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A compendium of official documents relative to native affairs in the South Island, Volume One.

No. 20. — Lord John Russell to Governor Hobson

No. 20.
Lord John Russell to Governor Hobson.

Downing Street, December 9, 1840.


I herewith transmit to you a charter (or letters patent) under the Great Seal of the United Kingdom, providing for the future administration of the Government of New Zealand as a separate Colony. This instrument has been issued by the Queen in pursuance of the authority vested in Her Majesty by the Act of the last session of Parliament, 3 and 4 Victoria, c. 62, s. 2.

I also transmit a commission under the Great Seal, by which Her Majesty has been pleased to appoint you to be the first Governor of New Zealand.

With these letters patent I also transmit instructions, under the royal signet and sign-manual, for the guidance of yourself and your successors in the administration of the government of the Colony.

I further enclose a schedule of a future civil establishment for New Zealand, embracing a list of the principal offices of your Government, with the salaries to be attached to those offices.

This series is completed by the accompanying instructions, which, at my instance, the Lords of the Treasury have caused to be prepared for your guidance, and that of the officers serving under you, in whatever relates to the receipt, expenditure, and management of the public revenue.

After publication shall have been duly made at the principal settlement at New Zealand, and, as far as may be practicable, in the other settlements, of the letters patent and charter above mentioned, you will be invested with every power which may be required for the regular conduct of affairs, with-page 29out any further reference to the Government of New South Wales, or any dependence of your own authority, or that of the Governor of any other British colony. From that time your correspondence will be addressed directly to myself. It remains that I should indicate, for your guidance, some of the general rules by which your official conduct will be directed. With a view to perspicuity, I shall endeavour to arrange them under the following heads:—

II.Administrative authority.
III.The use of the public revenue.
IV.The aborigines.
V.The sale and settlement of waste lands; and
VI.The general care of the education of youth, and the religious instruction of all classes within your government.


Proceeding upon the well-established principle of law that Her Majesty's subjects, settled in a country acquired as New Zealand has been acquired, carry with them as their birthright so much of the law of England as is applicable to their altered circumstances; that fundamental rule has been qualified in the infancy of the Colony by constituting a Legislature nominated by the Crown in New Zealand, as in other Australian colonies. The legislative power thus concentrated in few hands, imposes on those who hold it the duty of exercising it with constant regard to the principles of justice and to the welfare of the Colony.

To the Governor will belong the duty of originating and preparing for the adoption of the Legislative Council all laws which the peculiar exigencies of the local society may demand, a task of much apparent extent and difficulty. Happily, however, there are many aids within your reach which will greatly abridge this labour.

In the adjacent Colonies of New South Wales and Van Diemen's Land, laws have gradually been framed to provide for many contingencies of social life which must be expected to arise also in New Zealand, if not precisely in the same form yet with a general identity or correspondence in substance. I do not, of course, refer to enactments designed for the special government of convicts, but to those which are intended to facilitate the administration of justice, the alienation of property, the registration of deeds, the police of great towns, and the like. Now, on all these subjects your task will be greatly lightened by availing yourself, as far as may be practicable, of the labours of the Governors, the Legislative Councils, and the Crown lawyers of the older settlements in your vicinity. It has been the great advantage of New South Wales and Van Diemen's Land to have possessed amongst those to whom the higher offices, administrative, judicial, and legal, have been intrusted, many men of capacity and learning, rare in any country, but peculiarly so in countries where, there are so many urgent demands withdrawing the thoughts of educated men from the permanent to the transient interests of the public at large. I have reason to believe that the Chief Justices of New South Wales and Van Diemen's Land especially have, for the last twenty years, laboured at the work of reducing the law of England, on many principal subjects, into a form better adapted to the wants of the colonists. Seconded, as I understand, by some of the other Judges, and assisted by the active co-operation of the law officers of the Crown, they have progressively given to the Colonial Statute Book a character of practical aptitude to the circumstances of the colonists, while retaining the spirit of English law, which entitles them to a large share of public gratitude. You will therefore freely and safely borrow from those sources, though, of course, not with a servile, adherence to them as precedent, except as far as the similarity of circumstances may allow.

You will find, in the accompanying Royal Instructions, rules requiring that the utmost possible publicity should be given to every project of a law which it may be designed to submit to the local Legislature. If the counsels which may thus be invited should often reach you, as will probably be the case, in the unwelcome form of party cavil and unmerited censure, you will, I am persuaded, recollect that these are unavoidable evils in the formation of public opinion. Without turning aside to refute such remarks, you will endeavour to carry with you the good sense and good feeling of the community, and to impress the conviction on all that you are working for the benefit of all.

The legislative body will be composed of the three principal officers of your Government, and of the three senior Justices of the Peace not holding any place of emolument under the Crown. In their respective departments, each of the members of the Legislative Council will be expected to take a more particular charge of that branch of legislation with which his own appropriate duties may more immediately connect him. Thus, the Treasurer will prepare for your consideration such projects of law as he may think necessary for the improvement and security of the revenue; the Attorney-General will, in the same manner, make it his peculiar care to devise laws for the general protection of property, and for the prevention and punishment of crime; the Colonial Secretary will superintend the formation of that part of the colonial code which relates to the general duties of the local Government relatively to the whole society, or any particular class of it; and each of the three Justices, besides a general attention to the projects of his colleagues, will consider himself as called to exercise a peculiar care on whatever relates to the local wants of his own immediate vicinity.

At the great distance which separates Great Britain from New Zealand, and the consequent infrequency and tardiness of communication, the royal prerogative of disallowing legislative acts can seldom be exercised without inconvenience. Little as the confidential advisers of the Crown would be disposed to bring the laws of the Colony to the test of mere verbal criticism, and liberal as would always be the allowance they would be disposed to make for minor errors of every class, it must be remembered that the responsibility of Her Majesty's Government is peculiarly grave in assenting to laws enacted in a Colony in which there is no representation of the people. It will therefore be incumbent on you to use great circumspection for avoiding material errors, and explaining the grounds of any departure from the ordinary modes and principles of legislation. Your attention will be constantly given to those general rules which are laid down for your guidance in Her Majesty's standing instructions on this subject.

page 30


Your administrative authority is the second general head to which I have proposed to advert. Under this term I would include whatever relates to your official relation to the principal officers of your Government, and the division of the public business between yourself and them. It is not, of course, my intention to enter into minute details, but rather to indicate some general rules for your guidance, the disregard of which appears to be a fertile source of mischief in many of the British colonies.

Between the two extremes of an unbounded confidence in subordinate officers and an habitual distrust of them, you will, I trust, find a middle point, at which you may, with satisfaction to yourself and advantage to the public at large, take your stand. In a society where all men so much feel the pressure of indispensable private engagements, one of the great elements of good government—with which we are so familiar in this country—must always be, to a great extent, wanting. Few will have at once the leisure, the intelligence, and the public spirit to make any gratuitous contribution of time or thought to the conduct of affairs. The great mass of society will look to the Government for direction or assistance on all questions of general or even of local concern.

If, on the one hand, you should charge your own mind with the whole of this complicated mass of inquiries or measures, you would speedily find the burden intolerable. If, on the other hand, you should devolve it on any one or more of your officers, in an implicit reliance on their ability and zeal, you would, in no long time, find that the reins had passed out of your own hands; that you must govern as the head of a party and not as the head of the society at large; and that a system of partiality and favouritism would either prevail, or be supposed to prevail, throughout your government. To give a large and liberal confidence to the heads of the several departments, and to combine this with a vigilant and punctual superintendence of each, should be the rule of your conduct. To enable you the more readily to conduct the administration of affairs, the Queen has appointed an Executive Council, consisting of your three principal officers. To this body, aided on any particular occasion by others who may be called to their assistance, you will be able to refer all the more arduous questions which may arise. As far as possible, leaving details to the management of each officer in his own division, you will reserve to yourself the consideration of every general principle, every comprehensive measure, and every arduous controversy; endeavouring, even on the points so reserved, to fortify and sustain your own decisions by reports prepared for your consideration, either by the Executive Council, or by any Board or Commission which you may find it convenient to appoint for conducting such inquiries.

It is necessary that your authority over the subordinate officers of your Government should be firm and respected; and that it may be so, it is necessary that it should be exercised in the spirit of kindness, and with a liberal indulgence for the infirmities of those through whose intervention you must act. Having had occasion, in reference to many other colonies, to consider in what manner the just authority of the Government could be most properly maintained and vindicated, I enclose a copy of a circular despatch which I have written on that subject, and which you will consider as addressed to yourself.

III.—Public Revenue.

Regarding the use of the public revenue, I refer you to the instructions of the Lords of the Treasury. But, in addition to the specific rules which their Lordships have laid down, it is my duty to impress on you some more general considerations suggested by recent experience, as well as by a more comprehensive retrospect to the history of our colonies.

Frugality is one of the indispensable bases of all good government and social welfare in such communities as those which have recently been formed in New Zealand. I refer not merely to a wise economy in public expenditure, but to simplicity and plainness of living in domestic circles. As the Governor of the Colony, your example will be of decisive weight on this head; and therefore I cannot scruple to touch on a subject which, if apparently of a private and personal, is really of a public and general, interest. I admit that, as the representative of your Sovereign in a remote part of the Queen's dominions, you may be subjected to demands on your hospitality, and to claims for the exhibition of some degree of state, which it may be most difficult to resist, and which it might not be right altogether to disappoint. But, on the other hand, such demands and such claims, if too readily conceded, must inevitably urge you into an outlay of money and a style of life highly inconvenient to yourself, and still more prejudicial to the colonists at large, by exciting amongst them an emulation in the mere embellishments of life, to the sacrifice of many of its substantial interests and duties.

The governor of an infant colony should aim at nothing beyond the decencies of a private and moderate establishment, and his ambition should be not to outshine, but to guide, befriend, and protect those who are living under his authority.

Economy in public expenditure will be greatly facilitated by the observance of these rules. To those who have so lately quitted the wealthiest and one of the most ancient of the monarchies of Europe, it is difficult to dissociate the feelings of loyalty to their Sovereign, and of attachment to their mother country, from the desire for those refinements by which the Throne is surrounded and the kingdom at large is embellished.

But for these things, the time is, as yet, unripe in New Zealand. At the commencement and for some years afterwards, we must be content with what is useful, plain, and solid, remitting to a future day what is merely ornamental. On this principle every work should be undertaken the charge of which is to be defrayed from the public revenue; and, even so, the utmost possible parsimony will still be inadequate to secure the means of attaining many objects highly conducive to the general good. Such as are least urgent most therefore be postponed to such as are more immediately pressing. The public health and safety must, for example, precede every other care. Provision must be made for the prevention and punishment of crime, in preference to improvements in internal communications. Religious instruction and elementary teaching must be regarded as having a claim prior to education in the liberal arts and sciences; and so of the rest. In your annual estimates, therefore, you will stedfastly select as objects of expenditure those services the page 31 neglect of which would be attended with the greatest amount of direct and immediate evil, however importunate may be the solicitations for votes of money towards the advancement of schemes of a more splendid and impressive character.

With a view to economy, it will be necessary to establish and enforce a system of extreme punctuality and order in rendering and examining the accounts of all persons intrusted with the receipt and expenditure of the public money. You will, as far as possible, make the payment of the salary of every such person dependent on his producing the proper certificate that his accounts up to that date have been fully rendered, examined, and passed. This may not be altogether practicable, but you should aim at the nearest possible approach to such a regulation.

Another important rule for your guidance is to promote as far as possible the establishment of municipal and district governments for the conduct of all local affairs, such as drainages, by-roads, police, the erecting and repairing of local prisons, court-houses and the like. Independently of the excellent uses of such institutions, regarded in a political light, there are none more consonant with the English character and habits, and none better calculated to effect an efficient and frugal expenditure of public money. It is of the utmost importance to withdraw from the Governor the care of these innumerable local petty details, and to relieve the public treasury from the wasteful expenditure in which it must be involved, so long as it is burdened with the double charge of collecting local assessments and of effecting local works. Nor is there any better mode of training the colonists to the exercise of the more important duties of a free people and a representative government.

You will probably find the two great sources of revenue most available, least burdensome, and least unpopular, to be—1st, Duties on imports, especially on spirits, tobacco, tea, coffee, and sugar; and 2nd, Assessments oh uncultivated land in the hands of private persons. To the last, I shall advert again in the sequel; but with regard to duties on imports, there is one general remark to which your attention should be early given.

It is impossible that a revenue should be raised on an imported article which can also be raised within the Colony itself, unless there be a duty of Excise in aid of the duty of Customs, or unless the indigenous growth or production of that article be effectually prohibited. Such prohibitions are always difficult; and, if the particular culture or manufacture has attained to any considerable maturity, they are often impracticable, or can be enforced only at the cost of the most expensive compensations. In New Zealand, the manufacture of spirits would be very easy, and probably extensive. An early prohibition of distillation will therefore be requisite. In some of the other Australian colonies the policy of such a measure was not discovered until too late; and it was then effected at the expense of paying large compensations to those whose distilleries were stopped, and at the further expense of creating much public clamour and discontent. Yet, as the revenue on spirits and spirituous liquors is at once the most certain and most abundant source from which the Colonial Treasury could be supplied, and is less open to just objections than almost any duty which could be imposed, it seems necessary that no obstacle should be permitted to prevail, or, if possible, to arise, by which the supply drawn from this import would be prevented.

The Colony of New Zealand will, in the commencement of its separate political existence, be indebted to the Colony of New South Wales for any advances made from the one Treasury to the other, for the necessary support of the Government of the younger Colony, during the period which has elapsed since your departure from this country. This, however, is the single debt with which New Zealand will be burdened, and there will, I trust, be very little difficulty in ascertaining and paying the amount. For the future, it will be your duty to take care that the system of defraying the cost of government by loans be strictly avoided, and that the expenses of each year be raised within the year itself. Strong as are the motives which occasionally recommend the anticipation of the public income of future years, I conclude, from all the information which the records of this office supply, that in newly-settled colonies the benefit of this practice is so entirely counterbalanced by the evils resulting from it, and that it is so difficult in practice to enter on this course at all without advancing to the ruinous embarrassments towards which it leads, as to justify or require a general interdict against public loans of any description. Extreme cases may, of course, arise, to which every such general rule must yield; but it will be, except in such cases, the habitual rule of your conduct.

IV.—The Aborigines.

The aborigines of New Zealand will, I am convinced, be the objects of your constant solicitude, as certainly there is no subject connected with New Zealand which the Queen, and every class of Hen Majesty's subjects in this kingdom regard with more settled and earnest anxiety. At the same time, you will look rather to the permanent welfare of the tribes now to be connected with us than to their supposed claim to the maintenance of their own laws and customs. When those laws and customs lead one tribe to fight with, drive away, and almost exterminate another, the Queen's sovereignty must be vindicated, and the benefits of a rule extending its protection to the whole community must be made known by the practical exercise of authority. Yet amongst the many barbarous tribes with which our extended Colonial empire brings us into contact in different parts of the globe, there are none whose claims on the protection of the British Crown rest on grounds stronger than those of the New Zealanders. They are not mere wanderers over an extended surface in search of a precarious subsistence, nor tribes of hunters or of herdsmen; but a people among whom the arts of government have made some progress; who have established by their own customs a division and appropriation of the soil; who are not without some measure of agricultural skill, and a certain subordination of ranks; with usages having the character and authority of law. In addition to this, they have been formally recognized by Great Britain as an independent State; and even in assuming the dominion of the country this principle was acknowledged, for it is on the deliberate act and cession of the chiefs, on behalf of the people at large, that our title rests. Nor should it ever be forgotten that large bodies of the New Zealanders have been instructed by the zeal of our missionaries in the Christian faith. It is, however, impossible to cast the eye over the map of the globe, and to discover so much as a single spot where civilized men brought into contact with tribes page 32 differing from themselves widely in physical structure, and greatly inferior to themselves in military prowess and social arts, have abstained from oppressions and other evil practices. In many, the process of extermination has proceeded with appalling rapidity. Even in the absence of positive injustice, the mere contiguity and intercourse of the two races would appear to induce many moral and physical evils, fatal to the health and life of the feebler party. And it must be confessed that, after every explanation which can be found of the rapid disappearance of the aboriginal tribes in the neighbourhood of European settlements, there remains much which is obscure, and of which no well ascertained facts afford the complete solution. Be the causes, however, of this so frequent calamity what they may, it is our duty to leave no rational experiment for the prevention of it unattempted. Indeed, the dread, of exposing any part of the human race to a danger so formidable has been shown by the Marquis of Normanby, in his original instructions to you, to have been the motive which dissuaded the occupation of New Zealand by the British Government until the irresistible course of events had rendered the establishment of a legitimate authority there indispensable.

Amongst the practical measures which you can adopt or encourage for the protection of the aborigines the most important are, the support of the missions and the missionaries established for their conversion to the Christian faith, and for their instruction as Christians; the assigning officers charged with the duty, and, as far as may be, provided with the means of protecting them in the enjoyment of their persons and their property; the enactment and enforcement of such laws as can be devised for preventing and punishing any wrongs to which their persons or their property may be exposed; and the encouragement of the education of their youth.

The missions to the aborigines of New Zealand have been established by Christians of many different denominations. With the most absolute toleration to every form of Christian worship, you will afford support and countenance to all Christian ministers engaged in this benevolent work, dissuading, as far as your influence may extend, the exhibition of those mutual jealousies and discords which unhappily so often accompany differences of judgment on subjects of this nature, but resolutely opposing any practice by which the peace of society and the freedom of religious worship might be invaded. As far as the means at your disposal will admit, you will aid, from the public revenue, the efforts of the missionaries to educate and instruct their proselytes, considering that we owe to the aborigines of the country a debt which will be best discharged in proportion as we can thus promote these their highest interests. The missions must, of course, continue chiefly dependent on the voluntary zeal of the people of this country in supporting the various societies by which they have been founded; and, it is gratifying to know that on that zeal we may rely with the utmost confidence for raising the supplies requisite for this purpose. The contributions of the Government can only be subsidiary to this principal resource.

The official protection of the aborigines will be committed to one principal officer, with such subordinate assistance as may be found necessary. The general duty of the Protector would be to watch over the execution of the laws in whatever concerned more immediately the rights and interests of the Natives; and, to reduce this general principle into a definite form and practical usefulness, it would be necessary that laws should be framed, investing the principal Protector and his officers with every power of prompt and decisive interference which it may be found convenient and practicable to confer. In such a case, the analogies of the law of England, as administered [gap — reason: damage]amonges[gap — reason: damage]Englishmen, whether at home or abroad, will, in many respects, be found to fail. A [gap — reason: damage]magisterial authority, more prompt than that of our Justices of the_Peace, and less [gap — reason: damage]lettered with technical forms and strict legal responsibilities, will probably be indispensable. I should also anticipate the necessity of providing some method by which the Protector might, under proper legal advice, have at all times immediate access to a Court of criminal justice, the duty of which should be to give immediate attention to all prosecutions instituted under his orders. In the Protector should also be vested a summary jurisdiction for arbitrating on all questions controverted between the European and the Native settlers, with, perhaps, a right of appeal in the more weighty cases to the ordinary tribunals in the Colony. In the same way questions disputed among the Natives themselves should fall under the cognizance of the Protector, so far as this might be compatible with a due regard to any Native customs not in themselves immoral or unworthy of being respected.

Amongst Native customs there are some which it will be the duty of the Government not to tolerate. Of these, the chief are cannibalism, human sacrifice, and infanticide. With such violations of the external and universal laws of morality no compromise can be made, under whatever pretext of religious or superstitious opinion they may have grown up. On the other hand, there are customs which, however pernicious in themselves, should rather be gradually overcome by the benignant influence of example, instruction, and encouragement, than by legal penalties. And, finally, there are customs which, being rather absurd and impolitic than directly injurious, may be borne with until they shall be voluntarily laid aside by a more enlightened generation. It is important to advert distinctly to this topic, because, without some positive declaratory law authorizing the Executive to tolerate such customs, the law of England would prevail over them, and subject the Natives to much distress and many unprofitable hardships. It will, of course, be the duty of the Protectors to make themselves conversant with these Native customs, and to supply to the Government all such information as may from time to time be required on that subject.

The education of youth among the aborigines is, of course, indispensable to the success of any measures for their ultimate advancement in social arts and in the scale of political existence. I apprehend, however, that for the present this is a duty which could be properly undertaken only by the missionaries, or at least on some system to be formed in concurrence with them. I therefore confine myself to a mere indication of this subject as one which will demand, and which will doubtless receive, your careful attention whenever your leisure shall be sufficient for the purpose. For the present I abstain from touching on any of the topics connected with, and more or less inseparable from, this much controverted subject. I trust, however, that the dissensions which have so largely prevailed regarding the education in the colonies of the children of European settlers will not be permitted to obstruct the complete attainment of an object which might seem so little adapted for polemical debate, page 33 as to the best method of imparting religious and other knowledge to the children of the native New Zealanders.

It appears to me an experiment fit to be tried, whether the sentiment and the habit of military obedience might not be created amongst these people in such a manner as to render them at once useful in maintaining the public peace and in resisting external aggression.

I am of course aware how much such a suggestion would be opposed by difficulties, partly real and partly imaginary. To such difficulties it would be idle to oppose mere authority an a peremptory decision. But if it should be found practicable to try such an experiment as I have mentioned, on a very small scale, and with every due precaution, experience might reconcile the public mind to the extension of it, and the results might be such as I have anticipated.

It is only in proportion as either respect for the strength of the aborigines of a clear sense of the utility of their services and co-operation shall possess the public mind, that they will be placed beyond the reach of those oppressions of which other races of uncivilized men have been the victims. Great difficulty must be encountered in rendering their physical powers available in those various descriptions of manual labour for which so great a demand must exist and long continue in New Zealand. On the part of the Natives themselves, we shall have to contend with all the bad habits of an indolent, predatory, and wandering life, united to distrust of their employers, and inadequate appreciation of the rewards of industry. On the side of the employers must be expected a disposition to demand much more than the Native can be reasonably expected to perform; great impatience with his unskilfulness and caprice; irregularity or an entire failure in paying the stipulated reward of his service; and a jealousy or aversion fatal to the growth of mutual confidence. Thus it is to be feared that the inestimable resource which might be found in the employment of the aborigines will be lost to the Colony, and that the civilizing influence of such employment will be lost to the aborigines, unless the solution of this practical problem be undertaken by the Government or by public officers expressly assigned for this service. As an illustration of the manner in which men far more ignorant of the arts of civilized life than the New Zealanders may be won over by gentleness and skill to execute laborious works (such, for example, as opening roads), I would refer you to the accompanying report, lately addressed to me by Captain Grey, a gentleman whom Her Majesty has appointed to the Government of South Australia, but whose observation of the aborigines of New Holland was made in the double character or a traveller and a magistrate in the Western Province. You will probably find some of his suggestions inapplicable to the state of New Zealand, but there can be little doubt of the applicability of the general principles he inculcates, namely, that savage men can best be converted into useful labourers by humouring all the innocent habits and tastes which have grown up with them; by avoiding every exaction of labour calculated to give them needless disgust or lassitude as counteracting too directly those tastes and habits, observing towards them the most exact punctuality and justice in paying the wages of their labour; by allowing or encouraging them in those modes of life which custom has rendered necessary to their health, however dissimilar to our own; and by establishing, as far as possible, barriers against the relapse into barbarous usages of such as may be reclaimed from them. Especially would a wise foresight exhibit itself in the care of the children of the aborigines, and in providing for their moral, religious, and industrial education. In all these matters, the Government, the Protectors, and the missionaries should earnestly co-operate with each other; and every effort should be made to secure the cordial assistance of the more intelligent and wealthy settlers. Penalties, regulations, and even the precepts of religion will prove unavailing to avert from the Natives the dangers impending over them, if these be not aided by experiments, wisely conducted, to show at once the practicability and the advantage of enlisting the services of these people in works of public utility. Such experiments must be conceived and executed in the spirit of forbearance and patience; of a reasonable allowance for the defects of the savage character; and of a just faith in the susceptibility of improvement and culture, which belongs to men of every race and condition. I must also especially commend to your attention, and that of the Protectors acting under you, a due regard to those rules which medical skill and experience may have established regarding the effect of sudden changes in dress, diet, and modes of living, on the health and longevity of men brought up from infancy in the habits of savage, or at least of uncivilized, existence. To the neglect of these rules, or to the hasty and inconsiderate formation of them, is perhaps to be attributed much of that rapid mortality which has attended all such tribes when taken under the care of European guides, even though animated by the most lively solicitude for their welfare. Of course it belongs to men educated in the medical art, and conversant with the physiology of the human frame and constitution, to reduce this general suggestion into any definite and useful form; but I believe that all experience concurs to show that the injudicious care of savage by civilized men, though not the usual, is yet a fatal cause of their premature decay.

I have insisted on this subject at great length, and have thus brought together the most material suggestions which have occurred to me respecting it, rather from the deep sense which, in common with all ranks of people in this country, I entertain of is importance, than from any considerable hope that it would be in my power, at this distance, to guide your deliberations on a question at once so arduous and obscure. It is necessary that you should possess, and it is far from my wish to withhold from you, an unfettered freedom of judgment as to the choice of the most effectual means for promoting the ends respecting which there can be no difference between us. Those ends are, the protection of the aborigines from injustice, cruelty, and wrong; the establishment and maintenance of friendly relations with them; the diversion into useful channels of the capacities for labour, which have hitherto been lying dormant; the avoidance of every practice towards them tending to the destruction of their health or the diminution of their numbers; the education of their youth; and the diffusion amongst the whole Native population of the blessings of Christianity. If the experience of the past compels me to look forward with anxiety to the too probable defeat of these purposes by the sinister influence of the many passions, prejudices, and physical difficulties with which we shall have to contend, it is, on the other hand, my duty and your own to avoid yielding in any degree to that despair of success which would assuredly render success impossible. To rescue the Natives of New Zealand from the calamities of which the approach of civilized man to barbarous tribes has hitherto been the almost universal page 34 herald, is a duty too sacred and important to be neglected, whatever may be the discouragements under which it may be undertaken.

V.—Waste Lands.

The sale and settlement of waste lands is the next of the general topics to which I propose to advert in this Despatch.

The Marquis of Normanby has anticipated and provided for the great and peculiar difficulty by which the regular colonization of New Zealand was impeded. I refer, of course, to the large claims advanced by persons in virtue of contracts or grants said to have been made by the Native chiefs. In my present want of information as to the measures which may have been taken to give effect to his instructions, I can state merely that Her Majesty's Government perceive no reason for receding from them. It is absolutely necessary, 1st, That a commission should ascertain, and that the law should determine, what lands are private and what are public property; and, 2ndly, That all lands held by private persons, and not actually in cultivation, should be subjected to an annual tax, the non-payment of which should be followed by the confiscation and seizure of the land. Until this is done, there can be no reasonable prospect of the Colony making any effectual advance in agriculture, wealth, or sound internal polity.

On the other hand, I am willing to admit that it is not desirable that the execution of any such commission should be intrusted to any person acting under the bias of any interest, real or supposed, in favour of any particular class or body of persons, or in favour of the adjacent Colonies, or any of them. The measure of resorting to New South Wales for legislation on this subject, and for officers to conduct this service, was adopted by Her Majesty's Government reluctantly, but was at the time the only course which it was practicable to take. The erection of a local legislature at New Zealand, and the final establishment of the Queen's sovereignty there, have removed these difficulties; and if, on the receipt of this Despatch, a commission appointed by the Government of New South Wales, under a law passed in that Colony, shall be in force in New Zealand, you will take the earliest opportunity for superseding both the commission and the law, by the enactment of a local Ordinance for the same general purposes, and by issuing a commission in favour of persons combining, with the other requisite qualifications for the task, the great advantage of as much impartiality, and as much exemption from the suspicion of any partial bias, as can be found at your disposal.

When the demesne of the Crown shall thus have been clearly separated from the lands of private persons, and from those still retained by the aborigines, the sale and settlement of that demesne will proceed according to the rules laid down in the accompanying Instructions under the royal sign-manual. It would be superfluous either to repeat or to abridge those Instructions in this place. It may be sufficient to say, that they proceed on the following fixed principles: namely, 1st, That all the lands of the Crown are to be surveyed as promptly and as accurately as may be compatible with the means you possess. 2ndly, That from the lands so surveyed are to be reserved, for the use of the public at large, all tracts which are likely to be required for purposes of public health, utility, convenience, or enjoyment. 3dly, That no public land is ever to be disposed of gratuitously. 4thly, That the surveyed districts, as they are successively opened for settlement, are to be disposed of by public sale at one uniform price. 5thly, That every possible method is to be adopted for expenses of the Land Department, including surveys, and such other works as may be indispensable to give an exchangeable value to the land. 6thly, That from the surplus no deduction be ever made for the indispensable exigencies of the public service, and for the benefit of the aborigines, exceeding 50 percent on the net proceeds of the year. 7thly, That this deduction of 50 percent be never made except in so far as there may be a well ascertained deficiency of other funds for such services. 8thly, That 50 percent of the net proceeds at least be expended annually in the removal of emigrants from this country. 9thly, That the removal of such emigrants be effected by the Colonial Land and Emigration Commissioners, or under their direction and superintendence.

Such are the general rules by which this branch of the public service will be regulated. It remains to notice the special case of the Society who have been acting under the title of "The New Zealand Land Company," and who have laid claim to some millions of acres of land in the neighbourhood of Port Nicholson. On that subject I would, however, observe in this place, only, that I have entered upon what I trust will be a satisfactory adjustment of these claims. But the subject will be treated of at large in another and separate communication.

VI. The topic to which I propose to advert last, is that of the care of education of youth, and of the religious instruction of the colonists. All important as this topic is, it may, however, be briefly disposed of. The system which has been established in New South Wales and Van Diemen's Land is, I believe, the best which it would be practicable to devise. It has at least the great recommendation of eminent success and general popularity. Taking, therefore, the Church Extension Acts of those Colonies for your guide, you will propose the enactment of a similar law to the Legislature of New Zealand. One important qualification is, however, indispensable. It must be provided that the contributions from the local Treasury to this object shall never in any year exceed some definite proportion, perhaps a tenth or a seventh, of the net revenue. By giving a more absolute and unlimited pledge, the Legislatures of the older Colonies have involved their Treasuries in obligations which it is scarcely possible to fulfil.

The preceding instructions are, of necessity, drawn up in general terms. If they shall not be found to relieve you from much of the responsibility of your office, they will, I trust, at least serve to indicate the views by which Her Majesty's Government are actuated, and the objects which they chiefly desire to attain in the settlement of this new Colony; and they will at least direct your own attention to many topics which experience shows are too often unheeded in the administration of our Colonial Governments.

I have, &c.,

J. Russell.

Governor Hobson.