History of New Zealand
Chapter iv. — Te Pehi
Though as a people the Maoris had welcomed the Gospel of peace, there was no abatement of the corruption which they suffered from the lawless Europeans congregated at Kororarika, and other parts of the coast.
In 1836, a Select Committee of the House of Commons reported upon the horrors revealed to it. One of them involved not only the chief Rauparaha but the master of a British vessel.
Te Pehi, the uncle of Rauparaha, soon after Hongi's revolting successes with his fire-arms, thirsted to emulate them. Seeing a vessel in Cook's Straits he approached her with three canoes. The crew prepared to encounter the savages. Te Pehi rose, and in broken English tried to show that his aim was peaceful. He sprung upon the deck of the ‘Urania,’ and ordered his countrymen to retire. He demanded fire-arms. When they were refused, he said he would go to England to see King George. The captain ordered men to throw him overboard, but Te Pehi clung so tightly to two ring-bolts that without such violence as the captain was loth to use, it was impossible to tear Te Pehi from his hold. When the struggle was over Te Pehi motioned to his followers and they returned to the shore. Though the captain afterwards strove to land Te Pehi he was unable to do so.
The Maori became popular in the ‘Urania,’ and at Monte Video plunged into the sea and rescued the drowning captain, who had fallen overboard. The rescued man was kind, and when Te Pehi was ill at Liverpool, called in a physician. Dr. Traill was much struck by the chief's intelligence, and succeeded page 161 in inducing the Government to give an allowance to maintain him in England, and to pay for his passage back to New Zealand; but the gift of arms was not repeated as in Hongi's case. Nevertheless before reaching his native land he procured some, and led war-parties to the Middle Island. The manner of his death at Kaiapoi has been, told already.
In 1830, Rauparaha, thirsting for revenge, hired a scoundrel named Stewart, commanding the brig ‘Elizabeth,’ 236 tons, to convey Raupahara and several scores of armed followers to Banks' Peninsula.1
There is reason to believe that Stewart's villainy required little solicitation from Rauparaha.
The ‘Elizabeth’ arrived at Sydney in July, and in August Stewart sailed for New Zealand with a cargo adapted to his future deeds.2
Stewart's hire was a few tons of flax.3 The object was murder. Rauparaha, savage at the killing of his uncle, Te Pehi, and finding it difficult to pounce upon his intended victims, stipulated that Stewart should convey secretly an armed band and assist them in their murderous designs.
1 Some difficulty in tracing the occurrence arises from the fact that in 1831 there were three or four vessels named ‘Elizabeth’ trading at Sydney.
2 A newspaper described it as “four cases and eighteen muskets; two kegs flints and bullets; two bales slops, two kegs gunpowders, one bundle hardware, five baskets tobacco and stores.”The ‘Elizabeth’ carried eight guns, two swivels, and an ample supply of small arms. Parliamentary Papers, 1838.
3 Attempts have been made to exculpate Stewart and charge Rauparaha with deceiving him. In 1880 under the title of ‘Scenes from the Life of John Marmon,’ a low Pakeha Maori, who was living in the North Island in 1830, a very garbled account was given of Stewart's exploit. But the facts can be drawn incontrovertibly from authentic sources. Marmon was a convicted thief before he went to New Zealand. It was one of the weak points in the Maori character that many such ruffians were patronized by chiefs. As Pakeha Maoris, the clients bred infinite mischief. They shrunk from no atrocity.
In the cabin Maranui was suddenly seized, with the active assistance of Stewart, his mate, and crew. Most of the visitors, with others who subsequently arrived on board, were slaughtered.
Maranui, his wife, and daughter were reserved for a severer fate. He was ironed and so brutally bound that wounds and mortification ensued.
At night, Rauparaha emerged with his army from the womb of the fatal ship, which, like another Sinon, the perjured Stewart had persuaded the Ngaitahu to trust.
Maranui's village, unprepared for resistance, was surprised, its inmates were indiscriminately slaughtered, and their dwellings burnt. It was rumoured that Stewart and his men aided Rauparaha even in this atrocity. The white ruffian allowed the dark savage to carry the remains of the victims on board, and the orgies of cannibalism were perpetrated in the ship. Human flesh was in baskets, and was cooked, with the white savage's permission, in the vessel's galley. Maranui not only knew what was done, but endured the insulting mockery of his captors. Defiant of any pain to himself he rescued his child from torture. At a sign from him the wife (whose hands were free) strangled her willing daughter to save her from worse evils. For this Maranui was made the victim of terrible torture in Stewart's presence; but he gave none of his tormentors satisfaction by showing sign of pain. There was a rugged triumph in his scorn. His daughter was rescued from shame. His fortitude baffled his torturers. The unhappy wife survived to suffer all that savage hatred could inflict upon her at Kapiti. Three of Maranui's brothers were among the slain.
When the ‘Elizabeth’ returned to Kapiti, Mr. Montefiore, a merchant, was there in a vessel of his own with which he had intended to visit the coast. Montefiore gave evidence before a Select Committee. “Expecting that the whites would be slaughtered”(in revenge for Stewart's brutality), Montefiore “was obliged to take refuge”in the ‘Elizabeth,’ in order to return in her to Sydney. Maranui was on board, Stewart retaining him as a hostage “until the charter-party was finally arranged.”Montefiore testified that when the promised flax was not paid page 163 by Rauparaha, Stewart “saw the folly of his conduct,”but would not take Maranui to Sydney, as Montefiore “begged.”1 Montefiore's clemency to Maranui was distempered by special thought for himself. “Maranui slept in the next cabin to me for several nights. He was resigned to his fate; he knew he would be killed. He was as fine a man as ever I saw in my life. The state (mortification) of his legs arose from the irons the captain put upon them. I spoke to the captain, saying as a British subject I could not suffer him to be ironed.… I had the irons struck off; but still he was kept confined on board, being afraid of our own lives while he was on board after his treatment.”Stewart “gave up Maranui2 into the hands of his enemies. I went on shore and saw the whole process of his intended sacrifice. I did not see him killed”(he was tortured inhumanly, without showing sign of pain), “but I know he was killed during the night, and the following morning the widow of the great chief who had been killed”(Te Pehi) “had his entrails as a necklace about her neck, and his heart was cut into pieces to be sent to different tribes, allies of Rauparaha.”
With his flax, and Montefiore, and another passenger, Stewart arrived in Sydney in January, 1831, and it was not from Montefiore that the Governor heard what had been done.
1 It is permissible to check Montefiore's evidence by other facts. “On my arrival in Sydney (he says) I related the circumstances, and they tried, the captain.”Governor Darling wrote to Lord Goderich (13th April) that Mr. Gordon Browne “first brought the matter under notice.”Moreover, the captain was never tried, though Montefiore may have left Sydney under the impression that he would be tried. The many conflicting and erroneous statements as to the prosecution of Stewart, made it necessary for me to trace the facts carefully, and to be satisfied with nothing less than a record made by an officer of the Supreme Court. Montefiore avers that Stewart did not receive his hire. This may be true; or although false it may have been asserted by Stewart. It is absolutely true that the ‘Australian’ newspaper recorded the arrival of the ‘Elizabeth’ in Sydney, 14th January, 1831, with thirty tons of flax, Stewart being master, and Montefiore a passenger. It is probable that Maranui was held as security only till the flax was procured.
2 In some narratives the chief is called Tamaiharanui. I have adhered to the name used in Governor Darling's despatches, and by Montefiore, who saw the chief surrendered to torture.
Stewart was detained on bail, and retained the able Dr. Wardell to defend him. All witnesses were spirited away, and it was vainly hoped that the Governor would release Stewart.
In the end of March another white ruffian, master of the ‘Prince of Denmark,’ arrived with human heads for sale, and Darling, who was warned by Mr. Gordon Browne of the new atrocity, was in no humour to make the ways easy for such criminals. He fulminated (16th April) his order declaring that it was his “imperative duty to take strong measures for totally suppressing the inhuman traffic”which masters and crews of vessels were promoting.
Stewart's vessel went to sea under another master. Darling feared that the legal proceedings would be ineffectual in the absence of witnesses, but he kept Stewart in suspense as long as possible. Dr. Wardell complained bitterly of the detention. Had Stewart been tried, the counsel for the Crown might have contrasted the mildness of his treatment with that he inflicted upon the fettered chief.
On the 13th April a chief, accompanied by a nephew of Maranui, waited on the Governor to urge that something should be done by England to stay the hands of her unworthy sons.
The well-disposed English in New Zealand also informed the Governor that they feared “that their lives would be made answerable for the proceedings of their countrymen.”
1 On the 4th June Governor Darling wrote: “It is my intention to employ Captain Sturt at New Zealand, should there be no objection on his part.… It is an object to conciliate and keep the New Zealanders in good humour, and Captain Sturt's disposition and character gave him the best chance of succeeding with them.”On the 7th September, 1831, Darling having heard of the appointment of his successor (gazetted in London in April) wrote: “I shall not venture to proceed with the arrangements notified in my despatch with respect to New Zealand.”Captain Sturt devoted his energies and fine disposition to the cause of exploration in Australia. It is possible that if Darling had remained, and Sturt had been put in authority at New Zealand some evils might have been averted.
The “barbarous traffic”in heads, the Governor designated as an incentive to war. It was “infinitely more disgusting than slavery, which may be considered a branch of it, and which it would certainly have the effect of promoting;… (it would increase) the desire to obtain prisoners, who, instead of being kept as slaves to be employed in the service of their captors, would, to a certain extent, be immolated as victims to this new and detestable commerce.”
While the Governor's gallant despatch was on the way to England, his term of office was closing, and his successor was appointed.
It would seem that the law officers were remiss in permitting witnesses to leave the colony. The Imperial statute constituting the Supreme Court of the colony (9 Geo. IV. cap. 83) gave express power to deal with such offences as that of Stewart. His trial was to take place in May. The Sydney ‘Gazette’ spoke of the case as peculiar, because it involved “the question of the liability of British subjects for offences committed against the natives of New Zealand.”The ‘Australian’ (controlled by Dr. Wardell) could not “divine the justice of denouncing Stewart as amenable to laws, which, however strict and necessary under certain circumstances, were page 166 not applicable to savage broils and unintentional acts of homicide to which he must have been an unwilling party, and over which he could not possibly exercise the slightest control.”
No criminal was ever without a criminal apologist, and the Governor was almost alone in seeking to wipe off the foul blot with which Stewart's immunity could not but stain the English name.
When the case, Rex v. Stewart, was called (on the 21st May), the law officer was not ready to proceed on the original information, but intended to proceed upon another for a misdemeanour (on the 23rd May). Wardell at once applied for the discharge of Stewart's recognizances, but the Court refused. On the 23rd May the Crown Solicitor announced that he abandoned the charge of misdemeanour and intended to proceed on the information already filed as soon as the witnesses should be forthcoming.
Dr. Wardell protested against the hardship of “holding Stewart to bail in the sum of £2000 for an indefinite period,”and again strove to withdraw the recognizances. He objected to “skipping first from a charge of murder to a misdemeanour, and then to murder back again;”but the Court refused to discharge the bail, allowing the matter to be brought forward for reconsideration.
Accordingly a rule was granted for hearing Wardell's application. The law officers did not satisfy the Court that the criminal ought to be detained, and on the 20th June, 1831, he was “discharged on his own recognizance in the sum of £1000.”
1 Evidence before House of Commons Select Committee, 12th February, 1836. “On the trial there was no evidence which could convict the captain.', “He was tried before the Supreme Court in Sydney.”‘Story of New Zealand’: Dr. Thomson. As to Stewart's fate Montefiore told the Committee that he understood that Stewart “met his death by being washed off his ship coming round Cape Horn.”Dr. Thomson records as the result of personal inquiry “that he dropped dead reeking of rum”off Cape Horn, and was “pitched overboard by his own crew with little ceremony and no regret.”Of the release of Stewart in Sydney it was difficult to trace the facts as no newspaper recorded it, and the order of the Court could not be found at the Law Offices in 1881. The kindness of Mr. John Gurner, who not only kept the official records of the Court in 1831, but retained a rough copy made by himself at the time, put me in possession of the best possible evidence. Though ninety years old when applied to, Mr. Gurner was as quick and intelligent as ordinary men twenty-five years younger, and his courtesy was as signal.
It is some relief to know that, with the sanction of the missionary Hadfield (Bishop of Wellington in 1881), the son of Rauparaha went upon an expedition, eighteen years after the death of Maranui, to carry the Gospel to his decimated people.
Rife as were atrocities amongst the base English in 1831, the conduct of Stewart in making his ship a human shambles was deemed disgraceful. Archdeacon Broughton besought the Government to avert the cruel injury to which the aborigines in Australia and the islands were exposed. Marsden called attention to it by letters to Governor Darling and Mr. Fowell Buxton, M.P., as well as to the Missionary Society.
The Committee of the House of Commons reported that through unexplained difficulties neither Stewart nor his accomplices were brought to justice. Those “who might have been witnesses were suffered to leave the country. Thus, then, we see that an atrocious crime, involving the murder of many individuals, has been perpetrated through the instrumentality of a British subject, and that yet neither he nor any of his accomplices have suffered any punishment.”
In 1832 Lord Goderich, the Secretary of State, wrote to Governor Bourke (who had succeeded Darling): “It is impossible to read without shame and indignation these details. The unfortunate natives of New Zealand, unless some decisive measures of prevention be adopted, will, I fear, be shortly added to the number of those barbarous tribes who in different parts of the globe have fallen a sacrifice to their intercourse with civilized men, who bear and disgrace the name of Christians.… There can be no more sacred duty than that of using every possible method to rescue the natives of these extensive islands from the further evils which impend over them, and to deliver page 168 our country from the disgrace and crime of having either occasioned or tolerated such atrocities.”
Marsden in the same year warned the Secretary of the Church Mission Society, that if the atrocities committed by white men could not be restrained by existing laws, it was necessary for the British Parliament to pass some Act “to redress the wrongs of the natives;”otherwise the natives themselves might resort to revenge. There were believed to be nearly two thousand Europeans on the islands when this appeal was made.
A Bill was introduced by Lord Howick into the House of Commons in 1832, to subject British stragglers to the restraints of law, “in islands situate in the Southern or Pacific Ocean, and not being within His Majesty's dominion;”but the House could not devise a satisfactory scheme, and the Bill lapsed after passing through committee. Mr. Burge pithily warned Lord Howick, on its introduction, that if the islands were within the king's dominions the Government could act without the new law, and that if they were not, the House could not legislate with respect to them. Lord Howick pleaded that Stewart's crimes in assisting murder and cannibalism on board a British ship had “escaped all punishment from the defect in the law.”Mr. Croker asked why crimes committed on board a British ship could not be punished, and Lord Howick could only repeat that there was no power to bring such miscreants before the New South Wales Courts.1 The Bill was not read a third time.
Lord Howick's ineptitude about New Zealand affairs was tasked by Lord Granville Somerset in the same year. Asked what security there was for the person of the British Resident, the noble lord replied: “I understand there is a very amicable intercourse between New South Wales and New Zealand.”
1 Lord Howick appears to have been ignorant that the English statute, 57 Geo. III. cap. 53, was passed in 1817 to meet such cases (New Zealand being specially mentioned in the statute), and that two statutes (4 Geo. IV. cap. 96, 1823; and 9 Geo. IV. cap. 83, 1828), gave special power to the Supreme Courts of New South Wales and Van Diemen's Land to try such cases, New Zealand being named in each of the statutes.
The Maoris preferred the friendship of the English, and thus petitioned the king, while a French man-of-war was cruising on their coast:
“We have heard that the tribe of Marion is at hand, coming to take away our land; therefore we pray thee to become our friend and the guardian of these islands, lest the annoyances of other tribes should touch us, and lest strangers should come and take away our land. And if any of thy people should be troublesome or vicious towards us (for some persons are living here who have run away from ships), we pray thee to be angry with them that they may be obedient, lest the anger of the people of this land fall upon them.”
Lord Goderich, in reply, did not allude to the French, but, in 1832,1 appointed Mr. James Busby as “British Resident at New Zealand,”to prevent the arrival of criminals, and apprehend runaways if he could. Busby carried a letter to the chiefs from Lord Goderich, stating that the king would do “all in his power to prevent a recurrence of the outrages complained of, and to punish the perpetrators whenever they can be apprehended and brought to trial.”
An elaborate letter of instructions from Sir Richard Bourke to Busby, in 1833, proves that the British Government shrunk from proper responsibility. “You are aware,”he wrote, “that you cannot be clothed with any legal power or jurisdiction by virtue of which you might be enabled to arrest British subjects offending against British or Colonial law in New Zealand.”Circumstances had prevented an enactment to supply the defect. “You can therefore rely but little on the force of law, and must lay the foundation of your measures upon the influence you shall obtain over the native chiefs.”
1 Despatch, Lord Glenelg, December, 1832, to Foreign Office.
Busby went to New Zealand in a man-of-war, and was not to blame for doing nothing, after having been officially told that there was nothing that he could do. In 1834 he purposed to establish a national flag for the New Zealanders. Sir R. Bourke sent three patterns. The chiefs selected one, which was publicly hoisted, and was saluted with twenty-one guns by H.M.S. ‘Alligator,’ on the 20th March, 1834.
Lord Aberdeen, as Secretary of State, approved of these proceedings. The chiefs sent an address to the King of England, thanking him for the acknowledgment of their flag, and asking for further recognition in return for the aid they always afforded to British subjects.
The English Government temporized, as though they hoped that the difficulty, if let alone, would settle itself. By some acts they had treated New Zealand as part of the British Empire. Governor Phillip's commission had always been interpreted as including New Zealand. In 1814, when Marsden went thither with the Gospel, Governor Macquarie had issued a proclamation, asserting rights of government, and had appointed magistrates to exercise authority. The statute, 57 Geo. III. cap. 53 (1817), “for the more effectual punishment of murders and manslaughters committed in places not within His Majesty's dominions,”specially designated New Zealand as one of such places, and two statutes for administration of justice in New South Wales, while giving power to the Supreme Court in the colony to try such crimes, declared that New Zealand was “not within His Majesty's dominions.”The appointment of Busby, in 1832, showed a doubting condition of mind. The recognition of the flag implied repudiation of any claim of sovereignty, but the Government, nevertheless, spoke occasionally with an uncertain voice.
1 It is described in W. B. Marshall's ‘Personal Narrative.’ London, 1836. It was white, with a St. George's cross; and in the upper corner on the left hand, a blue field with a red cross, and four white stars. Before the chiefs voted, one of them consulted Mr. Marshall, and took his advice as to his vote. The chosen flag received twelve votes; another ten; the third six. Two chiefs abstained from voting, apprehensive that some hidden danger lurked in the adoption of a flag.
Crossing to Port Nicholson, Guard took a passage thence to Sydney in the ‘Joseph Weller.’ and appealed to Sir R. Bourke to rescue the captives at Taranaki. The Moturoa chiefs were with him. It had been intended to call at Moturoa for Guard's brother and the eight surviving men, but the wind was adverse. Guard said, “The chiefs did not object to being brought to Port Jackson, but they would, I think, have preferred being landed at Moturoa.”He declared that while at the latter place he was several times “offered some of our own people's flesh to eat, which had been brought from the wreck in baskets.”
Guard was at once examined by Sir Richard Bourke and his Council. One of them (the Treasurer, Mr. C. D. Riddell) shrewdly suspected that the fighting between the crew and the natives had arisen from licentious quarrels, which the desertion of two of the crew implied, and which were afterwards ascertained. But the horror of the tale overbore Riddell's averment page 172 that it was incoherent and might be false, Guard having been “formerly a convict, and his dealings with New Zealanders having in some instances been marked with cruelty.”It was resolved however, and Captain Lambert was enjoined, to use “amicable means,”lest a “spirit of revenge of hostility”should be excited among other tribes. Force was to be employed only on failure of “amicable means.”
Captain Lambert, on the 12th September, put an interpreter, with a companion, on shore at the Numa, a Ngatiruanui pah. They were instructed to say that he wished to avoid hostilities, but would give no ransom, and would employ force if necessary to recover the captives. Foul winds prevented the emissaries from regaining the ship until the 16th September. They had been in fear for their lives, and they had promised a cask of gunpowder as ransom for the woman and children.
The ‘Alligator’ proceeded to Moturoa, landed the Ngatiawa chiefs, and received all the shipwrecked sailors, with the exception of two who had absconded, and one of whom had been drowned in attempting to cross a river, while the other succeeded in reaching a missionary station at Kawhia. Captain Lambert refused to give the cask of gunpowder promised by Guard to the Ngatiawa.
On the 28th a military force was landed to attack the Numa pah. Two unarmed Maoris met the military. One of them addressed Guard familiarly and told him that the captives were well and would be surrendered for the promised ransom. The officer, who for the time represented the majesty of England, seized upon the astonished chief, O-o-hit, and, with assistance from Guard and others, dragged him to the boat, buffeting and pricking him with bayonets on the way. O-o-hit sprung overboard, was shot at, wounded, recaptured, and taken to the ship. The surgeon found ten wounds on the head, inflicted by armed men on an unarmed man who had met them confidingly on the strength of the promises of the interpreter.
Captain Lambert's account of the transaction was brief: “We fortunately secured the chief who had charge of Mrs. Guard; he was severely wounded in trying to make his escape from the boat.”
The natives fled from the Numa pah, and the military page 173 occupied it. On the 29th (Lambert reported) Captain Johnson, 50th Regt., “finding all communication with the natives at an end, after having completely destroyed their pah, embarked, and returned on board without a single accident.”
During these events one of the Maoris, who had gone on board the ‘Alligator’ soon after her arrival, preserved a quiet demeanour. He was landed on the 30th at Waimate, in order that he might inform the tribe that O-o-hit's life was safe, but that he would “never be given up until Mrs. Guard and her children were restored.”
The Ngatiruanui were seen in great numbers, listening to harangues from their chiefs. On the 31st two boats were sent to the shore, and O-o-hit from one of them addressed his people, who, with signs of joy, conveyed Mrs. Guard and the youngest child in a canoe to the ‘Alligator's’ boat. Captain Lambert reported that as the wounded chief “had no power over the tribe who possessed the boy, I sent him on shore as I had promised.”There was much rejoicing and dancing on the shore in welcome of O-o-hit.
Lambert sent a lieutenant to ask for the other child, but he was “fired at from one of the pahs while waiting patiently outside the surf. Such treachery could not be borne, and I immediately commenced firing at them from the ship.”The Maoris hoisted a white flag, but the cannonade was continued for three hours. A chief was seen with the boy in one hand and waving a white flag with the other, but the fire was not slackened, and all the canoes within sight were destroyed. A westerly wind drove the ‘Alligator’ away, and she anchored in Port Hardy until the 5th October, when she bore off for Waimate. On the 6th the child was seen on the shore with his keepers. On the 7th a Maori went on board the ‘Alligator,’ and a message was sent to the effect that the holder of the child would take it on board if any of the officers would remain on shore as hostage for the chief's return. An officer volunteered, but Captain Lambert would not permit him to undertake a service deemed dangerous.
On the 8th a party of soldiers and marines were landed with Guard and his crew, and a six-pound carronade to bombard the pahs. While it was being drawn into position Maoris advanced. page 174 Conference was held, and they said that they were desirous of peace and willing to give up the child.
A chief—carrying the child on his shoulders and followed by others, O-o-hit walking in the rear—came forward; while flags of truce were flying on both sides. Of the treatment he received there were various versions. The official narrative of the soldier indicated that the chief, being told that no ransom would be given, turned to go; that a sailor shot him; that the marines first, and then the soldiers from the height, poured a general fire upon the startled Maoris, without any order from Captain Johnson, who commanded the party. Afterwards, Johnson, thinking the natives hostile, advanced upon them and captured their pahs, one of which contained, in his opinion, about 200 huts
Captain Lambert reported to Governor Bourke that by four p.m. both pahs were taken, and the child on board, “without sustaining any loss, while that of the natives has been considerable,”and all their canoes were destroyed.
He did not report that the chief's head was cut off, and that on the following day the triumphant soldiers and marines amused themselves by kicking it to and fro.”1
“Thus, by their cruelty and obstinacy have these guilty tribes been most justly and severely punished,”was Captain Lambert's final commentary on the transactions, for their share in which he praised all concerned. He thought that “twenty to thirty natives”had been killed.
Sailing to Kapiti he found Rauparaha's followers “in considerable alarm,”and issued a notification (11 Oct.) that he had only avenged the “horrid murder of part of the crew of the ‘Harriet,’ and that the King of England was friendly to Maoris, but would punish offenders.”
He had, however, given an ill-name to his countrymen, not so much on the ground that he had taken life, as because the natives believed that he had broken his word as a “Rangatira,”or gentleman. They who cherished hatred against the French for generations, on account of the deeds of Marion du Fresne, were not likely to forget the breach of faith at Waimate.
1 Surgeon Marshall, who tells this tale, adds that the head was afterwards buried by himself and Lieutenants Clarke and Gunton, and that they “heaped over it a cairn of stones.”
When the facts became known in Sydney, the aged Marsden regretted that he had not been alone with the Maoris to obtain the restoration of the captives, and owned that the institution of some law, even foreign, was imperatively demanded, if only to save the Maoris from marauding violence.
The blood-stain at Taranaki roused horror at the Colonial Office. Mr. Marshall,1 a surgeon on board the ‘Alligator,’ published, in 1836, a narrative of the brutalities committed. It was dedicated to Lord Glenelg (the new Secretary of State), and fervently appealed to him, and to right-minded Englishmen, against the atrocities which the writer had witnessed. He published proof that the attack on the crew of the ‘Harriet’ was not the result of a general plot, but supervened after quarrels among the crew and the debauchery of a fortnight.
The breach of promise of ransom, the conversion of the head of the chief into a “tennis ball for the sport of private soldiers,”“the savage cannonading of two villages, crowded with a mixed multitude of men, women, and children,”… “the gratuitous and crowning cruelty of burning the habitations and consuming the provisions and fuel laid by in store for many coming months,”were told with horror.
The one redeeming feature was that when the child was seized while the English flag of truce was flying, and indiscriminate slaughter was commenced, “Ensign Wright2 of the 50th regiment hurried along the line breathless with haste, and crying to the men at the top of his voice to cease firing. For some time he was entirely disregarded, and not only generally disobeyed, but in some instances laughed at; nor until several dead bodies were seen stretched upon the sands could the united efforts of himself and the other officers put a stop to the frightful tide of slaughter.”
2 Mr. Wright eventually left the army, and died more than forty years afterwards while holding the office of Sheriff at Melbourne. His numerous friends in Victoria may be gratified to read that in his youth he proved his humane disposition at personal risk. The man Guard remained in New Zealand, and acted as volunteer pilot in Cook's Straits for some years.
“Nothing,”Mr. Marshall wrote, “can justify so foul a deed of blood.”
When the ‘Alligator’ called at the Bay of Islands after her exploits at Taranaki, and when Mr. Marshall saw Maori congregations gathered to hear the preaching of the missionaries, he declared his inability to describe his feelings.
The contrast between what he had seen at Taranaki and what he saw at Paihia spurred him to cry out to his countrymen to aid the missionary work.
At the latter place he said, a “spectacle of greatest sublimity and most affecting interest is to be seen, week after week, of whole multitudes met together to make known their wants and weaknesses unto the God of the whole earth, and ‘laying aside all malice, and all guile and hypocrisies and envies, and all evil speakings.’”… These effects have, it is undeniable, been introduced by the introduction of Christianity among the savages of New Zealand.”
His concluding words were an appeal to Christian Englishmen to send a pastor to the western tribes, amongst whom he had seen a king's ship inflicting the wrongs he had described.
The publication of Marshall's narrative took place in the same year (1836) that the Select Committee1 of the House of Commons found cause to animadvert upon the “lawless and infamous mode of British colonization which is now making rapid progress, and which, all testimony concurs in asserting, threatens to exterminate the New Zealand race;”and to declare that the native inhabitants “of any land have an incontrovertible right to their own soil.”
1 Captain Lambert was examined by the Committee. He was unable to tell how the scuffle originated when the chief was wounded and dragged on board. He concluded that, when the other chief brought the child down one of the sailors fired the first shot, and then the general firing began' but he was not on shore himself. One man seized the child, and simultaneously another shot the chief. Lambert was shocked (he said) at the cutting off of the chief's head; but he did not explain his reticence on the subject in his report to Governor Bourke. Marshall also gave evidence before the Committee.
2 ‘Colonization and Christianity.’ William Howitt: London, 1838.
Mr. Busby availed himself of the presence of the ‘Alligator’ at the Bay of Islands in October, 1834, to enforce a decision against the chief Pomārĕ, who was alleged to have defrauded a runaway trader.
The man had a small schooner, and contracted for flax and timber with Pomārĕ. He sold the articles to ship-masters without paying Pomārĕ for them; and then, selling his schooner, decamped. Pomārĕ seized the schooner as security. The purchaser from the runaway urged Mr. Busby to resume the schooner under the ‘Alligator's’ guns. Busby without due inquiry demanded the schooner, and Pomārĕ laughed at him.
The ‘Alligator’ moved up the harbour to the promontory on which stood Pomārĕ's pah. Before opening fire upon the place negotiation was thought prudent.
The Revds. W. Williams and W. Yate landed to ask Pomārĕ to go on board the man-of-war. He declined until the missionaries reminded him that their wives and children at Paihia were in the power of the Maoris, and were hostages for his safety. Then he started to the ship, which he saluted from his fort with two guns which he had procured.
On board, after a moment's hesitation, he went into the cabin undauntedly, and proved his case so clearly that the captain and Busby had no doubt about it. Pomārĕ agreed to leave it to the missionaries to decide what compensation he was to receive, and undertook to deliver the schooner on neceiving the amount.
1 ‘British Colonization of New Zealand’ (p. 42). Published for the New Zealand Association. London, 1837.
Although Lord Howick had wished the House of Commons to believe that the British Resident would be in security at the Bay of the Islands, because there was a very amicable intercourse between New South Wales and New Zealand, Busby was to learn hard facts of a different kind.
In May, 1834, his house was attacked at night. Furniture was stolen. Shots were fired, and he was wounded by a splinter from his doorway. Armed men from ships in the harbour rushed to the scene, but the robbers had decamped. Henry Williams took his wife to stay with Mrs. Busby as a protection, and sent messages to the chiefs asking them to join in detecting the offenders. Williams acted as watchman at Busby's premises, assisted by several Maori youths.
Ten European residents in a written document demanded, for the future safety of their wives and families, that Busby would “bring the natives to a proper sense”by the fulfilment of a punishment “justly due to the crime committed.”If Busby should “decline from the character of the station”he occupied, he would cause them to “doubt the intention of the Government”in appointing him.
Busby informed them that the “extraordinary character”of their letter rendered it impossible to take further notice of it than to observe that the chiefs had “shown no want of a proper sense of the treatment to be observed to the representative government,”but had “hastened to express their abhorrence of the attack,”and promised to “use every means to bring to punishment the guilty parties.”1
1 After several years' residence in New Zealand, Busby seems to have misunderstood the warlike capability of the Maoris. He wrote (1837), “With regard to the number of troops which it might be necessary to maintain, I think it would require but little knowledge of military tactics to satisfy any one who has witnessed anything of the warfare of the natives, that one hundred soldiers would be an overmatch for the united force of the whole islands.”There was probably no Maori who had such “little knowledge of military tactics”as Busby (‘N. Z. P. P., F. No. 3’, p. 66).
H.M.S. ‘Alligator’ was at the Bay of Islands (after her exploits at Taranaki), and Captain Lambert attended at a meeting of chiefs and others in front of Busby's house, which lasted three hours. Lambert complimented the missionaries on their endeavours, and left them to settle the business.
The chiefs declared that they could not punish Reti unless he confessed his crime. When he did so, some suggested that he should be shot on the spot, but eventually—the counsels of Titore prevailing—the proposal of the missionaries was adopted.
In 1835, Busby felt called upon to denounce the project of De Thierry, who had arrived at Tahiti in August, and had issued a proclamation styling himself “Charles, Baron de Thierry, Sovereign Chief of New Zealand, and King of Nuhuheva,”one of the Marquesas Islands. The pretender promised to be gracious to the missionaries and others under his sway.
Busby called a meeting of the chiefs to consider the crisis. It is probable that Captain Lambert's exploits at Taranaki conduced to persuade them. Several assembled. With Busby's concurrence they declared (28 October) their independence, under the name of the United Tribes of New Zealand; declared that within their territory all sovereign power and authority resided entirely and exclusively in the hereditary chiefs and heads of tribes collectively, and that a Congress should meet in each autumn to make laws; invited the southern tribes to join their confederation; and entreated the King of England to be their Protector against all attempts upon their independence, promising friendly offices towards all British subjects. With Busby's aid it was understood that laws would be made. In rural districts a chief and a European sheriff were to administer the laws, and a mixed force of Maoris and Pakehas was to be formed to support authority.
Thus fortified, Busby wrote (30 October) to De Thierry to “defeat his enterprise.”He denied De Thierry's title, and sent page 180 a copy of the Declaration of Independence. He sent a copy of a notification he had issued in New Zealand, appealing to all British subjects to resist De Thierry's pretensions.
The pretender replied (in 1836) that New Zealand was not a British possession, that Tasman was there more than one hundred years before Cook, that he was “the humble champion of the present and future liberties of New Zealand,”and would not be warned “not to approach (his) property.”
Of this letter he sent a copy to the Governor (Bourke) in New South Wales. In 1837 he found his way to Sydney, and offered to lay down his sovereign title if Bourke would guarantee “protection”to him. Bourke declined. Would Bourke like to see him protected under the French or American flags? Certainly not.
Such was De Thierry's record in his autobiography. Bourke wrote in September, 1837, to Lord Glenelg: “I have not considered it my duty to interpose any obstacle to his proceeding to New Zealand, of which country he claims to be a chief by right of purchase. He denies all intention of prejudicing the interests of Great Britain, and professes a reliance upon moral influence alone for the authority he expects to acquire.”
Nevertheless, De Thierry issued a bombastic “Address to the white residents”at New Zealand, saying: “I go to govern,… but I neither go as an invader or a despot.”He gathered a motley crew in Sydney, and (leaving his tutor there suffering from delirium trcmens) landed in his own delirium at Hokianga, 4th November, 1837, to ascend his throne, having ninety-three followers. He found one European who was willing to vacate his premises on receiving £2000. The Baron had not the money. The white residents at Hokianga sneered at his pretensions. The Maoris called him a pretender—King Pukanoa —a king unauthorized. But they took pity on him, while they smiled at his claims. They consulted with the missionaries as to what should be done to rescue his ragged crew from want.
Waka Nene and other chiefs met him at Otararau. They acknowledged the receipt of a few axes from Kendall, and pointed out a section of two or three hundred acres as the equivalent. His retinue joined in jeering him. There seemed page 181 to be danger. He armed to defend himself. Deserted by most of his people, he escaped to a spot he called Mount Isabel (in honour of his wife), and hoisted his despised flag there, “leaving the baser material of the expedition to the contempt of the world.”In his journal he bitterly inveighed against Busby's assertion that the axes given by Kendall had purchased no extensive territory, and animadverted upon Kendall as a deceiver. Maugre his assertions all who knew Waka Nene, Taonui, and Patuone thoroughly believed their account of the transaction, and their readiness to keep faith.
Captain Fitzroy, R.N., was examined before a Committee of the House of Lords in 1838, and scouted De Thierry's claim. Nevertheless, when the French Bishop, Pompallier, arrived at Hokianga, in 1838, there was an uneasy feeling amongst European residents lest the frail flag of the Baron should be changed for the lilies of France.
Other French ships were soon seen in New Zealand waters, and public opinion gravitated to a belief that unless England should anticipate her, France would lay claim to the islands.
The distressed Baron meanwhile eked out a miserable subsistence, nursing his hopes, and occasionally receiving letters from France which he described as flattering but long delayed.
While his wild and weak scheme was exhaling into the air a more serious effort demanded the attention of the English Government. One of the most subtle brains of the time was busy to compel colonization. Edward Gibbon Wakefield,1 having startled the political world by broaching a new theory of colonization in 1829, had, by letters, pamphlets, and books, stirred public opinion and created adherents who gathered round him like the followers of an ancient philosopher.
By degrees the founder of the new philosophy was recognized, and privately and publicly his powerful voice and pen prevailed.
In 1837 a New Zealand Association was formed. Mr. Francis Baring was chairman. Lord Durham, Mr. Hawes, Sir W. Molesworth, Mr. H. G. Ward, the Rev. Samuel Hinds, and several members of Parliament were on the committee. A volume of more than four hundred pages was published for the Association at once. It told some of the horrors enacted in the islands, and laid bare before the House of Commons in 1836. It described the capacities of the land. It printed as an appendix an eloquent appeal by one of its members (a Cambridge graduate) for “exceptional laws in favour”of the Maoris. The Association, in a preface, thanked the writer for his “masterly and beautiful contribution.”It declared that “no attempt should be made to convert any part of the country into British territory without the full, free, and perfectly-understanding consent and approval”of the chiefs, and that public opinion forbade “the invasion and confiscation of a territory which is as truly the property of its native inhabitants as the soil of England belongs to her landlords.”
Lord Glenelg was not unwilling to grant to such an Association a charter of colonization, which would protect the inhabitants or chiefs whose “free consent”was requisite. The charter was to be for a limited term, and the Queen was to have a right to disallow all local enactments, and a veto on the nomination of all functionaries. The area of the settlement was to be limited. No contract for land was to be valid unless sanctioned by the Crown, and ample participation of the proceeds of land-sales was in all contracts to be secured for religious and scholastic instruction of the Maoris. Certain subscribed capital, with a definite paid proportion, was to precede the assumption of any authority under the charter.
Lord Durham took exception to the last condition. The Association wished “neither to run any pecuniary risk nor reap any pecuniary advantage.”
On this and other grounds the negotiations were abandoned. The Association asked whether the Government would oppose page 183 the introduction of a Bill to secure their objects. Lord Glenelg replied that they would not, but that they “desire it to be distinctly understood that they do not in any degree pledge themselves to the future support of it, but hold themselves at liberty to take any course which they may think fit with regard to it in any of its subsequent stages.”
At this juncture Lord Durham withdrew his own and Gibbon Wakefield's energies to Canada, where the former, then the idol of extreme reformers, had been made Governor in a time of trouble.
The New Zealand Association was not idle although its high-priest was for a time withdrawn. Out of the efforts the time grew also a small Company (the Manukau and Waitemata) whose course and termination may be told hereafter.
A Select Committee of the House of Lords took evidence on New Zealand affairs. In April, 1838, Neti, a Maori who had gone to France in a French whaler with the hope (ungratified) of seeing Louis Philippe, gave evidence. Vanity perhaps made him profess to be of higher rank as a chief than he was entitled to. In England he lived with Mr. E. J. Wakefield a nephew of Gibbon Wakefield. Dr. G. S. Evans, who was to assume a position under the New Zealand Company, gave evidence in May.
In June, 1838, Mr. Francis Baring obtained leave to bring in a bill for founding a British colony in New Zealand. The first reading was carried by seventy-four votes against twenty-three, the Government not opposing it.
On the 20th June, Sir George Grey on behalf of the Government resisted the second reading. Sir Robert Inglis congratulated him. Mr. Hawes, a member of the Association, considered the opposition of the Government ill-timed. Mr. Gladstone threw his weight into the scale. The House ought to be cautious. “There was no exception to the unvarying and melancholy story of colonization.”Mr. H. G. Ward, a member of the Association, retorted that interference ought not to be delayed. “The European visitors of New Zealand had entailed on it all the curses of civilization without its benefits.… The last persons who ought to oppose the bill were the members of the Administration. During the whole page 184 of his experience in public life he had never known so much uncertainty, vacillation, or change of purpose displayed by the Ministry towards those connected with the undertakings, whom he himself, relying on the faith of the Government, had been a party to deluding.”Viscount Howick disclaimed having given encouragement. The moment he heard that a loan was proposed his answer was that the Government could not think of giving encouragement to “a bill which gave no security against inveiglement of Her Majesty's subjects, nor for observance of justice towards the aborigines.”
The bill was thrown out by ninety-two votes against thirty-two, but the promoters worked unceasingly to effect their purpose, and Gibbon Wakefield's ire was excited against Lord Howick, whom he accused of voting against the project he had formerly patronized.
The secretary of the Church Missionary Society, Mr. Dandeson Coates, also incurred the wrath of the Association by opposing their scheme as fraught with danger to the Maori race.
The disallowance of Lord Durham's Ordinance in Canada, and his abandonment by the Melbourne Ministry, terminated his Canadian career, and Gibbon Wakefield returned to England free to devote his energies to New Zealand.
Though Lord Glenelg was not a man to initiate a decided policy, Wakefield drove him onward step by step.
In December, 1838, he consulted the Foreign Office. Busby's appointment as Resident under the control of the Government of New South Wales had proved inoperative. The objects of the chiefs who, as united tribes, had sought England's protection when alarmed at De Thierry's pretensions, had not been attained. The autumnal meetings of chiefs had not been held. Lord Glenelg was of opinion that order might be “more effectually attained by the appointment of a British Consul to reside at New Zealand.”Lord Palmerston, Foreign Secretary, concurred, but it was not until August, 1839, that the appointment was made.
Captain Hobson, R.N., who had been sent by Governor Bourke to New Zealand in 1837, with H.M.S. ‘Rattlesnake,’ had suggested, with the approval of Sir Richard Bourke, that page 185 factories should be formed at certain ports,—the chief factor being accredited to the chiefs as political agent and consul,1 being assisted by other Europeans as magistrates, and strengthened by a treaty made with the chiefs binding them to recognize the factories and protect British property, The amount of that property might be inferred from the fact that there were nearly two thousand British subjects in the islands, and that a hundred and fifty-one vessels had entered in the year 1836 at the Bay of Islands, infested with “abandoned ruffians”from Britain. It seemed proper to select Hobson to give effect to his own proposal; but he did not receive his instructions from Lord Glenelg, who had fallen sacrificed by his colleagues when they annulled Lord Durham's Ordinance, which they had previously approved, but which, under Lord Brougham's coercion, they abandoned. The Marquis of Normanby took the seals at the Colonial Office.
The resourceful Wakefield, early in 1839, constructed a new engine. He formed a New Zealand Company, of which he made Lord Durham Governor, and Mr. Joseph Somes Deputy-Governor. Members of Parliament were among the Directors, and, though Wakefield's name did not appear, it was well understood that many documents signed by Somes were written by Wakefield. For him the opposition of the Colonial Office and of the Church Mission Society had no terrors.
The Government position was illogical. It had claimed New Zealand through Cook's discoveries, and had saluted a Maori national flag. It had appointed magistrates at the Bay of Islands in 1814, and had subsequently declared that New Zealand was “not within His Majesty's dominions.”It passed a law in 1817 to punish crimes committed in New Zealand. It had in 1832 appointed a Resident without power, and in 1838 had resolved to appoint a Consul.
1 Mr. Busby, in 1836 and 1837, had officially advocated a British protectorate, and a Commission to settle titles to land, and to “declare void all purchases”of which sufficient notice had not been given to the Government, “in order that the real proprietors of the land might be ascertained.”Busby's letter, and Captain Hobson's, were published in London in 1838, with ‘Introductory Observations, by S. Hinds, D.D.,’ “one of the Council of the New Zealand Association.”
It was to no purpose that Lord Normanby declined to receive a deputation from the new company if the “rejected offer of 1838”was to be claimed as a pledge. With the names of the men he had put in front of him, Wakefield could afford to be bold. He scorned the dilatory tricks of officialism. The new company assumed to combine the interests of its predecessors in 1825 and 1837. Presumptive titles to land bought in the former year might be used as a fulcrum or a stand-point. A capital of £100,000 was paid up, and a hundred thousand acres of land in New Zealand were sold in London before a title to one had been acquired. They who paid money drew lots for sections unknown of lands which the company was about to seek.
In April, 1839, the ship ‘Tory’ was prepared to sail with the first instalment of the company's settlers. Colonel Wakefield a brother, and E. J. Wakefield a son, of the prime mover were amongst them.
Introductory letters to Governors of colonies were solicited at the Colonial Office. Lord Normanby was taken by surprise. He would neither give the letters nor sanction, directly or indirectly, any effort to buy lands and establish a system of government independent of the authority of the Crown. He wished it to be “further understood that no pledge can be given for the future recognition of Her Majesty of any proprietary titles to land within New Zealand which the company or any other persons may obtain by grant or by purchase from the natives.”It was probable that the Queen would be “advised to take measures without delay to obtain cession in sovereignty”of lands occupied by British subjects in the islands.
If the Secretary of State hoped thus to arrest Gibbon Wakefield, he knew little of the audacity and resource which guided the company's proceedings.
1 Memorandum sent to Lord Palmerston. Parliamentary Papers, House of Commons, 1840, vol. xxxiii. Lord John accepted a contrary opinion afterwards, but he was ever ready to modify an opinion for a party purpose.
Before divulging his schemes to the public Wakefield sent his first ship, the ‘Tory,’ to New Zealand, under the control of his brother, Colonel William Wakefield, who received elaborate instructions for his guidance. He was to be philanthropic and just. If his conduct had been conformable to his ostensible instructions the history of New Zealand would have shown a fairer page. Neither he nor his employers regarded them.
There was a rumour that the government might stay the departure of the ‘Tory.’ Gibbon Wakefield, nothing daunted, despatched her in secret, travelling (it was said) by night to escape observation. The formation of the company was then announced, and on the 22nd May, 1839, Lord Durham, on its behalf, sought an interview with Lord Normanby, announcing at the same time that “preparations for a very extensive emigration were in progress in various parts of England and Scotland. Under these circumstances, the gentlemen whom I represent trust that Her Majesty's Government will be convinced of the expediency, or rather the necessity, of affording to British settlers in New Zealand better securities for law and government than have hitherto been established amongst Her Majesty's subjects there.”
He enclosed a prospectus of the “New Zealand Land Company”for whom he wrote. They had already purchased “very extensive tracts of land.”The pioneer vessel (the ‘Tory’) now on the seas was to purchase more, “in eligible spots.”
A society had been formed, in immediate dependence on the company, with a view to prompt settlement of numerous families in New Zealand. The prospectus issued by this last society showed that the “first colony was to depart in a body during August next.”The authority of Lord Durham, the reputed framer of the Reform Bill, the son-in-law of Lord Grey, the hope of advanced reformers, could not be waved aside. Sir William Molesworth, a man of no mean reputation amongst those whom the Ministry did not desire to offend, was also a member of the company.
The manœuvre by which the despatch of the ‘Tory’ was effected had shaken the ramparts of the Colonial Office. Gibbon Wakefield was victorious. The interview with the Marquis of Normanby took place. But that nobleman bestirred page 188 himself to counteract the unauthorized occupation of the islands.
On the 13th June, the Colonial Office, by the pen of Mr. Stephen, intimated that “circumstances appeared to the Marquis of Normanby and to Viscount Palmerston to force1 upon Her Majesty's Government the adoption of measures for establishing some British authority in New Zealand.”
On the 15th June, Her Majesty extended the boundaries of New South Wales, so as to include such portions of New Zealand as the Crown might acquire; and on the 30th July, the office of Consul, of which Hobson was to have been the holder, was expanded into that of a Lieutenant-Governor. Lord Normanby frankly told him “that circumstances entirely beyond the control of the Government had compelled them to alter their course, and that they departed from it with extreme reluctance.'
On the 14th August, Hobson received his instructions.
Meanwhile, to every applicant for information from England, Ireland, or Scotland, Lord Normanby and Lord John Russell, his successor (August, 1839), gave a formal reply that “the Government had no connection with the New Zealand Company, nor any knowledge of their proceedings.”Lord J. Russell went further. At a public meeting of emigrants under the auspices of the New Zealand Land Company, a document had been signed binding the subscribers to obey the rules and to respect the voluntary government of the settlement.
Lord J. Russell wrote to the chairman, Mr. G. F. Young, for a copy of the document, in order to obtain the opinion of the law officers as to its legality. After delay and much correspondence the document was forwarded with a letter, explaining that the company had meantime been advised that the agreement was unlawful, and had instructed their principal agent that he ought to assist Captain Hobson in establishing British authority.
1 English Parliamentary Papers, 1840, vol. xxxiii.
The Marquis of Normanby's instructions (14th August) declared that the Government concurred with a Committee of the House of Commons (1836) “in thinking that the increase of national wealth and power, promised by the acquisition of New Zealand, would be a most inadequate compensation for the injury which must be inflicted on this kingdom itself, by embarking in a measure essentially unjust, and but too certainly fraught with calamity to a numerous and inoffensive people whose title to the soil and to the sovereignty of New Zealand is indisputable, and has been solemnly recognized by the British Government.”
The gathering together of lawless Europeans, some of whom were British convicts, the outrages and crime of which they were alternately the authors and victims, compelled the Government reluctantly to intervene. “To mitigate, and if possible to avert, these disasters, and to rescue the immigrants themselves from the evils of a lawless state of society, it has been resolved to adopt the most effective measures for establishing amongst them a settled form of civil government. To accomplish this design is the principal object of your mission.”
He was to treat with the natives for “the recognition of Her Majesty's sovereign authority over the whole or any parts of those islands which they may be willing to place under Her Majesty's dominion.”The task was difficult, and might excite Maori suspicions. Lord Normanby trusted that Hobson would “find powerful auxiliaries amongst the missionaries who have won and deserved the confidence of the natives, and amongst the older British residents who have studied their character and acquired their confidence.”
Hobson was to induce the Maoris to contract with him not to cede in future any land “except to the Crown of England,”and page 190 by other methods to “obviate the danger of the acquisition of large tracts of country by mere land-jobbers.”In acquiring land Hobson was to confine himself to districts where the Maoris could alienate it “without distress or inconvenience to themselves; to secure the observance of this will be one of the first duties of their official protector.”There would be “a legislative commission”appointed to investigate land claims made by British subjects, to inquire how far they were lawful and ought to be respected, and what consideration had been given. Governor Gipps would then decide how far the claimants were entitled, and on what considerations, to “confirmatory grants from the Crown.”
There were copious instructions on other matters, and the Marquis concluded by saying: “Aware how powerful a coadjutor and how able a guide you will have in Sir G. Gipps, I willingly leave for consultation between you many subjects on which I feel my own incompetency at this distance from the scene of action to form an opinion.”
When these instructions became known in England, the New Zealand Company invited Lord Palmerston's attention (7th Nov. 1839) to the danger of admitting the independence of the Maoris in a land which Captain Cook had taken possession of in 1769. In France the Government was openly urged to protest against the colonization of the islands, or “to claim equal right with England to plant settlements there.”
In reply Mr. Somes was informed, on the authority of Lord John Russell, that the pretensions made by the company on behalf of Her Majesty were, by “solemn acts of the Parliament and of the King of Great Britain,”and otherwise, shown to be unfounded.
It was true, nevertheless, that public attention in France was directed to the colonization of the islands; and the complicity of the French Government in the enterprise of a French company will be established in a subsequent page.
Colonel Wakefield took with him in the ‘Tory’ the young Maori, Neti, already mentioned.
Colonel Wakefield was to be frank with the natives, and to make no bargain without taking care that all the owners of the land were “approving parties,”and that each should receive his due share of purchase-money. No negotiation was to be completed till “thoroughly understood by the native proprietors and by the tribe at large.”
The company would sell in England orders for “land (say 100 acres each)… and one-tenth of these land orders will be reserved1 by the company for the chief families of the tribe by whom the land was originally sold… the priority of choice for the native allotments2 being determined by lot, as in the case of actual purchasers.… You will take care that the servants of the company show every mark of respect to the missionaries with whom you may meet, and also in conversation with the natives respecting them. This is due to their calling; is deserved by the sacrifices they have made as the pioneers of civilization, and will moreover be found of service in your intercourse with the natives…”
The ‘Tory’ anchored in Queen Charlotte's Sound on the 16th August, 1839, and was at once visited by Maoris. Colonel Wakefield wrote (29th August): “The laws of property are very undefined in this part of New Zealand. Neither Rauparaha nor Hiko possesses the power of absolute disposal of any portion of land in the Strait. Great confusion exists respecting vested rights.”
1 The reserves were to be “equal to one-tenth of the whole.”The art of a company's necessities is strange. It was afterwards contended that the reserves ought to be limited to an eleventh, on the plea that one part against ten, and not one of ten parts was the true construction of “one tenth?”
2 It seems strange that the acute mind of Gibbon Wakefield did not foresee that by this arrangement natives might be expelled from their cultivation grounds. That he did not anticipate trouble from entrance by Europeans on Maori burial-grounds was perhaps less to be wondered at.
On the 17th September, Wakefield heard that Henry Williams was expected from the Bay of Islands, and he hastened with Barrett to Port Nicholson, whither Williams had sent to warn the natives against alienating their land.
At Port Nicholson, Wakefield found two chiefs who deprecated missionary instruction, and he cultivated their acquaintance. Descending the river Hutt in a canoe, he heard a Maori ask if any on board were missionaries. Wakefield's guide replied, “No; they are all devils.”The shouts of laughter which followed the sally indicated in Wakefield's opinion the “uncharitable tenets”of the missionaries who had so long been contending against the atrocities they found in the islands, as well as those which Pakeha Maoris had introduced. It was easy for a barterer in fire-arms to win favour from the natives.
On the 25th he had inspected the land, and resolved to buy it, and produced his purchasing-wares on the deck of the ‘Tory.’
A native missionary, Reihana, had been three months at the place. He, like Matahau, had been educated at Paihia. He had caused houses and chapels to be built at Port Nicholson-Though Wakefield encouraged sneers at the missionaries, he nevertheless sent for Reihana to witness his land-purchase. Dr. Dieffenbach, the naturalist, reported of Reihana: “I found him a very devout and honest man.”But Wakefield was prejudiced against him. Reihana had vainly opposed the chiefs who desired to sell, but they could not induce him to forego his own rights.
Wakefield says: “I found him so exceedingly importunate on his own account and held in such slight respect among the page 193 chiefs—afraid also of being a party to the transaction in case of future regrets on their parts—that I was not sorry when the plea of a sick child took him on shore again.”
One chief, Buacawa, both on shore and in the ship vehemently deprecated the sale. The debate continued till sunset on the 26th.
On the 27th, Wakefield promised an addition of twenty muskets to the goods offered, and after an encouraging address from Barrett the deed was signed.
One hundred and fifteen stand of arms, twenty-one kegs of gunpowder, one cask of ball-cartridges, night-caps, pipes, a gross of Jews' harps, and twelve sticks of sealing-wax, were part of the consideration. On the 29th the exultant chief, Warepori, proud of the fire-arms acquired, harangued some villagers who had not received much of Wakefield's treasure, telling them that the muskets would protect them. When a Christian Maori reproached Warepori for not endeavouring to reserve land for mission uses, the chief administered a rebuke, “eloquently delivered,”to the satisfaction of Wakefield.
On the 30th September, “the New Zealand flag”was hoisted on “an immense flag-staff”on shore, and was saluted with twenty-one guns from the ship. There was then a Maori dance. “The whole scene passed in the greatest harmony.”
1 So noted was he that among the riotous Pakeha Maoris and their whaling associates he was spoken of as “Satan”and “the old Sarpint.”
At Rauparaha's invitation Wakefield immediately visited him at Kapiti, and thought him fearful and servile, and for some time distrustful as to Wakefield's intentions. He rose and shook hands with his visitors, and told them that he was “determined to discountenance further fighting.”He was “slow and dignified in his action,”1 and “perfectly easy in his address. In resolving to visit and conciliate this old savage, however strong my repugnance to his character and practices, I am more led by the hope of acquiring his land on which to locate a society which shall put an end to his reign than by any good wishes to him.”
On the 17th October, Rauparaha, with other chiefs, visited the ‘Tory.’ “They all came prejudiced against the sale of land… and also betrayed great jealousy respecting the purchase of Port Nicholson”(which was natural if it had led to the battle so disastrous to them on the previous day).
Wakefield thought that he convinced them that they would better their condition by parting with their land for his wares.
1 Mr. E. J. Wakefield thus described Rauparaha: “His features are aquiline and striking, but an overhanging upper lip and a retreating forehead, on which his eyebrows wrinkled back when he lifted his deep-sunk eyelids and penetrating eyes, produced a fatal effect on the good prestige arising from his first appearance. The great chieftain, the man able to lead others, and habituated to wield authority, was clear at first sight; but the savage ferocity of the tiger, who would not scruple to use any means for the attainment of that power, the destructive ambition of a selfish despot, was plainly discernible on a nearer view. The life of this remarkable savage forms an era in the history of New Zealand.”(‘Adventures in New Zealand,’ by E. J. Wakefield. London, 1845.) At the interview which caused this description, both the Wakefields thought that Rauparaha showed “fear and distrust”of them and of the company. They knew not that he possessed rare power of acting as well as of speech.
“No scruples”(he wrote on the 28th October) “would have deterred me from putting ever so large a quantity of fire-arms in their possession, as I feel sure that in this case they will not only prevent a war of aggression on the part of their enemies, but that they will be readily supplied by some party from Sydney desiring the land, in case the owners determine to become the attacking force.”1
On the 18th October, greedy for guns, Rauparaha and others made an arrangement which Wakefield affected to construe as a sale of all the Ngatitoa rights on both sides of Cook's Straits. Only Kapiti was exempted. Such a bargain would have left the Ngatitoa homeless, for the land of their birth at Kawhia had been solemnly alienated by tribal consent long years before.
Though the company admitted afterwards in London that they could not make good their claims if called upon to prove that the signers understood the deed, or that all owners had been consulted, it may be hoped that Wakefield did not act with premeditating deceit.
“The negotiation was difficult and disagreeable; none of the good feeling I had met with at Port Nicholson being displayed. Their rights to large portions of territory are, however, indisputable.”
On the 21st—“the sight of the goods seemed to decide their intentions; the quantity being far beyond what they had ever seen received for any sale of land in their country, and the reality of them convincing them that I had the means of performing my part of the treaty.”Wakefield explained that “reserves would be made for the maintenance of the chiefs, their families, and successors for ever,”and the 22nd of October was appointed for signing the deed of conveyance. But Hiko, Rauparaha's nephew, was ill on that day, and a small vessel arrived from Sydney with alarming tidings. The British Government was about to stretch its arm to New Zealand. On board the small trader there were “deeds from various merchants to be filled up by the chiefs' names.”The men of Port Nicholson were arriving to aid their kinsmen of Waikanae against the Ngatiraukawa.
1 While openly acting on these principles, Wakefield professed to be shocked at the opposition of missionaries to his proceedings.
Wakefield could no longer dally. His deck was stored with wares on the 23rd, and Maoris of all sizes crowded round them. Waiting till the fire-arms were produced, Rauparaha (though nearly seventy years old) and others rushed to seize them. Hiko went away in anger, and Wakefield “sent the whole of the goods below.”Recrimination followed. “If I were not aware of the cruel delusions and dishonest practices of most of the foreigners, they have seen, towards them, I should have been angry with their violent and perverse conduct.”Commiserating the “mental condition of the wild race,”Wakefield pursued his negotiations; and, on the 24th, Hiko and Rauparaha, without any followers, signed the deed and took away their double-barrelled guns. For fresh gifts of twenty muskets, eleven guns, twenty kegs of powder, and goods including two pounds of beads, Wakefield recorded gratefully that he had, by his two completed transactions, “acquired possessions extending from the 38th to the 43rd degree of latitude on the western coast and from the 41st to the 43rd on the eastern;”though “to complete the rights of the company to all the land unsold to foreigners in the above extensive district, it remains for me to secure the cession of their rights in it from the Ngatiawa, and in a proportionally small tract from the Ngatiraukawa and Wanganui people.”
Such monstrous claims, by which whole tribes would have been unseated, even Colonel Wakefield could not hope to make good, but he wrote that whenever the time might come for scrutiny, it would be “found that but very few written records of purchases prior to this day's date of any portion of land within the boundaries of my purchase, can be produced.”He had at least outwitted speculators from Sydney, but he knew not that there was a spectator there who had both will and ability to thwart much of the injustice which the shameful transactions on board the ‘Tory’ were calculated to inflict.
Colonel Wakefield wrote: “In purchasing on the large scale I have done in this transaction—in marking the boundaries upon the fullest and most satisfactory explanation and examination by parallels of latitude—I conceive that I have obtained as safe and binding a title as if the subject of negotiation had been but a single acre, and defined by a creek or notched tree; and page 197 it must be remembered that nine-tenths of the land is without an inhabitant to dispute possession, and that the payment I have made to the owners is large, when valued by the standard of exchange known amongst them, and perfectly satisfactory to the sellers.”
On the 25th October other chiefs signed the deed, but only eleven marks in all were procured for it. They could not by Maori law have conveyed the tribal land rights if they had wished to do so. It was fortunate, however, that there were so many as sixteen witnesses, for thus the production of evidence to refute the assertion that the natives understood what they put their marks to, was, at a future time, made easy, when a British Commissioner scrutinized the deed.
Even on the 25th October, Wakefield heard rumours that there was an opinion among the natives that he had included in his deeds lands which the signers had no power to deal with, but he was “rejoiced at the termination of the noisy and troublesome bargain.”1
On the 26th, he remarked of Rauparaha: “It will be a most fortunate thing for any settlement formed hereabouts when he dies; for with his life only will end his mischievous scheming and insatiable cupidity.”On the 27th, he had an interview with the Ngatiawa at Waikanae, and found that they wanted “nothing but fire-arms”from him.
On the 30th, he congratulated the company on the daily proofs of “the speed of our outward voyage having frustrated the intentions formed by the New Holland speculators on receiving the news of our departure and destination.”
1 All the facts in the text will be found in the Appendix to the Twelfth Report of the Directors of the New Zealand Company, in which Colonel Wakefield's Journal appears.
It is absolutely impossible that Wakefield could believe that the few signatures he obtained could convey to him the shore line from the Whareama river on the east coast to Mokau on the west, or the lands of the interior bounded by the line assumed.
The great tribes, Ngatitama, Taranaki, Ngatiruanui, Ngarauru, Ngatihau, Ngatiraukawa, Ngatiapa, Muaupoko, Rangitane, and the Ngatiawa and Ngatitoa (Rauparaha's) would have been left landless, while the southern course of his “direct line”encroached on the territory of the Ngatikahungunu.
1 This included Hokitika on the west, and Cheviot and Kaikora on the east.
2 This embraced the North Island from sea to sea, within the “direct line.”A glance at the map will show the folly of Wakefield's pretences.
Wakefield himself described their avidity.
A dispute took place among the Maoris while the wares were being allotted, and it was not until he threatened to “put all the things below and go to sea,”that some of the disputants were induced to leave the ship. Then he “took advantage of the momentary calm to secure the signatures of chiefs to the number of thirty. No sooner… had the distribution recommenced than a more violent altercation took place.… In a moment the most tumultuous scene we have ever witnessed took place, in which many blows were exchanged.… I understand that the tribes which had taken their goods on shore… had a similar if not more unfriendly distribution.… Never did a ship witness such a scene of violence without bloodshed.”
Thus did Colonel Wakefield give effect to the humane professions of the New Zealand Company, and maintain the honour of his country. He did not obtain more signatures to the deed of the 8th November. On the 11th November he found that preparations for war were in active progress at Waikanae; but, if he knew, he concealed the fact that the quarrel was about his baneful wares. On the 12th he learned that the missionary, Henry Williams, was expected there. “Some people hope that his presence may prevent the encounter among the natives, but from what I have seen of these people, and know of their revengeful feelings, I have no idea that anything but a great slaughter on one side or the other will satisfy them.”
Colonel Wakefield had done much to contribute to such a result. By his last “deed of purchase”he had added seventy-three stand of arms and forty kegs of gunpowder to the Ngatiawa means of war. Ignorant as he was of Maori tribal rights, it would have been impossible for him, even if he had been prudent and scrupulous, to make the purchases he affected to have made. He was neither prudent nor scrupulous, and the rush of speculators from Sydney hurried his proceedings. Anticipating missionary opposition, he discarded the wise instructions which enjoined him to pay such respect to the missionaries in New Zealand as might aid him in his intercourse with the natives. It may almost be asserted that he trusted page 200 that if he could, per fas aut nefas, place Englishmen on the soil, the power of the Empire would by force of circumstances be drawn in to maintain them there.
On no other ground could his proceedings be explained. Having with a wave of his hand pointed to mountains in the interior, with another he pointed to a distant headland, and then defined his boundaries with pretentious precision, as including all harbours, rivers, &c., between invisible degrees of latitude.
He obtained signatures at random, and, leaving it to time and chance to cure defects and confound Rauparaha, sailed from port to port with his coveted munitions of war.
It cannot be said that he or his employers were without warning of the danger of his course.
Amongst the works cited in the volume published by the New Zealand Association in 1837 was Yate's ‘New Zealand.’1 The following sentence was quoted: “I believe a severe struggle would ensue before they would allow any force to take possession of their soil, or any portion of it, without what they deemed a fair equivalent.”
The succeeding sentences in Yate's book could not have escaped the notice of the company, and ought to have regulated their proceedings.
“The rights of possession are held most sacred in New Zealand, and every one knows the exact boundaries of his own land, which remains his until death, or till the consequences of war take it from him. A strong tribe may make war upon one that is weaker, and, if they, conquer, the land with all upon it belongs to them. But when the people have remained unconquered, and have possessions at a distance, they sometimes allow those possessions to be occupied by another, but fail not every year to assert their right to the place,—by claiming the fat of rats, or by going in a body—if it be forest land—to shoot and carry away the pigeons in the season; or to demand a portion of the payment, if any has been received by Europeans or others, for timber.”
Though not a full description of Maori land law, the foregoing extract pointed to such tribal rights as those which existed amongst the ancient Germans, and implied that the title of individual occupiers was only usufructuary. It followed necessarily that no man could alienate land without the consent of his tribe. The further law of post liminium, which, like the Roman, restored to all his pristine rights an absentee returning even from slavery, was not so clearly laid down by Yate, but he showed that rights of absentees could be, and were, easily kept alive. Nothing could be more plain than that the rights of Wiremu Kingi te Rangitake at Waitara were important. He had migrated with his people to secure new territory at Waikanae long before the Waikato invasion and victory at Pukerangiora, in 1831. He had never concealed his resolution to return to the Waitara; and yet, as will be seen, Wakefield pretended to destroy his rights by an alleged purchase from about seventy persons, including children, who were found at Sugar-loaf Point, Ngamotu. The white man's stores were coveted there as well as at Port Nicholson. How much dishonesty was mingled with greed cannot be told. It is possible that some recipients did not know that Wakefield would claim through their signatures to have abrogated the rights of their tribes.
Yet ever, as he went, Wakefield had reason to know that his pretended purchases were almost worthless. His efforts to procure various signatures or marks proved that he was not entirely ignorant that rights to lands were tribal. The missionaries had long known the fact, and had so successfully conformed to it that no purchase made by them was ever disputed by the Maoris. The company's instructions referred Colonel Wakefield to “the system of dealings for land”established by members of the Church Mission Society, and commanded him to abstain “from completing any negotiation”for purchase until its probable result (the formation of a colony) “shall be thoroughly understood by the native proprietors and by the tribe at large.”
1 Instructions (May, 1839) to Colonel Wakefield.
An altercation with Rauparaha (not mentioned by Colonel Wakefield) is thus described by his nephew, E. J. Wakefield (Rauparaha had told Wakefield, Nov. 1839, that the claims of the latter in the Middle Island were unjust. He had sold him only Taitapu and Rangitoto there): “Colonel Wakefield reproached him instantly in the strongest terms with his falsehood and duplicity, making the interpreter repeat several times that he had behaved as a liar and a slave, instead of a great chief. Rauparaha, however, maintained an imperturbable silence, giving no answer to this severe attack.… We were, of course, much hurt by this rapid repudiation of his bargain,… we foresaw some obstacles… during the life of this deceitful old savage.”2
If Colonel Wakefield did not report to his employers this important difference between himself and the chief whose claims he admitted to be indisputable, he acted unfairly to them and to Rauparaha. If he did report it, the company acted dishonourably in concealing it from the public when they professed to publish their agent's proceedings.
It will be found that when a British Commissioner examined the matter he found that Rauparaha was right and Wakefield wrong. An Englishman must blush to think that in the scene depicted, the ruthless Maori chief contrasted favourably with the representative of the great New Zealand Company.
The translation of Wakefield's intemperance by a man acquainted only with the coarse jargon used by rough whalers in intercourse with the Maoris, added, if possible, to Wakefield's degradation.
As ignorant of the tribes who dwelt in the new district as he was incapable of foreseeing the terror which would in future years be spread amongst the settlers by Maori devastations there, he sailed on the 18th November, and after vainly striving to enter the Wanganui river to examine his possessions, he passed on to Taranaki on the 27th. He had with him one John Dorset, and Barrett.
The Maoris at Taranaki were few in number, but the refugees at the Sugar-loaf Islands, “with occasional assistance from their southern neighbours,”still held their ground, and “declared their determination to die on the land of their grandsires.”By means of the acts of Wakefield and others many of them kept their resolution. They were killed upon it after the rape of the Waitara.
Finding it “impossible to collect the chiefs whose consent was requisite for the transfer of the land from Manawatu to Mokau under at least a week,”the impatient Wakefield left Barrett to “secure this fine territory.”Barrett, he said, was “perhaps the only man who could negotiate the bargain.”Wakefield sent, in his Journal, a table of the population residing between Manawatu and Patea, computing it at less than two thousand four hundred—an estimate so absurdly below the truth that Barrett's incompetence is sufficiently proved by it. With amusing presumption Wakefield wrote: “Barrett landed with his wife and children with instructions to assemble the numerous chiefs resident on a coast line of one hundred and fifty miles in a month's time, when I am to return to make the payment for the different districts, and receive the written assent of the chiefs to the sale.”
Amongst the chiefs so summarily to be dealt with were they whose habitations had been wantonly destroyed five years previously by H.M.S. ‘Alligator.’ They had not forgotten the brutality perpetrated upon the chief, whose head (sacred in their eyes) was kicked about by English soldiers on the beach. But Wakefield cared for none of these things.page 204
He sailed to Hokianga to look after the relics of title of Lord Durham's defunct expedition of 1826. There he bargained for Herd's Point (named by and after the leader of that expedition), and for land at Motukaraka. The company had bought land at Kaipara from one Lieut. McDonnell, and Wakefield carried with him McDonnell's letter announcing to the chiefs that he had sold his interests to the company.
He found at Hokianga a Maori woman, whom he described as Mrs. Blenkinsopp, widow of the master of a coasting vessel. From her he bought her rights to “the Wairau and other property in Cloudy Bay.”She handed him deeds purporting to be conveyances, but it was subsequently ascertained that they were copies of originals held as security in Sydney, and that Blenkinsopp's rights at Cloudy Bay consisted of a right, on the delivery of a six-pounder gun, to obtain wood and water.
Wakefield found Baron De Thierry at Hokianga “in dispute with all the proprietors in the district,”and talking of obtaining a French man-of-war to aid him in ejecting them. De Thierry's narrative differs somewhat from that of Wakefield. Both prove that if Wakefield had been honest or just, he would have seen that his own purchases were pretentious and unsound.
The Baron, in his ‘Autobiography,’ thus describes the dialogue: He had in March, 1839, issued a proclamation—“Given at Mount Isabel”—to regulate land sales within his territory. He says that Wakefield proposed to unite the Baron's establishment to that of the New Zealand Company. The Baron explained by what dishonourable means his property was withheld from him. Wakefield sympathized, and said it was “absurd to rail at the price (thirty-six axes) given for my forty thousand acres. We got (quoth Wakefield) upwards of a million acres at the south for less than fifty pounds in trade.”
The “trade”may be inferred from the following items in a schedule put forward by the company: Two hundred muskets, thirty-nine guns, eighty-one kegs of gunpowder, two casks of ball cartridge, two hundred cartouch-boxes, twenty-four bullet moulds, and fifteen hundred flints. It is fair to add that there were seventy-two hoes and a gross of Jews' harps amongst the other articles. Was it unnatural that the friends of the Maori page 205 should look with suspicion upon such trade, and appeal to the Queen to rescue from impending woes the race which had recently given such marked proofs of the power of the Gospel to win men's souls from the lust for war, and to induce them at great personal loss to emancipate their slaves?
Before narrating the efforts of the missionaries, Dorset's transactions at Taranaki may briefly be summed up. Wakefield did not return so soon as he expected. The ‘Tory’ went on shore at Kaipara and required repairs. Wakefield returned to Wellington by the east coast, and Dorset concluded his transactions without further assistance.
While Barrett and Dorset negotiated for the land, Dr. Dieffenbach, the naturalist, roamed safely over it with Maori guides. In December1 (he wrote) a European arrived from Kawhia, accompanied by “many natives,”to dissuade the residents from selling to the company. “It was said that the missionaries were much concerned in these transactions.”In January they were warned by two Ngatiawa messengers (emancipated after captivity in Waikato) that the Waikato men would not permit the residents to sell the Taranaki lands to the company. Dorset and his men took refuge on the island of Moturoa to prevent surprise.
No war-party arrived, and Dieffenbach (10th January) went to visit the Waikato people at Kawhia. On the way he met “a large party of Waikato natives, and also men, women, and children of the Ngatiawa,”permitted by their masters to visit their old home. Amongst them was Barrett's mother-in-law, who loaded Dieffenbach with salutations when he spoke of her daughter. Dieffenbach was hospitably entertained by the Ngatimaniapoto at Mokau, and returned safely.
When the accident to the ‘Tory’ was made known, by a passing brig, to Dorset, “a liberal price was given to the natives for their land, and the good-will of the Waikato purchased by presents.”
1 ‘Travels in New Zealand.’ Dieffenbach.
It was worthy of remark that the whole of the coast line had been included in the deed by which Wakefield pretended to buy the territory from the Ngatiawa residing in Cook's Straits. Dorset's deed was signed by all the men, women, and children upon whom Barrett could prevail. There were forty-three signatures of men and boys, and thirty-two signatures of women and girls. In such a manner the company afterwards averred that they had fairly purchased what Dr. Dieffenbach described as “the finest district in New Zealand.”
Before Dorset had procured this deed, the missionary Hadfield (afterwards Bishop of Wellington) had heard (1839), at Waikanae, that it was the intention of Wiremu Kingi te Rangitake to lead back the bulk of his tribe to their ancestral lands at Taranaki; and from that time until he led them back in 1848, the chief never swerved from his purpose. It was proved in an English Court, after many years of misery and war, that the genealogy of Te Rangitake1 justly gave him the position recognized by his followers.
Dr. Dieffenbach was right in believing that missionaries in New Zealand looked with no favour on such proceedings as those of Dorset.
1 New Zealand Parliamentary Papers, 1867, A. No. 23. (Pedigree of Ngatiuenuku.)
The remonstrances of the society in England brought upon them in due time the wrath of Gibbon Wakefield; but they contributed to induce the Government to appoint Captain Hobson. The stratagem by which Gibbon Wakefield despatched his brother to purchase principalities before British authority could interfere with him seemed, nevertheless, to have succeeded.
The ‘Tory’ had not arrived at her destination when the Bishop of Australia (Dr. Broughton) in H.M.S. ‘Pelorus,’ visited the Bay of Islands, accompanied by Octavius Hadfield, a deacon, who volunteered to go to Cook's Strait's as missionary, and being admitted to priest's orders by the Bishop, sailed with Henry Williams to introduce him as the missionary supplied in compliance with the application of Rauparaha. When the missionaries reached Port Nicholson (7th November, 1839), they found that Colonel Wakefield had been before them, and already there had been a battle about land.
An old pupil at Paihia, Reihana, had, at Port Nicholson, striven to follow the example of Matahau at Otaki, and Christian services had been commenced. Reihana had opposed Colonel Wakefield's transactions, but in vain. From Reihana, from Neti (who had left Col. Wakefield), and from others, Williams and Hadfield learned the proceedings of the company. They travelled overland, visited Rangihaeata on his island, “Mana;”and on the 19th November, only one day after Wakefield had sailed northwards in the ‘Tory,’ they crossed from Waikanae to visit Rauparaha, who declared his gratitude at the prospect of Hadfield's residence with the people. He promised to “tread down anger,”so that there might be no more fighting.
Williams heard that the battle in October, which Wakefield spoke of as a native quarrel, was brought about by Wakefield's page 208 doings. On the 22nd he wrote in his Diary: “We went over the ground on which the late battle was fought, owing to the payment for Port Nicholson (by Colonel Wakefield) not being generally distributed.… Of the aggressors (Ngatiraukawa) seventy fell; of their opponents (Ngatiawa, Te Rangitake's people) twenty. The Ngatiawa buried their enemies with military honours, with their garments, muskets, ammunition, &c., not reserving to themselves anything which had belonged to them. This is a new feeling, arisen from the great change which the introduction of the Gospel (mainly by the lad Matahau) has effected among them.”
More successful than Wakefield had expected, Williams after many days succeeded in making peace.1 Matahau, already married to the daughter of a Ngatiawa chief, was selected by the tribe to ratify it; and on the following day (Sunday, 1st December) twelve hundred Maoris assembled at Divine Service. Matahau himself, three days afterwards, was baptized as Joseph.
It was arranged that Hadfield should reside alternately with Rauparaha's people and at Waikanae, the abode of Te Rangitake.
Leaving Hadfield with his new friends, Williams journeyed homewards by land. At Rangitiki he met a war-party on the way to join the combatants at Otaki. After some days the leader, Wiremu Neira, consented to lead them home again, although the turbulent Ngatiruanui amongst them were bent on war.
1 The Ngatiraukawa, who were worsted in the battle, confessed their shame at having departed from the usual Maori magnanimity in attacking the Ngatiawa without fair warning. This was, they said, more painful than defeat. I learned this fact in conversation with Bishop Hadfield. The fact that the Ngatiawa buried their slain enemies, does not depend only on the testimony of Henry Williams. Mr. C. Heaphy, draftsman, accompanied Wakefield to Waikanae. When the company's agents entered the pah three hours after the battle the “tangi”was going on within it, and “a party of men were still out amongst the sandhills, burying the dead of the enemy, or bringing in the corpse of a friend.”(New Zealand Institute, ‘Transactions,’ 1879, vol. xii.) Notes by Major Charles Heaphy, V. C.
He also bought, on his own responsibility, about fifty acres at Port Nicholson for the Church Missionary Society, from Reihana, who was about to proceed to Taranaki, the birthplace of his wife. Both purchases offended Colonel Wakefield, and it is not improbable that amongst the vendors to him there were some who had rights in common in both.
The purchase at Port Nicholson will be alluded to hereafter.
On the 18th January, Williams had returned to the Bay of Islands, and on the 29th the arrival of Hobson as Lieutenant-Governor afforded him an opportunity to render important service to the Crown and protect at the same time the interests of the natives.
A description by a casual traveller illustrates the state of the land and the hospitality of the Maori. Mr. J. C. Bidwell arrived at the Bay of Islands in February, 1839. A botanist and general lover of nature, he resolved to explore. He went to Tauranga, and saw at the solitary mountain which guards the harbour the remains of the cannibal feast at which the men of Tauranga were devoured by the Arawa many years before. Mr. Stack, the missionary, was kind, and supplied guides. Bidwell journeyed through the picturesque forest which intervenes between Rotorua and Tauranga, by a Maori track which crossed the Mangarewa Gorge, where in after years a road was made by the natives to enable the Queen's son, Prince Alfred, to visit the lake scenery.
Hospitably received by Mr. Chapman, the missionary on the classic island in Lake Rotorua, he sped onwards to Lake Taupo, described to him by Chapman. Tongariro was an invitation and a challenge to his skill.
When he reached the cone of the burning mountain, sacred in the eyes of natives as “tapu”to their ancestry, he ascended alone.
1 Writing to his wife (6th December) Williams said: “I have secured a piece of land, I trust, from the paws of the New Zealand Company, for the natives.”
Returning safely to Tauranga, Bidwell went thence to Matamata the Ngatihaua stronghold, where to procure fire-arms the old warrior Te Waharoa (father of the king-maker) had largely cultivated flax. Both there and at Tauranga, flax culture was abandoned because “pigs supplied the wants of the natives with infinitely less trouble to themselves.”
The women at Matamata were “almost all strikingly handsome.”The demon of war was raging, though the old leader was sick unto death and died soon afterwards. Bidwell saw a Taua, or war-party, on its march. “About 3000 nearly naked savages, made as hideous as possible by paint . . in close ranks . .performed a sort of recitative of what they would do with their enemies if they could lay hold of them.… They stood in four close lines, one behind the other, with a solitary leader (as it appeared) in front at the right end of the line. This leader was a woman, who excelled in the art of making hideous faces… They stamped in excellent time. Their arms and hands were twisted into all possible positions to keep time with the recitative; their eyes all moved in the most correct time it is possible to conceive, and some of the performers possessed the power of turning them so far downwards that only the whites were visible. This was particularly the case with the woman I have spoken of as the leader. She was a remarkably handsome woman when her features were in their natural state, but when performing she became more hideous than any person who has not seen savages can possibly imagine. She was really very much like some of the most forbidding of the Hindoo idols— the resemblance to a statue being rendered more perfect by the pupil-less eyes, the most disagreeable part of sculpture.… They would repeat a number of words in a short staccato manner, and then dwell on one with a general hiss which would make one's blood run cold. At other times the sound would be still more horrid, but one that it is impossible to describe: it was not, to my idea, a yell, but something far more dreadful. One of their hisses, however, reminded me of the sound of returning page 211 ramrods when well performed by a large body of soldiers. I can only describe the manner in which the words were repeated by supposing they were according to the time of a piece of music, but all in one note; for the different hisses, groans, audible shudders, &c., could hardly be represented by any kind of musical interval. The whole performance was so perfectly horrid that although I am possessed of strong nerves, I could not repress a shudder, and my hair almost stood on end.”
Such were the sights to be seen in the land to which Colonel Wakefield had carried his cargo of murderous weapons, and in which the English Government was at last stirred to redeem itself from the shame which other English law-breakers, anticipating Wakefield, had reflected upon their mother-country.