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with less heroism than his antagonist, but with more of composure than might have been expected from his naturally timorous disposition. It would be unjust to ,doubt that the fortitude which he exhibited was derived from the source to which he himself ascribed it—faith in the atoning merits and promised grace of Christ. Whatever may have been the hypocrisy by which the commencement of his career was stained, there are many circumstances in the later years of his life which give us confidence in indulging the hope that he closed it with penitential sincerity, and humble faith. His conduct on the scaffold was such as he himself assured his friends it should be not that of a Roman braving death, "but that of a Christian, whom death could not affright.'
These days of bloodshed and disorder have, in the good providence of God, passed away, we trust for ever. But the history of them shall not have been written in vain if it serve to teach our rulers a lesson of the danger of invading the rights of conscience, and to impress upon men of all parties that it is only as equal civil and religious privileges are enjoyed by every class of the community, that the supremacy of law can be quietly maintained, and the peace and well-being of society at large secured.
Art. II. New Zealand : being a Narrative of Travels and Adventures
during a Residence in that Country between the years 1831 and 1837. By J. S. POLACK, Esq., Member of the Colonial Society of London. 2 vols. 8vo. pp. 844. Bentley. 1838. IT would seem a little strange that our curiosity to know more
of the human race, whether historically or geographically, should not be at all repressed by the certainty beforehand, and the often renewed experience of the fact, of our finding in the acquirement just so much additional manifestation of the depravity and wretchedness of that race.
Let a previously unknown, or very imperfectly known, section of it be clearly brought into view, and though it should appear under the most degraded aspect of human existence, exhibiting the most odious moral and intellectual deformities, accompanied by physical and economical circumstances the most repulsive to our taste, we nevertheless gladly receive the information, and thank the man whose adventures and researches have supplied it as a kind of benefactor. If there were to come to us a slight rumour of a tribe or nation, existing perhaps in the hitherto absolute terra incognita of Africa under or near the line, reported as more hideous in barbarism and turpitude than any yet known, we should be so much the more, for that peculiarity, eager to have them brought into our acquaintance. If an explorer had dared the peril of such a scene, and escaped to tell us what he had beheld, we should demand from him a most full and particular report; and nothing would fret us more than if he should say, that there were some things which, for the credit of humanity, or even to save himself a probable imputation on his veracity, he judged it best to pass over in silence. We should want, of all things, to have a confidential personal communication with him, in order to get at those concealed treasures of knowledge.
In the indulgence of that passion (as it may almost be called) for geographical discovery which has distinguished the age, we never dream of the finding of any such thing as a region adorned and blessed with a decided prevalence of the virtues, and their accompaniments and consequences. We never expect to hear of man in any thing better than his old and general character--the ascendency of evil over good. Whether the region heretofore unvisited be described to us as favoured with all the beauty and fertility thata benignant nature can lavish on it, or as rugged, frowning. and inhospitable,-if the describershould go on to say, that there is a moral beauty which rivals the one, or compensates for the other, he would instantly be told that he has miscalculated our credulity; and that, without advancing one league toward the distant scene of bis investigation, we can virtually go thither and survey it in the strength of a principle which authorizes us to contradict him. The human race, we should tell him, has been too uniform in the manifestation of one great, sad, radical property of its nature, through all time and all the known world, to allow our belief of any such exception as a tribe from whose happy domain the vices and miseries are excluded or departing-unless, indeed, he means his report to testify that somewhere the millennium has commenced ; and then we shall be apt to think that felicitous visitation can hardly have so missed its way as to alight on central Africa, perhaps, when it is so lamentably wanted in England.
Still we are inquisitive how this creature, man, is acting out his qualities in another, and another tract of the earth. The novelties in the manner will most likely be found to be but different modes of what is bad. We are philosophically content to expect no otherwise ; but want to know them notwithstanding. And the age is past when the adventurers into distant and imperfectly known regions could presume to impose delusive representations on the people at home. Those of the present and recent times, a surprising number, and in rapid succession, have maintained, for the most part, a substantial adherence to truth, So that we have now the means of a real and accurate knowledge of what sort of people there are, and what they are doing, in tracts and corners of the world which, but a few generations since, lay under a cloud of mingled ignorance and fiction.
Perhaps the ascertainment of the reality has struck a kind of balance between the opposite licenses of fiction. If some fine
romantics have faded from sight on the one hand, some huge monstrosities have vanished on the other. The physical enormities, at least, are gone off; there are no more stories of human creatures shaped in fantastic and anomalous outrage on the authentic type; the men with tails, or dogs' heads, or the visage planted into the chest instead of being mounted on a neck, have long since been swept into the vast rubbish of the past. In the moral and intellectual part of the exhibition, indeed, it is to be acknowledged that the change has left, or brought into view, some phenomena which it did require testimony of well-tried validity to establish as an unquestioned part of our knowledge of the human species. At all events we now have truth instead of fable.
That knowledge is now so comprehensive, and includes so ample a variety of manifestations of the evil principle, that we may doubt whether there can remain any thing yet to be brought to light that will much surprise us, or put us in any fear of credulity in believing. Be almost whatever it may, in the way of error, perversity, degradation, iniquity, we are quite prepared to admit the probability that it may belong to the human nature. If there be one more feature of mental or moral deformity, it will be sure to be found associating consistently with some of the facts which have long ceased to be novelties in our survey and estimate of that nature.
There is this New Zealand section of the great family. A numerous succession of reporters, of various qualifications and tastes, may not have left us much to learn of them and their territory; but the present work appears to have good pretensions to be received as a more spirited and varied pieture, from the very life, than perhaps any that has preeeded. The author has passed many years among them, on a trading speculation, including the purchase of land, apparently on his own account; and in taking such a view of the places and inhabitants as should authorise a judgment on the possibilities, means, and advantages, of a commercial intercourse between them and our countrymen. He appears to be an active, adventurous, sharp sighted, and adroit person; well furnished with that kind of serviceable philosophy which can look at the ugly sights in the human condition without being thrown into the horrors. He is, indeed, a little too apt to be gay and jocular sometimes, on what would move the graver feelings of a very reflective philanthropist. He associated habitually with the natives, saw them, of course, in most of the situations and transactions which would exemplify their character, conversed with them in their own language, seems to have been much in favour with them, and had the art of managing their capricious tempers. His adventures among them are related in an off-band, sometimes very graphical style; often negligent and
incorrect in construction ; with a frequent pedantic affectation of sporting fine words, in parts of the composition that have nothing to do with the scientific nomenclature of plants and animals.
The reader takes an impression of veracity and reality, believing he sees the story go through the thing just as it was then and there. He is not incommoded by any nostrum-notion, which is to be the key of a theory to which every thing is to be referred. He sees in the descriptions and narrations such a picturesque freshness, such an immediateness, if we may so name it, to the subject, and such a particularity of detail, that he is confident the author is thinking of nothing but what he saw, heard, and did.
It is to be remarked as one disadvantage in such a mode of writing, that there can be no method, no digesting and classifying of the numerous particulars into order. The characteristic notices are scattered miscellaneously through the work; and we are not sure there would always be found a nice consistency if they were all assorted and disposed in a systematic arrangement.
In observing what sort of people possess what portions of the earth, a curious speculator might find some amusement, and perhaps nothing better, in raising the questions—what relation or fitness there is, respectively, between them; whether the right of continued occupancy have any dependence on such fitness; what obligations, greater or less, they may be supposed to be laid under according to the quality of their local allotments; how far it is the better or the worse for them that they are so located; whether those to whom the less agreeable tracts of the world have been assigned have an adequate or partial compensation afforded by any of the circumstances or influences of those regions; what would be the effect of a mutual exchange of habitations between tribes occupying domains widely different in physical character. Setting out of view the fact of how the various tribes actually obtained their present abodes in the natural progress of emigration, and considering their claims to portions of the globe as according to their qualities, we might be at a loss to discover the principle of equity in their distribution. Some barbarous tribes find a precarious subsistence in dreary deserts; and others, not less barbarous, an easy one in domains of fertility, beauty, and luxury. We feel an uneasy sympathy with certain portions of the race, less vitiated than the general mass, whose lot is cast in climates where nature maintains a frowning austerity, and life is rather endured than enjoyed, on a tenure of hardship, an economy of toil, privation, and hazard--for instance Greenland, Iceland, Lapland, the Isles of Scotland, and some parts of Switzerland. Some of the temperate and salubrious regions, as China, are condemned to sustain an immense multitude of human creatures mentally dwarfed, cramped, bent down, and fixed, in stupified conformity to an irrational, inveterate, obdurate prescription, corroborated by superstition. Or a fine realm elsewhere, as Spain, may be appropriated by a people whose semibarbarous fanaticism is virulent and sanguinary.
If we might give license to our imagination in such employment as apportioning the field of terrestrial nature to orders of inhabitants according to some rule of supposed worthiness, to what sort of people should we assign New Zealand ? It appears to be an eminently fine and valuable fraction of the earth. By its extent in length, of nearly nine hundred miles, from north to south, it has a great variety of climates, distant enough at both extremities from latitudes unfavorable to activity, alacrity, and enjoyment. By its much smaller breadth the greater part is favoured with the mild influences of the vast ocean. It has harbours, streams, fertile tracts, beautiful valleys and hills, innumerable. Its variegated surface exhibits a splendid picture, where the sublimities have their share, in a range of snow-capped mountains, and grand precipices and promontories of the coast
It is a region which our fancied law of distribution would appropriate to some highly improved section of the human race, such a one as would most fully and worthily avail itself of a territory so favourable at once to the economical purposes of agriculture, arts, and commerce, and, as we should imagine, to the general development of the mental faculties.
Imagine, then, this splendid piece of terra firma, proudly rising above the boundless waste of waters—imagine it so occupied, so adorned, so honoured; and then turn to the exhibition before us; a region surrendered to the principle of evil; where every spot bears a blasted mark; where the presence of man is a dreadful infestation; where, as if they themselves thought so, the inhabitants have seemed intent on restoring the land to the solitude of its natural beauty by incessant mutual destruction; where a reversal of what would be the qualities of undepraved humanity glares forth in deceit, treachery, rapacity, cruelty, revenge, cana nibalism ; blended with whatever is disgusting in gluttony and filthiness, whatever is despicable in fickleness and cowardice, and whatever is ridiculous and absurd in conventional customs, and notions and mummery of superstition.
Before bringing us acquainted with his own experience and observations, our author, in a historic notice of the successive navigators who have made surveys or visits, recalls a series of characteristic facts and anecdotes, illustrative of New Zealand human nature; the circumstances most conspicuous in the record being the murderous collisions between the natives and the crews of European ships--the fault, indeed, not always being wholly with the former. He relates divers tragical affairs as consequent on a disregard of the warning, Never trust a New Zealander,' pronounced by Captain Cook, whose right judgment of the people Mr. P. strongly affirms. At the same time it is but justice to say that