Observer, Rōrahi 3, Putanga 60, 5 Whiringa-ā-rangi 1881, Page 114
Saturday, November 5Tn, 1881
The people of Taranaki have caught the war fever. The cry is " Down with Te Whiti !" and "On to Parihaka !" Tliis feeling is the natural result of the war of 1860-61. Tlie children who then drank in with their mother's milk hatred of the Maori have now grown to manhood, the memory of their early pays is embittered by hardships and sufferings, and by years of poverty and toil in repairing their ruined homesteads. "Their hatred of the Maori has beeu continually fanned by the selfishness of Taranaki land rings, and constant disagreements with the tribes. Un^ fortunately, the settlement of tho confiscated lands has never been complete like that of the Waikato, where the natives have gradually and almost imperceptibly reconciled themselves to the inevitable, and where the old feelings of antagonism have been softened and melted by friendly intercourse. To the great majority of the Taranaki settlers a renewal of hostilities means a war of extermination. They disclaim that feeling, they shrink from it when it is presented to them in its naked hideousness, but it comes out so unconsciously in their speeches, and in their whole attitude towards the natives.
The writer remembers the fierce hatred which the Taranaki people displayed towards the Maoris during the war of 1860-61. Their homesteads had been broken up and destroyed. Houses were burnt within rifle shot of New Plymouth. The whole country side was pillaged. The women and children were removed for safety to Nelson. After the fight at Mahoetahi, dignified with the title of " battle," the Maori dead were laid out in two lines on a grassy slope of the position which the natives had occupied, and which had been carried at the point of the bayonet. The fierce rays of tlie sun beat 'down upon the upturned faces of the dead, ghastly with shell and rifle wounds, and blistered the skin of their naked bodies. In the flush of victory a number of New Plymouth men rode out from the town to enjoy the triumph. Among these was a Taranaki butcher, a burly, coarse-featured man, of brutal instincts, the type of many of those settlers wh« are now clamouring for a war of extermination. This man coolly walked up between the lines of the dead, took up a huge jacknife, and thrusting open the lips of a corpse, deliberately cut out one of the teeth, boastingly declaring that he intended to wear it as a trinket on his watch chain. To the credit of the British soldier, be it recorded, that the sentry lowered his bayonet to the charge, and with an oath forced the ruffian to restore the tooth to its place. Tho British soldier does not mutilate a fallen foe.
We think tho Auckland Volunteers were quite justified in declining to proceed to the Front on the conditions offered by Major Morrow. The latter is no doubt animated by a very laudable desire to Beck the bubble reputation even at the cannon's mouth, but beyond displaying creditable
skill in winning prizes at a target, we do not know that he has shown any very special aptitude for commanding a corps in tue field. The Volunteers are ready to go to the post of danger whenever the necessity shall arise, but they naturally prefer rather to be commanded by officers who have had actual experience on active service in a time of warfare, than to serve under men who have never faced an enemy. "Why Major Morrow should indulge in splenetic remarks and invidious comparisons against the Auckland Volunteers, merely because they declined to minister to his ' ambition, one is at a loss to conceive, but there is a homely old proverb which says "It's an ill bird that fouls its own nest." The reputation of the Auckland Volunteers cannot suffer either from the studied neglect and insults of Mr Bryce nnd his subordinates, or from tlie disappointed ambition of their own officers. They earned their laurels in 1863-6-i when danger really existed, and they aro ready now as ever to do their duty when the necessity ai'ises. We think that for the presort they shew their good sense by staying at home. Nothing but ridicule is to be j earned by rushing down to the West Coast to take part in a mere raid on Parihaka, and the j "running in" of a few defenceless nnd unresisting Maoris. If the Parihaka natives sit down quietly and allow the "grand army" to capture them and their women, pigs, and other belongings, there will not be much glory in the " campaign," and, on the other hand, should tlie natives resist, and the colony be precipitated into war, the Government will need the services of every man man who can shoulder a rifle, and many of the Volunteers who have rushed to the Front will find their services required in defence of their own homos. The Auckland Volunteers shew their good sense in not being led away on a fool's errand, and by wailing until there is* downright fighting to be'done. "But glory is a kind o* thing I slmnt pursue no furder, Cos tliet's the ott'eers parquisite, your's 's ony jest the murder."
The offer of Mr S. Coombes to officiate as curator of the Museum every Sunday for a period of three months, if the committee will agree to throw tlie institution open to tlie public on the Sabbath, is at least a proof of his sincerity. Our respect for the Fourth Commandment "is quite as high as that of the average Sabbatarian, but we do not believe the injunction to rest on the Seventh Day and keep it holy is rightly interpreted to mean that the masses, who are shut up in sedentary occupations during the other six days, are to deny themselves, or rather be denied by their rulers and the priesthood, wholesome recreation and instruction on the only day they can call their own. The Sabbath ouglit not to be a day of gloom and indoor moping, away from the invigorating fresh air. Nor can there be anything offensive to the creator in the study of his works. We therefore hope Mr Coombes' offer will be_ accepted. It would be so nice to see the enterprising clothier, in his go-to-meeting habilaments and^ faultless white waistcoat, engaged in imparting instruction to visitors in mineralogy, homogenous and mixed rocks, anatomy aiid organography-, phanerogamous plants, dicotyledones, monocotyledones, vertebrata, invertcbrata, etc.,
The Government of New Zealand must have taken for its model in the difficult art of governing a country the famous Circumlocution Office. It seems to carry the art of "how-not-todo it " to a degree of efficiency which very nearly approaches perfection. One might adduce examples enough to fill as abundant memoranda as pass through the smallest department in our public service in a single day, but one will suffice for the present. There is an office in the Supreme Court Buildings where by payment of a stipulated fee one may make a search for any registered documents, such as a bill of sale, a mortgage, or a will. If a plain, practical person, in blissful ignorance of the cunningly ingenious machinery of the Circumlocution Office, walks all the way to the Supreme Court for the purpose of instituting a search for any particular document, he is told that his first business must be to retrace his steps to Queen-street in order to purchase and return with a law stamp to the amount of the fee in that case made and provided, the Government having, with that inscrutable disregard of the rules of common senso and public convenience which marks many of its ways, located the Registry Office and 'the Law Stamp Office as far away from each other as was possible under the circumstances. The idea of permitting the officials at the Registry Office to receive the fees in good sterling coin was of course too preposterous to be entertained, because the Government will not trust its' own servants ; and the simple plan of entrusting them
with the sale of a few pounds' worth of law stamps was equally impractical and preposterous, "because the Circumlocution Office was down upon any ill-advised public servant who was going to do it, or who appeared to be by any surprising accident in remote danger of doing it, with a minute and a memorandum, and a letter of instructions that extinguished him." The Lord Decimus Tite Barnacle who is responsible for the existing system is a certain Mr Hammerton. Repeated and urgent representations have been made to this wooden-head of the Department to comply with the obvious dictates of common sense, but strict regard for official traditions and rules render him as densely impervious to reason as a rhinoceros.
Prophets are dangerous persons in a State. It is hard to say whether they are more perilous to the maintenance of authority when they derive their inspiration from a true source or simulate its existence. It has been sagely said that the best way to test a prophet's claims to inspiration is to place him in prison, where, if he be inspired from on high, supernatural means will be found to provide for liis liberation. If he be a false prophet he should be " shut up " without remorse. Some years ago there was a prophet in Kaffir Land who bade fair to raise an insurrection. The authorities were in some doubt how to deal with tlie prophet — much in the same way that the New Zealand Government have felt about Te Whiti. After some deliberation it was determined, under cover of night, by the aid of Kaffir police, to arrest the Kaffir prophet. This was done, and the impostor, as he proved to be, was brought before the Governor at 4 o'clock in the morning. The prophet had, he asserted, a bullock in his stomach which dictated his utterances to the people. When the prophet refused to tell the people what his internal monitor requested him to say the horns of the bullock sought to force an opening through the skin of the rebellious seer, causing intolerable pain. The prophet had simply to speak or die. The Governor was incredulous about the existence of the bullock in the belly of the man, and told him he was an impostor. The prophet insisted he was inspired by the bullock. Hence the grounds of the dispute between the parties in Kaffir Land. Kaffirs have a custom of assembling in the Market-place at early dawn to buy and dispose of goods. The Kaffir market is like an Eastern bazaar. There news first circulates, and the actions of men are discussed. The prophet was told if he would confess at the early market that he was an impost or he should be set free ; if he refused that, an emetic would bo given him until his eternal monitor was ejected. Two days the resolution of the prophet maintained a warfare against the emetics of the Governor's doctor, when the nausea overcame the inspiration of the ox, and at early dawn on the third morning after his capture, when the Kaffirs were assembled, their bovine prophet, mounted on a platform, confessed that he was an impostor, obtained his liberty, and destroyed the germs of the incipient revolution. A dose of drugs might do some good to Te Whiti after all. Will the Native Minister take our hint ?
During the last session of Parliament some questions were raised in the House of Representatives by the members for Parnell and Wellington city in reference to certain awards made to the Maori chief Honi Pihama, whom the Civil Commissioner of Taranaki (Mr Parris) designates in official despatches as "My Colleague," and both Mr Moss and Mr Hutchinson went so far as to insinuate that there was something of the " Colleague " business in the enormous properties ostensibly owned by the Maori chief. A return of all lands and monies awarded to Mr Pihama, and the nature and value of the services rendered for such, was moved for by Mr Moss and promised by the Government. Mr Pihama, in urging his claims before the Royal Commission at Oeo, repeatedly referred to his " partner " in the lands which he claimed from the Commissioners by virtue of promises made to him years ago, on the recommendation of his " Colleague" (Mr Parris). This " partner " proved to be a man who, with liis family, had been placed on the land at Oeo by Mr Parris some years previous.
Pending the production of the information sought by Mr Moss, it might be well to look at a few facts, obtainable from official records, of the possessions of this Maori gentleman and his " partner :" — At Oeo a nice estate of 1814 acres
has been Crown-Granted to Mr Pihama, and near Hawera 428 acres, while Mrs Pihama has received 100 acres in the same locality, making the respectable total of 2342 acres of the very finest land on the West Coast for Mr and Mrs Pihama, valued at something like twenty-five thousand pounds sterling. Pihama has also been granted several valuable town sections in Hawera, Carlyle, and other towns on the Coast. In reserves we find him one of the possessors of the Stratford Reserve of 700 acres, adjoining the town of that name, of no small value, and other interests as proprietor or trustee in the same districts. Then we come to the Whareroa Eeserve of over 10,000 acres (one of the most valuable blocks on the Coast), belonging to Mr Pihama and a few others.
What more lands or interests this gentleman may be possessor of will probably appear when the Government see fit to produce the return required by Mr Moss. It is a remarkable feature m all the grants issued to Mr Pihama, and in tho reserves wheie he is interested, that a process of alienation secure to the "partner" against all comers is provided in the deeds. The few thousands of pounds given to Pihama, and the fact that himself, his better half, and ail the little Pihamas are provided for in the Oeo tribal reserve, need not be referred to here, because Kowaru aud other chiefs received similar concessions for their good deeds. The question of the value of Pihama's services, however, is a matter that puzzles not only Europeans conversant with Ins history, but even Te Whiti is at a loss to know what good he lias ever done, considering that the Constabulary is called into requisition to settle the country. Te Whiti evidently does not not understand what it is to possess a " Colleague."
A heartless practical joke was recently played on a young couple who entered into a life partnership. After a quiet, unostentatious wedding they went to spend their honeymoon in a country hotel away from the madding crowd and the busy haunts of men. But some wag, who knew of their plans, addressed numerous post-cards to the friends of the bride, inviting them to the marriage feast on the evening of tlie nuptial day. The guests began to roll up at about 7 o'clock in the evening, and were rather surprised to find that there was no one to receive them. Presently, however, the happy pair, who had been enjoying the scenery, made then- appearance at the hotel, and soon learned the situation of affairs. The bridegroom informed the assembled party that they were labouring under a fatal hallucination, but he was somewhat staggered when they produced their invitations. Like a sensible man, however, he accepted the situation, the guests were soon drinking the health of the couple in bumpers, and a very pleasant evening was spent. The practical joker has since been amnestied.
The Government lias hit upon a brilliant expedient for reducing the ranks of the overgrown Civil Service of the country. The 10 per cent, reduction was decimating enough in its effects, but the new plan is likely to prove far more fatal. It reminds us indeed of Bobadil's plan for killing off an army of 40,000 men in Ben Johnson's play. The Government scheme is to send the Civil servants to the Front as Volunteers and get them killed off as speedily as possible, which will enable considerable savings to be effected in the public expenditure. Liability for pensions to widows and orphans will be prevented by the establishment of a soldiers' insurance fund. This is decidedly the most original scheme of retrenchment that lias yet emanated from the Hall Government, and the idea of effecting this retrenchment by intrenchmeut — that is, buryinothe Civil servants in trenches — is one which stamps its conceiver as a great financial and military genius. The scheme would be complete if Mr Bryce and Major Atkinson, both of whom are rather expensive luxuries in the way of public servants, would only illustrate the success of their plan by getting killed off first as an act of poetical justice.
Sir Arthur Gordon is about the last person in tlie world Avhom Aye should suspect of imitating the Vogelian regime. The astute manipulator of figures and votes had, in the course of an exceedingly chequered and precarious career, observed the intimate sympathy between the gastronomic organs and the mental faculties, and had discovered that the way to some men's minds lay through their stomachs, just as others were only to be successfully approached through their pockets. So clearly was this relation between the stomach and the brains understood, that big party dinners became part of the regular and recognised machinery of Government. The Veiled Prophet of Khorassan fired the souls of his youthful zealots with rich wine, music, oi'iental splendour, and female beauty ; the New Zealand Mokonna rendered his dinners attractive and assisted digestion in his guests by Terpsichorean revels, where lovely woman weaved her fairy spells round the too susceptible hearts of
the legislators, and converted minorities into majorities as with the touch of a magic wand. Tradition says that Shepherd, more generally | known as " The Smiler," like Judas, betrayed his j constituents with a kiss, though he had' good I cause to repent it in after years. j Women, wine, mirth, and laughter, I Repentance and soda water, the day after. The party dinners fell somewhat into disuetude with the departure of the great genius who had called them into existence, but they were lately revived by Mr Walter Johnston, or rather Mrs Walter Johnston, for she is the real moving spirit in these matters. Now we find Sir Arthur Gordon having recourse to gastronomic diplomacy as an expedient for effecting a reconciliation with his Ministers. With that peculiarly English facility which puzzles the French mind, all differences are to be settled over the walnuts and wine. The lynx-eyed "special," who may be supposed to be perfectly en rapport with the cook, or perchance even *the butler at Government House, knows all about it, and he tells us that His Excellency the Governor having invited the Hon. John Hall to dinner, " the war between his Excellency and his advisers has come to a conclusion." Will the Hon. John accept this dinner as a final peace-offering, or will it be merely a sop to Cerberus ? If we are to credit the veracious correspendent, who speaks positively enough, and refers to corrobative facts, we must take tho former view. The remarkable feature of the affair is, however, that no one is surprised when the correspondent, in the characteristic practical manner of his kind, coolly guages the value of Mr Hall's political opinions at the price of a vice-regal dinner.
Perhaps there never was any author ancient or modern whose works have been subjected to more criticism, good, bad, and indifferent, than Moses. The mere list of men who have come forward at different periods to enlighten the -world on the Pentateuch would fill a small volume. Jerome, Aben Ezra, Hobbes, Spinoza, Vitringa, Le Clerc, Rich, Simon, Astrue, Karlstadt, and a legion of others, down to Colenso and Colonel Ingersoll, have disputed and wrangled over the authorship of the Five Books, until it is a marvel how anything more could be left to be said on the subject. As to Moses, he has been reasoned out of existence by a horde of authors, debaters, and sophists As if religion were intended For nothing else hut to he mended ; • A sect whose chief devotion lies In odd perverse antipathies, In falling out with that or this ; And finding something still amiss. After a formidable array of critics, principally of the German school, the catalogue ends for the present, and ought to terminate for all time with Messrs W. Cooper and G. A. Brown. The former is a law student and the doughty champion of a debating society and of the temperance bodies, while the latter appears to divide his talents between the vending of lacteal fluid and the dissemination of new and startling doctrines. The two disputants who met to do battle for their respective views on the Mosaic account of the Creation represent in fact the milk and water of polemics. As to Mr Brown, it may be said of him as of Hudibras : — Besides, 'tis known he could speak Greek As naturally as pigs squeak. That Latin was no more difficle Than to a blackbird 'tis to whistle.
And when the caravan project is accomplished the parallel between the itinerant Presbyterian zealot and the theological milkman will be complete. The brilliant idea of starting a caravan probably suggested itself to the gigantic intellect of the great Christodelphian during the course of his perigrinations upon his milk-cart. Naturally, when the progress of his matutinal milk vending was interrupted at every stage by people thirsting after knowledge as well as lacteal fluid, it would occur to his ingenious mind that it would become necessary to devote his sole and undivided attention to dispensing what Coleridge calls " the milk of Paradise." Perhaps the most appropriate design for the caravan, therefore, would be a milk-cart with the motto " Miilgere hircum"
Eureka! It is found at last. We can now safely abolish the effete jury systom, the expensive detective force, and the dreadful lawyers, and substitute a new infallible test of quiet. We shall have no more laborious and unsatisfactory convictions upon circumstantial evidence, no more wrangling, and hair-splitting between counsel for the prosecution and the defence, no more hard swearing, no more long summings up. Professor J. Fraser, the eminent phrenologist, physiologist, and everythingologist has shed the light of his brilliant genius on the cimmerian darkness of modern jurisprudence, and the millenium is coming. The " profesh" as these learned men are irreverently called by Ethiopian serenaders, thinks that criminals unmistakably bear all their imperfections on their heads, and that though " the people are a many-headed beast" as Pope says, " any phrenologist will pick out from the prisoners working in gangs," those men who are guilty of certain crimes. Un passant, one might remark that the main object in the prevention of crime ia not exactly to distinguish the criminal character' istics of men working in gangs, which any detective or warder can do as well as the most expert professor, but to furnish some reliable criteria which will assist in the detection of the guilty. It may be true, as the professor tells us, that " the heavy base of the brain, the thick neck, the low coronal region," and other signs are infallible marks of human depravity, but we have our doubts about it. Everyone will remember the story of the hoax played upon Lavater by a number of French students, and we have heard of cases in which eminent phrenologists were similarly victimised. Seriously speaking, however, we do not think that the skill of a phrenologist or any other expert in that branch of science is necessary to secure the release of the xmfortunate man Hayes. The. evidence itself, and the surrounding circumstances were enough in themselves. However, no one will grudge the cheap advertisement he adroitly contrived to get out of the case.