Liberal premier and leading anti-Chinese crusader Richard ‘King Dick’ Seddon

by Philip Ferguson

As Judith Bassett has noted, “The 1880s marked the end of the colonial era in New Zealand.”1 The 1890 election resulted in the Liberals coming to power and the advent of party politics and a new political regime. Although the Liberals were not yet a party in the sense we use the term today, they were a coherent political bloc united by a common set of beliefs, a new development in New Zealand politics. The single most important element of their politics, as David Hamer has noted, was nationalism.2 This, in turn, reflected the actual socio-economic and political development of New Zealand, from a series of separate settlements and communities into a coherent nation-state. People were beginning to see themselves as New Zealanders, rather than primarily Cantabrians, Aucklanders or some other parochial identity; now “(t)he policies of central government and the political conflicts in Wellington would shape the development of the whole country.”3

Nationalism was also a response to class differentiation and conflict as the depression years from the late 1870s suggested New Zealand was ceasing to be the ideal society envisaged not only by the architects and propagandists of settlement but also many ordinary citizens. Liberal political figures, for instance, were often relatively recent arrivals, people influenced by the propaganda of what the country was supposed to be like and thus Liberalism was partly a movement against the denial of this promise and partly an attempt to fulfil it.4 The Liberals were not anti-capitalist, but opposed the extremes of capitalism: monopoly, sweating, unfair practices and so on.

The people who became the Liberals had railed in opposition against the ‘Continuous Ministry’ for representing the rich and landed interests, contrasting these to the interests of ‘the people’.5 Liberalism meant, as Hamer notes, “the advancement of the general interests of the community and of all classes without distinction as against he privileges of an aristocratic ruling caste.”6 The enemy was clearly defined. Ballance, shortly before coming to power had spoken of “two great evils” in New Zealand, these being “the absentee evil and the monopoly evil”.7 Earnshaw, one of the ‘working-men’ among the Liberal MPs, attacked the “landed estates class” and the “banking institution class”8 and Seddon pointed to the “squattocracy”, “financial rings, financial institutions, and land-mortgaging and landowning associations”.9 These elements were considered to be working against the interests of the country.

Dissatisfaction had grown on the part of many workers, as the class structure appeared to become solidified. The Amalgamated Society of Railway Servants attacked the “vast accumulations of wealth in the hands of the few, for the purpose of enslaving the many” and the treasurer of the new Maritime Council, which grouped together many of the unions, declared of the workers, “Let them remember they are brothers and sisters in one great battle, and work to assist one another.”10 There was a general feeling among sections of workers that things could dramatically change. Union membership rose from a mere 3000 in 1888 to 40,000 by mid-1890 and continued to rise in the months leading up to the great conflict of August-November.11 Workers “gathered together to protest, march and picket in larger numbers than had ever been seen in the colony.”12

The maritime dispute was a particularly sharp and bitter struggle between the rising union movement and sections of capital. On the capitalist side there was a feeling that, as one employer commented, “So overpowering was the class bias and sentiment that old, tired and faithful servants turned against their masters as unreasonably as did the Sepoy privates on their officers in India in 1857.”13 Although the unions suffered total defeat, the following month’s elections provided “another surge of optimism, a belief that the old world of work could be broken by politics.”14 It also showed politicians, as Hamer has noted, that labour was now a force worth cultivating. It gave the Liberals “a link between national identity and the case for political change” by showing the emergence of “Old World evils”.15 The party enjoyed substantial working class support, both at the level of trades and labour councils and in terms of votes; twenty Liberal seats were largely gained through labour backing.16 While there was an “image of the Liberals as a working man’s government”, the party’s candidates “tended to come from the middle classes and commercial sections of urban or small-town communities. . .”17 Given the defeat of the trade unions in 1890, and the shift of power even further in the employers’ favour, the election of the Liberals was seen as a counter-weight. However, the Liberal victory was also seen as being in the national interest and votes for the Liberals by workers were viewed in the labour movement in patriotic terms. As the 1890 election manifesto of the Otago Trades and Labour Council put it, any worker who would vote “Conservative” was “a TRAITOR TO HIS COUNTRY” as well as “his own interests”.18

The party’s nationalism, shared by most of the labour movement, meant the transcending not only of regionalism but also class. Workers’ adherence to the Liberal Party and its nationalism had similar ramifications in New Zealand to those in Australia, where “(t)rade union consciousness was undeniably strong, but being wedded firmly to nationalism, could not grow into a class consciousness that embraced all workers regardless of race.”19 Trade union consciousness can co-exist with nationalism while class consciousness cannot.20 Collaboration across class lines – where “workers believ(e) their interests coincide with their employers’ interests and together form a ‘national interest’ – is linked with racism and nationalism..21 In Australia colonial liberalism “stressed the free contract between capital and labour and the necessity to maintain a balance of interests between the two.” It did not want a situation where either side was too powerful, and slavery and indentured labour were seen as destroying the balance. The Australian labour movement of the late 1800s “still operated ideologically within this liberal framework. . .”22

These points are relevant to the relationship between workers and the Liberals in New Zealand. In fact, due to the lesser degree of class conflict in New Zealand, the retardation of any distinct (working class) class consciousness this side of the Tasman was even more marked. One of the most significant concomitants of this was that the working class was politically bound up to, indeed hegemonised by, sections of the middle class.23 Even in the 1880s, the “most effective voice demanding reform” was not a proletarian but a Presbyterian, Reverend Rutherford Waddell.24 His campaigning, backed by the Otago Daily Times, led to the establishment of the Sweating Commission and the formation of a union of tailoresses. Waddell was the union’s first president, “a fact which illustrates the absence of labour leaders sufficiently educated to function effectively at that time.” Moreover, this situation of the middle class taking the lead in the labour movement was quite common:

The task of promoting unions therefore, rested not so much on the working men as on liberal-minded citizens such as Robert Stout, Cohen (editor of the Otago Daily Times) and Hallenstein (who was prominent in the Dunedin Chamber of Commerce). Public spirited men like these led the campaign for organisations to represent labour and for industrial conciliation and arbitration to settle industrial strife.25

Waddell and other advocates of the principles of conciliation and arbitration had widespread public support. Their solutions were seen as an antidote to ‘bad’ employers and militant class conflict, both seen as injurious to the country as a whole.26 This kind of thinking was summed up in a cartoon in the New Zealand Graphic in 1893, with Reeves depicted as an angel “uniting Labour and Capital in the silken bonds of Industrial Conciliation.”27

The working class was tied in not only to the Liberal Party, but also the state. The state played a key role in colonial societies in the development of capitalism and thus in shaping society; this fostered ideas among workers about the neutral and even progressive role of the state.28 In New Zealand the state was drastically expanded under the Liberals. After 1890, a ‘bureaucratic revolution’ was effected. New government departments – Labour (1891), Agriculture (1892), Health (1900) – were established. These had substantial powers. Thus Oliver notes of the 1890s, “an intensification of the regulatory impulse in a harshly coercive form. . .”29 One of the main results of this was the enforcement of uniform behaviour, often through coercive legislation.30 But the other is the tying of the working class to the institutions of the state and the middle class which created and administered them. The uniformity of behaviour and increasing regulation of social life covered a wide variety of areas from industrial issues to juvenile delinquency to sex and sexuality to exclusion of ‘Asiatics’. Through the rest of the decade a range of social reform measures were introduced to improve the conditions of workers, make land available to small farmers and give votes to women. Yet, in the middle of these progressive reforms, there were systematic attempts to deny equal rights to the Chinese. These began almost as soon as the new government was formed. Dominant perceptions of the Chinese meant that they fell foul of all aspects of the reform movements and measures of the 1890s.

The same views of the Chinese are to be found in all the white settler Pacific Rim areas – British Columbia, California, Australia and New Zealand. Ward’s study of White Canada, which examines popular attitudes and public policy in British Columbia in relation to Asians, notes the main features: belief that the Chinese were unsanitary; that they thrived in overcrowded housing; that, since the East was ravaged by disease, they threatened pestilence in the new white nations; that they were morally depraved, with drugs, gambling and sex seen as the prime examples; that they were cheap labour and thus an economic threat. They allegedly hoarded money and moved it back to China. The greatest stereotype, the “belief which truly obsessed the west coast imagination” was that “the Chinese could never be assimilated.” He argues, “Because their character was considered immutable, there seemed no chance for acculturation.” It was “the self-perpetuating tendency of stereotypes (which) kept them very much alive, and they were nourished as well by recurring social, psychological, and economic tensions.”31 The economic tensions have been noted already, so now I turn to the other main tensions.

White New Zealand and purification

Moral purity ideas and campaigns were contemporaneous with anti-Chinese campaigns. But they also contributed to the general climate of ideas from which anti-Chinese arguments drew. For instance, writing of Canada in the 1885-1925 period, Valverde emphasises the connection between “racial purity, sexual purity and immigration policy.”32 “The clean souls and bodies prized by social purity,” she notes, “were not only symbolically but literally white.”33 Depictions of the spirit of the nation, in countries such as New Zealand, Canada and Australia were, typically, that of an idealised, white woman. Non-white, especially Asian, immigration was viewed as sullying – both racially and sexually – the moral, white, virginal, nation. The link between pollution, protection and purity has been touched on in the New Zealand case. Seddon, for instance, is seen as, in the late 1890s, being “concerned largely with the notion of ‘protection’.” This notion, argues the same historian, was

“a complex metaphor. At one level it meant the tariff, which protected jobs and the high colonial standard of living. But it also meant the protection of New Zealand from alien ‘pollutants’, especially Asians. Seddon and his followers were open racists who saw the Chinese, the Indians, and the Syrians as moral and genetic threats to the purity of New Zealand’s British stock (the purest, so the colonists believed, in the world).”34

Cleansing the nation was a crucial part of late nineteenth and early twentieth century discourse and activity in New Zealand. The country was to be cleansed of the economic evils (eg, sweating, monopoly, class division) and moral evils and illnesses (eg, prostitution, buggery, indolence, disease and degeneracy in general) of the Old World which had been detected in the colony during the long depression and afterwards. The cleansing was to be accompanied by improvement, an idea which, as Olssen records, was particularly strong in the 1890s and covered technological, moral and racial betterment.35 This common pool of ideas and perceptions can be seen in statements by officials, the establishment of campaigning organisations, and in legislation.36

In 1881, the year of the first anti-Chinese legislation, there was a discussion on raising the age of consent, at that time twelve. In 1888, the year of further anti-Chinese legislation, there was an unsuccessful attempt to raise the age of consent to sixteen. In 1889, it was raised to fourteen. In 1893, the year Seddon became premier, the new Criminal Code Act included, among other things, the resort to cat-o’-nine tails for ‘unnatural’ acts. In the following two decades, which saw a gamut of anti-Chinese legislation, convictions for buggery and/or bestiality more than doubled over the previous two decades.37 In 1894 the consenting age was raised to fourteen, in 1894 to fifteen, and in 1896 to sixteen. Again, these were years in which anti-Chinese measures were introduced.

Censorship was also made more rigorous through the 1892 Offensive Publications Act, the 1893 Criminal Code Act, the Post Offices Amendment Act of the same year, and the 1894 Offensive Publications Act Amendment Act. In 1896, the year of several Asiatic Restriction Bills38, Seddon also introduced the Juvenile Depravity Suppression Bill. Section 4 of this bill allowed the police to search any premises “occupied or frequented by Chinese, or by prostitutes”.39 According to the New Zealand Observer and Free Lance, prostitution had reached “gigantic proportions”.40 John Rigg, one of the most virulently anti-Chinese politicians, claimed “there was more prostitution (in Wellington) than had ever been known in its history.” He also drew a distinction between “the ideal woman” and “the other woman” whose generation of disease was “the outcome of dirty habits and uncleanliness.”41 There are two interesting points to note here. Firstly, is that the Chinese were very much the ‘other’, unfavourably compared to the ‘ideal citizen’ and ‘ideal immigrant’ and that ‘dirty habits and uncleanliness’ were key arguments against them. Furthermore, Ward notes that in Canada, Chinese women were widely seen as prostitutes.42 The absence of Chinese women in New Zealand meant that this charge could not be made here; instead, as we have seen in the parliamentary debates, Chinese men were accused of luring white women and girls into sexual depravity and other forms of vice.43

Although the sexual purity campaigners won legal victories over time, they never amounted to a mass movement. Prohibitionism, however, attracted much larger support. Unlike the sexual purity campaigners, the ‘wowsers’ “gathered thousands” of supporters.44 The prohibitionists “identified their cause with political liberalism, even radicalism, and spoke sternly about the ‘mouldy old institutions’ which had to be removed to create ‘the living example of a free democracy’.”45 Progress, purity and the power of the state were central aspects of the prohibitionist credo. A special appeal was made to the working class. Alcohol, like the Chinese presence, was seen as sapping the vitality of the productive elements of society and dragging down the ‘working man’. Skilled working men joined temperance and prohibition committees in alliance with the lower middle class and together they asserted a moral code of respectability against the ‘degenerate’ code of the upper class and the lower working class.46 This is the same essential class alliance which is to be found in the trade union movement and in the anti-Chinese campaign. This cross-class alliance around prohibition also sought to “boost commerce and encourage provident spending habits.”47 This theme is also to be found in anti-Chinese agitation. Chinese thrift and the practice of sending funds back to China were frequently referred to and seen as undermining the new country’s commerce. From 1880-1914, 44 statutes were passed by parliament dealing with the manufacture and sale of alcohol and the behaviour of drinkers. These began with the Licensing Act of 1881, again the same year as the first anti-Chinese legislation. The provinces in which prohibitionists registered the strongest vote (21-30 percent) in the first poll on the issue, in 1894, were Canterbury and Otago, areas where the middle class-led alliance with skilled workers against the Chinese was strongest.48

In the 1890s, the Protestant middle class targeted gambling along with other ‘vices’ as part of a programme of social and moral reform.49 The attack on gambling also dovetailed with the view that the Chinese were particularly involved in this ‘vice’. Moreover, as Arnold notes, gambling often went along with drug-taking in the Chinese community.50 In fact the first anti-gambling bill was introduced into parliament in 1879, the same year as the first anti-Chinese bill. This bill was introduced by the attorney-general Frederick Whitaker, a supporter of the exclusion of the Chinese. It was reintroduced the following year, as was another anti-Chinese measure. The next year saw the passing of both the first anti-Chinese legislation and the first legislation regulating gambling, the Gaming and Lotteries Act 1881. The gambling legislation was welcomed by papers such as the virulently anti-Chinese Lyttelton Times.51 The Chinese were immediate targets of the new gambling laws. Less than three weeks after the law came into effect, a Chinese house in the ‘Chinatown’ area of central Wellington was raided, and its occupants taken in handcuffs across the city to prison. They were held without bail and received punitive sentences and fines for gambling. Notable, however, is the opposition to their treatment. Five hundred people, mainly pakeha, attended a public meeting in Wellington in protest. Working class opinion which appears to have been so sympathetic to the arrested Chinese was also outraged by the way authorities tolerated the middle and upper class breaking the Act. For instance, when Sir William Fitzherbert, speaker of the Legislative Council and president of the Wellington Racing Club, publicly announced that he would test the workings of the Act in relation to horse racing, he received very different treatment from the Chinese petty gamblers. Arnold records, “arrests of Chinese gamblers became common in succeeding years. In comparison, gentlemen gamblers in their homes, clubs or at the race-track were conspicuously left alone.”52 The “politics of wowserism” became an important factor in generating anti-Chinese sentiment, as the Chinese were seen as offending against all its tenets in relation to sex, drugs, slums and gambling.

In the previous two chapters we have seen the fears of parliamentarians about the “pauper class”, the insane and others likely to be charges on the state and the way in which the Chinese were depicted as equally undesirable. These views need to be contextualised as well.

One of the key fears in Britain during the late Victorian period arose from the persistence of an underclass within industrial capitalist society. Members of this underclass were seen as a degenerated section of humanity and ‘a race apart’. Lombroso’s view of ‘criminal man’ as an actual type, with a certain physical appearance, was widely accepted in elite circles. Physiognomists such as Lavater connected criminal tendencies to particular physical features; phrenologists such as Gall and Spurzheim attributed such tendencies to the size and shape of the brain. Morel developed a theory of moral degeneracy, while alienists such as Grothman, Prichard and Maudsley viewed criminality as springing from moral insanity. Lavergne, Despine, Wilson, Thomson and others carried out clinical investigations of personality. Theories of regression were also quite widespread. These, albeit in their different ways, postulated that since humans had evolved from the animal world there was a possibility of organic and moral regression to an earlier savage state.53 As L.P. Curtis Jr notes, these ideas were accepted by people in political power and by important sections of the intelligentsia including those engaged in the new discipline of anthropology. Periodicals such as the Quarterly Review, the Nineteenth Century and the Fortnightly Review, along with the new anthropological and enthnological reviews which started to appear after 1850, emphasised race.54 While he concentrates on race, it is clear that the views he is dealing with apply equally to conceptions of class. Indeed, as he further notes:

“The certitude with which many of these men used the concept of race to establish the superiority of the Anglo-Saxon people was matched only by the strength of their conviction that this racial and cultural preeminence was menaced in a number of ways by other races and nations as well as classes.”55

The fixed, hereditary characteristics could only be altered through intermarriage and/or inter-breeding between the two races, and this was therefore to be discouraged. This idea, as we shall see in subsequent chapters, formed part of the thinking of the New Zealand state in the late 1800s and right up into the 1920s and 1930s in relation to the Chinese in this country.

The persistence of an underclass within industrial capitalist society in Europe also led to the rise of notions about degeneration. The underclass was seen as ‘a race apart’. Max Nordau’s Degeneration became influential.56 It reflected too the growing intellectual pessimism of the time: “highly-developed minds” were starting to see humankind “perishing in the midst of a dying world.”57 Degenerates were marked by a physical and mental irregularity of development, and could be identified by, for instance, the “asymmetry of face and cranium”.58 Moreover, following Morel, Nordau saw degeneracy as “chiefly” a result of “poisoning”, continuing:

“A race which is regularly addicted, even without excess to narcotics and stimulants in any form (such as fermented alcoholic drinks, tobacco, opium, hashish, arsenic). . . begets degenerate descendants.”

These in turn, if taking in the same influences, produced even more degenerate offspring. Nordau argued that statistics showed the “very rapid rate” of such “poisoning”. Opium and hashish, he argued, were chiefly taken by “Eastern peoples, who play no part in the intellectual development of the white races.”59 The link between drug-taking, poisoning and degeneracy would have been of more concern in New Zealand, especially as the Chinese became increasingly urban. Moreover, Nordau also identified urban dwelling as a critical “noxious influence”. The population of a large town, he argued, “falls victim to the same fatality of degeneracy and destruction as the victims of malaria.”60 Since the Liberal and New Zealand nationalist ideology had at its heart a fear of Old World ills emerging in this country degeneration discourse could provide a linkage between urban slums, drug-taking and physical , moral and mental decay. While perhaps the most famous, Nordau’s book was only one of the growing number of works on the subject.61

These views are significant in New Zealand in relation to Chinese as is the decline of China and the ascendancy of the West over the ‘Celestial Empire’ because both coincide with the large-scale British settlement of NZ. This country was very much part of the white Anglo-Saxon world and drew heavily on British intellectual ideas, whilst modifying them somewhat to local conditions. Attitudes about degeneration which were applied to the underclass in Britain were modified in this country to apply to the Chinese, especially as the Chinese became urbanised.

Notions of race degeneracy gained ground in the educated middle class here, as in Europe. In 1884, Wellington doctor F.B. Hutchinson argued that modern society was negating “Nature’s law of the survival of the fittest or strongest” and that society was now keeping alive, and allowing to breed, “myriads of the wretched.”62 In Christchurch in the early 1890s, A.E. Newton worried that a “mighty march of lasciviousness” would mean a rapid growth of insanity.63 Reeves’ attempts to tighten immigration controls included not only the Chinese but those seen to be samples of various forms of ‘degeneration’, such as the chronically ill, the indolent, the mentally defective and so on. As Olssen records, the census even “analysed the insane and criminal to demonstrate that the native born were free of these old world taints.”64

In the late 1880s and through the 1890s, Dr D. MacGregor, the inspector of both Asylums and Hospitals and Charitable Institutions, attacked the “swarm of parasitical organisms”, the “unfit” and “degenerate”. MacGregor was particularly concerned with the need “to stamp out the pauper class.”65 A decade later, he was arguing, along similar lines, that “the helpless and dependent poor” had been accepted “however degenerate they have become.” Society, he felt, was “fostering those tendencies that make for degeneration.” Namely, “The long peace, the rapid multiplication of wealth and luxury, generally softened down the indifference to pain which accompanied the rugged strength of our grandfathers.” He concluded that the ‘degenerate’ should be looked after by the state in return for doing allocated work and agreeing not to procreate.66 It is notable here that the Chinese were seen as less than manly, if not outright effeminate. In this they were partly linked with Old World ‘effeteness’ – R.H.J. Reeves, for example described England as an “effete country” in an 1888 debate on the age of consent67 – although Chinese ‘arrested development’ and ‘degeneration’ was seen as even more pronounced and thus as representing a special danger.

Although the numbers involved in the moral purity groups seeking to turn back the tide of degeneration were never that large, as Eldred-Grigg notes, they came predominantly “from the middling rank of Pakeha society, a rank that had become very powerful in political life.” These groups could therefore “exert an influence out of all proportion to their numbers”68 and impact more widely on the working class. This tallies with Gertrude Himmelfarb’s classic study of Victorian thought, in which she notes the fundamentally middle class nature of “moral fervor” and “prudery”, but also how it was spread into other sections of the populace:

“the ethic had a distinctive class character. It is true that these pieties originated with the middle class and had their most loyal and fanatical disciples among that class. But what was more important was the dispersion of this ethic among all classes. For the first time, a substantial part of the aristocracy and of the working class (and in each case, the most influential part) shared the values and ideals of the middle class. Those quintessentially middle-class qualities – now become virtues – of prudery and prudence had transcended their class origins.”69

More generally, Harrison notes, “The ‘condition of the people’ was essentially a middle-class construct, a way of looking at social reality and identifying certain ‘problems’.”70 He records, “From the Widow at Windsor to the respectable lower orders, the tone of society was unmistakeably bourgeois. . . By the later years of the century the values, attitudes and assumptions of the middle classes had become endemic in the national life.”71 He also notes how the lower rungs of the late Victorian middle class “shaded off into the elite of the working class.”72

In New Zealand, Social Purity societies formed around the country, for instance in Christchurch (1885) and Auckland (1890). The Society for the Protection of Women and Children formed branches in Auckland (1893), Wellington (1897), Dunedin (1899) and Christchurch (1907). Feminist groups were marked, from the 1870s, by concerns with propriety and respectability. The Women’s Christian Temperance Union, for example, was concerned with moral rather than economic issues. The right to vote for women would, it argued, improve the general morality of society. Women’s organisations worked with the Anti-Chinese Leagues in the 1890s and afterwards. These included the Women’s Social and Political League especially, but also the Women’s Franchise League, the Women’s Liberal League and the Women’s Democratic Union.73

Concerns about purity and degeneration also covered the question of pestilences of various kinds. The new society was to be white in the hygienic as well as racial sense. The Chinese were consistently linked with disease, most horrifyingly with leprosy. As well as appearing as a charge in parliamentary debates, the linkage of the Chinese and leprosy was manifested in newspapers in the 1890s. An editorial in mid-1891 in the New Zealand Times, a pro-Liberal paper, suggested that the disease was latent in Chinese blood.74 Through the decade there were a number of leprosy scares.75

Moral campaigners and social reformers more generally were also vitally interested in the 1890s and early 1900s in home life, including the nature of the home and the malevolent role of slums.76 As Brookes notes, “(s)lums were the antithesis of the suburban paradise: peeling paint, unkempt gardens and dissolute behaviour.”77 Social problems were often traced back to the home. Home life was linked to the morals and morale of society, even imperial greatness.78 A lot of attention was focussed on the nature and quality of housing, with ‘foul dens’ being seen as contributing to immorality and breakdown.79 Middle class groups such as the Society for the Protection of Women and Children and Otago Benevolent Trustees acted as social workers, inspecting the homes of the poor. Domestic hygiene was an area of some fixation.80 Substantial measures were taken by state and voluntary agencies to deal with those whose home and family lives were deemed deficient.81

As we have seen, much of the discourse about the Chinese in the 1880s and 1890s focussed on their alleged attraction to slum-living, their immorality and general deficiency in terms of home life and citizenship. It should therefore be seen as part of a wider middle class and elite concern with creating ‘proper’ social conditions and a ‘proper’ citizenship fit for a modern, self-governing democracy. This was a discourse in which the working class was object, not author. Indeed, it was a discourse largely directed at the containment of the working class and the imposition of bourgeois respectability and social order. The middle class which undertook such social work were concerned with “containing social threats”.82

The climate argument

The climate question featured strongly in the arguments of Hall and Russell, leading opponents of the Liberals. They, especially Russell’s comments, are a reflection of the increasingly widespread intellectual view of the time which linked climate, race, culture and sexuality. The climate argument featured prominently in an important contemporary work on national character by a leading Australian historian. He argued the “white race is precluded by natural laws from colonising on a large scale anywhere except in the Temperate Zone” and thus exclusion of the “yellow race” from this, “the last part of the world, in which the higher races can live and increase freely”, was justified. If the temperate areas were not kept for whites alone, “eager and impetuous elements” from Europe who found outlets there would be “pent up in overpeopled” European countries. Thus the “fear of Chinese immigration which the Australian democracy cherishes, and which Englishmen at home find hard to understand, is, in fact, the instinct of self-preservation, quickened by experience.”83

Two decades later the same idea was still prevalent in Pacific Rim white settler societies. For instance, a Canadian Methodist newspaper, justifying the exclusion of Asians from British Columbia on the basis that Europeans were native there, argued, “it is evident that each race is better off on its own natural environment. . . the unrestrained mixing of the races on this coast would lead to economic disaster and ethical demoralisation.”84 Climate was even used to explain the dominant economic position of England by leading economist Alfred Marshall in 1890. England’s “climate is better adapted to sustain energy than any other in the northern hemisphere,” he claimed.85

New Zealand opponents of the moral purity campaign for raising age-of-consent laws in the 1890s, at the same time as new immigration restriction measures were bring introduced, also used a climatic argument. The milder climate in New Zealand, it was claimed, brought on puberty among girls here earlier than in Britain and so a lower age of consent should be maintained.86 The climate argument managed to link together ‘inherent’ racial characteristics, a racial hierarchy, degeneration, dissolution, sexuality, economics, political democracy and racial separation. The anti-Chinese discourse of the period, represented well in the parliamentary debates of the 1880s and, especially the 1890s, suggests the Chinese were seen to offend on all counts and be the opposite of the ideal citizen wanted – or to be constructed – for the new ideal society.

The Ideal Citizen vs the alleged characteristics of the Chinese

Like North America and Australia, the settlement of New Zealand involved notions that this would be a better society than those of the Old World. It would provide opportunity for all classes of people prepared to work, especially those whose social mobility was restricted by the rigidity of the class system in Britain.87 The ideal was the independent producer and, from Wakefield’s original plan onwards, it was envisaged that even wage-labourers would rise to this position. As Smithyman puts it, smallholders were to be the backbone of the country and “(t)o remain as hired labour, whether employed or unemployed, was against the colonial way of life.”88 Liberal ‘social welfare’ policies distinguished between the ‘deserving’ and ‘undeserving’ poor. The Old Age Pensions Act of 1898, for instance – and measures as late as the aftermath of World War II – required recipients to be of ‘good character’.89 In the New Zealand model,

“The archetypal settler was the English yeoman, who as an independent smallholder would give stability to the social structure, and relief to the anxieties of newspaper editors who heard the echoes of European revolutions in the colonial towns. New Zealand was the home of an ‘upright, self-reliant race’ which respected property and law.”90

Hamer has noted among the Liberals, “a strong tendency to idealize the small holding. . . Liberals frequently extolled the yeomanry of England.” They tended to support leasehold as this secured people on the land, whereas freehold tended to monopoly and to turning small-holders into serfs or even slaves to landlords and mortgagers.91 Ownership of land, then, was seen as improving character and providing moral and spiritual enrichment. Although society was becoming increasingly urbanised and industry was growing in the 1890s – indeed, New Zealand was in the early stages of major structural changes92 – the above ideal remained as the Liberal vision for the country. AS Liberal leader Ward put it, the aim of government land policy was “to raise up against despair. . . the strong barrier of the best class of workers of a peasant population.”93

An important element of the idea of a new and better society, and who was to be included in it, is what has been referred to, by Saxton in his examination of anti-Chinese campaigns in California in the second half of the 1800s, as “productivism”.94 Diverse groups were drawn together in adverse circumstances in no small part by hostility towards the Chinese. An important ideological ingredient was the notion of the ‘producer ethic’ or ‘productivism’. Producers included not only wage-workers (i.e. free wage-labour) but also middle class sectors and sections of capitalists. The ‘non-producers’ included monopolists, large landowners, bankers and others who were seen as parasitic on hard-working producers.95 Thus productivism segmented society horizontally rather than vertically. The Chinese were seen as “tools of monopoly” and slavish, since they were often indentured in some form. As such, they were seen as a threat to white workers’ conditions. When white workers’ frustrations came to the surface, Chinese could easily become the target. They were thus an ‘indispensable enemy’ both for cohering white wage-labour and capital into a bloc based on colour and nationality, thereby preventing or retarding working class consciousness and class conflict, and in deflecting white workers’ frustrations.

In the New Zealand case, the small-holder was the productive member of society par excellence, especially since agriculture was the main source of the country’s income. Thus Brooking has described a ‘New Zealand Liberal Order of Worth’, which fits relatively neatly with Saxton’s analysis. Listed are two groups – the deserving and undeserving. Atop the deserving is the family farmer, followed by the small businessman (and family), followed by professionals (excluding lawyers), followed equally by artisans and Maori who made use of their land, followed by hardworking unskilled rural, then urban, labourers. The most undeserving humans are ‘Asiatics’ who are seen as only slightly less disgusting than animal and microbe pests and the bush.96 In New Zealand, the debates of the 1890s were, as we have seen in the previous two chapters, replete with denunciations which link the Chinese with monopoly and parasitism. Moreover, the major political debate of the decade – that over land – focused on monopoly as well. Thus a New Zealand version of the ‘producer ethic’, found in a range of political debates of the decade, linked the Chinese, monopoly and parasitism. Hardworking, free of the shackles of monopoly, self-sufficient and upstanding, and thus able to take part in an emerging democracy on equal terms, the ideal citizen was everything that the Chinese were believed not to be.

The ‘ideal citizen’ goes back to early liberal discourse on democracy which, like all the other discourses of which the Chinese fell foul, was created in the middle class. For instance, in his study of class, identity and the self in England in the nineteenth century, Joyce notes the role of the middle class and elite in constructing the narrative of democracy and trying to cohere a working class audience and following.97 Political leaders in particular “enunciated narratives” in order to cohere followings. The ideological influence of the middle class on the labour movement was evident even in the “debt of the Labour party to Victorian Liberalism”.98 McClelland notes the way in which by the 1860s “the argument about why paupers and the poor should be denied the vote had become deeply embedded in the idea that only those who were independent should be granted suffrage.”99 The “classic statement” of this position was made by middle-class reformer John Bright.100 The Reform Act of 1867 “legitimate(d) the working-class citizen in new ways.” This new working class citizen was of a specific type: “a particular kind of man whose definition – the social, political and moral qualities he was thought to carry, his perceived relationship to processes of government and politics – was crucial to the redefinition of what the political nation was and might become.”101 McClelland notes this was not only the subject of parliamentary debates but was “central to the debates about culture in and after 1867, evident across the range of intellectual argument and controversy. . .”102 This new citizen was the “‘respectable working man’”, distinguished from other workers by his “manly virtue”103.

John Stuart Mill linked race, citizenship and democratic self-government. Chapter four of Mills’ 1861 work Representative Government was titled “Under What Social Conditions Representative Government is Inapplicable”. He argued that representative government was “the ideal type of the most perfect polity”, but less suitable to those “lower in development”. Conditions for it included that citizens “should be willing and able to fulfil the duties and discharge the functions which it imposes on them.”104 Most interestingly, in terms of the arguments used against the fitness of Chinese for citizenship in New Zealand, is Mills’ argument that those “unfitted for representative government” include those characterised by “extreme passiveness, and ready submission to tyranny.”105 A good government was one which encouraged “activity, energy, courage, originality. . .”106 Ignorance, defects in national character, mental undevelopment, would all be reflected in political institutions.107 In chapter eight, dealing with suffrage extension, he argued that anyone who could not read or do basic arithmetic should not be allowed to vote, and that it was further desirable that a basic knowledge of history and the world be prerequisites for voting rights. 108 In chapter sixteen, dealing with nationality, he argues:

“Free institutions are next to impossible in a country made up of people of different nationalities. Among a people without fellow-feeling, especially if they read and speak different languages, the united public opinion, necessary to the working of representative government, cannot exist.”109

As we have seen, these ideas are reflected almost word for word in politicians’ speeches in Australasia. These ideas about representative, modern democracy and the ideal citizenry for such a society, also impacted on attitudes towards Maori. It is useful to look briefly at this to further point up the way in which the same ideology could aim to include Maori and exclude Chinese.

Different attitudes to Maori and Chinese

Although, on the one hand, the development of a capitalist nation state in New Zealand was impossible without the dispossession of Maori, and conversion of land into a commodity, the form of racism has often tended to be benevolent or patronising rather than viciously repressive as in the case of Australia towards Aboriginals. In their major account of the principles and plans of the New Zealand Company, Edward Gibbon Wakefield and John Ward advocated “a deliberate plan and systematic efforts” for “civilizing a barbarous people”.110 Although they used terms like “barbarous” and “savage” and “inferior”, they saw Maori as “superior to most, if not all thoroughly savage people” and physically and in terms of “natural faculties of the mind”, “not inferior to any race. . .” The lack of “repugnance” between Europeans and “New Zealanders” (ie Maori) and the “peculiar aptitude” Maori had for improvement, meant that there was “good reason to hope that, under favourable circumstances, future generations of Europeans and natives may intermarry and become one people.”111 The appendix, written by Reverend Hawtrey, while full of what today we would recognise as patronising ideas about the British acting as parents to the child-like Maori, argued for “generous and honourable relations with the native race.”112 He also hoped for intermarriage between Europeans and Maori, creating one people and rejected the idea that British and Maori should be kept apart as two different peoples. In his view a high state of culture had, throughout history, including in the case of Britain, required the “ingrafting” of various peoples upon each other.113

Olssen, re-evaluating the influence of the Enlightenment on the Wakefieldian settlement scheme and its historical significance in the shaping of New Zealand society, has noted the widespread acceptance of “Prichardian ethnology, with its assumption of a common humanity”, including a common origin and potential rationality. The “Prichardian-Enlightenment paradigm,” he argues, meant that Maori were seen as being able to move swiftly from primitivism to civilisation. While the land wars brought into play more negative views of Maori, these “never totally displaced the older belief in a universal human nature and the possibility of a universal emancipation.” When Social Darwinism became especially influential, Maori were put in the superior, Aryan category.114 Edward Tregear, later to be first head of the Department of Labour, under the Liberals, produced a book claiming the Maori and other Polynesians were a forgotten wing of an ancient Indo-Aryan diaspora.115 The idea of Aryan or blond Maori became so widely disseminated that Conan Doyle was writing about them in the 1890s, while as late as 1974 a ‘revised edition’ of A.H. Reed’s Story of New Zealand kept up the claim that Maori and Anglo-Saxons had common Aryan ancestors.116

Even as several newspapers were presenting Maori in the 1860s as “savage beasts which must be exterminated to render the colonisation of New Zealand possible” and people with a “hatred of intelligence and order. . . ignorant and savage, loving darkness and anarchy. . . bloodthirsty, cruel, ungrateful, treacherous,”117 a process of inclusion was also occurring.118 In 1862 J.E. Fitzgerald proposed Maori representation in both the House of Representatives and the Legislative Council.119 Maori seats in the House were created in 1867, with all adult Maori men being granted the vote, and the first two Maori were appointed to the Council in 1872. Clearly, the dominant elements of New Zealand society did not regard Maori as “savage beasts” to be exterminated but as citizens to be incorporated in the institutions and broader life of the new country.120

The way in which Maori were seen as being the next best thing to Europeans is important for an understanding of how they fitted into a White New Zealand which excluded the Chinese. For instance, Maori were not only given electoral representation and voting rights very early on, while life was slowly made more difficult for the Chinese in New Zealand, Maori were also welcomed into the union movement here and in Australia. Maori were seen as potentially strong unionists, due to the perceived collectivist nature of Maori society; material in Maori was even produced.121 In Australia in the 1890s, the Amalgamated Shearers Union barred the Chinese, but admitted Aboriginals, Maori and black Americans.122 While White Australia was a key political issue there, when Australians migrated to New Zealand they “found no difficulty in accepting (indeed demanding) the full equality of Maoris. . .”123

The Liberals’ attitude to Maori was two-sided. They wanted Maori land, but they thought that in exchange Maori would/should be able to participate in mainstream society. On January 28, 1891, only a few days after the new government had taken power, Ballance, responded to a question from Western Maori MHR Hoani Taipua, in relation to Maori representation in the Legislative Council, by stating that “the government recognised the right of the Natives to be fairly represented, in proportion to the population, in the other branch of the Legislature.”124 While Seddon, as we have seen, viewed the Chinese as barely human, he held that Maori were capable of holding the highest positions in the country. The Liberals included the most prominent Maori political figure of the 1890s, James Carroll, who had been elected for the Eastern Maori seat (1887-93), and subsequently successfully stood for general seats, representing Waiupu (1893-1908) and Gisborne (1908-19). Carroll was a member of the government from 1892, and acting prime minister on several occasions. In 1894, when he was Minister of Native Affairs as well as premier, Seddon made a long trip around Maori areas. He travelled by sea, rail, horse and even foot, from one end of the North Island to the other, investigating the position of local Maori, discussing grievances and government policy with them. In 1895, one of the years in which anti-Chinese activity was at its peak, he laid a report of the trip before parliament.125 In the opening paragraph he expressed the view that “all thinking men. . . desire to see such a state of affairs brought about as shall draw the European and Maori races into a closer union.” Maori “are, without doubt, one of the most remarkable races on this side of the equator” and, as a people who bravely traversed the Pacific “are not a race to be despised.” MPs were urged to go into the Urewera and King Country in order to learn much. Maori were not “an ordinary savage race”; instead, “even in their wildest state, (they) possess many attributes which cannot fail to command our respect and esteem.” The report also stated that there was “ample proof that, on the point of intelligence, the Maori is quite equal to the pakeha.”

In contrast to his view that he would rather see his daughter dead than wed to a Chinese, he held up Carroll as a model of the intermixing of Maori and pakeha:

“When you look at his person you see a wholesome blend; the two races are there working in harmony together. It shows the European and the Native race can mix with satisfactory results, and the product of such union is apparently free of sickness of body or sickness of mind.”

Thus, whereas European and Chinese are seen as virtually different species, and reproduction between them an abomination creating an inferior new sub-species, the co-mingling of pakeha and Maori was to be welcomed.126

This is not to say that the premier left Maori with any doubt about who was in control of the country – he certainly made this clear. But it does indicate the widespread desire for the inclusion of Maori in society and the use of the land, as Seddon makes clear in the report, is to be for the benefit of both Maori and pakeha. Thus there is a strong quid pro quo for the continuing purchase of Maori land.127 Admiration for Maori on Seddon’s part is made clear elsewhere, too. For instance, in 1902, at a meeting in Wairarapa, he argued that if Kitchener had 5,000 Maori soldiers and let them loose in South Africa the Boers would quickly be defeated.128

Seddon played the anti-Chinese card throughout his political career and while it seems likely that he had an anathema towards the m, a certain amount of political calculation may well have been at work as well. As Stuart Thom has noted, we do not know much about Seddon’s personal views, but we do know that as a politician he was concerned with articulating majority views129 and that from the time of his successful election campaign on the West Coast in 1879 he attacked the Chinese as undesirable immigrants. Yet, even here, Seddon also argued that all immigration should be restricted.130

In the 1890s, Seddon’s racial purity views were linked with notions of imperial destiny.131 Thus Seddon was a strong supporter of Britain in the Boer War and of New Zealand expansion in the Pacific. In 1899 he told parliament, “. . .you should be pleased at coming from a race which at the present time dominates the world. . .” and raised the spectre that allowing in Chinese would result in “an intermixture” which would bring about “the decadence of your own race.”132

Thom identifies Seddon strongly with emerging ideas of New Zealand identity, seeing this identity operating at two levels: as Anglo-Saxons, the colonists were superior to the Chinese and other races, and as New Zealanders they were superior to other Anglo-Saxons, the proof of this latter superiority being in the country’s social legislation.133 Hamer also notes Reeves’ emphasis on the link between social experimentation and national identity134 and that the “Liberal reforms became the first major means of defining a distinctive national identity and purpose for New Zealand.”135 While this is true, it should be added that another important aspect of New Zealand ‘superiority’ is the unique calibre of the country’s ‘natives’. This also tied in with the British elite’s view racial hierarchy. As Bolt notes, the British elite had a certain respect for what were deemed to be martial races while more effeminate groups were viewed with contempt.136 Thus Maori physical prowess was a positive, while Chinese alleged passivity and effeminacy would have been another mark against them in New Zealand.

Which forces are driving White New Zealand policies?

As we saw in the historiographical chapter, the dominant view of the parliamentary debates is that of working class and pro-working class members of the lower house introducing racial immigration restrictions and a ‘liberal humanitarian’ element in the upper house opposing the measures in principle. Some doubt has been cast on this interpretation in chapters five and six, on the basis of a substantial textual presentation. To conclude this chapter, I will turn to examine this issue more closely.

As I noted earlier in this chapter and in chapter three, the labour movement in late nineteenth century New Zealand was not an independent movement of wage-labourers, but a movement in which the boundaries between proletarian, artisan and middle class were still quite blurred due to the success of the colony, the early franchise, possibilities for upward mobility, a lack of the kind of residential differentiation necessary to create working class communities, high rates of transience, lack of major population centres.137 Different social classes also mixed socially: they “belonged to the same lodges, sent their children to the same schools, attended the same churches. . . and played for the same sports clubs.”138 There was only a “weak tradition of protest” (among pakeha at least) in the late 1800s. For example, 1890 was the high point of industrial unrest in both Australia and New Zealand yet there appear to have been no sentences for crowd disorder here, while there were ninety-four across the Tasman. Typical of this “weak tradition” were unemployed protests. As well as being one-off and infrequent, he records, they were very formal, respected the law, and “usually included members of the local elite, and were concluded with a presentation of a petition to officialdom.”139 Overall, “manual workers. . . played a minimal part in the colony’s formal and informal groupings.”140

These are particularly important points when considering what impact working class protests and pressure around the Chinese question might have had. For instance, the protests at which calls for Chinese immigration to be halted in the 1880s and 1890s were usually unemployed protests. Given the weak and sporadic nature of these, it is hardly believable that anti-Chinese legislation resulted from them. Moreover, such protests tended to demand a halt to immigration per se, not purely Chinese immigration.141 Thus, as Burgmann notes of the situation in Australia, “. . . as long as only the working class was active in the exclusion campaign, no effective legislation to that end was enacted.”142 She also argues that if working class campaigns on other issues did not succeed, it is rather hard to see how the class had the power to force unwilling politicians to pass anti-Chinese immigration controls.143 In the United States, too, the idea that the working class drove exclusion is now under challenge.144 In the Canadian case, Ward notes that anti-Chinese sentiment has been seen as a working class animus, but “this suggestion is simplistic and misleading. . . the hostile image of John Chinaman permeated the thought of white British Columbia. It reflected the consensus.”145

This chapter has already looked at how the middle class initiated various moral campaigns directed at various ‘social evils’ and the parliamentary record, examined in chapters 4, 5 and 6 shows how politicians closely associated these with the Chinese. Moreover, in New Zealand the three most significant figures in Liberal anti-Chinese politics are Reeves and Seddon, who moved most of the legislation in the 1890s, and Sir Robert Stout, patron of Wellington’s Anti-Chinese League. Reeves was a major intellectual figure and journalist, who went on to become head of the London School of Economics, where he continued to express his virulent hostility to the Chinese.146 Stout, probably the foremost intellectual figure taken over the whole Liberal period, was a wealthy lawyer with business interests. Seddon was a small businessman. The ideas about, and hostility towards, the Chinese expressed by these three politicians were part of the common currency of the social sectors they belonged to – the middle class and upper echelons of society. We have already looked at how ‘moral’ ideas filtered down – or were filtered down consciously – into the working class, especially its most respectable sections. To this must be added the way Victorian fiction presented increasingly negative representations of people of colour.147 Middle and upper class writers developed a new literature aimed at the new mass market, including the working class.148 Late nineteenth-century imperialist patriotism was, “a faith. . . to support the idea that the white race was destined to conquer and rule the inferior races of the world.” Racial ideas “filtered through to the reading public first in newspapers and then in novels. Pseudo-scientific publicists and popularisers planted racism in the minds of the multitude. . .”149 A host of “formal organisations and events” and, even more importantly, the media – via books, newspapers, and the images and mottos on packages of tea, biscuit, soap, tobacco and other consumer items – promoted imperialist nationalism and patriotism. The Daily Mail was expressly set up in 1896 to promote, in the words of its founder Alfred Harmsworth, “the imperial idea” and to be “the articulate voice of British progress and domination.” It was followed by the Daily Express in 1900, while the Times and Observer promoted imperialism for the upper end of society.150

Ethnologists and anthropologists played an important part in developing Victorian racial thinking.151 The growth of Romantic nationalism saw racial interpretations of history appearing from around the 1840s in Britain and becoming commonplace in late Victorian society.152 The work of the scientists was important in suggesting that racial conflict was inevitable, that there were particular group racial characteristics and that racial purity was desirable.153 Alarmist tones in the Victorian press on race “may have reflected middle class anxieties, even when a journal was ostensibly speaking for labour.”154

The education system, especially the public schools, promoted ideas of class, racial and sexual assumptions and mores.155 Indeed in his turn-of-the-century Imperialism, a study, the Liberal writer J.A. Hobson excoriated the way in which education was being used to promote imperialism. At the pro-imperialist end of the spectrum the twelfth Earl of Meath favoured proselytising for imperial ideals among “the humblest child to be found on the benches of a primary school” as he felt these would be necessary to maintain the empire. The earl also successfully campaigned for annual ‘Empire Day’ celebrations. In the schools even geography books and English ‘readers’ promoted imperialist ideas.156 Through imperialism, then, the ruling elites and the middle class cultivated nationalist and patriotic ideas among the working class. As Chamberlain notes this had two advantages – patriotic appeals could convince the working class to postpone their own demands and also to take comfort from the fact that, however bad their conditions were, they were part of a superior race.157 Both pro- and anti-imperialists saw the clear connection between imperialism and ‘the social question’ in the late 1800s.158

Two leading imperialist British prime ministers of the second half of the nineteenth century – Disraeli and Chamberlain – were originally Radicals.159 Imperialism embraced by the Conservatives, a sizeable section of the Liberal Party and middle-class groups like the Fabians and was closely bound up with reforms at home. Both aspects were also bound up with an attempt to incorporate the working class in a renewed status quo.160 That this was marked with some considerable success was noted as early as 1882 when Engels wrote to Kautsky, complaining that English workers followed the Conservatives and Liberal-Radicals.161 Middle and upper class experience of class relations in Britain also “changed perceptions of race relations abroad. . . (and) underlay the transition from the ethnocentrism of the early Victorians to the racism of late-Victorian England.”162

Existing accounts of the White New Zealand policies, which accuse the working class of being the chief culprit, ignore the class-based construction of all the forms of ideology which worked against the Chinese. There are, however, also other problems. One of these is the widespread misrepresentation of MHRs as members of the working class. For instance both Gustafson and Roth identify seven manual workers among the Liberal MHRs of the 1890s: William Tanner and Ebenezer Sandford (Christchurch), David Pinkerton, William Earnshaw and John Andrew Millar (Dunedin) and James Whyte Kelly (Invercargill).163 A closer examination of these men suggests a revision of this view. Tanner was a trade union leader, but also prominent in the Ancient Order of Foresters and a mediator in the 1890 dispute.164 Sandford was a newspaper compositor, but also a small businessman, having been part-owner of the Arrow Observer until it was burnt out in 1883.165 Pinkerton, typically recorded as a ‘bootmaker’, also happened to be a journeyman and an employer, running his own business for some years up to 1890, as well as a trade union leader and prominent in the Oddfellows.166 A member of the Freethought Association in Dunedin, he was friends with Stout and a supporter of Grey in the 1879 and 1881 elections and was a representative of “artisan radicalism”.167 Earnshaw was a brassfounder. Millar was the son of a Bengali Staff Corps Major-General and a ship’s captain;168 he went on to become minister of labour under Ward and be denounced by the Otago Trades and Labour Council as the “champion of the capitalistic class”.169 Buick, although he trained initially as a carpenter, was a lecturer and historian. After entering parliament in 1890 he was quickly made organising secretary of the Liberal Federation by Ballance. Later he part-owned several newspapers and authored a substantial number of history books, and several on music, eventually succeeding Elsdon Best at Turnbull Library. He left £12,000 to the National Art Gallery and a further £1000 to the Hocken Library.170 Kelly was a tailor.171

Thus, these are less manual workers than they are artisans, small employers and professionals. They embody both the blurring of class divisions before the turn of the century and the fact that artisan and middle class radicalism and democracy was widespread among the layers on this boundary. In turn, these layers dominated trade unionism. Millar, for instance, was the leader of the Maritime Council at the time of the 1890 dispute; Tanner, Pinkerton and Earnshaw were also prominent trade union leaders.

The opposition: elite liberal humanitarians?

We turn now to the ‘liberal humanitarians’ of the Legislative Council. Jackson has noted the continuing elite composition of the Council, recording that while the social composition of the lower house changed, that of the upper house showed a continuing preponderance of large landowners. Moreover, “many of its members clearly came to see themselves as belonging to a colonial house of lords.”172 The Council majority consistently opposed Liberal social reform. Between 1893-97, life members of the Council cast 759 votes, of which two-thirds went against government-sponsored measures.173 The Council majority stymied attempts to repeal the Contagious Diseases Bill, prompting women’s groups to lobby Seddon in 1895-6.174 Of five ‘Labour’ bills brought forward by the Liberals in 1891, two were rejected outright. The Factories Act was passed, but only after being heavily amended. Clauses for an 8-hour day were excised from both the Coal Mines Bill and the Mining Bill. Typical of LC attitudes in relation to improvements in workers’ conditions was Robert Pharazyn’s claim, during the debate on the Eight Hours Bill, that was no necessity for it in New Zealand, especially as “the labouring-man has a great advantage over the employer.”175 Pharazyn consistently opposed government measures to restrict Chinese immigration. Of the eleven LC members who protested to Britain over the 1896 Act restricting Asian immigration, 10 had been members at the time of the vote on women’s suffrage. Eight of these – Bowen, Bonar, Shrimski, Reynolds, Whitmore, Holmes, Scotland, Baillie – were opponents of women’s right to vote.176

As we have seen in the lengthy representation of the 1890s parliamentary debates on anti-Chinese immigration, very few members of the Legislative Council accepted the right of the Chinese to enter New Zealand on the same terms as Europeans. By and large Council members accepted the idea that the Chinese were undesirable and/or their numbers should be heavily restricted – e.g. kept below 5,000. Matched with their overall voting pattern on a series of social issues – factory legislation, the land question, women’s suffrage – it is clear that we are not dealing with a high-minded ‘liberal humanitarian’ upper house. Jackson is right to note, “it would be difficult to deny that there was an important element of class hostility” in its voting record.177 This point is reinforced by Tulloch in relation to attitudes in the Council to the Contagious Diseases Act. She also notes the role of LC hostility to the lower house.178

Given their overall voting record, ‘liberal humanitarianism’ would seem an unlikely explanation for the votes of a section of the LC against exclusion. Three other possibilities present themselves, two of which are clearly consistent with their voting pattern and another – by no means contradictory – a supposition which could be further explored in the future. Firstly, there was a shared premise between those in both houses voting for restriction and the elite in the Council voting against the legislation: both saw the Chinese presence in a similar light. For instance, both saw the Chinese presence as providing cheap labour and undermining the march of mass democracy. For the exclusionists, the conclusion from this was to keep them out; for the old elite in the Legislative Council the tide of mass democracy was to be dammed up by voting against any Liberal measures aimed at facilitating it. Secondly, as Sedgwick has noted, the LC represented an upper crust which still looked very much to Britain179 and fretted that too blatant anti-Chinese discrimination would jeopardise British relations with China and be therefore rejected by the Crown. But it is clear that the British government had no problem with immigration discrimination in principle; it merely required that the form of the discrimination not be overtly racial.180 The third possibility is that, having been exposed as hard-core reactionaries on all the issues of social reform pushed by the Liberals, this section of the Council could hoist the Liberals on their own petard by taking the high moral ground on the Chinese immigration issue, especially as it was the one issue under dispute where their own material interests were not affected by Liberal policy.

The ignored opposition – Liberal members

While the existing historiography seems transfixed with upper crust opposition to the exclusion of the Chinese, it overlooks the fact that three of the strongest critics of the 1890s bills were Liberal MHRs. In exploring who these people were, we can further test the notion that it was pro-working class elements who were responsible for pushing the legislation.

O’Regan was born in New Zealand in 1869 of Irish parentage, and was a journalist and lawyer, and also a member of the Knights of Labour. He was one of the “notorious land nationalisers”181 and edited the Inangahua Times and Reefton Guardian.182 That O’Regan represented West Coast constituencies for much of the 1890s (Inangahua, 1893-96 and Buller 1896-99) suggests that, even in an area which had seen bitter anti-Chinese agitation and spawned Seddon, a rather different viewpoint could still be elected to parliament. Moreover, his father was originally a Coast gold-miner, the group seen as particularly anti-Chinese.

His position on the land question and his subsequent political activity indicate that he stood on the far left of the Liberal Party. He was also very much a ‘labouring man’ who, through natural talent and sheer hard work, improved his social position. Working at bush-felling, fencing, carpentry and milking, he largely educated himself. An important part of his intellectual diet was Irish nationalist publications. He began writing frequently on labour issues for local papers and became editor of the Reefton Guardian in 1891, in his twenty-second year. In 1893 he was the youngest MHR. His background, then, was very much in line with the ‘labouring men’ connected to the Liberal Party in the 1890s and who have been seen as the architects of the anti-Chinese campaign. Yet he took the opposite position.183

Robert Thompson (1840-1922) was born in County Fermanagh, Ireland and sent to the Danish West Indies as a youth to learn sugar-planting. He emigrated to Australia in 1864, where he farmed sheep in New South Wales, and then New Zealand in 1869. In 1870 he took up land near Whangarei and then became an auctioneer and commission agent for twelve years. He represented Marsden from 1887-1902.184 James McGowan (1841-1912) was born in County Down in Ireland. At fifteen, following the death of his father, he trained as a baker. Emigrating to New Zealand in 1864, he spent five years in Auckland, then opened a bakery and store in Thames. He was elected as the MHR for Thames in 1893, became whip in 1896 and in 1899 joined the Cabinet as Minister for both Mines and Justice. He was involved in reforms of prisons and the justice system and in opening several state coalmines.185 Thompson and MacGowan were small businesspeople from humble beginnings, again fairly typical of the layer of self-improving individuals who made it to the middle class. However, unlike many of this sector in the Liberal Party, they spoke out against the anti-Chinese campaigns of party leaders. Perhaps this reflected their experiences of prejudice in Ireland, and the tendency of the progressive strand of Irish nationalism to oppose national oppression and discrimination. Given that Irish nationalism is known to be an important influence in the formation of J.P. O’Regan’s world view, this possibility has a certain plausibility. It seems difficult to believe that the Irish connections of the three Liberals in the House who opposed the anti-Chinese campaigns are purely incidental.186 In any case, the fact that there was strong opposition to the anti-Chinese campaign by three Liberals from lower-orders backgrounds, and that the three appear to have been of the left, suggests some modification is necessary to the current historiographical orthodoxy. Clearly there were sharp divisions over the Chinese among Liberal MHRs who supported or were sympathetic to labour. Moreover the fact that O’Regan and MacGowan represented areas associated with gold-mining suggests that these parts of the country were not necessarily as virulently anti-Chinese as has been imagined.

By the end of the nineteenth century, with the European powers directly and indirectly ruling much of the world, notions of the inferiority of other peoples were dominant. This view was typified by Sir Francis Younghusband who wrote in 1896, “No European can mix with non-Christian races without feeling his moral superiority.” Younghusband felt it was the “higher moral nature” attained by the British which most explained how they were able to rule India.187 Ideas of the supposedly unique abilities of the British to rule themselves and others were related to ‘Anglo-Saxonism’. This traced British liberties of the Victorian era to the liberties of free Saxons who invaded Britain in the early fifth century. The most important feature of the Anglo-Saxon ‘genius’ was the ability “for governing itself (and others) through a constitutional system which combined liberty, justice and efficiency.”188

Collini notes the linkage between ideas of progress and character and views of the Chinese. Pointing to the importance of the notion of progress to Victorian intellectual thought, he notes that progress was seen as relatively rare in human history. It was viewed the “fragile” result of multiple acts of initiative which shape character which then becomes the major guarantee of progress. Anxiety about the prospects for long-term progress indicated “(t)he fear of returning to a ‘Chinese stationariness’ was more than just a cultural cliché.”189 Stagnation was seen as “the chief threat in the politics of character.”190

In New Zealand of the 1890s, the idea of a constitutional system combining progress, liberty, justice and efficiency was at the heart of the dominant ideology of the emerging nation-state: New Zealand nationalism. At the end of his book on the ideal society, Fairburn concludes, “For every desirable social feature, there is always an unintended bad consequence. . . New Zealand’s experience during the colonial period demonstrates that the real enemy of the Arcadian ideal society is Arcadia itself.”191 In a very real sense, this is true about the 1890s nationalist vision of an ideal society and the resulting treatment of the Chinese. The 1890s nationalist vision was predicated on the idea of a rugged form of egalitarianism and democracy which could be re-established after the long depression through state intervention and more general social upliftment. The ‘bad consequence’ of this was that perceived impediments to such upliftment and those seen to be incapable of improvement had to be banned from the garden. Perhaps the most notable of these were the Chinese. Here, however, the ‘bad consequence’ was anything but unintended. It was single-mindedly developed, pushed and followed through by a wave of liberal reformers, inside and outside parliament, with the aim of making New Zealand society improved and clean(sed) to the point of pristine whiteness.


1 Bassett in Judith Binney, Judith Bassett and Erik Olssen, The people and the land, Te tangata me te whenua: an illustrated history of New Zealand, 1820-1920, Wellington, Allen and Unwin, 1990, p201.

2 Hamer, p52.

3 Binney, Bassett and Olssen, p201.

4 Hamer, pp48-52.

5 Ibid, p32.

6 Ibid, p5.

7 NZPD LXIX, p962.

8 NZPD LXXI, p450.

9 NZPD LXXIV, p1014.

10 Stevan Eldred-Grigg, Working People 1890-1990, Palmerston North, Dunmore Press, 1990, pp15-16.

11 Bert Roth and Janny Hammond, Toil and Trouble: the struggle for a better life in New Zealand, Auckland, Methuen Publications, 1981, p34.

12 Eldred-Grigg, Working People, pp15-16.

13 Cited in Roth and Hammond, p38.

14 Eldred-Grigg, Working People, p17.

15 Hamer, pp29-30.

16 Eldred-Grigg, Working People, p19. The degree to which these were manual workers is questioned later in this thesis chapter.

17 Angus, pp605-6.

18 The manifesto is reprinted in John Deeks and Peter Boxall, Labour Relations in New Zealand, Auckland, Longman Paul, 1989, p28.

19 Verity Burgmann, “Revolutionaries and Racists: Australian socialism and the problem of racism, 1887-1917”, Australian National University PhD thesis, Canberra, 1980, p313.

20 Ibid, p34. Burgmann appears here to be using class consciousness in the sense used by Lenin, where trade union consciousness remained a form of “bourgeois consciousness” as it accepted the existence of the wage-labour/capital relationship and merely fought over the conditions by which the relationship would operate. Alternatively, class consciousness could be seen as encompassing a series of gradations, from a primitive awareness of economic inequality through to a full-blown revolutionary consciousness. For a useful discussion of consciousness and ideology, see Chantal Mouffe (ed) Gramsci and Marxist Theory, London, Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1979.

21 Ibid, pp33-34.

22 Ann Curthoys, “Conflict and Consensus”, p54.

23 See chapter three, especially the discussion of the work of Angus and Wright.

24 E.J. Keating, Trade unions and industrial relations, Wellington, Victoria University, Industrial Relations Centre, Seminar Working Paper No. 2, 1971, p5.

25 Ibid.

26 Ibid, p8. Waddell also turns up as an anti-gambling crusader and, later, eugenicist.

27 New Zealand Graphic, September 1893. The cartoon is reprinted in Deeks and Boxall, p30.

28 Burgmann, Revolutionaries and Racists, pp41-5.

29 W.H. Oliver, “Towards a New History”, Hocken lecture, 1969, p17.

30 Ibid, pp15-18.

31 Ward, pp9-14.

32 This is the title of chapter five of her book The Age of Light, Soap, and Water: moral reform in English Canada, 1885-1925, Toronto, McClelland and Stewart.

33 Ibid, p94.

34 Erik Olssen, “Towards the Ideal Society”, in Binney, Bassett and Olssen, p244.

35 Ibid, p245.

36 See, for instance, A.R. Grigg, “The Attack on the Citadels of Liquordom: a Study of the Prohibition Movement in New Zealand, 1894-1914”, History PhD thesis, Otago University, 1977, T.C. Tulloch, “State Regulation of Sexuality in New Zealand, 1880-1925”, History PhD thesis, Canterbury University, 1997 and Stevan Eldred-Grigg, Pleasures of the Flesh: sex and drugs in colonial New Zealand 1840-1915, Wellington, A.H. and A.W. Reed, 1984.

37, Eldred-Grigg, Pleasures of the Flesh, p170.

38 See chapter five of this thesis.

39 New Zealand Parliament: Bills Thrown Out, 1896, No. . The 1893 Criminal Code Act had provided up to two years hard labour for brothel-keepers.

40 NZ Free Lance and Observer, July 4, 1896.

41 NZPD vol 88, 1895, pp273-4.

42 Ward, pp8-9.

43 In Canada, the presence of Chinese women led to the reverse charge as well. The women were accused of luring innocent white boys ‘of tender years’ into their ‘dens’ and ‘ruining’ them. See ibid, p8.

44 Eldred-Grigg, Pleasures of the Flesh, p178.

45 Ibid, p180.

46 Ibid, p183.

47 Ibid, p185.

48 See map of the 1894 poll vote in ibid, p191. The two rivals for Liberal Party leadership after Ballance – Seddon and Stout – had different positions on the question, however., Stout was a leading ‘dry’ and Seddon a ‘wet’. Given that Seddon had been a publican on the West Coast, this is perhaps not surprising.

49 See Grant, p56.

50 Ibid, pp33-8.

51 Lyttelton Times, November 17, 1881.

52 Grant, p58. The information on the Wellington activities comes from Grant, pp57-8.

53 For a general discussion of these theories and their effects on criminology, see Leon Radinowicz, Ideology and Crime, London, Heinemann, 1966.

54 L.P. Curtis Jr, Anglo-Saxons and Celts: a study of anti-Irish prejudice in Victorian England, Bridgeport, Conference on British Studies, 1968, p30.

55 Curtis Jr, p31.

56 Max Nordau, Degeneration, London, Heinemann, 1895.

57, Nordau, p2.

58 Ibid, p18.

59 Ibid, pp34-5.

60 Ibid, 1895, p35.

61 See Eugene Solomon Talbot, Degeneracy: its causes, signs and results, London, W. Scott, 1898. This helpfully included 120 illustrations for easy identification of the degenerates. Daniel Pick makes the point, however, that it is difficult to pinpoint the beginning of concern with degeneration in England due to the lack of a ‘founding text’; nevertheless, he notes, it was a pronounced theme in Victorian and Edwardian social debate. See Daniel Pick, Faces of Degeneration: a European disorder c1848-c1918, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1989, p176. He does, however, provide a very useful list of works from the 1800s and early 1900s dealing with degeneration (see pp241-253).

62 See F.B. Hutchinson, Two lectures on physical education, delivered especially to young men, Wellington, 1884.

63 See A.E. Newton, The better way: An appeal to all on behalf of human culture, Christchurch, 1893.

64 Olssen, “Towards the Ideal Society”, p245.

65 AJHR, 1888, H9, p9.

66 AJHR, 1898, H-22.

67 NZPD vol 62, 1888, p334.

68 This paragraph draws on Eldred-Grigg, Pleasures of the Flesh, pp127-34.

69 Gertrude Himmelfarb, Victorian Minds, London, Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1968, p277.

70 J.F.C. Harrison, Late Victorian Britain, 1875-1901, London, Fontana, 1990, p199.

71 Ibid, p49. In the intervening sentence, Harrison notes Engels’ comment about the bourgeois nature of the working class in England.

72 Ibid, p50.

73 Christopher B.K. Smithyman, Attitudes to Immigration in New Zealand, 1870-1900, MA thesis, Auckland University, 1971, p193.

74 New Zealand Times, June 15, 1891.

75 See, for example, New Zealand Times, November 30, 1893.

76 Margaret Tennant, “The Decay of Home Life? The home in early welfare discourses.”, in Barbara Brookes (ed), At Home in New Zealand: history, houses, people, Wellington, Bridget Williams Books, 2000, p24.

77 Barbara Brookes, “Introduction: a Sense of Place” in Brookes (ed), p2.

78 Tennant, p26.

79 Ibid, pp27-8.

80 Ibid, p29-30.

81 Ibid, pp32-34.

82 Ibid, p33.

83 Charles H. Pearson, National Life and Character: a forecast, London, Macmillan and Co, second edition, 1894, p17. The work was first published, and reprinted, in 1893. Similar considerations guided Canadian immigration policy during this period; see, for instance, Avner Offer, The First World War: an agrarian interpretation, Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1989, pp185-6. Offer’s book contains three chapters on Asian labour and white nationalism in the Pacific Rim colonies.

84 Western Methodist Recorder vol 15, no. 1, July 1914, cited in Ward, pp90-1.

85 Alfred Marshall, Principles of Economics vol 1, London, Macmillan, 1890, p31. Climate arguments feature quite strongly elsewhere in the book as well.

86 Tulloch, pp260-1.

87 This idea(l) is explored in depth throughout Fairburn.

88 Smithyman, p86. Smithyman’s thesis provides a great deal of useful information about the views of NZ politicians, newspaper people and intellectuals in relation to what kind of citizenry, and thus what kind of immigration, was desirable.

89 Ian Shirley, “Social policy and social planning” in Paul Spoonley, David Pearson, Ian Shirley (eds), New Zealand: Sociological Perspectives, Palmerston North, Dunmore Press, 1982, pp243-4.

90 Smithyman, p176.

91 See Hamer, pp71-75. For a detailed exposition of Liberal views and debates within the party over ‘the land question’, see also Tom Brooking, Lands for the people?: the Highland clearances and the colonisation of New Zealand: a biography of John McKenzie, Dunedin, University of Otago Press, 1996, especially chapters 6-8, pp79-174.

92 See, for instance, Paul Meredith Meuli, “Occupational Change and Bourgeois Proliferation: a study of new middle class expansion in New Zealand, 1896-1926”, History MA thesis, Victoria University, 1977.

93 New Zealand Herald, December 11, 1894.

94 Saxton, see pp21-2, 40-2, 51-2, 94, 96-101, 265-9, 274.

95 For New Zealand examples of this view see, for instance, the quotes from Ballance, Seddon and Earnshaw on the second page of this chapter.

96 Brooking, pp148-50.

97 Patrick Joyce, Democratic Subjects: the self and the social in nineteenth century England, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1994. This tallies with the analysis of Angus and Wright in New Zealand; see chapter 3.

98 Ibid, in particular chapter 17, pp213-223. The quotes are from p213 and p223.

99 Keith McClelland, “’England’s greatness, the working man’”, in Catherine Hall, Keith McClelland and Jane Rendall, Defining the Victorian Nation: Class, Race, Gender and the Reform Act of 1867, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2000, p97.

100 Ibid. McClelland adds that “there is no reason to suppose that most working-class reformers would have disagreed with him.”

101 Ibid, p71.

102 Ibid.

103 Ibid, p72.

104 John Stuart Mill, Three Essays, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1975, p199.

105 Ibid, p203.

106 Ibid, p161.

107 Ibid, p206.

108 Ibid, pp277-8.

109 Ibid, p382.

110 Edward Gibbon Wakefield, John Ward and Edward Jerningham Wakefield, The British Colonization of New Zealand, London, John W. Parker for the New Zealand Association, 1837, p28.

111 Ibid, pp28-29.

112 Ibid, p404.

113 Ibid, pp419-22.

114 Erik Olssen, “Mr Wakefield and New Zealand as an Experiment in Post-Enlightenment Experimental Practice”, NZJH, vol 31 no 2, October 1997, pp214-5.

115 Tregear wrote a number of books and delivered papers along this theme. See, for example, his The Aryan Maori, Wellington, G. Didsbury, Government Printer, 1885.

116 Belich, “Race and New Zealand: some social history of ideas”, p66.

117 Wellington Independent, July 21, 1868 and Southern Cross, August 7, 1868. Cited in Belich, “Race and New Zealand: some social history of ideas”, pp16-7.

118 Belich concentrates rather one-sidedly on the racism evident in a couple of newspapers, but pays little attention to the process of inclusion which rather undermines the idea of a monolithic pakeha racism.

119 NZPD vol 1862, p510.

120 We might note here an important difference with Australia, where federation was accompanied by the disenfranchisement of Aboriginals.

121 Roth and Hammond, p26.

122 Ray Markey, “Populist Politics”, in Curthoys and Markus (eds), p72.

123 Donald Denoon, “The Political Economy of Labour Migration to Settler Societies: Australasia, Southern Africa, and Southern America, between 1890 and 1914”, in Shula Marks and Peter Richardson (eds), International Labour Migration: historical perspectives, London, Maurice Temple Smith for the Institute of Commonwealth Studies, 1984, p194.

124 NZPD vol 70-71, 1891, p18.

125 See AJHR, 1895, G1: “Pakeha and Maori: a narrative of the premier’s trip through the Native districts of the North Island.” Counting a photo on an unnumbered page at the end, it is 109 pages long.

126 For recent work on intermarriage, ‘half-castes’ and racial thinking in New Zealand at the time, see Kate Riddell, “’Improving’ the Maori: counting the ideology of intermarriage”, NZJH vol 34, no. 1, April 2000, pp80-97 and Toeolesulusulu D. Salesa, “Half-Castes between the Wars: colonial categories in New Zealand and Samoa”, NZJH vol 34, no 1, April 2000, pp99-116. Salesa notes that ‘half-castes’ were more favourably viewed in New Zealand and Samoa than in Europe (see, especially pp109-11). Riddell argues that the reason pakeha viewed ‘half-castes’ positively was because they were a sign of the success of assimilation. Interestingly, she notes, that for Maori miscegenation was a way of preserving and strengthening their existence as most ‘half-castes’ identified as Maori. While Riddell is critical/cynical of official reasons for supporting miscegenation, Stenhouse notes that Victorian scientific racism, as it appeared in New Zealand, “do(es) not appear. . . to have eclipsed older traditions of racial equality and humanitarianism” to the extent revisionist historians have suggested. See John Stenhouse, “’A disappearing race before we came here’: Doctor Alfred Kingcome Newman, the dying Maori and Victorian scientific racism”, NZJH vol 30, no 2, October 1996, pp124-40; the quote is from p140.

127 I am not arguing here that the practice in relation to Maori was a model of Enlightenment universalism, or that Maori did not become severely disadvantaged as a result of Liberal government policy. As Brooking has shown, the result of alienation of Maori land under the Liberals was not inclusion on the basis of equality, as promised. See, Brooking, chapter 8, pp131-156. See also Tom Brooking, “Use it or Lose it: unravelling the land debate in late nineteenth century New Zealand”, NZJH vol 30, no 2, October 1996, pp141-62. Brooking argues that it was non-productive use of land, whether by Maori or pakeha, rather than sheer racism, which drove the land policy. For a discussion of Seddon’s role as Native Minister see R.M. Burdon, King Dick: a biography of Richard John Seddon, Christchurch, Whitcombe and Tombs, 1955, chapter 10, pp175-188.

128 Lyttelton Times, April 24, 1902. (Check 23, 24, 25))

129 Stuart Thom, “Some Thoughts on R.J. Seddon and the Emergence of New Zealand Patterns of Identity”, History MA thesis, Massey University, 1973, p7.

130 Burdon, p43.

131 Thom, p22-3.

132 NZPD vol 110, 1899, p466.

133 Thom, p31.

134 Hamer, p125.

135 Ibid, pp60-1.

136 Bolt, p136.

137 Miles Fairburn, The Ideal Society and Its Enemies: the foundation of modern New Zealand society 1850-1900, Auckland, Auckland University Press, 1989, p125, p155. The quote is taken from p155.

138 Erik Olssen, “Towards the Ideal Society”, p237. For a local case study, covering a suburb in Dunedin, then the most industrialised city, see Judi Boyd and Erik Olssen, “The Skilled Workers: Journeymen and Masters in Caversham, 1880-1914”, NZJH, vol 22, no 2, October 1988, pp118-134.

139 Ibid, p239.

140 Fairburn, p125.

141 See this thesis, chapter 3.

142 Burgmann, “Revolutionaries and Racists”, p30.

143 Burgmann, “Capital and Labour”, p33.

144 As was mentioned earlier, in Gyory’s study of the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act.

145 Ward, p175. For example, he quotes testimony from the report of the Royal Commission on Chinese and Japanese Immigration of 1902, which declared that “the great mass of the white people of British Columbia of all professions, trades and callings, and the Indians, are not favourable to the Chinese and desire further immigration of the labour class excluded.” The testimony is not from a trade unionist or working class representative, but the manager of a major fish-packing company; see p175, fn 37.

146 For instance in his preface to the Persia Crawford Campbell book (see this thesis, chapter one).

147 Robert Giddings (ed), Literature and Imperialism, New York, St Martin’s Press, 1991, p17.

148 See, for instance, C.C. Eldridge, The Imperial Experience: from Carlyle to Foster, New York, St Martin’s Press, 1996.

149 C.C. Eldridge, England’s Mission: the imperial idea in the age of Gladstone and Disraeli 1868-1880, London, Macmillan, 1973, pp242-3.

150 Eldridge, Imperial Experience, pp93-99; there is a considerable literature documenting the penetration of middle and upper class ideology, especially in relation to imperialism, nationalism and patriotism, into the working class. See also L.J. Henken, Darwinism and the English Novel, 1860-1910, New York, 1940; Hannah Arendt, Origins of Totalitarianism, London, 1958; A. Ellegard, Darwin and the General Reader: the reception of Darwin’s theory of evolution in the British periodical press, 1859-1872, Gothenburg, Gotesborgs Universitets Arsskrift, vol LXIV, 1958; John M. Mackenzie, Imperialism and Popular Culture, Manchester, Manchester University Press, 1985; Giddings (ed), op cit; C.C. Eldridge, The Imperial Experience, especially pp93-99. For the pseudo-scientific work, see also Nancy Stepan, The Idea of Race in Science: Great Britain 1800-1960, London, Macmillan, 1982 and Greta Jones, Social Darwinism and English thought : the interaction between biological and social theory, Brighton, Sussex: Harvester Press/Atlantic Highlands, N.J: Humanities Press, c1980.

151 Christine Bolt, “Race and the Victorians”, in C.C. Eldridge (ed), British Imperialism in the Nineteenth Century, London, Macmillan, 1984, p129. See also Stepan, Jones, Lorimer, Poliakov, Malik.

152 Bolt, p130.

153 Ibid, p131.

154 Ibid, p132.

155 Ibid, p136.

156 Hobson, Meath and the role of schools are discussed in Eldridge, Imperial Experience, pp88-93 .

157 M.E. Chamberlain, “Imperialism and Social Reform” in C.C. Eldridge (ed), British Imperialism, p152.

158 Chamberlain, p148.

159 Chamberlain, pp153-4,

160 See, for instance, Bernard Semmel, Imperialism and Social Reform: English social-imperial thought 1895-1914, London, Allen and Unwin, 1960.

161 Chamberlain, p157.

162 Eldridge, Imperial Experience, pp150-1. Such gentlemen saw themselves “as a civilized elite in a largely barbarian England in a mainly barbarian world” (p150).

163 See Barry Gustafson, Labour’s Path to Political Independence: the origins and establishment of the New Zealand Labour Party 1900-1919, Auckland, Auckland University Press/Oxford University Press, 1980, p13; Roth, Trade Unions, p18.

164 Scholefield, A Dictionary of New Zealand Biography, vol 2, p364.

165 Ibid, p274.

166 Ibid, p168.

167 Dictionary of New Zealand Biography, vol 2: 1870-1900, Wellington, Bridget Williams Books and the Department of Internal Affairs, 1993, pp6-7. The entry is by Erik Olssen.

168 Scholefield, A Dictionary of New Zealand Biography, vol 2, pp83-4.

169 Dictionary of New Zealand Biography, vol 2: 1870-1900, Wellington, Bridget Williams Books and the Department of Internal Affairs, 1993, pp326-7.

170 Scholefield, A Dictionary of New Zealand Biography, vol 1, p117. According to Who’s Who in New Zealand (Wellington, Gordon and Gotch, 1908), he “first entered upon (a) public career as lecturer” (p25).

171 Scholefield, A Dictionary of New Zealand Biography, vol 1, p454.

172 W.K. Jackson, The New Zealand Legislative Council: a study of the establishment, failure and abolition of an Upper House, Dunedin, Otago University Press, 1972, p42.

173 Ibid, p130.

174 Ibid, p161. For a detailed investigation of Legislative Council views on the 1869 Contagious Diseases Act, during 1890s debates, see Tulloch, especially pp208-19.

175 NZPD, vol LXXVII, 1892, p234.

176 For the LC vote on suffrage, see NZPD vol 82, 1893, pp80-1. Although Reynolds was anti-suffrage he ended up voting for, as a protest against Seddon’s machinations (see Patricia Grimshaw, Women’s Suffrage in New Zealand, Auckland, Auckland University Press, 1987, p92).

177 Jackson, p119.

178 Tulloch, pp215-6.

179 Sedgwick, p261.

180 See previous chapter, in particular Chamberlain’s comments at the Imperial Conference.

181 Brooking, p304, fn12. O’Regan also voted against the second reading of the Lands for Settlement Bill due to the leases in perpetuity (NZPD, vol 84, 1894 pp224-6).

182 Brooking, p231.

183 As the party moved to the right in the early 1900s, he broke with it. In 1908 he acted as lawyer for the New Zealand Federation of Miners, which shortly afterwards became the ‘Red Feds’. He represented arrested strikers during 1913,conscientious objectors and people charged with sedition during WW1, and contributed articles to the Maoriland Worker. He also became known as a prominent supporter of Irish independence, during WW1 and the early 1920s, being elected president of the Irish Self-Determination League of New Zealand in 1921 and successfully defending Auckland’s Bishop Liston, another leading supporter of the Irish cause, on sedition charges in 1922. He supported left-wing Labour candidates Fraser and Holland (former Red Feds) in their efforts to win Wellington seats in the early 1920s. Information on O’Regan is taken from the biographical appendix in Gustafson, pp163-4; Dictionary of New Zealand Biography, vol 3, 1901-1920, Wellington, Bridget Williams Books and the Department of Internal Affairs, 1993, p374.

184 Scholefield, A Dictionary of New Zealand Biography, vol 2, p380.

185 Ibid, p15.

186 On the other hand, Liberal MHR Thomas Buick, who was a prominent supporter of Irish independence, was an opponent of the Chinese. Buick, however, had no Irish ancestry or direct connections.

187 Sir Francis Younghusband, The Heart of a Continent, London, 1896, p396. Cited in Huttenback, p15.

188 Ibid.

189 Stefan Collini, Public Moralists: Political Thought and Intellectual Life in Britain, 1850-1930, Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1991, p108.

190 Ibid, p109.

191 Fairburn, p270.

The full list of articles on the making of the White New Zealand policy, c1880-c1920 is at: https://rdln.wordpress.com/2015/02/07/pieces-on-the-white-new-zealand-policy/


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