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IN the documents comprised in the present publication, the following statements will be found respecting New Zealand:-- that the natives have been lately engaged in sanguinary war, likely to recur on every slight ground of quarrel--that a desperate class of men, some of them convicts escaped from our penal colonies, are introducing amongst them habits of intemperance, and all its attendant calamities,--that these men are living chiefly by robbery, and actually carrying fire-arms,--that from these and other causes, the New Zealanders are fast diminishing in numbers, so as to make their extermination no improbable event,--that our missionaries and traders are thus exposed to serious evils, and have their lives and property endangered;--and lastly, that the only British authority established in the island, that of the Resident at the Bay of Islands, is wholly inefficient as a check on these enormous evils These are statements deliberately made, on unquestionable authority.
Connected with these statements, the following suggestions will also be found:--that British government should be established in the island--that a military force should be maintained there-- that factories should be settled along the coasts--that the British subjects already settled there, amounting to more than 500, "north of the River Thames alone," 1 and possessing extensive tracts of land, obtained by purchase, from the natives, should be organised into one regular Society--in other words, that a Colony, or settlements which would grow into Colonial establishments, are
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to be considered as the appropriate and only remedy for the frightful disorders that now prevail. These suggestions likewise carry with them all the weight which experience, and opportunities for forming a judgment, can give.
The petition to the Crown, praying for protection, comes from all the different descriptions of British subjects now there-- Church Missionaries, Wesleyan Missionaries, Merchants, Traders.
Whilst eye-witnesses and actual sufferers have been suggesting a remedy of this sort, an Association, as is well known, has been occupied in this country, on a plan for colonizing New Zealand. Public attention has been directed to the subject; and a very general interest excited in favour of the proposed scheme. 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. I avail myself, therefore, of the publication of documents containing views so much in accordance with the plan proposed by the Association, to offer some remarks on the more important of these questions. They partly affect colonization generally, and partly this particular measure of colonizing New Zealand.
The first I shall notice, is a question respecting the settlement of a colony in any country where native inhabitants are found; and has its origin in a humane feeling towards Aborigines. It is alleged, that wherever colonies of civilized men have been planted in the neighbourhood of savages, the savages, instead of being bettered by the intercourse, have suffered 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. The fact (which 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
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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. 2 There is, unhappily, too much foundation for every one of these views. 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 thern 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 duty to colonize, carefully providing against such calamitous results. This is the proper use to be made of the warnings of experience; and that such a provision is contemplated in the proposed scheme for colonizing New Zealand, no one, who has read the little volume published under the direction of the Association, can for one moment doubt. 3
But, whatever may be the force of this objection as an objection against colonizing any country, how does it apply as an objection to the present scheme? It is not the Association for Colonizing New Zealand, who are now, for the first time, producing the risk so apprehended--so far from it, it is an essential feature in their plan, that they seek to obviate and diminish that
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very risk, which has proceeded from other sources. 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 them of considerable size) anchor in the Bay of Islands, 4 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, 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 indispensable 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 Despatch of the Governor of New South Wales, and the Petition from New Zealand itself. The combination of testimony to this fact, does seem to be irresistible.
Another scruple, extending likewise to all colonization, is felt about the preliminary step of obtaining a tract of land for the colony. If the land be taken possession of without the consent of the natives, it is manifest injustice and aggression; if (as is proposed by the New Zealand Association,) it is purchased from them, at the usual rate of such purchases, will it not be a fraud? is it not taking advantage of the ignorance of these poor savages, and, like tempting a child to part with a diamond for a toy, are you not actually defrauding them?--There is something plausible
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in this; but the scruple can only exist so long as we keep out of view the circumstances that give value to the land in question. In a country thinly peopled as New Zealand is, by inhabitants who derive their subsistence, not from hunting, but solely from the produce of the soil, the immense overplus of land not required for this purpose, is to them, under existing circumstances, nearly valueless. It is colonization that is to give the value to the land. The trifling price now demanded for it is possibly quite as much as it is now worth. But is this again an objection peculiar to the Association and their scheme? Is it a mode of dealing proposed by them or by colonizers only? The present possessors of land there have purchased and are purchasing it on these very terms,--some of them persons whose very position in the island places them above the suspicion of fraud,--missionaries of the Church Missionary Society. Is the commerce carried on there a system of fraud? Is it a fraud to purchase the land on these terms, and no fraud so to purchase the produce of the land,--the timber, the flax? In truth, there is nothing fraudulent in it. The price given in either case is probably not below the real value. 5
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There is, however, one circumstance connected with the purchase of land by the proposed Commissioners for the colony, which may Seem to imply that they must intend to pay for it less than it is worth. It is said that the very land so purchased from the natives is immediately to be re-sold to colonists at a high rate of profit,-- at a profit of 1000 or 2000 per cent.; and does not this prove that the original payment must be far below the value? This is quite a misapprehension. No profit whatever is intended to be made by the first sales of the colonial lands. The price demanded of the colonists, over and above the sum which may be required to purchase the land of the natives, is designed to be laid out for the benefit of the purchasers and the colonists themselves, in what will give the first increase of value to the lands purchased,-- partly in bringing out labourers from Great Britain, partly in making roads and in other works which tend to this increase of value, and in certain provisions for the natives. The colonists, the purchasers of lands from the Commissioners, will have
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them virtually at the same rate at which they will have been obtained from the natives: the additional price being a sum laid out for the colonists, because they could not so effectually lay it out for themselves. If a price beyond this, however, were to be put on the lands, and such a price could be obtained for them, it would not be because the land is now worth it; but because the preparations for settling a colony on it would give it prospectively that value. So, there is no doubt, that if the colony flourishes, the price of land, especially in the town and its neighbourhood, will advance most rapidly; but this will be no more an indication that the original bargain with the natives was unfair, than the present value of land in Grosvenor Square is, that an unfair bargain was made by those from whom Lord Westminster inherits it. The objection could scarcely indeed have made the impression it appears to have made, had the statements of the Association, in the volume on the colonization of New Zealand, been read with common attention.
Connected with the scruple now noticed is another, which has likewise made some impression. The Commissioners for the colony would obtain by treaty from the natives, not merely the fee-simple of the land required for the colony, but a cession of sovereignty over that land to Great Britain. The savages, it is alleged, are incapable of understanding this part of the compact at all events,--is not this, at least, the case of the adult bribing the child with a toy to part with his diamond? I feel confident that the intelligence of the New Zealander is underrated, in supposing that he cannot comprehend the nature of what he will be required to do in resigning his sovereign rights over a portion of his territory; or in supposing that he cannot appreciate, to some extent, the advantages of a civilized settlement, and an effective government being established in his country, as affording an ample equivalent. But, however this may be, if the equivalent be really given, there can be no more injustice in requiring him to part with his sovereign rights over a portion of his territory than in purchasing the fee-simple of that territory. To induce
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colonists to settle at all, the establishment of British government, --in other words, a cession from the natives of sovereignty over the colony,--is absolutely necessary; and if it be any sacrifice on the part of the natives, it will be made, not only to the benefit of the colonists, but incalculably to the benefit of the natives likewise.
So far, therefore, from the proposed contract with the natives being analogous to the case of an adult cheating a child out of his diamond by the offer of a toy, it corresponds rather to the case of a guardian acting for the benefit of his ward,--finding the minor's estate yielding no income, and selling a portion of it to provide capital for rendering the remainder productive. Although others may be benefited and enriched by that sale, the advantages would not be the less to the minor. When he came of age, he would find himself possessed of fewer acres indeed, but he would be rich instead of poor; the owner of fertile fields, instead of being lord of a barren heritage; and even if his guardian had interfered without any legal right, he would be not the less entitled to his ward's gratitude. Civilized man is the guardian of the savage, -- God and nature appoint that it should be so; and if civilized man deprives the savage of a portion of his real or supposed inheritance, by disposing of it to those who will cultivate it and settle in it, this not only raises the value of the land disposed of, but of the land which remains. It does far more: it not only gives the land that remains in the possession of the savage an increased value for future sales to future settlers, but it introduces an example of art and industry into their country; it teaches them, of themselves, to make their property more and more valuable, and to assume a sovereignty over their portion in the earth, in some other sense than that in which the lion and tiger are sovereigns of their jungle, and the buffalo of his pasture grounds.
The very principle, indeed, of sovereignty and territorial rights, when claimed for savages, appears to be hardly admissable to the extent in which some seem disposed to assert it. I do
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not mean to apply this remark altogether to the present question about the New Zealanders,--a case to which it is as little applicable as to any; but, what is it that gives the right of sovereignty to any people over any portion of the earth? Is it the circumstance of their having been found there, or of their deriving their subsistence from it? Does it extend to all continuous, but untenanted lands, over which, perhaps, they occasionally wander, but which they have never made theirs by cultivation, or by any of those acts whereby man impresses his title of sovereignty upon the earth which he has subdued? If, as in the extreme case of New Holland, the amount of inhabitants be trifling compared with the extent of continuous territory in which they are found, what is their right as sovereigns of the territory? And is that right to operate totally to the exclusion of any counter-right which may be founded on the necessities and imperative tendencies of civilized society to spread its overflowing population, and to create for itself new sources of production and commerce? I have no design in throwing out these suggestions, to encourage any invasion of the rights of Aborigines. No one can feel more anxious than I do, to see justice and humanity at last exercised towards them, and some reparation made (if that be possible) for the cruel wrongs which civilized men in all ages have inflicted on them; but a fastidious adherence to an abstract principle of right,--an attempt to make it apply equally to savage and to civilized life, -- may tend to defeat the very purpose for which the principle is asserted. Interferences, which would be a violation of right and law in the dealings of civilized men with one another, must take place more or less, in order to educate the savage, and to rear him for civilization. When it does not go beyond this, there is no more injustice in it, than there is in our dealings with children.
There is yet another question to be noticed, and to the Christian philanthropist the most important of all. What is likely to be the effect of the proposed colony on the religious and moral condition of the country? Looking at the map of New
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Zealand, we see it divided, by Cook's Strait, into two large islands. A peninsula at the further extremity of the Northern Island has been long the scene of missionary labours. On that side of the peninsula on which the Bay of Islands is situated, the Church Missionary Society has several stations; and on the other side are the Wesleyans. It has been proposed to fix on a site for the colony somewhere on the Southern Island, in the neighbourhood of Cook's Strait, consequently some hundred miles from either missionary establishment. Now it may appear to some, that a colony located at so great a distance, is little, likely to affect the objects and interests of the missionaries at all. Others, again, may fairly think that, notwithstanding the distance, the colony may and ought to be a means of protecting the missionary settlements, and of furthering, in various ways, their sacred and benevolent objects. But that a colony of Christians, going out with a religious provision for every soul, and (for the first time in the annals of the church) carrying with it a Christian bishop as an essential part of the society--that the presence of such a colony on the shores of New Zealand should be a hindrance to the work of Christianizing and enlightening the natives, 6--that religion and morality should be actually exposed to danger from it, this does seem to be inexplicable. Yet this, perhaps, is, at the present moment, the most powerful ground of hesitation that is felt about the proposed settlement. Apprehension is expressed, that the colony may become embroiled in wars with the natives; that war would interfere with the quiet progress of the Gospel preachers, and expose their property and their lives to risk; and that thus, indirectly, religion and morality would be extinguished. Need I say again, that it is not from a colony regularly governed and amply equipped for all purposes, that such dangers are to be apprehended; but from the licentiousness of adventurers without law, and from the weakness of small and unorganized settlements, however respectable otherwise in their character? Need I say again, that the mischief apprehended is in
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operation, and that British government and British law are called for by the missionaries themselves, as their best safeguard against it? 7 Let those who have hitherto apprehended risk to the cause of the Gospel from colonizing New Zealand, read the appended documents; and if they still persuade themselves that religion and good morals can be more endangered by the settlement of an orderly Christian colony, than is the case at present, I shall despair of convincing them by any further argument.
I, for one, however, should not be satisfied with a colony which was likely to be no hindrance merely to the cause of religion and morality. Much more than this is contemplated. It will, doubtless, be a powerful instrument for civilizing and Christianising the whole country. The bare circumstance of a Christian community existing there, must tell most beneficially by the force of example. Savages are influenced not so much by instruction, reasoning, and exhortation, as by the impression of personal character, and by living exemplifications of what we wish them to comprehend and adopt. More progress will probably be made in a few years, by thus enabling the New Zealanders to witness the actual state of things in a well-regulated community, than can be effected in half a century by any efforts to teach them the principles on which they are to become a civilized and Christian people.
Much more even than this has been contemplated in the present scheme of colonization. The authors of it have not contented themselves with the impression which the example of a community of Christians may make, much as may reasonably be expected from it. They purpose to apply to Government for the appointment of a bishop, the object of the appointment being most especially the conversion and general improvement of the natives. Even this part of the scheme, however, appears to have done little towards removing the objections to which I am now adverting. It seems, indeed, to have been almost converted into an occasion for reproach. " What," it is said, "can a bishop do?
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Must he not depend on the societies established in this country to furnish his means and instruments?" 8 Undoubtedly; but it has been supposed that the Church Societies, at least, will be more likely to obtain from the public an increase of funds for this purpose, and more disposed to entrust their funds to the disposal of a bishop, than to missionaries without any superintendence; and I cannot but still think that such will be the feeling of numbers in the Church Missionary Society, notwithstanding the condemnation of the whole scheme by their Secretary. 9 Does he indeed represent the feeling of the Church Missionary Society? I can speak more confidently, however, of the Society for Propagating the Gospel in Foreign Parts; a society, be it remarked, which cannot, by its constitution, contribute anything towards propagating the Gospel among the natives of New Zealand, until some part of New Zealand becomes British territory.
The colony may certainly be still far from a perfect instrument for civilizing and Christianizing the country. But why make this an objection and a reproach to the scheme? Suppose that it is not calculated to do all that is desirable to be done for religion and morals, is that a reason why it should be denounced as unworthy of being allowed to settle in New Zealand at all? If in some destitute parish of Great Britain, a respectable family were to settle themselves, anxious and able to benefit the poor about them by their example and by their works of charity and Christian benevolence, what would be thought of the objection on the part of the clergyman, that because the family must be insufficient for doing all that was wanting, they would be better away altogether? It is, I repeat, inexplicable, how the apprehension, I may say the panic, which has arisen on the subject, can have had its origin and spread.
On the first projection of the religious part of the Association's plan, the Church Missionary Society, and the Wesleyan Body, were addressed, in the most cordial spirit, as fellow-labourers in a
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common cause. They were invited to co-operate with us, and to claim assistance from us; and we still invite them. I should rejoice, indeed, to be able to say or do anything which might remove from the minds of any members of either Society the misapprehensions which appear to exist about our plans and intentions. I am persuaded that many of them, at least, if they will give more attention to the subject, will see it in a different light. But if the impression against us, shall still remain,--if those who have hitherto opposed us are still to be our opponents,--I may be permitted to say a few words to them, which I do in all Christian kindness.
There has been a mis-statement in their publications--one which ought not to be persisted in as a ground of objection to us. I do not complain of this mis-statement (although careful examination before a charge is made is certainly a duty) because I am aware that mis-statements like the present may unintentionally be made, even by the careful and the candid. I only wish to correct it. It is asserted both by Mr. Coates and Mr. Beecham that the administrators of the colony are to have some pecuniary interest in it. "Is it quite reasonable," Mr. Coates says, "to expect, that to a public body, who have purposes of their own to carry into effect, implicit credit should be given, for being actuated solely by pure and disinterested zeal, to 'lead a savage people to embrace the religion, language, laws, and social habits of an advanced country?' At all events, this is so unusual a procedure in human affairs, that clear and full evidence of the fact is due to the public. But what do those--to my apprehension, somewhat ominous words--'purposes of their own,' import? To a common understanding, they imply, taken in connexion with various passages in both publications, that gain is, in fact, the main-spring and ultimate end of the whole scheme." 10 Mr. Beecham adopts the statement:-- "Mr. Coates has well remarked upon the solicitude or distrust which must naturally be cherished, respecting the philanthropic and
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patriotic professions of persons who are avowedly associated together 'for carrying their own purposes into effect' There is a great danger, that an undue regard for their own purposes will tend to bias their judgment. If the Association were a number of gentlemen, united together on the same principle as that on which Missionary Societies are based, having no purposes of their own, but aiming solely to promote the welfare of the natives, their arguments in favour of Colonization, as the only remedy for the evils inflicted by our countrymen upon the New Zealanders, would deserve most serious consideration." 11
Now the administrators of the Colony will have no more purposes of their own, in the sense which is here affixed to the expression, than the Missionary Societies. They will have purposes of their own in the sense of having views and plans of their own, with respect to the joint welfare of the Colony and of the natives of the country,--and the same expression may on similar grounds be applied to Missionary Societies, and to every association of men who give their time and labour to the accomplishment of charitable or patriotic objects, without fee or reward. But it is a distinct feature in the present scheme that the authors and founders of the Colony are to have no pecuniary interest in it-- are not to be shareholders--proprietors--or speculators in any way. This is stated broadly in the first page of their publication. I quite agree with Mr. Coates and Mr. Beecham, as to the importance of not subjecting a body of men, to whom the control of such important interests is to be entrusted, to the temptation of being warped in their views by personal interest; and no stronger proof can be given of the importance attached to it by us, than the fact, that the offer of a Royal Charter has been refused, chiefly because it was coupled with the requisition, that the Commissioners should be a Joint-Stock Company. So far, then, from this point being a ground of objection to the scheme, the statement has no foundation, and has had its origin in Mr. Coates and Mr. Beecham strangely misapprehending a passage
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in the book to which they allude. The contrary statement, I repeat, is clearly set forth in the very first page. 12
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I will also call their attention to a tone of writing into which they are (perhaps unconsciously) falling; and which it would be better to avoid. Mr. Coates, in p. 9, declares that he is "quite ready to give to the gentlemen connected with the plan full credit for the purity of their motives, and the benevolence of their intentions." Why afterwards assert that "Gain is, in fact, the main-spring and ultimate end of the whole scheme?" So Mr. Beecham begins by saying, that "it is not intended to call the sincerity of their professions into question," (p. 25,)--and yet, further on, we find such imputations as these. "Let the disinterested and unprejudiced reader now judge whether the proceedings of the Association are characterised by all that openness and candour which their professions would lead the public to expect." "Is it quite right to endeavour to make use of the Christianity and philanthropy of the country for the furtherance of their own designs, and then to abandon the natives to be provided for as they can? More than this: Is it capable of easy vindication, that they should leave to others, not only to verify their ample promises, but also to make restitution to the natives for the wrong which they purpose to inflict upon them?" (pp. 50, 51). "They have a lure for every description of character whom they wish to conciliate and engage in their cause." (p. 49). Surely language like this cannot promote their object; and if it were calculated to do so, it would not, I am confident, be deliberately adopted by either gentleman, for that purpose.
But still more seriously do I deprecate the solemn appeal that is made to the religious world against us, as if we were not only injuring the cause of humanity, but acting in defiance of the manifest will of God. I allude more especially to the concluding part of Mr. Beecham's pamphlet; and that I may point out more clearly what it is I mean, I will quote his words:-- "The nation at large is, indeed, placed in circumstances which call for general attention to this subject. The painful events which have so recently transpired in Canada may, with strictest propriety, be regarded as a lesson in colonization, to which an avenging Provi-
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dence is requiring us to listen." (p. 65.) And again;-- "Surely we shall display so much true wisdom, and manifest such a regard for the lessons and rebukes of Providence, as to consider the proposed plan for the colonization of New Zealand, in connexion with the Canadian tragedy, the scenes of which have just passed before us; and resolve from this time to 'cease to do evil.' Should we act otherwise,--should we, in defiance of the admonitory lesson now addressed to us, proceed to involve the New Zealanders also in ruin, it may, not without just reason, be anticipated, that an avenging Providence will remove that which restrains the outbursting of a similar spirit in our other colonies; and that Britain may, ere long, be seen stripped of all her foreign dependencies, and dwelling alone,--a melancholy instance of a nation whom God has signally chastised for persisting to do wrong, in neglect of the clearest light, and regardless of the most solemn admonitions." (pp. 66, 67.)
Were these passages deliberately penned? I hope not. That Divine Providence is unceasingly exercised over all, even the minutest, affairs of the world, is a doctrine in which all Christians, I suppose, gratefully concur. That a sinner should find in his own afflictions a reminiscence of that sinful and fallen condition with which all evil on earth is connected,--this likewise is a feeling to which most Christian hearts will probably respond. But to point to the disasters of individuals or of nations, and authoritatively to pronounce that they are judgments and signs from heaven, is surely a presumptuous use of the doctrine of Divine Providence. Such things have been, we know; but how is it that we do know this? That Sodom and Gomorrah perished by a judgment from heaven, we know; not because the people sinned and were exterminated; but because God and his Scriptures tell us that the calamity was inflicted on account of the sins. A Christian feels assured that the destruction of Jerusalem and the dispersion of the Jews, are national judgments, not because he sees in these events an appropriate punishment for the rejection and crucifixion of the Saviour; but because the sin and the calamity are
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so represented in the definite language of prophecy. And is it not derogating from the awful character of instances such as these, on which the Spirit of God himself has set His seal,--is it not trifling with holy things--to say that the disturbances in Canada may, "with strictest propriety," be regarded as a national judgment on us from an avenging Providence, and a warning sign from heaven against colonizing New Zealand! Let us have no more of this.
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