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


The Aborigines Protection Society.—New Zealand.

The second "Public Conversation" of this excellent Society was held on the evening of Wednesday, the 15th of April, in the lecture-room of the Metropolitan Literary and Scientific Institution, Salvador House, Bishopgate.
Sir Jeremlah Bryant was culled to the chair.
In the course of the evening the neglect of the Aborigines of South Australia was strongly animadverted on; and the humane and benevolent course pursued by the New Zealand Company was generally recommended for adoption.
We copy from a very full report, published in the South Australian Colonist, so much thereof as relates to the subject or New Zealand:—
Mr. Standish Motte thought some allusions to New Zealand had been rather overcoloured. In the bill brought forward in Parliament, it was distinctly declared that the Aborigines should be provided for by grants reserved to them. How, it was with Australia he did not know; but the two cases differed widely. Australia was larger than all Europe; while in New Zealand about the same number of inhabitants were confined to a country about the size of Great Britain and Ireland. The Australians were comparatively new, and were not a people de facto; the New Zealanders were more advanced, divided into distinct tribes, and not absolute savages. It ought not to be supposed, that, a number of respected individuals had been connected with a scheme which would deprive the New Zealanders of their land without making a just provision for them. It was not true. The New Zealand Association (of which he was chairman the year before last) were most anxious to have a system enforced by Government, which should both protect and improve the Aborigines physically, politically, and religiously. A society like this was necessary as an aid to the Colonization Companies or Associations, although they (if they saw even their interest in its true light) need not be in their nature selfish. Had opportunity offered at the New Zealand meeting that day, he had intended to propose a resolution to this effect:—"That the colonial system of this country for the last century has been productive of misery and injury to the Aborigines, and dishonour to Great Britain, and that it behoved, therefore, the people of this country to declare that a new system should be adopted, by which, while extending our possessions, we should give the benefit of moral, civil, and political liberties to the: Aborigines of the countries we attempt to celonize."
The Secretary begged to state that the opportunity presented by the New Zealand Meeting had not been altogether neglected; a deputation from the Aborigines' Protection Society attended to watch the proceedings, and were prepared to move some resolutions; but previous arrangements for the meeting occupied all its time, and it was found impossible to introduce them. They were these:—
"That the right to the lands of New Zealand is originally and indefeasibly in the natives, the possessors and natural lords of the soil ab origine, holding their charter, directly from the Sovereign Ruler of the universe.
"That colonization can only be rightly conducted on the principle of direct purchase and fair remuneration.
"That the protection and civilisation of the native tribes must be essential elements in any just or successful scheme of colonization.
"That there is no system of contamination so efficient, and so fatally destructive, as the establishment of a Penal Colony in a new country.
"That it seeks to do legally and by the power of government, all that we deplore as the worst consequences of unauthorised colonization.
"That this meeting, therefore, dreading the consequences to the natives of New Zealand as well as to their own countrymen already settled in that Colony, of the establishment of a Penal Colony, and still more of a foreign Penal Colony, pledge themselves to oppose and resist to the best of their power any attempt to enforce such establishment."
Mr. Banister begged it to be understood that this Society was not so bound up with the Peace Society, that no one could be a member of it, who did not believe war under any circumstances unjustifiable. That seemed to be intimated, when allusion was made to China; but this Society was pledged to no such principle.
Mr. Moore declared that he never implied that it was. He had said that the two were united in heart and soul, and would go hand in hand to reform the world; and he believed, that wherever the one came the other would come. He would take the opportunity of adding, that he protested against the principle of leaving the New Zealanders only as much land as would support them. Was it doing as we would be done by? We had no right to take as much land as we could stand upon, except by fair and open treaty. How should we like to have England colonized by a stronger people, upon the principle of leaving us only so much land as was needful to support us <unclear>???</unclear> As to the case of China, the gentleman could not oppose his (Mr. M.'s) statement, without opposing truth, and right, and justice; and he might oppose them, if he pleased.
The Secretary remarked, that the question of China and the opium trade did not at all affect this Society; it was in very able hands—the British India Society—a branch from this. As to the right to take the land of the Aborigines, we could certainly never justify it, except where by taking a portion we made the rest so much more valuable, that they were gainers in reality.
Mr. Standish Motte concurred. By taking a portion of land (now really waste land) from the Aborigines, and introducing British capital and industry, they were benefited in a worldly sense, and opportunity was furnished for far greater benefit. Was it fair to compare that to the case of a powerful nation wresting from us land whieh we were cultivating, and bringing us no benefit in exchange? He believed that the welfare of the New Zealanders would be vastly promoted by colonization properly restrained, and by missionary efforts.
Mr. Banister remarked, that the New Zealand Company was the first public body that fairly and in earnest set out upon the principle, that we can colonize without destroying. They might not have proposed in all things exactly what we should now approve; but they went a hundred years ahead of anything that ever was before.
Dr. Hodgskin wished to remark with reference to what had been said respecting South Australia, that certainly the excellent intentions expressed in the First Report of the Commissioners had not been carried out. They had stated, that the colonization there, if a failure on out part, should certainly be made a blessing to the natives. Now it had been no such thing, although the colonists had been among the best colonists that ever went out. The Commissioners got over their promises
by saying there were no natives; but there certainly were natives, though they were thinly scattered. All that had been dorie, had been by the settlers themselves, and by the merchants here, who purchased from Government; and their friend, George Fife Angas, had recently (with some of his friends) taken a large plot of land, and determined to copy from the New Zealand Land Company, and set apart some of it for the natives. It was not true that they had no idea of property in land. Dr. Lang had found the fact to be otherwise. Game killed by them was accounted to belong to the owner of the territory where it was killed; and their quarrels grew out of the encroachments of one upon the territory of another. It was very unjust, therefore, on this plea to drive them back upon a ferocious tribe, who might be quite able to meet the feeble natives, though unequal to cope with the whites. At Port Philip there had been a kind of treaty; but in these treaties (and he feared those of New Zealand were not exempt from suspicion), it was so easy to deceive the people as to the value of. European articles, and even baubles; the land was thus obtained, and when a native acquired a taste for settling, he must buy it as a settler would. This he must now do in South Australia.

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