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The Bookfellow., Auckland Star, Volume XL, Issue 80, 3 April 1909
k (Copyright, > Ail rigbte reserved.),
(Written for the 'Auckland Star" by A. G. Stephens.) •THOMAS lIOKLA-ND HOCKEN. The new Hocken "wing of the Otago Museum, at Dunedin, is afcructurall}' complete; but it will be some months before the upper storey, reserved for Dr. Hocken, has been fitted to receive his gift collection, which remains meanwhile at his residence in Moray Place. Arrangements have still to be made for the care ajvd display of the collection, and funds for this purpose are required. Probably an income of £250 a year will be needed to cover ordinary expenses and the salary of a curator. Many of Dr. Hocken's treasures are unique examples, and their historical and literary value to New Zealand is inestimable. If they are to be cherished and utilised as they deserve, a curator with special qualifications will be required; and the post should be offered to some person with original ability, who would not only guard the material as jealously as Dr. Hocken himself, but would endeavour to develop anew its particular interest for New Zealand. A writer so distinguished as Miss Jessie Mackay, if sEe would accept the post of curator, would find in bhe wealth which Dr. Hocken has garnered opportunities* oi great public usefulness.
There is little intellectual life, of eminent quality, in Dunedin; and Dr. Hocken's gift is regarded generally as a species of white elephant—a thing rare valuable indeed, but of no intimate public concern, sacred and incomprehensible. With Dr. Hocken's ardour as collector, ■his labour as bibliographer, there are few capable of sympathising intelligently. Yet, when Dr. Hocken, three years ago. made known his wish to present to Dimedin his rich store of books, pamphlets, newspapers, documents, pictures, and curiosities relating to New Zealand, Australia, and othe>'countries, the residents of Dunedin promised nearly £3000, which the Government supplemented with a similar amount, in order to house the collection. It is true that, in order that construction of the building should continue upon the terms arranged with the Government, Dr. Hocken has been obliged to come to the rescue with his own money. Nevertheless, considering bhat the subscribers, as a body, had but scanty persona] knowledge of the value of the gift, the subscription was in some ways surprising; and when the library is accessible '■\o the public, it is likely that Dunedin will presently take pride in possessing the most important of all collections of literary matter relating to New Zealand. THE HOCKEN COLLECTION. In the Hocken collection printed matter occupies the chief place. There is first of all a store of all the books and pamphlets printed in New Zealand, or printed elsewhere relating to New Zealand, or relating to the colonsers and founders and notable men of New Zealand. This is as nearly complete as Dr. Hocken has been able to make it in more than forty years of effort, daring which he has spent time and money without stint in gathering practically everything of the least importance. At a guess it may be estimated to include upwards of 10>000 separate items —niany of them rare, some of them unique. -Some, may be judged to have only an interest of curiosity; yet they offer to the historical mind or to the patriotic New Zealander a vast treasure for exploration, and there are a myriad sidelights on the romance and heroism of the early days. Or, in the first; book printed in English in New Zealand —"Report of the Formation and Establishment of the New Zealand Temperance Society, Paihia: Printed at the Church and Mission Press, 1836"—we find evidence of perhaps the first stirrings of the national conscience in regard to the liquor traffic. The report refers to "the intemperate sentinrtnts, habits, and customs of society at large," and the need of "stopping the ragjng of intemperance oni the threshold" of the infant colony.
"To such a fearful and appalling degree," says the Report, "had that alldestroying vice, drunkenness, arisen in the Bay of Islands—and such a rapidlygrowing obstacle it presented itself to be to the advancement of the knowledge of God, among both Europeans and natives —that it called loudly for some interference. A few individuals, therefore, in the spring of 1835, proposed the introduction of a Temperance Society, as a means, under the blessing of God, of restraining and of diminishing that uncontrolled tide of intemperance with which the Bay abounded."
That was seventy-four years ago, and the business of pitchforking Nature out of the old Adam continues more ardently than ever, while the national liquor bill rises gallantly to fill the vacuum. Perhaps the hint of a historical lesson may be found here —in one little fragment of the Hocken collection. CURIOUS SIDELIGHTS. After the books, come the newspapers —bound files of the New Zealand beginners, extending over many years; and of the magazines, early and later. Th-en the documents, such as the balance-sheets and reports of the New Zealand Company, and a thousand other items now of the greatest rarity. Th-en the letters and MSS. —the correspondence of the earliest missionaries—of Samuel Marsden; of that Thomas Kendall, who was grandfather of the Australian poet, and in whom the imaginative temperament so predominated that we find him writing, "From December, 1821, until April, 1522, I was completely under the Jnlluence of Satan. I was reduced to such a dreadful state of mind that I had no thought whatever as to what would happen to mc in this world." Or, the curious diary of Kendall's son, Thomas Burfleet, in 1822, when the Rev. Thomas Kendall, notwithstanding the "dreadful triumph" of his "great adversary the Devil," kept on with his dally work of sharpening the saws of the settlement, as a manful missionary should; and many another old-time script full of enlightenment for this generation. Then the pictures of old New Zealand —early sketches in pencil and colour, maps, engravings—a rich hoard, with the rest, awaiting a cataloguer. And to all these Dr. Hocken has added curiosities culled in travel round the world, and touching the life and art of other countries. The collection, as regards New Zealand, is comparable with the Mitchell collection in Sydney, as regards Australia ; and is esteemed greatly to exceed in New Zealand interest and importance Sir George Grey's collection presented to , the city of Auckland. NEW ZEALAND BIBLIOGRAPHY. Yet, to form this collection has been only the lesser part of Dr. Hocken's labour of love, from which unborn generations will reap a harvest. He has performed the immense task of making i> bibliographjr of works relating to New
Zealand, carried <lown to the end of last year. On the enlightened recommea. : dation of Mr. Charles Wilson, the librar. iaa of Parliament, who was asked to report on the matter, the New Zealand ; ' Government is printing this work, which will occupy upwards of 500 pp. demy 'M Bvo., and is truly of national importance The final sheets are now passinz through the Press, and publication may I be expected during the current year *Jfl Australia would be greatly indebted to '"'"S anyone who would devote his life to a similar bibliography of works relating to that country. In Australia, of -■: course, the field is so much larger that it practically surpasses the extent of one man's effort; and, ii University life *" represented to a greater extent the self-denying fervour of scholarship, it is the Australian Universities that would undertake the task. Dr. Hocken, in the firet place, gives % chronological list of the literary works relating to New Zealand. He adds a minute description of their form, an analysis of the contents when these are noteworthy, ami often a commentary oa subject and style. 'His first page runejj
A BIBLIOGRAPHY Of the LITERATURE RELATING TO NETfI ZEALAND. 1643-1898. HEERES, J. E. Tasmaii, Abe! Jauszoon. Abel Janszoon Tasiuan's | Journal | of '* his discovery of Van Dlemen's Land and New Zealand io 1642 | ■with documents relating to his exploration of Australia | 'in 1644 being photolithographic facsimiles of the original I manuscripts in tue colonial archives at the Hague with | an English translation and facsimiles of original maps to I ■which are added life and labours of Abel Janszoon Tasman | by J. E. Heeres, LL.D., Professor at the Dutch Colonial Institute j Deift and observations made with the compass on Tasman's | voyage by Dr. W. van Bemeelen, AssistantDirector of the Royal Meteorological I Institute, Utrecht | — | Amsterdam j Frederick Jlullev and Co. | (F. Adama van Schcltema and Hurton Messing) \ 189 S. Koy, I'ol. 13$ x 7}, vellum and gilt; price £7. Pp.: n.p. 6: facsimile of original Journal (u'.p.)), 105; translation, 59; life and labours, 163; compass observations, 21. 10 maps. Reproductions of the 50 original illustrations and maps, chiefly coast-lines. This magnificent volume gives at last the complete account of Tasman's Ufa and labours. The journal is the longlost one, discovered about 1854 at Batavla, and iorms the source of the various abridged and imperfect texts of two hundred years ago aud later, .ac given below. It was first edited by Jacob Swart in 1860 in the original Dutch. Tasman (1603-59) sailed from Batavia for Mauritius, August 14th, 1642; discovered and named Van Dlemen's Land; then, on December 13, Staten Land, as he first called New Zealand; the Tonga and Fiji Groups, New Guinea, etc.; and returned June loth, 1643. ABRIDGMENTS AND TBANSLATIONS, etc., etc.
The entries following are scanty. Lit* tie was known and printed of New Zealand in the seventeenth century, and only towards the end of the eighteenth century does the bibliography commence to fill up. After Heeres, in 1643, there is a gap of twenty years to Thevenot's "[Relations de Divers Voyages Curieux" (Paris, 1663-96) —two- fine folio volumes, including an account of Tasman's voyage. Then, after another and wider gap, comes Charles de Brosses' "Histoire dcS Navigations aux Terre3 Australes" in 1756 —followed by the English collections of "Voyages," Callander'a and. Dalrymple's. It was the painstaking Dalryinple who published in. 1771, "Scheme of a. voyage to convey the conveniences of life, domestic- animals, corn, iron, etc., Tbo New Zealand, with. Dr. Benjamin Franklin's sentiments upon the subject"— a, pamphlet worth reprinting serially by the intelligent New Zealand Press. / A MTERARY MONUMENT. Then come -Cook's voyages, and th» curious tribe of jeux d'esprit that clustered round romantic Otaheite, which, for a while, occupied English literary: attention to the exclusion of New Zealand. Dr. Hocken remarks on the "heavy, inflated /style" of Miss Anna Seward's "Elegy on .Captain' Cook" (1781). Of Burney's "Chronological History," a bibliographical treasure discussed for nearly four pages, he writes: "This important and comprehensive work .. . must always form the basis of historical research for early voyages throughout the Pacific." Then the sheets begin to be sprinkled with well-known names; and Dr. Hocken's commentary is often of assistance to new-comers in the literary field. "Of little interest," he declares one modern book of stories. 'For, W. P. Reeves' "Long White Cloud/: "A charmingly; written digest from many sources, forming the best handbook on New Zealand history extant," etc. For F. M. Bladen ? i "Historical Records of New Southl Wales": "This invaluable work," etc. And so on. Enough has been said t» suggest how greatly, in hie two aspects of collector and bibliograpHer, New Zealand will be indebted to Dr. Hocken-r-" and mot New Zealand only, but Australasia. For-himself, the learned Doctor i« an Englishman, a -clergyman's son, 63 years of age,"and-rosy, and hearty, and devoted to Dunedin, "where one can do a day's work on 365 days of the year, and feel better for it" —or there would have been no room for the bibliography among his other multifarious labours and duties. A short biography of Dr. Hocken may be, consulted in Seholefleld and Sehwabe's "'Who's Who in New Zealand," and another in Johns' "Notable Australians," where a list of ihis literary works is given.Exegit monumentum.
The Bookfellow., Auckland Star, Volume XL, Issue 80, 3 April 1909
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