Art. I.—On Material and Scientific Progress in New Zealand during the Victorian Era.
[Read before the Wellington Philosophical Society, 30th June, 1897.]
It is a matter of history that the systematic colonisation of these islands was first proposed by a private association, formed in 1826, under the title of “The New Zealand Company,” and that it proceeded so far in the practical initiation of its project as to purchase lands for settlement at Hokianga and the Thames. But notwithstanding the influential position of a large number of its members it was prevented by adverse circumstances, easily understood at the time by those who were acquainted with the then condition of the native population and with the history of the missionary settlements established in the north, from carrying its objects into effect, and it was consequently dissolved. Its project was afterwards taken up by a body of persons of high position in the social and political world, under the title of “The New Zealand Association,” which, before attempting any active colonising operations, applied itself diligently in directing the public mind in England to an appreciation of the advantages offered by these islands as a field for emigration, its aim being to induce the Legislature to apply to them a system of colonisa-
tion similar to that which had recently been successfully applied to South Australia under the auspices of “The South Australian Colonisation Society,” in the formation and active labours of which Mr. Edward Gibbon Wakefield had taken a prominent part, as, indeed, he was then doing in connection with the New Zealand Association. It was not, however, until the first year of Her Majesty's reign that the British Government were approached upon the subject by the promoters of the movement; but ultimately, in 1837, after protracted negotiations, it was induced to offer to incorporate the association by royal charter, authorising it to carry out the colonisation of the islands upon the indicated lines, but it insisted, as a condition precedent, that the members of the association should be converted into an ordinary joint-stock company with capital sufficient to insure the success of its project, in which case the Government expressed its willingness to confide to it the settlement and government of the projected colony for a short term of years. This offer, however, was clogged with conditions so completely at variance with the main objects of the association that it was compelled to refuse it, and, no hope being held out of any modification of the obnoxious conditions, the negotiations came to an end.
Under these circumstances, Lord Durham, who was one of the most influential members of the association, was induced to bring the colonisation of the islands under the consideration of a Select Committee of the House of Lords, which, after collecting a large mass of useful information relating to them, and proving the necessity of their being systematically colonised, declined to make any recommendation on the subject, being of opinion that “the extension of the British colonies was a question belonging exclusively to the Crown.”
Not discouraged by this, the association caused a Bill to be introduced by its chairman, the Hon. Mr. Baring, into the House of Commons, making provision for the objects in view; but the Bill was rejected on the second reading, to the great disappointment of its promoters, as well as of a large number of influential and enlightened persons who were interested in the matter on public grounds. Still, nothing daunted by the apparently insuperable difficulties in the way, some of the leading members of the association, bearing in mind the suggestion made when a charter was offered by the Government, formed themselves into a joint-stock company, under the title of “The New Zealand Company,” which, on the 2nd May, 1839, issued a prospectus in which the main objects were declared to be the acquisition of territory in New Zealand and its sale to settlers at a uniform and sufficient price, whilst, as an inducement to purchasers, it was proposed to set apart a large proportion of the purchase-
money as a fund for promoting further emigration. It also set forth, as a salient point, that the interests of the native people from whom the required territories were to be bought, should be safeguarded. In order to carry these objects into practical effect the company at once proceeded to despatch ships and people to the islands, and between the date of the prospectus and the 24th February, 1840, no less than twelve ships were sent out, carrying 1,125 emigrants, of whom 158 were first-class passengers, 58 second-class, and 909 steerage, of the total of whom 658 were males and 467 were females.
Negotiations were then again opened with the Government for a charter, but it was not until the 12th February, 1841, after long and tedious correspondence and discussion, that the company succeeded in obtaining from the Crown this necessary sanction to its operations; and it is matter of history that, even after that concession had been made, its operations were systematically thwarted by the Colonial Office, instigated thereto by the missionaries and settlers in the north, and by the undisguisedly hostile reports of Governor Hobson and his immediate successors. In the long run, however, the indomitable pluck of the company's settlers prevailed, and it is certain that the Crown of England is indebted to their energy and perseverance for its possession of a colony of which any Empire might be proud.
You are no doubt aware that in the year 1788 a penal settlement was formed by the British Government at Port Jackson (now called Sydney), in New South Wales. The first batch of convicts, numbering 705, was sent out under the charge of Captain Phillip—who, on his arrival, became first Governor of the settlement—and that these were partly preceded and partly accompanied by voluntary emigrants, bringing up the number of its first inhabitants to 1,030. The settlement thus founded rapidly increased in population, and in the course of a few years after its foundation the vast number of whales which were found to haunt the waters between Australia and New Zealand attracted many ships engaged in the whale-fishery, and the pursuit of this industry, which was highly productive, gave an additional impetus to the progress of the settlement. This also naturally led to intercourse between Sydney and New Zealand, which became largely extended between the years 1815 and 1825, when considerable numbers of whaling and other vessels visited the harbours on the eastern coast of this Island, from the Waitemata northward, partly for the purposes of the trade in timber, flax, and human heads, and partly in order to obtain supplies of pork, potatoes, fish, and other fresh provisions, which were then produced in considerable
quantities by the natives. The result of this intercourse was that many Europeans settled in the districts north of the Thames, and particularly on the banks of the Hokianga, at the Bay of Islands, and at the Waitemata, introducing at the same time horses, cattle, and poultry, and fruits and vegetables of all kinds, which throve wonderfully. These settlers were the agents through whom the trade with the natives was carried on, and there can be no doubt that they also throve wonderfully. At first all transactions were carried on by barter; but this gradually gave way to the introduction of British coin and dollars, the natives having speedily become aware that they could procure anything they wanted in exchange for money, whilst the system of barter had subjected them, at the hands of the Europeans, to practices of the most rascally kind, which, however, were after a time met with corresponding knavery on the part of the natives, each party at last striving which should most completely overreach the other in its dealings. But even this change of system did not altogether save the natives from imposture, and spurious silver coin and gilded farthings still helped the European rogue, until at last the natives became so alive to the risks they ran in their dealings that they declined to trade with persons of whose honesty they had not ample proof, or unless a third person were present to vouch for the genuineness of the coin offered to them.
But whilst this was the condition of things to the north of the Thames, little had been done to mitigate the barbarous condition of the natives to the south, for until the arrival of the first colonists sent out by the New Zealand Company there were in the south no settlements of the class established at Hokianga and the Bay of Islands. Here and there along the coast between Wellington and Taranaki, and in Queen Charlotte Sound and Cloudy Bay, a few whalers were to be found, who had left their ships and contracted irregular marriages with native women; and some trade in flax had been established, for which muskets and powder were chiefly given in exchange. In all other respects, however, the condition of things was entirely different from that which existed in the northern settlements, where the influence of trade and missionary teaching had, especially between the years 1835 and 1839, greatly modified the habits, customs, prejudices, and superstitions of the native people. Indeed, in the southern parts of this Island and in the South Island the natives were practically in the same condition of barbarism as when they were seen by Cook, in proof of which I may cite a letter to the Company, written on the 13th October, 1839, by Colonel Wakefield, in which he mentioned that “only a week before that date Rauparaha had killed and cooked a man (probably a
slave) to afford a treat to some chiefs of the Ngatiraukawa who had assembled at Mana upon the occasion of a tangi for his sister's death;”* whilst he also mentions that shortly before that occurrence “the Ngatiraukawa had killed six native missionaries who had wandered amongst them, and eaten their bodies, and then offered their heads for sale to his informant.” He also mentions that on the 15th October, 1839, the day before his first interview with Rauparaha, a great battle had taken place near Otaki between the Ngatiraukawa and Ngatiawa, in which nearly sixty men had been killed, and a very much larger number seriously wounded. I must not omit, however, to state that about this time the Rev. Octavius Hadfield, late Bishop of Wellington, had been stationed at Waikanae, and that his presence there soon afterwards brought about a great and beneficial change in the feelings and habits of the native people. In a letter written by Colonel Wakefield to the secretary of the New Zealand Company in February, 1842, he thus points to the results of Mr. Hadfield's labours: “Mr. Hadfield, who is a single-minded and a sincere minister of the Gospel, well deserves the estimate in which he is held by all parties in Cook Strait. Instead of jealously asserting the rights of the Church mission to land, or intermeddling respecting purchases from the natives, he has confined himself strictly to the duties of his calling as a missionary. He has brought about a permanent peace between the Ngatiawa Tribe and the fierce Ngatiraukawas, whom he has Christianized, and has devoted himself to the spiritual and medical charge of the native and white population, who occupy a coast-line of fifty miles, besides making occasional and harassing visits across the strait to the Southern Island. His health has suffered much from this service. He has always refrained from, and, it is understood, has declined, any interference in the secular affairs of the natives otherwise than by recommending a peaceful intercourse with their white neighbours upon all occasions.” From this it will be seen that the labours of Mr. Hadfield must undoubtedly have had a most beneficial effect upon the progress of the company's settlers during the first three years after their establishment in this district.
This short account of the first systematic effort at colonisation in the southern districts of this Island will no doubt convey to you some idea of the difficulties which the settlers had to overcome; but those difficulties were rendered all the
[Footnote] * I have reasons for believing that the story as told to Colonel Wakefield was not strictly correct, and that it was Rangihaeata who had committed the deeds referred to, and that it was a young woman, and not a man, who had been the victim.
more serious by the physical character of the country and by the attitude which the first and some of the succeeding Governors of the colony adopted towards them.
In an address delivered in this building nearly thirty years ago I pointed out that before the settlement of these islands by the Europeans the native inhabitants were barbarous beyond conception, and practised rites of so foul a kind that the very existence of such rites was often doubted by modern writers. And yet these people possessed characteristics which were calculated to redeem them to a considerable extent, even in the eyes of civilised man. Brave to a fault, having a clear perception of the distinctions of rank, and therefore proud, they also possessed a large amount of intellectual capacity and even of latent moral character. Acute in their understanding and comprehension, they rapidly fell in with many of the arts and habits of the colonists, but, unaccustomed to the restraints of civilised life, and in the habit of indulging with little check their natural impulses, they found it difficult to adopt, as fully as their own appreciation of them would otherwise lead them to do, the social habits of the Europeans. Unfortunately, also, too little regard was shown to their feelings of pride and nationality, and, by the ridicule with which their habits and manners were treated, they had been driven to adopt, as individuals as well as collectively, a position of isolation, if not of hostile feeling towards the Europeans. Without having introduced amongst them any form of government more suited to promote and foster our intercourse with them, we broke down the power and influence of the greater chiefs, and induced a consequent dis-organization of their own social condition. It is not, however, my purpose any further to pursue this inquiry, which belongs rather to the political economist and the legislator than to the student of geography and natural history, and I will proceed at once to call your attention to the general physical appearance presented by these islands prior to their colonisation, to the character of their fauna and flora, and to the changes which have since been effected and are now in progress.
Stretching from the 34th to the 47th degree of south latitude, in a general north-and-south direction, with an average breadth in the South Island not exceeding 120 miles, and in the North Island (except above Auckland) of about 150 miles, the whole extent may be treated as a great mountain-chain divided into two portions by Cook Strait. In the North Island there are, in the west and north-western sides of this chain, several large volcanic cones, some of the mountains of which rise to altitudes varying from 4,000 ft. to 9,000 ft. above sea-level, and of which Tongariro, nearly in the centre of the greater mass of the Island, is still active.
In the South Island the chain extends from the north (in the form of spurs radiating from the Spencer Mountains on the west side and from the Kaikoura Mountains on the east) to the extreme south, attaining its greatest elevation in Mount Cook, whilst in many places it reaches an altitude of 10,000 ft., and has a general elevation of from 6,000 ft. to 8,000 ft. In the South Island, with the exception of the Canterbury Plains and the undulating country to the north and south of them, stretching on the one side to the Waiau River and on the other to the extreme south of the Island, there was little in the general appearance of the country to induce any high idea of its capacity for sustaining a large agricultural population; nor did the North Island present, at first sight, any better field for agricultural occupation, although on the eastern side it also possesses plains—in the Hawke's Bay and Wairarapa districts—and the country on the west coast, from Otaki to the Manukau, probably contains some of the most fertile land in the world. The eastern sides of both islands, including the slopes of the mountain-chains, contained large tracts of grassy country available for pastoral purposes, but, as a rule, the whole of the western sides were clothed with dense forest. It has been found, however, that the slopes of the mountain-chains contain excellent soil, and that when cleared of the forest growth they are capable, under proper cultivation, of being converted into valuable pasture land. The whole country may be said to be well, and in many places profusely, watered, and the native growth usually luxuriant to a degree.
It must be manifest that, in islands having so large a range of latitude as these, there must be a corresponding range in climate, and accordingly we find that, whilst in the extreme north the climate is sufficiently warm to ripen freely many of the fruits of the tropics, and that even in the neighbourhood of Auckland the citron, the orange, and the guava mature their fruit, so as we pass to the south we find it eminently suited to the production of all the varied fruits and vegetables which make the luxury of temperate climates.
It would lead me too far (nor, indeed, is it necessary in addressing a New Zealand audience) were I to attempt any detailed description of the physical aspects of the country or its climate, and the general outline I have given will be sufficient for my purpose. To the first colonists it undoubtedly presented the appearance of a country in a practically untouched condition, covered, in its forest-lands, with the growth of untold centuries, and in its open lands with grasses, ferns, and swamp-loving plants to which their eyes were totally unused, and which differed in all important respects from the wild growth of Europe.
I had intended to describe in some detail the organic natural productions of the country, but this address would then stretch to an inconvenient length, and I must leave it to your local knowledge on these points to fill up the void. This is, perhaps, the less important, for with the exception of grasses made available in their uncultivated state for depasturing purposes, and of timber used for building and other purposes, it may be said that little had been done towards utilising them, and still less towards ascertaining their properties and value. It is true that the fibre of the Phormium tenax had been prepared as, and still continues to be, an article of export, and if properly managed would no doubt still yield an excellent return, but I know of no other natural vegetable production of the country (unless we can give that name to kauri-gum) which had before the colonisation been turned to account.
You are all aware that the mineral resources of these islands are very large and very varied, but it is clear that the natives had no knowledge which would enable them to utilise them, for we found them still using stone and wooden weapons similar to those which in Europe characterized the middle epoch of the Neolithic age.
Such, in brief, was the condition of the country when the first settlers, acting under the impulses which ordinarily inspire modern colonists, were thrown upon it. And now how changed has it all become! Instead of the miserable pas and kaingas of an utterly barbarous race, we have a number of flourishing cities and towns inhabited by thousands of Europeans, and many of them possessing buildings which present all the characteristics of wealth and durability. Instead of the solitary canoe of the native fisherman, or the fleet of a war-party intent upon murder and rapine, our waters teem with ships busily engaged in the peaceful work of commerce, whilst large and valuable works in our various ports give facilities for the carrying-on and development of that commerce. Instead of our great tracts of native pasture lying idle, and yielding no useful living thing, they are now roamed over by and maintain large herds of cattle and flocks of sheep. Instead of the desolate but luxuriant vegetation of the swampy ground along many parts of our seaboard, and the impenetrable forests of many of our valleys, we have rich fields, producing the grain and other crops of temperate Europe. Instead of the narrow bush-track along which the savage travelled on his mission of revenge, we have railways and ordinary roads penetrating the country in all directions, and facilitating the maintenance of that intercourse which is essential to the progress of the community in wealth and civilisation. Instead of the mineral resources of the country
lying idle, we have thousands of men busily engaged in extracting them from the soil, and thus, whilst maintaining themselves, contributing to the general public wealth. We have, indeed, on all sides of us abundant evidence that the energies of our race are rapidly converting a country which in its natural state scarcely afforded means for the sustenance of man into one capable not only of maintaining a contented population, but of affording the materials for keeping alive and extending an already great foreign commerce.
The rapidity of such changes, too, strikes the onlooker with astonishment, and is inconceivable to those who have not witnessed it for themselves. In 1839 the “Tory” first visited Cook Strait on its colonising mission, and then found the natives engaged in a bloody feud, and exhibiting the most forbidding habits of savage life. All was strange and wild. Barely sixty years have elapsed since then, and already large cities have arisen in many parts of the islands. Everywhere the broad sheets of the Press are engaged in diffusing information, and in discussing the politics and wants of a civilised people. The clearing, the farm, the industrial settlement have displaced the scanty cultivation of the Maori and his ephemeral hut. The progress of a single year outspeeds the work of past centuries, and amid the charred stumps of our hill-side forests and the rough clearings of our farms we already see handsome villas surrounded with luxurious plantations and the comfortable homesteads of a contented and thriving agricultural population, whilst on every side we find the mechanical appliances of a civilised people doing their work and promoting the wealth and comfort of the settlers. The extent of these changes is emphasized when we contrast the early and present conditions of our trade and commerce, of which the following extracts from the statistics of the colony will afford some idea.
In 1854, when the General Assembly first sat, the population of the colony (exclusive of Maoris) was 32,554, and its revenue £30,000 a year at most. In April, 1896, the population (exclusive of Maoris) was 703,360, showing an increase in forty-two years of 670,806 persons; whilst for 1895 its revenue was £4,610,402, and its public debt (exclusive of the amounts owing by local bodies) reached the modest sum of £43,050,780. In 1854 the number of letters received and despatched was 138,482. In 1894 the number was 52,168,336. In 1866 the number of telegrams despatched was 48,231; in 1896 the number was 2,124,211. In 1854 the number of ships inwards was 293, with a tonnage of 74,831, and outwards 293, with a tonnage of 76,718. In 1895 the number inwards was 611, with a tonnage of 672,951, and outwards 597, with a tonnage of 648,946. In 1854 the export of wool
was 1,071,340 lb., of the value of £70,103; in 1895 it was 116,015,170 lb., of the value of £3,662,131; whilst the total value exported up to 1895 amounts to £101,325,079. In 1854 the export of grain was 93,700 bushels, of the value of £41,019 (a creamy time for the agriculturist); and in 1895 it was 2,381,837 bushels, of the value, unfortunately, of only £215,783. In 1882 the export of frozen sheep was 15,244 cwt., of the value of £19,339 (a creamy time for the sheep-farmer); and in 1895 1,134,097 cwt., of the value of £1,262,711. In 1854 we exported 1,660 tons of kauri-gum, of the value of £28,864; and in 1895 7,425 tons, of the value of £418,760. In 1857 we exported gold to the value of £40,440, and in 1895 to the value of £1,162,181, whilst the total value exported during the whole period reached £51,127,171. In 1854 we exported provisions, tallow, timber, &c., to the value of £179,341, and in 1895 to the value of £1,162,181. In 1854 our total exports reached £891,201, and in 1895 they reached £8,390,153; whilst our total exports from 1854 to 1895, both years inclusive—and chiefly to England—reached the sum of £215,000,000—the produce of the colony.
When to this we add the consumption of its products by the people of the colony, the total value of its production must have been enormous, and apparently disproportionate to the number of its population.
In 1858 the total number of horses, cattle, sheep, and pigs was as follows: Horses, 14,912; cattle, 137,204; sheep, 1,523,324; and pigs, 40,734. In 1895 the numbers were: Horses, 237,413; cattle, 1,047,901; sheep, 19,826,604; and pigs, 239,778. In 1857 the area of land in cultivation was 121,648 acres, and in 1895 it reached 10,698,809 acres. The deposits in ordinary banks were as follows: in 1857, £343,316, and in 1895, £13,544,415; and in savings-banks—1858, £7,862, and in 1895, £4,620,696. The number of miles of railway open in 1895, exclusive of 167 miles of private railway (of which eighty-four belong to the Wellington and Manawatu Railway Company), was 2,014, yielding a revenue of £1,183,041.
In view of these facts, and of others of like import which might be quoted, the newly-aroused enthusiasm in England in relation to the colonies is not much to be wondered at.
Having thus dealt with the material progress of the colony during the past sixty years, I now propose to point out, in a necessarily general way, its progress in science since its foundation. At the first meeting of the Royal Geographical Society which took place after the commencement of Her Majesty's reign the president, in addressing the Queen, who was present, mentioned that England had achieved some of her greatest triumphs in geographical discovery under the sove-
reignty of a Queen, instancing the exploits of Drake and Raleigh during the reign of Queen Elizabeth, and confidently predicted that Her Majesty's reign would be equally famed for the promotion of geographical knowledge. We all know how fully this prediction has been fulfilled, and how, during the last sixty years, English explorers have given Her Majesty's name to dominant features in every part of the globe. I am pleased at being able to state that we have amongst us one of those who, during that period, took part in a very important work of this class. I allude to the expedition sent out by the British Government in 1857 to explore and report upon the British possessions in North America which lie to the west of Lake Superior, in which expedition Sir James Hector was a prominent actor. It is probably within the knowledge of some of you that to his exploration of that part of the Rocky Mountains range which lies within British Columbia the promoters of the Canadian-Pacific line of railway owe their knowledge of the pass through which it traverses this stupendous chain, this pass having, in fact, received its name—“The Kicking-horse Pass”—from an adventure which proved nearly fatal to the explorer. The mere fact of Sir James Hector having traversed this pass might not have given it any special importance, but the circumstance that he then pointed out its suitability over all other known passes through the British portion of the chain for railway purposes gives special value and importance to his labours, and marks him as one of those whose capacity and judgment justified his selection for the work. Those who have had the pleasure of reading his admirable reports of these explorations, published as a parliamentary blue-book, and of examining the accompanying maps and sections, cannot fail to recognise in Sir James one justly entitled to distinction amongst the band of explorers and men of science whose sheaves of discovery have contributed so much, during the last sixty years, to our knowledge of the physical features of the globe. The following extract from a short account of Sir James's work by Mr. Edward Cox will give you some idea of its arduous nature on that occasion:—
“Besides the regular summer work, Sir James Hector made arduous winter journeys on foot with snow-shoes and dogs, so as to thoroughly master the features of the country at all seasons of the year. On these journeys he was accompanied by two of the men, and for months they slept every night in the snow, with the temperature sometimes at 50° Fahr. below zero. Each winter season during the expedition Sir James walked over twelve hundred miles in this fashion, living on pemmican and any chance game that might be caught or shot. During the early summer months the expedition traversed the open prairies, and autumn was devoted to
the exploration of the Rocky Mountains. Sir James discovered five different passes, ascertaining their altitudes, and surveying their features. One of these passes, named after an accident that nearly cost him his life, is that which he recommended, and has been chosen, for the great transcontinental Canadian railway, now almost completed. The extent of country traversed by the expedition was mapped by Sir James, both topographically and geologically, and described in the parliamentary blue-book. A great part of that region was then untrodden, except by Indians, but is now partially settled and traversed by roads and railways. The difficulties which beset its exploration have all disappeared, and elaborate surveys, since made in comparative ease and comfort, testify to the accuracy of the work done by Sir James, and to the justness of his deductions respecting the structure of the country and its availability for settlement. At the close of the expedition, before returning to England, he examined and reported upon the coal-mines of Vancouver Island, and made extensive journeys in order to acquaint himself with the goldfields of British Columbia and California and with some of the mines of Northern Mexico. He returned by Panama and the West Indies; and, on reaching England, besides giving official reports, he laid the result of his work in the various branches of research before the different scientific societies, to which they were of high interest. For the geographical discoveries effected by the expedition the gold medal of the Royal Geographical Society was awarded in 1861.”
After Sir James's return to England he received two offers of engagement from Sir Roderick Murchison, then Director-General of the Geological Survey of Great Britain—one to undertake a mission as Political Agent and Geologist to Cashmere, with large emoluments in prospect, and the other as Geologist to the Provincial Government of Otago. More fortunately for the colony than for Sir James he chose the latter, and those who know the extent of his labours for the last thirty-three years in all branches of science, and the indomitable energy with which he has explored a large part of the most rugged and difficult regions of the colony, can have no hesitation in classing him as a good and faithful servant, fully entitled to all the honours which have been conferred upon him by the great scientific bodies of Europe and America.
Many minor explorations were made during the years preceding and following those made by Sir James, some of them under extraordinary difficulties, of which the chief was that of obtaining food. Of this class were the journeys undertaken by the late Major Heaphy and Sir Julius von Haast from Nelson to the Grey, through the vast mountain-
ranges, densely covered with forest, which lie between the valley of the Buller and the mouth of the Grey; the explorations of the great tract of mountain country which forms the western part of the Provincial Districts of Otago and Southland; the explorations of the various passes between the Nelson District and the Canterbury Plains by the late Sir Frederick Weld and myself; the exploration by myself of the country on the eastern side of the Spencer Mountains, during which I examined the Cannibal's Gorge, famous in the history of the South Island natives; and explorations undertaken for the discovery of practicable routes through the central portion of the Southern Alps, between Canterbury and Westland. Many of these various explorations were carried out by surveyors engaged in laying off and mapping the districts required for settlement, and the reports of all these explorations have, in effect, given us a very detailed knowledge of the geography of the colony.
In dealing with the progress of geographical discovery in the east, Mr. Hugh Robert Mill pointed out that the operations of the State Survey Department in India constituted a most remarkable portion of the geographical advance in Asia during the last sixty years. I wish I could say that the work of the Survey Department in this colony deserved to be characterized in the same manner, but my experience during the last twenty years has in no degree tended to modify the opinions which I expressed in reference to the surveys of New Zealand when I wrote and read a paper on that subject before this society in February, 1877. I then called attention to a report made by Major Palmer, a surveyor of great eminence, who happened to be in New Zealand in 1874 in connection with the observation of the transit of Venus. He had been requested by the General Government to examine and report upon the existing surveys of the colony, and as to the best means of getting rid of serious difficulties then known to exist in connection with them: Having undertaken the duty, he sent in his report in April, 1875. In this report he pointed out, in full detail, the causes and extent of the errors which had been committed, and which had necessarily involved, as he showed, an enormous waste of money, and recommended a course for the future which would, had it been adopted, not only have remedied the errors already committed, but would also have provided, at a moderate cost, for the completion of such trigonometrical surveys as would have insured the requisite degree of accuracy in the ordinary sectional surveys. Unfortunately for the interests of the colony, however, the general direction of the surveys shortly afterwards fell into the hands of a gentleman who was disposed to pay less regard to the necessary and proper require-
ments of the colony than to a “fad” of his own, and for the several years during which he held control a system was adopted which only increased the confusion and inaccuracies pointed out by Major Palmer, and for remedying which I regret to say that no sufficient effort has yet been made. The Land Transfer system adopted by this colony necessitates the utmost accuracy in the definition of the boundaries and relative positions of all parcels of land dealt with under it, but I have no hesitation in saying that now, as in 1877, but for forbearance on the part of neighbouring proprietors and the natural unwillingness which exists to embark in litigation, the Courts of the colony might be much employed in dealing with cases of disputed boundaries. I can only hope, in the public interest, that the enlightened views propounded by Major Palmer will one day prevail, and that the surveys of the colony will once for all be placed upon an effectual and scientific basis. I may add that the use of the system referred to is the more to be regretted, inasmuch as it still necessitates far greater outlay than would be incurred if that which was recommended by Major Palmer, and is practised in Europe and Asia, had been adopted.
It is satisfactory to turn from this to the geological surveys of these islands. These have been conducted upon the principles laid down by Murchison, Lyell, De la Beche, Ramsay, Geikie, and the host of other great men whose names have been associated with the geological survey of Great Britain. We owe this to Sir James Hector, who, as I have already mentioned, accepted the position of Geologist to the Provincial Government of Otago in the year 1861, and commenced his duties in that year. As you are aware, the chief business of the geologist is to place in clear chronological order the complicated history of the successive changes which have taken place in the organic and inorganic kingdoms in any given area of the globe, the result being to present, in respect of each geological epoch, a nearly perfect description of its physical geography at that time. It is one of the glories of the Victorian era (a term applied in 1887 by Mr. “Punch” to the then fifty years of Her Majesty's reign, but which is now extended to the present time) that geological investigations have been placed upon a sound basis, and that geologists have learnt that it is necessary to study the changes for the time being in progress as a clue to those which have taken place in the past. It has also long been plain to observation that past changes in the physical geography of our globe have been accompanied by corresponding changes in the organic kingdom, and, therefore, that any classification of the stratified rocks must necessarily be unsatisfactory which does not depend upon the observed changes and successions
of life during their deposition. As Mr. Page has put it, the palæontological and lithological aspects of a geological system are two different things, and are the same as if we spoke of the stratigraphical order of its rocks on the one hand and the zoological or botanical characters of its fossils on the other; and that to fully describe any system or suite of strata two things are necessary,—first, to ascertain their mineral composition and physical relations, so as to determine the conditions under which they were deposited and the changes they may have subsequently undergone; and, second, to examine the character of their fossils, so as to arrive at some knowledge of the biological conditions of the region at the time of their formation.
Fully appreciating the necessity of observing these canons, and with the varied experience he had gained amongst the mountain-chains of North America and in Mexico, Sir James Hector brought his great energies to bear upon the work in this colony, and succeeded in obtaining a mass of knowledge and material which has enabled him not only to formulate a general view of the geological structure of both islands, but also to lay down, in considerable detail, many of the most important formations. It has, of course, been impossible, in more than a general way, to ascertain the proportions which the existing fauna and flora bear to the extinct forms in the various strata examined, and it must be left to future palæontologists to determine this point after classifying the immense number of fossils obtained in the prosecution of the survey. But there can be little doubt that the main lines have been satisfactorily determined, and that the more detailed local surveys to be made in the future will be comparatively simple when the requisite classification of the fossils has been made. Whilst actively engaged in the direction of the survey Sir James had many able assistants in the field, amongst whom I may mention Captain Hutton, late professor of biology in the University College of Canterbury, and now curator of the Canterbury Museum; and Messrs. Cox, Park, Binns, and McKay, whose reports have been of the highest value; whilst he owed much also to the skill as a draughtsman of the late Mr. John Buchanan, whose beautiful and faithful drawings were so largely used in illustrating these reports. In connection with his main duties Sir James also gave full attention to mining, especially in the branches relating to gold and coal. The enormous value of these mines will appear when I repeat what I have already mentioned, that the former had produced upwards of fifty-one million pounds' worth of gold since 1857, when the first mining for that metal was undertaken in this colony; and that the latter, though even yet in its infancy, has produced several millions of tons of coal, of a
minimum value of 17s. 6d. per ton. Both these industries are still in full swing, and there is every reason for believing that, with simplified means of separating the gold from its matrix, not only will occupation be found for the employment of a considerable addition to the number of miners, but that the yield of the precious metal will be largely increased.
It must not be supposed that I have overlooked the valuable geological work done by Professor Von Hochstetter, who accompanied the Austrian Scientific Expedition in the “Novara,” in 1860; or by Sir Julius von Haast, who for several years occupied the position of Provincial Geologist in Canterbury; or by Professors Hutton and Ulrich in Otago, in the years from 1873 to 1875, the first of whom then occupied the position of Provincial Geologist and the latter that of a consulting Mining Engineer and Geologist, and the result of whose labours is recorded in a report to the then Superintendent of Otago, made in June, 1875. Von Hochstetter's work in the field was, however, practically confined to the volcanic area in the North Island, although he also paid a short visit to Nelson and Massacre Bay; and those who have had the pleasure of perusing his published record of his travels and investigations in these islands cannot but have been struck by the extent and variety of the knowledge he obtained whilst pursuing those travels. I think it unnecessary, however, to dwell upon these practically local investigations, because Sir James himself personally examined the whole of the districts referred to in them, and has embodied those portions of the work done by these several gentlemen which fitted in with his own researches and observations, as recorded in the general reports of the Geological Survey.
Now, when we reflect how vast and valuable are the substances derived from the crust of the earth, and how varied are their applications in the industry of civilised nations, we must be satisfied of the expediency that every educated mind should possess some knowledge of the leading facts of geological science, for, whether it be for the purpose of engineering, architectural, or agricultural work, there can be no question as to the necessity of knowing all that relates to the application of its industrial and commercial details.
Geological work in the field has practically ceased since 1893, since which date Sir James Hector has not been provided with the necessary staff for pursuing it. For what reason this has been done I am not aware, but this interruption in the work of one of the most important scientific departments in the colony is much to be regretted.
The progress of chemistry in England during the reign of Her Majesty has been extraordinarily rapid, the foundation for its advance not only there, but in Europe generally, having
undoubtedly been first laid by Dalton, who propounded the atomic theory. Later on precision was given to his views by Davy, who was also the pioneer in the field of electrochemistry. But to Faraday has been long and generally awarded the full glory of solving those important problems in electro-chemical science which have led the way to the present application of electrical energy to electrolytic decomposition, the production of light, and as a source of mechanical power. It was almost impossible for the ordinary mind to have conceived that out of the simple experiments made by Faraday, with apparatus constructed by himself—small copper discs, bits of soft iron wound round with calico and twine—would have arisen the mighty machines which are now converting the previously-wasted energies of Niagara, and will soon be converting the mighty powers of the Nile, into chemical action, supplying power to whole nations. It has been well observed that the development of chemistry during the last sixty years has changed the social and economic condition of every country which has had the intelligence to participate in it, or the sagacity to avail itself of its fruits, and there is indeed nothing more remarkable than the fact that, until very recently, the great manufacturing people of England should have ignored that science in connection with public education. This, however, is now being rapidly changed. It has been doubted whether in 1837 there were more than a couple of dozen persons altogether in the British Isles receiving systematic instruction in practical chemistry. Liebig visited England in that year, and in a letter to Berzelius, dated the 26th November, he tells the great Swedish chemist that he had been for some months in England, had seen a great deal, and learnt little. “England,” he said, “is not the land of science; her chemists are ashamed to call themselves chemists, because the apothecaries have appropriated the title.” He was greatly pleased with the English as a people, and delighted with the hospitality and welcome he met with; but as regards the chemists—well, Graham was the only exception, and he was precious. He evidently thought that Faraday had ceased to be reckoned among the chemists.
Liebig's example in establishing schools of chemistry in Germany soon led, however, to a great change in England, for in 1841 the Chemical Society was established, and now numbers upwards of two thousand members. In 1845 the Royal College of Chemistry was founded, and the spirit of its founders has since been carried into a large number of places in which chemical instruction and research are carried on. As regards chemical education, the change has been enormous, and Faraday's reproach to the Public School Commissioners “that the natural knowledge which had been given to the
world in such abundance remained untouched, and that no sufficient attempt was being made to convey it to the young mind, growing up and obtaining its first views of these things,” is being wiped away, and chemistry is being taught in nearly all the great public schools, including the universities, whilst well-equipped chemical laboratories are to be found in almost every town in Great Britain, and those who will take the trouble to consult the pages of the “Philosophical Transactions” and of the “Journal of the Chemical Society” will be able to appreciate the enormous advance in chemical inquiry and discovery during the last fifty years.
It is to be regretted that little is being done in this connection by those who have the control of the general public education of this colony, the great majority of the people of which appear to attach more importance to strumming on a piano or daubing a canvas than they do to instruction in sciences whose applications concern them at every turn, and have important relations, either proximate or remote, with every individual pursuit in which they are engaged. Let us hope for better things.
In connection with the geological survey and with mining in this colony, the laboratory established in 1862, under the management of Mr. Skey, has done an enormous amount of accurate work; and, although no very recondite problems have been solved or startling discoveries made, the economic value of that gentleman's labours during the past thirty-five years has been very great. This will fully appear to those who take the trouble to examine the series of Laboratory Reports issued under the direction of the Geological Survey Department, which unquestionably present a record of patient and diligent research, reflecting the greatest credit upon Mr. Skey. Hundreds of careful analyses have been made of rocks, ores, and soils from all parts of the colony, which, I am afraid, have not produced due fruit, for it appears to me, generally speaking, that the records of the scientific departments of the colony excite far less interest than the contests between teams of cricketers and footballers, with which a very large portion of the columns of the daily Press are filled.
In meteorology, too, a vast amount of useful information has been collected under the general direction of Sir James Hector. From 1868 to 1895 reports were issued on this subject by the Geological Department, but since the latter date these reports have been transmitted to the Registrar-General and published in the Official Year-book of the colony. Our secretary, Mr. Gore, has throughout been connected with the practical work of this department, and the necessary observations are still collected through him from 144 stations distributed throughout the colony. Weather fore-
casting has long been under the direction of Captain Edwin, R.N., whose work has proved of great value to those “who go down to the sea in ships.”
But, however great the strides made in Europe and in this colony in other branches of science during the last sixty years, there can be no question that biology has fully kept pace with them. You will remember that in 1859 Darwin propounded the hypothesis involved in the title of his work “The Origin of Species,” a work which speedily revolutionised the views previously held as to the origin and succession of life on the globe. It has lately been contended that he was anticipated in the principal lines of that hypothesis by Herbert Spencer, and that he could not have been ignorant of this fact when he published his work, assuming, of course, that the statements contained in Mr. Clodd's recent publication—in which the accusation has been made—are true. It must, however, be remembered that Darwin had practically arrived at his main conclusions nearly thirty years before the publication of his work, and that it was from a careful consideration of the observations he had made (during his voyage in the “Beagle”) on the distribution of the inhabitants of South America, and the relations between its then present and past inhabitants, that he was induced to review the generally-accepted doctrines as to the origin and progress of life. His own account of the matter is, that after he returned home from his voyage it occurred to him, in 1837, that something might perhaps be made out of this question by patiently accumulating and reflecting on all sorts of facts which could possibly have any bearing upon it, that after five years' work of this nature he allowed himself to speculate on the subject, and drew up some short notes, which he enlarged in 1844 into a sketch of the conclusions which seemed to him to be probable, from which period until the publication of his work he steadily pursued the same object. This sketch he submitted to Sir James Hooker, who, as well as Sir Charles Lyell (to whom Hooker had communicated the main lines of the sketch), thought it advisable that Darwin should publish some extracts from his manuscripts, to be submitted to the Royal Society, in company with a memoir in relation to the inhabitants of the Malay Archipelago, which had been sent him by Mr. Wallace, who had, independently, from the investigations detailed in his memoir, arrived at much the same general conclusions as Darwin himself, and this he accordingly did. Whatever may be the result of the statements published by Mr. Clodd, to which particular attention has lately been drawn by a recent article in one of the scientific serials, there can be no doubt that the enormous mass of facts illustrative of his hypothesis,
which are contained in his work, entitle Darwin to the honour of having first put forward the points involved in a manner which forced conviction upon his readers. At the end of his book he thus summarised the laws which he believed to have governed the production of the varied forms of life on the globe. “These laws,” he says, “taken in their larger sense, are growth with reproduction; inheritance, which is almost implied by reproduction; variability from the direct and indirect action of the external conditions of life and from use and disuse; a ratio of increase so high as to lead to a struggle for existence, and, as a consequence, to natural selection, entailing divergence of character and the extinction of less-improved forms.” “Thus,” he adds, “from the war of nature, from famine and death, the most exalted object we are capable of conceiving—namely, the production of the higher animals—directly follows. There is a grandeur in this view of life with its several powers having been originally breathed by the Creator into a few forms or into one, and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful have been and are being evolved.”
But, whilst Darwin's name is undoubtedly more intimately connected with the doctrine of evolution than that of any other man, he himself, with the simple honesty which characterized his whole life, readily admitted that Wallace had independently arrived at much the same general conclusions from his study of the natural history of the Malay Archipelago, and that most careful observer and naturalist has never changed his views on the subject. From the new starting-point thus given to biological science all recent investigations have proceeded, and, when we compare the present literature in every branch of natural science with the limited number of books that existed up to the date of the publication of Darwin's work, we are able to estimate the extent of interest excited by the new doctrines, and the influence they have exercised in its development.
It is from this standpoint that the greater number of those who have engaged in biological researches in New Zealand have proceeded, and I think that the people of this colony may well be proud of the results achieved. Some years ago I pointed out to this society that the islands of New Zealand occupy a unique position in connection with natural history, there being not less than twelve hundred miles of ocean intervening between them and the nearest continental land. This physical position, coupled with the peculiar forms of its fauna and flora, and the large proportion of endemic species belonging to each, has entitled it to be treated by writers on the distribution of animals and plants as constituting a
separate zoological sub-province, a circumstance which has created great interest in the investigation of its natural history, more especially as both islands are characterized by the almost total absence of land animals, except birds and the comparatively lower forms of animal life. It was natural that the birds, as being the most conspicuous objects, should have received the greatest attention, and I am inclined to believe that, except one form, of which only two specimens, a male and a female, were ever obtained, we are now well acquainted with the avifauna, both fossil and living, of these islands. The greater part of the results obtained by the large number of naturalists who have collected and recorded their observations upon the birds of New Zealand have been embodied in a fine work published by Sir Walter Buller, whose labours have received well-merited recognition at the hands of naturalists in all parts of the world, and I may add that it is matter of gratification to those who have contributed to our present knowledge on this subject that their contributions have been fairly recognised in Sir Walter's book. Amongst the more remarkable forms of our existing birds are the several known species of Apteryx, which were dealt with in an elaborate memoir by the late Sir Richard Owen, who pointed out their affinities with the huge extinct struthious birds known under the general name of moa, specimens of which are to be found in the larger museums of the colony. We owe these to the researches of Sir James Hector, of the late Sir Julius von Haast, and of Professor Hutton specially, whilst many others not claiming to rank so high in the domain of natural history have also contributed largely to them.
As you are aware, steps have lately been taken, under the auspices of the Government, to preserve the remnant of our birds from the extinction to which they have been exposed, and which is, indeed, imminent, owing to the introduction into these islands, under a total mistake as to their utility, of several of the greatest known enemies of bird-life, and we may hope that the effort will be successful.
The reptilian life found in these islands is very limited in extent, but contains two forms of the most remarkable character—namely, the tuatara lizard and a frog known as Leiopelma hochstetteri, found chiefly in the Coromandel district. The lizard is only now found in some of the outlying islands, where its continued existence is threatened by the introduction of the pig and the cat. The affinities and structure of this reptile have been the subject of many memoirs, both by New Zealand and foreign naturalists, who have shown that it is evidently connected with some of the most ancient fossil forms. The frog is remarkable chiefly as occurring in an oceanic island.
In the other families of our fauna we have had, and still have, a host of collectors and investigators, the results of whose work have been embodied either in separate volumes or manuals published by the Government under the editorship of Sir James Hector, or in the shape of memoirs in the “Transactions of the New Zealand Institute,” and in various English and foreign scientific serials. Amongst these the researches and works of Sir James Hector, Professor Parker, of Dunedin, and Professor Hutton in relation to the marine and fresh-water fishes of the colony; of Professor Hutton, now supplemented by the labours of Mr. Suter, into its land and marine Mollusca; of Mr. Dendy, into what he has termed its “Cryptozoic fauna”; of Powell and Urquhart, into the forms and life-history of its Arachnidœ; of Captain Broun, whose fine work, in two volumes, on the Coleoptera deserves particular mention; and of Mr. Fereday, Mr. Hudson, and Mr. Percy Buller, in relation to its Lepidoptera, are highly valuable and interesting. I am tempted here to mention one insect which, though not peculiar to New Zealand, is of singular interest to naturalists, and has accordingly been the subject of many special memoirs. I allude to the Peripatus. This insect presents itself to us in the form of an oviparous larva, never passing beyond that stage, a circumstance which characterizes it as perhaps the most peculiar form of insect now extant. I was the first person to observe this insect in New Zealand, and, being much struck by its remarkable external characters and habits, I referred it to Captain Hutton, who at once recognised it as a Peripatus. I afterwards gave specimens of it to Professor Moseley, one of the naturalists of the “Challenger,” who had obtained specimens of the same insect at the Cape of Good Hope, in Australia, and in Chili, and was greatly interested in the fact of its occurrence also in New Zealand, its existence here being one of the circumstances which lend a peculiar character to our fauna. The presence of this insect in these localities also lends countenance to the hypothesis that a land connection formerly existed between them, a circumstance now much discussed by physical geographers, geologists, botanists, &c.
Amongst the biological work done by our local naturalists, however, there is none which deserves more recognition than the patient, laborious, and valuable investigations made by Mr. Maskell into the life-history, habits, and natural characters of the Coccidœ. Indeed, none but those who have followed the progress of his work, and studied the beautiful microscopic drawings which form such conspicuous portions of his publications in the Transactions for several years past, can form any conception of the time and trouble given to these investigations, and it is no small tribute to their value
and accuracy that Mr. Maskell is now recognised as the leading authority on the subject of these insects, and is consulted in reference to them by naturalists in all parts of the world.
With regard to botanical research much also has been done, the great workers having been Sir Joseph Hooker, the Rev. Mr. Colenso, Sir James Hector, Mr. T. Kirk, Mr. John Buchanan, Mr. Cheeseman, of Auckland, and many others. I also took a leading part in this work as a collector, especially of alpine and sub-alpine forms, some years ago, and made large collections from the mountain districts of Nelson and Marlborough, which I sent to the museum at Kew. Mr. Kirk is now engaged in preparing a new edition of the “Handbook of the New Zealand Flora,” in substitution for that issued by Sir Joseph Hooker in 1864, in order to bring our knowledge of the botany of the colony up to date; and we may rest assured, from our experience of Mr. Kirk's capacity and diligence, that the work he has undertaken will be done in a manner which will reflect credit upon himself and the colony.
This general sketch of the progress of the colony in physical and natural science would not be complete without mention of the fact that fine collections, illustrative of every branch, are contained in each of the museums in its principal cities.
In conclusion, I refer those who desire to obtain a completer knowledge of the nature and extent of the scientific work which has been done in New Zealand than could possibly be given in such an address as this to the works published under the direction of the Geological Department, and I have no hesitation in saying that until these have been examined no proper estimate can be made of the extent and value of that work; whilst the statistics of the colony, now so admirably formulated under the care of Mr. Von Dadelszen, and to which I am indebted for the evidence brought before you to-night in relation to the economic condition of the colony, afford the most convincing proofs of its progress in wealth, and of the certainty of its future prosperity, under wise administration.
I trust you will pardon me if I have failed to carry out as successfully as could be wished the somewhat ambitious design involved in the title of this address, and many of you will, I hope, be willing to admit that my self-imposed task was by no means an easy one.