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G. S. EVANS, ESQ., D.C.L.
CHAIRMAN OF THE COMMITTEE OF COLONISTS.
MY DEAR SIR,
The following address has been penned with the single desire of doing good to New Zealand. Many considerations might have dissuaded me from writing it, but they have all yielded to the earnest desire that I feel to labour, even at a distance of half the circuit of the globe, in that most important and most interesting field. One dissuasive would have been, a feeling of delicacy towards the colonists. What right have I to presume that my suggestions will be of sufficient value to obtrude upon their notice, or that they will not of themselves adopt the measures best suited to their circumstances, and most likely to insure the objects which the friends of New Zealand have at heart? To this I reply, that the honest convictions of any one who has thought deeply, and without prejudice, on any subject, cannot fail to be of value, and that even where ignorance of circumstances may disqualify from suggesting the precise measures which are most desirable, the suggestions will still be worthy of regard as illustrating the design that is had in view.
The New Zealand colonists may find in the following pages many thoughts that have occurred to themselves, many measures inferior in efficacy to those they will have decided on, and many which the circumstances of the case will render impossible, but I trust they will find nothing which is not the index of
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an important principle, and that, if not gaining information, they will at least derive pleasure from the perusal of these pages.
I might also have been dissuaded from this course by an opposite consideration. It is possible that by addressing you I may incur the disapprobation of some whose good opinion I should be sorry to lose; I refer to those who have all along set their faces against every project for the colonization of New Zealand. Believing, as I do, that this opposition has proceeded from an anxious concern for the fate of the New Zealanders, and a dread of the destructive effects which colonization has commonly entailed on the aboriginal tribes, I respect their motives, and I should be sorry to forfeit their good opinion. But this must not prevent me from adopting the course which I conscientiously believe to be the right one.
I concur in the persuasion expressed by the committee of the Church Missionary Society, that New Zealand is marked out by Providence to become the Great Britain of the southern hemisphere. But I am equally persuaded that no power on earth can prevent Europeans from being the agents by which it is to attain this position, or from sharing largely in the benefits to be derived from it; and I therefore think that all who have the power should use their utmost efforts not to hinder but to regulate the colonization of that country.
From the first moment, that I became acquainted with the New Zealand Association of 1837, I felt persuaded that such was their anxious wish. Every one of its members appeared to me to have a conscientious and heartfelt desire to check the evils which have been inflicted on New Zealand by the random and irregular species of colonization of which it has been and is now the theatre, and while introducing into that country the arts, the comforts, the knowledge, and the moral
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and social habits of a civilized race, to turn colonization itself into the most powerful instrument for converting and elevating the natives. And not only did I believe them to be sincere in entertaining these views, but I witnessed with pleasure the promptitude and liberality with which they availed themselves of every suggestion that might assist them to realize their benevolent wishes, and the earnestness with which they sought to introduce every wise and beneficent influence into their plans. And I was therefore deeply grieved that these generous views did not meet with a corresponding echo in the hearts of those who were best able to promote them, nor obtain from the wisdom of parliament a large and comprehensive measure for the systematic colonization of New Zealand.
With the rejection of the New Zealand Bill by the House of Commons my acquaintance with most of the members of the New Zealand Association ended, and was only revived when I was made aware that a large body of my countrymen, unaided by any legislative measure, were about to embark for New Zealand, with a view to colonize the country upon the principles embodied in the Bill, and for which it was the object of the Bill to obtain the sanction of parliament.
Upon the merits of this arduous undertaking it is not my business to pronounce. Suffice it to say, that, it is a course which was clearly left open to you by the opponents of the New Zealand Bill, and the only course by which it was in your power to give effect to principles which, in your opinion, were the safest for New Zealand. The world will adjudge to you its award of praise or blame, not according to the abstract merits of your proceeding, but according to the success with which it is attended. The objects which you propose to have in view are great and good, and as you have determined to attempt their execution, it appears to me to be the duty of every right thinking
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individual to assist your efforts to the utmost of his power.
I rejoice to think that the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts has acted on this principle in contributing to the support of your clergyman; and I trust and believe that God has given you the person best suited for that important post, and I pray that under his zealous ministrations true religion may take deep root among you.
Plans deduced from views of political economy, natural justice, and the constitution of man, may have their use, but if disunited from religion they must be faulty in themselves and must end in miserable failure, for religion is not a thing to be set apart, and cut off from fellowship with these and other laudable methods of doing good. Its proper province is to pervade, animate, and hallow them all.
In order, therefore, that the following suggestions, or any plans which may occur to yourselves, may be rightly carried into effect, I cannot express a better wish for you and your brother colonists than that through the cordial reception of the doctrines and heart-moving truths of the Christian faith, a spirit of vital godliness may flourish in your community. For then you will have within your body the true spring of all right and generous action, and the only legitimate source of a nation's greatness. And to the untutored inhabitants of the land you will have to offer, not merely to be partakers in all your civil and social rights, but what is far better, to be "fellow heirs, and of the same body, and partakers of the promise of God, in Christ, by the Gospel."
I have the honour to remain,
My dear Sir,
Your ever faithful servant and well-wisher,