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perplex our minds. The number of natives under christian instruction, and favoured with the means of grace, is very large ; but the number of those only who are, in my opinion, decidedly christian, is very small.” Nevertheless, no one can view the past and the probable future without claiming that tribute of respect to the missionary body which, by persons who have, on the spot, paid a candid attention to the subject, has never been withheld from them. It ought not to be forgotten, that to their self-denying and persevering exertions it is owing that New Zealand has become what it now is. To them are due the introduction of agriculture and gardening, the use of the spade, the plough, and the mill; they carried thither cattle, sheep, and horses; they have built houses and chapels; they have cut roads through forests, and constructed bridges over rivers; they have, in a word, been the honoured instruments of rendering that important country safe to emigrants and settlers.*
Ever since Europeans set their foot on the shores of New Zealand, the natives have been animated with an eager desire to make themselves acquainted with the great secret of civilisation. With this view they occasionally resorted to the British colony of Australia, served on board our merchant ships, and assisted in the operations of whale-fishing. Their country, in return, became the asylum of many individuals who could boast of no other. Down to the year 1839 the European population in the northern island consisted of the very refuse of society; of convicts who had escaped from the penal settlements; of runaway sailors ; of needy adventurers, whose improvident habits and bad characters had expelled them from all intercourse with those who respect the decencies of life ; and of a few enterprising persons who had atoned for their offences by enduring the regu. lated period of bondage.t
* Fortieth Report of Church Missionary Society, p. 96.
+ New Zealand in 1839 : or Four Letters to the Right Hon. Earl Durham, Governor of the New Zealand Land Company, So early as 1825 an attempt was made to colonize New Zealand by a Company formed in London, who proceeded in their design so far as to purchase some ground and send thither two ships with suitable cargoes. But this undertaking, impeded by many unforeseen difficulties, was soon abandoned. Nothing more was done till the year 1836, when an association was formed, at the suggestion of some members of the House of Commons, whose main object was the improvement of the islands. This body consisted of two classes ; first, heads of families, who intended to establish themselves in the proposed settlement; and, secondly, public men, who, on their own responsibility, were willing to undertake the difficult task of carrying the measure into operation. But neither was this project crowned with success. The ministry being decidedly opposed to it, a bill brought into Parliament for the purpose of forming “ a provisional government of British settlements of New Zealand” was thrown out. Such exertions, however, could not be made without some advantage. A committee of the Lords was named, who collected a great mass of valuable evidence, which at once enlightened the path and confirmed the hopes of future adventurers.*
The original association was indeed dissolved; but some of the same individuals soon afterwards formed another with an adequate capital, and, early in the year 1839, they became possessed by purchase or negotiation of large tracts in the northern island, called by the natives Eaheinamauwee. The New Zealand Company began their operations by an announcement to the public, that their « attention and business will be confined to the purchase of tracts of land, the promotion of emi
dom, the laying out of settlements and towns in the
on the Colonization of that Island, and on the Present Condition and Prospects of the Native Inhabitants. By John Dunmore Lang, D. D. (Lond. 1839), p. 7.
* Report : Present State of the Islands of New Zealand. Ordered by House of Commons to be printed, 8th August 1838. most favourable situations, and the gradual resale of such lands according to the value bestowed upon them by emigration and settlement.” In May, their first ship sailed, under the direction of the Company's chief agent, who was instructed to pay particular regard to the mode of dealing with the natives in the purchase of land, to the acquisition of general information respecting the country, and to preparations for the establishment of settlements. From the outset, a strong preference was manifested for Cook's Straits, as being in the main track between Great Britain and her Polynesian colonies. The directors accordingly secured the whole of the territory on both sides of the Straits, including Port Nicholson, said to be one of the finest harbours in the world ; and there the principal colony has been successfully formed, which now contains upwards of four thousand inhabitants. Nor have the interests of the natives been in any degree overlooked. There is reserved to them one-tenth of the whole lands purchased ; an inheritance which, in a little while, will become of greater value to their families, and the source of more extended comfort, than if they had retained possession of the whole district in its wild state.
The views of the Company touching the aborigines have hitherto been fully realized in the colony, not merely by their own officers, but by the settlers at large. In particular, their agent, Colonel Wakefield, has all along acted on the most liberal and conciliating principles. By his equity and good temper, qualities to which the natives are not blind, he soon succeeded in gaining their confidence; and, accordingly, when the first body of emigrants arrived, they found a predisposition to receive them with friendship, and to perform for them such services as they immediately required. In constructing the basis of this colony, the Company assigned eleven hundred acres for the town called Wellington, and one hundred and ten thousand acres to form the rural sections of one hundred acres each. These lands were divided into eleven hundred sections, each comprehending one hundred rural acres and one town acre. Deducting the land reserved for the aborigines, the remainder was offered for sale at one pound the acre, or a hundred and one pounds for each section. On paying this sum, the purchaser received a land-order on the Company's local officer, entitling the holder to select bis section according to priority of choice, determined by lot. The amount realized in the course of a few weeks was £99,990, after deducting the native reserves. Of this sum, seventy-five per cent., or £74,992, 10s., was set apart to form the emigration-fund : that is, to supply means for defraying the expense of conveying settlers to the colony, and thereby to increase the value of the lands already sold. By the conditions of sale, indeed, the buyers of land-orders were entitled to 75 per cent. of their purchase-money, either in the shape of free passages for themselves and families, or for their servants and labourers; and where no claim was made, the benefit was equally conferred on the landowner, as the whole of the emigration-fund would be devoted to the conveyance of useful hands to the colony.*
It was in the month of July that the land-fund was formed, and before the close of the year between eleven and twelve hundred persons were conveyed to the colony. Of these the great majority were labourers, well fitted by their age and physical qualities to realize the purpose of their mission; being for the most part in the prime of life, in full health, and of approved moral character. Among the wealthier classes were some of birth, education, and refinement, who, carrying out with them the seeds of civilisation, will soon extend the happy fruits of it over the whole land which they have adopted for their home.
At this stage the government, who had hitherto felt themselves impeded by difficulties arising from the pecu
* Encyclopædia Britannica, article New Zealand. Information relative to New Zealand, compiled for the use of Colonists, by John Ward, Esq., Secretary to the New Zealand Company. Lond. 1841.
liar condition of New Zealand, resolved to take steps for erecting a part of it into a British colony. Captain Hobson was instructed to proceed thither in quality of consul, to treat with the chiefs for the cession of part of their territory to the crown of England; it being understood that the islands were to be held as free and independent until the transference now contemplated should be accomplished. This step, as it implied the relinquishment of all claim on the ground of discovery and occupation, was attended with the inconvenience of throwing open the country to all European powers who might think proper to form colonies in it. France, immediately availing herself of the privilege thus tacitly granted, sent out sixty settlers in a regular transport, who were only twenty days too late to take possession of the southern island in the name of Louis Philippe. Captain Hobson, probably aware of this expedition, had in the mean time proclaimed the queen's sovereignty over the whole group, including the smaller islands on the coast.
But ministers seem not to have been prepared for so decided a measure on the part of their agent. On the 18th March 1841, there was laid on the table of the House of Commons the “ Correspondence with the Secretary of State relative to New Zealand;" when, after some discussion, a memorandum was recorded, in which the pretensions made in behalf of her majesty to the sovereignty of New Zealand were repelled, and that country declared to be a substantive and independent state. Soon afterwardsa public meeting was held in the city of London, when a petition to the queen and the two houses of parliament was numerously signed, praying that the subject might be taken into immediate consideration, and “these valuable islands preserved to the British dominions.” The cabinet now saw the propriety of no longer opposing the wishes of the public, or of subjecting the emigrants to the disadvantage of being surrounded by foreign settlers, who, besides proving rivals in trade, might rouse the jealousy of the natives against the local government. Towards the end of October, the Coinpany were enabled