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    Chapter 35

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    Chapter 36
    Previous Chapter
    The Autocrat of Russia possesses more power than any other man in the
    earth; but he cannot stop a sneeze.
    --Pudd'nhead Wilson's New Calendar.

    WAUGANIUI, December 3. A pleasant trip, yesterday, per Ballarat Fly.
    Four hours. I do not know the distance, but it must have been well along
    toward fifty miles. The Fly could have spun it out to eight hours and
    not discommoded me; for where there is comfort, and no need for hurry,
    speed is of no value--at least to me; and nothing that goes on wheels can
    be more comfortable, more satisfactory, than the New Zealand trains.
    Outside of America there are no cars that are so rationally devised.
    When you add the constant presence of charming scenery and the nearly
    constant absence of dust--well, if one is not content then, he ought to
    get out and walk. That would change his spirit, perhaps? I think so.
    At the end of an hour you would find him waiting humbly beside the track,
    and glad to be taken aboard again.

    Much horseback riding, in and around this town; many comely girls in cool
    and pretty summer gowns; much Salvation Army; lots of Maoris; the faces
    and bodies of some of the old ones very tastefully frescoed. Maori
    Council House over the river-large, strong, carpeted from end to end with
    matting, and decorated with elaborate wood carvings, artistically
    executed. The Maoris were very polite.

    I was assured by a member of the House of Representatives that the native
    race is not decreasing, but actually increasing slightly. It is another
    evidence that they are a superior breed of savages. I do not call to
    mind any savage race that built such good houses, or such strong and
    ingenious and scientific fortresses, or gave so much attention to
    agriculture, or had military arts and devices which so nearly approached
    the white man's. These, taken together with their high abilities in
    boat-building, and their tastes and capacities in the ornamental arts
    modify their savagery to a semi-civilization--or at least to,
    a quarter-civilization.

    It is a compliment to them that the British did not exterminate them, as
    they did the Australians and the Tasmanians, but were content with
    subduing them, and showed no desire to go further. And it is another
    compliment to them that the British did not take the whole of their
    choicest lands, but left them a considerable part, and then went further
    and protected them from the rapacities of landsharks--a protection which
    the New Zealand Government still extends to them. And it is still
    another compliment to the Maoris that the Government allows native
    representation--in both the legislature and the cabinet, and gives both
    sexes the vote. And in doing these things the Government also
    compliments itself; it has not been the custom of the world for
    conquerors to act in this large spirit toward the conquered.

    The highest class white men Who lived among the Maoris in the earliest
    time had a high opinion of them and a strong affection for them. Among
    the whites of this sort was the author of "Old New Zealand;" and Dr.
    Campbell of Auckland was another. Dr. Campbell was a close friend of
    several chiefs, and has many pleasant things to say of their fidelity,
    their magnanimity, and their generosity. Also of their quaint notions
    about the white man's queer civilization, and their equally quaint
    comments upon it. One of them thought the missionary had got everything
    wrong end first and upside down. "Why, he wants us to stop worshiping
    and supplicating the evil gods, and go to worshiping and supplicating the
    Good One! There is no sense in that. A good god is not going to do us
    any harm."

    The Maoris had the tabu; and had it on a Polynesian scale of
    comprehensiveness and elaboration. Some of its features could have been
    importations from India and Judea. Neither the Maori nor the Hindoo of
    common degree could cook by a fire that a person of higher caste had
    used, nor could the high Maori or high Hindoo employ fire that had served
    a man of low grade; if a low-grade Maori or Hindoo drank from a vessel
    belonging to a high-grade man, the vessel was defiled, and had to be
    destroyed. There were other resemblances between Maori tabu and Hindoo
    caste-custom.

    Yesterday a lunatic burst into my quarters and warned me that the Jesuits
    were going to "cook" (poison) me in my food, or kill me on the stage at
    night. He said a mysterious sign was visible upon my posters and meant
    my death. He said he saved Rev. Mr. Haweis's life by warning him that
    there were three men on his platform who would kill him if he took his
    eyes off them for a moment during his lecture. The same men were in my
    audience last night, but they saw that he was there. "Will they be there
    again to-night?" He hesitated; then said no, he thought they would
    rather take a rest and chance the poison. This lunatic has no delicacy.
    But he was not uninteresting. He told me a lot of things. He said he
    had "saved so many lecturers in twenty years, that they put him in the
    asylum." I think he has less refinement than any lunatic I have met.

    December 8. A couple of curious war-monuments here at Wanganui. One is
    in honor of white men "who fell in defence of law and order against
    fanaticism and barbarism." Fanaticism. We Americans are English in
    blood, English in speech, English in religion, English in the essentials
    of our governmental system, English in the essentials of our
    civilization; and so, let us hope, for the honor of the blend, for the
    honor of the blood, for the honor of the race, that that word got there
    through lack of heedfulness, and will not be suffered to remain. If you
    carve it at Thermopylae, or where Winkelried died, or upon Bunker Hill
    monument, and read it again "who fell in defence of law and order against
    fanaticism" you will perceive what the word means, and how mischosen it
    is. Patriotism is Patriotism. Calling it Fanaticism cannot degrade it;
    nothing can degrade it. Even though it be a political mistake, and a
    thousand times a political mistake, that does not affect it; it is
    honorable always honorable, always noble--and privileged to hold its head
    up and look the nations in the face. It is right to praise these brave
    white men who fell in the Maori war--they deserve it; but the presence of
    that word detracts from the dignity of their cause and their deeds, and
    makes them appear to have spilt their blood in a conflict with ignoble
    men, men not worthy of that costly sacrifice. But the men were worthy.
    It was no shame to fight them. They fought for their homes, they fought
    for their country; they bravely fought and bravely fell; and it would
    take nothing from the honor of the brave Englishmen who lie under the
    monument, but add to it, to say that they died in defense of English laws
    and English homes against men worthy of the sacrifice--the Maori
    patriots.

    The other monument cannot be rectified. Except with dynamite. It is a
    mistake all through, and a strangely thoughtless one. It is a monument
    erected by white men to Maoris who fell fighting with the whites and
    against their own people, in the Maori war. "Sacred to the memory of the
    brave men who fell on the 14th of May, 1864," etc. On one side are the
    names of about twenty Maoris. It is not a fancy of mine; the monument
    exists. I saw it. It is an object-lesson to the rising generation. It
    invites to treachery, disloyalty, unpatriotism. Its lesson, in frank
    terms is, "Desert your flag, slay your people, burn their homes, shame
    your nationality--we honor such."

    December 9. Wellington. Ten hours from Wanganui by the Fly.
    December 12. It is a fine city and nobly situated. A busy place, and
    full of life and movement. Have spent the three days partly in walking
    about, partly in enjoying social privileges, and largely in idling around
    the magnificent garden at Hutt, a little distance away, around the shore.
    I suppose we shall not see such another one soon.

    We are packing to-night for the return-voyage to Australia. Our stay in
    New Zealand has been too brief; still, we are not unthankful for the
    glimpse which we have had of it.

    The sturdy Maoris made the settlement of the country by the whites rather
    difficult. Not at first--but later. At first they welcomed the whites,
    and were eager to trade with them--particularly for muskets; for their
    pastime was internecine war, and they greatly preferred the white man's
    weapons to their own. War was their pastime--I use the word advisedly.
    They often met and slaughtered each other just for a lark, and when there
    was no quarrel. The author of "Old New Zealand" mentions a case where a
    victorious army could have followed up its advantage and exterminated the
    opposing army, but declined to do it; explaining naively that "if we did
    that, there couldn't be any more fighting." In another battle one army
    sent word that it was out of ammunition, and would be obliged to stop
    unless the opposing army would send some. It was sent, and the fight
    went on.

    In the early days things went well enough. The natives sold land without
    clearly understanding the terms of exchange, and the whites bought it
    without being much disturbed about the native's confusion of mind. But
    by and by the Maori began to comprehend that he was being wronged; then
    there was trouble, for he was not the man to swallow a wrong and go aside
    and cry about it. He had the Tasmanian's spirit and endurance, and a
    notable share of military science besides; and so he rose against the
    oppressor, did this gallant "fanatic," and started a war that was not
    brought to a definite end until more than a generation had sped.
    Next Chapter
    Chapter 36
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