1873 - Trollope, Anthony. Australia and New Zealand [New Zealand Chapters Only] - Appendices No. VII and VIII. Sir George Bowen's Account Of The South-Western Sounds Of New Zealand and Letter from Mr. Godley to Mr. Gladstone, p 681-682

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  1873 - Trollope, Anthony. Australia and New Zealand [New Zealand Chapters Only] - Appendices No. VII and VIII. Sir George Bowen's Account Of The South-Western Sounds Of New Zealand and Letter from Mr. Godley to Mr. Gladstone, p 681-682
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[Appendix No. VII. and Appendix No. VIII]

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Appendix No. VII., page 550.


WE left Wellington on the. 4th of last February, but the "Clio" was much delayed at first by baffling winds, and afterwards by a strong contrary gale with a heavy sea. We reached Milford Sound on the 11th, and remained there, thoroughly examining that extraordinary inlet, until the 17th February.

Admiral Richards has observed 1 that the only harbours of shelter for large ships along the West Coast of the Middle Island of New Zealand--a distance of five hundred miles--are the thirteen sounds or inlets which penetrate its southwestern shore between the parallels of 44 deg. and 40 deg. south latitude, including a space of little more than one hundred miles. They are, counting from the north, and according to the names given chiefly by the adventurous whalers, who alone have frequented these inhospitable regions, as follows: --1. Milford Sound; 2. Bligh Sound; 3. George Sound; 4. Caswell Sound; 5. Charles Sound; 6. Nancy Sound; 7. Thomson Sound; 8. Doubtful Inlet; 9. Daggs Sound; 10. Breaksea Hound; 11. Dusky Bay; 12. Chalky, or Dark Cloud Inlet; 13. Preservation Inlet. As I wrote to the Secretary of State for the Colonies, these arms of the Great Southern Ocean, cleaving their way through the massive sea wall of steep and rugged cliffs, reach far into the wild solitudes of the lofty mountains which form the Cordillera, or "dividing range," of the Middle Island. These mountains attain their highest elevation further north, in Mount Cook, a snowy peak rising 13,200 feet above the sea level, and visible in clear weather at a distance of more than a hundred miles to the mariner approaching New Zealand; thus forming a noble monument of the illustrious navigator who first recommended the planting of an English settlement in this country. Though Milford Sound far surpasses the others in stern magnificence of scenery, these inlets have many features in common. To quote Admiral Richards: --"A view of the surrounding country from the summit of one of the mountains bordering the coast, of from 4,000 to 5,000 feet in elevation, is perhaps one of the most grand and magnificent spectacles it is possible to imagine; and standing on such an elevation rising over the south side of Caswell's Sound, Cook's description of this region was forcibly called to mind. He says: -- 'A prospect more rude and craggy is rarely to be met with, for inland appeared nothing but the summits of mountains of a stupendous height, and consisting of rocks that are totally barren and naked, except where they are covered with snow.' We could only compare the scene around us as far as the eye could reach, north to Milford Haven, south to Dusky Bay, and eastward inland for a distance of sixty miles, to a vast sea of mountains of every possible variety of shape and ruggedness; the clouds and mist floated far beneath us, and the harbour appeared no more than an insignificant stream. The prospect was most bewildering; and even to a practised eye, the possibility of recognizing any particular mountain, as a point of the survey from a future station, seemed almost hopeless."

The following extract from Dr. Hector's account of Milford Sound shows the probable mode of its formation: --"Three miles from the entrance of the sound it becomes contracted, to the width of half a mile, and its sides rise perpendicularly from the water's edge, sometimes for 2,000 feet, and then slope at a high

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angle to the peaks that are covered with perpetual snow. The scenery is quite equal to the finest that can be enjoyed by the most difficult and toilsome journeys into the Alps of the interior; and the effect is greatly enhanced, as well as the access made more easy, by the incursion of the sea, as it were, into their alpine solitudes. The sea, in fact, now occupies a chasm that was in past ages ploughed by an immense glacier; and it is through the natural progress of events by which the mountain mass has been reduced in altitude that the ice stream has been replaced by the waters of the ocean. The evidence of this change may be seen at a glance. The lateral valleys join the main one at various elevations, but are all sharply cut off by the precipitous wall of the sound, the erosion of which was no doubt continued by a great central glacier long after the subordinate and tributary glaciers had ceased to exist. The precipices exhibit the marks of ice-action with great distinctness, and descend quite abruptly to a depth of 800 to 1,200 feet below the water level. Towards its head the sound becomes more expanded, and receives several large valleys that preserve the same character, but radiate in different directions into the highest ranges. At the time that these valleys were filled with glaciers, a great 'ice lake' must have existed in the upper and expanded portion of the sound, from which the only outlet would be through the chasm which forms its lower part."

On account of the great depth of water in these inlets, and of the sudden storms of wind rushing down from the mountains above, vessels are generally obliged to moor to trees or pinnacles of rock, whenever they reach a cove in which an anchor can be dropped. Accordingly, while we were in Milford Sound the "Clio" lay at anchor in Harrison's Cove, only a few yards from the shore, and moored head and stern to huge trunks of trees. Immediately above rose Pembroke Peak to the height of nearly 7,000 feet, covered with perpetual snow, and with a glacier reaching down to within 2,000 feet of the sea. The lower slopes of the mountains around are covered with fine trees, and with the luxuriant and evergreen foliage of the tree-fern and the other beautiful undergrowth of the New Zealand forests. Two permanent waterfalls, one 700 and the other 540 feet in height, add picturesque beauty to the gloomy and desolate grandeur of the upper part of Milford Sound. During a storm of wind and rain, mingled with snow and sleet, which, though it was the middle of summer, raged during three days of our stay, avalanches were often heard thundering down, with a roar as of distant artillery, from the snow-fields above; while a multitude of foaming cascades poured over the face of the lower precipices, hurling with them into the sea masses of rock and trunks of trees. On the other hand, nothing could exceed the charm of the few fine days which we enjoyed during our voyage.

Appendix No. VIII., page 568.


Plymouth, December 12, 1849.

On the eve of leaving England for one of our most distant colonies, I cannot resist the desire of saying a few words before I go, to the British public, on the subject of colonial politics, under the new aspect which they have lately assumed; a subject in which I have long been speculatively interested, and in which I am now about to acquire a deep and immediate personal concern. I have ventured, with your kind permission, to prefix your name to my observations..... A year or

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two ago I thought, as perhaps you think now, that, though a system so absurd in theory, and so unsuccessful in practice, as that by which our colonies are ruled, must break down sooner or later, still it might last indefinitely; for ten years to come, perhaps for twenty; and that our efforts might safely be directed to a gradual amelioration of it. I am convinced now that I was wrong. The real danger is, not that the despotism of the Colonial Office will last ten or twenty years, --not that the colonists will be oppressed by it for an indefinite time to come, --but that it may last just long enough to break up the British Empire, a consummation which, at the present rate of progress, will not perhaps take a great deal more than ten or twenty months. I shall be very glad now to be as sure that the flag of my country will not be hauled down during my lifetime in any part of the Queen's dominions, as I am that the hours of "Mr. Mother-Country's" reign are numbered. The point, therefore, which I am most anxious to urge upon you, as upon all colonial reformers, is, that whereas they have hitherto pleaded in the interest, as they thought, of suffering colonies alone, they must now plead in the interests of British honour and British supremacy.... Many causes have contributed to this change in the aspect of the question; but the chief of them are these--first, the increased strength of the colonies, or, rather, perhaps, their increased consciousness of strength; and secondly, the growth in England of a political school holding the doctrine that the colonies ought to be abandoned....

The best argument perhaps against separation is to be found in the strength and prevalence of a moral instinct which separatists do not recognize, and which they hardly understand, though they bear a strong testimony to its truth in the remarkable reluctance which they manifest to avow their doctrine. A true patriot personifies and idealizes his country, and rejoices in her greatness, her glory, and her pre-eminence, as a loving son would exult in the triumphs of a parent. Doubtless such greatness and glory may be too dearly bought, but that is not the question. I say that, independently of reasoning, they are felt to possess a great and real although an immaterial value, and that they are the more keenly so felt in the most heroic periods of a nation's history, and by the best and noblest of its sons. Nay, I maintain that the love of empire, properly understood, --that is, the instinct of self-development and expansion, --is an unfailing symptom of lusty and vigorous life in a people; and that, subject to the conditions of justice and humanity, it is not only legitimate, but most laudable. Certain I am, that the decline of such a feeling is always the result, not of matured wisdom or enlarged philanthropy, but of luxurious imbecility and selfish sloth. When the Roman eagles retreated across the Danube, not the loss of Dacia, but the satisfaction of the Roman people at the loss, was the omen of the empire's fall. Or, to take an illustration nearer at home, it is unquestionable that notwithstanding the disgraceful circumstances under which America was torn from the grasp of England, we suffered less in prestige and in strength by that obstinate and disastrous struggle, than if, like the soft Triumvir, we had 'lost a world, and been content to lose it.' Depend upon it, the instinct of national pride is sound and true; and it is no foolish vanity which makes Englishmen shrink from the idea of seeing their country diminished and humbled in the eyes of the world.

But the case of those who defend the preservation of our colonies, does not rest on any such instance alone; it rests also on perfectly tangible and material grounds.... By making "foreign countries" of our colonies, we

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should cut off on the one hand the best part of the British nation from colonization, and on the other we should abandon the plain duty of building up society in its best form, throughout those wide regions which are destined to be peopled by our descendants. We should deliberately provide for the construction of hostile democracies out of the worst materials which compose the British people.

Again, the union of the provinces which make up the British empire, constitutes a positive element of material strength. It is perhaps true, that now the value of our colonies may be counterbalanced by their cost; but such has been the case only since the invention of the Colonial Office, --that is, since we have made colonies effeminate by our protection, and disaffected by our tyranny....

I am not going to write arguments in support of the municipal system as applied to colonial government, because, in fact, everything has been said that can bo said on that side of the question, whilst, literally, nothing worth notice has been said on the other. Besides, we really have passed the argumentative stage in this part of the business. That the central system, whether right or wrong, will be speedily abolished, no man with a grain of political foresight can doubt. I repeat, that the only question which remains to be settled is, whether its abolition shall be the result of a dissolution of our colonial empire or not....

But it is necessary for me to state what I mean by local self-government; as the phrase, though hackneyed, has been much abused. I do not mean, then, mere powers of paving and lighting and road-making; nor the privilege of initiatory legislation; nor the liberty of making subordinate official appointments; I do not mean a regimen involving the reservation of civil lists, or the interposition of votes, or any other of those provisions in virtue of which ministers in Downing Street are in the habit of interfering with the internal concerns of colonies. I mean by local self-government, the right and power to do, within the limits of each colony respectively, without check, control, or intervention of any kind, everything that the Supreme Government of this country can do within the limits of the British Islands--with one exception. I allude to the prerogative of regulating relations with foreign powers. This one prerogative, the concentration of which is essential to imperial unity, the colonists themselves would gladly see reserved, in exchange for the privilege and security of being identified with the empire; but more than this it is neither beneficial nor possible for us to retain. I need hardly say that my idea of self-government includes the power of making and altering local constitutions. We ought not, I am sure, to impose upon the colonists any form of government whatever, even to start with. When we shall have duly authorized them to act for themselves, our function with regard to their internal affairs should end. Paper constitutions drawn up by amateurs without personal interest in the subject, never answer. All the best of the old colonial constitutions were framed by the colonists....

As a matter of course, colonies enjoying, as those of New England did, the perfect administration of their own affairs, ought not to cost the mother country a shilling for their government; and I am confident that, like Massachusetts and Pennsylvania of old, they would regard total pecuniary independence of the mother country as an important means of preserving their municipal privileges.

1   See "New Zealand Pilot," chap. ix.

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