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THE FORMATION OF A CONSTITUTION
IN reflecting upon the present state and future prospects of New Zealand, the mind is naturally disposed to speculate upon the form of constitution which it would be most desirable to establish on its shores. For we cannot but believe, that from its situation and physical advantages it is destined to become, in the course of time, a position of political importance scarcely inferior to that which is occupied by Great Britain herself, and that this is the time when measures should be taken to form the social and political character of its future people.
Now it must be acknowledged that, heretofore, England has not been happy in her measures of colonization. The present circumstances and relative position of the whole Anglo-Saxon population of the New World, are far from being such as to permit her to congratulate herself on the wisdom she has hitherto displayed in laying the foundation of future states and empires. And whatever direction may yet be given to Australian colonization, we must confess, with shame, that it began by the plantation of crime.
But there is some reason to hope that the dawn of a brighter period is approaching. For many valu-
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able suggestions, and for much indefatigable labour in the cause of colonization, we are greatly indebted to Sir Robert Wilmot Horton, and we are no less indebted to Mr. Edward Gibbon Wakefield, for the discovery and unwearied advocacy of a mode of disposing of waste lands in the colonies which is now extensively adopted, and which must have the greatest possible influence on the whole future course of colonization. The subject is beginning to be considered under new aspects, and to be regarded with interest in quarters where formerly it excited no attention. And it augurs well, and is worthy of remark, that persons whose general views and particular predilections are at the utmost possible distance from each other, agree in the admission of one great principle with respect to it, namely, that the future colony should be in its form and constituent elements a counterpart of the mother country.
The advocates of the Wakefield system of colonization have always urged as its greatest recommendation, that it affords an unexampled facility for carrying out to the new country, not individuals alone, but an integral portion of society as it exists in England; while the importance of this principle is distinctly recognised by their most decided political opponents. In proof of which, I need only refer to the sentiments expressed by Sir Robert Inglis, who, on more than one occasion, has quoted the famous saying of the Duke of Wellington, that for a great nation like England, there can be no such thing as a little war, and has applied it to colonization, saying, that there should be no such thing as a small project of colonization, and that every colony ought to be a miniature representation of the British empire.
Under the sanction of this remarkable coincidence of opinion in two very different quarters, it may perhaps be permitted me to set down some reflections
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which were not unlikely to have occurred to me, while speculating on the course which it would be reasonable to pursue in order fully to carry out this idea in the particular case of New Zealand, and at the same time, to make the sovereignty of Great Britain perfectly consistent with the preservation and consolidation of every civil right which we can suppose to exist in the present lords of that country.
I shall state at once, and embody in three propositions the chief features of the course which has occurred to me, as best calculated to effect such a purpose, and I shall afterwards enter with more detail into its defence and general illustration.
The propositions are these:--
First. That New Zealand should be governed by a lord-lieutenant appointed by the crown of England, and have a parliament of its own.
Secondly. That to this end it should be the immediate care of Great Britain to provide for the establishment and perpetual maintenance of a senate, or superior house of legislature for the new country.
Thirdly. That this senate, or superior house of legislature, should consist partly of Englishmen of large landed property in New Zealand, to be appointed for that purpose by the British crown, and partly of the Native Chiefs of New Zealand, and that the members of this senate should have titles of honour, and constitute an hereditary peerage as in England.
I would only add that such being the great frame work of the body politic, it would be easy to make provision for the timely representation in the legislature of those specific popular interests, which would be evolved in the natural progress of the colony.
Upon the above propositions I submit the following remarks:--
To the proposed representative of the British crown, I give the title of Lord-lieutenant, as indi-
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eating the high rank of the individual whom it would be desirable to see at the head of affairs in New Zealand, and as establishing a closer analogy with the state of things in our own country.
By the term Senate, or superior house of legislature, it is intended to designate that portion of the body politic, whose natural province, according to its primary intention, is to deliberate on state affairs; and whose usual office, in a constitution fully developed, is "by its tranquil and safe, but effective working to act as an useful check on the popular branch of the legislature 1." It appears under its first character as the Wittenagemot of our Saxon ancestors, and the parliament of the early Norman kings, and under its second as the modern House of Lords.
As a reason for proposing the establishment of a senate in New Zealand, it may be enough to say that no national community is complete without one. Its importance as a deliberative body, and as the representative of a large class of most important interests is amply borne out by the whole course of past testimony and experience. Every one admits that as a balancing power, it is absolutely essential to the safety and permanence of a limited monarchy. Nor can it be dispensed with in a republic. For it is asserted as an axiom by a great republican writer, that "the necessary definition of a commonwealth, anything well ordered is that it is a government consisting of the senate proposing, the people resolving, and the magistracy executing 2."
But if it be granted that a senate is indispensable to the completeness and good order of a state, I think it will readily be allowed that it is that portion of the community which ought, in order of time, to be the first embodied and invested with specific functions.
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The work to be first done in a newly settled country, is that which naturally falls under the province of a senate, the presumable qualifications of which are deliberative wisdom, prudence, forethought, experience, and theoretical knowledge of legislation. Indeed the interests of the several classes of a young community are so simple, and so little at variance with each other, that in the early stages of a nation's growth, the senate may be considered as the personification of the whole people. The business of a popular branch of the legislature, being to check, counterbalance, and modify, comes naturally afterwards, and as a consequence of the growth of new and diverse interests.
The third proposition will probably be read with some surprise; but, prejudice apart, is it not a more just ground of surprise (so far as regards the British portion of such a peerage) that among all the plans for colonial government, and the establishment and formation of colonies, a principle so essentially characteristic of the social polity of Great Britain should have been altogether disregarded?
For a practical proof of the importance of providing at the earliest period of the growth of a colony, for the existence of a branch of the legislature distinct from that which represents and is elected by the people, we need only call to mind one of the recommendations of a great statesman whose loss we now deplore, respecting the most important case of colonial disorder that has recently occurred. At the close of the celebrated Report of the late Earl of Durham, are to be found the following remarks upon the constitution of a legislative council for the Canadian provinces.
The constitution of a second legislative body for the united legislature involves questions of very great difficulty. The present constitution of the legislative councils of these provinces has always appeared to me inconsistent with sound
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principles, and little calculated to answer the purpose of placing the effective check which I consider necessary on the popular branch of the legislature.......
The attempt to invest a few persons, distinguished from their fellow-colonists neither by birth or hereditary property, and often only transiently connected with the country, with such a power, seems only calculated to ensure jealousy and bad feelings in the first instance, and collision at last.......
It will be necessary for the completion of any stable scheme of government, that parliament should revise the constitution of the legislative council, and--by adopting every practicable means to give that institution such a character as would enable it, by its tranquil and safe, but effective working, to act as an useful check on the popular branch of the legislature,--prevent a repetition of those collisions which have already caused such dangerous irritation.
In this opinion Lord Durham does not stand alone. Those who are opposed to many of his views and principles allow that, in this instance, he precisely indicated the great exigency and desideratum of the case. But they say that the materials out of which such an improved house of legislature should be formed are nowhere to be found, and that we have, therefore, no means of getting out of the difficulty. And yet the source of the difficulty and the mode, therefore, of obviating it in future, seems to be sufficiently indicated by the terms in which he states it.
The analogy which some persons have attempted to draw between the House of Lords and the Legislative Councils seems to me erroneous. The constitution of the House of Lords is consonant with the frame of English society;--and, as the creation of a precisely similar body in such a state of society as that of these colonies is impossible, it has always appeared to me most unwise to attempt to supply its place by one which has no point of resemblance to it, except that of being a non-elective check on the elective branch of the Legislature.
It is therefore most anxiously to be desired, for the future completeness and stability of the constitution of New Zealand, that the deficiency here indicated should be supplied beforehand. That the germ of its
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future society should be of such a sort as to produce all the necessary materials for embodying that power which affords the natural counterpoise to the popular interests and tendencies of the community. Nor is it required in order to fulfil this hope that any portion of the future society of New Zealand should be distinguished by extraordinary splendour and excessive wealth; for these circumstances, though inevitably mixed up with our conceptions of an upper house of legislature from what we witness at home, are by no means necessary to the moral and mental accomplishment, and the relative social position which we should look for in such a body.
But to bring this arrangement into consonance with the institutions and established practice of our country, it would be necessary that the persons forming such a body should not only possess comparative wealth and high moral and intellectual qualifications, but also, to a great extent, be descended from families of ancestral reputation in Great Britain. This would be one great means of making the colony a counterpart of the parent state, and would also promote a strong feeling of reciprocal affection and allegiance between the two countries. It seems scarcely necessary to contend that such persons would be the best qualified to form a council of government for the colony, and there is throughout the whole British population, when under the influence of their genuine feelings, such an affection and respect for the ancient gentry of the land, whether ennobled or not, that, could some scions from the venerable tree be carried over and take root in New Zealand, they would be followed by a large number of firm friends and faithful retainers, and be a centre of union and strength for the best and most English portion of the community.
Nor should we overlook the moral qualifications which are most likely to belong to persons of such a class.
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In that remarkable passage of Bacon's on the subject of colonization, in which he says that it is a shameful and unblessed thing to take the scum of the people with whom to plant. He adds a recommendation that the persons on whom the government of the colony should depend ought rather to be "noblemen and gentlemen than merchants, for they look ever to the present gain."
This also reminds me of a curious passage quoted from Harrington in the fine account of Sir Alexander Ball contained in COLERIDGE'S Friend:--
"There is something first in the making of a commonwealth; then in the governing of it; and last of all in the leading of its armies; which though there be great divines, great lawyers, great men in all ranks of life, seems to be peculiar only to the genius of a gentleman. For so it is in the universal series of history,--that if any man has founded a commonwealth, he was first a gentleman. Such also as have got any fame as civil governors have been gentlemen or persons of known descent."
The spirit of this quaint passage may perhaps be somewhat too exclusive, but I think we shall all acknowledge the correctness of thought with which Coleridge expresses himself in another place, where he commends Solon for having attached authority to "high birth and property, or rather to the moral discipline, the habits, attainments, and directing motives, on which he calculated (not indeed as necessary and constant accompaniments, but yet) as the regular and ordinary results of comparative opulence and renowned ancestry."
But whatever opinion may be entertained as to the abstract question, it will doubtless be conceded that nothing could be more conducive to the welfare of the state about to be founded in New Zealand, than for the various bodies of which it will consist, to be
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led out, planted and governed by a number of high principled and accomplished men of well-known English families, and possessing that general acquaintance with affairs which is acquired during the course of a liberal education, and by habitual intercourse with the superior classes.
And I cannot but think that if the authorities competent to realize such a project were convinced of its expediency, the difficulties in the way of its execution would disappear. The desire of occupying a high station in the legislature of an empire, of founding a noble family, and of connecting one's name with the progress of a nation's affairs, is so closely interwoven into all hearts, and especially into such as possess any touch of nobleness and generosity, that there would be no want of persons possessing all the necessary qualifications for such a charge, should the crown of England consent to place them in that high and important post that we have described.
If the best and noblest of our countrymen are willing to spill their blood in battle, and if the most honourable boon that a grateful country can bestow on military heroism, is a seat among the hereditary legislators of our land, surely there is something in the work of laying the foundation of an empire, and handing down to one's own descendants the illustrious charge of rearing it to maturity, which would offer a sufficient inducement even to the noblest blood of England, to make some momentary sacrifice for so great an honour.
But to this enterprise there would be a further motive less alloyed with selfish ambition, but not less truly glorious. There is no subject which excites so great a display of interest among the most estimable and well constituted minds of all ranks and parties as the dawn of civilization and religion over the dark places of the world. Hitherto, however, the single
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agency that we have thought it necessary to adopt in order to hasten its arrival has been that of Christian missions; and, valuable as this agency undoubtedly is for the conversion of sinners, it is a vital error to suppose that it is intended or calculated to effect the complicated work of civilization. It is well known that the great majority of the missionaries who have been employed in uncivilized countries have been men of most humble circumstances and limited education, with no knowledge of secular affairs, no qualification in fact beyond that of skill in some handicraft employment and zeal in their religious avocations. That such an order of men may be made instrumental of much good in any country, no Christian can doubt; but that they are qualified for the delicate and difficult work of giving form to the rude elements of society no man of reflection will assert.
But it is something far greater even than this which has to be done in New Zealand. The prospect which is there presented to us is something more than a common scheme of civilization. We behold there at this moment the co-existence of a number of very remarkable circumstances which impress us with the belief that nothing but wise direction is required for the speedy formation of a great characteristic empire; and of this empire, justice, wisdom, and the fitness of things, no less than the often repeated declarations of Great Britain, imperatively demand that the native people should form a great, dignified, and influential portion.
What distinguishes the present from all other cases of the formation of a new empire is, that here the native race, instead of being depressed, is to be elevated. To this, both the British Government and all who have anything to say to New Zealand colonization, have over and over again pledged themselves both by implication and direct assertion. And if this
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is neglected, we not only violate justice by depriving a people of what we have solemnly acknowledged to belong to them, and by inflicting injury on those who have conferred on us the greatest benefits; but we stand convicted before the world as false dealers and breakers of our word.
Thus two of the greatest purposes which man can effect by his fellow-men have simultaneously to be performed. The heroic work of colonization, which, when carried on in its true spirit, conveys to a distant shore, not a rabble of needy adventurers, but a vigorous counterpart of the parent state. And the heroic work of civilization, or, more properly, social organization, which calls men from wilds and forests to build cities, and form themselves into well-governed communities; a work of which, notwithstanding all our efforts, we have no example in modern history, but of which there is some glimmering tradition in the records of very ancient nations, and which sheds a radiance of poetic glory over such names as those of Orpheus or Amphion 3.
Were the work of colonization the only one to be performed, and were there no natives in New Zealand, or could we make them serfs, it would still be desirable to send out and establish there a body of men who should feel their private interest to be bound up with that of the new country, and be qualified and empowered to discharge deliberative and legislative functions with the perfect confidence of the parent
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state, and the respect and approbation of all mankind. And it is impossible that any men could be so well qualified for such a task as those who should deserve to be selected out of the higher classes of the British gentry to form the senatorial order of the future nation.
But this plan would have another great advantage distinct from, but co-ordinate with, and auxiliary to the former one; namely, that of making the supreme rule of Great Britain perfectly consistent with, the retention in the hands of the New Zealand chiefs of all that is substantial and important in their sovereign rights. Nay, more, of bringing into distinct form and visible body those rights which at present only exist in embryo, while the fact of their existing only in embryo does not release Great Britain from the solemn and sacred duty of respecting them, and of taking the utmost care and pains lest they should be stifled in their birth.
The nature of these embryo sovereign rights may be best collected from the following passage of an old author, concerning the sovereignty of our own island at an early period of its history. The author to whom I refer is Speed, and he writes as follows respecting the opinion of a previous historian:--
"It seemeth by him and other latine writers the best recorders of kingdomes affaires, this Iland was gouerned rather after the maner of an aristocratie, that is, by certaine, great nobles and potent men, then under the commaund of any one as an absolute monarch; though herein is a difference, in that in the aristocraticall regiment, the rulers are all peers of one commonwealth; whereas here so many princes so many severall publike weals."
In the present state of the New Zealand chieftains they are without that connecting bond which seems essential to the very idea of sovereignty considered as
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the attribute of a state. They possess no characteristic features of government which enable us to pronounce under what description of "regiment" or "public weal" they may be classed. But as the Latin authors, to whom Speed refers, designated the early social system of this island by the name of an aristocracy, because that was the regular form of government which, viewed in regard to the rights possessed and exercised, it most nearly resembled; so it is clear that the form of government, into coincidence with which the social state of New Zealand might most easily be brought, would be an aristocracy governed by a uniform system of laws; each chief being magistrate and executor of the laws in his own sphere, and the work of legislation and deliberation on the affairs of the country being carried on by the whole body of the chiefs assembled in a common council, and acting as peers of one commonwealth. And that this is the form of government which natural sense assigns to New Zealand, appears from the British Resident having assembled together a congress of chiefs at the Bay of Islands to declare their independence, and present them with a national flag.
But who can doubt that a state so constituted would be governed far more safely, with far greater convenience and security both to people and chiefs, if there was one presiding power over the whole, whether a native monarch or a lord-lieutenant appointed by Great Britain?
That it is impossible to establish a native monarchy has long been evident, and indeed that the native chiefs should form themselves into an assembly of "peers of one commonwealth" to govern the country according to the "aristocraticall regiment" is equally unlikely. But who will say that it is not within the power of the crown of England, the zealous vindicator and natural protector of the rights of the
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New Zealand chiefs, to preserve and defend, or rather to develope, define, and consolidate these rights, and bring them into their most healthy and beneficial exercise, by associating with them as peers of the same commonwealth a chosen body of her most worthy sons, and placing over the whole a dignified representative of her own majesty?
The native chiefs, it is true, could at present take but little share in the deliberations of such an assembly, but their dignity would be preserved, they would meet each other, no longer as enemies, but as friends, and councillors together. There would be no time lost if they had to spend a whole generation in acquiring the idea of an organized realm, and of an assembly meeting and deliberating as peers of such a realm. The honour of the whole aboriginal race would be kept up by the distinction thus conferred upon their chiefs. They would be a constant memento to their peers of the British race that the interests of the natives were of equal importance with the interests of the British, and they would themselves very soon acquire such a knowledge of the meaning of their proceedings as to be able to protect themselves against anything manifestly injurious to their country. In the mean time they might be invested with certain, executive and magisterial functions, each in his own peculiar sphere,--which would teach them the nature of law,--which would make them useful agents in the civil polity of the country,--and which would tend to keep up their dignity: three most important purposes in promoting the social organization of the new country.
If such a scheme as this for the fulfilment of the utmost washes of philanthropy respecting the native people, and the formation of a great British dynasty, identical in all its parts with the British nation itself, were placed before the nobility and the ancestral gen-
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try of Great Britain; and if the rulers of England had sufficient faith in the excellence of our constitution and in the progress of empires, to call on her best sons to join in such a project, might we not hope that there is enterprise, valour, and virtue enough to undertake it among the worthiest of our land; and that, by the blessing of God, we should do that for the natives of New Zealand which has never yet been done for any of the coloured races of the world?
Perhaps it will be said that the consequence of such a measure would be the creation of too formidable a power; but is it not better to create a great friendly power, than to suffer a great hostile power to create itself?
According to the old, or rather the early modern, and still recent system of forming colonies, it seems to have been forgotten that they were the seeds of future empires; for we see no evidence of any precaution having been taken to provide beforehand for the wants which an empire must experience in its growth and progress to maturity. Hence the powers of the new state have grown up of themselves, and have often been of a growth no less dangerous than rapid and vigorous.
It was well said by the Bishop of London at a meeting of the Society for promoting Christian Knowledge, held with a view to the establishment of bishoprics in the colonies, that the United States would never have separated from Great Britain if the Church of England, under its complete episcopal form of church government, had been established there.
But how much more certainly would this connexion have been preserved if, together with an establishment of the Church of England in her full order, beauty, and completeness, there had been given to her as the groundwork of her legislature, an ample body of her nobility, invested with titles of honour, and
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forming a house of peers for her transatlantic empire! If, instead of neglecting and discouraging, or leaving merely to the impulse of their own adventurous spirits, those many ardent and noble souls, whose names are connected with the discovery and colonization of America, and who were among the most ancient families of our land, she had made them peers of the new country, how different would the history of America have been! But, alas, the time of the colonization of America was a time of dissolution, not of organization,--a time when the principle of Progression fearfully overbalanced the principle of Permanence 4.
Had it been the design of Great Britain to raise on a distant soil a young counterpart of herself, she should have recollected that as labourers were required to till the ground, and architects to build cities, and mechanics and artizans to supply the wants of social life, and merchants to draw forth the natural resources of the country: so legislators were required to order and govern the state. And she should not only have permitted but provided, that, from the very first outset of the new commonwealth, there should be a class of men fitted in every point by birth, by feeling, by education, by superiority to insignificant strifes and petty quarrels, and by a far-sighted acquaintance with the principles of government and human nature, to discharge the functions of her own hereditary councillors. There was no want of materials at the colonization of America for giving the future empire a perpetual succession of legislators devoted to the welfare of the parent state, and qualified by high feelings of honour and high mental endowments for rearing and upholding the fabric of government. And the noblest opportunities were granted to successive monarchs, from Henry VIII. downwards, for forming on the western shores of the Atlantic an exact counterpart of Great Britain, with all its characteristic
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institutions, and all its high and dignified associations, added to the spirit of youthfulness and enterprise, and comparative hardiness and frugality, for which colonies must always afford greater necessity than the mother-country.
Nor was there any want of events to call attention to the necessity of providing this element of social order for the incipient state. The peculiar circumstances, the political exigencies and difficulties of the American settlements, were forced again and again upon the attention of successive monarchs, and yet it never seems to have occurred to them that they were the germs of future empires; they seem never to have regarded them in any other light than as a small band of Englishmen struggling for subsistence on a distant shore, for whom certain laws and regulations were necessary, and to whom it was expedient to grant certain privileges, but for whose great future political wants it was quite unnecessary to make any provision.
It is asserted by Robertson, with great appearance of reason, that the early mode of governing colonies originated in the grant of America to the crown of Spain by the Pope. By this grant it was considered that the new country became the absolute property of the monarch, and that he could rule it with an exclusive reference to his own interests. The example set by Spain was followed by the other colonizing powers of Europe, and the relation between parent states and colonies became one, not of protection and mutual benefit, but of dominion on the one hand and obedience on the other.
But colonies cannot always remain in a state of absolute subjection to the mother-country. Either by concession or by violence, a self-governing power will sooner or later be developed within them. Sooner or later they will demand those institutions by which
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the sense of the people is enabled to declare itself, and become the law of the land. It depends upon the original care and prudent forethought of the mother country whether they shall be trained up to the due exercise of these powers, and be themselves moulded into the best form of polity, and firmly attached in sympathies, character, and allegiance to the parent state; or whether they shall acquire these powers in a random way, according to the pressing exigencies of particular times, and led on by the accidental energy of particular minds, actuated by a rebellious spirit, and having "neoterixein" [Greek] for their motto.
The people will at length demand a representative assembly, and a representative assembly can easily be formed; but where, unless it be provided beforehand, will be that other assembly which is equally essential to the idea of a state "anything well ordered," and which, "by its tranquil and safe, but effective working, shall act as an useful check upon the popular branch of the legislature?"
In the case of New Zealand, and of every other colony which from its circumstances seems likely to be the germ of a future empire, there is a present exigency and there must arise a future one. A present exigency to possess at once a body of councillors qualified to deliberate from the first upon the affairs of the country, and from identification of interest with the soil, and permanent and territorial connexion with the rest of the people, more likely to determine wisely by their collective wisdom than any single governor, however wise, having only a temporary and official connexion with the country; and a future exigency of that kind which has been so strongly felt in Canada, to possess an effective upper house to discharge the functions of a senate, and act as a check upon the popular branch of the legislature. Can we doubt that on both of these accounts it would be England's best
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wisdom to use the necessary means for gathering and sending out as the leaders of New Zealand colonization, such a body of men as she could safely invest with the titles and functions of an hereditary peerage 5.
It would be easy to dilate on the many social and economical advantages which would accrue to the whole New Zealand community from the establishment of such an order of men upon its shores, the impulse it would give to the best kind of colonization, and the guarantee it would afford for the cultivation in New Zealand of everything which is most admirable at home; but I shall content myself with making the following extract from Blackstone respecting the principle of an hereditary branch of legislature:--
The distinction of rank and honours is necessary in every well-governed state, in order to reward such as are eminent for their services to the public in a manner the most desirable to individuals, and yet without burden to the community; exciting thereby an ambitious yet laudable ardour, and generous emulation in others. And emulation or virtuous ambition is a spring of action, which, however dangerous or invidious in a mere republic, or under a despotic sway, will certainly be attended with good effects under a free monarchy--where, without destroying its existence, its excesses may be continually restrained by that superior power from which all honour is derived. Such a spirit, when nationally diffused, gives life and vigour to the community; it sets all the wheels of government in motion, which, under a wise regulator, may
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be directed to any beneficial purpose; thereby every individual may be made subservient to the public good, while he principally means to promote his own particular views. A body of nobility is also more peculiarly necessary in our mixed and compounded constitution, in order to support the rights of both the Crown and the people, by forming a barrier to withstand the encroachments of both. It creates and preserves that gradual scale of dignity which proceeds from the peasant to the prince, rising like a pyramid from a broad foundation, and diminishing to a point as it rises. It is this ascending and contracting proportion that adds stability to any government, for when the departure is sudden from one extreme to another, we may pronounce that state to be precarious. The nobility, therefore, are the pillars which are reared from among the people more immediately to support the throne, and if that falls, they must also be buried under its ruins; and since titles of nobility are thus expedient in the state, it is also expedient that their owners should form an independent and separate branch of the legislature. If they were confounded with the mass of the people, and, like them, had only a vote in electing representatives, their privileges would soon be borne down and overwhelmed by the popular torrent, which would effectually level all distinctions. It is therefore highly necessary that the body of nobles should have a distinct assembly, distinct deliberations, and distinct powers from the commons.
What Blackstone here contemplates, is a house of lords as it exists in a fully developed constitution. What this essay describes is something which may be at once the germ of such a body, and the present great national council of New Zealand. I have said scarcely anything about the provision of a House of Legislature to be elected by the people, not from an oversight of the inevitable necessity for the eventual formation of such a house, but because I think the legislative body that I have described would at first be sufficient for the government and public welfare of the whole community, as those distinct interests which require to be represented by an elective house of legislature cannot be expected to arise until the whole apparatus of society has been for some time in motion. We shall not succeed in making our colony a counter-
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part of the mother-country by a servile and artificial imitation of the outward frame of her institutions, but by inserting into its soil such roots of a future constitution as shall naturally grow into those forms which give its character and value to our own. The mode which has hitherto been adopted in planting colonies has naturally tended to make them nurseries of democracy.
The objections against the principle of an hereditary element in a constitution are neither weighty nor generally held. The practice and common feelings of our countrymen agree in awarding worth and honour to the aristocratic branch of our community, and it is not likely that the example of any modern democracies will shake the natural faith which throughout all ages has been placed in hereditary honour and virtue, however ready we may be to acknowledge that honour and virtue are not the necessary, though they are the natural, consequences of high birth and hereditary wealth. We are also to consider that these institutions are not castes, and that the hereditary branch of our constitution is in a state of constant change by the extinction of old families, and the introduction into its body of men of high promise from other ranks. How different from the case of democratic America, where caste does exist in its most odious and debasing form! How different also from the morbid separations in society which are naturally engendered by convict colonization!
I am perfectly sensible of the anomalous character that would belong to a council composed in part of New Zealand chiefs and in part of English gentlemen; but I think it would not be difficult, while conceding to the native chiefs, and securing to their descendants an hereditary right of legislating for their country, to provide against their voting on questions respecting which there might be a strong difference of opinion
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among the British portion of the Senate, and by which the native interests would not be effected. Their honorary distinctions should be in all respects the same as that of the British Peers, but their political privilege should rather be that of assessors than of councillors. As regards the present generation of chiefs, it should rather be a school for the formation of legislators than a legislative assembly. While in all questions relating to native interests their unanimous dissent should amount to a veto. In all this there would be difficulties, but we should reflect that these New Zealanders are now the lords of the land; and that were they unanimously to insist upon their independence, England could not exercise one single act of authority upon their shores. Our plan, as regards them, grows out of the peculiar exigencies of the case, and is intended to give form to the embryo rights of sovereignty, which we acknowledge them to possess.
It would also be a great mistake to suppose, because they are uncivilized, that they have the same inaptitude for deliberating on state affairs which the unlettered part of our own population would have. It is, I conceive, one of the redeeming points of savage life that the people at large do possess a tolerable acquaintance with the customs and institutions of their country, and we know that they are in the habit of holding assemblies and deliberating upon measures of public interest; and if such an expedient as this were not adopted for representing the native interests, it would be very difficult to devise any plan by which such a representation could be secured to them in the popular branch of the legislature.
LONDON: HARRISON AND CO., PRINTERS, ST. MARTIN'S LANE.