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A Narrative of a Nine Months' Residence in New Zealand in 1827   By:

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[Illustration: A New Zealand War Speech. (From a sketch by A. Earle.)]






IN 1827





Whitecombe & Tombs Limited

Christchurch, Wellington, and Dunedin, N.Z.;

Melbourne and London



The author of this account of New Zealand in the year 1827 was an artist by profession. "A love of roving and adventure," he states, tempted him, at an early age, to sea. In 1815 he procured a passage on board a storeship bound for Sicily and Malta, where he had a brother stationed who was a captain in the navy. He visited many parts of the Mediterranean, accompanying Lord Exmouth's fleet in his brother's gunboat on his Lordship's first expedition against the Barbary States. He afterwards visited the ruins of Carthage and the remains of the ancient city of Ptolomea, or Lepida, situated in ancient Libya. Returning to Malta, he passed through Sicily, and ascended Mount Etna. In 1818 he left England for the United States, and spent nearly two years in rambling through that country. Thence he proceeded to Brazil and Chile, returning to Rio de Janeiro, where he practised his art until the commencement of 1824. Having received letters of introduction to Lord Amherst, who had left England to undertake the government of India, Mr. Earle left Rio for the Cape of Good Hope, intending to take his passage thence to Calcutta. On the voyage to the Cape the vessel by which he was a passenger touched at Tristan d'Acunha, and was driven off that island in a gale while Mr. Earle was ashore, leaving him stranded in that desolate land, where he remained for six months, when he was rescued by a passing ship, the "Admiral Cockburn," bound for Van Diemen's Land, whence he visited New South Wales and New Zealand, returning again to Sydney. In pursuance of his original resolution to visit India, he left Sydney in "The Rainbow," touching at the Caroline Islands, Manilla, and Singapore. After spending some time in Madras, where he executed many original drawings, which were afterwards copied and exhibited in a panorama, he set out for England by a French vessel, which was compelled by stress of weather to put into Mauritius, where she was condemned. Mr. Earle ultimately reached England in a vessel named the "Resource," but, being still animated by the desire for travel, he accepted the situation of draughtsman on His Majesty's ship "Beagle," commanded by Captain Fitzroy, which in the year 1831 left on a voyage of discovery that has been made famous by the observations of Charles Darwin, who accompanied the expedition in the capacity of naturalist.

The notes which furnished the materials for this book were made by Mr. Earle during his first visit to New Zealand, in 1827. They are valuable as setting forth the impressions formed by an educated man, who came into the primitive community then existing at Hokianga and the Bay of Islands, without being personally connected either with the trading community, the missionaries, or the whalers. It should not be inferred from the reflections Mr. Earle casts upon the missionaries that he was himself an irreligious man, because the journal of his residence on Tristan d'Acunha shows that, while living there, he read the whole service of the Church of England to that little community every Sunday, and his diary in many places exhibits a reverence for Divine things. It may, however, be said in extenuation of the lack of hospitality on the part of the missionaries of which he complains, that many of the early residents and European visitors to New Zealand were of an undesirable class, and that they exercised a demoralising influence upon the Maoris. It was not easy for the missionaries to consort, upon terms of intimacy, with their fellow countrymen whose relations with the Natives were such as they must strongly condemn. Earle's narrative is interesting because it conveys a realistic description of the Maoris before their national customs and habits had undergone any material change through association with white settlers... Continue reading book >>

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