The New Zealand Spectator and Cook’s Strait Guardian, Saturday, October 5, 1861
[Editorial, The New Zealand Spectator and Cook’s Strait Guardian, Saturday, October 5, 1861]
We are at length able to announce the gratifying intelligence of Sir George Grey’s arrival in New Zealand. The news was brought by the Storm Bird yesterday evening from Napier, a small vessel having arrived there from Auckland two days before the Storm Bird left with the information that His Excellency had arrived in Auckland on the 26th inst. Whatever faint hopes were secretly entertained in certain quarters that “something might turn up” to prevent Sir George from coming back to the scene of his former labours—we may add of his former peaceful triumphs—are entirely dissipated; there is no doubt that Colonel Browne is now no longer Governor of New Zealand, for Sir George Grey has assumed his duties. The state of suspense in which the Colony has for some time past remained will now be removed—the hour has come said the man—and henceforth we may hope for progress and consequent prosperity.
A story is told of Tom Sheridan (nephew of the celebrated wit and orator) going out for a day’s shooting with an Irishman as his attendant. Tom was a bad shot, and missed very time he fired, while his attendant exhausted his ingenuity in compliments and excuses for his bad luck. At length Tom fired his last shot and missed as usual, on which his companion drily observed—“You made them have that however.”—Now this seems to us very much the way in which Colonel Browne’s flatterers attempt to console him for his failures in New Zealand. They pretend that he is the only Governor who has attempted to carry out a clear and definite policy towards the Natives, and affect to lament, that while he has laboured another will enter in to reap the reward of his labours. Nothing can be more absurd or untrue than such a statement. To expect a definite policy from one who neither understood or cared to understand the Natives, their habits, or their language, who took no pains to conceal his indifference to them, and seldom troubled himself to stir twenty miles from Auckland during the term of his administration so that the majority of Natives never had the opportunity of seeing him,—this would indeed have been a fallacy. What was this boasted policy? To put down the feuds at Taranaki after they had ceased,—not by punishing those who had been guilty of murder, but by commencing a new system of land purchasing—of land stealing as the Natives call it,—which arrayed the tribes against the Government in one hostile body and which ended in the destruction of that Province;—to put down the King movement, by allowing it to grow to its present formidable proportions without any interference on his part, and after repeated assurances that it would die away of itself to attack the only Chief of importance who had not joined the movement but had always been friendly to the Europeans and the Government, while he pensioned the Maori King to the day of his death and paid for his coffin out of public money. Equally preposterous is it to pretend that Colonel Browne can claim any credit for the present suspension of hostilities since it is notorious that had he and his advisers who caused the war continued to administer the government of the Colony, by this time a war of a [sic: delete]races would have been raging in this Island, and all hope of its peaceful colonization would have been completely extinguished. Now that Colonel Browne is incapable of doing any more mischief, and what is of much more consequence, now that his former advisers under whose influence he acted, are removed from office, we could gladly allow him to depart without bestowing another thought upon him, were it not for the injudicious praises of his friends who claim for him credit to which he is in no way entitled.