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Volume 2

Chapter 1. [1847.]

Second Excursion into the Interior. From Sydney, by sea, to Port Macquarie, 200 miles north of Sydney;—and from thence a ride of 150 miles to the Squatting District of New England.

SEA-SICKNESS A SEDATIVE—PUNCH—PORT MACQUARIE—LAKE INNES COTTAGE—BAGPIPES—PRETTY GIRLS AND THE POLKA—THE BUNYIP—MILITARY COLONISTS—HOSPITALITY — RIDE ACROSS THE MACQUARIE MOUNTAINS—SQUATTING STATIONS—THE YARROWS—TIMBER—CEDAR—GLOOMY FOREST—THE BELL-BIRD—THE TREE-FERN—FLIGHT OF PARROTS.

March 1st.—THE Governor, being desirous of visiting some of the more northern parts of his government, fixed upon this day — the first of the Australian autumn—for the commencement of his tour.

The thermometer has not as yet been very autumnal in its indications, ranging pretty steadily during the last week between 80° and 86° in the shade.




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At 8 P.M. accordingly, his Excellency, with a party consisting of two ladies and four gentlemen, embarked in the Maitland steamer, and put to sea.

Lady Mary Fitz Roy and myself were travelling in search of health—she hoping to regain that first of all earthly blessings, never fully valued until lost, by change of air and quiet at the residence of a family near Port Macquarie; myself in the excitement and exertion of an extended excursion by sea and in the saddle, and in the bracing climate of New England's high tableland.

Major Innes of Lake Innes Cottage, who attended the Governor on the voyage, was to receive the whole party for a visit of some days; and Mr. Marsh, an extensive squatter of New England, had invited the gentlemen to share the hospitality of Salisbury Court—the name of his homestead; in order to show them something of pastoral life in that distant province.

Our vessel was a slow one, but safe and clean, the commander an excellent seaman, and besides ourselves there were few passengers. The night was dark and calm; but towards morning the wind and sea, getting up together, imparted to our little craft a degree of motion which spared neither sex nor age in those unfortunates whose interior economy sympathised with its billowy and bilious undulations. Its effects however were highly beneficial in the case of the only troubled and troublesome spirit on board—a noisy and drunken woman, a “for'ard”—I may say a very forward passenger—who had absorbed during the night the contents of a great bottle of strong waters, and was by sea-sickness


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so quickly and completely sobered and silenced as could have been done by no other agency—marital and constabulary authority inclusive.

Human vanity is always tickled by a feeling of superiority over one's neighbour. I do not know that it is ever more satisfactorily indulged than by the exempt from sea-sickness, as he lounges at his ease on the heaving taffrail, and occasionally casts a pitying glance on the “poor ghosts” who, one after another, sink pale and silent through the stage-trap of the cabin-stairs, or on the more actively wretched creatures on deck, flinging their flaccid corpses over the bulwarks, as if they were hanging them up to dry, or as Ponchinello does those of his various enemies—from his wife to the devil—after he has sufficiently pounded them and poked them with his murderous baton.

Let me pause a moment to inquire how it is that the high official, in whom reside the duty and the power to quash all public exhibitions or dramatic representations of an immoral or irreligious tendency, has permitted Punch to escape the rigour of his censorship! How is it that the “virtuousest, discreetest, best” of parents expose without apprehension their children to the bad example and evil lessons inculcated by the entire life and character of this popular hero, but unmitigated reprobate? Is not the career of Punch, domestic and public, one of successful and unpunished villainy from beginning to end? Does he not break the laws, thrash his wife and dog, murder his infant offspring, belabour the magistrate, cheat his tradesmen and the gallows, hang the hangman, and defy the—devil himself?




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And yet—humiliating reflection! no sooner does his rascally penny trumpet sound at the corner of a London street or square, than every soul within sight or hearing, between the ages of seventy years and seven weeks—even the professional mute who is hired and paid to look grave, gets a grin upon his face in mere anticipation of the enjoyment he is about to receive, or has before experienced, in the exhibition of the infamous adventures of this diabolical ——. But I have no patience with the inconsistencies of human nature! and no temper to continue so irritating a subject!

March 2d.—During this day our course kept us pretty generally within sight of land, and sometimes very near it. The character of the coast is scarcely highland, yet neither is it flat. It presents a wavy line of hills and hollows covered with bush, occasionally jutting into bold rocky bluffs, or green turfy knolls sloping abruptly to the surf-vexed beach. The verdure of the grass lands in the vicinity of the sea is very remarkable in this country, as compared with the pastures of the interior. The same feature is observable on the banks of the inland salt-water creeks, and doubtless arises from an evaporation which of course falls on the earth in the shape of fresh water.

Towards 3 P.M. our obliging skipper, judging perhaps by our complexions that in so unsteady a banquetting hall few would share his cabin dinner, attempted to put into a snug looking cove, called Seal Rock Bay. The little Maitland, however, appeared to resent this stoppage to bait, and became so restive in a cross swell as to compel him to get out to sea again.




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March 3d.—At 5 A.M. after a roughish passage of two nights and one day, we made Port Macquarie, and ran up to take a look at the Bar—a natural and ugly obstacle that, with the exception of Port Jackson, disfigures, I believe, every harbour on this coast, if not those on all the coasts of New Holland. With the “Sow and Pigs” shoal just within its jaws, even the splendid harbour of Sydney can hardly be said to be exempt from this serious blemish. The water was leaping and chafing on the sandspit in a manner highly unpleasing to a seaman's eye; but, no pilot appearing, our captain put his head out to sea again, as if to verify the adage “Reculer, pour mieux sauter,” and then, wheeling about and playing both “persuaders,” he took the three successive surfs in capital style; and in a few minutes the steamer was alongside the little wooden pier of Port Macquarie. Would he have acted so boldly in the absence of the sleepy pilot, had he been able to look only a few days into the inscrutable future?

On the 11th of this month occurred the fearful wreck of the Sovereign steamer on the Bar of Brisbane—a port situated about 270 miles north of Port Macquarie. From the 3d (this day) until the 10th, the shoal was considered impassable on account of the weather. On the following day, however, the commander of the steamer attempted to come out on his passage to Sydney. After safely crossing two of the lines of surf, the beam of the engine was fractured by a violent jerk. The third surf curling over the paddle-box fell on board, and sent the vessel to the bottom with fifty-four persons, of whom forty-four perished.




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On the 27th of the same month a widow lady, residing in Sydney, received the awful intelligence that at one blow she had been bereft of a daughter, a son-in-law, and two grandchildren. In the experience of a life I remember no object more pathetic than the one surviving little girl of three or four years old, who had not accompanied her parents on the fatal voyage, and whom I frequently saw on my return to Sydney. Dressed in the deepest black, and her childish mind vaguely conscious that her father and mother and brothers were gone to heaven, her sunny face and bounding step were above the reach of grief—for she could not comprehend the immensity of her loss, and had never learned its terrible details. Poor little Leonie!

At eight A.M. our party landed, the Governor being received with great warmth of welcome by all the inhabitants of the town who happened to be out of bed, and by a guard of honour consisting of the whole garrison, namely, an ensign and twenty men.

The town contains about 500 inhabitants. It has contained that number for some years; and although a dozen or two of children were playing on the village green—brown rather—there is something about the place which denotes decay rather than growth. It looks like a little man dressed in the clothes of a large one. The streets are very wide, and cut out to be very long,—like a certain street of Toronto, in Canada, whose name I forget, and which maintains its title for upwards of twenty miles into the unpeopled bush,—but the houses are so few and far between, that, in the oppidan sense of the word, there can be no such thing as a next door


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neighbour among the citizens. There is a good-sized church, capable of holding the whole population, of which, however, Romanism and Dissent claim onehalf; a gaol capacious enough for an English county; a hospital for invalid and insane convicts; and a small, but well posted barrack for the military detachment. The Hastings River, rather a fine stream, runs into the bay, and forms a kind of lagoon which constitutes the harbour; but in high winds the bar sometimes for days together closes the port, a serious detriment to the success of the settlement.

Port Macquarie was originally a penal settlement, but all the prisoners, excepting the invalids, have been withdrawn. It is the sudden cessation of the convict expenditure, which here, as in other towns of New South Wales, has given an appearance of waning prosperity not common in young countries inhabited by the Anglo Saxon, and which I do not believe to be a type of the general condition of this colony. I may add, that in 1848 the hospital was also broken up, at least for convict purposes.

Two carriages belonging to Major Innes awaited our party, and conveyed us through seven or eight miles of forest land, some part of which is remarkable for large and handsome timber and carpeted with luxuriant fern, to Lake Innes Cottage. Here Lady Mary Fitz Roy was courteously received by a numerous circle of ladies; and we were all quickly installed in our respective apartments, as commodious and well appointed as in any English country house. There were drawing-room, dining-room, and library; a separate range for the young


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ladies; spacious offices on the opposite side of a courtyard; hot and cold baths; and, what is rare in this country, a large stable-yard and out-houses kept well out of sight.

The house is situated on the slope of a green hill, descending to Lake Innes,—a wide sheet of water, perhaps three or four miles long by two miles wide, whose banks, framed in a margin of flags and rushes, give evidence of the gradual absorption of this splendid piece of fresh water,—rare feature in a country, which perhaps more than all others is obnoxious to the stigma of the Royal Psalmist—“an arid and dry land, where no water is.” Beyond the lake and the bush bounding it, rises a distant background of mountains, and its head is only divided from the ocean by a wooded isthmus about half a mile in width.

The view from a hill behind the dwelling house, embracing a panorama of sea, lake, wood, and mountain, is strikingly beautiful. The roar of the surf on the rocky coast, and the silvery ripple of the placid lake, so near yet so different, present a singular and agreeable contrast. A luxuriant and tasteful garden, profuse in fruits and flowers and with arcades of creeping plants bordering the walks, surrounds the house on three sides. From the knoll above mentioned, (the signal-hill, as it is called,) wide as is the prospect, no other human habitation is visible;—the retired soldier is monarch of all he surveys.

The Major possesses sheep and cattle-stations, dotted over the country both on this and on the further side of the mountains we are about to cross. He has inns,


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built by himself and tenanted by his overseers or other dependants, on the unpeopled roads of the bush to a distance of 150 miles. His stock numbers, I believe, about 50,000 sheep, with herds of horses and cattle commensurate. The very soul of hospitality and kindliness, I should say that all this, and more, is requisite to keep pace with the suggestions of an open heart and a profuse hand. On the present occasion, this most elastic of cottages accommodated seventeen or eighteen persons, besides servants. There were dinner parties and dancing every evening, the chief music being furnished by a Highland bagpiper in full costume. In short, at this secluded bush-residence there was every luxury that could be found in the distant capital, except the polka! and that one of our party imported and imparted, to the immeasurable delight of a numerous bevy of pretty girls, the daughters and friends of the house.

On the second day of our stay at Lake Innes, a riding party being proposed, in half an hour a dozen horses, half of them side-saddled, were brought to the door, and in half an hour more we were galloping along the finest sea-beach I ever saw, (perfectly level and hard sand,) for twelve miles, between two headlands. Close down to the sea-shore grows the most luxuriant forest and brush, the trees thickly enlaced by parasites and creepers, among which a handsome kind of passiflora throws its broad shining leaves, flowers and tendrils, so as to form a canopy of verdure across the cattle-paths, into which we struck to avoid the heat and glare of the sun. It was quite a scene of Boccaccio performed on horseback!




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March 6th.—Early this morning I walked down to the boathouse on the lake, with a view to a row and a swim; but, on my way down, I was entertained by a legend which somehow diverted me from my intention. Did my reader ever hear of the Bunyip? (fearful name to the Aboriginal native!)—a sort of “half-horse, half-alligator,” haunting the wide rushy swamps and lagoons of the interior—at long intervals heard of through doubtful sources as having been seen rolling his voluminous length above the surface of the silent waters, or rearing his monstrous head over the tall rushes on their banks!

A good deal of excitement was created among the scientific and curious in Sydney, not long after my arrival, by the announcement, in the public prints, that part of the skeleton of a bunyip had been found; and further, that the head of a young one, with the skin perfect, had been picked up on the banks of the Murrumbidgee and forwarded to Sydney for examination. I fully anticipated the fatal result. I was sure that myself and other gullibles would be disabused of a pleasant superstition. Accordingly, the light of science dispelled in an instant the dubious and delightful dusk of tradition; for the unsympathising savant, to whose inspection the specimen was submitted, unhesitatingly pronounced the head, (which somewhat resembled that of a camel, but with a more conical cranium,) to be that of the foal of a horse—no more; but to a foal the entire form of whose skull had been changed by a severe hydrocephalous affection!

One advantage arose from this long-deferred discovery,


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— a discovery preceded by as many learned doubts and theories as were occasioned in the Pickwick Club by the recondite inscription on Bill Stump's post;—a new and strong word was adopted into the Australian vocabulary: Bunyip became, and remains, a Sydney synonyme for impostor, pretender, humbug, and the like. The black fellows, however, unaware of the extinction, by superior authority, of their favourite loupgarou, still continue to cherish the fabulous bunyip in their shuddering imaginations.

Am I writing myself down an ass, in confessing that, after I had heard it asserted that several persons had seen this Australian chimera disporting itself among the waves and sedges of Lake Innes, and after I had looked over the gunwale of my boat into the deep mysterious gloom of its waters, despite of science I could not bring myself to take my intended plunge?

In the afternoon we repaired to the town of Port Macquarie to attend a public dinner, given by the inhabitants of the district, (the northernmost of the “nineteen counties,”) to the Queen's representative. We sat down about forty-five in number. The “Hotel Royal” was the scene of the banquet, an establishment by no means illsituated for a marine hotel, having a fine airy site close to the sea.

The loyalty of Port Macquarie,—and in this colony I found loyalty everywhere rife, except among the lowest rabble of Sydney after it had been well stirred up by professional demagogues—the loyalty of Port Macquarie on this occasion vented itself in toasts, sentiments, and speeches full of good feeling, and of fealty towards her


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Majesty, and her representative. The army was drank with so much enthusiasm as to convince me that there were a good many old soldiers present, which was indeed the case. I am sorry to add, that I did not hear of a single individual of the many military officers settled in the district who admitted that the money he had laid out had been profitably invested. Knowing this fact, why, in returning thanks, did I assure our entertainers that if ever I was tempted to turn my sword into a sheepshears, I knew of no spot so attractive for location as that on which we stood, &c.? It must be that there is truth in the cynical saying, that the “use of words is to conceal our thoughts;” for I had seen and heard enough, here and elsewhere, of military colonists, to have arrived at the conclusion, that freedom from direct taxation and plenty of beef and mutton, accompanied by burial above ground in the bush, however tolerable to persons accustomed from early youth or reconciled by previous habit to the predicament, must be but poor recompense, and must bring sad retrospection to those who have passed the prime of their days among the changeful and exciting scenes of military life, and who, perhaps ill-advised or prompted by some temporary disgust, have thrown the price of their commissions, their prize-money, and their patrimony, one or all, into an experiment on sheep, cattle, and colonial acres. Yet, after all, what is a married captain of foot, with a couple of hundreds a-year, a barrack-room, and half a score of wide-mouthed craving callows to do? He cannot be at one and the same time a gentleman, a soldier, and a half-starved beggar!




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The rough plenty of a colony like New South Wales naturally enough suggests an agreeable alternative to the troubled mind of one so situated. The route arrives for the removal of his regiment from the country where mutton is 1d. a pound, to another where it costs six or eight times as much. At his age, and with his family, it would be madness to expend his little capital on further promotion, so he “settles”—awful word! not a few know how much it imports.

In making a just appraisement of the worldly success of military colonists, taken from their own accounts, I always make also due allowance for the nature of the animal. From the goose-step to the grave grumbling is the privilege and resource of the old soldier, the safety-valve to blow off his discontent. We all growl—so do old sailors. From this sage reflection I deduce the belief, that retired veterans are not always so ill off as may appear before a glass or two has enabled them to see things through a more cheerful medium, and thereby to colour their descriptions less gloomily.

March 8th.—Having passed several days very pleasantly at Lake Innes, the Governor, with his son, Major Innes, and myself, took the road to New England this morning, at break of day. The journey of 150 miles was to be performed in three days, and on horseback, there being no road across the mountains for any wheel-carriage of less rough construction than a bullock-dray. Our host provided the horses, roadsters as well as sumpter-nags on which our baggage was bestowed in saddle-bags. The latter animals were driven loose by my servant and a border policeman, both also


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well mounted. Many of the pastoral nabobs of Australia possess the horse-power of a 2,000 ton steamship, and could mount a dragoon regiment at two days' notice.

The country through which we rode this day presented for nearly the whole distance alternate, low, undulating ranges and rich levels on the banks of the Hastings. A good and welcome breakfast awaited us after a trot of two or three hours, or rather canter—for Australian journeys are usually made at what is called a bush canter, the sort of pace that a man goes to cover in England, and one that comes naturally to a “screw;” and the best bush-horses are always screws. Our breakfast awaited us at a lone inn, the “Prince of Wales,” one of the major's creations, situated near the Big Creek, on a little clearing in the thick of the bush, like a bald patch on a shock head of hair. A mile further we passed the property of a retired officer, Colonel Grey, the dwelling-house prettily posted on a plateau overlooking the stream, and, beyond it, a comparative handful of cleared land, terminating in the eternal gum-tree wilderness. The soil hereabouts seemed exceedingly rich, and the herbage and foliage wonderfully luxuriant; but although the grass was in some places as high as our saddles, the live stock which we fell in with through the greater part of this district looked less sleek than in the Bathurst and Wellington plains.

Our halt for the night took place at an inn and stock station belonging to the Major—called the Yarrows—where we found excellent fare and beds. Around this station our worthy host and guide depastures a large


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quantity of sheep and 3,000 head of cattle. His overseer, the piper Bruce—of whom I have made honourable mention as incorporating within his own person and pipes the dancing orchestra of Lake Innes Cottage—resides at the inn, and makes what custom he can from the rare travellers on the road;—for the more frequented route from New England, Beardy Plains, and other of the northern squatting districts to the great emporium, Sydney, avoids these mountains and (unluckily for that township) Port Macquarie, striking the sea at the mouth of the Hunter River. It is with great difficulty that the mountain road is passable by a heavy dray, and the traject is very tedious.

March 9th.—At six A.M. we mounted our steeds for an arduous day's work—the passage of the hill range dividing the settled districts from the squatting districts. Our ride was about fifty miles, thirty-five at least of which were through a most rugged and wild region. It occupied eleven hours—after the two first of which the rain never ceased falling in torrents. From the house at the Yarrows to the sheep farm of the Messrs. Todd and Fenwick, on the north-western slope of the Macquarie range—our intended hosts for the night—there is no human habitation. Major Innes, however, in the prospect of Sir Charles's visit, had caused to be erected about half way a slab hut, at a spot called Tobin's Hole;—but whether said Tobin was a Government surveyor, a land-seeking squatter, a bullock driver, or simply a bush-ranger, there exists, I think, no legend to prove. Indeed in this country, as in America, the traveller is saved all trouble as to antiquities, whether historical or


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architectural. The chances are that, in a whole month's journey, with the exception of a few patriarchal trees that have survived storm and fire and axe, he finds no object around him half so venerable as himself. Where the owls, and bats, and satyrs dwell in Australia, I cannot imagine!

Our progress this day consisted, without exception, of crawling up and sliding down hill after hill, mountain after mountain of deep wet soil—very like the peristaltic advance of a travelling caterpillar. The road leads for the most part right over the crests of successive ridges—as is generally the case with respect to bush roads; and this is done to avoid the “sidlings,” which are sure to occur on roads formed along the flanks of hills. The ranges here are invariably wooded up to their summits; there are no rocky crests or jagged peaks; all is eternal bush—a sea of foliage as far as the eye can reach. There is no water in the shape of lakes or even pools, yet we crossed several fine streams fringed with the graceful casuarina, which in Australia is as constant a companion of running water as the willow or alder in England.

Here and there, as we dropped into some deep cool dell, the monotonous but silvery note of the bell bird—the campanella of Waterton, I suppose—afforded the well-known, and to the thirsty traveller and tired steed, the welcome indication of some rippling but hidden streamlet. The single “ting” of this little harbinger of water in the desert is curiously loud and metallic, yet the bird itself is so small as rarely to be visible, even when a score of them may be ringing a peal among the


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high trees. I once shot one for a specimen, and found it to be about the size of a sparrow, and of a dull olive-green colour.

The vegetable world of these mountains is wholly unlike anything I had hitherto seen in Australia. The gum-tree is of course not wanting; but that tiresome shadeless never-green does not here exclusively usurp the Sylva, as in the Blue Mountains. It grows side by side with a singularly handsome tree of a myrtaceous character, covered with small, dark green, shining leaves, and often of gigantic magnitude. Many of this species must have measured from 160 to 200 feet in height, by 25 and 30 feet in girth. Here I saw for the first time the cedar—the most valuable timber in the country for upholstery—the mahogany, in short, of New Holland, a wood which it much resembles in colour and grain, although inferior in solidity. It has no affinity whatever with the cedar of other climes—the foliage nearly resembling the European ash; it is not even a coniferous tree. Most of the trees, or rather of the timber, of this colony owe their names to the sawyers who first tested their qualities. They were guided by the colour and character of the wood, knowing and caring nothing about botanical relations. Thus the swamp oak and she-oak have rather the exterior of the larch than any quercine aspect. Pomona would indignantly disown the apple-tree, for there is not the semblance of a pippin on its tufted branches. A shingle of the beef-wood looks precisely like a raw beef-steak. The cherry-tree resembles a cypress, but is of a tenderer green, bearing a worthless little berry, having its stone or seed outside;—whence its scientific name of


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exocarpus. The pear-tree is, I believe, an eucalyptus, and bears a pear of solid wood, hard as heart of oak. Nothing short of a mallet will break it; yet, in the procreation of its kind, its inedible body spontaneously and gently opens to drop the seed. These two last trees are among the well-known natural paradoxes of Australia. Those very useful trees, the iron bark and the stringy bark, describe themselves very precisely.

In many points along the roadside appeared great thickets of the pretty lentana, with its delicate pink cluster flower and its rough leaf, looking and smelling like that of our black-currant. This plant seems to spring up wherever the forest has been felled, like the wild-raspberry in North America. We found, indeed, the last shrub very plentiful in this day's ride; but the fruit, though specious in form and hue, mocks the taste by a pulpy substance like cotton. A variety of enormous creepers—vines, as they call them here—threw their grotesque coils from tree to tree, not seldom clothing some old dead stump with a close network of large and lustrous leaves, giving it the guise of a dandified skeleton. Here and there pliant leafless ropes, twenty and thirty yards long, and perfectly uniform in size from end to end, swung entirely across the road; while others, dropping from the topmost branches, descended in an ominous loop straight down to a level with the rider's neck, inviting him to hang himself in such plain terms, as to be positively dangerous in weather so nearly resembling that of an English November. But, to me, by far the greatest curiosities in vegetation were the zanthorea or grass-tree, and the tree-fern. The former


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might with more propriety be styled the rush-tree; for on a date-like stem grows a huge bunch of spikes, some three feet long, from whose centre shoots a single tall stamen, like a bulrush, ten or twelve feet in height. In the flowering season it is full of honey. There are whole acres of this plant near Sydney, but there the trunks are rarely more than a foot or two high. The fern-tree here attains a maximum of about twenty feet. Its wide and graceful plume seems to rise at once perfect from the earth,—as Venus from the sea,—the growth of the trunk gradually lifting it into mid air. One might almost imagine that the tall and dense forest around it had drawn up the well-known shrub, or rather weed, of our English deer-parks into a higher order of the vegetable family. When I left England, some of my friends were fern-mad, and were nursing little microscopic varieties with vast anxiety and expense. Would that I could place them for a moment beneath the patulous umbrella of this magnificent species of Cryptogamia! On the forks of some of the older timber-trees grew, also, the stag-horn fern, as large as the biggest cabbage, the fronds exactly resembling the palmated antlers of the moose and rein-deer.

In no part of the world did I ever see such absolute midday darkness as occurred in many spots of this forest. Not a ray pierced, nor apparently had ever pierced, the dense shade. The eye ranged through the melancholy colonnades of tall black stems and along the roof of gloomy foliage, until it was lost in the night of the woods,—midnight with an Australian sun at its meridian. We were, perhaps, the more struck with this peculiarity


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because the reverse is the usual character of the Australian bush; for the foliage of the gum is so thin and so pendulous, that, when the sun is overhead, one rides through the bush almost as utterly unsheltered as if there had been no trees. If there be such a thing as a sinumbral-tree,—a Peter Schlemil of the woods,—it is the gum-tree.

It was a singular and pretty sight to see, as we did this day, during one or two momentary bursts of sunshine, large flocks of beautiful parrots dart across our path, like a shower of rubies, emeralds, and sapphires, glittering for an instant in the watery beam, and vanishing as quickly in the gloom of the wilderness. The scrub of these mountains, as the beautiful forest is vulgarly called, is by no means rife in animal life. With the exception of a flight or two of parrots, we saw no wild animals except one solitary dingo, whom a ringing “tally-ho” sent scouring into covert as promptly as though he knew the import of the English view-halloo.




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Chapter II.

THE MOUNTAIN ROAD—A LUNCH “PLANTED”—A SECLUDED HOME—A ROUGH STAGE—SALISBURY COURT—A VERITABLE SQUATTER—SHEEP AND SHEPHERDS—BLACK-MAIL—DIVIDING RANGE—ARMIDALE—GYRA—A DEATH STRUGGLE—BEAU IDEAL OF A BUSHMAN—BUCK-JUMPING, ETC.—RETURN TO SYDNEY—SCHEHERAZADE IN A STEAMBOAT.

WE passed within twelve miles of Mount Sea View, whose elevation is about 6,000 feet, and from whence Oxley, the eminent surveyor, revived the despondent spirits of his exploring party, when bewildered among the mazes of the scrub, by a glimpse of the ocean at a distance of sixty miles. Although the road was all but impassable for horsemen, we overtook several bullock-drays laden with stores for the squatting districts, or met them on their way to the coast with loads of wool. One of them had been ten days in going twenty miles. As we neared them, the savage shouts of the drivers and the clang of their terrible whips echoed through the arcades of the forest. Soon our ears were saluted by the most brutal and blasphemous execrations ever lavished by human lips upon quadruped objects. As the Governor rode past one of the most excited and foul-mouthed of these fellows, we were diverted by his


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sudden mollification of tone and language to his beasts,—“God bless your heart, Diamond! Come up, will you?”—and he accompanied his benediction with a flank of his wattle-stick whip that would have cut a crab-tree in two. This was an act of homage to social propriety hardly to be expected from the wildest of all savages, the Australian bullock-driver, a class that knows nothing of a Supreme Being, except to desecrate his Name by obscene and blasphemous oaths.

At Tobin's Hole we halted for an hour, finding some refreshments planted there for us by the Major,—for that is the colonial phrase, borrowed from the slang lingo of London burglars and thieves, for any article sent forward or left behind for future consumption in spots only indicated to those concerned, after the manner of the cachés of the French Canadian trappers on the American prairies. To “spring” a plant is to discover and pillage it,—an art which is well understood and pretty often practised by the blacks, from whose keen eyes and quick instinct it is difficult to conceal the locality of a “plant.” Horses and bullocks are sometimes driven off and “planted” in some secluded gully by ingenious persons, who will find and produce them when a good reward is advertised. In Sydney, moreover, good round sums of hard cash have been “planted” by pretended ruined tradesmen and men of business, who, after passing the Insolvent Court, contrive to exhume them again, and again to launch forth into life with handsome equipages and expensive establishments. Such is the meaning of the term, “a plant,” singularly applicable to Botany Bay.




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At length, after many tedious and fatiguing miles of rapid descent, we came down upon the little settlement of the Messrs. Todd & Fenwick,—the first habitations of the great table-land of New England,—our billet for the night. Two slab cottages of four rooms each, with offices behind, farm huts around, and divided by a brook, constitute the station. These gentlemen, until lately partners, are at present separated, because one of them has taken a partner for life, as all squatters ought to do,—sole means of saving them from a lapse into partial or complete savagehood. A woman gives good and practical evidence of disinterested affection when she quits her mother's side in the city to follow a husband into the bush. Many a hardship, many an alarm, perhaps, will she have to undergo, many a lonesome hour to pass. If of a sentimental habit, she will meet many a rude reality, calculated to disenchant her of pastorals. The lady who gave rise to these remarks commenced her wedded bush-life with becoming spirit, if it be true that, the ceremony occurring early in the morning at Port Macquarie, the bride and bridegroom rode on horseback the same two stages just performed by ourselves,—that is, 100 miles in two days.

On our arrival to-day at the station, the bachelor was alone at home. On the return of our party, however, the married pair were present, and the lady presided with graceful tact and quietness over the humble but plentiful ménage that had fallen to the lot of an old soldier's daughter. We were all well tired, wet to the skin, and were most grateful for the homely but hearty shelter, fireside, and fare here bestowed upon us.


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I never recollect being so sick of my saddle as I was this day. It was somewhat humiliating to an old staff-officer and sportsman to find himself in the predicament in which the worthy Samuel Pepys, F.R.S. must have been, when, after an unwonted equestrian journey, he remarks, “but I find that a coney-skin in my breeches does preserve me perfectly from galling.”

Mr. T. told me that the worst feature of the squatter's life is the occasional ill-behaviour of the shepherds and other farm-servants. They usually break out together with one consent, have a regular drunken bout, and will not put a hand to work until they have had it out. If the master resolve to punish such infraction of engagement, he may have to ride one or two hundred miles for a warrant. Sometimes a hold is retained upon the men by keeping them considerably in arrears of pay. The Commissioner of Crown Lands for New England met us here, on the frontier of his district.

March 10th.—An early start for Salisbury Court, the residence of Mr. Marsh. There were seventeen horses in cavalcade including the pack-horses. These trotted along very quietly after a day's practice, sometimes indeed jostling their saddle-bags against the trees or each other, and sometimes stopping to graze; but never requiring to be led. We rode ten miles through undulating open woodland, affording excellent pasturage, to the prettily situated sheep station of Mr. Dens, where, after breakfast, Sir Charles and myself exchanged our hacks for a tandem. Thence to “Waterloo,” a station of our friend the Major, where we lunched on roast mutton and potatoes, damper, champagne and hock, in the correctest of


  ― 33 ―
green glasses—Mr. ——, a Yorkshire gentleman, and a superintendent of our host's, doing the honours of the house.

Pursuing thence our onward march—the two gig-horses doing their thirty miles with perfect ease—we encountered at the side of a waterhole, twelve miles from his residence, Mr. Marsh with his desert-transit-van, built on the principle of the Egyptian Overland carriages, and driven by him four in hand. It something resembles a large jaunting car on two wheels, rigged like a curricle as far as the wheelers are concerned, and holding six or eight inside. This vehicle seems particularly well suited to the flat roads, and sandy stony plains of Egypt. One might, after a trial such as we had this day, question its adaptation to the rough, rocky, and hilly tracts of the Australian squatting districts; but, certainly, no doubt of the kind appeared to haunt the mind or daunt the courage of its worthy owner, who, putting his team along at mail-coach pace, after an hour of galvanic exercise to our bones and joints, placed us down safe and sound at his hall door. Some of our party rode the whole distance of fifty-five miles this day on the same horses;—so much for the grass-fed hacks of New South Wales.

The country we passed through latterly did not give us a very favourable idea of the soil of New England, its vegetation, or its scenery. The timber is poor in size and tiresome of aspect. Being lightly wooded, it is however well calculated for stock farming.

Salisbury Court is a roomy one-storied house, solidly built of rough stone, and looking over a well-watered vale, just beyond which rises the Mountain Range dividing


  ― 34 ―
the waters running towards the ocean from those running westward into the unknown interior. A couple of hundred yards from the more modern and more commodious dwelling stands the proprietor's original squatting cottage, “Old Sarum,” now given up to the farming people. The present establishment affords evidence of affluence, good taste, and mental cultivation. An excellent library is not the least of luxuries in so lonely and distant a dwelling-place. Our host is one of the many gentlemen of superior condition and education, university men and others, practising bucolics in this country, who have gained for the squatters the title of the aristocracy of New South Wales. The healthiness of the climate of New England is attested by the rosy cheeks of the children, so unlike the pale and pasty little faces of Sydney. This part of the colony is a vast plateau, nearly as high above the sea as the summit of Snowdon in Wales. In spite of a nearer position to the tropic by several degrees, this elevation gives a much cooler climate than that of the metropolitan county.

We are now in the early autumn, yet the potato tops and other less vulgar annuals in the garden are nipped by the night frosts, which have just set in. The thermometer at 5 A.M. to-day stood at 40°. At Sydney it is ranging at a mean of 70°. A good blazing fire in the evening was really enjoyable.

Mr. Marsh and his amiable lady do not usually confine themselves to the bush for the entire round of the year. At the commencement of winter the transit-van is put in requisition, and the family migrates in a body to the milder and gayer habitat of Sydney. Their route on this


  ― 35 ―
excursion is not by the mountain track we have just traversed, but by a larger detour which, I have said before, strikes the coast at the mouth of the Hunter River. Thence there is steam to Sydney.

Mr. Marsh is, according to my interpretation of the term, the only true and exclusive squatter whose homestead I have visited in this country. Although bred to the law he practises no other occupation than squatting; has not an acre of purchased or granted land; is a lessee of the Crown and proprietor of live stock, and nothing else—a true grazier grandee of New South Wales! He does not wield a Government quill with one hand and his pastoral crook with the other; is not a member of the Executive, Legislative, or City councils—not a land-jobber, merchant, or commission agent; not an agriculturist, nor a wine factor. He is a gentleman squatter—no more. I may put down Mr. Marsh's sheep at 50,000, I suppose. As for horned and horse stock I am unable to conjecture their amount. He employs about one hundred pair of hands, and his annual wages and rations cannot amount to less than 3,000l.

It is a singular fact, that up to the date of my quitting New South Wales the squatting interest, by far the most powerful and important in the colony, was unrepresented in the legislature, in so far that no members were returned for the unsettled districts. In the contemplated change of the Constitution, the privilege of legislative representation is to be extended to the squatters, and Mr. Marsh will probably be elected. Our host has a substantial roof over his head, and is surrounded with every possible domestic comfort; yet, if I mistake not,


  ― 36 ―
men of his cast of mind, education, and pristine habits, have always latent hopes—perhaps distinct aspirations—beyond a life in the Australian bush—yearnings for enjoyments and associations only attainable in old countries. I shall be surprised and disappointed if at no very distant date I have not the pleasure of meeting this hospitable and intelligent gentleman in our mutual native land. Meanwhile may his “clip” never be less! He had a famous one this year (1846–7). It cannot have decreased since; for in 1851, when I quitted New South Wales, he was assessed, if I mistake not, for 90,000 sheep!

March 11th.—A drive round Salisbury Plains, part of Mr. Marsh's sheep-run, an undulating tract naturally clear of trees and scrub, and clothed with good grass. Both the pasturage and climate are admirably adapted to sheep-farming. They are suitable also for the breeding, but not for the feeding and fattening of horned stock, the winter nights being too severe for any animal not lanigerous. The herbage appeared to me to be inferior to that of Bathurst and Wellington; but, on the other hand, there is the inestimable treasure of a plentiful supply of water. We came upon several fine flocks—one of them consisting of 3,000 sheep, a strong brigade under one commander and his staff, that is, a single shepherd with two or three collies. It is only in open ground, a condition very uncommon in Australian runs, that so large a charge can be entrusted to one individual. The saving in wages is of course immense. Small flocks, like little wars, don't pay! The pastor in question was a poet, we were told. I was favoured with the perusal of


  ― 37 ―
one of his last pastorals, and found it by no means original. Another shepherd, whom I met and questioned as to game in a distant part of the bush, could no more understand my plain English than if it had been so much Sanscrit. It seemed as though his rare communion with mankind had deprived him of half his mental faculties. Many of this class are or have been prisoners of the Crown. Old pickpockets, it is said, make first-rate shepherds.

I have heard it averred that tending flocks is an employment favourable to meditation. I much doubt whether the inward ruminations of these solitary philosophers are directed to any good end; and am not convinced that a retrospection of past rogueries does not produce in their stagnated minds more satisfaction than remorse. Wives and children are, I really believe, all that is required to humanize these exiles from human sympathies. As it is, they work for a while—if work it can be called, sitting on a log playing the Jew's harp—and they only hoard their pay in order to lavish it on some periodical and senseless debauch.

How strange must be the contrast presented to such men, whom the avenging hand of the law has plucked from out of the lanes, courts, and alleys of London, where from infancy to manhood their ears had been accustomed to the eternal roar of the great Babylon, and their eyes to the never ending rush of its thronged inhabitants—how strange, I say, the change to the still calm solitude of the Australian bush!

Considering its great distance from the peopled settlements, the blacks have not lately been very troublesome


  ― 38 ―
in this district. On one occasion, however, our host's flocks suffered a serious foray, in which 2,000 sheep were driven off, one shepherd killed, and another, an old soldier, wounded. He, however, shot the savage who threw the spear, an act which put an end to these blackmail inroads. The farm-people, in the case mentioned, pursued the native foragers and recovered a great portion of the sheep, but the wanton barbarians left hundreds killed on their track, merely taking the kidneys—epicurean rascals!

Salisbury Plains are, as their British namesake once was, a favourite resort of the bustard. In our drive to-day we saw several of these huge birds stalking in the distance, but we failed in some ill-conducted attempts to get within shot of them. It is nearly impossible to approach on foot this wary game, unless much favoured by the lay of the ground. Of snipe, quail, and wildfowl, there is plenty in this neighbourhood. In fact, the squire of Salisbury Court, who is fond of shooting and a good shot, has an excellent manor without the bother of keepers, shooting-licences, or other clogs to the sport. He need never fear being warned off a neighbour's preserve—for I suppose it is not too much to calculate that his domain extends over a million of acres.

On the following day I ascended on horseback the Dividing Range, as it is called. It cannot be more than 500 or 600 feet above the site of the house. From the summit, however, a most perfect panorama is obtained, the circle of the horizon complete—not a single peak or other intermediate obstruction breaking


  ― 39 ―
the entire round of vision—an accident of mountain scenery which is very uncommon. From the spot where I stood, the bare patch of Salisbury Plains, extensive though it be, was almost lost in the vast expanse of the bush below. The spine of the ridge was thickly carpeted with the wild raspberry, and an everlasting with a large stiff yellow flower.

March 13th.—Although we are here in autumn, one cannot give the season the poetical name of “the Fall,” as it is always styled in America; for nothing falls from the gum-tree except the bark. It might be an English March day, cold and bright and windy, so as to make basking in the sun a positive pleasure. Our party and the Crown-land Commissioner rode to Armidale, the township of the district, about seventeen miles, the only spot in New England, I suppose, where half-a-dozen houses are collected. Disdaining the road, which is indeed not very distinguishable, we struck right into the bush, steering by the sun as we might have done at sea, and had scarcely accomplished five miles, when Sir Charles's horse fell with him in full canter, and rolling heavily on his leg severely injured it; his Excellency, however, no hing daunted, mounted another hack, and with great pain and difficulty completed the remaining distance.

The town of Armidale consists of two inns, the Commissioner's house, two or three private stores established by and belonging to gentlemen squatters, for the supply of their stations, of which inns and stores at least one of course appertains to the ubiquitous Major, two or three other slab and bark huts,


  ― 40 ―
and a sprouting church. It has the advantage of a large piece of naturally clear land, looking precisely like an English race-course framed in gum-trees; and boasts a fine chain of water-holes, which, after heavy rains, puts on the guise of a continuous stream.

The Governor received an address signed by “the clergy (man), magistracy and other inhabitants” of Armidale, after the presentation of which we sat down with the pilgrim fathers of this Austral New England—some twenty young gentlemen—to an excellent lunch, in which we discussed the wines of the Rhine and the Rhone, or very good imitations thereof, 16,000 miles from their birth-place—the last 200 miles of their journey having been performed on a bullock-dray.

Armidale, it is needless to say, did not much remind me of the capital of the American New England—the flourishing Boston, where, some 226 years ago,

“A band of exiles moor'd their bark On the wild New England's shore.”

It can never, except by a miracle, approach in the most distant degree the prosperity of its Yankee prototype. The want of navigable rivers and the general dearth of water are obstacles, not to enumerate others in the road to wealth, which English industry and enterprise may modify but can never wholly remove.

That the season of redundant convict labour was suffered to wane without any great attempt, by private individuals, to secure by artificial works a permanent supply of the priceless element, is not so surprising as at first sight might appear. In the earlier days of


  ― 41 ―
the colony, no settler or squatter located himself on spots subject to drought, because there was plenty of “water privilege” for the existing population. Later land-seekers had to content themselves and their stocks with very inferior runs, the refuse of their precursors.

From Armidale Sir Charles got back to Salisbury Court in a gig, the only wheel-carriage, I think, in the town; while a party of five proceeded ten or twelve miles further north, to visit the cattle-station of Captain O'Connell on the Gyra River. The rudiments of this gentleman's intended residence,—for he has not yet established himself in the bush,—are well situated on a slope dotted with huge granite crags, just above the bed of the stream, with a fine view of the mountain range over the tree-tops of “the wilds immeasurably spread” round this Ultima Thule of European location. Six of us dined very agreeably in the room that is to be some day the kitchen; and at night, although we saw the stars of heaven winking at us through the shingled roof, and felt the frosty breeze playing on our pillows, there were here none of the creeping annoyances we had met with at some other of our temporary resting-places. In the morning we walked to see a natural curiosity called the Falls, a singular and tremendous fissure in the earth's crust, six or seven hundred feet deep, and of similar width. The country below looked like another world, designedly severed from the inhabited surface, as though it had never wholly been redeemed from Chaos. A thread of water, sometimes hoisted by the wind into the air, sometimes trickling like a tear down the wrinkled face of the


  ― 42 ―
precipice, seemed never to reach its foot. But when the sun rose higher in the heavens, the cascade was once more revealed in the shape of a tiny tortuous stream, wriggling its silvery way among the splintered rocks at the bottom of the gulph. It was on the verge of this awful chasm, as I was informed, that the Captain's overseer had a struggle for life or death with a native black whom he had surprised in the act of spearing cattle. The sable marauder was both fierce and athletic; but few men, black or white, could stand long before that stalwart Yorkshireman; and, after a breast to breast struggle of some moments, the Aboriginal was hurled over the falls to feed the kites and warrigals below. The Englishman appeared to me the very beau ideal for a sketch of the Australian stockman of the better class. Upwards of six feet high, with thews proportionate, but light and active in his movements, his curled beard concealed every part of his handsome visage except a pair of quick dark eyes, an arched nose, and the tips of a pair of cheeks burnt into a permanent red-brown by the sun. A weather-stained cabbage hat, tweed jacket, woollen trowsers strapped down the legs with leather, hunting spurs, and the symbol of his trade, the short-handled, heavy-thonged stock-whip, completed this picturesque and business-like outward man and his outfit, to which may be added a good stout well-bred mare, that seemed to make light of fifteen stone. My friend the Captain has no sheep at Gyra, only horned cattle and horses.

I cannot clearly comprehend how money is to be


  ― 43 ―
made by cattle farming at so great a distance from a market. After being driven across the mountains we have lately traversed, I should say that very little suet would reach the sea-port on the backs of a herd—however “fresh,” as the graziers say, they might have been at starting.

March 14th.—Rode from Gyra to Salisbury Court, twenty-one miles; and the following day, having taken leave of our kind host and hostess, we performed, as before, in three days, the passage over the mountains to Lake Innes. This journey, no trifle for a sound man and light weight, was a serious undertaking for a gentleman of sixteen stone, very much under-mounted, and with an ankle and leg terribly swollen and contused. The second day, accordingly, Sir Charles suffered extreme pain, for he had no choice but to perform the whole fifty miles in the saddle, and it took nearly twelve hours to accomplish this irksome task. Nor did his Excellency, his son, or myself, complete our journey without each tasting some of the bitters of Australian travel.

March 17th.—I had heard of “buck-jumping,” as who has not in this country of ill-broken horses? but as it happened I had never seen, much less personally experienced, an instance of it. To-day I was fated to be an actor, or rather a patient in the process so styled. When about to start from “The Yarrows” at day-break, I found a fresh horse told off for my use, a tall raw-boned brown, with a spine like a park paling, every vertebra visible. No sooner had I mounted than he rushed against the garden fence, before my right foot had found the stirrup, and tried to rub me off; and,


  ― 44 ―
finding that did not succeed, he gave a kick and a rear, and then getting his head down, commenced and sustained a series of jumps straight up and down, with his back hogged and his four feet collected together like the sign of the Golden Fleece. For about five minutes, very long ones to me, this was kept up with great spirit, and not one of the half-dozen farming men around could or would get hold of the brute's head. A little more of this rude exercise would have fairly tired me into a tumble, when luckily for my bones one of the men seized the snaffle by a sudden spring, and the buck-jumper, with one entrechat of greater “force” than the rest, concluded the dance. I got from the speculators “kudos” for keeping what is sometimes vacated on such occasions, namely the saddle. The remains of a stout Cape buffalo-hide whip attest the revenge I took on the ribs of my raw-boned steed.

G. F. fared worse, for his horse, after carrying him quietly at first, suddenly became restive, ran among the trees, and finally struck him off by a blow on the face, leaving him stunned and bleeding on the ground. Neither did the already battered Governor escape further mishap; for, getting into a tandem to perform the last twelve miles of the journey, the wheeler falling over the root of a tree, threw him fairly over the splash-board, adding more bruises to his already liberal share. The travellers, however, reached at sunset the hospitable roof of Lake Innes Cottage, where we recruited ourselves until the 22d. Bruce's bagpipes were in good wind and condition; the same may be said of the eight or nine young ladies in the house, who took


  ― 45 ―
care that the Sydney gentlemen should not forget how to dance for want of practice. On that day our party, with a numerous cavalcade of the fair and the brave, quitted Lake Innes for Port Macquarie, where at eleven A.M. we embarked once more in the Maitland steamer, for Sydney.

The voyage was nowise remarkable; except that tale-telling, by way of killing time, having been suggested, the subjects thereof being restricted to occurrences that had personally happened to the narrators; and further, the lot having fallen on the lively and agreeable Mrs. —— to tell the first tale; we were all charmed by the inimitably quaint manner in which she related “The Midshipman, a reminiscence of my school days.”

“At ten years of age,” began the fair story-teller, “I was placed by my parents at Mrs. ——'s seminary for young ladies, situated in a fashionable suburb of the metropolis. It was the first time I had ever left home. I pass over the ordinary incidents, all of them wretched enough, of a child's initiation into public life; for such indeed may be styled the step from the nursery to the boarding-school. Suffice it to say, that I found myself the junior of some eighteen or twenty pupils, none of whom I had ever seen before.

“Supper was over; and at nine o'clock I was conducted by the assistant to the bed-room, where seven others besides myself were to sleep. Accustomed to my home comforts and to a room, if not entirely unshared, at least shared only by my sisters, I was somewhat shocked by this gregarious arrangement; but I derived some consolation from finding that I had a fellow in misfortune,


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another fresh girl, as the phrase was, who had arrived only an hour after myself—a well-grown handsome young lady of about fourteen, who at the supper table had appeared no less downcast than I—thereby, bringing upon herself the somewhat sarcastic notice of the other pupils. The governess, after ushering our party, whereof the ‘fresh girl’ made one, into the dormitory assigned to us, placed a candle on the table in the middle of the room, and said, ‘Young ladies, twenty minutes are allowed you to prepare for bed. The pupil who arrived last at the establishment must then put out the light.’

“I had almost forgotten to say that the scholars slept in pairs, and that the ‘fresh girl’ had been allotted to me. The usual preparations for boarding-school going to bed—the day not being Saturday!—were completed pretty rapidly; when, suddenly, the new young lady, who was undressing behind the bed-curtains, giving a preliminary ‘hem!’ exclaimed, ‘Young ladies, I find it is my duty to put out the light. This is really very awkward in my case—very awkward indeed. But before you proceed further in your night-toilettes I feel bound in honour to tell you that I am—hem!—that I am a Midshipman in disguise. My dress—— the long and the short of it is, young ladies, that I can't and won't go to the table to ‘douse the glim!'

“Conceive, if you can,” continued the fair narrator, “the effect of this startling announcement. Six of the girls rolled themselves, according to their several stages of dishabille, in curtains, counterpanes, or the nearest wrapper at hand. No one would move an inch from her refuge; no one, therefore, would or could put out


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the candle. As for me, I screamed out ‘I will never sleep with a Midshipman!’ and forthwith ensconced myself under the bed. Meanwhile, twenty minutes or half-an-hour elapsed. The mistress of the school appeared: ‘Why,’ demanded she, ‘is the light not extinguished? why, young ladies, are you not in bed?’ ‘Ma'am,’ exclaimed the eldest pupil, a girl of sixteen, all out of breath, ‘Oh, Ma'am, there is a Midshipman in the room! the tall, new young lady, he is hiding behind the curtains!’ ‘And where is Miss J——?’ asked the mistress. ‘Here, Ma'am,’ whimpered I from under the bed, ‘I won't sleep with a Midshipman, no, I won't!’ ”

The conclusion of this little and literally true story is simple enough. The Honourable Harriett ——, the newcomer, fancying that her schoolfellows seemed inclined to quiz the “Fresh girl;” (for girl, and fine girl, and good and clever girl, she was,) and acting upon the spur of a lively disposition, as well as upon a hint obligingly given her before she left home by her brother, a real Midshipman, had struck out this original method of proving to her sister students that nature had not intended her to be the butt of an establishment for young ladies.




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Chapter III. [1847.] Visit to New Zealand.

HISTORICAL NOTES — FIRST SETTLERS — MISSIONARIES — CONQUEST OF HONGI, THE TRAVELLED MAORI—GOVERNMENT ESTABLISHED—TREATY OF WAITANGI—FIRST COLLISIONS—INADEQUATE RESOURCES OF THE ENGLISH GOVERNMENT—AUGMENTED FORCES—COOPERATION OF FRIENDLY CHIEFS—THE REVOLT CRUSHED.

I HAD long determined to seize the first favourable opportunity of visiting New Zealand—its chief settlements, military posts and battle-fields, and of making such notes as might be useful at the head-quarters of the Australasian Command in case of further warfare. And the Lieutenant-General Commanding the Forces having expressed his approval of the step, and supported it by giving me a mission “on particular service,” I considered myself fortunate in receiving from Commander Hoseason, commanding H.M.'s steam-sloop Inflexible, the kind offer of a passage in that ship on her return to Auckland, New Zealand, from Sydney, in the summer of 1847.

At mid-day on the 4th of December, accordingly, H.M.'s sloop got under weigh, and, after clearing the heads of Port Jackson, found the August English mail-packet


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beating against a head-wind, ten miles to the southward, and hopeless of getting in. Anxious to oblige the good people of Sydney, as well as to get the mail-bags for New Zealand, the captain immediately ran down to this most laggard packet, and, taking her in tow, (for which he was repaid with three hearty cheers,) we soon re-anchored with her off Sydney. Here we waited until the next morning, and having got what—being nearly seventeen weeks old—could hardly be called the “news,” the Inflexible made a fresh departure with fine weather and a smooth sea.

A capacious cabin being allotted to me, and thus having privacy at my command, I determined to devote a few hours every day to learning something of the country I was about to visit. Not being stinted in amount of baggage, I had brought a small box of books, among which were sundry Parliamentary blue-books, one of which alone contains upwards of 1,100 pages, and weighs, as expressed on its cover, “under eight pounds!”—a mass of colonial lore which had been thrown at my head on leaving England by an M.P. friend who, in common with the majority of his brother senators, probably looked upon these volumes relating to savage countries as so much waste paper, and had of course never opened them. They stood me in good stead now; and perhaps I cannot employ myself better, as we steam towards New Zealand, than in preparing, as well as I can, a digest of the information so gathered—furnishing a very imperfect sketch of the history of the colony up to the present day, and serving as an introduction to my journal.




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The group of islands constituting New Zealand are in number three, two of them as large perhaps as Ireland, with a smaller one at the southern extremity. They were first discovered by Tasman in 1642; but he experienced so rough a reception from the natives, and was so alarmed at the big fierce fellows with loud voices and long strides, as to leave him little taste for further exploration; and New Zealand was not honoured by another visit from a white face until the year 1770, when Captain Cook circumnavigated the islands, found good harbours for large shipping in the strait called after himself, which divides the two northern islands, and, landing, took possession of the country in the name of the king of England; his instructions being to do so with the consent of the natives, if there were any, and, if there were none, as first discoverer and possessor. In a subsequent visit he landed at several spots, conferring an everlasting benefit on the natives by sowing European garden-seeds, potatoes, cabbages, onions, maize, and other vegetables, which have never since failed.

The first rough pioneers of civilization among the Maoris, were undoubtedly the English whalers and sealers from New South Wales. Others of the same craft but of different nations followed, who, locating themselves on the coast of Cook's Straits, gradually improved their communications with the natives, and pursued a rude but lucrative trade in what is called shore-whaling, in contradistinction to deep sea-fishing—the whalers merely following the fish in boats from their settlements, where the buildings and implements for


  ― 51 ―
“cutting in” and “trying out” were established. The Sydney merchants gave employment to these land whalers, their vessels carrying away the oil, and leaving money, clothes, arms, and, alas! rum, in payment. These rough-and-ready settlers amalgamated in some degree with the turbulent Maoris—half-warriors half-fishermen of the coasts. Some of them married the daughters and sisters of native chiefs, thereby securing the powerful protection of the latter; others contracted alliances of a less formal nature with native women, and a half-caste breed sprung up to cement the alliance between the races.

In the numerous conflicts between native tribes, the Englishmen sometimes sided with that which had shown them favour, or was connected with them by marriage or traffic; and their furious bravery, their fire-arms—then rare in the country—and the formidable weapons of their trade, the harpoon, the axe, the lance, and the whale-spade, caused the fortunes of the party against which they fought to kick the beam. They themselves sometimes suffered no trifling reverses. When absent in their boats in pursuit of fish, some foraging party of hostile Maoris would rush upon the settlements, burn down the huts and whaling stages, and carry off property, women, and children—not perhaps so much out of enmity to the whites, as in blind retaliation on the tribe among which they resided. The utter want, or rather absence, of law, or of any superior example of conduct, and the periodical plenty of strong waters, gave rise to and perpetuated scenes of drunken riot, such as, knowing the actors, one can easily conceive, but which to describe would be impossible.




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Such being the European dramalis personæ in the first scene of New Zealand civilized, “enter to them”—not “two murderers,” (although there were doubtless a a few of that trade,)—but a straggling host of runaway sailors, military deserters, escaped convicts from New South Wales and Van Diemen's Land, sawyers and lumberers, adventurers and evasives of every sort; and, giving the natural Maori every credit for ferocity, villany, and blood-thirstiness, I fancy it will not be denied that his maiden impressions of the European scale of morals and polite arts, as furnished by these specimens, could not by possibility rise above mediocrity. Indeed, the brutal drunkenness and reckless debauchery of the Pakehasnote actually “astonished the natives,” if it did not revolt them;—for they are sober by nature and by practice even now. Moreover, on those especial points on which the New Zealander was supposed to excel—namely, the merciless and bloody onslaughts on the unarmed and unsuspecting adversary, where neither sex nor age was a shield—there were not wanting instances in which Englishmen distinguished themselves above the savage, lending their vessels, boats, arms, and personal aid through every stage of enormity short perhaps of eating what they had killed. Tradition seems to clear them of that consummation; but, as for me, I see no reason for stopping dead short at that particular point; and, since a certain master of a vessel named Stewart has been convicted by notoriety of furnishing means of transport, arms, ammunition, and his own countenance and assistance, in the most truculent and destructive


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descent of one tribe upon another that ever was heard of—even up to that somewhat advanced stage of the ceremony, cooking the bodies of the slain, to which purpose he obligingly devoted his ship's coppers; it would be unjust to him to doubt that he joined in the general jollification, and that, although not an habitual cannibal, he, on this occasion, mangea son homme tout comme un autre—as the French say. This monster met with the mockery of a trial at Sydney, and escaped through some flaw in the proceedings.

If therefore, as I have said, the Aborigines were not impressed with exalted notions of the white man's purity of conduct, nor of the code that ruled his morals, there was no mistake about the respect they entertained for the thews and sinews, the powers of endurance, the pluck and spirit, as well as the skill and perseverance of their pale-faced visitors. Pale, by-the-bye, is a most inapplicable epithet as conferred on these rough denizens of the coast and wave; for such as I saw were bronzed, burnt, blown, and bloated by sun, wind, sea, and rum, to such a shade of red-brown that, were it not for the wicked blue eyes and wickeder oath, and for the rolling gait acquired on the sea and retained on land by seamen, a traveller might easily mistake his fellow-Saxon for an untattooed Maori. In some of these whale-chases the Englishmen were assisted by young natives, not only in pulling the boats, but occasionally in “fastening” to a fish; and oftentimes, when one of these giants of the deep got embayed on a lee shore near the native settlements, a boat entirely manned by them would harpoon him, and make signals for the English fishermen to come up and do


  ― 54 ―
the most difficult and dangerous part of the business; for which good service they were liberally rewarded with cash or goods to the amount sometimes of 20l. or 25l. With all their personal strength, courage, and desire of gain, I have been informed that in no instance were the native fishermen known to have performed the feat of killing the whale with the lance,—the exclusive duty, and a most onerous and riskful one, of the “headsman” of the boat.

Whaling, like all other sports, has its season; and it will readily be believed, that during the intervals of idleness thus forced upon the rough society of Queen Charlotte's Sound and its neighbouring fishing bays, its pursuits and pastimes were not of an orderly or intellectual character. The most turbulent of the natives, many of them chiefs of rank and note, tolerated however, and associated familiarly with the whites for the sake of the traffic of fire-arms, ammunition, and other coveted European goods,—each race, with the natural proneness of humanity to evil, picking up the most prominent and peculiar vices of the other. I fancy that if ever there was an earthly Pandemonium, it existed at that time and place. To complete this fortuitous aggregation of the wildest elements of society, nothing was wanting but to engraft upon it a convict penal settlement; and, by all accounts, from this fate New Zealand was saved only by the character of ferocity and treachery attributed generally to the natives. Among the numerous schemes of the English Government for the disposal and punishment of their criminals, that of exposing them in the lion's den of cannibalism either never occurred to them, or was considered too severe as


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a secondary punishment, even in those times,—for I speak of the latter end of the last century, when stealing a sheep, or even a shirt off a hedge, was a hanging matter. This destiny, then,—a destiny which has made New South Wales one of England's most important colonies,—the land of the Maori escaped. The project, had it been attempted, would have failed amid fearful bloodshed; for what military or police force usually granted to a young colony would have sufficed to coerce at once 10,000 or 20,000 felons and 100,000 savage warriors, united, possibly, in a common cause of resistance and vengeance?

While the Anglo-Maori communities were thus progressing from a bad infancy to a worse maturity, fortunately for the English strangers,—fortunately for the natives,—happily for humanity at large,—the accounts regarding New Zealand, gathered at Sydney from the whalers and others trading between the two countries, as well as from some native chiefs who visited New South Wales, induced the zealous Colonial Chaplain, Mr. Marsden, of Sydney, to attempt the formation of a Christian Mission in the land of the cannibal; and accordingly, in the year 1815, he carried into effect this work of charity, by founding the first Church Missionary Settlement in the Bay of Islands. A Wesleyan mission followed about 1822, and was located at Wangaroa, on the opposite coast.

The labours of the early missionaries, their dangers, difficulties, and sufferings for Christ's sake, were so appalling as the courage and constancy of the true Apostle alone could have enabled them to sustain, and


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finally to turn to good account. Often during their painful ministry must St. Paul's enumeration of his perils and trials have occurred to their minds,—perils in the sea, perils in the wilderness, by the heathen, among false brethren, weariness and painfulness, hunger and thirst, cold and nakedness. All these, with a thousand bitter humiliations, fell to their lot. Their zeal and perseverance were at length rewarded by the adherence of many chiefs, besides followers of less note, under whose powerful protection their labours of love were thenceforth prosecuted with comparative safety and comfort, as well as increased success. Many years later, a Roman Catholic bishop, with a party of Jesuit clergy, arrived, and established themselves also at the Bay of Islands.

Meanwhile, not a few concurrent incidents of stirring and various nature helped to augment the troubles of this distant land. A native gentleman named Hongi, whom the missionaries had brought, as they flattered themselves, within the humanizing pale of Christianity, determined to finish his education by making “the grand tour,” under the guidance of an English bear-leader. He accordingly repaired to London, where he attended levees, dined with nobles and church dignitaries, displayed an exemplary attention to the observances of his new creed, rode in the Park, skated on the Serpentine, was petted by the ladies, and, finally, returned to his native land loaded with presents from royalty, nobility, and commonalty,—among which was a number of fire-arms; for, with other western accomplishments, he had learnt to be a good shot. At Sydney he


  ― 57 ―
exchanged most of his other presents, less suited to the patriotic object he had in view, for double-barrelled guns, muskets, and ammunition; and, having safely disembarked himself and his armoury in New Zealand, he set to work in right earnest to civilize his native land by the shortest (perhaps the only) method,—namely, by exterminating the Maori race, which, at the head of his tribe, amongst whom he distributed his newly-acquired fire-arms, he found no great difficulty in effecting, when opposed only by clubs, spears, and stone tomahawks.

Sweeping onwards from the north, he drove all before him; the great chief, Te Rauperaha, even flying from the “villanous saltpetre.” Te Rauperaha, in his turn, unseated from his hereditary lands, cleft his way towards the south, and, paying in the coin he had received, stayed not his blood-stained course until, crossing Cook's Straits, he had reached their southern shore on the Middle Island, where, after a sweeping massacre of men, women, and children, and a series of grand political dinners on human flesh, at which it is by no means certain that more than one white man did not assist, he finally went into winter quarters, pitching his warree on the territory into possession of which he had thus literally killed and eaten himself.

Among other characters in the earlier scenes of the New Zealand drama, appeared a certain French baron, who having employed an agent to purchase a large tract of land from the natives, arrived and proclaimed himself sovereign of Ahini-Mawi, the northern island; but the self-elector's claim met with but few supporters, his pretensions but little respect,—as may well be imagined,


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since our gracious Queen Victoria has found the assumption of sovereignty over these proud and warlike tribes no facile task. Monsieur le Baron, accordingly, subsided in due time to his proper level; namely, that of a worthy colonist and an accomplished member of society, and such he still maintains.

The disreputable but tempting traffic called land-jobbing, and land-sharking, that is, the purchase by Europeans present in the colony, or absent through agents, of large tracts of land at nominal prices from the natives, and the retail sale of them at high profit to settlers, obtained at this time an infamous notoriety. For the trifling consideration of a couple of dozen axes, a gross of tobacco pipes, a blanket or two, or the still more blameable object of barter, (fatal equally to the natives and the whites,) fire-arms and ammunition, the ignorant savage;—then ignorant of the value of his solid acres, now more wise,—signed away his birthright on technical parchments, drawn up at Sydney, whereof it was utterly impossible, (as probably intended,) the unlettered native could know a word of the import.

On the rise, progress, struggles for existence, and fall of the New Zealand Land Company and Association for Systematic Colonization on the Wakefield System I shall hardly venture to impinge, certainly not in this introductory chapter. A more exquisite embroglio than that offered by this body's relations with the natives, the settlers, the emigrants, the local and the imperial Governments, never was left to be unravelled by political patience and ingenuity. It was a noble and laudable enterprise,—worthy some of the great names included in


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the list of the patrons of the scheme,—“to select a spot for a considerable colony, and to prepare it for the emigrants.” Unfortunately, there was “more haste than speed” in the initiatory measures, and some not trifling formulæ were forgotten, among which was the acquisition of the sanction of the Crown, an established preliminary to the creation of a colony, and without which no valid title to wild lands subsists. But, for the sayings and doings of the New Zealand Company, are they not written in reams of the Blue Book, open to others as to myself?

The state of the islands being such as aforesaid, the interference of Government became absolutely necessary; and, indeed, in 1833, a joint application for protection was made by the missionaries, the settlers, and some of the native chiefs, to the Governor of New South Wales, in consequence whereof there was despatched from Sydney to the Bay of Islands a Resident, whose powers, however, proving insufficient, Captain Hobson, R.N., was appointed Consul in the first instance, and, in the year 1840, Lieutenant-Governor of New Zealand, under the Governor of New South Wales. The short rule of this officer was terminated by death, caused probably by the troubles and anxieties of his onerous and perplexing office; but one of its most remarkable fruits was the famous treaty of Waitangi, concluded with the natives at the Bay of Islands and ratified by the signatures of 512 chieftains, whereby the sovereignty of the Island of New Zealand was ceded by the Maori chiefs to Queen Victoria. The proprietary rights of the former to “all their land and estates, forests, fisheries,” &c.


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were secured to them; but the exclusive right of preemption over such lands as the natives might be disposed to alienate, was yielded to the Crown. His Excellency despatched several gentlemen to different and distant points of the three islands, to treat with the chiefs for their adherence to the compact, one of whom, Major Banbury, of the 80th regiment, procured the signatures of numerous high and mighty savages in the southern portion of the Northern Island, and in the Middle and Southern Islands, performing his delicate commission with great intelligence and address.

The gradually increasing love of trade rendered the natives more desirous than formerly of the presence of European settlers, and of the visits of vessels to their coasts; but on the all-absorbing subject of land they were shrewd enough to rise in their demand, as they discovered its augmented value in the eyes of the whites. Tribes that had long migrated, or been driven by more powerful neighbours to distant parts of the islands, returned to their deserted locations, and ejected, or demanded further payment from, the English settlers who had purchased allotments from the more recent native possessors. The sharp practice of the white land-sharks, indeed, enlightened the Maoris as to the true value of their “dirty acres;” and, once awake to their own interest, they were not the men to doze again. They not only stood out for higher prices in present and future dealings, but repudiated bygone bargains, on the plea that they had been bamboozled and overreached, which was undoubtedly the fact! Greatly outnumbering the white settlers, they became gradually


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more aggressive, and disputes and personal scuffles frequently occurred between the hot-tempered of both races. In the townships, on the contrary, the influx of emigrants gave the whites a preponderance over the Aborigines. The English trader elbowed the haughty chief, who, dressed in his mat or blanket, was not easily distinguishable from a commoner by the bustling business-like shopkeeper of Auckland,—the same man who, a few years before, when his tenure in the country was less secure, found his interest in treating the same native notable with the greatest respect and ceremony.

It was difficult, if not impossible, to instil into Maori intellect the full intent and meaning of the sovereignty that had been ceded to England, or rather to Queen Victoria. But the chiefs did not fail to discover that their dignity and authority were slipping from them: indeed, the introduction of the Christian religion had already sapped their hereditary influence over the tribes; for those who embraced this creed, (as many did,) in spirit and in truth as well as by profession, became naturally in some degree subservient to their spiritual pastors and masters, the Missionaries—withdrawing, perhaps unconsciously, from their still heathen and cannibal nobles their pristine reverence and obedience. And it is notorious that, from the beginning, and up to this day, the majority of the oldest, most celebrated, and most influential chieftains, have doggedly resisted conversion, although they have abstained from persecuting the apostle,—perhaps even from obstructing his labours.




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The Crown's right of preemption, too, which compelled the native to make the Government his sole customer in land,—a most wise enactment, expressly devised for the benefit of the Aboriginal himself,—was nevertheless offensive and unpopular in operation, more especially when the said customer did not happen to want anything in that line! Jack Maori (as the soldiers call him) had signed away his right to be swindled by the British public, and he regretted the lost privilege as a sulky child resents an attempt to prevent him burning his fingers!

The interregnum of Mr. Shortland, the Colonial Secretary, who administered the government for a year and a half after Captain Hobson's death, was no bed of roses; and in the midst of it, (June, 1843,) occurred the most horrible event of Anglo-Maori history,—the Massacre of Wairau, when seven English gentlemen and fifteen of their followers were slaughtered in cold blood by the natives, under Te Rauperaha and Rangihaeta, after they had surrendered themselves as prisoners. The passions of the two races, roused by this frightful event, and by the measures which occasioned it,—for it is but fair to say, that the blind temerity of the English leaders of the expedition was the main cause of this massacre,—had lost little of their exasperation when Captain Fitz Roy, R.N., in the latter end of 1843, assumed the reins of government. The disaffected natives, indeed, had evidently gained encouragement for further outbreak from the easy victory of their brethren over an equal number of armed white men.

The now well-known John Heki had about this time


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commenced his crusade verbal and actual against the British flag, which certain foreigners, hostile to English supremacy, and certain English scoundrels, adverse to the establishment of law and order, persuaded him to consider as the symbol of the slavery and degradation of his countrymen. The flag-staff at the settlement of Kororarika, in the Bay of Islands, was cut down, and the town finally plundered and burnt. These events I shall have to notice in visiting the spots of their occurrence.

Governor Fitz Roy had stepped into a hornet's nest. (It will be some time before a Governor of New Zealand will feather any softer one for himself!) No attempt at creating fortified posts had been made, such as with any nation but Englishmen would have been the first care after gaining possession of an acre of land amongst a people of such doubtful friendship. His Excellency had no power to draw on the Home treasury. There was an empty exchequer in the colony, with starving unpaid public servants, and a standing army of some 150 soldiers. This poverty in money, troops, and other resources requisite for vigorous retaliatory measures, compelled him to temporise with the rebels when wholesome correction was most necessary.

In March, 1845, a seasonable reinforcement, consisting of 250 soldiers, arrived at Auckland; and, pressed on all hands by bellicose advisers, the Lieutenant-Governor was induced to send against Heki a force which, utterly destitute of equipment for the siege of a strong stockade, was unsuccessful. The following month a second expedition, with augmented numbers, and a poor supply


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of munitions of war, once more beleagured the rebel Christian chief,—for Heki was educated by the Missionaries. Attack by assault failed; but, after a short blockade, the garrison evacuated the pah, which was entered and destroyed,—an advantage gained at a sadly disproportionate expense of life on the British side. Heki, severely wounded, was quieted for a time, and his adherents dispersed. His fierce old ally, Kawiti, retired to a distant post, where he occupied himself in fortifying the most formidable pah ever erected in New Zealand.

The Governor's anxious and unremitting efforts, with insufficient means to control and amalgamate the discordant elements with which he found himself surrounded, were but partially successful; and certain of the measures which he was impelled by dire necessity to adopt meeting with the disapproval of the Home Government, he was recalled; and, in November 1845, was succeeded by Captain Grey, late of the 83d regiment, the present Lieutenant-Governor. Happier had it been perhaps for Captain Fitz Roy's personal and financial comfort it, preferring ease to an honourable but “a laborious, responsible, and ill-remunerated office in a very distant colony,”note he had declined the post, with its adjuncts of a few hundreds a-year salary, a “tapu-ed” Home treasury, and a company of infantry to enforce the law amongst a mixed and hitherto lawless White population, and 30 or 40,000 proud, suspicious, sanguinary, rapacious, and well-armed natives.




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A former general of mine, who has since reaped laurels—adding to his already redundant wreath—on the banks of the Indus, was more circumspect. Being offered the government of a then only projected plantation on the continent of New Holland, he stipulated for a body of troops, and for the power to draw on England for money in case of need. He felt that a man who could not be trusted with such powers was not fit to be a Governor, and, his requisition being negatived, he very discreetly and disinterestedly declined to mount the box and take the reins of what, no doubt, appeared to him a pitiful turn-out!

The difficulties of the first two Governors had rendered so obvious the necessity of strengthening the hands of their successor, that Captain Grey's resources were largely and wisely multiplied. The dignity of her Majesty's representative was enhanced by a three-fold augmented salary, a parliamentary grant of 30,000l. a-year in aid of the young colony, and a force of 2,500 men. He was, moreover, invested with the superior title of Governor-in-Chief, with a Lieutenant-Governor subordinate in authority, seated in the southern province. A general officer, with a suitable staff, was appointed to command the troops; vessels of war flew on the wings of canvas and of steam to these lately neglected isles; it was clear that the “powers that be” had resolved “to go the whole” distance between severe economy and lavish liberality at one stride; but whether this stimulus was borrowed from a sudden appreciation of the importance of the New Zealand group as a Crown colony, or from considerations connected with


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the aristocratically supported interests of the New Zealand Land Company, is a question doubted by some. The new Governor had more—he had a bran-new constitution offered to him; but, seeing at once that it was too big for him, he did not even try it on. He might grow stouter, and it might fit him, or his successor better, he thought, in a few years! Yet with these extensive advantages, with an immense commissariat expenditure, backed by his own uncommon abilities, what “dirt” was he not compelled to eat, what mortifications to gulp down, at the hands of these powerful and wily savages, as well as at those of some of his own countrymen! His Excellency zealously and actively took up the cudgel which his predecessor had not strength enough to wield with perfect success against the malcontent natives; and ere a month of his reign he had thrown a force of 1,000 men upon the veteran Kawiti, destroying his new stronghold of the Rua-peka-peka, and utterly crushing his power and party. The Northern province being thus tranquillized by the defeat of Heki and Kawiti, Governor Grey was enabled to turn his attention to the South, where Rangihaieta was committing every kind of depredation and outrage.

In July 1846, the treacherous old chief, Te Rauperaha, who, pretending friendship towards the English, secretly cooperated with his friend and fighting General Rangihaieta, was by the Governor's orders cleverly seized in his Pah at Taupo, without bloodshed. A force was pushed against Rangihaieta, and his fine Pah of Pahatanui on the Porirua inlet taken and occupied by


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the troops, he himself narrowly escaping capture by a party which closely pursued him in his flight up the Horokiwi valley. His people were utterly routed and dispersed.

In all these military expeditions, the aboriginal chiefs and their followers, who were attached to the Christian faith and to the English Government, cooperated zealously and faithfully with our troops—in many instances distinguishing themselves by brilliant and conspicuous acts of valour and devotion. As guides, scouts, and skirmishers they were most valuable allies. It is not too much to say that, had these influential natives kept aloof and withheld their assistance, none of our operations would have succeeded without a loss of life irreparable in so small a force. Had they deserted the cause and sided against the British, the latter would either have been driven into the sea or uselessly cooped up in fortified posts on its shores.

In the spring of 1847, Wanganui, a small military post, and one of the Company's settlements on the S.W. coast of the Northern island, was attacked by a body of natives, who were driven off with loss. The force was increased there, and the troops had some smart brushes with the rebels, who, on one occasion, took up such skilful positions as to baffle a combined force, naval and military, under the Governor himself. They were, however, finally dispersed. With the skirmishes at Wanganui, and the subsequent breaking up of the Taua or war party, ended all serious disturbances between the races; and, although up to the time of my visit to the colony, occasional rumours of outbreak reached head-quarters,


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I found on my arrival at Auckland, as had been truly reported to the Secretary of State by the Governor, “a greater amount of tranquillity and prosperity prevailing in New Zealand than had ever yet existed.”

The present government of New Zealand consists of a Governor-in-Chief, with an Executive Council, formed by the Colonial Secretary, Treasurer, and Attorney-General; and a Legislative Council of four colonists, nominated by the Governor. So it is tolerably despotic in character—the best form for a young colony. It is scarcely less absolute than the mode of rule in a public school, or in a man-of-war. The Lieutenant-Governor holds the reins at Wellington in the Southern Province, reporting to the Governor-in-Chief, who alone corresponds with the Secretary of State for the Colonies.

Although imbued with quite as much philanthropy as usually falls to the lot of a mere soldado, I will admit some secret feeling of disappointment at this pacific position of affairs. An honourable peace is the ultimate object of a well-fought war, and the greatest amount of happiness to the greatest number is the legitimate desideratum of all good government and all good folks. But I must confess a regret, that up to this day the Maoris have never yet received what I verily believe would have been of infinite service to their particular complaint,—namely, a good sound thrashing! such an one as has been frequently and salutarily administered by British blue jackets and red, upon troublesome people in well night every other quarter of the globe. I say the New Zealanders have never yet received at our hands the discipline I hint at;—not from want of good


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will on the part of the British troops and tars and their commanders, but because the crafty Maori never waited for touch of steel—the true British test of strength of heart and arm. A good stand up fight, hand to hand, foot to foot, would, I firmly believe, have materially assisted in simplifying and even strengthening and cementing the future relations of the white and native races.

It is for this, that I venture thus frankly to lament that I was denied the satisfaction of hearing the war-yell of the Maori and the battle cheer of the British in martial unison, and of seeing the firelock and bayonet fairly crossed in open field with the double-barrel and tomahawk; and I hope there is nothing unpardonably truculent in the sentiment!




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Chapter IV.

NEW ZEALAND IN SIGHT—AUCKLAND—HEAD-QUARTERS—MAORIS' LOVE OF TRADE—THEIR EXTERIOR, ATTIRE, ETC.—HALF-BREEDS—GOVERNMENT HOUSE—BISHOP'S AUCKLAND—LEISURE UTILIZED—PENSIONER VILLAGES—UTU—AN INQUEST—NATIVE NOTABLES—A CONTEMPORARY OF COOK—THE LANGUAGE—SOBRIETY, AND AN EXCEPTION.

December 10th.—SAW land on the starboard bow, and from 3 to 5 P.M. we were steaming past the group of the Three Kings, consisting of one rocky isle three or four miles in extent, showing partial spots of verdure, and surrounded by six or eight smaller ones—ragged, volcanic, insulated peaks, tops of submarine mountains forming the northern outworks of the Islands of New Zealand. On the larger of the “Kings” live a small party of natives. Our proper course would have taken us between these islands and the mainland—a safe passage; but a current had set us 15 miles to the northward, so we passed outside of the group.

Cape Maria Van Diemen—or Rainga as it is called by the natives—the northern extremity of New Zealand, is holy ground in their eyes. It is there that the soul, released from the corpse of the deceased warrior, takes a


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kind of purgatorial rest, exposed to the furious storms of the rugged promontory, before its final absorption into—what?

December 11th.—At 4 A.M. we were traversing the mouth of the Bay of Islands, a splendid harbour, much frequented by whaling vessels as well as her Majesty's ships, and a considerable military station, to which I shall make a future visit. At 9 A.M. we passed Bream Head. Running within five to ten miles of the coast, its volcanic and peaked character was very apparent as well as striking. The shore is indented with many inlets, but there are but few good harbours, even for small vessels. A fine bluff was indicated to me as “Cape Rodney;”note and I was pleased to find an ancestor's name commemorated in these distant countries. We passed during the day several groups of islands,—the “Cavallos,” the “Poor Knights,” and the great and little “Barriers.” About 2 P.M. the ship was gradually becoming involved on either hand, and fore and aft, in a frame of land—island and continent; but all alike in feature and expression. It was a very plain repulsive face indeed, with a dingy brown complexion, spotted over with extinct volcanoes—like irruptions on the human skin. Verdure seemed to be very scarce, the higher order of vegetation still more so. Certainly there is nothing inviting in the aspect of New Zealand at this point, so far as is to be gathered by a distant view of its shores.

We were now approaching Auckland, the present capital. On our left was the island of Rangi-toto,—an immense volcanic cone composed of scoria and stunted


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bushes; on our right, Mount Victoria, a long tongue of land terminating in a lofty knoll surmounted by a signal post, from whence a sudden jet of little flags announced our approach to the expectant functionaries of Auckland;—expectant, I say, because the Inflexible's trip to Sydney was “a visit to my uncle,” on the part of the New Zealand Government, and 50,000l. was the result, by way of loan, from the military chest of Sydney.

Right ahead we saw, some six miles off, the Bishop's College; and shortly afterwards, wheeling round the signal promontory, we opened the truly splendid harbour of Waitemata. We passed on the right or northern shore the fire-blackened spot where, only four weeks previously, the entire family of Lieutenant Snow, R.N. had been, as was then supposed, massacred and half devoured by the natives,—almost rubbed sides with her Majesty's ships Dido, Captain Maxwell, and Calliope, Captain Stanley; and finally, at 4 P.M., anchored about three-quarters of a mile distant from, and right abreast of the city of Auckland. The Inflexible had made a good passage, considering that she had not long before lost about 40 feet of her false keel in Sydney harbour; and had no prospect of getting it repaired any nearer than Bombay.

Akarana, the Maori name for Auckland, and indeed their closest approach to its pronunciation, contains about 6 or 7,000 inhabitants. It is seated on a rather high plateau of land, divided by ravines into three coves—called “Mechanic's,” “Commercial,” and “Official Bays.” The former is a strand devoted to boat-building


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and rope-making, with a small native village long established there. Commercial Bay is the sea-vent of the mercantile and shop-keeping quarter; and a nest of neat villas, with pretty little gardens around them—houses and grounds exiguous almost to the extremity of Dutch-toyism—denotes Official Bay, where the public officers and aristocracy have congregated.

Mount Eden, shaped like a little Etna, but, unlike her, now extinct and innocuous (for every dog and volcano has its day!) is the grand natural feature of the scene, and is situated about three miles south of the town. The brick steeple of the Protestant church, the Old Barracks on a fortified bluff called Point Brittomart, and the Catholic chapel beyond Mechanic's Bay, are the artificial features most prominent;—for the Government House, with its long, low, shingled, barn-like roof has no very important place in the landscape. The New Barracks are further inland, but the officers live, here and there, in numerous small cottages, some of them prettily situated and romantic with roses and woodbines. The mess rooms, commissariat stores, brigade office, &c. are within the old barrack-yard, which is defended by a breast-work and ditch towards the land, and is naturally scarped seaward.

Major General Pitt, who has but lately arrived in the colony, had no little difficulty in finding among the wretchedly small clinker-built houses of the town one capable of accommodating his large family. At length he pitched upon a weather-board building, which up to the date of his occupation had been a tavern. When I proceeded, as in duty bound, to pay my respects at head quarters,


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I found a grenadier sentry on his post in front of the entrance, whose bear-skin cap exactly reached the eaves of the roof. The sign and the name of the licensed retailer of fermented and spirituous liquors had indeed been removed, but a highly obvious direction—“To the Tap ➜ ” still invited the thirsty stranger within the General's hospitable walls. The head-quarters of the 58th Regiment are quartered in new wooden cantonments, with an extensive parade ground within a flanked wall, now in progress of erection entirely by Maori labour, and affording good proof of their aptitude in masonry. It was in consequence of the scarcity and expense of European mechanics and labourers that, at the end of last year, it occurred to Major Marlowe, Royal Engineers, to employ a few natives on the works. He found some difficulty in exercising any discipline over them at first. In a few weeks, however, they learned to dress stone. They squared the quoins and arch stones of the military hospital, and the wall of the Albert Barrack-yard, “and,” as reports the Major in May 1847, “performed their work equal to that of any of the European mechanics.”

Out of sixty-seven so employed there was only one who could not read and write, and all were anxious for instruction. Since the first employment of them only one had been the worse for liquor. They meet the clerk of the works every Sunday morning, to attend a place of worship; and they have prayers every morning and evening among themselves. Most of them save money (the pay being 1s. 6d. to 2s. 6d. a-day), in order to purchase European clothing and live stock. Great credit is due to this officer and his assistants, in thus


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instructing the Maoris, and bringing them under the discipline of organized labour. Better to pay for their labour, and thus employ them as fellow-subjects, than to live at constant enmity with them! better to pay for their land, than to fight for it! better to satisfy the moderate expectations of the savage and to humour his pride and prejudices, than to affront both, as was done at the Wairau, and thereby bring on a war which cost half a million of money and many valuable lives!

I have not much to say in praise of Auckland as a town. Ninety-nine out of a hundred of the houses are built of wood and are of unsubstantial appearance. Lucifer matches are cheap, fifteen out of twenty nights are boisterously windy, and, if the natives were bent on a bonfire, nothing could be more readily effected than a conflagration of the capital. But no, the New Zealander has no enmity against the European, unless he appears in arms against him. He is gradually learning the value of property. He is taking to mills and to coasting vessels, to cattle and to horses. And this is a great step towards the subjugation of the country. As an enemy, the Maori will be more vulnerable when he has something to lose; the mere savage has nothing to lose but his life. As an ally and subject the richer he is the better. Governor Grey's policy tends to foster this growing taste for English customs. His intimacy with the chiefs, and his general treatment of them,—whether in giving encouragement and reward to the well-disposed, or in unmasking and punishing the treacherous and rebellious—together with his steady perseverance in the Cæsar-like


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mode of conquest, road-making;—will, I believe, if anything can, bring about the eventual comfortable colonization of the country without the usual accompaniment of the extirpation of the Aborigines. The same fate appears to attend the wild man, whether he submits and conforms to the habits of the civilized man, resents and resists his usurpation, or sullenly retires from the borders of civilization. “As surely as day dispels night, as eternity swallows up time,” says the author of Hochelaga, “so does the white man sweep away the black!” Will this theory prove void in the instance of the Maori? If with any savage, it may with the New Zealander.

The day of our arrival being Saturday, the town was full of natives, either coming into market or for other purposes. It was an interesting and curious sight to watch the groups flocking in to receive their week's pay at the commissariat for working on the roads or other public labours. The bran-new glittering half-crowns, fresh from the mint, seemed to possess great charms in the eyes of those who had earned them, and I was assured that very little of their earnings would go to the tapster. Some of the men were of remarkably fine form, and the younger ones, when untattooed, very good-looking. They have generally frank, good-humoured, and bold countenances, fine curly black hair, with erect and muscular figures. A few were extremely tall.

There are at this moment upwards of 1,000 Maoris employed by the Government on the roads in the northern and southern districts. From among these fine fellows who, working under English overseers, have


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become habituated to English discipline, might be selected excellent materials for a native regiment. For the incorporation of some such local force the Lieutenant-Governor has received authority from Home. In deferring this step until the colony becomes more settled, he is acting with his usual prudence.

It is said that the substitution of the European blanket for their original dress,—the flax mat, is introducing catarrh and consumption among the natives; and, indeed, in passing groups of strong looking Maoris, sitting smoking round their fires, wrapped in their blankets up to their eyes, I was particularly struck by the continual coughing kept up amongst them. Most of them have no other article of raiment than this most heavy, ugly, and awkward robe, yet, singular enough, it is always worn with decency, even with grace, and sometimes with dignity. The massive, square, Romanlike face and tall broad figure, are peculiarly suitable to this toga style of costume. The blanket or mat is thrown on in loose folds, leaving the right arm free, and usually secured on the right shoulder by a pin of human bone.

I delight in the description given by Tasman of his first view of the natives of this then unknown land; it breathes such pure “funk” of the inhabitants of a country, with which he had the strongest desire to be better acquainted. Old Abel, writing in 1642, says: “As we approached the land with a design to have refreshed ourselves, we perceived on the mountain thirty-five or forty persons, who, as far as we could discern at such a distance, were men of very large size, and had each of them a club in his hand: they called out to us


  ― 78 ―
in a rough strong voice, but we could not understand anything of what they said. We observed that these people walked at a very great rate, and that they took prodigious long strides!” The Dutch navigator took the hint, it appears, and sheered off.

The hair of the Maori—to carry on the Roman likeness—is a complete Brutus crop, and he has rarely any other covering to the head. Sometimes, by way of ornament, one or more large black feathers tipped with white, or a scarlet flower, is stuck in the hair or through a hole in the lobe of the ear—in which are also sometimes hung drops of green jade stone, or malachite, or a peculiar kind of shark's tooth dotted with red sealing-wax. An ugly idol-shaped figure of the same stone, denominated a Tiki, hangs by a flax thread on the breast of those who have inherited or can afford a somewhat expensive jewel. The legs and feet are always naked. The tattooing is a great disfigurement, imparting a savage expression to a naturally good-humoured face. The process is said to prevent wrinkles in old age, and I think it does probably defer them; for the deep scoring of the cheeks must act something like the act of crimping fish, in making the flesh hard and firm. Some of the young dandies rouge their cheeks with red ochre,—a habit Governor Grey tries to shame them out of. The women appeared to me much less well-looking than the men. They tattoo the under-lip a deep blue—a most unbecoming practice. One encounters here and there a pretty young girl, with a fresh round face, long almond-shaped eyes, and a well-formed figure; but, speaking generally, I think that the Maori gentlemen belong to “that condition


  ― 79 ―
of humanity,” upon which the author of Eöthen says he “expends an enormous quantity of pity!”—namely, the possessors of ugly wives! I saw more than one very handsome woman among the half-breeds, and a good many of this class in and around the settlements.

I heard the opinion mooted by experienced persons, that the half-caste population in New Zealand will in time succeed to, rather than dispossess, the original Maori, of the land: but to this theory I cannot subscribe; for where is the country in which the mixed race has ever been either formidable in number or influential in mental or physical character? In New Zealand, such as came under my notice, of either sex, had a gentle expression of eye and countenance, denoting an indolent and voluptuous tendency—more akin to the people of the Friendly Islands than to the turbulent and warlike Maori.

December 12th.—Governor Grey was so kind as to make me his guest and to give me rooms at Government-house, where, in the intellectual society of his Excellency and his lady, in the enjoyment of daily novel scenes, and with a most excellent library at my command, the time passed most agreeably. In the staff officers and those of the 58th regiment, I found many old friends. The gallant colonel of that corps has almost become a colonist—having purchased for a good round sum one of the prettiest cottages in Official Bay surrounded with a garden full of European flowers, and contemplating such additions to its powers of accommodation as are suggested by his hospitable habits.




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The Government-house is a frame building, and was sent out from England ready for erection. It is tolerably commodious, but not comfortable, from the fact that there can be no privacy, no quiet or silent corner for study or retreat in a tenement which looks as if it had been built in half an hour out of a dozen or two old packs of cards. The muttered consultation between the Governor and the Colonial Secretary in his Excellency's study—the merry laugh of the ladies in the drawing-room—the audible arithmetic of the Colonial Treasurer and the Private Secretary in the latter's office—the bed-making of the housemaid on one side—the performance of “Jeames Plush” on that harsh instrument, the knife-board, in the pantry—the jingling of silver and china by the butler in the dining-room—and the animated discourse between half-a-dozen native chiefs and the Government interpreter in the verandah,—are all within the scope of one pair of ears. But de mortuis, &c.—the poor old Government-house was burnt to the ground not long after its roof had afforded me shelter; and I fear that not only did Captain Grey suffer severely in loss of property, but that many valuable curiosities were lost to science.

March 14th.—Rode with Captain Hoseason to the College at Bishop's Auckland, about five miles from town. A good road across an undulating country of wild fern and scoria, with but little timber, and dotted here and there with the truncated cones of extinct volcanos, brought us to a cluster of monastic buildings, not yet wholly finished, situated in an exposed and at first sight not pleasing position. Bishop Selwyn received us in full canonicals; and I recognised at


  ― 81 ―
once, in his striking exterior, the courageous and humane pastor, who at the sacking of Kororarika remained to tend the wounded, unscared by the showers of musketry and the whoops of the triumphant savages; the intrepid and vigorous pedestrian, who tired down both the English and native companions of his rough journeys among the Maoris, disseminating the Gospel; and the comely and intellectual original of a most excellent portrait which I had seen in the house of the Bishop of Sydney. I was well pleased, too, to meet in the flesh and in excellent bodily health the zealous apostle to whom, it is said, the Rev. and witty Sidney Smith gave the following serious counsel on his departure for his new diocese. He exhorted his Lordship “to have regard to the minor as well as the more grave duties of his station—to be given to hospitality, and in order to meet the tastes of his native guests, never to be without a smoked little boy in the bacon-rack, and a cold clergyman on his sideboard.” And he added, “If your new parishioners do eat you, I sincerely hope you will disagree with them.”note

Dr. Selwyn soon gave us a proof of that personal activity—as well known in the “playing fields” of Eton, and on the broad breast of old father Thames, as in the wilds of New Zealand and among the savage islands of Polynesia. With him we paid rapid visits to his College of St. John's, for the education of English and native youths — their hospital, printing office, &c.; to the beautiful chapel, built and lined throughout with a dark


  ― 82 ―
mahogany-like wood, and of which I should without stint or reservation have admired every feature, had it not been for a certain cluster of tall tapers upon the altar! He introduced us to his Maori butler and general servant, a smiling good-looking young man, trusted and trustworthy. Then, still in his gown and bands and college cap, although the weather was most oppressive, he led us a walk through fields of waving corn, with young quickset hedges bordering the path, (the first I had seen since leaving England,) and docks and poppies and sow-thistles here and there among the crops—volunteer emigrants, little welcome to the importer, but reminding the traveller very pleasantly of weedy, seedy old England. Then his right Rev. Lordship, tucking up his bombazine, (and followed by a long-legged active-looking young deacon, evidently in training for the next six-miles-an-hour and four-or-five-hundred-miles walk among the heathen,)—suddenly disappeared, with rather a wicked smile on his lips, from the path, and into a deep rough ravine, through a dense thicket of prickly shrubs and parasites, in performance of his promise to show us a specimen, in a small way, of the New Zealand bush. Did I wrong him when I suspected that he had noticed my own long spurs, and the tight white ducks of my naval companion? Be it as it may, I hope I did not disgrace my Etonian training. I certainly carried my spurs safe back to the College at the close of our ramble. There happened a serious “solution of continuity” in the aforesaid “lily-white ducks;”—and if it were possible for a British sailor to want an additional reason for not turning his back on friend or foe, my companion had one to his hands!




  ― 83 ―

At the rear of the College there is a growing garden and orchard, with European and semi-tropical fruits promising to flourish well in company; and a most abundant apiary, among the natives of which the accustomed hands of the Bishop and his Acolyte wandered unharmed. The honey-bee, so well known in almost every other country, is not indigenous to any part of Australasia.

It is an interesting feature in the discipline of St. John's school, that, in the intervals of play, different useful trades are taught and practised. If this utilizing of leisure be a voluntary, not an enforced system, then is it admirable. But “boys will be boys”—fortunately, as I think; and no one ought to know better than the Etonian prelate that “all work and no play will make Jack a dull boy!” I must say, there was among the young faces here a dull aspect that jarred upon my feelings; and, if the industrial system as carried out at St. John's be a good one, why are there not more students?

The College looks over a fine extended view of ferny country, with occasional volcanic monticles, and wooded gulleys, creeks, bays, islands, and ocean. Mount Wellington towers within a mile of it. In former days the scoria must have been projected as far as its site, and the boiling lava must have rolled down the neighbouring ravines.

New Zealand is burnt out now, with the exception of one or two great craters in the interior of the country, which, however formidable in their more active existence, give utterance at present to nothing more terrible than


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volumes of steam from their snow-capped peaks. There are, moreover, one or two sulphurous islands vapouring away in like manner. I afterwards sailed within view of a small insulated volcano of this kind, called White Island.

December 15th.—Rode to the native settlement of Onĕūnga, on the shore of Manakau harbour. This spot is only six miles from Auckland, which is on the eastern coast of the great Northern Island; and Manakau harbour opens to the west—so narrow is this part of the land. Indeed, between the heads of these two great inlets on opposite coasts, the portage, as they would style the land-passage in America, is not a mile across.

At Oneunga is the nascent, as well as the first settlement of the New Zealand veterans, or corps of pensioners, which will ultimately amount to 500 men. The ride from the capital to this spot may be made at a hand gallop, on an excellent road extending over swelling plains of what is called good volcanic soil, some portions of which are laid out in neat and apparently well-managed farms. Those at “Epsom” show fine crops of wheat and maize, and better hay than I ever met with in Australia. The earth, which at first sight appears as if strewed with coke and cinders to a greater or lesser depth, looks most hopeless, yet is in truth very fruitful, and especially suitable for gardening. As far as one can see round the Pensioner Cantonment (that is to be) lies a nearly untimbered tract of fern-land, promising but little shelter and no fuel. Captain Kenny's company is here temporarily housed with their families in slab huts, while the men are employed in erecting their


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permanent cottages, and in laying out their allotments. The streets have already been marked out by the engineer, and, when complete, the village, containing a company of a hundred men, will cover no small space; for each two families will have a cottage and two adjacent acres of land, whereof a small strip in the way of ornamental garden will front the street. To these habitations there will be two distinct entrances under one roof. When I reflect upon human nature in general, and soldiers' wives in particular, I cannot feel sanguine as to the entire domestic peace of these Siamese households.

The best artisans of the “Vets” were at work building. Two men counted upon finishing one of these duplicate houses in six weeks, earning from the Government six shillings a-day for the work. The less skilful men were employed on the streets and roads.

Considering that this was a community of old soldiers, I was rather surprised to find more cheerfulness than grumbling among them. What with the utter ignorance of the people at Home upon colonial details, and what with the senseless and overweening expectations of the emigrant himself, one seldom sees a cheerful face among any class of those newly arrived. I afterwards heard that much discontent had arisen among the old soldier settlers—a fact that need not be further adverted to. Some veteran wag, disinclined to view through a rose-coloured medium the state of affairs, and taking liberties with the name of their new settlement—O-ne-unga—complained that they had come all the way from England to avoid starvation, and had found “only hunger” in New Zealand! Others proposed changing its


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name to Kilkenny, on account of the fatal effect they supposed it would produce upon their Captain, by its, certainly at present, forbidding aspect!

The following day I visited, with the Governor, the second cantonment of pensioners, called Howick. The first ten or twelve miles of the trip were made in the harbour-master's whale-boat, along the southern shore of the Waitemata harbour. We met several large native canoes, full of pigs and other provisions for the Auckland market, running at a great rate before the wind in a rather heavy sea, with sails of canvas or blanket. Most of the owners gave us loud salutations as we passed.

Turning into the Tamăki River, an inlet of the Waitemata, we landed on its right bank, and proceeded on foot. At the landing-place a police guard turned out to his Excellency, consisting of a little old English corporal and three strapping young Maoris. Their uniform, well adapted to their duties, is a blue woollen shirt worn as a frock, white trowsers, with black belts, carbine, and bayonet. They were well-looking, broad-shouldered, erect, and smart young fellows—as a martinet would wish to see. I can imagine no race better adapted for the ranks. They would make excellent seapoys officered by English gentlemen. Particularly apt at drill and naturally well set up, there is nothing of the bumpkin about the young Maori;—no beer and bacon and hobnails about his look and carriage;—in fairness it ought to be added, that there has been no hard labour, no toiling at the spade and plough, to round the back and clog the step. For the same reason the Irishman requires generally much less drilling than the Briton. In his native


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provinces young Paddy is indeed “brisk as a bee, light as a fairy.” Light food, light labour, light or no shoes, and light spirits, leave him as elastic and supple as the savage of the forest.

A walk of about three miles across a peninsula separating the Tamăki from the Thames River, brought us down upon the embryo village of Howick, the destined location of Captain Macdonald's company, on the mouth of the latter fine stream. Howick is some ten miles further from the capital than the other pensioner settlement, and is cut off from it by the Tamaki, across the narrowest point of which there is a ferry, about 100 yards in width. Its position, therefore, is much exposed should the natives at any time prove hostile; and the villagers will scarcely benefit by the labour market of Auckland at so considerable a distance from the town. Yet I rather preferred the site of Howick to that of Oneunga. There is plenty of pretty fair land free of all prior claim, and good water—not always easy to get in volcanic soil. The locale is indeed wild enough;—almost wild enough for Macbeth's witches—a ferny heath, without a tree, and here and there the cone of a bygone volcano.

Of the meditated village there is little now to be seen but a plan of the streets—(which I recommended should be named after celebrated military leaders and battles)—and the rudiments of a church, chapel, hospital, &c.

The church at Oneunga is of wood. I should build the lower portion of these edifices of stout stone work, and qualify them, not too obviously, for defence in case of need, and for a rallying-post of the inhabitants of these wooden villages. In Canada, where the towns


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are often and wholly composed of weather-boarded houses, the churches, during the rebellion of 1836–7, were so many fortresses.

At both the pensioner villages there is excellent seafishing. Timber for building or for fuel is not to be had near at hand. Auckland is not better off on this point; for the wood for firing has to be brought from the north shore of the harbour, or from the islands in the bay. There must be plenty of coal in New Zealand, and English enterprise will soon bring it to the surface.

There are about 120 veterans and their families to be located at Howick. The next generation, springing from this collocation of old soldiers, will be a valuable addition to the white population. Without intending to be severe upon the present one, I cannot think that they will do much more than subsist, and sot, and smoke over their acre of scoria;—happy if their rough habits and ignorance of Maori character do not embroil them seriously with this people, in whose power they undoubtedly are at present. As much, indeed, may be said of every white resident without the walls of the garrisons. At present, however, the traffic and other relations subsisting between the two races is peaceable enough. There is a formidable tribe seated on the Thames, near at hand, but their chief—the octogenarian Taniwha—who remembers Cook in these islands, is a great ally of the English Government.

An unprovoked and unexpected attack on these military settlements need not be apprehended; for the Maoris having strong notions of fair-play and chivalry, it is their usual custom to give some notice of warlike incursions;


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but a blow, an insult passed upon an individual of this proud people—and likely enough to occur in some of the fishing and wooding expeditions of the veterans—would assuredly be repaid in blood. The thunder does not more surely follow the flash than Maori vengeance its cause. “Utu,” (which may be freely translated,) “blood for blood,” is with him a sacred necessity. No apology or reparation is accepted, or by a native offered in its stead. It is the lex talionis carried out to the letter. The exact interpretation of the formidable little word “Utu” is, I believe, “payment.” While discoursing on its etymology, Governor Grey gave me credit for ingenuity in providing a root for it in the simple English words of somewhat similar sound, “You too”—in the sense of a practical tu-quoque. One of the worst features of Utu is that it is sometimes inflicted vicariously. If the real object of vengeance cannot be found, another answers the purpose—however personally innocent. The massacre of the Gilfinnan family in the south last year was perpetrated, it is said, in retribution of the accidental wounding of a native by a young midshipman. The murder of Lieutenant Snow and his family, and the burning of his house within half-gun-shot of H.M. ships, Calliope and Dido, in Auckland harbour, is said to have been done in “payment” of his having somewhat rudely ejected from his garden certain natives, who wished to remain lounging about as they are in the habit of doing, in a manner highly provoking and really offensive.note




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When the females of a family are seated in their verandah, or going about performing their household duties—the males being probably employed at a distance—the presence of half-a-dozen tattooed savages, rolled in their greasy blankets, and sitting with their fierce blood-shot eyes following every movement of the inmates, would not be an agreeable accessory to the privacy of an English lawn, nor be remarkably soothing to the nerves of an English lady—especially if she connected in her imagination the group of little fat flaxen cherubs playing around her, with the known “fi-fo-fum” propensities of her visitors. But gentlemen with hasty tempers and ladies of delicate nerves, depend upon it, are unfit to settle in New Zealand, or Galway! Whether an obnoxious landlord would be safe in one or the other may be doubtful. In New Zealand a churchman of any denomination may traverse from north to south with no defence beyond his cloth—as secure as the lady with the “sparkling cross.” Could he always tread the wilds of Erin with equal security?

December 17th.—This morning there occurred at Government-house a sort of investigation on the subject of the murder of the Snow family. It took place in the front verandah, where was to be seen the novel spectacle of a mixed assembly of English men and ladies, and native chiefs and their attendants;—silks, satins, blankets, cachemires and flax mats, paille de ris bonnets and wild woolly heads, red jacketed and blue jacketed officers, Wyeenies (native women), and crowds of white, brown, and whity brown children—the latter, with an assembly of inferior persons of both races, lounging on the lawn.




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On the floor of the verandah sat the accused, (Ngamuka by name,) a stout stupid-looking young man, who had been instantly produced on the fiat of his chief, the venerable Te Whero-Whero, so soon as suspicion of the murder was attached to him. The chief admitted that the prisoner's character was bad, but challenged proof of the charge. Long, dull speeches were made by this personage, by old Taniwha, by a villanous looking and notoriously man-eating notable, named Taraia, by the well-known veteran Te Rauperaha, who is now under a sort of open arrest as a state prisoner, and by his friend and son-in-law Tamaihengia, whose baptismal name is Joseph, but who goes by none other than Charlie, given him by the whalers.

Some of the rival speakers were not sparing in personal abuse; but I fancy it must have been strictly parliamentary and Pickwickian, for no loss of temper was apparent, and no one ever interrupted another, nor cried, Oh! oh! Taniwha, Te Rauperaha, and Taraia were vehement in gesture, in spite of years. Te Whero-Whero, (“he of the red robe,”) or Potatao, listened with a quiet sarcastic smile, and spoke with the calm and lofty dignity of a practised orator. He rose, as if painfully, from his chair; and when he stretched out his naked right arm from his toga of flax, raising his large frame to its full height of at least six feet, the attitude and bearing, the square massive countenance surmounted by the crisp-curled iron grey hair, and the heavy folds of the drapery, presented an object startlingly antique in a living figure. He finished his oration with the simple expression, “I have spoken;” and, like the


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dying Chatham, sank slowly back into his seat, for he is very old, and his limbs are weak.

The famous warrior-chief,—famous for his successes and his cruelties,—Te Rauperaha, is short of stature, but showing the remains of great personal strength, although his figure is much bowed by age. His countenance is repulsive beyond description, and his long yellow teeth look as if they had torn many a butchered prisoner. It would not be easy to give an outline of the eventful career of this hero of a hundred massacres and a hundred human-flesh feasts, even if it were perfectly known. He appears to be upwards of seventy years old at present. Belonging to the Ngatitoa tribe seated in the north, he was, as I have mentioned in the introductory chapter, driven, with his allies Te Pehi and Rangihaieta, (the latter then quite a youth,) from their hereditary territories towards the south by Hongi the Waikato chief and his newly imported fire-arms. The worthy triumvirate, dispossessed of their own lands, marked their progress through those of other tribes by conquest and carnage, and finally located themselves on the southern shore of Cook's Straits, upon a tract of country whose original inhabitants they massacred and devoured, rendered tributary, or reduced to slavery.

Te Pehi being cruelly murdered in the Middle Island, was signally avenged by Rauperaha, who may be said literally to have “eaten” his enemies “out of house and home.” Amongst a long list of atrocities, he is accused of having deliberately killed and cooked one of his slaves, and having thrown another faithful servant overboard


  ― 93 ―
to lighten his canoe while flying from the vengeance of one of his many foes,—for old Rauperaha was never celebrated for personal valour. The natives themselves regard his character with aversion, however they may admire his prowess as a general and his cleverness in accumulating property. His conduct towards the English has always been marked by deep duplicity,—sometimes threatening, at others cringing, and, always an impudent beggar, he has generally contrived to gain his ends.

When Colonel Wakefield was purchasing land in Cook's Straits, in the name of the New Zealand Company, from the natives, Hiko, the son of Te Pehi, (as the Colonel's nephew, Mr. E. Wakefield, relates in his entertaining work,) demanded in payment blankets, soap, tools, iron-pots, &c.; when Te Rauperaha exclaimed, “What use are these things, when we are going to fight? What matter whether we die cold or warm, clean or dirty, hungry or full? Give me two-barrelled guns, plenty of muskets, lead, powder, cartridges, and cartridge-boxes!” Perhaps the fact that his father was killed and eaten, may offer some excuse for the “Ould Rapparee” (as the soldiers sometimes called him), acting so frequently as his own butcher and cook: the principle of “Utu” would almost make it an act of piety,—filial piety, of course. For cunning in entrapping, refinement in killing and cutting up, and zest in discussing his man when properly barbecued, this “old original” Ngatitoa was, and it is to be hoped will remain, unrivalled.

In 1846, Governor Grey, convinced of his treachery,


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caused this chief to be seized and detained on board H.M.'s ship Calliope—thus putting an end to his intrigues. He was conveyed to Auckland, where Te Whero-Whero, his ancient enemy, became surety in some sort, for his good behaviour. In the absence of a bridge to spit over, the officers occasionally paid Te Rauperaha a visit in his state of open arrest; and in return for cigars, &c. there was no capacity—even that of Sir Pandarus himself—in which he was not willing to serve them.

Te Whero-Whero is the first chief of all the Waikato tribe, numbering, it is said, 25,000 souls, and is treated by them with the greatest deference. He could bring 6 or 7,000 fighting men into the field. This chief was one of the first influential Maoris to become convinced of the advantages to be derived by friendly intercourse with Europeans. In a letter to the Queen, after the death of Governor Hobson, he applied for Pakehas to come and settle and trade among his people. In a note below will be found another letter which he wrote to her Majesty last month, its object being to obtain a promise that the treaty of Waitangi should remain inviolate.note




  ― 95 ―

Taniwha, who must be about eighty-five years old, and seems nearly imbecile, is considerably over six feet in height, and extremely thin, with a physiognomy strongly Jewish,—a type by no means uncommon to his countrymen. This old man describes Captain Cook as he saw him in the year 1769,—a distant date for a living man to look back upon,—and mimics a way he had of waving his right hand to and fro wherever he walked. The veteran, then a child of seven or eight years old, has no conception of the meaning of this strange gesture. It remains for us to guess. Our great navigator was sowing the seeds of Europe in the wilds of Ahina Maui!—plucking them from his pockets, and casting them on promising soil. The potatoe has never since failed the Maori. It has succeeded the fern-root as his staple food,—the munificent bequest of poor Cooké, as the natives call him.

Heki and Rangihaieta,—the one in the north the other in the south,—are at present the only men of mark, lately active enemies of the English rule, still standing aloof. Probably sceptical of the existence of such a virtue as clemency, they will not trust themselves within the grasp of the Governor. Old Kawiti, Heki's famous ally, is, I believe, nibbling at overtures of amity.




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Most of the chiefs of note, heathen as well as baptized, (for I use the term Christian with some feelings of reservation,)—are running fast into superannuation. This may, I think, be contemplated as a fortunate contingency. Without wishing them any harm, I may be permitted to hope that they may be succeeded by a better generation. During my tour in New Zealand I was fortunate enough to meet many of the most distinguished; and I noticed that they were all much broken, suffering generally under the complaint common to worn out old gentlemen and worn out old horses all over the world, namely chronic cough.

To return to the trial of Ngamuka. As the examination proceeded, the strong common sense of the native crowd outside seemed to revolt at the useless mockery of the proceedings. Now and then a manly voice exclaimed, (as I was informed by one of the interpreters,) “What is all this bosh? If he is guilty, let him be killed; if innocent, let him go.” It was clear to them,—as it was to others,—that the whole thing was a koriro, a talk, no more. Indeed it was perhaps too grave a subject to be handled out of a court of justice. In the course of the debate, Te Whero-Whero let fall some insinuation of connivance against Taraia. On its being refuted, he withdrew the charge, and, in ratification of peace, he ordered his slaves to bring and lay before the other a large offering of preserved fish, oil, and other unctious-looking articles of food, enclosed in gourds and mat baskets. Directly to windward of our party, this palm branch of peace was anything but a bouquet. “Timeo Danaos et dona ferentes,” exclaimed one with


  ― 97 ―
sensitive olfactory nerves, as he vanished from the neighbourhood of this friendship's offering of the Maori!note

The Maori language, although sounding strongly guttural from some of the speakers in the vehemence of debate, struck me as musical and agreeable to the ear. In the mouth of a young and pretty woman I dare say it may be soft and persuasive. It is said to possess but a meagre vocabulary, and I particularly remarked the frequent recurrence of the same words in the long-winded speeches of this day. A mere language of tradition, the original Missionary clergymen married it to the English alphabet, as well, perhaps, as its peculiarities would permit, although it is difficult for an Englishman to believe in the existence of an orthography in which the sounds D, F, G, L, J, V, Ch, Sh, and Th are wanting. Ng represents a peculiar nasal sound; and I conclude the Maori gullet and snout produce unspellable intonations, which supply the place of the letters above mentioned.

The New Zealand tongue cannot, it appears, compass our harsh words full of consonants, or terminating in them. A vowel is always interposed, so as to soften the sound and keep it running, as in Italian. Thus, Queen is Kuini; Victoria, Wikitoria; Governor, Kawana; sheep, hipi; mill, miri; Jesus Christ, Ihu Karaiti; Bishop,


  ― 98 ―
Pihopa; Devil, Rewera. It is curious how very wide of the mark are most of these nearest shots at the pronunciation of English words. It is not less the case in familiar English names given to Maori Christians. Edward, Eruera; William, Wiremu; John, Honi; Joseph, Hohepa—(Gueseppo, Beppo!)note

Governor Grey's management of the natives appeared to me admirable. He knows already enough of their language to be able to exchange with them a few words of greeting, which he never fails to do in his walks and rides. The Kawana, and the Mata Kawana (mother Governor), by which somewhat mature title the young and handsome lady of his Excellency is known, are greeted with smiles and shouts of salutation—(this it was, perhaps, which frightened the old Dutchman Tasman!)—in their excursions. “Tena ko koe”—“Tena ko koe, etama.” “There you are, Governor!”—“There you are, friend!” are, I believe, the literal translation of the Maori “How d'ye do?” and about equally unmeaning. On meeting an English friend the broad face of the New Zealander expands into a frank and open smile. He nods his head upwards, and offers his hand.

Captain Grey never lets slip an occasion of instilling a taste for civilized habits among them. He quizzes the young dandies who use red ochre to rouge their cheeks—a not uncommon practice; and the young women may be seen hiding away their pipes when he passes, because he sets down smoking as an unfeminine habit. As far as his own personal safety is concerned he seems


  ― 99 ―
to repose the most perfect trust in his brown subjects; going about unarmed and unattended, and constantly permitting chiefs and their followers, coming from the interior, to encamp in the garden close to the Government-house, within the guards. Yet his two most prominently restrictive ordinances—the Arms bill and the Spirits bill, whereby the sale of fire-arms and “fire-water” to the natives is prohibited—prove that he can be stringent as well as indulgent towards them: thus he is feared as well as liked by them—precisely the feeling with which a British Governor should inspire a warlike race of semi-savages. He will find it—or I misread the aspect of affairs very egregiously—more laborious to cultivate the good-will and affection of his fellow-countrymen in New Zealand, than that of the Aborigines. A Governor, armed with almost despotic and irresponsible power, can no more gain the suffrages of a people derived from a country of free institutions, however zealously and conscientiously he may labour for their good, than the earth can love the plough and the harrow, although these implements are working for her improvement and enrichment.

The Maoris, as a race, are much given to sobriety. The term of “fire-water,” which I have used above, does not express any particular abhorrence in the North American Indian for the use of the dram. In their climate fire implies comfort as well as heat; and it is well known with what headlong haste the poor red-man fell into that snare of the devil. The Maori's name for ardent spirits is “stink-water,” which certainly marks decided repugnance. During three or four weeks' stay


  ― 100 ―
at Auckland, I only fell in with two drunken natives, and that was in a Sunday walk with the Governor. The moment one of the fellows espied Te Kawana, he and a friend, both pretty far gone in inebriety, jumped up and took to their heels across a swamp, and the tipsier, tumbling over a tussock, broke his bottle of strong waters to pieces. Strolling about the streets on a day when the Maori workmen had received their week's pay, I saw no drunkenness; all were spending their earnings in objects of utility.




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Chapter V.

ANCIENT PAHS—REVERSES IN A RIDE—THOUGHTS ON A BAD HAT—CLIMATE—SOCIABILITY IN A SMALL COMPASS—DANCING—A MAORI ANTINOUS—A BAZAAR—THE MAN OF THE MOUNTAIN—A WIFE OFFERED—NATIVES SHOPPING—THE ONGI—THE TANGI—GROUP FOR SCULPTURE—HOW TO SUBJUGATE A SAVAGE—FLAX—THE MOKU—TREATMENT OF WOMEN—A DEDUCTION.

December 18th.—BEAUTIFUL weather, therm. 69° in the shade. A pleasant gallop of some twenty miles' circuit with Captain Grey to visit Mounts Wellington and Halswell, and their neighbourhoods. The appearance of both affords evidence of a numerous and warlike population, now passed away. Each is cut into several ranges of terraces, with breast-works and excavations originally roofed in, and forming the dwellings and potato-stores of the garrisons of these fortified hills, once raging with their own subterranean fires. For half a mile all round the base of these mounts are to be traced, among the high fern, hundreds of scoria walls, evidently the enclosures of former potato-gardens, and piles of white shells of the “pipi,” or cockle, brought from the sea-shore for food.

Mount Halswell, to the very summit of which we rode with some difficulty and risk, possesses a singularly strong position, being situated in the centre of the


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isthmus, just 2,260 yards wide, which separates the Eastern Bay of Tamaki from the Western Bay of Manakau. The remains of ancient fortifications to the very top are quite manifest, and the base is defended by a wide and deep swampy ditch, crossed by a cause-way, both of which may have been produced by volcanic accident, although they bear all the appearance of a ruined artificial fosse. There are natives, and even white men, who recollect the remnants of wooden palisades on Mount Halswell. The population in those days was undoubtedly tenfold more numerous than at present, and its partial extermination is, I suppose, to be dated from the so much talked of return of the patriot Hongi from Europe, and his famous tour of self-aggrandisement and vengeance. He must have starved out, or have passed by these hill forts; for a staunch garrison, armed with sticks and stones alone, might have defied all his boasted muskets and double-barrelled guns. Hongi, I have heard, died at length a lingering and painful death from an old wound. He who dealt it him—dealt justice!

From the crest of the mount we commanded a view of both the eastern and western oceans; and my companion pointed out the perhaps unique spectacle of high tide in the bay on our right, and low water in the opposite inlet. The fact is, that the figure of the island is wasp-waisted at this point. The Manakau harbour has not been accurately surveyed yet. When the passage shall have been correctly buoyed, it will probably turn out a good haven—at least for steam-vessels. The position of Auckland in this case would possess the


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singular advantage of two harbours within seven miles of each other, commanding two different seas, in an island not less than 400 miles in length. The high-road now in progress, connecting the two extremities of the Northern Island, or New Ulster, will cross this isthmus, which will be an important point in a military view.

Scrambling with our horses down goat-paths on the flanks of the hill, we next directed our course over a fine wavy country, to a point on the Tamaki River, where, the shores approaching within one hundred yards, a ferry is to be established. At this commanding spot are to be seen indications of very extensive and evidently wholly artificial works, with a deep ditch, high curtains and gateways, and, in advance of the main work, a regular demilune on the land side. On one flank of the height thus fortified is a large circular basin of deep water, in which any number of the defenders' canoes may have ridden perfectly safe from an enemy. This is a likely spot for a third company of veterans. So interesting, at least to me, was this antiquarian ramble, that we took little note of time, until a chance reference to my watch showed us that we had but half an hour to perform a distance of about nine miles back to Auckland by the shortest line, and to dress for a grand dinner at Government-house. As I had, moreover, to repair on board the Inflexible, in order to make an official toilette for the occasion, no time was to be lost; nor, indeed, was the fern allowed to grow under our feet, except during two trifling interruptions to our course. The first was the fall of the Viceroy's good chestnut over a hidden mass of pumice, at full speed, the breakage of both his own


  ― 104 ―
knees, and the projection of his rider full ten feet over his head,—of which accident his Excellency took so little account, that he resumed the thread of the conversation and his saddle precisely at the point where the former had been broken by the tumble, without any visible alteration of countenance or mien beyond that which was derived from the crown of his hat being knocked in. It is a curious fact, that the smallest indentation of a gentleman's castor is fatal to the dignity of his exterior; and the effect is the more absurd when the wearer is unconscious of the amorphous condition of his headpiece, and of his having consequently forfeited all claim to the veneration of the public, how unexceptionably soever he may be accoutred in other respects. Suspicion dogs his steps. It would be lost labour to try to convince a looker-on that the cause is not attributable to bacchanalian excess,—a pugilistic set-to with the watch,—a case of evasit, erupit, from a back window,—or some other scarcely reputable adventure. This is a curious feature in the philosophy of dress, worthy, I think, of the consideration of Pelham, who devotes half a page or so to the cut of pantaloons.

The other and minor event was the plunging of my steed and self into a black bog, our retention in its birdlime material during a short but severe struggle, and our final safe but soiled ascent up a stony bank without dissolution of partnership. The only carriage in Auckland, that of the officer commanding the 58th Regiment, was conveying its owners to the viceregal dinner, as their host and myself, both looking as if we had been in a smart skirmish, entered the town.




  ― 105 ―

Yes—there was a dinner to twenty-four guests in the clinker-built palace of the Governor of New Zealand; and not a bad dinner either—with wines from France and Germany, from the Tagus, (and the Thames, no doubt!) There were some very pretty faces there too; and some good-looking fellows moreover, most of them culled from the garrison and ships in harbour. Indeed—without intending to institute odious comparisons with other colonies or colonial galaxies—it so chanced (for of course it was merely a temporary accident) that there was more beauty among the little aristocracy of Auckland at this moment than I ever saw in Sydney; and this was particularly remarkable at a ball given by Mrs. Grey on the last day of the year, when about two hundred persons danced in the new year—as the papers said—“to the inspiring strains of the 58th Band.”

The climate of New Zealand has doubtless much to do with this. There was on many of the fair cheeks there a freshness and a bloom which are rarely to be seen in Sydney, especially in the hot weather. The flush of the heated ball-room is a very different thing. Music and exercise, and soft nonsense, and gratified vanity, will bring transient colour to the palest face, but it fades with the cause of excitement. In New Zealand the rose is not merely a night-blowing flower—it is permanent. The climate indeed appears—(it is proved by medical statistics)—to be singularly suitable to the English constitution. I was particularly struck with this fact in the appearance of the flank companies of the 58th, when, returning from New Zealand, they


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were formed up in the Sydney barrack near a party of the 99th Regiment, which had been stationed for a long period in that city. The one detachment looked stout, bronzed, and hardy; the other absolutely wan beside them. Yet, until the two were placed in juxtaposition, I had not remarked that the latter were unhealthy in appearance. And truly the difference was little more than skin-deep, for the sickness of the soldiers in Sydney barracks, situated in the heart of a crowded city, infamous for bad drainage, did not exceed five or six per cent. The dissipations of a town must moreover be placed in the scale against the rougher but more salubrious life of the camp.

I am convinced that rough work, rough usage, and even rough accommodation, are friendly to human health, except when the frame is too far weakened by previous disease. It is possible that a greater degree of moisture than is ingredient in the New Holland climate may be required by the Briton's constitution. Personally I have sometimes very painfully experienced the want of atmospheric humidity in New South Wales, especially in its effect on the skin, the hair, and, more rarely, on the respiration. The weather which is proverbially enjoyable by “young ducks and hackney-coachmen” is certainly not inimical to our insular frames. This was wonderfully proved in the New Zealand campaigns, for there lie in the pigeon-holes of my office numerous documents, showing that, however great the hardships the troops were exposed to during the war—however wretched the sheds or huts they lived in—although their clothing was in rags, their boots


  ― 107 ―
soleless, and their beds nothing better than a tattered blanket on a heap of damp fern—happy when the latter was attainable;—never was any large body of men so perfectly free from malady of any kind. I sincerely hope (and shall be curious to ascertain the fact) that at no future day may these fine fellows suffer from the exposure and privations they endured unscathed while their “blood was up;” but I know so well the physical idiocracy of the soldier, and have so often found him, as well as the rural labourer, old before his time by rheumatism and other complaints arising from habitual exposure, that I cannot feel sure that the germ of these maladies of the old campaigner may not be contracted in this country as well as in others—latent, although unfelt at the time.

New Zealand has indeed a rough but healthy climate, a rough but fruitful soil, and a rough people—yet capable, I think, of being made useful subjects and members of society, if they may be spared the ordinary fate of the Savage on the approach of the White—first demoralization, then extinction.

I have mentioned the smallness of the Auckland dwelling-houses. Their apartments are indeed what the French call modest in the extreme. Nevertheless this peculiarity in the reception-rooms of the New Zealand metropolis appears to operate as no hindrance to the sociability of the inhabitants. I attended more than one quadrille party in saloons 12 feet by 10 — while four whist-playing seniors were stowed immovably in a closet off the dancing-room — the table being slewed so as to wedge a player into each of the four


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corners. Verandahs, and tents, and sails, and bunting were called into play to furnish forth supper-rooms; and I did not remark that the guests danced, played, eat, drank, talked, laughed, or flirted with less spirit and zest than they would have done had they had more room to do all this in.

One evening a very gay little ball was given by the Sheriff at his pretty cottage about two miles out of town. There being, as I have said, only one carriage—in the genteel acceptation of the term—belonging to Auckland, it is needless to say that all the ladies were not conveyed to the festive scene on springs, however many of them might have travelled there on wheels. As for myself, I found myself part of an equestrian escort to a detachment of young ladies, whose vehicle was the Sheriff's cart carpeted with a feather bed. They were too light-hearted to admit a doubt as to whether their equipage had on former occasions assisted in the more melancholy functions of its owner's dread office—a suspicion that certainly crossed my own mind; suffice that it played its part well in the present instance. On reaching its destination, the back-board being removed and the cart tilted, its fair freight was shot out in safety at the door, and about daybreak the same homely vehicle reconveyed them, without coughs or colds, to their home. The writer flatters himself that his pencil has immortalised this primitive flitting by moonlight. He is too discreet to give it a place within these pages.

During the progress of this ball, several natives, attracted by the sound of music, entered the grounds, walked boldly up to the open French windows of the


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dancing-room, and seemed rapt in astonishment at the scene within. Perhaps the enormous amount of labour thrown into one of the favourite pastimes of the richer English astonished the natives. It is possible that while contemplating the vigour and earnestness with which valse and polka were executed, these naked philosophers may have formed the conclusion that a race so energetic in a dance must be invincible in fight; that the unflinching fortitude which carried young and old, light and heavy, through the herculean labours of Sir Roger de Coverly, must sweep all before it when the conquest of a country became the object in question! Oriental and southern nations have difficulty in understanding that our daily recreation as well as our daily bread is to be earned in the sweat of the brow.

Walter Scott somewhere says, with respect to labour, “There is nothing worth having that can be had without it, from the bread which the peasant wins by the sweat of his brow, to the sports by which the rich man gets rid of his ennui. The only difference,” he adds, “is, that the poor man labours to get a dinner for his appetite, and the rich man to get an appetite for his dinner.”

The aristocrats of the East (as is well known) have all their dancing and singing done by proxy; and I have myself heard a Mussulman magnate express his surprise that the great men of a great nation should condescend to do such things—and that their women should be permitted to do them. “We always keep dancers and singers, or hire them, when we want to be amused in that way!” is the maxim of the “gorgeous East.”




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It appears to me that there is a good deal of Orientalism in the character of the Maori, very strikingly different to that of the Australian aboriginal. The latter is quick, light, almost quadrumanous in his activity. I cannot fancy the massive form of the Maori darting up the stem of a slippery gum-tree to cut out an opossum from his hole! I rather picture him to myself sitting in the sun at the mouth of his warree smoking his pipe, with his half-shut eyes just above a fold of his mat. Although brave and warlike, there is, too, something of the Lazzaroni about his nature. His language, moreover, resembles in character the “soft bastard Latin,” as Byron calls it, of the modern Roman.

I was standing with some officers on the lawn near a window opening to the ground, when a tall Maori, in a blanket and Brutus crop, “thrust in,” and made one of us without apology or remark. An officer asked the intruder, in military Maori, whether he admired the white ladies, and which of them most. He instantly pointed out the object of his preference, thereby showing that his own standard of taste did not greatly differ from that of many of the Pakeha gentlemen present; and he clenched the compliment by averring that he would give a “hickapenny” for her, which, measuring his regard by the price, was more liberal than might at first sight appear; for it was his all! His blanket, his Brutus, and sixpence in hard cash (tied up in a corner of the former) was “all the store” of this noble savage. And indeed I have rarely met a finer looking creature than this individual. Full six feet high, erect and well-proportioned, he had a handsome oval face, a clear skin,


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scarcely darker than that of the southern European, neither tattooed nor bearded—for he seemed quite young; and his black hair, curling back from his high brow, fell round his ears and poll in the most picturesque style, His only ornament was a flower of scarlet geranium, stuck behind one ear.

The residence of our host for this night is a fair specimen of those of the English gentry in the vicinity of Auckland. The house is placed at the head of a wooded ravine falling towards the sea, a site usually chosen in this part of the island, for there is little timber except on the sides and bottoms of the gulleys by which it is liberally intersected. There were at the season of my visit some fine fields of wheat near at hand, waving like a golden sea, most refreshing to the sight of one newly arriving from the rock and sand of Sydney; and the prospect over the town and harbour, the latter visible in all its extent by the clear moonlight, was very beautiful—more beautiful, certainly, than it would have been under the less compromising light of day.

The chief justice and the attorney-general of New Zealand have located themselves somewhat in the same manner. Gardens, useful and ornamental, surround the dwellings, and the soil shows a capacity for growing the productions of a wonderfully wide range of climate. But the prettiest place and best garden I visited, were those of the Reverend Mr. Lawrie, Wesleyan Missionary. The luxuriant hedges, covered with the climbing rose and passiflora, the arched avenue of fruit-trees, and the perfectly snug seclusion of the dwelling, although well-nigh


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in the midst of the town, are remarkable proofs of taste and skill—if not of self-denial.

This zealous divine had lately returned from a voyage to the Figi Islands, whence he had imported a large collection of native curiosities. These, during my stay at Auckland, were exposed for sale at a bazaar held in aid of the expenses for the erection of a chapel for the Aborigines;—clubs, spears, bows and arrows, which latter compound weapon is, singularly enough, unknown in New Holland and New Zealand; fishing-nets, hooks and lines neatly constructed; necklaces of teeth or shells; ladies' full dresses of flax, sea-weed or feathers, remarkable for their simplicity and suitableness for “light marching order;” cannibal knives and forks, warranted to have been used at several feasts; and other goods “too numerous to mention.” This is just the alluring but useless sort of gear with which every traveller encumbers himself, as a matter of course. He drags the accumulated hoard with infinite trouble, anxiety and expense round the world, and on arrival at home consigns it to dust and oblivion in some dark closet or lumber-room, where the treasures lie hidden till his notable wife persuades him that they are of no use, that there is no room for them, that they are a nuisance, that the children will play with the poisoned arrows; and the owner, actuated more by the desire to get rid of “the whole confounded thing” than by any feeling of public spirit, at length makes a virtue of necessity, and devotes them to their best end, by presenting them to a Museum.

Deeply impressed and convinced by long experience of the causes and effects above noted, need I add that


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I carried away from the bazaar half a cart-load of these savage treasures? Among them, by-the-bye, is a sling, that most ancient weapon, made precisely on the pattern of those used used by English school-boys. It is formed entirely of hemp, and there is attached to it a pouch of pebbles, some of them of agate, ground into an oval shape, pointed at both ends.

December 19th.—This day, a chief from the Taupo Lake, 200 miles hence inland, came into Auckland to see the Governor, bringing a report that the rebellious natives of the neighbouring district, Wanganui, had broken up their taua, or war-party, given in their submission, and expressed readiness to cede land in purchase of pardon. If such be true my hopes of seeing a specimen of field-service in New Zealand are at an end. This chieftain, Te Hao-Hao by name, is, I believe, the degenerate son, for he is a little fellow, of the gigantic chief of the Boiling Water tribes, described by Wakefield and Bidwill. This old man of the mountain—for he deserved this title if any man ever did—claimed his classic descent from Tongariro, the Mont Blanc of New Zealand, at whose feet he dwelt, and by a landslip of which, a slice of his ancestor, he was lately killed. The late Te Hao-Hao was brave in fight, unequalled in personal might, eloquent in council, generous in his gifts, and hospitable to all strangers. But he had two forbidden matters, as rigorous as Bluebeard's one. He would permit no attempts to convert him to Christianity, nor any one to desecrate his forefather, the monarch of mountains “with his diadem of snow,” by walking up his back. My friend, Mr.


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Bidwill, however, (and I will not say he did well in so doing,) excited by ambition and a botanical mania, stole a march upon the mountain as well as upon its human descendant, thereby breaking the “tapu” and scarcely escaping the dire vengeance of the old chief. The present chief has taken the embargo off his ancestor Tongariro, but continues as good a heathen as his father. He is a pitiful fellow with only a couple of wives, whereas the old “Boiling Water”note man had eight.

The present tepid representative of the Hao-Hao came on board the Inflexible with three inferior attendants. He is an oldish man, his beard grey, although the hair of his head is still black. None of these men had ever left their own wild mountain home, and they seemed astounded at all the wonderful things they saw on board. Yet they appeared to attach no particular interest to any object except such as were applicable to warfare. The chief himself gauged the calibre of the huge 84 lb. gun on the quarter deck, by thrusting into the muzzle his head and as much of his body as he could; and he took accurate measurement of the deck in length and breadth, by causing the longest of his slaves to prostrate himself, and thus using him as a six-foot rule. He looked over my shoulder as I was sketching Auckland from the seaward; and recognised the prominent features with great quickness and seeming pleasure.

December 20th.—Did my reader ever chance to be on board one of Her Majesty's steam-ships when the double operation of coaling and caulking was going on? If not, let me urge him to seize the first opportunity of so


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doing, if only to reconcile him thereafter to all the changes and chances of this mortal life, however desperate. In the case of the Inflexible, a huge collier came alongside, and clung to her ribs like a great black leech. Tub after tub, and sack after sack, of the jetty fuel was hoisted up from the bowels of the one, swayed over on a tackle, and shot into the capacious stomach of the other, which seemed as insatiable as Death itself. The coal-dust meanwhile floated on the circumambient air, powdering everything and everybody to an uniform tint. An old sail was considerately hung curtain-wise between the point of discharge and the quarter-deck; but even on or under this sanctum of the sailor, a lover of a quiet life was no happier than he would have been amidships, for it was in exclusive possession of six or eight rough-looking tars, some of them borrowed from the other vessels of war in the harbour, armed with mallets, chisels, buckets of boiling pitch and wads of oakum, with which they set to work on the seams of the deck, commencing and keeping up a devil's tattoo that would have awakened the seven sleepers, had they been never so chloroformed. Holy-stoning would have been a lullaby in comparison. If my reader had, like myself, undergone all this, he would, like myself, if only a passenger, have packed up his kitt, and gone straight ashore.

During the remainder of my stay at Auckland I was, as before stated, kindly accommodated with quarters at the Government-house. The Home Gardens, or what in Calcutta would have been called the “compound,” of Government-house, was filled with the encampments of native chiefs and their families on a visit to his Excellency


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from distant provinces, with other aboriginal loiterers. One could not go out of the doors without stumbling over them. Unlike most of the dark-skinned races, these people make no salutation to, nor indeed notice in any way, a white stranger, of whatever rank, except by a dull and sometimes fierce stare, unless he first salute or address them. A formal introduction seems as necessary a preliminary to acquaintance as it would be in making that of the most porcupinish exclusive at Home.

The Governor was good enough on this occasion to act as master of the ceremonies, presenting me to many very foul and famous chieftains, and their fair and fouler wives; nor must I forget that, among the softer sex, he recommended me to the good graces of a widowed daughter of old Te Whero-Whero. I was not aware of the pith of his Excellency's Maori speech to the lady on the subject of my unworthy self, until he informed me that she had signified her consent to accept me as her second husband. I declared an impediment, however, and thus escaped an union with an heiress of no earthly chattel that I know of, except a single blue calico smock, which appeared to have been as long in wear as Queen Isabella's of Spain during the siege of Grenada, whence the fashionable colour—Isabeau.

I had several pleasant rambles about the town and neighbourhood of Auckland. The sights that meet the eye of the stranger in the streets are both interesting and amusing. They cannot but continually urge upon him the reflection that no race like the Anglo-Saxon has the singular power of accommodating himself to the


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peculiarities of any climate, country, and people, and every phase of life and fortune; or rather, perhaps, of forcing all these to accommodate themselves to his own strong, but quietly exerted will. Hardly a shop in the main street but had its two or three aboriginal customers. Some were trucking their wheat, maize, mats, potatoes, and green vegetables against various articles of European manufacture, or paying for these in the shining new silver from the military chest. Others sat outside the doors, calmly awaiting their turn at the counter, or examining with pleased expression their newly bought property. Two of them I saw canvassing the respective qualities of negrohead, pigtail, and shag; a third trying the edge of a Yankee tomahawk; a fourth was in the act of consigning to the care and, what was worse, to the shoulders of his wife, a load which would have made a donkey groan with impatience, among the components of which I noted a hammer and several pounds of nails and as many of moist sugar, a huge bale of coarse calico, a scarlet blanket—article of supreme Maori dandyism—for his own private endorsement, and finally — what amply recompensed the faithful and, of course, furiously vain creature for a heavy burthen and a long journey home—a most gorgeous cotton handkerchief, coloured in the pattern of an union jack.

This people, however, do not appear to share the passion for gewgaws so common to savage races; and those traders who invested their capital in, and their windows with, such like trumpery, did so in blind ignorance of the tribes they had come among. Articles of practical utility are by them most in request; and but


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little observation sufficed to convince me that these simple children of nature were in no danger of being outwitted in barter by the keenest of the trans-counter folks, although very many of the visages of the latter were distinguished by the unmistakable lineaments of that ancient people who, from Shylock downwards, have been considered as hard bargainers — D'Israeli's Hebrew-Caucasian type; or, as “Ingoldsby” quaintly expresses it,—

“The eyes and the noses Peculiar to persons named Levi and Moses.”

Nor were there, among the shopkeepers, fewer of another race, scarcely less difficult to outflank in a matter of business—a “canny” people, whose national physiognomy is almost as absolutely marked as that of the Israelite.

Some of the native figures sitting aloof near the beach were ferocious enough in aspect, and the glances they cast on the passengers betokened no particular good-will; yet there was an appearance of perfectly good understanding between the races—buyers and sellers conducting their traffic quietly and courteously—the whites patiently tolerating the free and easy intrusion of their dirty and dilatory customers; and the Maoris, on the other hand, enduring the screwing and sometimes the rough jokes of the English with at least equal sang froid. There was little trace of the inimical feeling which had so lately and for so long a period brought into bloody collision the European and Aboriginal. The only disturbance I witnessed was somewhat ludicrous in its character, and the natives were noways mixed up in it except as


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astonished spectators. From the open portal of a pot-house—one of those corner allotments so desiderated by retailers of strong drinks—came flying a figure in the dress of a bricklayer, who fell flat on his back in the middle of the street, closely followed by a broad-backed and bow-legged little sailor, with whom he had evidently just had a round or two in the bar. Seizing his antagonist by the collar, Jack, in the purest spirit of England's pride—fair-play, hoisted him to his feet; and, first shaking a bushel of brick and mortar out of him, roared, “D—n ye, ye lubber, will ye strike—will ye strike?” “No, I tell you, no, I wont”—bellowed the other. “Then blow me but I'll make you,” thundered the A.B. seaman—following up his threat by three or four “weaving” hits so rapidly thrown in that the man of masonry was again brought to the ground—before the sharpest witted of the lookers-on had time to explain, that the poor landsman, in his eager reply to the summons to capitulate, had intended to convey his assurance that he would not again strike a foe by whom he was so evidently over-matched.

Turning a corner into a quarter of the town called Shortland's Crescent, I came suddenly upon a most favourable case of Ongi—the nose-rubbing salutation of the New Zealander. A couple of middle-aged men coming in one direction encountered a man and a woman from another. Instantly squatting they paired off, and, laying the front part of their noses together with a gentle pressure, each couple continued for some time in this singular attitude of contact, the two elder rubbing their hooked probosces with an occasional grunt of


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satisfaction, such as would have well become a fat hog scratching his flitch against a post. The couple comprising both sexes contented themselves with a salute of shorter duration, their snouts male and female remaining “in close column” for about a minute of grave, motionless silence.

If the Ongi be intended to represent, or supply the place of kissing, I must say it is very cool kissing—“respect with the chill off,” no more! A Maori Hotspur might well be excused in crying, “this is no world to tilt with” noses, as he broke from the detaining arms of his wyeenee, and hurried to the battle-field. It is indeed a ludicrous and ungraceful kind of salaam, although I do not know that its performance at first sight excited more strongly my risible faculties than did the double-barrelled accolade of a brace of black-muzzled Frenchmen, on my first landing on the pier of Dieppe. The formal and formidable chapeau bas meeting of the Dutch peasantry is preferable to either, although life is almost too short for a ceremony so tedious.

The Maori, however, is gradually adopting the handshaking process of the Briton, which is perhaps the best of all friendly salutations—only objectionable in hot climates and in acquaintances who prove their regard for you—if not “by thumps upon the back”—at least by crushing your five fingers into one pulp! But for a truly absurd and unaccountable practice of this people, commend me to the Tangi, or weeping ceremony, which is adopted indiscriminately on occasions of mourning, of parting, and of meeting after long absence. Squatting down, the performers proceed without loss of time or any


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difficulty to dissolve into a flood of tears. The lachrymal duct appears to be under perfect control, and the brine “laid on” for instant use. As for sighs, groans, and sobs, they are thrown in at discretion. A pleasant writer says that the Tangi can be done at convenient times so as not to interfere with business; or it may be intermitted, for the purpose of carousing, perhaps, and taken up again at leisure. In short, Mrs. Malaprop's much libelled “Allegory on the banks of the Nile,” never wept more artificially than the Maori at the Tangi. Yet with the full knowledge of the utter hollowness of this social rite, the sight of it more than once moved me exceedingly. One instance was at the meeting after long separation of a father and daughter on board the Inflexible, off Otaki, I think. The female was the wife of a chief, a passenger in the ship. She was unusually tall for a Maori woman, very handsome, with much of the peculiar beauty of the Gipsy. Soon after the ship had dropped anchor a canoe shot alongside, and a fine looking native stepped upon the quarter-deck, and looked quietly yet anxiously around. In a moment he was joined by her he sought, who, falling at his feet and clinging with her arms round his right knee, dropped her face veiled with her long black hair towards the deck, whilst the father stood erect, with his hand upon her head. Her tears fell in showers upon his feet, and I could see the muscles of his dark tattooed cheek working as he strove hard for self-command.

A friend who had been for some time in the colony laughingly pointed out this scene to me, as “a good case of tangi”—but my heart told me this was no simulation of feeling: it was the deeply joyful union of


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the two relatives most endeared to each other by nature and by the bonds of love and protection—a joy too great for words. I must confess to less success in disguising my sympathy with the scene than was attained by the stoical sire. In an artistic point of view nothing could have been more eloquently expressive than the attitudes thus unconsciously assumed. More than one historical, mythological, or biblical subject might be recalled to mind, to which this unstudied grouping might have been appropriately adapted.

December 22d.—Therm. 79°. A pleasant ramble with Captain Grey to Mr. Robertson's rope-walk, and other lions of the neighbourhood. In Mechanic's Bay where the ropery is situated, there stands a considerable native village, through which we passed. The huts presented a most wretched and squalid appearance. Some frightful old hags were busily employed in preparing food for the Maori lords of the creation, a knot of whom, rolled in blankets and mats, or allowing them to fall from off their shoulders, were sitting in solemn conclave on the beach among the canoes. It is to be hoped that the old women's flesh-pots inspired them for whose appetites they were intended with different sensations than those produced on myself. There was a mess of putrid maize—putrid by particular desire, as I was informed,—and a basket of dried shark's flesh, horribly odoriferous; while dozens of these huge fish split down the middle, and in every stage of decomposition, were hanging or lying in the sun along the road-side—polluting the fresh sea-breeze. The maize dish, a favourite one, is incomparably nasty. In order to the completion of this literal pot pourri,


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the green cobs of the plant are left to steep in cold water until putridity ensues, and this condition is a sine quâ non to the perfection of the preparation. As for the dried shark meat, whether the mode of jerking or curing it is faulty, and that, therefore, “what can't be cured must be endured” by the Maori consumer, or whether stinking fish is deliberately preferred—I did not hear.

There was a batterie of half-a-dozen ovens of heated stones, so precisely similar to those described by ancient circumnavigators as adapted to cannibal cookery, that I feared to ask what was their present contents. Along-side the very “plain cooks” above mentioned—one of whom had her enormous mouth more than full of fern-root—were spread several little mats and baskets of green rushes or flax, which were to act as dishes and plates. It is needless to add that fingers and teeth, with a gourd or two for drinking-cups, are the sole implements of the Maori canteen. There are other articles of food not so revolting—such as cockles, mussels, a small sprat or white bait, with a variety of larger fish, eels and wild ducks—both caught in traps; and pork on occasions of higher festivity. The Maori shares the taste of the Australian black for a large grub, extracted from decayed trees, which, grilled over a wood fire, is said to be not unlike or inferior to marrow. Their vegetables are excellent. The potato—especially in the Wellington district—is better than any in the Australian colonies, not even excepting Van Diemen's land; and the kumera, or sweet potato, is a most useful root, in the cultivation of which the natives take great care and


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pride. The native gardens near Auckland contain most of the common European vegetables, grown, however, for the English market rather than for home consumption.

Among the numerous small vessels ashore and afloat in Mechanic's Bay, were four or five belonging to natives. One was crowding all sail into the bay with a freight of what in Cork harbour is called cattle and fruit—namely pigs and potatoes. The master of the little cutter or smack was an Aboriginal, and stood on his quarter-deck holding the tiller. The crew before the mast comprised one man, and this man was a Pakeha Maori—or whiteman blackwashed! He was, as I was informed, tattooed, married to a Maori woman, lived with, and was, in plain terms, the slave of his semi-savage employer. This degraded individual was probably a run-away convict—possibly a deserter from the army or a ship's company—sole way of accounting for an Englishman living in contented bondage under a barbarian master.

There are many Europeans in the interior native settlements living Maori fashion, who are not only tattooed, but wear mats and indulge in polygamy; and a few choice spirits who have, it is said, not stopped short of anthropophagy. Constant exposure to sun and weather and dirt, soon reduces the Anglo-Saxon complexion to the tint of the brown races of man—that

“Shadow'd livery of the burnish'd sun,”

which Bishop Heber (whose valued acquaintance I once possessed) so far admired as to remark, on his first sight


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of the natives of India, “that the bronzed skin is more agreeable to the eye than the white, and that all idea of indelicacy is removed by the colour.”

The desire of the more enterprising natives to become ship-owners is most ardent, and the number of coasting craft in their possession is said to be rapidly increasing. An interesting instance of honourable conduct and gratitude on the part of a Maori purchaser of a vessel was related to me by Mrs. Grey. The price demanded by the builder was 100l. The native paid down 80l.—all he could contrive to raise; but the builder would not permit the boat to proceed on her first trip, which the owner was most desirous to engage in, until the whole sum was forthcoming. The poor Maori, sore troubled in mind, unfolded his distresses to the Mata Kawana, who very kindly lent him the 20l. required for the completion of the purchase—with the agreement that it was to be repaid in three months. There was no bond—no note of hand exacted; it was purely a case of “honour bright” between the parties.

The happy skipper took possession of his vessel after relating to his friends and neighbours the munificent act of the Governor's lady; and the tribe, not to be outdone in generosity, collected among themselves in small sums the amount of the loan, and repaid it to the fair lender in golden sovereigns at the end of the first month, while the debtor was still on his cruise, trying to earn money enough to liquidate it at the expiration of the stipulated term.

It is pleasant to hear of such traits in the character of a comparatively savage race. It is pleasant to reflect


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that such traits may be called into existence by the well-timed kindness of an English lady. Nor is it too much to say that, with a people like the New Zealanders, an incident of this nature, circulated as it is sure to be by the native love of news-mongering, will do more towards the subjugation and pacification of the country—more towards the reconcilement of the Maori to the rule of their “Kuini Wikitoria,” than all the men of war, naval and military, all the “trumpets, guns, drums, blunder-busses, and thunder” of H.M.'s forces, however energetically exerted, all the slip-slop and cant of the super-sanctimonious, and all the laborious policy of diplomacy, however craftily concocted and applied!

I was much interested by the rope-factory of Mr. Robertson, and by the beautiful material itself—the New Zealand flax. The staple is brought to the premises by the natives in large baskets, an ordinary man's load fetching about 8s. 6d.—no bad earning for a Maori labourer. The flax is prepared from the raw leaf by the women, who separate from the green skin of the leaf the stringy fibres extending the whole length, by scraping it with a mussel-shell. In Europe the thread is obtained from the stalk—but the two plants are wholly different. Some of the specimens of fine flax, especially from the shrub in a state of cultivation, were extremely beautiful, resembling in colour and not far differing in texture from the raw produce of the silk-worm. This valuable object of vegetable nature is capable of being converted into a cable for a ship, or lace for a lady's veil—a halter for the gallows-bird, or blonde for the bride. I have a reticule made by an ingenious lady, in which the Tihori,


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or finest flax, worked in what is called the Kaitaka stitch, has all the soft lustre of floss silk. So tough is the substance, that, even when just cut from the root, one of the long flag-like leaves is commonly used as a strap, to fasten heavy loads on the shoulders of men or the backs of beasts; and in the construction of the strongest pahs it serves to bind together the picquets of the stockade work. The Hera-keke, or Phormium tenax, grows spontaneously in most parts of New Zealand, and is found in all kinds of soil. I have seen it flourishing with equal luxuriance in the arid crater of an exhausted volcano, and in the black alluvium of a swamp—in the valley, on the hill-side, and on the mountain top. When machinery shall have superseded the slow process of manual preparation, the New Zealand flax will probably become a very important article of colonial export.

On our retreat from the rope-walk through Mechanic's Bay, where we again came into unpleasant proximity with the weird cooks afore mentioned,—our sight was refreshed and our good opinion of womankind re-established by meeting as we ascended the hill a remarkably pretty native girl, whom his Excellency stopped and addressed with his usual amenity. It was charming to see the blush of modesty tinge her nut-brown cheek, like the rosy sunset shining through a thunder cloud; and I was marking, with the analytic coolness of middle age, the singular visibility of this suffusion through a skin so dusky;—when a young man hurried over the crest of the hill, and strode hastily towards us. His face coloured also—but from very different emotions. It was evident that he imputed to us no good motive in thus making


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acquaintance with his wife or sister; and never was jealousy more fiercely manifested in any juvenile countenance—(in old ones it is common enough!)—than in that of the youth before us; when, suddenly recognising Captain Grey, his face as suddenly brightened up, and he frankly held out his hand to Te Kawana for a shake.

On the whole, the countenance of the natives when youthful and untattooed struck me as very winning; but the deep tortuous lines of the Moku add fierceness to features strongly marked, and give hardness and rigour to those muscles which are acted upon by the softer passions. There are, however, even in these islands, some fat, fubsy, Gibbon-like faces, that this savage operation fails to invest with ferocity. Of such is the jolly good-humoured visage of our firmest friend and ally, Tomati Waka.

The young girls have fine almond-shaped eyes, emitting a mixture of fire and langour, good hair and teeth, taper hands and feet, and a certain resemblance to the bulbous beauties and plants of the Cape of Good Hope, which renders their town dress of a single blanket or a simple calico round-about becoming or unbecoming, according to taste. To many of the more redundant dames this Nora Creina-like costume was very unsuitable. Poor things!—some of them were terribly heavy laden, and were too toil-engaged, as they staggered past Government-house, to think of their personal appearance. I saw young tender girls with the family baggage, newly purchased goods or agricultural produce of their husbands or fathers, strapped on their backs—while the men, like all savage males, carried nothing, not even their arms,


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for the English law allows them to carry none in the settlements. If it be true, as it undoubtedly is, that the softer sex is “the sex that civilizes ours,” it is not less true that woman, in return, owes infinitely more to civilization than man does. The angel, the idol, the goddess of London, Paris and Vienna, is the slave, the drudge, the beast of burthen of the red man, the negro, the Australian, and the Maori;—the mere toy of the Asiatic, imprisoned and denied even the possession of a soul.

Travellers, residents, and writers in wild countries, tell incredible stories of savage wooing by dint of stunning blows from the club, and of cracked skulls and broken bones as common incidents in married life. I rejoice to say that in all my travels, no such instances of marital remonstrance ever fell under my observation. I therefore firmly disbelieve in their occurrence. Yet, after all, who knows but that if wife-beating became the right thing; if some autocrat of fashion gave the sanction of his name and practice to this kind of domestic discipline—who knows that it might not become of general adoption even in the highest civilized communities! Human nature is human nature all the world over; and since truth to nature is more likely to exist in the untutored Aboriginal than in the conventionalized denizen of the Court—we arrive at the logical conclusion, that the will to vapulate wives exists in civilized countries, although law and custom forbid its indulgence!




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Chapter VI.

A PRAYER-MEETING—NATIVE CHRISTIANS—OLD PAGAN CHIEFS—MOUNT EDEN—AN OASIS—ANCIENT SEPULCHRE—THE KAURJ—A DESERTED HOME—MAGIC-LANTHORN—A GIFT HORSE—AN INAUGURATION—A WAR-DANCE, AND BREAD AND JAM—MAN AND WOMAN EATING—VOYAGE TO THE BAY OF ISLANDS—WAHAPU—KORARARIKA—CAUSES OF ILL-BLOOD—TROOPS APPLIED FOR—HEKI—HIS FIRST OUTBREAK—CONFERENCE OF WAIMATE—TRUCE BROKEN—PANORAMA OF THE BAY OF ISLANDS—KORORARIKA SURPRISED, SACKED, AND BURNT.

AUCKLAND — Christmas-day. — Divine service at the little brick-built church of St. Paul's. The interior was prettily decorated, Christmas fashion, with the graceful fronds of the tree-fern, some of them eight and ten feet long entirely covering the windows. I perceived none of the Aborigines among the congregation, nor do I know whether they are encouraged or permitted to frequent the parish church, there being separate houses of prayer devoted to their spiritual teaching apart from the white population. I observed, however, several bushy heads and wild tattooed faces peeping at times through the windows during the service; and towards its close two or three stole into the body of the building, stared about them for a few minutes, and quietly withdrew.

In my afternoon stroll I passed the door of the Maori chapel, a short way out of town, where a very


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attentive and crowded congregation were engaged in singing in excellent time and tune a well-known psalm in their own language. As a Chinese artizan, in working from a pattern, faithfully copies into a new garment all the holes and other defects observable in the old one, so the New Zealand Christian servilely imitates the English rural fashion of psalmody, enlisting the nose into the service as an important vocal organ—the national NG giving him a nasal superiority over his instructors.

On the following day, which happened to be Sunday, as the Governor and myself were returning from a walk to the summit of Mount Eden, on turning one of the angles of the volcano, we came suddenly upon a small hamlet, belonging probably to a party of natives employed permanently by Government in quarrying stone at the foot of the hill. I do not remember a more interesting and impressive scene than met our view as we looked down into the little valley below us. About eighty or a hundred Maoris of various age and sex were standing, sitting, or reclining among the low fern in front of their village, in such groups and attitudes as accident had thrown them into. In the midst, on a mound slightly elevated, stood a native teacher, deeply tattooed on the face, but dressed in decent black clothes of European fashion, who, with a Bible in his hands, was expounding the Gospel in their own tongue. Taking off our hats we approached so as to become part of the congregation. No head turned towards us—no curious eyes or ears were attracted by the arrival of the strangers, (as so often occurs in


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more civilized congregations,) although the Governor was one of them. Their calm and grave looks were fixed full of attention upon the preacher, who, on his part, enforced his doctrine with a powerful and persuasive voice, and with a manner and gesture replete with energy and animation. The sermon was apparently extempore, but there was no poverty of words or dearth of matter. It was delivered with the utmost fluency, and with occasional rapid reference to and quotation from the Scriptures. The wild locale of this outdoor worship (in the lap, as it were, of a mountain torn to pieces by its own convulsions—in the midst of heaped-up lava and scoriæ, with the fern and the flax waving in the gale) invested the scene with a peculiar solemnity. The rugged and sequestered position of the ceremony carried one back some centuries in the history of the world. It was necessary to rally one's thoughts, in order to recollect that the assembly into which we had stumbled was not composed of some proscribed and persecuted sect, doomed to perform in secresy and in fear and trembling, under penalty of the torture and the stake, the rites of a forbidden creed. Near the spot where these “Mihonaries”note were convened, we met a young Englishman, who proved to be the Overseer of the native quarry-men, and who informed us that he had conducted sixty of them to church in the morning.

The Maoris of the Northern Island appear to have received more readily than any other savage the gracious influences of the Gospel. It has been stated,


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that out of the supposed population of 100,000 souls, there are now 35,000 attendants on public worship, 15,000 public scholars, 300 native preachers, 2,850 communicants of the Church of England mission—Wesleyans and Roman Catholics of course not included. But giving this people every credit for unusual openness to religious conviction, utilitarian motives have undoubtedly been very powerful auxiliaries to their reception of the Christian faith: and, indeed, most of the missionaries have wisely laboured to instil into the fallow minds of their pupils an inclination and respect for the arts and habits of civilized life — simultaneously with the truths of revealed religion; without which union of objects these zealous labourers for the good of others, as far as the temporal benefit of the natives is concerned, would have perhaps only shaken the salutary influence of the chiefs without substituting a better;—for many of the native teachers are merely slaves, having no authority except in matters spiritual.

The original Maori religion is of so vague a nature as to be easily replaced by one whose tenets are as simple as well defined; and, once embraced, this people hold to the latter with admirable tenacity and with less pliability to mundane expediency than is sometimes practised by older believers. As a slight illustration of this position, I may state that I was permitted the perusal of a MS. Journal of an officer of rank in New Zealand, wherein he relates that his fellow-tourists and himself suffered extreme privation, not to say positive starvation, in halting for a day at a native Christian village, because no persuasion could induce


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the chief, who was otherwise most civil and hospitable, to kill anything on the Sabbath for the food of the travelling Pakeha Rangitiras.note

Even in the darkest days of Maori heathenism it was the custom of this people to engage in acts of solemn devotion before entering upon any important undertaking; and in preparing for battle, it is said, earnest invocations for aid were offered by each party to some deceased chieftain, who, having fallen gloriously in the field, had been not only canonized but promoted to godhead. There are on record many interesting and edifying instances of regeneration on the part of the New Zealanders, some of them men of rank and influence. Mr. Angus, the clever artist and author of “New Zealand Illustrated,” relates that Te Awaitaia, alias William Naylor, Maörice Wiremu Nera, the principal chief of Wangaroa, formerly a terrible warrior, and the bosom friend of the still pagan Te Whero-Whero, is now a zealous Christian as well as ally of the British. “Since his conversion,” says the author, “his character has been without a blemish; and if any native might be singled out as an individual evidencing the power of the Gospel truth he professes to have received, Wiremu Nera is the man. His deportment and general demeanour are mild in the extreme, and his countenance, when in repose, exhibits a shade of melancholy which at once awakens a feeling of interest; and except in moments of unusual excitement, when the kindling of his eye betrays the latent embers of a fiery spirit, there is nothing in his appearance calculated to remind the beholder of his


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proximity to a man whose very name was a terror to his foes.”

The same writer instances also Horomona, or Solomon, as a singular and satisfactory case of proselytism. This chieftain, a preacher and teacher at the missionary station of Otawhao on the Waikato River, has been for some years an earnest Christian, and is now stone blind. “He was one of the most successful and sanguinary warriors of his day, and has confessed to have been eye-witness and actor for many years, quite from his boyhood, in some of the most fearful battles and massacres in the history of New Zealand; in one of which, when Hongi overcame the Waikatos under Te Whero with great slaughter, 2,000 of the dead were cooked and devoured to consummate and solemnize the victory. The bones of the slain still whiten the plains of Matuketuki.” Here is, indeed, a brand snatched from the burning.

In reference to the missionary station of Otawhao Mr. Angus relates, that when it was formed nine years ago, there was not a single native Christian in the vicinity; but, about five years back, a congregation of nearly 200 were gathered together there. “They built a chapel, which was blown down during a gale of wind. They then completed the present commodious place of worship, which will contain comfortably upwards of 1,000 natives. The ridge-pole, a single tree-stem, eighty-six feet in length, was dragged by the natives from the woods, a distance of three miles; and all the other timber was likewise conveyed by them from a similar distance. The entire design originated with the


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natives, who formed this spacious building without rule or scale, and with no other tools than their adzes, a few chisels, and a couple of saws. After the erection of the framework, the season had so far advanced that, fearing they should not be able to complete it in time, the Otawhao people requested the assistance of 100 men of a neighbouring tribe, to whom they gave the whole sum that had been paid them by the Missionary Society, amounting in value to about 25l. They also killed 200 pigs, that their friends might live well during the time devoted to their assistance. The windows, which are of Gothic shape, were fetched from Tauranga, on the coast, a distance of seventy-five miles, by fourteen men, who carried them on their backs over mountains and through forests without any pay whatever. The whole tribe, amounting to about six or seven hundred, are now nearly all Christianised.”

Mr. E. Wakefield, in his “Adventure in New Zealand,” mentions an old chief named Watanui as a good Christian, a just man, with an orderly and united family, and with slaves attached to him and treated with humanity and kindness. He or his son read prayers every day. And, what is almost more rare and wonderful, the whole household use soap and water! Tomihona, or Thomson, son of the old reprobate and cannibal Te Rauperaha, is also a living proof of the melioration of the Maori. He is considered a devout Christian, and I can myself vouch for his being an intelligent, civilized, and well-dressed young man.note

The absence of caste—an institution so powerfully


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hostile to conversion in Hindostan—is a great assistant to missionary labours in this country. The Tapu, which either temporarily or permanently renders sacred an object animate or inanimate, is the nearest approach to the Hindoo religious exclusive-ism. As the Druids of old resisted to the last the conversion of the painted and skin-clad Britons, so the Tohungas or priests and sorcerers of New Zealand are ex officio averse to the introduction of a new faith,—well knowing that their power depends upon the adherence of their people to their ancient superstitions. Christianity and civilization are, moreover, decidedly inimical to the authority of the chiefs. They have put an end to the continual state of warfare between tribes, when each, living in a posture of defence and in fear of its neighbour, naturally looked up to a great fighting chief as a species of demi-god, depending on his superior wisdom and valour for protection and guidance in time of trouble. The religion of Peace—the new Commandment, “that ye love one another”—has abrogated the law of might, and has reduced the turbulent heads of clans to the ranks!

It does not sound very complimentary to the middle ages of England to say that a strong resemblance exists between the social position and character of the real thorough-bred heathen chieftain—the Ariki—of New Zealand, and those of the burly baron of feudal times. Yet the former has, in fact, rather the advantage in point of education,—for many can at least sign their names; whereas those iron-clad, iron-fisted, and iron-headed nobles despised all manner of clerk-craft from the bottom of their hauberks,—looking upon letters as the exclusive


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business of monks and shavelings.note The baptized Maori transfers his allegiance, wholly or in part, from the lord of his tribe to his spiritual master; and hence it is that many of the oldest, proudest, and most influential chiefs—even those who, like my venerable friends Taniwha and Te Whero-Whero, have been firm allies to the British Government—still obstinately adhere to their pristine paganism, and discourage as much as possible the conversion of their adherents.

One cannot doubt that the success of the Christian missions would have been incalculably greater—perhaps literally catholic, universal, throughout the native population of these islands—had there been one uniform creed and priesthood. It is only wonderful, I think, that a shrewd and cautious people should have so readily adopted a new religion, the professors of which—at first ranked by them under the one generic term of Mihonari—they soon found to be subdivided into innumerable parties, Episcopalian, Pikopo,† Wesleyan, Baptist, Independent,—with Jews, dissenting from them all.

The observant Maori cannot be blind to such open and wide schism, nor deaf to the virulence of sectarian animosity. He hears of heresy, of antichrist, of the beast! One zealous Christian minister offers brazen crucifixes, images of saints, and precious relics; another anathematizes graven images of all sorts and sizes; a third denounces both the former. Poor Jack Maori stands aghast, halting, as well he may, between two opinions, for he is sharp enough to perceive these anomalies


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in a religion professing universal love, the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace. Unfortunately, it is an undoubted fact, and certainly no original remark, that Christian zeal and Christian charity rarely go hand in hand; and that our religion, excellent as it may be, is no bond between men where the shadow of a difference of opinion exists.

The clambering walk to the top of Mount Eden, which ended in our encounter with the congregation of native Christians above described, was extremely enjoyable in a fine breezy evening. Mount Eden, or Maunga-Wao as it is named by the Aborigines, is about 500 feet above the level of the sea; its flanks and base are thickly covered with ruins of stockades, entrenchments, huts, potato-gardens, and ovens of stone—evidences of a numerous original population. The crater, which may be 150 feet deep, is full of verdure to the bottom, and the ubiquitous flax flourishes on the very summit. The view hence is worth the trouble of an afternoon stroll to any one with tolerable lungs. It was not quite a case of “bellows to mend” with myself—although I greatly prefer four legs to two in locomotion—for I was in pretty good walking condition; but I hereby recommend any gentleman tourist who happens to be short of wind or limb, to be cautious in engaging in pedestrian pursuits with Governor Grey, or, I may add, with his Lieutenant-Governor, Mr. Eyre, in the Southern district; for each and every of them possess a power of stride and a will to exert it, which, in an uphill expedition, must very soon reduce a plethoric companion to the stale expedient of halting to admire the prospect.




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The prospect from Mount Eden is as beautiful as a prospect in a purely volcanic country can be. Auckland, with its villas, and gardens, and cultivation,—not quite such as lie in the lap of Vesuvius,—are at your feet; the fine sheet of Waitemata harbour, with its numerous inlets, stretches half round the panorama; the island of Rangitota, shaped so like Stromboli that one momentarily expects to see it burst forth in fire and smoke, is right before you near the mouth of the harbour; and the Great Barrier Island is just visible in the distant loom. Further eastward are the high bluffs of Coromandel Bay, and the estuary of the Thames; and behind the spectator spread the lake-like waters of the Manakao.

All this forms a spectacle that cannot fail to charm, and that in spite of the rugged calcined aspect of the country. In looking forward into Auckland's future, it is pleasant to know that—barren as a tract of scoria and pumice may seem in a newly occupied and therefore little cultivated country—the vine, the olive, and a host of delicate and valuable vegetable productions rejoice in a volcanic soil, thriving not only on the plains around, but half way up some of the burning mountains of Europe. Thus the stockaded stronghold of Mount Eden, and a score of similar hills visible from its top, with their legendary associations of strife, and massacre, and cannibal feasts, may become smiling vineyards, and the symbol of peace itself may take root and flourish on their war-worn flanks.

The land around Auckland being flat and naturally clear of timber, except in clumps and in gulleys, a horseman might suppose that he could speed with loose rein


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across it in any direction. Level as it looks, however, this champaign is only passable by the roads; for the surface is thickly strewed, by the vomiting of past eruptions, with rough and sharp atoms destructive of hoof or boot. By dint of carefully picking one's way, it is not impossible to ride from object to object at a foot's pace; and accordingly, joining some of the daily riding-parties from the town, I saw in an agreeable manner many points worthy of notice.

Here and there in this arid district,—a paradise of fertility compared with Ascension Island!—the rider stumbles upon some green oasis, rich in verdure and refreshing to the eye. One spot I particularly remember as being most difficult to reach, and, when reached, strangely contrasting with all its neighbourhood. It consisted of a few acres of land, green and moist, perfectly free from rock or stone, and hemmed in all round by horizontally stratified walls of cellular rock having all the appearance of masonry, and on which were visible old water-lines, six or eight feet above the level of the sward. Here luxuriantly flourished the cabbage-palm, the grass-tree, and the graceful tree-fern, giving this circumscribed spot so oriental and indeed tropical a character, as to suggest the extravagant idea, that a small slice of Hindostan had made a Laputan voyage through the air, and had finally moored itself in the midst of the cold and boisterous New Zealand. Here, too, the Phormium tenax, that magnificent species of Asphodel, spread abroad its long bright blades and its aloe-like stems covered with purple blossoms literally overflowing with honey, among which revelled a few of the most


  ― 142 ―
enterprising of the Bishop's bees. So freely exudes this natural hydromel—for it is nearly as thin in consistency, and tastes not unlike, capillaire,—that a rider careful of his broad cloth will pause ere he push his horse through a flax patch when the plant is in bloom.

Searching for an exit through the scoria wall of this “Happy Valley,” we found at length a fissure cut with all the precision of a gateway, through which we passed out under an arch of clematis that, “accustomed to cling,” flung its delicate arms and starry white flowers from crag to crag, wherever a fit object to support its fragile nature was to be found. There do not appear to exist any natural grasses among the herbage of these volcanic tracts, yet some nutritious food, suitable to cattle and young horses, must be plentiful, for out of the deep meads of Cheshire I never saw animals in such sleek condition.

On another occasion we struck off the beaten road to visit an ancient burial-place of the Aborigines. I am not sure that the Governor, who is properly observant of the rites and superstitions of the natives, would have approved of our intrusion on the tapued resting-place of departed chieftains, nor is it certain that we should have escaped scot-free had a party of short-tempered Maoris witnessed the sacrilege. As it was, we dismounted at the entrance of a kind of cavern, shaded by stunted old trees, and without ceremony entered the sepulchre—where, in a series of natural niches of the rock, were piled a mass of human osseous remains, the skulls being placed at the top. Among these latter were a few bearing indelible proofs of the owners


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having finished their earthly career in some skirmish where weightier weapons than sprigs of blackthorn had been wielded, and where the “knocking down” had not been practised for “love.” A gentleman residing not far from this Golgotha has upon his chimney-piece a skull on which more bumps had been raised than were ever dreamt of by Spurzeim's philosophy. The cranium had been split so as entirely to alter the form of one side, and to leave a dent in which one's hand might have been laid. Yet this desperate wound had evidently healed completely; and the original owner had perhaps lived many years afterwards—lived doubtless to take bloody “utu” for his cracked crown, and to dine upon the dealer of the blow. The stroke appeared to have been inflicted with the stone Meri, or club.

One day I joined an expedition by water, having for its object a visit to a forest of the Kauri pine, the pride of the New Zealand Sylva. This tree does not grow in the immediate vicinity of Auckland, nor does it at the present day, whatever it may have formerly done, flourish further south than the Wanganui River. It is the most majestic of the pine family, not excepting the Araucaria Excelsa, or Norfolk Island Pine.

On a fine sultry morning, 72° in the shade, the harbour-master's barge took us on board, and after a mixed sailing and rowing passage of some 10 miles up the Waitemata harbour, entered Ranger's creek, a narrow arm of the same, having banks covered with fine trees, among which the Pohutakawa, with its huge twisted branches and splendid tufts of scarlet flowers, dropped both boughs and blossoms into the salt stream


  ― 144 ―
at its foot. This tree, the red flower apart, reminded me more of the British oak than any other I had seen in the Australasian colonies. It has some of its qualities too, being very hard and durable, and much used in ship-building. At the furthest extremity of the creek we found Mr. ——'s timber dépôt and cottage, which, nestled in the heart of the New Zealand bush, is not inaptly designated “The Retreat”—just the place whence any one a degree more sociable than Alexander Selkirk would have retreated without beat of drum. Mr. —— “cuts his stick” too, but not in so dastardly a manner. With his pleasing wife, his chubby children, his stout arm, and his staunch boat, which enables him to communicate with the town, this tip-top sawyer appears to be both a happy and a thriving man. In our scrambling walk to the uplands, (where stand the nearest kauris as yet spared by his axe,) he proved a most intelligent and obliging companion. There was scarcely a stick of this timber worth “falling” left near the creek; those so situated are sure to be the first victims; for the trouble of carriage to the waterside from a distant part of the forest, detracts, of course, from the value of the staple; and, where labour is gold, it is easy to conceive that the cost of dragging a spar about the size of a three-decker's main-mast over hill and dale, rock and gully and swamp, must be no trifle.

In the former days of the desultory settlement of the country by the English, before the Government had taught the natives their own value, these people assisted for almost nominal pay in the transport of the logs. They know better at present—when for a lazy day's


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work on the roads, they are paid 2s. or 2s. 6d. from the military chest, more than many an over-worked labourer at Home can earn for his family in twice that time.

Mr. or rather Captain ——, (for so he is commonly styled,) showed us one tree just felled about 6 feet in diameter with about 50 feet of perfectly straight wood. There was another grand stick nine feet in diameter, a slice of which would have made a round table of 27 feet, at which King Arthur and his knights might have conveniently caroused without stint of elbow-room. It was still standing in all its glory; but the fatal “blaze” on its trunk, and an ominous looking “scaffold pit” at its foot, prefigured its destruction. This tree seemed to have about 50 feet of bole, little diminishing in size, before the branches divaricated, and was calculated to contain about 8 or 9,000 feet of solid timber. This was not a particularly fine stem, however, for some have 100 feet of straight wood, with a fine head towering high above the surrounding forest. The Kauri (Dammera Australis) is coniferous, resinous, and has an elongated box-like leaf. It grows commonly on poor clayey soil.

Wherever a first class tree had been levelled, its grave, the saw-pit, yawned in close proximity; there its huge corpse is carved into planks, coaxed down the hill to a wooden tramway, and thus brought to boat at “the Retreat,” and to book at Auckland.

The timber is particularly good for deck-planking and scantling. It is also used for topmasts and yards of large ships. On one knoll in the forest, which the thickness and ropiness of the creeping plants rendered very difficult of approach, we found a group of thirteen


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fine young Kauris varying in girth from a quarter cask to a hogshead, all apparently well known to the Captain. Our guide seemed to contemplate this promising family, as the Grand Turk or the Great Mogul might be supposed to view a group of handsome Circassian “girleens,” as yet too young for the Harem or Zenana. He lauded their tall and taper stems, and caressed with professional kindness their smooth rind. Wherever the axe had wounded any of these trees, the Kauri gum was oozing out in vast quantities, and the ground was thickly strewed with its hardened droppings. There are now, I am told, very few pines large enough and near enough to the settlements to invite destruction. The largest known tree of this species—known by the natives as the “Father of the Kauri,” is said to be growing, and in good health near Mercury Bay, and to measure no less than seventy-five feet in circumference at the base.

Somewhat further up the Waitemata—after having quitted the Retreat—we landed upon a small island, on which, among the surrounding wilderness, we had observed a picturesque cottage and some land under culture. The former we found locked up and deserted, although evidently furnished, and a really beautiful and extensive garden, full of European flowers, fruits, and vegetables, running in rank luxuriance to waste. Woman's hand was apparent in the training of the roses and clematis on the latticed verandah, and in other trifling embellishments. The annals of this now lonely spot might have told of shortlived happiness, of competence rashly squandered, of ruin and desolation


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where once were joy and peace — a gradation too common in colonial life. Perhaps some romantic pair burning to realize the fair Hinda's

“Fancy's wanderings,
Had wish'd this little isle had wings,
And we within its fairy bowers
ere wafted off to seas unknown,
Where not a pulse could beat but ours,
And we might live, love, die alone!”

Perhaps like the Moslem Maid—and many another man and maiden in real as well as poetic life—they had found

“It could not last—'Twas bright, 'twas heavenly, but 'tis past!”

Meanwhile our party were all expending a vast deal of sentimental conjecture upon the subject before us—for there were fair and gentle ladies of the number—when one of the boatmen growled out that the owners had “cut away for a spell to Sydney or somewheres” upon business or pleasure—thus leaving their home and its contents to the tender mercies of the homeless Maori, well knowing that, with scarcely an exception, this people would respect the closed doors of an absent Pakeha.

In our sail back to Auckland we passed at anchor, refitting, the Missionary brig John Wesley, a beautiful vessel in every point, and, as I was told, splendidly fitted up within—a yacht, in short, worthy of the most seaworthy of the Cowes-frequenting peers. The gilded beading along her bends, and the glittering mouldings of her stern, together with the accounts of her interior


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luxuries, contrasted unpleasantly, in my mind, with her name and duties.

This evening, after dinner, the Governor entertained a select party of Aborigines with an exhibition of the magic lanthorn. His swarthy and not over-sweet guests squatted on the floor in solemn silence, and maintained perfect gravity and decorum during the more ordinary passages of the spectacle—only testifying their admiration by an interjectional grunt, or their recognition of the object represented by pronouncing its name—“Teema,” steamer—“Hoia,” soldier, &c. But when, in the character of showman, I manœuvred the double slides, under the operation of which a plum-pudding was seen to blow up just as the clown was sticking his fork in it; or the huge eyes were made to roll in the head of a monstrous ogre, their childish glee broke forth unrestrained, and it became impossible to prevent some of them from violating the old nursery commandment, “Look with your eyes and not with your fingers;” for three or four great bushy heads were soon shadowed forth on the focus, and a dozen great black hands begun to manipulate the surface of the magic tablet. Like Quixotte's showman, I began to fear for my puppets; but all passed off quietly! As for me I made the utmost possible allowances for their excitement; for, next to Punch, although immeasurably below that autocrat of mimes, the magic lanthorn ranks, in my memory of by-gone enjoyments, as the most attractive of minor spectacles.

Not less amusing than the evening pastime I have just noticed was the presentation by the Governor, the following morning, of a horse to Te Hao Hao, the Taupo


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Chief. On the steed being brought to the door this provincial laird was so overjoyed at his acquisition—although of a surety the animal was no beauty!—that he scrambled without delay or ceremony upon its bare back, mounting on the wrong side (if there can be a wrong side to a gift horse!) and disappeared as quickly over the other. He had probably never before seen a horse, so there was more reason to wonder at his spirit than at his lack of equitation. Like many others I know in more civilized countries, he was a “bold bad (horse) man.”

The natives are beginning to appreciate the value of all live stock—especially horses; and in agriculture they are making rapid advances. Seeing, therefore, that they have nothing to pay for land, they will ere long be formidable rivals of the settlers in the produce markets.

January 1st, Auckland, therm. 70° in the shade.—I have now been more than three weeks under the influence of the “wet, rough, and tempestuous climate” of New Zealand; and during that period have seen neither cloud, rain, mizzle, or even mist; plenty of wind and dust, however,—dust that would not shame Sydney, Melbourne, or Adelaide—dust in every degree of granulation, from pellets the size of a pea to that subtile powder that is blown through the fibres of your innermost raiment. Warm and cool weather there has been; but he must be in want of a grumble who could call it either disagreeably hot or cold.

The new year was opened this morning by the grand ceremony of the publication of the new charter for the government of the colony, followed by the inauguration of the present Governor as Governor-in-Chief. There was


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in the gardens of the viceregal palace a large assemblage of her Majesty's white, brown, and whity-brown subjects, in red jackets and blue jackets, black coats, brown coats, and petty-coats, silks and satins, mats and blankets, shark's oil and marechâle—a motley crowd.

In front of the house was drawn up the Grenadier “Guard of Honour,” of the 58th Regiment, stiff and motionless—a scarlet wall coped with black. With the towering bear-skin cap—now no more—these strapping fellows made even the tallest Maoris look diminutive. Around the guard, and in strong contrast of posture—many in bare skins also—stood, squatted, and lounged in lazzaroni attitudes on the soft turf, a host of brawny savages, with their wives and children, staring in mute surprise at the, to them, unmeaning ceremony of swearing in the Governor and his officers. The two objects which seemed most to attract the notice of Te Hao Hao and other natives from the interior, were the big drum of the band and the big wigs, crisp with curled horse-hair, of the Crown Law-officers. The latter, I was told, were the theme of lively discussion and dispute. They had no such opportunity of bringing the matter to the test as fell to the well-known red Indian chief, in the charming tale of the Prairie Bird, I think—who, having captured on the war-path a French valet, had twisted his left hand in the hair of his victim, and was brandishing the scalpel for the circular cat, when his prisoner, making a desperate plunge for his life, left his peruke between the fingers of the astonished Potawotami, (or whatever sept of two-legged tigers he belonged to,) and effected his escape while the savage still meditated on the miracle.




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The inauguration was followed by a parade of some 700 native Christians divided into companies under constituted leaders, each company wearing a distinct uniform of coloured calico, with caps of green flax-leaf or other simple invention. In passing down the ranks it was painful to see how many of these poor people were suffering under scrofulous affections,—a taint for which they may thank their early communication with white nations. At the request of some of the European spectators, a grand war-dance succeeded, in which nearly all the male natives present and a few of the females took part. I was told, however, by some of the military officers, who had seen it enacted under all the fierce zest of a preparative for deeds of blood, that this was a very tame representation of the national dance. The peace-establishment war-dance was quite horrible enough for my taste. The grimaces were hideous beyond all conception—eyes upturned till nothing but the whites were visible, tongues protruded past all probable power of recal, diabolical grins, savage frowns, bitter smiles, hisses, groans, shudderings audible as well as visible, fearful distortions and quiverings of body and limb; the whole accompanied by a recitative chant, ending with a terrific and universal roar (like 10,000 bears among the bee-hives), a stamp that shook the ground, a grand leap into the air, and a final relapse into quietude.

The scene impressed me so disagreeably, that after gazing for a few minutes upon the fiendish faces of the performers, I strolled round their flank, to take a look at the women and children who were stationed behind; and, having satisfied my curiosity, and had two or three


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wives offered me, I was returning close along the rear of the four-deep line of bounding and yelling demons, when, at some secret signal, the whole troop performed the evolution of “right about turn” so suddenly and with so stunning a shout, as nearly to tumble me backwards over a group of whyenees and piccaninnies, who were sprawling on the turf, and who appeared highly amused at my momentary rufflement of nerves. The most agreeable feature in this dance is the wonderfully correct measure in the eyes, limbs, and voices, without the assistance of fugleman, in so numerous a body. In other respects this Maori national dance is a degree more barbarous than the jig and the strathspey.

An acquaintance of mine, who has travelled much throughout these islands, saw a war-dance at Roturua, performed by 350 natives, nearly all having fire-arms, who were about to avenge the death of two native teachers. The hollow earth of that country of hot springs and smothered volcanic fires resounded with their furious stampedo.

The most animated Maori dance I ever witnessed took place in the barrack square of Paramatta, in New South Wales, where the head-quarters of the 58th were stationed. A certain number of the men, who had served a campaign in New Zealand, had so well picked up the peculiarities of the natives, in tone, gesture, and costume, that the effect was really startling, when, suddenly called from the lighted ball-room at midnight, (for the officers were giving a ball,) the spectator's eye encountered the half naked and painted group of sham-savages, who, by the flare of torches, were engaged, at


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a discreet distance, in the evolutions of the war-dance. One man of the band was exceedingly successful in his representation of a chief making a war-speech,—imitating the language, and running up and down the circle of his squatting and listening adherents, in a manner precisely like that I afterwards saw performed by old Te Rauperaha.

The war-dance and song is the Maori pibroch. It stimulates to a sufficient degree of ferocity for bloody deeds a people who, when unexcited, have a good deal of what Lamb calls “animal tranquillity.” The venerable Te Whero-Whero delivered himself of a mild but grave rebuke on its being introduced, in mockery, on this occasion. “Such things are finished now, let them be forgotten,” said the noble old leader of 10,000 Waikato warriors.

Our war-dance broke up with a flourish of hanisnote in the air; and all the distorted countenances relaxed without effort into broad good humour,—for the next, and, (as far as the natives were concerned,) the closing act in celebration of the New Year, was a feast of bread and jam to the whole party assembled, perhaps 1,000 Maoris. There is nothing to be said about it, except that a few shillings or pounds more would have been well laid out in the business; for, as it was, the slices of bread looked as if they had been first jammed and then well scraped, so slight was the fruity discoloration of the staff of life. Fortunately the guests had never heard of Do-the-boys Hall!

If the Maoris of the better order are beginning to be


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ashamed of their barbarous dances, it may well be supposed that cannibalism is at present a delicate subject of conversation with a native any way ameliorated. The Maoris are indeed heartily ashamed of the practice, although they confess its existence. I believe that deliberate slaughter, with intent to eat, was never common in New Zealand, although I have heard that interchanges of baskets of choice joints of human flesh have been frequently made (like turkeys and game at Christmas at home,) between some of the ancient chiefs, to whom I had the honour of being presented at the Government-house, Auckland. As for one's enemy in battle—when a man has killed him, he may as well eat him—thinks the Maori warrior. There is no need for a commissariat department when the soldier depends upon his firelock and sabre for his food;—no need of exhortations to gallant deeds when he wins by them at once a battle, renown, revenge, and his rations!

Some English sage asserts that the worst use you can put a man to is to hang him. The Maori thinks that you can hardly make a better use of him than to eat him. If the savage fail to fulfil the most difficult perhaps of all Christian precepts, “love your enemies,” during their life-time,—at least he likes them, he relishes them, he makes much of them, he is fond of them, in short—after death and proper cookery! Horrible and incredible are the tales of cannibal voracity and excess in the history, written and legendary, of these islands. Far be it from me to enter upon them.

A missionary Clergyman, now alive, once saw forty ovens filled with human flesh, in full operation. It were


  ― 155 ―
well—I was about to say it were well, if the Maoris had always confined their man-eating to their foes, or even to the sexual signification of the term man. My meaning, of course, is, that it is an aggravation of a brutal habit to kill and eat man or woman in cold blood—still worse when the devourec is wife or child. My acquaintance and subsequent fellow-passenger, Taraia with the yellow tusks, is said to have killed as many wives as Bluebeard or Henry “of ours;”—il fit plus—he ate them! I felt squeamish, I confess, about shaking hands with this gentleman when introduced, but I exchanged manual greeting, doubtless, with many other equally distinguished Anthropophagists.

A good story appeared lately in an Australian newspaper, as extracted from “Sharpe's Magazine.” It is too long for admission, but the gist lies as follows:—

A zealous missionary, discovering that one of his proselytes possessed two wives, which was contrary to Christian bonos mores, the good pastor recommended the chief, whose conscience also stung him upon the subject, to retain her whom he loved best, and to put away the other, taking care to provide for her properly. The Maori promised obedience, although it went sore against his heart. Not long afterwards he visited the missionary, and declared himself quite happy in mind, for he had only one wife now. “You have done well, my friend,” said the worthy minister: “And the other—how have you provided for her?” “Me eat her!” replied the other, with a chuckle of self-approbation. This was certainly one way to “put away” a surplus wife!

Although gradually dying away in New Zealand, if


  ― 156 ―
not entirely obsolete, this horrible custom is still actively and openly carried on in some of the more northern islands of the Pacific. So completely is it a matter of course in the island of Tanna (I think), that a brother staff officer, who made a tour there in 1849, informed me that, the two chief articles in the meat market being swine's flesh and human flesh, the only distinctive names by which they are known are “long pig” and “short pig”—the former being given to the man, I suppose, on account of his stupid habit of walking on his hind legs only.

It is agreeable to know that white man's flesh is, according to cannibal epicurism, considered salt and bitter; yet in cases of short commons it is to be feared that, even in New Zealand, the “dura illia Maörum” have accommodated themselves to the diet! In some of the South Sea islands white meat is preferred, and whole crews of sandal-wood-seeking vessels have been devoured. My naval brother relates, in his work published in 1848, that in Borneo, some tribes in punishment of crime, condemn the criminal to be killed and eaten.note

Are you quite sure, reader, that Tomati Waka, or other patriotic Maori, might not challenge us to prove that cannibalism was not practised by the British up to a late period in the dark ages—long after the Romans had condescended to conquer and civilize us, as we are now doing for the Maoris? Are you quite sure that human flesh did not form one of the standing dishes of King Arthur's Round Table? If they did not eat men—what meat did they eat? It is clear—and this, I think, is


  ― 157 ―
rather an original observation—it is clear that although there were sheep, and oxen, and calves, and deer, in Britain at that time—neither beef, mutton, veal, or venison could have existed at any date long anterior to the Norman conquest—for these are all French words!

January 3d. Auckland.—H.M. ship Inflexible weighed and made sail at 6 P.M. for the Bay of Islands and for Wellington, with a prospect of a lengthened voyage round the Middle and Southern Islands—passengers, his Excellency the Governor-in-chief and Mrs. Grey, Major-General Pitt, commanding the Forces, their suites, the native chiefs Te Whero-Whero, Te Rauperaha, Taniwha, Taraia, Charlie, their wives (old Rauperaha had two) and their suite: there were also on board an officer and seventy-five men bound to “the Bay,” the whole, with myself, forming a tolerably large party—intolerably large to nineteen out of twenty captains of men-of-war, whose love for “idlers” as passengers is too well known to need remark. How many out of twenty would have relished having the quarter-deck lumbered day and night with a host of filthy savages and their families, with their bedding and its inmates! Our captain was the soul of good-humour and hospitality. May his shadow never be less! unless he particularly desires its diminution.

We left Auckland, as I have said, at 6 P.M. one evening, and the next morning we arose and found ourselves safely anchored abreast of the military station of Wahapu, in the Bay of Islands. Oh! the blessing of steam as a travelling agent! A few weeks later it fell to my waning star to perform the same trip in a sailing


  ― 158 ―
vessel, when four mortal days of rough work were spent in compassing what Her Majesty's steam-sloop performed with perfect ease and comfort during the few hours passed in a good dinner and a sound night's repose. The Bay of Islands is a splendid frith, running eight or ten miles into the heart of the country. The general aspect of the land enclosing it, although finely shaped into hill and valley, is repulsive from the volcanic nature of the soil. There is excellent anchorage within the bay, especially in the well-known cove of Kororarika, or Russell. Wahapu appeared to me the most attractive point in its wide circuit, except perhaps the missionary station of Pahia, which exactly confronts its military neighbour on the opposite side of the Bay. As a post whether for attack or defence, nothing could be worse than Wahapu. The cantonment, barrack-yard and magazines are situated on a flat a few feet above high water-mark, and its rear and flanks are pressed upon and commanded within pistol-shot by a crescent of steep hills. It is a perfect soldier-trap, in short. Falling into an ambush is bad enough, but habitually residing in one is past all joke. But since barracks are not likely to be erected on a proper site, the old store-houses rented for the detachment must suffice. The post is useless for the defence of Kororarika, seven miles of almost impassable country separating the two places. By sea the distance is not more than two or three miles. Indeed, without a flotilla the garrison might be said to be in a state of continual blockade, for by water alone could they make any effective movement if their services were suddenly required.




  ― 159 ―

Upwards of 250 men of the 58th and 65th regiments are now shut up in this wretched little place. The General inspected the detachments and their barracks, and it was surprising to see how comfortable they had contrived to make themselves in quarters so unsuitable.

The commandant's house is prettily situated in a tolerable garden about half way up the declivity, a most inviting position for a surprise—to guard against which, as well as to protect the cantonment, a small field-work was thrown up on the crest looking over a most extensive and cheerless prospect, a perfect sea of fern-covered downs and ravines, the soil of a whitish clay and miserably poor. A rear-guard, less distant from the main post, has, however, lately been substituted for the former work, now dismantled. The junior officers are quartered in neat cottages along the beach, and might readily be picked off down their own chimneys by an enterprising enemy from the high cliffs, against which their backs are resting. With all its defects the Bay of Islands is a favourite quarter with all ranks of the soldiery. There is “very good boating,” whatever that may mean; some shooting up the creeks, and excellent fishing. The soldiers were pulling out the small fry by scores within the barrack bounds, and their wives and children were carrying them off “all alive oh!” to the pot not a dozen yards distant from their native element. The climate here is delightful, milder and less boisterous, it is said, than any other part of New Zealand.

When the military denizens of Wahapu, tired of rustic sports, sigh for the pleasures of “the flaunting town,” Kororarika opens her arms to them; and a deputy


  ― 160 ―
adjutant-general had to rub his eyes and look twice, before he could “realize” that the wild-looking figure, straw-hatted, moustached, and wearing, in lieu of the now cashiered surtout, a blue serge shirt with a belt confining it at the waist, (a truly sensible dress by the way,) was in truth a real live subaltern of foot, lounging up and down the single street of this baby-house Portsmouth, and liable to martial law.

I have mentioned that my trip to New Zealand was mainly occasioned by a desire to visit its several military posts and the spots rendered locally, if not generally, classical by the struggles between the rebellious, or patriotic, natives on the one part, and the British troops assisted by the loyal, or recreant, Maoris—as the case may be—on the other; and to make notes thereof which might be useful at the head quarters of the Australasian Command in case of further warfare. Circumstances prevented my tour being so extended as I had previously chalked out; but they favoured me singularly in one respect, namely, that the movements of the Inflexible, so long as I was her passenger, corresponded chronologically and topographically, as it were, with the chief events of the late war, so that my personal journal and the brief and purposely informal outline of military operations, which I have thrown together from my more complete but drier memoranda, march side by side, and form a concurrent narrative. I only fear that it may still be too much overlaid with military matter to suit the general reader.

It was at this spot that the long, expensive, obstinately sustained, and, by this wild people, cleverly conducted


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war may be said to have commenced. The settlement of Kororarika, or Russell, had been founded many years before the British Government determined to assume the legislative dominion of New Zealand. The white population, or a great proportion of it, was, as stated by competent authority, “the very skum of the Australian colonies”—a character by no means flattering, reference being had to the sort of “devil's broth” from which, forty years ago, this skimming had taken place.

The Maori appreciation of European society was, however, at that time not very discriminating, and, already awake to the advantages of trade, they tolerated the English residents and visitors through whose agency they received European articles in exchange for the native exports of timber, flax, whale-oil, &c., which found their way to Sydney and thence to England. The storekeepers and taverns of Russell drove also a considerable and lucrative traffic with whaling ships of all nations which put into this snug little cove to refresh and refit; and I fancy the “loosest fish” that ever floundered on a deck—notorious as Jack is for headlong outbreak after a long cruise—might safely and openly take his wildest fling without risk of shocking the morals or offending the prejudices of this very liberal—some say very licentious—little emporium. Considering therefore its immense distance from the Mother country and its isolated and defenceless position, it had become a place of some importance, and the Bay of Islands was well known to all the rovers of the South Seas.

The imposition of customs, or harbour charges, by the local government drove the whalers and other marine


  ― 162 ―
customers from Kororarika to the purely native and untaxed harbours; and the introduction of law and order, as a consequence of Government interference, was equally unpopular with the primitive and unshackled Maori and the unprincipled and perhaps outlawed white man; the latter of whom did not hesitate to excite the former to resist the new, and to him far from improved state of things. Foreigners of more than one nation, jealous of England's footing on these fine islands, as well as unpropitious to a regular form of Government and the exaction of port duties, are known to have secretly stirred up the jealous and excitable natives by their misrepresentations; and rumour has not spared the Jesuit mission the imputation of having undermined the progress of English rule in the mole-like modus operandi which has been ascribed to that religious body. Indeed a high public officer makes a distinct accusation to that effect.

The causes of ill-blood between the races must have been of gradual growth and of various kind. Governor Hobson enumerates among them the mania for land-jobbing which pervaded every class, and had extended to the natives. In 1840 he truly prophesied that when the conflicting claims should be “brought under the consideration of the Commissioners appointed to investigate them, they would create a violent ferment through every class of society both native and European. He knew perfectly well that the former would resist the execution of all awards that might be unfavourable to them; and that it would require a strong executive, supported by a military force, to carry such decisious into effect.” The


  ― 163 ―
avidity for the possession of land on the part of the whites, the low price at which they obtained it at first from the native, and the high price for which it was sold soon after to other speculators, betrayed to the Maori the true value of the most precious commodity he had at his disposal. One tribe, eager for land, claims a tract by right of conquest, and sells it to some applicant not over particular about title. Anon comes the original owner, one of the tribe driven forth twenty years before, and puts in his claim, either ejecting the helpless squatter who had rented or bought land of the jobber, or exacting by main force some additional remuneration. In vain he displays, if he have it, the parchment deed of sale, duly engrossed at Sydney and executed by both parties; for one may reasonably doubt whether a legal instrument like the following would convey any very distinct idea to a heathen Maori—especially if it was convenient for him not to understand its provisions. For instance:—

This Endenture made the——of——in the year of our Lord 184 between Hoky Poky Bloody Jack and other chiefs on the part of the Wai-wot-a-row tribe and Cimon Sharkey of Bloomsbury on the other part—&c.… And whereas the said Hoky Poky and Bloody Jack &c. have agreed with the said Cimon Sharkey for the absolute sale to him of the piece or parcel of land and hereditaments herein after described being &c.—&c.… at or for the price of six tomahawks two pounds of gunpowder one dozen of blankets one iron pot twenty-four Jews'-harps and a gimblet Now this Indenture witnesseth that in pursuance of such agreement and in consideration of the said six tomahawks &c. by the said C. S. to said


  ― 164 ―
H.P. and B. J. in hand well and truly paid &c. he the said H. P. and B. J. have granted bargained sold and released and by these presents do grant bargain sell and release unto C. S. his heirs and assigns all that parcel or parcels of land situate &c.—running fourteen miles back from the river frontage together with all the woods ways paths passages timber water-courses mines metals profits appendages and appurtenances and all and singular other the premises &c.....And the same may be held and enjoyed by the said Cimon Sharkey his heirs and assigns without any let suit molestation eviction ejection interruption or denial whatever by the said Hoky Poky &c. according to the true intent and meaning of these presents”—(which intent and meaning we should like to know how my friend Hoky Poky would ever arrive at!)

This precious instrument concludes perhaps with the following lucid explication — “always provided anything hereinbefore contained to the contrary notwithstanding!”——

The trespassing of the cattle of Europeans on the unfenced Kumera lands of the natives was a common cause of quarrel. These lands are tapu, the intruding beast is shot, the Saxon retaliates in some manner, and bloodshed, perhaps, follows.

Governor Fitz Roy writes, that in nearly all the affrays “the white man appears to have been the aggressor, not always unintentionally. Ignorance of language, customs, boundaries, or tapu marks, has not caused so many quarrels as insult, deceit, or intoxication. Thus while the missionary was endeavouring to christianise—


  ― 165 ―
and was eminently successful for a time—his numerous opponents were diffusing their vicious influence, and demoralizing the followers of their depraved examples.”

It is indeed wonderful, how early and how strong a hold the Christian religion obtained over a large body of the New Zealanders, considering that the majority of the white population, in the days of the first missionaries, lived in open and flagrant violation of its leading tenets. It may be regarded as one of the many signal proofs of the destined spread of the Creed of Peace among all the nations of the earth. The chart of the globe is dotted over with this species of moral inoculation. In this sacred cause even evil will be made to tend to good. The insatiate thirst for mammon, which is now drawing thousands to the yellow sands of California, is introducing Saxon blood into those distant regions, and with it, slowly perhaps but surely, the blessings of Christianity.

It was on account of the growing ill-will between the English and the natives, that the first Governor applied for a military force to be stationed in New Zealand—writing, that owing to the dispersed state of the British population and the number of points to be guarded, he should consider that not less than four companies ought to be applied to this service—which, with the frequent visits of ships of war and the formation of police and militia, would, he thought, be sufficient to maintain the dignity of the Crown, and secure the due execution of the laws. In consequence of this requisition the Governor of New South Wales was directed to send a force from


  ― 166 ―
Sydney; and accordingly a party of the 80th Regt., consisting of three officers and eighty-four men under Major Bunbury, with a commissariat officer and an ordnance storekeeper, were despatched from Sydney to the Bay of Islands, and reached that place—then the seat of government in New Zealand—early in April 1840. This was the first regular distribution of a military force for the service of these Islands—although not the first time the Maoris had made acquaintance with British redcoats. I fancy the first soldiers ever seen by the New Zealanders must have been Captain Cruise's detachment of the 84th. This officer, who wrote one of the earliest books on New Zealand, commanded a convict guard on board the Dromedary store-ship, which, after landing prisoners at Sydney and Hobart Town, went on to seek Kauri spars at Kaikatera, in the year 1824. They did not come into hostile collision with the natives.

The detachment of the 80th had not long to wait for employment; for in less than two months after their arrival, a party was sent to quell a disturbance between some American seamen and the inhabitants of a native Pah belonging to an influential chief. It was a drunken night-brawl, and the military were placed in a most unmilitary predicament, as armed peacemakers between two furiously excited opponents, also well armed. In the darkness and confusion shots were fired by some civilians, and one or two soldiers also fired without orders. The military rescued one or two whale-boats which the natives had seized in retaliation of some riotous conduct on the part of the Yankees. No one was hurt on either side except a drunken sailor and one native.


  ― 167 ―
Yet this first and trifling shock between the native and the English soldier was certainly not forgotten by the former.

In taking a retrospect of the history of New Zealand as far as I know it, I cannot but come to the conclusion, that a trial should have been made to rule this people without the display of military force. It would, I think, have been good policy to have at least deferred the introduction of troops as an element of the nascent government of the country; and I found this opinion solely upon the peculiar character of the natives. In the neighbouring continent of New South Wales, a subdivision of infantry might march in perfect safety, as far as effective resistance from the blacks is concerned, from Cape York to Port Phillip; but in New Zealand, with its forty or fifty thousand men able and willing to bear arms, and to bear them right gallantly, as has been too well proved, the services of one or two hundred—still less eighty red-coats—could avail nothing in case of a general outbreak, and in any minor local disturbance their employment for purposes of intimidation, or for those more properly belonging to a police force, would, if vigorously applied, cause heavy loss of life, and there-by draw the attention of these wily and pugnacious people to the consideration of the real strength or weakness of their white opponents, and cause them to form plans of vengeance,—whilst the slightest failure would ruin the prestige which is in truth the strongest weapon of the civilized and disciplined few against the barbarian many. A trifling military force could afford no real security to the Government, although it encouraged the


  ― 168 ―
ill-disposed white to insult and oppress the natives, relying for impunity upon his being backed by the soldiers. A parade of armed force, too, naturally generates a correspondent armament in a warlike race.

The French, if I mistake not, opened their operations against the comparatively tiny power of Tahiti with five or six ships of war and 1,200 men.

Had the local Government known as much in 1840 as they do now of the native character, and had the unlucky land question been more cannily managed, instead of being so handled as to cement the natives in one feeling of ill-will towards us, I believe that by acting with perfect good faith and consistent firmness, the majority of the Christian chiefs and people might always have been enlisted on the side of trade and tranquillity, and would have aided in repressing the lovers of turbulence and disorder. The internecine strife of tribes in this country is notorious; their feuds, handed down as heirlooms, are so deeply cherished, that the injustice and oppression on our part must have been cruel indeed that could have leagued them in any common cause against us. But it is not always for mere purposes of defence that Governors of incipient colonies desire the presence of troops, few or many. A country struggling for a commerce, settlements scrambling for trade, a local Government at its wits' end for a revenue, find a wonderful resource in the presence of a military chest, and of some hundreds of officers and soldiers as regular and solvent customers. Thus, accord such a colony a company, and they will ask a wing; give them that, and they


  ― 169 ―
will soon send their plate for a whole corps—and perhaps get up a little war to keep it there!

An apt instrument in the hands of the enemies of order and the British Government, was found in the now famous Heki. This turbulent warrior is not a chief by descent, and, perhaps fortunately for the fate of the British settlements, has never been either liked or much respected by the majority of the real chieftains. He lived as a boy in the capacity of servant at the Church of England missionary station at Pahia. Accompanying, as I have heard, the worthy Mr. Marsden to New South Wales, and residing in his service at Paramatta, he was continually found absent from his duties and was as constantly discovered in the Barrackyard, looking on at the drill. His missionary education so far profited him that he had read as well as “heard of battles,” and had longed, like the less ambitious Norval, not only “to follow to the field some warlike lord”—but to be himself that lord. The exterminator Hongi—Christian like himself by very loose profession—gave him his first lessons in war and his daughter in marriage. At length his longings took the peculiar form of cutting down the British flag-staff, which designing persons had taught him to regard as the symbol of Maori subjugation and slavery. This desire seems to have amounted to a kind of monomania. Three several and successive chops which he contrived to indulge in, do not seem to have diminished his appetite for cutting down Te Kara — the colour. Wound up for mischief Honi Heki commenced operations by sundry depredations on the white settlers—


  ― 170 ―
carrying off horses, cattle, boats, &c.; and in July 1844, on a trivial plea of having been insulted by a native woman married to an Englishman of Kororarika, he made his appearance at that settlement with a strong armed party of wild young men, who remained there for two days bullying and plundering the men, and brutally insulting the women. These unworthy élèves of the missionaries, “after performing prayers with arms in their hands,” proceeded in a body to the signal-hill, and cut down the flag-staff with great ceremony.

The police magistrate on this occasion dissuaded the male inhabitants from armed resistance of this savage inroad, although there were, it is said, a hundred men ready and willing to turn out under his orders. It was, perhaps, fortunate that this functionary had sufficient influence, and they sufficient forbearance, to sit quietly under such gross provocation. It was evidently Heki's main object to excite the whites to hostilities, in order to afford him and his ferocious associates some show of pretext for the commission of every horror whereof the man-brute is capable. Yet I must take leave to disbelieve that an English magistrate, with a hundred armed Englishmen at his back, would have counselled tame submission to a couple of hundred Maoris; or that, if such counsel had been given, a hundred Englishmen would have been found to follow it, and in so doing to see their wives and daughters insulted, and their property despoiled by the barbarians!

This first crusade against the standard of England by Heki was made in July 1844, and was, in fact, a deliberate


  ― 171 ―
declaration of war; for it was undertaken by previous and open arrangement, and, in spite of the remonstrances of the Missionaries, the Protector of Aborigines, and the Police Magistrate.

“Is Te Rauperaha to have all the honour of killing the Pakihas?” exclaimed the pseudo-Christian chief, adverting to the massacre of the Wairau, which occurred some ten months before,—a tolerably plain avowal of his intentions, and furnishing a motive for the evidently premeditated insults inflicted on these miraculously placid settlers of Kororarika; for, placid to a quakerish extent they must have been as a body, however individually intrepid, to have “turned the other cheek,” not only on this comparatively trivial occasion, but on that of the subsequent destruction of the place, which I shall presently have to describe.

If it be a sine quâ non that, where dominion is claimed, the standard of the claimant nation must be displayed, and if that standard be obnoxious in the eyes of the natives, it should surely be erected in some central spot of the settlement, where it could be protected by the residents. The unlucky flag-staff of Russell, on which the Government chose to hoist the red cross of England, was situated on the top of a high and rugged hill, surrounded by tangled ravines, half a mile from the town; and was, in fact, so placed as a signal-mast for telegraphing shipping outside the bay. The proper place for the standard would have been within the town stockade; and, surely, on the first occupation of a country where our welcome was so doubtful, and partial obstruction absolutely certain, no settlement ought to


  ― 172 ―
have been made or left without such a place of refuge for the inhabitants in case of need, and where a few sturdy soldiers might have defied any Maori attempt. A few such temporary strongholds, with some vigilant ships of war, would have given a sense of security which was, in fact, far from being enjoyed at this time by the European settlers in New Zealand. The fable of “the flag-staff” was like that of the “wolf and the lamb;” and Heki, in the character of the former ravenous animal, would have found other bone of contention to pick, if flag-staff there had been none.

At the time of the first fall of the flag at Kororarika, (which, as I have said, might be considered, and was, indeed, regarded by the Government and the settlers as a most significant declaration of hostility on the part of Honi Heki's faction,) the military force at Auckland, the new seat of Government, amounted to about 180 soldiers of all ranks, belonging to the 80th and 96th regiments.

Lieut.-Governor Fitz Roy, on hearing of Heki's outrages, immediately detached a small party—one officer and thirty men—to the scene of riot, and wrote a pressing requisition for a strong reinforcement to the Governor of New South Wales, who so promptly acted upon it, that on the 14th of the following month a detachment of 150 men of the 99th regiment, with two light guns, field equipage, stores and provisions, were disembarked at Kororarika, and encamped there. The Lt.-Governor himself soon afterwards arrived at the Bay of Islands in her Majesty's ship Hazard, and instantly caused to be put on board this ship and some other


  ― 173 ―
vessels a party of 210 soldiers, with which force, together with a body of armed seamen, he proposed to follow Heki into his fastnesses on the opposite shore of the Bay, and to punish him for his misdeeds. The expedition accordingly arrived off the Kiri-Kiri River, where the Governor received a message from a number of chiefs, many of them being of Heki's tribe, praying that the troops might not be landed in their district, and offering to make atonement, and to be responsible for the future good behaviour of the rebel Johnny. The force, therefore, returned to Kororarika, and the reinforcement from New South Wales was, in the following September, very magnanimously sent back to Sydney, pursuant to the desire of Governor Sir George Gipps.

This sudden demonstration of force, its encampment at Kororarika, and its rapid descent upon the enemy's coast, had, doubtless, a good effect upon the wiser and less warlike native leaders, whose consequent mediation between the Governor and Heki prevented a collision which, considering the weakness of the English force, and the determined character of the natives,—not then fully appreciated,—with the strong and difficult country through which the invasion was to be carried, might have proved disastrous for the British.

Prior to sending back the troops to New South Wales, the Lieut.-Governor called a convocation of the neighbouring chiefs, and he met them at Waimate, the Church Missionary settlement in the Bay. The conference between the English Governor and his officials, civil and military, the Missionary Clergy, the Maori leaders and their adherents, must have been a singular and interesting


  ― 174 ―
spectacle. His Excellency addressed the assembly in a speech full of indignation. He reminded them of the benefits wrought among them by the Missionaries, and explained to them that the Queen of England assumed the government of their islands for their own good, and to protect them from aggression by other nations; that the Flag was the sacred symbol of that protection. He laboured, in short, to prove that, in cutting down the flag-staff, they were felling the tree of liberty rather than the emblem of slavery—as it suited Heki's plans to consider this innocuous bit of bunting. The future alone will disclose which definition was the more apt! His Excellency closed his speech by a demand for a number of fire-arms to be given up by the assembled natives as an atonement of Heki's misconduct. Thereupon several chiefs sprung up, and, bringing about twenty guns, laid them at the Governor's feet. These he accepted in acknowledgment of Honi's errors, and immediately restored them to the Maoris. In return, his Excellency had to listen, through his interpreter, to some very long-winded and rigmarole speeches, (not, however, devoid of wild eloquence, and even of good feeling,) from the native chiefs, among whom the passion for oratory is very strong. No fewer than twenty-four men of note got upon their legs on this occasion. I subjoin a few specimens of these orations, or rather, their pith.

Moses Tawhai (a brave warrior, and staunch ally of the British afterwards) said,—“Welcome, Governor! your kindness is great. My heart has been roasted and cooked on account of this circumstance of Heki's. …


  ― 175 ―
Don't imagine that evil will entirely cease. It will not. You must expect more troubles from us; but when they come, settle them in this way, and not with guns and soldiers. Governor, I give you my first welcome, fully acknowledging you as Governor of this country.”

Anaru said,—“My people are a troublesome people. Do not be discouraged. Many Europeans have had troubles with the Maoris; but nothing very serious has ever taken place. Do not be discouraged. Governor, welcome! Remember, Heki is a child of Hongi, and has always been troublesome. Do not be discouraged.”

Tomati Waka, Nene, (our firmest native friend.)—“Governor, if that flag-staff is cut down again, we will fight for it: we will fight for it all of us. We are of one tribe, and we will fight for the staff and for our Governor. I am sorry that it has occurred; but you may return the soldiers. Return, Governor; we will take care of the flag; we, the old folks, are well-disposed, and will make the young folks so also.”

Hihiatoto (the would-be Quintius Curtius of the Maori race) then sprung up and said,—“I am the man who cut the staff down. Do not look after that man, Heki. Take me as payment. Who is Heki?—who is Heki? Take me!”

The self-sacrifice does not appear to have been accepted. Before leaving Waimate, his Excellency received the following characteristic letter from Heki:—

“Friend Governor,—This is my speech to you. My disobedience and my rudeness is no new thing. I


  ― 176 ―
inherit it from my parents, from my ancestors. Do not imagine that it is a new feature in my character. But I am thinking of leaving off my rude conduct towards the Europeans. Now, I say that I will prepare a new pole, inland at Waimata, and I will erect it in its proper place at Kororarika, in order to put an end to our present quarrel. Let your soldiers remain beyond sea and at Auckland. Do not send them here. The pole that was cut down belonged to me. I made it for the Maori flag, and it was never paid for by the English.

   “From your Friend,

   (Signed) “HONI HEKI POKAI.”

The hollow truce effected by the Koriro above noticed was of short duration. Enemies of England and order, national and denominational adversaries, were active in perverting the minds of the Maoris by every means—among which the practice of translating according to their views, and garbling passages from the local and English newspapers, was very effective. In January 1845, accordingly, Johnny Hicky (as the soldiers called him) made another gathering of the wild youngsters at his beck for any deed of mischief, and paid with them a nocturnal visit to the old object of his antipathy, the flag-staff, which had been duly re-erected, and was guarded by friendly natives. These recreant guardians, being connected with Honi's tribe, and unwilling, as they afterwards said, to shed blood for a bit of wood, made but a faint resistance. The axe was once more laid to the root of the staff; the red cross kissed the dust; and the rebel chief sent his compliments to the


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resident magistrate, to say that he would return in a couple of months or so to burn the Government buildings, and eject the Government officers from the settlement.

His Excellency, now convinced that the disaffected party had gained strength and were bent on coming into actual collision with the authorities, again applied to New South Wales for an accession of force—which however, owing to difficulty of obtaining tonnage for its transport and stress of weather, did not leave Sydney until the 11th March, the very day on which the third and crowning visitation of the Waimate Missionary pet to the doomed settlement of Kororarika occurred, when it was effectually surprised, taken, sacked, and burnt!

In the previous month H.M.S. Hazard had conveyed to that place from Auckland a detachment of fifty men of the 96th Regiment, with two subaltern officers—all that could be spared from the weak garrison of the capital; and they carried with them the materials for a musket-proof blockhouse to protect the already twice dishonoured flag-staff.

“The settlers,” relates Captain Fitz Roy, “were armed and drilled, although very reluctantly on their part. A strong stockade was erected as a place of safety for the women and children, and some light guns were mounted. No anxiety as to the result of any attack was entertained, but on the contrary there was rather over-confidence, and far too low an opinion of the native enterprise and valour.”

During the first days of March armed parties of


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natives collected in the neighbourhood of Russell, carrying off horses and destroying property. An armed boat followed the plunderers, and was fired upon by them. This was, I believe, the first shot of the New Zealand war. It was returned from the boat carronade. Another foray was attempted close to the village, but was prevented by a few shots from a party from the Hazard. These preliminaries prepared the English—or ought to have prepared them—for further troubles; but no one expected—no Englishman had a right to expect—the disastrous and disgraceful results of the 11th March, 1845.

Having brought my reader up to that period which may be looked upon as the opening of the Anglo-Maori war, I will, with his leave, conduct him also to the spot where the first blow was struck; and, having placed him by my side on the summit of the signal-hill, we will look forth over the scene of operations.

We are about three or four hundred feet above the sea, on a narrow platform of tolerably level ground, where a company of infantry could scarcely be paraded. It is as though we stood on the crest of a huge wave, surrounded by hundreds of similar waves with deep dark hollows between them. The flanks of these surging elevations and the gorges dividing them are thickly clad with fern, nearly man's height, and with stunted stormworn shrubs. This cluster of hills forms a rugged peninsula, three sides whereof are embraced by the devious waters of the Bay of Islands. The view across this fine estuary is remarkable for picturesque beauty. Various pretty islands gem its glassy bosom. On its


  ― 179 ―
opposite shore, some four or five miles distant, you descry the level plains of Victoria, where the first Government officer ever employed in New Zealand, Mr. Busby the Resident from New South Wales, first pitched his tent; and, further on, the green, sheltered and peaceful nook of the Waimate station, eloquent of Missionary thrift and emulative of ancient monastic acumen in choice of site. Beyond these the swelling ferny hills, rising gradually into mountains of wilder and grander form, lose themselves in the showery clouds common to this climate.

Rounding the head of the Bay, and passing over a huge frame-house marking the deserted seat of Government, Old Russell, we perceive the snug-looking but ill-chosen military Cantonment of Wahapu—not more than three miles from Kororarika by water, but separated by seven miles of rough hill and gully from this place, which it is intended to support. Approaching Kororarika from that direction, our eyes fall upon a mass of heights somewhat similar to that on which we stand, but of smaller extent and elevation, and between them, under our feet, the yellow crescent of Kororarika Cove, about three quarters of a mile in length. Accommodating itself to the curve of the beach, runs a double line of white-washed wooden houses, constituting the present town, arisen, though much reduced in size, from its ashes. At the furthest extremity thereof, close under the opposite buttress of the little cove, is seen a group of buildings, showing more of age and greater evidence of care and prosperity than its neighbours. This is the French Roman Catholic Missionary Station, presided over by Bishop Pompalier—the only portion of the town spared by the invaders.


  ― 180 ―
Immediately behind the town extends a somewhat swampy plain or common, backed by a low ridge of shrubby hills, which completes the semicircular enclosure of the settlement by high ground within musket range.

With its quiet anchorage, land-locked from prevailing winds, and its level site favourable for building, it is difficult to conceive a more convenient spot as a resort for whaling or other vessels seeking refreshment, repair, or recreation such as Jack ashore loveth; and, niched within a cluster of hills, with somewhat similar coves favourable for the landing of canoes in rear of them, and within half a mile, it is equally difficult to conceive a settlement, founded in the midst of a country of warlike savages, more vulnerable to attack and surprise;—except indeed its neighbour Wahapu. Half way up the ridge behind the village stand the Episcopal and Catholic places of worship—modest weather-board edifices. With the glass we can perceive several gun-shot holes in the front wall of the former, for which it was indebted to the broadside of the Hazard.

Near the base of the heights on which we stand, some blackened ruins and dismantled gardens, with two or three rusting carronades lying amongst them, denote the site of the stockaded house of Mr. Polack, blown up during the attack. Thence, the ascent to the Signal Hill is extremely steep—so steep as to be cut into steps of earth fronted with plank. The last object the eye rests on in completing the circle within its range, is the fallen flag-staff rotting where it fell, whilst the native-cut Kauri spar intended to replace it lies helplessly on the beach below, as if waiting for a centipede's power to crawl up


  ― 181 ―
to its appointed station! There are traces also of two block-houses—one protecting the flag-staff, the other below the dip of the hill, well posted to cross a fire with the town stockade and barrack, but affording no support to the upper block-house.

On the night of the 10th of March Heki and his veteran associate in arms and mischief, Kawiti, with a force variously computed at from 1,200 to 500 men, (the former chief afterwards declared that not more than 200 were in the attack, although 1,000 joined in the sacking,) landed their respective parties in the two coves of Onoroa and Matavia. The former disposed his men in close ambush among the ferny ravines in rear of the Signal Hill; and so favourable is the ground for such an operation that the chief and his foremost men lay undiscovered and unsuspected within a few yards of the block-house, biding their time with all the patience and motionless silence of the savage. So well matured were their plans to make the surprise complete, that they were not tempted to deviate from them by killing or capturing the junior of the two officers, who late that night passed close to one of their bands, little thinking of the fierce eyes that were glaring on him through the underwood skirting his path. Kawiti placed his followers in concealment close to the opposite flank of the settlement.

Although Heki, in accordance with Maori custom, had given the authorities of Kororarika a blustering promise of attack, and various and, if report be veracious, equally blustering preparations to meet it had been made, on the night in question no person, civil, naval, or military, dreamed of the cordon of lurking


  ― 182 ―
savages by which they were compassed round. Instead of lynx-eyed vigilance, careless carousing was the order of the day in many of the houses of the town; and, unless rumour lies, some of the most prominent heroes of the morning “bore their blushing honours” liberally bedewed with—grog! The valiance of these amateur warriors is undisputed, the source of its inspiration equally so. The professional belligerents, it appears, were perfectly on the alert—the little detachment of soldiers, disposed in the upper block-house and the barrack, sleeping with their loaded arms by their sides, and an armed body of seamen and marines, under the command of the acting commander of the Hazard, being stationed on shore for the night. The lower block-house was occupied by some twenty of the towns-folk, with three small guns mounted on a platform in front of it.

The weather favoured the assailants, for the morning of the 11th March broke over the earth in clouds and haze. At the first gleam of day the young ensign in charge of the block-house started with a few men, and with more zeal than prudence, to finish a breast-work on a height looking into Onoroa Bay, where a picquet had been posted during the day, at a distance, and separated by rugged ground from his post. This working party carried with them their entrenching tools and arms. Fifteen men were left under a corporal in the signal block-house. The lieutenant in command had repaired to the barrack to turn out his detachment, and the commander of the Hazard had proceeded with an armed party to complete a little field work for a gun on the spur of a hill commanding the road to Matavia Bay.


  ― 183 ―
The ensign had just broken ground when several shots from the side of Matavia attracted his notice, and he immediately fell back towards the block-house. Instead, however, of re-entering it, he unfortunately remained on a brow of the declivity overlooking the town, about 200 yards distant from the Flagstaff.

The same shots which had drawn the attention of the officer towards Matavia Bay, shots probably agreed upon as a signal of readiness for co-operation from Kawiti to Heki, attracted also the notice of the men at the upper or flagstaff block-house. Under the impression that his officer had been attacked, the corporal got his men under arms, and, with as little forethought as his superior had shown, advanced towards the brow of the hill, leaving only three or four men at the post. But finding that the firing was from the further side of the town, the gallant but out-witted non-commissioned officer was in the act of returning to his little fortress, when suddenly, and as if from the bowels of the earth, a strong body of well-armed Maoris sprung with loud yells out of the gulleys on its flanks and rear, one party of them rushing into the block-house, and instantly destroying its few defenders, another opening on the soldiers a heavy fire, which, as reports the gallant corporal, “repelled us back.” “Firing and retiring,” he retreated upon the officer's party, who, reforming the whole of his men, attempted to retake the lost block-house. In this he was frustrated by the fire of a cloud of native sharpshooters spread unseen among the brushwood, as well as from the captors of the post, when finding that these soldiers of nature were striving to throw a force between him and


  ― 184 ―
the lower block-house, his only rallying point, he retreated upon and took possession and command of it. And lucky it was he did so, for there were only a few civilians within it, and it was Heki himself with a chosen body that was about to attempt to take it by a rush. Indeed, he made more than one effort to do so after it was thus reinforced.

Meanwhile the Lieutenant of the 96th, and the naval Commander, had barely reached their posts, when the latter was attacked, as is said, by about 200 men, who, taking advantage of the darkness, their knowledge of the ground, and the cover afforded by the brushwood and flax tussocks, outflanking and outnumbering the English, gradually drove them, fighting hand to hand, back upon the town, killing and wounding several, but suffering severely themselves. Near an angle of the churchyard-fence, I was shown the spot where the gallant Captain Robertson cut down a stalwart chief, and received five desperate wounds while dealing sturdy blows right and left among the swarthy foes by whom he was encompassed.

Advancing “at the double” from the barrack across the flat to the succour of the marine force, Lieutenant Barclay, with his detachment, was so briskly attacked from the front and from his left flank as to bring him to a check, and finally to compel him to retire, with the naval party, whose ammunition had failed them, through the town and along the beach to the stockaded house, where he left a few men, and thence to the lower block-house, into which he threw his people just as its beleaguers, becoming more audacious, had pressed close


  ― 185 ―
up to its walls. Indeed, the junior officer had to call out from the top of the work, to his friends on the gun-platform below, that some of the savages had crawled through the brushwood to within fifteen paces of the guns.

Meanwhile, a considerable reinforcement of Maoris came pouring over the hills, and a large party, rushing down a gully, seized the barracks, of which, always indefensible and now deserted, they took possession. A gun on the platform opened upon the barrack to dislodge them, while the two others blazed away among the thickets in front, filled with skirmishing natives; and from all accounts their missiles were distributed so indiscriminately as to endanger friend and foe pretty equally. The story goes, indeed, that in the early part of the conflict some of the Jack-tars, when engaged with the enemy in the valley, threatened to go up and thrash the amateur artillerists, who were thundering away over their heads with all the impartiality of Jupiter Tonans.

The gallant Philpotts, an officer of the Hazard, who fell afterwards at Ohaiowai, proposed “to rush the hills” if supported by the soldiers, and drive off these daring savages; and although this measure was not acceded to by the lieutenant in command, a few soldiers and sailors dashed out, without orders, and cleared the front of the block-house. An attempt to retake the upper block-house was also proposed by a bold civilian, but his proposal was not seconded. Nor could it possibly have succeeded, the fern being filled with outlying savages close upon the work, and ready to cross their fire with their friends within it. What has been


  ― 186 ―
lost by an act of gross neglect can rarely be redeemed by one of gross temerity, although, perhaps, the commission of the former fault might account for and excuse the latter.

It was now mid-day. The women and children had been removed from the crowded rooms and cellars of the stockade to the shipping; and this fortunate migration had barely been completed, when, to put a climax to the confusion, the magazine within this building exploded, wounding several persons, and entirely destroying the place, the last refuge of the non-combatants. In consequence of this mishap, whereby the greater part of the spare ammunition was lost, a council of war was held on board the Hazard, and the resolution to evacuate and abandon at sundown the settlement of Kororarika was passed and adopted. Accordingly, during a truce which had been demanded by the chiefs to carry off their killed and wounded, the military and civilians were embarked on board H.M.'s ship Hazard, the United States corvette St. Louis (which was present during the conflict, but remained neutral), the whale-ship Matilda, and the Dolphin schooner. The party of military in the block-house were the last to embark.

During the embarkation, the natives surrounded the heights commanding the town, but without making any movement. A random shot was occasionally fired by them. During the evening, a few of the townspeople who were most popular with the natives were employed in bringing off portions of their property.note Astonished at their own success, the Maoris deliberately performed


  ― 187 ―
the usual rites over the dead, danced the usual quantum of war-dances, indulged in long-winded koriros, or boasting speeches over their pipes, and then came down from the hills in a body, and plundered the stores and dwelling-houses so obligingly ceded to them. On the afternoon of the following day they burnt the town to the ground, “and a settlement of very early days, but of great iniquity,” reports Colonel Hulme, “is now a mass of ruins.”

The 96th's loss was four men killed and five wounded. The Hazard lost six men killed and eight wounded; and Captain Robertson's hurts were so severe, that his life was for some time despaired of. The signal man, Tupper, was severely wounded while gallantly fighting for his flag; and two old discharged soldiers distinguished themselves in working the guns. The loss of the natives was put down at about eighty killed and wounded, but they acknowledged to no such amount. It is a matter of surprise that the casualties were not more numerous, considering that the affair lasted some eight hours, and that a vast quantity of ammunition on both sides was fired away. The officers lost the greater part of their baggage, and about 40% of public money; and the soldiers the whole of their great-coats and kits, barrack-bedding and utensils — fine plunder for the Maoris, in whose eyes an English blanket is as great a treasure, and an article of costume as absolutely de rigueur, as a Cashmere shawl in those of a French lady. On the 13th, the shipping got under weigh from the Cove on its way to Auckland, and Kororarika ceased to exist as a British settlement.




  ― 188 ―

Such is the singular, the almost incredible, story of the fall of Kororarika. I have conversed with eyewitnesses, read public and private accounts thereof; of course studied all the military documents relating thereto, since they reside in the pigeon-holes of my office; yet to me the climax is inexplicable. The word panic affords, probably, its only solution. The towns-people, the garrison, the marine force, were duly forewarned of an intended attack; there was a detachment of fifty British soldiers — composed, indeed, as the Colonel reports, of very young men, “scarcely dismissed drill;”—with two bullet-proof block-houses and a stockaded building; a British sloop of war, carrying fourteen guns, moored within a quarter of a mile of the shore, with pinnace, or other heavy boat, capable, I conclude, of placing a gun or two in closer action, if necessary. A strong party of seamen and marines, well armed and officered, were stationed ashore; there were some police, two or three old soldiers capable of managing the guns in battery; there were arms and ammunition for all hands, and more than one full-of-fight-ful townsman ready to lead to battle the armed civilians, of whom a few months before, as reported by one of their number, “there were not less than 100 men ready to stand up in defence of their families and property.” These seem admirable materials for defence against à desultory foray of undisciplined barbarians; but there was no head, or too many, to direct them!

There was a sad want of unanimity among the defenders. Civilians were permitted to interfere with the military, instead of being compelled to act as subordinates


  ― 189 ―
in the operations, or to manage their own amateur soldiering independently of the regular forces. The round shot of the sloop and the block-house did but little execution amongst a wily enemy dispersed over broken and scrubby ground; and for the same reason the musketry was nearly as innocuous. The glacis of the signal block-house was obstructed by the hut of the signal-man and by rough gulleys running up close to the ditch. The two works were not provisioned. They did not enfilade each other. In short, the affair of Russell is, I suppose, a proof on a small scale, that we are not a military nation! The loss was irretrievable, the error inexpiable; because it opened the eyes of the natives to their own power, and broke down the prestige of British superiority and the previous infallibility of the British soldier. Nothing, I fancy, could have been more foreign to Heki's intention, or more utterly beyond his hopes, than the idea of taking, sacking, and destroying an English garrison town! His visit was to the “kara”—the colour,—type as he thought of Maori subjugation. He had outwitted and outmanœuvred its incautious defenders, and having cut it down his object was effected. His quarrel was not with the inhabitants, but with the Government, with the flag, and its guard. The evacuation of the settlement by the townsfolk was an absurdity. The land and marine forces would, of course, have stood by them had they remained, and the town could scarcely have been plundered under the guns of the Hazard. I do not agree, however, with certain philo-Maorists, in the opinion that the inhabitants might have remained with perfect safety in their homes, even had they been


  ― 190 ―
deserted by the soldiers and sailors. The passions of the barbarians were thoroughly roused, and every brutal outrage of which “the noble savage” is capable, would assuredly have befallen both man and woman.

Two Christian Bishops, Dr. Selwyn, and M. Pompalier, head of the Jesuit mission, were present at this unblessed conflict. The former, who had arrived in his little yacht, employed himself with the greatest assiduity in assisting the wounded and helpless in embarking. “Was it not a terrible scene?” said I to the good prelate one day, striving to elicit his opinion of the affair. “It was a painful, a very painful sight!” was the grave reply. He added that the plundering was conducted with the utmost moderation—the savages pillaging from one door of a house, whilst the owners were removing goods by the other. Both Bishops did their duty.

There were not wanting those who read in the destruction of Kororarika a judgment upon its crimes. As for me, from its foregone history, I viewed it as a dirty little place, doubtless the scene of many dirty little vices, but, that to suppose it the object of special vengeance from on High, would be to invest it with too much dignity.

On the arrival of the ships in Auckland, great was the tumult and panic, for Honi had boasted that he would attack the capital next. The late inhabitants of Kororarika, who had lost all their property, and perhaps no little of their self-respect, were loud in their reproaches against the military and the Government officials, making such gross imputations against the two young officers as compelled the Lieutenant-Colonel commanding in


  ― 191 ―
New Zealand, to convene a court-martial for the investigation of the charges. The Lieutenant was “most fully and most honourably acquitted” by the court. The Ensign was arraigned “for that he did heedlessly and carelessly guard the block-house committed to his charge, and evacuate the same without sufficient cause and without orders from his superior officer.” He was found guilty, with the exception of the word “evacuating,” and sentenced to be severely reprimanded. His were merely the errors of inexperience.

The destitute refugees from “the Bay” were so hospitably received at Auckland that, as Captain Fitz Roy writes, “all the most necessitous were placed in comparative comfort before they had been two days in the town.” A sentence of outlawry was passed against Heki and his ally, Kawiti—which, it is likely, did not seriously affect the spirits, appetite, and health of these warriors; but, what was much more important, the Governor was assailed by writers in the papers and “other thoughtless persons,” burning for vengeance and blind to all risk from its hasty indulgence, who urged him to fit out a retributive expedition against the rebel chiefs. Sorely against his own judgment and expressed opinion, he therefore gave directions for the ill-fated expedition under Lieut.-Colonel Hulme.

A rumour was rife in Auckland that Heki, the missionary Christian,—the great quoter of Scripture, and, therefore, perverter thereof,—elated with his success, intended to attack the Christian capital with 2,000 men at the next full moon. Fortunately, however, a considerable accession of force reached that station towards


  ― 192 ―
the end of March, in H.M.'s ship North Star, which, together with a small transport, brought six officers and 200 men of the 58th Regiment to restore confidence to the desponding colonists, many of whom, under the influence of the better part of valour, were leaving New Zealand for more tranquil quarters. Civil warfare moreover operated pretty strenuously to divert Johnny's attention from his object; for the brave and loyal chief of Hokianga, Tomati Waka, with his brother, raised his tribe, and, true to his promise at the Waimate convention, attacked the conqueror of Kororarika, and the enemy of the British flag, on his own territory. Finding himself, however, unable to cope with superior numbers, or tired of fighting—for your Maori, though fond of war, is incapable of long sustained operations—Waka urged the Governor to hasten to his assistance; and accordingly his Excellency, conceiving that the case admitted of no delay, despatched all the force he could muster to the Bay of Islands, with discretionary orders to its leaders, Lieut.-Colonel Hulme and Captain Sir E. Home, to attack Heki in conjunction with Waka, whenever fit occasion might occur.




  ― 193 ―

Chapter VII.

EXPEDITION AGAINST OKAEHAU—STRENGTH OF THE PAH—A SORTIE—SKIRMISH—LOSS—RETREAT—CAUSES OF FAILURE—HEKI REASONS ON PAPER—IS WOUNDED—EXPEDITION AGAINST OHAIOWAI—BOMBARDMENT—SORTIE, ASSAULT, AND REPULSE—LOSS—PAH EVACUATED AND DESTROYED—REFLECTIONS—RESPECT YOUR FOE—WARFARE AGAIST SAVAGES—HEKI TRUCKLES, KAWATI TEMPORIZES—MISSIONARIES CONSIDERED AS HERALDS AND ARMY CONTRACTORS.

THE expedition, embarking at Auckland, reached Kororarika on the 28th of April, and found the North Star in the bay. The gallant captain and colonel, in order to re-establish the authority of the Queen at that place, landed immediately with a guard of honour, and once more, with every ceremony, hoisted the British flag.

The first hostile movement was undertaken against a disaffected chief named Pomare, (whose acquaintance I had the pleasure of making on this my visit to the bay,) whose pah was situate a few miles up the harbour. His garrison consisting of not more than sixty armed men, no resistance was made by them. As for the chieftain himself, he was outdone in craft by the military commander, who, getting possession of his person, sent him on board the North Star as a prisoner—acting thus


  ― 194 ―
under superior orders. His myrmidons escaped into the bush. As was expected, much of the property plundered from Kororarika was found in the stockade, which was fired by the troops, and destroyed.

The expedition then sailed for, and anchored off the missionary station of Pahia, across the bay, where Tomati Waka and suite came on board, and held a conference with the British commanders, urging instant action against Heki, whose force he rated at 1,200 men. This sagacious and loyal chief indicated the best route for the march, and promised to cooperate with 800 of his tribe. H.M.'s ship Hazard having meanwhile joined the expedition, at daylight on the 3d of May, the force, consisting of the small-armed seamen, the marines, and the military—in all about 400 men—disembarked at a point about thirty miles distant from Waka's pah, which they hoped to reach in two days, carrying five days' biscuit and two days' cooked meat. There was no means of transport for spare ammunition, camp equipage, cooking utensils, or the spirit ration. So tremendous was the weather and the state of the roads, that the colonel was fairly driven two miles out of his road to seek shelter for his men in the church and missionary buildings on the Kiri Kiri River, where they were rain-bound for two days. Nearly the whole of the extra ammunition which the men were compelled to carry in their havre-sacks, was saturated with wet. On the 5th they reached Waka's pah, once more well drenched, and found but wretched shelter there.

The following morning the colonel, as he reports, “had a koriro with Walker; and when he found that I


  ― 195 ―
intended to assault Heki's pah, and force an entrance by pulling down the palisades, he smiled, and said we were all madmen, and that every man would be sacrificed in the attempt; and to impress his opinions more forcibly he declared that we could not easily take his pah, which was not half so strong as Heki's.” At noon the colonel from the top of a hill about a mile distant reconnoitred Heki's position, and became aware of its great strength. White persons who had been there informed him, “that it had three rows of palisades all round it; that there was a deep ditch inside; that large stones had been piled up against the inner palisades; and that traverses had been cut from side to side, and deep holes dug, in which the rebels would shelter themselves from our fire and destroy the troops as they advanced. From what I had seen and heard, I returned to camp quite convinced that it was impracticable to take Heki's pah without first breaching it.” He had no artillery, but he possessed a few rockets, the effect of which he was resolved to try; and feeling, as he says, “that the chances of war are many,” the gallant officer placed his force in position near that of the enemy, formed in three parties of assault and a reserve, prepared to seize an opportunity for storming it should accident offer one.

On the morning of the 8th of May, the English force, accompanied by about 300 of Waka's tribe, marched from that chief's stockade towards Heki's camp—the friendly natives wearing a white head-band to distinguish them from the foe. The reserve halted in rear of a ridge about 300 paces from the rebel pah; while the three assaulting parties—one composed of armed seamen,


  ― 196 ―
another of the 58th Light Company, and the third of detachments of the marines and 96th Regiment—advanced and occupied under a heavy fire the positions previously arranged, within two hundred yards of the work, driving some natives from a small breast-work. “And now,” observes the colonel in his despatch, “more closely examining Heki's pah, I was convinced that it was impossible to take it by assault, until it was first breached, without a great sacrifice of life and with uncertain success, for the pah had been unusually strengthened, the flax leaf having been forced into the interstices of the outer palisades to turn the musket balls. The rocket party, under command of Lieutenant Egerton, of H.M.'s ship North Star, took up a position, and fired several rockets, but in consequence of Heki having covered the roofs of the huts with flax leaf, they did not set them on fire. A few of the rebels left the pah on the first rockets exploding, but they afterwards returned to it—the affair of Kororarika having accustomed Heki and his main body to the operation of shells.”

Meanwhile the besieged were not idle, nor did they show themselves ignorant of that very effective method of protracting defence—the sortie; for a strong body under Kawiti, stealing through the bush, were in the act of falling upon the unprotected flank of the advanced posts—when the ambush was detected by the sharp and practised eve of a friendly native. Warned of the impending danger these parties, directing a heavy fire upon the spot, made a most spirited charge, driving the enemy in confusion before them, and killing many at close quarters—the British bayonet did its work


  ― 197 ―
in its usual style when fairly brought to bear on its object. Soon afterwards some signalizing, by means of flags, took place between Heki within the fortress, and Kawiti without. The result was a combined attack by these leaders on the advanced position. The reserve opened a smart though distant fire, from which they recoiled, yet many of the boldest reached the entrenchment previously taken, and were there killed. Kawiti was again repulsed by the bayonet with some loss. Yet was this not the last effort of the hoary warrior, who was much more liberal of his person than his younger and stronger associate, (a tall and athletic man, while the Kawiti is small and decrepit)—for when the advanced posts were ordered to retire on the reserve, and were bringing off their wounded, unsupported by Heki he made a third and fierce attack upon our people, which was checked and finally repulsed by the skirmishers. It was said that the old chieftain here narrowly escaped the bayonets of a party under the Adjutant of the 58th, himself a formidable antagonist:—making up for his want of activity by his skill in concealing his person in the scrub, he was fairly run over more than once. The British loss was fourteen soldiers, seamen and marines, killed: two officers, four sergeants, thirty-two soldiers, seamen and marines, and one private servant, wounded. The loss of the rebels could not be correctly ascertained. Several chiefs were slain. Old Kawiti was rendered childless, two of his sons being killed. Besides which several near relatives, and nearly the whole of his tribe that were present, fell in the skirmishes.


  ― 198 ―
Having collected his wounded, the English leader commenced a retrograde movement, and reached on the evening of the eighth Waka's stockade, where he was detained twenty-four hours by heavy rain; but on the tenth, he fell back to the settlement at Kiri Kiri, the effective men carrying the litters with their wounded comrades, natives in sufficient numbers for that purpose not being procurable. “In this manner half the force was employed from 11 A. M. until 9 at night; but all, seamen and soldiers, performed this unusual duty with a cheerfulness that can never be surpassed.”note The distance was not less than eighteen miles. Rumours having here reached the English camp that Heki had disappeared from his pah, the Colonel thought it probable that his aim was to harass the line of retreat, passing as it did through a hilly country covered with fern and brushwood. He therefore continued his march to Taraia's river, where the Hazard lay at anchor; and before night the troops were on board of that ship. On Monday, the twelfth, they were trans-shipped to the hired vessels, and returned to Pahia, where the Colonel awaited further orders from the Governor.

During the absence of the land expedition, the naval Commander amused himself by destroying some half-dozen small villages on the coast, belonging to Heki's tribe, in breaking up their war-canoes, and retrieving several boats the property of Englishmen. The wounded men were sent to Auckland in one of the men-of-war.




  ― 199 ―

Thus ended the first series of operations undertaken against Honi Heki, the missionary lad, in his fortress of Okaehau. The unsuccessful issue of this expedition is attributable to one radical want—the want of battering artillery. The troops, indeed, suffered under a multitude of minor difficulties, such as are enumerated in the official letter of Colonel Hulme,—most of them rendered unavoidable by the public indigence; among which were the absence of carriages or beasts of burthen, of camp equipment, and of hospital, commissariat, and store departments. The weather was most inclement. Moreover, by some means or other, the enemy were well informed of every movement and intended movement of the British.

But soldiers belonging to an army whose energies the flaming sun of Hindostan and the icy hurricanes of America alike failed to daunt, would have derided hardships such as befel them here, however severe, if the war-munitions absolutely necessary to place their enemy within their reach had been afforded them. The Colonel states his unquestionably correct opinion, that in New Zealand “the troops should be actively employed only when the season of the year is favourable for military movements;” and that “whenever it may be necessary to assemble a force to crush a rebellion of the natives, the troops should not be employed on that duty without a proper equipment, in order to be able to act with vigour and alacrity; and every aid which modern warfare affords.”

A few days after the affair of Okaehau, Archdeacon Williams had an interview with Heki—once his mission


  ― 200 ―
servant, now a great rebel chieftain, successful in two battles, in both attack and defence, against English disciplined forces; and the reverend missionary proposed terms of peace to him. Certain places were to be vacated by the natives, and ceded to the English; horses, boats, and other property belonging to Europeans to be restored; the flag-staff to be paid for “staff for staff;” the rebel leader himself to retire to Wangaroa for two years; “after which, if he remained quiet, the Governor would receive him.”

Upon the subject of this proposal, Honi addressed a letter to the Governor, of which the following are a few characteristic passages:—note




  ― 201 ―

In this original letter there is too much of truth to be pleasant to the reader possessing a conscience and a recollection of some passages in our colonization of countries peopled by races wearing skins of any shade darker than our own. The “little learning” the savage mission-boy had picked up at the Station of Waimate had taught him to distrust the disinterestedness of our conquests and the purity of our rule. The barbarian chief argues from analogy, judges of the future by precedents in past history, and arrives at the logical conclusion, that whether he fights or truckles, he will eventually be swallowed up by King Stork!

A few days after writing the above letter, Heki, in making an attack upon the pah of his pertinacious old foe Waka, who, nothing daunted by the retreat of the British, held his ground, received a bad wound from a musket shot in the thigh, from the effects of which he never entirely recovered, and which partly caused his death in the year 1850. Heki was more of a diplomatist than a sabreur,—not possessing much personal


  ― 202 ―
courage. His person and features were fine, with a small cunning eye, and a massive obstinate chin.

The expedition under Colonel Hulme,—a most intrepid and experienced soldier,—although in the main unsuccessful, caused the dispersion of the rebels, for a time at least, as well as the loss of some of their bravest men. But scarcely had the ships and troops returned to Auckland when information was received that Heki was again collecting men, and was actively engaged in building a new pah which would be stronger than any yet constructed in New Zealand. Reinforcements continued to arrive from Sydney, where Sir George Gipps and the Commander of the Forces were making every exertion in their power to assist the local government of New Zealand. It was of the utmost importance to prevent the rebels from making head, and collecting the disaffected from other parts of the island: therefore, without delay, another expedition was prepared on a larger scale.note

Lieut.-General Sir M. O'Connell sent to New Zealand in the course of April and May, in augmentation of the former force, a detachment of 530 men of all ranks of the 58th regiment, under Major Bridge, followed by Lieut.-Colonel Despard, of the 99th regiment, with the rank of Colonel while serving in that country, the flank companies of the 99th regiment, and a company of the 96th:—also Major Marlow, Royal Engineers, and some light guns and ordnance stores from Sydney and Hobart Town. The gallant fellows engaged in the


  ― 203 ―
first expedition expected to carry all before them, and failed. The second expedition, prepared with greater foresight, and with the experience afforded by past disaster, was more sanguine, and had better cause to be so; yet the attempt to storm Heki's new stronghold was frustrated with a deplorable loss of life on our side. Of the main operations of this expedition I propose to give as succinct an account as possible.

Colonel Despard having heard on the 13th June, from an Englishman who had seen Heki, that his wound was very severe, and that the ball had only been cut out the day before, resolved to hasten his movements. The vessels accordingly got under weigh from Karorarika at daylight on the 16th; crossed the Bay of Islands quickly; and the troops, being landed, reached the Station at Waimate the following morning early. By a return, dated 15th June, the force (not including the armed seamen and marines, of whom I can find no return) appears to have consisted, in round numbers, as follows:—Twenty-four officers and 510 men of all ranks of the 58th, 96th, and 99th regiments; one officer of engineers, one of artillery, two of the commissariat. Volunteers from the Auckland Militia for the services of the Royal Artillery and Engineers, two officers and seventy-five men. Ordnance,—two 12-lb howitzers, two six-pounders.

Nearly the same difficulties which harassed the former expedition, beset the present one,—rainy weather and almost impassable roads; paucity of means of transport, and consequent short supply of military and commissariat stores; a difficult country, covered in some parts


  ― 204 ―
with brushwood seven or eight feet high, with only a footpath traversing it, and interested with high-banked and swampy streams; guns without tumbrils or limbers, having ship-carriages with wheels fifteen inches high, little suited to New Zealand mud, famous for depth and tenacity. Such were a few of the impediments in the way of the troops on the road to Waimate.

Detained by scarcity of provisions and bad weather until the 23d June, the force was at an early hour put in motion towards Heki's pah of Ohaiowai, distant six miles; and so great were the difficulties on the road that ten hours were consumed in performing that short distance. Arriving within a mile of the pah, firing was heard and seen, and the advanced guard pushing on, was met by Tomati Waka, that staunch old blade, who had just driven in a picquet of the enemy.

The day being by this time far spent, the commandant employed what remained of it in encamping his force about 350 yards from the stockade, covered by an eminence. From Waka's position he “obtained a bird's-eye view of the pah. It is situated in a hollow plain, in form a parallelogram, about 150 to 200 yards long, by 100 broad each face. On two angles there are projecting outworks, but the others have none. There is an outer barricade of timber, about ten feet high, and, as well as I could judge with a good glass, each upright piece from six to eight inches in thickness, and fixed in the ground close to each other. On the outside of this barricade a quantity of the native flax is tied, so as to make it more ball-proof. Within this barricade there is a ditch, from four to five feet deep, and about the same


  ― 205 ―
broad. Within the ditch there is a second barricade, similar to the outer one; and the whole place is divided into three parts by two other barricades crossing it, of similar height and strength to the outer one.

“During the night of Monday, a battery of four guns was erected for the purpose of breaching the face opposite where the troops were encamped, which opened at 7 o'clock A.M. on Tuesday, but not with the effect I anticipated, as the shot frequently passed between the timbers, without displacing any of them. After firing a short time it was discontinued, and during the night the battery was removed to a better position, not more than 250 yards distant. Still little impression was made, although one gun was taken to the top of the before-mentioned hill, and fired from thence, where it commanded the whole place, and was within musket-shot.”note

The shells plumped right into the midst of the stockade, the six-pounders whistled right through its wooden walls from one side to the other; yet the tattooed rogues made no sign. They slipped into their burrows underground when a match was laid to a touch-hole, and kept up a brisk fusillade from their dangerous and well-contrived loopholes à fleur de terre. After some time, “the small brass pops,” (as a former writer designates the breaching-guns brought from Hobart Town,) tumbled off their platforms into the soft mud, as if astonished at their own efforts. A battery at closer quarters was next tried, but with no better success, for the breastwork being shaken down, it was soon silenced by musketry, and the guns were withdrawn after the


  ― 206 ―
enemy had made an unsuccessful attempt to take them by a rush.

On the 30th June, with infinite labour and difficulty, a 32-lb. gun was brought up to the camp from the Hazard,—a distance of 15 miles; and was posted on the hill occupied by Waka's tribe—where a light gun had already been posted, under a guard, to enfilade the defences.

At 10 A.M., on the 1st July, the great gun opened with a diapason that astonished the natives, and the six-pounder yapped like a small cur by its side. Great were the expectations raised by this formidable acquisition; and whilst the attention of every one was occupied in observing its effects, old Kawiti once more tried his favourite trick of a flank attack. Rushing from a thick wood close in rear of the battery, he drove Tomati's “Irregulars” in confusion from the hill, and would undoubtedly have overpowered the guard, and taken the two guns, but for a timely and spirited charge of a party of the 58th, under Major Bridge, who recovered the position and drove away the enemy with loss. Yet they succeeded in carrying off a small union jack, which shortly afterwards was seen flying below the rebel standard in the stockade.

This impudent sortie “put the Colonel's dander up considerable,” (as Sam Slick has it;) and by three o'clock, not having a heavy shot in his locker—for the 32-lb. shot, twenty-six in number! brought from the Hazard, were by this time expended—he resolved on assaulting the place by escalade. Indeed he had been prepared since the morning for this bold measure; and the


  ― 207 ―
orders issued for the distribution and direction of the storming parties were so detailed, and so suitable to circumstances, and the troops under his command so admirable in every way, that had the breaching battery been tolerably effective no reasonable doubt can be entertained of his perfect success. The sequence demands but few words of narrative.

Soon after three o'clock all was prepared; the Englishmen ready to rush on their savage enemy; the Maoris awaiting in grim silence their onset. Not a shot was fired, not a sound heard; when suddenly a bugle-blast, the signal for advance, rang through the forest. Its notes were instantly drowned by a deafening cheer from the British; and the wild yells of the savages joined in the fierce concert, with the shouts of the officers and the rattling of musketry.—In ten minutes all was over! one third of the English force had bitten the dust. The remainder recoiled, baffled from the absolutely impregnable stockade!

“The troops,” says the Colonel commanding, “rushed forward in the most gallant and daring manner, and every endeavour was made to pull the stockade down; they partially succeeded in opening the outward one; but the inward one resisted all their efforts, and being lined with men firing through loopholes on a level with the ground, and from others half way up, our men were falling so fast that notwithstanding the most daring acts of bravery and the greatest perseverance, they were obliged to retire. This could not be effected without additional loss of life in the endeavour to bring off the wounded men, in which they were generally successful.


  ― 208 ―
The retreat was covered by a party under Lieut.-Colonel Hulme, of the 96th Regment, and too much praise cannot be given to that officer for the coolness and steadiness with which he conducted it under a very heavy fire.”

Immediately after this disastrous repulse the troops were withdrawn to their original position, not more than 400 yards from the pah, but sheltered from its fire by an intervening height. Then came the melancholy task of counting the killed and wounded; and the following is the list of the British loss before the stockaded den of the Savage, at Ohaiowai.

  KILLED.

  Officers, 2; Sergeants, 4; Rank and File, 29; Seamen, 2.

  WOUNDED,

  Officers, 5; Serjeants, 3; Rank and File, 75; Seamen, 3.

  NAMES OF OFFICERS KILLED.

  Lieutenant Philpotts, H. M. S. Hazard.

  Captain Grant, 58th Regiment.

  NAMES OF OFFICERS WOUNDED.

  99th Regiment.

Brevet Major Macpherson, severely; Lieutenant Beattie, severely; Lieutenant Johnstone, slightly; Ensign O'Reilly, severely; Mr. W. Clarke, Interpreter, severely.

  SINCE DEAD OF THEIR WOUNDS.

  Lieutenant Beattie and 4 Privates.

The gallant Commandant states in his despatch of the 2d July, that “one-fourth of the whole strength of the British soldiers under my command have been either killed or wounded.” During the night after the assault, the shrieks of a tortured prisoner of the 99th, mingling


  ― 209 ―
with the yells and roars of the war-dance within the pah, harrowed the souls of his comrades. This unfortunate was never again heard of!

All the shot and shells being expended, and no transport for further supplies being available, the Colonel contented himself with holding his position, directing his chief attention to the conveyance of the wounded to Waimate. Meanwhile the rain fell in torrents, night and day. The men were harassed by rumours of night attacks. The native allies rendered no assistance; for, although they admired the determined hardihood of the attempt upon that impregnable stockade, they condemned, even ridiculed it as the act of mere madmen; and appeared to have lost all interest in the business so soon as the British took the lead and the operations lost that stealthy and desultory character which suited their tactics. Yet they were both alarmed and irritated, when they heard that the English force was about to retire; and some of the chiefs, at a conference with the senior officer, delivered themselves of such violent speeches on the subject, that the gallant Colonel was compelled to silence them by reminding them that they had been but sleeping partners in this bloody affair, and had therefore no right to bluster about the result.

Preparations were accordingly in progress for a general retreat to Waimate, there to await fresh supplies and reinforcements; when, early on the morning of the 10th July, it was discovered that the enemy had evacuated the pah, leaving behind them four iron guns on ship carriages, which do not appear to have been used during the siege, immense quantities of provisions above and


  ― 210 ―
under ground, and many Maori valuables, such as muskets, axes, saws, and such like—intended probably to engage the cupidity, and to prevent the pursuit of their countrymen under Waka. They had no fear—could have none, of the Red-coat in the bush. They had already seen enough of him to know that it was only on open ground he was their superior, and they took very good care not to meet him there.

On taking possession of the pah, active search was made for the body of the gallant Grant, Grenadier Captain of the 58th, and after disturbing several Maori graves, it was found. On stripping in order to wash the corpse, what was the horror of the officers, his comrades, to find that it had been brutally mutilated! After cutting off the flesh, which the monsters had probably devoured, they had carefully re-fastened the dress over the denuded bones! There is some consolation in knowing that no tortures could have been inflicted upon his living body, for the death-shot had passed through his gallant heart. The deceased, it is said, had the strongest presentiments of death. In the old church at Paramatta, in New South Wales, is a tablet, raised by his brother officers to commemorate the loss “of a good soldier, and a warm friend.” Poor Philpotts was shot dead whilst bravely, but vainly, striving to force his way through the palisades, and was scalped by the barbarian enemy. Beattie, a fine young officer, and much beloved by his brethren in arms, died of his wound; and these two lamented officers of the sister professions, buried with military honours, lie side by side in the Mission churchyard at Waimate.note




  ― 211 ―

Major M'Pherson and Ensign O'Reilly were desperately wounded, the former in the act of gallantly heading the storming parties; the latter—as fine a specimen of a young Irishman as one could wish to see on a summer's day—while hacking the flax-withes that bound the palisades with that miserable mockery of a weapon called the “regulation sword.” His right arm being shattered, the naked sword fell into the enemy's hands; and two years and a half after the battle I had the pleasure of returning it to him at Sydney, the blade having been redeemed by old Tomate Waka, and delivered to me at the Bay of Islands.

On the 11th and 12th, the pah of Ohaiowai was burnt. The strength of the place struck every one with astonishment. From Waimate, on the 16th, a detachment of 200 men were led by the commandant to attack a strong pah of another rebel chief, about six miles distant. The garrison deserted the place, putting a burning bridge over a deep creek between themselves and their pursuers. This stockade was then dismantled by the troops. The enemy was now dispersed in different directions; the winter was fairly set in; there were not seventy effective soldiers at Auckland. No choice therefore remained but to wait for better weather and reinforcements from Sydney, before operations could be recommenced.

The gallant Colonel, in a letter to the Lieut.-Governor, concludes with the remark, that, “whatever has been the real cause of our want of success, it is not to be attributed to the officers or men under my command, for a braver or more intrepid body never wore


  ― 212 ―
the British uniform”—an indisputable truth, for there were present at this disastrous combat portions of three splendid regiments, and a small but picked body of man-o'-war's men, all eager for distinction, working well together, and led by zealous, able, and dashing officers. They did all that could be done by human strength and courage, unassisted by those appliances and inventions of war which alone give advantage to the civilized over the savage combatant. That Englishman must be a stoic indeed—that English soldier a stock and a stone—whose heart swells not with a mingled feeling of grief and rage as he contemplates scenes where such reverses as those of Kororarika, Okaiehau, and Ohaiowai, befel the British arms. It is poor compensation, after reading chapter and verse of killed and wounded on our side,—among whom, perhaps, a friend or relative may be counted,—it is poor consolation in such cases to receive the ordinary gilding of the bitter pill of failure and disaster in the assertion that numbers of the enemy “are supposed to have fallen.” Nor did the military portion of my soul derive much unction from the facts, that Kororarika was resumed as a British settlement almost immediately after its sacking, and that the two pahs of the confederate rebel chiefs were evacuated and destroyed ere the troops were withdrawn. The building of the strongest pah, where the materials for stockading are growing on the spot, and where there are plenty of willing hands and sharp axes, (foreign axes and muskets are sold cheap to England's enemies!) is but the work of a month or so. The burning timbers of Ohaiowai, accordingly, had scarcely ceased to smoke, before the sturdy veteran


  ― 213 ―
Kawiti, now upwards of seventy years of age, was heard of, thirty or forty miles distant, busily engaged in erecting the most formidable work ever attempted in New Zealand,—namely, the Rua-peka-peka, or the Bat's-nest.

There is much reason to believe that our campaigns in New Zealand, considering their duration and the number of men engaged, were, on the enemy's side, the most bloodless ever known. I have the first opinion in the country in support of this fact—authority founded on inquiries made from hostile and friendly natives, as well as from Englishmen living on such terms with them as to enable them to judge correctly. I am unwilling to name the figure at which I have heard the amount of killed rated; it is so ridiculously low as to be incredible! The Maori, however, like all other barbarians, sets great store on the pious duty of carrying off his killed and wounded from the field; and, in so sensitive a race, it is probable that all their shrewdness and ingenuity were exerted to disguise the true amount of their loss.

In searching for the “real cause” of our want of success in the preceding occasions—as well as certain others in different parts of that empire upon which the sun never sets, we may safely pass over sundry minor ones, and stop at the main and true cause—the perilous habit of underrating our enemy. To what is attributable the terrible and lamentable massacre of the Wairau, but to blind incaution and an arrogant assumption of superiority, which merited and received severe chastisement? When the game of war began between the British and the revolted Maoris, each had a self-evident


  ― 214 ―
stumbling-block to avoid. The British soldier, per se, being only one of the components of a vast machine, which infantry, cavalry, artillery, engineers, commissariat, &c. are requisite to complete, is not perhaps the best to employ in small numbers at a distance from his resources. With a small but select force against 30,000 or 40,000 wild warriors—descendants of warriors—fighting for their country, our best chance of success lay in its compactness and its completion in every invention of modern warfare. The game of the English was to avoid desultory fighting, and to act if possible in masses; that of the New Zealander, to skirmish, and to avoid being drawn into a fair stand-up fight in open ground.

The events of the war have proved who were the abler tacticians. I believe the Maoris were never in a single instance tempted to break through the system they had resolved on;—unless the spirited sorties of Kawiti may be deemed exceptions. The English more than once fell, or rather rushed into the snare prepared for them by an astute enemy, thereby losing not only many a sturdy pawn, but several more valuable pieces, literally thrown away. After the first disaster the Governor lamented that the Maoris should have “discovered their strength.” They did not discover it: it was divulged to them by our heedlessness and temerity. His Excellency had the better reason to regret it, because he was forced into premature operations—avowedly contrary to his own opinions—by the evil council and vain clamour of ignorant and interested persons.




  ― 215 ―

There is something of the prophetic spirit in the following passage of a letter addressed to Governor Hobson, in June 1840, by that intelligent officer Major Bunbury, 80th Regiment, when employed in carrying out the treaty of Waitangi in the Middle Island. “The military,” he writes, “I conceive, ought rarely to be required to act or to appear, as the slightest check they might receive would be attended with the most disastrous consequences. It is true that the natives are not prepared to cope with the courage and discipline of British troops, but if the former are ever unadvisedly pent up in their pahs or forts, despair may supply the place of both.” How literally did the writer foresee “coming events”—now passed beyond recal!

Important results will follow the gallant but unfortunate affair above related. The New Zealander will build no more pahs—certain that the English, warned by repeated experience, will never attack another without sufficient ordnance and engineering appliances to blow its timbers to the winds. Would that I were equally certain of this! In New Zealand, indeed, there will be no more fighting, unless provoked by the English themselves. The love of trade, the desire of gain, are fast growing upon the natives; and, besides, they are shrewd enough to feel, that having once got within the long and strong tentaculœ of the sea monster, Albion, it is but lost labour to struggle in her grasp.

There is now therefore little chance of further resistance. When some half-dozen of turbulent chieftains shall have died off from age, consumption, scrofula, or drink, there will be less. Yet this is not a people to


  ― 216 ―
be openly trampled upon. It was in a much less warlike race that oppression roused a Toussaint and a Christophe!—and there are the germs of such in these islands.

In New Zealand there will be no more fighting. But in other countries our incurable habit of undervaluing our enemy—especially if he wear a dark skin, will continue to lavish precious lives and limbs, and bring reverse and discredit upon us to the end of the chapter!—and that, in spite of the fearfully significant experience which, in India, Canada, the Cape and elsewhere, has been occasionally forced upon us.note If for no other or better reason than his £ s. d. value, the British soldier should be charily expended, especially in barbarian warfare.

It may appear paradoxical to assert that operations against savages—at least in circumstances similar to those of New Zealand in 1845, should exact more caution and forethought than those undertaken against a civilized foe. In the latter case, each antagonist knows the other's strength, his wants, and his weaknesses; can calculate the chances of victory, and the consequences of defeat. If overpowered, or outmanœuvred, he may retreat with honour, well knowing that such a movement, skilfully conducted—from that of “the Ten Thousand” downward—may reap as much glory as a victory. But against a barbarian enemy, offensive measures should be, humanly speaking, certain of success, or should be unattempted. Temporize,


  ― 217 ―
negotiate, if necessary, till all is complete; then fall like a thunderbolt! should be the maxim.

In warfare against a savage race, there is also one very unpleasant feature,—and a very unfair one, because retaliation is out of the question,—namely, that a prisoner may be, contrary to the etiquette of polite war, tortured, mutilated, roasted, and devoured! Had there been no loyal natives to hold the rebels in check during the withdrawal of the troops from Heki's country to Waimate, such might possibly have been the fate of our wounded officers and men.

Failure, too, is more humiliating when the campaign has been heralded by public threats of retribution. Such-like proclamations of punitory intentions may be politic, may produce effect,—nay, may absolutely frighten out of the field a pusillanimous adversary;—but they fall pointless upon such an one as the phlegmatic Maori. The preamble of the operations in 1845 was, that no terms of peace were admissible that did not secure the persons of Heki and his adherents, Kawiti, Hira Pure, Haratua, &c. The principal object of the expedition was stated to be their capture or death; they were to share the fate that the destruction of Kororarika had rendered inevitable. Yet not one of these chiefs, or any other, has ever been taken with arms in his hands!

How untoward the following upshot of a menace before action!—In 1846, on the frontier of the Cape of Good Hope, a resolution was formed “to chastise the Kaffirs;” and a proclamation to that effect was issued accordingly. In prosecution of this threat, a splendid force of British cavalry, infantry, and artillery, marched


  ― 218 ―
in pursuit of the wild, undisciplined enemy. A few days afterwards, among their mountain passes, the Kaffirs made a stand. The result was, that several valuable English lives were lost, the whole of the baggage of a cavalry regiment, part of that of an infantry corps, and upwards of fifty waggons full of spoil, fell into the hands of “the barbarians!”

The direct and material causes of Colonel Despard's failure in his dashing assault on the pah of Ohaiowai were general poverty of means, of munitions, of information, badness of weather and roads, owing to the expedition having been undertaken at a season when the troops ought to have been in winter quarters,—the inefficiency and bad practice of the guns—and the scarcity of heavy shot, which precluded a sustained fire on the defences, and permitted repairs by the besieged—the subterranean safety cells of the defenders,—flint locks in combination with floods of rain,—and finally, the disobedience of orders, which, as at the fatal affair of New Orleans, caused the ladders, ropes, and axes, to be thrown away by those told off to carry them. It was therefore an attempt at escalade sans échelles! a practical abuse of terms, a “bull,” in short, on whose horns our chance of success was tossed to the winds! Little or no effective aid was rendered by the native allies during the actual fighting, however well they may have served to harass the enemy on their own private account; indeed it is probable that much serious hindrance arose from their acting as spies on our movements.

No small panic, however, must have been excited


  ― 219 ―
among the insurgents by the doings at Ohaiowai; for, in September, the Colonel writes from Waimate, (where his force was encamped,) that the officers walked several miles into the country without molestation, and indeed that they found it quite deserted. The troops were marched out for exercise to the scene of the late operations, enjoying thereby an opportunity of admiring the extreme beauty and richness of the country. The scenery was remarkably picturesque, and European vegetables, previously planted by the natives, were growing in the greatest abundance and luxuriance,

When the troops were withdrawn shortly afterwards to Kororarika, some uneasiness was felt on the score of Waimate; but the Maoris respected the place for the sake of the “just men” it contained. They warred, as they said, against the soldiers and the flag, not against the missionary and the settler.

It is impossible to deny to the Maoris the possession of great instinctive magnanimity. Their greatest crimes, their most atrocious acts of ferocity, are seldom committed on impulse, but are dictated by custom and sanctioned by long tradition. To forgive an injury is not a tenet of the Maori creed; nor have we Europeans to exert a very distant retrospect into our own history to find hereditary feuds inexorably followed up for successive generations. It will take a shorter time to teach the New Zealander to love his enemy than was consumed ere the Scottish chieftain of former days forgot and forgave his wrongs, or the wrongs of his forefathers.




  ― 220 ―

The late operations appear to have impressed the natives with a pretty shrewd notion that, although the British soldier was merely human, and therefore could not run his head through a ten-inch plank, the eventual success of our arms was beyond doubt. Accordingly when, in November 1845, Colonel Despard lay encamped at Kororarika on the site of the ruined settlement, several influential chiefs with their adherents came and pitched their warrees close to his camp. Tomati Waka, Nopera or noble, Macquarie Taunui, and Moses Tawai, Esquires, with other Christian notables and their tribes, amounting to many hundreds, constituted themselves military neighbours and allies of the British force, and were on excellent terms with the soldiers.

It must have been a curious sight, and no small source of uneasiness to the officers, to see the jealous, touchy Maori, and that rough, thoughtless, practical joker, the English soldier, side by side like tinder and steel, ready to ignite at the slightest shock; yet their “perfect good fellowship,” to use the Colonel's expression, was no less certain than it was wonderful.

Whilst encamped at Kororarika, the commandant employed himself and his men in clearing around the town; he selected posts for fortification, to defend the re-nascent settlement; practised his few artillerists in throwing empty shells, which were recovered for more serious work; and waited patiently until a better campaigning season and reinforcements in men and munitions should arrive. In the middle of November Governor Grey reached Kororarika, and gave the rebels


  ― 221 ―
a few days to consider the terms of peace dictated by his predecessor. Honi Heki, still smarting under his wound and from an attack on the lungs, sued for peace in tolerably humble terms. “Give me a ship, and I will leave the country altogether,” cried Honi sick; but Honi convalescent sung by no means so small. Sound in wind and limb,

“The devil a monk was he!”

and not much of a Mihonari. However, he held aloof from his old ally, Kawiti, whose overture to the Governor, couched as follows, evinced no great humility. Here is the translation:—

   “Rua Peka Peka, Sept. 24, 1845.

“SIR THE GOVERNOR,

“How do you do? I am willing to make peace—that peace should be made. Many Europeans have been killed, and many natives also have been killed. You have said that I must be the first to begin peace-making. Now this is it. Now I agree to it. This is all I have to say. It ends here. From me, Kawiti.”

The old warrior was only gaining time to strengthen his new fortress, the Bat's-nest. The Governor, however, quickly put an end to his evasions, and to the twaddling, possibly not very single-minded, negotiations of the missionaries, by giving orders for the recommencement of hostilities; and no time was lost in carrying them into effect. Churchmen, I may venture to opine, were hardly the best heralds to employ in treating for peace or war between the British Government


  ― 222 ―
and the Maori in arms. An honest interpreter, to deliver a plain message and bring back a plain answer, would have been a better medium. To be sure, an honest interpreter is not an every-day article, and a plain answer from a savage is as rare. As it was, much delay, and some loss of character for prompt action on our part, were incurred by these negotiations; and rumour did not scruple to charge the reverend gentlemen of Waimate with a desire, from motives of personal and worldly gain, to protract rather than to terminate the war. It is quite true that the relatives of the Church Missionaries contracted for the supply of provisions to the troops in the Bay of Islands, and that they raised so high the price of meat that it became necessary to meet the increased expense by issuing salt provisions five days out of seven to the soldiers. As for luxuries of a higher nature there were some stories of butter being sold to the officers at the moderate rate of 10s. and 15s. a pound! It is impossible to believe that the self-denying missionary himself would, by fostering the war, emperil, for private profit, the bodies of those whose souls he came so far to save; but that their sons, being farmers and graziers, should take advantage of the exigencies of the public market, is by no means incredible; and indeed these gentlemen did undoubtedly reap a rich harvest, at this juncture, from the wants of the troops and seamen.




  ― 223 ―

Chapter VIII.

EXPEDITION AGAINST KAWITI—BRITISH FORCE—KAWA-KAWA RIVER—PAH OF PUKU-TUTU—TRIP ON THE TRACK OF THE TROOPS—ROUGH COUNTRY AND ROUGH WORK—KAURI GUM—NATIVE ALLIES—RUINS OF THE STOCKADE—FALL OF THE BAT'S NEST—KAWITI APOLOGIZES AND PUNS—OUR PIC-NIC AND RETURN—LIGHT AND SHADE OF BATTLE—NATIVE NOTABLES.

IT was towards the middle of December that the Commandant, with a force and with means infinitely more commensurate with his undertaking than had hitherto been employed in New Zealand, advanced from Kororarika towards the rebel stronghold. His route lay about ten miles by water up the Bay and the Kawa-Kawa River, to a point on the latter where stood the pah of a friendly chief named Puku-Tutu, beyond which some twelve or thirteen miles of difficult country lay between him and the Bat's-nest. One half of the force performed the first portion of the distance in boats supplied by the squadron in harbour, while the Colonel himself, with the other half, forced his way over a rough hilly country, moving on the flank of the water expedition, and thus protecting them from attack from the shore. The chief Puku-Tutu, indeed, alive, like most


  ― 224 ―
Maoris, to the main features of war-movements, had volunteered to keep the banks of the river clear of enemies; for Kawiti had been foraging among his potato gardens, and he owed him therefore a grudge,—a kind of debt that the Maori is always ready to pay without being dunned.

In spite of the active cooperation of the naval people, two whole days were expended in getting to the half-way house of this chief with a queer name. Here was a beautiful spot for an encampment; and the force accordingly halted there, awaiting guns, stores, provisions, and teams, while the staff reconnoitred the country in their front almost up to the embrasures of the Bat's-nest.

On the 22d the Colonel pushed on with the greater part of his little army, and, overcoming a thousand difficulties by dint of extraordinary exertion, was soon enabled to take up a fine position about 1,200 yards from his enemy, where the rest of the force quickly joined him, and where they had to halt in their bivouacs under heavy rain on the 24th and 25th.

On the 29th December the force before Kawiti's pah was, in rough numbers, as follows:—

  STAFF.

  1 Acting Colonel, and 1 Acting Major of Brigade.

  ARTILLERY AND ENGINEERS.

  1 Captain, and 1 Subaltern.

  SMALL-ARMED SEAMEN.

  10 Officers, and 211 Seamen.

  ROYAL MARINES.

  3 Officers, 79 men of all ranks.

  DETACHMENTS OF THE 58TH AND 99TH REGIMENTS.

  27 Officers, 750 men.




  ― 225 ―

  HON. EAST INDIA COMPANY'S ARTILLERY.

  3 Officers, 21 men.

  VOLUNTEERS AS PIONEERS.

  1 Officer, and 48 men.

  ARTILLERY.

Two medium 32-pounders; one 18-pounder; two 12-pounders brass howitzers; two 6-pounders; and four 5½-inch mortars, with shot, shell, and rockets.

The veteran chief must have felt flattered, if not frightened, by the very respectable armament assembled for his subjugation. On a commanding eminence, 1,200 yards, as has been said, from the pah, batteries for shells and rockets were thrown up. The insurgent chief had shown no little shrewdness in the choice of his new position. The general aspect of the country between Puku-tutu's village and the Rua-peka-peka is that of bare and steep downs, intersected by occasional strips of bush, through several of which the troops had to pioneer their way by axe-work.

The pah itself was erected on a rising spur of land, about a quarter of a mile within the margin of an extensive tract of the heaviest timber and brushwood, which skreened its front and flanks, and stretched away interminably in its rear. About 200 yards of cleared glacis surrounded it. The chief strength of the pah lay in its difficulty of approach and the massiveness of its palisading. The commander of the incursion, warned by foregone events, resolved to proceed against the work by regular trench,—a method which, if ever contemplated in the affair of Ohaiowai, would probably have failed owing to the excessive wetness of the ground.




  ― 226 ―

Leaving the Colonel snugly, if not very luxuriously, lodged in his camp of boughs, awaiting the concentration of his forces on the eminence above noted, I will beg leave to return to the Bay of Islands, in order to record the favourable and agreeable opportunity I enjoyed of following, step by step, the route of the invaders, and of visiting the ruins of Rua-peka-peka just two years after its capture and destruction.

It was on a beautiful January morning—antipodal midsummer; for New Zealand stands more directly foot to foot with England than does Australia—that the Governor and his lady, with two young officers and myself, stepped into the captain's gig from the deck of the Inflexible, and, with a choice crew, swept swiftly up the beautiful Bay of Islands, on a lionizing ramble intent. Leaving behind us the cantonments of Wahapu, we soon glided past the old settlement of Russell, where the British flag was first hoisted and the capital of New Zealand first established by New Zealand's first Governor. In this case “Hobson's choice” was a bad one!—the face of the country being barren and dreary to the extremity of desolation, and so rugged of feature, that, if Rome had seven hills for her site, Russell would have sat upon seventy hillocks. The spot was abandoned ere much more than the survey of allotments had been completed, and nothing now remains of Russell but a huge ugly storehouse, once occupied by the military, now probably the abode of owls and satyrs, for I saw no human being in its vicinity nor sign of human frequency.

On our right in entering the Kawa-Kawa River, we passed close under a scarped headland, crowned with


  ― 227 ―
a ruined stockade and cut off from the mainland by a deep fissure evidently artificial. Well provisioned, it must have been impregnable except by shelling. The banks of the river are well wooded; its course is winding; here and there long spits, tufted with the mangrove growing in the salt wave and dipping its branches therein, shot half across the stream, confining the passage to a narrow channel,—in some places close under the steep and thicketed shore. Along this bank the Colonel marched to protect the boats. Had a resolute enemy disputed the ascent of this shallow and tortuous river, the advance by water must have been abandoned.

Few and far between appeared wretched huts of bark, reeds, or grass, which would have escaped notice but for the smoke curling up among the tall trees, and for a canoe hauled high and dry in some sandy cove. Straining your eyes, you might descry in the shade of the underwood a group of what appeared to be haycocks ready for carting; and it required some credulity to accept the fact, that these motionless and shapeless objects were in truth a family party of natives squatting under their coarse flax cloaks, gravely and silently smoking their pipes of English clay, and following with apathetic gaze the track of our swift little boat, with its broad ensign—Heki's antipathy—floating on the breeze.

At one point a well-manned and appointed canoe, with high head and stern, shoved off and made towards us, the quick paddles keeping stroke to a wild but musical chorus. Suddenly it stopped; and, after much consultation and gesticulation on the part of the crew,


  ― 228 ―
the barque put back again, and was lost in the mouth of an invisible creek. The thought crossed my mind that the Governor “was wanted” as a hostage! Further on we encountered a tiny canoe, so slight, shallow, and heavy laden, that its gunwale was within an inch of the water. Within it knelt the most frightful old witch that ever wore and libelled woman's form; and close in front of her knees, sitting on its haunches with its forelegs stretched out, its huge head erect, and its long snout pointing towards the bows, was a great fat hog. The smallest lateral movement of either beldame or beast would have capsized the frail craft; but reason and instinct swayed with equal effect the two interesting passengers, and each was careful not to sway their common conveyance. Naked to the waist, with skinny arms, long pendent breasts, and bleared eyes, she passed us like a hideous dream. The Governor, ever courteous to the natives, shouted at the top of his lungs the salutation of welcome, “Haeremai!” yet answer gave she none: looking neither to the right nor to the left, she and her companion “munched and munched and munched” mouthfuls of fern-root; and, plying vigorously her paddle, they were soon out of sight. The well-fed “porka” was doubtless in the Wahapu market before night.

After once or twice grounding on shoals of soft mud, we entered a narrow creek with rushy banks, where hundreds of wild ducks were diving and pluming themselves in blind ignorance of Wesley Richards and Ely's cartridges, port wine, lemon and cayenne: nor had I any opportunity of putting them through a course of


  ― 229 ―
instruction on these points. In about two hours we reached Pukututu's pah, and our boat was stranded on the spot which it took the expedition of 1845-6 two whole days to arrive at. The pah is well placed on the slope of a hill, in open ground, overlooking a rich, swampy valley. It is defenceless against regular attack, being merely a village surrounded by an open stockade, sufficient perhaps to prevent surprise. Such places are, I believe, termed kainga, in contradistinction to the closely fortified camp, which is the true pah—or hippah of old Cook. Some of the buildings, although so low as to compel the visitor to enter in the unseemly attitude of all-fours, were neatly constructed and warm looking. Here, stewing together in close contact, with the air carefully excluded, the Maoris get that fat flabby flesh, blood-shot eyes, and hectic cough, that are so common to the race.

There is in this pah very little ornamental carving; but at the several gates of the village stand the usual tall posts, surmounted by rude imitations of the human figure, hideous and obscene as those on certain temples of Hindostan, and as savage ingenuity could make them. The architectural decorations of many of the residences of Maori chiefs are singularly elaborate. Very few of Pukututu's tribe made their appearance. Two or three ugly, half-naked women, and as many quite naked children, with thin legs and enormously fat bellies, came and squatted near us; but the Chief himself, who, it was expected, would have paid his respects to the Governor on landing in his territory, was not forthcoming; nor, as it appeared, had his Excellency's firman to


  ― 230 ―
collect horses for our land journey been received at the pah.

After much delay, however, some of the young men who were idling about undertook to drive in some horses from the neighbouring bush; and accordingly, by dint of much shouting and chasing, half-a-dozen wild-looking mares and colts were caught up and dragged by their forelocks into the presence of his Excellency,—their captors delivering them over to us with a complacent simplicity of manner betokening that saddles and bridles did not enter into their notions of the requirements of genteel equestrianism.

Horse equipments had been brought for Mrs. Grey; and his Excellency had given me his vice-regal assurance that himself and the rest of us would be provided for at the village. Nevertheless, in my capacity of old soldier, I had stowed my “Wilkinson and Kidd”—my constant vade mecum—under the thwarts of the boat; for, somehow, I had no faith in the chance of finding such an article indigenous in the wilds of New Zealand. Nor was the precaution supererogatory. In vain I offered, as in duty bound and with as good a grace as possible, to surrender my private pigskin to her Majesty's representative,—in vain protested against the possibility of anything short of Nessus himself sustaining his seat upon the dorsal ridge of the starved steed destined to bear the Governor, and which more nearly resembled a towel-horse than a riding one.

Strong in the memory of the bushman's prowess for which he was famed in other colonies, Captain Grey sprung upon the bare back of his charger, while I was


  ― 231 ―
employed in taming my properly-accoutred but buck-jumping colt; and, the lady's palfry bearing her deftly, away we started in a canter,—the two young officers preferring their own long and strong legs for a walk of thirteen miles and back, to the Elgin marble style of equitation which was the alternative. Nor indeed could his Excellency tolerate it for more than a mile or two; for he was soon observed to pull the bridle over the head of the fathom of animated park-paling he so painfully bestrode, and, setting the beast at large, he proceeded manfully on foot. A stout young Maori shouldered the basket carrying our provisions, which he strapped firmly to his back, like a knapsack, with withes of the raw flax leaf, a material as tough as any buff belt.

Taking the path cut with such infinite labour by the troops and seamen in December 1845, it led us at first into an almost impervious brush, where it became obliterated. Lost for a few moments, we hit on it again, when, after crossing a small pellucid stream, we suddenly stumbled into a fine orchard of peach and apricot-trees, laden with fruit and mingled with rose-bushes and other well-remembered flowers of home origin,—all flourishing in wild and neglected luxuriance. In the midst stood a ruined roofless house. It was a deserted Missionary station. The wilderness had reclaimed the once trim garden; the fence lay rotting on the ground. A wild sow and her farrow rushed at our approach from among the ornamental shrubs near the windows, and plunged into the adjoining thicket. Where was now the self-sacrificing zealot, who in this wild corner


  ― 232 ―
of a wild land had devoted himself to the conversion of the heathen! I could learn nothing of his history. “The world forgetting, by the world forgot,”—his reward will doubtless be better than earthly fame can give!

Beyond this melancholy spot—for the primeval wilderness, however dark and gloomy, inspires no such sadness as does the ruined and abandoned homestead—we came upon a high ridge of fern-land, bare of timber, with undulations sometimes deepening into ravines. On either hand lay open to view, as far as eye could reach, vast tracts only partially wooded and apparently capable of being turned to good account by future graziers and agriculturists for the support of the great family of man. The whole circle of the horizon was bounded by serrated ranges of mountains, some clothed with bush, others rocky and volcanic.

Following the Colonel's trail, the military road led us for the most part over open downs, occasionally skirting, at respectful and prudential distance, patches of dark and tangled bush—fit lair for ambushed foe. Here it zigzagged down the slope of a tremendous hill, at the foot of which yawned a swampy gully, ready to swallow guns, tumbrels, and the many impedimenta of an army. There it plunged headlong into an unavoidable strip of forest, festooned and matted with huge creepers and supple-jacks, through which the pioneers, protected by skirmishers, had to hew a path. The march of the troops was both tedious and harassing, and they were continually annoyed by heavy rain.

The inadequacy of the transport rendered it necessary to compel the men to carry, in addition to their ordinary


  ― 233 ―
equipments, (always a load for a donkey,) a 24-lb. or 32-lb. shot or shell in a box; encumbrances whereof a few of the least zealous got rid by rolling them down convenient precipices—of course, quite accidentally. However, blue and red jackets combined have dragged guns through rougher ground and rougher circumstances than those now noticed: although their progress was slow, it was not the less sure,—for all obstacles and hardships, being cheerfully and vigorously encountered, were successfully overcome. At some spots we saw the marks on the trees where hawsers rove through blocks had been fastened by the seamen, to extricate guns out of difficulties.

Captain Grey and one of the officers of our party had been present with the besieging force; and it was interesting to trace in their society the different passes threaded by the troops, the ruined warreesnote of the halting-places, and the “ugly” spots where ordnance, tumbrels or waggons, tumbling over, had been hauled up again by sheer muscle and pluck, with many a “Heave oh!” and many a “strange oath,” unpropitious to the eyes and limbs of the Maoris, as each successive gully, torrent, bog, or precipice appeared in their path. More than once we observed, near the line of route, places marked out by arched twigs or saplings, which, I was told, indicated the graves of departed chiefs, strictly sacred.

I was fortunate enough to find a fine specimen of the Kauri gum cropping out of the open road, and looking like a block of yellowish spar or amber. It is singular


  ― 234 ―
that this substance should be found, as it usually is, on and under the surface, in spots where not only there are no Kauris or other trees now growing, but not a vestige of any bygone forest. It has probably some strong balsamic properties that preserve it uninjured by the storms and suns of centuries. The Kauri gum is light in weight, has a slightly resinous odour, and on being ignited, burns with the bright, steady flame of a candle. Certain speculative parties in Auckland and Sydney contrived to burn their fingers with it, in a figurative sense; for at one time, an impression existing that this gum would turn out a valuable staple of the colony, a good deal of money was invested therein. The virtues of the gum failed, however, to sustain the tests applied to it in England, and this bubble burst like many others. The trade, while it lasted, was nevertheless of good service in employing the attention of the Maoris, who, so long as they found it a barterable commodity, busied themselves in collecting and conveying this product to market instead of joining the rebel ranks.

Our little party called a halt, and indeed both pedestrians and horses were glad to draw breath, on the summit of the hill whereon, as I have said, the first batteries were thrown up, and from whence the enemy were treated to a specimen of shelling and rocketting which must have surprised them not a little, for the very first bomb cut Kawiti's flag-staff in two,—no bad shot, and, to a superstitious race, no very encouraging omen. A rocket, also, falling short of the pah, set fire to the fern and underwood, laying bare an extensive patch which was afterwards, as I was informed, made available


  ― 235 ―
for more advanced works. From the position of the first batteries the prospect is very striking. In front a profound, rocky, and thickly wooded gully presented an impassable barrier to the artillery. Beyond this gully a small plain opened to the sight, and was terminated by the dense bush, within whose verge lay the Bat's-nest, almost entirely masked by high trees.

The troops were compelled to turn the head of the ravine by carving their way with the utmost difficulty and labour through a thick wood, absolutely laced together with a network of creepers. The old rebel was as hard to get at as the “Sleeping Beauty” in the fairy tale. Like the knight of old, the English commander had to cut a path through an almost impervious forest to reach the object of his enterprise. Following his track for about a quarter of a mile through a kind of cloister of foliage—result of the pioneers' labours—we emerged upon the small plain above mentioned, in the centre of which stand the remains of a temporary stockade—the handywork of our native ally and excellent skirmisher, Moses Tawhai, who, just before daylight on the 29th December, pushed silently through the bush with some picked men of his tribe, and seizing this forward position, quickly and cleverly ran up some palisades and breastwork, sufficient to cover his party from musquetry and from a sudden rush of the enemy. The Colonel promptly joined the enterprising Moses with 200 men and a couple of guns; and the position, 600 yards from the pah, was secured before the enemy were aware of the movement. Not far from this spot we saw the graves of twelve British seamen and soldiers who fell in the assault, which,


  ― 236 ―
to the honour of the Maoris, have to this day never been disturbed.

Thus pursuing the line of advance, we were soon drawn by it into the forest where the pah stood, and, struggling through fern higher than the tallest grenadier, we found ourselves on the site of the breaching batteries, some 350 yards distant from the front face of the fortress, where remnants of platforms, breastworks, broken entrenching tools, and the ruins of burnt bivouacs, brought the whole scene vividly before the mind's eye.

A narrow path through a labyrinth of coiled and matted creepers mixed with fallen timber and enclosed by tall trees, many of them dimpled or splintered by gun-shot wounds, guided us to the glacis of Rua-peka-peka; and we were soon stumbling among the now weed-grown excavations used as potato and kumera stores for the garrison. The glacis had been easily and naturally formed, by cutting down the trees necessary for making the picquets of so extensive a stockade.

Although the interior of the pah is entirely overgrown by gigantic fern and other underwood, it was not difficult to trace its figure, which, in the several flanking angles and in the stockaded divisions of the enceinte, evinced considerable practical knowledge of the science of defence. And, indeed, it would be strange if the Maoris, like the Sikhs and Afghans, were not in some sort skilled in warfare, since they are habituated from childhood to all its stratagems, and their history, as far back as tradition can reach, is an almost uninterrupted series of hostile incursions, battles, and massacres. The height and solidity of the picquets composing the curtains—


  ― 237 ―
whereof there were two distant some six feet apart, filled me with astonishment; nor was I less struck with the ingenuity displayed in the formation of the trenches and covered ways, between this double row of palisades and within both, from whence the defenders could take deadly aim along the glacis at the exposed stormers. Most of the loopholes for musketry were on the ground level, and, across the trenches in which the musketeers stood or crouched, were erected regular traverses, with narrow passages for one person, to guard against the ricochet of the British shot. The interior was, as has been said, subdivided into many compartments, so that the loss of one of them would not necessarily prevent the next from holding out.

How these rude savages had contrived in a few weeks, and without mechanical appliances, to prepare the massive materials of their stockade, and to place them in their proper positions, deeply sunk in the earth and firmly bound together, is inconceivable. To be sure, the timber and flax grew on the spot, and the labourers engaged in the work were working and preparing to fight for their native land and for liberty—what more need be said?

The pah was studded with subterranean cells, into which the more timid or prudent ran—like rabbits at the bark of a dog—when they heard the whizz of a shell or a rocket, or had reason to expect a salvo from the guns.

I descended by the notched pole, forming the usual staircase, into more than one of these Maori war-crypts, and found them about eight or nine feet deep, and large enough to contain an Auckland whist party. The mouth


  ― 238 ―
was defended by a bomb-proof roof and breastwork of logs and earth. The ground was thickly strewed with English round shot, and fragments of bombs and rocket-cases; and amongst the weeds we found a couple of the enemy's guns—one of which, a good-sized howitzer, had been dismounted and split to atoms by a still larger shot from the batteries, which had made an unconscionable attempt to enter its mouth—to the infinite amazement, one may suppose, of the Maori gunner, who, in the act of taking aim, was “hoist by his own petard.” There lay, also, the flagstaff of revolt, cut in two like a carrot by the initiative shot of my young friend and relative, Lieutenant Bland of the Racehorse—some offset for the oft-demolished staff of Kororarika. The resolution of the British leader to approach by regular trench and to effect a practicable breach before storming, leaves no doubt as to what would have been the result had the affair proceeded to the length of a regular assault, which it can scarcely be said to have done.

It was quite apparent that the stout wooden walls had been no match for the heavy guns. Many of the huge picquets, eighteen or twenty feet high by two feet thick, lay in a heap knocked into splinters, and more than one of them had been regularly bowled out of the ground by the thirty-two-pounders, like a wicket stump by a “ripper” from Alfred Mynn! A concentrated fire would therefore have soon made a good breach. I noticed in one place a tree, which, happening to grow favourably for that purpose, had been enlisted into the line of the blockade. It had fallen from shot wounds, and carried away several of the neighbouring palisades in its fall,


  ― 239 ―
leaving a space which might have afforded good passage for a forlorn hope four or five abreast. Perhaps however some gale of wind had brought it down subsequently to the fall of the place. The actual capture of the Ruapeka-peka occurred somewhat fortuitously. The “Mihonari,” or Christian portion of the garrison, had assembled for their Karakia, or Church service, on the outside of the rear face of the fortress, under cover of some rising ground. A party of loyal natives, wide-awake to the customs of their countrymen, approached under command of Wiremu Waka, brother of Tomati, and reconnoitred the breaches. Discovering the employment of the defenders, a message was sent back to the English, reporting this most righteous and laudable act of religion, but most unpardonable breach of military tactics, on the part of their hostile compatriots. And who shall say that this neglect of man's ordinances and observance of God's in the time of their trouble, did not bring with them a providential and merciful result? It led doubtless to their almost instantaneous defeat; but it saved them and the English from the tenfold carnage which a more vigilant and disciplined resistance, from within their walls, would have infallibly caused. An officer or two with a small party of soldiers and seamen stole quietly into the almost deserted pah, and further reinforcements followed quickly from the trenches. The Maoris, too late discovering their error and the movements of their foes, rushed tumultuously back into the work, and made a fierce but futile attempt to retake it. Hand to hand and unfavoured by position they had no chance against the British bayonet and cutlass. Baffled


  ― 240 ―
and overpowered, they fled by the rear of the stockade, and the Bats'-nest was ours. “The enemy,” reports the gallant Colonel, “was obliged to retreat and shelter himself in a wood opposite the east face of the pah, where, the trees being extremely large and forming complete breast-works, many of them having been cut down previously, and evidently purposely placed in a defensive position, he was enabled to maintain a heavy fire against us for a considerable time, until, a doorway in that face being forced open, the seamen and troops rushed out and dislodged him from his position. He however still continued to keep up a fire from the woods, but more with a view to cover his retreat and enable him to carry away his wounded men, than with any expectation of renewing the contest. The attack commenced about 10 o'clock A. M. and all firing had ceased at 2 P. M.

The enemy's loss has been severe, and several chiefs on their side have fallen. The numbers I have not been able to ascertain, as they invariably carry off both killed and wounded when possible.”

Thus fell, on the 11th January 1846, Kawiti's pah of Rua-peka-peka; and with its fall ended the active resistance of that chief and Heki and our military operations in the northern district. The brave and cunning Maori was not only fairly defeated but fairly outwitted. The lesson was salutary; for this people are sagacious enough to “know when they are beaten”—a branch of knowledge which that great preceptor in the art of war, Napoleon, was disgusted to find he could never instil into the English armies.




  ― 241 ―

The rebel chieftain must have had a bold heart to hold out against a force of nearly a thousand British seamen and sailors arrayed against him, while H. M.'s ships Castor, Calliope, North Star, and Racehorse, with the Honourable East India Company's sloop Elphinstone, lay at the mouth of the Kawa Kawa river, within fifteen miles of his wooden fortress.

Our loss during the assault was—

  SEAMEN AND MARINES.

  Killed, 9; wounded, 1 Midshipman and 17.

  SOLDIERS.

  Killed, 3; wounded, 11; and 2 volunteers wounded.

The pah was dismantled by the troops: and the Aborigines appear to have since deserted and avoided the place as a spot accursed; for no one of them has thought it worth while to collect the cannon-shot and other relics of war, valuable, it might have been supposed, to the savage. The paths leading to it are grown up and nearly obliterated, so much so that we were compelled to abandon our horses half a mile from the work. The Genius of the wilderness, true to her children, is fast erasing every trace of the Maoris' defeat at Rua-peka-peka!

Kawiti, who had made his escape on the capture of his fortress, was, in the May following, received by the Governor on board H.M.S. Driver, in the Bay of Islands, and there and then gave in his allegiance to the British Government, expressing regret for “the trouble he had given,” and gratitude for the treatment he had received. The old warrior, it is said, appeared deeply


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humiliated in making such concessions in the presence of other chiefs, who had fought on the English side and had eventually triumphed over him after a long and stout resistance. His letter, written a week after his defeat, and expressing a desire for peace, is a rich specimen of Maori epistolization. There is a vein of ironical fun peeping out of it, quite in keeping, as I am told, with the Maori character. Here it is:—

“January 19th 1846.

“FRIEND.—Oh my esteemed friend, the Governor,

“I salute you. Great is my regard for you..… Friend Governor, I say, let us have peace between you and me—because I am filled (satisfied, have had enough) of your riches (cannon balls). Therefore I say, let you and I make peace. Will you not? Yes!—This is the termination of my war against you, Friend Governor … This is the end of mine to you. It is finished.

“To my esteemed Friend.

“To the Governor.

(Signed)

“KAWITI.”

Heki, it is said, arrived at the Bat's-nest on the day it fell. He seems to have laid aside the name by which he was known as a great New Zealand warrior—his signature at this time being Honi Wiremu Pokai.

As for our lionizing party, we retraced our steps to the spot where our horses, the Maori carrier, and the provend basket had been left, and passed two or three pleasant hours, during the heat of the day, talking over the events of the siege, regaling ourselves with the cold viands, and resting from our previous fatigues on a green bank that


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formed a rustic triclinium shaded from the sun's rays by a canopy of tall trees. Some of the party experiencing that ardent desire to indulge in a cigar, which is so common to the youth of the present era and so unintelligible to those who are not slaves to the popular weed, and no strike-light being forthcoming, fire was quickly produced by our Maori porter. Selecting a flat piece of dry wood, he placed it on the ground, and with a sharp-pointed stick made a grove in the other, rubbing the point to and fro along it with great force and rapidity until it began to smoke. Then applying some dry and fine grass from the inside of a hollow tree, he whirled the whole quickly round his head until it was blown into a flame. It was a labour of love,—for no one appeared to enjoy his pipe so well as himself. From this congenial employment it was difficult to arouse him. Curled up in a sunny nook, and, with half-closed eyelids, blowing thin clouds from his tattooed lips, the Governor suddenly asked him if he was one of the garrison of Rua-peka-peka when it was taken by the Pakehas. The stout young Maori only opened one eye at this pertinent query, and, puffing out a slow volume of smoke, nodded a silent affirmative. On offering him a gun, however, to shoot for us one of the many lovely kinds of wild pigeons that darted by our resting-place, he jumped up and went off into the bush, returning soon afterwards with a bird which he had treed and killed. It was beautiful in its metallic and opal tinted plumage, and was at least as heavy as an ordinary hen pheasant.

The temperature of the day was to my taste perfect. The sun was intensely hot, but the air was light and


  ― 244 ―
fresh, a brisk breeze driving high and fleecy clouds across a deep blue sky. It seemed precisely the climate for an English constitution; and, indeed, an Englishman in New South Wales and in New Zealand is a different looking being. I started on foot about a quarter of an hour before the rest of the party, and had walked about nine miles before they overtook me, and, although it was Midsummer or thereabouts and the way both rough and steep, I do not know when or where I felt my step more springy, my spirit more elastic.

Between the rifled Bat's-nest and Pukututu-ville— looking right and left as far as eye could range—I saw neither human being nor human residence; yet I should not much marvel if in half a century hence the wild and vast tract were peopled by English and Irish, even though one-half of their own native land should remain untenanted and untilled. There were many spots where advanced parties of Kawiti's people might have easily and seriously impeded the advance of the English force. But it is not the Maori habit to act on the line of operations of their enemy—nor to attack convoys, dépôts, equipages and escorts. The evening proved deliciously cool; and the boat-trip by moonlight down the river and the bay to the Inflexible—which we reached at 10 P.M.—was most enjoyable. It seemed strange that an unarmed party of English—one of whom a lady, and another a personage who would have made a valuable hostage in the hands of an enemy—could traverse without one thought of risk so considerable a space of wild country recently at open war with us—at a time too when, in the southern districts, the natives were in so unsettled


  ― 245 ―
a temper that one of the Governor's next movements in the Inflexible will be to proceed to Wanganui, (where a war party of five or six hundred men is still assembled,) for the purpose of bringing them to reason either by force or by argument. Even in the Bay of Islands there has been a rumour current for some days that Te Rauperaha, our fellow-passenger, is covertly inciting the natives to hostility—a rumour which, I believe, was afterwards traced to mischievous white persons.

The following morning we had a considerable levée of aboriginal men of note on board, among whom was Puku-tutu, who came to apologise for his absence when his Excellency honoured his “poor pah” with a visit. He is a fine, tall man. The venerable Tomati Waka was there, too, with his broad, honest, good-humoured but devilishly tattooed face,—looking like a hog in armour in his blue frock-coat, gold epaulettes, and cocked hat. Then came Ripa, (I don't know how to spell him,) a lathy, active, and lively looking fellow, who fought gallantly on our side at Rua-peka-peka with old Waka's party, and had two or three of his fingers shot off while skirmishing with the enemy and insulting them with impudent gestures. In the heat of battle he made light, I was told, of his painful wound, and, having hastily bound it up, went on fighting; but he bellowed like a bull when an English surgeon came to amputate the mutilated digits. Nor, indeed, need one despise the poor savage on that account; for a man (I have often thought) can hardly be placed in two more strongly contrasting positions—and likely enough to follow each other pretty closely—than when, at one


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moment, his energies mental and corporeal are exalted to “the sticking place” by all the wild, glorious, intoxicating excitement of the battle-field,—and the next, when he awakes from a state of painful insensibility, to find himself seated in a wet ditch on the lee side of a thin hedge, with the thermometer at freezing-point, and an almost equally cool gentleman in an unfeathered cocked hat preparing to saw off his best leg with a hideous implement of bluish steel! A hero, I think, may be excused if his ardour be slightly chilled by such a process.

Pomare arrived next—the umquhile foe of the British, and supporter of Heki—and who was made prisoner by Colonel Hulme, as before related. He dashed alongside in a handsome canoe, and, on reaching the deck, went up to and saluted Te Rauperaha, presenting him with a pair of beautiful flax cloaks, “pasmented” with scarlet worsted sprigs. The giver had hardly turned his back on taking leave, when the old rogue offered to sell them to me—for twice their value of course. Hoepa, or Charley, the old chief's brother-in-law, pressed me hard to become a purchaser of the goods. Having described the persons of other Maoris of distinction, I must sketch Charley in a few strokes. In form and aspect, then, he is something between a buffalo and the Tipton Slasher. He is described as having been one of the most active at the Wairau massacre, and is said to have cut out the interpreter's tongue after having tomahawked him. He appeared to be a man of enormous though sluggish strength.

John Hobbs was presented to me—a man of some


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note, distinguished for personal intrepidity, and one of the most daring skirmishers at Rua-peka-peka and elsewhere. He it was who at Okaehau discovered Kawiti's ambuscade, ready to fall on the flank of the besiegers. In different combats he courted danger and signalized the high-sounding name given him in his baptism, by wearing a white calico scarf, whereby he might be known—as the bean sabreur Murat wore his snowy plume. His stature, like the majority of the natives on board, was above the ordinary standard. John Hobbs, who is not an aristocrat, or Ariki,note by descent, is but little marked by the Moku. All the rest were elaborately tattooed. It is a mark of effeminacy to have an unscored visage.

Some desperately foul specimens of the fair sex came on board the “Inflexible” with these really fine-looking Maori lords of the creation.




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Chapter IX.

VOYAGE TO THE SOUTH—A LEE LURCH—NATIVES ON BOARD—HABITS AND CUSTOMS—A BOUT AT SINGLE-STICK—A PRACTICAL JOKE—MAORI AND HALF-BREED WOMEN—THEIR DEVOTION—THE NEW ZEALAND COMPANY—FIRST SETTLEMENT—LAND QUESTION AND RIGHTS—BATTLE OF MONGANUI—THE WAIRAU, THE FIGHT, THE FLIGHT, THE MASSACRE—CONSEQUENCES — WHOSE THE FAULT — RANGIHAIETA'S IMPUNITY — GIBBET HEROES—RANGIHAIETA'S PERSON.

January 7th.— WEIGHED at 9 A.M., and made sail from Kororarika Bay—or rather Port Russell, (for its former title had better be forgotten,)—the Governor intending to proceed to Wellington, north about, visiting the settlements on the western coast. A stiff north-west breeze, however, compelled the captain to make the eastern passage—our native passengers thus losing an opportunity of viewing the North Cape, or Rainga, where the ghosts of departed chiefs are supposed to stop to bait on their way to another world.

Our gallant ship encountered so much rough and adverse weather, especially off East Cape—a point of very stormy character—that at one time she hardly made two knots an hour against a head sea. It was in rounding this headland on the 8th, that one of the


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most genial occupations of the passenger on ship-board, namely dinner, met with a somewhat rude interruption. The pea-soup had been stowed away, and we were—in number about ten—in deep discussion of the first course, when a tremendous lurch jerked the legs of the table out of the cleats in the deck, and the festive board, “fetching way,” rushed bodily to leeward with such an impetus that two-thirds of the guests, especially the military ones, (not excepting the General,) were carried away, chairs and all, and prostrated beneath it—a relative position of table and company very uncommon in these abstemious times.

The worthy Vice-president, although a seafaring man, disappeared like a stage ghost through a trap, and the mahogany closed over his head against the bulkhead with a snap that guaranteed his clean decapitation had the edge chanced to catch his neck. The writer saved the cruets and himself from being picked up in small pieces by a tour de force, offspring of impulse and the moment, unaccountable even to himself. The viands, strictly observing the rules of gravitation, precipitated themselves by ricochet after their intended devourers; the captain stormed; the steward and loblolly-boys scrambled and tumbled over each other; the Governor “held on” and laughed; the carpenter and his mates rushed in with hammers and lashings; the two “young gentlemen” dining in the cabin stuffed their napkins down their throats and grinned with furtive delight till they were blue in the face; and the good ship, having played the very deuce with comfort and crockery, righted herself and paddled onwards. Meanwhile, sad to relate,


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his Excellency's fair lady was thrown out of her berth in the state cabin, and sustained many bruises.

(N.B.—Ladies ought never to go on board ship, or if they do, they should be laced up in a hammock and fed with a quill!)

The voyage, although rough and unpropitious, was amusing enough. A British man-of-war's quarter-deck was, I suppose, never before so crowded with live lumber. The native potentates and their wives and attendants lay sprawling, or sat crouched, day and night amid a filthy heap of mats, blankets, and bedding, on that portion of the deck so tapu, so sacred, in the eyes of a sailor that a poor soldier officer cannot lean on the taffrail, or lay an arm on a hammock netting, without a hint being given him not to lounge on her Majesty's quarter-deck. It must have been gall to the captain, and wormwood to the first lieutenant, to see the dirty vermin-infested herd making themselves quite at home on the white planks of this nautical sanctum. “Ould Rap” had two wives on board, one a pretty and delicately formed girl of, perhaps, eighteen. I never saw a hand and foot of more perfect symmetry than those of this young savage. She appeared, however, to have scarcely health and strength enough to rise from the deck where she lay coiled up; and, on nearer inspection, it was piteous to find that, in common with many of her compatriots, this pretty and delicate young creature was fearfully afflicted with scrofula. This malady is one of the many instruments by which the extermination of the one race before the footsteps of the other is too surely, however slowly, being accomplished.




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Captain Grey, ever greedy of knowledge, availed himself of the presence of the native chiefs to gain a further insight into the customs and traditions of the people. On these subjects they seemed far from willingly communicative; but his Excellency, not being one easily turned from his object, with the aid of his interpreter contrived to humour old Taniwha into garrulity. He described, although rather in ambiguous terms, the human sacrifices which in olden days made part of their religious rites; gave us several specimens of Maori poetry, some of which contained elegant imagery; and, at length, after much pressing, chanted a sort of wild incantation, to which his hoarse and hollow voice, his tall weird-like figure and excited gesture gave eloquent effect. He treated his hearers, moreover, to a lecture on the measurement of time according to Maori computation, which was curious enough as far as it went. The year, it appears, is composed of thirteen lunar months, each day of the month rejoicing in a name, while the week-days are anonymous.

Te Whero-Whero appeared to disapprove of his compeer being drawn into an exposition of ancient customs, some of which were growing into disuse, and some whereof the more liberal Maoris are already ashamed; and both he and Te Rauperaka turned away with cold contempt when the simple old savage was betrayed into such forgetfulness of dignity as to sing us a song in their heaviness,—for the others had penetration enough to see that in these pleasant sea-trips with his Excellency, they were, although ostensibly guests, actually prisoners. Without the slightest show of compulsion, and treated


  ― 252 ―
with kindness and, indeed, with distinction, they are carried about at the chariot wheel of Te Kawana, and are thus kept in sight and out of mischief, bound with invisible and insensible bonds, yet not the less bound.

The half-doating old Taniwha came out strongly on another occasion, in which he displayed no little of the fire and energy of his younger days. The native group were employing their leisure one forenoon, according to their usual habit, in one of the most important duties of a gamekeeper, the destruction of vermin, or in plucking out their beards with a pair of cockle-shells, (simple substitute for the volsellæ of the Romans, and for its descendant, the modern European tweezers,) aided by an inch or two of looking-glass; when they were suddenly aroused from their ordinary state of lethargy by two of the officers engaging in a bout at single-stick. Most of the chiefs contrived to maintain, as they looked on, a decent appearance of nil admirari, the practical motto of every noble savage of every clime; but the sight was quite too much for the self-command of old Hookinöe, for such is his own version of the nickname Hook-nose bestowed on him by his white acquaintances. Scrambling upon his long bent shanks —for in figure he is not unlike a grasshopper—he approached the mimic combatants, and, as the bout increased in warmth—for the blows fell both “fast and furious”—so the old man's excitement increased. It assumed indeed almost a serious aspect when, after two or three very stiff capers, he hobbled away to his canoe, which had been hoisted on board, and, snatching out of it a long and heavy hani or staff of carved ironwood, again


  ― 253 ―
drew near the scene of action, with a world of animation in his eye, and a volume of meaning in his gestures. One of the players, a gentleman holding a naval appointment who had been some time resident in the colony, chiming in with the humour of the veteran chief, quitted his young military antagonist, and offered to have a round with the other; an offer which, to every one's surprise, the old fellow with infinite readiness accepted. Brandishing his quarter-staff vigorously round his head, he immediately placed himself, like Mons. Vieuxbois, en position. Youth and strength were on the Englishman's side, length of arm and of weapon on that of the Maori, for his hani was about six feet long. The sailor was an adept at the single stick, as we had just seen, but he was unacquainted with the tactics of his adversary—perhaps underrated his prowess; if so, he paid the penalty usual in such a case.

The octogenarian gladiator commenced operations by a most grotesque war-dance, accompanying his movements by a monotonous croaking song, wielding meanwhile his staff in exact measure with his chant, and gradually nearing his opponent, who, on his part, stood firm, with his eye fixed on that of his adversary, but with a careless guard. From the manner in which the old man held his staff, we all imagined that his visitation would be in the shape of No. 5 or 6 of the broadsword exercise with the oar-shaped end of it; when suddenly, and with a vigour whereof he seemed quite incapable, old Hookinoë, elongating his left arm and sliding the hani through the same hand, gave his opponent the point, the stoccato alighting on his ribs with an


  ― 254 ―
emphasis quite sufficient to prove that, had the tourney occurred twenty years ago, and been à l'outrance, the white knight would have been—done brown and supped upon! There was a roar of applause, as may be supposed, from the spectators of both races at the unexpected triumph of poor Cooki's superannuated cotemporary. It is but fair to add that, on further trial, the Englishman showed that he knew how to keep a whole skin. He completely took in old Taniwha by the stale trick and the delight of the drill-sergeant— “the advantage of shifting the leg,” —in which, as every recruit knows, the right limb is ostentatiously protruded to invite a cut, but is swiftly retracted from the descending stroke, while the sword of the assailed falls plumb on the unguarded sconce of the assailant.

One day we all enjoyed a hearty laugh—one of Hygeia's chief assistants—(for which reason, all and every liege, from the Archbishop of Canterbury downwards, should be bound in indentures to attend Christmas pantomimes; and a monument should be erected to Punchnote) —we enjoyed, I say, a hearty laugh, at very trifling expense to ourselves, although, as is too often the case, at some trifling outlay by another. A brawny Maori, attendant on one of the chiefs, lay extended on his back near the funnel, enjoying at once its warmth and his siesta. His sleep was not sound, however, for, as my companion and myself made our quarter-deck turns, we noticed that it seemed to be disturbed by terrible dreams. It was a sort of dog-sleep,


  ― 255 ―
full of starts and writhings and mutterings of complaint; a sleep like that of the conscience-haunted Richard, when he exclaims,

“Bind up my wounds,—have mercy, Jesu!”

At length his contortions became so energetic as to draw together several spectators; and I was about to rouse him from his anything but “peaceful slumbering on the ocean,” when he suddenly sprung up wide awake, first rubbing his eyes, and then that part of his person called sometimes by our Gallic neighbours son séant, and by the Jamaica negro girl, with still greater precision, her “sit upon.” The rapidity of his change of position disclosed the root of his uneasiness; for through a small circular grating in the deck, just where he had slept so uneasily, there gleamed a pair of wicked blue eyes, that could only belong to a midshipman in mischief. A small hand, too, holding a sail-maker's needle, was not so quickly withdrawn as to escape the notice of the sufferer and the lookers-on. The broad face of the native assumed at first a tiger-like ferocity of expression; but he soon caught the infection from the laughing faces around, and good-humouredly joined in the laugh himself. Had he caught the youngster on his own native hill-side, awful would have been the “utu” exacted for this somewhat too serious joke!

The New Zealander has the character of being naturally easy-tempered, fond of jokes and fun, and of children. Yet I know nothing more scowling and sullen than the aspect of a group of these fellows, as they scan with their bloodshot eyes and tattooed brows


  ― 256 ―
over a fold of their mat, a passing Englishman. The Moku gives a fierceness to many a really good-humoured countenance, as the moustache lends to the blank muffin-face of many a young British dragoon a degree of warlike meaning, which, without that excrescence, it would be very far from possessing.

The Mihonari Maoris on board were most exemplary in their observance of the rites of their adopted religion. Every morning and evening they engaged in public prayer, and occasionally they all joined in a hymn. This latter act of devotion gave rise more than once to the most incongruous scenes and sounds; for in the forecastle of the ship a party of Christian sailors and soldiers were singing after their manner what might well be described as a set of heathenish songs; whilst, on the quarter-deck, a group of “the heathen” were chanting, with great apparent unction, a well-known psalm in their own tongue. The compositions of the inspired Hebrew king may not, however, be really so incongruous to the Maori as might at first be imagined. It is said that many of their customs, civil and religious, correspond in a remarkable degree with those of the Jews; and, as I have before noted, the features of Taniwha and many others bear a strong generic resemblance to those of that ancient race,—the same prominent and heavy though lustrous eye, the same somewhat coarse aquiline nose, and thick, sensual mouth. Are the Maoris descendants of one of the lost tribes?

The Government interpreter I have spoken of has been many years married to a daughter of a Waikato chief, and is thereby closely connected with that powerful


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tribe. He had on board with him a young son by this union, a most beautiful boy. The half-breeds of this country are, I think, better looking than those of any other I have seen. Their numbers must be considerable, for the intercourse between the races has subsisted since the first advent of the white whalers and sealers on the coasts. At the settlements, however, one does not encounter so many of this class as might be expected. Some of the young girls are exceedingly handsome, with splendid hair and eyes.

The Maori women have always proved faithful and affectionate helpmates to their white lords, however rude, turbulent, and debauched. There still exists near Auckland a living instance of constancy beyond the grave, in the person of a native widow named Maxwell. Her husband, a seafaring man, having located himself on an island in Waitemata Harbour, carried on a lucrative coasting trade with a stout little vessel. From one of his periodical voyages neither vessel nor mariner returned. Whether buried beneath the salt wave or still alive, his faithful Penelope has never remarried, although wooed by aspirants of all colours, attracted, perhaps, by the charms of her pocket as much as those of her person—for the widow is reputed wealthy.

Major Cruise, one of the earliest New Zealand chroniclers, relates a touching incident illustrative of the unflinching love of a Maori girl for a white man:— The daughter of a chief, she had given herself to one of the soldiers on board the vessel in which the major sailed, and had lived some months with him. This man killed one of the seamen in a drunken brawl, and


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was made a prisoner of. The poor girl was expelled the vessel; and some of the crew had the cruelty to tell her that her lover was condemned to be hanged for murder. From sunrise to sunset each day she remained alongside the vessel in a little canoe; and neither threat nor gift could induce her to quit her post. She had purchased flax from other natives round the ship, and employed herself in making a rope, declaring that she would die with her lover, and like him.

When the vessel sailed to the Bay of Islands, the constant creature followed overland, many days' painful journey, and reappeared at her station near that part of the ship which she supposed was the prison of her protector. There she remained during the most desperate weather, and resumed her daily lamentation over his anticipated fate, until the vessel finally sailed from New Zealand for ever. It is painful to surmise that there was no one on board with heart enough to undeceive the poor wild girl, and to explain that, although dead to her, her soldier was—for the present at least—safe from the halter.

Among the Maoris there is, or was, no nice distinction between murder and manslaughter. Blood, however shed, demands blood. In the old Maori criminal law it was not necessary to indict the prisoner,—“for that he did on such a day, at such a place, feloniously assault such a person with a certain weapon, striking him on the left side of the head, and giving him divers wounds, contusions, and bruises, whereof he instantly died,” &c., followed by trial, defence, conviction, and execution, or perhaps by escape through a flaw. No;


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a blow of the Meri-poonamoo,note or a slice with the tomahawk, simplified as well as settled the affair.

In the course of travelling gossipry I was made the depository of more than one tale, later in date than the one borrowed from Major Cruise, of Maori female devotion to European Lotharios, some of whom, as it appeared, were but little deserving of the precious gift. I had a glimpse of the really beautiful and interesting heroine and victim of a “modern instance” of such ill-repaid affection. “Wise saws” of reprehension on the betrayer and deserter came too late for prevention or cure; for, not long after, I heard she had died of consumption and heart-blight. The shameless, nay, eager manner, in which, before the arrival of the Missionaries, fathers and mothers, whether chiefs or slaves, prostituted their children for the most trifling consideration, produced its natural result. That which was so easily yielded was neither much valued nor long retained, but on the first occasion of temptation was cast, without compunction, “like a worthless weed away.”

January 10th.—Meanwhile Inflexible was not idle. The wind was high and sore against her; but by dint of “expansive gear” and active stoking—almost up to boiling-over mark,—she ploughed her way along the eastern coast of Ahina-Mauee, sometimes quite out of sight, at others within clear view of the land. Stern and rugged and storm-beaten is its aspect,—here a wall of serrated peaks with little apparent arable land; there a congeries of hills, fern or forest-clad, with narrow alluvial


  ― 260 ―
valleys between them showing patches of cultivation near the beach,—sequestered spots, where the scattered remnants of tribes driven from the more fertile and populous parts of the island have taken refuge from persecution. On this coast there are, I am told, but few permanent inhabitants, with the exception of one formidable tribe, (the Ngati—something, of course!) whose numbers are said to amount to thirty thousand souls.

I thought we should never get round East Cape,—a fine obtuse cloud-capped promontory; and, having at length rounded it, I thought we should never see the last of it, so fiercely buffeted was the good ship by wind and wave in this most boisterous region. In one of the wildest and most secluded nooks of this inhospitable shore, a verdant oasis amid rugged volcanic crags was pointed out as the residence of an English Missionary and his wife. Hundreds of miles of trackless wilderness must lie between them and their nearest white neighbour. A shudder, I must confess, ran through my veins as I contemplated with worldly eye the position, social and material, of this voluntary exile from his kin and country. Yet after all, life is but a pilgrimage, and a brief one; and whether the traveller hurries towards his kaaba environed with the noisy kafila of society, or, with staff and scrip, wends his lonely way, the bourne will equally be reached; and who can say to which of the wayfarers the balance of joys and sorrows, duties and pleasures, good and evil shall accrue?

Almost within sight of Port Nicholson, and ere we reach it, let me seize the occasion to con over a brief


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outline of the origin of the settlement of Wellington, and of some of the incidents accompanying its creation. Wellington is the head-quarters of the New Zealand Land and Colonization Company; and is a few months senior in existence to the Crown settlement and seat of Government, Auckland, from which it is distant about 500 miles by sea. Every one who has heard of New Zealand in connexion with British rule, has heard of the Land Question in connexion with the New Zealand Company.

It would little become a mere military tourist, and still less suit the object and character of this book, to do more than touch very lightly on so grave a subject. Yet to pretermit it entirely would be difficult; for during my short visit to the country the Land Question was in every one's mouth,—the theme of discourse of every grey beard in New Zealand, i.e. of every white man over twenty-five; for if an average were struck of the ages of the several colonists, from the present Governor of thirty-six downwards, it is likely that the man of twenty-five would be found to be high up among the middle-aged of the land! This great question, then, I shall not hesitate to clip of its fair proportions, and to degrade to a mere ancillary of my personal journal. “Qui a terre a guerre,” says a French proverb; and certainly peace has been a stranger to the country since the Land Question was first mooted.

In 1839 the above-mentioned joint-stock company, so reliant on the powerful names enrolled among their ranks as to resolve to act, or at least to initiate their scheme, without the sanction of the Crown, sent an


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agent, in the person of Colonel Wakefield, in charge of an expedition to New Zealand, “to select a spot for a considerable colony, and to prepare for the emigrants.” The Tory, 400 tons, carrying the agent, with goods for barter, &c., and mounting eight guns, sailed from England accordingly in May, and arrived in Cook's Straits on the 17th August of that year, and shortly anchored in Port Nicholson. The native proprietorship of land on the shores of Cook's Straits was at this juncture, owing to successive conquests of various tribes, wholly unsettled and undefined,—a fact well known to all the old European residents. Yet the agent had no difficulty in finding native chiefs willing to sell any quantity of this commodity, from an acre to a province, but who had no earthly title to the precious article which they so readily disposed of for blankets, tomahawks, Jews'-harps, fire-arms, &c. As for the fire-arms, it is hardly necessary to remark that they formed a most imprudent, suicidal article of barter from the white colonist to the savage land-owner.

Like the greater part of the land at different times alienated by the natives, those portions sold by them to Colonel Wakefield had many prior claimants, both Aboriginal and European; and, when in a few short months three large ships full of emigrants followed on the heels of the Tory, great were the disappointment, discontent, and distress caused by the discovery of the fact that there was no land, on really secure title, to be got for love or money. A peaceable debarkation of the intended settlers took place, for the Maoris were prominently civil to them until their interests began seriously to


  ― 263 ―
clash; and the gallant Colonel's mild yet firm demeanour and excellent temper gained him golden opinions among the Maoris as well as his own people.

A spot in the delta of the Hutt River, flowing into Port Nicholson exactly opposite its mouth, was first selected. The New Zealand Company's flag (whatever manner of bunting that might be, for I never heard of their being authorized to hoist a “Kumpani ki Nishân,” like that of the H.E.I. Company!)—the New Zealand Company's flag was planted on the soil, and the embryo township was named Britannia. Britannia, however, in this case failed to rule the waves, for in high winds the sea beat tumultuously upon the shores, and the river, proving rebellious, overflowed its banks and overran the town allotments. The site on the Hutt was therefore abandoned for that of Thorndon Flat on the shores of Lambton Harbour, an inner lobe of the great basin of Port Nicholson. Wellington was founded, and the neighbouring land was greedily bought up at all hazards of faulty title and dangerous tenure. A population gradually poured in from England and elsewhere, and, in March 1840, six large vessels rode at anchor in the port scarcely as many months established.

A provisional government was formed; and the council signed an agreement of regulations for self-government, binding themselves “on honour” to submit to the Company's accredited agent, as first president thereof. This measure was deemed necessary to maintain law and order in the infant community, “until the Home government should see fit to extend its protecting dominion over them.” The sanction of several influential natives


  ― 264 ―
to this public step was obtained. Meanwhile Governor Hobson had executed, in conjunction with the chiefs of the north, the treaty of Waitangi, whereby the sovereignty of New Zealand was ceded to our Queen while the proprietary right to the land was secured to the Aborigines. The “protection” thus humbly invoked from the imperial government by the free colonizers of the south, was not extended to them by the local government in so paternal a spirit as might have been expected; for in June 1840, one of the agents employed to diffuse the treaty through the more distant parts of the colony arrived from Auckland with a small detachment of military and a few police, and, landing at Wellington, proceeded, without loss of time or waste of words, to haul down the Company's flag, replacing that emblem by the standard of England,—a supercession so natural and inevitable that the ceremony must have been performed in a manner peculiarly galling to the feelings of the Wellingtonians, in order to account for the bitter terms in which it is treated of by a relative of the Company's representative, in his interesting work on New Zealand.

The good folks considered that a community of nearly 1,500 English and 400 savages, that had been living several months together without serious breach of their self-imposed laws, deserved somewhat tenderer treatment at the hands of her Majesty's officers. Nothing daunted, however, by the cloudy appearance of affairs, the Company's agent created several new settlements, some of which were at considerable distance from Wellington; and in about a year, including Wellington, Nelson,


  ― 265 ―
New Plymouth, Wanganui, and smaller places in Cook's Straits, they contained a white population amounting to about 5,000 souls.

The premature and informal occupation of the country by the Company, and their improvident and profuse sale of land to others before they had achieved a good title to it themselves, involved the government at Home and abroad in endless troubles, and the emigrants themselves in embarrassment and distress. The country had been partially and loosely settled by Europeans long before the birth of the New Zealand Association, or the establishment of a British Government. Land had been sold or given by the natives, and bought and occupied by the whites. The Government quickly discovered that large tracts had been purchased at merely nominal prices, and that the Maoris, if not interfered with, would soon alienate all they possessed. An enactment was therefore passed, declaring invalid all title to land purchased directly from the Aborigines. The Crown was to be the only direct customer with them, and the sole source of all title. The land was to be sold to applicants by the Government at a fixed price per acre, and the proceeds were to form a fund for the promotion of immigration and for internal improvements. Thus the buyer would get for his money not only his allotment but the labour to cultivate it, and the roads, bridges, &c. to connect it with the townships and transport its produce.

This right of preemption asserted by the Government appears to have been peremptorily necessary for the prevention of inordinate portions of earth's surface falling into the hands of jobbers, merely for the purpose of


  ― 266 ―
doling it out to retail purchasers at fancy prices; or, what was still worse, letting it lie idle and unproductive for want of capital, inclination, or knowledge to bring it into culture.

A great law authority of the colony writes, that “to let in all purchasers, and to protect and enforce every private purchase, would be virtually to confiscate the lands of the natives in a very short time. The rule laid down is, under the circumstances, the only one calculated to give equal security to both races. In this colony, perhaps, a few of the better instructed natives are capable of protecting their own interests; but the great mass, if sales were declared open to them, would become victims of an apparently equitable rule,—so true it is that it is possible to oppress and destroy under a show of justice. The existing rule, then, contemplates the native race under a species of guardianship.”

Commissioners were appointed to inquire into and adjudicate in all cases of claims,—of whom all I can say from all I have heard, is, that I do not envy them their hopeless and thankless office. Nor were the Government's self-imposed fiduciary duties any sinecure; for though, when compared with other political questions, that of the New Zealand land claims must sink into insignificance—(ten out of twelve persons in England having never heard of them perhaps)—the Maori would have cause to be flattered, could he be aware of the amount of mental labour and legislative puzzledom which some of the wisest and longest heads in England and Australasia have been compelled to devote to its solution.




  ― 267 ―

Statesmen and jurists and political economists have dogmatized, and of course disagreed, on the land rights of savages,—some holding that, however few in number, however erratic in habit, the hunting, fishing, naked, man-eating Aboriginal black is as truly the rightful lord of the manor and proprietor of the soil, as the hunting, shooting, well-dressed, venison-devouring Leicestershire squire: others that, since it is the lot of man to subdue the earth, the right of property only comes with the labour bestowed upon it; that as everything was made for the use of man, those who neither sow, nor reap, nor gather into barns, deserve to be dispossessed of their inutilized property.

Taking either of these views of his case, the Maori would be non-suited by the merest tyro of a lawyer. He is not a mighty hunter, nor a “crack” shot, simply because he has nothing to hunt or shoot, except his fellow-men and the descendants of Cook's tame pigs, now become tolerably wild boars. As for his fishing, no one will interfere with his catching in the sea as many taniwhas, or tiger-sharks, as he likes. On the other hand, although he may, by his friends, be styled an agriculturist, in that he has learned from the whites to till as much land as will yield him a few kumeras and potatoes; still, if every native in the three islands dug and ploughed till he was black (or blacker) in the face, the united Maori population—a hundred and fifty thousand, perhaps—could not by possibility “subdue” one-thousandth part of their native acres, which are said to cover an area equal in extent to the British Isles.




  ― 268 ―

The surplus soil of the New Zealander would, according to the latter and more popular theory, be as fair game for an over-populated, underfed country like England, as that of the Red Indian, the Hottentot, or the Australian;—and, really, there have, now and then, exuded from letters of instruction from Home, such acquisitive symptoms on the subject under notice, that it is excusable to doubt whether it is our high appreciation of the Maori's proprietary rights that has procured him the exemption he now enjoys from the ordinary fate of the savage possessor of broad acres; or whether, on the contrary, he rather owes this immunity from pillage to his own formidable character, to the warlike attitude he has ever assumed towards the whites as a body, and to the inexpugnable nature of his country.

Beyond doubt the natives have derived exaggerated notions of the value of their lands from the too evident greediness of European purchasers, from the high prices paid by one white man to another, especially for town or suburban allotments, and from the “coil” occasioned at Home and in the colony by the land-question in general. They openly avow, “our land was of no value till you Pakehas came here; if you want it now, you must pay well.” Yet, although its value has been much enhanced in their eyes by the cupidity exhibited by white customers, it is certain that the ownership of particular tracts by particular clans has always been clung to with intense tenacity. Whether the tenure has been by right of inheritance, or by that of conquest, some of the most bloody feuds in the annals of the country have arisen from disputes on this subject.




  ― 269 ―

So lately as 1843, there took place, at Monganui, a famous battle about land, which is thus described:— The forefathers of a chief called Nopera (Maori for Noble) now living at Kataia, were, about forty years ago, driven from their ancient abiding-place at Monganui by a hostile tribe; and the conquerors had retained peaceful possession ever since. An English agent acting under the Local Government, whilst negotiating with Noble for his signature to the treaty of Waitangi, learned from this chief that he was the rightful owner of Monganui, which the owners by conquest had sold to Europeans now settled there. The agent did not hesitate to strike a bargain with Noble for the purchase of his long-alienated birthright, the latter having about as much right to sell it as the Sovereign of England has to knock down New York to the highest bidder.

With the potent acknowledgment of the Local Government to his title, Noble visited his long-lost possessions, and asserted his claim. The present native owners denied it of course, and the poor English settlers were left, as it were, literally en l' air; for their land being cut from under their feet they had clearly nothing to stand upon.

Impatient of the tardy settlement of their suit by the English commissioner, these warlike barbarians soon had recourse to the arbitrament of the club. The Monganui tribes, with numerous allies, amounting, it is said, to 2,500 men, under chiefs of known valour, encountered in a pitched battle the tribes of Nopera and his adherents, headed also by men of renown, and numbering 2,000 fighting men. The conflict must have been conducted


  ― 270 ―
in the rambling and vapouring manner of the heroes of Troy,—alternate speechifying, boasting, feasting, praying and fighting—which is, indeed, the ordinary mode of transacting warlike affairs when “Greek meets Greek” in the civil broils of New Zealand. After several days' skirmishing not more than thirty or forty men were killed, although fire-arms were plentiful.

This was a battle for a great principle, not a petty feud or foray,—one side combating for the right of inheritance, the other for the right by conquest. Noble, who still lives, and is well spoken of by the English, suffered signal defeat. Some of his head men were slain; and thus ended the affair.

Nor is it only clan against clan that the Aborigines are ready to fight for their territorial privileges. The sad business of the Wairau affords bloody token that they will stand foot to foot with the white man in defence of the soil they have inherited from their ancestors, or won by the red right hand. Not that I think the Maori has any sentimental attachment to particular patches of his father-land; but he loves it as his chief marketable staple, and will “bide a bout” for it as another man might do for his purse, if it were in danger.

The massacre of the Wairau occurred in the same year as the battle above cited. Its details are well known; yet, as a narrative of it is before me, and some of my friends know as little of it as I did myself before I left England, perhaps a concise account thereof may be here admitted, although it might have been more appropriately inserted after visiting the spot.

Certain purchasers of land from the New Zealand


  ― 271 ―
Company having been put in possession of their town and suburban sections at Nelson (the chief settlement on the southern shore of Cook's Straits), it was found necessary, in order to obtain land for the country lots, to resort to the Wairau, an extensive valley abutting upon Cloudy Bay—about seventy miles from the township. The Company's surveyors, who were despatched to this district to prepare it for delivery to the settlers, were immediately warned off by the natives, who did all in their power to obstruct the survey. Meanwhile, Te Rauperaha and his friend Rangihaieta, the original owners of the land in question—owners by conquest— arrived from the other side of the straits, where they had been attending the Court of the Commissioner of Land Claims, whom they had settled to meet at Cloudy Bay towards the end of the current month, for the purpose of adjudicating the dispute regarding the purchase of this very district. These chiefs, finding the surveyors at the Wairau, informed them that if they persisted in the survey, they would turn them off. They then proceeded to burn down the hut of the chief surveyor—first, however, removing his property to prevent its destruction. They pulled up and burnt the ranging rods, flags, &c. and drove away the men. Mr. Cotterell, the surveyor, upon this, proceeded to Nelson, where, on the 12th June, 1843, he laid an information before the police magistrate, the result whereof was the issue of a warrant against Rauperaha and Rangihaieta for burning the hut; and the magistrate resolved to attend in person its execution. Aware that the natives were well supplied with fire-arms, he assembled a party of constables and


  ― 272 ―
volunteers, armed about thirty-five of them, and proceeded in the Government brig, then lying in Nelson Haven, to Cloudy Bay—where his party was reinforced by another surveyor and his men.

Mr. Thompson, the police magistrate, was accompanied on this ill-fated expedition by the following gentlemen;—Captain Wakefield, R. N., the Company's agent at Nelson, Captain England, J. P., late of H. M's, 12th Regiment—Mr. Richardson, the Crown Prosecutor —Mr. Howard, Company's storekeeper,—Mr. Cotterell, chief surveyor—with several others; also an interpreter, four constables, and twelve special constables: the whole amounting to forty-nine persons, among whom were distributed thirty-three muskets and one or two fowling-pieces.

On Friday, the 16th, the expedition proceeded in boats a few miles up the Wairau river, and camped for the night—having been watched all day by Maori scouts. On Saturday morning, pursuing their course up the river, they landed, and, after a march of about four miles, perceived smoke arising from the bush and heard voices, among which the loud tones of Rangihaieta were easily recognised. Shortly afterwards, they came upon the Maori party, squatting in groups on the opposite side of a narrow deep brook called the Tua Marina, with a dense scrub covering their rear. The white men halted on the left bank; the armed escort were formed in two subdivisions under Messrs. England and Howard, with strict directions not to fire without orders; while the police magistrate and Captain Wakefield, with the interpreter, chief constable, and some


  ― 273 ―
others, crossed the stream on a large canoe which the natives permitted them to use as a bridge. Approaching the Maoris, Mr. Thompson called the names of Te Rauperaha and Rangihaieta. The former alone came forward.

After some conversation, in which it would appear that the old chief declared his willingness to abide by the decision of the Land Claim Commissioner when he should arrive, the magistrate produced his warrant and commanded Rauperaha to accompany him, with any followers he chose, on board the brig—to be brought to trial at Nelson for burning the hut of the Surveyor. The chief replied, “I will not go—I will stay where I am!” The other then threatened to compel him, and pointed to the armed escort; when Rangihaieta arose from among the bushes, came forward, and in vehement tones defied the magistrate: “We do not go to England to interfere with the white people,” said the fierce chief; “wherefore do they come here to meddle with us?” Rauperaha continued, “I do not want to fight, but if the white people fight, I will too.”

Upon this a Missionary native is reported to have stood forward with a Bible in his hands, and exhorted both parties to peace. Mr. Thompson, under great excitement, now called upon Captain England to “bring down the men;”—whereupon the Maoris arose with a shout, and fell back under cover of the wood. The Englishmen, who had crossed over the brook, retreated immediately towards the armed escort, and began, in great confusion, to recross the stream by the canoe;— when, as the escort rushed forward to support them, a


  ― 274 ―
shot was fired—probably by accident—and instantly a general fusillade commenced on both sides. From this the English suffered the most: they being exposed on open ground, while their opponents, like practised skirmishers, fired with deliberate aim from the covert. Several of the English leaders soon falling, a sudden and shameful panic seized their followers, and the greater part of them, turning their backs, fled in disorder. Te Rauperaha and Rangihaieta with their myrmidons, in number about forty, rushed across the creek in pursuit. The English gentlemen in vain entreated their men to keep together, to fix bayonets, and to charge;—all attempts to rally them were fruitless, and they continued to retreat up the hill, some of them still exchanging shots with the savages. Disdaining flight, the leaders were soon left almost unsupported; and, hoping to prevent further bloodshed, Captain Wakefield resolved to surrender himself as a prisoner, and the others followed his advice and example.

The sequel of this murderous affray is taken (not verbatim, for my notes are nearly illegible from seawater) from Mr. E. Wakefield's account:—

The retreating party and the natives continuing to fire, Captain Wakefield and the gentlemen about him were compelled to retire further up the hill, in order, if possible, to put an end to the conflict. Mr. Cotterell, after accompanying them a short distance, sat down, intending to deliver himself up. … As the natives came up, he recognised one to whom he had frequently shown acts of kindness, to whom he advanced with open arms. The native thereupon discharged his


  ― 275 ―
musket in the air; but two others immediately seized him, and dragged him by the hair down the hill into a “manuka” bush. There, as was afterwards found, they dispatched him with their tomahawks.

On the second brow of the hill, Captain Wakefield said, “Your only chance for your lives is to throw away your arms, and lie down.” He and Mr. Thompson, and Brook (the interpreter), shouted “Kati-kati,”—peace, peace; and waved a white handkerchief. Besides these there were present Captain England, Mr. Howard, some of the constables, and a few others. The rest fled in different directions and were pursued by the natives, who cheered on a dog in chase of them, in the same manner as when they hunt pigs. As the natives came up, the white men delivered up their arms at Captain Wakefield's order. He himself gave up a pistol to one of them. Rangihaieta and Rauperaha then approached, and, having shaken hands with the prisoners, reloaded their guns, and, with many other Maoris, seated themselves in a half-circle before them,—the two chiefs at the extremities. Some natives brandished their tomahawks over the heads of the defenceless Englishmen, observing which, Mr. Thompson said to Rauperaha, “kati,” which the chief repeated, and the others then desisted.

Rangihaieta had hurt his foot on a sharp-pointed stump, and Captain England, observing the nature of the wound, offered his penknife to cut out the splinter; having done which the chief returned the knife; but Captain England signified that he would make him a present of it. Gold was offered as a ransom, but ineffectually.




  ― 276 ―

Two natives now approached Captain England, and attempted to strip off his coat. Colouring highly, he tried, it seems, to draw a pistol—for Mr. Howard was heard to say, “For God's sake, Sir, do nothing rash!” Other natives, seizing Mr. Thompson, proceeded to take his coat and watch.

The only white man, says Mr. E. Wakefield, that escaped of all who surrendered to the natives, and from whose deposition were gathered the incidents which occurred after the surrender, was George Bampton; who, at this juncture, observing the attention of the Maoris drawn off him, slipped into the bush, and succeeded in concealing himself. While lying there, he heard some persons passing near him, and the voice of Mr. Howard say, “If we are to die, let us die together.” After lying there nearly ten minutes, he heard five or six shots fired, and immediately afterwards a heavy dull sound, as of beating or chopping on the ground. He heard no cries or screams.

A native, Purua by name, understanding the nature of an oath, and being sworn, gave the following evidence as to what followed the surrender:—“The natives pursued until they caught them all; and Rauperaha was talking to them, and had secured all the chiefs, when Rangihaieta came up, and said, ‘Rauperaha, remember your daughter!’ (one of Rangihaieta's wives, killed by a chance shot during the action.)

“Puaha's wife, who was there, then called out, ‘Puaha, save some of the Rangiteras, so that you may have to say that you have saved some.’ But while she spoke, they were all killed. Rangihaieta killed them all with


  ― 277 ―
his own hand, with a tomahawk: I saw him do it. I saw him kill Captain Wakefield, Mr. Thompson, and Mr. Richardson. I saw him kill John Brooks, near the bunch of trees up the hill. I saw him kill Mr. Cotterell. I saw Rangihaieta snatch away Captain Wakefield's watch, after he had knocked him down. He afterwards offered it to the missionary natives who were present, but they refused to take it, saying, ‘Let it lie with the dead, and all that belongs to them.’ ”

There is a fearful simplicity in the testimony of this Christian Maori!

Seventeen dead bodies of Englishmen were afterwards found, and buried by a Wesleyan clergyman who went there with two boats' crews of whalers. The skulls of all had been cleft with tomahawks and generally disfigured by repeated blows, struck with such ferocity that any one of them must have been instantly fatal.

The killed amounted to twenty-two, the wounded to five. Twenty effected their escape. Such are some of the terrible details of the massacre of the Wairau. In reporting its occurrence to the Home authorities, the acting Governor stated that the measures of the police magistrate were undertaken not only without his sanction, but in direct opposition to previous instructions; and that, as far as his information went, they were in the highest degree unjustifiable, inasmuch as the question of the ownership of the land on which the hut was burned by the natives was yet unsettled, and was on the point of coming under the consideration of the Commissioners. His Excellency proceeds, “The amount of injury which may accrue to the colony from this false step I fear to calculate. … Blood


  ― 278 ―
has been spilt, the angry passions of the two races are let loose, mistrust is gradually corroding the minds of both parties, and the work so happily commenced,” (namely colonization,)” is threatened with immediate destruction.” This foreboding was not exaggerated; for it is certain that the affair of the Wairau first broke down the prestige of the superiority of the white man, especially of the white gentleman, over the semicivilized Maori. Heki's well-known taunt on his first foray to Kororarika, “Is Rauperaha to have all the credit of killing the Pakehas?” —and its corollary, his attack and sacking of that place, are practical proofs of this.

The series of operations in the north against that chief and Kawiti, those against Rangihaieta and Maketu in the south—in a word, the New Zealand war, with its sacrifice of valuable lives and its expenditure of half a million, together with the consequent stagnation in the progress of the colony,—are the lineal and legitimate descendants of the unwisely undertaken, miserably conducted, and fearfully consummated affair of the Wairau. Yet, however unwarrantable the persistence of the English claimants in surveying lands still under dispute;—however lamentable the loss of life inflicted on the natives by the English fire;—the amount of obloquy heaped upon the vanquished party, dead and survivors, by certain public officials, was a burthen too intolerable to be borne without murmur by the British settlers in general, and by the relatives and friends of the victims in particular.

I notice especially an official letter from the chief Protector of the Aborigines to the Colonial Secretary, dated some three weeks after the massacre and while every


  ― 279 ―
one having English blood in his veins was smarting under the recent infliction of so dreadful a disaster;—a letter which I denounce as utterly unworthy of an Englishman, and which ought to have been ignominiously expunged from the records of an English Government department.

This Protector “with a vengeance” mildly designates the bloody and cowardly massacre of the Tua Marina as “the severe measures adopted by the natives”— while he stigmatizes the proceedings of the unfortunate police magistrate as “unconstitutional and murderous,” and concludes his epistle by hounding on the local authorities to prosecute with the utmost rigour his fellow-christians and countrymen who escaped, wounded or unhurt, from the fatal field. “I would also submit to his Excellency,” continues this unique despatch, “that an inquiry should be instituted into the conduct of the survivors who took an active part in the affray; and, if found guilty, punished according to law!”note

A high Government functionary, of course deriving his impression of the affair from the local official reports, pathetically expatiates on the death of the fair Te Rongo, the spouse of Rangihaieta, who, according to the Downing-street appreciation of her virtues, “fell a victim to conjugal affection” during the conflict. This conjugal bias must have been—to speak botanically—of the polyandrian class; unless her intimacy with the sailors and whalers of Cloudy Bay has been foully misrepresented! No one disputes that the attempt to serve a warrant of


  ― 280 ―
capture, backed by a few half-armed bumpkins—many of whom had never before handled firelock—upon two savage chieftains; heroes of a hundred battles, in their native fastnesses and in the midst of their warlike and devoted adherents, armed as well or better than themselves,—was a rash and foolhardy, as well as, under the circumstances, an illegal act. The Surveyors, in the first instance, deserved to have their theodolites and ranging-rods broken over their heads for persisting in a trespass, after due warning: and to talk of “handcuffs” to a Maori chief in the heart of his native wilds, was, indeed,

“To beard the lion in his den— The Douglas in his hall!”

a piece of arrogance that deserved correction—but not a cruel death. Again, the dispositions of the English leader of the expedition were as careless and faulty as those of the Aboriginal chief were sagacious and well-devised. The position of the latter, with a deep brook in front and good cover in his rear, and, on the opposite bank over which their opponents must approach, an open plain, was excellent. The rickety canoe bridge too was a trap into which the Englishmen heedlessly stepped; and, when once they had placed the creek in their rear and between them and their escort, they were, in fact, at the mercy of those whom they had come to capture “by force if necessary.” It would have been a brilliant victory on the part of the Maoris, as well as a disgraceful defeat on that of the Pakehas, if the former had contented themselves with winning a battle by open prowess, and securing their prisoners. And had it not been for


  ― 281 ―
the presence of the bloodthirsty Rangihaieta it is likely such would have been the result—for, both before and since, the natives have acted, on this point, according to the usages of civilized warfare.

That this arch ruffian was permitted to escape unpunished at the time was not a matter of choice. Any attempt to arrest him would have caused a certain and useless sacrifice of life, if not the utter destruction of the British settlements; for the entire military force in the colony at the moment of the massacre consisted of a weak company of infantry quartered at Auckland, and there was no vessel of war on the station. Shortly afterwards Governor Fitz Roy arrived at Wellington in H.M.S. North Star, bringing with him a small detachment, capable perhaps of defending the town—although that might be doubted,—but wholly inadequate for any offensive movement. His Excellency exerted therefore a sound policy in resisting the efforts of the Wellingtonians and Nelsonians, and their press, to engage him in active reprisals.

It is related by Mr. E. Wakefield that the Christian chief, E Kuru, offered to raise a thousand men, and to cut off the retreat of the two peccant chieftains into the interior,—a tempting offer, and one which there must have existed weighty reasons for refusing. It is also stated that immediately after the massacre Rauperaha repaired to his estate at Otaki, and, the very day after his arrival, formally embraced Christianity and attended chapel. His wife and slave women openly wore the rings of the murdered Englishmen, and his house was full of their clothes, arms, watches, and other property.


  ― 282 ―
It is shrewdly surmised that this hurried assumption of the Christian faith was a mere ruse to secure the alliance of the Missionary natives, in case the English came to open rupture with Rangihaieta and himself.

I accept the want of power as the sole valid motive for the forbearance exercised by the local government on this occasion; for another consideration, urged by one-sided philanthropists, viz. that it would have been heinously wicked to encourage or risk an internecine war between these amiable barbarians, by employing one tribe to fight against another, was, I must be permitted to say, throwing cold milk-and-water on a measure whose execution the honour of England and the cause of humanity imperatively demanded,—namely, the capture and punishment of Rangihaieta.note

And Rangihaieta still lives and goes free; free to boast of having inhumanly butchered more Englishmen than any savage had ever done before,—free to vaunt his impunity, and to bully with equal impunity any white person whom he may fancy to insult or pillage. Yet, stained as is this truculent monster with the blood of unarmed men—infamous as was his previous character as a drunkard, a robber, a murderer, and a cannibal,— and actively instrumental as he subsequently proved in cruel aggressions against the peaceful settlers, and in covert and overt hostility to British rule, it will hardly be believed that there have been found Englishmen,—


  ― 283 ―
English gentlemen,—who have visited in his bandit camp, broken bread with, and given the hand of amity to Rangihaieta!

It was disgusting enough to witness the “paddling of palms” between some of the highest colonial notables and that cringing old sycophant and anthropophagist, Te Rauperaha; but to cultivate a close intimacy with Jack Ketch might be considered a careful and exclusive selection of acquaintance, compared with a voluntary chumship with Rangihaieta. The writer was offered at once an opportunity and an excuse for a visit to this latter celebrated savage in his forest lair; but, though he must confess himself, in this instance, susceptible of that unworthy craving common (perhaps peculiar) to his countrymen—the passion for personally inspecting the perpetrators of foul and bloody deeds, the place of their occurrence, even the instruments — pistol, poker, or pitchfork—whereby they were effected, and afterwards to batten on a rechauffée thereof in the shape of a three-volumed novel,—yet he had the virtue to forego the occasion, fairly stating, as his reason, squeamish though it might be, that he could not give his hand to (still less rub noses with) the Tiger of the Wairau! Nor did he ever exchange either of these greetings with the older and not lesser scoundrel Te Rauperaha, although a handshake was more than once nearly ravished from him during the fortnight's juxtaposition into which they were brought while on board the Inflexible. So much for the massacre of the Wairau. It was the savage man's punishment of the civilized man's error!

Rangihaieta, it is said, (indeed, passages in his life


  ― 284 ―
prove that he) is not without some redeeming manly qualities. He keeps his word for good or evil; is frank, brave, and generous, sometimes paying handsomely and voluntarily for wrongs committed by him in headlong fits of passion. He hates Europeans, and has never disguised his antipathy. When Governor Grey had an interview with him some years after the “unhappy deeds” I have just related, this unpliant son of the wilderness exclaimed, “I want nothing of the Pakehas; I wear nothing of their making. See my dog-skin mat;—you may go!” His Excellency pointed, with a smile, to a peacock's feather in his hair, when Rangihaieta, plucking it scornfully out, threw it on the ground, and set his foot on it, saying, “True—that is European!” His acts of violence towards white persons have been innumerable. So late as 1849 I read in a newspaper that, after compelling an Englishman, keeping a ferry, to pass him over, he knocked him down and robbed him of some rum, merely remarking that he must have it. Shortly afterwards, however, he gave the man liberal “utu” both for the liquor he had taken and the licking he had given.

On the Hutt river and Porirua road, during his struggles against British supremacy, he made war upon the unarmed and helpless settlers, driving them off their purchased lots and carrying out his “evictions,” and “tumbling” their shielings with all the rigour of the Irish agent of an absentee landlord.

Having once heard that he had been evil-spoken of by a stout English whaler living on an island in Cook's Straits, he proceeded there in his canoe, and finding the


  ― 285 ―
man standing by his door, after measuring his more than ordinary bulk, Rangihaieta seized him in his arms, and, raising him in the air, dashed him on the ground senseless.

A friend of mine who has resided several years in New Zealand,—and whom, by-the-bye, this turbulent bully once threatened to shoot—described the person of Rangihaieta as singularly manly, well-formed, and athletic. In height he is about six feet two, with curly black hair, aquiline features, a small piercing eye, and a haughty bearing.note




  ― 286 ―

Chapter X.

MODEST LAND-CLAIMS—TENURES—THE NEW ZEALAND COMPANY'S CHIEF TOWN—WELLINGTON VERSUS AUCKLAND—WHERE TO SETTLE?—PRODIGALITY OF THE FIRST SETTLERS—ROADS NEAR WELLINGTON—A SKETCH PREVENTED—RIDE TO THE HUTT VALLEY—STOCKADES AND SETTLEMENTS —THE BUSH OF NEW ZEALAND—BIRDS—BUSH FIGHTING—THE ATTACK ON BOULCOTT'S FARM.

ON the subject of the Land Claims, I do not know that the paramount necessity of interference by the Government can be more pointedly proved than by the following extract from an “Abstract of claims to land in New Zealand by right of purchase from the Aborigines, as far as they can be defined from the Government Gazette to September, 1841,”—claims, too, of persons resident in New South Wales! I do not insert names, although they have duly appeared in the Government Gazette.

           
Claimant.  Area in Acres.  Consideration given. 
— —  57,000 acres.  10l
— —  250,000 acres.  301l
— —  1,200,000 acres.  200l
— —  1,328,000 acres.  393l
— —  5,500,000 acres!  60l.!! 




  ― 287 ―

But these requisitions for portions of Mother Earth's crust—startling as they may sound and look upon paper—shrink into moderation when compared with the grand land-swoop attempted by a well-known mighty squatter and statesman of New South Wales, whose claim amounted to about 100,000 acres in the Northern Island of New Zealand, and 20 millions of acres in the Middle Island—the whole of the latter island, in short, except about three millions of acres!

It was upon this inordinate claim that Governor Sir George Gipps, in his famous speech of July, 1840, poured the phials of his wrath, when, after a course of powerful argument, he pursued:—“But, gentlemen, talk of corruption—talk of jobbery,—why if all the corruption which has defiled England since the expulsion of the Stuarts were gathered into one heap, it would not make up such a sum as this. If all the jobs which have been done since the days of Sir Robert Walpole were collected into one job, they would not make so big a job as Mr. —— asks me to lend a hand in perpetrating—the job, that is to say, of making him a grant of 20,000,000 of acres, at the rate of 100 acres for a farthing!” “Why, gentlemen!” exclaimed this just and gifted ruler at another point in his oration—“Captain Cook had as much right to purchase New Zealand for himself when he discovered it; or I had as much right to purchase the island of Tongataboo from the chief of that country, who came to visit me the other day, as Mr. —— had to purchase the Middle Island of New Zealand from the savages who were in Sydney in February last!”




  ― 288 ―

I have said that the Land Claims Question has proved a “poser,”—and all because it is impossible to define accurately the territorial rights of the savage. The writers and speakers on this vexed subject are legion. Some argue from conviction, and according to the rules of universal justice; others with their consciences and opinions considerably warped by self-interest. The law of nations is turned and twisted to suit the views and to support the position of each exponent; and the New Zealand Company itself boldly and freely construes the palladium of nations, the jus gentium, into a right of certain gents from the east end of London and elsewhere to purchase “no end” of acres of land for as many Jew's-harps, and to sell them for as many guineas; to erect colonies without the sanction of the Crown; and to send out emigrants and locate them upon tracts that had neither been “reported ready for delivery,” “surveyed,” nor even “discovered.” Or rather the Company did so construe this obscure question, until they received from the Crown at once a corrected version and a rap on the knuckles, which brought them to a sense of their situation, as well as to a clear comprehension of Vattel.

The knot into which company and colonists, whites and blacks, rulers and ruled, jobbers and jobbed, had got entangled, has never yet been deftly reeled off into a clear and even skein. It was indeed, in some sort, finally cut by the Imperial Government, who, in pity to the embarrassed association and their still more embarrassed constituents, granted to it a Charter of Incorporation, a large loan of money to enable the Company to meet its liabilities and carry on its operations, a right of


  ― 289 ―
pre-emption in native land (the peculiar privilege of the Crown), together with sundry other immunities and advantages;—and, in case the Association should fail to establish itself with this assistance within a given time, the Crown was to assume at once its liabilities and its land, with certain modifications intended to reconcile both, as much as possible, to a bad job. Pity if so grand a scheme should fail, for noble and grand is undoubtedly that undertaking, which would tend to relieve the old country of its surplus population—a surplus foredoomed to poverty, famine, and therefore to crime; and would pour it upon a land—to use the language of one of our pleasantest modern writers, though not applied to New Zealand—a land “so kind, that just tickle her with a hoe and she laughs with a harvest.” Experience has taught us what common sense and common honesty might long ago have suggested, namely, that it is better to purchase the land and the good-will of a warlike race by equitable remuneration, than to get it by first cheating, then fighting, and after all having to pay. The Wairau and sundry other disputed districts have now been bought up for a few thousands of pounds by the Government, and will, doubtless, be resold to settlers at prices not ruinous, and under a tenure more consonant with conscientiousness and personal comfort than the former less costly but less secure terms of possession.

It is true that speculators, missionaries, and colonists in general, on the old Jews'-harp-y system, held their property at very cheap rates financially speaking, but at the expense of a vast amount of grievous humiliation, insult, extortion, and even violence at the hands of an


  ― 290 ―
inferior race,—a patience of hardship and outrage which might be intelligible enough in the long-suffering Missionary, but which is hard to reconcile with the known character of the independent British layman, who would hardly exercise such forbearance, hardly “eat dirt” to such an extent as he has done in this country, did he not feel that he was in truth a trespasser on the soil, that the price he paid for his footing was little better than a swindle, and that consequently the kicks and cuffs that befel him were no more than his well-merited meed.

Under any circumstances, the first colonizers of a strange land are destined to hard work, privation, and too often to ruin. Ranked as the pioneers of civilization, they are men of the axe, the shovel, and the pick, —men of the beard and leathern apron,—with slung firelock always ready for action. Pursuing this somewhat stale military simile, I would liken them rather to the forlorn hope of a column of assault: covering the advance of the main body, and meeting the brunt of battle, they too often lose life or fortune in the desperate duty —serving only to fill with their corpses the ditch over which their more prosperous followers march to eventual victory. Yet—glory be to British enterprise and spirit! —point but out the spot of earth capable of maintaining its man, and, however distant, however hedged in with danger and difficulty, there will ever spring to the front a gallant band of volunteers, ready for the adventure and sanguine of success; and sooner or later the courage, the perseverance, and the thrift of an orderly people will assuredly meet their reward.




  ― 291 ―

But all this while the Inflexible is drawing near Port Nicholson. Great was the fear that we should not get into port this day. Towards sunset, however, we were within Cook's Straits; and as the steam-ship rounded Cape Palliser, the southernmost point of the Northern Island, the sinking luminary glinted on the snow-capped peaks of the Southern Island. In another hour or two we had passed Baring's Head, and were threading the somewhat long and narrow entrance to Port Nicholson, hedged in with fine high bluffs; and finally, at ten P.M., we dropped anchor in that arm of the great southern haven called Lambton Harbour. Our berth was about ten miles from the Heads, and a short half-mile from the shore. Around us lay a magnificent basin, landlocked by lofty and precipitous hills, and immediately before us the town of Wellington.

The harbour and settlement reminded me slightly of St. John's, Newfoundland, but the comparison is unjust to the New Zealand port. Fortunate it is for the colony that in so stormy a part of the world, and on a coast so generally devoid of shelter, such a splendid refuge has been provided. Wonderfully diverse, however, are the opinions I have heard and read regarding Port Nicholson as a harbour, and Wellington as a chief town and province. Of course a rabid jealousy on the subject of their respective ports exists between the Crown settlements in the north, and the Company's settlement in the south. Certain deponents aver that its mouth is narrow; its throat beset with dangerous rocks; that there is bad holding ground in the anchorage; and that through the gorges of the surrounding hills boisterous


  ― 292 ―
and sudden gusts plough up the smooth water of the bay, and rush upon the shipping thus insecurely moored. As regards the anemology of the place, the axiom, “de gustibus,” &c. is violated; for its flatterers, on the other hand, deny the existence of said gusts, uphold the character of the port for amiability of climate, and triumphantly point to the many hundreds of vessels that have entered and cleared without a shadow of an accident. All I know personally is, that three days out of four during my short stay “it blew great guns;” and had I access to the log of H.M.S. Inflexible, I think it would be found that, with all her titular inexorability, she dragged her anchor, and therefore shifted her berth, the very night on which it was “let go” there. There is an old story, too, complacently repeated at Auckland to all travellers, of a boat hauled high and dry on the beach of Thorndon, having been blown bodily along the main street of Wellington, like an autumnal leaf, killing what the accident-mongers call “an aged female” in its along-shore gambols.

As for the township and vicinage, detractors affirm that there is little available or good land near at hand, owing to the impracticable nature of the hills that hem it in—that the heavy timber presents serious obstacles to the settler, and that the difficulty of opening communications with the interior will prevent Wellington becoming the entrepôt of any wide circuit of country. Those, on the contrary, who give their suffrages to Wellington, dwell on the splendid valley of the Hutt, already laid open and numerously settled; and on the extensive vale of Wairarapa, which the fine road through the former will soon bring within reach.




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But although difficult to reconcile, it is easy to account for these different impressions on different sensoriums as regards the capabilities of the place. Self-interest is the lens through which the several observations have been taken. The Company's colonists were disappointed that Wellington, rather than Auckland, should not have been chosen as the seat of Government. They claimed seniority of existence, superiority in the census, and the more central position when all the islands shall be peopled. The colonists of the north—more especially the owners of town and suburban lots at Auckland—were naturally fearful that the title and advantages of metropolis should be lost to their new city; and they not only cited their milder climate, their twofold ports of Waitemata and Manakau, their naturally clear land, &c., but they drew a most unflattering parallel between their own abiding-place and that of their rivals.

All mariners agree, I believe, that a harbour locked by low land is better than one surrounded by high hills. Even a landsman who has tasted the bise on Lac Leman or elsewhere, will understand that Auckland bears the bell on this point. But let me lift up my voice in favour of Wellington on another point: she has a beautiful pebbly beach, whereon boats may be run right up; whereas, at Auckland, there is a horribly greasy shore at low water, and a mole or pier disgraceful to the capital of the colony, and to all concerned in the construction and toleration thereof. Fifty men of the regiment stationed there, at the working pay of 10d. a-day, would in a month make it, to say the least, possible for a captain of a man-of-war to get to


  ― 294 ―
and from his gig without riding pick-a-back on his cockswain, or skating—like a Mussulman to paradise— over the narrow, slimy ridge of this apology for a jetty.

The artist could not hesitate a moment between Auckland, and its brown and arid plains flecked with volcanic cones, (although some of the ferny knolls and bosky dells are pretty enough,) and the wild mountain-forests and dark tangled ravines of the southern port, with its noble background of snowy peaks. A converse view would probably be taken by an agriculturist, preferring the half-decomposed pumice,note —(a soil looking like that on the site of a house just burnt down, namely, scorched bricks and mortar, cinders, dust, soot, refuse of smelted metals and molten blue bottles, and which is really a good though not a rich soil, with a surface favourable to the plough,)—to the rugged and precipitous tracts round Port Nicholson, where both seed and soil are sometimes swept away together by the torrents of rain which in the wet season harry the hill sides and narrow valleys.

Yet it is pleasant to note that, although mutual jealousies and clashing interests may subsist between the metropolitan and Company's districts, it only required that a calamity should befal one of them, to rivet both in the bonds of compatriotism. After the terrible earth-quake which took place some time later than my visit— a calamity by which the penates of the Wellingtonians were shivered on their new-found hearths, their brethren of Auckland raised a handsome subscription in aid of those whose property had been destroyed. Tendered


  ― 295 ―
with proper expressions of sympathy, it was declined with equally proper feelings of pride though with due manifestations of gratitude by the sufferers.

Putting myself in the position of a newly-arrived emigrant, neither Akarana nor Ponekinote would have many charms in my eyes, at least at first sight. The aspect of the former is repulsive like that of all countries whose interior has been convulsed and exterior disfigured by the action of subterranean fires. The mountainous character of the latter is discouraging to any one who, like myself, may have no fancy to live in a continual state of up and down hill. This feature, with the insecurity of property and the hostility of the natives, has prevented —as has happened in most of the other settlements in the colony—that devotion to farming pursuits on which its ultimate success depends; and has reconciled the emigrants, who came out with worthier intents, to the wretchedly inferior traffic of the counter. Those who came to till, remained to peddle. Those who should have been producers became the sutlers and hucksters of the bolder few and of the natives, while the better born adventurers dissipated their capital in the clubs and taverns of the townships. Perhaps it is presumptuous in me to say, that, did circumstances induce me to make New Zealand my “new home,” my choice of locality would fall upon neither of the provinces I have named, nor even on any spot in the Northern Island. I cannot conceive that any solid advantage can accrue to the English settler from the labour or the vicinity of Maoris. Of what use is an idle, independent, free-and-easy savage,


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at 2s. 6d. or 3s. a-day? I would pitch my tent, rather, on the comparatively uninhabited Middle Island, where there would be no Rauperahas and Rangihaietas, nor even Te Wheros, to watch and humour, bully or propitiate, according to one's strength or weakness;—perhaps at the nascent Church of England settlement of New Canterbury, where doubtless, ere long, there will be a complete social slice of England transplanted, something in the old style,—Church and State, peer, priest, and peasant—an entire community packed and labelled in the Old Country, and landed without damage, as per invoice, in a fine, clear, level country, with plenty of room in rear of its port, and a British climate. To be sure, 3l. an acre is somewhat high for land 16,000 miles from Mayfair—especially if the purchaser stretches a point to pay it, in the faith that the settlement will maintain an exclusive episcopalian character; for, long before its streets are half laid out, some nonconformist Poundtext will be found mounted on a barrel at a corner allotment, or on a tree-stump in the market-place—and will not wait long for a flock!note

January 11th.—Wellington is a long straggling village, spread thinly—like the raspberry jam at the Auckland native feast—over two or three miles of the crescent-shaped beach, and over a plain, sometimes wider sometimes narrower, lying between the sea and the grand


  ― 297 ―
amphitheatre of hills within whose strict embrace the township is confined—their hirsute summits absolutely frowning down the chimneys and into the back windows, and some of the more intrusive spurs of the range pushing, as it were, the houses and their inhabitants into the waters of the harbour.

Nineteen out of twenty houses are of wood—fortunately; or the loss of life during the earthquakes of 1849 would have been a hundred-fold greater. At either extremity of the town are the barracks of Thorndon and Te Aro;—at either extremity, a native pah. A good solid brick gaol (shaken to pieces, by the way, in the aforesaid convulsion of nature) stands near the former; and the general hospital for both races—an interesting and excellent institution but just established —near the latter. The best effects, it is said, have arisen from the Maori patient seeing the white man submitting to treatment and regimen wholly strange to the former, and thereby gaining confidence in European medical skill. I subsequently read the case of one old chief who submitted to the removal of a most painful tumour weighing three pounds—quietly inhaling the ether which the surgeon prescribed. The cure was perfect, and the native wrote a letter of grateful thanks to the operator. The physician in charge has recommended that natives of rank should be numbered among the official visitors of the hospital.

There are in Wellington one or two very fair hotels— and the shops and stores are pretty well supplied with the ordinary requisites of a young settlement. There is, moreover, a very good and convenient club, properly


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exclusive in its tenets—whose advantages are extended to strangers and travellers of respectability, on the same hospitable principle as that of the Sydney Club.

As a military post—and surely all settlements amongst a warlike race of Aborigines should be considered as military posts, with reference at least to choice of site—Wellington is vulnerable in the extreme. Ten thousand hostile Maoris might assemble without discovery among the masses of wooded hill and ravine close in rear of the town, and might select a convenient moment to overwhelm it. To fire the weather-boarded city at different points, on one of the dark tempestuous nights common to the climate, would be an easy exploit; and the half-asleep and half-naked inhabitants would fall under the silent blows of the club and tomahawk before the garrison could turn out. A quarter of an hour's active butchery—something in the style of the usher wanting a place, who advertised to flog a school of sixty boys in twenty minutes!—and no one is more apt at the bloody trade than the Maori,—would do much towards the depopulation of Wellington;—and the treacherous foe would be received again into the dark bosom of the forest, whither to follow him would be madness.

On the plain of Thorndon is an old field-work, called Clifford's Stockade, mounting a few guns, offspring of the panic caused by the sacking of Kororarika, and intended as a place of refuge in case of an attack. With a little repair and deepening of the ditch, this trifling earthen fortalice might be made quite efficient against a coup de main; and, by a very simple contrivance, which perhaps may have never occurred to an


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engineer or other defender of a fortified post, might be rendered impregnable against bare-footed savages—namely, by throwing into the ditch (instead of throwing them on the horse and foot-paths and the sea-beach) all the broken bottles which in a short period have been so lavishly emptied by the Company's colonists!

If one must credit half the tales of former extravagance current here—six months' consumption of champagne alone would have furnished broken glass sufficient for the purpose. This may be a useful and perhaps original hint for future beer and wine swilling settlers in a wild country! Methinks I hear the agonized yells of the night attacking barbarians, as they recoil with mangled soles from the glass strewn fosse!—nor could the baffled savages console themselves with a koriro or a cannibal supper after the defeat—for they would all be suffering lockjaw!

The audacity of the rebel Maoris never went the length of attacking either Auckland or Wellington; although Heki threatened the former, and Te Rauperaha is said to have openly ridiculed the idea of the latter, with its then garrison, being able to resist a combined attack, had he and Rangihaieta chosen to undertake one after the affair of the Wairau.

I found Mr. Eyre, the Lieut.-Governor, no less hospitable and kind than had been the Governor-in-chief. He provided me with an apartment in the unpretending tenement styled Government-house; and this gentleman is indeed so generally liberal and hospitable, that it is to be feared the modest salary of 800l. a-year, supposed to repay his services and the expenses consequent on his


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station, will as certainly be swallowed up in the first six months—as has the annual revenue of the colony and the parliamentary subsidy been absorbed in as short a period!

At Wellington I was fortunate in meeting more than one old military friend, who contributed to create for me smiling recollections of the capital of the southern province. Considering the rugged nature of the country round about, there are some very pleasant rides from Wellington. The Karori road, running from the rear of the town through a wooded gully to a small upland hamlet of that name, is extremely romantic—initiating the traveller at once into all the splendours of the New Zealand forest. Here are several hundred acres partially cleared, and the remains of a stockade built for the defence of the rural community. Near this spot is situated the pretty residence of the Judge of the southern district, niched on a plot of very high and well cleared land which, compared with the towering and far-spreading forest all around, appears like a small patch of ground laid bare by one sweep of the scythe in a field of standing wheat. There he lives, with wife and numerous young family, several miles from the town, unharassed by any fear of the natives, although the penalties of the English law have been by him inflicted upon many of them—in some instances to the extremity of its power. Another pleasant road takes you through the town, past the pah of Te Aro, a special reserve of the natives. Would that I had passed it by, as the road does, without contact or closer acquaintance. It is a filthy nest of slaves, tributaries of some conquering tribe. The


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immediate vicinity of its low caste inmates to the town insures their picking up all the vices of the worst class of Europeans, without contracting the English love of comfort and cleanliness. I was glad to get out of it without losing my purse and acquiring some pestilent disease. When the British local government shall feel more firm in its saddle, I shall hope to hear that Te Aro Pah and a good many other moral and material nuisances arising from the natives have been obliterated.

Beyond this, you cross the old race-course, round which are spread many snug suburban villas, (some showing indications of competence and taste,) the Te Aro barracks and the gaol; and beyond them, spurring over an open undulating country of a mile or two in extent, here and there studded with patches of wild flax, just now in full flower, you reach, at length, and find yourself trying the metal of your steed round the new race-course, a fine piece of drained bog land, lying between a branch of Port Nicholson and the open ocean. The Wellington public owes much to the enterprise of the gentleman who drained the Birnham Water race-ground; I hope the public will pay what they owe.

The great roads to the Porirua district and the Hutt settlements were commenced by the Company's immigrants, and completed by Government, chiefly by soldiers' labour. They afford pleasant rides, good inter-communication, and are executed in a style that does credit to a young colony and to the workmen employed. As for the walks, he must be a practised mountaineer in wind and limb who could enjoy pedestrianism in any direction from Wellington, except along the shores of


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the bay. The weather was, however, very cold to sensations like mine fresh from New South Wales, and, indeed, to the residents, for there were fires in all the houses; and a good scrambling walk was therefore a good thing. I was particularly anxious to get a sketch of the settlement and harbour from some commanding point; and one afternoon, when the sun was shooting his rays precisely at the angle most favourable for light and shade, I set my face resolutely against the slope of the Tinakiri range, and soon reached a spot on its chine, from whence the crystal bay in its bronze frame of rugged hills, the shipping on its surface lying calmly at their anchors or scudding along with white wings, the long wood-built town curving round the horns of the haven or creeping like ivy up the spurs of the mountain behind, and the grand back-ground of the snowy Sierra of Tararua, formed a coup d'æil worthy the trouble of a scramble and a sketch. Having performed the first, I must account for failing in the second, whereby my readers have lost the view of Wellington which ought to have been here inserted.

I had reached some patches of rude cultivation near the summit, had recovered my breath by stedfast contemplation of the scenery, had gotten out my paper and pencil, and, with a discouraging feeling of the difficulty of my subject, had selected what appeared a favourable spot for a seat. My eye, moreover, had fallen complacently on a herd of kine that came browsing towards my station, and which were destined to perform the part of animated nature in the fore-ground, when I suddenly remembered having been warned against wild and


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wicked cattle in this neighbourhood. A brief consultation of the bovine countenances before me so satisfied me of their pacific temper that I continued to advance up the hill, and had left the whole herd behind me, as I thought, when suddenly from the midst of a detached thicket appeared a wild black head with a pair of fiery eyes and with remarkably sharp horns. There was a fierce bellow, a flash of the eyes, a “swirl,” as Burns has it, of a long black tail,—(truly, such tail, horns, and eyes, might have well become the Principle of Evil!)—and, ere one “could say it lightens!” a long-legged cow dashed through the bushes and made right at me! Waterton would have been upon her back in the twinkling of a tough story, and have ridden her into subjection, as he did the alligator; Guy Earl of Warwick would have reduced her to a state of beefhood, carried her home ready spitted on his spear, turned her into a done cow before a good fire, and eaten her whole for his supper. As for degenerate me, a three-railed fence stood at my left hand, and I hailed it as a friend in need. Invoking Mater Etona and her memories, Charvey ditch, my Dame's palings, and other classic jumps of my boyhood, my left fingers grasped the top bar, as the right horn of the beast touched my skirts;—one spring and I was safe—ingloriously, but indisputably safe!

The evolution was executed, indeed, in some confusion; but the result was happy, and, on subsequent reflection, I became satisfied that in a military point of view it was both correct and skilful. Overmatched by brute strength the laws of strategy required that the weaker belligerent


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should fall back upon a stronger position, where the enemy might lose the advantage of superior force. This manœuvre being effected with but trifling loss to the rear-guard, my superiority of position enabled me to assume the offensive. A heavy fire (of stones) was poured upon the enemy's front and flank; in vain she exhausted herself in successive attacks on my timber breastwork; and, with a roar of rage and despair, she was finally driven in confusion from the field! Another such victory might have been my ruin; and my pencil being among the “missing,” (my dignity, I must confess, was in the list of “slightly wounded,”) the sketch was unavoidably, and, as it happened, permanently postponed.

An acquaintance of mine did not escape so easily in a similar encounter that befel him, near Auckland. While walking with some ladies they were attacked by a bullock, and, in a gallant but fruitless attempt to repulse the wild animal with a parasol or umbrella, he was thrown down, trampled on, and seriously bruised. A soldier, at the same place, was also much injured in a like adventure. This dangerous propensity in the cattle of New Zealand arises probably from the graziers of Australia and Van Diemen's Land favouring their customers with all the “neer-do-weels” of their stock—cows that decline to “bail up,” and bullocks that “break fence” and rebel against the yoke—a practice which, although very notorious, and certainly very sharp practice on a sister colony, gave me, I admit, no manner of inquietude until my own person became so pointedly affected by it.

January 18th.—Inspection of the 65th Regiment, on


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Thorndon Flat—an excellent parade ground, like an English village green. It is pleasant to see the truly British appearance of the troops in this country;—no pale faces—no dried-up frames. Here was a corps 900 strong, including detachments, so increased individually in bulk and healthiness of aspect since I saw them a year ago at Sydney after a long voyage from England, that it was difficult to believe them the same body of men. They have here plenty of beef and potatoes and a fine blustery climate—just the things to assist in erecting the raw young clodpole from the plough-tail, or the half-starved stripling from the shuttle, into that hardy and indefatigable machine called the British soldier.

One fine January day, so cool, albeit Midsummer, that a pea-jacket was no unseasonable dress, I accompanied the Lieut.-Governor, the General, and their respective suites on an equestrian excursion to the Valley of the Hutt—a most interesting ride of about thirty miles, easily performed between breakfast and dinner. This is no little to say in proof of the enterprise of the colonists and the Government; for half-a-dozen years ago a snake —if there were such a reptile in the country, which there is not—or a savage, could hardly have wriggled through the thick bush now traversed by a beautiful carriage road—a road formed too under the adverse circumstances of constant interruptions from the hostile natives. For the first eight or nine miles the passenger has on his left hand a precipitous bank of rough whinstone covered with dense scrub, among which is noticeable the handsome laurel-like Karaka—bearing a kind of plum, which is eaten by the natives after having been rendered wholesome


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by cooking. On his right the waters of Port Nicholson dash their spray against the coping of the road. At length the high bank on the left trends away to the north, losing itself in lofty wooded hills, and the delta of the Hutt opens itself to view—three or four miles in width, with a similar forest ridge sheltering it on the farther side. The vale itself seems perfectly flat, the soil very rich, the timber magnificent. The river Hutt —or Eritonga, to use its native and, without offence to the owner of the patronymic, more musical name—waters and fertilizes its whole length. The embouchure of this stream was, as I have mentioned, first chosen as the site of the Company's chief town, and was deserted in favour of Lambton Harbour. Quitting the beach and turning up the valley, the road took us close past the pah of Pitone, of which the loyal chief, E Puni, is the head— merely a stockaded village, whose palisades would hardly sustain the assault of my late enemy, the black cow. A chapel of ease is the most prominent building within this Maori hamlet, whose exterior fence is still decorated with the hideous symbols of the Heathen. Not far beyond, hidden by the clustering forest, is the residence of the Hon. Edward Petre, the most considerable settler and breeder of stock, especially horses, in the province, and one of the numerous scions of ancient and honourable Roman Catholic families, who have, under the auspices of the New Zealand Association, emigrated to the country. This Company, in numbering aristocratic names, the Petres, and Stourtons, and Jerninghams, and Cliffords, and Vavasours, among their first settlers, do certainly approach nearer than the, lately rival, Crown settlement


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of the north, to the system of the original English plantations in the New World—when the Raleighs and Baltimores were among the leaders of the adventure;— and, indeed, to the custom of the colonizing ancients.

Galloping over alternate flax plains, bush, and swamp, in a couple of miles we came upon the British stockade of Fort Richmond, which, with its advanced post of Boulcott's farm, and a police stockade still further up the valley, was established for the protection of the settlers during the late war. It is a small baby-house kind of fortress, built of timber, with a couple of carronades on corner turrets, one of which, infringing on the river, has been carried away by a freshet.

Fort Richmond is at present held by a subaltern's detachment; but was a more important post during the hostilities of which the valley was the scene, when Rangihaieta and his associate in arms and mischief, Mamaku, crossing the mountains from his stronghold Pahatanui on the Porirua inlet, ravaged the incipient settlements on this richly alluvial and therefore by the natives vehemently disputed district, committing many barbarous murders on the unarmed and unresisting settlers. It is certainly worth fighting for,—the valley of the Hutt, from the gorge on the hills where the river enters on the plain, to its mouth, containing not less than 30,000 acres of what will be first-rate meadow land, when the bush shall have yielded to the axe and saw.

Leaving the little fort, we spurred along a fine wide road, drained on either hand and spanned here and there with bridges—a road as long and as straight as a French chaussée. Right and left, to a distance of fifty or sixty


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feet, the timber had been felled; and beyond this arose the tall, tangled, and impervious forest. Many of the trees were of majestic growth, and several—among others the Kaikatera, like an English yew, with red berries—are very valuable as timber, for hard and durable qualities.

Some of the tree ferns must have been not less than forty or fifty feet high, shooting their slender stems through the dense underwood, and spreading their wide and delicate fronds to the upper air like so many Hindostanee umbrellas. A hundred feet above them tower the ruder giants of the forest, yielding them that shade and shelter which, both in New South Wales and New Zealand, seem necessary to their existence. What would some of my fern-fancying friends have given for my opportunity!—for the arborescent fern was by no means the only kind here. Hundreds of beautiful specimens, infinite in variety, arrested one's attention at every step. Innumerable parasites and climbing plants, vegetable boa-constrictors in appearance, flung their huge coils from tree to tree, from branch to branch—dropping to the earth, taking root again, running for a space along the surface, swarming up and stifling in their strict embrace some young and tender sapling; anon, as if in pure fickleness, grappling and adopting some withered and decayed stump, arraying and disguising its superannuated form in all the splendour of their own bright leaves and blossoms and fruits (for some of the passifloras bear one like a cherry); and, having reached the top, casting their light festoons to the wind, until they caught the next chance object. Grand broad-leaved ferns, palmated like the horns of the elk, niched


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themselves grotesquely in the forks of the oldest trees; and another kind, long and wide as a double-handed sword, looked so unlike a fern, as not to be recognisable but by the mode of carrying its seed. Enormous mistletoes hung upon, and seemed, like vampires, to exhaust the life-blood of the plants on which they had fixed their fatal affections. The graceful clematis spangled the dark recesses of the groves with its silver stars. Below was a carpet of lichens, and mosses, and fungi, among which the kareau, or supple-jack, matted the ground knee-deep with its tough network. I had not advanced fifty paces into the bush, with the intent of measuring one of the tree-ferns, ere I was completely made prisoner by its prehensile webs, and did not escape with a whole coat or skin. A plague on such a country for campaigning! I willingly admit that, if pushed by superior orders into a bush of this nature (for no will of my own would take me into such a position), with a party of first-rate British light-infantry—aye, even my own old company of the gallant 43d—and told that only an equal force of Maoris opposed me, I should consider my men, myself, and my credit, in a very critical predicament!

Here and there appeared a clearing more or less perfect, and, in peaceful contrast with the wild woodland I have just described, fine crops of wheat, oats, barley, and potatoes, with cottages of brick or wood, and huts of reeds and mud, according to the wealth or enterprise of the occupant. An occasional English-looking cart, with blue body and red wheels, and good teams of horses or bullocks, gave a dash of Home to the picture, which was enhanced by the luxuriant growth of well-known


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English weeds,—the dock, the chickweed, the Scotch and sow-thistles on the road side,—all proving, if proof were wanting, that the tare as well as the wheat, evil as well as good, have crossed the seas and taken root on this land, with British occupation.

The introduction of the dock-weed is attributed to a Yankee skipper, who, amongst other “notions,” (selected expressly for trading with the Maoris in their more pristine and gullible state,) imported and found, as may be supposed, a ready sale for a lot of gunpowder seed! In preparation for the next fighting season, the simple and benevolent savages sowed the dark-coloured grains, and, expecting to reap the best “Dartford,” got a fine crop of docks. I rather think Cook found the sow-thistle here. At any rate, this humble weed is in New Zealand promoted into an esculent, the Maoris making of it a sort of salad. It is a god-send to the birds, especially to the parrot tribes, hundreds of which, of beauteous dyes but odious accents, we saw fluttering and feeding on its filmy tops.

Among the reeds of the river side, and on a pretty flowering shrub in the woods, the Tui, or Parson Bird, with his sleek black coat, and snowy bands hanging from his neck, was chattering in busy synods, plunging his long tongue into the blossoms and gathering from them heavy tithes of honey. This bird has a high character for elocution, and is readily domesticated. His mimicry of all kinds of sounds when caged is truly surprising: bark of mastiff, yapp of cur, crow of cock, pipe of canary, the deep bass voice and hollow cough of the old man, and the shrill laugh of the young girl, are


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all within the compass of the Tui, whose size is rather less than that of the English blackbird. High above our heads flapped, with heavy wing, the cumbrous Kaw-kaw, an ugly brown parrot, with a note like his name pronounced by a cabman with a cold.

Although remarkably deficient in indigenous animals, some very curious birds are peculiar to this country. The Moa I neither saw, nor do I know any one in New Zealand who ever actually set eyes on this gigantic apteryx. If not extinct, the living specimens must be very rare. The Moa, a sort of wingless roc, must have looked down upon her unfeathered brother-biped, Man, from considerably more than twice his height. From the length, size, and weight of the bones that have been found, this immoderate stork may have been fourteen or fifteen feet high, and as strong as an elephant. The Kiwi, a small species of the same family, I saw more than once, although it is now scarce. It looked like a wingless curlew, about the size of a turkey, with grey plumage more like hair than feathers.

The Rev. T. Jackson, then Bishop-Designate of Lyttelton, in returning from New Canterbury to England, brought with him to Sydney—where I saw it—a living specimen of the Kakapo, or night-parrot, a very singular and rare bird, with the rudiments of wings, but no power of flight; half-owl and half-parrot, it seemed a wretched and abortive creature. The poor bird shunned the light, could not bear notoriety, and died very shortly, killed as I verily believe by human kindness. Its colours were dull green, black, and yellow; its size that of a common fowl. But of all the fowls of the air in New


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Zealand, commend me to him known there by the name of “More Pork,”—so called from his constant repetition of these two words. If my reader desires to know him better, he will find a capital anecdote of this bird in an entertaining little work by Mr. Power of the Commissariat, son of the lamented Tyrone Power.

Not half a mile from a group of smock-frocked and blue-serge-shirted Britons, carting produce, we came upon a large party of Aborigines, under charge of a white overseer, working, idly enough, on the road. They received us with a cheerful shout of welcome, “Aheremai! Aheremai!” brandishing their spades and pickaxes in the air,—a demonstration which dispersed our horses right and left in wild amazement, and betrayed, no doubt, to the observant Maori, how innocuous to the steady foot soldier is the mounted trooper, terrible as he may appear to the opponent ignorant of his vulnerability. The infantry-man and his firelock have only one will—the dragoon and his charger may have two; and whether the centaur thus composed rushes gallantly into the enemy's ranks, or precisely in an opposite direction, it might sometimes be a matter of doubt which of the two volitions—the human or the equine—had the momentary ascendency! At Auckland one day, when accompanying a large riding party, the little hot mare I rode—just imported from Sydney—was so scared by an obstreperous salute from a party of Maori macadamizers, that she carried me fairly over a high footpath and the fence beyond before I could stop her, to the intense delight of the natives, who are as yet but little acquainted with the powers of the horse.




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It is unquestionable that a road like the noble one we were now travelling on, running right through the heart of a new country inhabited by a savage and undisciplined people, is as fatal to their continued resistance as the thrust of a rapier through that of an individual foe. Yet at present, even with this fine and level thoroughfare, passable for any kind of vehicle and ordnance, and with its quasi-cleared margin of fifty or sixty paces, an English force, however well composed, marching along it with aggressive purposes, would be exposed to great risk of discomfiture. The clearings are encumbered with gigantic felled trees, some of them six or eight feet in diameter, with spreading tops, affording excellent cover for an enemy clever at skirmishing, obstructing the operations of flanking parties, and thereby delaying the advance of the main body; while the bush itself, absolutely impervious to the belted, booted, chaco-ed, and comparatively clumsy soldier, has paths along which the naked savage, with his double-barrelled piece, can— as has been proved—move on the flanks of the regulars as fast as the latter can march along a smooth road. This, therefore, will not be, in the proper sense, a military road, until both sides have been cleared to the distance of musket shot, and that can only be done gradually by the axe of the settler.

Coming to such conclusions as we rode along, and commenting on the not altogether happy complexion of our late military efforts in this particular locality, it appeared astonishing that, when this great high-road was but a swampy bush-track, the thickets almost meeting across it, the disaffected natives, headed by so inveterate


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an enemy to English domination as Rangihaieta, had accomplished so little against the weak detachments in the Hutt Valley. Not that the soil is unstained with English blood;—for, besides more than one cruel murder of settlers, several British soldiers fell under the musket and tomahawk of the Maoris at Boulcott's Farm and in its neighbourhood. We diverged from the road to examine this now abandoned post—the scene of one of the boldest attacks on an English regular force ever attempted by the Maoris. The farm consists of a weak wooden cottage and offices, with a barn hard by. This latter building had been partially stockaded by the officer in command, thereby making it bullet proof, which was by no means the case with the other tenements. The garrison consisted of a single officer and fifty men of the 58th— one-half of them occupying the barn. The premises are surrounded by a rough clearing of no great extent; which, in its turn, is shut in by the primeval forest. The River Hutt, fordable in ordinary seasons, but impassable except by boats or canoes during flood, runs at half-musket shot distance from the post. At the time of the attack the opposite shore, covered with thick scrub, was in the hands of the enemy.

Just before dawn of day on the 16th May, 1846, the sentry in front of the inlying piquet observed a dark object crawling towards him. He fired at it;—and in an instant the air was rent with a chorus of yells, as fifty naked savages, springing up from the herbage, rushed upon him and overpowered and slew both the men of the picquet and himself, before any effectual resistance could be offered; while a general onslaught was made upon


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the post from all parts of the surrounding bush, and a heavy fire was poured upon the fragile building in which the officer and a section of his people were housed. The gallant lieutenant hurried from his quarters with two men, intent on joining the party in the stockade, but was immediately driven back by a rush from the Maoris. The sergeant got a few men together and checked the furious assailants, and in a second attempt —with only six men carrying three others wounded— the officer succeeded in reaching the barn—whence, leaving a sufficient force to protect it, he sallied against the enemy with the rest, and, advancing and firing in extended order, soon drove them across the river. There they danced a spirited war dance, showing their numbers to be about two hundred, within view of the British post. “But for the alertness of all in turning out,” says the officer in his report, “and the determination of the men, we should all have fallen.” The British loss was six killed and four severely wounded. The bugler, quite a lad, was struck by a tomahawk on the right arm, while in the act of sounding the “alarm;” the brave boy changed the bugle to the other hand and continued to blow, when the savage split his skull with a second stroke of his weapon.

It was fortunate that a sergeant had come that morning from Wellington with reports that made the officer suspect some intended enterprise by the rebels. All were prepared, and the soldiers in the stockaded barn were canvassing the probability of an attack, when the sentry's shot, followed by a volley from the enemy, was heard. From what I know of the young lieutenant,


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I have no doubt he laid about him vigorously. Even had the burly Rangihaieta confronted him, I should not have feared the result.

The Maoris had good right to be satisfied with the havoc they had committed, without pushing their audacity further. As to the loss on their side, if there was any, both killed and wounded were carried off as usual.

The affair of Boulcott's Farm was a successful surprise of a British picquet on the part of the natives;—a gallant repulse of a superior force in a night attack, on that of the British. The Maoris did not want the post —they wanted blood, as they afterwards boasted, and they got it.

The force in the valley was immediately augmented by Major Last, of the 99th, commanding in the southern district, who drove the still hovering rebels from their woodland position on the right bank of the river, with some loss.




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Chapter XI.

SKIRMISHES IN THE HUTT VALLEY—AFFAIR OF THE TAITAI—WHO ARMED THE REBELS?— “OULD RAP” DINES WITH SOME OLD FRIENDS—RIDE TO PORIRUA HARBOUR—NEW ZEALAND SYLVA—POST OF PORIRUA—ARREST OF TE RAUPERAHA—PAHATANUI—REMOTE STATIONS OF H.M.'S ARMY— THE HOROKIWI VALLEY—RANGIHAIETA ESCAPES BY FLIGHT.

PURSUING our interesting ride up the valley, which narrowed as we went, in about two miles we came upon another spot where the Maori insurgent and the English soldier had come into collision.

About a month after the combat at the farm, which had subsequently been reinforced and placed under charge of a captain, that officer, with a view to acquaint himself with the roads in the vicinity of his post, the fords of the river, and the position of the enemy, who were reported to be encamped not far distant, and, perhaps, with a desire to avenge the loss inflicted by them on the 16th May, marched out to his front with forty soldiers, a small party of loyal natives under the chief Waiderapa, and a few militiamen; accompanied also by a young officer of the 58th, a volunteer on the occasion.

The main road along which they proceeded was at that time extremely narrow, full of deep holes, and in


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some places up to the knees in mud, the bush so thick that the view of the advancing party hardly extended beyond a few paces to their front and flanks. On reaching a piece of cleared land, or rather land with felled timber lying upon it, where there was a potato patch, one of Waiderapa's natives, who was acting as a scout, springing upon a log to look out a-head, saw several men lying close below him, and, shouting out “Rangihaieta's Maoris,” he threw himself flat on his face. A smart volley delivered at fifteen paces from among the logs on the left of the road informed the Captain that he had fallen into an ambuscade. The loyal natives threw themselves into cover, and returned the fire from the same side of the road as the enemy. The English, in skirmishing order, answered it briskly from among the trees on the opposite side of it. In about ten minutes some of the Maoris were seen crossing the road so as to obtain a flanking fire on the right of the soldiers, while a strong party were observed to move swiftly towards the road in their rear so as to cut them off from the stockade. This display of tactics on the part of the barbarians induced the officer to sound the retreat, which movement was accordingly effected without further loss of time or blood. Indeed, the casualties had already been pretty severe; four soldiers were severely wounded, of whom one died, and two were missing; while the young officer of the 58th was severely hurt, maimed perhaps for life, by a shot through the arm. Strange to say, this gentleman was left for some time to the mercy of the savages, who, fortunately, were too much alarmed themselves to perceive him as he lay


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concealed in the underwood. The Captain, inquiring anxiously for his comrade, was informed that he had gone wounded to the camp in charge of a soldier; nor was he missed by any one until the party had nearly reached the stockade. Making the best of his way in that direction, he came right upon a party of natives, and thought his last hour was come; but they proved to be friends and assisted him in his retreat. The two missing men also found their way to the stockade in the course of the evening. Meanwhile, the subaltern of the stockade, hearing the firing, promptly armed his men, who were working on the defences, and, inviting the cooperation of a friendly tribe encamped hard by, advanced with forty soldiers, and no less than a hundred Aborigines under their veteran chief, E Puni, to the support of his superior. Meeting him half way on his retreat, he was, after a short consultation, directed to form an advance guard in the direction of the camp, to which the entire British party accordingly retired. The two native chiefs, on meeting, held a brief koriro, or talk, when Waiderapa and E Puni, joining their forces, determined to return to the scene of action.

An English interpreter, who accompanied the allied warriors, reported that, after throwing forward their scouts, who ascertained that the rebels had made off, they came up just in time to see some of them retreating to the river across the clearing, and dropping blankets, cartridges, and potatoes in their track.

The account of the action given by Waiderapa, affords an amusing specimen of the vain-glorious bombast of the Maori warrior. He appears to have behaved with the


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utmost coolness in the affair; to have particularly requested that none of the soldiers should mix with his men, and that they should not “fire from behind them,” as a half-drunken militiaman was seen to do; and he took up his position on the enemy's side of the road, quite independently of his white allies, although his force amounted to but fifteen men.

“The reason why we retreated,” said the gallant and self-satisfied chief, in his evidence before a Court of Inquiry, “was, because we were partly composed of soldiers and partly of natives. Had we been all natives, we would have driven away Rangihaieta's people.” “The soldiers,” he added, “retreated because they thought the enemy were dividing into two parties to cut them off. I did not think so because they, the enemy, had seen the position that I had taken up!” But the strangest part of this affair remains to be told. About a mile and a half still further up the valley, at a part of it called the Taitai, we were shown a spot where, at the time of the operations above mentioned, stood a stockade by the wayside occupied by a party of militia. The ambushed natives had therefore boldly placed themselves between two British posts, with a flooded river between them and their resources. The militia subaltern hearing the musquetry, proceeded, with a sergeant and twelve men, towards the spot; was, according to his official report, fired upon by the rebels; was briskly engaged with them for an hour and a half, checking their progress, and did not return to his stockade until night was coming on. By this singular incident the highest civil authority in the colony, the ex-officio


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dispenser of praise and blame, was misled into the belief that these heroic few had not only held their ground against, but had twice repelled the very party from whom the regulars, under a captain of foot, with a strong body of native allies, and a reinforcement under his subaltern, had been compelled to retreat! It proved afterwards that if this useful and constitutional arm did indeed exchange shots at all with the hostile Maoris, their main efforts were, with more gallantry than propriety, directed against the friendly natives under E Puni, who, advancing towards the Taitai, was fired upon by the militia in mistake, until the interpreter approaching the post, claimed exemption for his companions.

Here was indeed an unfortunate affair from beginning to end. The leader of the reconnaissance having fallen into the snare deliberately laid for him, had the choice of two alternatives—to fight his way through it, or extricate himself by retreat. All the evidence collected by the inquiry held to investigate the details, agree that the commander was justified in retiring when he was satisfied that the enemy, whom he supposed to be the whole of Rangihaieta's disposable force, had turned one of his flanks and were menacing to cut him off from his reserve; that the retreat was conducted slowly and with regularity; and that the Captain was the last man to retire—himself taking charge of the rear-guard. The officer was acting under superior orders, induced by the numerous murders lately committed by the rebels in the immediate vicinity of the British post, to devise—in conjunction with the officers of militia and loyal chiefs —some plan for discovering the fords by which the


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murderers were in the habit of crossing the river. But a reconnaissance in so impracticable a country, with so small a force, in red coats and white belts too, could hardly meet with a happy result; and indeed the requisite information—if information was all that was wanted—could have been better gained by native spies in their stealthy manner, than by any operation so ostentatiously conducted. The affair of the 16th June must be classed as a decided defeat, and a very unlucky one at a moment when disaffection was fast spreading among the natives, and when risk of failure should have been avoided with peculiar caution. In examining the ground, somewhat changed doubtless during the eighteen months which had elapsed since the conflict, it appeared to me that Rangihaieta's men must have been on an armed foraging party among the potato gardens of the Huttites, and that they were nearly as much taken by surprise as the British were—or they would hardly have preferred a comparatively open position to one more suitable for ambuscade, and more consonant with their usual mode of attack, among the standing scrub. However, the post they took up was formidable enough; for the huge logs of fallen timber formed an excellent breast-work to which the top branches furnished an abattis not easy to overcome. No mean guerillas these Maoris!—nor are they ill-armed and equipped for the service. The dark naked skin is quite as suitable an uniform as the “invisible” green of the rifle-corps; and the double-barrelled piece, which most of them wield, is an awkward weapon in bush-skirmishes, especially when, after an exchange of volleys, the soldiers make a rush with the bayonet, in


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the faith that there has been no time to load. How came this people to be so well provided with fire-arms, in the face of the vigilant Governor's enactment against their sale to natives, is a question easily answered. The Americans, the French, and above all the Sydneyites, were their purveyors. Not many days ago, while the Governor-in-Chief, the Lieut.-Governor, and the senior officer of the southern district, were on different missions to Wanganui and other places, with strong doubts whether the issue would be peace or war—I cut out of a Sydney newspaper the following advertisement:

“TO NEW ZEALAND TRADERS AND OTHERS.

 “ALWAYS on Hand, and for Sale at the Stores of the undersigned—

           
Tomahawks,  Handsaws, 
Axes, assorted,  Saw files, 
Adzes, of sizes,  Chisels and gouges, 
Pickaxes,  Spades and shovels, 
Crosscut saws,  Looking-glasses, and 
Fishing hooks. 

  ALSO,

 A large supply of muskets, carbines, single and double barrelled guns,

 Gunpowder, loose and in canister,

 Shot and musket balls,

 Cartouche boxes and cutlasses.

  THOMAS WOOLLEY, George and King-streets.”

But trade is trade—stock in hand must be sold off—the Sydney iron-mongers' fortune must be made—(it is made!) How can he help it if the rebel Maoris should happen to be his best customers? The ALSO in the advertisement is full of pith!




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Quitting those bellicose spots of the now peaceful vale of the Hutt, our riding party proceeded as far as the “Gorge,” where the mountains on either hand, closing in upon the little rippling trout stream that the river here presents, seem to push the road into its waters. Beyond this point there is at present only a foot track; but it is the intention of Government to connect the valley and Port Nicholson, by a good road over the intervening ranges, with the extensive and fertile plains of Wairarapa—a district which will no doubt be shortly purchased from the Aborigines for a moderate sum in hard cash, unmixed with blood—not by a large expenditure of both, as was the case with the Wairau, Porirua, Wanganui, &c. The two former districts were bought early this year for 5,000/., to be paid by instalments extending over five years—not an exorbitant price, when it is considered that the Wairau alone was included in a general land purchase of not less than 2,500 square miles. If it be worth a single round of ball cartridge it is worth that sum.

I was sorry to miss seeing the Wyderop or Wairarapa valley, for I heard much of its beauty. Of its history I know little, except that my old ship-mate, Te Rauperaha, as I was informed, paid a visit to it some vears ago—a friendly visit to the remnant of a tribe that had been driven from their possessions in the north, and had settled down for a quiet life; and he seized that favourable opportunity to massacre some 500 of them—not failing, of course, to eat those who were fittest for the spit. Of the Hutt Valley I prophesy great success, and, should destiny make me a settler in New Zealand, I


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would prefer a site for a house on the flank of the hills near the sea, with about 1,000 acres of the alluvial flat at their base, to any other spot visited by me in the country. Waiderapa will be the Bathurst of the Port Nicholson district, and has the same disadvantage as those great Australian plains are subject to—namely, a rugged mountain range separating it from its sea vent.

Another interesting trip which I made, with a party of twelve, from Wellington, was to the military posts of Porirua and Pahatanui. The Governor-in-Chief and his party, who were bent on an excursion further north, passed onwards from Porirua, but the General and the rest performed the whole excursion and returned to Wellington between daybreak and dark—being about thirty miles on horseback and fifteen or sixteen of boating.

Nothing can be more wild and beautiful in its way than the forest scenery on the military road between Kaiwara-wara, the point where it quits the beach of Port Nicholson, and Jackson's Ferry where it debouches on Porirua Bay. The whole distance of fourteen miles is through a rugged and densely wooded mountain tract, with but few clearings. The line was first opened by the New Zealand Company's people, and was taken up, improved, widened, and completed in excellent style by military labour, under officers who appear to have known and done their business well.

I have no words to describe the luxuriant beauty of the wilderness traversed by this monument of a young


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colony's energy and industry, the gigantic size of the timber, the glossy tufted foliage of tree and creeper and parasite, the noble contour of the uplands wooded to their very summits, the dark, tangled, and absolutely impervious glens, rock and ravine, brush and swamp—the natural bulwarks of a country inexpugnable except by Anglo-Saxon enterprise.

Every man who has travelled at all has travelled through tracts of mountain forest, and has felt his soul awed and elevated by the romantic and sequestered grandeur of these portions of the universe, which seem as if purposely made too solemn and sublime for the permanent abode of busy man. The effect produced is still deeper;—the wilderness seems wilder still, when every tree, and shrub, and flower, and weed, and every specimen of animated nature, is utterly strange and unknown to the traveller; when every object is an object of mysterious wonder. Such was my position in traversing this forest pass. The blue vault above and the earth's crust on which I trod, appeared to be my only old acquaintances.

Among the predominant timber-trees, I was introduced to the Totaranote and the Rimunote —the most splendid of New Zealand pines next to the Kauri, which does not flourish so far south—both yielding a wood applicable to the beams of the largest house or to a lady's workbox, a main-mast or a paper-cutter. The Ratanote —ostensibly one of the legitimate aristocrats of the bush—is, in fact, no better than a creeper,—a hanger-on, which, attaching


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itself to some convenient tree, destroys, and in time obliterates all trace of the ladder whereby it clomb to honour and power. The Rata ranks as one of the highest ornaments of the New Zealand sylva—its bright red blossoms literally illuminating the dark flanks of the mountains. There were convolvuli, and clematis, and passifloræ festooning the branches with their light garlands, and enormous brambles covered with little wild roses—such as I have seen among the deodaras and rhododendrons of the Hymalaia—clambering up to the summits of the tallest trees, and toppling down again in a cascade of bloom. These, at least, were to me old familiar friends. Then there were manifold and curious ferns, and fungi, and orchideæ, and mosses, and lichens —all objects of simple wonderment and ignorant speculation to one unversed in those sciences which lay open the more hidden operations of nature to the ken of man. Of the three first, there are kinds producing food for the natives. The common, or what appeared to me the common fern-shrub grew in some places to the height of eight and ten feet; and the fronds of the tree-fern must, in some instances, have measured fifteen or sixteen feet in length. A sort of sago is made from one species of fern. The root and the young shoots of others are edible. There are but few wild roots fit for human, even Maori, food. Those of certain orchideæ afford a meal to the travelling savage.

The epicurean Englishman, balancing whether to emigrate or to stay at home, would probably decide on the former step, when he hears that the truffle is indigenous to New Zealand!




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On the subject of fungi; of all the strange fungi that ever I met with—not excepting the luminous toadstool of Australia, by which you may see to shave yourself at midnight!—the vegetable caterpillar, whereof I saw several specimens found in this district, is the most strange. I believe the insect is, at one stage of its existence, a large grey moth, at another it becomes a caterpillar. When tired of a somewhat dull life, it buries itself in the earth, and, after death, assumes a fungous form, or, at least, there springs from its skeleton a fungous excrescence like a bulrush, which pierces and rises several inches above the ground.

Every third or fourth mile, we passed on the road side the half-ruined stockades of the working parties employed in the creation of the road, each known by the name of the officer who had charge of the party. Rangihaieta, more than once, in his wayward moods, obstructed the labours of the workmen; but had he, with a couple of hundred determined men, systematically resisted their progress, to carry the line through so defensible a country would have been impossible.

About half way we came upon a large patch of tolerably level and apparently good land, rudely cleared, where was a straggling bush village, and, more to our travelling purposes, a snug little tavern, where, in the heart of the wilds of “Ahina Maui,” we partook of a glass of real good English ale,—a most welcome treat. At length, bursting out of the solemn arcades of the forest, much as the railway traveller bursts into open day from the mouth of a tunnel, we found the beautiful harbour or estuary of Porirua spread beneath our feet, a prospect


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singularly bright, placid, and refreshing to the eye after several hours of sylvan gloom and circumscribed scenery. Near its shore stands the Ferry House, kept by an Englishman married to a Maori woman, who was dressed in European attire, but with deep “tangi”note scars on her face and breast. Turning our horses into a stock-yard, we took to the boats, and, after rowing a short distance down a rushy creek, came upon the open bay.

Porirua Harbour extends north and south about six miles, and is separated from the ocean, with which it communicates through a narrow inlet, by a ridge of pretty high land. With every apparent quality of a commodious port—a refuge much wanted on this open coast—its waters are so shallow as to be navigable only by boats of light tonnage. With exception of the almost invisible mouth the bay is entirely land-locked, and the richest vegetation flourishing down to the tide-mark, one can hardly believe that he is traversing salt water. Killarney itself is scarcely more lake-like. On the day of our visit the weather was perfect,—bright, and breezy, with clouds sitting on the distant mountains, merely to add charms to the scene, without suggesting uneasy thoughts regarding a wet jacket. But the campaigners, during the earlier military operations of which it was the theatre, saw it sometimes under very different auspices. Housed in reed huts, in a position exposed to gales from the seaward during the season of almost incessant rain; with none of the comforts, and few of the necessaries of life; sleeping on heaps of fern in thin,


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damp, and worn-out clothes; hard worked on the roads and in fortifying their post; hemmed in by a treacherous enemy, whose alertes, however, furnished the only welcome incidents of a monotonous and comfortless existence,—it is hardly to be wondered that at one time discontent took the form of insubordination among some of the garrison, an ebullition, however, which was checked with a firm hand, and the ringleaders being removed and punished, discipline was quickly restored.

Porirua was an important post during the war—a major's command, with 300 men, including the posts of Pahatanui (after its capture) and Jackson's Ferry. The officers' mess at one period numbered ten or twelve members, who daily sat down to a dinner of salt beef, biscuit, and rum, with neither table nor chair nor bed to turn into when satiated with such delicate viands. Mr. Hume, perhaps, would admit that the daily stipend of 5s. 3d. is not extravagant pay for a young gentleman under such circumstances! With the usual fate of English barracks, those of Porirua are situated on the very dreariest—the only dreary spot in the circuit of the harbour—a sandy flat commanding its entrance. The present building is of stone, with turrets for guns, which, however, to use a horseman's phrase, were never up to their weight.

Within a mile or two of the camp is the pah of Taupo belonging to Rauperaha, where he was cleverly captured for the following cause, and in the following manner:—This wily old chief, pretending friendship towards the English during the rebellion, was found to be secretly supplying his old ally, Rangihaieta, then in hostility against them, with provisions and intelligence


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across the rear of the British position at Porirua, from Taupo to Pahatanui, Rangi's stronghold; and suspicions existed that he and other disaffected chiefs were conniving at the movement of a hostile body from the Wanganui tribes down the coast, to form a junction with the latter rebel leader.

Preparations had already been made for attacking Rangihaieta in his pah, only three miles from Porirua, but it was judged best to arrest Te Rauperaha, and thus prevent his cooperating with his friend, before Pahatanui was invested. A combined naval and military force was accordingly put on board H. M. S. Driver, with the double intent of attacking the rebels moving down the coast, and of seizing the veteran tiger in his lair. Adverse gales prevented the performance of the former service, which, however, was almost as well accomplished by the Missionary natives of Otako, who opposed and stopped the intended inroad of the northern barbarians.

On the 23d July, 1846, Major Last, of the 99th, with Captain Stanley, of the Calliope, and a party of about 130, landed before daylight with such perfect silence and order, that the stockade of Taupo was surrounded and entered before the inmates caught the alarm. Te Rauperaha was seized in his bed by a band of seamen, and, struggling, biting, and shouting, “Ngatitoa—Ngatitoa—to the rescue!” he was safely carried off to the ship without any casualty. A considerable quantity of muskets and ammunition and a small iron gun were also taken in the stockade.

This capture was a good coup d'état, and neatly


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effected. The “old serpent” (one of his nicknames) was always hatching mischief—his talent lying more in plots than in exploits. His was the treacherous head and Rangihaieta's the bloody hand that, together, perpetrated against their countrymen in former days, and against the whites more lately, a catalogue of crimes such as would make the Newgate Calendar a mere milksop score of venial peccadilloes.

The attention of “the fighting Governor”—thus was Captain Grey styled by the Maoris—was now turned to Rangihaieta. A combined movement from Wellington, Porirua, and from the Hutt Valley across the hills, was planned. The arch-rebel's courage failed him, and he fled from Pahatanui with his followers before the force had assembled; and a party of militia, guided by friendly Maoris along a native path from the Hutt, cleverly slipped in, and secured the evacuated fortress. Had he remained and fought well, there would unquestionably have been “wigs on the green,” for the position and construction of the pah are remarkably strong. Rangihaieta, however, was aware that there were cannon at Porirua that would soon have levelled his wooden walls; and a young artillery officer, by a bold nocturnal reconnaissance, had discovered a hill commanding the place, whence some well-directed salvos would have quickly dislodged the enemy. Perhaps, too, his conscience made a coward of the once bold and bloody warrior—perhaps his thousand murders, like those of King Richard, sat on his right arm and unmanned him for the field.

Our party enjoyed a pleasant sail up the salt water


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lake to the two camps of Porirua and Pahatanui—inspecting the detachments and cantonments of both, and getting at the former place so excellent a lunch as to prove beyond cavil that, whatever might have been the hardship and starvation during the war, no penance in that line was at present undergone by the gallant occupants of the Porirua stockade.

On approaching Pahatanui, we were much struck by its picturesque as well as defensible position. Even in a light boat we found it difficult to get near it, owing to the shallowness of the water—a feature protecting the place from bombardment by gun-boats. Even unopposed, it was not easy to climb up to the pah, which is perched on a bluff facing down the harbour—its flanks defended by ravines, swamps and a difficult creek. In the construction of the work some pains had been taken; for there is a double line of strong palisades, with trenches and traverses, and flanking defences. On the occasion of my pacific visit to the late stronghold of Rangihaieta, I found it garrisoned by a captain of the 65th, with a fine detachment of young fellows fresh from England. They are now employed in pushing forward the great road which is being gradually extended northwards along the coast, and which will one day connect Wellington with Auckland.

How soon the soldier shakes comfortably and contentedly into positions which at first sight he surveys with horror and disgust! Like a surly lion, driven by hunters from his familiar lair, he growls and grumbles and kicks up the dust around his new quarters—until, wisely resolved to make the best of it, he finally coils himself


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complacently within them, only hoping that there will be found plenty to eat and drink in the neighbourhood. At Sydney—1,500 miles from the scene—I had heard nothing but complaints of the military occupancy at Pahatanui. Standing within that stockade, I heard of nothing but its productive garden, its fine climate, the shooting, fishing and bathing, the eels, the ducks, and the pigeons; and certainly I never set eyes on more well-fed and wholesome “food for powder” than the officers and men of this distant detachment of Her Majesty's army. Distant indeed! How many members of the “United Service Club,” senior and junior, how many of “The Rag and Famish”—that queen of clubs,—how infinitely few of the self-styled “Travellers,”—how many of the gallant Household Brigade, “roughing it” in the “warrees” of St. James's,—have ever heard the name of “Pahatanui?” How many have ever heard—or can spell—the name of “Penetanguishine?” Yet they are both British posts, protected by a British force, naval or military; and how immense the distance between these two outworks of Queen Victoria's dominions!—the one on Lake Huron, the other on Lake Porirua. Yet a soldier's fortune has carried the writer to both, within a very few years.

On our return across the harbour, about midway between Pahatanui and Porirua the entrance of the Horokiwi Valley, on its northern shore, was pointed out to us. Up the forest defiles of this rugged valley, and through regions almost impassable by man or beast, Major Last, with a strong force of troops, militia, and native allies, pursued the flying Rangihaieta. They passed through


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various encampments that had been deserted in confusion by the enemy—in one of which was found the bugle which had been taken from the slaughtered boy at Boulcott's Farm, and retained as a trophy. Hotly pressed, the rebel chief soon turned to bay on a spot which had been previously prepared for a stand—a rough breastwork of horizontal logs, pierced for musketry, having been drawn across a narrow and steep spur of a thickly-wooded hill—so narrow, indeed, that but few men could approach abreast, and flanked by steep ravines.

On the morning of the 6th August, 1846, this strong position was attacked with but little effect, and with the loss of a promising and much beloved young officer, Ensign Blackburn, of the 99th Regiment, and two privates killed and nine wounded. Poor Blackburn was shot dead by a Maori concealed in a tree, who was instantly brought to the ground by an artilleryman.

Two small mortars having meanwhile arrived, the position was again attacked on the 8th. The height and thickness of the trees, however, prevented the efficient practice of the shells; and the inaccessible nature of the country, with the evident intention of the enemy to abandon post after post, firing a few destructive volleys, and then flying from their valueless positions with little or no loss to themselves—were considerations, which, together with the difficulty of subsisting so numerous a force, induced the officer commanding the expedition to desist from further pursuit of his slippery foe. The troops were accordingly withdrawn into the stockades, and the loyal natives, in


  ― 336 ―
pursuance of their gallant offer, were left to watch the enemy, to cut off his supply of provisions and water, and thus eventually to capture or drive him back. Mr. Servantes, the military interpreter, an officer who in a surprisingly short time had rendered himself a perfect master of the Maori language, remained with the natives and reported progress.

On the 13th, the rebels opening a brisk fire on the loyalists, Puaha, the leading chief of the latter rushed with his followers to meet them, and, finding that the others retreated, pressed forward and entered their works by the front as the rebels passed out by the rear. The poor wretches had been fairly starved out—no remains nor signs of provisions having been found in the camp except the mamuka, or edible fern. A day or two later, the Christian chief, Wiremu Kingi (William King), issuing from Waikanae,note fell upon the rear of the discomfited rebels, capturing a few half-famished creatures, who had been driven by hunger to approach the coast. Harassed on all sides, Rangihaieta thought himself fortunate in making his escape to the mountains, almost totally denuded of his “tail.” Had the friendly Maoris stuck with more constancy to the pursuit, he must have been caught; for the gallant captain of the Calliope, who was on the coast near at hand, had formed a plan for a joint attack upon him with these allies—which could hardly have failed.

I believe that our troops returned from the above bush-fight with their clothes and accoutrements so


  ― 337 ―
shredded by the rough underwood, and their persons so besmirched with rain, mud, and the smoke of bivouac fires, as to be in but little better condition than Rangihaieta's hunted and ragged regiment of the Horokiwi. This turbulent chief was much humbled by the foregoing events, and he never again appeared openly in arms against the British Government.




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Chapter XII. [1848.]

TRIP TO THE WANGANUI DISTRICT—MANA AND KAPITI—SUNRISE ON MOUNT EGMONT—WANGANUI BAR AND RIVER—WANGANUI SETTLED, BELEAGUERED, DESERTED, GARRISONED—MASSACRE OF THE GILFINNANS—MURDERERS CAPTURED, AND HANGED UNDER MARTIAL LAW—THE POST STRENGTHENED—A CHIEF KILLED—AFFAIR OF ST. JOHN'S WOOD—KORIROS AND WARDANCES—MAORI SOOTHSAYERS—CLOSE OF THE WAR.

WELLINGTON, 13th January.—A “Taua,” or war-party, said to consist of some six hundred well-armed men, having assembled in the passes of the Wanganui River, demanding a conference with the English authorities, and refusing, as I understand, to confer with the Lieut.-Governor and the senior officer in the southern district who had proceeded to Wanganui in H.M.S. Racehorse, or indeed with any one but the Governor-in-Chief, when they heard of his arrival in the south; his Excellency was not the man to disappoint them. In order, therefore, that the matter should not cool, he reembarked this day in the Inflexible, and set sail for the above-named settlement, situated about 130 miles north of Wellington, on the western coast. The Major-General commanding the forces also took the opportunity of


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visiting this important military post, and I was fortunate enough to accompany him. As it was the purpose of his Excellency to meet the overtures of the Taua with certain stringent if not humiliating conditions, there were not wanting among the large party, naval and military, on board, some few sanguine enough to expect a fresh rupture of these martial and unruly tribes—an expectation which I may at once take occasion to say was not realized.

In some of the cabins of H.M.'s steam sloop I noticed several very truculent-looking weapons—swords evidently sharpened with the intent to split Maori skulls, and rifles that would pick off a rebel at any reasonable distance. They were bloodless this bout;—for the matter was settled by diplomacy without appeal to the “ultima ratio vice-regum.”

The first notable object passed by the Inflexible in her course up the Straits, was the little table island of Mana, which looks as if it had been shot out of the mouth of Porirua Harbour, and acts as a sort of screen to its entrance. Rangihaieta has one of his numerous lairs on this islet; and, indeed, it is just the spot for a buccaneering dépôt. Soon afterwards we ran past the fine, high peaked, and wooded island of Kapiti, chiefly valuable as furnishing the only tolerable roadstead along this exposed and harbourless coast. Kapiti, in common with too many portions of this country, enjoys the dignity of having been purchased some scores of times by different European speculators, from the natives. This island


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has also peculiar charms for Rangihaieta as a place of occasional resort.

Nearly opposite—on the mainland, the channel not being more than four or five miles wide—was visible the Missionary station of Waikanai, the Christian church looming in the distance like a huge barn. There appears round about it much level land between the sea and the mountains; and, winding down a wooded hill, could be distinguished a portion of the great military road which is being gradually carried along the coast. This road, like all roads through countries under process of conquest, has been, and will be, one of the most potent instruments of the subjugation of New Zealand. The native chiefs most impatient of British domination are perfectly awake, as old Rauperaha admitted, to this feature in road making; but they find these thoroughfares so useful to themselves that not only do the most mischievous abstain from breaking them up, but, even during warfare, they have seldom opposed any well-sustained obstruction to their formation.

With a fair wind and plenty of steam we shortly came in sight of the Racehorse, riding—or rather kicking and plunging—at anchor in the open and insecure roads of Wanganui, three or four miles from the mouth of the river. Though the breeze was light there was a heavy sea, and the surf was thundering upon the bar so as to preclude all communication with the shore except by means of the telegraph which, with the aid of Marryat's signals, the officer commanding at the post has established.


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Through this medium we received the information “all quiet,” and then stood off for the night into deeper water. In the morning we found the ship anchored in a calmer sea.

The sunrise—a spectacle which, while admitting its beauty and sublimity as well as the healthfulness of its enjoyment, few of the richer classes have witnessed a dozen times in their lives;—the sunrise was truly magnificent on this fine summer morning. While the ocean was yet dark under our feet, and the shore was dim and indistinct in the mist of dawn, his earliest ray—like a flaming sword from its scabbard—flashed across the great island upon the snowy scalp of Tongariro, seventy miles distant inland and 10,000 feet above the level of the sea; and, in a few seconds later, upon the hardly less elevated peak of Mount Egmont, which though considerably to the northward of Wanganui is not more than fifteen miles from the shore. The effect of Sol's first greeting to this latter mountain—in shape and colour the most perfect sugarloaf I ever saw—was both singular and beautiful. Some one who knew the locality was trying to make me see the white pic which was visible to him above a bank of cloud. While straining my vision with this object, a spot became suddenly illumined so infinitely higher than where my eyes were fixed that I had some difficulty in believing that it was a point on the earth's surface. The light had leapt from the first named mountain to the second, like beacon answering beacon! Soon afterwards the entire apex of the cone


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was silvered over; but the flanks and base remained shrouded in mist for several hours.

Tongariro (the ancestor of the old Titan Chief, Te Hao Hao, whom I have before mentioned) and its sister mountain Ruapehu, may be considered a district of mountains — while Mount Egmont starts abrupt and isolated from the midst of the comparatively level country of Taranaki—now New Plymouth.

The bar in front of Wanganui is sometimes for weeks together impassable, and its passage is always precarious. The Government schooner in the mouth of the river was seen for hours trying to come out to us; and we were contemplating the agreeable predicament of having to wait perhaps two or three days for a change of wind, or to give up the expedition altogether—as other vessels have often had to do;—when fortunately an inward bound schooner hove in sight, was hailed, brought to, took us on board, and was in a few minutes struggling among the breakers—the sudden change from 1,200 to 12 tons causing a curious amount of sea-sickness in some of those transshipped. However, we passed the dreadful bar in safety—the main and not very encouraging subject of conversation during the traject being the loss of the captain of the Government brig Victoria, a short time before, in an attempt to cross it in one of his boats.

At the helm of our little craft I recognised an old acquaintance. By trade and education a groom, this man worked his passage out before the mast in the vessel


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which brought me from London to Sydney in 1846; and he showed such a singular and intuitive talent for steering, that the master of the Agincourt—a 600-ton ship—preferred entrusting the wheel to the groom-boy than to many of the old sea-dogs on board. He too, it appears, became convinced that his vocation lay rather towards the tiller than the curry-comb. He preferred riding the waves—“ curling their monstrous backs,” to those of the buckjumpers of Australia. In short, he was now part owner of a coasting craft in good practice; and he put his little vessel at, and over, the bar of Wanganui with the skill and pluck that might more consistently have been expected from him had it been the bar of a riding-school or the top bar of five!

The banks of the Wanganui River are so low and featureless, and the course of the river so twisting, that a surveying vessel bent on discovery might pass within a mile of the shore without perceiving the entrance. We grounded on the mud of the channel two or three times—once near some high bluffs of sand connected with terrible tales of massacre and man-eating—at which old Rauperaha played a good knife and fork—in times long past; and from whence we could have been hotly peppered, as our craft lay wedged in the mud, by any one bent on receiving the Governor with such a compliment. Having got again into deep water we hoisted sail, and moved slowly up the tolerably wide and passably pretty river. About 3 P.M. we were met by some of the officers of the garrison in their boats, and, at about


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five miles from the mouth, came to anchor close off the settlement, and were quickly landed by the Rattlesnake's boats lying there.

The New Zealand Company's settlement of Wanganui consists at present of a church and some forty houses, scattered over a dreary flat of alternate sand and swamp. Two spurs, elevated perhaps sixty feet above the plain, abut upon the village from its rear, and on their extreme points have been erected two stockades commanding the settlement and the river, which is here a fine stream about 150 yards wide. The opposite or left bank of the river has the advantage in altitude, Shakspeare's cliff being four or five hundred feet high. Nearly facing the village is the native Christian pah of Putiki.

In the year 1840 a large tract of land was purchased at Wanganui by agents of the New Zealand Association, and received the name of Petre. Seven hundred pounds' worth of “goods” is stated to have been the price paid to the natives, among which “goods” was “one case of fire-arms only.” The deed of sale was ratified by the signatures of twenty or thirty of the head chiefs. Legends hint that the commixture of white man and Maori on the first foundation of this offshoot of the New Zealand Land and Colonization Company brought anything rather than moral advancement to the barbarians. Its infancy was disgraced by scenes of profligacy and low life—drinking rum “from the wood” and dressing in mats and blankets—(“more Maörum”)—being some of the more innocent and intellectual pursuits of the rough Sybarites


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of young Wanganui. In short, like Kororarika, Wanganui got a bad name—a bad thing to begin life with—and, if it has escaped the dog's fate, it has at least been in continual trouble since its birth.

The really earnest and deserving settlers—and Wanganui numbered several—were constantly obstructed by the natives in the occupation and culture of the allotments they had purchased. The warlike tribes of the interior—highlanders in birth and spirit—to whom the river was a great thoroughfare, kept the place in a harassing state of inquietude, ruinous alike to the comfort and the success of an adventurer on a new home. The purchases of land were repudiated by the natives; and ultimately the district had to be repurchased by a commissioner of the government.

The rapacity of the Maoris increased by what it fed on. The settlement was openly threatened. The colonists began to desert it. Military occupation did not mend the matter, as far as regarded the townsfolk; for the officer who first commanded there showed his soldierly qualities by garrisoning and stockading such houses as suited his purposes of defence and destroying such as hampered his glacis. Finally, the barbarous massacre of a harmless English family in the vicinity, and the gradual investment of the township by a war-party, variously computed at from six to eight hundred men, and the assembly of other rebel clans in the passes of the river and the neighbouring district of Manawata, put the coping-stone on the general panic; and although


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some of the bolder few remained to fight—“to see the soldiers through it,” as they expressed it—the majority of the inhabitants, never I believe amounting to more than 300 persons, betook themselves to Wellington for a safer and quieter life. The friendly native residents and the Maori women living with the whites—like rats deserting a falling house—disappeared from the place; and Wanganui remained a purely military post beleaguered by a vigilant and treacherous enemy. In this capacity Wanganui has some important features. The land is naturally clear of timber and tolerably practicable, at least along the river banks, for the movements of troops. A fine stream, rising among the snows of Tongariro and the populous mountain and lake districts around its base, runs about 150 miles through a country in which are seated many wild and warlike clans, some of them inhabiting pahs inaccessibly posted on naturally conical hills, whose only approach is by ladders.

The British position commands the passage of the river, (which is the main line of communication with the coast road,) its traffic, and the fishing banks at its mouth—thereby debarring the natives, if hostile, from their only channel for the supply of necessaries and luxuries, among which latter, tobacco and ammunition may be accounted the chief articles.

There are at the present time 500 British troops stationed in the two stockades of Wanganui; and, I suppose, although the panic has ceased, not fifty settlers for them to protect.




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It was in December 1846, soon after the defeat and dispersion of Rangihaieta and his “taua” in the Horokiwi valley, that, in consequence of apprehensions entertained by the Governor for the safety of the settlement, the officer commanding the southern district, Lieut.-Colonel McCleverty, D. Q. M. G., despatched for its protection from Wellington a force consisting of about 185 men of all arms, including a few artillery, with nine officers. Sites were quickly selected for stockades and block-houses, officers and men were soon hutted in temporary warrees of reeds, the position was entrenched and surrounded with double palisades bullet proof, and a few light guns and mortars were mounted.

Rangihaieta was not far off, among his relations and friends at Manawatu. He does not appear to have co-operated directly with the revolted party at Wanganui; but he did not fail to divert himself according to his peculiar tastes—now plundering some poor unarmed settler—now levying tolls upon cattle on the coast road and driving them off. In April last (1847), with thirty or forty wild hands in a single war-canoe, he made a descent upon the island of Kapiti, where he laid under contribution an Englishman residing there—securing among other plunder some fire-arms and fifty pounds of gunpowder, with a supply of lead and bullet-moulds, doubtless the especial objects of his marauding visit. On the same day, and in suspicious connexion with this expedition, occurred near Wanganui one of the most appalling and sweeping massacres of a peaceful household


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that ever blackened the history of a savage race, and harrowed the feelings of the white inhabitants of a savage country—namely, the destruction of the Gilfinnan family. Let me relate it as succinctly as possible. On the evening of the 18th April, Mr. Gilfinnan, a settler residing about five miles from Wanganui, was heard calling from the opposite bank of the river for a boat to be sent for him, as he had been wounded by some natives. He was brought across the water, and found to have been severely hurt by a cut from a tomahawk on the back of the neck. On the following morning, the officer commanding the post despatched a party of armed police and friendly Maoris, accompanied by two or three gentlemen, to Matarana, the residence of the sufferer, in order to ascertain the fate of the family, when they discovered the house burnt to the ground, and lying round the ruins the mutilated bodies of the mother, two sons of twelve and four years old, and a daughter of fourteen years. The eldest daughter, a girl of sixteen, had escaped, badly wounded, and four other children remained unhurt. The same day, the news of the murder and the names of the murderers having reached the Missionary pah of Putiki, just opposite the cantonments, some of the natives tendered their services to attempt their capture, for they were known to have fled up the river with their booty. The Christian chief, Honi Wiremu, (John Williams,) with six other young men, in a swift canoe, pursued, overtook, seized, and brought prisoners to the British camp five of the six assassins. A Coroner's


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inquest, assembled by the commandant, returned a verdict of “wilful murder” against four of the prisoners, expressing a strong conviction that the fifth was also an accomplice.

The district of Wanganui was at that time under martial law, which, however, would expire with the current month. No time was therefore to be lost, and Captain Laye, (58th Regt.) the commandant, lost none. He brought the villains to trial by a general court-martial, composed of seven officers, on the 23d of April, continued by adjournment to the 24th. All the five prisoners pleaded guilty to charges of murder and robbery. The four men were condemned to death; the other prisoner, a boy, to transportation for life. The 25th was the sabbath. On the morning of the 26th April, the four murderers were hanged on a gibbet in front of the stockade. The lad, wretched at the prospect of transportation, earnestly requested to share the fate of his associates in crime. I saw him afterwards, a fat soft-looking youth of sixteen, working on board the Government brig as one of the crew, well looked to, of course.

The evidence of the bereaved but somewhat singularly fugacious husband and father, was as follows:—“On the evening of the 18th April, I went to my stock-yard to see if everything had been right during my absence in town. I had not been there long, when I saw a party of six natives descending the hill in the direction of my house. I returned to the house and met them.


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After the usual salutations, I asked them where they were going. They answered, ‘pig-hunting.’ They asked for food, tobacco, &c., and insisted particularly on having flour given them. I told them I had none to spare. I then commenced walking backwards and forwards, conversing with them, they apparently in perfect good humour. A dog accompanied them, evidently of European breed, which they called Pepper. I caressed the dog. Two of the natives then drew near me; one opened the door and tried to enter the house, but I would not permit him. He said he wanted a fire-stick to light his pipe, which was given to him. He was the tallest of the party. I then continued to walk to and fro, and had just answered some question, when I felt myself struck from behind with a tomahawk on the back of the neck. I immediately called out to my family, ‘Barricade the door,—I am tomahawked;’ and then got into the house by means of a back door. Almost simultaneously the windows were dashed to pieces with bits of scantling. I had the candles put out, and water thrown on the fire, and secured the door with a bit of wood. At length, at the repeated entreaties of Mrs. Gilfinnan to make my escape, as it was my life they aimed at, for they never injured women and children, I consented, and got out of a small window which they had not yet discovered, then crawled through the garden and fern, and succeeded in making my way to the river.” This deponent swore positively to the identity of the prisoners.




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The scene described by the police sergeant on reaching the fatal spot was truly pitiable. “On the road to Matarana, we met two of Mr. Gilfinnan's children. They said their mother, sisters, and brothers had all been killed by the natives. The children were given in charge to two of the natives of Putiki, who conveyed them to the house of the Rev. Mr. Taylor. On arriving at Matarana, I found the house burnt down all but the walls. The body of Mrs. Gilfinnan was lying a few yards from the house. There were two or three deep cuts on the back of the head, apparently done with an axe, and a piece cut out of the cheek with a sharp instrument.” (This the miscreants afterwards acknowledged to have devoured amongst them.) “The bodies of a girl about fifteen years old and a boy about four years old were lying near her. The girl had one wound on her arm, and several on the back of her head. The boy had the back part of his head cut off. Hearing the cry of an infant, I proceeded in the direction, and on the way discovered the body of another boy, about ten years old, lying on his back, with the back part of his head laid open, and the brains protruding. A little further on, inside the stock-yard, I found a child on the lap of a girl; the latter had been severely wounded by tomahawk over the left eye; the child was covered with blood, but unhurt. On passing over the ground again, I discovered a child, about a year old, lying on its face in the fern asleep and uninjured. Dead poultry


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were lying about on the ground. We carried the dead bodies, the wounded girl, and the two children, into the town.”

It was a good and gallant act on the part of Honi Wiremu and his companions, and an interesting proof of the ameliorating effects of Christian teaching, that they should have so strongly testified their abhorrence of the barbarities committed by their countrymen, as to resolve to bring them to justice at the risk of their own lives. Indeed, the forcible apprehension, by only equal numbers, of a band of ruffians from whom a desperate resistance might be expected, required a mixture of rashness and ruse that seldom go hand in hand.

Mr. Power, one of the gentlemen who volunteered to ascertain the fate of the wretched family, thus closes his animated account of the pursuit of the assassins:—“The fugitives, who by this time were fifty miles from the settlement, and no longer feared pursuit, were taking it easy, singing songs, and bragging of what they had done. As their canoe ran alongside of that of the murderers, Patapo, a wild young chief, and a great favourite of the officers, who was hidden in the bow, saw that one of the fugitives had a cocked musket beside him, and that the others had arms lying within reach; and being anxious to take them alive, he, with a tomahawk between his teeth, made one spring on the fellow with the musket, seizing it, and at the same time upsetting the canoe. In a few minutes the whole party were captured


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in the water.” Yet nothing could be more modest than the tenour of the evidence he gave on this exploit before the Court-martial; it was a model for a despatch after action. It would seem that this brave young chief was still a heathen, as he knew not the nature of an oath. I feel pleasure in adding, that the Governor-in-Chief, in reporting these matters to the Secretary of State, writes, that he had “satisfied himself that Captain Laye, in adopting these proceedings, had followed the only course that was open to him, and that there is little doubt that his firmness and decision saved the country from a serious rebellion.”

In this opinion I heartily concur. I am aware that there were sticklers who condemned the whole measure as illegal. Military law, right or wrong, had been proclaimed by the gallant Captain's superiors; the ordinary law was therefore, pro tem., in abeyance: and I consider it a happy circumstance that at such a juncture a prompt arraignment, a simple formula, a trial “according to the consciences and to the best of the understandings” of seven honourable gentlemen, and a swift execution, should have filled, for the nonce, the place of that cumbrous piece of machinery—that net full of large meshes, called the civil law.

It is to be hoped that Wiremu and his colleagues were handsomely rewarded. I never heard that the bold Captain met with any solid acknowledgement of his services in this and other instances. White apologists of the native New Zealanders—some of whom will go any


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length to prove them mirrors of knighthood, instead of truculent cannibals—assert that the massacre of the Gilfinnan family was perpetrated in “utu” for a wound inflicted upon a Putiki chief by a young midshipman—his pistol having gone off by accident. The truth is, that the natives of Putiki were totally unconnected by relationship or friendship with the assassins; and that the wounded man, being kindly and skilfully treated by the English surgeons, entertained no ill-will to the youthful cause of his injury—much less an indiscriminate desire for vengeance on the white race.

At Sydney I subsequently became acquainted with Mr. Gilfinnan, who is an accomplished draughtsman. He exhibited in that city a large oil painting, representing the interior and surrounding scenery of a New Zealand pah, which will, I think, be regarded as a curiosity, and gain him credit as a painter in England—whither he has since gone with his more than decimated family. In forty-eight hours after the receipt at Wellington of the news of the murder, the Lieut.-Colonel commanding had hired vessels and embarked for Wanganui a strong reinforcement. Captain Laye, assured that the execution of the murderers would exasperate to the utmost the passions of the ill-disposed natives, set to work to strengthen his position, clearing the glacis of brushwood, stockading two of the strongest houses at the extremities of the village, and levelling, after a council of war, the residence of a settler in the close vicinity of the camp, which the enemy, now assembled within two


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miles of the place, showed evident intentions of occupying. He enrolled some of the gentlemen of the village in a volunteer corps, formed rallying places for the townsfolk, completed his supplies, and, in short, inspired all hands, civil, military, and naval, (for from the first there was a gun-boat at Wanganui, under the orders of a most active officer,) with a reliance on his forethought and determination which made them encounter cheerfully the privations inseparable from their position. First blood was drawn by the scouts of the enemy catching and tomahawking a soldier of the 58th, who, in breach of orders, had strayed away from the camp. The policy of the Maoris was to draw the garrison into a fight on ground chosen by themselves. Posting their forces on a hill about two miles off, they tried every manœuvre to lure the British from their works—sometimes pushing skirmishers within one or two hundred yards of the palisades. The commander, however, aware of the ambuscading habits of the Maoris, stood fast; and on one occasion, after a small party had played off, until they were tired, a multiplicity of insulting pranks without any success, he saw a body of about one hundred and fifty men rise suddenly, like the men of Roderick Dhu, from among the fern where they were concealed, and retire to the camp on the hill. Other parties of the enemy showed themselves on the opposite bank of the river, and the guns of the fort tried their range upon them with some effect. The chief, Mamaku, had about four or five hundred men encamped; three hundred


  ― 356 ―
more were reported to be coming down the river; and, worse than all, the Christian natives of the district, with the exception of those belonging to the Missionary pah of Putiki, under the spiritual charge of the Rev. Mr. Taylor, a good and zealous man, arose in a mass and joined the hostile Taua.

On the 18th May large bodies of the insurgents were seen approaching the place from all directions. They took possession of the surrounding hills and of several houses on the outskirts of the town, and, keeping well under cover, opened a harassing fire on the stockades, the village, and the gunboat in the river. Too weak in numbers to move out by daylight to attack the enemy, the captain despatched at night two strong parties to seize the buildings occupied by the foe—a duty which they gallantly performed—the Maoris plundering and evacuating them at the first onset. The troops suffered no loss, but the rebels, in addition to some thirty men wounded, lost a great fighting chief, Maketu by name, who was killed by a musket-shot in a house which stands at a distant extremity of the village. Some hills rising just beyond this point were strongly occupied by the rebels, and a building immediately opposite the house before mentioned was stockaded and held by a captain's detachment—by one of whose men this shot was fired. I traced the course of the bullet, which afforded no bad proof of “Brown Bess's” power. At one hundred and fifty paces the ball had passed through five planks, including the garden paling, as well as through the skull


  ― 357 ―
of the chief, as he crouched on the floor fancying his person quite secure. Another minor chief was also slain. After the fight their friends retired for a time to bake the bodies of the slain, and to vow vengeance. They were seen the following morning sitting disconsolate on the hills lamenting their loss, and soon afterwards all had disappeared.

On the 4th June Lieut.-Colonel McCleverty arrived at Wanganui in the Inflexible with a strong reinforcement—raising the numbers in the camp to about 550 men, and assuming the command. During the week he made reconnaissances three or four miles up each bank of the river, thereby ascertaining that the enemy's camp, which was posted on the right bank, was covered by a series of entrenched ravines, stretching from a swamp to the river; but that there was no regular pah. His Excellency, the Governor, who had repaired to Wanganui, took active interest in these movements, as well as others.

On the first occasion a naval party co-operating, or intended to co-operate, with the troops moving along the shore, pushed up the river in boats, and, landing in rear of these entrenchments without any communication with their necessarily slower friends on land, burnt some of the huts of the hostile camp; and their leaders were displeased that the sister service did not turn the reconnaissance into an attack, and storm the breastworks and entrenched gulleys. The colonel, however, feeling that a direct assault on so strong a position would be to play


  ― 358 ―
his adversary's game, resolved not to throw away his men for the poor result of winning a barren post—only taken up by the rebels to be abandoned after a double volley or two at the exposed soldiers—the utmost probable loss to themselves being a few kumeras and a cluster of rauponote huts, built in two or three hours. There was no particular end to be gained in precipitating an engagement on the enemy's ground. The lapse of every day would cause starvation, discontent, and the gradual dispersion of adversaries unprovided with stores and greatly in want of ammunition.

On the 1st July he beat up the quarters of a marauding party, who were destroying property and driving away stock beyond the heights of St. John's Wood, to the northward of the English camp, and succeeded in recovering some of the settlers' cattle. A few days afterwards the rebel tribes seemed to be gradually closing round the settlement—considerable numbers showing themselves on either side of the river, as well as on the before-mentioned heights, distant about a mile and a half from the town. Finally, so insolently bold were some of the native scouts in an attempt to cut off a herdsman and his charge under the very guns of the fortress, that two parties, under active subalterns, were sent to drive them off. The scouts fled—doubtless according to pre-arrangement—towards the hill of St. John's Wood, and up a steep ravine which had been


  ― 359 ―
strongly entrenched, and behind which among the trees a body of the rebels lay concealed. The soldiers, dashing after the runaways, were received with a heavy fire, which they of course returned, and an action was commenced. The colonel, having come up, sent to the camp for reinforcements; the insurgents were strengthened from their supports in rear of the wooded heights; and in a short time about 400 men on either side were briskly engaged. The enemy had the advantage of strong earthen breastworks drawn across the narrow and rough ascent, with flanking entrenchments on the sides of the gully—while the troops were wholly exposed. Indeed no ground could well be more unfavourable for the attacking force. The only approach from the British stockades to the heights of St. John's Wood was along a narrow ridge of dry sand, scarcely passable by three abreast, and hemmed in on either hand by deep, swampy land, broken yet affording no cover, for the long reeds were worse than none. A subaltern's party, thrown out to the left for the purpose of turning the flank of the rebels and diverting their attention from the main attack, found themselves suddenly over their knees in water and mud, whilst the tall and strong flags almost overtopped their heads;—a most helpless predicament in which an equal number of the more active and lighter-armed foe might have easily destroyed them. And, indeed, had they not been promptly extricated, such must have been their fate; for the enemy had marked their vulnerable position, and were preparing to take advantage of it.


  ― 360 ―
This party reached the terra firma of a sand hillock trending into the morass, and were reinforced from the town just as a strong body of Maoris issued against them from the entrenchments. The small party of artillery, with a brass three-pounder and a field howitzer—little better than playthings—pushing gallantly along the natural causeway, opened a fire on the fortified ravine, which was answered by a volley of musketry that put two of that corps hors de combat. A second subaltern's party, better posted, connected the right flank of the troops with the river, where the gunboat, under a well-known indefatigable Lieutenant of the Calliope, confronted and drove back the chief Mamaku himself, who, with a numerous band, made an attempt to get into the rear of the British by the bank of the stream.

In the hope of tempting the enemy from their cover, the colonel now tried the effect of a partial retreat, withdrawing and altering the position of the guns; which movement was no sooner observed by the Maoris than, with a deafening shout, they rushed boldly down the hill, and, musket and tomahawk in hand, fell upon the nearest of their white opponents. Then the soldiers, turning upon their savage assailants, charged the foremost at the distance of fifteen paces, overthrowing those who waited for the touch of the bayonet, and driving the others, in hot haste, back to their breastworks and reserves. On our side one officer was wounded; and a young acquaintance of mine, of the 65th, narrowly escaped being tomahawked by a stalwart warrior, who


  ― 361 ―
sprung upon him while stumbling among the fern, but who was shot through the head by a soldier of the 58th, just in time to arrest the stroke. Two privates were killed, and eleven wounded, one of whom died subsequently. Nothing but the well-known awkwardness of the New Zealanders in the use of fire-arms can account for the small execution done by them during this skirmish.

After the brisk brush just related, the rebels stuck fast to their works, which were admirably though only temporarily constructed—all approach to them being impossible except under a front and flank fire. The swampy nature of the ground at the foot of the range rendered abortive any attempt to turn the position, except by a very long detour from the right—a detour, however, which doubtless the gallant colonel would have seen right to attempt, had the Maoris given him another opportunity of attacking them in the same position. The affair of the 19th, brought on by the rebels themselves, commenced too late in the day to admit of any circuitous manœuvring before action.

It was difficult to obtain trustworthy information as to the enemy's loss. Three men are known to have been killed, and ten wounded, of one clan—the Ngatiruaka—which, being connected with the Christian pah of Putiki, communicated to them the loss of their friends. The chief of this tribe, Paore te Hotite by name, was slain in single combat, by a soldier of the 58th, who, after bayonetting his antagonist, coolly


  ― 362 ―
walked off with his double-barrelled fowling-piece. Of the damage sustained by the various tribes headed by Mamaku, Te Hapua, Te Pehe, Ngopera, and others, little was heard; and great care, as usual, was taken by them to conceal its amount. In this action there were but two or three natives fighting on the side of the British; one of whom was wounded. Yet in none of the New Zealand battles would a strong band of native allies, under an enterprising leader, acting on the flanks of the enemy in ground impracticable for the heavy soldier, have been more useful.

On the side of the rebels there were many missionary and hitherto loyal Maoris; and among the wounded and the foremost assailants of the soldiers was a native teacher of the Gospel. This fellow was one of a party who surprised and wounded a Mr. Mc Gregor of Wanganui in a foolish attempt to reconnoitre from the top of Shakspeare's Cliff. He was chased down the hill, and severely hurt by a short; but his life was saved by the intrepidity of a young friend of mine, Mr. Middleton of the 58th, who, with the master of the schooner Edward Stanly, (who carried us over the Wanganui Bar,) crossed the river under a sharp fusillade, and picked him out of the water into which he had thrown himself.

After the affair of St. John's Wood there occurred a singular scene. The natives of Putiki pah, anxious to know how it had fared with their relatives in the enemy's camp, got permission from the colonel to visit


  ― 363 ―
them on the hills; and accordingly an animated bout of hand-shaking, nose-rubbing, and kororoing took place, according to Maori custom in like cases. Two or three days later, the hostile natives, who still displayed considerable numbers on the heights, and who occasionally exchanged shots with the British picquets, returned the greetings of the Putikis. A chief, named Te Hapua, ran forward towards the English post with a piece of white paper on his ramrod, and called for Hori Kingi, (George King,) the chief of the Christian natives. A crowd of the Putikis, with the colonel's sanction, rushed into the plain beneath the stockades, and about a hundred of the rebel warriors came down to them and performed a frantic war-dance in a dense body within easy reach of the guns. As a point of honour, these, however, were silent for a time; the crowd retired, and shortly afterwards a series of the most furious dances took place in succession along the whole crest of the ridge occupied by the enemy, showing that they were still there in considerable force. Their yells and roars, as of a convocation of tormented wild beasts, resounded through the hills and were distinctly audible in the camp. The Putiki renegades were the first to desert the rebel ranks; and shortly afterwards the Taua broke up altogether from the British front, and dispersed into winter quarters—a movement to which their usual desultory mode of warfare, the scarcity of ammunition and provisions, (for these wild warriors had hitherto lived from hand to mouth by plundering the cattle and


  ― 364 ―
swine of the settlers and loyal natives,) the severe cold of the season, and, perhaps, the slight taste of the bayonet they had enjoyed, all contributed to incline them.

A long-threatened, and, by the troops, ardently hoped-for assault on the British stockades never took effect, though, it is said, the storming parties for each, with the chiefs to lead them, had all been regularly “told off.” Their plan was to set fire to the reed huts of the cantonments within the palisades by throwing fire-sticks upon them, and to rush to the attack during the confusion occasioned by the conflagration. Had they made this attempt with real determination to do or die, few of them would have escaped the latter fate. The grass roofs of the warrees had been rendered fire-proof by a covering of bread-bags steeped in lime-water, and there were upwards of 500 British soldiers within the forts, with artillery, while the enemy, but little more numerous, had no guns. Superstition, as I heard, was one potential cause of the abandonment of the projected onslaught. On the evening of the night fixed for its execution, the priests or seers consulted the relative positions of the moon and of a certain star—the former being considered to represent the beleaguing Taua, the latter the British camp. These very diplomatic horoscopists did not fail to discover that the aspect of the two luminaries was unpropitious to Maori success; for the crescent of the half moon had its back turned towards the flashing rays of the star, instead of threatening


  ― 365 ―
it with its horns, which would have been the favourable augury. They did, indeed, deserve the name of sages, who thus read the fortunes of an attack upon the English position.

The sustained blockade of the river, and other stringent measures enforced by the English, reduced the natives residing on its banks to the greatest straits; and, under the pressure of famine, a numerous deputation of men of note, in the month of October last, came down to the camp, and tendered their peccavi to the officer then and still in command. He assured them of the pardon of the Governor-in-Chief upon certain conditions. His Excellency is now here to name these conditions, and, on their ratification by the contrite rebels, to administer absolution for past transgressions.

In reviewing the Wanganui campaign, as far as could be done through the medium of public and private correspondenee and confabulations with actors therein and commentators thereon, I have found much to admire,—many individual instances of gallantry, firmness, and self-devotion; much cheerfulness under hardship and privation;—for, be it known, Wanganui life was not a life of kid gloves, patent leather boots, soft lying, and delicate feeding; as, indeed, may be said of all the past New Zealand campaigning. The cardinal fault of it may be characterised by the homely phrase of “too many cooks.” There were military cooks, sea cooks (famous fellows, we all know!) and civilian cooks, who, although full of good feeling towards each other and of


  ― 366 ―
zeal for the common cause, were, collectively, not always unanimous as to the modus operandi—or, (to carry on the culinary metaphor,) as to the materials and mode of serving up “the broth.” Some wanted to serve it up hotter,—with more pepper; others desired to “draw it mild.” No two tastes agreed. In short, amongst them, it was “spoilt.”

It is with every sentiment of respect for the great talents and undoubted gallantry of “the fighting Governor,” that I venture to state my conviction, that interference in military details by a civilian, of whatever rank, is productive of confusion, subversive of unity of plan and steadiness of purpose, and destructive of that sense of responsibility which by a leader of troops should be not feared but deeply felt. If such a personage must be present during the prosecution of military operations, he should be considered in the light of an amateur—no more; and, unless his counsel be asked, he has no more right to meddle therein than the spectator at a game of chess, cricket, or cribbage. He may distribute oranges and consolation to the wounded if he pleases; and, if he be a military man holding a high civil office, he may tender his services as a subordinate in the field,—a course of action whereof an exalted instance occurred in the late war in Hindostan; an instance too well known, too much honoured, to need closer allusion. In making this passing remark, chiefly with reference to the operations round Wanganui, I must, on the other hand, observe, that in some of the


  ― 367 ―
earlier war passages in New Zealand, where large bodies of natives fought on the English side, the consummate tact of Governor Grey in the management of the Maoris was of good service in securing the cooperation of the friendly chiefs and their followers, as well as in deterring from active hostilities against the British the doubtful and wavering.

With the skirmishes at Wanganui terminated the New Zealand War,—the first, and the last, I verily believe. The Maori is shrewd enough to know when he is over-matched. When Honi Heki first cut down the British standard and unfurled that of revolt in the country, there was no vessel of war on its seas, and only one company of soldiers on its soil. At the close of the Wanganui campaign in August 1847, there were two splendid regiments, full 900 strong each, a powerful naval force, including a steam-ship of 1,200 tons, and a strong band of Pensioner Fencibles, gradually increasing in numbers. The elder chieftains, who are not ignorant of English tenacity of purpose, well know that from whence these came, more “hippas” and “hoias”—ships and soldiers—would be forthcoming if necessary. With such odds against him, the Maori, who takes up fighting as a stimulating pastime not as the business of life, discovered that macadamizing on commissariat pay, pig-and-potato dealing at the settlements, and even psalm-singing with the missionaries, were more profitable than warfare—the hardest of all fare. The happy result of this conviction is, that he is gradually sacrificing his


  ― 368 ―
innate love of laziness and blood for the arts and customs of civilized life. The least to be expected of the white usurpers of his country is, that they will heartily assist in the amelioration, moral and material, of the natural owner of the soil.




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Chapter XIII. [1848.]

WANGANUI—INTERVIEW WITH THE REBEL DELEGATES—BED AND BOARD AT WANGANUI—RELEASE OF TE RAUPERAHA AT OTAKI—HIS RECEPTION—HIS DEATH—A PHANTOM SHIP—NO MORE FIGHTING—ANNIVERSARY OF WELLINGTON—A CANOE RACE—MAORI AND BRITISH FIGURE-HEADS—OLD AND YOUNG NEW ZEALAND—TATTOOING—MAORI TRIAL OF CRIM. CON.—THE HAKA.

January 15th. WANGANUI.—The afternoon of this day had been fixed for the meeting of the Governor-in-Chief with the leaders of the Taua from the river districts, who had demanded an audience of his Excellency. Mamaku, the friend of Rangihaieta, and the head chief of the rebels, together with the main body of the tribes implicated in the late outbreak, stayed away,—perhaps because they were not permitted to treat with arms in their hands. But about midday a fleet of fine large canoes was seen gliding with prodigious speed down the stream, and was quickly moored under Shakspeare's Cliff. A few of the chiefs then came across, and were admitted to the Governor's presence in a small room of one of the deserted houses, now an officer's quarter. The Christian native, Dawson, who was dressed in European costume, came forward boldly, though his loyalty of late was by no means beyond


  ― 370 ―
doubt, and spoke up in behalf of his rebel brother Te Pehe, a most ferocious-looking and crapulous savage. This man and Ngopera, another “robustious and periwig-pated fellow,” scarcely less unwashed in appearance, were, at first, extremely nervous, striving vainly for many minutes to recover their self-command.

At length, however, each spoke, and, as far as I could gather through the interpreter, spoke to the purpose of the conference, both acknowledging that they had joined in the war party against Wanganui, but averring that Mamaku had originated and was at the head of it. The koriro ended by these dirty notables promising that certain cattle, sheep, &c., the property of settlers, which had been “lifted” during the rebellion, should be restored; and that a murderer who had taken refuge up the river, should be delivered up to British justice if he could be found. The Governor's pardon was guaranteed to them on the performance of their promise.

After inspecting the stockades and admiring the ingenuity, cleanliness and comfort of the reed and rush-built barracks of both officers and men within the palisades, our party dined at the mess, and did not the less enjoy the repast because the mess-room was in a wretched hovel—two or three apartments without reference to angles being knocked into one; the festive board formed of a chain of small tables of various width and altitude—a peculiarity extending also to the surface of the line of benches around it; nor because decanters and candelabras were personated by one and the same class of


  ― 371 ―
utensil—the empty black bottle—that well-known “marine,” who, as the late Duke of York neatly observed, “had done his duty, and was ready to do again!”—and who was here performing the double and genial duty of shedding light and liquor.

We found Wanganui beef, pork, poultry, and potatoes excellent. The wines, too, although perhaps not of the first vintage, seemed delicious to a traveller as thirsty as I happened to be, and to one who for so many years of mess life had become constitutionally acclimated to the “good strong military port, and extra heavy dragoon ditto,” advertised by a waggish wine merchant, in Dublin, (I believe,) who knew his market, and supplied it accordingly. Nor should I have had a word to say against the blanket and plank that formed my bed for the night,—for it was the best and softest that could be offered me,—but that its lowliness cost me a bite on the face by a venomous spider, called by the natives Katipo, which not only caused me much pain, but very particularly compromised my exterior economy.

Both officers and soldiers appeared satisfied with their wild and far-away quarters. They have “made themselves comfortable”—as the troops during the Peninsular war were often enjoined to do by orders from headquarters, when, after a long day's march in heavy rain, the ground to be occupied by them for the night was marked out in a deep and wet ploughed field! The garrison of Wanganui have shaken down into a perfect state of amity with the natives. Some of the officers


  ― 372 ―
have made excursions far up the river, and have been received, if not very politely, at least without rudeness, except in one or two cases, by the restless and martial people on its banks. An engineer officer, noted for his enterprise in gaining knowledge of the country round about, and known to the natives by the nickname of “Four-eyes,” on account of his spectacles, showed me some beautiful sketches of the vicinity that he had made, in some cases with Maoris of very doubtful reputation and intentions looking in admiration over his shoulder.

I had entertained vague hopes of being able to take a trip up the Wanganui River to its sources in the mountain region of Tongariro, and to visit the famous hot lakes and springs of Taupo and Roturua, by various accounts of which my curiosity had been much excited. Some of these natural baths are quiet and lukewarm, others gently simmering, and a few boiling over furiously. The natives—men, women, and children—sit for hours gossiping in these sulphuric sudatoria; and a military friend, who visited the spot, assured me that a bevy of six or eight couple of young girls, laughing and chatting and splashing together, was rather a pretty sight. The winter huts of the people are built over spots of earth warmed from below. The traveller may pitch his tent in a temperature according to his taste and the season. Eggs and potatoes are boiled, and pigs scalded, without trouble or fuel, in the hotter springs. My time was short, the occasion was, by those who knew best,


  ― 373 ―
considered an unpropitious one for penetrating the interior, and the idea was abandoned.

After a visit to Putiki pah, and the residence of that zealous minister and missionary, the Rev. Mr. Taylor, whom we found presiding at a numerous family dinner, we took leave of Wanganui; and at four P.M. were once more bounding over the odious sand-bar—(bar, I fear, to the prosperity of the town as a port of issue for the produce of this fine district,)—and, detained among its rollers, it was dark before we reached the Inflexible.

Next morning she anchored off Otaki for the interesting ceremony of releasing to his people the veteran chief Te Rauperaha, after a detention, under surveillance, of eighteen months. His son Tomihana, or Thomson Rauperaha, came off to greet his father, dressed like a clergyman, in black clothes and white cravat, a quiet respectable young man. The leading traits of the three last generations of this young Maori's family are somewhat curious. His grandfather killed and ate men prodigiously, and was himself killed and eaten. His father did kill and eat men. Tomihana is a discreet Christian teacher, and tea-and-toast man.

By jumping ahead not quite two years, I can give my reader an account of the death and burial of my old fellow-passenger Te Rauperaha, as extracted from the “Wellington Spectator:”—

“FUNERAL OF A NEW ZEALAND CHIEF.—On Monday the remains of Te Rauperaha were consigned to their last resting-place. The spot which was selected by Rangihaieta, is within the enclosure surrounding the new church at Otaki, and immediately in front of that building. The coffin was


  ― 374 ―
made in the usual manner, and covered with black cloth; a brass plate was affixed to the lid, on which was the following inscription:—‘Ko Te Rauperaha i mate i te 27 o Nowema, 1849,’—Te Rauperaha died 27th November, 1849. We understand that Tamahana, his son, has spared no expense in the preparations connected with the occasion, and evinced great anxiety that everything should be in conformity with the customs of the pakeha. There was a great gathering of the tribes, upwards of fifteen hundred persons being present. The procession to the grave extended to a considerable length; the service was read by Mr. Ronaldson, the Missionary-teacher, from Wanganui. After the funeral was over Tamahana entertained his visitors in a very hospitable manner; a bullock had been killed for their use, and abundance of refreshments provided. Two tables, at each of which fifty persons sat down, were prepared for fresh sets of guests four different times. There was very little tangi, which was as far as possible discouraged by the Otaki natives, and the whole proceeding was decorously conducted.”—Wellington Spectator, December 8.

When the boats had been lowered and manned ready for the Governor and his suite and the old chief to go ashore, the latter came on the quarter-deck in full uniform,—cocked hat and epaulets; but, on observing that his Excellency and the other gentlemen were in undress coats, his eye flashed and his nostril dilated with anger, and, hurrying away, he exchanged his English dress for a dirty mat and blanket. He had the impudence, moreover, to ask for a salute from the steamer on landing, and was quite sulky when he found that his restoration to liberty was not to be signalized by any honorary demonstration. The other state détenus were not so touchy on the subject of ceremonial, nor did they display any outward tokens of joy at their manumission.

The venerable and loyal chieftains, Te Whero-Whero and Taniwha, accompanied the party ashore, dressed in their best. Thanks to the spider-sting, I felt too feverish


  ― 375 ―
to leave the ship, but the last I saw of the shore-going party was the poor old Waikato chief getting a tremendous back-fall on the deck by his heels slipping up. The costume he had selected for this state occasion was not a particularly dignified one. It was a new suit of fustian dittos, like that of an English gamekeeper, with a pair of thick laced boots, pulled on for the first time over his naked and, doubtless, astonished feet. No sooner had he made two strides on the polished and heaving quarter-deck, than his boots slipped from under him, and he came down with a bump that—to speak nautically—must have “started his stern-post,” if there exists such a feature of human architecture. I was afterwards told that on the boats reaching the shore, the whole of the party proceeded towards the village, which is situated some two miles inland. Te Rauperaha, however, turned from them, and, sitting down on the beach with his face towards the ocean, covered his old grey head with his mat, and remained for hours immovable. Not a soul of his tribe or family came near him. They stood aloof in a crowd at several hundred paces distance; for Maori etiquette forbade that the great chieftain should be approached whilst exhibiting such signs of emotion. It is said that he was well-nigh broken-hearted when he found his grand old heathen pah, which stands close to the sea-shore, utterly deserted and in ruins, while the new Christian settlement is fully peopled, and flourishing like a green bay-tree. To-morrow he will present himself publicly before his people; and, doubtless,


  ― 376 ―
some days will be spent in long-winded and pointless speech-making.

Five or six hundred persons poured out of the village to meet his Excellency and his lady. Prayers in the native tongue were read in the open air; a capital breakfast of tea, bread-and-butter, &c.—clean damask table-cloth and all—was served in a handsome glass-windowed and carpeted warree for the party; and a daughter of the outlawed Rangihaieta did the honours of the repast. She is now the wife or widow of a Mihonari native, named Martin.

Some uneasiness was felt, I believe, regarding the policy of Rauperaha's release at Otaki. His stubbornly rebellious friend, Rangihaieta, was known to be near at hand; and it was not long, indeed, before these two old allies in mischief met. All our late native shipmates were present at the meeting, and, in fact, remained some days with Rangihaieta, who was harbouring at the time a notorious murderer, whom he refused to give up to justice. He had about thirty well-armed and desperate men with him, the residue of his routed army. He kept clear of the English, but was quite fearless and independent, scouting the idea of wearing European clothes, or even a blanket. Some time before, on hearing that Mr. Servantes, with two other officers, were coming to visit him, he sent word he would receive the others, but would shoot Mr. S. for the active part he had taken in the pursuit of him up the Horokiwi.

The Governor, hearing that the friendly chiefs, Te


  ― 377 ―
Whero, &c., were in company with Rangihaieta, and that the murderer was in his suite, wrote a letter to Rauperaha and the others, desiring that they would testify their disapproval of Rangi's conduct by leaving him in a body,—which this chief, with Te Whero, Taniwah, and the rest instantly did, leaving an untasted feast and even their baggage behind them, in their prompt compliance with the orders of Te Kawana. There was a remarkably plausible report in Wellington about this time, that Rangihaieta—in order to prove himself a convert to civilization—had signified his intention to kill and eat the aforesaid murderer, and then “to get into the best society!”

Otaki is the main scene of the missionary efforts of that earnest, accomplished and excellent divine, the Rev. Octavius Hadfield, who is now lying dangerously ill at Wellington, from the effects of his untiring labours in the good cause. His is a gentle ministry, gradually leading to the truth his wild and wavering flock without unnecessarily shocking their prejudices. While pointing to others the rugged ways to godliness, he does not himself “tread the primrose path of dalliance,” nor heap up for himself treasure on earth while preaching self-denial to his congregation; but, continually offering for their imitation an example of humility and frugality, he gains golden opinions from all who know him, Europeans and Aborigines.

During the return passage from Wanganui to Wellington, my journal notes a little marine incident of


  ― 378 ―
extremely picturesque character, although, after all, its details prosaically viewed are ordinary enough. The Racehorse was to sail in company with us, but the wind being dead ahead, the steamer took the sailing-ship in tow, and the two thus proceeded on their course. Some time after dark, (hour uncertain, for I had been dozing in my cabin,) methought I heard a voice say, “Come and see:” rubbing my eyes, I went upon deck, and had to rub them again before I could satisfy myself that there was a fine large vessel, evidently a man of war, careering past us to leeward, crowding all sail, going free, and with every seam of her white canvas visible in the silvery light of the moon against the background of night. The huge paddle-wheels of the Inflexible were plunging into the brine, dashing it into scintillating atoms, and her stout frame was thrilling with the concussion of the engines as she rushed on her way. Yet the Phantom Ship—as she seemed—beautiful in her symmetry, almost awful in her silence, passed rapidly ahead; a black cloud swept across the face of the moon, and she was gone! Some one, I found, had called me to witness this pretty sight, so easily explained. The wind during the night had suddenly shifted to a favourable quarter; the Racehorse had “cast us off;” and, with a stiff breeze but smooth sea, canvas had in this case fairly outstripped steam. If I remember right, however, the triumph of hemp over vapour was of no long duration, for we had again to give the Racehorse a helping hand before we reached Port Nicholson.




  ― 379 ―

January 24th.—Wellington.—On this day was held, for the 22d, the anniversary fête of the settlement. I was fortunate in the opportunity of assisting thereat, inasmuch as the assembly, on this occasion, of great numbers of the Aborigines, and their commixture, at least for a time, with the white inhabitants, afforded an instructive view of two races so distinct in character and customs, whom Providence has thrown together under such peculiar circumstances, and who have at this juncture arrived at an epoch in their intercommunion which may probably decide whether the Maori and Anglo-Saxon are henceforth to work together for good, side by side, in a country and a climate as favourable to one as to the other; or, by a second, and, to the natives a surely fatal appeal to arms, break up perhaps for ever the brittle bonds that the spread of a common faith and the ties of worldly interest are but now casting around them.

I think that the majority of opinions expressed in my hearing at this time was in favour of the Maoris again betaking themselves to revolt. Some of the war-prophets unquestionably argued as they wished; for there are not a few whose interests,—at least as much as their inclinations,—bias them towards war, with all its concomitants of increased naval and military and commissariat expenditure, and ready markets and high prices for stores and produce,—not to mention the comparative, and, to some persons, not unpleasing relaxation of the laws and of morals that a state of warfare usually brings in its train.


  ― 380 ―
For myself, I embrace the belief that there will be no more fighting on a large scale in New Zealand. The old pagan chiefs, whose feudal power is gradually falling away from them under the influences of christianity, civilization, and commerce, are for the most part superannuated and dying off,—giving promotion to a totally different class. There will succeed them young chiefs, wild and unruly perhaps, and prompt to take offence, who will squabble among themselves, and who, looking upon furious excitement as a necessary of life, will, like the “Wi-wis”note of Young France, indulge occasionally in what that volatile people style “revolutions intestines!” Others there will be steady and respectable,—perhaps fanatics in their new faith,—who have become, and will remain, attached to the Missionaries: and numbers shrewd, active, and avaricious—willing and able to struggle with the Europeans in the race for gold.

I do not know that the Maori is by nature rapacious; but the “spirit of the till,” that so powerfully rules the actions of the greater part of the colonists,—especially the huckstering inhabitants of the townships,—is rapidly infusing itself into the native character and dealings. The Hon. Arthur Petre, who has travelled much in the country, told me that on one occasion, on remonstrating with a Maori who charged him 1l. for ferrying him across a river, the native replied that before the English


  ― 381 ―
Government came they never asked for payment. Now they only imitated the whites, their superiors, in so doing. “I go to Akarana,” said he; “I see blankets and tomahawks in the shops. Do the shopmen give them to me without purchase? I see the dealings of the Pakehas amongst themselves. Are there any gifts? No: all is buying and selling!”

The pastimes of the anniversary were protracted through three whole days,—the last exhibiting those signs of exhausted amusement and draggled indulgence which in England and elsewhere are the invariable symptoms of race, fair, fête champêtre, or other public festivity unduly drawn out. The Te Aro race-course,—a grassy flat at the end of the town overlooking the bay,—was the head-quarters of the sports cut out by the stewards for the occasion; but the sea had also her share. There were sailing races by the settlers and whaling folks; rowing races by men-of-war's boats; canoe races by the Maoris; hurdle and flat races by the horses belonging to the officers and to English and native gentry,—the latter “putting up” Maori catch weights to ride, who looked more like jackoes than jockeys in their mode of holding on. There were rustic games of various kinds; booths, and bands of music; war-dances, and dancing of jigs; a good deal of fun, some little fighting, and no end of drinking.

The hurdle race was won by a little old horse without a leg to stand upon, but against whose quarter century of jumping experience there were of course “no takers.”


  ― 382 ―
The screw-propeller who rode him was a tall and strong subaltern, who might have “exchanged duties” with his steed, and carried him round the course with equal speed. Among the riders and perhaps owners of the horses entered for plates or public money, were one or two dry-looking, Tommy-Lye-like fellows, with tight leathers and seats, whose ardent attachment to horseflesh had probably been the original cause of their translation to the Antipodes. To the correct horsemanship of these there was an amusing contrast in the race by horses exclusively the property of Maori gentlemen. In the first heat the black boy riding the leading horse, intoxicated by his almost certain success, pulled off his cap, and waving it round his head cheered himself vehemently as he passed the grand stand; when his perverse steed, bolting straight for his manger and his maize in the town, ran in rear of the winning post, threw his rider, and disappeared; while a heavy galloway, bestridden by a fatter and less excitable jockey, cantered quietly in, and won the stakes,—non sine pulvere, however, for his single girth having given way, he fell off when the horse stopped, and remained stunned on the ground with his saddle held tight between his naked bow legs.

The canoe race—the competitors being men of different tribes—was contested with extreme spirit, nay fury! and was indeed one of the most singular and exciting spectacles I ever beheld. Two of the four canoes entered, being but small, had no chance in a sea


  ― 383 ―
ruffled by a fresh breeze; but those belonging respectively to the veteran chief E Puni, of Pitone pah, and to E Tako, of Te Aro pah, contested the prize in a course of four miles so closely, that, up to the last moment, the issue was doubtful. These chiefs were both acquaintances of mine. I had seen and conversed the day before with the latter chief, a handsome young man with the manners of a gentleman accustomed to good society, and speaking a little English. He had been breathing his crew for the coming race, and certainly had not spared either their wind or their muscles. It consisted of sixteen fine young men, (of whom only two or three were disfigured by tattooing,) all stript to the waist, displaying their sleek brown skins and singularly well-formed busts, as, kneeling in the bottom of their bark, they impelled it with wonderful force through the water, their paddles conforming to the measured cry—“tenā-tenā” of their leader, who, standing upright in the centre, gave the time by voice and gesture, cutting the air at every stroke of the paddles with a weapon like a wooden axe tufted with feathers.

In the stern sat a singularly pretty and animated girl, gaily dressed in parti-coloured mats, her hair decked with scarlet flowers and the black and white feathers of the Huia, who steered the vessel with a richly carved paddle, and occasionally added her shrill cheer to that of the chief. The canoe itself was about sixty feet long, scooped out of a single tree. The prow and stern were much raised, and covered with intricate sculpture,


  ― 384 ―
as also with fringes of feathers and of hair that looked very like American scalp-locks. The mazes of the pattern carved on the bow terminated in a fearful figure-head, more fearful even (which is a good deal to say) than the specimens of dock-yard statuary that in the British navy are received as authentic likenesses of the “Nelsons,” “Ajaxes,” “Rodneys,” “Billy Rough'uns,”note &c., not to mention sundry heathen heroes and heroines, connected—some of them, Heaven knows how—with naval achievements and architecture. The nearly uniform figure-head of the New Zealand fleet consists of a huge grinning face elaborately tattooed, with large round eyes of mother of pearl, and a protruding tongue, symbol of insult and defiance.

Wishing E Tako success on the morrow, I saw by the flash of the dark eyes of himself and his fair helms-woman, that they doubted it not. Perhaps he was not aware of the odds against him! Too late to see the start, I was, however, eye-witness of the greater part of the race, which was, as I have said, very closely contested. The shores, as well as certain bluffs of land near the beach, were crowded with spectators white and brown, all apparently much interested in this spirited trial of strength and skill; but animation, excitement, frenzy, are words too weak to give an idea of the emotions betrayed by the Maori lookers-on. Men and women roared, yelled, and shrieked at the top of their voices, sprang into the air, their eyes rolling and mouths foaming,


  ― 385 ―
while individuals of adverse tribes vied with each other in abusive terms and insulting gestures, shaking their fists, grinning, and stamping on the ground.

High above the rest, on a bare hill, stood, or rather raved, a tall, stout, indeed corpulent woman—widow, they told me, of a great chief, and a sorceress. Brandishing in one hand a red flag, and in the other a splendid green-stone Meri, heirloom of her deceased lord, and the skull-cracker no doubt of a hundred foes, her invocations for the success of one party, and her imprecations against the other, rose above the general uproar, awakening the echoes of the surrounding hills. Crowds of pretty young girls, dressed in mats and blankets, calicoes, silks, velvets, rags, and native “buff,” manifested, without reserve, and by a thousand extravagant ebullitions, their deep interest in the various tenants of the canoes, laughing, crying, singing, dancing, even rolling on the ground. And, indeed, the crews of these two barks included the créme de la créme of the native manhood of Poniki. But, in my eyes, the most singular and significant feature of this animating scene, showing the gradual adoption of English habits by the present and rising generations of Maoris,—a feature not observable in the north,—was the number of young native exquisites riding about the course and the strand with new English saddles and snaffle bridles, dressed in neat fitting round jackets and forage caps of blue cloth, with white trowsers, a cheroot stuck jauntily in the corner of the mouth, chatting, laughing, and betting—some,


  ― 386 ―
I regret to say, drinking with their companions. And these are the lineal successors to the tattooed, mat clad, cannibal old caterans—strenuous opponents of every innovation which, by elevating and enlightening the minds of their subjects and slaves, must overturn their own hereditary influence. Too late and vain their resistance! Progress is amongst them. Yes, it is all over with the “fine old Maori gentleman, all of the olden time!” No more “long-pig” for him! not much more feudal observance. “Young New Zealand” is almost of age, and votes “all that sort of thing” rococo. A well-dressed man no longer, in Maori parlance, signifies a well-cooked one; a writ of habeas corpus is not an invitation to a cannibal dinner! The New Zealander of the day has rubbed intellects with the European, and he finds there is no great difference in their natural abilities. Tommy Rauperaha, and a hundred others, can read, write, and cypher, and what is more, expound the Scriptures. Why should he not go a step further, and “wag his pow in a pu'pit?” and if capable of attaining proficiency in spiritual learning, surely he and they may, with hopes of success, study other learned professions.

In an East Indian Newspaper lying before me, I notice the following Government appointments:— “Mr. J. Macleod, deputy collector, has been transferred from Shahabad to Gya, in exchange with deputy collector Azeem Ooddeen Hossein, of that place;” and “Dr. Soojecomar Chuckerbutty is appointed to the medical


  ― 387 ―
college, Calcutta.” Would not Dr. John Hobbs, or Collector Wiremu Kingi, or Turingi Kuri,note Esq., Barrister-at-Law and Member of the Legislative Council, sound as well as those native oriental appellations? But I wander.

The canoes now approached the goal—a spot marked out on the Te Aro beach. Two, as I have mentioned, dropped astern. E Puni and E Tako alone strove for the prize—a purse of thirty guineas. The numerous paddles flashed in the sun; the vessels absolutely flew through the lightly rippled water. The frantic action of the veteran E Puni—as erect amidships he thrashed the air with his staff—suggested the idea of a grey-bearded Jullien in one of his monster-concert paroxysms;—while the younger and more elegant figure of E Tako was not a whit less energetic. They were now within fifty yards of the shore; and, although four miles had been performed at the utmost speed, not a hair's-breadth of advantage could be discerned, except when at each sweep of the paddles each canoe shot alternately a few inches ahead of the other. Ten yards only remained to be accomplished, and the race was still neck and neck. He would have been a bold better who had offered the most trifling odds;—when, suddenly, with a shout that rent the air and drowned the universal clamour, the old chieftain's crew drove the Pitone galley in advance, and its lofty rostrum ran far up on the beach among the


  ― 388 ―
crowd, a few short feet ahead of the other. In an instant the victors sprung ashore, and, without even waiting to take breath, commenced a furious war-dance;—while poor E Tako with his men seemed to seek concealment among the assemblage, and soon disappeared from the scene of his defeat. He had no cause for shame, for his opponent's crew numbered at least twenty-four men, while his own complement was but sixteen. Many of E Puni's men were perfect models for statuary, and one or two of them—young fellows of twenty, were extremely fair in complexion. Nearly all had their cheeks rouged with kokowai or red ochre, with a black spot in the centre of the red—giving a singular effect to the expression of the face.

Nearly as naked as unwelcome truth, the persons of some few of the elder paddlers displayed a decorative peculiarity, which the orthodox Maori warrior shares with his canoe—in two words, a carved stern. I was aware that the Moku, or Tattoo, the rigorously fashionable ornament of the native frontispiece, was occasionally extended to the antipodal extremity; and more than once in my travels some brawny individual, stalking past, had permitted, by a peculiar—perhaps intentional—sweep of his toga, a partial exposure of this singular item of Aboriginal dandyism. But on the present occasion I had leisure to examine in detail the tasteful arabesque of the patterns—as well as to admire mentally the extraordinary amount of patience which must have been exerted by both sufferer and practitioner in the


  ― 389 ―
execution of this cruel corporeal sculpture. An acquaintance of mine, whose journal in this country I have lately perused, mentions that, while travelling in the interior with a party of natives, the act of fording a river divulged to him the fact that the tattoo, applied as a personal endorsement, is not invariably restricted to the rougher sex!

E Puni's canoe was a magnificent specimen—perhaps one of those that, I lately heard, he had prepared to transport himself and tribe to Taranaki, their ancient abiding place whence they were driven many years ago, and which, under the name of New Plymouth, has been added, by purchase, to the Company's territories. Some of the larger war canoes are from eighty to ninety feet in length, six feet wide and five feet deep, with high topsides and deck, scooped from one kauri tree, capable of containing a hundred men, and propelled by ninety paddlers. But such are rare now. I know not why my sympathies sided with E Tako in the contest, any more than I do why as a boy I was a hot partizan of the Trojans against the Greeks. E Puni, to whom I had been specially presented by the Governor, is a venerable and now placid-looking old man with a white beard. In his day he had been a terrible warrior, although very small in person.note He was one of the two first chiefs to welcome and sell land to Colonel Wakefield, the Company's agent, in 1840; has shown himself a good friend


  ― 390 ―
to the English generally, and was frequently consulted with advantage by the British Government and military leaders during the continuance of hostilities. He and Tomati Waka saved the lives of many a soldier, whom rasher councils would have sent, post haste, to certain destruction.

I have briefly noticed this veteran in my sketch of the skirmishes in the Hutt Valley. Governor Grey and Colonel Wakefield delighted to honour the old man. He and the Nestor of the North—Tomati—were two of the four esquires of the knight elect at the investiture of his Excellency Sir George Grey with the order of the Bath at Auckland, in 1848;—and in the same year, E Puni attended as a pall-bearer the funeral of his unswerving friend and patron, poor “Wideawake,”—as the Maoris styled the gallant and lamented Colonel Wakefield, who died in the full vigour of life. As for E Tako, I knew nothing of him beyond that he was a gentlemanly savage who affected Anglomania and let out hack-horses. His respected father was an acknowledged Kaitangita or man-eater; and his feasts, like those of the tiger, were accompanied by acts of ferocious cruelty. The present representative of the family has made a great stride towards civilization. Not long ago he desired to bring into the English Courts an action for damages in a case of alleged infidelity on the part of one of his wives; and was astonished to find, that according to English law, polygamy deprived him of all claim to compensation! Not to be disappointed, however, he carried


  ― 391 ―
it into another court;—for there exists a court of appeal composed of two or more natives—assessors I think they are called—whose business it is to settle disputes between Maori and Maori.

A young English tourist in this country told me that when passing through the district of Taupo—perhaps one of the wildest in the land—he had been present at a native trial for adultery. The elders of the tribe assembled in the open air, and in the grandest of halls of justice, columned and canopied by the primeval forest. The principals in the case were not themselves present. The defendant had concealed himself; but his friend and representative demanded of the plaintiff's friend, “whether it was to be a case of blood or of money;” for his principal was brave and rich, and ready for either alternative! It was decided that payment would suffice. The greybeards assessed the damages—(two pigs, two paddles, a fig of tobacco, and a kit of potatoes perhaps)—and the affair was satisfactorily adjusted without appeal to the tomahawk.

On the second day of the Wellington races, or rather of the anniversary of the settlement, a grand war-dance containing several hundred performers was performed on the course; but its spirit was effectually damped and the warriors dispersed by a shower of rain—a visitation of the Cloud-compeller by which, in more civilized countries, I have seen a riotous mob as suddenly and certainly more innocuously routed, than by a shower of grape or a charge of cavalry. There was here another


  ― 392 ―
national spectacle which was new to me—a sort of incantation performed by women alone—the Haka, I think it is called. The actors, in number about sixty, having fallen in four deep and opened out to double distance, exhibited a quarter-distance column of four ranks entire at extended order. Squatting with legs crossed, Turk or tailor-like, they commenced a low chant, which, gradually swelling in volume, increased at length to the utmost extreme of vehemence. The attitude I have mentioned is not, one would suppose, susceptible of much activity, and at first I thought it had been assumed for the purpose of giving free scope to that formidable organ, the tongue, without fatigue to body or limbs. Blind error! for as the performers warmed to their work, member after member was successively enlisted in the cause; and when by a rapid “crescendo” the bravura had reached its acme—heads, eyes, arms, hands, fingers, backs, knees, and legs became involved in one general convulsion, that beggars, and ought perhaps to preclude description. Had the Syrens of old thus sung they would have caught no human fish except those of the grossest tastes! There were ladies of various ages, from sixty to six, engaged in this ceremony; and it was remarkable that even the youngest girls were quite perfect in their lesson;—not a note, a grimace, a contortion, a spasm, out of time or tune—all were complete adepts in human diabolism—children of wrath imbibing with eager zest a taste for the savage traditionary rites of their country. I could not but recal to mind old


  ― 393 ―
Te Whero's observation at the conclusion of the wardance at Auckland—“Such things are finished now—let them be forgotten!” One man only was admitted to assist in the above performance—a short, remarkably athletic and very fair man about thirty—one of E Puni's canoe crew, I think—who sitting in front of the column gave the time—like a fugleman.

In closing my account of the Wellington festivities, I must compliment the Maori race on their general sobriety under great temptation. Many a reeling and reeking wretch among the white civilizers of the savage I saw; and two of them, I grieved to hear, claimed good descent; but I noticed only one native who had fallen a victim to the rum-booths,—and, alack! it was a woman. She was instantly surrounded by a crowd of Aborigines, male and female; her child was taken forcibly from her, a blanket was thrown over her head, and she was hurried from the Race-course.




  ― 394 ―

Chapter XIV. [1848.]

PASSAGE FROM WELLINGTON TO AUCKLAND—THENCE TO SYDNEY—THE VICE-REGAL YACHT—KAWAU COPPER MINE—TOMATI WAKA—LAST NEWS OF HONI HEKI—MASSACRE OF “THE BOYD”—THE “DEBORAH”—MY FELLOW-PASSENGERS—ARRIVAL AT SYDNEY.

January 28th. WELLINGTON.—My hopes of being able to continue “on the books” of her Majesty's ship Inflexible, and to return with her to Sydney, were frustrated by the Governor-in-Chief engaging the services of that ship for an extended tour round the islands of the New Zealand group—far too extended for the time I had at my command. I therefore took my passage with Major-General Pitt, who was returning to the North in the Government-brig Victoria, for Auckland,—there to await an opportunity for a further passage to New South Wales.

The Victoria is the only vessel permanently in the service of the Government of New Zealand, and may be considered, in some sort, the vice-regal yacht; and whether in the present instance viewed as such, or as a vessel assigned for the accommodation of the general officer commanding the forces, for a voyage of 500 miles, it is certain the most rigid economist must acquit the local


  ― 395 ―
government and Governor Grey of “profligate expenditure” in the marine department in general, and in the fittings and appointments of this vessel in particular. I will venture to say, that neither General Pitt nor any of the six ladies and gentlemen (himself and two of the gentlemen have been removed from this world since I wrote this passage) will ever forget our voyage in this 200 tons tub round the stormy back of New Zealand,—fifteen blessed days of our short term of life wasted in dirt, discomfort, and all but starvation,—fifteen days in accomplishing the distance which the Inflexible on one occasion performed in sixty-five hours! The last chip of wood, the last pint of water, the last sheep had been consumed; all bread-stuff, except biscuit, had been devoured before half the voyage was over; the last goose was dying of solitude—too thin to be eaten—in his pen. The rats even, of which there were hundreds, looked gaunt and famished, and seemed strongly inclined to jump overboard in a body, when, on the 12th February, the anchor was dropped in Auckland harbour. It is but just to say, in taking leave of “the Government-brig,” that she was a good sea-boat and water-tight, and that her young commander was a good seaman and a good fellow.

If, during this tedious passage, I betrayed ill-humour or impatience,—which I believe I did not,—those of my friends who afterwards learned how fair a cause I had for the latter feeling, will have excused it, and will have sympathised with my mortification in finding that, owing


  ― 396 ―
to the delay, I missed the fine 500 ton barque Eleanor Lancaster, a noted swift sailer, by two days, and consequently had to fall back upon a schooner of about 100 tons, and of slow repute, for the traject to Sydney,—a voyage of some 1,400 miles.

February 14th. Auckland.—Shipped myself, servant and baggage, on board the Deborah, and made sail with a light breeze. I paid double fare for my cabin, in order to avoid being made up into a kind of human sandwich with some other passenger,—each little cupboard, called a state cabin, having two shelves in it for the stowage of human live-stock. The Deborah was very deliberate in her paces, but, as her name imported, was, on the whole, a well-conditioned old maid,—stiff, dry, and safe; the captain a worthy and intelligent man, with well-plenished lockers, and a laudable cook.

On the 15th we had an opportunity of visiting Kawau Island and its copper-mine, from which great things are expected by the Aberdeen Company who have rented and are working it. May their mine and their pockets be as metalliferous as they wish! The island is highly picturesque and well-wooded. The following day we passed near the Great and Little Barrier Islands, upon the former of which, once the property of my old friend “Hooki Noey,” the skipper of the Deborah has an estate, and where his family resides.

On the 18th, I found myself once more in the Bay of Islands, and went ashore to visit the officers stationed there. In proof of the luxury of New Zealand military


  ― 397 ―
life, these gentlemen had tasted no wine and no butter for two or three months, nor milk for some time. A huge cheese, which I borrowed from Aunt “Deborah's” dairy, was hailed by the Wahapu mess as a God-send.

February 19th.—Tomati Waka came on board and dined with us, behaving with perfect propriety. The harbour-master of Kororarika came with him, and proved an excellent interpreter. On learning that I was quitting New Zealand, the veteran and loyal chief confided to me that the “desire of his heart” was to possess a “miri” (mill); that he was rich with his pensionnote—whereof, by parenthesis, he had not yet touched a shilling—and that he would give it up for a year if the Governor would get him a fine mill from Sydney. I made the old man happy by promising to write a “booka-booka” (letter) to his Excellency on the subject, which I did that very day, and in due time received a favourable reply. It is to be hoped, therefore, that before very long Mr. Thomas Walker,— Nene,—became, what was the height of his ambition, a miller on his own account, grinding corn for his neighbours at so much per bushel; much better employment, it will be conceded, than splitting their skulls, grinding “their bones to make his bread,” and dining off their steaks—pursuits in which the worthy old Maori convert will not deny that he engaged, in common with all Maori great


  ― 398 ―
men, in his hot youth when the tribes of New Zealand lived in constant warfare, and when killing and eating were brothers in arms—“like twin cherries, never parted.” The countenance of Tomati is of so goodtempered and benevolent a cast, in spite of the grim tattooing of his cheeks, chin, and forehead; and he looks so fat and fubsy, that I should have thought him a better man at the trencher than in the war-path. Not so, however, for in his day he did many noted acts of bravery. Once he walked alone into the pah of an enemy, called him by name, and shot him dead for having murdered his friend and relative. This was merely utu. In 1839, he tried and shot a native for murdering an Englishman.

Heki was now living quietly at home, and had consented to receive a visit from Major Bridge, 58th regt., commanding at the Bay. A meeting was arranged by old Waka, who, a day or two ago, wrote thus to the Major:—

“The Ahuaha, Feb. 14, 1848.

“FRIEND THE MAJOR,

“Honi Heki and I are here, at the Ahuaha; we are waiting for you, and the Captain of the man-of-war, to come and see Honi Heki. Come you two to-morrow, and likewise bring some tobacco; come, do not delay. Bring some tobacco, oh! Captain of the Calliope, bring plenty of tobacco.

   “From WAKA NENE.”




  ― 399 ―

The major accordingly met the ex-rebel chief at Waimate, and was received by him, as Major Bridge writes, “with much ceremony and respect; for he rose on my approaching him, and advanced some distance to meet me. He is a fine-looking man, with a commanding countenance, and a haughty manner, which appears habitual to him.” Heki wished much that the Governor would come to see him at Waimate, for a koriro, and a shake-hands.

In May 1850, he wrote the following somewhat touching letter to his Excellency:—

“Kaikohe, 30th of the days of May, 1850.

“O FRIEND THE GOVERNOR,

“Salutations to you. Your loving letter has reached me. Lo, this is my loving letter to you. Yes, my illness is great, but do not be dark or sorrowful. This is not the permanent place for the body; we are at the disposal of God. My words to you will not be many more, as I am very ill. Present my love to your companion, Lady Grey. Salutations to you and to your companion.

“From your loving Friend,

   “HONE WIREMU HEKE POKAI.”

On the 6th of August following, the “Lion of the North” expired at Tauteroa, but little beyond forty years of age, of a pulmonary complaint, aggravated by


  ― 400 ―
his old wound. In his last moments, this once relentless enemy of the British Government urged his “young men to sit at peace for ever with the Pakehas.”

Am I rendering myself liable to prosecution for defamation of character in stating my belief, that the immediate cause of the death of “the Lion of the North” was a sound thrashing administered by his wife? It is certain that the daughter of the great chief Hongi was very jealous of her low-born but handsome husband—and had cause to be so, up to the very day of his decease. Honi's intimate friend and ally, Pene Tani, in reporting his death to the Governor, 15th August, 1850, writes:—“Thus it was. Heki was sleeping in the forenoon, he was sound asleep. Then came Harriett with a hani, (a staff or club,) and struck him on the ribs. When she had beaten him she threw him down on the bed, and when he was down she showered blows and kicks upon him. That is all.”—And quite enough, in all conscience! Poor Honi never rose again.

February 21st.—Sailed from the beautiful Bay of Islands; passed the rampant-looking rocks of the “Cavallos,” and peeped into the narrow mouths of Wangaroa and Monganui Bays, the latter a safe and commodious harbour, which, to the detriment of Russell, is getting into favour with whaling and other vessels. Our skipper, anecdotic and spinning pleasant yarns about New Zealand history, pointed out Wangaroa as the scene of one of the fiercest tragedies ever enacted on its bloody shores, namely, the destruction of the


  ― 401 ―
Boyd, with her crew and passengers, a detailed account of which is given in Major Cruise's old work.

This vessel sailed from Sydney for England in 1809, with seventy white persons on board, and a few New Zealanders, intending to touch in that country to get Kauri spars. Tara, surnamed George, son of a chief of Wangaroa, being one of the Maori passengers, was worked like a common sailor, ill fed, and was at length flogged by the master of the vessel.

The young chief dissembled his anger, persuaded the captain to go into this port in search of spars, and, on landing, revealed to his tribe his sufferings and degradation. The captain and two or three boat's crews were, under mask of friendship, decoyed up the harbour to cut timber, when the natives fell upon and butchered them all. Then dressing themselves in the clothes of the slain, and getting into the boats, they boarded the Boyd in the night and murdered every soul on board, excepting one woman and two children, whom they made prisoners and who were afterwards rescued by some Europeans. The murdered were all devoured—Tara, in all likelihood, cutting up the captain with great zest! The Maoris then proceeded to plunder the vessel which they had run aground, getting a rich booty, amongst other goods, of fire-arms and ammunition—booty which however cost them dear; for one of the savages—evidently an experimentalist, a class often ruinous alike to themselves and their friends, tested the quality of a cask of powder by snapping his musket over it, thereby blowing


  ― 402 ―
a couple of dozen of the pirates to pieces, and burning the ship to the water's edge. Such was the fate of the Boyd and her inmates.

February 22d. Amid thunderings and lightnings—fit accessories of a spot so wild and grand—but with lulled airs, about an hour after sunset we doubled the North Cape, passing so close to the rugged and cloud-capped headland—within 200 yards indeed,—as to be obliged to tack ship in order to avoid the attraction of the land. Fortunately a light breeze sprung up and bore us out of so dangerous a neighbourhood. As the shades of evening fell upon the face of the ocean, I lost sight of the shores of New Zealand—a country which on a short acquaintance has impressed me most favourably—a country full of intrinsic good—a country whose destiny it is to be a flourishing and a happy offshoot of the great and glorious Mother of so many noble children.

Once more a cruelly long passage fell to my lot. The Deborah proved a marine hackney-coach of the most tardigrade order. But it could not be helped; so, like Diogenes, I resolved to be satisfied with my tub, and as for sunshine, I found it within and without!

Let me not imitate the schooner in loitering over the voyage; one glance at my fellow-passengers, and I have done with it. There were three only in the cabin. The first was a sickly consumptive tailor of Sydney, who had been hunting for health in the fresher climate of New Zealand, (perhaps also to open a connexion at Auckland,) but he seemed to have left there its residue, and was


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besides so piteously sea-sick, that there was nothing left of a rather well-looking fellow but a flaccid husk of humanity, when he was put ashore in Port Jackson.

My second messmate was an old whaling skipper, with two very young grandchildren,—little fatherless, motherless, helpless creatures, a boy and a girl, who clung together all day, and at night slept in each other's arms; and who could not bear to be for a moment out of sight of the old sailor their grandfather. Looking from my berth of a morning through the venetians, I felt the moisture rise in my eyes as I watched the bald and grey veteran taking his little protegées one by one from their common crib, carefully washing and dressing them, combing their flaxen locks, and then folding away their bedding. During the day he would feed and tend them, and carve toys for them with his pocket knife. And at night, after undressing his “little people,” as he called them, he “coiled away and stowed” their day gear, and put on their night clothes,—his great rough hands fumbling the small tapes into all sorts of nautical knots which cost him a world of trouble to undo in the morning. Then he placed them in their bed,—side by side generally, but sometimes with their heads different ways,—and, having “shipped” the panel to prevent their falling out, he would sing them to sleep with a low hoarse lullaby, of which the words “Yo! heave oh!” and “Whack Old England's foe,” formed the burthen. Then he listened to their light breathing, and, assured that they slumbered,


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dropped his furrowed brow on the bed panel for a time, as though he blessed and prayed for them, and, posting himself on a bench below, he opened an old chest, and, taking out a well-worn book and putting on his glasses, he read therein sometimes for half the night.

At the first nod of approaching sleep, the old fellow turned in “all standing”—for I never saw him take off more than coat and shoes—to the berth below his children; but was up again in a moment at their slightest plaint. It is a sad thing when the intermediate generation is thus missing in a family group; when upon the old age that itself demands fosterage devolve the duties of the young and strong,—tottering infancy upheld by tottering age! The old man was taking the children to England, to hand them over to their deceased mother's relatives; and he hoped to get from Sydney to London on cheap terms, by giving his services on board the vessel in which he should take their passage.

He was a hale and hearty old fellow; and, as we passed through the “middle whaling ground,” he became quite excited, as well as very entertaining, in his accounts of whale fishing,—carrying his hearers away with him in his animated descriptions. “There she spouts!” “Out with the boats.” “Give way, lads.” The boat-steerer has “fastened to her” with the harpoon. “Now she sounds!” (dives) with 150 fathoms of line,—the whale boats flying through the water “like seven bells.” “There she rises: bend your backs, boys.” The headsman, a tall strong fellow, poises the deadly


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lance. He strikes it deep into the huge mass. “Starn all for your lives!” Then comes the “flurry,” or death struggle of the gigantic monster; the “cutting-in,” and the “trying-out;” and we have our whale found, chased, killed, and cut up, with six or eight hundred pounds' worth of oil safe on board, in a very few words.

The third, last, and fairest of my fellow cabin-passengers appeared in the well-conserved person of a lady of uncertain age, probably of an uncertain history. It was hard to say what were the main objects of her voyage to New South Wales; but during its prosecution they seemed to have settled down into the benevolent project of keeping house for the writer in Sydney. Luckily, however, the lady let fall one day in the hearing of my London Leporello that she had a “little independence of her own,” and a sum of money in one of the banks of the New South Wales capital. From that auspicious moment this best of all possible valets de chambre took the fair one in hand; and his master was spared the necessity of embracing or rejecting the domiciliary advances of the middle-aged adventuress.

March 6th, 1848.—Landed at Sydney, tolerably tired of small vessels in rough latitudes,—such, with the exception of two days passed at Auckland, having been my lot since the 24th of January last, the day on which I left Wellington.

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