Classic History Books

Great Britain and Her Queen - by Anne E. Keeling

representative governments, modelled on those of the mother country, but inevitably without the
aristocratic element. Such an aristocracy as that of England is the natural growth of many centuries and

of circumstances hardly likely to be duplicated - a fact which the Prince Consort once had occasion to lay

very clearly before Louis Napoleon, anxious to surround himself with a similar nobility, if only he could

manage it. But though the aristocratic element be lacking, the patriotic passion and the sentiment of

loyalty are abundantly present; nor has the mother country any intellectual pre-eminence over her

colonies, drawn immeasurably nearer to her in thought and feeling as communication has become rapid

and easy.

There is something almost magical at first sight in the transformation which the Australian colonies have
undergone in a very limited space of time; yet it is but the natural result of the untrammelled energy of a

race sovereignly fitted to "subdue the earth." It is curious to read how in 1810 the convict settlement at

Botany Bay - name of terror to ignorant home criminals, shuddering at the long, dreadful voyage and the

imagined horrors of a savage country - was almost entirely nourished on imported food, now that the vast

flocks and herds of Australia and New Zealand contribute no inconsiderable proportion of the food

supply of Britain.

The record of New Zealand is somewhat less brilliant than that of its gigantic neighbour. This is due to
somewhat less favourable circumstances, to a nobler and less manageable race of aborigines; the land

perhaps more beautiful, is by the very character of its beauty less subduable. Its political life is at least as

old as that of the old Australian colony, its constitution being granted about the same time; but this

colony has needed, what Australia has not, the armed interference of the Home Government in its

quarrels with the natives - a race once bold and warlike, able to hold their own awhile even against the

English soldiers, gifted with eloquence, with a certain poetic imagination, and no inconsiderable

intelligence. It seemed, too, at one moment as if these Maoris would become generally Christianised; but

the kind of Christianity which they saw exemplified in certain colonists, hungry for land and little

scrupulous as to the means by which they could gratify that hunger, largely undid the good effected

through the agency of missionaries, the countrymen of these oppressors, whose evil deeds they were

helpless to hinder. A superstition that was nothing Christian laid hold of many who had once been

altogether persuaded to embrace the teachings of Jesus, and the relapsed Maoris doubtless were guilty of

savage excesses; yet the original blame lay not chiefly with them; nor is it possible to regard without

deep pity the spectacle presented at the present day of "the noblest of all the savage races with whom we

have ever been brought in contact, overcome by a worse enemy than sword and bullet, and corrupted into

sloth and ruin, ...ruined physically, demoralised in character, by drink." Nobler than other aborigines,

who have faded out before the invasion of the white man, as they may be, their savage nobility has not

saved them from the common fate; they too have "learned our vices faster than our virtues," aided by the

speculative traders in alcoholic poison, who have followed on the track of the colonist, and who, devil's

missionaries as they are, have counteracted too quickly the work of the Christian evangelists who

preceded them.

The extraordinary natural fertility of the country, whose volcanic nature was very recently terribly
demonstrated, is yet very far from being utilised to the utmost, the population of the islands, not inferior

in extent to Great Britain, being yet a long way below that of London. Probably this "desert

treasure-house of agricultural wealth" may, under wise self-government, yet rise to a position of

magnificent importance.

Of all our colonies that in Southern Africa has the least reason to be proud of its recent history, which has


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