would be best to return into the bay, and seek some other way out; but on the 26th, the wind becoming more favourable, we continued our route to the north, turning a little to the west. On the 4th of Jan., 1643, being then in the latitude of 34 deg. 35'. S, and in the longitude of 191 deg. 9'. we sailed quite to the Cape, which lies N.W., where we found the sea rolling in from the N.E., whence we concluded that we had at last found a passage, which gave us no small joy. There was in this streight, an island, which we called the island of the Three Kings, the cape of which we doubled, with a design to have refreshed ourselves; but as we approached it, we perceived on the mountain, thirty or five and thirty persons, who, as far as we could discern at such a distance, were men of
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very large size, and had each of them a club in his hand: they called out to us in a rough, strong voice; but we could not understand anything of what they said. We observed that these people walked at a very great rate, and that they took prodigious large strides. We made the tour of this island, in doing which we saw but very few inhabitants; nor did any of this country seem to be cultivated. We found, indeed, a fresh water river, and then we resolved to sail east as far as 22 deg. of longitude, and from thence north, as far as the latitude of 17 deg.-S, and thence to the west, till we arrived at the isles of Cocos and Horne, which were discovered by William Schooten where we intended to refresh ourselves, in case we found no opportunity of doing it before; for though we had actually landed on Van Dieman's Land we met with nothing there; and as for New Zealand, we never set foot on it. 4
Schooten, to whom Tasman refers, was the companion of the enterprizing Merchant, Le Maire, and both conjointly made extensive discoveries in these regions, in the year 1614;
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it is not, however, more than in the case of the predecessors of Tasman, certain that they visited New Zealand, although, like Fernandez, they may possibly have descried it from afar. Under the impression that the coast they saw on their left, when they were penetrating into the Pacific, through the strait called Le Maire's, was a portion of the Terra Incognita Australis, they gave it the name of Staaten Land; and Tasman, labouring under a similar belief that the land he had discovered was only another part of the same region, gave it the same appellation. Within a few months after, however, Heindrick Bronwer ascertained that Schooten's Staaten Land was an inconsiderable island, upon which the name of New Zealand was bestowed upon the country Tasman had visited.
Although no official accounts exist that any vessels visited New Zealand, from the time Tasman left it until Captain Cook re-discovered it in October, 1769, there is every reason to believe that a European ship touched at the island no great time previously to Captain Cook's first visit; for not only does Captain Cook refer to the circumstance, on the authority of the natives
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themselves, but Captain Cruise says that one of the New Zealanders, an old man, informed him a ship had been lost on the W. coast, within a recent period, and its boat's crew cut off by his countrymen. 5
Our own illustrious circum-navigator was the first who ever furnished a perfect account of the New Zealand islands, because he was also the first who explored their coasts all round, and held continuous intercourse with the Natives, though their first meeting was not calculated to prepossess either party favourably towards the other, blood having been shed at the outset, in the attempt Captain Cook made to get some of the Natives on board. The conduct of these, indeed, in many respects resembled that of the ancient Britons, when they beheld Caesar and his Roman legions about to invade their country; it may, in fact, be pronounced to have been even bolder; for, nothing deterred by the firing of muskets, and by the destruction of life which followed, they continued to wage an unequal con-
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flict, until only two of their number remained, and even these took to the water and fought till they were overpowered and made prisoners.
"I am conscious," observes Captain Cook, remarking upon this unfortunate transaction, "that the feeling of every reader of humanity, will censure me for having fired on these unhappy people, and it is impossible that upon a calm review, I should approve of it myself. They certainly did not deserve death for not choosing to confide in my promises, or not consenting to come on board my boat, even if they had apprehended no danger; but the nature of my service required me to obtain a knowledge of their country, which I could not otherwise effect than by forcing myself into it in a hostile manner, or gaining admission through the confidence and good-will of the people. I had already tried the power of presents without effect; and I was now prompted, by my desire to avoid further hostilities, to get some of them on board, as the only method left of convincing them that we intended no harm, and had it in our power to contribute to their gratification and convenience. Thus far my intentions certainly were not criminal; and though,
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in the contest, which I had not the least reason to expect, our victory, might have been complete without so great an expense of life, yet in such situations, when the command to fire has been given, no man can restrain its excess, or prescribe its effect." 6
We leave our Readers to comment as they will upon the extenuation Captain Cook offers of this affair; having, however, given an account of his proceedings on discovering New Zealand, we will add, from the same source, a few details on the manner in which he celebrated his departure therefrom.
"After having fixed a post in the ground, he hoisted upon it the British Flag, and honored the inlet with the name of Queen Charlotte's Sound. At the same time he took a formal possession of this, and the adjacent country, in the name and for the use of His Majesty King George the III. The ceremony was concluded by the gentlemen drinking a bottle of Wine to Her Majesty's health; and the bottle being given to the old man who attended
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them up the hill, he was highly delighted with his present?"
From the date of Captain Cook's last visit to New Zealand, up to the year 1815, it does not appear that the accounts furnished by whalers and others, tended to impress Europeans with any other opinion of the Natives, than that they were a race of atrocious cannibals, wholly unfit to be admitted within the pale of civilization; indeed, the massacre of Captain Furneaux's crew, and that of the Mascarin, commanded by Marion du Fresne, followed in 1809 by that of the Boyd, were events, which considered only under one aspect were calculated to produce this impression; though it ought to be borne in mind that it is not improbable each of these sanguinary transactions might have been in retaliation for the blood shed by Captain Cook, in the first instance, and by De Surville in the second, as the massacre of the Boyd's crew undoubtedly was for the deadly insult Captain Thompson put upon the chief Tarra (George) in making him work, twice flogging him at the gangway, and depriving him of food. To this day, even un-
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der Christian influence, the New Zealanders, resent to the death, any insult to their Chiefs, however slight; wherefore, whilst they were yet in a state of nature, an indulgence in the revengeful spirit of their race, might, under such circumstances, admit of some extenuation; the more especially when a similar plea is urged on behalf of the enlightened European committing crimes equally sanguinary, and, in many instances unprecedented in atrocity. 7
In the year 1815, the Rev. Mr. Marsden introduced Christianity amongst the Natives of the Bay of Islands, which was the port the most--indeed almost solely--frequented by whaling and other vessels, the visits of these early travellers extending no further N. from the Bay of Islands, than Wangaroa, whence parties would penetrate inland, across the country to Hokianga on the W. coast: ultimately other Mis-
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sionaries settled in various parts, chiefly in the Northern Island, and many of the Natives were reclaimed from Heathenism.
During this long period, however, the Islands were under no government, save that of the Natives, whose ports continued to be regarded as free; but the settlement at the Bay of Islands rapidly increased, and the visits of whaling-vessels, English and Foreign, became more frequent, whilst runaway sailors and convicts from New South Wales, constantly took refuge on the coasts, committing such lawless outrages, that the Settlers applied to the Government at Sydney, praying for protection, many of the chiefs of the Northern Island joining them in entreaty. The result of these proceedings was the sending of Mr. Busby, to dwell there as British Resident, in 1833, though his power proved extremely impotent.
In 1837, further and more urgent representations having been made to the Home Government, Captain Hobson was appointed to fulfil the office of British consul at New Zealand; but the tide of emigration being specially directed thither, chiefly through the influence of speculating individuals at home, possessed
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with the land-jobbing mania, and many evils to the Natives and to the Settlers threatening to result from the irregular system of colonization purposed to be adopted, the Collonial Government finally instructed Captain Hobson to treat with the Natives for the cession to the British Crown of certain parts of the islands of New Zealand, which in the event of his success, were to be added to N. S. Wales as one of its dependencies, Captain Hobson acquiring the title of Lieutenant-Governor.
In 1840, in the month of February, Captain Hobson succeeded in concluding, with various Chiefs and Tribes of the Bay of Islands, the Treaty of Waitangi, which was ultimately acceded to by the majority of those of the Northern Island. The local Colonial Secretary, Mr. Shortland, procured the adhesion of other Chiefs, sovereigns of the districts north of the Bay of Islands, whilst Major Bunbury and Captain Nias proceeded, in consequence of the Lieutenant-Governor's illness, to the eastern and the southern coasts of the Northern Island, and to the Middle and the Southern Island, as well as to Ruapooki in Faveaux's straits.
As we shall have occasion, in another chap-
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ter, to recur more particularly to the proceedings of Major Bunbury and Captain Nias, we will simply add, that the Queen's sovereignty over the Islands of New Zealand was ultimately proclaimed, and they became, by act of cession, an appendage to the British Empire.