Erewhon (Revised Edition)
Samuel Butler

Part 5 out of 5

saying that some of the most popular of the brochures which are
distributed in the streets, and which are to be found in the
waiting-rooms of the railway stations, have proceeded from my pen.
During the time that I could spare, I arranged my notes and diary
till they assumed their present shape. There remains nothing for
me to add, save to unfold the scheme which I propose for the
conversion of Erewhon.

That scheme has only been quite recently decided upon as the one
which seems most likely to be successful.

It will be seen at once that it would be madness for me to go with
ten or a dozen subordinate missionaries by the same way as that
which led me to discover Erewhon. I should be imprisoned for
typhus, besides being handed over to the straighteners for having
run away with Arowhena: an even darker fate, to which I dare
hardly again allude, would be reserved for my devoted fellow-
labourers. It is plain, therefore, that some other way must be
found for getting at the Erewhonians, and I am thankful to say that
such another way is not wanting. One of the rivers which descends
from the Snowy Mountains, and passes through Erewhon, is known to
be navigable for several hundred miles from its mouth. Its upper
waters have never yet been explored, but I feel little doubt that
it will be found possible to take a light gunboat (for we must
protect ourselves) to the outskirts of the Erewhonian country.

I propose, therefore, that one of those associations should be
formed in which the risk of each of the members is confined to the
amount of his stake in the concern. The first step would be to
draw up a prospectus. In this I would advise that no mention
should be made of the fact that the Erewhonians are the lost
tribes. The discovery is one of absorbing interest to myself, but
it is of a sentimental rather than commercial value, and business
is business. The capital to be raised should not be less than
fifty thousand pounds, and might be either in five or ten pound
shares as hereafter determined. This should be amply sufficient
for the expenses of an experimental voyage.

When the money had been subscribed, it would be our duty to charter
a steamer of some twelve or fourteen hundred tons burden, and with
accommodation for a cargo of steerage passengers. She should carry
two or three guns in case of her being attacked by savages at the
mouth of the river. Boats of considerable size should be also
provided, and I think it would be desirable that these also should
carry two or three six-pounders. The ship should be taken up the
river as far as was considered safe, and a picked party should then
ascend in the boats. The presence both of Arowhena and myself
would be necessary at this stage, inasmuch as our knowledge of the
language would disarm suspicion, and facilitate negotiations.

We should begin by representing the advantages afforded to labour
in the colony of Queensland, and point out to the Erewhonians that
by emigrating thither, they would be able to amass, each and all of
them, enormous fortunes--a fact which would be easily provable by a
reference to statistics. I have no doubt that a very great number
might be thus induced to come back with us in the larger boats, and
that we could fill our vessel with emigrants in three or four

Should we be attacked, our course would be even simpler, for the
Erewhonians have no gunpowder, and would be so surprised with its
effects that we should be able to capture as many as we chose; in
this case we should feel able to engage them on more advantageous
terms, for they would be prisoners of war. But even though we were
to meet with no violence, I doubt not that a cargo of seven or
eight hundred Erewhonians could be induced, when they were once on
board the vessel, to sign an agreement which should be mutually
advantageous both to us and them.

We should then proceed to Queensland, and dispose of our engagement
with the Erewhonians to the sugar-growers of that settlement, who
are in great want of labour; it is believed that the money thus
realised would enable us to declare a handsome dividend, and leave
a considerable balance, which might be spent in repeating our
operations and bringing over other cargoes of Erewhonians, with
fresh consequent profits. In fact we could go backwards and
forwards as long as there was a demand for labour in Queensland, or
indeed in any other Christian colony, for the supply of Erewhonians
would be unlimited, and they could be packed closely and fed at a
very reasonable cost.

It would be my duty and Arowhena's to see that our emigrants should
be boarded and lodged in the households of religious sugar-growers;
these persons would give them the benefit of that instruction
whereof they stand so greatly in need. Each day, as soon as they
could be spared from their work in the plantations, they would be
assembled for praise, and be thoroughly grounded in the Church
Catechism, while the whole of every Sabbath should be devoted to
singing psalms and church-going.

This must be insisted upon, both in order to put a stop to any
uneasy feeling which might show itself either in Queensland or in
the mother country as to the means whereby the Erewhonians had been
obtained, and also because it would give our own shareholders the
comfort of reflecting that they were saving souls and filling their
own pockets at one and the same moment. By the time the emigrants
had got too old for work they would have become thoroughly
instructed in religion; they could then be shipped back to Erewhon
and carry the good seed with them.

I can see no hitch nor difficulty about the matter, and trust that
this book will sufficiently advertise the scheme to insure the
subscription of the necessary capital; as soon as this is
forthcoming I will guarantee that I convert the Erewhonians not
only into good Christians but into a source of considerable profit
to the shareholders.

I should add that I cannot claim the credit for having originated
the above scheme. I had been for months at my wit's end, forming
plan after plan for the evangelisation of Erewhon, when by one of
those special interpositions which should be a sufficient answer to
the sceptic, and make even the most confirmed rationalist
irrational, my eye was directed to the following paragraph in the
Times newspaper, of one of the first days in January 1872:-

"POLYNESIANS IN QUEENSLAND.--The Marquis of Normanby, the new
Governor of Queensland, has completed his inspection of the
northern districts of the colony. It is stated that at Mackay, one
of the best sugar-growing districts, his Excellency saw a good deal
of the Polynesians. In the course of a speech to those who
entertained him there, the Marquis said:- 'I have been told that
the means by which Polynesians were obtained were not legitimate,
but I have failed to perceive this, in so far at least as
Queensland is concerned; and, if one can judge by the countenances
and manners of the Polynesians, they experience no regret at their
position.' But his Excellency pointed out the advantage of giving
them religious instruction. It would tend to set at rest an uneasy
feeling which at present existed in the country to know that they
were inclined to retain the Polynesians, and teach them religion."

I feel that comment is unnecessary, and will therefore conclude
with one word of thanks to the reader who may have had the patience
to follow me through my adventures without losing his temper; but
with two, for any who may write at once to the Secretary of the
Erewhon Evangelisation Company, limited (at the address which shall
hereafter be advertised), and request to have his name put down as
a shareholder.

P.S.--I had just received and corrected the last proof of the
foregoing volume, and was walking down the Strand from Temple Bar
to Charing Cross, when on passing Exeter Hall I saw a number of
devout-looking people crowding into the building with faces full of
interested and complacent anticipation. I stopped, and saw an
announcement that a missionary meeting was to be held forthwith,
and that the native missionary, the Rev. William Habakkuk, from--
(the colony from which I had started on my adventures), would be
introduced, and make a short address. After some little difficulty
I obtained admission, and heard two or three speeches, which were
prefatory to the introduction of Mr. Habakkuk. One of these struck
me as perhaps the most presumptuous that I had ever heard. The
speaker said that the races of whom Mr. Habakkuk was a specimen,
were in all probability the lost ten tribes of Israel. I dared not
contradict him then, but I felt angry and injured at hearing the
speaker jump to so preposterous a conclusion upon such insufficient
grounds. The discovery of the ten tribes was mine, and mine only.
I was still in the very height of indignation, when there was a
murmur of expectation in the hall, and Mr. Habakkuk was brought
forward. The reader may judge of my surprise at finding that he
was none other than my old friend Chowbok!

My jaw dropped, and my eyes almost started out of my head with
astonishment. The poor fellow was dreadfully frightened, and the
storm of applause which greeted his introduction seemed only to add
to his confusion. I dare not trust myself to report his speech--
indeed I could hardly listen to it, for I was nearly choked with
trying to suppress my feelings. I am sure that I caught the words
"Adelaide, the Queen Dowager," and I thought that I heard "Mary
Magdalene" shortly afterwards, but I had then to leave the hall for
fear of being turned out. While on the staircase, I heard another
burst of prolonged and rapturous applause, so I suppose the
audience were satisfied.

The feelings that came uppermost in my mind were hardly of a very
solemn character, but I thought of my first acquaintance with
Chowbok, of the scene in the woodshed, of the innumerable lies he
had told me, of his repeated attempts upon the brandy, and of many
an incident which I have not thought it worth while to dwell upon;
and I could not but derive some satisfaction from the hope that my
own efforts might have contributed to the change which had been
doubtless wrought upon him, and that the rite which I had
performed, however unprofessionally, on that wild upland river-bed,
had not been wholly without effect. I trust that what I have
written about him in the earlier part of my book may not be
libellous, and that it may do him no harm with his employers. He
was then unregenerate. I must certainly find him out and have a
talk with him; but before I shall have time to do so these pages
will be in the hands of the public.

At the last moment I see a probability of a complication which
causes me much uneasiness. Please subscribe quickly. Address to
the Mansion-House, care of the Lord Mayor, whom I will instruct to
receive names and subscriptions for me until I can organise a



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