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THE brief period to which the writer of this works' visit to the Colony, extended with his other engagements requiring almost the whole of his time and attention, did not permit him to contemplate, in undertaking to write this brief sketch of New Zealand, any thing like "Making a Book," or indeed to convey more than a tithe of what would be necessary to do justice to the subject, or give a full and correct idea of the present state of that interesting country; but rather to oblige a few friends, who, with himself, feel a lively interest in its future prospects and social condition, as well as in some degree to meet, in the only practical manner in his power, the numerous enquiries that have been made to him personally since his late arrival in the Colony, and as a guide to the increasing interest that now prevails regarding New Zealand, as an eligible country for the settlement of Europeans. The object throughout has therefore been to collect a few plain facts on the various points on which general enquiry seems most to bear, considering such a course better calculated to satisfy practical men than a more voluminous and laboured composition.
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The writer, from his long residence in New Zealand, now nearly fourteen years, during which period his avocations have afforded him the opportunity of informing himself of its resources, and the character of its inhabitants, considers he is entitled to speak with some degree of confidence on the various subjects of which he briefly treats, and has availed himself of the recent publications on New Zealand, to select such portions as coincides with his own experience and information on the same subject. Should he find that he has in any degree succeeded in conveying to those who may contemplate emigrating to New Zealand, a correct idea of what they may expect, or serve to disabuse the public mind of some of the absurd and erroneous statements that nave in some instances been put forth, calculated to mislead those who visit New Zealand, for the first time his object will be fully attained. The Author regrets that, for the reasons already mentioned, he has been prevented from performing what he at first proposed, so much to his own satisfaction as he could have wished; but should the few leisure hours he has been enabled to devote to it in any trifling degree, be the means of inducing only a few respectable individuals to adopt that country as their permanent residence, by which he conceives its rapid rise into importance would soon appear beyond doubt, it would afford him great satisfaction to reflect that they had ended in such a result.
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IT is now generally admitted, that British Government should be established in New Zealand --that a Military Force should he maintained there - that the British Subjects already settled there, and possessing extensive tracts of land, obtained by purchase from the Natives, should be organized into a regular Society or Colony, to check and finally put an end to the frightful disorders which have hitherto prevailed in that important country.
Since the Petition from the British residents to the Crown has reached England, public attention has been directed to the subject, and a very general interest excited in favour of its colonization.
With the spread, however, of this favourable impression, doubts and apprehensions have likewise arisen. Questions have been raised by some about the expediency, and even about the justifiable character of such a measure. On the most important of these questions - that of colonizing New Zealand-- I have a few remarks to make.
Respecting the settlement of a Colony like New Zealand, where Native Inhabitants are found, it is alleged that where civilized men have been planted, in the neighbourhood of savages, the savages, instead of being bettered by the intercourse, have suf-
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fered grievous afflictions--have had their numbers rapidly thinned; and that in many instances total extermination, through stages of misery at which humanity shudders, has been the fatal result; and in testimony of this, appeal is made to the history of Aborigines throughout the world, and especially to the history of the American Islanders, which (the fact is undeniable), has long since excited attention, although far less attention than it deserves, and various causes have been assigned for so unnatural a consequence of what would seem to be the natural process of social improvement for the human race. It has been attributed to the additional occasions afforded for wars among the Natives--to the cruel usage of them by the Colonists, whether in warring against them or reducing them to servitude--to the diminution of land necessary for their support--to the introduction of intemperate habits, and all their attendant diseases and calamities; and as aggravating other causes to a feeling of despondency, acting, like all other feelings in savages, with uncontrolled power, and rendering them careless of life. 1 There is, unhappily, too much foundation for every one of these evils; but still it is impossible not to feel that there must be something wrong in coming to the conclusion that we are so constituted by nature as to make these evils unavoidable. Can it be a law of nature, that civilized and Christian men may not have free intercourse with their uncivilized brethren, and live side by side with them, without ruining and destroying them? Is it natural?--is it reasonable?--is it in accordance with many obvious arrangements of Providence? I cannot bring myself to think this. Experience of past errors and crimes does, indeed, make it an imperative
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dutyy to colonize carefully, providing against such calamitous results.
But, whatever may be the force of this objection, as an objection against colonizing any other country of savages, how does it apply to New Zealand? If there be any truth in the notion that civilized men have a desolating effect on savages, this effect must proceed, not from the mere circumstance of their living on the same soil, but from their intercourse. Now, if during one year 151 vessels, many of considerable size, anchor in the Bay of Islands, is it not too late to talk of averting from the New Zealanders the risk of civilized society? I say nothing of the Missionary Settlements--of the increasing body of traders and merchants, or of that dissolute and desperate class of intruders, who have no legitimate object in view--all elements of a growing community, without the needful links of one. It is not, in fact, a question between colonization with its attendant risk to the Aborigines, and no colonization with security against that risk; but it is a question between a regular Colony, complete in its social arrangements, and governed by a responsible Government and factories, with Missionary stations and individual adventurers settling irregularly into Colonial establishments, provoking aggression from the Natives by their very weakness, and multiplying every chance of evil that is apprehended. This is the real alternative. Regular Colonization has now become indispensible as a remedy to the evils of irregular Colonization. Let any one who doubts it, read the letters of Mr. Busby and Captain Hobson; the dispatch of General Bourke, and the Petition from New Zealand itself, appended to this work. The combination of testimony to this fact does seem to be irresistible.
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Another scruple, extending likewise to all Colonization, is felt about the preliminary step of purchasing land. It is said, if the land be taken possession of without the consent of the Natives, it is a manifest injustice and aggression; and if, as is generally the case, it be purchased from them at the present rate of purchases, is it not a fraud? is it not taking advantage of these poor savages? I should say no; for, although there is something plausible in this, it can only exist so long as we keep out of view the circumstance which gives value to the land in question. In a country so thinly peopled by inhabitants, who derive their sustenance not from hunting, but from the produce of the soil, the immense overplus of land not required for this purpose, is to them completely valueless; it is Colonization which must give value to the laud. The price now demanded for it is probably as much as it is at present worth, both in the estimation of the Natives and Europeans; and that the possessors of land that have purchased are some of them persons whose very position in the Island places them above the suspicion of fraud, to wit, the British Resident, the Missionaries, and respectable traders; and it does not appear to me a greater fraud to purchase the surplus quantity of land from the Natives, on such terms as they may consider a fair equivalent, than to purchase the overplus produce of the land, such as timber, flax, &c. In truth, there is nothing fraudulent in it -- the price, in either case, is probably not below its real value.