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New Zealand--Bay of Islands--Kororareka--Fences--Flag--Paihia-- Natives --Features --Tattow--Population --Colour--Manner--War-Canoes --Prospects --Mackintosh--Fern--Church--Resident--Vines --Village--Houses--Planks--Cooking--Church--Marae--First Mission--Settlers--Pomare--Marion--Cawa-Cawa--Meeting--Chiefs-- Rats -- Spirits --Wine -- Nets --Burial--Divine Service--Singing-- Causes of Disturbances --Reflections and Suggestions--Polynesian Interests--Resources for Ships in the Pacific.
DEC 21. At daylight we were about four miles from Cape Brett, and nearly the same distance from Point Pococke; while in the north-west the Cavalle islands showed themselves indistinctly. A light easterly breeze enabled us to steer towards the Bay of Islands. --Few places are easier of access than this bay: excepting the Whale-rock, whose position is well ascertained, there are no hidden dangers: and within the line of the heads, there is little or no current deserving notice: outside that line, the current generally sets to the south-east about a mile an hour.
Compared with mountainous countries, the northern parts of New Zealand are not high; but they cannot be described as low land. Perhaps the expression, 'moderately high land,' may convey an idea of such as is more than two hundred, but less than twelve hundred feet above the level of the sea; which are the limits I have in view. In distant profile the land inclines too much to regular and convex outlines to be picturesque. It is only along the sea-coast that steep cliffs, and a more broken boundary, cause enough variety to please the eye of a lover of landscape. Approaching nearer, the interior of the country, varied by hill and valley, with an agreeable mixture of woodland and cleared ground, makes a favourable impression upon the mind, from the natural association of ideas of capability and cultivation; but whether it pleases the eye, as a picture, must depend probably as much upon the kind of scenery lately viewed, as upon preconceived ideas. With us the recent im-
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pressions caused by Otaheite, rendered the view of New Zealand, though novel, rather uninteresting.
Cape Brett is a bold promontory, higher than any neighbouring land. When first seen from a distant offing, while no other land is in sight, it makes like a quoin-shaped island. As the sea around is free from danger, it is an excellent landfall for shipping approaching this part of the coast. Detached from, but near the cape, is the rock, with a hole or archway through it, named by Cook, 'Piercy Islet.'
Point, or rather Cape Pococke, is a steep cliffy headland, of a dark colour, rather picturesque in its appearance: near it there is a conical rocky islet. Numerous islands, small and large, are scattered over the bay; an expanse of water really about ten miles square, though to the eye it appears much smaller, because so many islands intercept the view.
Near the middle of the west side of the bay is the opening of Kororareka Harbour, a secure but shallow port; better adapted to merchant shipping than to the use of men-of-war.
After passing Cape Pococke, and advancing about a mile, a small settlement appeared in the northern bight of the bay; and the English look of the houses was very gratifying to us, This, I found, was Tipuna, or Rangihoua, the place where the first settlement of white men was made upon the shores of New Zealand. On the farther side of Kororareka other houses were then seen--neat, and apparently comfortable dwellings, well situated under the lee of the western hills, while close by, on our right hand, a curious line of flat-topped black rocks, a few feet only above the water, reminded us of the remains of a great mole.
Within the line from Cape Pococke to Cape Brett there is not more than thirty fathoms of water; and every where excepting close to the rocks, the bottom is soft and tenacious, so that an anchor may be let go in any part. We saw small straggling villages of native huts in many places, and around each of them a substantial fence of palisaded posts and rails. These fences, and the cultivated spots of ground which appear as you proceed up the bay, might give a more favourable idea of the
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native habits than they yet deserve; for the fences are fortifications--defences against intruding men, not cattle.
In a conspicuous solitary position, opposite to the entrance of Kororareka harbour, a single English house, without another building within a mile of it, nor any protection except that of a tall staff, on which waved the British Union-jack, presented a contrast to the fortified villages; and forcibly impressed one's mind with a conviction of the great influence already obtained over the formerly wild cannibals of New Zealand.
The entrance to the harbour is narrow, even to the eye, but it is still more confined by shoal water. In entering or leaving it, a ship ought to keep close to Kororareka Point: after rounding that point, at the distance of a cable's length, the sheltered part of the port is seen, looking like the mouth of a navigable river. On the western side, the native village of Kororareka, a straggling collection of low huts, strongly palisaded; on the eastern, three or four English houses, the head-quarters of the missionaries; on the rising ground, near the water, far up the harbour, several more houses and villages--gave an appearance of population and successful exertion as surprising as satisfactory. Near a detached house of European form, a large white ensign excited our curiosity; and we found it was the flag of New Zealand; differing only from the ensign of St. George in the upper 'canton,' next the staff, where, instead of a Union-jack, there is a red cross on a blue field; each quarter of the blue field being 'pierced' by a white star.
We anchored between Kororareka and Paihia (the missionary settlement): farther up the harbour were several whale-ships which had anchored there, I was told, in order to avoid the spirit-shops of Kororareka.
From this anchorage the view on all sides is pleasing. An appearance of fertility every where meets the eye; but there are no grand or very remarkable features. There is nothing in the outward character of the country corresponding to the ferocious sanguinary disposition of its aboriginal inhabitants. The British resident, some English settlers, and two of the
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native chiefs came on board during the afternoon; and in the evening I made acquaintance with Mr. Baker, a missionary residing at Paihia. The resident's boat was manned by young Zealanders, whose smooth faces, cropped hair, Scotch caps, and jackets and trowsers, were much approved of (perhaps hypocritically), by a chief whose long War-canoe was well-manned by athletic savages with half-naked figures, faces deeply-scarred --rather than tattowed--and long curly hair.
We were amused by finding that the Beagle had been mistaken for a ship of the (so called) Baron de Thierry. Her small size; the number of boats; and her hoisting a white ensign (thought to be that of New Zealand), so completely deceived them all, that one boat only approached reluctantly, after we had anchored, to reconnoitre; but as soon as it was known that the expected intruder had not arrived, visitors hastened on board. Had he made such an experiment, he would hardly have escaped with life, so inveterate and general was the feeling then existing against his sinister and absurd attempt. He would indeed have found himself in a nest of hornets.
In walking about the missionary establishment at Paihia, I was disappointed by seeing the natives so dirty, and their huts-looking little better than pigstyes. Immediately round the dwellings of the missionaries I expected a better state of things; but I was told, that their numerous and increasing avocations engrossed all their time; and that the native population were slow in adopting habits, or even ideas, of cleanliness.
My first impression, upon seeing several New Zealanders in their native dress and dirtiness was, that they were a race intermediate between the Otaheitans and Fuegians; and I afterwards found that Mr. Stokes and others saw many precise resemblances to the Fuegians, while every one admitted their likeness to the Otaheitans. To me they all seem to be one and the same race of men, altered by climate, habits, and food; but descended from the same original stock.
Of a middle size, spare, but strong frame, and dark complexion, the New Zealanders outward appearance is much in his favour; hardiness and activity, as may be expected, he
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eminently possesses. The expression of his features indicates energy, quickness of apprehension, without much reflection; and a high degree of daring. Ferocity is a striking trait in the countenances of many among the older men, and it is increased considerably by the savage style in which their faces are disfigured, or, as they think, ornamented by lines cut in the skin with a blunt-edged iron tool, and stained black. These lines are certainly designed with as much taste, even elegance, as could possibly be exerted in such disfiguring devices. The expression which, it appears, is anxiously desired, is that of a demon-warrior. All their old ideas seem to have had reference to war. Well might the Spanish poet's description of the Araucanians have been applied to the New Zealanders in their former condition: --
"Venus y Amor aqui no alcanzan parte,
Solo domina el iracundo Marte!"
The lines upon the face are not, however, arbitrary marks, invented or increased at the caprice of individuals, or the fancy of the operator who inflicts the torture; they are heraldic ornaments, distinctions far more intelligible to the natives of New Zealand than our own armorial bearings are to many of us, in these unchivalric days. Young men have but few: slaves, born in bondage, or taken young, have scarcely any marks; but the older men, especially the more distinguished chiefs, are so covered with them that the natural expression of face is almost hidden under an ornamented mask. One object of the tattowing, is to prevent change of features after middle age. Some of the women, whom the missionaries endeavoured to persuade not to follow this. practice, said, "Let us have a few lines on our lips, that they may not shrivel when we are old."
Every one has heard of, and many people have seen the war-dance. What exaggerated distortions of human features could be contrived more horrible than those they then display? What approach to demons could human beings make nearer than that which is made by the Zealanders when infuriating, maddening themselves for battle by their dance of death!
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NATIVE OF KING GEORGE SOUND, NEW ZEALANDER
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The hair of a New Zealander is naturally luxuriant, though rather coarse; its rough, free curliness in an unadorned, almost untouched state, heightens that expression of untameable ferocity which is so repulsive in the older men, especially in those of inferior degree. Many of the young women are good-looking; and they dress their hair with some pains, and not a little oil.
Although cannibalism and infanticide have ceased in the northern parts of New Zealand, the aboriginal race is decreasing. The natives say frequently, 'The country is not for us; it is for the white men!' and they often remark upon their lessening numbers. Change of habits, European diseases, spirits, and the employment of many of their finest young men in whale-ships (an occupation which unhappily tends to their injury), combine to cause this diminution. Wearing more clothes (especially thick blankets), exposes them to sudden colds, which often end fatally. We were surprised at seeing almost every native wrapped up in a thick blanket, perhaps even in two or three blankets, while we were wearing thin clothing.
The countenances of some of the men (independent of the tattowing) are handsome, according to European ideas of line beauty. Regular, well-defined, and high features are often seen, but they are exceptions, rather than the usual characteristics. Generally speaking, the New Zealander has a retreating and narrow forehead--rather wide, however, at the base; a very prominent brow; deeply-sunk black eyes, small and ever restless; a small nose, rather hollow, in most cases, though occasionally straight or even aquiline, with full nostrils; the upper lip is short, but that and the lower are thick; the mouth rather wide; white and much blunted teeth; with a chin neither large nor small, but rather broad. Some have higher and better heads, and a less marked expansion of brow, nostrils, and lips; others, again, are the reverse: usually, their eyes are placed horizontally; but some are inclined, like those of the Chinese, though not remarkably; indeed not so much so as those of a Scotchman whom I met there. Among the women I noticed a general depression of the bridge of the nose, and a flat frontal region.
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Few engravings, or paintings, show the real expression, features, or even colour of the Polynesian tribes. They give us a half naked, perhaps tattowed 1 man or woman; but the countenance almost always proves the European habits of the artist. The features have a European cast, quite different from the original, and the colouring is generally unlike; especially in coloured engravings.
The general complexion of both women and men is a dark, coppery-brown; but it varies from the lightest hue of copper to a rich mahogany or chocolate, and in some cases almost to black. The natural colour of the skin is much altered by paint, dirt, and exposure. Before closing this slight description of the personal appearance of the Zealanders, I must allude to the remarkable shape of their teeth. In a white man the enamel usually covers all the tooth, whether front or double; but the teeth of a man of New Zealand are like those of the Fuegians, and at a first glance remind one of those of a horse. Either they are all worn down--canine, cutting-teeth, and grinders-- to an uniform height, so that their interior texture is quite exposed, or they are of a peculiar structure. 2
The New Zealanders' salutation has often been talked of as 'rubbing noses,' it is, in fact, touching, or crossing them; for one person gently presses the bridge of his nose across that of his friend. Mr. Darwin informed me that when a woman expects to be saluted by a person of consequence, in the 'nose pressing' manner, she sits down and makes a droll grunting noise, which is continued, at intervals, until the salute has been given.
The usual manner of the native is very inferior. Accustomed to a low, wretched dwelling, and to crouching in a canoe, his
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habitual posture of rest is squatting on his hams, or upon the ground, with his knees up to his chin; hence, also, his limbs are rather inferior in their shape. But arouse his spirit, set him in motion, excite him to action, and the crouching, indolent being is suddenly changed into an active and animated demoniac. The Zealander is extremely proud; he will not endure the slightest insult. A blow, even in jest, must be returned!
Every one has seen or heard so much of their weapons and canoes, that it is almost superfluous to speak of them; yet, in examining one of their larger canoes--seventy feet in length, from three to four in width, and about three in depth--I was much interested by observing what trouble and pains had been taken in building and trying to ornament this, to them, first-rate vessel of war. Her lower body was formed out of the trunk of a single tree--the New Zealand kauri, or cowrie-- the upper works by planks of the same wood; the stem and stern, raised and projecting, like those of the gallies of old, were carved and hideously disfigured, rather than ornamented, by red, distorted faces with protruding tongues and glaring mother-of-pearl eyes. Much carving of an entirely different and rather tasteful design 3 decorated the sides. Beneath the 'thwarts,' a wicker-work platform, extending from end to end, served to confine the ballast to its proper position, and to afford a place upon which the warriors could stand to use their weapons. From forty to eighty men can embark in such canoes. But their day is gone! In a few years, scarcely a war-canoe will be found in the northern district of New Zealand. 4
Judging only from description, the largest canoes ever seen by the oldest of the present generation, must have been nearly ninety feet in length; formed out of one tree, with planks attached to the sides, about six or seven feet wide, and nearly as much in depth. Several old men agreed, at different times, in this account; but perhaps each of them was equally inclined to magnify the past.
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PROSPECTS--ANCIENT BRITONS. Dec.
New Zealand much requires assistance from the strong but humane arm of a powerful European government. Sensible treaties should be entered into by the head of an over-awing European force, and maintained by the show, not physical action, of that force until the natives see the wonderful effects of a changed system. Finding that their protectors sought to ameliorate their condition, and abolish all those practices which hunger, revenge, and ignorance probably caused, and alone keep up; that they neither made them slaves, nor took away land without fair purchase; and that they did no injury to their country, or to them, except in self-defence--even then reluctantly--would give the natives satisfaction and confidence, and might, in a few years, make New Zealand a powerful, and very productive country. I say powerful, because its inhabitants are very numerous, and have in themselves abundant energy, with moral, as well as physical materials; productive also, because the climate is favourable; the soil very rich; timber plentiful, and very superior; minerals are probably plentiful; flax is a staple article; corn and vines are doing well; and sheep produce good wool.
While our thoughts are directed to the natives of New Zealand, let us refer to what Sir James Mackintosh says of the former savages of our own island.
"B.C. 54. --At the time of Caesar's landing, the island of Great Britain was inhabited by a multitude of tribes, of whom the Romans have preserved the names of more than forty. The number of such tribes living in a lawless independence, is alone a sufficient proof of their barbarism. Into the maritime provinces southward of the Thames, colonies probably recent from Belgic Gaul began to introduce tillage; they retained the names of their parent tribes on the continent; they far surpassed the rest in the arts and manners of civilized life. The inhabitants of the interior appear to have been more rude and more fierce than any neighbouring people. The greater part of them raised no corn; they subsisted on milk and flesh, and were clothed in the skins of the beasts whom they destroyed for food. They painted and punctured their bodies, that their
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1835. EXTRACT FROM MACKINTOSH.
aspect might be more horrible in war. The use of carriages in war is a singular instance of labour and skill among such a people. Their domestic life was little above promiscuous intercourse. Societies of men, generally composed of the nearest relations, had wives in common. The issue of this intercourse were held to belong to the man (if such there should be) who formed a separate and lasting connexion with their mother. Where that appropriation did not occur, no man is described as answerable for the care of the children."
Again, Sir James says--
"The Britons had a government rather occasional than constant, in which various political principles prevailed by turns. The power of eloquence, of valour, of experience, sometimes of beauty, over a multitude, for a time threw them into the appearance of a democracy. When their humour led them to follow the council of their elders, the community seemed to be aristocratic. The necessities of war, and the popularity of a fortunate commander, vested in him in times of peril a sort of monarchical power, limited by his own prudence, and the patience of his followers, rather than by laws, or even customs. Punishment sprung from revenge: it was sometimes inflicted to avenge the wrongs of others. It is an abuse of terms to bestow the name of a free government on such a state of society: men, in such circumstances, lived without restraint; but they lived without security. Human nature, in that state, is capable of occasional flashes of the highest virtues. Men not only scorn danger, and disregard privation, but even show rough sketches of ardent kindness, of faithful gratitude, of the most generous self-devotion. But the movements of their feelings are too irregular to be foreseen. Ferocious anger may, in a moment, destroy the most tender affection. Savages have no virtues on which it is possible to rely."
Speaking of missionaries, the same historian states, that--
"Our scanty information relating to the earliest period of Saxon rule, leaves it as dark as it is horrible. But Christianity brought with it some mitigation. A. D. 596. The arrival of
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Augustine in Kent, with forty other missionaries, sent by Gregory the Great to convert the Saxons, is described in picturesque and affecting language by Bede, the venerable historian of the Anglo-Saxon church. It cannot be doubted that the appearance of men who exposed themselves to a cruel death for the sake of teaching truth, and inspiring benevolence, could not have been altogether without effect among the most faithless and ruthless barbarians. Liberty of preaching what they conscientiously believed to be Divine truth, was the only boon for which they prayed."
22d. On the little island of Paihia, where our instruments were landed for observations, the remains of half-burned human bones were found: and as the dead are not burned in this country, they must have been the remains of a former meal. It was difficult to decide upon the time which had elapsed since that feast was made, by the appearance of the bones. They might have been covered by earth for some time, and only lately exposed; or they might have been the remains of a very modern feast, indulged in upon a little island to which it was not probable that a missionary, or any one who might give information to him, could approach unperceived.
We were much struck by the beautiful appearance of an evergreen tree, resembling an ilex, or a large myrtle, when seen from a distance; whose bright red flowers, in large clusters, upon the dark green foliage, gave an effect which I longed to see transferred to an English garden. This tree seemed to be common. After landing, the fern attracted more notice than any other vegetable production: every where in New Zealand this useful plant is found. Why useful? may be thought. Because it was one principal article of food, before the introduction of potatoes. Owing to its abundance, and to the edible, as well as tolerably nutritious, nature of its roots, no man can ever starve in New Zealand who is able to gather fern: but that it is not a pleasant food may be inferred from the fact that no native eats fern-roots when he can get potatoes. Where the fern grows thickly, and high, the soil is known to be
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rich: where it is small, and scarce, the land is not worth cultivating. 5
Mr. Williams, the elder, formerly a lieutenant in the navy, was absent on an exploring and negociating expedition to the southern parts of the island. I much regretted having missed seeing him, as he was considered the leading person among the missionary body in New Zealand; and was said, by every one, to be thoroughly devoted to the great cause, in which he was one of the first, and most daring. I walked with Mr. Baker about the little village, or hamlet, of Paihia. A substantial stone building I thought must be the church; but was a good deal disappointed at being shown a small low edifice, as the place of worship; and hearing that the large stone house was the printing establishment. This I did not like; for I thought of the effect produced on ignorant minds by the magnificence of Roman Catholic churches. No doubt education overcomes superstitious ideas and observances; and the devotion of an enlightened man is not increased or diminished by the style, or by the decorations of a building: in him probably no building made by hands would excite such emotions as the starry temple of a cloudless sky. But ought he, therefore, to despise, or think lightly of those outward forms, and ceremonious observances, which influence ignorant people, who see without thinking; and are too much guided by that which makes a vivid impression. Would a little outward show do any harm among such ignorant human beings as the savages of New Zealand; or among Fuegians, and New Hollanders? And may one not expect that an intelligent native should notice that the 'House of God' is in every respect inferior to the other houses which they see erected by Christians?
Paihia is a pretty spot. The harbour of Kororareka lies in front; and an amphitheatre of verdant hills forms the back ground. But it must be hot during the summer, as it is in a hollow, facing the sun. A visit to Mr. J. Busby, the 'British
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BRITISH RESIDENT--VINES--KORORAREKA. Dec.
Resident,' at his house (protected by the flag, as I have already mentioned) occupied Mr. Darwin and myself some time. Like most of the missionary dwellings, it is a temporary boarded cottage, intended only for present purposes. Mr. Busby was taking great pains with his garden; and among other plants he anticipated that vines would flourish. Those at Waitangi (the name of his place) are favoured by climate, as well as by the superintendance of a person who so thoroughly understands their culture. At a future day not only New Zealand, but Van Diemen's Land, and all New Holland, will acknowledge the obligation conferred upon them by this gentleman, who made a long and troublesome journey through France and Spain solely for the purpose of collecting vines for Australia, his adopted country.
Mr. Busby's official occupations at New Zealand appeared to me of a very neutral character. An isolated individual, not having even the authority of a magistrate, encircled by savages, and by a most troublesome class of his own countrymen, I was not astonished at his anxiety to receive definite instructions, and substantial support; or at the numerous complaints continually made by the English settlers.
Afterwards we went to Kororareka. On a sandy level, narrowly bounded by a low range of hills, or rather rising grounds, stands the principal assemblage of houses in the island; or as the missionaries say, 'in the land'. I have said assemblage of houses, because it did not agree with my ideas of a town, a village, a hamlet, or even an Indian encampment. Near the beach were a few small cottages which had once been whitewashed. At the foot of the hills were two or three small houses of European build; but the remaining space of ground appeared to be covered by palings, and pig-styes. The temporary enclosures which are made in a market-place, for cattle, might give an idea of the appearance of these sadly wretched dwelling places. The palings, or palisades, are intended to be fortifications: they are high, sometimes eight or ten feet; and, almost encircling the whole, a stronger palisade is fixed, but so inefficiently that either strength, an axe, or fire, would ensure
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an entrance to resolute men. There is neither embankment nor ditch. Within the small square spaces, enclosed by the slighter palings, are the huts of the natives: the angular, low thatched roofs of which are scarcely set off from the ground by walls a foot or two in height. These roofs slope downwards, lengthwise as well as sideways; so that the front of the hut is the highest part. The upper point of the roof may be eight feet from the ground; the space of ground occupied, about ten square feet; seldom more, indeed usually less. Besides the door, through which a man cannot pass excepting upon his hands and knees, there is neither window, nor aperture of any kind. The New Zealand 'order of architecture,' is marked by two wide planks placed edgeways in front, joined together at the top by nails or pegs, and forming a wide angle, in which the space is filled up, excepting a door-way two feet square, with materials similar to those of the walls and roof, namely wicker work, or 'wattling,' covered by a thatching of broad flag leaves or rushes. The eaves of the roof project two or three feet beyond the front; so likewise do the side walls. In this sort of porch the family sit, eat, and, in the daytime, often sleep. At night most of them huddle together, within what, in every respect, deserves the name of a sty: even a Fuegian wigwam is far preferable, for as that is frequently left vacant during many successive weeks, heavy rains and a cold climate are antidotes to any particular accumulation of dirt. In a fine climate, surrounded by beautiful trees and luxuriant herbage, can one account for human nature degrading itself so much as to live in such a den? Is it not that the genuine, simple beauties of Creation are understood, and enjoyed, only in proportion as man becomes more refined, and as he differs more from his own species in what is falsely called a state of nature.
I was inquisitive about the large planks, generally painted red, which appeared in front of every house. The natives told me that such boards had always been made by their ancestors, before tools of any metal were seen in the land: they were from twelve to twenty feet in length, about two feet in breadth, and two inches thick: and they seemed to have been 'dubbed'
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down to a fair surface; but I am inclined to think that the wood is of a kind that splits easily into plank, like the alerse of southern Chile. 6 Being the evening meal time, some women, and male slaves, were removing the cinders from holes in the earth, whence steam was issuing profusely, under a shed, near the house I was examining. The shed was a light roof, upon upright poles, covering the cooking place--a few square yards of cinder-covered ground. Out of each hole dirty looking bunches of fish and leaves were raked with fingers and sticks. Hot stones were at the bottom of the hole, placed in the usual Polynesian and Chilote method. The fish had been wrapped in the leaves, but taking it out of the oven in such a manner had displaced the leaves, and substituted a coating of ashes and cinders. Potatoes, raked out of another hot hole, looked more eatable: but leaving the natives to their dirty food, we walked to the new church. A slightly built edifice of bricks, and light frame work, with an abundance of bad glass windows, gave me the idea of a small methodist meeting-house, or an anabaptist chapel, rather than an episcopal church. A good deal of money having been subscribed by residents, and visitors, specially for this church, it might be wished that a portion of it had been employed in obtaining a better design, and better materials, as it stands in a very conspicuous situation. To place a church in a stronghold of iniquity, such as Kororareka, the resort of the worst disposed inhabitants of New Zealand, native and foreign, was a daring experiment: yet notwithstanding the ill-will entertained towards the missionaries, by their 'spirit-selling' countrymen; by native chiefs, whose pandering trade was yearly lessened; and by the evil disposed of every description, no molestation had been offered, and not a plane of glass had been broken! neither had the church service been performed in vain to inattentive hearers.
Returning to the beach, we saw some of the fine canoes I have already mentioned: we then paid a formal visit to one of the chiefs; and for another, who was not at home, I
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1835. DIFFICULTIES OF FIRST MISSION.
thought I could not do better than leave a present: his wife, or rather one of his wives, was pointed out to us, as the sister of the notorious Shunghi. 'Titore' was the absent chiefs name. He was out in the country, with a hundred well-armed followers, cultivating, as we were told, his yam and potato grounds. We next saw a burying place, or rather a place where the dead are exposed, upon a raised platform, to the wind and sun. Wrapped in cloth of the country, the bodies are placed upon small square platforms of boards, which are fixed upon single central posts, ten feet high. Bushes were growing, unmolested, in the enclosure (or 'Marae'), no foot entering to tread them down. Among these thickets I saw several large boards standing upright like gravestones, some of which were painted red, and uncouthly carved. Returning to our boat, the chief whom we had visited presented me with a garment of the country manufacture: his assumed haughtiness was amusing, from being characteristic. Our evening was passed in very interesting conversation with Mr. W. Williams, and Mr. Baker; 7 the former had just arrived from Waimate, an agricultural settlement, lately established by the missionaries, in the interior.
Of the difficulties encountered and surmounted by the first missionaries in New Zealand full accounts have been lately published: the little we then heard strongly excited our curiosity. Mr. Marsden appeared to have been the originator, as well as the main instrument, in forwarding the great work.
On the 23d, I went with Mr. Baker to Tipuna, the place where the first missionaries, Mr. King and Mr. Kendal, established themselves in 1813. Mr. King was absent, but I saw his wife and son, who told me that he was travelling about among the natives, and would not return for several days; he was on horseback, his son said, but quite alone. Mrs. King described the former state of things which she had witnessed herself in strong terms; she could not look back to those days
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WARIPOAKA--VICIOUS SETTLERS. Dec.
without shuddering. Being told in the evening, that "before morning their house would be in flames;" and that "stones were heating for the oven in which they themselves were to be cooked," was a quieting farewell, from a mob of angry natives, on more than one occasion. But Mr. King always found a trusty friend in a chief, whose name has been often noticed-- 'Waripoaka.' I met him near the house, in company with a young chief, whose sense of propriety was so delicate that he would not appear before Mrs. King, because he was not dressed 'well enough!' Waripoaka was satisfied with his own attire, and went with us. To my prejudiced eye, the dress of the young man, a mat, or, mantle of the country, loosely wrapped around a fine figure, appeared far more suitable than the long-tailed old coat, thread-bare pantaloons, and worn-out hat, which utterly disguised and disfigured the old chief.
Mr. King's son talked of his sheep, and I found that though not more than eighteen or twenty, he was already a farmer, possessing land and a flock of sheep. Returning by a different route, we landed upon an island lately bought from the natives by two persons who had been masters of whale-ships.
This island, purchased for a trifling price, will become very valuable, as the trade to the Bay of Islands increases; and I regretted to see a spot of such future consequence in the hands of men, whose verbal attacks upon the missionaries, and illiberal aspersions of Mr. Busby's character, disgusted me so much that I had hardly patience to make the inquiries which were the object of my visit; or to wait while Mr. Baker told them of a plan which was in contemplation among the settlers, for the prevention, or at least restriction, of the sale of spirits.
Such men as these, strongly prejudiced, deaf to reason, and too often habitually vicious; run-away convicts, whose characters may be imagined; and democratic seceders from regular government, cause the principal difficulties against which honest, upright settlers, and the whole missionary body, have to contend. One of the men, whose share in the property of the island I have been regretting, was partly intoxicated while we were with him; but Waripoaka, who accompanied us, significantly warned me of his state as I entered the house.
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24th. I went with Mr. Baker to a scattered village, called Cawa-cawa. Leaving the ship early, we followed the windings of an estuary which forms Kororareka Harbour, until its shores contracted it to the limits of a fresh-water river. Three good houses on the eastern shore, lately built by respectable English settlers, attracted our notice in passing; and afterwards the 'Pah' 8 of Pomare, 9 a well-known chief, appeared like a cattle-enclosure upon a hill. Pomare is the man who killed and ate a part of his female slave, when Mr. Earle was there; he has still large possessions, and had larger, but has sold much for ammunition, muskets, and spirits. His honourable office at this time was that of supplying the numerous whale-ships which visited the harbour with his slaves; and he found such an employment of his female vassals answer better than the horrible one well described by Mr. Earle. Dismal alternative! On board each of the ships we passed there were many of these women; but before we notice the 'mote,' let us consider the great 'beam,'--think of what our own seaports were in times of war, and be charitable to the South Sea Islanders.
Pomare was heard to say that his son would be a greater man than himself: and the New Zealanders in general are impressed with the idea that their sons will be better, or greater men, than themselves.
The estuary, or arm of the sea, whose windings we were following, forms an excellent harbour for ships not larger than third-class frigates; or to speak in a more definite manner, for those which do not draw more than seventeen feet of water. On each side the land rises to five or six hundred feet, sheltering the anchorage without occasioning those violent squalls alternating with calms, that are found under the lee of very high land, over which strong wind is blowing. As far as I know, there are very few shoals or banks in the wide space which forms the inner harbour. A slight stream of current and
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tide runs outwards during about seven hours, and the tide sets inwards about five, though with still less strength. At times, the outward stream may run about two knots in the narrow places. Mr. Mair's house and shipping-yard, Mr. Clendon's establishment, and the pleasantly-situated house and garden of Mr. Wright gave an English aspect to the eastern side of the harbour; while boats passing and ships lying at anchor in an estuary, much resembling one in our own country, prevented the frequent occurrence of a thought, that we were near the Antipodes; and that on the western side of the harbour is the place where 'Marion' and so many of his crew were massacred, and afterwards eaten! That horrid catastrophe is now said to have been caused by mutual ignorance of language. The Frenchmen not understanding that the spot was tabooed, persisted in fishing there, and endeavoured to maintain their intrusion by force.
Canoes met and passed us as we proceeded. It was pleasant to witness the cordial greetings exchanged between most of their occupants and Mr. Baker. All these canoes were going to Kororareka, to sell their cargoes of firewood, potatoes, yams, or pigs. Here and there, by the water-side, we saw a house, or rather hut, with a patch of cleared and cultivated ground, a great pile of firewood, ready for sale, and perhaps a canoe close by, which the native owners were loading with the marketable produce of their land. When the estuary had diminished, and we found ourselves in a fresh-water river, there was much resemblance to parts of the river at Valdivia; but the amount of ground under cultivation, and the number of huts scattered over the face of the country and along the banks of the river, were less near Valdivia, exclusive of the town itself, than in this so lately a cannibal country.
Though on a small scale, the banks of this river are interesting and picturesque. On each side, the soil is extremely good on the low grounds, and the hills are well clothed with wood; they are not high, but approach the river rather closely in some places, so that the winding stream, spaces of level and partially cultivated land, and woody heights, are agreeably
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mingled, and formed a rapidly varying view as we proceeded.
Mr. Baker had been urged by the natives of Cawa-cawa to visit them, and endeavour to settle a dispute which had arisen with a neighbouring village, or rather tribe. He also wished to gain more advocates for the abolition of spirits; and I was glad to profit by the opportunity of seeing a little of the natives and their habits, in a place said to be Christianized, and uncontaminated by the spirit-sellers.
A few of our own countrymen were employing themselves as sawyers, on the banks of the river, near the village of Cawa-cawa; but neither their huts, their mode of living, nor their outward appearance, caused any feeling of good-will towards them on my part.
Having ascended the stream, as far as the boat could go, which was about four miles from the salt-water, we landed, and walked towards the village of Cawa-cawa, escorted by several elderly and a mob of young natives. Our way led through open underwood, maize-grounds, and damp swampy soil, in which I saw plenty of the plant called 'flax,' supposed, a few years since, to be very valuable, and now probably much undervalued. Across a stream the natives seemed delighted to carry us; indeed, I may say once for all, that at this village their whole behaviour was affable, friendly, and open, to a degree nearly approaching that of the merry Otaheitans.
Under the shade of a large tree, the inhabitants of the widely-scattered huts soon assembled. For me they brought a chair out of a cottage; but for themselves their native soil offered a sufficient place of rest. In all positions, half-enveloped in blankets or coarse country mattings, with their rough, curly hair protecting their heads from the sun's rays, and almost shading their tattowed faces, about a hundred men, women, and children surrounded their apparently most welcome friend 'Payka,' as they called Mr. Baker. Many fine forms and most expressive countenances were there. Such heads, indeed I may-say, such a group for a painter! I had sufficient leisure to admire them; for it is etiquette in New Zealand to sit in silence
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during some minutes, previous to commencing any conversation. Engrossed by the fine, the grand heads of some of the old warriors, whose amply tattowed features had withstood the ravages of time more successfully than their once dark hair, and by the graceful figures of the younger women, I was sorry when the ceremonial silence was ended. By turns the principal men discussed with Mr. Baker (whose speaking appeared to be to the purpose, as well as fluent), the business for which they had assembled.
I could understand few words used, but the gestures of the natives were sufficiently expressive to give a general idea of their meaning. Mr. Bakers interpretation to me afterwards was to this effect: -- "A neighbouring tribe has encroached upon the district which this tribe claim as hereditary property. These men prove their right to it by bringing forward several of their elders, who have at various times killed and eaten 'rats' upon it."
In other days, the war-club and the patoo-patoo--a sanguinary contest to determine whose should be the land and whose bodies should fill the ovens--would have been the unfailing mode of decision. "What would Mr. Baker recommend them to do, now that they had become Christians?" was their question. He recommended arbitration, each party to choose a 'wise man;' and if the two wise men disagreed, they should refer the question to the deliberation of the missionaries, at their next general meeting. He also promised to visit the other tribe, enquire into the case, and exert himself for the sake of both parties, who were equally his friends, and whose interest, as well as duty, it was to remain at peace.
By temporising, talking to each party, and inducing one to meet the other half way, Mr. Baker had no doubt of amicably arranging the affair. 10 Is it not extremely gratifying to find the missionaries thus appealed to, and acting as mediators and peacemakers?
The singular reason for laying claim to this land, appears less extraordinary when explained. Formerly there were no wild
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1835. TERRITORY--PURCHASE OF LAND.
quadrupeds, excepting rats, upon New Zealand: and while so destitute of animal food, a rat was considered 'game' by the natives; and no man would attempt to kill his neighbour's rats, or those which were found on his territory, without intending, or declaring war against him. Had not the rats, eaten by the older men of Cawa-cawa, belonged to them, the lawful or understood owners of the rats would long since have made war upon the people of Cawa-cawa. Rats having been there killed, and war not having been consequently declared, were irresistible arguments in the minds of those men, who never forgot, and who knew not how to forgive an injury. 11 Some of us are apt to think modern game laws harsh inventions, and the result of civilization. Yet if, in our own history, we look back seven hundred years, we find that human lives were then forfeited for those of beasts of the chase: and if we look at this country, which may be supposed two thousand years behind our own, in point of civilization, we find, that to kill a rat upon a neighbour's land, is an offence almost sufficient to cause a general war.
The precise manner in which territory is divided among these savages surprised me not a little: I thought land was but slightly valued by them. Though sold to Europeans for what we consider trifles, the sale is, to them, matter of high importance, in which every free man of the tribe ought to be consulted. Uncleared land is supposed to belong to the tribe, collectively. Cultivated spots, and houses, are private property, but cannot be sold, or given away, out of the tribe, without the consent of the whole community. This division of land among small tribes, 12 looks much like a comparatively late appropriation of the country. To make a purchase of land in New Zealand, in a manner which will ensure quiet and unquestioned possession, it is necessary to assemble all the tribe of
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owners, or as many as can come; a few absentees, of little consequence, not being thought about. The goods intended to be given, as an equivalent for the land, are then spread out for inspection; and if the contracting parties agree, their word is given, and their marks are perhaps put to a deed which they cannot read, 13 but whose purport they are told. The goods are forthwith carried away; each man appropriates what he chooses, and it often happens that the chief men of the tribe receive the smallest portion of the purchase goods.
One, among many objections alleged against the purchase of land, said to have been made by de Thierry, was, that he could not have bought land in New Zealand, while absent, because, in order to make a purchase valid, it is necessary to buy from the tribe, not from individuals.
Mr. Stokes was informed that when a tribe is utterly vanquished, the conqueror generously gives the survivors a grant of land, and even slaves. I do not see how to reconcile this act of generosity with the blood-thirsty warfare which has usually ended in indiscriminate slaughter, and cannibal feasts.
Satisfied, for the time, on the principal subject:-- the much desired abolition of the use and importation of ardent spirits, was discussed. An old man, named 'Noah,' spoke to the tribe; and after alluding to the disgraceful and unfortunate events, caused by drinking, which had happened to their friends, and to neighbouring tribes, since the white men had introduced the vice of intoxication, old Noah ended a short but eloquent harangue, by saying, "expel the liquid fire." Noah is a Christian: his name was his own choice, when baptized, some years ago. The principal men, eight in number, signed, or made marks upon the paper, which contained the resolutions agreed to by acclamation. Noah wrote his name in a distinct hand: each of the others made marks resembling a small part of the tattowed lines upon their faces. One man imitated the mark upon the side of his nose; another that near his eye. Baked potatoes were afterwards brought to us; and a curious wine, of which I had not
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heard. It was dark coloured, and not unlike good elderberry wine. It is made from the small currant-like fruit of a shrub, which the settlers call 'native vine;' but the resemblance to a vine is about as evident as that of a common elderberry bush. The fruit grows in clusters, much like small elderberries in appearance, but it contains stony kernels, which are said to be unwholesome, if not poisonous. Women collect the juice by squeezing the bunches of fruit with their hands. I have heard that it is used after fermentation as well as in its pure juicy state, but some assert the contrary: it might then assuredly cause intoxication; I doubt, however, their often obtaining, or keeping, a sufficient quantity. It dyes the hands of the women and children who collect the juice, so deeply, that they cannot efface the stain for many days afterwards.
Instead of rubbing, or rather pressing, noses, these people have adopted the custom of shaking hands: every one expects to have a shake. Yet with all their asserted equality, and democratic ideas, there must be a considerable distinction of rank, and difference of occupation, among them; for I particularly noticed that two chief persons of this tribe, who rather resembled the higher class at Otaheite, had far less swarthy complexions, and less hardened extremities, than the others: one of them, considered by Mr. Baker to be the head of the tribe, was more like an Otaheitan 'Eri,' and less like the ordinary New Zealanders than any other native I saw, while at their island. From the meeting place under the large tree, we went to see a chapel which the natives were building, by their own free will and labour; and in our way we passed through yam and potato grounds, so neatly kept, that no gardener need have hesitated to commend them. 14 The intended chapel was a lightly framed building of wood, with a thatched roof. The natives seemed to be very proud of it, and were much gratified by our praises. Some large oxen, in a pen, were feeding on young branches, and leaves of trees, gathered for them by the
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natives, which they appeared to relish as much as hay: they were called 'booa-cow.' 15
At the door of a house, or rather in the porch (before described), I saw a woman reading: she was sick, Mr. Baker told me, one of a long list of invalids, who frequently applied to the missionaries for advice and medicine. I looked at her book, it was the Gospel of St. Matthew, printed at Paihia, in the New Zealand language. Now, certainly, there was neither constraint, nor any thing savouring of outward show, in this woman's occupation, for my seeing her was sudden, and quite accidental, arising from my going out of the usual path to look at the oxen. Mr. Baker told me, that one of the most troublesome, though not the least gratifying duties, of the missionaries, was that of attempting to act as medical men. No regularly educated practitioner having at that time established himself in the land, every complaint was entrusted to the kind attention, and good will, but slight medical knowledge of the missionaries. We saw several nets for fishing placed in separate heaps, each upon a small platform, at the top of a post eight or ten feet in height: in a similar manner yams and potatoes are preserved from the rotting influence of the damp earth. The nets are made with the split leaves of the 'flax' plant, not merely with the fibres, and last for many years: both they and the food, thus exposed to the air, are thatched, like the houses, with the broad leaves of an iris-like rush, or flag, which grows abundantly by the river sides, and in marshy places. I was here informed, that after the bodies of the dead (which are exposed to the air, on platforms similar to those I have just mentioned), are thoroughly dried, the bones are carried away, and deposited in a secret burying place.
25th. Being Christmas-day, several of our party attended Divine service at Paihia, where Mr. Baker officiated. Very few natives were present; but all the respectable part of the
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English community had assembled. Instead of performing the whole service first in one language, and afterwards in the other, as at Otaheite, the two entire services were mixed, and the whole extended to such a length that had even the most eloquent divine occupied the pulpit, his hearers could scarcely have helped feeling fatigued. Mr. Baker appeared to be more fluent in the language of New Zealand, than in his own, a fortunate circumstance for the natives, though not for the English who attend his church. In the mere glimpse which I had of the missionary body at New Zealand, it appeared to me that they rather undervalued their white congregations. They say, "We are sent to the heathen, it is to their improvement that every effort should be directed." "This is true," may be replied; "but does not the example of respectable settlers, or visitors, assist the influence of missionaries?" Would not the natives take notice if foreigners whom they see in the land refused, generally speaking, to conform in their habits and conduct, to the principles so earnestly insisted upon by the missionaries? But unless Divine service is performed in a manner which will, at the very least, increase respect for it, and give rise to no feelings of slight towards those who, from the nature of their highly responsible office, are expected to perform it tolerably well--it does not seem likely that such as are only sojourners in the land, will be seen at the church as often as might be desirable; thus a part of their example, so beneficial to the great cause, will perhaps be lost.
A very correct musical ear seems to be as general among the people here, as among those of Otaheite. The responses of thirty natives, women and men, were made so simultaneously, and so perfectly in harmony, that I could no more distinguish the different voices, than I could those of a number of good choristers singing together. Their singing was equally melodious, yet neither I nor others were disposed to think it equal to that of Otaheite.
26th. Disputes between masters of whale ships and their crews, and between both these classes and the New Zealanders, obliged me to meddle, though very reluctantly, in their affairs.
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MR. BUSBY--MEASURES--SCHEME. Dec.
to show what anarchy has been caused in this country, by the partial, half measures, which have been taken, I will try to describe the state of things, at the Bay of Islands, as we found them.
I will not attempt to give the slightest sketch of events which had occurred anterior to the Beagle's visit, full and authentic details being accessible in other publications; farther than to say that the rumoured approach of de Thierry had stimulated Mr. Busby (holding the undefined office of British resident) to take measures adverse to such foreign intruders, by issuing a public announcement, 16 and by calling together the principal chiefs of tribes inhabiting the districts of New Zealand, north of the Thames, with a view of urging them to frame a sort of constitution, 17 which should have a steadying influence over their unwieldy democracy, and leave them less exposed to foreign intrusion.
Thus much had been done by words and on paper; the chiefs had departed, each to his perhaps distant home, and the efficiency of their authority, in a 'collective capacity' was yet to be discovered. No 'executive' had been organized; the former authorities--each chief in his own territory--hesitated to act as they had been accustomed, owing to a vague mystification of ideas, and uncertainty as to what they really had agreed upon, while the authority of Mr. Busby was absolutely nothing, not even that of a magistrate among his own countrymen; so of course he could have ho power over the natives. To whom then were the daily squabbles of so mixed and turbulent a population, as that of the Bay of Islands and its vicinity, to be referred?
Late events had impressed the natives with such a high idea of King William's men-of-war, that even the little Beagle was respected by them, and, in consequence, appeals were made to me--by natives, by men of the United States of America,
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1835. CAUSES OF DISTURBANCE.
and by British subjects; but, not then aware of the peculiarity of Mr. Busby's position, I referred them to him, under the idea that his office was of a consular nature, and therefore that I ought not to act in these cases, excepting as his supporter. Finding him unwilling to take any steps of an active kind, not deeming himself authorised to do so: and the aggrieved parties still asking for assistance, I referred them to the only real, though not nominal, authority, in the place--that of the missionaries. By the active assistance of Mr. Baker, the more serious quarrels were ended without bloodshed, and those of a more trifling nature, in which the natives were not concerned, were temporarily settled: but I doubt not that in a few days afterwards anarchy again prevailed.
To give an idea of the nature of some of these quarrels, and of the serious consequences they might entail, I will describe briefly two or three cases which were referred to me.
Pomare had been beaten while on board a whale ship, by some of her crew. No New Zealander will submit to be struck, but thus to treat a chief is unpardonable. Burning with indignation he maltreated the first Englishman whom he met on shore, and was concerting serious measures of revenge, when the master of the ship, and a number of his men, came to ask for assistance and protection.
Again; a chief, whose name I do not know, had been refused admittance on board a whale ship, where he had heard that one of his female slaves was living. He did not wish to injure her, or even take her away. His only motive, in asking admittance, was to satisfy himself that she was there. Highly affronted at the refusal, he spoke to me, (as he said) previously to collecting his warriors and attacking the ship.
Another case was unconnected with the natives, but tended to expose a fraudulent system, and to show the necessity of arming British authorities, in distant parts of the world, with a definite degree of control over the licentious, or ill-disposed portion of their own countrymen, who, in those remote regions, are disproportionably numerous, and now able to do pretty much what they please.
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A person who stated himself to be the master of an English whaler, lying in the harbour, came on board the Beagle, accompanied by a man said to be the third mate. The former complained of the mutinous state of his crew, who had ill treated this third mate, and then refused to work or obey any orders. Inquiry on board the whaler, showed that the crew had been ill-used, especially as to provisions: and that not only the nominal master, but the chief as well as the second mate were North Americans, (U.S.) The legal master, it appeared, was the so-called third mate, an Englishman. His name appeared in the ship's papers as master; that of the person who had been acting as master did not appear at all. But the acting master, who before me styled himself 'supercargo,' produced a power of attorney from the owners of the vessel, 18 which appeared to authorise him to control the proceedings of the vessel, as he thought proper; to displace the master and appoint another person in his stead, and in every way to act for the owners, as if he, the American, were sole owner. Nearly all the seamen were British subjects. How far his power of attorney might carry weight against the spirit and intent of the navigation laws, I had much doubt; but as it appeared to me that the owners in such cases, ought to know their own interest better than other persons could; and that in suiting their own interest they certainly would add their mite towards the general interest of their country; and as the supercargo had a circular letter from the Commander-in-chief on the West-India and North American station, asking for the assistance of any King's ship he might meet (with the view of encouraging the whale fishery out of Halifax); I refrained from doing what my first impulse prompted--putting an officer on board, and sending the ship to the nearest port (Sydney), in which correctly legal measures might be adopted, if necessary. Meanwhile as the British resident did not think himself authorised to interfere, and disorder, with 'club-law,' were prevailing and likely to continue, in the Rose, I went on board, accompanied by Lieutenant Sulivan and Mr. Bynoe.
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1835. REFLECTIONS AND SUGGESTIONS.
After examining the provisions and all the ship's papers, I spoke to the crew (every man of whom wished to leave the vessel) and to the nominal master; obtained an assurance, in their hearing, that their future allowance of provisions should be unobjectionable, and, for the time, restored order. But I felt that the calm was unlikely to last, and two days afterwards fresh appeals were made, to which I could not attend, being in the act of leaving the port. 19
The laws which regulate our merchant shipping, especially sealers and whalers, do not appear to extend a sufficient influence over the numerous vessels, which, with their often turbulent inmates, now range over the vast Pacific. For many years past, Great Britain and the United States have annually sent hundreds of large whale ships into the Pacific: during late years, Sydney has sent forth her ships, amounting at present in number to more than sixty, most of which are employed in whaling or trading in the Pacific: and be it remembered that their crews are not the most select seamen--the nature of many of them may easily be imagined--yet in all this immense expanse of ocean, little or no restraint except that of masters of vessels, on board their own ships, is imposed either upon Americans or British subjects! There is the nominal authority of a consul at the Sandwich, and Society Islands: and occasionally a man-of-war is seen at the least uncivilized places. But how inefficient is so widely separated, and so nominal a control? When ships of war visit the less frequented parts of the Pacific, they are too much in the dark, as to the state of things, to be able to effect a tenth part of what might be done, in equal time, by a ship employed solely on that ocean. In so peculiar a portion of the world as Polynesia, it takes some time to learn what has been taking place: and what ship of war has stayed long enough for her captain to lose the sensation of inexperience--which must embarrass him if called upon to decide and act, in cases where he really is about the most ignorant person (as regards the special case) of any one
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MORAL EFFECT OF FORCE. Dec.
concerned with it? In consequence of that ignorance, he must inevitably be more or less guided by the advice of parties, of whose individual interest in the matter so short an acquaintance cannot give him a proper idea.
A great deal of prudence, and good management, is required in the commander of a man-of-war, who has any business of consequence to transact with the natives of Polynesia, or who has to deal with his own countrymen in that distant region. A single ship, assisted perhaps by tenders, might, if well commanded, do more good in a few years among the islands of the Pacific, than can now easily be imagined. But then she must be stationary; not that she should remain in one place--far from it---her wings should seldom rest; I mean only that she should stay in the Pacific during three or four years. In that time so much information might be gained, and so much diffused among the natives; such a system of vigilant inspection might be established, and so much respect for, and confidence in the British nation, be secured--that our future intercourse with Polynesia would, for a length of time, be rendered easier and infinitely more secure, as well as creditable.
The few ships of war which have remained during any length of time among the islands, have been occupied by exploring and surveying, to an extent that has interfered with the earnest consideration of other matters. But in a ship, employed as I have described, a surveyor might be embarked, who would have ample opportunities of increasing our knowledge of that ocean. And if a sensible man, whose natural ability had been improved by an education unattainable by sailors, could be tempted to bear the trials and losses of a long sea voyage, in a busily employed ship, how much might Science profit by the labours of three or four such years?
Having thus entered freely into ideas which I have so often dwelt upon that they are become familiar, I will venture to suggest the kind of ship which would do most, in my humble opinion, at the least ultimate expense consistent with efficiency. Moral influence over the minds of natives, as well as over wanderers from our own or other countries, is a pri-
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1835. POLYNESIAN INTEREST.
mary object, and that influence might be at once obtained by the mere presence of a large ship.
Compare the manner in which the natives of the Marquesas behaved to the Tagus and Briton frigates, with their hostility to vessels whose appearance did not overawe them. An outward show of overpowering force would often prevent a struggle, and probably loss of life, which, however justifiable, cannot too anxiously be avoided. From what I have seen and heard, I feel authorised to say that one ship of force, well-manned, and judiciously commanded, would effect more real good in the Pacific than half-a-dozen small vessels.
Frigates have already been seen among some of the islands of Polynesia, and heard of in the greater number. To send a ship of a lower class to establish a general influence over the Polynesians, and our own wandering countrymen, as well as for the purposes I have previously mentioned, would be to treat the business so lightly that, for the credit of our country, it would perhaps be better let alone; particularly as a frigate does occasionally go from the South American station, and a sloop from Australia, or the East-Indies. No European or American nation has now a duty to perform, or an interest to watch over, in the Pacific Ocean, equal to that of Great Britain. The North Americans are increasing their connections, and consequently their influence, rapidly. Russia has extended her arm over the Northern Pacific. France has sent her inquiring officers, and Roman Catholic missionaries 20 are sowing the seeds of differences, if not discord, among the islanders, in the Gambier Islands and elsewhere.
Independent of expense, what are the principal local objections to employing a frigate in such a duty? In the first place, among the islands there would be risk of getting ashore, increasing with the size of the ship:-- in the second; it might be difficult to obtain supplies, and in the event of losing spars she might be obliged to return; perhaps to England:-- in the third; to get ashore, in a ship drawing so much water, would
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RESOURCES IN PACIFIC. Dec.
be a much more serious affair than a similar accident happening to a smaller vessel: and, by obliging her to return to England, or go to an East-Indian dockyard, would upset all plans and expose Polynesia to greater irregularities and less control than ever, until new arrangements could be made.
To the 'risk of getting ashore,' I answer: large ships are in general more efficiently officered and manned than small ones, and they are less likely to get into danger, because they are consequently more carefully managed. The Pacific is, technically speaking, a 'deep water' ocean: all its coral reefs are 'steep-to.' Sand or mud banks are unknown, except near the shores of continents, and even there they are rare, unless on the Japanese and Chinese shores. Small ships attempt to sail in intricate passages, and get ashore:-- large vessels use warps, or await very favourable opportunities, and are not risked. Secondly: supplies may now be obtained in any quantity on the coast of South America, as well as in Australia; and fresh provisions can be obtained by regular, reasonable purchase, at the principal islands. New Zealand, Norfolk Island, the north-west coast of America and other places, are stocked with the finest spars: and lastly: a large ship, well provided, has the resources of a small dock-yard within herself.
An East-India trader of eight hundred tons, was hove down by her own crew, and the natives, at Otaheite. Cook laid his ship ashore for repair in Endeavour River, on the north-east coast of New Holland; where the rise and fall of tide is very great. Sydney is an excellent place for heaving down and repairing a ship of any size. Guayaquil has a great rise and fall of tide. Lima, or rather Callao, --and Coquimbo, are good places for a ship to refit in. But Sydney is superior to all as a rendezvous, and any repairs may be effected there.
Large ships are able to do all their own work, while small vessels are frequently obliged to ask for the help of their neighbours, when they get into difficulty, or want repairs. These considerations, however, should not prevent a frigate from having a good tender, for much risk would then be
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1835. ADVANTAGES OF A LARGE SHIP.
avoided: and although the large ship might be repairing, the knowledge that she was in the Pacific 21 would be quite sufficient, if she had only established such a character as that which was borne by many a British frigate during the last general war. Such a ship could detach efficient boats for surveying, or other purposes; she could carry animals, seeds, plants, and poultry, to those islands which have none; and by her countenance and protection, she could assist and encourage the missionaries in their all-important occupation.