DISGUSTING RESULTS OF IMPORTED SOUTH SEA LABOUR.
W i; h:ul occasion some time since to direct public attention to the fact that cert,nil enterprising persons hail imported to this colony a number of South Sea Islanders. The ostensible object of the enterprise was declared to bo the progress and development of the ibix industry and the supply of needful labour. Thy aspect of the whole affair bad a very equivocal syndication, which is borne out by the alarm suggested to S'>rne ICnglish writers that the importation of slave labour lias commenced in a colony which proudly .Usilself th-'Uritain oftlie South. We are told with complacent scorn that slavery as an institution, though bruised and trodden out in America, has found a place in Xew Zealand. This talk is no doubt the ex iggeration which insullicient information allows, but we should not forget that the allegation upon which it is raised is a substantial fact and no a jiriori- reasoning can disturb it. We assume that the niggers" brought here by the Lulu were induced to leave their own country by offers of advantage, perhaps of freedom. It is extremely probable thnt their chiefs have received the wages f>r which they are to toil. They may or unknot have been kidnapped. It is possible that the engagement to which they are held bound will take the form, if it have none of the spirit, of ail equitable contract. What concerns us now is, if the trallic should continue, the introduction of a new social element. British subjects, for the most part, pride themselves upon their sense of justice no less than their love of liberty, and it becomes important to consider not. merely the limit of authority to which these bondsmen have subjected themselves, but the position they are to occupy iu relation to the white or civilized population, and to the brownskitmed, but free Maoris, who are ns jealous of their national prejudices as any people in the world. It was a fortunate circumstance thnt through the Incw Zealand Press, the Jviglish Parliament was informed of the inceptive progress of this importation of black labour, and that the Colonial Legislature lost 110 time before conferring upon the Governor in Council the necessnry p>wers to enforce the practice and treatment of humanity towards these blacks. But there is one bearing of the question which we do not sec provided for in the Act. These islanders are savages of the lowest type. Their customs are not regulated by an apprehension of the vicissitudes of war and a warlike spirit, as is the way with the Maori people. Their h.ibits are the product of an abominable fetishism. They are foul to the farthest extent of indecency, and their appetites are unclean to the most scandalous and shocking forms of cannibalism. As a proof that we in no way magnify the features of this unpleasant subject, we may inform our readers of the foundations upon which our assertions rest. We have received letters from several correspondents complaining with considerable bitterness of the odious sights to which their families are exposed by the manners and habits of these woolly bar-
linrians. In one ease vrr> hear that they have exhumed the bodies of animals which have died of disease, and devoured them greedily. In another we hear that they have scoured the creel's and landed putrid carrion on which they feasted exuitingly. Dead animals of all kinds arc dainty bits to these insular epicures. Their behaviour in other respects is described as extremely disgusting. The precise point which we desire to impress upon those interested is, that these savage proclivities :nay be tolerable in tlie f'outli Sea Islands, or be readable ! in a book of travels, but il'eihibited in >Tew Zealand in the midst of white people of all ages and both sexes cannot lie endured. Our own people hare reproached the law ' that it has punished th-ni for oU'ences 1 which, committed by the Mauri, were not . noticed. "Whatever toleration of tlie ! Ma ori may have been justified i: cannot be pleaded for those who have placed the ; naked and depressed savage in our midst. | It'the law has very properly declared that ' the employer of compulsory servitude shall not bo inhuman, it should take ' guarantees that he shall not be the ' means of outraging common sense and I decency. If lie must have "slaves," let him lie compelled to provide aceom:!>oda- ; tion for them so that they may not become a ' public nuisance. A tradesman in Queenstreet is liable to prosecution if he i.llow ! oll'il to be offensive to his neighbours. ; Sueh manners as we have described can- > not be very elevating to those who witness J them. It is obvious that while natural ! horror may pre-erve from the imitation of 1 them, familiarity with them may sow the .-eeds of an unseen demoralization. The ■ wors: lorms of grossness are communicable and co-cxislent with an outward refinement. I here is lit'ie doubt that. His excel lei'.cy wiU give ollVei to (lie intention of the Legislature and staiul between these ■ wretched islan lcrs ami unfair treatment. | Hut it is equally necessnrv that he should 1 insist upon the observance on the part of ; their employers, of conditions that shall ; deprive the presence ot these men ol olh-nsiveiK'ss. We say nothing at pre- • sent of the moral or political bearings of j this new I'juestiun ; bill we can assure \ those most iutcresled that they are : serious. What we insist upon is thai ; the eves of men shall not be offended by i the sight of savage garbage gatherers | gorging at our threshold the olfal which ! our nigs refuse. I
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