« VorigeDoorgaan »
should probune the mysteries. Here, inmured in darkuess, they listened to the howls, yelpings, and lugubrious songs that resounded from without. One of them, however, loy come artifice, contrival to escape, liil behind a Lul, and sitw the whole solemnity : the procession of the medicine-men and the bedaubed and befeathered warriors : the drunning, the dancing, the stamping : the wild lumentation of the womell, as they Lashed the arms of the young girls with sharp mussel-shells and tlung the blooil into the air with di-mal outeries. A scene of ravenous feasting followed, in which the French, released from lurance, were summoned to hare.
Their carousal over, they returned to (Charlesfort, where they were -oon pinched with hunger. The Indians, never nigarily of food, brought them supplies as long as their own lasted ; but the larvest was not yet ripe, and their means did not match their good-will. They told the French of two other kings, Ouade and Conexis, who dwelt towarıls the South, and were rich beyond belief in maize, beans, and squashes. Embarking without delay, the memicunt colonists steereil for the wigwams of these potentates, not by the open sea, but by a perplexing inland navigation, including as it sounds, Calibogne Sound and neighbouring Witers. Arrived at the friendly villages, on or near the Savannalı
, they were feasted to repletion, and their boat laden with vegetables and corn. They returned rejoicing : but their joy was short. Their storehouse at Charlesfort, taking fire in the night, buwned to the ground, and with it their newly acquirt stock. Once more they set forth for the realms of hing Ouade, and once more returned laden with supplies. Nay, more, the generous savagr assured then, that, so long its his comfields yielded their harvests, his friends should not want.
How long this friendship would have lasted may well be matter of doubt. With the purreption tlut the dependants on their bounty were
. 10 deviyols, but a crow of idle and helpless beggar's, respect would soon have changed to contempt and contempt to ill-will. But it was not to Inilian war-clubs that the embryo colony was to owe its ruin. Within itselt it carried its own destruction. The ill-assolteil band of landsmen and sailors, surowded by that influence of the wilderness which wakeus the dormant savage in the breasts of men, soon fell into quarrels. Albert, a rude soldier, with a thousand leagues of ocean betwixt him and responsibility, grew Dash, xomineering, and violent beyond endurance. None could question or oppose him without peril of death. He hanged a drummer who had fallen iwder his displeasure, and banished La Chère, a soldier, to a solitary island, three leagues from the fort, where he left him to starve. For a time his comrades chafed in smothere I fury. The crisis came at length. A few of the fiercer spirits leagued together, assailed their tyrant, and murdered him. The deed done, and the famished soldier delivered, they called to the command one Nicholas Barré, a man of merit. Larré took the command, and thenceforth there was peace.
Peace, such as it was, with fawine, homesickness, disgust. The rough ramparts and rude buildings of Charlesfort, hatefully familiar to their weary eyes, the sweltering forest, the glassy river, the eternal silence of the wild monotony around them, oppressed the senses and the spirits. Did they feel themselves the pioneers of religious freedom, the advance-guard of civilization ? Not at all. They dreamed of ease, of
home, of pleasures across the sea, -of the evening cup on the bench before the cabaret, of dances with kind damsels of Dieppe. But how to escape? A continent was their solitary prison, and the pitiless Atlantic closed the egress. Not one of theni knew how to build a ship; but Ribaut had left them a forge, with tools and iron, and strong desire supplied the place of skill. Trees were hewn down and the work begun. Had they put forth, to maintain themselves at Port Royal, the energy and resource which they exerted to escape from it, they might have laid the cornerstone of a solid colony.
All, gentle and simple, labored with equal zeal. They caulked the seams with the long moss which hung in profusion from the neighboring trees; the pines supplied them with pitch; the Indians made for them a kind of cordage ; and for sails they sewed together their shirts and bedding. At length a brigantine, worthy of Robinson Crusoe, floated on the waters of the Chenanceau. They laid in what provision they might, gave all that remained of their goods to the delighted Indians, embarked, descended the river, and put to sea. A fair wind filled their patchwork sails and bore them from the hated coast. Day after day they held their course, till at length the favoring breeze died away and a breathless calm fell on the face of the waters. Florida was far behind ; France farther yet before. Floating idly ou the glassy waste, the craft Jay motionless. Their supplies gave out.
Twelve kernels of maize ii day were each man's portion ; then the maize failed and they ate their shoes and leather jerkins. The water-barrels were drained, and they tried to slake their thirst with brine. Several died, and the rest, giddy with exhanstion and crazed with thirst, were forced to ceaseless labor, baling out the water that gushed through every scam. Head-winds set in, increasing to a gale, and the wretched brigantine, her sails close-reefed, tossed among the savage billows at the mercy of the storm. A heavy sea rolled down upon hier, and threw her on her side. The surges broke over her, and, clinging with desperate gripe to spars and cordage, the drenched voyagers gave up all for lost. At length she righted. The gale subsided, the wind changed, and the crazy, water-logged ressel again bore slowly towards France.
Gnawed with deadly famine, they counted the leagues of barren ocean that still stretched before. With haggard, wolfish eyes they gazed on each other, till a whisper passed from man to man, that one, by his death, might ransom all the rest. The choice was made. It fell on La Chère, the same wretched man whom Albert had doomed to starvation on a lonely island, and whose mind was burdened with the fresh memories of his anguish and despair. They killed him, and with ravenous avidity portioned out his flesh. The hideous repast sustained them till the French coast rose in sight, when, it is said, in a delirium of insane joy, they could no longer steer their vessel, but let hier drift at the will of the tide. A small English bark bore down upon them, took them all on board, and, after landing the feeblest, carried the rest prisoners to Queen Elizabeth.
Thus closed another of those scenes of woe whose lurid clouds were thickly piled around the stormy dawn of American history.
It was but the opening part of a wild and tragic drama. A tempest of miseries awaited those who essayed to plant the banners of France and of Calvin in the Southern forests; and the bloody scenes of the religious war were acted in epitome on the shores of Florida.
It was roses, roses, all the way,
A year ago on this very day.
The air broke into a mist with bells,
They had answered, “ And afterwards, what else ?”
Alack, it was I who leaped at the sun To give it my loving friends to keep. Nought man could do, have I left undone, And you see my harvest, what I reap
This very day, now a year is run.
There's nobody on the house-tops now,
By the very scaffold's foot, I trow.
I go in the rain, and more than needs,
Stones at me, for my year's misdeeds.
Thus I entered Brescia, and thus I go ! In such triumphs, people have dropped down dead, “Thou, paid by the world,-what do'st thou owe Me?” God might have questioned; but now instead 'Tis God shall requite ! I am safer so.
R. BROWXiXG. OUR COLONIZATION AND ITS ETHICS.
The old comparison of colonial politics to the agitations of a vestry, is one which we at all events can afford to receive with a calm smile of superiority, and with a feeling of invulnerability to any such sarcasm. The present state of things in this Colony shows that the importance and interest of public events, of political complications, or of financial schemes, do not depend entirely upon the territorial extent of their influence, or upon the masses of population affected by them. These of course are elements' by no means to be ignored in estimating the importance of public transactions; and questions which are in themselves perfectly simple may acquire an interest which absorbs public attention on account of the magnitude of the results involved. In an old established country scarcely any question is considered trifling, partly by reason of the extent of population which may be affected by it, and partly by reason of the powerful machinery of discussion and debate which is brought to bear in its consideration.
A battery of Armstrong guns in full operation is sure to make a great noise, and the bystanders will become interested in the practice, even though the object of the attack is nothing but a whare which might be demolished with a hatchet. In the same way a matter in dispute assumes a factitious importance when it is discussed by the leading orators of the British Parliament, and advocated on either side with all the power of the British
The uneasy movements of Enceladus and his stertorous breathings may cause the earth to quake, the mountain to heave and groan, and the nations to be filled with consternation ; yet the physiological interest of his acts is no greater than that of an ordinary mortal’s. On the other hand it is often difficult for a colonial question to receive the consideration and attention which it deserves at the hands of the people of the older countries. Appealing only to the interests of a small scattered population, shown in a light which presents nothing but the coarsest possible view of those interests, and debated with the ludicrous oratory of combined selfishness and ignorance, these questions seldom do more than bring a smile of contempt to the lips of those who know that the restraining influence of the mother country is ready to prevent those evils which the folly and turbulence of a young community might entail. We cannot therefore recognize with too much seriousness the fact that this Colony is now called upon to act for itself in circumstances which place it face to face with questions whose importance and interest is exciting the attention of the whole world, or what is to ns much the same thing, of the British race.
It would perhaps be difficult to point out any session of the British parliament for a considerable number of years in which affairs of greater interest to be debated, measures of more practical importance to be proposed, or statesmanship of more genuine quality to be employed, than in the present session of the New Zealand General Assembly. The question
of free trade was undoubtedly of vital importance to the countiy, but the real merits of that question had been settled long before by the concurrent voices of the profoundest thinkers and political economists; and to carry out the simple measure required for the relief of the great evils which existed required rather moral courage than refined statesmauship. The attitude to be assumed by England in relation to the exciting events going on in foreign countries, and the embarrassing complications arising from them, has perhaps deserved and received more attention than any other topic for some time past. Yet in this case the course to be pursued has generally been pretty plain. To maintain a dignified neutrality, and at the same time in cases where grand principles are involved to show unhesitatingly which way her sympathies incline, to avoid being led by those sympathies into unjustitiable interference, or moved by insult and ingratitude from the positiou once taken up ; these are the things which England has had to do, and to do which she has not been obliged to look for consummate statesmanship or profound policy, but rather for the firmness of Englishmen and the honourable feeling of gentlemen.
The questions with which we in New Zealand have found ourselves compelled to grapple are of a more subtle and complicated character. We have to reconcile conflicting elements. We have to eneroach upon the possessions of others without committing injustice, to seize by fore: that which we most require for our own uses without exhibiting a spirit of rapacity, to rescind treaty engagements withont breaking faith, to civilize with the cage of the sword, to secure the interests of hunianity and progress by a process of war, conquest, and confiscation, to induce a race of men who always suspected our friendship while our swords were sheathed, to believe in it now when we press upon them with increasing forces, drive them from their habitations, and occupy their land ; and all this we have to do in consequence of difficulties into which we have been led either by others than ourselves, or by the inevitable course of events, and out of which we have to get by conduct of which the responsibility has been suddenly and uneeremoniously thrown upon us. To do these things seems to require a combination of high qualities. Inflinching courage, judicial impartiality, administrative skill, the calmness of the philosopher, the knowledge of the political economist, the benevolence of the philanthropist, and the practical skill of the financier, seem to be all necessary in order to steer us safely through our present maze of difficulties and if we can find these qualities in our community, we need not blush to submit our policy to the scrutiny and the criticisms of the leading nations of the world.
To meet these pressing difficulties, the late Government of New Zealand has put forth a scheme, and the present Government, composed partly of the same members, has adopted that scheme, so far as its fundamental principles are concerned. It is a scheme which at once and for ever subverts the footing on which we have hitherto stood with the Maori race, and alters irrevocably the relations existing between ourselves and them. It is a scheme in short, for swamping the Maori by numbers, and for colonizing the land by force. To accept this scheme, as it has been accepted almost universally throughout the colony, and as we for our part are prepared to accept it
, is a step which at once confronts ils with the question whether the whole of our former dealiugs with the Macri have not been based upou a fulse theory and a mistaken rier of