“Prospectus of the Scots New Zealand Land Company”. Perthshire Advertiser, 29 August 1839, p.3 col.4-5 (pdf image)
An editorial opinion on Matthew’s Prospectus of the Scots New Zealand Land Company. Despite being an anti-Chartist newspaper (note, for example, the negative report of a Chartist meeting on the same page), the review is generally favourable. However, the reviewer takes exception to Matthew’s idea that Britons could intermarry with the natives to promote conciliation between the two races: “The wish is benevolent, but impracticable. Partial intercourse will no doubt occur; but no other amalgamation can take place between the powerful and the weak — between the experienced and combined, and the ignorant and disorganized — than the union of master and slave”. After imagining a scornful British settler, rebuking a “sable nuddity” (savage native) by sarcastically asking him whether he would prefer to have the settler’s daughter “baked or barbecued”, the reviewer concludes: “A union of races is not to be thought of. It is opposed to all experience, and the pride of the human heart; and it is contrary to the physical laws that the energetic should stand about for the inert. The Rifle and the Rum Cask have ever been the regulators of the Bush — evils, doubtless, in the abstract, but preparing room for thousands to live in affluence, where only units could previously subsist”.
PROSPECTUS OF THE SCOTS NEW ZEALAND LAND COMPANY.
This is a scheme of Colonization proposed by Mr Matthew of Gourdiehill, a gentleman well known in this neighbourhood; and who recently gave to the world a work on the “Emigration Fields” best adapted to British character and enterprise. In that work, he gives it as his opinion, (and he certainly adduces strong arguments in its support,) that the New Zealand territory, from the salubrity and temperature of the climate, its natural fertility, and commercial position and advantages, is the most suitable for British emigration. Upon these and other data, this Joint Stock Austral-British project is founded. Mr M. draws such a glowing picture of this insular paradise, that if it should prove but half what it is represented, or if not more than a half were to be counterbalanced by unnoticed drawbacks, why truly the sooner a portion of our surplus energy is transported thither the better. One drawback however does at least exist, and that we should suppose, from the very remote position of the proposed colony, to be nearly insurmountable, unless the British Government step in to render prompt and efficient protection to the settlers. The drawback we allude to is the hostility of the natives; and they are said to be numerous, and of a warlike character, their opposition will necessarily prove the more formidable. Mr Matthew appears to be fully aware of this source of disquietude and danger; but while invoking the aid of Government, and stipulating that each settler shall be properly armed, he hopes that a conciliatory course may lead to an amalgamation of the two races. The wish is benevolent, but impracticable. Partial intercourse will no doubt occur; but no other amalgamation can take place between the powerful and the weak — between the experienced and combined, and the ignorant and disorganized — than the union of master and slave. Will not a people the most fastidious in “drawing the line,” utterly scorn the approach of the wild man as their equal. Imagine one of nature’s unsophisticated sons approaching some sturdy settler as he stands at his door in the contemplative enjoyment of the fruits of his industry,— and laying his hand on his stomach (the savage sentiments are low) and declaring his consuming passion for his (the settler’s) daughter! We think we see the Briton’s curled and quivering lip, as he eyes the sable nuddity from top toe, and enquires whether the “Noble Savage” would prefer her baked or barbecued? A union of races is not to be thought of. It is opposed to all experience, and the pride of the human heart; and it is contrary to the physical laws that the energetic should stand about for the inert. The Rifle and the Rum Cask have ever been the regulators of the Bush — evils, doubtless, in the abstract, but preparing room for thousands to live in affluence, where only units could previously subsist.
We have digressed somewhat from the more immediate object of the prospectus, in order that those who may contemplate embarking in the enterprise, may be led to reflect upon it in all its bearings. The project is sufficiently alluring; and the colony may in a few years become a flourishing settlement. The Scheme consists of an indefinite number of L. 50 shares, of which nearly one half will be required to carry out the adventurers, and provision them in New Zealand until they can be enabled to raise for themselves the requisite supplies,— the other half of the share is to be devoted to the purchase of land, or perhaps more properly speaking, as the soil is not yet in individual possession, to the obtaining of the consent of the natives to the occupation of the territory. At 5s the acre, this would give 100 acres to each share, which it is proposed to divide into town and country sections — a certain proportion of each to be allotted to every share. This in the first instance will keep the settlers together, and subserve mutual convenience and protection. There is also appended an outline of government for the provisional management of the colony’s affairs.
On the first cursory glance at any new and romantic scheme, the judgment is apt to be led away by a certain feeling of Crusoeism; it is therefore the more necessary, in a movement of so much consequence to the individual, that all points of the case be duly considered;— that while looking at the distant prize, the intervening obstacles be not too lightly despised. Let him reflect on the four months’ purgatory which must be endured whilst traversing upwards of twelve thousand miles of boisterous sea; of the years of privation which must be necessarily borne; and that the settlement will require to be continually watched and defended till the natives are either conciliated or subdued;— and if the individual lack the necessary moral courage, let him stay at home. But if prepared to meet these, and other difficulties, and with indomitable resolution to encounter every obstacle, then we say let him go; for though his trials may be long and heavy success will ultimately crown the effort.
Since penning the above, we have received the First Number of the New Zealand Gazette, from which it would appear that the New Country is about to be simultaneously invaded from various quarters, and by such numbers as will greatly diminish the danger to be apprehended from the natives. The English New Zealand Company appear full of ardour; their first expedition is about to sail with the machinery and appliances required by the infant stale; and a precursory vessel is already out, exploring the coast, and purchasing land. There are some important differences between the Scots and English Emigration schemes, as to the purchase of land, &c. which would induce us to award the preference to the Scots Company. To those who may desire a knowledge of the details, we would recommend an attentive perusal of Mr Matthew’s writings on the subject.