Te Ika a Maui, or New Zealand and its Inhabitants
Chapter XVII. Climate
Chapter XVII. Climate.
The Climate of New Zealand is, perhaps, one of the mildest in the world, certainly the most so of all the colonies belonging to Great Britain. Extending for more than a thousand miles, from latitude 34° to 47°, in the form of a long curve, its northern termination being in the parallel of Sydney, and its southern beyond that of Van Diemen's Land, it has throughout an equableness of climate, which is remarkable. The general width of the isles not being commensurate with the length, causes the sea to have great power in reducing the heat of summer and the cold of winter. The wannest part has not the heat of Sydney, nor yet the cold winds there felt; the most southerly part has still the fern-tree flourishing in all its luxuriance, and its forests retain their summer foliage. Whilst page 252 the continent of Australia is remarkably deficient in springs and streams, and liable to frequent droughts, New Zealand, intercepting the clouds from the east, has a never-failing supply of moisture, which insures its fertility and certainty of crops. This may account in some measure for the extreme aridity of Australia, and the humidity of New Zealand. It is indeed a land of rivers and springs; where can we discover a country better watered? The climate is moist, but this is chiefly the case where the country is the narrowest; on this account the quantity of rain which falls at Auckland is much greater than that at Wellington, and the least on the western and eastern coasts.
It is generally said there are ten degrees difference between the northern and southern hemispheres, the latter being so much colder than the former. As far as my experience goes, it is not correct; this does not apply either to New Holland or New Zealand. The chief difference between these islands, and lands in a similar northern latitude, appears in the latter, having a greater amount of summer heat and winter cold to that of New Zealand; in the warmest part, the thermometer seldom rises beyond 80° in summer, or sinks below 40° in winter. There is occasionally ice as thick as half-a-crown, but that is of seldom occurrence; in general, though the nights of winter are cold, the days are delightfully warm and fine. In the southern parts of New Zealand, the prevailing character of the winter is cold wind and rain; in the parts where the island attains a greater width, there are generally three frosty nights at the full of the moon. In the interior, the winter's cold is greater, and the frosts more frequent, but the days are warm and fine. There also in summer, the heat is greater than on the coast. The snow occasionally falls in some parts of the Middle Island, but does not remain in the North Island; it does not fall near the coast, only on the interior elevated plains. During a period of fourteen years, once only have a few flakes fallen at Wanganui, in the night, but it was only seen on the hills until sunrise.
The two highest mountains in the Northern Island are Tongariro and Taranaki. The snow line is about 7,000 feet page 253 above the level of the sea, and this being in the southern part of the Northern Island, will enable the reader to form some idea of its general temperature.
From climate we naturally pass to the consideration of the healthiness or unhealthiness of the country; and in this respect, we shall find New Zealand, perhaps, not inferior to any country. It is naturally healthy; and those who have come to its shores in a delicate state, have, in general, been speedily restored. The chief diseases of the country are those affecting the nerves; but these, in a great measure, are to be ascribed to careless exposure;—the climate being so mild, numbers sleep out, throwing themselves on the ground without any protection from the heavy dews, beyond, perhaps, a cloak. This cannot be done with impunity. Rheumatic pains, fever, &c., sooner or later, will remind the person of his imprudence; they become so naturalized in the system, as never afterwards to be eradicated. But those who take a tythe of the precaution page 254 used to preserve health at home, may calculate on a greater amount of it in New Zealand.
But it is not the consideration of the natural healthiness of the islands, so much as the degree in which they will be influenced by European colonization. It is well known, that when the West Indies and America were first discovered, they were remarkably healthy, and free from disease; but after being colonized, they rapidly deteriorated. This has been and is still the case in Australia and Polynesia. The European intercourse is not of unmixed benefit; if we impart good, we also bestow evil. In the old countries, every disease is naturalized, and although not developed, yet the seeds remain in the system, and thus we unconsciously communicate it to the natives of the lands we occupy; in fact, we introduce sickness by the very vapour which imperceptibly emanates from our bodies. In some degree this may be occasioned by the different mode of living; by the food and raiment we introduce. In their natural state, they were so simple in both, that there was little place for disease; and if man escaped the accidents of life, war, &c., he died as a matter of course from extreme old age. The animal machine lasted until its various parts were fairly worn out. I have noticed this especially with the teeth, having seen those who have attained extreme old age with all their teeth perfectly sound and firm, but worn down to the very gums. I have no doubt the same was formerly the case with our forefathers. When curate of a very ancient church in the Isle of Ely, I recollect that whenever an unusually deep grave was dug, the teeth of the skulls thrown up were thus worn down. This will not be the case long in New Zealand; the natives are now subject to decayed teeth almost as much as Europeans, and they lose them the same. On the subject of teeth, it is remarkable, that those of children born in these colonies are invariably bad, both in Australia and New Zealand, and they very early lose them.
Ectropium, the turning inside out of the eyelid, is very common, and was more so in former days: smoky houses are probably the chief cause of this complaint. Insanity is far from being uncommon amongst the natives. The poor sufferers page 255 are generally treated with great respect, and were thought to be under the immediate influence of some atua; but this malady seems to be far more prevalent amongst our own countrymen in New Zealand, than amongst the natives; perhaps more so than in England. In some instances, it may be accounted for by excess in drink, but, in many cases, no cause can be assigned.
Albinos, though not numerous, are yet occasionally met with: they have generally an unhealthy and idiotic look; their countenance is very red, and the hair either sandy, white, or bright red, with blue eyes. Some of these persons were afflicted with insanity, and partly leprous. They are supposed to be the fruit of illicit intercourse of spirits with their females.
Scrofulous diseases are now general amongst the natives; originally introduced by Europeans, they are now naturalized in the system, and propagated in their offspring, and have become a chief cause of mortality amongst them.
The first time the influenza made its appearance in New Zealand was in 1844, and so generally did it prevail, that scarcely an individual escaped; the poor natives were affected so severely, that many of them were cut off. The same complaint was raging in all the Australian colonies, as well as in the various settlements of New Zealand. The Australian papers, which made us acquainted with this fact, also recorded another contemporary circumstance, viz., that immense quantities of fish were thrown up on all their shores; this was likewise the case in New Zealand, from which I inferred that there was a common cause for the phenomenon, and this I attributed to the escape of large quantities of noxious gas from the bottom of the sea, which killed the fish, and affected men, by vitiating the atmosphere of certain parallels. It has been noticed that after any violent earthquakes, when deleterious gas has been ejected, much sickness has invariably ensued. In later years, I recollect the Bishop remarking, that he found the natives of some little lone isle all prostrated with the influenza, although no vessel but his own had visited it. We can, therefore, only attribute these page 256 epidemics to the air, which being rendered extensively noxious, has a corresponding influence on man. This conclusion is also borne out by native tradition, which informs us of various diseases which have at different times visited the country, and, after occasioning fearful mortality, have again disappeared. Various names have been given to them, and one, place where the mortality was excessive, bears the name of the disease, to perpetuate the remembrance of the plague: this is the Rewa-rewa, on the Manawatu river.
But these visitations have been rare, and at long intervals of time;—the diseases we introduce are permanent, and until the native constitution is assimilated to that of the European, the mortality will preponderate on their side. Our countrymen, however, are inclined to fancy that all these circumstances are conspiring to exterminate the native race, and that before many years are passed it will be extinct; that the Maori population is rapidly diminishing; that disease, induced by drinking, as well as other causes, are all aiding to cut off the aborigines, who everywhere disappear before the European race. America is a favorite example.
There is good reason, however, for doubting the accuracy of this conclusion. From a census carefully taken in 1843, and another in 1853, it is found that the numbers have not decreased, but slightly increased, during that period.
In 1843, the population of Waitotara was as follows:—Males, 196; females, 157; total, 353.
In 1853, the population of the same district was—males, 211; females, 173; total, 384.
Increase in ten years—males, 15; females, 16; total, 31.
In 1843, the population of Whareroa was—males, 34; females, 20; total, 54. In 1854 it was—males, 49; females, 33; total, 82.
The results were similar in every instance; but it is highly probable that another ten years will render them much more favorable. This opinion is grounded upon the alteration for the better which is taking place in their food. Ten years ago, in my district, the native did not cultivate wheat, and did not possess cattle; he has now abundance of both; in fact, of the page 257 former, more than he consumes. Hitherto the chief mortality has been amongst the children, who literally were starred, having nothing but the breast until they could eat the potatoe, which was their main support. It was not to be wondered, therefore, that the poor little creatures should be cut off; having so little stamina, the influenza became peculiarly fatal to them.
In estimating the population, the grand error appears to have been the over-rating that of former days. The traveller seeing the remains of fortified pas on almost every high hill, their parepare, or trenches, still indicating their existence; and finding these remains exceed the number of places now seen, he concludes the race is rapidly diminishing, and this appears very natural. I thought the same, until I became better acquainted with them and their ways.
The insecurity of life in former days compelled them to dwell in fortified places, and these were always situated near their cultivations. The native had no idea of renewing his land when exhausted by successive cropping, and, in fact, had no necessity for doing so, having such an unlimited extent at his command; therefore when he found the land no longer able to yield him the usual return, he abandoned it, and sought a fresh locality for cultivation, and there erected a new pa for his defence. When I first came to Wanganui, I laid down the course of the river, and marked the pas on its banks; there are scarcely any of those places now inhabited, all having been abandoned for fresh ones. In fact, their abodes may be regarded rather as fortified camps than towns, their stay in one place being only until they have exhausted the surrounding country. The conclusion therefore is, that the native race was never very numerous, and that the present ills, which threaten its existence, are more than counter-balanced by the advantages of better food and clothing, and an altogether improved way of living. As religion, civilized habits, customs, and peaceful pursuits gain ground on the savage life of former days, the New Zealand race may not only endure the evils consequent on civilization, but even gain thereby.
The population of these islands has been variously estimated, page 258 some rating it at 100,000, others at 80,000; perhaps the latter may be the nearest approximation to the truth.
Relative to their wars also, we are apt to draw false conclusions, and to imagine that the contests of so fierce a people must necessarily have been very bloody; but it must be remembered before fire-arms were introduced, the battle was chiefly a trial of skill and strength between the principal chiefs, and that the fall of one was often the signal of flight for his people; the slaves seldom taking any very active part, as oftentimes those their masters fought with, were their relatives. The battles of David and Goliah, Hector and Achilles, were much the same as theirs.
Even when pas were taken, and tribes destroyed, many escaped who joined others, and thus the extinction of a tribe was in fact little more than the extinction of a name.
When fire-arms were first introduced, they certainly occasioned for a time an increased destruction of life, and rendered their battles far more bloody. This was the case with those of Hongi and Raupara-ha; but it only continued until they became more common, and equally dispersed amongst them, and then they brought the reign of the hero, or demi-god, to a close, when the personal strength and prowess of the chief gave him no advantage in fight over the despised slave; and thus, now-a-days, the nobility of the land are decidedly less anxious for war, when they are as liable to be shot as their slaves; they feel it does not add to their dignity, but may bring their dignity to an iguoble close. Therefore, the advantages of peace become more perceptible, and are a guarantee against future wars.
The chiefs are now leading on their people to improvement, using their influence to raise funds for the erection of mills, and the increase of their property.page 259
It is remarkable, that whilst no country has been benefited more than Great Britain by her colonies, no government has paid less attention to them. They have founded themselves by that inherent energy which so peculiarly belongs to the Briton, and not by the fostering care of a paternal government. Even to this day there is no general plan of emigration adopted, and no energy displayed in carrying out the present system. There is a lifelessness and deadness on the subject, which is perfectly amazing; and when we look at the energy displayed by the United States, the aid she affords her emigrants, the facilities she gives them of acquiring a home, we cannot wonder at her obtaining more than nine-tenths of those who leave their native shores: nor can we be surprised at the rapidity of her rise, compared with that of our colonies.
The conduct of Great Britain on the subject of emigration is perfectly suicidal. No empire possesses such an extent of country, enjoying a mild and genial climate, which remains unoccupied, and no kingdom has such an overflowing population to people it, with such a certainty of general benefit to the empire; and yet it does not make any real effort to accomplish so desirable a work, though the doing so would relieve the parent state from a surplus amount of population which remains idle at home, an incubus on the industry of the page 260 country. Emigration being encouraged, the greater would be the revenue of the country; the larger the amount of its manufactures consumed, and the certainty of its prosperity increased. There ought not, in the present day, to be such a building as a poor-house in the land, spoiling the prospect with its unsightly bulk. If the amount of labor be not greater than the demand, where would then be the want of it? The unemployed part of the community, which rusts in idleness at home, is wanted abroad, where it would speedily become useful to itself and to others.
The judicious bee-master has always his spare hives prepared to receive the successive swarms before they are thrown off, well aware that by his neglect of so necessary a provision, he would be the loser, and that the amount of his honey depends on the number of his hives. Precisely the reverse of this has been the policy of Great Britain. Year after year she throws off her swarms without any provision being made to retain them within the limits of the empire. They have, therefore, passed on to increase the power and resources of another state; and to what a sad extent this has taken place, see the astounding population returns of the United States. There was no reason why the myriads and millions which have gone to swell out those returns should not have been located in the wilds of Australia, but the want of a more liberal policy in our Government. It has sought to drive a hard bargain with the emigrant, who, rather than submit, renounces his allegiance to so selfish a mother.
We do not invite emigration to our colonies, and the present amazing growth of that infant giant nation forms a striking proof to the world of England's unmotherly care for her children. This is seen in the difference between the price of land in the Australian Colonies and in the United States: the latter, which is comparatively near at hand, merely demands the sum of 4s. an acre, and gives the applicant the right of selecting any unoccupied spot, in any district he may please, and without delay, for every place has its land office; whilst in those antipodal realms, which can only be reached after a long and expensive voyage, the emigrant finds the minimum page 261 price just five times as much as it is in America! with a chance of being twice as much more, for when he has selected his land, and waited three or four months, at great expense, for the Government approval, and notice of sale, the land is then put up to auction, and some of the sharpers, ever present, manage to run the unfortunate emigrant up far beyond the original sum. Many have thus dissipated their means, without obtaining an inch of ground.
This is the present state in the Australian Colonies;—little or no land is sold, and before the gold fields were discovered, there was no emigration worth speaking of. Up to 1838, land was put up at 5s., and though it often realized £1, still the chance of obtaining it for 5s. induced many to emigrate, and the amount of the land fund was very considerable; but immediately a less liberal policy was adopted, and £1 became the minimum price, because the founders of Adelaide thought fit to make it theirs, and had influence enough to carry the point in Parliament,—no sooner was this done, than the tide of emigration totally stopped, no land was sold at all, none could be found who would run the chance of getting it for £1; and it was from the time of raising the minimum price in Australia, that the emigration to America increased in the same ratio that it decreased there. It is well known, that the greater part of New South Wales is barren, which makes the folly of high prices more apparent, as there is no difference made in favor of poor ground.
But this is not all. When settlers could not afford to buy land at such a price, they obtained licences to squat; and thus for the amount of about £10 a year, they acquired an almost unlimited run for their flocks; and as this licence became renewable, it gave them a certain hold on the land, and kept them from becoming proprietors; it filled the country with a scattered and lawless population, and impeded its real advancement.
With the discovery of the gold fields, came again a flow of emigration. At the very time gold was discovered, sixty vessels were reported as being laid on for California; all were stopped. Multitudes flocked to the diggings; some acquired page 262 wealth, more disease, and many a grave. Still, with all this influx, the gold colonies have not proportionably advanced. Sydney and Melbourne, it is true, have become great cities, but this is no proof of the general progression of the country. The fresh comers are gold diggers, but not ploughers. The two sea-ports have grown to an enormous size, but the cultivated lands have not increased in the same degree. A person who visits the colony after years of absence, is first struck with the size and elegance of the Sydney houses, the wonderful way the city has extended; but when he is fairly out of it, he is also struck with the little progress made in the country, and the sordid selfish spirit of its inhabitants. Gold has changed the Australian character—hospitality, which was the characteristic trait of the country, has been buried in deep pits, from whence they have drawn their nuggets. It proves that the country does not possess its cultivators in proportion to the inhabitants of the city, and that the population of the city is sufficiently great to change the entire character of the colony, which it never would have done had emigrants gone on the land, where hospitable homes would have sprung up in every direction. The high price of land has stopped up the road to the emigrant, and made the vast wilderness of Australia a Government preserve, as much as the Norman kings did the New Forest.
From Australia, a ten days' sail brings the emigrant to New Zealand. The climate is more inviting, the scenery more enchanting, and the land infinitely more fertile as a whole; for whilst Australia has its rich and fertile oases, equal to any in the world, they stand in the midst of deserts, vast plains of iron gravel, and gum trees. In the northern island the prospect is more hopeful; the shrewd and discerning spirit of the late Governor, saw the extreme absurdity of keeping up the high price of land; he tried to do so, but seeing the evil of it, he gave way; he reduced it to the fixed price of 10s. per acre; and if the land should not be thought worth that sum, it is to be put up by auction at 5s., but any one, by putting down his 10s., can be immediately registered as the owner of any unselected spot. This was page 263 a step just taken in time; had it been delayed a little longer, not only would no fresh settlers have come to the shores of New Zealand, but even those who had, would have been drawn away to the gold diggings. The case is now greatly changed for the better. A little stream of emigration has begun to flow in; it is at present only the trickling of a small spring; but it bids fair to go on increasing, and will eventually bring to the shores of New Zealand, many of the successful Australian gold diggers. It has already brought some.
The first thing which benefited the Cook's Straits Settlements, was the sale of land scrip, or compensation land orders, given to the settlers who came out under the New Zealand Land Company, for the non-fulfilment of its engagements. Much of this found its way into the market; it gave the Governor a correct idea of the true value of land, and doubtless had something to do with his reducing the price. These land orders, sold at from 5s. to 8s. per acre; they made a sensible difference in the amount of population, and gave the first impetus to emigration. As an example of this increase in the settlement of Wanganui, by the census of 1843, the European population was males 132, females 78; total 210. In 1847, the war and general depressed state of the country, diminished this to 110. In 1851, when the sale of scrip reduced the price of land, the population of the district was males 349, females 196; total 545. In 1854, when the Government sold the land for 10s. per acre, males 570, females 391; total 961. One of the chief things now wanted, is a surveyor's office, with proper persons to mark out the lands for selection. At present, the stranger must find out the unlocated spots the best way he can; many are told there is no land to select, and for want of a proper officer to point it out, they go away disappointed and disgusted. There is a carelessness and a slovenliness in all these matters, so essential to the well being of the country, which is anything but creditable to those in power.
From the northern island, we pass over to the middle one, where the Canterbury settlement has been formed, the last page 264 one of the New Zealand Land Company; it is styled the Church of England colony, as the Otako one is of the Church of Scotland; and had the Company existed longer, it would have had one for the Church of Rome; and so accommodating were its plans, that could Mahometan settlers have been found, it would doubtless have attended to their wants as well. It need not be said, that the Canterbury Settlement is now about as exclusively of the English as the other is of the Scotch Church; there is a natural repugnance to all these exclusive principles, and numbers of other denominations have so flowed in from one settlement to the other, that there is little now to mark the peculiar character of the province, beyond, perhaps, a feeble effort at intoning, and - the glimmering of a pair of candles at noon-day in some wooden building called a church. In other respects, it is but a name, and one not likely to continue. The climate of this part, though healthy, is naturally, from the difference of latitude, far inferior to that of the Northern Island, or even of Nelson: the winds are high and frequent; and as the province chiefly consists of fine grassy plains, unsheltered by wood, they are the more severely felt. It is the great sheep feeding province, yet with a climate and scenery little superior to that of the highlands of Scotland, it is ludicrous to reflect on the absurd value which has been put upon the land there, the minimum price of which is £3 an acre (!!) for land at the antipodes, laying in a state of nature. Her Majesty purchased the princely estate of Balmoral, with its castle, and about 300 acres of improved land, and a district of more than twenty thousand acres,* in her own sea-girt island, and within a single day's journey from her capital, for actually less than half the sum per acre that the poor sea-worn emigrant must give for scrub land in Canterbury, in the midst of the wilds of New Zealand!
It need not be added, very little of this valuable settlement has yet been disposed of at that price, nor is it likely that page 265 much ever will; and, as a natural consequence, the Canterbury block is filled with squatters, and is divided out into sheep runs.
If our substantial yeomen knew that land was to be obtained in Australia at half the price for which it is sold in America, neither the distance nor expense of passage would deter them, and soon would that island continent be peopled. How important, how desirable! We have now colonized that country nearly 70 years, and so far from having towns and villages springing up in the interior, we actually have not even explored it, and know not whether it be lake or swamp, sand or mountain.
In 1849, 299,498 persons emigrated from Great Britain to America: of this great number only 41,367 went to British America, the rest went to the United States. Since that period, the annual number has greatly increased. Could but one year's entire emigration be secured for Australia, what a change would be effected. Let the Government adopt a liberal policy, and there can be little doubt it can and will be done; and surely this boon is not too great for those going to such remote regions: at any rate, it is well worth the trial, to retain page 266 for those mild and genial climes, the outposts of the empire, a large portion of that stream of emigration which has hitherto been lost to the British dominions.
Another consideration remains to be noticed. Let a liberal system be adopted, and it would generally tend to retain and increase the emigrant's attachment to his native land, when he could feel that it had exercised a paternal care for him on leaving its shores, by thus providing means for his future welfare. Had such a plan as this been sooner adopted, it is not unreasonable to suppose, that there would not have been any of that dissatisfaction and republican spirit which now, more or less, pervades the British colonies. A feeling so unnatural, can only be traced to the ruined hopes of those whose disappointed expectations have had their origin in their country's neglect of them. Under a different system, the love and attachment of the distant settler, will still fill his breast, and be transmitted to his children's children, for the land of his forefathers.
It must be confessed, that there is a party strongly opposed to cheap land, from the fear that it will make all proprietors, and destroy the laboring class. This is especially the fear of the gentleman settler, and the successful speculator: the one fears the want of labor, the other the depreciation of his property.
There can be no doubt that, whether the price of land be high or low, all will be landholders, and labor will be high; it is neither possible nor desirable to hinder this. The industrious will get on, and possess land. Even in New Zealand, large land proprietors have been compelled to pay their butcher's and baker's bills with land. Mr. Peel, the founder of the Swan River settlement, found little benefit from his monster grant, many as his acres were; they were soon paid away for labor, and his servants became the chief men. In fact, all those fanciful theories of transplanting society, in all its artificial relations and integrity, to a remote wilderness, is about as feasible as the removing of an aged oak, with all its roots and branches, from its native forest to the antipodes. The colony must pass through its varied stages page 267 before such can be expected. The gentleman who leaves England, with his servants, male and female, must not be surprised if, before many years have gone by, he should sit at the same table with them, and hear his former footman, now the influential member or superintendent of his province, request the pleasure of taking wine with his lady; and he be obliged to ask his lady's waiting maid, now converted into the wealthy Mrs. so and so, to take wine with him. It is surprising to see what a difference a few years make in the relative positions of colonists: how many of the lowly are exalted, and some of the high brought down. Mind, in some respects, has more play in the colony, and more probability of getting forward, whatever external difficulties it may have to contend with. In fact, the colonist is the man stripped of the garb of artificial society. Man is there equal to his fellow man; it is mind that draws the true line of distinction; and there is a freedom and charm in such a state, which more than compensates for the loss of fancied dignity; and few who have lived many years in a colony, will find the artificial state of society at home so congenial to their feelings as the freedom from it in the colony.
There is one great want felt in all these infant settlements, and that is of roads and bridges, and other public works. Labor being high, and the colonial resources small, there is little chance of these necessary works being completed without aid. Few colonies can boast of so many public works, and such good roads, bridges, hospitals, &c., as New South Wales, and in this respect there is a marked difference between that country and Victoria, where all these are wanting. The former is indebted for them to the convict, who supplied an amount of labor which could not otherwise have been procured. When the home Government proposed to continue sending its convicts, there was a general outcry, lest such an influx of crime should have swamped the morality and virtue of their society, which would not perhaps have been very difficult to be done, and therefore their fears were just. Neither was the plan proposed by Government one likely to answer. It might have made the convict hypocritically good, page 268 for a short time, in order to obtain power to be bad hereafter; but it would not have effected any radical change for the better. Yet it is evident that, under a modified system, the convict might be sent with great advantage to the colony, and with little fear of moral danger.
If some were sent out for long periods, and those in detachments, suited to the wants of the different provinces, under proper surveillance, there could be then no more reason to fear their presence, than there is of them whilst in their hulks or jails. If each colonial town had its convict gang, how many public works might be made, which otherwise cannot be hoped for. This is actually what is now being done by the Colonial Government with their own prisoners: they are thus employed, and it is very proper they should be, as the most likely way to reform them. At any rate, the view here taken may perhaps be worth further thought and consideration.
In whatever part of the world we live, there is much in the present day to excite our wonder and astonishment; the mist of ages, which shut out the southern hemisphere from our view, has well nigh disappeared, and revealed its remote continents and sunny isles to our view. The lands over which but a few years ago only the naked savage roamed, and where the cannibal held his horrid feast, are now become the habitations of civilized man,—happy homes filled with all the costly productions of the world, have there been formed. The fiat has gone forth,—let them be peopled, and every difficulty is being removed. The attention is compelled to be given to these remote regions. Here we see a controling Wisdom displayed which cannot be denied.
When the sterile and uninviting regions of North Western America appeared, less likely to be peopled than even Australia, gold, the loadstone of attraction, was suddenly discovered. Cities, towns, and villages, sprung up, as if by the touch of the magician's wand. It did not take ages to build cities in those out-of-the-way lands, as had been the case in the old world; it did not even require years—months sufficed.
But the attractive power of Californian gold, threatened to depopulate even the little colonies of Australia and New page 269 Zealand. Numbers went, more were going, when suddenly the cry was heard, there is gold in Australia, and that gold far more abundant, and infinitely more pure than the American. A reaction took place, the current of emigration was changed, and set in for the golden shores of Australia. Then followed the struggles and efforts made to reduce the distance, to cut through continents, to annihilate space. Steam communication was established; and now we behold all the ends of the world being brought together. This is indeed the work of God, and it is marvellous in our eyes.
But is the work finished? No, it is only commenced; it is but an earnest of what is to come. The world is made to be inhabited; and the inhabitants of the crowded cities of Europe will no longer remain satisfied with being there pent up. But now that channels are formed to carry off the various streams of emigration, they will flow along them to the fair realms which wait to receive them.
And yet a few more years, and it requires no prophetic voice to declare, that, vast as Australia is, it shall be peopled; cities and towns shall arise, containing their temples of the living God! The New Zealand isles shall be a new Great Britain, and the whole earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.
* The Balmoral Estate is seven miles by five—22,400 acres; purchase-money £31,000, or less than 28s. per acre.