Go to National Library of New Zealand Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa
Volume 9, 1876
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Final Remarks.

I must now bring the paper to an end. The subject upon which it treats is so extensive that the great difficulty under which I have laboured is not to find what to say, but what to leave unsaid. In a paper such as this it is almost impossible to do justice to so great a subject. Many important matters have been omitted. But slight reference has been made to New Gumea; the civilization and colonization of that island must be a task of time. In my opinion, the various groups of islands referred to require far more immediate attention than New Guinea. Their colonization is forcing itself upon our attention, although it has taken nearly a hundred years for the question to ripen into its present importance.

New Guinea, as I have before remarked, is a terra incognita; there is not much danger of any Great Power attempting to colonize it for some time to come. All that we require at present is the protection of our trade through Torres Straits, and the Royal Colonial Institute has duly brought that important point before the notice of the Imperial Government. That the civilization of New Guinea will be found a more easy task than that of

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the Malay islands is true, but there is no necessity for us immediately to perform the task. Our missionaries will first lead the way. I notice that in May last the Wesleyan missionary barque, “John Wesley,” left Fiji with a deputation of white missionaries, and about fifteen native teachers, for the purpose of taking the first steps to implant Christianity on the north-west of the island, and at the same time on the islands of New Britain and New Ireland. The London Missionary Society have selected the south coast. There is very little doubt but that these noble efforts will succeed, yet the task is a difficult one. The natives are somewhat fierce and treacherous, and the climate, so far as we are acquainted, very unhealthy. It would be of much advantage if the Home Government directed our war schooners to visit the new stations occasionally. Nothing has been found more hurtful to missionary enterprise than the isolated condition of the clergy. For many months they are left to themselves to struggle with their numerous difficulties. The one or two mission vessels cannot perform the necessary work of visiting all the stations. I trust the societies at home will seek a little co-operation in this matter from the Imperial Government.

In the body of the paper it will be observed that reference has often been made to the West India Islands. In my opinion, the past history of those islands will be found a very valuable precedent for future action in Polynesia. The opening of the Isthmus of Panama by a canal has a most important bearing upon the future of the Pacific. The successful accomplishment of that great work will vastly increase the value of the islands. Through them will pass a great trade to Australasia and Eastern Asia, and back again to the Western Hemisphere. Great circle tracks are almost certain to be followed, and one or two of these tracks cut the islands. Such a traffic must greatly benefit the Pacific. The opening of the canal will also permit the island trade going direct to English markets, as the distance will then not be much greater than to any other.

That the canal will be constructed is almost a certainty; a late American commission upon the subject does not consider the difficulties insurmountable. The cause of civilization would be greatly advanced if America, France, and England warmly took up the subject;—our own Government, I believe, is fully alive to its importance. In conclusion, I may be allowed to express an earnest wish that the Imperial Government will consider the advisability of pursuing some definite policy. Action in Polynesia should not be made to depend upon the mere question of the suppression of slavery. It is not too much to consider that the islands will eventually form a great confederation; but much depends upon the manner in which they are acquired by the great powers. The tendency of late years in the West Indies has been towards such a confederation. Under a federal system the cost of

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government will not be so great, taxes will be more uniform, and the labour supply can be better regulated—three very important considerations in tropical countries. I trust that Great Britain will act in such a manner as to enable the islands eventually to form a powerful confederation. I cannot close this paper without adding one tribute of respect to the memory of the latest martyr to the cause of civilization in the Pacific—James Graham Goodenough, commodore of the Australian station. Admired and respected by all who knew him, loved and esteemed by all his officers, his loss will be deeply felt. He fell a martyr in the attempt to restore confidence in the minds of the savage natives of Santa Cruz, after having successfully brought about the annexation of Fiji to the British Crown. Few events, since the death of Captain Cook, have created so powerful an impression upon the public mind. Bishop Patteson and Commodore Goodenough have both fallen victims to the treachery of these particular islands. When are these losses to cease? Almost a century since, La Perouse and his unfortunate comrades were cast away upon these very islands, and not one returned to tell the tale. Is it not time for us to regard these natives as dangerous to humanity? The lives of our sailors and traders in the Pacific are at their mercy. The late commodore would not allow them to be punished; but have we not a duty to perform? Should we not at once take steps to prevent the future loss of valuable lives? England cannot afford to lose such sons as John Coleridge Patteson and James Graham Goodenough.

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Appendix A.—Statistical Chart of the Islands of the Pacific.
North Pacific.
Name of Group. No. of Islands Formation. By whom Discovered. Area Square Miles. Name of Mission Native Population.
Bonin Islands 50 Volcanic Spaniards Roman Catholic
Ladrone or Marian Islands 20 Do. Magellan, 1521 1,254 Do. 1668 55,000
Pelew Islands 20 Villalolos, 1543 Do. 1710 10,000
Caroline Islands 300 Volcanic and Coral Portuguese, 1526; Drake, 1579; Mendana, 1595. American Board of Foreign Missions, Hawaian Mission *150,000
Marshall, or Mulgrave Islands 30 Coral Marshall and Gilbert, 1788 Hawaian Miss'n. A. B. F. M. Samoan Mission 12,000
Gilbert or Kingsmill Islds. 16 Do. Do. Hawaian Miss'n. A. B. F. M. 10,000
Sandwich Islds. (1871) 13 Volcanic Cook, 1778 6,090 A. B. F. M. 1820 Hawaian Mission Soc. Prop. Gosp'l. Am. Miss. Asso. 58,765
Eastern Polynesia.
Marquesas 5 Do. Mendana, 1595 777 Hawaian Mis. A. B. F. M. R. C. M. 10,000
Paumota, or Low Archipelago 78 Coral De Quiros, 1606 4,125 R. C. & L. M. S. Soc. Prop. Grosp'l. 8,000
Tahiti, or (1871) Society Islands 3 Volcanic Do. 734 L. M. S. 1797 R. C. M. 13,847
Georgian Islands 6 Do. Do. L. M. S. 10,000
Austral, or Tubai Islands 5 Vancouver, 1791 Do. 4,000
Cook's, or Hervey Islands 7 Volcanic and Coral Cook, 1773 Do. 16,000
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North Pacific.
Name of Group. Foreign Residents. Government. Imports £ Exports £ General Remarks.
Bonin Islands 30 Spanish No native population. A few Japanese. Lloyd's Harbour, a very good one.
Ladrone or Marian Islands Do. The fleet of Prince Maurice, of Nassau, refreshed at Guam, 1625.
Pelew Islands Native King & Spanish. Antelope wrecked, 1783; Prince Lee Boo accompanied survivors to England.
Caroline Islands 120 Native Chiefs Many excellent Harbours. Great resort of Whalers. Severe Hurricanes. Natives faithless and treacherous. Enormous ruins.
Marshall or Mulgrave Islands 6 Do. Radick and Rallick Chains.
Gilbert or Kingsmill Islds. Native King On the Equator. Severe hurricanes. Degraded and savage type of Natives.
Sandwich Islds. (1871) 5,500 Monarchy and Constitution Since 1840 325,176 378,413 Cook killed at Hawaii, 1743. Independence recognised, 1843. Sugar principal export.
Eastern Polynesia.
Marquesas. French, 1842 Bad Harbours. Fine race of Natives.
Paumota, or Low Archipelago French Protectorate, 1846 Eighteen uninhabited. Great pearl shell fishery.
Taihiti, or (1871) Society Islands. Do. 120,000 90,000 Cotton principally exported.
Georgian Islands Native Government. Independence from Tahiti recognized. Fair code of laws. Two of the Islands under French protection.
Anstral, or Tebai Islands Native Chiefs Good Harbour in Rapa. Beautiful climate.
Cook's, or Hervey Islands. 30 Native Queen and Chiefs No harbours. Beautiful climate. Hurricanes occasionally.
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CentraL Polynesia.
Name of Group. No. of Island. Formation. By whom Discovered. Area Square Miles. Name of Mission Native Population.
Phœnix 8 Coral Cook, 1773.
Ellice L. M. S. 2,000
Tokelau, or Union Do. 500
Navigator, or Samoa (1871) 10 Volcanic Roggewein, 1722; Bougainville, 1768 1,650 L. M. S. Wesleyan. M. S. 35,000
Friendly Islands, or Tonga 100 Volcanic and Coral Tasman, 1643 L. M. S. 1797 Wes. M. S. 1831 30,000
Fiji (1873) 200 Volcanic Do. 7,404 Wes. M. S. 1835 140,500
Western Polynesia.
New Hebrides Do. De Quiros, 1606 Bougainville, 1768; Cook, 1774 Melanesian Miss. and Presby. Miss. S. *80,000
Banks Island Do. Melanesian Miss.
Santa Cruz Islds. 12 Do. Mendana, 1570 Melanesian Miss
Loyalty Islands 4 Coral 1,354 L. M. S. 1841 Mel. M. & R. C. M. *15,000
New Caledonia. 2 Cook, 1774 10,875 R. C. M. 29,000
Solomon Islands 140 Volcanic Mendana, 1567 Molanesian Miss. *200,000
New Ireland Do.
New Britain Do. 24,000
Admiralty Islds. 40
Louisade Islands Torres, 1606
New Guinea Portuguese, 1511; Torres, 1606 260,000 L. M. S. and Wesleyan M. S.
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Central Polynesia.
Namo of Group. Foreign Residents. Government. Imports £ Exports £ General Remarks.
Phoœnix Native Chiefs Few inhabitants.
Ellice. Do. Islanders once ignorant of warfare. Peruvian slavers in 1863 almost depopulated the group.
Tokehau, or Union. Do. No soil upon some islands. Natives once unaccustomed to the use of fire.
Navigator, or Samoa (1871). 500 Native Chiefs & Constitution 25,000 45,000 Possesses the finest Harbours in the Pacific. Rarely visited by hurricanes. Good climate.
Friendly Islands, or Tonga. 60 Native Monarchy Low islands. Severe hurricanes. Earthquakes common.
Fiji (1876). 1,786 English, 1874 87,653 84,802 Hurricanes frequent and severe. Superficial area equal to Wales.
Western Polynesia.
New Hebrides. 30 Native Chiefs Hurricanes frequent and severe Unhealthy islands. Havannah harbour good. Williams murdered at Erromanga, 1839. Sandal wood discovered, 1828.
Banks Island. Do. Mota Island, head quarters of Melanesian Mission.
Santa Cruz Islds. Do. La Perouse lost, 1788. Bishop Patteson murdered, 1871. Commodore Goodenough, 1875. Numerous & savage population.
Loyalty Islands Do. France claims control over the group.
New Caledonia. *10,000 French, 1853 Natives resemble Tasmanian Aborigines (now extinct). Ruins of ancient roads and aqueducts.
Solomon Islands Native Chiefs A magnificent group. Superficial area about 14,000 square miles. Great cannibals. Crocodiles seen upon Ysabel.
New Ireland. Do. A large and beautiful island. Numerous and contented population.
New Britain. Do. M. D'Urville (1827) much struck with its value and beauty. Numerous population.
Admiralty Islds. Do. Thickly populated. Cocoa-nut abundant.
Louisade Islands Do. Very ferocious Natives.
New Guinea Do. In 1828 the Dutch took possession of a little south-west territory, but afterwards abandoned it. They still retain the Arron Islands, lying to the south-west, and containing about 60,000 inhabitants.

[Footnote] * Conjectural.