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to announce that the differences which had existed between Government and themselves were finally adjusted. It was made known, at the same time, that New Zealand was no longer to be a dependency of New South Wales, as originally stipulated, but was thenceforth to be held as a separate and independent colony. A charter was granted to the Company, on certain equitable conditions, and the process of settlement has, since the autumn of 1840, been conducted with great success.
The geographical features of both islands seem to justify the peculiar mode of settling which the Company have adopted; for, being long and narrow, the line of seacoast is necess
cessarily very great in proportion to the extent of surface. There are at short distances some splendid harbours, in the neighbourhood of which the Europeans have generally established themselves; but the limited space between the central hills and the ocean precludes the possibility of large rivers, though some are said to be well adapted for internal navigation. Port Nicholson, if allowed to derive the full advantage from its situation and fine haven, will, it has been predicted, make Wellington the great commercial metropolis, not merely of New Zealand, but of our whole Australian possessions. The Bay of Islands has been long partially settled, but not under such favourable auspices, having been indebted for part of its population to the class of adventurers to whom we have already alluded, and whose circumstances imperatively required a change of scene. The Company have resolved to form another settlement, to be called Nelson. The extent of land allotted for it is two hundred one thousand acres, divided into one thousand allotments of one hundred and fifty rural acres, fifty suburban acres, and one town acre. The
Encyclopædia Britannica, article New Zealand. At the end of 1840, the white population of New Zealand, being chiefly emigrants from this country, was as follows: Wellington and Port Nicholson,...
price of each allotment is £300, so that the total sum placed at the disposal of the Company is £300,000, which will be thus distributed : £150,000 for the emigration of young couples to this particular settlement; £50,000 to defray the cost of surveys; and £50,000 for public purposes, such as the establishment of a college, religious endowments, the encouragement of steam navigation, and similar objects. Fifty thousand pounds will remain to reimburse the Company for their expenses and the use of capital.
Captain Hobson, it appears, has selected the harbour of Waitemata, on the Firth of the Thames, as the seat of his government, where he has also made preparations for the building of a town, to be named Auckland. It contains at present about two hundred inhabitants; and although, under the fostering influence of the chief ruler, it will doubtless increase, “it must ever remain insignificant compared with the commercial capital Wellington.” To that and the other settlements separate municipalities will be given ; with which view suitable appointments have been made, and officers properly qualified have been sent out.*
With reference to the advantages of New Zealand, it is pleasant to remark, that a communication with it will probably be opened by the Isthmus of Panama and the Pacific Ocean. A steam navigation company have contracted to carry the West India mails for a certain number of years. From Jamaica to Porto Bello, the distance is only 550 miles, which will be accomplished by steam; and it is now proved beyond all doubt, that a railroad or a ship-canal through the neck of land itself may be effected at a moderate expense. From Panama a steam conveyance is already established as far as Lima, and even occasionally to Valparaiso; all, therefore, that remains to be done, is to establish a regular intercourse between the western coast of America and Cook's Straits or the Bay of Islands. Callao in Peru is mentioned in the
* Encyclopædia Britannica, part cxxv. p. 982.
Report of the Directors of the New Zealand Company as the place most favourable for carrying on such communication. At present, the average time occupied in a voyage to the colony at Port Nicholson is one hundred and twenty days, whereas, by the isthmus, it would not in general exceed eighty days; being a saving of one-third, as well as a security against the hazards which assail navigation in the vicinity of either cape.
Reflecting on the statements now made, in connexion with the effect which must be produced on the character and condition of the natives, we feel ourselves somewhat prepared to answer the question, whether our settlements in New Zealand are likely to promote the benevolent objects contemplated by the wise and good men who have recently countenanced the formation of such colonies. It may be remarked, in the first place, that, so little have the inhabitants availed themselves of the natural advantages of soil and climate, they cannot be said to have taken possession of the country which they call their own. It is still the uninvaded domain of nature ; and they are merely a handful of stragglers who wander about its outskirts. They have no arts or manufactures which minister to wealth and comfort; no commerce, domestic or foreign; no distribution of the people into trades and professions, and no coin or circulating medium. The country is nearly a wilderness ; all swamp or woodland, except a few scattered patches by the seaside, or along the courses of the rivers. Their villages are merely small groups of hovels, that dot the earth like so many molehills, hardly affording a shelter from the weather.
The appearance, too, of the natives, and the state of their personal accommodations, distinguish them almost as much from the people of a civilized country as if they were another species. It is said that there is a wild unsettledness in the very expression of their countenances, which assimilates them to a troop of predaceous animals. They have in most cases a profusion of fantastic decorations painted or engraven upon their bodies, while clusters
of baubles dangling around them, combined with coloured earth, grease, filth, and even vermin, complete the humbling spectacle. Their food is coarse, and their cooking rude to a degree that almost takes from it the right to be called by the same name with the art which, in a civilized country, heightens the enjoyment of the poorest man's meal with no inconsiderable variety of preparation. Their furniture is equally scanty and inconvenient. Generally speaking, they have neither tables nor chairs; their beds are usually the floor; and their covering for the night the same mats which serve them as clothes during the day. Unacquainted with the useful arts, the savage has rarely made any progress in those which improve the taste or elevate the imagination. His ignorance of letters, too, keeps the community almost in the same situation with a herd of the lower animals, in so far as the accumulation of knowledge or intellectual advancement is concerned. The New Zealanders, for example, seem to have been in quite as enlightened a state when Tasman discovered the country in 1642, as they were when Cook visited them after the lapse of a hundred and twenty-seven years.*
But it is not to be imagined that they are incapable of being civilized. Ferocious as they are, their habits and feelings are not more beyond the reach of improvement than were those of the ancestors of the most polished nations of Europe ; and it deserves notice, that with all their savage propensities, they are possessed of many high qualities, both moral and intellectual. The means, too, which are actually employed for their elevation in social life, are unquestionably the most gentle and efficacious that could possibly be devised. Knowledge is merely offered to those who may be pleased to accept it; their prejudices are opposed by argument alone, not by violence or intimidation; the arts of civilisation are simply transported into their country,and allowed to recommend themselves to the inhabitants through their utility and
The New Zealanders (Library of Entertaining Knowledge), p. 399. This little work contains an interesting variety of facts, together with many judicious reflections.
importance. This experiment can scarcely excite any reaction or rouse feelings of jealousy, while every day that its beneficial effects are witnessed may be reasonably expected to add to its triumphs. The natives not only find their property improved, and their command over its productions increased, but its exchangeable value greatly augmented.*
We may add, on the authority quoted below, that the earliest scheme for the accomplishment of this object was suggested by the celebrated Dr Franklin. In the year 1771, only a few months after Cook's return from his first voyage, the American statesman, who was then in England, proposed that a subscription should be set on foot, in which he would join, in order to fit out a vessel which should proceed to New Zealand with a cargo of such commodities as the natives were most in want of, and bring in return so much of the produce of the country as might prove equal to the expenses of the adventure. But the principal object of the expedition was to promote the improvement of the people, by opening to them the means of intercourse with the civilized world. Franklin drew up a series of proposals for the conduct of the enterprise, accompanied with an address to the public ; in which last he remarks that the island of Great Britain is said to have originally produced only sloes, and that this fact may teach us how great and wealthy a country may become, even from the smallest beginnings, under the renovating influences of industry and the arts. He then proposes that the object to be kept in view should be to put the natives in possession of hogs, fowls, goats, cattle, corn, iron, and the other means of enabling and inducing them to exchange their roving warlike life for the peaceful pursuits of agriculture. It need not be added that the plan, owing to the difficulty of procuring subscriptions, or other causes, was never executed, and we now refer to it simply with the intention of showing that the wise suggestions it contains
* See Dodsley's Annual Register, quoted by the author of The New Zealanders, p. 410.