« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »
The Ottoman Porte made at the same time the semblance of recognising the new Wallachian constitution.
The St. Petersburgh journal of the 1st of August published nearly at the same time a long exposé, by the emperor, of his motives for intervention in the principalities of Wallachia and Moldavia. The emperor declared that the said intervention had taken place with the consent and concurrence of the Ottoman Porte, and that the Russian troops would act only in accord with those of the sultan. These troops, it appears, are destined to take up their winter-quarters in Jassy.
Suliman Pasha made his entry into Bucharest on the 6th of August, in great state, and as a friend. Instead, however, of ratifying the new constitution, the Turkish commander consented only to confirm three of the members of the new government in their places. But as far as universal suffrage, popular armament, and liberty of the press are concerned, he has peremptorily refused to give the sanction of the Porte to any such demands of the Wallachians. The situation of affairs in the Danubian principalities occasioned, however, a ministerial revolution at Constantinople, and on the 15th of August the enlightened and liberalminded Reshid Pasha was restored to the post of grand vizier, one of the first results of which was the recall of the expatriated Boyards. Still a less promising position of two provinces as mere bones of contention between Russia and Turkey, and their own populations panting for independence and nationality, can scarcely be imagined.
THE NEW ZEALAND QUESTION.
THERE are certain questions, which, although they are difficult of definition in an abstract point of view, are, nevertheless, often universally admitted and practised upon as a matter of course. It certainly appears very absurd, looking at the matter philosophically, that one nation should send out ships of discovery which should claim the lands belonging to another people as a right resulting from their successful researches. To put this question in an extravagant point of view, suppose a Chinese junk on a voyage of discovery to fall in with and claim possession in consequence of Great Britain; it is very doubtful if the Aborigines would admit either the fact of the discovery, although the Chinese might not have been acquainted with the existence of such islands previously, or still less the claim founded upon the said discovery. So it was with the so-called discovery of New Zealand, a discovery in its antipodal relation to Great Britain, but not at all a discovery with regard to the Aborigines, who even in the time of Juan Fernandez are described as a race of white people, well made, and dressed in a kind of woven cloth. According to Vattel, the first authority on the Law of Nations, Navigators going on the discovery, provided with a commission from their sovereign and falling in with desert islands, or other desert lands, have taken possession of them in the name of their nation and commonly this title has been respected, provided that thereupon a real possession have closely followed. But the fact is that between
the two existing cases of discovery, only so called from the ignorance or limited knowledge of the nation discovering, and the obtaining possession of a barren island, there are many degrees of difference, all difficult to define, but being practically acted upon, by which, for example, when a newlydiscovered territory is found to be tenanted by savages who refuse to hold intercourse with their fellow creatures, who do not till the ground or dwell in towns, who have no forms of government, and who mutually destroy and even eat one another, it is uniformly admitted that taking possession, by introducing the arts and civilisation, religion and peace, is not only beneficial to the people but appears as a link wove in the chain of providential intentions.
The practical fact having then been long admitted and acted upon, the various degrees of difference between possession of a barren island, and a permitted and authorised possession and colonisation, as at Sarawak in Borneo, are regulated by the rules of common sense and equity. These rules were violated by the French, when they took possession of islands in the South Seas, which, being ruled by a queen, formed together a "sovereign state," and to which civilised nations had already sent their missionaries and their representatives. Such was not the case with New Zealand at the time of its discovery by the English; and however much we may be inclined to go along with the Aborigines Protection Society, as far as regards the kindly treatment, the education, and respect due to the rights of natives, it would require that a very novel and unforeseen light should be thrown upon the progress of past events, and the history of land and maritime discovery and colonisation, to satisfy the mind, that advantages of the most extraordinary character have not resulted to general humanity by the spread of civilised nations, even when such has been accompanied by the extirpation of races whom one cannot but pity and sympathise with, and for whom, with an enlightened policy, much more might be done than has hitherto been the case, to protect.
The relation of the British and of the New Zealanders has unfortunately been more fertile of disputes, misunderstandings, and false sentiment of any, perhaps, hitherto on record.
The relations of Great Britain with the islands of New Zealand are unprecedented in the annals of colonisation, inasmuch as her acquisition of the country was peculiar and specific; and this fact renders the position of settlers there, and of emigrants proceeding thither, both complicated and singular, they being brought into contact with an intelligent, enlightened, and ambitious native race, who, standing dispossessed of the sovereignty of their own country, claim extensive and exclusive proprietary rights of which they are extremely jealous, and which they are in a situation to enforce; whilst, on the other hand, the local government asserts, on behalf of the crown, another kind of right, by virtue of which all free exercise of the natives' natural proprietary rights is averred to be extinguished, and the emigrant becomes dependent, not alone upon the disposition of the native owner to sell his land, but on that of the local government to permit the purchase of the same by any third party, save through its medium, and contingent upon its own inclination to acquire such land so offered for sale, at a price regulated by circumstances, and virtually irrespective of native valuation.
In the origin, that is, before New Zealand was annexed to the British empire,
The New Zealand Question and the Rights of the Aborigines. By Louis Alexis Chamerovzow.
large, and in some instances, nominal purchases of land, extending over many thousands of acres, were effected by various individuals, many of which purchases have since been declared invalid by the local government, being repudiated by the native owners, on the plea of inadequate compensation, ambiguous contract, ill and undefined boundary, wilful double-dealing, or actual fraud. The settlement of these claims has proved a fruitful source of contention, producing sanguinary collisions between the Aborigines and the settlers, engendering extreme disaffection towards the local government on the part of both, and effectually embarrassing it, by placing it in the difficult and delicate position of arbitrator between the crown and so many and such various contending interests; nevertheless, the whole of these difficulties might have been avoided at the outset, or resolved long ago, had the government only acted with consistency, and speculators and settlers with the ordinary degree of mercantile justice which usually characterises every transaction in which capitalists engage, save-as it would seem--the mania for land-jobbing.
The foregoing facts taken collectedly, have, at the same time, invested the New Zealand Question with peculiar interest; an interest which, from the extent, importance, and rapid progress of the colony, is daily increasing.
Mr. Secretary Chamerovzow, as the organ we suppose of the Aborigines Protection Society, not only objects to Captain Cook's right to take possession of New Zealand in the name and for the use of his Majesty King George the Third, but he also argues that, conceding the point for argument's sake, Great Britain forfeited the rights which discovery is assumed to have conferred upon her, by her non-occupation of the country. Occupation having, however, taken place to a certain extent since 1815, this discussion appears to be now singularly inopportune. It could, at the best, only apply to difficulties, that might have arisen from the joint occupation of the country in the interim, by other civilised nations. Mr. Chamerovzow even objects to the early settlements being considered as colonial occupation of the country, because the crown did not identify itself with them. But, although in law a colony cannot be formed without the license of the crown, it is a matter of notoriety, that in practice such has, till within late times, been the early history of the majority of our colonial settlements. At all events, in this particular case, the argument is peculiarly useless, as the tenor of land and sovereignty in New Zealand is held by treaty and cession, and, granting the futility of the claim founded on discovery, it is obvious that Great Britain cannot be said, in point of fact, to have forfeited that which she never possessed. Three several times before the epoch of the treaty of Waitangi in 1840, did Great Britain recognise New Zealand as an independent country, but under the protection of Great Britain; a protectorate which was further cemented on the occasion of the present of a national flag by Captain Lambert of the Alligator. The Rev. S. Hinds, D.D., in his evidence given before the committee of the House of Lords in 1838, testified to the fact, that the very assumption on the part of Great Britain of a right to give that flag, supposed the New Zealanders not to be altogether a sovereign power; an argument which Mr. Chamerovzow says is refuted by Captain Fitzroy who, in his evidence, declared that the giving of the flag was a distinct recognition of the independence of the chiefs. Independence of the
* Vide evidence before Select Committee of the House of Commons. New Zealand.
chiefs certainly, but not of the sovereignty of the island; the King of Great Britain having been formally acknowledged to be the parent of the infant state and its protector, at the conclave of thirty-five hereditary chiefs of the northern island, held at Waitangi three years previously, that is to say, on the 28th of October, 1835.
Mr. Somes, on behalf of the New Zealand Company, argued the validity of British sovereignty over New Zealand upon the following data. In the year 1787, a royal commission was granted to Captain Philip, appointing him, in pursuance of the British sovereignty in possession, which had been established by Captain Cook, “ Captain-general and Governor-in-chief in and over the territory of New South Wales and its dependencies." This territory was described in the commission as, extending from Cape York, lat. 11 deg. 37 min. south; to the South Cape, lat. 43 deg. 30 min. south; and inland to the westward as far as 135 deg. east long., comprehending all the islands adjacent in the Pacific Ocean within the latitudes of the above-named Capes." This is the act by which the crown first assumed the government of New South Wales and the other barbarous lands of which Captain Cook had taken possession in the name of the king. The islands of New Zealand are as clearly within the prescribed limits as Norfolk Island, Van Diemen's Land, or even New South Wales itself.
On the 9th of November, 1814, the Governor and Captain-general of New South Wales and its dependencies, acting on the representation of the crown, by public proclamation, declared New Zealand to be a dependency of his government, and by regular commission of dedimus potestatem, appointed justices of the peace to act there. Some of the magistrates so appointed were Aboriginal natives of the country. It is plain that they were treated as British subjects. In 1819, again, Governor Macquarrie appointed an English magistrate in New Zealand. This justice of the peace exercised the authority so bestowed on him, by apprehending offenders and sending them for trial to the seat of government.
Mr. Secretary Chamerovzow objects to these facts, that the first enumerated proves nothing, because it proves at once too much and too little! And he adds, that the appointment of native justices of the peace, and the enforcement of British authority by means of ships of had only reference to punishing English delinquents. It was surely a curious step to take, to appoint native justices of the peace in a foreign country to punish British subjects, and these appointments, which by their acceptance involved the substantive acknowledgment of British sovereignty, soon brought such portions of New Zealand as they existed in, within the jurisdiction of the courts of New South Wales.
No less than 2000 British subjects having, by the year 1838, become permanent inhabitants of New Zealand, the necessity for the interposition of government became too evident to admit of any further inaction. Accordingly, Captain Hobson was appointed consul in August, 1839, with special instructions to negotiate with the native chiefs the cession to her majesty of certain parts of the islands, as also to treat with the Aborigines for the recognition of her majesty's sovereign authority over the whole or part of such islands as they might be willing to place under her majesty's dominions. The words in which these instructions are conveyed by the Marquis of Normanby were, we should have thought, calculated to satisfy the most exigent philanthropist.
Oct.-VOL. LXXXIV. NO. CCCXXXIV.
I have already stated that we acknowledged New Zealand as a sovereign and independent state, so far as it is possible to make that acknowledgment in favour of a people composed of numerous, dispersed, and petty tribes, who possess few political relations to each other, and are incompetent to act, or even to deliberate in concert. But the admission of their rights, though inevitably qualified by this consideration, is binding on the faith of the British crown. The queen, in common with her majesty's immediate predecessor, disclaims for herself and for her subjects, every pretension to seize on the islands of New Zealand, or to govern them as part of the dominion of Great Britain, unless the free and intelligent consent of the natives, expressed according to their established usages, shall be first obtained. Believing, however, that their own welfare would, under the circumstances I have mentioned, be best promoted by the surrender to her majesty of a right now so precarious, and little more than nominal, and persuaded that the benefit of British protection, and of laws administered by British judges, would far more than compensate for the sacrifice by the natives of a national independence, which they are no longer able to maintain, her majesty's government have resolved to authorise you to treat with the Aborigines of New Zealand for the recognition of her majesty's sovereign authority over the whole or any part of those islands which they may be willing to place under her majesty's dominions.
Mr. Chamerovzow, however, objects to the qualified admission of independence, contained in the first paragraph, and he becomes still more indignant when, upon the representations made by Captain Hobson in relation to the Southern Island, Lord Normanby wrote, "If the country is really as you suppose, uninhabited, except by a very small number of persons in a savage state, incapable, from their ignorance, of entering intelligently into any treaties with the crown, I agree with you that the ceremonial of making such engagements with them would be a mere illusion and pretence, which ought to be avoided. The circumstances noticed in my instructions, may perhaps render the occupation of the Southern Island a matter of necessity, or of duty to the natives."
Nothing can be more straightforward, practical, or judicious. It is quite true that some of those who have been since engaged in carrying out these views may have exceeded the bounds of justice and discretion, but even that is extremely difficult to prove, as the turn of the New Zealanders' mind is notoriously given to deceit and to cupidity; cessions once made have been recalled, or denied, or litigated; and there can be but little doubt, that the soi-disant philanthropists who abet the savages in their so-called claims, but in reality in their dishonest repudiation of cessions formerly made, or in litigation for further benefits to be conferred in virtue of those cessions, are doing more to bring about those disastrous circumstances which ultimately lead to the extermination of a community, than any thing that either colonists or government have done or are ever likely to do.
Nothing can be more childish than the style of argument adopted by these pseudo-philanthropists. Mr. Chamerovzow declares that he cannot understand why, if the crown possessed any rights at all, they were to be asserted over only those parts of New Zealand which were presumed to be thinly peopled, and by less intelligent tribes, when these rights, if valid at all, were equally so over the Northern Island. It is very to have to impart understanding to an antagonist as well as to refute