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The New Zealand Journal, Saturday, May 23 (1840)


The Great New Zealand Meeting in Glasgow.

A meeting of "merchants, bankers, manufacturers, shipowners," &c. of Glasgow, was held in the Assembly-rooms of that city on Friday last, to petition the Queen and both Houses of Parliament to take measures for preventing the colonization of New Zealand by the French or any other foreign power, and for the establishment of British law and authority in those islands. We had intended to give the proceedings of this important meeting at length, as reported in the Argus, but the length to which Colonel Wakefield's Journal extends compels us to substitute the excellent abridgement of the Colonial Gazette, notwithstanding the enlarged size of this number. In the absence of the Lord Provost, by whom the meeting was called, Bailie Mitchell presided. Mr. Alexander Johnson moved the first resolution, which will be found in our advertizing columns. He described the commercial advantages which would flow from the regular colonization of New Zealand by this country—
"They were all aware of the existence of those islands which so beautifully studded the Southern Ocean; of their extent, their first discovery, and their various capabilities. The islands of New Zealand were in size about equal to Great Britain, situated in a latitude warm, genial, and healthy; they possessed a soil of the richest kind, minerals of the most valuable description, equal to any found in Europe, consisting of copper, lead, tin, diamonds, and coal; and they were plentifully productive of every fruit of the earth. Situated in the Southern Ocean, half-way between the continents of the East and West, they were admirably adapted for supplyiug the wants and carrying on profitable commerce with the colonies of Australia. The importance of New Zealand to the Crown of Britain, must, therefore, be obvious to all."
He exposed the absurdity of the pretended recognition of the independence of New Zealand, which had no better foundation than the delivery of a flag to some chiefs in a corner of the Northern Island; and commented upon the unfair conduct of the Government towasds the New Zealand Company and the colonists who had gone out under their auspices.
Lieutenant Macdonnell, R.N., seconded the resolution; and described the act of recognition as little better than a farce. Those chiefs who had signed the declaration of independence were ignorant of its extended meaning; and instead of desiring independence, the New Zealanders, generally, were eager to be placed under the protection of the British Crown—
"He had been in New Zealand, and he intended to go there again with his family, and make it his home for ever. He spoke highly of the fine traits of character developed by the native population. They would not submit to be trampled upon; but their gratitude for favours conferred upon them knew no bounds. He had travelled through the country almost unattended by Europeans, without the least fear of molestation or detention; on the contrary, he had been welcomed wherever he went, and treated with the best of their fare. He had great hopes of the colonization of that country by Scotsmen; and contended that every legitimate means ought to be taken to draw the Government into a support of colonization there, on a great and general scale."
The Reverend Dr. M'Leod moved the second resolution. He said, he attended the meetings as a friend to colonization in general, not as the especial advocate of emigration to New Zealand. His attention for many years had been directed to this subject, by the fearful destitution which prevailed in that part of Scotland with which he was connected by birth and affection—
"It was well known to all that the destitution was great, and that it must continue to be great, till the state of the country underwent a change. He had directed his attention earnestly to this subject; and after a very extensive correspondence on the part of the Destitution Committees with almost every person in the Highlands who could give an opinion, they received the same uniform answer from all intelligent men, that emigration, on a great and general scale, commenced and carried on by Government, was the only cure for the evils arising from the redundancy of an unemployed population, and the only way to prevent a recurrence of that destitution for the future. That was the opinion of all the clergymen, except a few, who there, as everywhere else, make it a sort of rule, whether of conscience or pride he would not say, to differ from all others, and get celebrity in their own district by sticking to some weak crotchet of their own. It was, with these exceptions, the unanimous declaration that a great scheme of national emigration was the only cure for the evils of destitution in the Highlands. He knew there were some romantic sentimentalists in the Highlands, as well as in the Lowlands, who reclined on their sofas, reading the newspapers, and were exceedingly eloquent on the subject of emigration, and about the cruelty of sending people from their own country and from the homes in which they had been born. He would yield to none in affection and love for his own countrymen, or for the citizens of Glasgow. He felt as much love for them as any man could feel; but he loved them too much not to pity them, and to wish them removed from scenes of poverty and destitution scarcely to be believed, to more favoured countries, where there was room for them, and where, if they would not rise to affluence, they would at least have abundance of the necessaries of life. He regretted the necessity of emigration, under these circumstances, as much as any one. He had been on board the emigrant-ship, and had there witnessed scenes of the most painful character—friends parting from friends while the tears of sorrow dropped from many an eye; it was like tearing the eagle from her nest, or the ivy from the rock to which it clung. He had heard the strains of his own mountain-music, as it fell heavy on the heart of the departing emigrant. Notwithstanding all this, he had, in his humble sphere, been doing all in his power to enlighten his countrymen on this subject, and to point out to them the advantages of emigration to other parts of the world. He had joined with others in a correspondence with the Colonial Office, and was resolved to continue to tease them—to torment them into a general scheme of emigration."
Not only the Highlanders, however, were interested in colonization—
"There was no part of the country where a redundancy of population, and insufficiency of remunerating employment did not exist. All knew how much the hand-loom weavers were suffering; many speeches had been made in support of them, but as yet little practical relief had been given. They knew the state of Ireland, where thousands upon thousands were left in a state of want year after year, and pressed down to the very earth by poverty. What was to become of them if relief were not speedily given? They knew that in every district of the country there were people wishing to get work, but could not find it. Many intelligent operatives of all trades and professions were to be found in Glasgow who could not procure education for their families: it was to him a marvel how poor people paid the rent of their houses, and could come out on the Lord's Day, when he knew the small allowance they were in the receipt of weekly. Emigration was the only relief for such people; and they therefore ought to enlighten, and, as it were, compel a reasonable Government to adopt such measures as would serve to clear off the redundant population of the country from one end of it to the other. They were told that there was a great deal of work in the country, and that thousands and tens of thousands were employed making railroads; but would they ever be going on making railroads? shall the whole country be made one great railroad, on which no living creature would be seen—nothing but the steam-engine? Surely the making of railways would come to an end; and what, then, would become of all those who were in employment from that source? Surely they ought to look before them, and promote such a scheme of emigration as would raise a rivalry among the people in the country, and create an opening for the surplus population for whom there was no room. These remarks were not interesting to the working classes alone, they applied with equal force to all classes. Ask the richest merchants in Glasgow, and they would answer that it was difficult to get situations for their sons—as difficult as among the poorest to find situations for their sons. He was blessed with a young family; but to the Colonies he was compelled, however painful it was, to look for a place where their talents and energies might be called forth. The very nobles of the land were looking to the Colonies as places of resort for their children. Nay, he had heard another thing which surprised him more—it was a perplexing case, but he had no doubt his friends Mr. Lumsden and Mr. Johnston would be able to explain it—there were a great number of rich men who did not know what to make of their money; there were capitalists who did not know what to make of their capital—it was very perplexing, no doubt, but he would leave it to those gentlemen he had named to explain it. The capitalists, also, were looking to the Colonies for a way to dispose of their redundant capital. Was there a profession or a trade in the land that was not overdone? Look at the keen rivalry that everywhere existed in every department—it was difficult for an honest man to get on without having recourse to some shift or other. Were there not swarms of medical men, men who had received the best education, of the highest character? and then those clever men called lawyers, attorneys, and advocates; and the clergymen themselves—how they were swarming!—it was, in short, just every one taking the bite out of his neighbour's mouth the best way he could. And why? just because we had no room; and therefore all were interested in getting elbow-room by knocking at the door of the Colonial Office, and never to cease till they made a way for them by adopting a broad scheme of emigration."
Dr. M'Leod exposed the folly of the notion which some sapient and sentimental philosophers professed to entertain, that England would be depopulated by emigration; and then proceeded to describe some of the advantages New Zealand offered as an emigration-field—
"The object of this meeting was to promote generally the cause of humanity, and also to bring under their notice the state of New Zealand, one of the loveliest islands on the face of the great ocean. They had heard from Mr. Johnston and Lieutenant M'Donnell, the size of the island, which was about equal in extent to Great Britain, with mountains as beautiful as the mountains of Scotland, and the most salubrious climate in the world, abounding with bountiful streams, never known to want water, flowing down at all seasons of the year. The soil was of the richest kind, and produced every vegetable and plant known in Europe, besides those peculiar to the southern hemisphere. Then there were its noble rivers, and harbours, and bays, where all the fleets of Europe might weigh in safety; the rivers teeming with fish, while seals and whales lay basking in the sun—and every one knew the advantage of the South Sea whale; in short, it possessed what no country ever yet possessed equal to it for a great maritime and commercial nation. From its geographical position, the day could not be distant when, if Great Britain did its duty, that land would be the central rendezvous for all the trade carried on in the Southern Ocean, which extended 15,000 miles, and was filled with the loveliest islands that the sun ever beheld. It was not possible indeed for imagination to conceive too much of the position of New Zealand, or of its immense advantages. How valuable must such a country be to Australia! They all knew almost as much of the island of Australia as they did of the island of Mull, for there were few who had not friends there; and were aware that it was constantly suffering for want of water. It was consequently in want of wheat, and was actually getting supplies of that article from America; and a friend of his had that morning informed him that wheat was brought from China. But here Providence puts down an island that can supply, in this respect, all the wants of Australia; while, in return, Australia can give to New Zealand whatever of its produce may be called for. Reference had been made to the article of flax; and it was a fact that, in New Zealand, where flax was extensively grown, it was often ten teet in height, though it had not been made so productive as it must yet be. Imagination could not tell what would yet be the event of trade in this one article. When cotton was first introduced into this country, five or six bags were brought into the port of Liverpool, and were seized for payment of the duty; but the proper authorities were
told that this was a small portion of cotton raised by way of experiment in America; and the duty was remitted. Now, what had been the result? In 1790 there were imported one million of pounds of cotton; in 1800, thirty-five millions; and this year he believed there were about six hundred millions of pounds imported. They thus saw how great things rose out of small beginnings. They received from Russia, annually, 100,000,000 cuts of hemp: if a quarrel took place with that country, how consoling it would be to reflect that Great Britain could have a supply from New Zealand, where there was hemp enough to serve the whole navy; so that, even in this light, New Zealand must be regarded as one of the most valuable colonies which the country could possess."
But New Zealand presented a still more interesting feature:—
"Civilisation had been going forward there to a great extent for some time past. The aborigines were an extraordinary people. In some respects they had shown themselves to be the fiercest and most indomitable savages on the face of the earth; but, on the other hand, much could be said in their behalf. A gentleman who had lived in New Zealand, and who breakfasted with him that morning, spoke of them as a most interesting race of people; and many facts had been relatad of them before a committee of Parliament which confirmed his experience. If a native had one blanket, he kept it; but, if he got two, he would give the other to the first person who required one. In the same way they parted with their tobacco when a supply was got. There was a generosity among them which excited in their favour a deep interest. No savages had ever made greater advances in civilisation than they had done; but more than that, much had been effected in the way of Christianising this people. The Missionaries had done a great deal, and a great deal was still doing. By the last report of one society, 55 schools, with 1,500 children, were in operation: and there were from 200 to 300 communicants, while several thousands of them were hearers of the gospel. Some might ask what was this among 150,000 people? but it should be borne in mind that they were told not to despise the day of small things. The seed had been sown there, and the work would doubtless proceed, bringing glory to God and to the best interests of that people. What had impeded the progress of civilisation and Christianity among this people? It was the number of convicts who ran off from New South Wales, and, crossing over to New Zealand, carried with them all the vices of this class, without one redeeming quality; and was it to be permitted that a penal settlement should be set down in this very land? He would ask, if the Government of Great Britain were at this moment to attempt to form a penal settlement in New Zealand, would the people of Britain permit it? No. If it was proclaimed that a penal settlement was to be set down in that country, there was not a man of humanity or religion in the land who would not get up a clamour to compel the Colonial Office to give up the attempt. And he would ask some of the gentlemen on the platform, if New Zealand had been a penal colony when his friend, Mr. M'Farlane, went last year, in the Bengal Merchant, with industrious artisans from Glasgow and Paisley, would they have consented that they should become the inhabitants of such a place? (Exclamations of "No.") He was certain that none there, he was sure that the excellent Judge (Sheriff Alison) in his eye, would never have countenanced any scheme so perilous—not a single mother's son of them would have gone out under such circumstances. (Much cheering.) At this moment there was much said about Great Britain abolishing altogether the mode of punishment, by transportation; and when we were ourselves even about to drop the system, were we tamely to allow that beautiful island to become the dunghill of France? Were we to allow that nation to open up their prisons, (which were full enough, he understood,) and send all that they called traitors and political offenders, and all their blackguards, to that colony? English blackguards were bad enough—and so were Scotch, and even Highlanders were bad; but French were the worst of all; and to send them to that country was not to be endured. After we had acquired New Zealand—acquired it by kindness—by the moral power and sway of Christianity secured the countenance of the chiefs—after we had secured the attention of savages, and after all the good that had been done, were we to allow, without a struggle, all these effects to be destroyed by the interference of the French? It was impossible that the British could submit to this."
To Dr. Macleod it was delighful to promote the good of his country by supporting colonization—
"It was delightful to think of great deserts rising up into villages and towns, and laying the foundation of great empires. It was exceedingly delightful, for example, to read of the town of Melbourne, in Australia, raised up to be a city of from 3,000 to 5,000 inhabitants, where nothing but the bush and the kangaroo family were previously to be found—to see in the highest parts of Canada, new cities, new towns, and new villages arising, speaking one language, and blessed with the institutions of our native land. Was it not delightful to hear that the foundation-stone of the capital of New Zealand was to be laid as the city of Wellington—a city that might be celebrated among all the nations of the earth, as the illustrious individual from whom it takes its name was at the present moment. Let us remember that former generations passed away—that cities and nations passed away. The greatest cities that history spoke of were now known only by name. What were Greece and Rome, with all their refinement, arts and sciences? Where were the ancient towns of ancient Egypt? Where were Thebes and Palmyra? They were only known by name. And were they to suppose that Britain alone was to remain in her glory unchanged? Might not the time come when even the glorious constitution under which we live will pass away, and, "like the baseless fabric of a vision, leave not a wreck behind." Let us then give to our Colonies the institutions we possess; and should the day ever come when internal political disunion shall destroy those institutions here, may our children enjoy the blessings they have transplanted to desert lands, where they may worship God on that altar that has been established by the blood of our forefathers."
[Frequent and enthusiastic cheers interrupted Dr. Macleod in the delivery of his eloquent speech.]
Dr. Perry seconded the resolution.
The third resolution was moved by Mr. John Fleming, and seconded by Mr. Lumsden.
Mr. Sheriff Alison moved the fourth resolution. He dwelt upon the necessity of looking to the Colonies as the great source of England's future power and prosperity—
"The only mode of supporting these, and retaining them within our grasp, was by extensive emigration, and by the power of our navy. This could be done by taxation alone; and the people of this country, as they valued the Colonies, would put the means of maintaining and strengthening our position in the hands of the Government. The rich should be induced to pay the additional taxes necessary, from a conviction that they were thereby increasing the resources of the country; and the poor, that they were constructing a path across the deep, by which the surplus population could get across to other lands, and those who remained be made more prosperous. He contended for the employment of the Navy in emigration, and ridiculed the idea that the service would by this be degraded. Had this policy been adopted twenty years ago, many of the evils under which this country laboured from over-population would not have existed, and her exports would have been four times greater; while foreign nations would not have dared to interfere with our colonial possessions, which emigration would have rendered powerful."
Mr. Crawford seconded the resolution. He commenced by complimenting Mr. Sheriff Alison, and Dr. M'Leod, for their eloquent addresses and thanked them in the name of "all the friends of the British Colonization of New Zealand." He hoped the proceedings of the day would not be lost on the Colonial Office, which he characterised as "the worst managed department of our public affairs." He commented on the inconsistent conduct of Government—in sending out a Governor, who declared he would plant the British standard in New Zealand, irrespective of the flag given to the chiefs in the Northern Island—in sending out a costly Government house for his accommodation, in a ship chartered for the purpose of conveying it out—and in sending instructions to the Governor of New South Wales to despatch soldiers to New Zealand for the protection of the settlers and the support of the Governor's authority, and then repudiating the right of the British Crown to exercise any dominion in New Zealand, on the grounds stated by Lord John Russell, in the official memorandum, issued from the Colonial Office, in March last, and which grounds, he contended, warranted no such repudiation. In fact the Acts of the British Parliament, on which Lord John founded, were the strongest acts of Sovereignty which one nation could exercise over another, being acts passed expressly for the punishment of offenders and repression of crimes in New Zealand. How Lord John could consider these acts of Parliament as declarations on the part of Britain, that she had no Sovereignty over New Zealand, it passed his comprehension to understand. The line of poliey pursued by the Government in reference to New Zealand seemed not to be dictated by anything like a noble or manly spirit, such as became British statesmen. Mr. Crawford concluded by seconding the resolution.
Mr. A. Tennent moved the next resolution, which was seconded by Mr. J. P. Reid.
On the motion of Mr. Lawrence Hill, a vote of thanks was then given to the Chairman, and the meeting separated.

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