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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 55

An Imperial-Colonial Navy

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An Imperial-Colonial Navy.

Well, you have this opportunity before you. If you please, you can, by a contribution, absolutely identify yourselves with the British navy, supply a part of it, and in reality make the navy of New Zealand and Great Britain one. (Cheers.) Your contingent at present may be very small; you find the funds necessary; let Great Britain find the ships; let your navy be absorbed in hers and be identical with Great Britain. It is true that for years you have had the right of having two vacancies in the navy placed at the disposal of the people of New Zealand. When I was in office as Governor last time, there were a good many here who were allowed to enter the British navy, to pass their examinations and join their vessels here, and become identified with the naval officers of Great Britain. But if you acted in the manner I speak of a far larger proportion of vacancies would be given to you. And would it be no satisfaction to you if the necessity existed—a war in which the Empire was engaged in some cause which was worthy of a nation undertaking—that you could read in the list of men who performed heroic actions the names of men born in New Zealand, seeing them rise to distinction in the navy of the greatest Empire in the world? Would it be no pleasure to parents to see their children come out here to positions of distinction? Would it be no gratification to you if upon some future occasion, some heroic naval officer who had rendered great service to his country returned here, and the whole population could receive him with triumph? It is scenes of the kind which make a people great, which give rise to poets in a nation, to painters who depict the deeds performed, that in a thousand ways awaken emulation in the minds of the people of the country. And great actions performed in the public service give rise to great actions in public life, because they call into existence noble ambitions, ambitions to do noble actions; actions which stamp nobility upon the man, and if repeated by large numbers of people stamp nobility upon the entire race. (Cheers) I therefore would ask the people of Auckland carefully to consider this subject—Whether they will or Will not consent to bear a part in defraying the expenses of the navy of the British Empire, and in that way giving assistance to, and in that way absolutely and actively identifying themselves with, the whole British Empire, and whether, having done that, they will or will not here call into existence—I may say drill into existence, practice into existence—as fine a race of volunteers or militia, or whatever you please to call them, as any other country can show, (Cheers.)