[Image of page 1]
EIGHT MONTHS SOJOURN
WITH: A DESCRIPTION OF THE HABITS, CUSTOMS, AND
CHARACTER OF THE ISLANDERS;
THE CLIMATE, SOIL, AND PRODUCTIONS OF THE COUNTRY,
INCLUDING TIMBER FOR SHIP-BUILDING;
WITH A BRIEF ACCOUNT OF BIRDS, FISHES, ETC., ETC.,
IN A SERIES OF LETTERS.
PRINTED FOR THE AUTHOR BY S. HART.
[Page 2 is blank]
[Note at front of the book:
Unnamed ship appears to be H.M.S. Buffalo (storeship). Left England 5/5/1833, left Rio de Janeiro 28 July, left King George Sound (Western Australia) 21 September, arrived Sydney 5 October. Left Sydney 10 Nov., arrived Bay of Islands 18 Nov. (Not October - p.8 of book)]
[Image of page 3]
It is not more than two years ago since the British government asserted the sovereignty of New Zealand and the adjacent islands, by establishing therein a colonial government; and, therefore, in future, the residents there will be entitled to all the privileges and protection of British subjects.
Some of the following letters have recently appeared in one of the Londonderry Papers, although now considerably improved and enlarged; by the ad(((not vice and recommendation of my friends, I have been induced to publish them. My object is to give a plain, straightforward, unembellished narrative of my eight months' sojourn among the New Zealanders, with whom I had frequent opportunities of mixing. Many books have been published respecting New Zealand, but they do not come within the reach of persons most likely to want information; and if a proper system of emigration be adopted, with a due regard for the rights and properties of the natives, I have no doubt those islands will become in a very few years the most valuable, flourishing, and important of our colonies.
The capabilities of New Zealand for agriculture, and the value of its timber for ship-building, cannot be too highly estimated; and the seeds are now being sown, in all probability, for a powerful nation in that part of the globe.
Until within the last twenty years, masters of vessels were deterred from entering their harbours, through fear of being cut off by the natives, as it cannot be denied that the crews of several vessels have been massacred by the islanders. But it is not my object to enquire into the occasions that led to these fatal collisions, nor in what manner such a change in the character and disposition of the natives has been brought about; though they still retain many of their original customs. It is sufficient for me to say, that ships may now lie at anchor in perfect security in most of the harbours of New Zealand.
In submitting the following letters to the public, I sincerely hope they will prove both entertaining and instructive--particularly to those who may feel an interest in extending the blessings of civilization and Christianity to a large number of human beings, possessed of very superior intellects, when compared with the savages of other countries; and have invariably shown a great desire to become acquainted with the manners, arts, and customs of Europeans. At the time to which my narrative refers, much progress had been made by the missionaries, considering the dangers, difficulties, and prejudices which they had to encounter; and that they have not been more successful I do not attribute so much to the hardened disposition of the natives themselves, as to the bad examples and evil practices taught them by many depraved immoral characters of our own countrymen, who have 1
[Image of page 4]
become located in the vicinity of the missionary stations; besides, there are a few runaway convicts, who have escaped from Sydney and Hobart Town, living among the tribes in the remotest parts of the islands, which is also calculated to injure the missionary cause..
I do not pretend to learning or literary acquirements, having gone to sea at an early age, and visited North and South America, the west and east coasts of Africa, Cape of Good Hope, Madagascar, many islands in the Indian Ocean, the north-west coast of Australia, Sydney, and last of all New Zealand.
I have earnestly endeavoured to explain my views in plain, simple language, and therefore hope that all errors and imperfections may be passed over with an indulgent eye.
In conclusion, I take this opportunity of returning my grateful acknowledgments to all the Subscribers, particularly to Edward Litton, Esq., M.P. for Coleraine, for his liberal encouragement.
October 30, 1841.