Following the Equator:
A Journey Around the World
by Mark Twain
(Samuel L. Clemens)
Following the Equator: A Journey Around the World, Vol. 1  was based on this second tour.
Part 4 Chapter XXX.
We spent part of an afternoon and a night at sea, and reached Bluff, in New Zealand, early in the morning. Bluff is at the bottom of the middle island, and is away down south, nearly forty-seven degrees below the equator. It lies as far south of the line as Quebec lies north of it, and the climates of the two should be alike; but for some reason or other it has not been so arranged. Quebec is hot in the summer and cold in the winter, but Bluff’s climate is less intense; the cold weather is not very cold, the hot weather is not very hot; and the difference between the hottest month and the coldest is but 17 degrees Fahrenheit.
Samuel Clemens was a well known traveller after his book The
Innocents Aboard, about his trip to Hawaii and on a world tour,
travelling in France and Italy was published in 1869. Later he made a
lecturing trip around the world to pay off debts starting in 1895 to
Canada, India, Australia, New Zealand, Ceylon and South Africa. His wife
Clara and his second daughter Livy and his manager Mr Carlyle Smythe
travelled with him.
Otago Witness 7 November, 1895
|Otago Witness 14
Otago Witness 7 November, 1895
It was from Bluff that we ought to have cut across to the west coast and
the New Zealand Switzerland, a land of superb scenery, made up of snowy
grandeurs, anal mighty glaciers, and beautiful lakes; and over there, also, are
the wonderful rivals of the Norwegian and Alaskan fiords; and for neighbor, a
waterfall of 1,900 feet; but we were obliged to postpone the trip to some later
and indefinite time.
November 6. A lovely summer morning; brilliant blue sky. A few miles out from Invercargill, passed through vast level green expanses snowed over with sheep. Fine to see. The green, deep and very vivid sometimes; at other times less so, but delicate and lovely. A passenger reminds me that I am in “the England of the Far South.”
Dunedin, same date. The town justifies Michael Davitt’s praises.
The people are
Scotch. They stopped here on their way from home to heaven-thinking they had
arrived. The population is stated at 40,000, by Malcolm Ross, journalist; stated
by an M. P. at 60,000. A journalist cannot lie.
To the residence of Dr. Hockin. He has a fine collection of books relating to New Zealand; and his house is a museum of Maori art and antiquities. He has pictures and prints in color of many native chiefs of the past—some of them of note in history. There is nothing of the savage in the faces; nothing could be finer than these men’s features, nothing more intellectual than these faces, nothing more masculine, nothing nobler than their aspect. The aboriginals of Australia and Tasmania looked the savage, but these chiefs looked like Roman patricians. The tattooing in these portraits ought to suggest the savage, of course, but it does not. The designs are so flowing and graceful and beautiful that they are a most satisfactory decoration. It takes but fifteen minutes to get reconciled to the tattooing, and but fifteen more to perceive that it is just the thing. After that, the undecorated European face is unpleasant and ignoble...
November 9. To the museum and public picture gallery with the president of the Society of Artists. Some fine pictures there, lent by the S. of A. several of them they bought, the others came to them by gift. Next, to the gallery of the S. of A.—annual exhibition—just opened. Fine. Think of a town like this having two such collections as this, and a Society of Artists. It is so all over Australasia. If it were a monarchy one might understand it. I mean an absolute monarchy, where it isn’t necessary to vote money, but take it. Then art flourishes. But these colonies are republics—republics with a wide suffrage; voters of both sexes, this one of New Zealand. In republics, neither the government nor the rich private citizen is much given to propagating art. All over Australasia pictures by famous European artists are bought for the public galleries by the State and by societies of citizens. Living citizens—not dead ones. They rob themselves to give, not their heirs. This S. of A. here owns its buildings built it by subscription.
Otago Witness. Nov. 14. 1895
In New Zealand the rabbit plague began at Bluff. The man who introduced the rabbit there was banqueted and lauded; but they would hang him, now, if they could get him. In England the natural enemy of the rabbit is detested and persecuted; in the Bluff region the natural enemy of the rabbit is honored, and his person is sacred. The rabbit’s natural enemy in England is the poacher, in Bluff its natural enemy is the stoat, the weasel, the ferret, the cat, and the mongoose. In England any person below the Heir who is caught with a rabbit in his possession must satisfactorily explain how it got there, or he will suffer fine and imprisonment, together with extinction of his peerage; in Bluff, the cat found with a rabbit in its possession does not have to explain—everybody looks the other way; the person caught noticing would suffer fine and imprisonment, with extinction of peerage. This is a sure way to undermine the moral fabric of a cat. Thirty years from now there will not be a moral cat in New Zealand. Some think there is none there now. In England the poacher is watched, tracked, hunted—he dare not show his face; in Bluff the cat, the weasel, the stoat, and the mongoose go up and down, whither they will, unmolested. By a law of the legislature, posted where all may read, it is decreed that any person found in possession of one of these creatures (dead) must satisfactorily explain the circumstances or pay a fine of not less than L5, nor more than L20. The revenue from this source is not large. Persons who want to pay a hundred dollars for a dead cat are getting rarer and rarer every day. This is bad, for the revenue was to go to the endowment of a University. All governments are more or less short-sighted: in England they fine the poacher, whereas he ought to be banished to New Zealand. New Zealand would pay his way, and give him wages.
November 11. On the road. This train-express goes twenty and one-half miles an hour, schedule time; but it is fast enough, the outlook upon sea and land is so interesting, and the cars so comfortable. They are not English, and not American; they are the Swiss combination of the two. A narrow and railed porch along the side, where a person can walk up and down. A lavatory in each car. This is progress; this is nineteenth-century spirit. In New Zealand, these fast expresses run twice a week. It is well to know this if you want to be a bird and fly through the country at a 20-mile gait; otherwise you may start on one of the five wrong days, and then you will get a train that can’t overtake its own shadow. By contrast, these pleasant cars call to mind the branch-road cars at Maryborough, Australia, and the passengers’ talk about the branch-road and the hotel.....
It was Junior England all the way to Christchurch—in fact, just a garden. And Christchurch is an English town, with an English-park annex, and a winding English brook just like the Avon—and named the Avon; but from a man, not from Shakespeare’s river. Its grassy banks are bordered by the stateliest and most impressive weeping willows to be found in the world, I suppose. They continue the line of a great ancestor; they were grown from sprouts of the willow that sheltered Napoleon’s grave in St. Helena. It is a settled old community, with all the serenities, the graces, the conveniences, and the comforts of the ideal home-life. If it had an established Church and social inequality it would be England over again with hardly a lack.
In the museum we saw many curious and interesting things; among others a fine native house of the olden time, with all the details true to the facts, and the showy colors right and in their proper places. All the details: the fine mats and rugs and things; the elaborate and wonderful wood carvings—wonderful, surely, considering who did them wonderful in design and particularly in execution, for they were done with admirable sharpness and exactness, and yet with no better tools than flint and jade and shell could furnish; and the totem-posts were there, ancestor above ancestor, with tongues protruded and hands clasped comfortably over bellies containing other people’s ancestors—grotesque and ugly devils, every one, but lovingly carved, and ably; and the stuffed natives were present, in their proper places, and looking as natural as life; and the housekeeping utensils were there, too, and close at hand the carved and finely ornamented war canoe. And we saw little jade gods, to hang around the neck—not everybody’s, but sacred to the necks of natives of rank. Also jade weapons, and many kinds of jade trinkets—all made out of that excessively hard stone without the help of any tool of iron. And some of these things had small round holes bored through them—nobody knows how it was done; a mystery, a lost art. I think it was said that if you want such a hole bored in a piece of jade now, you must send it to London or Amsterdam where the lapidaries are. Also we saw a complete skeleton of the giant Moa. It stood ten feet high, and must have been a sight to look at when it was a living bird. It was a kicker, like the ostrich; in fight it did not use its beak, but its foot. It must have been a convincing kind of kick. If a person had his back to the bird and did not see who it was that did it, he would think he had been kicked by a wind-mill.
There must have been a sufficiency of moas in the old forgotten days when his breed walked the earth. His bones are found in vast masses, all crammed together in huge graves. They are not in caves, but in the ground. Nobody knows how they happened to get concentrated there. Mind, they are bones, not fossils. This means that the moa has not been extinct very long. Still, this is the only New Zealand creature which has no mention in that otherwise comprehensive literature, the native legends. This is a significant detail, and is good circumstantial evidence that the moa has been extinct 500 years, since the Maori has himself—by tradition—been in New Zealand since the end of the fifteenth century. He came from an unknown land—the first Maori did—then sailed back in his canoe and brought his tribe, and they removed the aboriginal peoples into the sea and into the ground and took the land. That is the tradition. That that first Maori could come, is understandable, for anybody can come to a place when he isn’t trying to; but how that discoverer found his way back home again without a compass is his secret, and he died with it in him. His language indicates that he came from Polynesia. He told where he came from, but he couldn’t spell well, so one can’t find the place on the map, because people who could spell better than he could, spelt the resemblance all out of it when they made the map. However, it is better to have a map that is spelt right than one that has information in it.
In New Zealand women have the right to vote for members of the legislature, but they cannot be members themselves. The law extending the suffrage to them event into effect in 1893. The population of Christchurch (census of 1891) was 31,454. The first election under the law was held in November of that year. Number of men who voted, 6,313; number of women who voted, 5,989. These figures ought to convince us that women are not as indifferent about politics as some people would have us believe. In New Zealand as a whole, the estimated adult female population was 139,915; of these 109,461 qualified and registered their names on the rolls 78.23 per cent. of the whole. Of these, 90,290 went to the polls and voted—85.18 per cent. .....
Men ought to begin to feel a sort of respect for their mothers and wives and sisters by this time. The women deserve a change of attitude like that, for they have wrought well. In forty-seven years they have swept an imposingly large number of unfair laws from the statute books of America. In that brief time these serfs have set themselves free essentially. Men could not have done so much for themselves in that time without bloodshed—at least they never have; and that is argument that they didn’t know how. The women have accomplished a peaceful revolution, and a very beneficent one; and yet that has not convinced the average man that they are intelligent, and have courage and energy and perseverance and fortitude. It takes much to convince the average man of anything; and perhaps nothing can ever make him realize that he is the average woman’s inferior—yet in several important details the evidences seems to show that that is what he is. Man has ruled the human race from the beginning—but he should remember that up to the middle of the present century it was a dull world, and ignorant and stupid; but it is not such a dull world now, and is growing less and less dull all the time. This is woman’s opportunity—she has had none before. I wonder where man will be in another forty-seven years?...The white population of the colony is 626,000, the Maori population is 42,000. The whites elect seventy members of the House of Representatives, the Maoris four. The Maori women vote for their four members.
November 16. After four pleasant days in Christchurch, we are to leave at midnight to-night. Mr. Kinsey gave me an ornithorhynchus, and I am taming it.
Sunday, 17th. Sailed last night in the Flora, from Lyttelton. So we did. I remember it yet. The people who sailed in the Flora that night may forget some other things if they live a good while, but they will not live long, enough to forget that.
The Star Nov. 16
Flora, s.s. 838 tons, Philips, for Wellington. USSCo., pagents.
For Napier - Mesdames Tucker and two children and Jones, Mr Horsley
for Auckland - Miss Clemens, Mrs Clemens, Messrs Clemens
Passengers Aulesbrook Mr Bain Mr Barron Mr Barry Mr Beavan Mr Bennett Mr Beswick Miss Brindley Mr Brown Mrs Brownell Mr Buchanan Mr Buckley Mr Cockburn Mrs Collins
Crowe Mr Duncan Mr Eichelbanum Mr Francis Miss Gale Mrs Gilmore Mr Grey Mr Healey Mr Henderson Mr Hill Mr Holmes Mr Hudson Mrs Jefferson Mr Jones Mr Long Mr
McGuinness Mason Mr Mason Mr Mayo Mr Moore Mr Morgan Mr Patterson Mr Scholfield Mrs Staunce Mrs Sturmer Mrs Sturmer Mr Willcox Mr Wiliams Mr Zaehariah Miss and Smythe.
The Flora is about the equivalent of a cattle-scow; but
when the Union Company find it inconvenient to keep a contract and lucrative to
break it, they smuggle her into passenger service, and “keep the change.”
They give no notice of their projected depredation; you innocently buy tickets
for the advertised passenger boat, and when you get down to Lyttelton at
midnight, you find that they have substituted the scow. They have plenty of good
boats, but no competition— and that is the trouble. It is too late now to make
other arrangements if you have engagements ahead.
It is a powerful company, it has a monopoly, and everybody is afraid of
it—including the government’s representative, who stands at the end of the
stage-plank to tally the passengers and see that no boat receives a greater
number than the law allows her to carry. This conveniently-blind representative
saw the scow receive a number which was far in excess of its privilege, and
winked a politic wink and said nothing. The passengers bore with meekness the
cheat which had been put upon them, and made no complaint.
It was like being at home in America, where abused passengers act in just the same way. A few days before, the Union Company had discharged a captain for getting a boat into danger, and had advertised this act as evidence of its vigilance in looking after the safety of the passengers —for thugging a captain costs the company nothing, but when opportunity offered to send this dangerously overcrowded tub to sea and save a little trouble and a tidy penny by it, it forgot to worry about the passenger’s safety.
The first officer told me that the Flora was privileged to carry 125 passengers. She must have had all of 200 on board. All the cabins were full, all the cattle-stalls in the main stable were full, the spaces at the heads of companionways were full, every inch of floor and table in the swill-room was packed with sleeping men and remained so until the place was required for breakfast, all the chairs and benches on the hurricane deck were occupied, and still there were people who had to walk about all night! If the Flora had gone down that night, half of the people on board would have been wholly without means of escape. The owners of that boat were not technically guilty of conspiracy to commit murder, but they were morally guilty of it.
I had a cattle-stall in the main stable— a cavern fitted up with a long double file of two-storied bunks, the files separated by a calico partition—twenty men and boys on one side of it, twenty women and girls on the other. The place was as dark as the soul of the Union Company, and smelt like a kennel. When the vessel got out into the heavy seas and began to pitch and wallow, the cavern prisoners became immediately seasick, and then the peculiar results that ensued laid all my previous experiences of the kind well away in the shade. And the wails, the groans, the cries, the shrieks, the strange ejaculations—it was wonderful. The women and children and some of the men and boys spent the night in that place, for they were too ill to leave it; but the rest of us got up, by and by, and finished the night on the hurricane-deck. That boat was the foulest I was ever in; and the smell of the breakfast saloon when we threaded our way among the layers of steaming passengers stretched upon its floor and its tables was incomparable for efficiency. A good many of us got ashore at the first way-port to seek another ship. After a wait of three hours we got good rooms in the Mahinapua, a wee little bridal-parlor of a boat—only 205 tons burthen; clean and comfortable; good service; good beds; good table, and no crowding. The seas danced her about like a duck, but she was safe and capable.
Next morning early she went through the French Pass—a narrow gateway of rock, between bold headlands—so narrow, in fact, that it seemed no wider than a street. The current tore through there like a mill-race, and the boat darted through like a telegram. The passage was made in half a minute; then we were in a wide place where noble vast eddies swept grandly round and round in shoal water, and I wondered what they would do with the little boat. They did as they pleased with her. They picked her up and flung her around like nothing and landed her gently on the solid, smooth bottom of sand—so gently, indeed, that we barely felt her touch it, barely felt her quiver when she came to a standstill. The water was as clear as glass, the sand on the bottom was vividly distinct, and the fishes seemed to be swimming about in nothing. Fishing lines were brought out, but before we could bait the hooks the boat was off and away again.
We soon reached the town of Nelson, and spent the most of the day there, visiting acquaintances and driving with them about the garden—the whole region is a garden, excepting the scene of the “Maungatapu Murders,” of thirty years ago. That is a wild place—wild and lonely; an ideal place for a murder. It is at the base of a vast, rugged, densely timbered mountain. In the deep twilight of that forest solitude four desperate rascals—Burgess, Sullivan, Levy, and Kelley—ambushed themselves beside the mountain-trail to murder and rob four travelers—Kempthorne, Mathieu, Dudley, and De Pontius, the latter a New Yorker. A harmless old laboring man came wandering along, and as his presence was an embarrassment, they choked him, hid him, and then resumed their watch for the four. They had to wait a while, but eventually everything turned out as they desired.......
That dark episode is the one large event in the history of Nelson. The fame of it traveled far. Burgess made a confession. It is a remarkable paper. For brevity, succinctness, and concentration, it is perhaps without its peer in the literature of murder. There are no waste words in it; there is no obtrusion of matter not pertinent to the occasion, nor any departure from the dispassionate tone proper to a formal business statement—for that is what it is: a business statement of a murder, by the chief engineer of it, or superintendent, or foreman, or whatever one may prefer to call him....“We were getting impatient, when we saw four men and a pack-horse coming. I left my cover and had a look at the men, for Levy had told me that Mathieu was a small man and wore a large beard, and that it was a chestnut horse. I said, ‘Here they come.’ They were then a good distance away; .....
We sailed in the afternoon late, spent a few hours at New Plymouth, then sailed again and reached Auckland the next day, November 20th, and remained in that fine city several days. Its situation is commanding, and the sea-view is superb. There are charming drives all about, and by courtesy of friends we had opportunity to enjoy them. From the grassy crater-summit of Mount Eden one’s eye ranges over a grand sweep and variety of scenery—forests clothed in luxuriant foliage, rolling green fields, conflagrations of flowers, receding and dimming stretches of green plain, broken by lofty and symmetrical old craters—then the blue bays twinkling and sparkling away into the dreamy distances where the mountains loom spiritual in their veils of haze.
It is from Auckland that one goes to Rotorua, the region of the renowned hot lakes and geysers—one of the chief wonders of New Zealand; but I was not well enough to make the trip. The government has a sanitorium there, and everything is comfortable for the tourist and the invalid. The government’s official physician is almost over-cautious in his estimates of the efficacy of the baths, when he is talking about rheumatism, gout, paralysis, and such things; but when he is talking about the effectiveness of the waters in eradicating the whisky-habit, he seems to have no reserves. The baths will cure the drinking-habit no matter how chronic it is—and cure it so effectually that even the desire to drink intoxicants will come no more. There should be a rush from Europe and America to that place; and when the victims of alcoholism find out what they can get by going there, the rush will begin. The Thermal-springs District of New Zealand comprises an area of upwards of 600,000 acres, or close on 1,000 square miles. Rotorua is the favorite place. It is the center of a rich field of lake and mountain scenery; from Rotorua as a base the pleasure-seeker makes excursions. The crowd of sick people is great, and growing. Rotorua is the Carlsbad of Australasia.
It is from Auckland that the Kauri gum is shipped. For a long time now about 8,000 tons of it have been brought into the town per year. It is worth about $300 per ton, unassorted; assorted, the finest grades are worth about $1,000. It goes to America, chiefly. It is in lumps, and is hard and smooth, and looks like amber—the light-colored like new amber, and the dark brown like rich old amber. And it has the pleasant feel of amber, too. Some of the light-colored samples were a tolerably fair counterfeit of uncut South African diamonds, they were so perfectly smooth and polished and transparent. It is manufactured into varnish; a varnish which answers for copal varnish and is cheaper. The gum is dug up out of the ground; it has been there for ages. It is the sap of the Kauri tree. Dr. Campbell of Auckland told me he sent a cargo of it to England fifty years ago, but nothing came of the venture. Nobody knew what to do with it; so it was sold at 15 a ton, to light fires with.
November 26—3 P.M., sailed. Vast and beautiful harbor. Land all about for hours. Tangariwa, the mountain that “has the same shape from every point of view.” That is the common belief in Auckland. And so it has —from every point of view except thirteen. Perfect summer weather. Large school of whales in the distance. Nothing could be daintier than the puffs of vapor they spout up, when seen against the pink glory of the sinking sun, or against the dark mass of an island reposing in the deep blue shadow of a storm cloud . . . . Great Barrier rock standing up out of the sea away to the left. Sometime ago a ship hit it full speed in a fog—20 miles out of her course—140 lives lost; the captain committed suicide without waiting a moment. He knew that, whether he was to blame or not, the company owning the vessel would discharge him and make a devotion—to—passengers’ safety advertisement out of it, and his chance to make a livelihood would be permanently gone.
November 27. To-day we reached Gisborne, and anchored in a big bay; there was a heavy sea on, so we remained on board. We were a mile from shore; a little steam-tug put out from the land; she was an object of thrilling interest; she would climb to the summit of a billow, reel drunkenly there a moment, dim and gray in the driving storm of spindrift, then make a plunge like a diver and remain out of sight until one had given her up, then up she would dart again, on a steep slant toward the sky, shedding Niagaras of water from her forecastle—and this she kept up, all the way out to us. She brought twenty-five passengers in her stomach—men and women mainly a traveling dramatic company. In sight on deck were the crew, in sou’westers, yellow waterproof canvas suits, and boots to the thigh. The deck was never quiet for a moment, and seldom nearer level than a ladder, and noble were the seas which leapt aboard and went flooding aft. We rove a long line to the yard-arm, hung a most primitive basketchair to it and swung it out into the spacious air of heaven, and there it swayed, pendulum-fashion, waiting for its chance—then down it shot, skillfully aimed, and was grabbed by the two men on the forecastle. A young fellow belonging to our crew was in the chair, to be a protection to the lady-comers. At once a couple of ladies appeared from below, took seats in his lap, we hoisted them into the sky, waited a moment till the roll of the ship brought them in overhead, then we lowered suddenly away, and seized the chair as it struck the deck. We took the twenty-five aboard, and delivered twenty-five into the tug—among them several aged ladies, and one blind one—and all without accident. It was a fine piece of work.
Ours is a nice ship, roomy, comfortable, well-ordered, and satisfactory. Now and then we step on a rat in a hotel, but we have had no rats on shipboard lately; unless, perhaps in the Flora; we had more serious things to think of there, and did not notice. I have noticed that it is only in ships and hotels which still employ the odious Chinese gong, that you find rats. The reason would seem to be, that as a rat cannot tell the time of day by a clock, he won’t stay where he cannot find out when dinner is ready.
November 29. The doctor tells me of several old drunkards, one spiritless loafer, and several far-gone moral wrecks who have been reclaimed by the Salvation Army and have remained staunch people and hard workers these two years. Wherever one goes, these testimonials to the Army’s efficiency are forthcoming . . . . This morning we had one of those whizzing green Ballarat flies in the room, with his stunning buzz-saw noise—the swiftest creature in the world except the lightning-flash. It is a stupendous force that is stored up in that little body. If we had it in a ship in the same proportion, we could spin from Liverpool to New York in the space of an hour—the time it takes to eat luncheon. The New Zealand express train is called the Ballarat Fly . . . . Bad teeth in the colonies. A citizen told me they don’t have teeth filled, but pull them out and put in false ones, and that now and then one sees a young lady with a full set. She is fortunate. I wish I had been born with false teeth and a false liver and false carbuncles. I should get along better.
December 2. Monday. Left Napier in the Fly the one that goes twice a week. From Napier to Hastings, twelve miles; time, fifty-five minutes—not so far short of thirteen miles an hour . . . . A perfect summer day; cool breeze, brilliant sky, rich vegetation. Two or three times during the afternoon we saw wonderfully dense and beautiful forests, tumultuously piled skyward on the broken highlands—not the customary roof-like slant of a hillside, where the trees are all the same height. The noblest of these trees were of the Kauri breed, we were told the timber that is now furnishing the wood-paving for Europe, and is the best of all wood for that purpose. Sometimes these towering upheavals of forestry were festooned and garlanded with vine-cables, and sometimes the masses of undergrowth were cocooned in another sort of vine of a delicate cobwebby texture—they call it the “supplejack,” I think. Tree ferns everywhere—a stem fifteen feet high, with a graceful chalice of fern-fronds sprouting from its top—a lovely forest ornament. And there was a ten-foot reed with a flowing suit of what looked like yellow hair hanging from its upper end. I do not know its name, but if there is such a thing as a scalp-plant, this is it. A romantic gorge, with a brook flowing in its bottom, approaching Palmerston North.
Waitukurau. Twenty minutes for luncheon. With me sat my wife and daughter, and my manager, Mr. Carlyle Smythe. I sat at the head of the table, and could see the right-hand wall; the others had their backs to it. On that wall, at a good distance away, were a couple of framed pictures. I could not see them clearly, but ...
The Autocrat of Russia possesses more power than any other man in the earth; but he cannot stop a sneeze.
—Pudd’nhead Wilson’s New Calendar.
WAUGANIUI, December 3. A pleasant trip, yesterday, per Ballarat Fly. Four hours. I do not know the distance, but it must have been well along toward fifty miles. The Fly could have spun it out to eight hours and not discommoded me; for where there is comfort, and no need for hurry, speed is of no value—at least to me; and nothing that goes on wheels can be more comfortable, more satisfactory, than the New Zealand trains. Outside of America there are no cars that are so rationally devised. When you add the constant presence of charming scenery and the nearly constant absence of dust—well, if one is not content then, he ought to get out and walk. That would change his spirit, perhaps? I think so. At the end of an hour you would find him waiting humbly beside the track, and glad to be taken aboard again.
Much horseback riding, in and around this town; many comely girls in cool and pretty summer gowns; much Salvation Army; lots of Maoris; the faces and bodies of some of the old ones very tastefully frescoed. Maori Council House over the river-large, strong, carpeted from end to end with matting, and decorated with elaborate wood carvings, artistically executed. The Maoris were very polite.
I was assured by a member of the House of Representatives that the native race is not decreasing, but actually increasing slightly. It is another evidence that they are a superior breed of savages. I do not call to mind any savage race that built such good houses, or such strong and ingenious and scientific fortresses, or gave so much attention to agriculture, or had military arts and devices which so nearly approached the white man’s. These, taken together with their high abilities in boat-building, and their tastes and capacities in the ornamental arts modify their savagery to a semi-civilization—or at least to, a quarter-civilization.
It is a compliment to them that the British did not exterminate them, as they did the Australians and the Tasmanians, but were content with subduing them, and showed no desire to go further. And it is another compliment to them that the British did not take the whole of their choicest lands, but left them a considerable part, and then went further and protected them from the rapacities of landsharks—a protection which the New Zealand Government still extends to them. And it is still another compliment to the Maoris that the Government allows native representation—in both the legislature and the cabinet, and gives both sexes the vote. And in doing these things the Government also compliments itself; it has not been the custom of the world for conquerors to act in this large spirit toward the conquered.
The highest class white men who lived among the Maoris in the earliest time had a high opinion of them and a strong affection for them. Among the whites of this sort was the author of “Old New Zealand;” and Dr. Campbell of Auckland was another. Dr. Campbell was a close friend of several chiefs, and has many pleasant things to say of their fidelity, their magnanimity, and their generosity. Also of their quaint notions about the white man’s queer civilization, and their equally quaint comments upon it. One of them thought the missionary had got everything wrong end first and upside down. “Why, he wants us to stop worshiping and supplicating the evil gods, and go to worshiping and supplicating the Good One! There is no sense in that. A good god is not going to do us any harm.”
The Maoris had the tabu; and had it on a Polynesian scale of comprehensiveness and elaboration. Some of its features could have been importations from India and Judea. Neither the Maori nor the Hindoo of common degree could cook by a fire that a person of higher caste had used, nor could the high Maori or high Hindoo employ fire that had served a man of low grade; if a low-grade Maori or Hindoo drank from a vessel belonging to a high-grade man, the vessel was defiled, and had to be destroyed. There were other resemblances between Maori tabu and Hindoo caste-custom.
Yesterday a lunatic burst into my quarters and warned me that the Jesuits were going to “cook” (poison) me in my food, or kill me on the stage at night. He said a mysterious sign was visible upon my posters and meant my death. He said he saved Rev. Mr. Haweis’s life by warning him that there were three men on his platform who would kill him if he took his eyes off them for a moment during his lecture. The same men were in my audience last night, but they saw that he was there. “Will they be there again to-night?” He hesitated; then said no, he thought they would rather take a rest and chance the poison. This lunatic has no delicacy. But he was not uninteresting. He told me a lot of things. He said he had “saved so many lecturers in twenty years, that they put him in the asylum.” I think he has less refinement than any lunatic I have met.
December 8. A couple of curious war-monuments here at Wanganui. One is in honor of white men “who fell in defence of law and order against fanaticism and barbarism.” Fanaticism. We Americans are English in blood, English in speech, English in religion, English in the essentials of our governmental system, English in the essentials of our civilization; and so, let us hope, for the honor of the blend, for the honor of the blood, for the honor of the race, that that word got there through lack of heedfulness, and will not be suffered to remain. If you carve it at Thermopylae, or where Winkelried died, or upon Bunker Hill monument, and read it again “who fell in defence of law and order against fanaticism” you will perceive what the word means, and how mischosen it is. Patriotism is Patriotism. Calling it Fanaticism cannot degrade it; nothing can degrade it. Even though it be a political mistake, and a thousand times a political mistake, that does not affect it; it is honorable always honorable, always noble—and privileged to hold its head up and look the nations in the face. It is right to praise these brave white men who fell in the Maori war—they deserve it; but the presence of that word detracts from the dignity of their cause and their deeds, and makes them appear to have spilt their blood in a conflict with ignoble men, men not worthy of that costly sacrifice. But the men were worthy. It was no shame to fight them. They fought for their homes, they fought for their country; they bravely fought and bravely fell; and it would take nothing from the honor of the brave Englishmen who lie under the monument, but add to it, to say that they died in defense of English laws and English homes against men worthy of the sacrifice—the Maori patriots.
The other monument cannot be rectified. Except with dynamite. It is a mistake all through, and a strangely thoughtless one. It is a monument erected by white men to Maoris who fell fighting with the whites and against their own people, in the Maori war. “Sacred to the memory of the brave men who fell on the 14th of May, 1864,” etc. On one side are the names of about twenty Maoris. It is not a fancy of mine; the monument exists. I saw it. It is an object-lesson to the rising generation. It invites to treachery, disloyalty, unpatriotism. Its lesson, in frank terms is, “Desert your flag, slay your people, burn their homes, shame your nationality—we honor such.”
December 9. Wellington. Ten hours from Wanganui by the Fly. December 12. It is a fine city and nobly situated. A busy place, and full of life and movement. Have spent the three days partly in walking about, partly in enjoying social privileges, and largely in idling around the magnificent garden at Hutt, a little distance away, around the shore. I suppose we shall not see such another one soon. We are packing to-night for the return-voyage to Australia. Our stay in New Zealand has been too brief; still, we are not unthankful for the glimpse which we have had of it.
The sturdy Maoris made the settlement of the country by the whites rather difficult. Not at first—but later. At first they welcomed the whites, and were eager to trade with them—particularly for muskets; for their pastime was internecine war, and they greatly preferred the white man’s weapons to their own. War was their pastime—I use the word advisedly. They often met and slaughtered each other just for a lark, and when there was no quarrel. The author of “Old New Zealand” mentions a case where a victorious army could have followed up its advantage and exterminated the opposing army, but declined to do it; explaining naively that “if we did that, there couldn’t be any more fighting.” In another battle one army sent word that it was out of ammunition, and would be obliged to stop unless the opposing army would send some. It was sent, and the fight went on.
In the early days things went well enough. The natives sold land without clearly understanding the terms of exchange, and the whites bought it without being much disturbed about the native’s confusion of mind. But by and by the Maori began to comprehend that he was being wronged; then there was trouble, for he was not the man to swallow a wrong and go aside and cry about it. He had the Tasmanian’s spirit and endurance, and a notable share of military science besides; and so he rose against the oppressor, did this gallant “fanatic,” and started a war that was not brought to a definite end until more than a generation had sped.
Friday, December 13. Sailed, at 3 p.m., in the ‘Mararoa’. Summer seas and a good ship-life has nothing better.
Monday. Three days of paradise. Warm and sunny and smooth; the sea a luminous Mediterranean blue . . . . One lolls in a long chair all day under deck-awnings, and reads and smokes, in measureless content. One does not read prose at such a time, but poetry.
December, 17. Reached Sydney.
Monday,—December 23, 1895. Sailed from Sydney for Ceylon in the P. & O. steamer ‘Oceana’. A Lascar crew mans this ship—the first I have seen. White cotton petticoat and pants; barefoot; red shawl for belt; straw cap, brimless, on head, with red scarf wound around it; complexion a rich dark brown; short straight black hair; whiskers fine and silky; lustrous and intensely black. Mild, good faces; willing and obedient people; capable, too; but are said to go into hopeless panics when there is danger. They are from Bombay and the coast thereabouts. Left some of the trunks in Sydney, to be shipped to South Africa by a vessel advertised to sail three months hence. The proverb says: “Separate not yourself from your baggage.”.....
"Why waste your money looking up your family tree?
Just go into politics and your opponents will do it for you!"
… Mark Twain
"Upon landing at Bluff, I immediately asked to be shown some Maoris, but was told that they were very scarce in that part of the country. Indeed it seemed as though I might as well have asked for a moa!" The English author Anthony Trollope on his arrival in Bluff in 1872.
Evening Post 22 April 1890 pg 2
A Novelist on Tour
Auckland, 21st April
The eminent novelist, Robert Louis Stevenson, and Mrs Stevenson, were passengers by the Janet Nicoll, which arrived here from Sydney, and after a stay here of a day they left again by that vessel for Suwarrow island. Mr Stevenson is in delicate health. He sent Sir George Grey his regards, with a copy of one of his books, and also a pamphlet which Mr Stevenson is about to publish, defending the late Father Damien from a recent attack make upon the character of the great leper priest. Sir George replied by sending Mr Stevenson his sympathy and good wishes, with copies of several of his best known works, his photograph, and several rare pamphlets relating to the dialects of Polynesia. From Suwarrow Island Mr Stevenson intends to proceed to the Marshall Group and to the Line Islands. A house is building for him in Samoa, where he intends to spend a great part of his life.
The Star Saturday January 23 1892 pg3
Arrival of Mr Stanley, the man who found Livingstone.
The great explorer arrived at Lyttelton this morning by the Rotorua, and at the Christchurch station there was a crowd of people eager to catch a glimpse of the African lion. Mr Stanley will give his opening lecture in the Theatre Royal on Monday night.
Otago Witness Wednesday 21 November 1900 page 55 c1
Mr A. Barton Paterson, who sailed from Hobart on the 16th inst. by the Mokoia, needed little introduction in any part of the new Commonwealth, and he is almost as well known all over New Zealand. The son of a squatter in the northern Murrumbidgee district of New South Wales, be began his public career as a solicitor, begin a member of a legal firm in Sydney. But in his native colony he has distinguished himself as a fearless steeplechase rider, a golfer and tennis player, a poet, a war correspondent and artist, and more recently as a lecturer. He is best known as the author of 'The Man from Snowy River," the most popular bush lyric ever written, and it was because, being then a practising solicitor, he wrote over the signature of "The Banjo" (the name of a horse he owned) that he is now familiarly known by that name.
The only difference between a tax man and a taxidermist is
that the taxidermist leaves the skin. - Mark Twain
No man's life, liberty, or property is safe while the legislature is in session. - Mark Twain (1866 )
Census Records | Vital Records | Family Trees & Communities | Immigration Records | Military Records Directories & Member Lists | Family & Local Histories | Newspapers & Periodicals | Court, Land & Probate | Finding Aids