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MR. CHAIRMAN: LADIES AND GENTLEMEN:--
The observations which I am now to have the honor of addressing to you will form rather a continuation of a Lecture, formerly delivered in this Hall, than a complete Lecture in itself.
On the former occasion I proposed to take a rapid survey of the Colonies of the ancient world, as well as of those of modern times: to advert to the motives which led to their settlement, and to the political and social institutions, and the agricultural and commercial statistics of such of them as might furnish to us lessons of instruction or of warning. And, finally, to bring our observations nearer home, to take a view of our own prospects as colonists; of the political institutions which the Mother Countiy has given us, and of the use which we have made of those institutions, as well as of the agricultural and commercial capabilities of this land of our adoption. On the former occasion, as some of my present auditory who then honored me with their attendance may possibly remember, we passed in rapid review the history of ancient colonization. We saw the hives of ancient Egypt throwing off their swarms upon the Islands and Continent of Greece, and the Countries of Greece becoming in time too strait for their inhabitants, and sending out colonies to people the shores of Italy and Sicily. We saw the thirst of gold stir up all Europe to explore and colonize the newly discovered shores of America; and the sufferers under religious persecution finding there a peaceable refuge.
We adverted at more length to the neighbouring Colonies of Australia, which have attained, under our own eyes, to such unparalleled wealth and prosperity, by the golden fleece of their native pastures, and the treasures of literal gold buried beneath those pastures. It remains for us to turn our attention to those islands which it has fallen to our own lot to colonize.
The first beginnings of the Colony of New Zealand, and the circumstances which attended its settlement, are of a different character from any which the pages of history have recorded.
Its pioneers were a small band of Christian missionaries, who, trusting in the only protection to which they could look--that of Divine Providence, disembarked their families upon its shores, not to search for gold or other material riches, but to impart to its benighted inhabitants the unsearchable riches of the Gospel of Christ. All early accounts of the New-Zealanders concur in
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describing them as at once the most ferocious and the most intelligent of savages: and the first missionaries were continual witnesses of the brutality of their manners, and the ferocity of their passions. Nor were some of the earliest amongst them ignorant that it had been seriously debated amongst the natives whether it would be more profitable to sacrifice them at once, in order to possess themselves of their property, or to protect them, in order that they might continue to bring supplies of English commodities to their shores.
When we consider the character of the New Zealanders at that time, and the total absence of all authority to restrain their unbridled passions,--when we consider that war, with all its revolting circumstances, scarcely ever ceased amongst them--we cannot but recognise in the contained safety of the missionary families, the realization of the promise contained in the commission to the first and all future missionaries: "Go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature, and lo I am with you always, even to the end of the world."
Years elapsed before the missionaries had any evidence of the softening of the character of the natives, not to speak of their conversion. It was not till they had made themselves familiar with the Maori language, and had printed the New Testament in that language, that their message began to produce its effects.
It is not easy for us, who have been from infancy familiar with the Scriptures, to form an idea of their first effects upon the untutored minds of the natives. To many of them, they were a subject of absorbing interest,--their study by day, and the theme of their discouse and meditation by night. It was besides their one book, and they looked upon its contents with all the avidity with which we may imagine a man born blind opening his eyes for the first time upon the visible objects of creation. In those days the schools were crowded with people of all ages and degrees: the chief joined with his slave, the father placed on the same form with his children. The scholars in their turns became teachers, and carried to their own villages the acquirements they had made, and the disposition to impart those acquirements to others. So that at the time the British Government was established in New Zealand the ability to read and write was probably as common amongst the New Zealanders as in the most favored districts of England. The knowledge of the New Testament was universal, and the peaceful influence of its doctrines was manifested in the character, even of those who made no profession of Christianity.
From the time of the first persecution of the Church at Jerusalem, when "they who were scattered abroad went everywhere preaching the word," it has often been remarked that the persecution of Christians has extended the knowledge of the Gospel. But in New Zealand the bonds of slavery were silently dissolved by the influence of the Gospel upon the hearts of the master and the slave. The captive taken in war was allowed to return
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to his native village, and to carry with him that Gospel which had made himself free. The first native missionaries of Christianity were those whom Christianity had delivered from bondage.
The security with which the Mission families resided in New Zealand encouraged the settlement of traders in various parts of the Country, and they were everywhere welcome. The civilizing influence of commerce was joined to that of Christianity: and whatever wars were raging in the Country, the persons and property of the traders were almost invariably respected. Indeed, when the character and conduct of many persons who found a refuge in New Zealand are considered, the patience and forbearance of the natives towards them, affords matter for wonder.
The first connexion of the British Government with New Zealand was one of a diplomatic character. It was supposed that a functionary representing the British Government, of a similar character to the Residents of the East India Company at the Courts of the native princes, might acquire such an influence over the Maori chiefs, as would not only afford security and protection to British subjects settled amongst them in the pursuit of their lawful avocations, but lead, eventually, to the establishment of the Institutions of civilized Government, and the dominion of law: amongst the natives themselves.
A functionary of that character was consequently appointed, who landed at the Bay of Islands in May, 1833, nineteen years after the arrival of the first missionaries, and resided there in that capacity until the year 1840.
The rapid immigration of British subjects, during that period, had, however, brought about a state of affairs which would have made a native Government impossible, even had there anywhere existed a recognized authority upon which it could have been established.
Unlike many Islands of the Polynesian Groups, where there appears to have always existed a recognized authority in the chiefs, and a willing obedience in the people, these Islands were inhabited by a people without a ruler, and without a law. The New Zealander was the genuine son of Ishmael--"his hand was against every man, and every man's hand against him."
Whatever moral influence may have been exerted by the elders or chiefs from hereditary or personal claims to respect, no man, who was not a slave taken in war, admitted the existence of any right in another to interfere with or control his actions. The idea of authority as a right, or of obedience as a duty, had no existence in their minds.
The British Government, as well as the other European powers which colonized America, took possession of that country by what was called the right of discovery, leaving it for those of their respective subjects to whom the land was granted, or to the Governors appointed to represent the European Sovereign, to conciliate the natives, or buy off their opposition, by a nominal purchase of the soil, as in the case of British America; or to clear the way for
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the European race, by the extermination or slavery of the aborigines, as in the case of the Spaniards in Mexico and Peru.
The anomalous position of so large a number of British subjects as were residing in different parts of New Zealand, amounting, as has been estimated, to nearly 2000, in 1839, subject to the penalties, 1 and yet beyond the protection of British laws, imperatively required the interference of the British Government both for their protection and their control. But as all pretensions to seize upon the Sovereignty or the soil of New Zealand, on the ground of discovery, had been solemnly disavowed both by William the 4th and Queen Victoria, it became necessary to obtain by treaty that Sovereignty which had, in the settlement of America, been assumed as a right.
The treaty of Waitangi was concluded at the Bay of Islands on the 6th of February, 1840, between Capt. Hobson and the principal chiefs of the North: and the adherence of the principal chiefs, throughout the Islands, was shortly afterwards obtained. By this treaty the rights of Sovereignty were ceded to the Queen of England; and the Queen of England guaranteed to the Chiefs and people the possession of their lands, with this proviso, that they should, thenceforward, sell what they were disposed to part with, only to the Queen, through agents appointed by her authority to treat with them. The natives were, at the same time, admitted to all the rights and privileges of British subjects. But these rights have their corresponding duties, to which the New Zealanders have as yet shewn but little disposition to submit. The protection of law can only be afforded where there is a willing obedience, or a constrained submission to its dictates.
The Seat of Government was fixed at Auckland, and New Zealand, was for a time, governed as a dependency of New South Wales; but was, as soon as practicable, declared a separate Colony.
Nearly simultaneously with the establishment of British Sovereignty, was the settlement of the New Zealand Company's first Colony at Wellington. That of Nelson followed shortly after; and the other three Settlements at successive periods. The form of Government which was first instituted for New Zealand, was modelled after that of the Convict Colony of New South Wales, rather than that of the free colonies of America. The Legislature consisted of the Governor and his principal official functionaries, with the addition of three private persons, all of whom held their seats at the will of the Governor.
Each of the New Zealand Company's Colonies consisted, in some sense, of an organized community, who had interests in common, and who were held together by certain theoretical principles, an adherence to which they considered necessary to their success as settlers, and to their prosperity as a community.
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Auckland was settled by a fortuitous collection of individuals, each pursuing his own interests in his own way, without any combination amongst themselves, or regard to the general welfare.
There could have been no greater mistake than the attempt to govern as one those six separate Colonies, so disunited by physical impediments, and by theoretical systems. No Colony, ever planted by British subjects, was better entitled to self-government than was each of the Six Colonies of New Zealand; and there could have been no means more effectual for creating discontent and disaffection than the attempt to unite interests so irreconcilable.
The first change in the form of Government was made bythe creation of a subordinate Government in the South; a Lieutenant Governor and separate Legislature having been appointed for the Southern Provinces, but still in subordination to the Governor-in-Chief. Then came a Constitution with representative institutions, which was enacted by Parliament, but suspended on the representation of the Governor.
Of so complicated a piece of machinery as our present Constitution, it would be difficult to give even an outline, without exceeding the limits to which our time restricts us. When we look to its elaborate and multifarious provisions, we would be tempted to suppose that its contrivers considered that the perfection of the institutions of Government consisted in their complexity.
The perfection of mechanics is to produce the greatest results by the most simple machinery: but to judge from our Constitution, the perfection of the institutions of Government would appear to be the application of the greatest possible amount of machinery in producing the minimum of good government; as if the institutions of Government should exist for the sole purpose of multiplying public officers, and public functionaries, in order that they might create employment for each other, and keep the machinery in motion, were it only by unravelling, in the upper floor of the factory, the tangled web which had been put together on the floor below; amusing the people by an appearance of business, as Penelope is said to have amused her visitors by unravelling, during the night, the web which they saw her weaving during the day.
Why was it that the Pilgrim Fathers found no difficulty in laying the foundations of their government on a basis which has produced, by the simplest means, all the highest results of good government? It was because their eye was single--they were of one heart and one mind--they sought not power for ambitious or selfish objects. Their institutions were simple, because they were intended to serve no other ends than the true ends of Government--the peace, safety, and prosperity of the people. They had to guard against a watchful enemy without, and against the violence and injustice of interlopers within their community: To the attainment of these and the other objects, indispensable to the
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public welfare, each member of the community lent his willing assistance, without fee or reward. And, indeed, to this day, the same spirit pervades the administration of public affairs in the Commonwealths of New England: the offices of Government are imposed upon the citizens as a duty, and the lowest remuneration which affords an equitable compensation tor the time necessarily given up to the public, is assigned to each office. Every village has its local administration; every town and city has its municipal corporation, with powers adapted to its duties; every man understands too well the duties which are required of him as a citizen, and the duties of those to whom the public affairs are entrusted, to allow of the offices of Government being abused to the purposes of gain, or of selfish ambition. 2 I speak not from my own knowledge and observation alone.
We have the testimony of some of the most eminent publicists of the age, that the actual result of the Governmental Institutions of New England, is to secure in the greatest degree the ends of good government at the least possible expense.
We need not, I think, go far for the proofs of an opposite state of things in New Zealand. Doubtless the world is changed since Governor Bradford, after having been nine times elected Governor, was, "by reason of his importunity," let off from serving the tenth year, without being fined.
In New Zealand there is certainly no need of penalties to induce our leading men to take upon themselves the functions of Government. There is no lack of zeal to serve the public. It may, indeed, be doubted, whether our complex Constitution, and the zeal of our citizens, have not created a governing classs, in office, or in expectation of office, so numerous and influential, as by themselves and their connexions, by the patronage of office, and by the disposal of the public money and the public lands, to outweigh and overrule that portion of the community, which wants nothing of the Government but to see it administered with justice and economy.
Has all this machinery of Government, with all its expensive administrations, produced the fruits of good government? Whether we consult what are called the organs of public opinion, or listen to the sentiments of every man we meet, we will, I think, find that if there is one point on which all opinions are agreed, it is this--that public affairs have hitherto been badly administered. Some, of course, blame what they call one "scheme of policy," and others another scheme of policy, but all are agreed that good government has yet to have a beginning amongst us.
Instead of securing, as in New England, the most valuable ends of good Government by the least expenditure of means, we would seem to have lost sight of the true ends of Government altoge-
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ther. Forgetful of themselves as individuals, the Pilgrim Fathers found Government an easy task,--they saw clearly and accomplished effectually what the public good required. They founded their institutions of Government upon a basis which cannot be shaken, unless corruption, following in the train of wealth, should altogether obliterate amongst their descendants the severe virtues of the Pilgrim Fathers.
Were we, indeed, to look to the past history of the world, we might be inclined to adopt the words of a great poet, who says, in contemplating the rise and fall of the great empires of antiquity,--
"Here is the moral of all human tales--
'Tis but the same rehearsal of the past--
First freedom, and then glory, when that fails,
Wealth, vice, corruption, barbarism at last."
But Byron wrote of empires which arose and fell in succession before the light of Christianity dawned upon the world. We, I trust, may cherish better hopes and better prospects for the descendants of the Pilgrim Fathers, who sought freedom in the waste howling wilderness, whose glory was not that of conquest, or extended dominion, but that wisdom and knowledge which we trust will be the stability of our times. Their wealth has not been the plunder of conquered cities, but the peaceable fruits of industry and enterprise, with security of person and property, attained less by the administration of wise laws, than by the universal training of the people in the knowledge and practice of their duty to God and to their neighbour.
If it should appear to any of my hearers that--in this and the preceding lecture--I have dwelt too long upon the history and condition of the New England States, I again beg it to be considered, that it is because I believe that in no part of the world is there so perfect a condition of human society--a condition which has been attained by industry, frugality, and enterprise, and by the practice of the social virtues, in spite of a barren soil and a severe climate--a condition to which the people of this more favoured land might, by imitating their virtues, attain with much greater rapidity, without enduring their sufferings and privations.
I have been led into a larger notice of our political institutions than I intended, not that I would undervalue the influence of these upon the public welfare. Far be it from me to utter a word which would tend to diminish the little of true public spirit there is amongst us. I refer not to that party spirit which will go any length to attain the objects of party, but to that rarer quality which is forgetful of self, and looks only to the general welfare, disdaining to descend to unworthy means even to accomplish what would appear to be the most desirable ends.
Turning away from politics, we have now to look at our own individual prospects as colonists, and to the means of prosperity afforded us by the land of our adoption. And when we regard what industry, frugality, and enterprise have already accomplished, and may again accomplish, we may congratulate ourselves upon
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another proof of what experience has elsewhere shown: that stick is the inherent energy of a young community, settled in a fruitful country, that scarcely any amount of bad Government will prevent its rapid progress to wealth and prosperity.
"How few of all the evils we endure
Are such as kings or laws can make or cure."
Each individual settler's success depends more upon his personal qualities than upon all other considerations together.
Seasons of commercial distress there will be, for such is the temptation to get into debt, or to speculate beyond his means, whether to a man engaged in trade or in country pursuits, that in a country with limited capital it cannot be otherwise than that periodical checks to speculation should occur. But the progress of the Colony, as a whole, is but little affected by these.
I do not agree with those who speak of this country as if it were the garden of the earth, unsurpassed by any other land in the fertility of its soil, as well as in the excellence of its climate. Those who so describe it can have seen little of other countries, or are less careful than they should be to adhere to the truth. Soils of the first quality are indeed scarcely at all to be found in New Zealand; or, at best, they are to be found to a very limited extent. From the nature of the case it must be so, The soils which are most capable of producing heavy crops, for a succession of years, are invariably those which are found in the neighbourhood of large rivers, which have been for ages depositing their alluvion on the sides of the valleys through which they flow. The sods thus deposited contain every variety of mineral and vegetable matter, in a state of the greatest comminution.
The richness of the soils, on the banks of rivers, is generally in proportion to the extent of country through which they flow, collecting, as they proceed; every variety of mineral substance and decayed vegetable matter. Now in New Zealand we have no very considerable rivers, and such as they are, they generally flow through a hilly country, which affords only inconsiderable flats to be benefitted by the alluvial matter which they bear down in their course.
Our best soils, therefore; will scarcely bear a comparison with those to be found on the banks of the Nile, or of the great rivers of the New World, which flow through a course of 2000 miles. Even granting that the virgin soils of our volcanic districts were equally fertile, it cannot be denied that a very few crops will exhaust their strength, and that they can, thenceforward, only be cultivated with advantage with the aid of manures. Whereas even on the banks of a river so inconsiderable as the Hawksbury in New South Wales, we are told that the same soils have borne crops for forty years, without manure, and without any diminution of their fertility,--the overflow of the river adding, from time to time, fresh alluvion, and when that fails, it being only necessary to go an eighth of an inch deeper with the plough, in order to bring up a fresh stratum of rich soil.
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But if our soils are, in general, incapable of rewarding the labours of their cultivators with such abundant returns as reward the labours of those who cultivate the alluvions of the Nile or the Mississippi and its tributaries, it is scarcely possible to over estimate the value of our climate, whether we compare it with that of the neighbouring Colonies, or with that of the Colonies of North America.
In the one case, it is no uncommon thing for the most luxuriant crops to be arrested in their growth by want of moisture, or to be cut off in a day by the blighting effects of a hot wind. I have myself known, in New South Wales, the same land--land of the richest quality--sown for five successive seasons, and yield but two harvests for its five successive sowings. Here we have no such calamities to fear. We are altogether unvisited by hot winds, and it is a rare thing that there is less rain than is necessary to bring the crops to perfection.
When, again, we look to North America, we see the labours of agriculture altogether suspended, for four or five months of the year, by frost and snow. The same causes make it necessary to cultivate food for live stock, while vegetation is suspended, and the surface of the earth is concealed by the snow, and to provide houses to protect them from the cold; so that a settler in those Colonies cannot possess even a cow or a sheep until he has provided warm housing and food for the winter.
How differently is New Zealand, or at least this Northern portion of it, situated in this respect. Every one knows that vegetation is scarcely stopped in winter by the cold, or in summer by the heat; and that, provided the land is not overstocked, the cattle can provide for themselves all the year round, without the assistance of artificial food or shelter from the weather. Now, as I have before said, it is not easy to over estimate the advantages of such a climate as this, were it only for the time saved by not having to provide winter housing and winter food for the live stock; and for the comparative certainty that the former and the latter rain will, in their due seasons, make the grain to spring, and bring the ripe ear to perfection.
When we compare our situation in these respects with that of the first colonists of New England, what reason have we not to congratulate ourselves. Our soils, though not of the first character, are far superior to theirs; our climate will produce every luxury which is produced in the most favoured climates of the temperate zone. We have a year of twelve months to employ in productive labours, instead of having our land locked up by frost for four months out of the twelve, and having to employ two months more in providing winter food and shelter for our cattle. Again, who can be insensible to its effects upon health and happiness? Even the sensual pleasure derived from climate is perhaps the greatest because the most enduring of enjoyments. No Colony, on
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the whole, was ever planted under more favourable circumstances for the production of the necessaries and comforts of life.
But in the present state of the world, when luxuries which a century ago but few could purchase, are now in common use, and are counted as necessaries by all classes of the community, we require to look abroad for a supply of those luxuries, and to bestir ourselves to produce something to be sent out in exchange for them. In other words, as we cannot do without imports, we must create an export to pay for them. We cannot produce our own tea and sugar, or if we do so, they will cost half a dozen times the price for which we can import them from countries where labour is cheap and capital abundant. We cannot make our own cloths and cottons but with a similar result.
No doubt if we were content to live as our forefathers did, before commerce introduced foreign luxuries, we should find that the soil and climate of this country would yield to industry everything which is necessary to healthy existence, and innumerable comforts which our forefathers knew not.
There is no land in which our lot could have been cast where we could more easily attain to those conditions of happiness described by the poet, should we make up our minds to be contented with them:--
"Happy the man whose wish and care,
A few paternal acres bound;
Content to breathe his native air,
On his own ground;
Whose fields with bread, whose herds with milk,
Whose flocks supply him with attire,
Whose trees in summer yield him shade --
In winter fire."
But whatever moralists or poets may say or sing, history and experience alike teach us, that it is only by the division of labour that a high degree of civilization can be attained; or that those arts can flourish, which adorn life and extend its enjoyments.
The farmer does not make his own shoes or his own furniture --if he did, his shoes and furniture would be badly made, and his farm would be badly cultivated. He finds that he gets better shoes by buying them of the shoemaker, who, by confining himself to the manufacture of shoes, is able to make them both better and quicker. While, by giving his whole time to his farm, the farmer employs his industry more profitably in raising wheat and other produce, by the sale of which he can obtain shoes and other needful things, on more profitable terms than he could make them himself.
In like manner, there is a division of labour amongst different countries, as well as amongst different individuals, or classes of individuals in the same country. One country has facilities for raising raw produce; another for manufactures. In one climate are produced the necessaries, in another the luxuries of life. In thickly peopled countries, those who live by their labour find it difficult to obtain employment, even at low wages, while capital is
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abundant. In thinly peopled countries, those who live by their capital find it difficult to obtain labour, even at high wages. In the former, the abundance of labour and capital, more especially when joined to other advantages, such as abundance of coal and iron, enables manufactures of all kinds to be produced at a cheap rate and of the best quality. In the latter, it is necessary to take advantage of what the country spontaneously produces, or what it has peculiar facilities in producing, in order to employ labour and capital with profit.
No doubt it is so ordered by Divine Providence, to the end that the whole earth and the almost innumerable Islands of the Seas may be peopled with intelligent beings, knit together by bonds of mutual interest, whose chief happiness should be found, as it always will be found, in the right exercise of those intellectual and moral faculties with which he has endowed them.
In old countries, the land is all occupied,--what is fit for cultivation is under cultivation; and what is only fit for pasture is covered with flocks and herds. In new countries, it is possible to cultivate only a very small portion of the soil; and before any of it can be cultivated, it is necessary to expend capital, in clearing and enclosing it. Besides, the farmer must have his buildings and his implements, all which require the expenditure of much more capital than in old countries, in proportion as labour is so much better remunerated.
The problem to be solved, then, in new countries is this-- labour being scarce and land abundant, so to occupy the land or turn its natural productions to account, as that the least labour may be employed in obtaining the greatest produce. Lord Bacon, as we saw in our last lecture, recommends "to consider first what commodities the soil where the plantation is doth naturally yield." and we cannot adopt a wiser rule.
In the neighbouring colonies of Australia, for instance, the soil is naturally covered with grass, upon which it is only necessary to send forth sheep and cattle, in order to obtain the most valuable commodities of commerce at a very small expenditure of labour. Fifty years ago, Australia yielded nothing to England. Its pastures were unoccupied, save by the Kangaroo and the Emu. At this day, it would not, perhaps, be too much to say that one-third of the inhabitants of the British islands are warmed by the fleeces of the sheep which roam over its hills and plains. We may therefore well call it the golden fleece of Australia, whether we look at the quality of Australian wool, compared with what was generally employed in the manufacture of cloth, before the introduction of the Merino and Saxon sheep into that country, or whether we look to the quantity in which it is produced, which is now sufficient to employ a large fleet in its conveyance to England, and to enable almost every man in England to wear a coat of as fine a texture as could with difficulty be obtained, fifty years ago, by the noblest and wealthiest in the land. The Southern Pro-
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vinces of these islands would also appear to have natural pastures, of which the colonists have not been slow to avail themselves, but here we have not that advantage. There can be no doubt of the capacity of this country to maintain live stock and to yield a fleece at least equal to that of Australia. Indeed the same extent of ground will, on an average of years, yield much more pasturage than is afforded by the pastures of Australia. It is estimated that, in Australia, four acres, on an average of years, are required to maintain one sheep In many cases, it has been proved that here one acre will maintain four sheep. But the land requires first to be cleared of the fern and brush, which prevent the growth of the grass; and this can only be done by a considerable outlay of capital. Grass can scarcely be called a natural product of this Province, for it seldom makes its appearance until the land has been under cultivation; and what little pasture is yielded by the country, in addition to what has been laid down by the settlers, has grown upon spots recently under cultivation by the natives, before the brush and fern had had time to resume the place which nature has accorded them.
It follows that, although a few sheep may be maintained in the uncultivated wilderness, and that sheep farming will gradually extend with the extending cultivation of the soil, we cannot for many years to come calculate upon any considerable export of wool.
Nor are our other exports, though not without their value, to be relied upon as permanent, or as likely to become of such magnitude as to constitute Auckland a thriving commercial colony.
The neighbouring colonies generally produce timber in such abundance as to require but little from us; and our distance from more populous countries is so great that, with the exception of a few valuable spars, which are purchased exclusively for the Royal navy, such a bulky commodity is ill adapted to bear the expense of transport and to compete in the general markets of the world, with the timber of the Baltic, where labour is cheap, or with that of North America, where a large amount of capital is invested in saw mills, and where the trade is prosecuted with characteristic energy and enterprise.
The consumption of our gum is limited, and the trade can easily be overdone; but, were it otherwise, the quantity which the soil contains will soon be exhausted, and it cannot be reproduced.
The heavy outlay which must precede the production of wheat makes it impossible for any farmer, who is dependent upon hired labour, to raise it at a price which will make it pay as an export.
It is not but that we might compete with the farmers of the neighbouring colonies, where labour is quite as expensive as with us, and where the climate is move uncertain. But, thanks to the rapid communication of intelligence, and to the clipper ships of the present day, the markets of the Gold Colonies are as open to the farmers of the alluvial banks of the Mississippi as to us. The
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flour of South America, where labour is cheap, is also constantly supplied to the Australian markets.
The extraordinary circumstances in which the neighbouring colony of Victoria, which has never produced bread for the majority of its inhabitants, was placed, by the arrival of 8O,000 people, within a few months, upon its shores, created a demand for human food to such an extent as, for a time, to afford a market at famine prices, for all the potatoes which this colony could produce. Fortunately there existed, along with the demand, the ability to purchase whatever necessity required, or luxury could desire. Hence arose a trade of no small importance while it lasted; and equally profitable to the farmer and the merchant But the price realized for a time could not be permanent; because, great as were the profits of the gold diggers, it was soon ascertained that the profit to be derived from the raising of potatoes at the gold diggings, would be greater still, even though sold at a less price than it cost to convey them from this colony, or from the neighbouring colony of Van Dieman's Land. This trade therefore had but a short existence. Such a concurrence of circumstances as raised potatoes to famine prices, is never likely again to occur: and, though it is probable that they may, in the majority of years, be to some extent exported with profit, the demand will always be uncertain; and the commodity is of so perishable a character that its production as an export cannot be otherwise than a precarious pursuit. If there is any truth in these observations, and I think their justice will be, more or less, acknowledged by every man of observation and experience, it follows that we have not yet succeeded in obtaining au article of export, which can be procured with little labour, and for which there is at the same time a permanent demand, and an unlimited market.
The attention of the Colonists has been directed by the contributors to the public press to various articles which it is thought might supply thisgrand desideratum. But the question after all seems to be but little understood, even amongst those who consider themselves the thinking men of the Colony. One gentleman for example gravely proposes to cultivate the Mulberry, and to rear the silk worm in order that New Zealand might compete with Italy and China in supplying the British market with Silk. That this is possible there can be no question. Our climate is probably as favourable as any other, for the growth of the Mulberry and the rearing of the Silk Worm. But in China and in Italy, where most of the Silk of commerce is produced, the labour employed in its production can be procured for fourpence or sixpence a day. Now as it is the cost of the labour which constitutes the greatest part of the expenditure in the production of the Silk, it follows that what can be produced in Italy and China, at 12s. or 15s. a pound, could not, be produced here under 50s. or 60s. a pound. The probability is that it would cost much more.
Again it has been proposed to cultivate the common flax of Europe, aud here the same objection holds, though not to the
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same degree. The disproportion between the cost of labour in this Colony, and its cost in Ireland, where flax is chiefly produced, or in Russia and the Countries bordering the Baltic, which yield most of the hemp of commerce, is so great that no person could grow it here with a profit at a price which would pay the expense of its export to Europe.
Considerable discussion has lately arisen, whether or not hops would be a profitable production. There can I think be no doubt whatever that there is abundance of soil in this Country capable of producing hops of the best quality; and that the climate is at least as favourable for their cultivation as that of England. But again, the cultivation and preparation of hops require immense labour. And even in the not distant neighbourhood of London where most of the hop plantations are situated, it is in favourable seasons difficult to obtain sufficient hands to gather the hops, with the rapidity which is required to secure them in a state of perfection.
On the other hand there is a peculiarity about the hop which would, on a small scale, and in certain circumstances, probably make it a profitable production here, if not for export, at least for domestic consumption.
The finest ales can only be made from new hops, because that fine aroma which gives so delicious a flavour to the finest ales is so evanescent, as to disappear when the hops are kept for any length of time. The hops which are imported into this Country from England probably retain all their bitterness, but the fine aroma is altogether gone
Thirty years ago, I myself cultivated a small plantation of hops in New South Wales, and the brewer to whom I sold them in Sydney afterwards assured me that a pound of them was worth double, I rather think he said quadruple, the weight of any English hops he had seen imported to that Country.
I think therefore where there is a large family able and willing to exert themselves, few agricultural products promise to be more lucrative than hops, if the plantation is not more extensive than the family can themselves manage. But under other circumstances, I think they must be classed with those productions which the dearness of labour precludes from profitable cultivation.
And this is the test to which all commodities must be brought. It is useless to attempt the production of any article in this Country, which requires much labour, and for the production of which the climate and circumstances of other Countries are favourable, in which labour is cheap.
There is a natural production of the soil, which seems to unite in itself all the most important qualities of which we are in search, the well known Phormium tenax, or New Zealand flax. It is almost peculiar to these Islands. It grows naturally over probably millions of acres, and is generally accessible to water carriage. It yields a fibre the value of which has long been known, and which
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is applicable to the finest fabrics as well as to the strongest cordage; and it can be exported in almost any quantity without overstocking the market Here then is a commodity which the soil doth naturally yield, which seems to have been planted by the hands of nature in these Islands in order to join them by a profitable commerce with the rest of the Globe. It is certainly remarkable that hitherto no process has been adopted for separating the fibre from the mucilage in which it is enveloped, upon a scale sufficiently large to make it available as an export. It is not but that many persons have given their attention to the subject, and indeed it is one of those commodities which has struck every intelligent person as likely to afford an extensive and valuable export. It was the first commodity in which a trade to these Islands was opened. And indeed a considerable trade was carried on in it, in the days when a Maori Chief did not hesitate to keep his female slaves at work for several days upon the production of as much flax as he would sell to the traders for a fig of tobacco. While the dressed flax could be procured at so cheap a rate, it could not fail to be profitable to the Trader and the Merchant, and the export was considerable. It was used to a large extent for rope making at Sydney, and considerable quantities were also transhipped at Sydney for the English market. It is now more than a quarter of a century, since I myself visited some of the principal seats of the flax and hemp manufacture in Scotland, carrying with me specimens of the phormium tenax, in order to recommend it to tue attention of persons skilled in the mechanism necessary for the preparation of textile materials.
I was on that occasion not a little surprised at the indifference with which the subject was regarded, by those whom I should naturally have expected to take the warmest interest in it. But my surprise ceased, when I learned that the successful preparation, and introduction of New Zealand flax into Scotland, would have occasioned the probable ruin of expensive establishments, maintained by the Scotch manufacturers on the shores of the Baltic.
From that day to this I have never ceased to regard the New Zealand flax as the only commodity which was ever likely to make New Zealand a commercial Colony of any importance; and I have never for a moment doubted that it would eventually become so. But at the same time I have felt persuaded that it was an enterprise which the Colonists must work out for themselves
It is probable that the Maori women look upon the preparation of flax as a memento of slavery, and regard it with aversion from the reminiscences which it brings. If it were not so, they could at its present price earn larger wages by its preparation than in any other pursuit. But in order to prepare it in such quantities as to make it important as an export, some more effective machinery is required than the muscle shell, and the fingers of Maori women. That suitable machinery will be brought into operation as a result of the liberal rewards offered by the Government, I have no doubt
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whatever--and in no way could a portion of the public money be in my opinion more beneficially expended.
Should this anticipation be realized, there can be little doubt that we shall have acquired a staple export of permanent value, and of such extensive consumption that all we can export is not likely to exceed the demand, nor is it likely to be driven out of the market by similar materials from other Countries -- an export sufficient at onee to raise the Colony to commercial importance.
It is time that we should turn our attention, more specifically to a branch of our subject, which is of itself of sufficient importance to deserve a separate lecture -- the disposal of the Public Lands, and the encouragement of immigration. These two questions have always been inseparably connected with each other.
In the settlement of the early English Colonics in America, it was customary, as we have seen, for the Crown to grant a territory to an individual or to an incorporated association, and to allow the original grantees to dispose of the land to individuals in the way which they might consider best adapted to encourage the settlement of colonists and to promote their own interests. Of later years it was customary for the Crown to make grants to individual settlers, at the discretion of the Governors of Colonies, subject to regulations approved by the Secretary of State.
In the year 1822, Mr. Wilmot Horton, then under Secretary of State for the Colonial Department, brought the subject of emigration before Parliament, and published a series of papers shewing on the one hand, the distress which prevailed amongst the working classes at home, and the increased difficulty which persons of all ranks in society found in settling their rising families in the old Country, -- and on the other hand, the abundance and independence which might be secured by a transfer of the redundant population of England to her Colonies. He endeavoured to convince the proprietors of land in England, that independently of the relief which would be afforded to individuals and families of the pauper population, it would in a pecuniary sense, be beneficial to the landlords themselves to raise money on the security of the parish poor rates, with which to convey to the Colonies those who from want of employment were burdensome to their parishes at home. Mr. Wilmot Horton's propositions were in advance of his time. The masses of a community like the inhabitants of England are not easily moved to an enterprise which involves the rupture of all those ties which bind men to the land of their birth, and the thousand associations which surround the domestic hearth. Little was at that time known in the villages of England even of the Colonies of America, and a removal to those of Australia was looked upon as little else than incurring the penalty of crime without the guilt of crime. The idea was not that of emigration, but of banishment.
Nothing in history is more remarkable than the increase of emigration from the old countries of Europe since the date to
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which I have referred. The establishment of new colonies and the occupation of new countries has proceeded, during that period, upon a scale which may well be termed gigantic, whether we compare it mth what Lord Bacon calls the heroic works of ancient, or of more modern times.
In the year 1825, the number of free immigrants who arrived in New South Wales was only 485. In the same year the number of British subjects who emigrated to Canada was 8,741, and to the United States 5551.
During the next 10 years, the average annual emigration from the British Islands was, to the Australian Colonies 1800; to Canada 40,060; to the United States 37,030. During the seven years ending with 1851, which included the failure of the potato crop, and the famine in Ireland, and the discovery of Gold in California, the average annual numbers were, to the Australian Colonies 14,521; to Canada 47,560; to the United States 192,349. In the year 1852 the discovery of Gold in New South Wales became known in England, and the emigration from the United Kingdom to the Australian Colonies in that year, was 87,424, of which the greatest portion was to New South Wales. The discovery of Gold in the Province, or rather Colony of Victoria followed; and the emigration from the United Kingdom for sometime thereafter averaged 1,000 a day And this enormous emigration did not after all exceed the increase of population in the United Kingdom.
Since the days when the children of Israel were delivered from the bondage of Egypt, there has probably been no more remarkable manifestation of the will of God to prevent the crowding of human beings in one spot of earth, and to drive them forth to people the wide lands which were gradually being prepared for their habitation, than the blight which fell upon the potatoes of Ireland. The plagues of Egypt, which led to the Exodus of the Jews, were scarcely more opposed to the ordinary course of nature than that which fell upon Ireland. The finger of God was scarcely less manifest in the one case than in the other. Nor were the events which occurred in this part of the world less strikingly indicative of the intention of the Almighty to direct a large stream of emigration to the peopling of the wastes of Australia.
While millions were dragging out a miserable existence in over-peopled Ireland--subsisting upon the lowest description of human food, the pastures of Australia were covered with sheep and cattle for which no consumers could be found. But at the very time that the last staff was broken upon which the peasantry of Ireland could lean, the golden treasures of Australia were unlocked; not only presenting the most powerful of inducements to those who possessed the means of emigrating, to emigrate, but enabling the colonists of Australia to provide the means of immigration to thousands and tens of thousands.
The effects of the wealth created by the gold diggings, was in nothing more manifest than in the extension and improvement of
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shipping, The voyage from England to the Australian Colonie s is now a less serious and a less dangerous undertaking than was the voyage to America 50 years ago. Floating palaces are now provided to carry the passengers at a speed of 12 and 15 miles an hour. And the mechanic and labourer can now make the voyage with nearly as much comfort, and with far less danger to life and health, than any amount of money could have insured, 50 years ago, to the most wealthy.
The immense size of the vessels allows this to be done with economy, as well as comfort. In point of expense, it is a very different thing to sail one ship of 2000 tons to what it was to sail five ships of 400 tons--which, till within these few years, was the ordinary size of ships engaged in the Australian trade--with five captains and the necessary proportion of officers and men. Two voyages can now be made in the time which one voyage formerly occupied. The ship earning two freights instead of one: and carrying two sets of passengers, with but little more expenditure of provisions and stores, than was formerly incurred in carrying one set of passengers. Nor is it to be doubted that greater speed and greater economy may yet be obtained. Every year brings its improvements, and each later improvement seems only to point the way to greater improvements still.
With all these improved and improving means of relieving the old countries of the world from their redundant population, and conveying that population to fresh fields and plentiful homes, there are considerations which would seem to secure, not the continuance only, but a progressive increase of emigration.
It is not only that the golden fields of Australia have allured such numbers to leave their native land, and that the wealth which has been gathered from these fields has increased the means of communication between the mother country and the Australian colonies. It is of the very nature of the case that each increase in the number of emigrants is followed by a greater increase, and that emigration proceeds in a constantly accelerating ratio. It is probable that there is now scarcely a village or hamlet in the British Isles which has not its representative in the colonies; scarcely a family which has not now the means, through their own relations, or connections, or acquaintances, of knowing what are the real advantages to be obtained by emigration. Fears as to the dangers of the voyage, and doubts as to the success of the enterprise, which formerly induced thousands rather to bear the ills they had, than fly to thers that they knew not of, have given way before the evidence that their own friends have encountered the dreaded voyage, and attained the desired success. Nor is this all. Those who have gone before have the ability, and in most cases the inclination to assist those who were left behind, to follow. A home has already been prepared in the new country for thousands who are about to take leave of the old; not to make a plunge in the dark--not to cast themselves amongst strangers,
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doubtful of their reception, doubtful of their success--but knowing that kindred hearts are yearning to welcome, and open hands waiting to assist them.
Every arrival of immigrants is an addition to the wealth of those who preceded them. It creates the best of all markets--a domestic market--for agricultural produce; and extends the trade of the colony, by adding to its exports as well as to its imports. To speak of the prosperity of a colony, and the increase of its population, is, in ordinary circumstances, to express the same thing in different terms. The question is so well understood that it has always been the first study of colonists to induce others to join them. Nor have statesmen and merchants been insensible to the advantage of at once relieving the mother country from the pressure of a population increasing faster than employment could be found for it, and providing in the colonies an extended market for the manufactures of the mother country.
The system of giving free grants of land, in the Australian Colonies, as an encouragement to immigration, was put an end to by an Act of the Imperial Parliament, in 1852, called the Australian Land Sales Act, which fixed the minimum at which public lands should be offered to sale. The effect of this was to put an end to the purchase of land for pastoral purposes. But the owners of flocks and herds, which were pastured on the public lands, received leases of their runs, on paying a license fee for the occupation of the land, and an assessment upon the stock which it maintained. The proceeds of the sale of colonial lands were thenceforward made a fund for the conveyance of emigrants from the mother country and for local improvements.
With the Representative Institutions of Government, which have been granted to the Australian Colonics, the British Government relinquished all control over the public lands, leaving this important branch of administration to the local authorities. The first instance being that of New Zealand.
It requires no demonstration to prove that those who are entrusted with such a duty are bound to administer it as a sacred trust, wdth an exclusive regard to the advantage of the community, and independently of all personal or party interests. It is a fund committed to them for the public welfare, and they are bound to make it appear in all cases, and in every case, that they have regarded the public welfare alone.
But this is not all; it is a duty which demands more than right motives. To administer it aright requires extensive knowledge and sound judgment. The most extensive injury may be suffered by the Colony through the hasty adoption of a theoretical system, suggested perhaps by some one, who, like Sam Slick's "spooney patriot," "thinks this world can be reduced to squares, like a draftboard, and governed by systems." The administrators of the public lands ought to know what systems have been tried elsewhere, and what have been their results, they ought, in a word,
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to study the lessons of experience, and not the systems of theorists; above all, they ought to avoid making this a question to be decided by what is called public opinion, or the suffrage of numbers; for no amount of ignorance and inexperience will ever result in knowledge and sound judgment.
About twenty-five years ago, much discontent was created in Canada, by the circumstance that a large tract of land had been withheld from settlement for what were called clergy reserves. The emigrants to Canada at that time found that before they could reach their locations, they had to travel over these reserves, which were left in a state of nature, separating them from a market for their produce, and entailing various expenses and inconveniences, which would have been avoided had the settlement of the land proceeded without interruption.
Upon this was founded an ingenious theory, that the true secret of success in colonizing was to prevent, as much as possible, the spread of the colonists. That by their concentration upon a limited space they would enjoy the advantages of united labour and mutual assistance. That this, besides, would give a value to land to which it could never attain while it was distributed in liberal grants, or allowed to be purchased at a low price. It was proposed that lands should be sold at a high price, a certain proportion of which price was to be expended in carrying out labourers to cultivate the land, and in giving it that value which, it was said, population gives to land. This theory was set off by much eloquent reasoning and fanciful illustration, and having been continually kept before the British public, it became for many years the received creed of all persons who knew nothing of colonies or colonial life, beyond what they had read in books and newspaers.
Nor was it without its influence in the Colonial office, for Sir Richard Bourke, the Governor of New South Wales, was directed to conform his regulations to its principles, and to confine the population to a limited space, by preventing the acquisition of lands even in the interior of that eminently pastoral colony. Fortunately for the colony under his Government, Sir Richard Bourke had had sufficient experience of colonies to have an opinion of bis own in the matter. He replied to the Secretary of State, that to prevent the spread of the colonists was beyond the power of Legislation; and, were it otherwise, the attempt to do so would prove a death blow to the prosperity of the colony.
Now, in order to make this theory practicable, it would be necessary that all countries and colonies, where public lands are to be disposed of, should adopt it; and that the labourers who were carried out to give value to the land by their labour, and by increasing the population, should be adscripti glebae--subject to compulsory labour, and incapable of leaving the colony. For it is not to be supposed that capitalists would pay in one colony or country £2 or £3 an acre for land, when land as good, and with equal or perhaps greater advantages, might possibly be procurable
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in another colony or country for one half, or even one-eighth of the money; or that labourers should be induced to remain in one colony, when they might possibly double their earnings by removing to another colony. It is not to be denied that the value of land, in any country, will increase with the increase of its population. But to assume that, in a country where there is ample room to spread, you can fix the value of land, or raise its price by preventing its occupation, shews an entire ignorance of the principles which regulate the value of commodities, and which are universal in their operation. We see, indeed, that in places which must necessarily become the sites of towns, a certain portion of land will always command high prices; but land, under such circumstances, is, in every sense of the word, a monopoly. The places nearest to the wharves and the principal thoroughfares possess advantages for commerce, which are not possessed by those at a distance, and the prices rise in proportion to these advantages. But every spot of land cannot be the site of a town, nor can every district acquire the advantages which the neighbourhood of a town affords, until the land becomes thickly peopled, and loses the character of a new country.
With the exception, therefore, which I have mentioned, the value of land in all new countries is regulated by the same principle which regulates all other commercial values,--the return which it will yield for capital invested upon it.
We are all aware that the New Zealand Company's Settlements were founded upon the theory to which I have referred; but experience in due time corrected the fallacies of theory. The settlers found, to their loss, that it was not by keeping together they would thrive. Those who imagined that the cultivation of an estate of a few hundred acres would support a gentleman, soon found that by its cultivation they were sinking their capital beyond hope of a return. The expression of some of them was, that they were strewing sovereigns and gathering shillings. They became convinced, by dear bought experience, that to cultivate land with hired labour could not be profitable: inasmuch, as the wages of labour far exceeded the value of the returns which the land would yield; and that the only means of obtaining a return for capital was to invest it in live stock, and spread themselves over the country. Fortunately for the Company's settlers, there was land suitable for pasturage accessible from their principal settlements, and their exports of wool are the best evidence of their prosperity--a prosperity achieved by an entire departure from the theory, or principles, as they were called, of colonization upon which their settlements were founded.
As trustees for the disposal of the public estate, it is as much the duty of the administrators of the public lands to dispose of them to the best advantage, as it is the duty of a land agent to do the best he can for his employer. But this advantage may be secured by other means than by a sale for money. The elements of public prosperity, as well as of private wealth, are labour and
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capital: and the land may be disposed of as advantageously to the public by disposing of it in exchange for labour and capital as for money--that is, by inducing labourers and capitalists to settle upon it. But to do this with advantage requires great judgment. Labourers must have employers. There must be capital to set labour to work. A man without capital cannot become a cultivator of land already fit for the plough; much less can he bring waste lands into cultivation. "The husbandman must first be partaker of the fruits." That is, he must have the means of living until the seed which he sows has produced its increase. Capital and labour are absolutely indispensable to each other. The hand cannot say to the head, I have no need of thee; nor the head to the hands, I have no need of you. If you could secure the settlement of immigrants possessed of capital, and the investment of their capital upon the land, by offering the land cheap, you could not make the land too cheap for them. The investment of their capital on the land would be the best return the Colony could obtain from them. But the difficulty is to sell the land cheap to immigrants; and not to sell it cheap to those who are already proprietors of more land than they can cultivate, and who only buy on speculation to sell again at an enhanced price.
In the United States of America, where there are always millions of acres surveyed in advance, it is possible to sell land cheap, because there is more than enough for everybody. The survey of fresh territories is always going on: and fresh land is periodically brought into the market. The price fixed by law is about 5s. an acre; but no land is sold at 5s. an acre until it is first ascertained that nobody will give more for it.
The President gives public notice that, on a certain day which is always sufficiently distant to allow of the land being explored and examined, he will cause certain blocks of land to be offered for sale by public auction, at the land-office nearest to the land which is to be offered. The upset price for ordinary land is 5s. an acre, and every one who wishes to purchase can secure any allotment he may have fixed upon, by bidding an advance on the upset price, and by outbidding other competitors, should there be any.
The highest bidder is of course the purchaser, and thus the sale of the land is conducted with perfect impartiality; whatever is not sold above the upset price is thenceforward open for sale to the first comer at that price. He has only to proceed to the nearest land office to the allotment he has selected, ascertain, by a reference to the map of the district, that it has not been previously disposed of, pay his 5s. an acre, and receive his patent or title to the land. He may select inferior land nearer to the seats of population, or, in order to obtain a first choice, he may go many hundreds of miles, to the far, far West; but wherever he goes he meets with no difficulty. Nor has the settler in Australia more difficulty in making a selection. Should he be disposed to settle within the boundaries of the settled districts, he can
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make his choice there at 20s. an acre; or should he prefer to become a squatter in the far interior, he is entitled to a lease of any run he may select, as soon as he can procure the Commissioner to visit it, in order to ascertain that it has not already been leased to another. But in this province we have not the almost unlimited backwoods of America, nor the far distant pastures of Australia. The greater part of the land, which is of any value, is still in the hands of the natives; and the choice of settlers is extremely limited. To sell the land cheap is therefore impossible. You cannot sell land at 10s. an acre to one person, when another person is willing to give 15s., or another still perhaps 20s. for it, without gross partiality and injustice.
It must be admitted that this province presents but few attractions to the large capitalist. There are no large pastures like those of Australia, or those of the Middle Island: neither can we point to any other means of investment so attractive as sheep farming.
It is true that our mineral resources are still unexplored. It is true that hope points to the accomplishment, at no distant day, of the long cherished expectation that the Phormium Tenax would yield a golden fleece to New Zealand. But as matters stand, at present, this is the working man's country--not the gentleman's. If the New Zealand farmer would thrive he must put his own hand to the plough. To this class of settlers-- that is, to farmers who possess sufficient capital to pay for their land, to purchase the stock, and implements necessary to its profitable cultivation, and to maintain their families until their own and their families' labour have made their land productive, this province presents advantages which, taken altogether, are not to be exceeded--scarcely perhaps equalled in in any other country.
But there is no more fatal error, nor one likely to be productive of more loss to the public, or to those individuals who fall into it, than that all the poor man wants to establish him in the world is a piece of land. Indeed, for an industrious man without capital to be placed in possession of a piece of land, on the condition that he should settle upon it and bring it into cultivation, could not, if its consequences were foreseen, be considered otherwise than a misfortune.
Those who are best acquainted with agricultural affairs in England, consider that there are few cases in which a tenant farmer can enter with advantage upon the cultivation of a farm, with a smaller capital than what is equivalent to £5 an acre. Now, in New Zealand, before a settler is placed in circumstances equally favourable as those of a tenant farmer in England, he must incur a large expenditure in fencing, and breaking up his land, not to speak of the erection of a house--however humble, he has then to provide working stock, and implements, and seed, and to maintain himself and his family, if he have one, till the time of crop comes round. So that if it requires a capital of £5 an
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acre to occupy with advantage a farm in England, we cannot estimate a less capital per acre as necessary to enter with advantage upon the occupation of an allotment of unreclaimed land in New Zealand. The difference between the cultivation of land with sufficient capital and without capital, is nothing less than the difference between civilization and barbarism. A farming man in England, with the means and appliances to profitable farming, can manage 30 acres of land in due proportions of crop and pasture; a farming man, without capital, in New Zealand, could hardly raise himself above the condition of a Maori, even if he got as much land as he could wish for nothing. I do not dispute the possibility of a man of industrious and frugal habits (and industry and frugality should always be esteemed the cardinal virtues of the settler)--I do not dispute the possibility of such a man not only holding his ground, but gradually bringing a small piece of land into cultivation, by the mere strength of his arm. But for one who succeeded, even thus far, how many would get into debt, from which they could only retrieve themselves by the sale of their land and improvements together. But supposing it otherwise--how different would be the position, at the end of ten years, of the most successful settler, who commenced without capital, to what it would have been had he continued to work for wages till he should have saved enough to have substituted the plough for the spade, and the strength of the ox for the strength of his arm.
In a new country, where land is abundant, labour is always in demand, and the advantage is always on the side of the workman. He is generally better remunerated for his labour than the capitalist who employs him is for his capital; and this is apt to lead inexperienced persons to adopt and express such opinions as some of the Southern settlers lately expressed on the occasion of a great meeting at Liverpool, which was held for the purpose of inaugurating the commencement of a new line of packets for New Zealand. They told the shipowners of Liverpool that "all New Zealand wanted was labour--that they could not send out too many labourers," Now, they could not have led the shipowners of Liverpool into a greater error: Experience has invariably proved, even in colonies more advanced and more wealthy than this, the necessity of caution in increasing the number of immigrants who are dependent upon their labour for their living. If they increase faster than the means of employing them increase, certain distress is the consequence. Where there are more workmen seeking employment, than masters to employ them, wages will fall as a matter of course. But in this country wages can never be permanently low, because they will always be regulated by the earnings of the gold digger in the neighbouring colonies. If therefore the land fund of this colony should be employed in increasing the working population faster than capitalists to employ them come to the colony, or capital is produced in the colony, our land fund will be expended in increasing the population of the neighbouring colonies.
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To sum up, in a few words, what has been said upon the disposal of public lands, and the application of the funds derived from them.
The lands should be sold in such manner as not only to remove all suspicion of abuse, but to make, so far as that can be done, abuse to be impossible. This can only be done by an open sale by auction, after a lengthened public notice, giving every person who wishes to purchase, ample time to examine the land, and making the highest bidder the purchaser: and after its having been once offered by public auction, leaving, of course, the land open to the first applicant, at the upset price.
A close auction, allowing only persons to bid for a lot who have previously made application for that lot in writing, puts it into the power of a few persons, who may make a business of speculation in land, to combine not to oppose each other, and to obtain the most valuable lots at their own prices. Worse than this, it is a great discouragement to the new immigrant, for it leads him to suppose, and not without reason, that his interests are sacrificed to the interests of those who are better acquainted with the country than himself.
Of the land fund thus created, as much as possible should be employed in assisting the immigration of persons who have friends here willing to become security for the repayment of their passage, or a part of it. This is the most valuable class of immigrants, because they have already a kind of stake in the country, and are more likely to remain than those who have no family ties to bind them to it.
Next to these, persons purchasing land should be entitled to have a free passage for the immigrants of their own selection, to the amount of at least half the purchase money of their land. In this case also there is some security to the colony that persons brought out at the expense of the land fund, will be such as are likely to remain.
As an encouragement to the immigration of persons possessing capital, every immigrant who arrives in the colony at his own charge, should be entitled to a remission in the price of any lands he might purchase, to the amount of the passage money paid for himself and his family. It might even be profitable to give a remission of double their passage money to persons coming from England, who are more likely to become permanent settlers, than those from the neighbouring colonies.
The great object to be kept, in view, is to induce persons having capital to settle. You may bring out work-people with the land-fund; but unless you can also induce employers of work-people to settle upon the laud, your land-fund will soon be at an end, and the progress of the Colony with it. It is well to employ a part of the land-fund in public works; but it is of little use to invest capital in public works, unless it is also employed in productive labour.
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Above all, it is the duty of the administrators of the public lands to afford every possible facility and encouragement to immigrants on their first arrival. Most of those who have settled here, have themselves been "strangers in a strange land," and should know "what is in the heart of a stranger."
Few persons immigrate to the colonies without having had their hopes and expectations highly excited; and the difficulties and disappointments they must all more or less encounter before they get settled are sufficiently depressing, without their having to encounter official neglect, or formalities and obstacles which might be obviated by foresight and arrangement.
It is to be regretted that the Government has, in this Province, hitherto failed in procuring land of sufficient extent to afford a more ample choice. But for this I can see no remedy but patience and perseverance.
Bad as matters now are, I believe most of those who are best acquainted with the natives, will agree that not only would they be much worse, were private individuals allowed to purchase direct from the natives, but that such a system would lead to inextricable confusion, if not to serious disturbances and bloodshed.
Worst of all would be any attempt to set aside the Treaty entered into with the natives, by the British Government, in the name of the Queen. It is much to be deplored that the Government should ever have acted as if this Treaty were less binding, than a Treaty entered into with a powerful country, more capable of enforcing its obligations. Had the Treaty of Waitangi been always adhered to in its letter and spirit, not only would the native war which desolated the first British Settlement, have been avoided, but the difficulties which now exist in obtaining land from the natives would never have been heard of.
In the case of communities, as well as in that of individuals, sudden wealth and an appearance of outward prosperity may often be acquired by breach of faith, and injustice. But the divine Providence of the Great Ruler of the Universe seems to be so ordered, in relation to communities, as well as to individuals, that sooner or later retribution will follow in the footsteps of injustice. Wrong never brings forth right, and gain unjustly acquired is productive of loss in the end.
Those who are unacquainted with the New Zealanders, could fall into no greater mistake than to suppose that, if they refuse to sell land voluntarily, they can be compelled to part with it. Doubtless it is in the power of the British Government to send out a military force which could drive the natives to their woods; but scarcely any force could secure to the Queen's native born subjects a peaceable occupation of the country. If the natives should be driven to the woods and kept there by the English, the English would be driven to garrison towns and kept there by the natives, and colonization would be at an end. Ultimately, no doubt, physical force and superior knowledge might exterminate the native race, and add one record more to the past history of
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aboriginal tribes, which, like the scroll of the prophet, is written within and without in characters of "Lamentation, and mourmng and woe"
But setting aside the injustice of all this, where would be the gain? If Auckland is in any degree a commercial colony, to whom but to the natives are we indebted for the exports we possess. Of the ships which, from time to time, leave our shores freighted with the productions of New Zealand, how small a portion would be filled, without their labours: and of the imports, how few could find a market were it not for their consumption by the natives and the trade carried on with them. How suicidal then would be any attempt to enforce measures which could produce their hostility, and bring this trade to a close And how unutterably to be deplored, that British connexion with New Zealand, begun by preaching to them the Gospel of peace, should end in writing their future destiny in characters of blood.
In conclusion, I feel that a few words of apology and explanation are due to my auditors, for the imperfect manner in which I have filled up the outline which I proposed at the commencement of my former Lecture. Some may probably feel disappointed that I have made so little reference to the history of the colony, in relation to the transactions of the Government. To such I would suggest that these transactions are too recent to be treated with impartiality, especially by one who has been in no little degree affected by them. On some of the topics which I have endeavoured to illustrate, I could have wished, if time had permitted, to enter more at large, although some of my fair hearers will, I have no doubt, think they have had quite enough of the dry bones of political economy. I shall not pay to any of them the poor compliment of expressing regret, that the subject of my lecture should have been one of an useful rather than of an entertaining character, but I will say, that, for their sakes I should have wished for that enviable talent which has power to throw around the least attractive subjects, the charms of fancy and the graces of eloquence.