Page:Darwin Journal of Researches.djvu/441

This page has been validated.
1835.]
419
NEW ZEALAND.

day, always built on a level piece of ground. They consist of a double stockade of thick and tall posts, placed in a zigzag line, so that every part can be flanked. Within the stockade a mound of earth is thrown up, behind which the defenders can rest in safety, or use their fire-arms over it. On the level of the ground little archways sometimes pass through this breastwork, by which means the defenders can crawl out to the stockade to reconnoitre their enemies. The Rev. W. Williams, who gave me this account, added, that in one Pas he had noticed spurs or buttresses projecting on the inner and protected side of the mound of earth. On asking the chief the use of them, he replied, that if two or three of his men were shot, their neighbours would not see the bodies, and so be discouraged.

These Pas are considered by the New Zealanders as very perfect means of defence: for the attacking force is never so well disciplined as to rush in a body to the stockade, cut it down, and effect their entry. When a tribe goes to war, the chief cannot order one party to go here and another there; but every man fights in the manner which best pleases himself; and to each separate individual to approach a stockade defended by fire-arms must appear certain death. I should think a more warlike race of inhabitants could not be found in any part of the world than the New Zealanders. Their conduct on first seeing a ship, as described by Captain Cook, strongly illustrates this: the act of throwing volleys of stones at so great and novel an object, and their defiance of "Come on shore and we will kill and eat you all," shows uncommon boldness. This warlike spirit is evident in many of their customs, and even in their smallest actions. If a New Zealander is struck, although but in joke, the blow must be returned; and of this I saw an instance with one of our officers.

At the present day,from the progress of civilization, there is much less warfare, except among some of the southern tribes. I heard a characteristic anecdote of what took place some time ago in the south. A missionary found a chief and his tribe in preparation for war;—their muskets clean and bright, and their ammunition ready. He reasoned long on the inutility of the war, and the little provocation which had been given for it. The chief was much shaken in his resolution, and seemed in doubt: but at length it