Emily Bathurst; or, at Home and Abroad
Mr. Monro did not fail to fulfil his promise of bringing his manuscript to Emily, and as he had some time to spare, he also read it to her, and began as follows:—
"The Islands of New Zealand are nearly 900 miles in length, and contain about 62,000,000 of acres. They extend in two long but rather narrow principal islands, with a few smaller ones adjacent. They lie about ten days' sail from Port Jackson, in New South Wales11, between 34° and 48° of south latitude, and 166° and 179° of east longitude. The first discoverer is supposed to have been Tasman12, the Dutch navigator, and to him they are indebted for the name they bear13. The inhabitants attacked and destroyed the crew of a boat which Tasman sent on shore; and another navigator, Dufresne Marion, the Commodore of two French vessels, also lost many of his men on this page 16coast; but Captain Cook14, who not only spent sufficient time there to make most accurate charts of the outlines of the country, but penetrated far into the interior, entertained a most favourable opinion of the natives, and considered New Zealand admirably calculated for an European settlement.
"Few countries can boast more natural beauties than the Islands of New Zealand,— 'Taken altogether they present a great variety of landscape, although, even where the scenery is most subdued, it partakes of a bold and irregular character, derived not more from the aspect of undisturbed nature, than from the confusion of hill and valley which marks the face of the soil; and the precipitous eminences, with their sides covered by forests, and their summits barren of all vegetation, or terminating, perhaps, in a naked rock, that often rises close beside the most sheltered spots of fertility and verdure. All who have visited New Zealand agree in extolling the mingled beauty and grandeur which are profusely spread page 17over the more favoured parts of the country, and are not altogether wanting even where the general look of the coast is most desolate and uninviting. The southern island, with the exception of a narrow strip along its northern shore, appears to be in its interior a mere chaos of mountains, and the region of perpetual winter; but even here the declivities15 that slope down towards the sea are clothed in many places with gigantic and evergreen forests, and more protected nooks occasionally present themselves, overspread with the abundance of a teeming vegetation, and not to be surpassed in loveliness by what the land has anywhere else to show. Much of the land, both in the valleys and on the brows of the hills, is covered by groves of majestic pines; and where there is no wood the prevailing plant is fern. Along the skirts of the woodlands flow numerous rivers, which intersect the country in all directions. Some of the minor streams that rush down to the sea through the more precipitous ravines, are interrupted in their career by magnificent cataracts, that page 18give additional effect to the other features of sublimity and romantic beauty by which the country is distinguished.'* The mountains rise to a great height, and are frequently capped with snow. There are also evident remains of volcanoes. The forests are numerous and singularly sublime and majestic, as the trees rise to the height of eighty or one hundred feet without a branch, and are then crowned with so thick a foliage that the rays of the sun scarcely afford more than a dim twilight below. For ship building the timber would be invaluable. No wild beasts are found in the dim recesses of these forests. The largest land animal which appears to be aboriginal in New Zealand, is a lizard about six inches long16; a species of small field-rat which travellers have seen, was brought, the natives assert, by the first European ship which touched its shores. In the early morning the woods resound with the sweetest melody, but after sunrise the deep stillness is unbro-page 19ken, save by the shrill note of some unmusical bird. Many of the birds are elegant in form and brilliant in plumage. Among them are many sorts of wild ducks, large woodpigeons, sea-gulls, rails, parrots, and parroquets. The gannet and penguin are much valued by the natives for their feathers, which they use to adorn both their persons and their war canoes. The only fresh water fish known was the eel, but in salt water, soles, mackarel, cod-fish, and species of salmon, oysters, shrimps, and many others, are found in great abundance. There are many species of insects, but none whose bite or sting are dangerous to human life. Caterpillars are often destructive to vegetation; and mosquitoes, forest-bugs, and sand-flies, are obnoxious to travellers. The last-named little insect insinuates itself under the foot, and bites like a mosquito.
"One of the most peculiar features in the character of the country, is the fern root17, which afforded the inhabitants their principal means of support, although the potato was page 20also cultivated. In rich land it grows to the height of ten or twelve feet. The flax of New Zealand is also a beautiful plant, growing to the height of from five to seven feet, springing up from the earth in branches or tufts with sedge-like leaves, and bearing on a long stalk, yellowish flowers, which give place to long roundish pods, filled with very thin shining black seeds. This plant belongs to the genus Phormium of Linnæus, and is invaluable to the natives, who manufacture it with considerable skill into the mats which form their clothing, baskets, nets, and lines.
"Later discoveries have ascertained this country to be rich in mineral treasures, and silver, lead, limestone, copper, sulphur, manganese, iron, alum, and coal, are found beneath its soil, which is in many parts unusually rich, and if cleared from the fern-root, which overspreads the greater part of the country, particularly suitable for the cultivation of various European grains.
"The climate of New Zealand is decidedly temperate and salubrious18. Extremes of heat page 21and cold are alike unknown. Most of the trees are evergreens, and even in the heat of summer, rain constantly refreshes the vegetation. It is, however, subject occasionally to long-continued rains, and, especially on the west coast, to violent storms of wind."E.
It must be a most delightful country.Mr. M.
"Compared with other uncivilized countries, the inhabitants were numerous. They were also warlike, and frequently shewed very hostile feelings towards those ships which touched at their ports for the purpose of procuring wood and water. Unwarrantable cruelties were constantly exercised by the crews of these vessels, on those whom they considered wild savages, and they, on their part, were not backward in retaliating the injuries which they received from one crew of strangers, on the next which happened to fall into their hands."E.
How long ago has much been known of this people?Mr. M.
Since their first discovery in 1642, page 22navigators have occasionally mentioned them in their journals. Captain Cook visited the islands several times, during the latter part of the last century, and his voyages contain some interesting details respecting them. I will, however, proceed with my manuscript. "About the year 1795 or 1796, Governor King, of Norfolk Island, persuaded two chiefs, Toki and Puru, to accompany him thither, in order to instruct the prisoners under his care in their method of preparing and manufacturing flax. It was soon discovered, however, that this was the work of the women, and that the chiefs knew little on the subject. Governor King treated them with much kindness, and while they were his guests, they fell under the notice of the Rev. Samuel Marsden, English Chaplain of Paramatta, in New South Wales. This excellent man took the most lively interest in these two chiefs, and conceived the strongest desire to introduce into their country the benefits of civilization and religion. This benevolent design never quitted his mind, page 23although it was many years before he Was able to carry it into effect. Toki and Puru returned to their own country laden with presents both from the Governor and Mr. Marsden, and also carried with them potatoes, and five large pigs. There is no reason to suppose that previous to this time they possessed either pigs or potatoes. They planted the latter, but it was some years before they liked them. The pigs were hunted to death, or otherwise destroyed, and were not introduced amongst them for any useful purposes, till a later period. Occasionally natives of New Zealand accompanied the captains of vessels which visited their country to New South Wales, and brought back to their wondering friends accounts of the strange things they had seen there. When one of these travellers attempted to describe to his countrymen the size and appearance of the horse, its power of carrying men on its back, and of drawing about men and women in land canoes, meaning carriages, page 24the incredulous listeners put their fingers into their ears, and indignantly desired him not to tell them so many lies."E.
If they had seen no animal larger than a pig, their incredulity was not surprising.Mr. M.
"A few hours after the birth of a New Zealand infant, the mother pursues her usual labours, and the child, wrapped in a rough kind of garment, is left to sleep. Infanticide is not practised in New Zealand to the same extent as in many of the South Sea Islands, but it is by no means unknown. Occasionally one wife will kill her child to show her jealousy of another, and sometimes from other causes. Holes are bored in the ears of children at a very early age, and kept open by the insertion of pieces of stick, in order that they may be able to wear ornaments as they advance in years. At five or eight days old, a sort of ceremony of baptism is performed by a priest. The child is dipped in, or sprinkled with water; a name given it; page 25and a species of prayer or incantation mumbled over it in a low voice. Small pebbles are likewise thrust down its throat in order that its heart may become hard. The ceremony concludes with a feast, to which all, young and old, are invited. Children are greatly indulged by their parents, and neither punishment nor any kind of discipline are ever exercised, consequently they become very wilful and unruly.
"The tapu is a most singular custom among these people, and one to which they cling with surprising tenacity. It is a species of setting apart or consecration. When individuals are tapued, they are not allowed to touch food with their hands, or to feed themselves except by picking their food from the ground with the lips and teeth. Chiefs are constantly tapued; and old women have many offices to perform in connexion with the tapu. At the seasons for planting and fishing, those concerned in the work are tapued for several days. The tapu is also placed on the land, which no one but a tapued person may then page 26walk over. The spot on which dead bodies are placed is considered sacred for ever; consequently sick persons are carried out of the houses to die, in order that the family may not be inconvenienced by having the tapu placed on the house. Whoever attends the sick man is considered consecrated. The New Zealanders submit to incredible inconveniences in the observance of this custom, which is considered so important, that death must ensue on breaking it.
"Dreams and omens are much regarded by these people. They are subject to superstitious fears during the hours of darkness, and will rarely travel alone at night. A belief in witchcraft is universal. If a chief is taken ill, his illness is ascribed to the evil influence of some enemy, whom the conjuror or witch usually decides to be a member of some tribe against whom his employers wish to make war. On the most frivolous pretences the most sanguinary wars are frequently commenced, and as one injury after another invites retaliation, family hatred is carried page 27down from father to son, and revenge considered a duty.
"Many wives are allowed to those who can support them. Of these, one is considered the principal, but the children share alike the affection of the father. When a man sets his fancy on a female, he carries her off by force, without any reference to her own wishes. Should the friends object, some scuffling ensues; but if the wooer succeeds in carrying off his prize, they are henceforth considered man and wife, without any religious ceremony; and any act of unfaithfulness is most severely punished. It is not considered contrary to etiquette in New Zealand for females who wish to be married to make the first advances; and previous to marriage the character of the New Zealand female is exceedingly low and degraded.
"The feelings of these people are strong, and readily excited. Though easily roused to violent fits of anger, they may also be easily appeased. At the departure or return of friends they consider it necessary to dis-page 28playplay violent emotion, and though the tears shed on such occasions may be called forth by custom, still there can be no doubt that there is amongst them real family affection, and that the ties of relationship are much regarded. In times of sorrow, females frequently disfigure themselves by fearfully wounding their faces and bodies in token of grief.
"The rights of possession are held very sacred among The New Zealanders. The exact boundaries of the property of each tribe are known, and war is the sure result of any trespass on the property of another. In war, the land of the vanquished with all that it contains becomes the property of the conqueror. Theft is punished when slaves steal from their masters, but there seems little sense of shame when any New Zealander is discovered stealing from Europeans, except among a few of the chiefs. Lying is a common vice amongst them, and few would hesitate to tell any untruth in order to disparage a hostile tribe in the mind page 29of an European. A falsehood was the occasion of a fearful murder of numbers of innocent persons after the massacre of the Boyd. Some whalers coming into port were told by one chief, that the principal agent of this melancholy catastrophe was another chief named Tippahee. The whalers immediately landed their crews on the little island where Tippahee's people dwelt in peace and security, and commenced an indiscriminate slaughter of the inhabitants, sparing neither age nor sex. The chief himself escaped with many wounds, but his tribe was nearly extirminated; yet both he and his people were perfectly guiltless of the death of the crew of the Boyd; and even had the men of the tribe been the guilty parties, the women and children could have had no share in the crime; and to punish them for the faults of their relatives could have been neither Christian nor just. During part of the year these wild and warlike people exercise some of the arte of peaceful industry. Their potato grounds are well cultivated, and page 30their fences kept in neat order. The fern root, the kumera, or sweet potato, the sweet stalk of a certain root called Tawara, and fish, form their principal food. The fern root is roasted, and then beaten on a stone till it becomes soft as dough; when cold it is hard and brittle. They produce fire by turning a piece of stick round and round in a hole made in some decayed wood. The potatoes are dressed in the following manner: a circular hole is dug in the ground, and stones being laid at the bottom, fire is placed upon them. More stones are laid on the top till they have become thoroughly heated. When the stones are sufficiently heated, the embers are cleared away, and wet grass laid on a layer of hot stones. On this the potatoes are placed, nicely peeled and scraped. More grass and hot stones are added, and the whole is covered with earth for about ten minutes, in which time the potatoes are sufficiently cooked. As they eat but little animal food, they can devour large quantities of vegetables. Human bodies were cooked in a page 31similar manner, only, of course, the process occupied a longer time. Provisions are sewed up in baskets made of green flax. Fish is dried by being laid on a stage exposed to the sun's rays by day, and to fire kindled under the stage during the night. Kumeras are also cured in the same manner. The only beverage of The New Zealanders appears to be water.
"The New Zealand canoes are formed with immense labour, and are wonderful specimens of untaught skill. They are elaborately carved without the aid of iron instruments, painted red and black, and ornamented with the feathers of the gannet. While the canoes are the work of the men, the women show much skill in weaving the mats which are used as clothing. Many of these are beautifully embroidered, and occupy several months in making.
"The huts of The New Zealanders are sometimes sixteen feet long, by ten broad, but never more than four or five feet in height. They never eat in their houses, and in warm weather often sleep page 32in the open air. In person they are disgustingly dirty. Vermin are encouraged instead of being destroyed. Their bodies are anointed with oil, and painted with ochre; and many of them are tattooed in various parts with great regularity. Tattooing is a very painful operation, the coloured pigment being introduced under the skin, and causing so much inflammation that very little can be done at one time. The New Zealander can always make a correct delineation of the lines tattooed on his face, and draws a fac simile of them to affix as "his mark or seal" to any document. Pendant from the ears are various ornaments, such as feathers of birds, and even birds themselves. The hair is tied at the top of the head, and ornamented with gannet's feathers. The usual dress of both men and women consists of two mats of flax; one tied round the waist, the other round the neck, and hanging loose over the shoulder. A war instrument called a pattoo, is stuck in the belt, and a spear is held in the hand. In figure The New Zealanders are tall and muscular; their movements are page 33easy and graceful. Although they cultivate the ground for food, the rich soil supplies them with this for little labour, and war is their pastime and delight. Mimic fights, and war songs and dances amuse them in times of peace, but as I before observed, they undertake exterminating wars on the most frivolous pretences. They rush on the foe with frightful yells, and hideous contortions of countenance. Fearful cruelties are exercised on the vanquished; the men are tortured and murdered, and the women and children either murdered, or carried away as slaves. When the battle is ended they feast on the bodies of the slain; less, some say, from love of the horrible banquet than from the pleasure of gratified revenge; but as they frequently eat the bodies of slaves not killed in battle, there can be little doubt that human flesh was a repast in which they delighted. By a singular process, the heads of both friends and enemies are frequently preserved; the eyes are closed, but the features retain so much of their living ex-page 34pression, that they may be easily recognised long after death, and serve to excite the friends to fresh acts of vengeance, or cause renewed feelings of exultation over a conquered foe. An European once inquired of a New Zealander, known to be clever in preserving heads, the secrets of his art; and he not only explained the whole process, but quietly offered to go into the woods to shoot two or three of his enemies, and bring their heads, in order to give a practical proof of his skill. So little value do they set on human life.
"Slaves are occasionally treated with consideration and kindness, but are liable to any punishment, even instant death, which the caprice of their masters may dictate. Mr. Noel, in his work entitled "Christian Missions," mentions several anecdotes of cruelties inflicted on the slaves by their savage masters. An European trader was lodging in the house of a chief for a night, when a slave girl (about fifteen years of age) entered the hut. She had absented herself page 35for two days without leave. Immediately the mistress ordered a ruffian to kill her, and one blow of his tomahawk on her forehead having laid her dead, a large party of friends feasted that evening on the body, and the head was given to the children for a plaything. A slave boy was killed and roasted, because his attention being attracted by the sight of a ship in full sail, he suffered the pigs to enter his master's garden. A chief, named Taura, on going out to shoot, ordered a female slave to have some food ready on his return; on entering the house, and finding the food unprepared, he killed her with a blow of his tomahawk, and then invited his friends to the feast. During a war between the natives of Waikato19 and those of Taranaki20, the latter tribe lost thirteen chiefs. On the grave of each, ten slaves were murdered to wait on their masters in the next world. An Englishman saw a slave girl lying among the fern nearly dead from starvation. There were natives near, but none gave her any help. That day he page 36sent her food. The next day, when he came again, they had been pelting her with stones, one of which, weighing several pounds, still lay on her emaciated body; she could neither speak nor eat, and the day after that she died. There is one account which exceeds the preceding in atrocity. A man ordered a young female slave to heat a large oven, as he intended to make a feast for his friends. When it was heated, he ordered her to throw herself in, and though she clasped his knees, and with frantic terror besought his pity, the relentless savage, so far from reversing his order, seized her with his own hands, tied her hands and legs, and threw her in alive!"E.
O, uncle, pray tell me no more of such fearful tales. The New Zealanders' hearts must be stony indeed.Mr. M.
Still, when we consider the condition of slaves in some of the enlightened and Christian states of America, where bodily punishments and tortures are permitted on the smallest provocation; where, as in page 37Alabama, there is a law forbidding the teaching of any negro to read or write under a large penalty, and where freedom to associate on equal terms with white people is never to be obtained, even by the free, educated and wealthy negro; the savage New Zealander does not suffer by the comparison. Their slaves are usually captives taken in war; in many cases they are treated with consideration and kindness; and slaves have been redeemed and then married to the daughters of the greatest chiefs, with no blemish whatever attached to their names and characters from having once borne the yoke of slavery.E.
It certainly excites my indignation more than I can describe whenever I think of slavery being permitted by a people who boast as the Americans do of the equality of men, and the delights of their national freedom.Mr. M.
It is a strange inconsistency; and one which, I trust, will not be permitted to continue much longer to stamp such indelible page 38disgrace on a really noble and enlightened people. They appear to consider now that the smallest admixture of colour renders its possessor unfit to associate with white people, and they frequently express wonder at the manner in which people of colour are received in England.E.
Do you consider that the negro is inferior in intellect to the European?Mr. M.
Some, from slavery and oppression, may have had their faculties blunted, but there are numerous instances of negroes attaining the highest degree of mental cultivation. I met two young negroes lately, who were spending some time in an educational establishment near London, and the principal informed me that he wished all his pupils were equal to them in conduct, character, and talent.E.
But we are straying from our subject. I cannot leave New Zealand now, even for the negro. You mentioned the massacre of the Boyd; what was that?Mr. M.
A vessel of that name, com-page 39mandedmanded by Captain Thompson, was burnt in one of the harbours of New Zealand, and nearly all the crew, not only murdered, but eaten.E.
Horrible! Does there appear to have been any provocation given on the part of the crew?Mr. M.
A chief named George had engaged to work his way on board the Boyd, from Port Jackson to New Zealand. Being ill, and unfit for work, the Captain threatened, insulted, and abused him. George remonstrated, telling him the rank he bore in his own country, and assuring him that illness alone prevented his working. The enraged Captain paid no regard to his remonstrances, but calling him a cookee-cookee, or common man, had him tied up, and severely flogged. During the remainder of the voyage, the ship's company ill-treated him in every possible way. Brooding over his wrongs, and longing for revenge, he neared his native land. Urged, probably, by his representations, the Captain put into the harbour of page 40Wangoroa21, which belonged to George's tribe. The chief landed, having first been despoiled of every thing English he possessed, to the very clothes he wore. He instantly imparted his wrongs to his countrymen, and they were easily roused to share his burning desire for revenge. It seems wonderful that Captain Thompson should have trusted himself on the coast after his conduct to George; but, despising, I suppose, The New Zealanders' strength and prowess, he landed with a boat's crew of men. They were all instantly massacred, and dressing themselves in the clothes of their victims, the infuriated savages proceeded to the vessel to complete the work of vengeance. Some of the sailors ran up the rigging, but in spite of the efforts of an old chief named Tippahee to save them after the rest were murdered, they also shared their companions' fate. One woman and two children hid themselves till the carnage was ever, and so escaped; and one boy who had shewn George some acts of kindness during the voyage, ran up to him, exclaiming, page 41"George, you won't kill me," on which the other replied," No, my boy, I won't kill you, you are a good boy." These four only survived: and the rest of the crew and passengers served as food for their inhuman conquerors.E.
This is a dreadful tale; but certainly George had received great provocation.Mr. M.
Europeans should be careful how they excite the passions of the savage, who, being totally unacquainted with the Christian duty of forgiveness of injuries, and making a merit of revenge, cannot be expected to take care that his vengeance shall bear any just proportion to the amount of injury received.E.
What became of the women and children who were not murdered?Mr. M.
They were recovered by the exertions of an English supercargo, Mr. Berry, who carried them away from a shore which had proved so fatal to their companions. The last who was restored was a little girl only two or three years old, who page 42retained a vivid recollection of the horrors of that day of carnage, and when asked what The New Zealanders did to her mamma, would pass her hand across her throat with the appearance of the deepest melancholy, and add, that "they afterwards cut her up, and cooked and eat her like victuals22."E.
What a cruel question to ask the poor child. Were there many cases of injustice inflicted by Europeans on The New Zealanders?Mr. M.
Many will never be known till that day when all acts of injustice and all deeds of blood will be discovered23. They have all been marked by the All-seeing Eye24; and many who, to their fellow-countrymen here, have appeared to be honourable, just, and upright characters, have deeds of shame attached to their name in the distant country whose history we are considering. I will give you a slight instance. A New Zealand chief, at table with a party of gentlemen in New South Wales, was inveighing25 against the cruelty of condemning a convict page 43to death for stealing a pig; and he strongly pressed the Governor to pardon the offender. When the nature of the law was explained to him, he exclaimed, "Then why you no hang up Captain," pointing to the commander of a vessel, who was then sitting at table; "Captain, he come to New Zealand, he come ashore and tihi (steal) all my potatoes; you hang up Captain." The company were amused at this strong and pointed reasoning of Tippahee, and the captain seemed quite abashed at the sudden exposure of his conduct; for he had actually acted in the manner represented by the chief. The writer from whose work this account is taken, adds, "I regret to say, that unwarrantable depredations26 of this kind are but too common among commanders of vessels in general."E.
The captain must have been startled at so pointed a rebuke.Mr. M.
The history of another chief, Duaterra, shews in a painful light the conduct of certain captains. Having an ardent desire page 44to see King George, this chief engaged as a common sailor on board the Santa Anna, commanded by Mr. Moody, and arrived in the Thames about July, 1809. He then requested the Captain to indulge him with a sight of the King, the only object which had induced him to leave his native country, and undertake a long and perilous voyage. He was put off with various excuses, rarely permitted to go on shore, never to spend a night there; and at the end of fifteen days, was sent on board the Ann, which was already at Gravesend27 to carry convicts to New South Wales. When Duaterra demanded wages and clothing, he was told that two muskets would be given him at Port Jackson, and these he never received. He was at this time dangerously ill, in consequence of hardships and disappointments, and thus friendless and sick, was sent on board the Ann in so destitute a state, that the master, Mr. Charles Clark, refused to receive him unless some clothes were given him. In this vessel, however, he met with a kind friend, page 45Mr. Marsden, who was returning to New South Wales from a visit to his native land, and to whom Mr. Clark had imparted the tale of Duaterra's wrongs; for besides being defrauded of his wages, and refused the liberty of seeing the King, he had been ill-used and beaten by the sailors. Captain Clark she wed him much kindness, and Mr. Marsden took care of him at Port Jackson till, on his expressing a strong wish to return to his native country, a passage was engaged for him and three other New Zealanders on board the Frederick, the captain making a condition that they should assist him in procuring a cargo of oil, and then pledging himself to show them kindness, and to land them at the Bay of Islands28. When the cargo was completed, Duaterra reminded the captain of his promise, and requested to be landed at the Bay of Islands, near which the vessel then lay. Instead of assenting to his just request, the captain carried them off to Norfolk Island, promising, however, to land them on his return. At Norfolk Island, the page 46four New Zeaalnders were sent on shore to procure wood and water for the crew, and were nearly drowned in landing. The master then told them he had no further occasion for their services, and as he was going straight to England he should leave them there. Duaterra reminded him of his promise in vain. He bore away, leaving Duaterra and two of his companions on a desolate island, with neither food nor clothing. The other New Zealander, who was a relation of Duaterra, he carried with him, in spite of his earnest entreaties to be left with his countrymen. This young man was never heard of afterwards. Some time after, the poor exiles were delivered from their melancholy situation by the humanity of Captain Gwynn, whose vessel accidentally touched at the island. He supplied them with clothes, and gave them a passage on board his ship. Captain Gwynn told Mr. Marsden, at Port Jackson, whither he carried them, that the share of the oil which The New Zealanders should have received, page 47amounted to 100%.each. Retribution some-tunes speedily follows an offence even in this world. The captain of the Frederick was mortally wounded on his voyage home, when his vessel was attacked and taken by an American, after a severe action.E.
Really, I am thankful not to know his name; such a man is a disgrace to human nature. What was the end of Duaterra?Mr. M.
He died just when he was beginning to use all his influence to improve and civilize his countrymen.E.
You have told me nothing of the religion of The New Zealanders.Mr. M.
The remainder of my paper is occupied with that subject, which I will now read. "They appear to have neither regular worship, temples, nor images. It is true that carved images are found among them, but they part with them readily, and seem to pay them no respect There is no regular priesthood, but one of a family, generally the youngest, is used as a conjuror, to drive away illness, and discover what enemy has bewitched the sufferer, or to page 48curse Atua29, or the evil spirit, who has got into the sick person, and thus to drive him out. Their religion is one of fear. They were afraid of the power of the 'Immortal Spirit' to do them evil. They believe that the spirits of their departed relatives exist either in happiness or misery in another world. Slaves, as before remarked, are often killed to wait upon a chief when he dies, and wives sometimes hang themselves to accompany their husbands into the other world. They have many singular traditions as to creation, and another respecting individuals who they suppose inhabit the moon. To sum up their character in the words of one who was resident amongst them some years later,—'The chiefs invariably calumniate30 each other. To place the slightest reliance on the observations they make against each other would be idle, for with the exception of the speaker and his company, they stigmatize the rest of their acquaintance as the most wicked and profligate rascals under heaven, without a particle of common decency, faith, courage, or honour, page 49to apologize for their general bad conduct. They are clamorous and quarrelsome. Public and fierce contentions are frequent, and when a wrong is to be avenged, they care not by what treachery they effect their purpose. To record the various murders committed by these people against each other, would alone fill a volume. Slanders, wrongs, insults, murders, superstitions, the love of plunder, and other causes, lead to perpetual wars, and the cruelty and cannibalism which attend them, pass all description and belief. When an enemy is conquered, numbers of the dead and dying are devoured; prisoners are tortured to death; they revile and insult the dead bodies as though they were alive; they eat the flesh of the living prisoners, and will sometimes drink the warm blood as it flows from his living veins; nay, with a brutality still more hardened, they will steal into the villages in which their enemies have left their defenceless women and children, and after an indiscriminate massacre, proceed to feast on their mangled bodies. An English-page 50man saw two lines of ovens in which sixty bodies were cooked after a battle, while a lock of hair and a potato fixed on two poles, shewed that part of the horrid feast had been consecrated to the devil!E.
How could Europeans go amongst such a people?Mr. M.
You have' now, my love, seen the dark side of the picture. I hope to present you a fairer view when I describe the state of a part of New Zealand in the year 1883.
11 The Colony of New South Wales was founded as a penal colony in 1788 and originally covered half of the Australian mainland. During the nineteenth century it was separated into smaller British colonies.
12 Abel Tasman, the Dutch navigator and first European to reach New Zealand.
13 New Zealand is named after Zealand, the largest island in Denmark.
14 Captain James Cook, the famous British explorer who achieved the first recorded circumnavigation of New Zealand .
15 A downward slope.
16 Tuatara, New Zealand’s largest reptile. They grow up to half a metre in length and can weigh up to 1.5kg when fully grown.
17 Aruhe, not very nutritious but available throughout the year.
18 Health-giving; healthy.
19 A central region of the North Island of New Zealand.
20 A region on the West Coast of the North Island of New Zealand, home to Mount Taranaki.
21 Whangaroa Harbour on the East Coast of Northland, the northernmost region of New Zealand .
22 Food or provisions.
23 Judgement Day .
24 The Eye of Providence; the eye of God.
25 To speak or write about (something) with great hostility.
26 An act of attacking or plundering.
27 An ancient town in northwest Kent, England situated on the south bank of the Thames Estuary.
28 Situated on the East Coast of Northland.
29 Ancestor with continuing influence, god, demon, supernatural being.
30 Make false and defamatory statements about.
* New Zealanders, in the Library of Entertaining Knowledge.