1868 - Saunders, Alfred. New Zealand: its Climate, Soil, Natural and Artificial Productions... - [Text] p 3-53

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  1868 - Saunders, Alfred. New Zealand: its Climate, Soil, Natural and Artificial Productions... - [Text] p 3-53
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Animals, Birds, and Insects,



IN compliance with a request received from some of those present, I now appear before you to address you for the third time on the subject of New Zealand. The two former occasions were connected with so much that was social and convivial, and you expressed so kind an interest in my personal history during the twenty-six years that I had been away from this my native town, that I was perhaps justified in occupying a portion of your time in relating a few of the remarkable or amusing events of my own colonial career. I will this evening try to present you with a more orderly and connected account of the country in which you still evince so much interest, and about which, I am sorry to say, so many injurious misrepresentations have lately been circulated, and so much misapprehension exists.

The islands of New Zealand are situated between the 34th and 48th degrees of south latitude, and between the 166th and 179th degree of east longitude. The total area of these islands exceeds that of the British Isles, but, as a large part of it is exceedingly mountainous, and many portions reach an altitude so great that the temperature is too cold for the support either of useful animal or vegetable life, it would

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perhaps be a mistake to assert that the colony is adapted to produce food for a larger population than could be supported by the produce of Great Britain itself.

The three principal islands have been officially named New Ulster, New Munster, and New Leinster, but are better known as the North Island, the Middle (sometimes called the South) Island, and Stewart's Island, which is really farthest to the south, but is small and unimportant compared with the other two.


With a range of nearly fourteen degrees of latitude, and more than 13,000 feet of altitude, there is necessarily a wide diversity of climate; but in most of the plains, and in nearly all the parts at present inhabited, the climate is exceedingly pleasant and salubrious, evidently adapted for the fullest development of the Anglo-Saxon race, and one in which all our common domestic animals are reared with great ease, and to the highest perfection. It is, however, more favourable to animal than to vegetable life, not only on account of the general dryness of the air, but also from the frequent occurrence of very strong winds, which often blow for several days in succession, thoroughly changing and purifying the air in every nook and corner, but sadly withering the foliage of the trees and plants, and early destroying the soft vernal hue which is so characteristic of the beautiful scenery of Britain. The average annual fall of rain exceeds that of England, but the number of wet days is very much less, and the damp, misty weather, so frequent in Britain, is hardly known in New Zealand. The excess of rain on the west coast, as compared with the east, is perhaps even greater than in England. The peculiar charm of the climate is, that while the winters are

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never severely cold, the summers are never oppressively hot, a nice, fresh breeze being almost always felt during the middle of the hottest summer days, and a clear, bright sun both seen and felt during the coldest days of winter. The summer nights are also cool and refreshing, very unlike the oppressive heat felt at night in most other warm climates. The changes of temperature are, however, great, and often very sudden.


Every variety of soil is to be found in New Zealand. A comparatively small portion is exceedingly rich alluvial deposit, capable of growing sixty bushels of wheat to the acre for several successive seasons, without manure; but the greater part of the land is poor, and a very large portion of it is exceedingly poor and worthless. The good land is generally very flat. The general character of New Zealand, and especially of the middle island, is either most monotonously level or inaccessibly mountainous, the east side of that island being one large plain, and the west, an almost uninterrupted succession of mountains. Some of the very richest land is covered with water, but is easily laid dry by a few surrounding ditches. The bulrush swamps are often rich, but generally difficult to lay dry. A large quantity of very good land is covered with the native flax, under which the ground is always sound, and often requires nothing more than clearing and ploughing to produce first-rate crops. In some of the heavy lowland forests the soil is very good, but the expense of clearing puts it out of the question, except in the vicinity of towns, or under circumstances which render land of more than ordinary colonial value. Fern land is more common than either of these, and includes a great variety of qualities, from good, useful, second-rate land, to the most worthless; but

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none of the fern land will grow good crops of anything until it has been broken up for at least one summer. In the colder parts of the island, fern is less common, and much of the land produces a coarse kind of grass, looking like bunches of coarse hay, and so tough and hard that cattle do not like it. This is called "tussock grass," and is usually set on fire in the summer, after which it sends out green shoots, of which cattle and sheep are fond, and on which they will thrive well; but, as might be expected, the plant rapidly loses strength under such treatment, and must, no doubt, eventually be replaced by other grasses. Such land, when not in too cold a situation, is often good for growing corn and grass. In most of the cold and elevated situations, the forests consist almost entirely of black birch trees, the timber and the soil being alike of very little value.


Both the high and the low lands are watered well, and with water of a very fine quality, but the water of the north island is not generally equal to that of the middle island, for, although clear and wholesome, it often has a peculiar taste of iron, as if an inky pen had been dipped into it. Persons accustomed to drink it do not notice the taste, and will not even admit that it exists. In most parts of the southern islands the water is remarkably good, superior even to that of England, being generally soft as well as clear.


The rivers, as a rule, are not navigable; some few of them admit small vessels for some miles. Boats and canoes are often taken up a long distance by dragging them over the

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falls, but the rivers are generally rapid, dangerous torrents, with rocky bottoms and frequent waterfalls, subject to most gigantic and destructive floods. The strongest and best swimmers are often drowned in attempting to cross them, not only on account of the strength of the current, the ruggedness of their beds, and the quantity of snags and driftwood, but chiefly in consequence of their extreme coldness, which soon benumbs the limbs of those immersed in them. This coldness is the natural consequence of the rivers being fed from high mountains, often by melted snow, and being shaded from the sun in their rapid course, by deep, rocky banks, or forests.


Very few fish are found in the rivers, although eels are abundant in any fresh water where they find a muddy bottom. Some of them are of enormous size. I and six other men have lived for two days on one eel, without being able to eat half of it. It was about fifteen feet long, and eighteen inches at its largest circumference. Such monsters are found only in unfrequented districts where they are the first to be caught. Salt-water fish of various kinds abounds on many parts of the coast, and is sometimes to be had very cheap, but the towns generally are not well and regularly supplied with it.


The east coast, Cook's Straits, and Blind Bay abound in excellent harbours; but on the whole length of the west coast not a single good harbour can be found, or even good shelter of any kind for a large vessel--a fact that has greatly retarded the development of the mineral wealth of the rich, rugged, and boisterous western coast of the middle island.

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The mountainous side of the island not only contains millions of acres of gold-bearing land, but also practically inexhaustible and easily-worked deposits of coal, of the very finest quality. One of the seams near the Buller River is twenty-five feet thick. The only one that is worked to any extent is one sixteen feet thick that happens to crop out on the Grey River, about seven miles from its mouth, in a most favourable position for working without any machinery, and to which small barges can be dragged up the river by horses, and the coal brought down by the current. This coal, as well as that at the Buller, has been tried by the Admiralty authorities in England, and most favourably reported as equal to the best English coals, and indeed producing less ashes than any of them. Yet the want of about twelve miles of railway to the mouth of the Buller, which is a tolerably good harbour for vessels under 200 tons, prevents the development of this great source of wealth and prosperity, although the merchants and Government of New Zealand annually expend a much greater sum than would complete the needed railway in the purchase of coal from England, and a very inferior article from Australia.

This state of things, so unlike the general conduct of British colonists, is caused not so much by apathy as by a too narrow view of their own interest taken by a leading portion of the resident population of the province of Nelson, the great majority of whom are interested in the development of towns and seaports in Blind Bay and on the east coast, and are consequently prone to listen to all sorts of impracticable projects for conveying the coal to the opposite side of the island to that on which it is found. Coal of inferior kinds is found in many other parts of the island.

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Copper ore is found in many places, but is not equal to that of Australia, or rich enough to pay for working. Chrome ore abounds, but the demand for it appears very limited. Silver, lead, and plumbago are occasionally met with, and some parts of the sea-shore at New Plymouth and Nelson are covered with an iron sand, which produces iron and steel of a very superior quality.


Although there are some very large forests and trees of enormous size in various parts of the island, no great quantity of timber is ever likely to be exported from the colony, and sawn timber is not unfrequently imported from Van Dieman's Land, and even from Europe. I have already said that New Zealand has not the advantage of navigable rivers down which timber could be brought, and all that is within easy reach of a port is soon required for the use of the residents. There is more useful timber in the north than in the other islands. The great bulk of the timber in the middle island is of a very inferior description, so that there is not more of the good, desirable kinds, than will be required for home use. The best agricultural district, the Canterbury Plain, is particularly short of wood. In Australia, timber is thinly, and in many parts rather equally distributed, in single trees, over the country; but in New Zealand, after travelling many miles without seeing a tree, you often come to a perfectly impassable forest, consisting of very high trees, 80 or 100 feet to the first branch, very close together, and so filled in with underwood, and tied together with climbers and canes,

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that even a pig could with difficulty force its way among them. The dark, cold, damp atmosphere under these lofty trees forms a striking contrast to the bright light and drying air of the open country. In all the settled districts, the monotony of the open plains is now being advantageously broken by the springing up of poplars, willows, acacias, Australian gums, and other fast-growing trees, planted for ornament and shelter.


The much talked-of New Zealand flax is, in appearance, something like the leaf of a flag that grows by the side of some streams in this country. It is much used in its natural state to answer the purpose of string, as it tears down in shreds of any size, which tie easily, and are very strong while green. The leaf varies in length from six inches to twenty feet. It is never likely to be largely exported, or to become a source of much wealth to New Zealand, or of importance to Britain. I have already said that it grows on good and easily cultivated ground, so that it is the first thing to be burnt off and ploughed up in the neighbourhood of a port or settlement, or wherever the land is sufficiently easy of access to make the flax worth getting. It is a plant that will not bear frequent cutting, does not grow fast, and is very easily destroyed. As it has been found to pay wages only for cutting and preparing where it can be had for nothing, it is not likely to pay for cultivation, at least so long as the present rate of wages prevails.


In their original state the islands appear to have produced nothing that we should call fruit. There was a small kind of

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grape or currant, called Tutu, which has a very pleasant taste, like fresh, nice, dried currants, but the small seeds it contains are a strong poison. One of the first settlers at Nelson died from eating a single bunch, but when a large quantity has been eaten, it is generally thrown off the stomach, and the sufferer recovers after many hours of fits and insensibility. The numerous and large fuchsia trees bear a berry which is quite eatable, but no treat; and the same may be said of several other forest trees. But every description of fruit that we have growing out of doors in England may now be found in New Zealand, and many that will not thrive in a natural state here do well there. The slow-growing walnut is not yet abundant, but bids fair to be so. A few peach shrubberries were found by the settlers, which may have been originally planted by Cook, as they had evidently grown there neglected for a long time. The peach tree grows so freely, and bears so abundantly, that pigs are fed on peaches, and do remarkably well on them. It would certainly pay to grow orchards of early and late varieties, for the purpose of feeding pigs and other animals on the fruit. Even horses will eat them, and soon look the better on the coat for doing so. Unlike most other stone fruit, peaches are so wholesome that children eat them from morning to night without the slightest injury. Apples flourished remarkably well at first, and their fruit was much superior to any of the same kind grown in England, but after some years the American blight made its appearance, and has a very injurious effect, both on the trees and fruit. The best apples are now grown in orchards that are so far removed from all infected trees as to have hitherto escaped the disease. The pear tree, and some few sorts of apples, are not affected by this blight. Cherries are very plentiful, and superior to those grown in England; the trees bear abundantly every year, and as the birds seldom interfere with the fruit, it can be grown at a very cheap rate, and is much used for

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making wine. Gooseberries, raspberries, and mulberries do well, but currants and strawberries are, in some districts, less fruitful than in England; they both appear to want a more humid climate. The apricot, and all descriptions of plum, are easily grown. The blackberry bears fine fruit in the southern island, but farther north, though it grows luxuriantly, no fruit is found upon it. The vine does tolerably well in favourable situations, but by no means so well as in Australia; little attention has as yet been devoted to its cultivation, so that grapes are neither particularly good nor abundant. All fruit naturally succeeds best in situations well sheltered from the most prevalent winds.


The country was not originally so entirely destitute of flowers as of fruit. The fuchsia grows to the size of an English cherry tree, but the flower of this native tree is by no means equal to that of the cultivated varieties, which have since been introduced. Some of the native climbers are very beautiful: one fine flowering species, after destroying the tree up which it climbs, becomes a large and useful timber tree itself. The finest flowers and the most handsome ferns grow on the outskirts of forests, or otherwise shaded situations, and many of the flowers imported demand some protection from the very dry air and almost constant wind of the New Zealand climate. The red moss-rose does not succeed well, and several other varieties of the rose never reach such perfection as in England, although many other flowers, and even some roses, do far better. The long summer and very mild winter give the New Zealand florist a long reward for a small amount of labour. In the neighbourhood of the city of Nelson, numbers of fine acacias, or wattle trees, come out

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in full flower in the depth of winter, and, at a little distance, look like very large laburnum trees.


From north to south, in the islands, wheat grows well, wherever the soil is adapted and good enough for it, the quality being best in the province of Nelson, and the produce greatest in that of Canterbury. Barley, of very fine colour and quality, is often obtained, but for various reasons it is a less certain crop than wheat, so much so that the latter is extensively used by brewers. Oats, although grown everywhere, yield the greatest and best produce in the south. Beans also do well in the south, but are seldom grown, being rarely given to horses in any part of New Zealand. Although much used as horse food, maize is very little grown, perhaps from the fact that it is often imported at a low price from Australia. Indeed, favourable as are both the climate and soil for the growth of wheat, the country does not yet produce enough for its own use, wheat and flour being largely imported both from Australia and America. This is only the natural consequence of the high price of labour, which necessarily prevails in a country where every labouring man can go and dig gold for himself. The agriculturist finds it pay him better to supply the gold-digger with vegetables, meat, butter, cheese, poultry, and eggs, than to compete with countries where labour is cheaper, in the production of so portable an article as wheat.


No quadruped appears to have been indigenous to New Zealand. The first settlers found a great number of pigs and

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rats, and the natives had a few dogs; the latter had, fortunately, not become wild, or numerous. The wild pigs were very useful for a supply of meat before other animal food had become abundant, but, on being very much hunted, they soon made off to the less accessible country, and ceased either to annoy or benefit the thickly-inhabited settlements. In some of the thinly-peopled pastoral districts they still abound, and prove destructive to the lambs. Flock-masters employ men to hunt them down with dogs, giving so much per thousand for their tails. The carcase is generally left on the spot where it is killed, the pigs being often caught in places too difficult of access to admit of carrying away the meat. The pigs are a large-headed, coarse-haired sort, and the boars often kill the strongest dogs; the sows are, however, easily tamed and reconciled to confinement, but are slow growers and fatteners.

The rats are precisely the same as the common Norway rat. It would be difficult to give any idea of the annoyance which these little animals caused to the first settlers. Everything in the shape of food had to be carefully put out of their reach; even our boots had to be hung from a cross pole, by a long string, or we should have found them destroyed in the morning. The number of rats was so great that it seemed of no use to kill them; but the worst part of the infliction was, that they were not in the least afraid of us, so that they ran over us when we were in bed, crowding up to our chins to smell or taste them, and we could not sit down to write a letter in the evening without providing a stick to keep them at a distance from ourselves and our candle. When awakened from the soundest description of sleep by an extra large rat running over my face, I often felt in no humour to appreciate those beautiful lines of Cowper:--

"So Eden was a scene of harmless sport,
Where kindness on His part, who ruled the whole,
Begat a tranquil confidence in all,
And fear as yet was not, nor cause for fear."

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This degree of annoyance, however, lasted only a few weeks, as our enemies were easily poisoned in a wholesale manner, and the introduction of rat-killing dogs and cats soon taught them the necessity of adopting the usual precautions to preserve their existence; so that we were permitted to sleep in peace.

The absence of fear in some of the birds was much more agreeable and convenient. I have seen a man shoot eighty fine pigeons on one fuchsia tree, as fast as he could load and fire, often killing three at a shot. A large kind of pigeon, a great variety of ducks, and several species of parrots, are in some districts abundant; and there are many native birds of brilliant plumage, but not one deserving the name of a songster. The pheasant has been introduced, and is fast spreading over the country: the many attempts to naturalize the partridge and hare have not yet been equally successful. That cheerful and cheering bird, the skylark, is now quite at home in New Zealand, and multiplies fast; the chaffinch and greenfinch are also to be seen, and promise, to become abundant. The rabbit spreads with more than its wonted rapidity wherever permitted to do so. The red and fallow deer have both been introduced and set at liberty. They are breeding fast and doing well, appearing greatly to enjoy the wild part of the country which they have selected for their range.

The race-horse was introduced a few months after the landing of the first settlers, and attains to such perfection that horses, bred from sires and dams both imported from Australia, have been sent over to the land of their progenitors, and have beaten the Australian horses after suffering the inevitable disadvantage of a sea voyage. This is the more remarkable as Australia itself is a country in which the racehorse has received much attention, and one in which it is easily brought to great perfection. The Lincoln dray-horse, the Shetland pony, and most of the intermediate varieties, may

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now be found in New Zealand; but the Clydesdale for slow, and the thorough-bred race-horse for fast work, are the general favourites among those whose experience entitles them to be considered competent judges. Excellent specimens of both these varieties are met with, and a season rarely passes without the introduction of some of the finest horses of each of these breeds that Great Britain can export.

Besides the large herds of neat cattle that are bred and fattened on the "runs," almost every country settler has his little dairy of cows. For both purposes the short-horn is generally preferred, although no other pure breed can be said to have been fairly tried; and in a country where oxen are much used in the yoke, and stall-feeding is never resorted to, it is probable that the Devonshire would be really more profitable, if it could be procured sufficiently good for the dairy.

But the natural pasture of the country is principally devoted to sheep, which have proved a steadily increasing source of wealth. Perhaps the steady and rapid increase of these animals in the colony will be most satisfactorily shown by a reference to the returns of colonial wool imported into the United Kingdom during the last nineteen years.

In 1848, the Number of Bales Imported was--

ln 1867, without the Return for the last five weeks, this had become--

Sydney and Queensland,















New Zealand



Swan River



So that, whilst Tasmania has not increased at all, Sydney, Queensland, and Adelaide have more than doubled; Victoria has increased four and a half times, Swan River seven, the

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Cape eight and a half, and New Zealand one hundred and thirty-eight times. But even this statement does not give a sufficiently favourable idea of the New Zealand produce, the bales from that colony being so much larger than those from the Cape, that the quantity of wool from New Zealand is greater than that from the Cape by 1,543,409 lbs., and instead of standing fourth, as it appears to do by the number of bales, it is really second to no single British colony, except Victoria. The Merino, the Southdown, the Leicester, the Cotswold, and the Hampshire-downs are all to be found in a very flourishing state; but, as wool is the primary consideration with most of the flock-owners, the Merino, sometimes crossed with the Cotswold or other long-woolled sheep, is the kind most generally seen. Of course, neither the Merinos nor any cross from them are handsome in appearance. Like the Australian wool-growers, those sheep strike the eye of a visitor as being very ugly-looking animals, compared with the more symmetrical meat-growers of England, or the handsome-looking Leicesters and Southdowns that are, here and there, to be seen in New Zealand. It will never be possible to estimate how much the colony owes to a few individuals who have, at great cost, imported the very best description of all our domestic animals; thus enabling the country to be stocked, from the first, with useful and profitable animals, of a quality probably not surpassed by those of any other country in the world. It is, indeed, quite a pleasure to introduce animals to a country where they thrive so remarkably well with little care, and where the real miseries they suffer on the long and tedious voyage are repaid by a life of great comfort and enjoyment. After the first difficulties have been overcome, it is, no doubt, a great advantage for a country to be found entirely without quadrupeds, as it is thus stocked (the rats excepted) with only useful and selected animals.

The total absence of ravenous beasts and venomous reptiles

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is also no small comfort; as the thickest jungles and most suspicious-looking swamps can be travelled without a thought of danger from either of these sources. Many years must elapse before the absence of song and insect-eating birds can be fully supplied, and perhaps some of the most useful birds with which the British Isles are so greatly blessed (such as the swallow) can never be introduced.

In some wooded or swampy districts the sand-flies and mosquitos are very annoying, but they are little seen or felt in the settled and cultivated regions. There are no wasps, nor hornets; the honey-bee has been introduced, and has multiplied so rapidly that it is now more common, as it is more productive than in this country. Grasshoppers are very numerous; they destroy much grass, and furnish an endless supply of summer food for fowls, ducks, pheasants, &c. In very dry seasons, caterpillars often make their appearance in ruinous numbers, sometimes destroying whole fields of oats and barley. The wheat crop is often much injured by the wire-worm, and many acres of sown grass are destroyed by an insect of that kind. The rook and starling are greatly wanted to prey on these pests of the agriculturist, and efforts are being made to naturalize these useful birds, which will no doubt succeed, sooner or later. Nothing would give the English farmer a better idea of the debt he owes to his feathered friends than to see how much a country suffers for want of them.


I must now say something of the more important animal, man, as he was found by us in New Zealand, and I cannot pass the subject over so hastily as I have done those on which I have hitherto touched.

Whether we consider their long and complete isolation

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from all other members of the human family; the remarkable courage and mental capacity which have enabled them so completely to outwit all our military officers, and, with probably less than two thousand almost naked fighting men, effectually to keep at bay, for years, more than ten thousand well-armed British soldiers, and to make their power felt and respected by the British Government and the British taxpayer; or the strong probability that their very existence will soon be only a matter of history--they cannot fail to be regarded with great interest, and to claim a large portion of the time we propose to give this evening to the country in which they were found.

The average stature of these aborigines is, perhaps, a little less than that of our own race; they are of a light copper colour, with broad, low heads and prominent eyebrows. They are very teachable, though by no means docile; they learn to read and write more quickly than we do, and in all kinds of trade and manufacture they exhibit much acuteness and skill; but war is their favourite pursuit, and in the art of deceiving and surprising an enemy they have probably no equals.

In the politics of their own country they are much better informed than Europeans generally are; their time not being constantly occupied, nor their energies devoted to those bread-winning occupations which so entirely absorb the time and thought of most civilized human beings, they are incessantly meeting together and haranguing each other, and nothing that is published in the newspapers fails to be immediately communicated to, and well canvassed by, them all. Some of them may almost always be seen in the gallery of the House of Representatives, and anything that passes there affecting their interests flies from one end of the north island to the other with scarcely less than telegraphic speed. Many of them read and write the English language well, and the amusing criticisms they pass upon each orator who addresses the

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Speaker are generally very just, and show immense power of penetration. They soon form their estimate of every new member; they find out each man's favourite hobby, and every peculiarity of voice or gesture is sure to be remarked, and to earn for its exhibitor some appropriate nickname. Mr. Fox, with his ever ready wit and sweeping sarcasm, is a great favourite amongst them; and, whenever any speaker sits down who has said anything likely to call up Mr. Fox, the Maoris in the galleries may be seen fidgeting on and off their seats, with a whisper of "Kapai Foxey, Kapai Foxey." 1 The vocabulary of their own language is not comprehensive, so that they depend very much upon signs and gestures, which their orators use in the most wild and extravagant, but expressive and intelligible, manner. So clever are they, both in using and comprehending signs, that when we first went among them, without knowing anything of each other's languages, we found very little difficulty in communicating with them upon any subject.

Their clothing, constructed from the native flax, was by no means complete or convenient. It had, however, the merit of turning the heaviest rain, and was capable of being instantly thrown aside when likely to impede immediate action. I once saw a vicious horse in a cart rush at a native to bite him, and I thought it had given him a desperate bite on the shoulder, but was amused to see that the man had adroitly slipped out of his coat, leaving it in the horse's mouth--the man laughing heartily, and the horse looking quite chagrined at his unexpected acquisition. They now very generally adopt European clothing, or blankets.

Some of their canoes are elaborately carved, and are good and capacious boats, holding a long string of rowers or paddlers, all of whom are ready to spring out and carry the boat

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when the shallowness of the water or the strength of the current does not permit the boat to carry them. They are excellent swimmers, and show perfect confidence in the most dangerous rapids, which they will cross with an occasional touch of the bottom, and a sort of dancing action, as they yield to the stream, which I never saw any European attempt to imitate. It is quite an interesting sight to see a mother teaching her infant to swim by her side before it is able to walk.

About four years ago a vessel, called the Dellaware, was driven on the rocks at Wakapawaka, in the province of Nelson, and all hands would certainly have perished but for a young Maori woman, who swam out to the wreck and brought a rope to the shore, by which all but one man were saved. For this courageous act she was publicly presented with a gold watch and chain, and has since been known as the Grace Darling of Nelson.

They are not deficient in industry, are good assistants in the harvest and potato fields, make first-rate millers, and readily comprehend both the principle and practice of any kind of manufacture, but steady and long-continued application to anything is a habit not natural to them. They are so fond of excitement and bloodshed that few of them can resist the temptation of taking an active part in any war or disturbance that occurs within their reach, and that often without being at all particular on which side they fight. They are not inclined to be epicures, and will take no great trouble to supply themselves with palatable food or drink, although many of them are now afflicted with a wretched craving for tobacco and stimulating drinks. At first, the greater part of them steadily refused to touch ardent spirits, which they called "wai pirou," or "stinking water," but wherever they learned to take alcohol in any other shape, the appetite for it naturally became too strong to allow them to be at all particular as to what it was mixed with, or by what name it was

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called. The law of New Zealand makes it penal for any publican to supply them with spirits, or with such a quantity of any other intoxicating drink "as shall produce intoxication;" but as the law wisely declines to say what that quantity is, and there is nothing to prevent a dozen different publicans each supplying a quantity that the most moderate drinking magistrate must pronounce to be perfectly harmless, an intoxicated native has ceased to be a curiosity in most of the New Zealand towns. Although it appears that Captain Cook supplied them with potatoes, yams, maize, onions, and peach-trees, they have never attempted any great extent of cultivation, but subsist largely on fish, fern-root, birds, wild pigs, or anything they can pick up on any part of the coast whither they may wander. This was the natural habit of men who could feel no security in the possession of even an acre of land; who were often contemplating an attack upon some other tribe, and felt that they might at any time be attacked and overpowered themselves. It is this habit, or part of their nature, which makes the great difficulty in dealing with them or governing them at the present time. Governor Grey, the only able governor New Zealand has ever had, at once saw this, and set to work to meet the difficulty in the wisest possible manner, without making any public announcement of his intention, which would, of course, have only ensured its defeat. He saw that the great object to be attained was to find some attractive employment for their restless energy, to induce them to be more dependent on the comforts and luxuries of civilization, and to make them individually the possessors of landed and other fixed property; thus at once to disqualify them for their favourite occupation of erratic warfare, and to give them a direct and powerful interest in the maintenance of order and stability. For this purpose he granted land to individuals amongst them; he encouraged enclosures, cultivation, and stock-

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breeding in every possible way. Mills were erected for the natives at the public expense, machinery purchased, and engineers and millers sent to work for and instruct them. By the way in which he paid them for any land they liked to sell, Governor Grey kept them well supplied with sugar, flour, blankets, clothes, and all the luxuries which we have learned to consider as the necessaries of life, and which it was desirable that they should be taught to regard in the same light. This policy was denounced by some of the noisy and unthinking portion, both of the British and New Zealand public, and especially by many of the newspapers, and ridiculed as "Sir George Grey's sugar and blanket policy." Sir George was often held up in the public papers as the temporizing governor, who had lowered the prestige of the British flag by stooping to bribe a few arrogant savages, instead of giving them one or two wholesome exhibitions of what the British lion could do, and showing them the danger of daring to trifle with such a power. The proud and excitable natives, always thirsting for an excuse to exchange the comfortable drudgery of a peaceful life for something more in accordance with their previous habits and inclinations, found that they were being often written about as mere paupers on the Government, who neither could nor would fight, but who contrived to make Sir George Grey believe that they were going to do so whenever they wanted a little more sugar or flour. Notwithstanding all this mischievous writing, Sir George steadily carried out his wise policy, and had done much to reform the native habits when, in 1854, he was unfortunately transferred to another colony that was supposed to be more in need of an able governor. In such an uphill work it was, of course, easy for a feeble ruler to undo, in a few weeks, all that Governor Grey had done in nine years; but it is difficult to understand how any successor could be so reckless as to remove all those wise and evidently

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needed restrictions on the sale of arms and ammunition which he had been so careful to enforce. Yet even this was done by Governor Brown, and in the following three years the natives purchased no less than £50,000 worth of arms and ammunition, 2 which they have since used with deadly effect, both against each other and against the Europeans who so insanely supplied them with destructive weapons.

The Maoris do not generally expend much labour upon the construction of their houses, but they occasionally show that they are quite capable of erecting very comfortable, and even ornamental dwellings, without stone, brick, mortar, or sawn timber. Of their cleanliness I cannot say much. I have been once or twice obliged to accept their hospitality, and have been quite hungry enough to eat and enjoy their potatoes and fish, without asking any questions; but I always assured them that I was so great a lover of fresh air, that I preferred to roll myself in my own blanket outside their house. Their fortifications are often very effective and ingenious--not constructed on any stereotyped system, but almost invariably well adapted to the nature of the ground, the materials at command, and the kind of attack to be expected. They are also generally so contrived as entirely to mislead a European as to the most vulnerable point of attack.

But perhaps nothing is more wonderful than the manner in which the Maoris almost always contrive to escape, in the face of any number of troops, when defence is no longer practicable. Their great ability in this respect, their heroic courage, and the successful contempt with which they treat the stiff, formal, and easily foreseen movements of the British troops, under such commanders as they have too often had in New Zealand, will be best illustrated by a narration of a few actual occurrences in the present long-continued war, for an authentic

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statement of which I must be principally indebted to the narrative of Mr. Fox, a book that should be read by every one interested in New Zealand, and certainly by every member of Parliament who ever ventures to give a vote on New Zealand questions. I should think, too, it might be studied with much advantage at the Horse Guards. 3 Mr. Fox was Colonial Secretary, Native Minister, or Prime Minister, during the most important part of the war, and, therefore, had better opportunities than perhaps any other man of becoming thoroughly acquainted with all that occurred.

The most important stronghold that was ever occupied by the hostile natives was a place called Meri Meri, on the Waikato River. Here a larger number of Maoris had assembled than had ever been found in one place at any other part of the country, thus offering the best, or in fact the only opportunity of putting an end to the war by one decisive engagement. The preparations made for the attack by the British general were of the most elaborate and extravagant nature. No less than four months were spent in piling up ammunition and provision for the occasion; 1500 horses were employed in hauling stores from Auckland along forty miles of road to the river. However, even these preparations came to an end at last, and then General Cameron proceeded, with great deliberation, to place detachments of troops in commanding positions, and to give the Maoris ample notice that it was time for them to run out of their back door; which they accordingly did, without receiving a shot or losing a man. Our troops appear to have been able to do nothing, except look on from a distance. No provision had been made to stop an obvious line of escape by some small streams, up which the natives consequently went in their canoes,

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carrying off bag and baggage, and giving the general the opportunity of spending another four months, and a few more hundred thousand pounds, in following them a little farther into the country. The unequal and almost incredible conflict at the Gate Pah, I had better relate in Mr. Fox's own words:--

"The number of natives in the works is believed not to have exceeded 300. The survivors asserted that their force was not more than 150. They were entirely without artillery, and there was no water in the pah. Our force consisted of 16 field officers, 20 captains, 35 subalterns, 8 staff, 94 sergeants, 42 drummers, and 1480 rank and file. In fact, the officers alone of our force amounted to nearly four-fifths of the entire strength of the enemy, while our total force (1695) was at least five times as large as theirs. Besides these we had a battery of artillery, consisting of one 110-pounder Armstrong gun, two 40-pounder Armstrongs, two 6-pounder Armstrongs, two 24-pounder howitzers, two 8-inch mortars, and six cohorn mortars. * * *

"At 6.30 A.M. on the morning of the 28th of February the natives fired a volley at our skirmishers, and fire opened simultaneously from our four batteries. For the first two hours our fire was directed mainly at a flagstaff which was supposed to be in the redoubt, but which the natives, with their usual cunning, and trusting no doubt to our usual deficiency of that quality, had placed outside the pah, 100 yards in the rear. This ruse, however, seems to have been at last discovered, and a fire of shot and shell was poured into the redoubt, which, as I heard it said by one who was present, would 'have smothered Sebastopol.' Much of the fire, however, from the Armstrongs was extremely wild, and the huge 110-pounder and 40-pounder shells went booming and whizzing over the works for a distance of from 1000 to 2000 yards. When riding some

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months afterwards I saw many of them lying about unexploded.

"During all this time, except twice at long intervals, the natives never fired a shot. Now and again a man would be seen shovelling up earth to repair a breach, and once a man hung up a blanket across the inner palisading where damaged by our fire. Imagine the position of the Maoris lying still in their grass-roofed and wattled burrows, excavated in the banks of their rifle-pits, listening hour after hour to the roar of the big guns and the hurtling sound of the projectiles, feeling the terrible concussions of the shells as they struck close by or just over them, or scattered in fragments and carrying death among them, with the certain conviction that before night they would be assailed by the bayonets of an overwhelming force of trained soldiers. It must have required something more than a dogged disregard of death in untutored men to enable them patiently to await their apparently inevitable end amidst such a terrible scene.

"By 4 P.M. one of the angles had been completely breached, and the assault was ordered. The assaulting party consisted of 150 seamen and marines, and an equal number of the 43rd Regiment. One hundred and seventy men of the 70th were extended to keep down the enemy's fire, and to follow the assaulting column into the breach. The remainder of the seamen and marines and of the 43rd Regiment (300 together) followed as a reserve. The assaulting column, protected by the nature of the ground, gained the breach with little loss, and effected an entrance into the main body of the works, charging with a cheer, which was answered by their comrades over the field; the 68th in rear at the same moment drawing in close to the works, to cut off the escape in that direction. Up till this everything went well, and it was believed by those outside that the pah was taken. The natives actually attempted to escape from the rear, but, seeing

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the 68th pressing on, turned back, and suddenly reappeared in front of the assaulting column. At this moment, from some cause which General Cameron says, 'he is at a loss to explain,' a sudden panic seized our men, and, turning round, they rushed pell-mell out of the breach in headlong and terrified flight, crying out, 'There's thousands of them! there's thousands of them!' At this moment Captain Hamilton, of Her Majesty's ship Esk, rushed up with the reserve of the naval brigade, but it was too late, and he fell with a bullet through his brain as he mounted the breach. What came of Major Ryan's seventy-five and the rest of the reserve of the naval brigade and 43rd, is not stated in any of the reports of the affair, but they seem, at all events, to have been unable to check the flight of the retreating column if they attempted it, and not to have taken their place in the breach. The rebels concentrated their fire on the flying column, and committed fearful execution. After a time our force was rallied, but General Cameron thought it unadvisable to renew the assault, and directed a line of entrenchment to be thrown up within 100 yards of the work, so as to be able to maintain an advanced position, intending to resume operations on the following morning. The night proved pitchy dark, and for a time the rebels howled and shouted fearfully, as they usually do on such occasions. Suddenly this demonstration ceased, and, by-and-by, firing was heard from the rear, indicating an escape through the lines of the 68th. An officer crept up about midnight, and found the pah evacuated. It was not taken possession of till daylight, when several of our wounded were found still alive. They had not been stripped nor plundered (with the exception of a watch and one or two trinkets). Our loss on this lamentable occasion amounted to twenty-seven killed and sixty-six wounded, several of whom afterwards died of their wounds. Only ten Maoris were found dead in the

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pah, but it was said that they had carried several of their dead away, and that a great part of their wounded escaped. Their total loss was afterwards estimated at between thirty and forty, among whom were some chiefs of importance." 4

It is not only behind fortifications that they fought so desperately. They did not always wait to be attacked even by the most overwhelming force. During the campaign between Wanganui and Taranaki, General Cameron had with him a force of nearly 7000 men, but on the 25th of January "a force of 600 rebels (according to General Cameron--400 according to the governor) boldly attacked the general's camp at Nukumaru, a place on land belonging to the Queen, on the south side of the Waitotara River. The attack was made both on flank and in front, and it is stated that at one time the rebels got within 150 yards of the general's tent. The pickets were driven in with considerable loss, and had the Maoris brought up a reserve in time, it is doubtful which way the fortune of the day would have gone. The fight lasted a long time, but eventually the rebels were repulsed and driven to the bush by a small party of cavalry." 5

Their conduct at Orakau was, perhaps, still more characteristic and heroic, although less successful. Here, again, I will use Mr. Fox's words:--

"On the 30th of March, Brigadier-General Carey was informed that the natives were entrenching themselves at Orakau, about three miles from his quarters. After reconnoitring their position he returned, and collecting a force of about 1000 men, with three guns, he made a night march, appearing before the pah at early daylight, and having so arranged the arrival of his detachments from different posts.

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that from the first they surrounded the enemy's position and rendered escape impossible. The pah proved to be a place of great strength, with the usual ditches, and parapets of more than usual depth and height, surrounded on the outside by a strong post and rail fence, and outlying connected rifle-pits. At first, General Carey fell into the same mistake as cost so many lives at Rangiriri, in attempting to storm the works and take them by a rush. But after two assaults by the Royal Irish and Forest Rangers (Colonial), led by Captain Ring of the 18th and Captain Fisher of the 40th, the former of whom fell mortally and the latter severely wounded, and a third led by Captain Baker of the 18th, he wisely desisted, and determined to adopt the slower, but more certain method of approaching the defences by sap, which, it may be thought, it would have been quite as prudent to have done at the commencement. The number of natives inside is supposed to have been about 300. * * * In the meantime reinforcements kept arriving on our side from Maungatautari and elsewhere, which brought up our number to over 2000 men, who were so disposed that the escape of the beleaguered Maoris seemed to be absolutely impossible. All that day and the following night heavy firing was kept up on both sides; not less than 40,000 rounds of cartridges were served out to our troops.

"By the morning of the 2nd of April the sap was pushed close up to the works, and hand-grenades were thrown into the entrenchments. The Armstrong guns were brought into play, silencing the fire of the enemy to a great extent. General Cameron now arrived on the ground from Maungatautari, but did not interfere with the direction of opera-rations. As it was known, however, that there were many women and children inside, he sent an interpreter, Mr. Mainwaring (now resident magistrate at Waikato) to tell them that if they would surrender their lives should be

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spared. Their reply was, 'This is the word of the Maori: we will fight for ever, and ever, and ever.' (Ka whawhai tonu: ake, ake, ake.) They were then urged to send out the women and children. They answered: 'The women will fight as well as we.' And then the firing recommenced. Does ancient or modern history, or our own 'rough island story,' record anything more heroic?

"Our troops were now getting desperate, so near to a hand-to-hand encounter, and only a parapet between. A private, whose name I unfortunately have not discovered, threw his cap over a partially breached place, and rushed after it. About twenty others, chiefly colonial troops, led by Captain Hertford of the Colonial Defence Force, followed, got over the fence, and into the trench beyond. The Maoris, packed into a corner, delivered a withering volley, and ran for the inner works. Captain Hertford fell, shot through the head, and of the whole party of twenty, ten were down. Shortly afterwards some men of the 65th and militia made a similar attempt on the opposite side, but with no better success. It was now four o'clock of the third day, during which the Maoris had had no food but a few raw potatoes, and not a drop of water, while the shower of grape, hand-grenades, and rifle-balls poured with more and more effect into their entrenchments. Suddenly, on that side of the works which was supposed to be closely invested by a double line of the 40th Regiment, under Colonel Leslie, the whole Maori force was seen to be escaping. A friend of mine, who was present, described it to me. 'They were,' said he, 'in a solid column, the women, the children, and the great chiefs in the centre, and they marched out as cool and as steady as if they had been going to church.' The first line of the 40th was disposed under a slight bank, which had sheltered it from the fire of the pah. Before they knew that the Maoris were out, the latter, it is said, had actually jumped

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over their heads, and then passing on walked through the second line. By this time the general and his staff had discovered what was going on; the troops in the rear and in the trenches were got together, and with tremendous yells started in pursuit, firing at the retreating Maoris as they now quickened their pace, and broke away for a neighbouring swamp and scrub. Here they might all have escaped in a body but for a small corps of colonial cavalry, and another of mounted artillery (regulars), and the Colonial Forest Rangers, under Captains Jackson and Von Tempsky. These forces got ahead, and met them again just as they emerged from the swamp and scrub, and did great execution. Upwards of 100 bodies were picked up on the field, 18 or 20 were stated by the survivors to have been buried in the entrenchments, 26 wounded prisoners, and 7 unwounded were taken, and traces were found next day of a number of more dead having been dragged away during the night. The natives themselves afterwards acknowledged to a loss of 200. Our casualties amounted to 16 killed and 52 wounded." 6

Their contempt of life is often very remarkable. In one attack upon our earth-works they are reputed to have actually seized the bayonets of our soldiers to assist themselves to climb the earth-work. Mr. Fox relates a remarkable instance of solitary daring, which occurred at Sentry Hill, a redoubt about six miles north of New Plymouth, occupied by seventy-five men, under command of Captain Shortt, of the 57th Regiment. "The redoubt stands on a rising ground in an open plain. It was a splendid moonlight night, about eight o'clock, when the men in the redoubt saw a Maori coming across the flat, throwing his arms about in a wild manner, and singing what appeared to be a native hymn. He walked boldly up to the parapet, and sat down on the edge of the ditch. Some

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of the men wanted to shoot him, but the officers said 'No, no; go out and take him.' A party of one sergeant and eight or ten men went out; and as the sergeant approached the Maori jumped up, threw a stone at him, hitting him on the throat, and bolted. The men were taken by surprise, but before he had run very far they fired a volley at him, on which he sat down on a large stone and went on with his song. Another volley, however, being fired, he took to his heels and disappeared." 7

Quick-sighted, clever, courageous and indomitable, the Maoris yet possess a very small share of the higher qualities of humanity. Concientiousness, faith, hope, and charity, are all sadly deficient in their composition. Always accustomed to use language as a means of concealing their thoughts and intentions, they believe nothing that is said to them from any quarter. The messages of the Queen, the peace proclamations of the governor, the advice of the missionaries, or the communications of the Aborigines' Protection Society, are alike regarded by them as so many attempts to deceive and betray them. Each tribe looks with suspicion upon the movements of every other tribe, each man suspects a concealed enemy in his nearest relative; husbands do not believe their wives, nor wives their husbands. No amount of kindness is sufficient to secure their gratitude, no extent or degree of consistency can ensure their confidence. They are fierce and cruel, and the steadiness of purpose with which they will, for years, silently wait for an opportunity to revenge any real or supposed inquiry or insult, is rendered all the more terrible from the fact that, if unable to reach the supposed offender, they will wreak their vengeance on any one of the same family, the same settlement, the same race, or even the same colour. Some of the missionaries, who have devoted a life to their improvement,

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protection, and instruction, have thus been savagely massacred to revenge an injury inflicted by some other European; and it is remarkable that those who have courageously trusted their lives amongst them, on the faith of any gratitude or confidence which may have been amply earned, have generally been murdered with special marks of savage ferocity or indignity. The tales I have heard from eye-witnesses of the cruelties which the different tribes have inflicted on each other, and especially the manner in which the prisoners of war were treated before they were killed and eaten, are far too horrible to relate; but I must confess that they have done much to reconcile me to the evident decree of Providence, that these beautiful islands shall henceforth be peopled by a milder and a happier race.

All the habits of the New Zealanders, as we found them, were such as to account for the constant decline which has long been observed in their numbers. Any small improvement which European intercourse may have effected in their habits, has, generally speaking, not been sufficient to counterbalance the evil effects of the diseases, the intoxicating drinks, the tobacco, and the tea, which we have introduced amongst them. The seven years' war we have now carried on with a large portion of the remnant of this remarkable people, although it has slain comparatively few by the sword or rifle, has done much to deprive them of food, of shelter, of the means, and even the inclination, to rear the few children to which they now give birth. A Government census taken in 1858, but under circumstances that rendered it not very reliable, returned the Maori population at 31,667 males and 24,303 females, being a total of 55,970. They would probably now amount to very little more than 40,000, and some partial returns lead to the conclusion that there are now only seven women, and a little over four children under the age of fifteen, to every ten men. Ever since we have known any-

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thing of the Maoris, the proportion of children has been so small as plainly to show that they are a fast declining race.

While I much regret the undeniable fact that these interesting and remarkable aborigines are fast dying out--while I admit that the war has hastened their destruction, and have, from its commencement, expressed a belief that it was unnecessary, and therefore unjustifiable 8 --I should be guilty of great injustice if I were to leave the impression that there is the slightest foundation for those general charges of cruelty and oppression which some sadly misguided persons in this country are so recklessly and mischievously bringing against their fellow-countrymen in New Zealand. There are in New Zealand, as almost everywhere else, a few cruel, selfish, and tyrannical persons who would sacrifice everything to their own supposed interest; but such persons have always been too few in number and too well known to have the slightest influence in the councils of the colonists. Whilst the Maoris have suffered much, very much, from their would-be friends, they have really suffered nothing from any would-be enemies. They have pre-eminently been the victims of vacillation and indecision, of divided counsels, and a constant change of policy in the various British colonial ministers, who, in the absence of all personal knowledge of the colony or the colonists that they undertake to govern, are liable to be influenced alternately by the conflicting opinions they hear from governors, colonists, missionaries, and even military officers; while the incredible want of capacity which most of the generals in command have exhibited has perhaps done more than anything else to prolong the native revolt, and to encourage the Maoris in the vain hope that they can effectually resist

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the military power of such a country as Britain. The most warlike, harsh, and vigorous policy that was ever devised would have been humane and considerate compared with the utter want of system or consistency which has impoverished the colony, and starved, exasperated, and deluded the Maoris. One of the first acts of the first representative of the British Government in New Zealand was one which effectually ensured perpetual strife among the different native chiefs, and that could hardly fail to produce frequent war between the two races. By the Treaty of Waitanga, Governor Hobson undertook, on behalf of the British Government, to regard all the land in New Zealand as the property of the various chiefs, and to take possession of none without first purchasing it from them, at their own price, and with their own consent. This sounds very reasonable, just, and humane in English ears. Governor Hobson no doubt thought it was so, and many benevolent persons in England rejoiced to hear of that treaty; and yet few things that Britain has ever done have proved more practically cruel, more unjust, or more unwise. From what I have already said you will understand that the natives make little use of land, and that only for a time, and will therefore be quite prepared to hear that they had no definite ideas of landed property; far less could any chief or chiefs be supposed to hold any by a clear and indisputable title. Then, the circumstances under which they usually became chiefs at all, the manner in which they treated those in their power, and the course they took to set aside the claims of all whom they were able to drive away, were alike cruel and unjust, and should have received as little reward as possible at our hands. It was as clearly our duty as it was our interest, not merely to satisfy a few natives who happened to have the upper hand of the rest at any particular time, but to protect, and show our desire to do justice to, the whole race--to make each individual a holder of property, a pos-

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sessor of something that would be lost by disloyalty or insurrection. As the twentieth part of all the land in New Zealand would have given one hundred acres to each native man, woman, and child, it was quite unnecessary to make arrangements locking up all the land in the hands of those who never had any idea of using even a ten thousandth part of it. In the southern island the mischievous effects of this treaty were neutralized by the operations of the New Zealand Company, which purchased all the land from the natives before they had learned how necessary their unused and unvalued territory was to the Europeans; and, thanks to the intelligent, humane, and indefatigable Superintendent of Wellington, Dr. Featherstone, a great part of that province has also been recovered: but in the northern districts the native chiefs still hold most of the land, under circumstances which make its nominal possession a greater source of mischief to the Maoris than the want of it is to the colony and the colonists. In the southern provinces, where the land has all been purchased from the natives, a large portion has been set apart for their use and benefit; and every intelligent observer must have noticed that, although living in perfect peace with the Europeans, they are much injured, demoralized, and pauperized by too much nursing and pecuniary assistance from the funds obtained from the rents of these native reserves. For the credit of this country as well as of the New Zealand colonists, I rejoice to know that we have erred in this rather than in the opposite direction.

I do not say that the colonists have been guilty of no errors in judgment; I am sorry that I cannot assert that their newspapers, their public speakers, or even their legislators, are entirely innocent of that balderdash and braggartism, which have often been so fatally used to plunge this country into mischievous wars. I have already stated that many of them failed to appreciate and support Governor Grey's saga-

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cious and pacific policy, and there can be little doubt that some of them urged Governor Brown to the ill-judged measures which have caused so many disasters to both races in the colony, although the great majority of the representatives of those provinces in which the hostile natives resided lost no opportunity of protesting against them. The colonist who is generally, and perhaps justly, accused of advising Governor Brown to take those steps which led to the war--the Hon. W. C. Richmond, then Colonial Treasurer, now Mr. Justice Richmond--could never be suspected of any want of humanity; he is indeed kind and tender hearted to a fault, and although I know him not as a friend, but as one whose policy I have opposed and condemned in no mild language, and to whom I fear I may have given unnecessary provocation, it is here as much my pleasure as my duty to assert that he is one of the very last men I would believe to be capable of committing or advising an act of wilful cruelty. In judging of Governor Brown, or of those colonists who first advised the employment of the troops against the Maoris, it must ever be remembered that the greatest provocation received by the Government was the inhuman butchery of some of those native chiefs who maintained a friendly attitude toward the Europeans; and had Mr. Richmond been less conscious of his own good feeling and integrity of purpose, he might have been wise enough to advise that one of these murders should have appeared in the foreground, among the real and apparent causes of the war.

Since my return to this country I have felt quite unable to understand why persons, whose kind feelings lead them to take so much trouble to protect, and to secure justice to aborigines, should often be so ready, on the most insufficient and unworthy evidence, or even on no evidence at all, to accuse their fellow-countrymen in the colonies of being utterly destitute of justice or humanity. I should have thought that

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the same benevolence which induces them so warmly to undertake the defence of any other race, would have made them very unwilling to form so harsh and cruel an opinion of a whole community of their own countrymen. Britons do not alter their nature and lose every right feeling as soon as they become colonists; they do not necessarily become oppressors as soon as they leave their native soil. When Britain has made an island the receptacle for the offscouring of her own population, the natural consequence may be expected to result; when a colony has offered a field where a brutal master may purchase unwilling slaves, and drive them to work with the whip, it will naturally be a favourite resort for the hardest hearts, which may be expected daily to grow harder; where a tropical sun enervates our race, and swarms of cheap and servile attendants supply the place of muscles, if not of brains, degeneration may be too surely predicted. But none of these deteriorating influences have been at work in New Zealand; on the contrary, there has been much to call out the best feelings, as well as the best energies, of our nature; and hence to conclude without evidence, or rather in defiance of evidence that might easily be obtained, if sought for, that our own brothers in New Zealand wish to deprive the natives of the land necessary for their existence, or to destroy them for the sake of obtaining it, is a libel on our own flesh and blood, and one as much at variance with sound reason as it is with the justice we owe to our own race or the charity we owe to all men. Great Britain has already suffered enough from her Government having lent too ready an ear to unfounded calumnies against the inhabitants of her colonies, and all who wish her well will feel it their duty to do all in their power to restrain the unjust aspersions and unjust treatment which are now doing so much to lessen the warm attachment of the New Zealand colonists to their mother country, and are daily diminishing the pride and

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satisfaction with which they claim to be a part of this great empire.

This naturally brings me to say something of the European population of the islands, and to a much brighter side of our subject. No plant or animal presents a more flourishing appearance than the Anglo-Saxon race, wherever transplanted to that congenial climate. Every cottage seems to send forth a swarm of healthy, happy-looking children, whose rosy cheeks, loud shouts, and well-torn and dirtied clothes, show what a stock of health and animal spirits impels them to that constant and unrestrained exercise which Nature intended that all children should enjoy.

The first steerage passengers sent out by the New Zealand Company were selected with much care as regards character, and, so good was the foundation thus laid, that for twenty years crime was very rare, and life and property so safe in the colony, that few persons ever thought of locking their doors when, they went to bed. Escaped or released convicts would sometimes come over from Australia, but they found themselves marked men, with no accomplices, no receivers, no persons willing to harbour them, and the whole moral atmosphere so uncongenial to their taste, that they either went away again, or fell easily into the hands of the police on the first attempt to break the laws. This state of things continued, with little deterioration, until the discovery of rich gold mines, which attracted a large number of persons from Australia, and planted a very different kind of population on the southwest coast of the middle island, where the worst of crimes have become unhappily common. The north island, too, has suffered from the evil influence of its late contact with large bodies of British troops, and the rash introduction of some badly selected military settlers; but, notwithstanding these drawbacks, the early settled districts are still remarkable for their highly satisfactory moral condition, and still contain a

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population that, in many other respects, must be regarded as a very favourable sample of our race.

I have already said there is much in New Zealand to call out the best feelings and energies of the colonists, and will now point out some of the conditions to which I allude. First, I may mention the compulsory and intimate admixture of English, Scotch, Irish, Welsh, and Germans, on the same common field, where they learn from each other, and rub off much that is objectionable in the peculiarities of each of their characters. It is very amusing and instructive to see how eagerly and confidently each man adopts the favourite system of the locality he comes from, and how reluctantly he allows it to give place to what has proved to be a better one. The Scotchman brings out his swing-plough, and looks with the most unfeigned contempt upon what he calls the wheelbarrow of the Englishman; but, after wasting a large amount of industry and skill to equal the work which any boy could accomplish with a Ransome or Howard plough, the first few weeks of dry weather compel him, most reluctantly, to part with this Scotchman's idol, and to admit that there may be some good in a wheel after all. The English farmer takes great trouble to procure some heavy, hairy-legged horses, and a cumbersome waggon; but soon finds that he is left far behind, both in his ploughing and his harvesting, by his Scotch neighbour, who drives active Clydesdale horses and light harvest frame carts. The German plods away for years with his wooden mould-board, and two comfortable, slow-going oxen, driven by his wife, and says that iron ploughs must be very heavy, and that it must be very expensive to keep horses; but his boys look at the faster and deeper ploughing on the other side of the hedge, and soon grow up, and take the liberty of starting a horse team and an iron plough by his side, when the worthy old couple retire from the field with the conviction that their plough and their team

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must be too slow for the time, The English housekeeper looks down upon her Irish neighbour because she or her daughters milk the cows and feed the pigs, and allow the hens to lay in the back kitchen; and the Irish housewife pities the English husband who finds no helpmate in such necessary matters in his wife or daughter; but as circumstances arise to bring them closer together, and thus help them to understand each other better, the English lady finds that her Irish neighbour can more than equal her in the parlour, and that there can be nothing so very derogatory, after all, in milking a cow, and her neighbour finds that the pig and fowls do just as well and are nearly as happy at a somewhat greater distance from the house. The Scotchman shows the Englishman how to manage his calves, the Englishman shows him how to make cheese, and the Irishman shows them both how to entertain strangers, and to say something cheerful or witty to every one they meet.

Thus bigotry and prejudices are lessened, and the colonist learns that his own, or even his father's, ideas of right and wrong may not be infallible, and that he had better "hear" before he "strikes" at the systems adopted and advocated by other persons.

In religious matters still more direct and powerful influences have been at work in the same direction, and that man must be a bigot indeed who has not, in some degree, been liberalized by them. In a population so thinly scattered it is often difficult to get a sufficient number of persons together to form one congregation, and for every division and subdivision of the Christian community to have a place of worship and a minister of its own is, except in a few of the largest towns, quite out of the question; consequently those who wish to meet for public worship at all are led to inquire what there is that really prevents them from meeting with other denominations, and are often surprised to find how

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many and important are the points upon which they agree, and how few and trivial are those upon which they differ. The minister who has to preach to a mixed congregation cannot spend his time in enlarging on the disputed points of doctrine, and hence you will seldom hear a sermon, either in church or chapel, that would enable you to decide to what denomination the minister belonged. The Episcopalians in Canterbury, the Presbyterians of Otago, and, to some feeble extent, the Nonconformists in the north, have attempted to found denominational settlements; but, while all appear to have been useful in their way, and to have answered some good purpose, none of them have been left to the exclusive possession they evidently intended and desired. In what was to have been the Church of England settlement, chapels of most denominations may now be seen; and when the west coast of that province was suddenly peopled by gold-diggers, who were too long left without any place of religious instruction, the Wesleyans had the honour of erecting the first place of worship. In Otago the cautious, reflective, religious Scotchmen were soon completely inundated with Australians, whose social, commercial, political, and religious principles and practices were the very antipodes of their own.

The great engine of civilization--the fountain of all true human progress and improvement--can be obtained in New Zealand as easily as in England itself. The New Testament can even there be purchased for fourpence, and there is, perhaps, no country where the gospel is more earnestly and faithfully preached. The Wesleyans are everywhere at work with their usual systematic and successful energy. The Plymouth Brethren principally take up the highways and hedges. I have seen the late Bishop of Nelson walk through a cold and dangerous river to visit a sick man. The Bishop of New Zealand, Bishop Selwin, is a man of no common courage, energy, and earnestness; Bishop Patterson,

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who is now spoken of as his successor, who has laboured so long and so wisely in the Polynesian Islands, is one of the most sincere, unselfish Christians I ever met with, and one of the very best preachers I have ever heard. The absence of all State aid to religion, of tithes, or of church-rates, removes a great cause of irritation, and Churchmen are found uniting with Dissenters upon public questions in the most genial and cordial manner.

This has been happily the case upon the important and difficult question of education, in which the Episcopalians were, perhaps, more liberal than any other denomination.

The proceedings of the New Zealand colonists in this matter might be both interesting and instructive to the inhabitants of Great Britain, at the present critical time. As soon as a Constitution was granted to New Zealand, with what was practically a household franchise, all parties were united in the conviction that education must be at least as universal as the suffrage; and I am proud to say that the province of Nelson at once took, and has well maintained, the lead in the adoption of such measures as have effectually accomplished that desirable object. The first superintendent of Nelson, the Hon. E. Stafford, now Prime Minister of the colony, appointed a commission, on which the leading and most antagonistic religious sects were carefully represented, to prepare a bill on education, to be submitted to the Provincial Council. The liberal recommendations of that committee were still further liberalized by the Council, and the result was an Education Act, which has worked well for twelve years, offering a free education to every child in the province, and upon terms so universally accepted, that it is now a rare thing to meet a child long resident in Nelson who cannot read and write. The numerous and really good schools, supported by the provincial revenue, and by a special educational rate, have been freely used by all denominations, and, to a great extent,

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by all classes. The five largest provinces have each a college for young men, and, strange as it may appear, a superior education can be obtained as cheaply in New Zealand as in England.

The incomplete division of labour and the consequent, variety of work which each man requires to learn, tends to the better and more equal development of the intellectual faculties. The extreme division of labour in this country improves manufactures, but must deteriorate the men employed in them, and certainly disqualifies them for anything out of their daily routine. One of the very early settlers who came to Nelson, on being asked what he could do, said he was a doll's eye maker, and many of those who obtained passages under the name and with the appearance of blacksmiths, knew only how to make some particular part of a tool, and were of little use in the colony until they had received an education in a more generally useful occupation.

Then there is the absence of that extreme poverty which too often almost compels a man to stoop to actions that degrade him in his own eyes; while manly independence is fostered by the absence of any parish to fall back upon, and, generally, of any relations from whom assistance can be claimed.

The prospect of becoming a holder of property at no distant date makes the poorest industrious man feel that he has a real interest in the maintenance of law and order, and imparts a wonderful amount of proper conservatism to the working classes; while the demand that exists for labour compels every employer to see that he cannot play the tyrant or the oppressor, and that if he would be well served, he must learn to treat those who can serve him with kindness and with justice. Many masters, and perhaps more mistresses, in the colonies, have felt this to be a very hard lesson; but it is one that tends greatly to their own mental and moral improvement, although it would often have been a

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happier thing for them, and their dependants too, if they had learned it earlier in life.

Much has been written by political economists in defence of the extreme poverty and the extreme wealth which exist in this and in most old countries; but I believe in the prayer of the wise man who said, "Give me neither poverty nor riches," and have no hesitation in saying that most happiness, and most virtue too, will be found in those communities where the state that he prayed for has been most generally permitted.

"Some must and will be greater than the rest," and a man's happiness is not measured by his purse; but I believe it is generally diminished either by degrading, pinching poverty, or by that extreme wealth which has a tendency to blind its possessor, and to place him too far out of reach of the common sympathies of his own species. The high wages and good treatment which good servants can demand in New Zealand, have a tendency to improve both the employers and the employed.

Another thing which tends to improve the conduct and feeling of both the rich and the poor towards each other, is the not uncommon exchange of position. Many persons, who have not learned to work, soon lose all their money or property in the colony, while those of steady habits, who can work, are pretty sure to rise to the position of employers. It is by no means an uncommon sight to see an old servant sending a valuable and acceptable present from her own ample store to a former mistress, now become poorer than herself, or to see a mistress taking a pride and pleasure in instructing her late servant to acquit herself creditably in some affluent station of life. Clever and industrious artisans, mechanics, and labourers often rise to the most important positions, and are welcomed in the highest circles of society. I know that there are many persons who would regard this

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as no subject for congratulation, far less as any evidence of improvement; but my observation convinces me that it has the happiest effect in breaking down those artificial barriers which the pride of man is so prone to erect against his fellow-man, in taking us out of that narrow circle to which a vicious education has taught us to attach and confine the word "respectable," showing us that Nature's aristocracy is limited to no class of society, and that what God has chosen we are not authorized to despise as common or unclean.

Let me here take the liberty to say that on my return to this country, after an absence of more than a quarter of a century, I was greatly disappointed to find that, although wages were somewhat higher, the general feeling between employer and employed had not improved; that they were systematically combining to injure each other, and that large masses of the working men of this country were so grossly misinformed and misled as not to see that proceedings which tended to ruin their employers, and drive their customers to other markets, must eventually be more injurious to themselves than to any other portion of the community. I need not add that, in common with every right-minded Briton, I have blushed to learn that assassins could be hired in this country to murder men at fifteen pounds a head, and that the systematic murderers who hired them had ever been owned as officers in an association of working men.

I should like to have spoken on the government, the press, and the administration of justice in New Zealand, and there are many other subjects upon which you were entitled to expect to hear something this evening; but I have already heavily taxed your patience, and have detained you much longer than I ever like to detain an audience. You will perhaps think that I have devoted too much time to the native question, but I have been tempted to enlarge on it not only because the question appears to me to be interesting in itself,

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and one upon which the British public stands much in need of information, but also as one in which a misinformed press and a misled Government have done much to endanger a cordial reciprocity of good feeling between this country and the colony, to the restoration of which it is my highest ambition to be in any humble degree instrumental. I envy neither the hearts nor the heads, neither the feeling nor the judgment, of those members of the House of Commons who speak of our colonies as mere burdens on the country--as excrescences to be severed from it on the first convenient opportunity. If such is to be the policy of Great Britain, she has indeed passed her meridian, and may say to each of her vigorous sons, as she drives them from her, "You must increase, but I must decrease." I trust, however, that better things are in store for us, and think I see evidence that a more far-seeing and intelligent, a more maternal and charitable influence, is to prevail in the councils of this great country, so that each of its offshoots shall be treated with that forbearance and kindness, consideration and justice, which will ever retain them as parts of one great empire, and give the mother country cause to rejoice that the blessing of Joseph has descended upon her sons and her daughters, making them a "fruitful bough by a well, whose branches run over the wall," causing our own race and our own language, our own laws and our own religion, to be widely and deeply rooted, even in the uttermost parts of the earth, in the most distant land on our globe.

CLAYTON & CO., Printers, Bouverie Street, London.

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1   Good, very good, or well done.
2   Government Returns in 1861.
3   "The War in New Zealand." By William Fox, A. M., Oxon. Smith, Elder, and Co., 65, Cornhill.
4   "War in New Zealand," p. 112.
5   Ibid., p. 173.
6   "War in New Zealand," p. 97.
7   "War in New Zealand," p. 130.
8   See "Address to Waimea Electors," 1861; also speeches and votes in the New Zealand House of Representatives on its first meeting after the commencement of the war, 1862.

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