Young New Zealand.
Though intensely interesting are all questions connected with the immigrants; of equal, if not greater interest are those concerning their offspring; that “every goose thinks its gosling a swan” has passed into a proverb, and old colonists here and in Australia do look with very partial eyes on their offspring. They magnify the good qualities, and are blind to the defects of their succeeding generation. Indeed, many of them loudly assert that young New Zealand is superior physically and mentally to the parent stock. In the Yankees we see the effects produced by a transplantation of our race, and in Victoria and New South Wales already the type is rapidly changing. The epithet “cornstalk” graphically depicts one change. In New South Wales and Victoria the colonial born grow tall and thin, wanting the breadth and robustness of the parent race, in these respects resembling the “slab-sided Yankee.” In young New Zealand the same changes obtain: they are spare, wanting in solidity and less of bulk. Other points are noteworthy. The noses and features are more regular. The great variety of noses and the irregular features and amorphous faces so common in an English crowd would be absent in a crowd of colonial born. Uniformity is here the rule.
The doctrine of evolution teaches us that types are not persistent as was formerly thought. That on the contrary, the rule is not persistence but change. The anthropomorphous apes are prognathous, powerful in crushing with their massive teeth. Savages are less prognathous; their jaws are smaller, their crania larger. Civilized men are less prognathous; their jaws smaller, with dwarfed teeth, and the crania bigger, the forehead looms large above the shrinking features. In the Yankees a still further change is going on. The children's jaws are smaller than those of the English, and the teeth appearing in these small jaws want room, jostle, and displace each other. Often, too, the dentes sapientiœ are cut late, or not at all. These smaller jaws, with greater width between the rami of the inferior maxilla, give rise to the “lantern” jaws, and, combined with a large forehead, show a further change. In young New Zealand the same changes are apparently to be found. The symphyses menti are pointed, the alveolar edge of the maxillœ too small; overcrowding and irregularity of the teeth result. It is probable, too, that the highly carnivorous diet of these persons will increase certain of these changes.
The bright tints of English complexions are in the complexions of young New Zealand, replaced by faded colours, duller hues. It is a curious fact that very few dark complexioned children are born in New Zealand, for, however dark may be the parents—however raven their locks, or black their
eyes—their offspring will almost invariably have duller tints. I find it impossible to faithfully paint in words what I consider the distinguishing marks of the young New Zealander. They are most marked in the female. It is, however, very often quite easy to distinguish the colonial born and bred by their looks.
Encouraged by the ardent sun's rays, and unchecked by biting cold, both English plants and English animals here quickly attain maturity. So, too, their offsprings quickly grow, and are early developed. But this early forcing is the precursor of early decay. In Australia, under a fierce sun, the children grow quickly, but like hot-house flowers they early fade, and their mental and physical powers are well nigh exhausted at an age when the Englishman is in his prime. They lack stamina. The New Zealand and colonial youth and young man is physically and mentally weaker than persons of similar age at home. They are less robust; hard work and privations soon affect them. The colonial generation, too, is constitutionally weak. The individuals are often, as they say, “seedy”; any attack of disease quickly prostrates them, and the recoveries are tardy. The women fade, become old and haggard, after rearing a small family. Like the males, they early bloom and quickly fade.
In one of his singularly suggestive and delightful works, Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes startles the reader by remarking that “the finest women are raised under glass,” and then exclaims:—“Good, dry, well-ventilated houses, well-paved streets, every possible comfort, and an absence of hardships are as necessary to produce fine women as a green-house and warmth to exotic flowers.” Probably owing to the absence of these things is due some of the defects just mentioned.
The conclusions I draw are these:—Partly owing to the climate, and partly to other changes in the environment, the immigrants' vital capacities diminish, their physical energies deteriorate; and that these alterations are more fully developed in their offspring, and that it is certain that the race would alter much and very decidedly deteriorate, were it not for a constant stream of immigrants.