1839 - Popular Account of New Zealand as a Field for British Colonization - [Front matter]

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  1839 - Popular Account of New Zealand as a Field for British Colonization - [Front matter]
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"Lord Bacon calls the plantation of a Colony a heroic work: and we believe systematic colonization to be emphatically the want of our age."


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J. Neilson, Printer, Paisley.


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Position and Extent of New Zealand..........13



Climate and Soil..........20

Natural Productions..........25

Native Inhabitants..........29


No. I. J. Liddiart Nicholas' Narrative, 1815-1817..........42

No. II. (Circular) New Zealand Land Company..........46

No. III. (Circular) Terms of Purchase for Lands in the Company's first and principal Settlements..........48

No. IV. Advertisement of Local Committee for the West of Scotland at Glasgow..........51

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NOT six months ago, the Colonization of New Zealand was a mere idea existing in the minds of a few individuals in different parts of the kingdom, hut not a bit farther advanced towards realization than it was in 1771--a year or two after its discovery by Captain Cook, when the celebrated Dr. Benjamin Franklin propounded a plan for colonizing the country, and opening up a means of intercourse betwixt the native inhabitants and the civilized world, but which, for want of funds to carry it into effect, fell to the ground. An expedition, on something like Franklin's plan, was fitted out in 1825, but owing to unfortunate circumstances, it did not succeed. The failure of the Bill brought into Parliament by Mr. Francis Baring, in 1837, is well known. And it appeared as if the expectations of those who knew something of the superior advantages of New Zealand as a field for British Colonization, that a settlement would be founded there, were to be completely disappointed. An attempt, however, by one or two ardent friends of the cause in the West of Scotland, to found a Joint Stock Company, under the denomination of "THE NEW ZEALAND COLONIZATION COMPANY," having been made in the City of Glasgow, in the beginning of the present year, and this having reached the ears of the promoters of the Bill of 1837 in London, they were prompted to renew their exertions, and the result was the formation of "THE NEW ZEALAND LAND COMPANY." This Company has been formed under the auspices of the Earl of Durham, who takes a warm interest in the colonization and civilization of New Zealand, and than whom, as undoubtedly of all our modern legislators the statesman who has evinced most knowledge of Colonial affairs, and of the true principles of colonization, the Company could not have a more enlightened nobleman at its head. Among the promoters of the London scheme, are Mr. Hutt, M.P.; Mr. E. G. Wakefield, to whom the distinguished merit belongs of elucidating the true principles of colonization, in his Work entitled England and America--of establishing, in short, what may now be called the science or art of colonization; Dr. G. 8. Evans, to

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whose persevering and enthusiastic labours the Company are greatly indebted, and other learned and enlightened friends of colonization, while the Company numbers among its Directors, several Members of Parliament, among whom is our countryman, Sir George Sinclair, besides several of the richest and most extensive merchants in the City of London. It is not yet two months since the Prospectus of the Company was published. On its announcement, the promoters of the Scottish scheme were induced to join the London Company, and a branch of the latter, under the management of a Local Board, has been appointed in Glasgow for the West of Scotland. The operations of the Company, since its commencement, have been most successful. The first step they adopted, was to fit out and dispatch a vessel, on an exploring expedition, under the command of Colonel Wakefield, as Commissioner, to choose the most eligible locality for the first or principal settlement in the country. The printed instructions to Colonel Wakefield are most judiciously framed; and we have no doubt he understands the spirit of them, and will act accordingly. Several scientific men are on board, and a native chief to act as interpreter. Of course, it is not known where the settlement is to be fixed; but, in all likelihood, it will be either at Port-Manikou, or in Queen Charlotte's Sound, in Cook's Straits. The Company have resolved that the first settlement shall consist of 11,100 acres, including 1,100 acres of town land, or about twelve miles square, divided into 1000 sections, of 101 acres each, and that these shall be sold at £l per acre. Nearly 700 sections have been already sold. One fourth of the price is to be reserved to pay the expenses of the Company, and the remaining 3-4ths, or 75 per cent, is to be expended in providing a free passage to young people of both sexes, belonging to the labouring class. A colony, numbering nearly 1000 individuals, is already formed in London, under the title of, "The first Colony of New Zealand," and will sail from the Thames in August next. Dr. G. S. Evans, whom we have already mentioned, is Chairman of this Committee, and as father and founder of the colony, his name, as that of another Penn, will yet shine in the future annals of New Zealand. The other members of committee consist of gentlemen of the first respectability, in point of birth, fortune and education. As to the West of Scotland branch of the Company, it can hardly be said it has done more than commence operations, yet several sections of the Company's lands have been sold, and a number of gentlemen of great respectability have been enrolled as colonists, under the title of the "First Scotch Colony for New Zealand," and it is expected that a sufficient

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number will have joined the association by September next, so as to enable the Company to dispatch a first class ship from the Clyde, for the new settlement, some time during that month.

Thus it is, that, in the short space of two months, by the energy and perseverance of the men who have originated and set agoing this great enterprise, has what was but an "airy nothing," which your mere practical men, with "no speculation in their eye," and always so prodigiously wise in their own self-conceit, derided as the phantasy of a heated brain, assumed a substantive form, and acquired "a local habitation and a name;" and thus it is that the present project of the colonization of New Zealand will establish a new era in the history of colonization, and of the civilization of the human race, --as giving birth to a great empire in the opposite hemisphere of the globe, in which the English language and literature, English institutions, arts and industry will be extended and perpetuated.

One agreeable feature in the character and proceedings of the Company, is the total absence of every thing like political feeling, --Whigs, Tories, and Radicals being to be found both among the Directors of the Company, and its Proprietary, and also among the Colonists; the latter having agreed to discard all party feeling, as wholly unsuited to the circumstances in which they are now placed, or with reference to the object in view.

Instead of party or factious feeling, the Colonists--especially those in London who constitute no contemptible community--are animated solely with preparations for their departure, and in making arrangements for the various pursuits they contemplate engaging in in the Colony. Some have already entered into partnership as commission agents--some intend erecting saw-mills--some the preparation of flax, &c. &c. Ladies--the wives and sisters of parties going out, who have been brought up and accustomed to all the refinements of London life, are entering with true heroism into the spirit of the enterprise. --One lady intends to establish a school for the education of native girls when she gets out. Every bosom is filled with hope; and it is delightful to witness the number of individuals whose energies were misemployed, or running to waste at home, who have been roused into activity by the prospect and opportunities which the new Colony presents of engaging in undertakings appropriate to their means and abilities.

If any thing more than another could speak in favour of the colonization of New Zealand, it is the unanimous support the subject has received from the public press. Papers have

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appeared in nearly every periodical of the day, from Blackwood down to the Penny Magazine, in which the measure has been recommended and enforced. The only exception has been in the case of the Times, which has certainly thundered a deal of declamation on the subject. The dangers of the voyage, and the risk of being made minced meat of by the natives, have been depicted in the darkest colours, as if any but the most ignorant and timid could be influenced by such representations. As for the voyage, it is neither longer nor more dangerous than that to Calcutta, Sydney, or Hobart Town, and yet the Times never dreams of dissuading the thousands of our countrymen who are monthly, aye weekly embarking for these dependencies, from risking their lives in such fool-hardy enterprises. But why does the Times not extend its concern for the lives and comfort of her Majesty's loyal subjects to all who "go down to the sea in ships,"--in her Majesty's navy, as well as in the commercial Marine of the country. Why not show that Britain really does not owe all her power and greatness to her "Ships, Colonies, and Commerce,"--that it is a mere vulgar error to suppose she does--and that it ought not to be her peculiar boast that she has a garrison or settlement in every corner of the Globe, where the British Standard is to be found floating on the breeze--and that in every sea, the meteor flag of England maybe seen waving in the wind. It seems not at all to occur to the Times, that there is a possibility of shortening the voyage, and by proper precautions and regulations, providing against many of the dangers and disasters that emigration ships have often had to contend with. As to shortening the voyage, there is a project on foot at this very moment, for establishing a regular steam navigation betwixt England and New Zealand, by way of Panama, or the Isthmus of Darien, and if this project succeed, and we do not see what should prevent it, the voyage will be reduced from four months to six or seven weeks; and then, when we consider what wonderful things happen, now a-days, in "the world we live in," it is by no means improbable, that ere long a trip to New Zealand may become as fashionable as the one to New York in the Great Western or British Queen. We know it is the determination of the Directors of the Company, that the very greatest attention shall be paid to the safety, and comfort, and convenience of the emigrants sent out by them, and to see that none but vessels of the first class, under the command of skilful captains, and with skilful and experienced surgeons on board, are employed. They are satisfied of the importance of very strict regulations being enforced on these points.

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It is their interest, as well as duty, to see that these are attended to. It is their wish to divest emigration entirely of its supposed or imaginary terrors, and of all its real evils, as far as it is possible, by proper regulations and precautions on their part, to do so--in short, to render emigration much as possible, a pleasant and agreeable thing, instead of repulsive, as by many it is considered to be. With respect to the cannibal propensities of the natives, we suspect not a few of them have by this time acquired a relish for roast beef and plum-pudding, which they reckon more palatable than the dead bodies of their enemies--in short, they are fast losing their character of anthropophagi, and we are afraid we shall soon lose all the romance of savageism in as far as they are speedily becoming rational beings, much after the fashion of Englishmen. By the latest accounts, brought home by parties who have lived amongst them, they are, in point of fact--on the banks of the Hokianga, at least--farther advanced in civilization than our own countrymen in many parts of Ireland, and of the Highlands of Scotland. The opposition of the Times can be easily accounted for. Its conduct is of a piece with the selfish, narrow-minded hostility of the Church Missionary Society, who actually maintain that the settlement of industrious, well educated, high-minded Englishmen, and the establishment of British law and authority in New Zealand, are wholly incompatible with the civilization of the natives. Mr. Dandison Coats, the Secretary of the Church Missionary Society wishes, in short, to be the Pope of New Zealand, and to enjoy all temporal, as well as spiritual power, over the New Zealanders. The leading Journal of Europe lends itself to promote his designs. But fortunately, so far as respects New Zealand, the "signs of the times," and the designs of the Times, are two very different things.

The principle on which the present scheme for colonizing New Zealand is founded, is no untried theory. It has been sufficiently tested in the case of South Australia. The progress of that colony is truly wonderful, and its prosperity throws discredit on the whole system on which our colonial dependencies have hitherto been managed by the Government at the Colonial Office. It will not be three years till December since the first body of colonists landed on the shores of Spencer's Gulf, and already 10,000 souls are located in Adelaide and its neighbourhood. About three hundred houses have been built in the town. There are three or four Churches-- three Banks--two Newspapers--Hotels, &c. &c. The rise in the price of land almost exceeds belief. Town acres, which originally cost 12s., have sold as high as £300--£400--and £500, and in one instance an acre was sold at the extraordi-

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nary rate of £1400. If the newspapers are examined, it will be seen that more vessels are advertised for Port Adelaide, than almost any other foreign port. The principle works in this way:--In proportion as land is sold, the larger is the fund for sending out labourers, and in proportion to the influx of labourers, the demand for land increases. It is intended, that this principle shall be worked with vigour and skill, in the case of New Zealand. All the power and influence of the Company will be concentrated, in the mean time, on the first or principal settlement, and judging from the example of South Australia--the spirit of emigration so widely spreading among all classes--and the superior capabilities of New Zealand in every point of view, for the foundation of a British colony, there is no room for entertaining the smallest doubt of the entire success of the scheme.

Darien--Poyais--Swan River, are notable instances of failure, through ignorance of the true principles of colonization. The Darien expedition was a grand conception--honourable to its author, and the spirit for enterprise among Scotsmen at the time. The whole country embarked with enthusiasm in the project. £300,000 were subscribed in Scotland--an immense sum in those days--when the comparative poverty of the country, and the high value of money are considered. Six millions would not be a larger sum at the present day. Ample as the capital of the Company was, the colony established under its auspices would still have failed, independent of all the open hostilities from without, and dissensions from within, with which it was assailed. Two expeditions sailed from Scotland--the first from Leith, consisting of 3 vessels, carrying 1200 settlers, and the other from the Clyde, with 3 or 4 vessels, carrying 1300 settlers, but all men--no women amongst them. Here was a capital error. No colony can succeed without the sexes being, in as nearly as possible equal proportions; and this is a leading principle of the new mode of colonizing, and its observance is to be enforced in the plantation of the new colony in New Zealand, as well as it has been in South Australia.

The Poyais expedition was an act of sad infatuation; and as for the Swan River settlement, there could not have been a grosser delusion than the idea that, because individuals were receiving extensive grants of wilderness and unpeopled lands, they were thereby rendered rich. The settlers no sooner arrived than they dispersed themselves, each to take possession of his grant--situated, miles it may have been, from his neighbour. Without concentration and mutual co-operation, so necessary in a young colony, what other result could have happened than positive helplessness, and poverty, and despair. The settlers sunk into savageism; and the establish-

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ment of the Swan River settlement, in its early history, will ever remain a memorial of the folly and ignorance of the men in the colonial department of our public affairs at the time.

The title to the lands ceded by the New Zealand chiefs to the Company, is constituted, in some cases, by written treaties, evidenced by the Missionaries, called by the natives Booka Booka, in addition to the ceremony of the taboo, but in others it consists solely of the taboo. No form could be more sacredly observed by any people. A Scotch lawyer may not be able to understand how any title can be good without charter and sasine, but any one, not a mere cantor formularum, and who has extended his studies to the rationale of such things, can have no difficulty in perceiving that the ceremony of the taboo may be as valid, as in truth it is more sensible, though the institution of a savage people, than the childish form of delivery of earth and stone, still so fondly clung to by our learned feudalists, even in these days of advanced knowledge and civilization.

At present, there is no law or authority in New Zealand, except the will of the chiefs, and the influence of the Missionaries, and of the British resident at the Bay of Islands. It is satisfactory, however, to know that Government intend to confer a constitution on the colony either by act of Parliament or Royal Charter--that a British Governor--also a Judge, and a Military Force, will be established. 1 A British frigate has already been dispatched for the protection of the shipping that frequent the numerous bays and harbours on the coast. The appointment of Governor, is a matter of the very first importance, and we trust the office will be conferred on no mere political partisan, or protegee of the Colonial Minister-- and above all, on no military martinet--but on some individual of enlarged views, and benevolent feelings--possessed, at same time, of energy of purpose--superior to the assumption of any hauteur to uphold his dignity, and who will command respect by inherent greatness of mind and force of character-- some such man as we conceive Sir Thomas Munro, or Sir Stamford Raffles to have been, whom we have always regarded as the proper kind of men for colonial governors.

It is intended that a Bank, under the title of "The New Zealand Banking Company," shall be forthwith established. No institution could tend more to promote the prosperity of the colony; and if judiciously conducted, it cannot fail to be a most successful undertaking. Nowhere have banking establishments yielded such high dividends as in our Australian settlements. The annual dividends have amounted,

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in some instances, to 26 per cent., and they have never been less than 12 per cent. The current rate of interest is 10 per cent. A considerable portion of the stock will be reserved for the colonists, and the management in New Zealand will be under the direction of a Colonial Committee.

A printing press is to accompany the first Colony from London. An engagement has been made with a printer, and on arrival, a newspaper, under the title of "The Now Zealand Gazette," or some such title, will be published. Indeed we do not see what is to hinder the press to be set to work on board ship on the voyage out, and the first newspaper ever printed at sea, be made to commemorate the passage across the great waters of the first body of colonists, to the favoured country of their adoption--the future Great Britain of the Southern hemisphere.

Not forgetful, either, of the moral and religious interests of the colony, it is intended that schools shall be founded, and churches built. Several of the Scotch colonists have expressed a wish for the appointment of a clergyman of the Church of Scotland, and it is hoped their countrymen, both churchmen and dissenters, will aid them in accomplishing so desirable an object.

The account of New Zealand given in the following pages--to which these observations are intended as an introduction--has been hurriedly got up, for the purpose of diffusing in a cheap and popular form, some general knowledge on the subject, amongst those numerous individuals in Scotland who are contemplating to emigrate to one or other of the different settlements in the Southern Hemisphere, and who ought to be presented with an opportunity of acquiring information respecting New Zealand and its numerous advantages, and of the present project for colonizing it.

In our opinion, no enterprise could be more interesting than the British colonization of New Zealand. Independent of the individual benefits the colonists may reasonably anticipate, what mighty interests does it not subserve? The lifting up of a savage nation to civilization and humanity--the diffusion of knowledge--of peace and good government, and above all, the knowledge of the true God to the uttermost ends of the earth; so that civilization and Christianity, with all their attendant trains, may radiate from this country as from a moral sun.

"Even till the smallest habitable rock
Beaten by lonely billows, hears the sound
Of humanized society; and blooms
With civil arts, that send their fragrance forth
A grateful tribute to all-ruling Heaven."
...Wordsworth's Excursion, Book VI,

JULY 3, 1839.

1   Mr. Labouchere intimated in the House of Commons, on the 25th ult., that Government had come to the resolution of establishing a Colonial Government in New Zealand.

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