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larity of their appearance and the mode left dry at low water. When this has of their origin. The coral-forming attained any height, the sun dries the polypi are animals of a low order of sand at low tide, and the winds thien organisation, not differing greatly in help to drift it and pile it up still higher structure from the fresh water polyp, above the waves, till at last we get a or hydra, to be found in abundance little islet permanently above even during the summer in our pools and high water mark, that becomes the ditches. The principal difference is in home of the sea-bird and the haunt of the faculty which they possess of se- the turtle. Driftwood is now and creting and depositing carbonate of then thrown up on it, with plants from lime in the minute cells and interstices some distant shore, still bearing about of their own tissues, so that their bodies them, either in seed or root, the essence consist of a solid framework, with a of vitality. A low, trailing, scrubby soft gelatinous sort of covering: They vegetation is thus gradually, comlive, moreover, in communities, not menced, which, united with the merely associated, but coalesced, indi- "guano" of the birds and animals, forms viduals growing out of each other as a soil for any nobler individual of the buds grow out of trees, and all uniting vegetable kingdom, the germs of which to form a common body, having a cer- may happen to be cast there. This tain irregular but definite form and little islet thus, Venus-like, sprung size, so that the different corals may be from the sea, is continually added to known by the external appearance of by the continued action of its parent, their masses, just as trees are.
and ultimately, perhaps, coalesces with It is sometimes said that coral ani. others of similar origin, resting on the mals are worms, and that they build the same mass of reef. In time there would reefs, like architects building a house. be sufficient space of ground to collect This is altogether a false votion and a considerable quantity of rain water analogy. The coral polypi do not during wet weather, and this, percolatbuild their own masses any more than ing through the soil and the porous we build our own skeletons, and the rock below, remains there at no great reefs are formed simply of the accumu- depth, just about the level of low water lation of dead and living bodies of such probably, where it is prevented draincorals, which have grown there, lived ing off by the sea water around it. there, and died there in countless num- Some persons have fancied that the bers through a long series of years. fresh water thus found was merely the The dead coral masses are in most in- salt water of the sea with the salt filstances unmoved and unchanged from tered out of it, forgetting that filters what they were when alive, except, act only mechanically, while salt is perhaps, that their internal structure in chemical solution in the water of the has become more solid and crystalline. If a large sponge, saturated with Some of them, however, have been fresh water, be halt immersed in a dish worn and broken by the action of the of salt water, the sponge will retain the waves, and their debris, often in a state fresh water at its centre unmixed with of fine sand, has been accumulated in the salt for an indefinite length of time. the hollows and interstices of the rest, In the same way is the fresh water reso that all the lower and internal por- tained a little way below the surface of tions of a coral reef have become com. a coral islet. pacted together into solid stone. Not Thus are islets and islands formed only corals, but multitudes of fish, on the surface of reefs, and prepared crabs, univalve and bivalve shells, sea- for the habitation of man. But there is urchins, star-fish, hard calcareous sea- another wonder yet about the formaplants, and countless myriads of mi. tion of the reefs themselves on which nute foraminiferous shells have all we must say a few words. The coral. contributed their remains to the mass forming polypi, of whose solid frames of this accumulation. When a pile of the reefs are composed, cannot live in materials of this kind, all dead inter- deep water. A certain amount of nally, but full of life on its outer sur- light and heat is necessary to their exface, reaches the sea level, the breakers istence, and they seem to flourish best soon detach blocks from its outer edge, when exposed to the very surf of the and roll them on to it, and the currents breakers. They cannot live at all in a sweep sand over it, until in some place greater depth than twenty fathoms, or or other a sand-bank is formed that is one hundred and twenty feet. But
the reefs themselves rise up like huge and circles sometimes of many miles in submarine walls from depths hitherto diameter, with a central lagoon of ununfathomable. A frequent depth found occupied water, and a scattered margin just immediately outside the breakers, of little islets formed from the old as close as a boat dare venture, is one sand-banks. bundred and twenty fathoms, or seven In the great archipelago of the Rahundred and twenty feet, while lines dack and Ralick islands (or the Mar. of three hundred fathoms (eighteen shal islands, as they are sometimes hundred feet) and more have been let called), extending over a space of four down from a ship at a little greater or five hundred miles, not a stone or distance, without being able to reach fragment of a rock is to be seen other the bottom. The explanation of this than coral; all the old lands, with their apparent difficulty is found in the de- bard rocks, have disappeared beneath pression of the sea-bed. Wherever the sea; and so valuable are even the such reefs are now found land once sinallest pebbles of hard rock, that existed, with shores on which the coral whenever a drift tree is thrown ashore animals settled in their favourite depths on one of the islands, its roots are inand localities. They grew and flou- stantly searched, and any little stones rished there, and laid the foundations of that are entangled therein are carried a reef. The land then became affected to the chi as “ droits belonging to by one of those great chronic move- the crown." ments which are so slow and gradual The aspect of these “ atolls," as they
" that men fail to perceive their effects are called, is peculiar. The dark in any one or two generations, and clear blue water of the unfathomable sank slowly beneath the waves — 80 ocean rolls around them, kept in long slowly that the gradual increase of the gentle undulations by the perpetuai solid frames of the polypi was sufficient breath and impulse of the trade-wind. to counteract the movement of depres- This long, lazy swell, meeting suddenly sion so far as they were concerned, and with the obstruction of the steep wall to keep the upper surface of the reef of the reef, lifts itself into vast, wide, still at the level of low water in the continuous ridges of blue water, that, sea. Century after century and thou- rising higher and higher, at last roll sand after thousand of years went by, over, and fall on the outer edge of the and still the sinking of the sea-bed and reef in broad cataracts of foain. One the up-building of the reef went on, great ring of snow-white surf thus entill at length in many instances the virons the whole reef-mass except at original land disappeared altogether the leeward openings, forming a wellfrom sight. The old island lies buried marked boundary between the deep now deep in his coral tomb, the only blue of the ocean and the bright grasssymptom of his former existence being green water of the tranquil and comthe flat slab of coral rock laid horizon- paratively shallow lagoon inside. The tally across his head. Every step and sittie islets on the ring of reef are marevery gradation of this process may gined by beaches of glittering white still be observed in the great Pacific sand, covered with green bushes, and Ocean. Some of the lofty and rugged often crowned by the pliant stem and islands have their margins fringed by gently waving plumes of the graceful, corals which are but now commencing feathery cocoa-palm. The elements to grow only just below the beach; of the scene are few and simple ; yet others that have subsided to a certain is it not only beautiful, but most extent are surrounded by an irregular impressive. The bright contrast of ring of coral reef at some distance from colour seen under a tropical sun, with the present beach, which ring marks the clear deep sky overhead and the the outline of the island as it once ex- few piled-up mountainous and staisted, a channel of water, or lagoon, tionary clouds, looking like towers of running between the outer sea wall woolpacks, which are characteristic of and the margin of the present land, to the Pacific horizon, pleases and satiswhich access is gained from the sea by fies the eye, while the mind cannot fail numerous irregular openings in the to be moved with the contemplation of barrier, or encircling reet; others such wonderful results springing from again occur either singly or in groups the apparently antagonistic, but really and archipelagos, where the coral reefs united, action of the great forces of na. alone are to be seen disposed in ovals ture. The great internal disturbing
agencies and the destructive action of
never seen, save at a distance by some waves and winds are together set at stray wanderer from the coast. defiance and overcome by the vital We have seen that throughout large energies and powers of such an insignie tracts of the Pacific we bave reason to cant animal as a little polyp.
believe that great tracts of land have The high islands of the Pacific, whe- sunk below the level of the sea. It has ther surrounded by an encircling bar- occurred to us sometimes to specurier reef or not, have likewise generally late on the extent to which this demany features in common. They rise pression has been carried, the time it into lofty peaks and ridges in the in- has occupied, and how far this geoloterior, grass-grown, but bare of trees, gical agency may have an ethnological from which radiate many buttress-like bearing or connexion. Instances are ridges, separated from each other by not wholly wanting of purely archeodeep and precipitous ravines, that open logical facts which would lead us to ask into valleys as they proceed towards the whether some of the present islands
Each radiating ridge has its sides have not once formed parts of larger also closely and deeply furrowed by lands occupied by people of a higher rocky glens, that run straight from its civilisation, and acquainted with more crest on either side into the valleys, and of the arts of life. Such instances are each ends frequently in a craggy pro- the large grotesque statues found by montory that juts into the sea, with
Captain Cook upon Easter Island, dark precipices of black rock separat- carved out of hard lava rock, and of a ing the valleys from each other. Over colossal size, utterly beyond any apall the lower parts of the ridges, as parent means of workmanship poswell as in the depth of the valleys and sessed by the inhabitants then, and ravines, spread dark, umbrageous mysterious to them as to Cook in all forests, while groves of cocoa-palns, that respects the time and mode of bamboos, breadfruits, and the broad- their production. In the opposite leafed banana, extend across the more corner of the Pacific again, in the isopen and level tracts. Under these land of Tinian, which was uninhabited trees the inhabitants build their huts, when visited by our illustrious navi. cultivate their gardens, and lead their gator, he found temples carved out of simple and light-hearted lives. If such the solid rock, supported by columns an island have an encircling reef, the and pillars of cut and ornamented lagoon between it and the land forms a stone. We remember seeing in the tranquil sea-lake or natural harbour, in columns of the Daily News, some years which the natives may disport them- ago, a letter from a naval officer who selves, while as the reef often closes in had lately visited Pitcairn's Island, upon the land, and cuts this off
' where giving an account of a visit he bad the precipitous dividing ridges that paid, under the guidance of one of the bound each valley strike into the sea, inhabitants, to some almost inaccessiit not unfrequently happens that adja- ble precipices on the sea shore, where cent valleys have no easy method of landing from a boat or communication either by land or water, was utterly impossible. These preciand are thus apt to form isolated dis- pices, thus overhanging a wild and sotricts, the inhabitants of which are Îitary sea, he described as graven with often at enmity with each other. strange characters and marks, appa
The lofty and often inaccessible in- rently symbols or hieroglyphics, eviteriors of these islands are but rarely dently carved by the hand of man. He visited, and frequently but little known professed himself utterly puzzled to by the careless inhabitants of the coast. account for the meaning or object of Instances are recorded by Mr. Darwin their existence, or how they could have and others, of men guilty perhaps of been cut. If, however, we suppose some crime, or obnoxious to the re. Easter Island to have been once the venge of
'some enemy, or perhaps urged summit of a green swelling mountain, only by the moody impulses of tbat rising from a land now buried deep melancholy and misanthropic disposi- below the sea, it becomes easy to untion which drives some men of all na- derstand how “priests or scribes” may tions and ages to prey upon their own have gone up to carve upon the lofty hearts in solitude, having taken to lead rock, conspicuous to the people below, wild lives in the recesses of the moun- inscriptions which now can be rarely tains, and having thus passed years, visible to mortal eye.
Even as the present islands and is. himself or his men. One poor young lets are but the landmarks and mo- fellow, a volunteer from the colony, numents of much larger islands, or died of hunger and exhaustion by the even of a once great continent per- way. While in Swan River, Captain haps, that spread over the space now Grey made himself master of the lanoccupied by ocean, may not the people guage, and the habits and customs of that inhabit those islands, a people so the natives ; and published, beside his peculiar, yet so widely spread, so si. more formal travels, a very interesting milar, yet so utterly separated, may comparative vocabulary of the Austrathey not also be the relics and the mo- lian languages. In all this he showed numents of some more mighty and great energy, power of mind, and demore numerous race that inhabited the termination of character; and, though submerged continent or the larger and his enthusiasm often led him into diffimore closely neighbouring islands of culties, yet he ever exerted himself the past ?
heartily and for the most part effecWhatever truth may lie bidden under tually to extricate himself and his folsuch dream-like musings, no one, we lowers from their consequences. After think, can be insensible to the interest spending some time at King George's excited by Polynesia and its inhabitants. Sound, he was made Governor of Early navigators, shipwrecked sai. South Australia, whence he was relors, grave and reverend missionaries, moved to New Zealand, when tbat scientific travellers, harum-scarum ad- colony seemed to be entangled in many venturers, and whaling captains and complicated evils. That she has sur. doctors, and last not least, governors mounted these we cannot avoid attriof colonies, have all been charmed or buting in great measure to the vigour interested by this great region of the and wisdom of her governor. earth, and have all given excellent, We never happened even to see Sir and some unrivalled, contributions to George Grey, though we have heard our knowledge respecting it.
much of him both from Swan River Sir George Grey, late Governor-in- and South Australia. He does not Chief of New Zealand, is a very re- appear to be a popular man-probably markable man, and one of whom we his temper may be grave and his man. expect to hear more in the future, and ners reserved. We did not abstractedly probably in scenes more nearly neigh- approve of many of his acts as Goverbouring to us. He had barely com- nor of New Zealand, but perhaps those pleted his military education at Sand- acts may have been made necessary or hurst (we are not sure if we are expedient by circumstances. However correct in that locality) when, with a that may be, we cannot but recognise fellow-student, Lieutenant Lushington, the merits of a man who does what he he projected an expedition to the north- has done, throughout a career, where he west coast of Australia, proposing to has had himself, and for the most part penetrate from that direction right himself alone, to depend on.
We beacross the country. In this they failed lieve we are correct in saying that he egregiously, as any one must have an- is not a relative—he is certainly not a ticipated who was acquainted with the near or a close one-of our Earl Grey character of that country. Australia and our Sir George at home. We do is not like Europe, but like Africa ; not like him the worse on that acand what they attempted could only be count. paralleled in our part of the world by One most meritorious line of con. an expedition to land on the coast duct he has pursued is, that wherever south of Morocco, and ride across the he has been, he has always made himself desert of Sabara to Tripoli and Egypt. acquainted with the nature and resourCaptain Grey was wounded in a con- ces of the country, and the character test with the natives; and, after pene- and language of the people he has had trating a little way, they had to return to deal with, and has not shown him. to their vessel. He then went to Swan self backward in communicating the River, and made an expedition along results of his labours to the public. He the coast in two open whale-boats, got is evidently an earnest man, not given wrecked some three hundred miles to to affectation, not amicted with mock the northward, and had to walk back modesty, and ready to speak plainly through the desert, without food, for the and sincerely of that which he has greatest part of the distance, for either seen or that which he has done. That
this has been work of no ordinary character we shall show by extracting the commencement of his preface to his last publication on Polynesian mythology :
“ Towards the close of the year 1845, I was suddenly and unexpectly required by the British Government to administer the affairs of New Zealand, and shortly afterwards received the appointment of Governorin-Chief of those islands.
" When I arrived in them, I found her Majesty's native subjects engaged in hostilities with the Queen's troops, against whom they had up to that time contended with considerable success ; so much discontent also prevailed generally amongst the native population, that, where disturbances had not yet taken place, there was too much reason to apprehend they would soon break out, as they shortly afterwards did, in several parts of the islands.
“ I soon perceived that I could neither successfully govern, nor hope to conciliate, a numerous and turbulent people, with whose language, manners, customs, religion, and modes of thought, I was quite unacquainted. In order to redress their grievances, and apply remedies, which would neither wound their feelings nor militate against their prejudices, it was necessary that I should be able thoroughly to understand their complaints; and, to win their contidence and regard, it was also requisite that I should be able at all times, and in all places, patiently to listen to the tales of their wrongs or sufferings, and, even if I could not assist them, to give them a kind reply, couched in such terms as should leave no doubt on their minds that I clearly understood and felt for them, and was really well disposed towards them.
Although furnished with some very able interpreters, who gave me assistance of the most friendly nature, I soon found that even with their aid I could still only very imperfectly perform my duties. I could not at all times and in all places have an interpreter by my side ; and thence often when waylaid by some suitor, who had, perhaps, travelled two or three hundred miles to lay before me the tale of his or her grievances, I was compelled to pass on without listening, and to witness with pain an expression of sorrow and keenly disappointed hope cloud over features which the moment before were bright with gladness, that the opportunity so anxiously looked for bad at length been secured.
** Again, I found that any tale of sorrow or suffering, passing tbrough the medium of an interpreter, fell much more coldly on my ear than what it would have done had the person interested addressed the tale direct to myself; and in like manner an answer delivered through the intervention of a third person, appeared to leave a very different
impression upon the suitor from what it would have had coming direct from the lips of the governor of the country. Moreover, this mode of communication through a third person was so cumbrous and slow, that, in order to compensate for the loss of time thus occasioned, it became necessary for the interpreters to compress the substance of the representations made to me, as also of my own replies, into the fewest words possible; and as this had in each instance to be done hurriedly, and at the moment, there was reason to fear that much that was material to enable me fully to understand the question brought before me, or the suitor to comprehend my reply, might be unintentionally omitted. Lastly, I had on several occasions reason to believe that a native besitated to state facts, or to express feelings and wishes, to an interpreter, which he would most gladly have done to the governor, could he have addressed him direct.
“These reasons, and others of equal force, made me feel it to be my duty to make myself acquainted, with the least possible delay, with the language of the New Zealanders, as also with their manners, customs, and prejudices. But I soon found that this was a far more difficult matter than I had at first supposed. The language of the New Zealanders is a very difficult one to understand thoroughly : there was then no dictionary of it published (unless a vocabulary can be so called); there were no books published in the language, which would enable me to study its construction; it varied altogether in form from any of the ancient or modern languages which I knew; and my thoughts and time were so occupied with the cares of the government of a country then pressed upon by may difficulties, and with a formidable rebellion raging in it, that I could find but very few hours to devote to the acquisition of an unwritten and difficult language. I, however, did my best, and cheerfully devoted all my spare moments to a task, the accomplishment of which was nesary to enable me to perform properly every duty to my country and to the people I was appointed to govern.
“ Soon, however, a new and quite unexpected difficulty presented itself. On the side of the rebel party were engaged, either openly or covertly, some of the oldest, least civilised, and most influential chiefs in the islands. With them I bad either personally, or by written communications, to discuss questions which involved peace or war, and on which the whole future of the islands and of the native race depended; so that it was in the highest degree essential that I should fully and entirely comprehend their thoughts and intentions, and that they should not in any way misunderstand the nature of the engagements into which I entered with them.
“ To my surprise, however, I found that these chiefs, either in their speeches to me, or in their letters, frequently quoted, in ex.