1845 - Wakefield, E.J. Adventure in New Zealand [Vol.I.] - CHAPTER I

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  1845 - Wakefield, E.J. Adventure in New Zealand [Vol.I.] - CHAPTER I
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Early History of New Zealand--Tasman, 1642--Cook, 1769-- Church Mission, 1814 -- Magistrates appointed -- Wesleyan Mission, 1822--Travellers and their books--Visit of Hongi to England, 1820--Baron de Thierry--New Zealand Company of 1825--"Land-sharking" and straggling colonization--Hongi's fire-arms--Bloodshed and depopulation--- Captain Stewart and Rauperaha--Letter of Thirteen Chiefs to William IV., 1831--- British Resident--Continuation of wars--Declaration of Independence and Recognition of Flag, 1835--Absurdities--New Zealand Association of 1837--Negotiations with Government-- Hostility of Mr. Dandeson Coates--Offer by Lord Glenelg of a Charter to the Association--Refused: why--Mr. Baring's Bill, 1838--New Zealand Land Company of 1839 -- Its views-- Colonel Wakefield appointed to take charge of Preliminary Expedition--I resolve to accompany him.

In order that parts of the subsequent narrative should not be misunderstood, it is necessary to furnish a brief statement of circumstances relating to New Zealand previous to the expedition and events which it is my object to narrate.

The islands of New Zealand were first seen by Tasman in 1642; but he was prevented from landing by a conflict with the natives, in which he lost four men.

Until 1769, New Zealand was supposed to form part of the great Terra Australis Incognita: but in that year, Captain Cook circumnavigated and surveyed the two principal islands, gave his own name to the Strait by which they are separated, landed at various places,

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and took formal possession of the country, in pursuance of the following instructions: --"You are also, with the consent of the natives, to take possession, in the name of the King of Great Britain, of convenient situations in such countries as you may discover, that have not already been discovered or visited by any European power; and to distribute among the inhabitants such things as will remain as traces and testimonies of your having been there; but if you find that the countries so discovered are uninhabited, you are to take possession of them for His Majesty, by setting up proper marks and inscriptions as first discoverers and possessors."

Cook suggested the regular colonization of New Zealand; but no attempt was made to carry his recommendation into effect, though many schemes for the purpose were formed by various persons, including Dr. Franklin.

In the Parliamentary debates which led to the establishment of New South Wales in 1788, New Zealand was mentioned as very suitable for an experiment of penal colonization, and narrowly escaped through a terror of its savage inhabitants and their cannibalism.

In course of time, however, the frequent visits of whaling-ships to the coasts led to such intercourse between Europeans and the natives, as suggested to the Rev. Samuel Marsden, Colonial Chaplain of New South Wales, the project of establishing at the Bay of Islands a mission of the Church Missionary Society. In 1814, this benevolent scheme was carried into effect by Mr. Marsden himself, under the sanction of the Governor of New South Wales, who issued a proclamation on the occasion; whereby he declared himself "equally solicitous to protect the natives of New Zealand and the Bay of Islands in all their just rights

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"and privileges, as those of every other dependency of the territory of New South Wales;" gave various orders and directions; appointed Mr. Thomas Kendal, the first missionary, "resident magistrate at the Bay of Islands;" extended the orders and directions to the adjacent isles, and appointed three natives, Duaterra, Shunghee, and Korokoro, to be magistrates.

In 1819, Mr. Leigh, a missionary of the Wesleyan Missionary Society stationed in New South Wales, was induced by Mr. Marsden to visit the Bay of Islands for the sake of his health; in 1822 he returned thither with his wife; and in 1823, Messrs. White and Turner joined him at the Church Missionary station, whence they proceeded to found a station of their own at Wangaroa, north of the Bay of Islands. These gentlemen endured great hardships, dangers, and privations among the turbulent natives of those parts, with but little success in their endeavours, for four years from this time. I shall hereafter dwell more minutely upon the doubts, struggles, and ultimate progress of this second missionary enterprise.

The country was now visited by travellers who published their observations. The works of Mr. Nicholas, who had accompanied Mr. Marsden to New Zealand, of Mr. Savage, 1 and Major Cruise 2 especially, together with the periodical reports of the Church Missionary Society relating to New Zealand, had a considerable effect in England in removing the impressions of fear which had been made by the savage character of the natives. This result was further promoted by

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a visit of two chiefs, Hongi 3 and Waikato, who accompanied Mr. Kendal to England in 1820, and who so artfully adapted themselves to the predilections of the circles into which they were introduced, as to pass for perfect and very devout Christians.

Among other places at which Hongi and Waikato were exhibited as Christian converts was the University of Cambridge. Here, by means of Mr. Kendal, they became acquainted with Baron de Thierry, a Frenchman by birth. They led the Baron to entertain the hope of acquiring extensive territories and rights of chieftainship in New Zealand; and Mr. Kendal undertook to act as his agent for that purpose in the islands. This circumstance deserves notice, as having laid the foundation of the attempt made by the French Government in 1840 to establish a penal settlement in the Middle Island. Mr. Kendal received the sum of seven hundred pounds from Baron de Thierry as the intended purchase-money of lands; and, in 1822, effected a purchase, of which I afterwards heard the particulars.

In 1825, a Company was formed in London for the purpose of establishing a settlement in New Zealand: it was composed of the following members: --


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The views of this Company were submitted to Mr. Huskisson, then President of the Board of Trade; who highly approved of the undertaking, and promised them the grant of a Royal Charter in case their preliminary expedition should accomplish its object: but the expedition was confided to incompetent management; its leader was alarmed by a war-dance of the natives, performed, there is every reason to believe, as a mark of welcome; and he abandoned his task after purchasing some land at Hokianga and in the Frith of the Thames.

The very ideas which belong to contracts for the transfer of land as private property had been unknown to the natives until 1814, when Mr. Marsden, desirous of obtaining a site for the first missionary establishment according to the forms of European law, carried with him a technical deed of feoffment prepared by lawyers at Sydney. This instrument, when its blanks for the names of places were filled up, was signed by the mark of certain chiefs in consideration of a trifling payment. It became the model of a vast number of contracts for the sale of land to Europeans, into which natives were induced to enter by the number of Whites who now straggled into New Zealand from the neighbouring colonies, from French, American, and British shipping, and even from England. This mode of acquir- ing land from savages is now well known as land-sharking; a name which implies preying on the weakness of childish ignorance.

Although the natives were even unconscious of the purport of the deeds which they executed, because they had not even conceived the idea of private property in land according to European notions, they nevertheless set great store by the European goods paid to them for signing the deeds. Of these commodities

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muskets and gunpowder formed the principal item. During the residence of Hongi and Waikato in England, their attention was steadily directed to the acquisition of fire-arms. Hongi had no sooner returned home with Mr. Kendal than he armed his own tribe, and its allies, with the warlike presents which he had received in England; and, throwing aside the mask of Christian meekness which he had worn in this country, he appeared in his true character of an ambitious and bloodthirsty warrior. His superior weapons gave him an immense advantage over the tribes which he attacked in all directions from the seat of his own tribe near the Bay of Islands. Besides a bloody raid to the northward, which had the effect of ruining for a time the Wesleyan mission at Wangaroa, he directed all his strength against the powerful Waikato tribes which inhabited the western coast of the North Island, between Kaipara and Waikato. These, after a bloody struggle of about two years' duration, were driven from their home. Turning to the southward in search of a new location, they employed against weaker tribes the skill and hardihood which they had acquired in resisting Hongi; and these, again, being driven from their abode, attacked and either exterminated or drove out other tribes still more to the southward. The Waikato, expelled by Hongi and the Ngapuhi tribes, in their turn expelled the Ngatitoa tribes inhabiting Kawia and Mokau; who again, being led by the chiefs Te Pehi and Rauperaha, advanced upon the northern shore of Cook's Strait, crossed the sea into the Middle Island, and extended their ravages as far as Otako, almost exterminating the aboriginal inhabitants in their progress. The waves of destruction, to which Hongi with his muskets gave the first impulse, passed over nearly the whole

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length of New Zealand, a distance of more than seven hundred miles. The population of the North Island was thinned and scattered; and that of the Middle Island destroyed, with the exception of a miserable remnant.

In one of these wholesale massacres of men, women, and children, which was remarkable for extreme treachery and cruelty, Rauperaha received the most efficient aid from an English savage of the name of Stewart. Some particulars of this horrible event will be related hereafter; at present it suffices to state, that the wretch was tried for murder at Sydney, but acquitted. If British law had been established in the country where the event took place, he would inevitably have been convicted and hanged. The whole case is one of many. The irregular settlement of Europeans, which was now making rapid progress, led to numerous instances of crime for which no punishment could be inflicted. In addition to the spectacle of savage warfare in its most destructive excess, the country exhibited that of perfect anarchy as respects the European settlers.

Such a state of things urgently required some remedy. It would be difficult to conceive one more inefficient than that which was applied. In 1831 there was transmitted to the King, William the Fourth, a letter signed with the names or marks of thirteen chiefs, residing in the immediate neighbourhood of the Bay of Islands, whereby they prayed his Majesty to "become their friend, and the guardian of these islands, lest the teasing of other tribes should come near to them, and lest strangers should come and take away their land;" and also "to be angry with such of his people as might be vicious or troublesome" towards the natives.

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The application was transmitted by the Rev. William Yate, then head of the mission in New Zealand, and supported by the managers of the Church Missionary Society in England, who have for many years enjoyed an influence at the Colonial Office, not the less for being exercised in secret; and accordingly Lord Goderich, then the Colonial Minister, wrote to the thirteen chiefs, granting their request in the name of the King. Instructions were at the same time transmitted to the Governor of New South Wales, which induced him to appoint an officer of the British Government to reside at the Bay of Islands, in a capacity which it is impossible otherwise to define than by observing that its title, that of Resident, would indicate diplomatic functions. If we are to judge by the instructions given to Mr. Busby, the Resident, and by his official dispatches to the Governor of New South Wales, under whose authority he was placed, he was accredited, not to any natives, but to the missionaries inhabiting the small peninsula at the northern extremity of the North Island. Governor Sir Richard Bourke says to him: --"You will find it convenient to manage this conference (with the chiefs) by means of the missionaries, to whom you will be furnished with credentials, and with whom you are recommended to communicate freely upon the objects of your appointment, and the measures you should adopt in treating with the chiefs." And Mr. Busby assures Sir Richard Bourke, that "unless a denned and specific share in the government of the country be allotted to the missionaries, the British Government have no right to expect that that influential body will give a hearty support to its representative." Defined functions the Resident had none. His authority for the repression of evil was never

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more than merely nominal. He was described as resembling a man-of-war without guns.

During the years immediately following this unmeaning arrangement, the wars of the natives continued with all the aggravation of destructiveness occasioned by the use of fire-arms; --outrages were committed by the white settlers upon each other, and upon the natives, and by the natives upon them; -- European vices and disease were spread among the diminished native population; --and, according to the testimony of every eye-witness who has given evidence upon the subject, including that of the most intelligent and zealous of the missionaries, the numbers of the aborigines visibly decreased. At length, in 1835, another attempt was made to establish some kind of authority in New Zealand.

The Baron de Thierry, before mentioned, had not lost sight of the project which he had formed at Cambridge during the visit of Hongi and Mr. Kendal. From more than one place in the South Seas he gave out that the acquisition which Mr. Kendal had made for him in 1822 amounted to a right of sovereignty over the islands, and that it was his intention speedily to take possession of it. Some interest in his proceedings had been excited in France, by means of the newspaper press. Not a little alarmed at the prospect, however slight, of a French dominion, the leading missionaries now joined with the more decent of the settlers at the Bay of Islands in desiring the establishment of a national power in the country. But instead of applying to the Crown for the full exercise of that British dominion which had resulted from the acts of Cook and the Government of New South Wales, they induced thirty-five chiefs of the little northern peninsula to sign a paper, by which they de-

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clared the independence of the whole of New Zealand as one nation, --formed themselves into an independent state, with the title of "the United Tribes of New Zealand,"--agreed to meet in Congress "for the purpose of framing laws for the dispensation of justice" and other ends, --and invited the Southern Tribes to join the "confederation of the United Tribes."

There cannot be the least doubt that this document was composed by the missionaries at the Bay of Islands, and signed by the chiefs with as little real comprehension of its meaning as had attended the signature by natives of the deeds of feoffment drawn up by Sydney attorneys with blanks for the names of places.

The vendors in the case of Mr. Marsden's purchase could not be supposed to understand the words--"together with all the rights, members, privileges, and appurtenances thereunto belonging, to have and to hold, to the aforesaid committee of the Church Missionary Society for Africa and the East, instituted in London, in the kingdom of Great Britain, their heirs, successors, and assigns for ever, clear and freed from all taxes, charges, impositions, and contributions whatsoever, as and for their own absolute and proper estate for ever." Nor could the chiefs understand what was meant by the words in the declaration of independence: --"All sovereign power and authority within the territories of the United Tribes of New Zealand is hereby declared to reside, entirely and exclusively, in the hereditary chiefs and heads of tribes in their collective capacity: who also declare that they will not allow any legislative authority separate from themselves in their collective capacity to exist; nor any functions of government to be exercised within the said territories, unless by persons appointed by them,

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"and acting under the authority of laws regularly enacted by them in Congress assembled."

So little were these or any other chiefs of New Zealand capable of performing such an act as the document describes, that their own language wanted the most important words expressive of its purport, such as independence, sovereignty, government, confederation, legislative, and even a name for the country over which their new authority purported to extend. At the instance of the missionaries, however, this mockery was recognized by the British Government; and the captain of a man-of-war, acting on behalf of William the Fourth, requested the chiefs in question to select from a number of flags the one which they should prefer as an emblem of national independence.

The new government was found so unreal, that no meeting of the confederated chiefs ever took place; nor was either the confederation, or the declaration of independence, or the national flag, even known to any of the native tribes out of the small peninsula which forms about a twelfth part of the country.

Various representations were now made to the British Government, setting forth the evils of a continued anarchy in New Zealand. The merchants of London joined in a memorial signed by the principal houses engaged in the South Sea trade. A petition from the more respectable of the White settlers in New Zealand, including the principal members of the Church Mission, was sent to England. But, through some influence at the Colonial Office, every application was disregarded; and it seemed the fixed purpose of the Government to leave undisturbed the experiment of training up a native Levitical republic under missionary control, directed by a religious society in England.

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In 1836, a Committee of the House of Commons on Aborigines set before the British public, in a form to make a deep impression, a grievous picture of the state of things in New Zealand.

In the same year, another Committee of the House of Commons inquired into the subject of the disposal of waste lands with a view to colonization, and received evidence as well of the fitness of New Zealand for the purpose of regular British settlements, as of the deplorable results of European settlement without law or order.

In 1837, a society was formed in London, under the name of the New Zealand Association, for the purpose of inducing the British Government to establish a sufficient authority in the islands, and to colonize them according to a plan deliberately prepared with a view of rendering colonization beneficial to the native inhabitants as well as to the settlers.

The author of the plan and founder of the Association was my father, Mr. Edward Gibbon Wakefield; but the members of the Association whose position in public life attracted attention to the project, and whose zealous exertions ultimately saved New Zealand from becoming a French penal colony, were Mr. Francis Baring (the chairman), Lord Durham, Lord Petre, Mr. Bingham Baring, Mr. Campbell of Islay, Mr. Charles Enderby, the munificent promoter of Antarctic discovery, Mr. Ferguson of Raith, the Rev. Dr. Hinds, Mr. Benjamin Hawes, Mr. Philip Howard, Mr. William Hutt, Mr. Lyall, Mr. Mackenzie, Sir William Molesworth, Sir George Sinclair, Sir Wil- liam Symonds, Mr. Henry George Ward, and Mr. Wolryche Whitmore.

The Association, having matured their plan, but apprehensive of opposition from the Colonial Office, which might nip the project in its bud, addressed themselves

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to the Prime Minister, Lord Melbourne, with a view of obtaining the sanction of the executive Government: and they imagined themselves to have received such cordial encouragement from his lordship, as well as from Lord Howick, to whom Lord Melbourne referred them for the settlement of matters of detail, that they felt justified in collecting a body of intending colonists as an indispensable means of carrying out the undertaking.

Among other steps taken by the Association, were two applications to the Church Missionary Society, with a view of establishing a friendly feeling and active co-operation between the two bodies. The first was made by a deputation which waited upon Mr. Dandeson Coates; by whom they were frankly informed, that, "though he had no doubt of their respectability and the purity of their motives, he was opposed to the colonization of New Zealand in any shape, and was determined to thwart them by all the means in his power." The second was a letter from Dr. Hinds, in behalf of his colleagues, and addressed to the Committee of the Society, but of which the receipt was not even acknowledged.

The views of the Association were openly and covertly opposed by Mr. Coates, now by a published pamphlet in the form of a letter to Lord Glenelg, at that time Colonial Minister, and then by a pamphlet marked 'Confidential,' which was privily but extensively circulated. These documents flatly charged the members of the Association with being influenced by motives of personal gain.

When it became necessary again to apply to Lord Melbourne, this time for his ultimate sanction of a Bill which was now ready to be submitted to Parliament, his lordship received a deputation from the As-

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sociation. Lord Glenelg was present at the interview, and spoke on behalf of the Government. He warmly censured every principle of the Association which Lord Melbourne had formerly approved; and above all, disclaimed any right on the part of the British Crown to exercise any sort or degree of authority in New Zealand. The strange scene that ensued was described by my father as witness before a Select Committee of the House of Commons on New Zealand, appointed in 1840, on the motion of the present Lord St. Ger- mains, then Lord Eliot.

It seems more than probable, however, that the Prime Minister's sense of justice was affected by the remarks made to Lord Glenelg in his presence; for it was presently intimated to the Association, that if some of their body would wait upon Lord Glenelg in the ensuing week, their application would be more favourably received.

A number of them accordingly attended at the Colonial Office, and were received by Lord Glenelg; who informed them, that very recent dispatches from the Resident in New Zealand, and the commander of a man-of-war which had visited the coasts, had induced Her Majesty's Government to abandon their objections to the systematic and regulated colonization of the islands; that they still objected to the instrument of colonization proposed by the Association, namely, a Board of Commissioners acting under the immediate control of the Colonial Minister as public officers having no private interest in the matter; but that they were prepared to grant to the Association a Royal Charter of incorporation for colonizing purposes, similar to those under which the English colonies in America were established in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Lord Glenelg further explained,

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that a condition of the grant of a Charter would be the subscription by the Association of a joint-stock capital to be embarked in the undertaking. The substance of his lordship's statements at the interview was afterwards reduced to writing in the form of a letter to Lord Durham.

Lord Durham's answer 4 declines the offer of a charter, on the ground that the members of the Association had invariably and publicly disclaimed all views of pecuniary speculation or interest, and were thereby, as well as by a continued disinclination to acquire any private concern in the national work which they sought to promote, entirely precluded from assenting to the proposed condition of raising a joint-stock capital.

Early in 1838, a Select Committee of the House of Lords was, on the motion of Lord Devon, appointed to inquire into the state of New Zealand; and it collected a mass of information which but too fully confirmed previous representations of the deplorable condition of the islands, and further exposed the necessity of subjecting the materials of disorder to the restraints of British law.

In June of the same year, Mr. Francis Baring brought into the House of Commons the Bill which had been prepared, and which embodied the views of the Association as modified by suggestions which they had received from Lord Melbourne and Lord Howick. Lord Durham was now in Canada; and though he had not left England without feeling assured that Mr. Baring's Bill would be supported in

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Parliament by Her Majesty's Ministers, it was strenuously opposed by them, and accordingly thrown out.

Among the body of intending colonists which had been collected by the Association, were several gentlemen who had disposed of property and abandoned professions with a view to emigrating. These, after the defeat of Mr. Baring's Bill, determined to act upon Lord Glenelg's proposal of a charter, and exerted themselves to form a joint-stock company. By degrees, and especially after Lord Durham's return from Canada, they were joined by many members of the now defunct Association; whose anxious desire to accomplish the national object which had engaged them so long at length overcame their repugnance to the condition on which Lord Glenelg had insisted. Thus was formed the New Zealand Land Company of 1839.

The Government, however, exhibited even a greater hostility to this body than to the Association which it succeeded. It only remained, therefore, to adopt the views of the Colonial Office by considering New Zealand as a foreign country, and by proceeding to acquire land and form settlements in the manner hitherto sanctioned by the Crown.

The new Company were thus forced into the adoption of what has been termed land-sharking, as far as acquiring lands by assignment from savages: but they redeemed their reluctant compliance with this usage, because the only one recognized by authority, by adhering to the same systematic disposal of lands for public purposes, and the same ample provisions for the future benefit of the natives, which formed the leading features of Mr. Baring's Bill. 5 In order to establish a

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uniform system in these respects, it became requisite that they should obtain control over a much larger extent of land than could be required for the use of any possible number of settlers for years and years to come. With this view, and in accordance with the alleged national sovereignty of the native chiefs, they resolved to send an expedition to New Zealand under the direction of an agent, instructed to adopt the usual method of acquiring land from the natives, but if possible upon a far greater scale than was ever necessary for the purposes of cultivation or even of speculation by individuals. This charge was confided to an uncle of mine, Colonel William Wakefield. He was further instructed to select the spot which he should deem most eligible as the site of a considerable colony, and to make preparations for the arrival and settlement of the emigrants.

A fine vessel of 400 tons, the Tory, was bought and prepared for the voyage. She was armed with eight guns, and small-arms for all the ship's company; filled with the necessary stores, provisions, and goods for barter with the New Zealanders; and manned with a strong and select crew.

Such a voyage seemed to offer much novelty and adventure; and I, being then nineteen years old, conceived an eager desire to be one of the party. My father gave his consent to my departure; and I was fortunate enough to obtain a passage in the Tory from the patrons of the enterprise.

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A body of intending colonists was already collected; and they were to follow the first expedition even before hearing of its proceedings. A rendezvous was appointed for the 10th of January, 1840, in Port Hardy, a harbour in Cook's Strait, which was known to be good for the largest ships. I intended to see the landing of the first body of colonists, and then to return in one of the ships which should have borne them to their destination. So interesting, however, did it become to watch the first steps of the infant colony, and so exciting to march among the ranks its hardy founders, that I was tempted to postpone my return for four years after their arrival. I can only explain this by the narrative contained in subsequent chapters.

1   'Some Account of New Zealand,' by John Savage, Esq., Surgeon. London, 1807.
2   'Journal of a Ten Months' Residence in New Zealand,' by R. A. Cruise, Esq., Major in the 84th Regiment of Foot. London, 1824.
3   This name has been commonly mis-spelt Shunghee, Shonghee, or Shongie, in former works. The natives cannot pronounce sh.
4   Printed, together with Lord Glenelg's letter, in the 'Appendix to the Report of the Select Committee of the House of Commons on New Zealand in the year 1840,' page 148.
5   In 1837, the Association collected information on New Zealand from all quarters, and compiled it in a volume which also contained their projects. This book was called 'British Colonization of New Zealand,' and was published by John W. Parker in that year. The views of the projectors relating to the conduct to be observed by the colonists in amalgamating with the natives were embodied in a beautiful Essay which forms the Appendix, by the Rev. Montague Hawtrey, who was one of their number and also a member of the Committee of the Church Missionary Society.

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