Imágenes de página


It is impossible not to feel an interest in the land so absurdly designated as New Zealand, when there is not one point of resemblance between the old and new countries—the Staatenland, or the States country, of another old Dutch navigator-and not only our antipodes, but, to a certain extent, our antipodal repetition. The climate and harbours, the woods and forests, the rocks and plains, the soil and fisheries, present everything that can stimulate man to exertion, and reward his industry. No wonder, then, that in such a country, since the Church of England Missionary Society established a mission at the Bay of Islands not above a quarter of a century ago, there should be now a population exceeding 61,000 souls—viz. 18,177 in the province of Auckland, 2650 in New Plymouth, 11,753 in Wellington, 1514 in Hawke's Bay, 9272 in Nelson, 8967 in Canterbury, 6944 in Otago, 51 in Stewart's Island, besides 1896 military and their families. These are the elements of a future empire, for there can be no doubt as to the improvement of a state which can boast of such a progress, and which will go on increasing in the extraordinary ratio of a population multiplying under the most advantageous circumstances. It is difficult to determine the precise amount of the native population-it has always been known to be scanty, but the tables would show that it is already surpassed in numbers, presenting a total of only some 56,000, by the population of European descent.

The European population dwell mainly in houses of wood; there are 10,179 such to 307 of brick and stone, and then, again, there are 2326 houses of other materials. The proportion of married to unmarried is not precisely what would be desired : 9734 males to 23,362, and 9348 females to 15,777; but we must remember that this includes children. The slight excess of married males over females of European descent is, we suppose, to be explained by marriages with natives, which in that case would be about 386 in number; widows and widowers have a column to themselves: they are as 531 to 576. Comparing these returns with the general cevsus taken in the year 1851, in the leading branches of population, live stock, and cultivation of land, a progress is attested which cannot fail to afford gratification as to the past, and lively anticipations as to the future, of New Zealand. It will be seen that during the septennial period referred to, the population (omitting Stewart's and the Chatham Islands, and the military and their families) increased from 26,707 in 1851 to 59,277 in 1858, being an increase of nearly 122 per cent. ; and there is no doubt that the returns for 1859 will show a still greater proportionate increase, the immigration during the last year having been unusually large. The aggregate numbers of live stock of all kinds increased, during the same period, from 299,115 to 1,727,997, and the land under crop from 29,140 to 140,965 acres, and the land fenced from 30,470 to 235,488 acres.

* Statistics of New Zealand for 1858, compiled from Official Records. Presented to both Houses of the General Assembly by command of his Excellency. Auckland.

The total value of imports has increased from 597,8271. 14s. 2d. in 1853, to 1,141,2731. 6s. 10d. in 1858 ; and the total value of exports from 303,2821. ls. 10d. in 1853, to 458,0231. 5s. 9d. in 1858. In the summaries of exports, the rapid advance in the exportation of wool claims especial notice, the value having increased from 66,5071. 19s. in 1853, to 254,0241. 16s. in 1858. Gold appears for the first time in a separate table, showing an export, the produce of the colony, to the value of 52,4431. 16s. ld. in 1858, which, added to that exported in 1857, makes a total to the 31st of December, 1858, of 92,8861. 2s. 3d.

It is cheering to observe that this material prosperity has been accompanied by a corresponding diffusion of education. The centesimal proportion of the entire population able to read and write, according to the returns of 1851, was 54:43; the proportion, according to the census of 1858, was 63-51-being an increase of more than nine per cent. The total number returned as attending day schools, in 1851, was 3154; while, in 1858, the total amounted to 7820. The aggregate numbers attending schools of all kinds (public and private, day and Sunday) were, in 1851, 4605; in 1858, 9672.

Looking at the character of the population of European descent, we find that the English predominate largely, next the Scotch, and next the Irish ; the total numbers born in New Zealand itself exceeding, however, the latter. There are also, as might be expected, a sprinkling of Americans, Australians, French, Germans, and other foreigners. The larger number of these are mechanics and artificers; next, agricultural and pastoral ; thirdly, labourers; and fourthly, such as are engaged in trade, commerce, and manufactures. In a religious point of view, the great majority belong to the Church of England, the next greater number to the Church of Scotland.

New Zealand, although famous for its climate, has had few careful meteorological observers. At Nelson, Samuel Stephens, Esq., made, during eleven years, an excellent series of observations. At Auckland, a meteorological register was commenced in 1853 by the officers of the Royal Engineers, under instructions from England. Captain Drury, R.N., collected, during four years, information concerning the winds and movements of the barometer around the coast; and tables compiled from meteorological registers, kept by the Reverend Messrs. Davis and Burns, and Messrs Prendergast and Humphries, give some of the elements of the climate at Kaikohe, Otago, Wellington, and New Plymouth. It would appear from these that the mean annual temperature of the North Island is between 552 deg. (Plymouth) and 591 (Auckland), and of the Middle Island, between 50 (Otago) and 54 (Nelson). These results may be compared with New York having a mean annual temperature of 53 deg.; Milan, 55; Montpellier, 57; Paris, 51; and London, 50. There is more rain than in London, and yet there are not so many rainy days. It is never so cold as in London, and there is only a very slight excess in the arerage temperature of the warmest month. There is much in this to excite attention, for it differs entirely from the earlier reports that were made public in this country of the climate of New Zealand, which was generally compared with that of Ireland.


2 B


Few books possess greater fascination for the reader than those written by distinguished soldiers and sailors, who, exchanging the sword for the pen, describe in glowing language the prowess of our ancestors during that great war which rendered England the glorious nation she now is. Not so long ago and every one was reading with bated breath the exploits of Lord Dundonald, told in that simple, modest language, which is a voucher of the truth of the narrative ; now, we have a very similar work from the pen of a French admiral, who distinguished himself greatly during the old war, and whose narrative is most refreshing, through the hearty detestation of England it reveals, after the quantity of mawkish sentimentality we not so long ago endured about the suddenly patched up friendship between the modern Rome and Carthage. We will canter through the volumes, staying here and there to cull suggestive passages, but making no pretence at a consecutive narrative.

In 1787, being then fourteen years and a half old, our author embarked on board the Reconnaissance frigate as aspirant volontaire. The French navy was at that period in a wretched state; but, after all, ours was not much better; though we had the advantage that our men were sailors, which the French had no pretension to being Otherwise, the same system of deliberate peculation prevailed in both; the men were plundered by everybody who had to deal with them, ill-fed and half starved, while the punishments were frightfully severe. curious to read, now-a-days, that the frigate was sent from Brest to the Gold Coast, to protect the slave-trade, which was extremely flourish. ing, and of which, as a natural rule, every nation desired to secure the monopoly: On the homeward voyage the frigate ran short of provisions, and had to do several exploits of wild piracy by stopping every merchantman and taking out her provisions. The rations were, however, eventually reduced to two ounces of biscuit a day, and our hero would have starved had he not hit on the ingenious expedient of catching birds in the rigging, and eating them half raw. After considerable difficulties the frigate eventually reached Brest again, and our author was at once shipped on board a merchantman, as it was supposed in those days that a sailor could only learn his profession on board such vessels.

The new vessel was a slaver, picking up a cargo on the African coast and selling it at San Domingo at an enormous profit; a slave costing 400 fr. at home was worth 2500 fr. at the colony. No wonder, then, that the English and Dutch had forts and factories along the coast, and looked with a jealous eye on all interlopers. The French, however, would not allow such a profitable trade to be wrested from them, and in 1788 had a fleet of thirty sail engaged in the slave-trade. It

* Souvenirs d'un Amiral. Par le Contre-Amiral Jurieu de la Gravière. Two Vols. Paris: L. Hachette et Cie.

seems, from our author's statement, that while the trade was legalised the negroes were much better treated than they are at present.

On his return home, our young sailor was so fortunate as to secure an appointment on board one of the two corvettes sent in search of the luckless La Peyrouse. The description he gives of the equipment of the vessel in which he served is very humorous. The thirst for improvement which in those days agitated every mind, led to an enormous windmill being erected on the poop, for it was foreseen that, though corn might be found on the islands the corvettes were about to visit, it was not likely that mills would be met with. On board each vessel, too, was a large party of savants, who gave themselves airs, and as the navy was manned with Royalists principally, they did not hit it off at all with the partisans of the new ideas then beginning to agitate the nation.

The expedition was in every respect an unfortunate one : nothing was found connected with La Peyrouse, but the corvettes were incessantly exposed to shipwreck off the coast of Australia, where they beat about for several months. The only pleasant reminiscence our author has is connected with the island of Tonga-taboo, and a young lady of the name of Via, who took a great interest in him. After two years' knocking about, and the death of the admiral, the vessels proceeded to Batavia, where the ships were seized by the Dutch, who were then at war with France. But this was not the worst : the acting admiral, who was a Royalist to the backbone, kept the lilies flying, and combined with the Dutch government to imprison all those who appeared to him objects of suspicion. Among these was our author, 'most unjustly so, he declares, for he was but just recovering from a sword-thrust he received from one of the savants, M. de Mauvoisis, so thoroughly detested. However, he was set at liberty again in a few days, and finally received permission to return to Europe with the Dutch East Indian fleet. Off St. Helena the fleet was captured by the English, because, as France had conquered Holland, Great Britain wished to protect the fleet of her old allies. The part that affected our hero most was, that Commodore Essington seized all the documents relating to the French expedition, and they were not returned until the peace of 1802. And yet he is unjust, as he allows, for the vessel in which he originally embarked sank during the voyage, and had not the commodore seized the papers, they must have been lost. It is curious, by the way, to notice the facility with which ships sank in those days, and only Providence was blamed.

On reaching London, the custom-house officers pounced upon our author's collection of shells and birds, assuring him that they would be faithfully returned to him; but, although he remained three months in England, he never caught sight of them. Raison de plus to hate perfidious Albion. Then again he was brought up before the lord mayor as a spy, but was honourably acquitted. Spy hunting was a profitable trade in those days, and after all M. Jurieu had to give his denouncer a present. We may easily imagine how glad he was to return to la belle France. On his arrival he received his commission as lieutenant, and a new uniform, for the Republic had a fashion of paying its officers in kind, as money was 80 scarce. Our hero passed for a perfect millionnaire because he had about

two hundred dollars in cash, and was positively assured that not a house in Paris contained so much ready money.

It was not very pleasant to hold an independent command in the French navy in those days, for the popular societies of the seaports organised the republican fleet and appointed the officers. An odiouz system of spying spread terror through the fleet for more than two years. In the unhappy seaports which were given up to demagogues, the executioner himself had courtiers, and liberty, whose hideous despotism was execrated at heart, received hypocritical homage on every side. On board every vessel the Phrygian cap of that sanguinary idol was mounted at the main truck. The chiefs made a public profession of faith to their sailors: the latter expressed their sensibility by shouts: then, when admiral, captains, officers, and sailors had sworn for the hundredth time hatred and execration of the tyrants, support and help to the friends of equality, they sat down to civic repasts, which terminated in respective embraces. It may be easily supposed that discipline suffered through this system.

In 1796 our author was appointed to command the Milan brig, bearing twenty-two 4-pounder guns. The vessel was so leaky that the crew had to betake themselves to the pumps five or six times a day; but those mishaps were regarded as trifles. After several attempts to escape the blockading vessels

, the squadron managed to slip out of Aix roads, and arrived safely at the Azores. The way in which the French carried on maritime warfare was simply atrocious : as they could not hope to get their prizes safe into port, they gutted them and then burned them. In a piratical attack the squadron made on the monastery of San Antonio, on the Brazil coast, the French received a very considerable thrashing, for the officers were the first to run. It is not surprising, however, that men should soon grow demoralised who carried on such a legalised system of piracy, and whose instructions were to burn, sink, and destroy.

On his homeward voyage our author made an attack on a slaver, which, however, did not yield so easily. A running fight was carried on for two days; but then the Frenchman sheered off, as there was a chance of the slaver capturing him. He was obliged to put into Cayenne for repairs, when the Milan was condemned, and he received instead an American schooner, the Légère, which sadly belied its name. However, he managed to get through the English West India fleet, and, by a strange slice of luck, at the moment he reached Aix roads the English blockading frigate Artois had run ashore. The next ship M. Jurieu was appointed to was the Brillante, with orders to transport to Cayenne the victims of the 18th Fructidor. He was, however, denounced, and in a moment deprived of his command. Fortunately for him he had a good friend in the minister of marine, who summoned him to Paris, and gave him the command of a division of three corvettes lying in Aix roads, and ready for sea. It is curious, when we reflect on the present state of the French navy, to read that the nation at this time was so dispirited by the constant losses the fleet suffered from the English, that it was seriously proposed to hire out the vessels of war to private persons, who would convert them into letters of marque. Fortunately, at this moment, Admiral Bruix entered the ministry, and his predecessor's arrangements were at once revoked.

In 1798 M. Jurieu was appointed capitaine de frégate (commander),

« AnteriorContinuar »