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The New Zealand Journal, Saturday, May 02 (1840)

81

The French in New Zealand.

Sir,—It will be perceived that, in consequence of the procrastinating policy of our Colonial Government, France has been allowed the opportunity of forming a New Zealand Emigration Company, and one vessel has already sailed from Havre, destined for those islands, whereas, had a charter been granted to the London New Zealand Company some three years since, and our Government asserted manfully that right of preemption to the lands of New Zealand which all former precedents entitled them to, the French never would have thought of establishing a colony in that country: but seeing the opposition given to an English Company by the Government of its own country, while at the same time no active measures were taken by that Government towards the colonization of New Zealand, a doubt on the validity of English right of pre-emption has been, or appeared to be implied, the French have availed themselves of the circumstance, and hence has arisen their intended rivalry with us in colonization.
As regards the interests of Great Britain, there is not a doubt but that all attempts of French emigration to New Zealand should be effectually frustrated, as in case of war between the two great nations, the advantage of a depôt to the French so near our Australian possessions would be to them of the greatest importance and utility; besides, the very circumstance of our having so many colonies in the southern hemisphere, should of itself be a sufficient reason to exclude all attempts of European colonial rivalry in that quarter. As regards the Gallic emigrants acknowledging British laws and allegiance, I hold such a result quite impracticable; they never amalgamate with British settlers, nor are contented under British rule—to wit, Canada, &c. The danger, therefore should be averted by the immediate interposition and power of the British Government; but if this should not be immediately done, great mischief will inevitably ensue. Emigration from France to New Zealand will be carried on during next summer to a great extent;* in a short time the French Government having subjects to protect, will send out a Governor, and no doubt a considerable number of troops to protect him; the right of pre-emption will then be disputed, and two countries, whose interest it is to maintain the peace of Europe, may be induced to quarrel with each other, and thereby endanger the tranquillity of Christendom as well as that of New Zealand. The Islands of New Zealand are well worthy of our fostering eare; they present every prospect of becoming the granaries of New South Wales, furnishing those wants which so much retard the prosperity of these dependencies. The New Zealand chiefs seek our connexion and protection, which I trust will be quickly and effectually rendered to them, thereby doing justice to our own interests, as well as ameliorating the condition of the aboriginal inhabitants.
March 1st, 1840.
O. T.
[We have had the above communication fpr some time in our possession, and delayed inserting it only because we deemed it premature. At this moment, however, the subject to which it relates is fairly and fully before the public, and its insertion may assist in forcing upon the consideration of Government the necessity of attending to the expression of opinion which is now becoming so general in favour of the regular colonization of New Zealand.—Ed. New Zealand Journal.]

*

We differ entirely from our correspondent on this point French colonization must be to a small extent—a most paltry extent. We oppose it on principle. If it did not violate a well recognised principle of international law, we should regard it with the utmost contempt. The idea of France colonizing New Zealand is absurd.

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