Copyright
William Henry Parr Greswell.

Outlines of British colonisation online

. (page 19 of 31)
Online LibraryWilliam Henry Parr GreswellOutlines of British colonisation → online text (page 19 of 31)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


noblemen and gentlemen were present. This expedition
carried out nearly 800 souls in four ships of from 500 to 600
tons each.

Starting under such favourable auspices, New Zealand has
had a very different early history from any of the Australian
settlements. Dr. Hinds, the Bishop of Norwich, was justified
in terming it 'the Belgravia of colonies.' One weak point,
however, in the settlements of Wellington and Nelson was the
large number of absentee purchasers. Gibbon Wakefield
pointed out in a letter to Mr. Godley (June 22nd, 1850) that
out of 1000 sections of 100 acres sold at Wellington 595 were
bought by absentees, and out of 432 sections of 150 acres sold
at Nelson 352 were bought by absentees and only 80 by
colonists. True it was that the capital was raised and devoted
to the proper purposes, but Wakefield's main idea was to
attract bond fide settlers.

In the middle of 1845 Wakefield formed the project of the
Otago settlement. This scheme was in connection with the
Free Church of Scotland, and the leaders of the enterprise were
Captain William Cargill and Dr. Aldcorn of Oban. This Otago
settlement was the first instance in which Gibbon Wakefield's
plans for securing a sound kind of colonisation by means of
ecclesiastical and educational endowments from the land fund
were carried into practice.

The members of the Free Church purchased from the New
Zealand Company an area of 400,000 acres of the eastern sea-
board of the South Island. To the seaport was given the
name of Port Chalmers, in honour of Dr. Thomas Chalmers,



New Zealand 2 1 3

the eminent leader of the Free Church. The chief town was
called Dunedin, the Celtic name for Edinburgh : and the first
band of emigrants landed at Port Chalmers from the John
Wiclif'm March 1848. The first Presbyterian minister was
the Rev. Thomas Burns. This emigration reminds us in some
of its features of the Selkirk settlement in Canada, when the
clan emigrated in a large body under Lord Selkirk as an
* cekist' : although, of course, the Wakefield system is peculiar to
the New Zealand ventures, the money being raised by the sale
of land at 2 an acre, the New Zealand Company retaining
one-fourth, and the remaining three fourths being expended on
purposes of emigration, surveys, roads, bridges, churches, and
schools. In all three countries, however, we may notice the
Scottish nucleus the determination and fearlessness of the
Scots as colonists, and Scottish success and prosperity.

In 1849 the Canterbury Association was formed on similar
lines by Gibbon Wakefield for founding a settlement in New
Zealand, designed to be 'complete in itself, having as little
connection as possible with the other centres of population
in the colony, and composed entirely of members of the
United Church of England and Ireland.' No less than
2,400,000 acres were placed at the disposal of the Association
by the New Zealand Land Company. The price to be paid
for the land was fixed at $ per acre ; but out of this amount
-i was set aside for the religious and educational funds, i
for the emigration fund, and los. for surveys, roads, and
bridges, leaving only los. per acre as the actual price of land.
About 20,000 acres were bought by the Association, the port
town being called Lyttelton, and the chief town Christ Church,
at the side of the Canterbury Plains nearest the port. The
patrons and supporters of the scheme were the Archbishop of
Canterbury, Lord Lyttelton, the Duke of Manchester, Sir John
Simeon, Bishop Hinds, Lord Norton, Lord Ashburton, Mr.
Henry Sewell, and others. The leader or ' cekist ' of the under-
taking was Mr. J. R. Godley, to whom Mr. Wakefield first
suggested the idea of his becoming the main instrument of



214 British Colonisation

organising a Church of England settlement. Mr. Godley was
sent out in 1850 as resident official head of the settlement, and
in November of this year the ships Sir George Seymour, Cressy,
Charlotte Jane, and Randolph arrived at Port Cooper with the
first immigrants, still known as the Canterbury Pilgrims. In the
course of a single year no fewer than 2600 persons had landed
in Canterbury, and, unlike the Otago settlers, these included
many colonists who were well off, and held command of capital.
The New Zealand Company, which had done so much for the
colonisation of the country had been instrumental in founding
Wellington, Taranaki, Nelson, Otago, and Canterbury was
wound up in 1850. Its prime mover, Edward Gibbon Wake-
field, emigrated to Lyttelton in 1853, and took up his abode
at Wellington. Here he became a member of the Provincial
Council of Wellington, and a member of the House of Repre-
sentatives for the Hutt district. His policy was to oppose with
all his might the ' cheap land ' scheme of Sir George Grey.
This most remarkable man, gifted with most extraordinary
talents, a most daring and original thinker, whose views have
been embodied in a scarce book entitled A View of the Art of
Colonisation, the close friend and adviser of the Earl of Durham,
the leader of the well-known band of colonial reformers
(1840-1850), died in 1862 on the scene of his labours.

In his able review of the colonial policy of Lord Russell's
Administration (1869), the Right Honourable C. B. Adderley
speaks with pride of the province of Canterbury, in the
founding of which he bore a great part together with Lord
Lyttelton and John Robert Godley. It originated 'on the
true colonising principle of a homing-off of complete English
society, supplied with all the requirements of civilised life, and
capable of all the functions of citizenship.' Of John Robert
Godley he writes that no one did more,, in the words of his
epitaph, 'aequales ad majorum praeceptl revocare, quibus
colonise non tarn regendae sunt quam creandae.'

Mr. Charles Buller has given in outline the main ideas of
systematic colonisation, which were, perhaps, best illustrated



New Zealand 2 1 5

in the Wakefield methods. Speaking in the House of Com-
mons on April 6, 1843, he observed that 'neither Phoenician,
nor Greek, nor Roman, nor Spaniard no, nor our own great
forefathers when they laid the foundations of an European
State on the continent and islands of the Western World,
ever dreamed of colonising with one class of society by itself,
and that the most helpless in shifting for itself. The foremost
men of the ancient republics led forth their colonies; each
expedition was in itself an epitome of the society which it left.
The solemn rites of religion blessed its departure from its
home ; and it bore with it the images of its country's gods, to
link it for ever by a common worship to its ancient home.
The Government of Spain sent its dignified clergy out with
some of its first colonists. The noblest families in Spain sent
their younger sons to settle in Hispaniola and Mexico and
Peru. Ralegh quitted a brilliant court and the highest spheres
of political ambition in order to lay the foundation of the
colony of Virginia. Lord Baltimore and the best Catholic
families founded Maryland; Penn was a courtier before he
became a colonist; a set of noble proprietors established
Carolina, and entrusted the framing of it to John Locke ; the
highest hereditary rank in this country below the peerage was
established in connection with the settlement of Nova Scotia ;
and such gentlemen as Sir Harry Vane, Hampden, and Crom-
well did not disdain the prospect of a colonial career. In all
these cases emigration was of every class . . . and thus was
colonisation always conducted, until all our ideas on the sub-
ject were perverted by the foundation of our convict colonies,
and emigration, being associated in men's minds with trans-
portation, was looked upon as the hardest punishment of guilt,
or necessity of poverty.'

Charles Buller drew a picture of the culpable way in which
emigrants were allowed to drift to their destinations in Lower
Canada : how the pauper families walked in their rags from the
quays of Liverpool and Cork into ill-found ships, and drifted
hopelessly over the country. There was no guidance, no



216 British Colonisation

medical supervision, no friendly hand to help, and the emi-
grants settled down in a haphazard way without church or
school, education or religion. Respectable tradesmen and
labourers shrank from colonisation, and the idea of a gentle-
man emigrating was almost unheard-of in those days. A
reform was urgently needed both from the moral, religious,
and economical view of the case, and for this reform no one
worked harder than Wakefield and Buller. The stigma of
convictism began to be removed, a colonial career was voted
an honourable one ; and, with regard to New Zealand, more
men of good family settled there in the three years since the
beginning of 1840 than in British North America during the
first thirty years of the present century. Public opinion was
undergoing a vast change, and random emigration was shaped
into systematic colonisation. Those people who responded to
Cobbett's denunciation of the attempt of their rulers to trans-
port them began, under better tuition and example, to look
upon colonisation in a different light.

Certainly in no colony have the tangible results of colonisa-
tion been more en evidence than in New Zealand. Within
fifty years the beginnings of a young State have been formed,
already cities have been built, industries developed, and a
population of half-a-million trained to the duties and tasks of
citizenship. It is a land of law and liberty. Her peculiar
system of land laws, by which village homesteads and farm
homestead associations bring land within the reach of the
poorest labourer and the smallest capitalist, has been produc-
tive of much good. The experiment of co-operative settle-
ment, by which blocks of land not more than 11,000 or less
than 1000 acres can be taken up by an association consisting
of not less than twenty-five members, has for the political
economist of the present day a great interest. The develop-
ment of New Zealand industries has enabled every member of
the population to export annually ^15, 3s. 5d. worth of pro-
duce no mean result for a colony fifty years old. Mr. Westby
Perceval has remarked : * ' We have already exported nearly
1 Proceedings of the Royal Colonial Institute, vol. xxiii., 1892.



New Zealand 217

^50,000,000 of gold . . . our coal-mines are magnificent, and
practically inexhaustible. A great trade in timber is in store
for us, and our splendid fisheries await development. Our
manufactures have grown to an extent that seems to justify
the belief that New Zealand will become the manufacturing
centre of the Southern Seas.'

New Zealand has, with a considerable show of reason, been
termed 'the Britain of the South.' The climate is an improve-
ment upon our own, but in many respects it is not dissimilar ;
the New Zealanders enjoy the advantage of an insular posi-
tion, and, proportionally, a far larger area of their country is
available for cultivation than is the case in Australia. The
Maori question is rapidly being solved, and, unlike Cape
Colony and Natal, New Zealand has no overwhelming sense
of the presence of a native question. Nature has given her
everything she can desire : a good soil, fertile valleys, noble
mountains, rich mines, and scenery that is not easily surpassed
in any part of the world in fact, a magnificent home fit for
a free people. Some have objected that New Zealand, by
borrowing extravagantly, has mortgaged her magnificent heri-
tage ; but against this it may be alleged that her resources are
immense, and that New Zealand statesmen have recently
displayed a more wise and cautious policy in the matter of
loans, and have advocated retrenchment in Government
expenditure. 1

1 For facts and figures see Appendix G.

References :

Buller's Forty Years in New Zealand, 1878.
Rusden's History of New Zealand, 1882.
Gisborne's Handbook of New Zealand,
Life of Bishop Selwyn, by G. H. Curteis.
Bush-Fighting : the Maori War, by Sir J. Alexander.
The High Alps of New Zealand.



CHAPTER XI

THE ISLANDS OF THE SOUTH PACIFIC AND FIJI

THE islands of the Pacific have only recently attracted
attention in Europe as strategic points, convict stations, and
centres of colonisation.

For a very long time after their first discovery they were
left to those solitudes of ocean in which they were found :
beautiful, indeed, in their surroundings more beautiful, per-
haps, than the West Indies but defiled by the cruelties and
atrocities of man. Primeval man was a cannibal; so-called
civilised man either a corsair or a convict. It was the story
of the West Indies over again, with certain modifications.
European sailors, wandering from island to island, were a law
unto themselves, and seemed to cast aside Christianity and
decent manners when they entered the Southern Seas. Here,
at any rate, it seemed, however, as if savage life were destined
always to flourish and European law and order never to
appear. Lying outside the world, in the midst of the great
hemisphere of waters, the scattered sporades of the Southern
world were the roving ground of desperadoes and the unsettled
spirits of the world.

There was apparently no rich bait to tempt the merchant-
venturer thither so far from home ; no El Dorado concealed
behind the coral fringes, no city of gold in the island forests ;
on the contrary, the inhabitants appeared to be rude, savage,
and inhospitable. Cannibalism was rife, and threw a depress-
ing gloom over these far regions. Thither also the French
sailor la Perouse had gone, never to return, and a strange

218



The Islands of the South Pacific and Fiji 219

mystery hung over the unexplored wastes of water. Cowper,
picturing the islander waiting for a second visit from his
European friends, says :

' Expect it not ; we found no bait
To tempt us to thy country :
And must be bribed to compass earth again
By other hopes and richer fruits than yours.'

The poet treats the South Sea islands very differently from
the manner in which Andrew Marvell, Waller, and Moore
dwelt on the charms of the Bermudas happy islands which,
to use Waller's expression,

' Heaven sure has kept this spot of earth uncurst,
To show how all things were created first.'

Public attention, however, was called to this part of the
world by the strange story of the mutiny of the Bounty, one
of the great romances of the sea. In 1787 King George in.,
at the request of a number of West India merchants in
London, sent out the Bounty to transport plants of the bread-
fruit tree to the West Indies from Tahiti. The well-known
mutiny occurring on board, Captain Bligh was cast adrift
with some companions near the Friendly Islands, and the
mutineers returned with the ship to Tahiti, and finally reached
Pitcairn's Island, in which they sought concealment. Captain
Bligh, destined to be Governor afterwards of the penal settle-
ment of New South Wales, made that most remarkable boat
voyage of 4000 miles in forty-one days.

Ten years afterwards the South Pacific was the scene of a
notable enterprise, very different in character from those
usually chronicled in these waters ; and this was the voyage of
the Duff, an English vessel with thirty missionaries on board,
sent to convert the natives of Tahiti and the other islands to
Christianity. This voyage was fraught with great results, and
effected much to raise the natives in the social scale and to
throw light upon these distant islands. As long as these mis-
sionaries lived at Tahiti they were the means of protecting all



22o British Colonisation

European ships ; but when they were driven away by the civil
wars in the island, there was no longer any security. On
several notable occasions the South Sea islands showed their
hostility to Europeans. The captains of the Fair American^
when becalmed near the shores of Hawaii, of the Butterworth^
returning in 1795 to tne harbour of Honolulu, and of the
Port au Prince in 1816, were all seized and murdered by the
natives. No unarmed ship was safe in the South Pacific
waters.

The earliest commercial advantages resulting from the dis-
covery of the South Sea islands consisted in the means of re-
freshment which they gave to English and American vessels
engaged in the sperm-whale fisheries. The pearl-oyster was
found amongst the coral islands of Eastern Polynesia and also
the Beche-de-Mer ; and the fragrant sandal-wood, so highly
prized by the Chinese as an article of commerce, was collected
by a number of ships of small tonnage, many of them coming
from New South Wales. The first era was undoubtedly one
of cruelty and of reprisals on both sides. The crews from
New South Wales and the traders generally throughout the
Pacific were not distinguished for their humanity. In the
South Pacific there was no settled government, and no Euro-
pean Power stretched forth its aegis of protection.

In the fierce colonising rivalries of the nineteenth century
all this has been changed. One by one these coral and
volcanic groups have been appropriated, and the geographer
has had the task of colouring and recolouring the more im-
portant islands. Dutch, French, Russians, English, and, more
recently, Germans, have all turned their attention to Pacific
waters ; and within very recent times the New Hebrides, New
Caledonia, New Guinea, have afforded a great deal of material
for official correspondence.

Most of the principal groups in the Pacific were first made
known to England by Wallis and Cook, who often hoisted the
English flag on them as token of possession and occupation,
although this was a meaningless ceremony. In 1767 Captain



The Islands of the South Pacific and Fiji 221

Wallis raised the old flag on the Tahiti group. This was
resented by the Tahitians at first ; but afterwards their king, as
well as the king of the largest of the Sandwich Islands, ex-
pressed a desire to be under the protection of the King of
England. South Sea exploration was a favourite project with
King George, who, according to Ur. Hawkesworth, * having the
the best fleet and the ablest navigators in Europe,' improved
commerce, diffused geographical knowledge, and caused, in
seven years, discoveries to be made * far greater than those of
all the navigators in the world collectively, from the expedition
of Columbus to the present time ' (I773)- 1

For a long time the British Government were satisfied with
the results of the voyages of Byron, Wallis, Carteret, Cook,
and others, and were by no means anxious to extend their
dominions to these distant waters. The King of Tahiti wrote
to George iv. to ask permission to use the English ensign as
the national flag; and in answer to this Mr. Canning (1827),
Secretary of State, observed that, * although the customs of
Europe did not allow the use of the flag as solicited, His
Majesty George iv. would be happy to afford Pomare and his
dominions all such protection as His Majesty could grant to
a friendly Power at so remote a distance from his own
dominions.'

The presence in the Pacific of our convict settlement in
New South Wales gave England the opportunity of cultivating
relations with the Pacific islanders. Successive Governors of
New South Wales frequently solicited assistance of the King
of Tahiti for supplies, and respectable foreign residents were
stationed at Tahiti or the adjacent islands to watch over the
conduct and interests of our countrymen. The appointment
of their agents by the Governors of New South Wales was the
only political influence exercised by England in Pacific waters
for many years. Until the year 1833 a French trading-vessel
had scarcely ever made its appearance at the South Sea
islands. The voyages of Bourgainville and the ill-fated la
1 See Dedication of Hawkesworth's Voyages.



222 British Colonisation

Perouse were made before the nineteenth century had begun,
and circumnavigators like Dumont d'Urville had occasionally
visited them. Still, no official proclamation or official inter-
ference had followed upon these enterprises.

French influence began in connection with religion. By a
decree of the Propaganda in June 1833, the conversion of the
inhabitants of the South Sea islands was confided to the
Society of Picpus. In 1834 three Romish priests and one
Irish catechist reached the Gambier's Islands, the most
easterly cluster of the Pacific islands. This was the starting-
point of the Roman Catholic missions. Shortly afterwards a
catechist was sent as a carpenter to Tahiti, and thence to the
Sandwich Islands to prepare the way for the priests. In 1841
Dupetit Thouars was sent to occupy the Marquesas Islands,
and thence in 1842 he proceeded to Tahiti. The proceedings
of the French were extremely arbitrary and high-handed, and
the ' Pritchard ' incident arose. British interests in Tahiti
were entrusted to Consul Pritchard, who, for his stand against
Admiral Dupetit Thouars, was made a prisoner on the flag-
ship. The English Government, with Sir Robert Peel as
Prime Minister, protested strongly against such treatment, and
as the result of diplomatic representations the French Ad-
miral was recalled, the annexation of the island annulled, and
a handsome indemnity paid over to Consul Pritchard.

By a laissez faire policy, however, after this incident, the
French were allowed to have their own way in the island, and
in 1847 an agreement was signed by which we acknowledged
the French protectorate over the islands. The French sub-
sequently visited the Sandwich Islands, demanded the repeal
of the laws prohibiting the sale of spirituous liquors, and estab-
lished the Roman Catholic religion by force. An English
officer, Lord George Paulett, took possession of an island
about the same time, but his act was disallowed in England
when it was made known. The native Government, being
alarmed for their independence, sent an embassy to England,
France, Belgium, and the United States; and in 1844, by a



The Islands of the South Pacific and Fiji 223

convention entered into between these Powers, the independ-
ence of the Sandwich Islands was guaranteed. From what
has been stated, therefore, political interference in the Pacific
Islands would seem to have originated with the French, their
armed vessels being employed primarily at the instance of the
Roman Catholic priests. Up to this point they do not seem
to have regarded any of the islands as suitable for convict
stations or as naval and strategic posts. These latter ideas
occurred subsequently.

New Caledonia, lying off the east coast of Australia, was so
named by Captain Cook after Scotland. It was frequently
visited by English and French sailors, and even made the
field of missionary labours by some Jesuits from Paris ; yet no
European Power attempted to occupy it until, in the year 1851,
the massacre of a boat's crew belonging to the French frigate
Alcmene, commanded by Comte d'Harcourt, drew the atten-
tion of the French to it. In 1853 Admiral Febvrier-Despointes
took possession of it, and in the same year he occupied the
neighbouring Pine Islands, and a few years later the Loyalty
Islands. In the year 1864 Napoleon in. resolved to convert
New Caledonia into a penal settlement, the island being suffi-
ciently remote from other countries, and being infinitely
superior, as far as climate and surroundings were concerned,
to French Guiana. This latter place had been proved to be
terribly unhealthy and altogether unsuited for the purposes of a
convict station. Up to the fall of the Empire convicts were
sent in considerable numbers to the island, and they seem to
have been well guarded. After the suppression of the Com-
mune, however, when it was uncertain how best to dispose of
the human fiends who had tried to destroy Paris and institute
their wild reign of terror, M. Thiers bethought him of New
Caledonia. Thither, accordingly, they were deported in large
numbers ; and from that day to this these criminals, and those
who have succeeded to them, have been a scourge to Australia
and our Pacific colonies. They have been allowed to escape
by the French authorities, whose prison regulations and



224 British Colonisation

surveillance generally would seem, of set purpose, to be lax
and insufficient. Between France and our Australian colonists
the reridiviste question has been a constantly recurring difficulty
beyond the range of diplomacy to adjust. It is their open
sore, just as the fisheries question is to the Newfoundlanders ;
and the Home Government is practically powerless to act in
both matters. On the part of the French the establishment of
a convict station in the Pacific would strike one as a weak



Online LibraryWilliam Henry Parr GreswellOutlines of British colonisation → online text (page 19 of 31)