Art. VI.—The Beginnings of Literature in New Zealand: Part II., the English Section—Newspapers.
[Read before the Otago Institute, 9th July, 1902.]
Last year I had the pleasure of placing before this Institute a sketch of the first, or Maori, section of New Zealand literature.* This had the interesting feature of being one introduced by ourselves and presented in their own language to a race whom we, as the superior intrusive people, are destined to supersede. On this occasion I propose to give some account of the purely English section of the subject as it struggled into life during the early period of this colony's existence.
The definitions of literature have been very various. Some would include under the term only the worthiest utterances or creations of the human mind made known to mankind through the art of writing. But for our purpose we must have something much more comprehensive, and must consider literature to mean the collective term for all writings. When our predecessors, the heroic colonisers, first came to these shores, and for many years after, life was beset with daily difficulty and danger, a condition which left little opportunity for cultivating the Muses; yet they brought with them provision for the production of a newspaper—that inseparable requirement of an Englishman—and it is in this adjunct that almost the first germs of New Zealand literature are contained. It cannot be pretended that much literary excellence is to be found in these early newspapers, but some account of them and of their writers—for editors in the present meaning of the word did not exist—must be interesting, and has an historical value.
On the 18th April, 1840, the first New Zealand paper saw the light. It was issued by Mr. Samuel Revans, who was thus the father of the Press in this colony. Its birthplace was in a raupo whare on the banks of the River Hutt, which falls into Port Nicholson. It was in this vicinity that the chief surveyor of the New Zealand Company was engaged in planting its earliest township, which was first called “Britannia,” but afterwards by its present name of Wellington. Mr. Revans's previous history was sufficiently stirring, and marked him as one well suited to participate in the foundation of the young settlement. Born in 1808, and connected with the printing business, he emigrated to Canada in 1833, where he joined his friend Mr. H. S. Chapman, so well known to us as Mr. Jus-
[Footnote] * Trans. N.Z. Inst., xxxiii., p. 472.
tice Chapman. The two engaged in newspaper ventures, and brought out the first daily journal published in British North America—the Montreal Dialy Advertiser. This was at a time when the country was seething in that prolonged political discontent which finally developed into insurrection, and even into rebellion—the so-called Canadian rebellion. Heart and soul the partners entered into the conflict, espousing, as we should say now, the side of right against might and oppression. Mr. Revans was denounced as a rebel, and a price was put upon his head; but he escaped pursuit, and then, meeting Edward Gibbon Wakefield and others interested in New Zealand colonisation, cast in his lot with them and their scheme. These gentlemen purchased a press and type for the benefit of the settlers who were about to sail, and intrusted the management and control to Mr. Revans. The first number of the paper was published in London just prior to the departure of these first settlers. There were two editions of it, one dated the 21st August and the other the 6th September, 1839. These were devoted to a history of the movement, and gave information to intending emigrants. A fortnight afterwards the first three vessels sailed—the “Aurora,” “Oriental,” and “Adelaide,” in the latter of which was Mr. Revans and his freight. She took six months for her voyage; but there was no delay in the appearance of the second number, which, as I have said, was on the 18th April. It was of four pages, demy folio—that is, the size of the present Otago Witness or Christchurch Press, and also the size of all the earliest newspapers of the colony. Its original name was the “New Zealand Gazette.” To this was appended in the twentieth number the further title of “and Britannia Spectator,” after the name given to the first town of the settlement. In November the name of the infant settlement of Britannia was altered to the more euphonious one of Wellington, and the paper assumed its final title of “New Zealand Gazette and Wellington Spectator.” It was issued weekly at a price of £2 per annum, or 1s. for single numbers. As a comparison the Otago Daily Times costs £1 6s. a year, for which we get a paper six times a week and at least five times larger. After eighteen months had elapsed—that is, in October, 1841—the Gazette was issued twice weekly, and so continued until a few months before its decease, when it reverted to the original weekly period. As we should expect from a knowledge of Mr. Revans's former experience, he conducted the paper with considerable business ability, if with little or no literary pretension. His politics were decidedly against the Government, not only, perhaps, because of old proclivities, but because of the constant antagonism between Auckland and Wellington. One was the seat of the Governor and British Government, the other was founded
by the New Zealand Company; their interests clashed, and bitter feeling and jealousy resulted. In its columns the company was warmly defended against its enemies, and the Wakefield system of colonisation had no more constant and able exponent. In these two features of its policy rested the germs of the paper's final decay and death. Its pages contain quite a mine of historical incident, gathered chiefly by scissors and paste from all parts of the young colony, and give another instance, if that were needed, of the necessity of preserving newspaper records containing, as they do, so many side lights of history and glimpses of a life so different from that of the present. From time to time the journals of exploration into the unknown country around are given at length, and occasionally there are articles on the natural history and productions of New Zealand, for amongst the early settlers were a few men of scientific mark. Dr. Frederick Knox, the well-known brother of the eminent Edinburgh anatomist, and Mr. Swainson, F.R S., so celebrated as a naturalist, are examples.
Then came a time when the community ceased to thrive, misfortunes befell it, and discontent prevailed. From causes partly beyond its control the New Zealand Company showed diminished interest in its emigrants, and especially failed to place them in possession of the lands they supposed themselves to have purchased prior to leaving the Home-country, and it was then contended that the Gazette neither expressed the sentiments nor advocated the interests of the community. Such loss of confidence meant failure and invitation for a rival, and so on the 25th September, 1844, in its 363rd number, this interesting pioneer of New Zealand journalism closed its existence. I am inclined to think that Mr. Revans himself was not an inconsolable mourner. Long he had fought an uphill game, and frequently had deplored his diminished advertisements and his forgetful subscribers. After this he commenced sheep-farming in the Wairarapa in conjuction with his old friend Captain Smith, formerly the company's chief surveyor. But his life was destined yet to continue one of change and vicissitude. In 1851 he left for California, when the “diggings” were at their height, taking with him merchandise of timber and potatoes; but, like so many who abandon dissatisfied these happy shores, he speedily returned, never again to leave them. For a time he represented his district in the old Provincial Council of Wellington, but gradually he withdrew from public life, confining himself to farming pursuits, and died at Grey-town on the 14th July, 1888, at the age of eighty years, unmarried. I can recall him as one of my first acquaintances in this country. Impelled by that special curiosity which
was so frequent amongst the earliest colonists, he came down to Dunedin to view the stirring life and change that had so suddenly transformed the quiet of this plodding settlement, and an attack of illness brought us into contact. He was of rough exterior, careless in dress, and wore a conspicuously large Panama hat. His eyes were dark, penetrating, and deeply set, surmounted by thick, bushy eyebrows. His manner was restless, and his speech, though intelligent, often coarse. Some of those adjectives will apply as qualities of his leaders.
The old press had its vicissitudes too. It was of the simple old type known amongst printers as the “Columbia,” capable of printing two or three hundred copies per hour. From the Gazette office it passed into the service of one if not two subsequent newspaper offices in Wellington, and then, finding its way to Masterton, there printed the local journal until it and the whole plant were destroyed by a fire. An old pressman who had worked on it from the first then secured its remains, and these were exhibited as an interesting curiosity in the New Zealand Exhibition of 1889–90. I traced these six years ago, lying rusty and uncared-for on a small farm in the neighbourhood of Masterton, but failed in my efforts to secure them.
I have thus given at considerable, and perhaps tiresome, length an account of New Zealand's first newspaper, and specimens of it are here exhibited, as well as of those to which I shall later refer. The curious interest connected with it may be an excuse. Unfortunately, it is not possible within this evening's limit to treat the rest of my subject at similar length. The best mode of pursuing it will be to describe our newspaper literature rather according to locality than the sequence of date.
Continuing, then, with Wellington, the paper above referred to as a rival of the Gazette—though an unsuccessful one—was the New Zealand Colonist and Port Nicholson Advertiser, published twice weekly, at 6d. per copy, or 10s. quarterly, and at a charge of 3s. for an advertisement of six lines and under. Fifty of the aforesaid dissatisfied persons subscribed to its establishment, and Mr. (afterwards Sir) Richard Davies Hanson was its editor. This gentleman was one of the earliest Wellington settlers, and as a solicitor was there appointed Crown Prosecutor. In 1846 he left for Adelaide, and there became Chief Justice of South Australia, and also the first Chancellor of the University. He died in 1876. The first number of the paper appeared on the 2nd August, 1842, and the 105th and last precisely a year later. The increasing depression, together with the calamitous fire of November, 1842, which destroyed fifty-seven
houses on Lambton Quay, contributed to its early death. Its leaders were well written and free from the rough language so often a feature of the Gazette.
The existence of this paper is barely known; but the direct successor of the Gazette was the New Zealand Spectator and Cook's Straits Guardian, which was the outcome, as above indicated, of a sentiment that the pioneer had forfeited confidence and was no longer a representative mouthpiece. It was conducted by a committee of half a dozen of the principal gentlemen in the settlement, amongst whom were the well-known names of the Hon. Henry Petre, Mr. Clifford, and Mr. Lyon. Mr. Robert Stokes, formerly on the survey staff, was chosen editor; the issue was weekly, and the price, as with the Gazette, 1s. a copy and £2 per annum. The charge for advertisements was, however, soon reduced to 3d. a line. An active canvass resulted in 130 annual subscribers, and with the scanty income so derived, and further supplemented by advertisements, the Spectator commenced on the 12th October, 1844, what proved to be a difficult career. Barely had six months elapsed before a very scandalous advertisement appeared in its columns, followed in the ensuing week by an equally scandalous rejoinder. These were inserted by the printers without the knowledge of the committee, who, ashamed and indignant, removed at once their printing elsewhere. The offending printers were five in number, one of whom (Mr. Thomas Mackenzie) still survives, a very old and well-known citizen of Wellington, and all had been employed on the old Gazette. Without delay they issued a prospectus detailing and justifying the circumstances from their point of view, and accusing the committee of seeking to deprive them of their daily bread. And they did more than this, for on the 2nd April, 1845, they issued the first number of the Wellington Independent, for which they charged but 6d. a copy, considerably reduced the price of advertisements, and published twice a week.
This was carrying reprisals into the enemy's camp with a vengeance; and they were, moreover, well supported by a section of settlers of as good social standing as that of the committee, for, small though the community was, it yet possessed cliques. Mr. Mantell, for instance, son of the eminent geologist, lent his aid by carving several blocks to serve as divisional headings or woodcuts for the paper, which gave it a decidedly quaint and unusual aspect. These he carved from the native wood maire (Olea), which he found to be superior for the purpose to the usual boxwood. It must be confessed that the quantity of printing-ink requisite for these primitive illustrations too often communicated a smudgy appearance to the paper. Though the lofty Spec-
tator preserved a disdainful silence towards its humble rival, whose existence it deigned not to notice, it was preparing a most effectual means of extinguishing it. This was by purchasing the whole of the Independent's plant over the heads of the unsuspecting printers, who rented it and enjoyed a feeling of security in its unmarketable nature. But suddenly and secretly purchased it was, and on the 9th August, four months after starting their venture, the unlucky printers found themselves again adrift. They told the story to their subscribers in piteous terms whilst taking leave of them in the final issue. But their friends rallied round again and stoutly supported them. Fresh material was procured from Sydney, and in less than four months they jubilantly started anew. From this time onwards the two papers ran side by side as steady rivals for more than twenty years, until by the curious irony of fate the formerly poor persecuted Independent swallowed up or incorporated its more aristocratic opponent, which published its last number—the 2,088th—on the 5th August, 1865. Thus left the master of the situation, for a time at least, the Independent flourished nine years longer, issuing tri-weekly a six-page paper of large size at 3d. per copy, and then, on the 30th April, 1874, it in turn was incorporated with the New Zealand Times, which put forth its first number on the following day and has continued to the present time.
The pages of the two papers formed the arena of many a hard-fought battle in days when fighting was incessant and apparently an enjoyment, and when champions were doughty. In its earliest days the Independent boldly opposed the New Zealand Company and its land-purchasers; later it was a bitter opponent of Governor Grey and his methods, as well as an ardent supporter of Dr. Featherston and Mr. Fox, who were principal contributors to its columns.
An example of one of the many difficulties papers suffered under in those days—shortness of paper—is here exhibited. For many weeks the Spectator was obliged to appear on red blotting-paper, and uncommonly well that porous material appears to have taken the type. Sometimes they were compelled to print on paper of variable size, material, and colour, and specimens are extant printed in green and blue, such as might be used nowadays for handbills. In an early number of the Nelson Examiner the printer makes an earnest appeal to its readers for treacle. He says, “We beg to inform our readers that there is great probability of our press being rendered utterly useless for want of rollers. These are used for inking the formes, and an essential ingredient is treacle, and treacle we have been unable to procure for money. If any of our readers have any of this important article, and will spare
us some of it for love and money united, we shall be infinitely obliged. We are not very particular as to the price, but treacle we must have, or not only the Examiner, but bills, cheques, and the laws of the benefit society must remain for ever unbedevilled.” It is satisfactory to know that a supply was forthcoming, inasmuch as the following number of the paper appeared on its due date. The old Otago Witness appealed at least once to its readers for paper of any kind, otherwise it would cease to appear; and cease to appear it did. This must surely have been at the time when the grocers requested their customers who required tea and sugar and suchlike incoherent articles to bring their own paper with them.
The Bay of Islands and the earliest Auckland newspapers come next in order, and they present quite a family resemblance in their poorness of paper and printing and meagre contents. The earliest of them—the New Zealand Advertiser and Bay of Islands Gazette—first appeared on the 15th June, 1840, just six months after the institution of British government in these islands, and two months after the birth of its contemporary, the New Zealand Gazette, at Wellington. It has thus the distinction of being the second paper issued in New Zealand. It was published at Kororareka, which adjoined the infant Township of Russell, where Governor Hobson had selected his seat, and it thus became the organ in which were published the first official notices and Proclamations. The Rev. B. Quaife was editor—a Congregational minister, and a gentleman who, in addition to his editorial functions, combined those of preacher and instructor of the young. Whilst the contents of his paper were, as might be expected, eminently respectable, they were undoubtedly poor. The burning question of the hour was the land-claims, which bore a somewhat different aspect from the same question amongst the settlers at Wellington. But in both instances the common ground of complaint was that the Government refused to recognise the validity of any purchase of land from the natives until official inquiry had been made and a Government grant issued—a tedious and expensive process indeed. Whilst this grievance was attacked in the distant south with the utmost vigour and acerbity, in the north it was approached with great circumspection, for there the Government was close by, and its iron hand was felt at once. The two classes of settlers represented, moreover, different types—one whose leaders were of a superior class, accustomed to all the advantages of responsible government and free institutions, which they had but just left, and who in emigrating recognised the true heroism of colonisation; the other who flocked down in numbers from New South Wales, ready to seize any
advantage in England's newly acquired territory, and glad, no doubt, to escape from the despotism of that Crown colony. It was thus that the land question proved the absorbing theme, to which all others were subsidiary, and that it, and the native connection with it, formed the almost sole politics of daily discussion. Not for long did, or could, Mr. Quaife avoid it, especially as other matters of perhaps more domestic concern, such as police, post-office, &c., were shamefully mismanaged. So, like the proverbial moth, he circled nearer and nearer to his doom, and after the issue of his twenty-seventh number, on the 10th December, which contained various moderate suggestions for reform, he was peremptorily directed to appear before Mr. Shortland, the Colonial Secretary, and threatened with all the pains and penalties of an old New South Wales Act regarding the printing and publishing of seditious newspapers. This meant, and proved to be, the extinction of his paper. To-day we might well ask, How could such things be? A meeting of the inhabitants was called, whereat there was much plain speaking, and it was resolved that a deputation should interview Governor Hobson on the matter and report The late Sir F. Whitaker, then a young and inexperienced man, was one of the number. What the result was I could never learn, but unfavourable, no doubt, for the paper never reappeared
Then followed, in foolscap folio, a rag indeed, called the “New Zealand Government Gazette,” for it was necessary that the Government should have an organ for its notifications. From internal evidence I am inclined to think that the printer of the crushed Advertiser was employed, and that he was permitted to make the best private use of the paper after satisfying official requirements. Comical juxtapositions thus happened—private advertisements for lodgings, salt beef, and other merchandise displayed on the same page as those signed by His Excellency's command; and, in addition, there were a few items of news. It was published gratis, which, remembering the mode in which it rose from the ashes of its predecessor, seems enough. With the exception of the “Gazette Extraordinary” of the 30th December, 1840, which was really the first number, and printed at Paihia on the Church Mission press, it was issued at Kororareka from the 19th February, 1841, until the 15th July, nineteen numbers in all, and then it was superseded, at Auckland, on the 7th July, by the publication which has descended to us from that date, and is known to us all as the “New Zealand Government Gazette.”
It would appear that, though scotched, the Rev. B. Quaife was not killed, and had not forgiven the infliction of his old injuries. A company was soon projected, himself amongst the number, to protect the interests of the public from, as they
phrased it, the “continuous misrule and indifference of the Government,” and their mouthpiece, the Bay of Islands Observer, accordingly made its first appearance on the 24th February, 1842—price 1s, a number, or 10s. quarterly, and 3s. 6d. for twelve lines of advertisement. Mr. Quaife, who was again editor, no longer approached abuses in a gentle, indirect manner, but handled them with so much candour and bluntness as to find himself and his company in danger of an action for libel, which was only averted by humble confession and apology. A little later—in October—and in its 39th number, it ceased to exist, deploring the little aid it had received from subscribers and the public.
More than a year now elapsed before the Bay of Islands Advocate published its first number, on the 4th November, 1843. Little need be said of it. It indulged in personalities, and was mourned by no one when it closed its short existence of three months in February, 1844. With it ends the list of Bay of Islands newspapers—four of them, with an average life of ten months each, surely an unusual record.
The Bay of Islands had always been the notable point of New Zealand. Its praises as a harbour and its beauty had been sung by Captain Cook, and after him it formed the rendezvous for whalers and the numerous shipping from Sydney, with which it was the proximate point. It was also the headquarters of the Church Mission, and thus it came to be selected as the seat of Government. But for this it was entirely unsuited, and after considerable search for a better site the British flag was finally unfurled on the banks of the Waitemata on the 19th September, 1840, at future Auckland. Then the glory of Kororareka began to depart, despite the hopes and efforts made to retain it, and the flocks that came down with Governor Hobson from New South Wales now took fresh wing to the newly selected capital, where the Governor began his permanent residence not earlier than March of 1841.
On the 10th July in the same year, at the usual old price of 1s. per copy, the first of Auckland's numerous newspapers appeared, the New Zealand Herald and Auckland Gazette, which has the distinction of being the third in order of New Zealand journals. Like its fellows in the farther north, its career was short and stormy, though at first seeming to possess the requisites of longer life and prosperity, and its promoters ought surely to have gained experience enough to avoid the rocks which had already caused so much disaster. Quite an extensive plant of printing material was brought down from Sydney, as well as a staff of pressmen for working it, amongst whom are names well known in early history—Mr. John Williamson, for instance, the first Superintendent of Auck-
land and editor of the New-Zealander, Mr. Wilson, of the New Zealand Herald, and others. The whole was the property of a company called the “Auckland Printing Company,” under the management of another well-known name, J. C. Moore. The newspaper, however, with which we are concerned was a branch or part of the business, and its affairs were intrusted to four gentlemen, also well known—Major Richmond, Dr. Johnson, Mr. Moutefiore, and Mr. William Mason, the latter of whom is well known to us as the first Mayor of Dunedin and member of the firm of Mason and Wales, architects. These gentlemen assisted the editor, Mr. Corbett, Mr. Montefiore, however, doing by far the most of the writing; but they knew nothing of newspapers, and failed to recognise how largely their success depended on advertisements. Moreover, the paper rather represented the views and desires of a Government chique than the needs of the public, and thus, receiving no sympathy, it soon showed signs of failure.
They then procured from Sydney the services of Dr. Martin, a medical man of considerable literary ability, forcible utterance, and powerful frame. Prior to colonisation he had been in New Zealand on a land-hunting quest, but, like so many others, had returned to New South Wales in high disgust when it became evident that the Government treated all so-called land-claims with a high hand and no favour. It will thus be conceived that, though the paper increased in literary ability, the chances of its survival were diminished. And so it speedily proved. Dr. Martin wrote with an iron pen, and laid about him with such flail-like agility that before two months had elapsed he was threatened with two or three actions for libel. Matters culminated when one day Mr. Fitzgerald, a Government official, Registrar of Lands and the Supreme Court, entered the office and seized from the printer, under threat of pains and penalties, some of the editors' manuscripts. Dr. Martin was furious, and, failing to secure the return of his property, challenged Mr. Fitzgerald to fight a duel. This the latter refused, and Dr. Martin thereupon posted him in various parts of the town as a blackguard and coward. The further details of this sanguinary business I do not here pursue, but before its termination it became a very pretty quarrel indeed, involving not only the officers of the garrison, but also such peaceable citizens as the late Dr. Shortland, so well known as the author of various works connected with old New Zealand history, and the present Dr. John Logan Campbell, now Mayor of Auckland.
The trustees of the paper grew penitent, finding too late that they had indeed replaced King Log by King Stork. Whilst they insisted that the paper should in the meantime be reduced to a mere advertisement sheet, supplemented with
newspaper clippings, their fighting editor insisted that the appearance of his articles was more than ever desirable. And so amidst this wild tumult Auckland's first paper ended in April, 1842, after ten months' existence. The whole printing plant of the company and the copyright of its defunct paper—quoad valeat—were sold by auction to the Government for £1,700, and remained under the management of the same printer, J. C. Moore.
Upon its ruins, and in a week's time, was erected the Auckland Standard, the second paper, and issued presumably in the interests of the Government, as might be expected. Yet, curious to say, it was not wholly so, for government in those days was not of the responsible type, and many of its supporters were half-hearted, swaying the balance according to personal interest. Besides, Governor Hobson was not entirely popular. Though strictly honourable and of high integrity, his manner was often overbearing and passionate, and had much of the quarter-deck character. The same may be said of his chief officials, Lieutenant Shortland and Mr. Coates.
The Standard was edited by Mr. William Swainson, who had recently arrived at Auckland under appointment as Attorney-General by the British Government. The prevailing fatality of early extinction befell it also, and on the 28th August, 1842, after but four months' struggle, the Standard also departed, mournfully deploring its own exit and the gloom which seemed gathering over the whole community.
Now appeared, on the 5th September, 1842, what surely was—or after the publication of its first few numbers was—the most extraordinary-looking paper ever printed. This was the Auckland Times, owned and edited by Mr. Henry Falwasser, formerly a storekeeper or merchant in Sydney, whose sister married the Rev. J. F. Churton, the first Auckland clergyman. At first it was printed by the accommodating Mr. John Moore on the type the Government had so recently purchased; but, whether any suspicion arose as to Mr. Falwasser's ability to pay for the printing or as to the doubtful odour of his articles, it is certain that Lieutenant Willoughby Shortland, then the Acting-Governor, speedily stepped in and stopped the paper somewhere about the tenth number. But Mr. Falwasser was a man of ingenuity and resource. From any quarter he gathered a miscellaneous assortment of old type, such as is mostly used for printing bill-heads and rough jobs, and, with the aid of a mangle and coarse paper, triumphantly produced these weekly specimens now regarded as such a curiosity. His original motto had been “Veluti in speculum”; now he changed it to “Tempora mutantur—nos non mutamur in illis.” His imprint was: “Auckland: Printed
(in a mangle) and published by Henry Falwasser, sole Editor and Proprietor.” It is plain from the specimens here shown that the compression of the mangle varied much: sometimes it was so violent as to drive the ink through the paper, so that the letterpress can there be read by reversal, and sometimes it is so faint as to be barely legible. Words were printed with letters of various type, so that small capitals, italics, and old English met together in the same word, producing a most comical and mystifying result. If not a confusion of tongues, it was certainly a confusion of letters. of course, the paper afforded great amusement, and doubtless had a good circulation, especially as it lashed out to the complete satisfaction of the public. Its comical characteristics and scanty pages no doubt protected it from the fiery persecution of those days, especially as the numbers were issued gratis until, as the editor assured his readers, proper type and paper could be procured from Sydney. But gradually its strange appearance improved with the occasional addition of a little new-found type, better paper, and better handling of the mangle, until, in its forty-second number, on the 13th April, 1843, it said farewell in quite a presentable form. On the 7th November it reappeared in legitimate form and in its new Sydney dress, once a week, and continued in its former hearty and independent style until the 17th January, 1846, when its 159th number was issued. A week later Henry Falwasser died, and with him ceased his journal, which, with all its vicissitudes, almost equalled in duration the united age of its predecessors.
The last of this class of old Auckland newspapers was the Auckland Chronicle and New Zealand Colonist, which put forth its first number on the 8th November, 1841, and shortly afterwards ceased, but when I have not been able to discover. Its second appearance, however, was on the 12th November, 1842, and in September, 1843, it commenced its second volume. It was printed by the usual John Moore in the interests of the Government, and was thus doubly obnoxious to the “mangle,” which sneeringly spoke of it as “that administerial thing called ‘the Chronicle'—bah!” In return the Chronicle dubbed its rival “The Old Lady of the Mangle,” and advertised: “For sale, a mangle; apply to the proprietor of the Auckland Times.” These little endearments were continuous, and it must be allowed that the “mangle” won the honours. Mr. John Kitchen—“which was where he came from,” as Mr. Falwasser said—was editor of the Chronicle, and had previously been on the United Service Gazette. After leaving New Zealand he went to Hobart and Melbourne as a shorthand reporter. The final fate of this paper I have not been able to learn, but conclude that it must have closed its career early
in 1845. The Southern Cross in its first number was very bitter with it, and indulged on the occasion in one of those newspaper amenities which were then so common. One of its bitter references was: “For sale or hire, in about a fortnight, a defunct Government engine used for stifling the fire of the people; rather shaky, having lately stuck fast in the swamp of Queen Street.… Has been well greased lately, its head turning with marvellous facility in any direction. Apply at the Chronicle office.”
I have now to say a few words regarding the Southern Cross and the New-Zealander, and with them can close the reference to the early Auckland papers. Both were of, or soon assumed, a very different and superior character from their predecessors, of whom so little can be said beyond a mere cataloguing, and both form a link connecting the old with the modern newspaper literature.
Dr. Martin, it will be remembered, terminated the existence of the old Herald, much against his will, in April, 1842, when the plant was sold to the Government. He was, as we have seen, highly indignant with the weak-kneed proprietors of that journal, and his first act was to bring an action against them for breach of his engagement as their editor. This he won, and £640 was awarded him. He further relieved his wounded feelings by writing a little pamphlet or letter, now extremely rare, addressed to Lord Stanley, then the Principal Secretary of State for the Colonies, entitled “New Zealand in 1842; or the Effects of a Bad Government on a Good Country.” This pamphlet of thirty-two pages, 8vo, may, I think, be considered the first pamphlet printed in New Zealand. No longer restrained by interference with the freedom of the Press, or Newspaper Acts, or charge of libel, he here writes to his heart's content and in his most vigorous style. His next step was to receive type and press, and on the 22nd April, 1843, appeared the Southern Cross, New Zealand Guardian, and Auckland, Thames, and Bay of Islands Advertiser. The motto chosen was “Luceo non Uro”; but, as we can well fancy, it would have been better “Luceo non Uro.” The proprietor was Mr. William Brown, of the well-known firm of Brown and Campbell, a gentleman of wealth, attainments, and true citizenship. The old shanty in which it was printed was in Shortland Crescent, where I saw it about twelve years ago on the point of removal. Dr. Campbell gave me at the time much information regarding the history of the paper.
In 1844 Dr. Martin and Mr. Brown visited the Home-country—the former never to return—leaving the charge of the paper in Dr. Campbell's hands, Mr. Terry editing it, at a considerable loss, however. Dr. Campbell accordingly de-
cided to stop publication in April, 1845, and it was not resumed until July, 1847, upon Mr. Brown's return. In May, 1862, it became a daily paper, and shortly afterwards was sold by Mr. Brown to Mr. (afterwards Sir) Julius Vogel and his company, and was again sold in 1876 to Mr. Horton, and was soon afterwards amalgamated with the New Zealand Herald, belonging to Messrs. Wilson and Horton, who still own and conduct it, one of the leading and best journals in the colony.
During Mr. Brown's proprietorship the paper never paid. From first to last he lost £10,000 in it, and it was always making enemies; “nor was it conducted,” says Dr. Campbell, “on commercial principles”
A final word may be said of Dr. Martin. He went Home a disappointed man, and there remained until he received the appointment of Stipendiary Magistrate in British Guiana. He died near Berbice on the 10th September, 1848.
The New-Zealander was fortunate in starting just after the temporary cessation of the Southern Cross, and on the 7th June, 1845. It belonged to Mr. Williamson, so well known in early New Zealand politics. He was soon joined in partnership by Mr. W. C. Wilson, and the two composed a firm long and well known as the printers of nearly every publication that issued from the Auckland Press. Amongst its editors and contributors were many men of note in New Zealand, such as Dr. Bennett, afterwards Registrar-General; Rev. T. S. For-saith, of “white-shirt Ministry” fame; Dr. Giles, afterwards editor of the Southern Monthly Magazine; Mr. (now Sir John) Gorst, and many others.
Mr. Elliott tells me that Dr. Bennett, whilst of peculiar appearance, was of remarkable eloquence. He came down to Wellington, where he was almost unknown, about the time when the Duke of Edinburgh so narrowly escaped from the hands of the Sydney assassin, O'Farrell. A meeting of congratulation and sympathy was held on the occasion, at which the late Mr. FitzGerald made so eloquent a speech that other speakers were afraid to follow. In this difficulty one or two recognised the stranger's presence, and in a moment there was a cry of “Bennett! Bennett!” Dr. Bennett rose and delivered so brilliant a speech as quite to pale the fires of his predecessor. Such was his introduction to his new duties in Wellington.
The New-Zealander had the distinction of starting as the first morning penny paper on the 3rd April, 1865. A year later—in 1866—it closed publication
An incident in the early life of the New-Zealander must not here be omitted. An article on Heke's war gave great offence to the naval men, who considered their honour con-
siderably tarnished thereby. Accordingly, armed with a hawser, a large number of sailors belonging to the warships in Auckland Harbour unexpectedly appeared at the door of the New-Zealander office in Shortland Crescent, through which they passed their rope to the back and then over the roof. A full retractation was demanded, failing which the building would be overturned. The beleaguered inmates, Messrs. Williamson and Wilson, yielded the point. But how, again the question may be asked, could such things be? What a liberty, or license, has been granted the Press during the last sixty years!
These two papers, comprising as they do more than a period of twenty years each, and dealing with the great transition period of New Zealand history, are laden with interest. Time forbids me just now to prolong this sketch of Auckland papers, and of even referring by name to several others which, though of less note, are yet old.
The next section in point of order is that of Nelson, like Wellington, a settlement of the New Zealand Company; like it, too, in that the first settlers came well provided with type and press, and, still further, with men of great literary ability. Hence it is that the Nelson Examiner and New Zealand Chronicle must be considered as by far the best and most literary of all the early journals, at least in its early existence. It was the property of Messrs. Charles and James Elliott, who had been previously engaged on the Morning Chronicle. The first editor was Mr. George Rycroft Richardson, a lawyer, who was afterwards killed at the Wairau massacre in June, 1843. The first number of the paper appeared on the 12th March, 1842, at the usual price of 1s., or £2 per annum.
Mr. Alfred Domett, that eminent New Zealand settler, succeeded to the editorship, and it is needless to say that in his hands the paper assumed a still higher character. The leaders can be read to-day with pleasure and profit. One is tempted to introduce extracts from some of them, but this is not the time or place to do so. Suffice it to say that they aimed higher than merely discussing the position and requirements of the settlers. Such important matters were never neglected, but they were discussed with a freedom from dogmatism and a respect for the opinions of others which conferred on them a power and force of conviction which belonged to no other paper in the colony. Always the readers were kept in touch with the important questions of politics and progress in the home which they had left. This was only what might be expected from one of Mr. Domett's ability. As we know, he was the friend of Browning, and the “Waring” of his well-known poem. Perhaps we know him better as the author of that New Zealand day-dream
“Ranolf and Amohia,” and as one of our foremost early legislators and eminent colonists.
But Domett was not the only one whose name is inscribed on the roll of New Zealand history, and who contributed to make the Examiner what it was. The names of Dr. David Monro, William Fox, Dillon Bell, Richmond, Dr. Greenwood, and others must be added. And when these able men, as they were sure to do, went to other parts of the colony to discharge the high duties required from them by the advancement of New Zealand, then the paper gradually became an echo of its former self, and it expired in, I think, 1873.
I have by no means exhausted my subject, and must return to it. It was only when beginning to treat this second part that I realised its extent, and that it must be treated separately and alone from that higher class of literature which only developed later, and to which I hope yet to devote attention.
I will close my lecture with a few words of reference to New Plymouth, which, unlike its sister-settlements of Wellington and Nelson, brought with it no press provision. This was because its early settlers were not of the same superior and cultivated class. The bulk of them were small farmers and labourers from Devon and Cornwall, sober, industrious, and persevering men, than whom no part of New Zealand had better. of course, such men as Thomas King, Charles Brown, and the Richmonds stood out in bright relief as men of culture, but they were few. Then came the Constitution in 1852; this made a newspaper necessary, and the requirement was satisfied by the Taranaki Herald, which first appeared on the 4th August, 1852, under the editorship of Mr. Wicksteed and Mr. Crompton for a short time, and then of Mr. Richard Pheney, a very clever and gifted man. Prior to its publication a board placed in a conspicuous position, and with any notices or notifications affixed in writing, did the duty of a newspaper. The Herald was until recently under the journalistic control of Mr. W. H. J. Seffern, who died last year.