1861 - Hawtrey, M. Justice to New Zealand, Honour to England - IV. AMALGAMATION. LES GOMBETTES, p 80-92

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  1861 - Hawtrey, M. Justice to New Zealand, Honour to England - IV. AMALGAMATION. LES GOMBETTES, p 80-92
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AMONG the cries which reach us from the Colony, now full of alarm, now full of fierceness and indignation, now mixed with bitter mockery, and all claiming the sacrifice of the native New Zealander on the altar of Anglo-Saxon progress, a voice is sometimes heard, strangely in contrast with the general tone, yet sometimes strangely blended with it, pronouncing, as the great panacea for the troubles of New Zealand, the word "Amalgamation." Nor can it be doubted that in that word lies the true solution of the difficulty. In fact, unless the New Zealanders expel the English, or the English exterminate the New Zealanders, it must come about; for we can hardly expect the course of colonization to stop short, or two dynasties under the same Sovereign to be established in the same Island.

Happily we are not under the law which said, "Thy daughter thou shalt not give unto his son, nor his daughter shalt thou take unto thy son." And the opinions of the writer are still the same as they were in 1837.

"9. Of the powers given to Man for the formation of future Nations.

"But there may be those who would look with apprehension on any intermixture of foreigners with the native race, from its supposed tendency to obliterate a peculiar and interesting variety of the human species. 'Suffer the New Zealanders,' they would say, 'under the influence

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of Christian missionaries, to grow up by themselves into a great, an educated, and a Christian people; but let there be no importations from without, which shall modify and finally efface the native character.' This feeling is natural and amiable, but it partakes of the gentle prejudice of Perdita, in expressing her dislike for the 'piedness,' or variegated character of carnations and other flowers, which she acknowledges to be the fairest of the season, but refuses to admit into her garden. Polixenes, to whom her conversation is addressed, inquires,

'Wherefore, gentle maiden,
Do you neglect them?
Perdita. For I have heard it said,
There is an art which, in their piedness, shares
With great creating Nature.
Polixenes. Say there be,
Yet nature is made better by no mean,
But nature makes that mean; so, o'er that art
Which you say adds to nature is an art
That nature makes. You see, sweet maid, we marry
A gentler scion to the wildest stock;
And make conceive a bark of baser kind
By bud of nobler race; this is an art
Which does mend nature, change it rather; but
The art itself is nature.'

Winter's Tale, Act iv. Scene iii.

"Let us understand by nature, when used actively in the above passage, the energy of the Divine will, and the answer of Polixenes contains one of the sublimest and most mysterious truths in the philosophy of the human powers. God has so fashioned man, as to empower man to fashion nature, and, so to fashion nature, as to draw from her hidden elements forms of far greater beauty and utility, than, in her present state of imperfection, are offered to us by nature herself. It would be difficult to select a fruit, a grain, or a vegetable, which has not been raised to its present value by artificial means; and wherever we turn, we are reminded of the wonders which are effected in the floral kingdom by modern horticulture.

"The same power which man thus exercises over the

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productions of the earth, is equally to be exercised over the various races of his kind; and this is not less true because in the formation of flowers and vegetables it is exercised with forethought; while in the formation of states and empires it has almost always been exercised at random, as the lust of conquest, the instinct of population, the spirit of adventure, or the necessities of exile, may have guided it. But, setting aside the great primeval branches of the human family who retained the impress of the Creator's mind 1, we cannot find an instance of any race that ever attained to a high state of culture, or as a nation emerged from barbarism, except by the ingrafting of a gentler scion upon the wilder stem.

"Yet who will say that the cultivated flower possesses a less distinct and individual character than the wild one? Or the kingdom which is formed by the intermixture of different races, than the primitive people whom history has handed down to us as the first possessors of the soil? A great author thus relates the origin of the Roman empire:--'Urbem Romam, sicuti ego accepi, condidere atque habuere initio Trojani, qui, Enea duce, profugi, sedibus incertis vagabantur; cumque his Aborigines genus hominum agreste, sine legibus, sine imperio, liberum atque solutum. Hi, postquam in una moenia convenere, dispari genere, dissimili lingua, alii alio modo viventes, incredibile memoratu quam facile coaluerint 2.' Was the

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character of the Roman people less distinctively their own, because of this intermixture of foreigners with the aborigines of Italy? Or should we have had a finer and a racier exhibition of national peculiarities, if the plains and promontories of Greece had never been tenanted by any tribes but the Pelasgian? Or has the world lost any thing in point of national identity, on account of the various ancestors which have contributed to the formation of the British people? 'Oh! that statesmen would consider what a glorious privilege they enjoy, when they are allowed to become the fathers of a new nation!' With this generous wish, an admirable modern writer thus concludes a passage on the subject of colonization by convicts. 'But this,' he continues, 'seems to be one of the things which God has reserved entirely to Himself 3.' It remains for us to pray, that every one who has the power to influence the future destinies of New Zealand, may be the intelligent and industrious promoter of His sacred purposes."?Essay on Exceptional Laws.

The whole of this is based on the hypothesis, that we give to the New Zealand Chief a just and honourable compensation for the territory and the sovereignty which he has ceded to us. If we give him the wealth which we are enabled to give him so easily, by the rapid increase in the value of the land which he gives us, and if we give him the honour and political importance which he has a right to demand in respect of the sovereignty he has relinquished in our favour, we put it into his power to bring up and to endow his sons and his daughters in such a way as not to preclude the idea of their making marriages with individuals of the other race. Such marriages have already taken place between persons of lower

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rank, and they might be expected to flow as a natural consequence, and without any forcing or undue encouragement from the advantageous position to which we are bound in justice and honour to raise the New Zealand Chieftain.

Say that no such marriages are formed, that on the one side or the other there is a repugnance which renders them impossible, it only involves the continuance of the unmixed native a little longer, and his eventual extinction in the natural course of things without violence or breach of faith, above all, without that despondency which fills him when he views himself as the child of a doomed race, the victim of an overmastering necessity, from which he cannot extricate himself, and from which no friendly hand is held out to release him. Our business is to endow him, and to attract him into our settlements, and make him our friend, and let him help us to make laws for him, and then let things take their course. If he survives, well; if not, we have done our best, and can take what he leaves with an easy conscience.

But it is to be feared, that when some writers speak of amalgamation as the great solution of our difficulties, they have something in mind which begins not with the elevation, but the degradation of the native race. This is painfully apparent in a passage of Dr. Thomson's "Story of New Zealand." He writes:

"In all conquests, whether by the mind or the sword, which have terminated in good to the weaker party, the conquerors have invariably amalgamated with the conquered; and this is most necessary among the New Zealanders. It is therefore satisfactory to find that Caucasian blood already flows in the veins of two thousand of the native population. The late Rev. Mr. Lawry, the venerable superintendent of the Wesleyan Missions in the South Seas, states, that 'the New Zealanders are melting away; but,' he observes, 'they are not lost--they are merging into another and a better class. In this process there lacketh not sin; but Providence will

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overrule this, and bring forth a fine new race of civilized mixed people, which shall be better for the world, better for the Church, and better for the new race 4.'"

We may heartily echo Mr Lawry's pious wish, that Providence may overrule this "which lacketh not sin," to promote His own great purposes of good to the human race. But shall we do nothing to effect the same object, by adopting measures which, instead of beginning in sin, shall begin in JUSTICE? We cannot create by law sentiments of honour and purity where they do not exist; but the more we raise the New Zealander, the more will sentiments of honour and purity infuse themselves into our intercourse with him, the less we shall degrade him, and the less he will degrade us. We may abolish laws which directly tend to lower his morality, and enact those which directly tend to raise it. Among the former class, if Dr. Thomson's testimony can be relied on, are the existing laws relating to the inheritance to native land. He says, that as the law now stands, "concubinage is indirectly encouraged, and legal unions between European males and native females are discouraged." Who can read this without indignation and shame?

But returning now to that nobler sort of amalgamation--the amalgamation of friendship, and equality, and co-operation, which I would fain see subsisting between the compeers of both races, and which might eventually lead to an amalgamation of blood--I would express the conviction that there is much in the character, sentiments, and hereditary ideas of the New Zealander, which makes him worthy to receive these elevating influences at our hands.

That they are eminently susceptible of religious feelings, is proved by their ready reception of Christianity. And there can be no stronger proof of the

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sincerity and good faith of their religion, than the interest which is taken in them by those who have laboured among them. The Bishop of New Zealand, the Bishop of Wellington, and Archdeacon Hadfield are English gentlemen, and the ardour with which they espouse the native cause, is proof at least of one thing, that they esteem the native character. And this esteem is founded on a close and intimate acquaintance with it. Others may see the native only at a distance, and know him only as the tattooed warrior who stands between them and the acquisition of their soil. But these gentlemen have known him intimately and long; and their early intimate acquaintance with the young scions of England's best nobility 5 has not made them less ready to appreciate the points of interest in the character of the New Zealander.

The gentlemen to whom the letter to Lord Stanley (page 35) was submitted for consideration, remarked in their reply:

"It is, moreover, by no means certain that the distinctions of chieftainship amongst the savage tribes would not necessarily disappear when they came to be a civilized people. Strength and boldness, and perhaps cruelty, may have raised a savage to supremacy over his tribe; but it does not follow that the members of his tribe who on these grounds had been subject to him, would admit his claim to superiority when they had all become equally, and at the same time with himself and his family, instructed in the arts of civilized life 6."

It is to be hoped that the numerous books which have been written on New Zealand, and our improved acquaintance with the colony by letters and personal intercourse, have generally removed this very erroneous impression. There is abundant evidence that there

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is as great a variety and distinction among the families and classes of the native New Zealanders as there is in England, and that high ancestry is perhaps more valued among them than among ourselves. One of the points at issue in the controversy between Wirimu Kingi and Te Teira is their lineal descent from the ruling family of their tribe, and it is argued that Te Teira's title is better than Wirimu Kingi's, because the former descends from the first ancestor by an unbroken line of seventeen generations, whereas the branch of the latter was grafted into the family by a mesalliance which took place thirteen generations back. So that it was quite a misnomer to talk, as was once done, of creating an aristocracy in New Zealand: the aristocracy exists already. All that rests with us is to endow them, as is right and fair, and for the benefit of their country, and to place them in a position of political importance equal to that which they gave up in signing the treaty of Waitangi.

Nor are they wanting in that poetry and refinement of sentiment, which is so becoming and natural in a superior class. A singular instance of this is to be seen in a lament composed in memory of his son by the father of Maketu, a young chief aged seventeen, who had died by the hand of Justice.

It was a dreadful tragedy. Maketu had been working for hire in the house of Mrs. Roberton, a widow, and had been insulted by her English servant. In revenge for this he split open his head while he slept, and being seen by Mrs. Roberton, killed her also, together with three children, one of them a half-caste, who lived with her. Having done this, he rifled the house of some of its contents, and set it on fire. He then fled to his tribe, who with the concurrence of his father delivered him into the hands of justice, and he was hung, though it was thought that the great atrocity of the act was due to a taint of insanity in his blood. The story is told at length in Dr.

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Thomson's "New Zealand," and the "Lament" is as follows:

"Oh, my son!
I may ne'er forget thee. Thou art gone
Far hence; for the deep springs of fatherly
Affection are bubbling now, and the mind
Seems all bewildered, o'ertaken by a storm.
I fed thee with the fish which line the rocks
Along the ocean shore, and taught thee how to meet the enemy.
Oh, my son, I used to press thee to my breast!
Yes, Maketu, that child whom priests
Baptized in the fast-flowing stream.
Stay, my son! It was a day of life
When the people came in companies;
When the birds and other dainties were set
Before them. How now?
Ah! do not look upon my bird 7 with scorn;
So it is newly fledged, and comes from
That noble one, Whara Whara, the Great.
And when its death is known, the grandsons
Of famed Taingahue will come from
Distant places. Here are thy lines;
O'er those I weep, and then I place
Thy hooks within a basket, as a memorial
Of my lost one.
My son, thy name was scarcely known;
Thou wert a stripling, and yet
Thy hands have touched another's treasures.
Thy sires Pehi and Te Ngatata were great
And wise, then how hast thou become
Acquainted with Whiro, the god of plunder 8?"

The baptism "in the fast-flowing stream" does not refer to Christian baptism, but to the Iriiri, a native ceremony used in giving names to children, especially those of chiefs.

It is remarkable that in the "Lament" the father

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tenderly reproaches his dead son for having plundered the house of his victim, but makes no allusion to the graver act. The fact is that robbery was forbidden by the custom of New Zealand; taking life, under certain circumstances, was enjoined. It is stated as an acknowledged fact, in one of the last numbers of the "New Zealander," that "we have fewer instances of offences against person and property among the native New Zealanders as a people than among any other population in the world." On the other hand it was as imperative, according to their law of honour, for a New Zealander to take the life of one who had insulted him, as it is among us to wipe out an insult by a duel. And that which strikes us as so cowardly and un-English, was in accordance with their principle of taking life (when the penalty of death had been incurred), with as little pain as possible to the sufferer. It was no degradation to Maketu, though a high chiefs son, to work for hire, but it was an insult to be told that he was lazy, and it was for that insult that he took the life of Mrs. Roberton's servant. When he had been condemned to death, he earnestly entreated that he might die at once, but this could not be allowed; and the English custom of death by hanging, so far less merciful than theirs of striking down by a blow upon the head, was also submitted to.

This all occurred soon after the arrival of Governor Hobson. How much evil might have been avoided, and how far the progress of National amalgamation might have advanced, if earnest attention had been given from that time to the adoption of laws suited to take the place of their own wild justice of revenge!

This native-king movement itself, what is it but a proof of political spirit and vitality, which marks him as worthy to be the ancestor as well as the descendant of a family of chiefs? We are all proud to be the countrymen of those barons who withstood their monarch with the words "Nolumus leges Angliae mutari," and it is just the same spirit which animates

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the New Zealand, chiefs in their assertion of their political rights at this moment. And there is reason and moderation in their counsels. The extreme party indeed are earnest for a really independent national status, but a larger party ask for no more than effective magisterial authority, and a just share in the government of their country 9. Give to Potatau another name than king, call him as he wished to be called "the father of the people," recognize him as the spokesman of his race, and what would be more reasonable than the following reflection, made at their great meeting at Waikato in May last. "The Governor," said one of the native speakers, "ought to have gone and inquired into the conduct of Te Rangitake (Kingi), then returned, consulted Potatau, and formed a committee of missionaries, magistrates, and chiefs, to inquire into the matter, and if they found that Rangitake is wrong, settle the matter by giving the land to the Governor. But he went to Taranaki and let out all his wrath at once 10."

I shall now say a word or two more in illustration of the social alliances between individual families of the chiefs and individual families of the chief settlers, which was proposed for the adoption of the New Zealand Association in 1837. A similar method was adopted in the early history of many nations to soften the asperities of nationality and race, and promote friendliness between two peoples, especially when brought together as members of one State. The principle in each case is the same, though the circumstances differ.

There was the xenia [Greek] or guestship of the Greeks. The Greek interchanged a pledge with his Thracian or Lycian friend. That at once established rights of

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hospitality and friendship between the two which descended to their posterity, and of course softened the natural hostility of the relations between Greek and barbarian. A most beautiful instance of the effect of this institution may be seen in the sixth book of the Iliad, where Diomed and Glaucus meet in the thick of battle, and after recognizing one another as hereditary guest-friends, exchange their armour--

chrysea chalkeion, ekatomvoi enneuvoion [Greek]--

as a further pledge of everlasting amity between their families.

The same thing in principle was to be seen in the relation between the Roman patron and client. This was also a hereditary tie between individuals among the Patres, who formed the original nucleus of the State, and individual foreigners who came to settle at Rome, and were collectively the origin of the Plebs. This practice was instituted by Romulus, and lasted six hundred years, and must have had a wonderful effect in cementing into one mighty people two classes so fiercely opposed to one another as were the Patricians and Plebeians of Rome.

Lastly, to explain "Les Gombettes." Among the barbarians who overran the Roman Empire in the fourth and fifth centuries were the Burgundians, who came from the north of Germany, and established a kingdom embracing within it the greater part of Switzerland and a large share of the eastern part of France. Gondebaut, the second king of this people, framed a code of laws which were particularly favourable to the Roman inhabitants, who formed the dominant class of the conquered country, the rest of the people being their slaves. This code of laws was named, after its framer Gondebaut, "Les Gombettes," and is the oldest barbarian code still extant 11; and

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the following little sketch of some of its principal provisions is given by Montesquieu;--

"Justice of the law of the Burgundians and Visigoths as to the partition of lands.

"These partitions were not made in a tyrannical spirit, but with a view to assist the mutual needs of the two peoples that were to inhabit the same country.

"The law of the Burgundians declares that each Burgundian shall be received as a guest into the family of a Roman. This is in conformity with the manners of the Germans, who, according to Tacitus, were the most hospitable people in the world.

"The law declares that the Burgundian shall have two-thirds of the land, and a third of the slaves. It here followed the genius of the two peoples, and was in conformity with the manner in which they each procured their subsistence. The Burgundian, who fed flocks, needed much land and few slaves; and the cultivation of the earth required for the Roman less land but a greater number of slaves 12."

Here we have not only the guestship, but the principle of an equitable partition of lands. It would be singular if history should have to record that whereas Gondebaut, a barbarian of the fifth century, gave to his subjects, consisting partly of Romans, partly of barbarians, a code of laws by which they became amalgamated into one happy and flourishing people, England, by neglecting to frame any such code for a race of noble savages--who received her on their shores, resigned their sovereignty into her hands, accepted her religion, and asked her to give them laws--suffered them to proceed with disappointed hope, and injured pride, and dark foreboding, from one act of self-destruction to another, till they were blotted from the earth, and left her undisputed mistress of their soil.

1   The Stirps generosa seu historica, as a philosophic friend has named that portion of the Semitic and Japetic races, that had not degenerated below the conditions of progressive civilization.--Coleridge's Church and State, p. 80.
2   Tradition informs us that the first founders and possessors of Rome were Trojans, who had fled from Troy under the conduct of AEneas, and for a time wandered uncertainly from one settlement to another; and with these the Aborigines, a rude and savage people, living without laws or government, restraint or control; but it is marvellous with what facility these two races of different ancestry, different language, and living in different ways, formed themselves into one people, after they had established themselves within the walls of one city.--Sallust.
"Though modern writers have questioned the accuracy of this tradition as it respects the Trojans, they do not question the fact of an intermixture of races."
3   Guesses at Truth, by two Brothers, vol. i . p. 101.
4   Dr. Thomson's "Story of New Zealand," vol. ii. p. 305.
5   The Bishop of New Zealand and the Bishop of Wellington were both tutors at Eton.
6   Mr. Elliot and the Hon. E. E. Villiers to Mr. Stephen, April 30th, 1842.
7   An affectionate term for a beloved child.
8   Maori Mementoes, by C. O. Davis, 1855.
9   Memorandum accompanying the Memorial of the Church Missionary Society to the Duke of Newcastle, p. 36.
10   Fox, p. 37.
11   Chepmell's "Course of History," 2nd Series. Vol. i. p. 170.
12   The "Esprit des Lois," book xxx. chap. ix.

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