Everything is Possible to Will.
Appendix. A Few Last Words about Auckland
Appendix. A Few Last Words about Auckland.
New Zealand is divided into three islands, the North, South, and Middle, of which the north is Auckland, a long straggling island, narrow enough for refreshing sea breezes to healthfully temper the midsummer's heat; the winds, indeed, east, west, north, and south, are decidedly rude occasionally. Guiltless, however, of extremes of cold and heat, its matchless climate (“the climate of the world”), vast capabilities, and great natural advantages, must ultimately make Auckland not only the metropolis of New Zealand, but the garden and recreation ground of the world likewise. Her children, fair and swarthy, may well be proud of her; she is admittedly by far the most picturesque of the New Zealand cities, with a genial clime none other can boast.
The stately Rangitoto island, with its three-coned volcanic peaks, forms at once channel and sentinel to Auckland's splendid harbor. Mount Eden and Mount Smart, situated some three and six miles inland, are the city's best sanitary commissioners, while its lungs are the Domain, a forest in miniature, retaining, with many embellishments, enough of its weird original to make its shady bowers delightfully inviting, and the Western Park, bound to grow as the city grows; to the city tree-crowned ranges, seen from all the high lands, form a rugged background. Domestic, rather than proudly majestic, the scenery is unique, new at every turn; nothing, indeed, can be more grateful to the eye than its queerly-broken, ever-varying beauty. Making art subservient to nature's imperiousness, handsome page 228 residences, pleasantly suggestive of their unwritten histories, are built in all kinds of romantic nooks. In fact, the country is so gloriously young and undeveloped that the fingers itch to give it the form and order for which it waits. A nation is not born in a day as yet. A well-cultivated earth is of priceless value; it is common property in the best sense, so enriching the mind as to become in turn an educator, unless men are too apathetic to appropriate its lessons.
The wonderland of New Zealand are the Hot Lakes of Rotomahana, “the most marvellous volcanic region in the world,” not to mention the exquisite delicacy of the fretwork, of the famed pinks, and the white terraces, over which the clear blue boiling waters flow from a huge cauldron emitting clouds of steam perpetually. And to the Hot Lakes visitors are attracted from far and near, not only by the surpassing beauty of the district, but also by the fame of its sulphur springs, which are, by nature, cooled down to any desired degree of temperature. The curative properties, especially in rheumatic and kindred diseases, of the Hot Springs of Waiwera, a charming retreat, but twenty-four miles steam from Auckland, have secured for them likewise a wide reputation. As grateful to health as to disease are their mineral waters, in which one dreads being parboiled, not without reason. An apparently exhaustless supply of hot water flows from the hills; it is utilised for a number of good baths, and the adjacent hotel affords excellent accommodation for its ceaseless stream of visitors.
Rich within, Auckland must be beautiful without, rich in herself if man's vices beggar her not. Offering every facility of wood and water for ship-building and all kinds of industries, the arts and manufactures wait on man's will. The land is rich in ores, metals, coal, and timber, woods as beautiful as durable, the pride of the artist skilled and unskilled—so perfect are they, indeed, that even nature takes long to make them. Down through all the ages she has been economising her resources, storing her wealth. Visit her laboratory if you would learn the secret of perpetual motion. Working with the fertilising sun and shower, she is page 229 silently busy for the most part, and presently utters her benignant voice in tree and flower, among which the fern-tree bears the palm; nothing else of its size and kind, perhaps, expresses such graceful airiness; it is a veritable witch, in its coyly sportive, redundant elegance, especially as seen from the heights above.
Delightfully broken to the eye, as are the country's chief characteristics, it is of course expensive to bring under cultivation. There are swamps in abundance, plenty of open poor land, large tracts of fern land, dense forests of rich land, and, to crown all, fine stretches of good flat land, all calling loudly for the sower and the seed. For, notwithstanding that flourishing homesteads, showing unmistakable signs of substantial prosperity, prettily dot the landscape in all directions, all New Zealand is waiting to be reclaimed. And in developing her resources much money will be made and lost, no doubt: all men cannot be winners. Learn now to divide the spoils, as brothers should share with brother.
The want of the means of communication other than water between town and country has been the settler's great drawback hitherto, but the province now possesses many miles of good roads, railroads, the electric telegraph, and steamers, too, plying constantly to and from all the principal centres of population. Hence, the settler of to-day will know comparatively little of the trials and privations of the brave pioneer settlers, and yet ignoring the price at which his present ease and comfort have been purchased, the “new chum” is often found to look with envious eye upon the possessions of the old settler, declaring “that all the good land and a fair prospect of success have been already appropriated.” Childish nonsense! When the arts and industries have scarcely a recognised existence as yet, and some 7,000,000 acres of unoccupied land offer him a choice! The fact is, he wants the gods to do his work for him while he sits and smokes or sleeps, but the gods won't do it! Difficulties make the man, daunt the coward only; with a sense of perpetual growth which keeps the spirit ever young, the never-say-die resolve multiplies his resources page 230 until he hits the right nail on the head. And the “new chum” must wrest success from his circumstances and surroundings, as the old settler has done; he has made his estate what it is from as raw material with greater difficulties to surmount.
It is true, as Rex has said: “Auckland offers a competency to all who are willing to earn it.” Earn it, mark! and Rex is himself a case in point; and however much he may shrink from notoriety, he must surely have learnt before this that in so young a country one's very character is common property, as is also one's wealth, rightly appreciated. Work as manfully as Rex has done, and success of the best kind will no less certainly follow. With a strong propensity for going to the roots of things, getting as close to nature as possible, he has, to some extent, passed by the white man in his business relations, and gone to the Maori, his business being principally with the natives. His is the king's store, in fact; but his majesty uses no coat of arms.
Yes, in an out-of-the-world spot, next door to the locked-up Kawhia (king country), over which a strict ward and watch are kept by the Maoris, but a few favored Europeans being permitted to enter it, Rex has proved the possibility of building up an extensive business from small beginnings, earning, meanwhile, from both Europeans and Maoris a reputation for honor and probity which a prince might envy. His sleek team of ten or more bullocks (the road is good enough for horses now), drawing his heavilyladen American waggon, as seen once upon a time wending its way along the ill-formed roads of the unkempt wilderness, was charmingly primitive, and in keeping with its environments.
If men will but use their brains, common-sense will be found to emphasise all that may be said in favor of New Zealand (the north island especially) as a field of emigration. It is so lavishly provided with all the staple articles of merchandise, that in turning them to good account thousands of fortunes, if even money be the only consideration, will be made undoubtedly, and with judicious care in eating and drinking, its magnificent page 231 climate affords unbroken health for the doing of it, but it will not be done with the tooth-pick and crochet-needle.
Up to the present New Zealand joins hand with other countries quite too readily. She must be more independent, her own soil must be the home of the art, industries, manufactures—of, in short, everything lovely and of good report. If the nation is to arrive at stability, she wants the tiller of the soil, but not the tiller only. There is room, nevertheless, for some thousand additional Homestead Act proprietors (the provisions of which Act are given below). Unless willing to work for wages, all who take up land under the Homestead System should be prepared to wait three years before they reap any return beyond garden produce. Their wants will be few, however, if they can start with a few sheep, a cow or two, and poultry, for which there will be ample fodder from the first. A large number of families are living a by no means starvation life on the Homestead System. It is a hard life for the first few years, but the thought, “I am lord of the soil,” sweetens every hour's toil. And so long as his home is on his land, the bread-winner may be absent, if legitimately employed, three or more months at a stretch, but he must fulfil the conditions of the Act or his grant is forfeited.
New Zealand is dull just now unquestionably. The world's tidal wave of commercial depression reached her shores to find her suffering from a financial crisis of her own, thanks to the reckless, borrowing, and spend-thrift prodigality of her much too costly Government, in its insane haste to run before it could walk. But, as compared to the years of depression through which Auckland passed triumphantly a dozen years since, the present cloud is so small that she can afford to smile at the gloomy predictions of some of the home papers respecting her future.
Homestead System.—Free Grants.—Provision is made under the Act for free selection of homestead grants. Blocks are specially set apart for the purpose. The lands so dealt with are divided into first-class lands and second-class lands, according to quality, and page 232 are so marked upon the Government plan. The area allowed each person of the age of 18 years or upwards is: of first-class lands 50 acres, or of second-class 75 acres. For persons under 18 years of age: of first-class lands 20 acres, or of second-class lands 36 acres. For each block a district surveyor, or other duly authorised officer, is appointed, and intending settlers must lodge a written application with him between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., such application to state names and ages of the applicants and describe the situation, class of land, and number of acres they have taken possession of, together with the date whereon they took possession, also to whom it is intended that a grant or grants shall issue upon fulfilment of the conditions of selection, and no application shall be received for a less area than 20 acres, and not more than 200 acres of first-class or 300 acres of second-class lands can be held or occupied by any number of persons living together in one household. The land will be allotted according to priority of application; but when two or more applications are received at the same time the ownership must be decided by lot. Every selection must, so far as the features of the country will permit, be of a rectangular form, and when fronting on a road, river, lake, or coast, be of a depth not less than three times the length of the frontage—no selection to monopolise the wood or water or landing-place in any particular locality. Under special circumstances the Waste Lands Commissioner may permit occupants to complete their selections by the purchase of adjoining lands in blocks of irregular shape and small extent. Every selector of land shall have the same surveyed at his own expense by a duly authorised surveyor, and deliver at the Waste Lands Office, within six months after taking possession, a correct certified plan. Only timber for improvements or domestic purposes may be cut without the special sanction of the Commissioner until the conditions on which the selection is made have been finally completed. At the end of the period of five years, a grant or grants shall issue for the lands selected, provided the selector has not forfeited his right thereto. The conditions to entitle to Crown page 233 grants or conveyance are: Continuous residence on the land for five years; the erection of a permanent dwelling-house, valued £50, within twelve months from the commencement of such residence; annual cultivation of one-fifteenth of area selected if open land, or twenty-fifth if bush land, together with the fulfilment of conditions imposed by the Act and regulations.
Surveys,—(1) All surveys shall be made by surveyors authorised by the Surveyor-General, and in accordance with instructions to settlement surveyors issued, or which may be issued by him. (2) There shall be paid for the survey of any area—Not exceeding 30 acres, £5; exceeding 30 and up to 50 acres, 3s. per acre; exceeding 50 and up to 100 acres, 2s. 6d, per acre; exceeding 100 and up to 200 acres, 2s. per acre, but not less than £12 10s.; exceeding 200 and up to 300 acres, 1s. 8d. per acre, but not less than £20. (3) Whenever two or more sections are surveyed together by the same surveyor, one-third of the above rates shall be deducted for all areas above 50 acre, and whenever all or more than one-half the length of the boundary lines shall run through vegetation less than six feet high, one-third of the schedule rates shall be deducted.
Further information as to regulations and conditions may be obtained from the Commissioner of Crown Lands, Auckland, or any District Surveyor or District Land Agent. Plans of the blocks open may also be seen at the Waste Lands Office, Auckland.
Licenses for Cutting Timber, Flax, and other Purposes.—Licenses to occupy Crown lands for any period not exceeding seven years may upon application to the Board, be obtained for cutting timber or flax, raising coal, removal of clay, sand, gravel, or stone, digging kauri gum, sites for saw mils, flour mills, tanneries, fellmongers' yards, slaughter yards, brick-kilns, potteries, ferries, jetties; sites in thinly-inhabited districts for inns and accommodation-houses. Area of land and fee to be fixed by Board.
Special Settlements.—The Governor sets apart blocks of rural land and declares the same open for special settlement, but the total quantity of land so page 234 set apart in the Colony is not allowed to exceed 100,000 acres in any one year. Lands so set apart are sold at a price to be fixed by competent valuators, not being less than £1 per acre. A deposit of one-tenth the price of the block is payable, in manner directed by the Governor, within three months after deposit of survey plan with Chief Surveyor. Conditions of improvements to be defined by regulations are necessary to be performed before issue of Crown Grant. Special settlement lands cannot be set aside as such for a longer period than seven years, and if not taken up within that time may be declared open to all purchasers as ordinary Crown Lands. The Governor is empowered to contract with persons or companies agreeing to promote the settlement of persons upon such lands, and the person or companies so contracted with are bound to perform and observe the terms agreed upon. Rebate in the prices of land is allowed in respect of adult persons introduced from the United Kingdom, but the total rebate is not to exceed £20 for each statute adult, and no rebate is made until the Governor is satisfied that a number of adults have settled on the land and improved the same in conformity with the regulations.
“Retrenchment” is New Zealand's guiding star for the time being, and applied thoroughly to the Civil Service, it has done much already to restore confidence —“things are decidedly on the mend.” The country is, nevertheless, so burdened with debt and taxation that an effort as persistent as manly must be made to save it from sinking deeper and deeper into debt and dishonor. A spendthrift nation is as culpable as a spendthrift individual; both are bankrupt of honor, until reasonable efforts are made to pay their debts. The European population of the provincial district of Auckland is less than 100,000 inhabitants, a mere handful of folk; but there is good stuff among them—stuff that ought to have the courage to retrench the Governor's salary at least £2,000 a-year. Retrenchment means an out-of-billet experience to many a civil servant; if you take from the lesser why not from the greater? New Zealand is forty years old as a British colony, and within that time we have contracted a debt page 235 of £27,000,000 sterling, and the worst of it is that we have almost nothing to show for it.
Indirectly retrenchment presses heavily upon the working-man, and it is well if it does but compel him so to think and act for himself, as to prevent the political adventurer riding rough-shod to place and power, to feed hordes of hungry place-hunters at the working-man's expense, than whom no patient ass was ever more heavily burdened; and if his intelligence (intelligence is a something better than learning proper, it is that inward wrestling with right and wrong which makes a man to stand strong before his fellows) did but equal his patient endurance, he would soon make it impossible for rogues to prosper. Fight against it as one may, intelligence is bound to revolutionise the world; and then, but not till then, the communism of the New Testament will make self-aggrandisement look ugly. It will teach what brotherhood means.
Hitherto, emigration has been confined pretty much to the profligate whom friends like best at a distance, to the very poor, and to the enterprising artisan, who, demanding more elbow-room and independence of thought than England affords, leaves his own country for the good of other lands, with whom middle-class uppishness owns nothing in common. Hence, a vanity as senseless as undignified stands in the way of the “shabby genteel,” who starve on their “gentility,” and would, nevertheless, make good colonists and acquire an independence probably, but for the pretentiousness which keeps them rooted to the spot where they are known to have “seen better days.” Faugh! Defy Mrs. Grundy, and you will find she is the meanest “calf” ever worshipped; there is absolutely nothing in her; she is the ghost of a ghost, and nothing more.
A man is not a man unless, rightly gauging the worth or the worthlessness of popular opinion on all subjects, he can dignify any and every legitimate pursuit. Such a man can afford to stand alone, and such only are welcome to New Zealand; they will make an honorable position for themselves anywhere, and such alone are worthy to help to build up a country fated to possess a free and independent people. It is scarcely page 236 necessary to state that Auckland has churches and chapels to suit all tastes, a Museum and Institute, a Public Library, and a Young Men's Christian Association, that she is, in short, London in miniature. Thought is more active, truer, freer, therefore more refined than in England among the same class of people. Society means something more than superfine broad-cloth, satins and velvets, as the superficial soon learn to their cost.
Under protest from the clergy, who raise the war-cry — “Christianity is in danger,” a purely secular system of State education maintains its place in the public favor. The Bible is excluded from the public schools, as much from respect for its worth as by the contempt into which it has been brought undeservedly by the wretched cant (supposed to be derived from its pages) often preached about “our poor human nature,”—cant worse than useless except to those who make capital out of it to justify their loved sins. Human nature is not “poor” until it is made poor by cheating and lying, by confounding love and passion, and by a general selfishness as suicidal as brutish. And would you excuse these things to please the vicious, help to sink human nature lower and lower until it has no strength to recover itself? Shame!
Is “Christianity in danger” if the Bible be not read in the public schools? Not in the very least! The Church may go, Dissent may go, and but for their parade-day the world will lose little perhaps, since high above all creeds and controversies lives the Christ of history—the Ideal Man, and he shall yet be “lifted up,” if not by man by woman. For the day is on the wing when our schools and halls of legislature shall resound to the loved name of Christ—when woman, strong in His energising might, shall hold Him up to the admiration and imitation of men until they desire to be like Him. Why should the best of books, the wisest of men, be banished from our schools and legislative halls? They are precisely the places where both (Christ and Bible) should be enthroned on high. Give supremacy to the moral and intellectual natures over the animal, in woman especially, and she shall yet stand on the floor page 237 of the House and wring the common heart of the nation like a sponge—wring from it tears of blood, although it would appear to have been turned into hard cash almost. Raise woman in the scale of being, cease to chatter of our “poor human nature” mummery, and loyalty to Bible precepts, unparalleled in their exquisite beauty and usefulness, will return.
Rightly understood and appreciated the religion of Christ is pre-eminently reasonable, its reasonableness is assured the instant it is fairly tested; almost, if no' quite, every sentence of the New Testament applies to the life that is, dogmatic theology alone is “above reason.” Oh, that men would see this!
Religion is character; character is religion; to profane, to prostitute the one is to profane, prostitute the other; and to put the Bible as a school-book into the hands of many who present themselves as teachers would mean profanation simply. Besides which, religion cannot be taught by rote, parrot-fashion; the good seed must be sown in good, i.e., prepared, soil if it is to bear good fruit; that is, the child must be won to a loving, reverent appreciation of all good at home, or it will never be done at school.
Patent as this is, the men who live for theology, not for fact, rebelling against the discipline of life, painful, yet needful to form the character, are as destitute of clearly-defined principles of action for their own guidance as for the guidance of others, and therefore snatch in frantic haste at any straw which offers a salve to the conscience. Hence, a cowardly attempt is made periodically to get rid of personal responsibility in the matter of training children, by throwing it upon the magic power the Bible is assumed to possess, utterly ignoring the one eternal, incontrovertible fact, stamped in unmistakable language upon all nature and all revelation from the beginning to the end—the tree is known by its fruit. By their fruit—i.e., good works; good works must have a good source—ye shall know them; in other words, the parents, and the parents alone, are responsible for the child. The State (or better still, public opinion) must see that the parents do their duty.page 238
Those who live for fact, not theology, know right well that, despite the “fall,” there is a divinity in human nature bound to override the “total depravity” nonsense, and the creeds that fail to fit a man for the life that is, will fail to fit him for the life to come. Henceforward, to youth, to age, the life and the life alone will command the respect of men; and he who desires that his creed shall triumph must put its transcendent excellence into his business above all things, or the exquisite symmetry of the lives of many “infidels” will shame him even to himself; for his creed will be severely tested when infidels in any number live and die as did Harriet Martineau. Just think of the wretched whine the Christian often makes about dying, in his prayers and otherwise; then read “Harriet Martineau's Autobiography,” and learn how an infidel can die—die with joyous anticipation, as she did, working unweariedly for others' good, even while looking certain death at any moment steadily in the face for the last twenty-one years of her life. The future is God's concern, not ours, clearly; he has blessed the life he inspired. The devil had nothing to do with such a life; compared with it the lives of the generality of men and women sink into insignificance. And yet, if religion gives an added grace and dignity to the character wholly wanting to the infidel, what kind of beings ought Christians to be? This is a question that presses upon the religious world with ever-deepening significance. It is vain to attempt to shirk it. Many among the “infidel” are like the monk of old, whom they were obliged to make into a saint because no hell could be found that would burn him.
Prompted to noble endeavor by the wisdom, and want of wisdom of past ages, young Auckland ought to be in every respect a very model, socially, breathing so pure an atmosphere that indolence and vice could not live in it; and yet, alas! imitating, instead of profiting by, the pauper-making blunders of the old world, she is rushing blindfolded on the self-same fatal rocks in dealing with the idle and dissolute. She takes their children from them, and allows the parents to go free page 239 to spend the greater part of their time in gaol, making wrong-doing a gain to them, not a loss. Thus she teaches the not-over industrious, who abound everywhere, to say, unblushingly: “Why should I slave for my children while your idle fellows' children are well cared for by the public? The public may have my children and welcome.” And his family presently swell the number of outcast children, of course. In addition to her Orphan Asylum, Auckland has a Home of considerably more than 100 (the number increases year by year) of neglected and destitute children, hanging as an incubus round her neck.
If children are destitute and neglected, her duty is with the parents clearly, not with the children; to make the parents work, not to take their children from them. If the parents determine that themselves and their children shall be maintained at the public expense, provide some kind of an institution possessing more home-like reformatory influences than any gaol affords, make it self-supporting, work or starve being the only alternative offered to them; but on no account separate parent and child, if the entire family must be cared for. Children often have a humanising influence even on the most depraved. Public opinion would soon popularise such an institution, and men would soon learn better than to subject themselves to its righteous conditions. Victoria, a young colony, has already fifteen hundred neglected and destitute children to provide for. What is meant by the much-vaunted “liberty of the subject?” Liberty to do the right and the right only: a man voluntarily sacrifices his liberty the instant he chooses to do wrong. Never encourage indolence. Work is good for everyone. It is a sin to help anyone to shirk self-imposed duties. Every man's right to do as he likes ceases if the rights of another are infringed thereby. Once practically accept this self-evident fact, and no insuperable difficulties will arise in dealing with the idle and dissolute. As opposed to the present system of herding children together, the lauded “Boarding-out system” is only a lesser evil.
There are so many just claims pressing upon the time and means of the man who faithfully discharges page 240 his duty to his family and to the State, that to expect him to toil to support the idle and their progeny likewise is monstrous. The necessity, nevertheless, of a Poor Law for New Zealand has been strongly urged on the attention of the House.
It is not surprising that the Englishman should have blundered in his treatment of the savage abroad when he has so long blundered in his treatment of the savage at home. Indeed, it is believed with reason that man has yet to learn the right way of doing everything in relation to his social well-being. And woman will be his teacher. He unwittingly cut off his right hand, plucked out his right eye, when he refused to accept woman as “helpmeet.”
Those who best know the marked individuality of the Maori character—his keen sense of honor in word and deed, and his proud self-reliance—feel assured he was capable of being treated as a man, when his allegiance was first accepted by England's Queen. But, unfortunately, the question of sovereign and subject was never clearly defined to the native mind, and never will be while he meets with so much from the representatives of the Crown to create distrust, so little to command respect and confidence. The tribe, being greater than the individual to the Maori, he cannot comprehend the all-for-self greed of the European; hence, while fully appreciating his superior advantages, material, social, and political, as man for man, the Maori feels himself the white man's equal, if not his superior in native strength of character, and is willing, as a man should be, to accept the advantages enjoyed by the privilege of race, as a right, not as a favor.
That, if strong enough, they would disclaim British rule, and assert their own independence, is certain; but being quick imitators, the lower-class Maories have too readily adopted the baser, not the better, habits of the European, and the drunken, immoral, and improvident habits of the natives are so grievously decimating the race, that is doubtful whether in any circumstances the Waikatos (Auckland natives) could bring 1,000 fighting-men into the field.page 241
They have their rights (none too willingly conceded), and claim them in Maori fashion, not unnaturally with a show of bluster, not without European precedent. They are, nevertheless, most peacefully inclined, living quietly and breaking up large areas of land for wheat, oats, corn, potatoes, etc. The number of natives now living in New Zealand (the three islands) is estimated at 43,000, and they still hold about 14,000,000acres of land, of which some seven or eight millions are in the provincial districts of Auckland; but the estate is being purchased by the Government as rapidly as possible. The natives can make no use of it.
Distrustful, with sufficient reason perchance, of the kindly intentions of the white man, the natives do not avail themselves as they should of the means of education for their children, although they eagerly avail themselves of the implements of industry and of destruction offered. But the question: “Aren't you afraid of the natives?” meets only a most amused smile from the European. Treat them fairly, and there is absolutely nothing to fear from them. They are as trustful as those who have never known deceit, but they are not easily twice gulled by the same man.
Living far from the haunts of the pakeha, accepting few favors and no bribes, the Maori king (Tawhiao) still preserves his stoical isolation, rarely choosing to cross, with his retinue, the border-land of his own country and that of the white man, whose existence, indeed, save that of a few favored beings, he scarcely deigns to recognise. It is much to be regretted that no means have as yet been adopted to break down the barriers which separate the two races; the pity is, rather, that the white man should appear to play shark-turn-cannibal when the aboriginal blocks his path—that the aboriginal should retire, and retire until he vanishes out of sight. Still, that the native must go is due only in part to the self-aggrandisement of the white man, however inordinate. The Maoris' death-warrant is signed by the stolid indolence he maintains to a culpable degree, notwithstanding that he digs and plants now as he used not to do. There page 242 is room for both races in New Zealand; but if the natives would live and flourish as they ought to do, their resistance to the encroachments of the pakeha must spring from within; self-respect must fire their energies, and so animate and sustain their enthusiasm as to prompt them to work, not to talk, merely—as so prone to do—to seize the plough, the spade, the pen with a self-reliance which, rightly directed, never will be driven to the wall. All men, even to the Maori, must stand on their own merits, unless they are content to be things, not men.
Maori land has not yet been turned inside out and upside down until there is nothing in it, as has the old world; hence it were much to be desired that an educated Maori or half-caste would write a book with quaint originality. That the natives love war and fight well—the offshoots of abounding life, clearly prove that they possess within themselves the elements of growth when once they turn their energies to the conservation of the forces at their command.
Strike out with the pen, friend Maori, introduce us to the higher, diviner side of your race; you can open a sealed book, crack for us a nut which may have a sweeter kernel than we wot of. You can dash your effusions with some humor, too, since on paper you will be allowed to ride roughshod to your possessions beyond the sun, and into the white man's glass-house, which sorely needs a spring clean. Culture should make the child of nature, whose angularities of character contrast favorably with the sleek courtliness of the pakeha, the more intensely Maori; that the rugged force of his native fire and poetry may possess something of the ocean's restless might, toned down, whiles, to the lazy ripple of the shallow brook.
And, friend, since you have a head on your colossal shoulders, invite your kin to take a seat, get them off their haunches (the natives squat), and lead them forth with a dignity in keeping with your grand old hills, lead fearlessly by your own forest tracks; give prominence to the flowers of form and fancy which adorn your primeval wilderness. And if we of the white skies mistake your sweet-briar for stinging-nettle, or page 243 should stumps and tangle trip us up, we'll “rub noses” and start afresh. For so unparalleled is the health-fulness of its climate and the loveliness of its scenery, that New Zealand cannot fail to stamp its unique characteristics on its children, of the white skin and the swarthy.
To this moment the Maori king and kingites refuse to be bought, very properly, refuse to be toyed with as harmless infants; the force of circumstance will, nevertheless, be too strong for them; hence, instead of the king's present dog-in-the-manger attitude in reference to the land, he will, it is hoped, be proud to be accepted as the Queen's ambassador to her Maori people, and throw his land open like a man. A pakeha, possessing his majesty's confidence, writes privately: “I sat up with him (the king) nearly all last night (10 May, 1880), talking of one thing and another. I told him of the proposed Panama Canal; he seemed to think it an extraordinary idea, reverting to it two or three times during the evening. He said: ‘You English are a wonderful people. I suppose if you wanted to cut a canal from the North Cape to Wellington it would be only a question of money!’”
Ah, those irresponsible bodies—governments Imperial and Colonial—may well mourn over wasted blood and treasure; the grievous task of blotting out the signs of the late war's spoliation are not yet accomplished. The lesson should have its value. Employing native labor largely when the Maori's allegiance was first accepted by the Queen, an army of soldiers in the form of navvies should have been sent from England to this country to make roads through its length and breadth; the country would then have been opened up from end to end; and thus defied, its tawny sons, capable of exemplary loyalty to respected authority, would doubtless have become devoted subjects of the Queen. But moved by a jealousy, vulgar as costly, England is prone to take offence if her breeze-and-battle-braving flag is snubbed by a handful of Maories or Zulus. How much her penny-wise and pound-foolish policy has cost her! and its returns are—What?page 244
New Zealand has her one statesman, and he stands out in grand relief to the many who buzz around him. A man possessing a clearly-defined purpose, and daring to take the unpopular side, because strong in the autocracy of right against might; a divinely noble imperiousness, than which nothing in the universe may dare to be less compromising. A man who has worked, will work, at all costs for New Zealand's ultimate prosperity, in the teeth of an ignorant conservatism that seeks its own, and only its own. A man whose every act quietly appeals to the disinterestedness of an exceptionally consistent life—a life necessarily misunderstood by those rejoicing in the dead level of characterless inanity which obtains, and are impatient of the restraints right principles impose on the unscrupulousness of a charlatanism that accuses itself in the very excuses it offers. Charlatanism possesses no sense of honor; its dignity is comprehended in “cutting off the nose to spite the face.” It is contrary to the very nature of things for gross selfishness to build up national honor. Men always act consistently with themselves whatever be their professions, a fact overlooked when disappointment is expressed at the seeming inconsistencies of men, as purposeless as characterless; human shuttlecocks veering east, west, north, and south, in opinion as often as differences of opinion are presented to them. Men possessing much general information who have, never-theless, to digest the unpalatable fact, patent to the thoughtful, that there is a something better than the best developed reasoning, good though that is, and that something is—character, nobly formed and clearly defined
New Zealand's one statesman is Sir George Grey, of course. He stands alone because he is peerless—brave, self-immolated man. It is not his fault that he “stands alone,” although a cause of reproach. He would appear, indeed, almost too willing to work with such tools as come to hand (good work cannot be done with bad tools), almost too willing to throw sops to political hounds apt to grow surly on short commons. Sir George Grey sees that these glad isles, this garden of the page 245 world, has enough and to spare for all her sons, and for all who may yet tread her shores, if they will but do their part like men of honor. The natives, except perhaps a few, who have been prejudiced against him by self-seeking Europeans, trust Sir George instinctively; he has proved himself their truest friend, and they speak of him as “the man without pride.”
For more than twenty years the writer, an utter stranger to him, has watched his public career with ever-increasing interest; it is, indeed, scarcely possible to estimate what New Zealand owes to him. If he will use his strength with long-suffering patience, the man of character and purpose is stronger than the thousand human whiffs, though the blundering stupidity of the latter greatly retards his usefulness; the strong have so to bear the infirmities of the weak as to remove them.page break